Archive for the ‘real food’ Category

P&P plus Preparing for the end of the world

Tomorrow starts off the 10-Day Produce and Protein Challenge, hosted by Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet.  I’ve signed on, and I’ve already been tuning my mindset into the P&P idea.  Tonight’s dinner, for example, uncured sausages with tomatoes, red pepper, and zucchini, all served over kale.  Yum.  And my lunch salads will come in handy.

My plan for the 10 days is to add an egg or two to my breakfast, along with maybe some veggie, then eat a huge salad with lunch, and add more veggies than usual to dinner.  I’m cooking for myself most of the time, so it should be easy to make simple, P&P-focused meals.

Produce and protein and yum.

Of course, there is the little matter of the hurricane.

So, I’m in the path of Irene, which means I could be without power for a day or two this weekend.  My plan for that involves phases.  Phase one was going off to the store to buy jugs of water and non-perishable food.  I got Muir Glen tomatoes and Eden beans, since they’re packed in BPA-free cans.  Plus, I got a spaghetti squash and some sweet potatoes, plus a bag of mixed nuts.  Eggs can stay out of the fridge for a bit, as can the butter.  Yeah, I might not get in 4 cups of fresh produce every day for a couple days, but I can tack on some extra days at the end to make up for it.

The other part of preparing for a potential power outage is making sure to consume all the perishables, as much as I can, before the storm hits.  No, I’m not going to worry about the freezer, since it’ll stay pretty cold for a while if I don’t open it, but I am going to make sure to eat all my salad and dairy.  Which means salad and cream for breakfast today.  Maybe with some local cheese.  How’s that for a real food breakfast?

How are any other real-foodie East coasters prepping for the potentially annoying weekend?

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.


Quickie: Pasta-less Carbonara

This is a quick meal hack: making carbonara without pasta.  Generally, I don’t eat a lot of pasta anymore, but occasionally, I just say “screw it” and make a bowl of the real stuff.  None of this shirataki/squash BS; I have real rice sticks with my pad Thai and real spaghetti with my tomato sauce.  But this week, I flat-out forgot to buy a box of pasta, and my pantry is such that pasta just isn’t a staple I keep stocked.  So I’ve come up with a quick, easy, grain-free way to enjoy the eggy-creamy-cheesy-bacony goodness of carbonara without pasta.

Potatoes.  Yeah, not low-carb, but they’re delicious and I find them far easier on my digestion than gluten grains anyway.  I mixed in some diced zucchini as well, since I’m starting the produce and protein challenge tomorrow and also because I overbought zucchini at the market (easy to do this time of year).

Potatoes alla Carbonara

Potatoes alla Carbonara

3-5 small red potatoes, cubed

1-2 zucchini, diced

1 egg + 2 egg yolks

2-4 Tbsp. cream

1/2 c. grated hard Italian cheese (I think I used Romano)

6 strips of bacon, baked and chopped, grease reserved

Start by steaming the potatoes until just tender.  While the potatoes steam, whisk together eggy goodness, cream, and some pepper if you want.  Add the zucchini to the steamer about 5 minutes before the potatoes finish.  Remove your steamer basket and empty the water out of your pan and put the veggies back in over medium heat.  Add 3-4 Tbsp. bacon grease and stir to coat.  Add in the egg mixture and 1/2 the cheese.  Stir until a creamy sauce forms.  Add in the bacon.  Serve over a bed of kale and top with the rest of the cheese.  Makes 2 generous servings.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet.

Weekend Shenanigans

My coworker overuses the word “shenanigans,” so I’ve picked it up.  Here’s my brief recap of the weekend, mostly documented by the food I ate.

Started Saturday morning well, with a spiced oat porridge.  I added cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds, and flax to it.  Delicious with some cream and honey.  And I had a raspberry-yogurt-cream smoothie on the side.  That was after a 5-mile run in beautiful sunny weather.  I went dancing and then got a book (Boneshaker) and a pot of tea (Dragon Well) downtown while waiting to meet my husband for a dinner date.

Post-run breakfast

We went to Nora’s in Dupont Circle, which was fun.  I like the idea of an all-organic, local restaurant, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed that their “Bellini” was made with pineapple juice, rather than peaches, which are a.) traditional, and 2.) in season locally.  Seriously, all you can get at the fruit stand is watermelon and peaches.  And you go and make a cocktail with pineapple?  But the dinner was delicious, despite the killer migraine I developed earlier in the day.  Pretty much the only effect of the migraine was that I only had a few bites of dessert and had peppermint tea with it instead of coffee.  I probably wouldn’t go back on my own dime (we had a gift certificate), but it was a nice dinner.

Sunday, I made more porridge, for me and my husband.  Almonds, coconut, Rapadura, and raspberries cooked into it, with butter on top.  Yum.  Went to the market, saw the new MOM’s Organic Market in College Park, fresh and renovated.  They’ve moved everything around, but it’s worth it because they’ve got so much more now.  I sampled some local cheeses, and even got a mini quiche off a farmer who made them with his fresh, local, pastured eggs.  Wow.

And I got a bottle of bitters, which I’ve discussed earlier.

Cucumber, ginger, and shallot salad (i.e., lunch)

Home again to make lunch, make almond power bars, and do my yoga.  I worked through the whole Primary series, which was fun.  Still not doing any jumping, since my wrist is healing, but there was no pain at least.  I have to say, I’m probably going to stop at Bhujapidasana for a while before trying to get through the whole series again, but it was nice to feel how it flows through to the end and into the finishing sequence.  And since it’s my first practice since finishing my moon time, I thoroughly enjoyed inverting once more.

Black bean burgers? Yum!

Dinner was black bean burgers with salad.  My husband even said “Ooh, black bean burgers?  Those are yummy!”  It’s nice to be with a guy who appreciates delicious, healthy food.  And then we ended the weekend on a sweet note with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  Yum.

This post is part of the Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival at Hartke is Online.

Salad and Fat

I had an interesting exchange with a coworker the other day.  He was complaining that he was starving because he just had salad for dinner the night before.  I made a joke about how salad isn’t a meal, which is funny because I bring a giant salad for lunch everyday.  The coworker pointed out this humor and then said “Well, I guess your salad is more filling because you eat, like, a half a stick of butter with it.”

Well, excuse me for liking butter with my bread.  And also, um, yeah.

That’s why fat-free salad dressings are pointless and adding cheese/eggs/olives/meat to your salad is such a good thing.  The fat helps, both in terms of satisfaction and in terms of nutrients absorbed.  Take my lunch salad today for example:

Delicious, right?

Looks super-healthy, what with that variety of veggies and heart-healthy salmon.  But that’s so not a full meal.  I’m going to add a generous helping of homemade, olive-oil-based dressing.  And, of course, my “half a stick of butter,” which is really just a homemade, soaked, whole-grain roll with a couple tablespoons of pastured butter.  Delicious, and very nourishing.

I’ve decided to participate in The Nourishing Gourmet’s “Protein and Produce” challenge, and challenge myself to eat 3 servings of quality protein (eggs, meat, fish, or raw cheese) and 4 cups of veggies, at least, every day.  My lunch salad goes a long way towards this, but it only counts if I eat it with plenty of fat to absorb those nutrients!

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

Soaked, Gluten-free Zucchini-Walnut Muffins

I posted about the muffins I made this weekend on Twitter and got a request for the recipe.  While I got the basic structure of the recipe from Food Renegade, I made enough changes on my own that I’ll post my recipe.  It’s zucchini time, and I tend to go a little overboard buying them at the market.  Especially when the farmers have started selling them in bundles rather than individually.  And the little buggers last for a while in the fridge, so I felt like using up some week-or-more-old zucchini this weekend.

This is a recipe using gluten-free flours.  Since millet and sorghum are both whole grain flours, I soaked them in yogurt, water, and a splash of lime juice overnight.  Then, I added more sweet rice flour to the batter in the morning, which I did not soak, since it’s not a whole grain flour.  If you’re making this with wheat flour, you’ll probably want to soak all your wheat flour, which will make the soaked mixture thicker.  Also, moisture + time + room temperature soaking will activate gluten, so a soaked-wheat-flour version of these will have a stretchier batter.

Serve with lots of fresh butter

Zucchini-Walnut Muffins

65g sorghum flour

65g millet flour

15g ground flaxseeds

1 6-oz. container of whole-milk yogurt

2 oz. water with a splash of lime juice

2 Tbsp. ghee, at room temperature

40g honey

1 egg and 1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp. salt

cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, to taste

1 tsp. baking soda

60g sweet rice flour

125g grated zucchini (about one small-to-medium)

handful of walnuts, soaked, dried, and chopped

Mix together the sorghum, millet, flax, yogurt, water, and lime juice in a container.  Allow to soak overnight.  Beat together the ghee, honey, egg, egg yolk, salt, and spices.  Add the soaked mixture, sweet rice flour, and baking soda.  Fold in zucchini and nuts.  Fill lined muffin tins with 1/3 cup of batter each and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until browned, springy, and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10-15 minutes before eating with lots of butter.  Makes 10 muffins.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

A Perfect Egg

I have to say that I love a perfectly soft-boiled egg.  It’s such a treat, especially since it generally involves cooking just one egg at a time, right before eating it.  It also involves a stopwatch and a delicate ballet of preparing the rest of the meal.  Did I ever tell you about when I did ballet as a tiny child?  It did not end well.

Anyway, this is my beautiful, real, nourishing, traditional breakfast: homemade soaked-grain bread, pastured butter, yogurt with fresh, local blackberries, and one, perfect, soft-boiled egg.


To soft-boil an egg, you will need: an egg (preferably at room temperature), a pot containing enough water to cover the egg completely plus a generous grab of salt, a burner, a pin (preferably clean), a stopwatch, an implement with which to transport your egg to and from the boiling water, and a final resting place for your egg.  A shot glass works amazingly well, though I used an adorable Vietnamese tea cup that my sister gave me as a gift.

Poke your egg with a pin.  Not just anywhere, but rather on the big end of the egg.  The purpose is to pierce the air sac in the white to allow expanding hot air to escape, or something like that.  Boil your salted water.  When it’s boiling, reduce the heat to hearty simmer and lower your egg into the water.  Start your stopwatch.  After 5 minutes, remove your egg and run it under cold water for a few seconds, until it is cool enough to handle.  Place in final destination.

Smack it on one end (I’m a big-ender) and peel back the shell to get at the gooey, golden, amazing treasure within.  Savor that first plunge of spoon into egg.  Dip pointed triangles of buttered toast into the yolk.  Spoon up jiggling blobs of egg onto the toast.  I suppose bacon would work as well, if you don’t do bread.  Scrape the last remnants of egg from the shell and survey the carnage.

Kind of like that.

It is absolutely possible to adapt this recipe to make more than one egg, though you might want to wait until after adding your eggs to lower the burner heat to give the water a chance to return to a boil/simmer.  Also, you will have to be quite swift and remember which egg went in first so you can take them out in the order they went in to avoid over/under-cooking.

If you’re having toast and yogurt and such with your egg, make the toast while the egg cooks.  Unless you know your toaster takes longer than 5 minutes to toast.

Also, check out my new tumblelog, A Little Wild.  It’s a place where I can share mostly random pictures, and maybe other random, food- and wild-life-related tidbits.  Mostly pictures right now.  I’ll be sharing a few random things from Rome over the next week or so.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Homemade Healthy Bread

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that my husband is the master breadmaker of the two of us.  I just don’t have the patience needed to deal with bread, most of the time.  But I love homemade bread.  And with the renewed vigor of my commitment to traditional food preparations, I thought I’d try to make my own loaf of bread to eat this week.  Because eating healthy just isn’t as bad when there are bread-and-butter sandwiches involved.

I used a recipe I got from Passionate Homemaking for soaked whole grain bread, cut it down to my needs, and made a couple of tweaks.  I’m going to post the entire process as I experienced it, even though I’ve linked the recipe, since the original recipe is for 4 loaves of bread and plenty of people commented wanting to know how to make less.

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread

Soaked grain mixture:

2-3/4 cups white whole wheat flour

1/4 cup yogurt

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oats

2 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds

2 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. melted ghee

The day before you want bread, mix these together.  It’ll take some doing, as there isn’t a whole lot of moisture here, but it should eventually come together into a kind of dry scone-like dough.  Cover tightly and leave out at room temperature for 12-24 hours (I did 18).

Yeasty stuff:

2 tsp. yeast

3 Tbsp. warm water

dab of honey (maybe 1/2 tsp.?)

Mix this together and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until it gets foamy and alive-looking.  Then add this, along with 2 tsp. salt (I use Real Salt) to the dry soaked grain mixture.  This will eventually come together into a goopy dough.  Add some white or sprouted flour to get into a soft, cohesive mass.  Knead more flour into it as you knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until it becomes somewhat smooth and beautiful (the oats and flax will mar the smoothness just a bit).  It should feel bouncy.

Retire this lovely lump of dough to a greased-up bowl, rub the top with some of your greasing medium (I used softened ghee), and cover with a damp towel for an hour and a half to rise.  It’ll double in size.  Then, punch it, flip it, and let it rise again for 45 minutes.

Then, form it into a loaf and put it on it’s final baking destination (I used a 5×9″ loaf pan that was greased and floured) and cover with your damp towel to rise again for 30-45 minutes, or just until doubled in size.  About 10 minutes before you want to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut a slit in your loaf to control where the crust will crack while baking.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees and the loaf is browned and gorgeous.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out and cool on a wire rack.  Let it cool for a combined 20 minutes, at least, before slicing.  Grit your teeth because you’ve been smelling fresh bread for the last hour.  Then, slice off the heel, slather in good quality butter, maybe some honey or jam, and enjoy the fruits of your labors.  If you want to keep it longer than a couple days, I recommend slicing it up and freezing it in parchment and aluminum foil.

Makes one loaf.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS.