Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine: How a Good Friend was Healed through Nutrition


I recently got a text from my friend Sherry from Florida, asking if I'd be interested in doing a cooking demonstration for her company Fork That! which specializes in helping people make medically-necessary dietary and lifestyle changes fun instead of daunting. I said sure, why not? The only requirements were: the dish needed to be organic, gluten- and dairy-free and simple. And obviously it would be vegan too. I can do that! In fact, I do do that quite often when I turn my Kitsune Soba recipe into Kitsune Rice Noodles. I'm in! 

I had no idea, but Sherry had been suffering with crippling joint pain for several years. At times, she could not even get out of bed without help, the pain was so intense. She made appointments with specialists far and wide, including at the Mayo Clinic and they all said the same thing: that her joints were literally dissolving away. The doctors all told her she would have to undergo chemotherapy and have lifetime immunosuppressant injections and, even with those treatments, she could still end up in a wheelchair. Very frightening to say the least.

As a super busy working mom of four, the last thing she wanted to do was break herself down even further for just the possibility of getting better. So, instead of going the chemo/injections route, Sherry did a ton of research on her own and ultimately decided to make some dietary changes that included eliminating all dairy, gluten and frankenfoods (GMOs) as well as beginning a regular exercise routine in hopes of at least some relief. 

I am thrilled to say that today Sherry is almost 100% healed! No chemo. No injections. She no longer has debilitating joint pain and she feels and looks AMAZING! I am so happy for her! I think she's pretty happy too. ;)

So, anyone who knows me, knows I make my Kitsune Soba recipe at least twice a week and while the original recipe is still great, I have learned ways to make it even better. AND it can easily be made gluten-free by using organic, gluten-free tamari and natural sugar as well as either organic 100% soba noodles (check the label!) or rice noodles, which come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. My favorite being forbidden rice noodles which are PURPLE! So fun! Anyway, here's the updated recipe...the one I made during my cooking demo for Sherry and Todd at Fork That! last week. It's seriously easy and hands-down the favorite in my house. 

I'm so thankful that Sherry has gotten better and that she asked me to do this. Once the demo is edited and all that good stuff, I'll post it here. It may be a while...I have a mouth like a truck driver so they have a lot of work to do! Haha! 

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Peanut Oil for frying*
 6-8 oz. Rice noodles (I like Lotus Foods GMO-free Forbidden Rice Ramen) or 1 pkg 100% Soba Noodles (be sure to check the label for wheat!)
1/2 Block Organic Extra Firm Tofu, sliced into slabs about 1/4" thick
1/2 Bunch of chopped lacinato or curly kale. Remove the thick stems – they're bitter
1-1/2 C Sliced mushrooms (any kind, but I love cremini, clamshells and enoki the best)
1/2 Avocado, sliced thin
Sesame seeds (I use both black and white because it looks cool)
Salt for boiling water
Sriracha** (optional)
Toasted sesame oil (optional – I use Eden)
A few slices jalapeƱo or serrano pepper for garnish (optional)
Green onion, sliced thin for garnish (optional)

Broth:
1/4 Cup Organic, low sodium, gluten-free tamari (I use San-J)
1 Cup Water (more if you like more broth)
1 Tbs (or capful) Rice vinegar
1/2-1 Tbs Raw organic coconut palm sugar (my personal favorite. It's really low on the glycemic index and tastes great. You could also use agave or maple syrup)
1/2 Vegan bullion cube or 1 tsp. Better Than Bullion No-Chicken or Veggie soup base (my preference)
1-1-1/2" Fresh ginger root, washed and sliced thinly (no need to peel)

As you can see, you can literally put whatever you want into this dish veggie-wise to make it your own! If possible, buy as organic as you can to stay away from nasty GMOs. But never buy non-organic tofu. Non-organic soybeans are the king of frankenfoods! Gross.

*If you are allergic or just don't do peanut oil, you could use coconut oil or any organic high-heat vegetable oil.  Personally, I just like the way the tofu comes out best using peanut oil.

**Huy Fong Foods Sriracha (rooster sauce) is not organic, but there are organic brands out there. 

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Ok, let's do this! If you get the broth going, tofu soaking and veggies steamed simultaneously, you can be done in under 30 minutes. YES!

Boil generously-salted water for the tofu. Once boiling, add sliced tofu, turn off heat and let soak for 15 minutes.

Add all the broth ingredients to a small pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils (It will happen quickly), turn off the heat and place a lid on the it while preparing the rest of the meal. This allows all the gingery goodness to steep into the broth. Mmmm!

Steam all your veggies. I do this by just adding enough water to the bottom of my cast iron pan to cover the bottom, getting it good and hot, adding my veggies and covering for about a minute. You could use a steamer basket if you want, I just like the less is more idea of dishwashing after dinner. So does Jeff since he gets stuck with that job nearly every night!
Keep in mind, some things take longer than others. For instance, broccoli may need to steam a bit longer (2-3 minutes) whereas kale is done in about 1 minute. Once you've done that, set your veggies aside on a plate and cover to keep warm.

Once tofu is finished soaking, carefully remove from the salted water using tongs and place all pieces on an absorbent towel and carefully blot until you get it as dry as you can. Save water for the noodles, place back on stove and bring back to a boil.

Fun fact: Kitsune means fox. You want the color of your tofu to resemble a fox's coat when it's done. :)

While the water is boiling again, heat up the same pan you used to steam the veggies up to med-high. Add just enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan (about 1-2Tbsp). Fry the tofu slices for several minutes on both sides until golden brown and very crispy, adding a little bit more oil if they start to stick at all. Remove from heat and place slabs between a few layers of paper towel and blot the excess oil. Then cut into small strips when they've cooled down a bit.


Another fun fact: Apparently foxes love fried tofu! Who doesn't though, right?


Purple noodles! 

Once the water is boiling, add noodles. If you are making rice noodles, they will be done 3-1/2-4 minutes, tops. Don't let them overcook, they turn to mush! If you're using 100% soba noodles, they need to cook a bit longer, about 7-8 minutes. Again, don't let them overcook. Mush city!

Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water so they stop cooking. Divide the noodles into two bowls and pour the hot broth over them, straining out the ginger pieces with a sieve. Top with the sliced, fried tofu and your veggies. Garnish with 1/4 sliced avocado per bowl, a light drizzle of toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and Sriracha, if using. Serve immediately, eat and ENJOY!

And, as Hippocrates once said, "Let thy food be thy medicine." Be well.


Comments

  1. Susie, We had THE BEST TIME filming with you!! Your recipe is amazing and you are so much fun :) As soon as we can edit out all of the %$&# expletives, I will post and send a link ;) Thanks so much for your great recipe and wonderful friendship! Blessings, Sherry

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