One of the oldest most effective food medications known to humankind is genuine yogurt. Not the adulterated sugary junk all over supermarket shelves. Plain active cultures yogurt. (The carton must say "contains active cultures" and show them in the ingredients.) The lactobacillus probiotics formed in the fermentation of milk are miracle workers in the good. They get right to work destroying the evil bacteria that cause "tourista" and diarrhea in all its forms. For this reason, it's wise upon arrival in a new territory to eat a little locally made yogurt: that gets the good bacteria colonizing your stomach crowding out room for any foreign bugs that may be in the food or water. And finally most importantly perhaps, whenever you must take antibiotics, you must eat active cultures yogurt to renew the good bacteria those antibiotics killed and restore your gut balance. It will make a significant improvement to your well being.
P.S. It doesn't always work 100% but sometimes smearing live cultures yogurt on your face and leaving it there 30 minutes lets it eat away the bacteria causing redness and other blemishes. Wash it off with warm water and apply aloe.
LABNI: YOGURT CHEESE WITH OLIVES (an appetizer or party snack)
You can strain yogurt to drier and drier forms from sour cream to farmers’ cheese to cream cheese. This is a Persian/Lebanese favorite “mezze.” You can also use it to stuff cherry tomatoes or small bell peppers.
16 oz plain yogurt
1/8 tsp salt
1/3c pitted black olives, chopped
1/3 c scallions, chopped
¼ tsp Aleppo or Cayenne ground pepper (this is the call for hot stuff)
1 tsp dried crushed mint
Mix yogurt and salt. Line a colander with cheesecloth, muslin or a handiwipe and fill with yogurt. Put colander over a larger bowl to get the drips. Refrigerate uncovered 10 hours draining and stirring at least once. Put your new labni into a serving bowl with all the other ingredients. Blend everything. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. It will keep 3-4 days.
When several post menopausal friends complained about the side effects of their heavily prescribed estrogen replacement meds, I took them to see my friend the Chinese doctor who was trained in Western medicine gynecology as well as Chinese medicine. She clucked angrily at every one of their stories and told them to taper off the meds and get down to none of them. She explained that Chinese women do not need estrogen replacement therapy because they get plenty of natural estrogen in their daily diet. That's what was wrong in America. She told everyone of my friends--and me too-- to eat an estrogen loaded food three times a week and all would be well. She was absolutely right. What are estrogen loaded? Tofu, edamame and all organic soybean products; broccoli in all forms including the leafy greens we call rabe and Chinese broccoli; flax and sesame seeds (tahini); chickpeas (so go for that hummus) and probably others I can't vouch for.
Here's my double whammy recipe from Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking, pictured above:
Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Broccoli and Red Pepper Sauce
For the broccoli rabe
2 bunches fresh broccoli rabe, coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp best fruity olive oil
4 lg garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
½ ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt
Blanch the chopped broccoli rabe in a large pot of heavily salted boiling water for one minute. Remove from heat and drain very well. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add ginger and pepper and stir-fry 45-60 seconds. Toss in drained broccoli and garlic. Sauté for three-five minutes, stirring once at the start, then occasionally so nothing sticks to the pan. Add salt and 1 tbsp best fruity olive oil, blending them in. Sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat.
For the tofu
12 oz extra firm tofu, drained
1 extra large egg
2/3 cup polenta or corn meal
¼ cup chickpea flour or white flour or even almond meal
pinch ground chipotle pepper
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
12 oz corn or peanut oil for frying
Heat the oil to sizzling in a small heavy gauge saucepan or wok.
Cut the tofu into ¼” thin slices and cut each slice in two, to make squares. You should have 16, two per person.
Combine the polenta, flour, chipotle, salt and black pepper in a bowl.
Break the egg into a small bowl.
Dip each square of tofu into the egg, turning to coat it well. Then coat with the flour mixture on both sides. When the oil is sizzling put as many coated squares as will fit without touching and fry over medium high heat for two minutes, until the crust is nicely browned. Remove from oil with slotted spatula and drain on paper towels.
For the red pepper coulis
2 tbsp olive oil
3 lg red bell peppers, sliced in thin strips
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp wine vinegar
4 lg garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
pinch of salt
1 mildly hot red pepper like jalapeno or Portuguese hotshot or ½ Serrano, peeled and seeded, diced
2 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
In medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium flame. Add peppers and oregano and sauté 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, hot pepper and salt. Sauté another 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro leaves, lower heat and cook 5 minutes.
"Now I'll have to diagnose you manually," the disappointed Doc said.
Sandy's Seaweed Soup
for 1 or 2 cups
1 package nori seaweed
1 sm carrot, peeled and thinly diced
1/4 c diced daikon radish
2 scallions, cleaned and thinly sliced into disks
1" fresh ginger grated or minced
1/2 c shiitake mushrooms, diced
2" burdock root, peeled and chopped if you can find some* otherwise no problem
1/2 Tamari/soy sauce
1 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped
Put the nori seaweed in a pot large enough to stuff it down in and cover it with water at least 1" above the top. Bring to a boil on medium high heat, reduce heat to med/low and cook 10-12 minutes until all the seaweed has dissolved into the water. Pour the contents of the pot through a sieve into another pot. Use the cooked seaweed in the sieve for fertilizer. Add the carrot, daikon, scallions, ginger and mushrooms to the broth. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, lower to simmer and cook until carrots are tender, maybe 10 minutes. Stir in tamari sauce and cilantro.
*In Asia, burdock root is used to clean the blood.
Garlic: a steel wool pad for the lungs
I'm sure you have recipes that require lots of garlic, especially braised greens like broccoli rabe, pea shoots and kale. There's always the famous chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, which you can Google to find your preferred version. Or you can do the full monte by making raita/tsatsiki which are traditional and very popular garlic yogurt dips/sauces.
Tsatsiki, Greek/Turkish raita
1 pint very thick plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Persian or pickling cucumber, halve, seeded and sliced paper thin or grated and drained—they need to be as dry as possible
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix everything in a non-metal bowl and chill so flavors mingle.
I use this instead of mayo on chicken salad; I put it on fritters and cooked salmon.