The recipes on The Way are intended as an East meets West look at food and its relationship to health and nutrition. Food is powerful, and every bite can either greatly benefit your system or effectively work against it. In Chinese Medicine, each grain, vegetable, meat, fruit, and spice has unique properties that can be harnessed to help us achieve and maintain balance in our bodies. Our recipes seek to incorporate some of the age-old principles of Chinese medicine into the culinary practices more familiar to the West.
Blood deficiency is caused by inadequate intake of nutrients, by the inability to absorb nutrients, or by the loss of blood through gastro-intestinal bleeding or excessive menstrual flow. Chronic diseases and stagnant blood that inhibit formation of new blood are additional causes. It is important to build the blood through nutrition and encourage the digestive absorption of nutrients by building the Qi energy of spleen and reducing damp conditions.
Yin nourishing foods tend to be sweet and cool and you would want to favor more sour and salty foods.
With a little practice, becoming aware of at least some of the actual dimensions and energetics of the food we eat is not difficult. Keeping a few of these things in mind and ensuring that your digestive system is working properly via your "middle burner" (Jiao) will go a long way to keeping your body nourished and your Yin balanced along with adequate blood formation and circulation. The following recipe is an example of keeping all of these things in mind.
Spaghetti squash on its own is a little bland so these bold flavors work well to raise the level of this dish, the earthiness of the kale with the smokiness of the chorizo and paprika along with the heat of the garlic and the surprising kick from the preserved lemon make this a delicious side dish or a wonderful meal on its own. If you are new to using preserved lemon you are in for a treat, typically used in Moroccan and Middle Eastern recipes the unique pickled taste cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime, these are powerful, a little goes a long way.
You can also add small amount of sour cream. It brings good and light texture to the dish and balances it out smoothly. Chinese Medicine believes that dairy products provide excellent nourishment so they should be respected. Their over-consumption easily leads to the accumulation of phlegm and dampness. However, they are very strengthening for the Yin, blood, and Qi and will effectively nourish deficiency in the body.
Spaghetti Squash with Kale, Chorizo and Preserved Lemon
- Spaghetti Squash 3 Cups – Qi tonic, medicinal to the spleen and stomach, improves energy and blood circulation
- Chorizo1 link – Strengthen Yin, blood and Q
- Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon - Neutral
- Garlic 2 Cloves – Warming, enhances Qi circulation, eliminates toxins
- Smoked Paprika 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon – Warming, support blood circulation
- Laciniate Kale 5 Ounces – Slightly bitter, benefits the stomach and immune system
- Preserved Lemon ¼ large or about 1/8 Cup – Sour, resolves stagnation and cleanses the blood
- Lemon Juice 1 Tablespoon – Cooling and sour, promotes blood circulation, tonifies Qi and removes toxins
- Sour Cream 1/8 Cup (optional) – Strengthens Yin, blood and Qi while nourishing deficiency
- Water 2 Ounces
- Sea Salt - Cooling
- Black Pepper – Warming and promotes Qi circulation
Cut Spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet and place in a 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and pull the squash apart with a fork so it resembles spaghetti. Separate the chorizo link from its casing and cook it over medium to high heat to crumble it down and cook thoroughly. Add sliced garlic and some paprika and cook it for a few more minutes. Separate the chorizo and garlic and put them aside. Now add the sliced kale and let it cool. Sprinkle salt and pepper and add water. Continue cooking to an extent that water is evaporated and kale is tender. Add back the chorizo and garlic as well as the reserved lemon and lemon, mix, and set aside from heat. Add the sour cream and mix well so everything is well combined. Combine the kale and chorizo with the spaghetti squash and plate up.