Monday, November 9, 2009

Scar-healing foods

I have a brand new scar just above my right brow that needs to be treated with a lot of loving care - especially if I want it to heal nicely and eventually fade away. The most obvious course of action is topical skin treatments, of course, which I plan on thoroughly researching over the coming weeks, but another angle I thought wise to pursue was treating my scar internally.

My doctor has told me that folate and the vitamin B group are both handy when it comes to healing scars, so I've started looking around for recipes that will give me good doses of both these nutrients.

One of the foods I came across that is particularly high in B vitamins is millet. It is a staple food in African diets that is also high in protein (good for vegetarian), gluten-free (for coeliac disease sufferers) and contains iron and magnesium.

I've found a few recipes that I thought I might try over the coming weeks. I had the following recipe while I was at the Hilton Health Retreat for our first meal, and it was love at first bite.

Lamb backstrap with African millet salad
¾ of cup millet
3 cups cold water
1 small onion chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
1½ teaspoons fresh ginger
1½ teaspoons cumin
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
½ cup raw pistachio nuts
½ cup currants
½ cup coriander
2 lamb backstraps
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tbsp of lemon juice
Herbamare salt, to taste

In a small saucepan, combine millet and water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cover with lid, cook (20-30 minutes) until tender.
Millet should not become gluggy or porridge like, but rather have the consistency of couscous.
In a large frypan, sauté onion, garlic and ginger until soft and translucent.
Add the cumin, paprika, cooked millet, pistachio nuts, currants and coriander. Stir well to combine and warm through.
Marinate lamb in olive oil, lemon juice and season with Herbamare salt. Cook on barbeque, char-grill or grill pan as desired. Rest lamb in a warm place (3-4 minutes) before carving and serving.
Carve each lamb backstrap into three, serve with warm African millet salad and a drizzle of olive oil.
From Zoe Bingley-Pullin's Eat, Taste, Nourish

I love the spices used in this recipe.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, julienned (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 cup millet
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
8 ounces can extra crunchy corn, drained
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 whole roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
In a 2-quart saucepan, with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then sauté the onion over medium heat until very golden and soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute, then add the paprika, black pepper, allspice, and cayenne and cook for a minute more. Wash the millet quickly and drain. Add the millet to the pan and stir, coating the grains and cooking until hot to the touch. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Simmer on low for 20 minutes before checking for doneness. When all the liquid is absorbed and the grain is tender, cover and take the pan off the heat for 10 minutes to steam. Scrape the cooked millet into a bowl and cover, then let cool.
Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the lemon juice and brown sugar in a small bowl. Stir the corn, bell pepper, tomato, and parsley into the cooled millet mixture, then drizzle the dressing over it and stir to coat. Serve topped with the peanuts.

This looks like it'll be great for winter:
Spicy Millet Vegetable Soup
1 cup of uncooked millet
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 medium sized carrots, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced

7 cups of water or vegetable stock
2 - 3 teaspoons of celery seed

small handful of hot chilies, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups of broccoli, stems and flowerettes, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 large tomato, chopped
6 - 8 button mushrooms, chopped into pieces
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried thyme

frozen or fresh peas
5 tablespoons of tamari
2 teaspoons of sea salt (less if you are using vegetable stock)
freshly cracked black pepper
juice from two limes
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Soak the millet overnight in about 1 cup of water. Drain, and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and ginger and stir and fry for about 5 minutes. Next, add the water or vegetable stock and the celery seed. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
Add the broccoli stems to the pot, along with the tomato, mushrooms, millet, spices and herbs, and fresh peas if you are using them. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the millet is cooked.
Now add the broccoli flowerettes, tamari, salt, black pepper, frozen peas if you are using them and lime juice. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and garnish each bowl with parsley.

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