Saturday, September 19, 2020

Quarantine Food Diaries, Metal Season, Amaranth Porridge and Baked Peaches


The mornings feel crisp, I open the balcony door and breathe in the beginnings of fall, throw a wrap around my shoulders and decide to bake my ripened peaches for breakfast. A bag of unopened amaranth sits on my kitchen counter and I think about making soft and grounding  warm porridge today. 

Soaking amaranth overnight is better but I decide I’ll make it directly and let it cook longer. The measurements are 3:1, 3 parts water and 1 part amaranth.  So you can adjust the recipe according to how many bowls you need. 

We are almost at the fall equinox the 22nd- 23rd of September when the day and night are equal before the night begins to chase the day in the following months and darkness is greater than light. 

Fall is metal season in Chinese element theory where each season is represented by an element.  Metal is represented by decay and grief,  it is a time when the leaves begin to change and fall along with last fruits on the trees to lay at the base of the tree and decay. Though this may sound macabre it’s actually a necessary passage to ensure a rich soil  which will in turn provide new life after the long restoration period of winter. 

And such is the cycle of our lives. Things begin and end and begin again but not before a period of loss and grieving. It is just this process of grieving that lays the richness to the soil of our souls from which springs forth new life, and wisdom. This process however only occurs if we become aware of the beauty of loss and change, of the ending of things as the start of new things.  If we become moored in the past and hold onto what was then often we miss the opportunity for growth from loss. 

The discipline of looking at both having and losing as integral parts to a whole begins this beautiful process we call awakening.  Fall reminds me of this more than any other season, I am reminded to hold things and people  I cherish with an open hand instead of a tight fist so that they are free to come and go, and how much I have learned and grown from loss. 

The metal element is also associated with the sense of scent and light, the kind of light seen in early fall that holds suspended particles in the air that look like fairydust. It is called cathedral light and occurs only when the sun is at a particular angle to the earth, only in fall. 

Scent is a powerful trigger of memory and metal individuals associate memories with particular scents, they are drawn to or away from places and people due to scent as well.

Being a metal myself and a chef I am acutely aware of spices used in cooking and love to play “guess what’s in this dish”.  I am drawn to foods that are aromatic and delight the senses.

My peaches are almost baked, a crumble of coconut sugar glazing the deep red center of each slice and my amaranth has just about soaked up all the water.  A dollop of butter, a splash of oat milk and I’m ready to sit with a bowl wrapped in a cozy blanket and soak up the morning sun.

Amaranth Porridge and Baked Peaches

serves 2

1/2 cup amaranth

1 1/2 cup water

2 chopped dates

1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut 

pinch of salt

dash of non dairy milk, oat, almond or soy

1 tsp knob of butter

2 peaches quartered and pitted

1 tbsp coconut palm brown sugar

Set the water and amaranth to boil once boiling add dates and coconut and reduce heat to simmer covered for 30 min. 

Uncover and add butter and dash of oat milk ( non dairy milk) and stir. Let set up about five minutes.

Place cut peaches on parchment and sprinkle sugar on top, place under the broiler at a good distance away do the peaches will warm through but not burn instantly!! 

Arrange peaches atop the porridge, garnish with mint, toasted pecans or whatever will give a little crunch to the texture!


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