“Ma, I messed up.” A text from Brian telling me he’d slipped while cooking and spilled hot oil, burning his hand. Instantly, I re-experienced the pain I’d felt a few summers ago, when a jar shattered and boiling water cascaded over my leg.
That’s what happens when someone I love is in pain. I feel it. Especially if it’s one of the kids! I think we all do, humans are designed that way; we experience empathy. Ack!
My solution: Bring food.
Umm…I know what you’re thinking. I don’t bring food in lieu of first aid supplies or warm blankets, or a ride to the emergency room. But once I know that everything is stable, if I can, I feed everyone.
I have been known to travel long distances with food in the trunk of the car. I’ve even brought certain delicacies on airplanes. But Brian insisted that he would heal just fine without my culinary ministrations and could wait for mama’s cooking until Thanksgiving. Which left me with a lot of mama-energy. How many times a day could I text him to see how his thumb is healing?
Knowing my plight, Mary made a great suggestion. During this difficult phase of Martin’s treatment, I could bring their family suppers a few times a week. I was enthusiastic about this because, as I’ve said, when someone you care about it going through something like a battle against cancer, all you want is to be able to DO something.
It’s also my favorite kind of challenge. Between the 3 of them and the 2 of us, we have the following dietary restrictions: vegetarian, gluten free, low carb, dairy free, and neutropenic.
This curry is perfect for a crowd, filling, savory and healthy. And it reheats well, so it’s great to make for a pot luck or to take to a friend who isn’t feeling well!
Thai Coconut Curry with Brussels Sprouts and Tofu
This dish is naturally vegan, low carb and gluten free. For a paleo version, simply substitute shrimp, fish, chicken, pork or grass-fed beef for the tofu.
1 block extra or super firm tofu, drained, cubed, and dried
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
1 lb. sugar snap peas
1 large sweet potato, halved
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 lime, zested and then halved
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and dried and minced (save some for garnish)
1 tbs. neutral cooking oil
8 oz. coconut milk
1 tbs. each: turmeric and cumin
1 tbs. grated fresh or minced candied ginger
2 tbs. brown sugar
cayenne to taste
Optional Garnishes: lime, cilantro, peanuts, sriracha or other hot sauce
Place the sweet potato halves on a plate, cut sides down and microwave for 2 minutes or until they just begin to soften. Cool just enough to handle and then cut into generous bite size chunks.
Saute’ the onion in the oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add the spices and the brown sugar, and cook until the sugar melts and the spices begin to smell fragrant.
Add the sweet potatoes, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and cook, stirring often, over high heat, until they start to wilt. Now the tofu, snap peas, coconut milk, lime zest and cilantro go in. Bring to boil, turn down to simmer, cook just two more minutes, stir well (gently) a few times.
Serve with garnishes and rice if you like.
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