Category Archives: Health & Wellness

The Sweet Sound of Silence

"Ordinary life does not interest me." Anais Nin

“Ordinary life does not interest me.” Anais Nin

Silence has a beautiful sound. It’s a matter of allowing yourself the time and space to experience it.

A friend asked me recently, “why haven’t you blogged lately?” My response is that I don’t always have something to say. It takes me a while to take in experiences before I can form a point of view that is not influenced by someone else’s opinion but truly my own, therefore genuine.

Anais Nin once wrote, “my ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” I’ve written my books on the road, in conversation, in the kitchen, in relationships, and any number of ways. I’ve written by simply living as deeply as I possibly can, ploughing through one experience at a time, taking in all the wonderful people I’ve met, foods I’ve enjoyed, places I’ve discovered.

My silence is for the love of sharing what I have seen, smelled, heard, tasted, and touched. But, pulling back the layers takes time and I am in no hurry. My discipline is not based on a deadline but on a lifestyle that is free-form, and I’ve never missed a crucial deadline as a result. We are all unique. We all work differently and recognizing one’s individual process and talent is important. It can make a world of difference to the way we react to things and how we relate to others, in writing or otherwise.

I owe my personal success, which can be measured in any number of ways, to learning how to hear the sweet sound of silence. Give me peace and I will pave a smoother more direct road than you might otherwise experience.

So in response to my friend. I write when I have something to say. Sometimes it’s a recipe. Sometimes it’s a thought. It’s always my truth.

Pickled Curry String Beans

IMG_2291Pickles. What’s there not to like? They’re refreshing, crunchy, juicy, and bursting with tangy, sweet, and savory flavors. They’re the perfect condiment. In a pinch you can serve them with cheese. They can be chopped and served over a bowl of rice, a humble meal served in many parts of Asia. They complement all sorts of grilled or roasted meat and fish proteins, and more. More importantly, they’re easy to make and you can make lots of them ahead of time. For a busy working person, that might be just enough of a reason to go out and grab a basket full of produce to experiment with, using my basic Asian-style pickling liquid.

Here I use yellow and green string beans, but this recipe is excellent with Persian cucumbers or cauliflower as well. Feel free to experiment with cabbage too or cherry green tomatoes.

 

 

PICKLED CURRY STRING BEANS

Be sure to use unseasoned rice vinegar, as the seasoned version already has salt and sugar. It is better to control the amount of sugar and salt. Anything pickled will last a few weeks, even months, but guaranteed these won’t last a week, because they’re that good.

(makes 1 quart)

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups unseasoned plain rice or white vinegar
2 teaspoons Indian curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
5 ounces green string beans (about 1-1/4 cup), stem end trimmed
5 ounces yellow string beans (about 1-1/4 cup), stem end trimmed

1) in a mixing bowl, add the salt and sugar. Whisk in the vinegar until the sugar and and salt dissolve completely. (Do not try to melt over heat or you will weaken the flavor of the vinegar). Stir in the curry, coriander seeds and peppercorns.

2) In a wide-mouthed quart jar, place the string beans vertically. Add the garlic cloves, scattering and pushing them in a bit, then whisk and pour in the pickling liquid. Refrigerate for 1 week for optimum flavor. If you like the string beans more firm, try them after 2 days. If you like them softer, let them macerate for 2 weeks or longer.

NOTE: though there is sugar and salt in the pickling liquid, understand that when eating these string beans the actual amount of sugar and salt going into your body is negligible. It’s all in the liquid, which presumably you will not be drinking!

HEALTH BENEFITS: Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, K, iron, calcium, folate, potassium, protein, fiber… an antioxidant as well. Eat your beans!

This recipe is adapted from my upcoming book, “Switch-It-Up: 50 Recipes for Perfectly Portioned Meals for Prediabetes, Diabetes, and Heart Health” to be published in 2015 by the American Diabetes Association.  Also check out my other book “Asian Flavors Diabetes Cookbook,” which won a 2013 Nautilus Book Award.