|Tofu Mayo Mess, Digital Photograph|
My distraction from art over physical issues is one of the major reasons, I will never sell my paintings seriously if I don't do what I can to improve the quality of my life. For me, art comes from my life experiences. This photo of this morning's activities will be a good reference for a still life in watercolor some rainy day this summer. For now, it's a record of what I've been up to: radically cutting salt from my diet.
No salt added to food is a snap cooking at home, but sauces are what make already low salt foods interesting, enticing, gourmet, delicious. This week three sauces and a salad dressing got my attention:
Mayonnaise, Soy Sauce Red Pepper Rouille and a 'vinaigrette dressing' more tasty than plain oil and vinegar. ( I'll spare you the Soy Substitute recipe and the salad dressing for some other day).
My activities don't sound too interesting to artists I know, but if any of you suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, vestibular disorders (like vertigo)--and sinus afflictions, no salt diets lower pressures caused by too much water being retained in the body. Eating low to no sodium these last weeks, I've lost seven pounds and my tinnitus is a lot less noticeable--wouldn't that be grand to get rid of?
NO SALT GARLIC SPREAD is the easiest of the things I made. It's great on crackers as a snack, (we like Kraft's Whole Grain Wheat Thins with only 55 mg of sodium in 16 pieces, a serving). All you need buy is elephant garlic bulbs. I get three. I peel them and roast them sprayed with vegetable spray in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes--then run them through the food processor--or a blender. The batch yeilds about 14 ounces. The hardest task is pealing the bulbs. The rest is easy. 0 mg. salt.
I got the basic recipe RED PEPPER ROUILLE SAUCE from the Canyon Ranch Cooking by Jeanne Jones. I made no salt adjustments, for this sauce has a spicy kick and is quite satisfying as a condiment and a spread. It also freezes, which makes life a lot easier. It too is easy:
3/4 C roasted red peppers (4 red bell peppers)
2 garlic cloves
2 slices of low sodium whole-wheat bread broken into pieces, (lowest sodium you can buy).
The next ingredient, 1/4 C fish stock or clam juice, I eliminated and used low sodium vegetable broth instead.
I totally eliminated the 1/4 tsp. of salt, of course.
The rest was okay: 1/4 tsp. of pepper (or to taste); 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste).
1 Tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil.
Roasting peppers is the tough part of this recipe. It's busy and best done ahead a few days if you want to get any painting in at all. I've edited Jone's directions, but they are basically as given in her book. I like to simplify chores if possible being the lazy cook I am and preferring to be elsewhere.
1. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Roast the peppers under the broiler till the skins are completely black and blistered. You want to peel them off.
2. While the peppers are still very hot, place them in a Ziploc freezer bag and leave them sit at least 20 minutes to "sweat."
3. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins, scraping off any stubborn pieces with a knife, (Do not rinse them in water to remove the skin. That would remove the flavor as well). Rub them with the olive oil and either leave them as they are or slice or chop to desired size. They will keep for several days in the frig stored in a tightly covered container.
|While the energy is good, the blackness of this acrylic|
painting in progress is troubling. It also needs taming.
To do so, I had to side track.
Till these last weeks, I had been using Hellmann's Low Fat with 130 mg of sodium in just 1 tablespoon. Given the aggravation I have had this season with my sinuses and vertigo attacks, 130 became too much. Patients with Vestibular disorders should have no more than 800 mg of salt a day. By spending time in the kitchen, I got my intake down to 620 mg. I kept a salt journal. I couldn't believe it. This morning, I put together this concoction starting with a recipe I got from Donald A. Gazzaniga in his book, The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cook Book, and then doctoring it to my taste. Everything goes directing into the food processor.
14 oz. SOFT tofu drained and cubed.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 egg white (this is the culprit that contains the salt in an egg, not the yolk. I used it anyway).
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp.pepper (or to taste. I used a sprinkle).
3/4 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. powdered garlic
Then, because I adore garlic and the mixture still needed something, I added 2 Tblsp.of my garlic spread. That did the trick. Process till creamy smooth. This recipe made about 1.7 pints.
Boring as all of this might be to you, to me, my well being and my art depends upon eliminating as much sodium as I can from my diet. That last landscape was looking a bit black to me. It lacked vivid color and in it's first stage, the energy was coming from complete frustration and anger over my health issues. To finish it with a bit of finesse, I had to cure what ailed me. Salt is my poison. Knocking my intake down to 620 mg. to 800 mg a day was a huge success though no paintings got painted. Two containers of my sauces will be in my purse this evening when we go out to dine with friends, (wearing a size smaller skinny jean).
NOTE: Both cookbooks mentioned are available at Amazon.