It was a good weekend – I hope yours was too! My parents were in town and we had a good time talking about food, etc. and trying one of the new local restaurants which had some incredible things on the menu – regular Girya Girl favorites like roasted Brussels sprouts (they had paired them with carrots and parsnips!!!!), an incredible fritatta, and even a little “Faleo” on my part – since the three of us shared a (are you sitting down) specialty pizza. Now, before you freak out, I probably actually needed the carbs – I’d gotten pretty close to the “madness range*” a few days prior and this was actually a good thing. You may or may not
have experienced the uhhh interesting effect of going too low carb for too long. I have and it makes me a little… unhinged. Needless to say, I have a few things planned this week to keep myself on track – including a neat way to make sweet potatos, and a “Thanksgiving Style” favorite remade for the Primal or Paleo eating crowd. A friend of mine from school remarked on Facebook last week that “every day is like Paleo Thanksgiving for you, what’s the deal?!” So I’m further tempted to do that for fun. Might be fun to have friends over for something like that anyway.
Q: Why are you so food-obsessed? Is your family like this too?!
My parents are also really into healthy eating, which is probably where I can point the “blame.” We would often cook together when I was growing up, and I was always involved in some capacity in the kitchen with either or both Mom & Dad. Dad and I would often take on more of what I’d call “project foods” which sometimes would get us kicked out on the patio with the deep fryer making huge egg rolls, tempura, smoked meats, lobster, etc. Mom and I would also cook – but it was usually a little more on the more practical side. Even through the turmoil of teen years (I think something happens to the adults too – just a theory), there seemed to be an unspoken rule that the kitchen was a safe zone. If there was nothing else to agree on, at least we all liked a good steak. Food has always been very important to our extended family as well with almost all the men and women being able to cook well. I have generations of great examples on both sides. One of which I’ve been reminded of a lot recently – my Great Grandmother on my Mom’s side – she was seriously old school and would be very amused at certain of my trendy friends talking about keeping chickens in their NorCal apartments. Mema always had plenty of cast iron skillets around, and a huge backyard garden. She would show me how and when to pick pole beans, black eyed peas, muscadine grapes, citrus, collard greens, turnips and much much more. I would also help her prepare these things in the kitchen. Dad would always try and decypher what she would do into standardized recipes – but Mema’s cooking didn’t work that way, it was intuitive and adaptive. What was fresh today? What did we have the right ingredients to make? Has the great granddaughter drank all the cultured buttermilk? (I’m not really sure why I would do that as a kid, but it came back to me as soon as I had a sip of Beyond Organic’s Amasai which is seriously good stuff.) Mema taught me all about the use and care of cast iron by example, and occasionally would tell me about how things like cane syrup were made (as in – a mule walked around pushing this thing). I also heard plenty of stories about livestock and hunting – I’ve never really wondered where “food comes from” and I think that’s important. It also explains why I’m against being wasteful – respect the animal by using as much of it as possible. Anyway, while I may have fancy-schmancy dishes from Williams Sonoma, 9 out of 10 meals are cooked in a humble cast iron skillet given to me by my Dad’s Mom – and I think it may have been given to her. NO IDEA how old that thing is – but there’s no reason to replace it. All of that being said, as adults I think it’s important that we are good examples for healthy, conscious eating. The kids are watching, even if they aren’t YOUR kids, and they see what we put on our plates.
Q: What do I do with coconut oil?
Mom has gotten into coconut oil in a very big way – but since it is kind of an unusual ingredient, she wants to know how else to use it. WELL! This arguably expensive, solid-at-room-temp wonder in a jar does seem a little intimidating at first – BUT – you soon get very used to it, and very hesitant to use much else! Personally, I use it to cook eggs, lean meats (especially great for adobo seasoned fajita steak!), it’s brilliant with pan frying white fleshed fish, start your stir fry with it for an exotic twist. I use it in Primal baked goods all the time, and coat veggies destined to be roasted or even grilled. Grilled asparagus coated with spices and coconut oil is seriously good stuff. It also has a particular affinity for things like sweet potatoes and hard Winter squashes. I coat the insides of delicata, butternut and acorn squash with it before roasting.