Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast.’

Asian-Mexican Breakfast Review

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Prickly Pear which is also known as Cactus Pear or Opuntia has a number of health benefits.

Today I woke up, read some Bio-geography, and then noticed I was dizzy. That is usually a sign of low blood sugar and sure enough mine was down to 52. Normal is 80-120, 200 means take insulin. I took a little glucose tablet and decided to make something to eat instead of taking a shower, my normal morning routine.

Testing blood sugar levels

Still a little dazed, I rummaged in the fridge, pulled out some cactus leaf, cactus pear, Italian squash, chayote squash and began chopping and pealing. I turned the gas on the cast Iron pan and the tea kettle, rinsed some chana dal, heated a pot of water and started simmering the dal. I spiced it with the rest of the basil leaves from my wilted plant that I got at Trader Joe’s. I also added a good shake of turmeric, a lot more nutmeg than I planned and some asafoetida. This was an unusual mixture for me to use, a rather radical departure but I was in a daze as I said.

Asafoetida plant

I then took some left over soup from the fridge, and threw that in with the veges, this had a paste like consistency due to my habit of constantly adding ingredients. It was based on an organic mushroom soup concentrate, Pacific brand, that I found in the discount bin at Ralph’s. The soup had been a mix of the base with organic carrots, organic celery, a gala apple, a couple of turkey sausages, a tomatillo, a couple of jalapeno’s, a little chopped yellow onion and a couple of pieces of garlic all chopped up together. This had already been on the stove twice and was about a week old, well seasoned.

Then I threw in a couple of strips of bacon, usually I get turkey bacon, but in this case I found some pork bacon that was on sale.
I used to get soy bacon but that got to be too expensive, I switched to turkey bacon, but that has gone up, so now I just look for what is on sale and isn’t loaded with sodium.

After that came a chopped up tomatillo, some yellow onion and 3 or 4 pieces of garlic chopped up. I threw in a hand full of fresh rosemary spears and let it all simmer some more, all together over half an hour of cooking time.

While this was on low burner, I noticed some fruit flies hanging around a honey dew melon I had bought a month ago that never really ripened. I have noticed lately that there is a lot of fruit that is like this. It is picked early, and often instead of ripening it simply sits and then goes bad. This honeydew had a corner that had become moldy. So I cut it off, scraped out the seeds. and chopped up the rest of the insides but kept the outer casing to form a gourd. I this left the chopped up bits of melon, added the contents of one of those Paige Yogurt cups, the kind with the fruit on the side. I poured in the yogurt sans the cherry fruit concentrate, added a healthy amount of sage, really poured it in, added a little clove powder, and a generous couple of drops of vanilla concentrate. On top of this I placed a dozen or so green organic table grapes, a little salsa and a spoon of honey then added a shake of hot sauce and it was done.

While all this was going on I poured the hot water from the tea pot into a single serving melitta style filter filled with Don Francisco’s fine grind expresso, which sat on my coffee cup in which I had placed a triangle of Ibarra Mexican style chocolate and the cherry jam from the yogurt container. Hand poured style of making coffee demands a fine grind that slows down the water percolation. If you use a regular grind, the water pours through and the coffee is weak, you have to pour it through the filter a couple of times and never tastes right. I always choose a fine grind and a bold or strong coffee to get maximum flavor.

Chana Dal

I replaced the water in the simmering chana dal as there was a lot of white foam. After that the liquid was clear. I should have soaked the dal in cold water for a while before cooking and as it was it was not done in time for breakfast, no matter, I will have it later with another couple of meals. As a habit I cook beans and broil potatoes on the weekend so that I will have them during the week. I also tend to make way more than I can eat on the weekends and save left overs for my week night meals. After a long day of work and school, I rarely have the energy to cook on weekday evenings.

The food on the frying pan was done so I threw in some olive oil, added a couple eggs, and threw a slice of Vogel Mixed Grain bread in the toaster. The bread had come out of the freezer, I buy it from the discount section at Ralph’s where the normally expensive loafs can be bought for a dollar or so. I freeze it because I don’t eat bread often, usually I have tortillas with my meals.

With every thing done I slices up a key lime, squeezed it on top of the fruit gourd, made a plate with the food from the frying pan, slicing the piece of toast in half after spreading some Philadelphia cream cheese with jalapeno on it, then placed the over medium eggs on the toast, added a squeeze of lime, some hot sauce, black pepper and a dash of sea salt on the eggs and the veges on the side of the dish, and I was ready to chow down.

The flavor was intense, acidic and a little hot, from the leftover soup most likely. It has a complexity and was balanced between soft and hard elements.Usually I add potato to cool out the flavor, or have some beans and a grain like rice, but in this case it was the veges that stood alone and once my mental expectations had adjusted to the flavor messages from my taste buds, I enjoyed the dish. It was not too dry or wet, hard or soft, in fact it was tasty. I had no more cilantro so that staple was missing from my plate. The egg on toast was a little more generic than I had expected, when I added some of the bacon it became more flavorful.

Honeydew melon

As for my gourd of fruit and liquified yogurt, it was very tangy. The clove, sage and vanilla flavor really stood out front and center. The yogurt made it taste like one of those savory Indian yogurt dishes. Most of the fruit sweetness came from the grapes as the honeydew was rather bland and woody, tasting more like chayote than honeydew. But it was a pleasant spiciness, not overwhelming. I deliberately did not add too much honey as I did not want the sweetness to drown out the spiciness. The sage added a nice savory flavor that made the whole dish an exotic and interesting combination for the palate.

Chayote squash

Some source info. Since I live in Southern California, I am blessed with access to abundant fresh food, and unlike Florida, the state doesn’t take the hell out of groceries. Chayote, tomatillo, cactus leaf and cactus pear can all be got cheap from Mexican markets, or the discount stores like Food 4 Less. Ralph’s has the organic produce, day old stuff, and especially day old organic meats, I always look for deals on that sort of stuff there. Indian food like asafoetida and dal can be found at some regular markets but most likely you will have to go to an Asian or Indian market. I found the chana dal on the street outside of a church where some kind soul left a bag full of Indian and Middle Eastern grains and legumes. I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I grabbed some of the items. My daily walks often are productive like that.

Anarchist Salad, Soft Taco Breakfast and Doukhobors

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Doukhobor nude protest march

Doukhobor nude protest march

Alternative,communitarian, anarchist history lesson. Today I am writing about the sometimes pacifist, vegetarian communal Christian offshoot from Russia called the Doukhobor’s.

I first heard of the Doukhobor’s from my friend Mark who had lived with a member of the group in Sacramento briefly back in the early 1970’s. He told me wild stories of them being Russian anti-materialists in Canada who would burn their property every 10 years and go naked slowly re-accumulating material things until they got tired of them and then destroy them all over again. He said something about how a bunch of them were in prison in Canada for refusing to send children to government schools, anti materialist arson and a suspected assassination of one of their leaders, and that the girl he had met had a dad in prison in Canada.

Anti materialist arson

Doukobor anti-materialist arson

I was interested and when I went to Canada in the fall of 1975 to 100 Mile House, British Colombia for a month long spiritual retreat and training class in the gnostic Emissaries of Divine Light community, I thought of looking up the Doukhobor’s who were living in south eastern BC, but never made it. Later I put them on the back burner but more recently I have revived interest in them.

From Wikipedia article:

“The Doukhobors were one of the sects—later defined as a religious philosophy, ethnic group, social movement, or simply a “way of life”—known generically as Spiritual Christianity. The origin of the Doukhobors is uncertain. The first clear record of their existence and the first use of the names related to “Doukhobors” are from the 18th century. However, some scholars believe that the sect had its origins in the 17th or even the 16th century. They rejected secular government, the Russian Orthodox priests, icons, all church ritual, the Bible as the supreme source of divine revelation, and the divinity of Jesus.[citation needed] Their pacifist beliefs and desire to avoid government interference in their life led to an exodus of the majority of the group from the Russian Empire to Canada at the close of the 19th century.

As pacifists, the Doukhobors also ardently rejected the institutions of militarism and wars. For these reasons, the Doukhobors were harshly oppressed in Imperial Russia. Both the tsarist state and church authorities were involved in the persecution of these dissidents, as well as taking away their normal freedoms.

Region of settlement in Transcaucasia

Region of settlement in Transcaucasia

Doukhobors of the region [Transcaucasia] had become vegetarian, and become aware of Leo Tolstoy’s philosophy, which they found quite similar to their traditional teachings.

[T]he government applied greater pressure to enforce the Doukhobors’ compliance with the laws and regulations that they found vexatious, such as registering marriages and births, contributing grain to state emergency funds, or swearing oaths of allegiance. Even worse, the universal military conscription that had been introduced in most of the Russian Empire, was now (in 1887) imposed in its Transcaucasian provinces as well.

Doukhobors of the three Governorates of Transcaucasia made the decision to destroy their weapons. As the Doukhobors assembled to burn them on the night of June 28/29 (July 10/11, Gregorian Calendar) 1895, with the singing of psalms and spiritual songs, arrests and beatings by government Cossacks followed.

Burning arms

Doukhobors burning of weapons 1895 in Russia

As persecution seemed to be unsuccessful in making the Doukhobors comply with the conscription laws, and the entire affair was an embarrassment in the face of international public opinion, the Russian government agreed in 1897 to let the Doukhobors leave the country, subject to a number of conditions:

the emigrants should never return;
they would migrate at their own expense;
community leaders currently in prison or in exile in Siberia would have to serve the balance of their sentences before they could leave.

The Doukhobors’ passage across the Atlantic Ocean [to Canada] was largely paid for by Quakers and Tolstoyans, who sympathized with their plight, and by the writer Leo Tolstoy, who arranged for the royalties from his novel Resurrection, his story Father Sergei, and some others, to go to the migration fund. He also raised money from wealthy friends. In the end, his efforts provided half of the immigration fund, about 30,000 roubles.

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy

The anarchist Peter Kropotkin and James Mavor, a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto, also helped the migrants.

In accordance with the Dominion Lands Act of 1872, Canadian government would grant 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land, for a nominal fee of $10, to any male homesteader able to establish a working farm on that land within three years. Living on single-family homesteads would not fit Doukhobors’ communitarian tradition. Fortunately, the Act contained the so-called Hamlet Clause, adopted some 15 years earlier to accommodate other communitarian groups such as Mennonites, which would allow the beneficiaries of the Act to live not on the actual land grant, but in a village (”hamlet”) within 3 miles (4.8 km) from their land.[16] This would allow the Doukhobors to establish a communal life style, similar to the Hutterites.

Communal houshold

Communal household Canada

Even more importantly, by passing in late 1898, Section 21 of the Dominion Military Act, the Canadian Government exempted the Doukhobors from military service.

Due to Doukhobors’ leaders aversion to private ownership in land, Petr Verigin (who had served his sentence and was able to come to Canada in 1902) managed to have land registered in the name of the community. But by 1906, the Dominion Government, in the person of Frank Oliver, the Minister of Interior, started requiring registering the land in the name of individual owners.

Another problematic issue raised by Oliver was that the Doukhobors would now have to become naturalized citizens (i.e., British subjects) and to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown – something that was always against their principles.[18] A new crisis was to develop just a decade after the conscription crisis in Russia.

The crisis resulted in a three-way split of the Doukhobor community in Canada:

The edinolichniki (’Independents’), who constituted by 1907 some 10% of the Canadian Doukhobors. They maintained their religion, but abandoned communal ownership of land, rejecting hereditary leadership and communal living as being non-essential to it.

The largest group — the Community Doukhobors — continued to be loyal to their spiritual leader Peter V. Verigin. They formed an organization known as Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB, now USCC).

The more radical Sons of Freedom group (also called the “Svobodniki” or “Freedomites”), which emerged in 1903, embraced Verigin’s writings in a zealous manner.

Communal dining

Communal dining Canada

To take his followers away from the corrupting influence of non-Doukhobors and Edinolichniki (’individual owners’) Doukhobors, and to find better conditions for agriculture, Verigin, starting in 1908, bought large tracts of land in south-eastern British Columbia. His first purchase was near the US border around Grand Forks. Later, he acquired large tracts of land further east, in the Slocan Valley around Castlegar. Between 1908 and 1912, some 8,000 people moved to these British Columbia lands from Saskatchewan, to continue their communal way of living. In the milder climate of British Columbia, the settlers were able to plant fruit trees, and within a few years became renowned orchardists and producers of fruit preserve.

Nude protests in Canada

Nude protests in Canada

The Sons of Freedom, meanwhile, responded to the Doukhobors conflict with Canadian policy with mass nudity and arson as a means of protesting against materialism, the land seizure by the government, compulsory education in government schools and, later on, Verigin’s supposed assassination. This led to many confrontations with the Canadian government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (continuing into the 1970s).

Protests against government

Protests in Canada around Verigin slaying and government policies

Peter V. Verigin was killed in a still-unsolved Canadian Pacific Railway train explosion on October 29, 1924 near Farron, between Castlegar and Grand Forks, British Columbia. The government initially (during investigation) had stated the crime was perpetrated by people within the Doukhobor community although the Doukhobors’ customary failure to cooperate with Canadian authorities due to fear of intersect violence culminated in no arrests being made. To date, it is still unknown who was responsible for the bombing. Thus, while the Doukhobors were initially welcomed by the Canadian government, this assassination controversy, as well as Doukhobor beliefs regarding communal living and no child education, amongst other beliefs, created an air of mistrust between government authorities and Doukhobors which would last for decades.”

Arrested by Mounties

Carted away by Mounties

Doukhobors still exist in Canada, Georgia, Russia and in the USA. There is an active community in Canada and many descendants in the region around British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Link to story about the Verigin murder.

Genealogy site

More of my food saga. So last night I did the spinach salad again, basically same as a few days ago, fresh spinach, chopped garlic, yellow onion, half a Roma tomato, Some humus, mozzarella, cheddar, cold pinto beans, sprinkled wheat germ on top, with a dressing made of sesame oil, canola oil, apple cider vinegar, low salt soy sauce, and pomegranate juice. This simple salad is quite satisfying. I usually have a piece of toast with peanut butter and yogurt with it. That dinner is great for loosing weight or keeping it down as the evening meal, with a decent breakfast.



Breakfast today was soft tacos with half a large plantain, make sure it is black, preferably getting mold on the edges, the blacker the sweeter. This should be peeled, sliced and cooked in oil with a hot pan, sear both sides black, then cook your other ingredients at moderate to low heat. In this case I chopped up a quarter bell pepper, a whole El Serrano pepper chopped, a prebaked potato, sliced, a slice of yellow onion chopped, three or four pieces of garlic chopped, the other half of last nights Roma tomato, and a quarter of a soy chorizo log from Trader Joes. I added turmeric, basil, squeezed in a lemon wedge, then threw in the rind, added some Thai galanga powder and then added more oil, Canola in this case since my olive oil was frozen, and fried up a couple of eggs over medium. I made some Basmati rice, heated up some pinto beans and some corn tortillas, chopped a hand full of cilantro, throwing the stems in the frying pan, and quartered a key lime and that was breakfast, I served on a big plate and added hot sauce and black pepper to taste.

Moving tacos

Many Tacos

Note: this is a medium or relatively neutral tasting dish, by that I mean the flavors are well blended and tend to balance one another. If you want a strong chorizo taste double the chorizo. If you want a strong plantain taste, eliminate the potato as that starch tends to compete with the plantain flavor or add more plantain. Same goes with all the flavor elements, stronger garlic, add more. Turmeric and Galanga give a mustard-ginger flavor, if you don’t like that go for cumin, or if you want a mustier taste add thyme. I like thyme with mushrooms, but I have not been eating them lately. Hotter, throw in some chili powder, or just add more hot sauce and so forth. Lots of people like to mix eggs and chorizo scrambled style. I prefer my eggs whole, usually poached but today fried, placed directly in the tortilla with rice, beans, cilantro, squeeze of lime, dab of hot sauce and sprinkling of black pepper. The other ingredients I tend to eat in a separate taco with everything but the egg. I don’t really believe in precise recipe’s, I use what is on hand, instinct and experience.

My buddy Jack says in Mexico black pepper is rare, lemons are almost unknown, and people don’t use hot sauce much. They put lime on everything though and use chili peppers. He eats his jalapeno pepper as a side dish, raw, and sliced. I chop my chili peppers and cook them. I notice that in a lot of Mexican taco stands here in the LA region they have pickled or brine peppers as side dishes, whole or sliced. I don’t tend to eat them that way, but I will in a restaurant.

Taco Dog

Taco Dog
I was going to use pictures of tortillas but everybody makes them differently so I went with taco humor. I should take pictures of mine. Maybe next time.

Amazing Breakfast

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Poached Eggs on English Muffin with Bacon and Veggie mix on the side.

This might be hard to reproduce. OK take half a pre-baked potato, a slice of pre-baked Butternut squash, place them in a cast Iron frying pan that has left over sauce from a curry dish sticking to the rim of the pan (preferably overnight). See what I mean, pretty tough to reproduce. Saute with a couple slices of uncured Bacon, rub the bacon in the heating leftover curry, that flavors or cures the bacon. Watch that you don’t burn your fingers like I did. Put a couple of English muffin slices in the toaster, heat up water for poached eggs. Add some sliced up roma tomato to your potato & squash. Chop up some yellow onion, throw that in, add some Cumin, Basil and Oregano to the veggie mix. Poach your eggs in the boiling water, heat some coffee or tea, butter your muffins, put the cooked bacon on the muffins, put the poached eggs on top of the bacon (I like them runny), and take your potato-tomato-squash-onion & spices mix and put that on the side, with a little fresh parsley, dab of ketchup or mayonnaise and you have an excellent dish.

The trick is in the left over curry. I make mine out of Lamb, Cloves, Coconut milk, Indian Curry mix, Lemon Grass, Oyster Sauce, Sweet Chili sauce, Plum Sauce, Thai Chili powder, Chicken broth, Red Wine, potato, clove of Garlic, Zucchini, Ginger, Jalapeno Pepper, Bell Pepper, Onion, and squeezed Lime slices that I throw in after squeezing over the dish. I might put some Soy Hamburger in it also. The left over sauce from this will cling to the sides of the pan, just leave it and use that for the breakfast the next day. I throw ingredients in as I feel the spirit move me, so how you make your curry is up to you. It should be moist, and thick but not so thick to be dry. I mix things in as they seem to be needed, going more by instinct than anything else. Good luck.

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