Thakkali Thokku: South Indian Tomato Relish

With the flavor intensity of sun-dried tomatoes, reinforced with rich sesame oil and the bright pungency of Tamil spices, this is currently my favorite thing on Earth!   On roast veggies.  Mixed into rice or chick peas.  On a hot dog.  With cornbread.  Like ketchup on eggs.  Mixed into yogurt for a spicy-yet-cooling sauce.  Or for an apocalyptically flavorful pizza.

This recipe is adapted from the kitchen of Mrs. Revathy Ramani in Chennai, who made it clear to me that she makes it differently every time.  Some versions use tamarind to make the relish tart; also so it keeps longer.  I prefer my thokku without.  Like basil pesto, thokku is a great way to preserve summer’s bounty; it’s a treat to discover that last, lost jar at the back of your freezer in January.

Got Eczema? Got Itch?

Got red, dry, flaky, itchy skin?  You may be one of 15 million Americans who suffer from a non-contagious skin condition called eczema.  While eczema can be hereditary, the redness and inflammation are set off primarily by environmental irritants and allergens, and by stress.  Cold, dry weather, wearing wool, animal dander, mold, synthetic perfumes, alcohol, paint, pesticides, and harsh soaps are also triggers.  In addition, eczema can be triggered by fatigue, cigarette smoke or even by foods that are more acidic (think chocolate, coffee, meat, peanuts).

Doctors say there is no cure for eczema.  Often it is controlled with steroids and antihistamines which, of course, have their side effects.

Are there things we can do to help ourselves?  What self-care can we employ? 

Let’s start with the hardest first.  Ease stress levels.  The only thing I can say about dealing with stress is to learn to go with the flow.  Take a walk every day, sing, and spend time with people you care about.  Laugh with them.  Take yoga classes and get a massage.  If meditation is your thing, meditate!  Don’t forget your B-vitamins (the nerve and stress vitamins).    

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 213

Episode 213

with Debra Stark & Robin Johnston.

  • Golden carrot, corn, yam soup
  • Marinated salad with fresh mozzarella or tofu
  • Coconut Blueberry Cherry Cobbler

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 212

Episode 212

with Debra Stark & Alyssa Held.

  • Dandelion green salad with golden raisins
  • Asparagus, arugula, bee pollen
  • Picked radish with chicory and pomegranate molasses

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 211

Episode 211

with Debra Stark & Alyssa Held.

  • Cauliflower quinoa risotto
  • Lots of mushrooms lasagna
  • Scallops with broccoli and garlic

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 210

Episode 210

with Debra Stark & Tom Yates.

  • South American chicken stew
  • Brazilian quinoa, artichoke
  • Soba noodles, seaweed flowers

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 209

Episode 209

with Debra Stark & Jeff McDonough.

  • Cocoa chia pudding
  • Oat almond nutella cookies
  • Figs, honey, rosewater, pine nuts
  • Brown and black sesame candies

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 208

Episode 208

with Debra Stark & Connor Presti.

  • Wild rice, purple potato pancakes
  • Green pepita salad with avocado
  • Veggies, black beans, lots of cheese
  • Mexican fruit salad with dollop of chocolate mousse

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 207

Episode 207

with Debra Stark & Aya Alexander.

  • Cauliflower steaks, winter greens pesto
  • Millet quinoa pilaf with medley of mushrooms
  • Spiced winter cookies with blackberries
  • Spice tea

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 206

Episode 206

with Debra Stark & Roxanne Bispham.

  • Wild salmon steaks with black sesame seeds
  • Wild, brown rice pilaf, nori
  • California fruit salad with nuts
  • Cucumber yogurt sauce

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 205

Episode 205

with Debra Stark & Robin Johnston.

  • Fagioli chicken salad
  • Lentil vegetable chorizo soup
  • Roasted beets, walnuts, feta

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 204

Episode 204

with Debra Stark & Michelle Formosa.

  • Chicken tagine
  • Napa bluberry cabbage salad
  • Pineapple, turmeric, ginger
  • Ginger cookies and ginger tea

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 203

Episode 203

with Debra Stark & Roxanne Bispham.

  • Corn chowder with duck bacon
  • Cuban black bean soup
  • Pay-the-mortgage lentils barley soup

Eat Well, Be Happy – Episode 202

Episode 202

with Debra Stark & Roxanne Bispham.

  • Farro amaranth pilaf with sour cherries
  • Chinese black forbidden rice with artichoke hearts, peas, and spinach
  • Kasha (buckwheat) with mixed mushroom medley
  • Chocolate teff confection