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Tomato Temptations

March 27, 2012

Dear Yogis

I have been thinking a lot about noise, in part inspired by the fact that I live next to a highway with a constant flow of traffic, sirens, hooters and probably a few things I can’t think of right now. In a word: noise. In front of my bedroom window I have a beautiful old oak tree, also a hub of noise, in this instance though, the organic sounds of diverse insect life. On the opposite side, sounds from the train station vie for my attention; announcements regarding incoming and outgoing train schedules, people laughing, talking and fighting. Many nights are filled with the loud sounds of students being students. It’s a noisy world out there!

But there is another kind of noise I have been thinking about; a subtler form of noise. Someone did something to me and in my righteous indignation I complained about it to anyone who would listen. And true, what was done was quite appalling and hurtful, but I realised, in a moment of grace, that all I was doing was adding to the noise of the world. My internal world was as noisy as my external and I was adding to the external pollution.

Humbled by the experience I drew on the knowledge imparted to me by my amazing teachers. There is stillness amongst the noise. It doesn’t shout for attention, it is not disturbed by the noise of others, things or people and it is our eternal source of peace and joy. It is graceful and it brings understanding that other people make noise usually because they are hurting too. And then there can be forgiveness and compassion.

Alive with this knowledge again, I have placed a guard at the entrance of my mouth. There is enough noise all around us and sometimes inside us too. Remember the stillness, find the release.

Namasté.

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The Recipes:

Tomatoes must be one of the most versatile food sources. I eat them in all their shapes and sizes all the time and somehow I never tire of the flavour, (and never run out of new ideas for uses). It can be used as a topping, to make pesto or pâtés, for pasta sauces, drinks, as the main ingredient, (what is a salad without a tomato after all?), or as a signature addition, (a burger without a slice or two of tomato is, after all, like chocolate without cacao).

The health benefits of tomatoes are plentiful and almost render this fruit medicinal. It has a high lycopene content, which scientific research has linked to the prevention of cancer cell formation, and zeaxanthin, known to prevent age-related muscular disorders. It is a rich source of vitamins A and C, carotenes and potassium. Drinking a glass or two of tomato juice during the day will help flush your system of free radicals, (environmental pollution absorbed by your body).

The recipes for this month showcase tomatoes in its varied forms. Who knows, perhaps it sparks some creative ideas for your meals.

Breadless (Soyless) Burger

(Or add any bread of your choice, though this is a great alternative for gluten intolerance.)

Ingredients (burger patty)

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup lentils (tinned or prepared from dry product the night before)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients (extras)

  • Greens of your choice (darker is better!)
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 1 or 2 different types of chillies
  • 2 different types of peppers (green, yellow or red)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

Method

The night before, soak the dried lentils for use the following morning. Also, chop up the chillies and peppers finely and leave to marinade overnight in the olive oil, (enough to cover the ingredients), lime juice and garlic.

When you are ready to make the burgers, place all the ingredients for the burger in a food processor. Be careful not to over-process so that you still have some of the crunchy texture. Shape into patties and enjoy raw or fry in a little bit of olive oil or bake in the oven at 180˚ C.

Place the greens on your plate. Now add the patty and top with fresh basil, cucumber, tomato and your chilli-pepper relish.

____________________________________________

Chinese Five-Spice Salad

Ingredients: Salad

  • An assortment of greens
  • Rosa tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Cucumber, cubed
  • Corn on the cob, cut from the cob
  • Chickpeas (tinned or prepared from dry product the night before)
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped

Ingredients: Dressing

  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 10 ml Chinese five-spice

Method

The night before, soak the dried chickpeas for use the following morning. When you are ready to make the salad, place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Prepare the salad dressing by mixing the ingredients together. Pour over salad ingredients and mix before serving and eating. These flavours combine wonderfully.

__________________________________________________

Raw Risotto with Sundried Tomato Pesto

Ingredients: Risotto

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 handful pumpkin seeds
  • 1 handful sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • Olives
  • 1 or 2 zucchini, grated

Ingredients: Sundried Tomato Pesto

  • 1 punnet sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 pinch dried parsley
  • ½ cup pine kernels
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Place all the ingredients for the risotto, except the olives and grated zucchini, in a food processor until it becomes risotto-like. Tower the risotto on a plate with greens and freshly cut tomato slices and place olives at the base. Now clean the food processor and place all the ingredients for the pesto in it, processing until creamy. Top off the risotto with the pesto and sprinkle the grated zucchini on top. Delicious!

______________________________________________________

ChantelleChantelle Roelofse teaches yoga in Muizenberg. When she isn’t in an asana or thinking about food, she runs, plays piano and writes. She is interested in the philosophy of yoga and how we can incorporate it in modern living. Chantelle supports ethical living and veganism.chants_za@yahoo.com

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