Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Traditional Chinese Medicine: Season Of Autumn

As Fall approaches, I want to educate people in what this season means in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

In Fall, the air becomes cooler and crisper.  The days become shorter, leaves change colors and havest is right around the corner.  The time of yang and warmth of the sun begins to lessen and give way to yin and cooler seasons of fall and winter.

Fall and Metal
In TCM, there are five elements.  Each element combines with a season.  Fall’s element is Metal, which is linked to the concept of boundries.  Think of a metal sword you would not cross it if were angled towards you.  Metal can cut through and holds command.  The metal element allows us to let go of what is not necessary and store only what is needed for winter.  Emotionally we need to return ourselves to earth from the yang of the summer.  It is important to slow down and start getting ready for winter.  The energy of fall is returing inward and in turn, we become more introspective.  We need to remember that this is the time of letting go and returing to the earth.  We need to let go of the fast paced lifestyle of summer and rest to get our bodies ready for the winter. This is a time to look within ourselves and ask, what do I no longer need and what can I let go of? If you are balanced energetically, the metal phase will be harmonious and you can discern what to let go of and when. Metal corresponds to the yin organ, the lung, and because it opens through the nose, the lungs are easily susceptible to cold, heat, dryness, dampness, and most of all, heat and wind. This can effect the biggest organ of the body; the skin.

Fall and Dryness
Fall’s climate in TCM is that of Dryness.  The moisture of summer gives way to autumn dryness.  This may not always be true in Southern California, but the weather does get cooler and especially drier when the Santa Ana winds blow in.  In turn, it is a common problem in Fall.  It can manifest as constipation, dry throat, dry skin, dry eyes, brittle hair, thirst, and lack of sweat.  It is important to drink tea or room temperature water to help our body remain hydrated.  It is also beneficial to stay away from spicy foods which can worsen the dryness.We need to nourish our yin to prevent it from being depleted or undernourished.

Fall: Connection to Lung and Large Intestine
In TCM, the organs related to fall are the Lung and the Large Intestine.  The lungs open directly to the exterior through the nose, mouth and skin.  Its function is to regulate and control the breath through inhalation and exhalation.  Through inhalation, the lung is internalizing the lung energy.  It pulls in the Qi, sending it downward to nourish our roots.  With exhalation the lungs release.  This is the same movement of life that occurs when the leaves “fall” from their branches. The pairing of the Lung with the Large Intestine is not arbitrary but exists because of the energetic relationship and symbioses of the two organs as they are balanced in a yin-yang relationship. The lung absorbs oxygen from the world and creates energy for the body. The large intestine absorbs food and water and circulates it through the system cooling the body.  It plays a major role in the balance and purity of bodily fluids and assists the lungs in controlling the skin's pores and perspiration.  Lung and large intestine receive energy and food and they release, and let go of what the body does not need. The lung releases carbon dioxide, the large intestine releases feces.

What should you eat during autumn?
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to get in touch with the energy of harvest through fresh foods. It is important to transition into warmer, cooked foods during this time and keeping the salads and raw foods at bay until next summer.  The color of the season is yellow/ golden orange.  I suggest being conscious of this color when you are looking for your daily vegetables and fruits.  Examples would be carrots, sweet potatoes, yams.  This is a great time to tonify the lungs and cleanse the large intestine.  This can be done by adding protective and purifying foods to the diet.  This includes pungent foods: especially white pungent like onions, garlic, chives turnips, ginger, radish, daikon root.  Dark leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, chard and spinach.  Seaweeds, fiber, oats, arrant and     quinoa are also great for the body during this season.

During this season, support the lungs by incorporating more Yoga, Qi- Gong, or even just taking a few extra deep breaths throughout the day. If you have an acupuncturist, this is a great time of year to receive treatments to tonify the lungs or cleanse the large intestine.

Food in Season during Autumn:

Brussels Sprouts
Collard Greens
Italian Parsley
Jerusalem artichokes (a/k/a sunchokes)
Shelling Beans
Winter Squash

Concord grapes
Niagara grapes

Wild Turkey

Atlantic Mackerel
Native Oysters
Pacific Salmon
Red Snapper
Scallops (bay and sea)

A guideline for what to eat during autumn is to locate what is available at your local farmer's market and use that as a template for building a meal that is appropriate to the season. This goes for autumn and any other season as well.

Kale is a great ingredient for seasonal eaters as it is one of the few green vegetables that is abundant and flavorful during autumn and winter. It can be substituted for cabbage or spinach and makes a fine side dish when blanched. Kale is a nutritionally rich food containing:
vitamins A, C and E
a substantial mineral content including manganese, iron, calcium and potassium
phytochemicals such as sulphoraphane (linked to cancer prevention)

Other Autumn Tips
1. Carry around a sweater/sweatshirt/scarf - even if it feels warm because autumn it is cold in the shade and warm in the sun. This is typically the season where people still dress like it is summer because of the sun still has warmth during the high point of the day. This drastic change in temperature without the proper protection from the environment can put your body at risk.

2. Eat soup - this is the time of season to begin thinking about making more nourishing wholesome, all-encompassing foods like soups. Soups usually contain meats, veggies, and carbohydrates. They are a great meal in one! The temperature is also warming to the yang to prepare oneself for winter.

3. Keep hydrated - autumn is the time of dryness. The moisture of the humid summer gives way to autumn dryness. It is important to remember this and drink tea or room temperature water to help your body remain hydrated.

4. See your acupuncturist - winter is often the time when people catch the most head colds. Seeing your acupuncturist can shore up your protective qi and lessen or eradicate head colds during the winter.

5. Get out and enjoy the weather change from summer to autumn, but remember to be prepared like your local boy scout. You don't want to be caught off guard.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Valentines Day Dinner

Oh I am such a romantic at heart it's sick.  I love all that lovey dovey stuff.  So for this special weekend, we wanted to get away.  And away we went, up to Lake Arrowhead.

We got there late, but I still got to see the snow over all the houses and sides of the roads!! First of all, I have only seen snow like 5 times.  So I am catching up on all that.

So we went sledding!!!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!! If I could, I would post the video of me, but here is the photo instead...

So it was super fun and I loved every minute of it!!  We left on Sunday due to the mountain life/food, and went home to make a Valentines Day dinner.

We were supposed to go to In 'N Out on the way there, but that never happened.  We were gonna do a low key dinner and do homemade burgers to get our burger craving on.  Then we went to Sunday Brunch (with champagne of course) and he ordered the BACON SANDWHICH.  Ugh I love bacon so much.  It is just soooooo tasty.   Mmmmm Pork Belly!!!!!

Sorry, so the sandwich came on a burger bun.  So now the burger idea is out.  ONTO MEATBALLS!!!

I was hoping to recreate Cecconi's meatballs.  There are just so delicious, palm sized, served in a little copper dish with marina sauce all over them.  SOOO GOOOD!!!!

So we get to the market, and they do not have ground veal or pork!!! Only turkey and beef, OH NO!!

  What is a girl to do? I chose the beef....something to do with that burger fix I need, I suppose....

And meatballs are the easist thing to make ever.  All you need to ground meat, parsely, bread crumbs, eggs and then spices etc, if you want.

Mine were the simple kind.   No extra stuff.  Maybe next time, but this was my first time making meatballs so I started out simple.

Basically put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together with your hands.  If you want to be cool like me, you can make your own breadcrumbs.  I bought fresh bread but needed to dry it out so I toasted it.  Then put it into the food processor and viola....homemade breadcrumbs!!

Once you have your meat and everything mixed, roll them into little balls and dust lightly in flour.  Since I baked mine, I do not think this is a necessary step.  I did half in flour and half without and I could not tell a major difference.

I made a homemade tomoto sauce.  Learned one big lesson: definietly puree the sauce for meatballs.  Otherwise its a chunky sauce, which is fine and deliocus, but not what I was going for.

Emma's Tomato Sauce:
1 28 oz can of San M. Tomatoes
1 carrot
2 stalks of celery
1 onion

chop it all up, cook it all together in oil.  Saute in the oil till onions are glassy.  Add garlic and cook for 5 min.  But in tomatoes and herbs.  Bring to a boil and then simmer.

Due to my organic food box I get from abundantharvestorganics.com (the best thing to ever happen to me), I had some turnips.  So I made us a potato and turnip mash.  I used cream, butter and milk.

To complete the dinner with my lover, I did a simple escorole salad with onions and carrots.  It was a great meal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Oh Crack Pie, I had no idea what you were until I took a bite of you.  I had NO idea what you were about until I put that fork into my mouth and tasted you.

This moment changed my life.

Crack Pie. In essence crack, but literally the best thing next to chocolate....or even bet...NO CHOCOLATE IS THE BEST.

But, this new thing called crack pie...I can't stop thinking about it. 

So its a momofuku recipe.  Oh little momofuku and your clever little pie.

Thanks mom for cooking this pie and having a bit left over so I could be touched by its greatness.

Soon Crack Pie will live again, THIS COMING WEEKEND!!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Mornin'

Another lazy Sunday morning. I do indeed love this moment in time. I have been lucky enough to have been to my few favorite breaky places in LA. Downtown are the Nickel Diner and Bottega Louie. A few more throughout the city too like Snug Harbor. mmm

What I appreciate most about breakfast (besides the baked goods that I live for) are eggs. I LOVE eggs. I love them and hate them. I am that person that if my eggs are not cooked to my liking, I send them back to the kitchen. Yes I do that, but I hate hate hate hate hate a cooked though yolk when I have a fried egg. YUCK!!!

I also love sausage. This came from childhood. I grew up on those apple chicken sausages from Gelson's. In my mind, they are still the best. mmmm

Anyways lets get back to right now. This morning was about leftovers and not spending $. I took the rest of the spinach and sausage with the last of our 5 eggs and some goat cheese.

Viola: My Spinach, Sausage, Goat Cheese Scramble.

Whenever I make eggs, it always depends on my mood. Last weekend it was all fried eggs. But when wanting to get rid of veggies and extra foods, nothing is better than an omelet. But you see I cannot be trusted with an omelet right now in life. Yes I have tried, and maybe one or two have worked. But I just wanted to do this right the first time, so hence the scramble.

5 eggs
2 handfuls of spinach
1.5 sausage cut into quarter moons (I think we used some sort of Spicy Italian)
2 tablespoons of milk
1ish tablespoon of goat cheese (use more if you want the goat cheese taste more present)
salt, pepper, oil

Put the eggs into a bowl and add the milk. Mix around.

Cook sausage through and cut them up. I also steamed the spinach because it was adult and not baby. I wanted to make sure I had cooked spinach in my scramble. Then at a med-low heat pour the eggs into the pan. Continue to scramble eggs. Throw in the spinach and sausage. Continue to scramble making sure the eggs do not stick to the bottom. If your eggs are cooking too fast, turn down the heat or take them off the heat. They will still continue to cook because they are in a hot pan. It is important to remember this fact when cooking scrambled eggs. Throw in the cheese still when the eggs are a bit runny so you can mix the cheese in totally.

Then its done and eat!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No way! Still Cookin! Irish Soda Bread

Well baking. And that is where I feel most comfortable. I just made some Irish Soda Bread!!!

Well its in the oven, baking (see the butter dripping itself all over the bread?):

So I am in love with all things bready: biscuits, scones, muffins, etc. Though I have never made a bread, I thought it would be easy to bake some soda bread. Why? Because there is no yeast! I have never used yeast and do not have any on stock. Maybe one day but just not right now.

Most soda bread recipes ask for buttermilk. I usually do not have buttermilk. I think though I need to because most recipes I see use it. And though I have read about making buttermilk with milk and lemon juice, I also had a huge thing of yogurt that needed to be used.

Oh My God, RAINBOW!!! Do you see it?!?!

So here we are, with an Irish Soda Bread recipe using yogurt. Shockingly its from Stoneyfields website: a milking company.



3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup dried currants
1 1/2 cups Stonyfield lowfat plain ygourt


Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until clumps are pea-sized. Stir in currants and yogurt. Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting board, knead 1 minute, and shape into a disc. Slice and "X" in the top of loaf and bake on a greased baking sheet for 45-50 minutes. One 8-inch wide loaf.

Sadly enough my bf, Peter, does not have Kitchen Aid mixer so I cannot make extravagant or easily made anything. I am settling for the old school style, using a spoon and a bowl. It is intense at times and my arms get tired quick, but I still gotta do it. This time was interesting as well because I had to cut the butter into the flour. So I just used a fork for that. Hope that works...

Overall, I needed more yogurt. I would use 1 and 3/4 cups of yogurt, or adding in some milk maybe?

It was fun to knead the bread, its like rocking your baby to sleep before you put it in the oven to sleep.


Isn't it beautiful! I am just so proud. Its totally golden and when I knocked on the bottom, it had the hallow sound!! Ugh I love baking. The results are just so satisfying!!

So we eat:

Oh my goodness: this loaf is much bigger than I imagined. When it was baking, oh did it grow. I mean I know the recipe called for 4 cups of flour total, and it was more than all the other recipes I looked at, but still!!! I am still amazed. So I am glad tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday, because they are gonna get a taste of this....

Uh oh...well if it is still around by tomorrow.....mmmmmmmm

I truly hope someone tries this recipe, its basically fail proof. Just remember when baking, you never want to take control of the flour. Once you work with it too much, say goodbye to airy, fluffy goodness.

My Version of Marinated Cauliflower, Olive, and Arugula Salad

Well, I just marinated it. Packed it in tupperware for chill time. Here is the recipe:

* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 1 cup canola oil
* 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 6 cups)
* 2 cups Kalamata olives, pitted, halved
* 1 1/2 cups chopped celery

* 1 bunch green onions, chopped
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
* 16 cups arugula (about 10 ounces)

Whisk vinegar and mustard in small bowl; gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing generously with salt and pepper. Combine cauliflower, olives, and celery in large bowl. Add 3/4 cup dressing; toss to coat. Cover salad and remaining dressing separately; chill overnight.

Mix green onions and parsley into salad. Arrange arugula on platter; drizzle with remaining dressing. Top arugula with cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle with pepper.

My version, well I only used half a cup of oil and about half of the vinegar it called for. For some reason it did not feel as if I had 6 cups of cauliflower, but it also seemed that the dressing was just too much. I did not want my cauliflower drowning in dressing. I know its a marinade, so I will just have to wait and see. Also used a cup of celery and 2/3 of the called for olives.

Since last week, I feel low with my possibilities of cooking good food. But I am continuing and hopefully renewing myself!

I still feel as if the recipe needs something a bit more, like chili flakes. But I will wait, and see how it comes out tomorrow.


So I just took it to my superbowl party.  Before I left the house i put the parsely and the onions in it.  I did half a bunch of onions and it seemed fine.  I feel as if I did not have 6 cups of cauliflower, but I never weighted it either.    When I got to the party I mixed it with arugula.  I liked the end product.  People ate the salad but it was not a crowd favorite, I could tell.  My mother suggested next time I cook the cauliflower to get a sweeter taste.  So maybe next time I will do that.  Anyways, I think overall its a solid recipe.  I like vinegar things and liked this.   But everyone is different.  So tinker away for the best recipe, I most definitely will next time I try this one.

Sorry no finished product photos... : (

Oops, I Did It Again...

I have changed my website again to foodsofemma.blogspot.com

Please note.

Here I Am

So Ive decided to give this another go. We recently have been getting boxes of veggies/fruits from this website: abundantharverestorganics.com. Its super great. We get the small box for $19 bucks a week and then we have food at the apartment!!

Its a genius idea. I am in total love.

Why this is so great? It makes me cook again!!!

Last week was a failure, so we will not talk about that anymore. But this weekend, I am gonna make some marinated cauliflower salad from a recipe I get on epicurious.com

You see now that I am two weeks into my box delivery, I have two heads of cauliflower. And it being super bowl Sunday tomorrow, I need to bring something over with cauliflower. So soup isn't so travel friendly, and a crudette could be a fab idea. But for some reason I have this memory of my mother making a delicious cauliflower salad. So here I go, I hope it turns out well.
My search for only the best food, drinks and recipes.Another blog about my adventures in Los Angeles. Follow me in my crazy world of blogging. Only the future knows what it holds...