Ying Yang Xue

"If something is cold, heat it. If something is hot, cool it." –Huangdi Neijing

Archive for the tag “pumpkin”

Seasonal pumpkin delight for the Spleen

DH kicked off the new semester by satisfying our spleens with a delicious pumpkin, apple & pear bread.  This is a perfect seasonal treat, as our spleens tend to suffer with the excessive amount of treats around this time of year (not to mention the stressful situations in which we tend to eat.  Can we say ‘Family Thanksgiving Dinner’?)  This bread proved quite a quandary, though: in moderate amounts, it’s beneficial for the spleen, but with a bread this delicious, how do you expect me to eat moderate amounts?!

TCM DOS: Spleen Qi Deficiency

Many of our patients suffer on a regular basis from SP qi xu, and yet plenty of the foods they like during the Autumn season are for SP qi xu.

Spleen qi deficiency signs and symptoms include:  fatigue, loose stool, bloating and lack of appetite. P: weak  T: pale, soft with thin white fur.

Western diagnosis would include anemia, diarrhea and gastric or duodenal ulcers.

Patients with the condition of SP qi xu should consider including any of the following:
Warming foods should be cooked; potatoes, carrots, yams, squash, turnips, leeks, onions, rice, oats, butter, modest amounts of turkey, chicken, beef, cooked peaches, cherries, strawberries, figs, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg (hmm autumn flavors) black pepper, custard, small amounts of honey, molasses, maple syrup and sugar. Meals should be average to small.

Patients should avoid eating the following on a regular basis:
excess sugar, seaweed, milk, cheese, buckwheat, millet, tofu, citrus, salsa and too much salt

I decided to bake (since cooked, warming foods are good for the taxed spleen) my favorite recipe Harvest Pumpkin with Apple and Pear Bread, since it is autumn and pumpkins, apples and pears are in abundance during this time of year. I also thought it would be a great way to get in the spirit of the autumn season and nourish everybody’s spleen.

Harvest Pumpkin With Apple and Pear Bread

Whole lotta autumn love.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (such as Libby’s) 4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple juice (or water)
1⁄2 medium baking apple, peeled,cored and diced 1⁄2 medium bosc pear, peeled, cored and diced

Directions:
1  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2  Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
3  Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
4  Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and apple juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. 5
Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.
6  Fold in apples and pears
7  Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.
8  Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
9  Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
10  To make using three 8 X 4-inch loaf pans: Prepare as above and bake for 60 to 65 minutes.
11  To make using five or six 5 X 3-inch mini-loaf pans: Prepare as above and bake for 55 to 60 minutes.

Delicious Damp Heat Congee

JG rounded out the semester with an absolutely divine damp heat-draining congee.  (A congee is a rice-based porridge, slow-cooked with a lot of water, that is particularly beneficial to the middle jiao–the spleen and stomach.)  When you hear the word congee, you usually think “bland bland bland.”  When you think of foods that typically drain damp, you think “bland bland bland.”   I cannot tell you how much further from “bland” this wonderful congee was!  Slow cooked for 7+ hours, JG added the perfect amount of seasonings without comprising this dish’s ability to clear heat.  I must admit I have several bowls of this…and I stopped only at “several” to uphold my dainty, lady-like reputation (*ahem*).

TCM DOS: Damp heat

Western Correlations: leukorrhea, jaundice, eczema, psoriasis, boils, hepatitis, tenesmus,
dysentery, UTI, conjunctivitis, ear infection with yellow/green discharge, bronchitis/pneumonia
with coughing up yellow phlegm,

TCM s/s: yellow discharge (c/b foul odor) of genitals, ears, eyes, nose; yellow phlegm when
coughing; skin rash that is red & oozy; loose stool with blood, mucus, and/or foul odor; ascites

Tongue: red, thick yellow & greasy coat

Pulse: rapid, slippery

Foods that help: aduki beans, alfalfa, amaranth, basmati rice, celery, Job’s tears, lettuce, mung

bean, pumpkin, turnip

Foods to avoid: alcohol, greasy, fatty, fried, foods; hot, spicy foods/spices (think ginger, onion, garlic, etc); nuts; oats; beef, chicken egg, lamb, pork; dairy; excess sweets; excess raw fruits/vegetables

Helpful cooking methods: If patient has weak digestion make sure to steam, boil, roast vegetables for easy digestion.

Damp Heat-Clearing Congee

Ingredients:

• 2 cups rice; basmati not recommended because it doesn’t brake up ( I used Lundberg Wild
Blend)

• 12 cups vegetable broth

• 6 cups water
~About 1 cup rice to 5-10 cups water/broth. Thicker congee: 1:5 rice:water/broth
Soupy congee: 1:10 rice:water/broth. It’s better to use too much water/broth, then too little.

• 4 bay leaves (for flavor only, not to be eaten)

• Salt to taste

• Cumin 1/4-1/2 tsp

• Garlic powder 1/8-1/4 tsp (caution: just to taste because to warming for damp heat)

4 tops of carrots only (used for medicinal purpose only, not to be eaten)

1 cup fresh diced pumpkin (7oz = 1/2 can canned pumpkin)

1 cup fresh diced sweet potato/yam

1 can (15oz) rinsed aduki beans

1 stalk celery, cut into smiley face

Directions:

• Place rice, vegetable broth, water, bay leaf, salt, cumin, garlic powder, carrot tops in crock pot and cook on low heat for 7 hours (can cook on higher setting for approximately 5 hours, but “the longer congee cooks, the more powerful it becomes”~ Paul Pitchford)

• Add pumpkin, sweet potato/yam, aduki beans, & celery to congee and cook for an additional 1-2 hours when the congee is thick, rice is fully broken down, and vegetables are tender.

Damp Heat

• Congee itself is good for dampness, heat conditions, & tonifying the spleen

• Pumpkin is cooling and relieves damp conditions

• Sweet potato/yam is cooling and strengthens the spleen

• Aduki beans detoxify the body, remove heat conditions, & are used for damp & watery conditions

• Celery is cooling, dries damp, & used for excess heat conditions

• Carrot tops are good for damp conditions

~~~

*Amazing website for congee benefits, preparation, cooking methods, properties of grains, legumes, meats, herbs, vegetables, and fruits that could be used, and it list different recipes for different TCM diagnosis.

Check it out:

The Journal of Chinese Medicine Read Periodicals: Congee – Longevity Food for Life, 2/1/2010
http://www.readperiodicals.com/201002/1984286621.html#b

Foods to Tonify Kidney Yin

S.T. tackled KD yin xu this week, and her dishes scored a homerun (so good that it deserves mixed sports metaphors!)   Simple, elegant, comforting, and secretly therapeutic–exactly what a good meal should be.    We started with a beautiful refreshing salad, continued to a warm and fortifying soup, and for dessert we had some wonderful goji berries covered in–wait for it–chocolate! (because we would expect nothing less from S.T.).   Nettle tea proved to be a rich & tasty beverage, and let’s not forget what might have been the biggest hit, the roasted pumpkin seeds.  These little guys packed a BIG flavor punch and had all of us singing their praises the entirety of the afternoon!   So, without further ado, S.T.’s Kidney boosting recipes!

~~~~~~~~

 TCM Pattern:  Kidney Yin Deficiency

 
Western equivalent:    Aging –> Failing eyesight, hearing, tooth-loss, head hair loss; Weakness, frailness, aches & pains in bones & joints; Absent-mindedness, poor memory, dementia; Menopause/andropause; Apathy, exhaustion, fatigue; Chronic stress, anxiety; Congenital problems – poor growth & development; Excessive fear & insecurity; lack of will; Osteoporosis; Reproductive dysfunction
Signs & symptoms: dizziness, poor memory, dry mouth at night, sore (low) back & knees, dark, scanty urine, vertigo, deafness, 5-palm heat, ache in bones, constipation, tinnitus, night sweating, thirst, nocturnal emissions: Tongue: red, no coating/peeled, cracks; Pulse: empty, rapid
 
For Chinese Dietary Therapy, choose foods that are cooling, moistening, nourishing and enriching, and easy to digest. Eat smaller quantities frequently and regularly rather than large quantities irregularly. Get plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid foods that are stimulating and overly hot and spicy, alcohol, recreational drugs.
 
Today’s menu:
Barley, Lentil & Vegetable Soup
Spinach-Pear Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt
Nettle Tea
Dark Chocolate coated Goji Berries

 
Recipes
 
Barley, Lentil & Vegetable Soup

 
5 cups water
1/2 cup organic pearl barley, washed and drained
1/4 cup dry, green lentils
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup leeks, green and white part, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced, for garnish
 
Preparation: Place first three ingredients in a medium soup pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium-low and simmer 30 to 35 minutes. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add sea salt, cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the leeks, cover and simmer another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve garnished with parsley.
 
Spinach-Pear Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
6 ounces spinach
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
5 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp stone-ground mustard
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup shaved Parmigiano cheese

Preparation: Combine pear slices and spinach in a large bowl. Whisk together water and next 6 ingredients. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.                       
 
Skillet-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt


 
½ cup freshly shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
 
Preparation: Lightly coat shelled pumpkin seeds with olive oil. Place in warmed iron skillet, cover. Allow to warm and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Shake and stir seeds in skillet constantly as they are toasting to avoid burning. Brown to desired color. When they start popping, they are done.

 

And last but not least… goji berries for dessert! (original AND chocolate-covered ; )

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