Cold Tofu – Japanese and Korean Versions

tofu-recipe-2 tofu-recipe-1

Both recipes use silken tofu. This delicate tofu comes in a small plastic container. Remove the plastic cover and drain the tofu, then rinse by pouring a bit of fresh water over it and draining gently.

Cut the tofu into serving squares. Tofu is fairly tasteless, but soaks up flavour easily, so cut the squares small- about an inch or 2.

Cover with a few spoonfuls of sauce and serve cold. Refreshing on a summer’s day.

Japanese sauce:

What is simpler than pouring some tamari sauce (or a little soy sauce thinned with water) over the tofu and sprinkling with chopped green onion?

I was in a bar in Hiroshima and this was the complimentary snack. Better than peanuts!

Korean sauce:

Slightly more effort as you will need a pot and some heat.
tofu-recipe-3

Into a small pot:

½  cup tamari sauce (or ¼  cup soy sauce and ¼  cup water)

1 teaspoon honey

2 chopped cloves of garlic

Chili to taste

Optional: chopped green onion

Heat for a few moments, then spoon over cold silken tofu squares.

Another option- throw chopped firm tofu into the pot (or fry pan), heat in the sauce and stir.

“Here be your Now!” calls Crow

“Now is the time.”

off Mont Royal

off Mont Royal

Gorgeous day on the beach this morning- sunny & fresh after 2 muggy weeks. My head has cleared too. There is no perfect way to launch a crowd funding campaign and according to the advice-givers, I can never do enough, or have enough contacts.

But when I settle and stand in the sun facing the river, I know that anything done with courage and heart is done right. I always say, “If you’re going to leap, do it with joy!”

And so I give you my favourite story…and with this act, fulfill an 18-year-old promise.

I’m grateful to so many of you for helping me reach this moment, my Now. Thank you very very!

Love Laurie

Stuck Emotions

Britannia Beach, Ottawa

Britannia Beach, Ottawa

Stuck Emotions by Laurie Fraser

published by Tone Magazine, Summer 2013

Emotions enrich and deepen our lives, but they are meant to come and go, always ebbing and flowing in a natural rhythm. Gibran wrote “Together joy and sorrow come and when one sits alone with you at your board remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”

Sometimes emotions get stuck and we have trouble letting them go. For so many reasons, we hang on to our emotions: nostalgia, fear of change, enjoyment of secondary benefits (eg- sympathy, assistance, attention…) Sometimes getting stuck in an emotion saves us from looking at what’s under it. Or what’s next.

Generally, smokers are sad and drinkers are angry. Sadness, loneliness and grief get stuck in the lungs. I also remove sad emotions from the heart chakra and the second chakra (concerned with relationships, creativity). Anger mostly gets stuck in the liver and the bladder (pissed off), but some anger settles into the bowels and throughout the digestive system. Anger shows up the root chakra when it’s about work, money, will to live.

Worry and overthinking tend to build up in the spleen. Fear finds a home in the kidneys. I might remove fear from the root chakra of a person who is looking for a job, or from the third eye of a person who has lost touch with their intuition.

Examples:

Removed fear from the kidneys re: falling in love again.

Removed anger from root chakra re: unfair inheritance

Removed grief from smoker’s lungs re: husband’s death

Removed anxiety from stomach re: conflict

Removed self-doubt from the solar chakra re: living alone

Removed loss from the heart re: break-up

Removed fury from the liver re: childhood abuse

Removed paranoia from the kidneys re: situation at work

The problem with emotions getting stuck is that they then resonate with similar emotions in the future making them seem more intense. We call these our “triggers”, right? If a supervisor criticizes and your reaction is to feel like a 4-year-old who can’t do anything right, the experience is resonating with old emotions. If your only response is tears or paralysis, well, those old emotions are really interfering with your ability to keep the boss’s criticism in perspective. It gets hard to do the “smile-it’s-constructive-feedback” performance convincingly.

When your partner leaves, does it resonate with every other time in your life that you were abandoned? Are you coping better each time it happens? Or worse?

And so we’re back to that old image of the full glass. If your energy is chock-full of anxiety, the next visit to the dentist is going to put you over the top. If some of that old anxiety is removed from various organs and chakras, the dentist becomes much more manageable.

A woman who I worked on telephoned to say, “I don’t yell at cars on the Queensway anymore. I mean, I’m not holding anything back. It’s just not there. I just don’t feel angry.”

There are many ways to remove emotions from our bodies and energy. One way is to let them flow through at the time they happen. This is a conscious choice. Joy moves and so does despair. Don’t let emotions stagnate in the body. They can cause illness.

Emotion, especially when it’s flowing, is truly musical, adding a dimension to our lives that can be exquisite: the deepest love, the sweetest empathy…awe, inspiration…even the gulping tragedy of loss is exquisite when we allow ourselves to feel it, fully feel it, and then move on.

Vegetarian Turkish Dolma (stuffed green peppers)

dolma-01

Okay, I’ve seen the dolma recipes online that call for meat, cumin and other spices. I guess those are the fancy versions for guests or rich folk. When I lived in Turkey, my husband and I were very poor, and I was taught this simple recipe. It’s the easy and cheap family supper, I suppose. This dolma is a tasty nutritious meal, and I still cook it this way today.

dolma-02

You will need:

4 medium-sized green peppers – hollowed out from the top

1 ½ cups cooked brown rice (see below, or use leftovers or substitute white)

2 heaping Tablespoons salce (see recipe in this blog)

1 bunch of parsley- chopped

2 cups garlic yogurt (2 c yogurt- Greek is nice- mixed with 1-2 crushed garlic cloves)

dolma-03 dolma-04

1-      Mix the rice, salce and parsley

2-      Stuff the peppers about ¾ full

3-      Stand the peppers in a pot so they stay upright. Put about an inch of cold water in the pot, around the peppers, so that when it boils it will not get the inside of the peppers wet. Add salt to the water. Cover the pot.

dolma-05

4-      Boil the water. The bottom of the peppers are boiled, the tops are steamed. About 5 – 10 minutes- you’re just heating it through and softening the peppers to your liking.

5-      Serve dolma whole smothered in garlic yogurt.

Perfect brown rice:

1:2 rice & water. (For example 1 cup of rice and 2 cups water or ½ cup rice and 1 cup water)

1-      Pick over the rice looking for hard husks. Rinse it several times in cold water.

2-      Add about a Tablespoon of olive oil and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes. When it starts sticking to the bottom of the pot, add the water.

3-      Boil on high for a few moments, then cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and leave it until all the water has been absorbed (30 – 45 minutes)

Love Answers 1

love-answers-1

A woman, 45, wrote to say, “I gave up air conditioning (house and car) for the whole 6 years that I went out with an environmental activist. It gets really hot and humid here, so it was a real sacrifice. I also slept on the floor when I stayed at his place. (He’s minimalist too.)”

She adds: “I also stopped killing bugs, because it offended him to take any life. Yesterday I enjoyed a killing spree with a fly swatter in my house. A few years ago I would have captured them in a jar and released them to the outside.”

I received this answer from “Sharon” in Chicago. “I’m a chameleon. I give up whoever I am to become whoever he wants. I adopt my lovers’ hobbies and lifestyle. If he’s social, or a drinker, then so am I. If the next one is health-conscious, then so am I. I spent so much energy trying to make them happy. Now I think, after all this time, I don’t even know who I am or what I want.”

Check out “Love and You” and drop me a line at thewordnotspoken@gmail.com

Turkish Salce – a handy tomato sauce

turkish-salce-picture

Having salce (saljeh) on hand sure makes cooking Turkish easy. Keep a container in the freezer and just take out a spoonful as needed.  Salce is used in recipes coming soon to this blog: dolma (green peppers stuffed with rice, parsley and salce), Turkish French fries (salce is so much better than ketchup!), mercimek (lentil soup), and easy chickpeas. Salce is full of cancer-fighting lycopene. It’s used a spice paste, so it’s very salty and spicy.

Most families I knew in Turkey dried their tomatoes in the sun on the roof of the house. But, we will use tomato paste.

salce-ingredients

You need: 1 small can tomato paste

1 teaspoon fresh chili sauce (or more) You can substitute with the chili you usually cook with- chili powder, blatt paprika or fresh green chili- adjust the amount but make it very hot.

1 teaspoon salt

Mint (optional)  1 teaspoon dried or ¼ cup chopped fresh.

1-      Heat:  2-3 Tablespoons olive oil in a pan (Tomato really picks up iron in a cast iron pan)

2-      “Kill” the tomato paste by adding it to the hot oil and stir to mix.

3-      Add chili and salt. When the tomato has absorbed most or all of the oil, add the mint.

It should taste very salty and spicy-hot.

What have you done for love?

regret

I was getting my hair cut the first time it happened. When my hairdresser heard I was quitting my jobs and moving to Turkey to marry a man I’d spent only 3 weeks with, she said, “I wouldn’t do it.”

“Really?” I was genuinely surprised. “Wouldn’t you do it for love?”

“No.”

“But what if you were head over heels? What if it was the great love of your life?”

“No. I would never take a risk like that.”

I was shocked to learn that many people thought I was mad or silly, even irresponsible and self-destructive. My refrain became, “But wouldn’t you do it for love?” And the majority answered, “Nope.”

At times I felt judged, and I became a little quieter with my joy and my excitement. Protective of it, really. What made people think they could infuse fear into me? They tried- I heard plenty of frightening portrayals of Muslim men in Islamic countries.

So when I wrote The Word Not Spoken I had to make the main character, Leigh, believable. The reader needs to like Leigh, not think she’s crazy or irresponsible. I gave her doubts and time to think. I left her with nothing at home except a job she hated. I gave her a reason to need space from her family. But in truth, I personally did not struggle with the decision. For me, there was no decision at all. I loved him. He loved me. I didn’t need much else.

Why was it so easy for me, I wondered while I wrote. Was it because I’m easily bored? Or because I’m Aries? An adventurer? No…I think I just knew in my gut. And I felt so Alive!

I know I’m not alone. Plenty of people follow their hearts, regardless of the risk. I want to hear from them…from you. I want to know- What have you done for love? Yes, the grand gestures, the sacrifices, the courageous acts of faith…

I want to know if it was worth it. I suspect it’s always worth it- even when we’re disappointed, at least we followed our hearts and learned the outcome- isn’t it worth it to know? Maybe you disagree. Did you give up too much to ever fully recover?

Do we sometimes do too much for love? Where did you draw the line?

Please email me at thewordnotspoken@gmail.com and share:

  • What have you done for love?
  • Was it worth it?
  • Your gender

I am reporting results and interesting stories in this blog as they come in (but only if I have your permission in writing).

Seriously, isn’t the desire to love and be loved the primary motivation for most of our actions? I am 20 years older now, less healthy and strong, but even today, especially today, I would get on that plane.


Answers to Flowers in the Sky – Culture & Art blog

(match the paintings with the artist’s country of birth):

  1. Iran     2.  Congo     3.  China     4.  Nepal     5.  Canada     6. India