Some weeks ago I wrote about how Charles and I were investigating a new lifestyle/diet called the Daniel Plan, based on the biblical Daniel refusing to eat the king’s rich food and instead asking for vegetables. Well, we’re still at it, though now it’s beyond investigating. We’re committing! In the last few weeks I’ve been introduced to many new foods and spices. For one who is a simple country cook, it’s been unsettling to learn that plain old potatoes, as well as most anything else white, is totally off the list. Oh, and I’m a bread baker, but guess what? No breads allowed now! I’ve learned the scent and taste of ginger paste, a little more eastern than just plain ginger! I’ve learned about grapeseed oil and sesame seed oil and chia seeds and–did I say no sugar? NO sugar!
Yes, lots of strange new items to hunt at the store, such as steel cut oats and quinoa. But yesterday I met a jicama face to face. Author Rick Warren stresses that this “faith, food, fitness, focus, friends” lifestyle is all about abundance, not deprivation. But if you can’t snack on cookies and milk, or potato chips and coke, or chips and dip, then what can you have? You can have crunchy, almost sweet, jicama strips or slices dipped in artichoke heart hummus!
I’d never met a jicama up close and personal. I’d passed them in produce and given them a curious glance. That’s all. Now I know him as a new friend. He’s sort of knotty and very brown. He looks dirty even after you wash him. He’s a Mexican turnip, that’s what he is! Therefore, his name is pronounced correctly hee-cama. Remember it as humorous punctuation! When I peeled him, his hide came off in leathery strips. The meat is very white and moist. It doesn’t darken like apples or peaches when stored in a zip-lock bag. And, indeed, the taste is very satisfying, especially when dipped in artichoke heart hummus.
Artichoke hummus is made of garbanzo beans (oh, I didn’t mention the many beans we’ve been introduced to! Beans are a staple.) Put beans, chopped “hearty-chokes”, crushed garlic cloves, a tablespoon of grapeseed oil, some sea salt and pepper in a blender and “pulse until smooth.” It’s good!
My vocabulary is expanding and, I hope, my waistline is decreasing! My muscles are going to firm up as my exercise program gets underway. And the best part is–Charles and I are doing it together so our friendship and faith will be increasing too!
So pass the “hee-cama” strips and hummus please! Oh, variety is part of the picture too. We can also have carrot and celery sticks!