Sunday, January 13, 2008

In the Heart of Mexico, Italy, and Japan

En el corazón de México, de Italia, y de Japón
Nel cuore del Messico, dell'Italia e del Giappone

Three different languages, three different nations, three different cultures. Today's blog gives tribute to Mexico, Italy, and Japan, and all of those cultures that have unique traditions and foods and that are beautiful in their own way. We should embrace diversity, be open minded, and try to understand one another. Let us stop fighting as if one is better than the other. Let us stop judging people and stop misunderstanding one another. Let us instead tolerate others, love all, and make peace to the world.

Something for you all to try this week - think only positive thoughts and pray for other people besides yourself, and you will find that your mood will increase tenfold and your fears and disappointments will disappear. You'll want to share your peace of mind to those around you, and be more friendly to all. In some ways, thinking positive will lead to cultural diversity, because if we all fill our thoughts and hearts with gratitude and love, then we will embrace peace, judge less and try to understand more.

In the Heart of Mexico:
Our attempt at vegan tamales. Fun to make, yet the longest thing we've made ever. We made about 36 tamales and had to steam in multiple batches each for 2-3 hours, and then we baked them for 10 minutes to crisp them up slightly. It took 2 days! But, they were so yummy, especially with some homemade enchilada sauce on top. Most of the tamales were pinto bean filling, with just a few as sweet potato filling and black bean filling. We used Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Masa! Of course, they had a lot of good spices to flavor them, but now we appreciate those somewhat expensive veg tamales we buy at the store - they are worth their flavor and taste!

In the Heart of Italy:
...with spaghetti! The past two times we've made spaghetti, we've used Seeds of Change spaghetti sauces and, although they are pricy, they are so fresh and flavorful. We've only tried Tuscan Tomato & Garlic and Garden Vegetable Piemonte, but all of the varieties sound wonderful. We just enhance it by cooking with it some zucchini, garlic, onion, mushrooms, and fresh tomatoes. Served over whole grain pasta, it makes for a filling yet healthy meal! To make it more authentic, we made some homemade wheat bread (with flaxseeds and walnuts) dipped in extra virgin olive oil.

In the Heart of Japan:
Can you say sushi and miso? Sushi just isn't the same without avocado and spicy wasabi. Unfortunately our generic supermarket only sells powdered horshradish, but it still tasted good. Our sushi was quick, since we used whole grain quinoa instead of brown rice. We sprinkled some sesame seeds in the roll, and had scallions, cucumber, and avocado slices.

Our miso soup was very simple - we just made a broth with seaweed pieces, scallions, 2 garlic cloves minced, diced mushrooms, and 9 cups of water. Then we added 3/4 of a pack of medium firm tofu (sprinkled with garlic powder) and 5 Tbsp of mellow white miso dissolved in some of the broth water. It was more flavorful the next day, but either way it was so light, healthy, and delicious. Isn't it fun to expand your horizons and let your taste buds travel to a new country?

We also managed to make something sweet this week. With the help of EatNVegan's suggestion, we took our cranberry sauce and made cranberry bran bread adapted from Veganomicon (instead of Applesauce Oat bran muffins). Wheat bran, whole wheat pastry flour, a tad of brown sugar, pistachios, homemade cranberry orange sauce, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

This week was our last relaxing week before school starts again. No one could ask for a better week - the sun was shining like never before, and at night the stars were heavenly! We pray that you all may appreciate cultures unlike your own and embrace peace.

Peace, LKSisters


Monika K said...

Fantastico! The sushi looks incredible - although the idea of making 2 day tamales seems a bit daunting...oh, well, we're nothing if not adventurous!

equanimity said...

Awww... I could not agree with you more with "think only positive thoughts and pray for other people besides yourself, and you will find that your mood will increase tenfold and your fears and disappointments will disappear."!

Love the food pictures!