Today I’m thinking about healthy choices – in what I eat, how I move, the interactions I have with my family – and the balance that is required to do these things well.
Greens AND brownies, running AND couch time, speaking my mind AND holding my tongue. I want them all, just not in the same amount and at the same time. The trick is to navigate when a brownie is just the thing (and these King Arthur Flour brownies are totally the thing) and when greens are a better choice. Likewise with relationships, say, just hypothetically, when you are having a conversation with your daughter about future college and life plans when you are both hormonal. Sometimes the healthiest choice is to say what you feel. Other times, it’s best to not share exactly what is running through your mind in that specific moment. When I’m navigating these moments successfully, which, let me tell you, is not always the case, I’m feeling my way to the best choice. Calmly noticing. Aware, but not hyper sensitive.
And, not to segue too abruptly to food, but actually, the same is true when I’m making a recipe. I sort of feel my way to the right flavors. In the same way that you might feel your way through a delicate conversation. In this case, it’s a conversation with food and flavors. This meal, the creamy AND limey, the greens AND rice, the chicken AND shrimp is one with balance. One that walks the line of not too much sharing and not too much holding back. I could have used a little more of that last night when in conversation with my daughter. Ah well, at least I managed it in this meal.
Sesame, Ginger and Tahini Chicken and Shrimp over Rice and a Bed of Spinach
This dish is just as easily made with chicken OR shrimp, but the combination of the two is my favorite.
2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup diced onions; about 1 medium onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
8 ounces boneless chicken breast; about 1 large breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces medium (41-50 count) raw shrimp, peeled
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water, as needed
8 ounces baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Wedges of lime
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. The water should be as salted as you want your rice and no more. Add the rice and stir well. When the water again comes to a boil, set the timer for 18 minutes. Pour into a strainer and let sit for 5 minutes or longer while you prepare the sauce.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add the pumpkin seeds. Heat, stirring often, until the seeds begin to brown. Transfer to a blender and add the chicken stock, tahini and tamari. Blend until well mixed and smooth. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the salt, garlic, ginger and chicken and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook until you can just see a little bit of gray remaining. Add the pumpkin seed mixture and stir well adding water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve immediately over rice and a bed of spinach. Garnish with sesame seeds, lime, cilantro, and Sriracha.
Serves 4 to 6
Finding the balance where I can.