Sunday, June 23, 2013

Buckwheat groats and funky alien fruit

So lately I've been pimping out a lot of salads. When you think of salads you think leafy light fluffy greens, but I like to pump it up with grains, beans, and nuts. All sorts of protein. The past week I spent a good deal of time at my cousin's place with the little ladies, sharing some simple and delicious meals. There was a salad with quinoa and black lentils and blackened fish. Rosie ate--.......hold on...I have to pause and take a picture of my cat because she's so freaking cute and I love her so much.

Precious angel child 
There. That's better. Anyhow, to prep meals for the coming week, I decided to see what grains etc. I had laying around the small box I call an apartment. I decided on buckwheat groats (over barley, cause barley says it takes like, 2 hours to make, and I'm all like wha??? you cray cray) and made the mistake of not doing more research on the interwebs. The bag said to simmer for 7 minutes, so I put it on the stove and went to fiddle with my concertina (someone seriously help me learn this instrument) and when I came back I had buckwheat groat mush! Ah!

Buckwheat Groats
Buckwheat groats are actually not wheat so it is great for people with Celiac Disease. It is frequently used ground up as a flour or in raw food. It is also part of a dish called kasha, which Wikipedia says is one of the oldest known Eastern European Slavic dishes. It is also very high in fiber (yayy!)

Buckwheat mush
I've been rocking the breakfast bowls recently as well, so I thought to make it into porridge for the week. I blended the buckwheat in my teeny mixer with almond milk, agave, cinnamon, and flax oil. Whoa, is that flavor strong. The groats have a very toasted, nutty flavor to them, very savory. I'm interested to see how they do as a dinner side, with herbs and radishes or something...


I topped my porridge off with blueberries, blackberries, flax seeds (that I needed to use up; did I tell you that flax seeds go right through you? The way to get the nutrient benefits is to use the meal or oil) and some peach jam (thanks Aliza!) It could have still been a bit sweeter, in which maple syrup would come into play, but that would be defeating the health purposes. 

Did I mention I also made hummus? Yeah, I told you at the supermarket I had an epiphany of, "I can make that...I can make ALL OF THIS! Muahahahahaha". Anyway, I made it. Kinda. I really need to get a Vitamix. I tried grinding up my flax seeds. No go. I had soaked the chick peas overnight, but my teeny blender didn't do a fantastic job. Still, it's edible and good for you. I added grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and basil leaves! I would have added tahini and lemon juice if I had em. I've been dipping crackers in it and have big plans with some gluten free bread and avocado later. 

Yayy! Hummus!
I tried sprouting the rest of the chick peas, but they started smelling funky and had to toss them. I am currently trying to sprout some quinoa, but it doesn't look like anything is happening...anyone have experience with sprouting things? 

Yesterday was a total Blue Oasis food day (us cool kids at the apartment complex on Carondelet St. call ourselves The Blue Oasis Social Aid and Pleasure Club. We're making koozies and t-shirts soon. Be jealous). We went to Cleaver & Co. where I stocked up on some meaty cuts to freeze, got a whole chicken again and some bratwurst. I also picked up a homemade jelly they had which turned out to be an amazing marinade for the chicken wings we grilled later. We also went to Breaux Mart where I got these: 

Ahh! Alien fruit!
Dragon fruit and cactus pear fruit! I forget which is which, but the one on the right sucked and had a lot of seeds and the one on the left was awesome and fun! Although it cost like 6 bucks whomp whomp...

Delicious meats from my favorite butcher shop

Oh mah gawd, have I told you my favorite thing is roasted root vegetables. Or in this case charcoal grilled root vegetables. I chopped up carrots, squash, and bulls eye beets; tossed them in olive oil, salt pepper, sage and rosemary and put them in a tin foil boat package vessel thing. They sat on the grill for like an hour and just melted into a delicious vegetable candy medley. 

And it is super beautiful 
I post a lot of pictures of food on my Instagram. It's usually a sneak peak at what I'm gonna be blogging about. I can also never remember what pictures I did or didn't post already to Facebook, or Instagram or whatever. So follow me on Instagram and life will be happy. 

Picture of bratwurst I posted on Instagram 

Happy rest of your weekend loves xoxoxo

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What have I been eating?

Gosh, I haven't even thought about it. That's a good thing, right? That eating local and healthy food is natural and normal...But I'm not gonna lie, I don't think I can consider myself ultra strict anymore. 

I did two weeks of no treats, breads, caffeine, chocolate, processed food. I felt great! Then I was bored. It's not that it was hard. It was annoying. I missed my grape seed oil. My chia seeds. My raw coconut water. So I have caved for the sake of my health (and mind). I couldn't cook with butter and pecan oil anymore! I just couldn't. The cool thing is, even though I'm not "strict" anymore, I'm still only consuming my veggies, grains, and meats locally! It's what I was doing before anyhow. 

And what's also cool is I seem to have developed an even stronger distaste to purchasing anything processed or packaged (i.e. I went to Fresh Market to pick up some staples, and when I got to the hummus, I was all like,"hell no, I can make this myself!") This probably is also from working in an awesome food environment where I have access to fresh, healthy, organic (and pretty darn local) food all the time. The principles behind The Green Fork is to create delicious healthy food from what is in season, while preserving the integrity of the product and conveying positive intentions throughout the whole process. We all truly believe you are what you eat, and you can heal your body with whole foods. Can you tell I love my job?

Anyway, what have I been eating? I bought 8 pounds of pork shoulder from Cleaver and had a pig feast with my neighbors. It was so good! I marinated mine with local peaches, onions from my garden, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and some ginger syrup. To make this totally local you could use the Steen's cane vinegar and Inglewood's pecan oil. We threw them on the grill to get them a bit charred them let them finish in the oven. The meat fell apart into delicious shredded porkiness and we ate them in tortillas. There was nothing left. Except for a pork coma. 

I took advantage of the coals and cooked a chicken I picked up from Cleaver as well. I think this will become a weekly ritual, as it makes weeknight dining easy. 

Lately I've been taking salads home from work and pimping them out. I add whatever stone fruit I have (peaches, plums, and nectarines from Crescent City Farmers Market are OUT OF THIS WORLD!), chia seeds, flax seeds (btw, I just found out that flax seeds do nothing for you; they pass right through your body. To get the health benefits of flax, use in either oil or meal form), whatever nuts I have, grapeseed oil, crumbled kale chips, and raw shredded zucchini or squash. 

I'm so happy to be able to enjoy my breakfast bowls again. I mix cottage cheese, gluten-free granola, berries, chia seeds, and grapeseed oil in a mason jar and go to town. It's pretty much the most delicious thing ever. 

I'm still not snacking, and have only had coffee a couple times since I "fell of the wagon" (and a couple macaroons from Sucre shh don't tell). The fresh fruit from the farmer's market is so good right now. I've never had melon like this in my life. 

I'm still going to participate in the health screening at the end of the challenge. I hope my results aren't going to be considered skewed. I actually have started exercising more (I got a balance ball and found out how unbalanced I was, whoo!), running to the pool to do a couple laps. And if anything, I am now super excited to blog about all the other healthy and interesting things I think are super important to add to your diet!

Happy eating ya'll 

PS; What's In Season Right Now and Awesome to Eat: eggplant, tomatillos, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, blackberries, peaches, melon, beets, arugula, kale!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fish for breakfast

Blackened redfish (caught in Venice by my boss' son), rice and eggs 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Flat tubes, Good Eggs, Chicken.

This weekend was pretty awesome and frustrating (separately, but sometimes together). I got some amazing produce from the crescent city farmer's market; I seriously don't think I ever had a better tasting melon in my life. It's amazing. It was from the cute farm boys that setup their truck in the back corner.

I scored some kombucha at the Locavore market, and the most amazing blackberries from Berry Hill Farm. I am definitely making a note of them. They should get on Good Eggs. Speaking of, the Good Eggs launch party is this Wednesday, and I am going to rep The Green Fork. I am super excited about Good Eggs. Their website is gorgeous; I personally used the service to order my Hollygrove box, but will also be utilizing the platform at work! I've had a hand at inventory and produce ordering (I've heard this bad ass job described as 'The Forager' at a super fresh and local restaurant group), and am excited to use this tool from the perspective of a supplier and consumer.

Go figure I get a flat tire on the night before the Urban Farm Bike Tour. I got stuck out from of the Louis Armstrong park sign on Rampart. Then it started raining. Then there were ducks. Yeah it was weird. By the time I got it home and patched up I was still back and forth on if the ride was gonna happen because of bad weather.

Fast forward, next morning. After a brief interlude with a rain storm, the tour started and I was having a great time. Sun is shining, riding my bike, oh hey cute dude! Yeah, lets talk about bikes whoo. Oh. damnit.

Not my feet

This time I got to try changing the tire in a puddle of mud. I was assisted by some of the tech guys but the three of us were slightly less clueless then the other. I can't say if I came out of it any better or worse then when we started. As the group rode off, I headed to Gerkins, purchased some tools and a new tube, and change the darn tire myself.

I didn't let the weird bumping in the new inflated tire or the fact that my gears weren't attached correctly stop me from enjoying my day off. I headed over to my friend Zach's shotgun/garden off Poland Ave. He wasn't there yet so I attempted to trouble shoot my bike some more to no avail. Zach was busy showing a little girl from the neighborhood the sprouts growing from the seeds they had planted together. There were radish, watermelon, okra. We lamented over the caterpillars eating his tomatoes and my everything (who knew caterpillars like succulents?) We were attacked by flies while trying to eat some food; what is up with the flies? What works?  That penny in a water of water trick?

I thought the bike tube was holding air well enough to get me over to my Joseph's garden off the railroad tracks and ended up picking a bunch of beautiful carrots from his raised beds (also some strawberries, mint, and peppers).

As I rode home as fast as I could, watching the air slowly leave my back tire, but determined to get home before I had to take the freaking wheel off again, I thought of how nice it was, that I continued on my own little garden tour. That these kinds of places exist, a lot of the times where one wouldn't think. I have some big thoughts and feelings on urban gardening, that could be it's own blog post at another times.

Alas, I had to give up as I hit Canal, but still determined to get home, ended up running along side my bike all the way home. I figure I was eating a big more protein in my diet then usual, might as well put it to use.

I got home, cooked the awesome chicken I got from Cleaver & Co., roasted some sweet potato with the carrots I pulled, and made a pico tomato corn type salad. I had a great time at the Hog Butchering class. I have a ton of pictures I'm too tired to put up now but If you follow me on Instagram, you get most of it (and then some). I am currently simmering some bomb ass pimped out red beans on the stove. I'll tell you how they came out.



Sunday, June 9, 2013

ELC Day 9; Good Morning!

Local dish at Pizza Delicious 

Grilled Veggies; sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots with rosemary and leeks. Chop everything up, toss in pecan oil, and throw on charcoals covered with tin foil. Let some stick to the bottom to get nice and charred. After half an hour, throw some butter in there. It tastes like candy.

Sauteed spinach with feta cheese, Cajun Grain rice, and chuck eye from Cleaver topped with butter and basil pecan pesto (in a food processor; cheese, basil, pecans, oil, salt).

Millions of peaces; at Crescent City Farmer's Market. Get there early on Saturdays to get the best produce. We bought a bunch of things for The Green Fork while there, super excited!

I got a melon from the market! And my cherry tomatoes are delicious! I had to pull up my other large tomato plants because the caterpillars had destroyed them and it was depressing to look at. But I planted some basil starts, and sprinkled them with Neem oil. Hopefully they were live. I also was given a Loofa plant from a friend and planted my Stevia from Inglewood Farm. 

Breakfast before the Urban Farm Bike Tour; blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries in local yogurt with raw honey and kombucha found at the Locavore Market yesterday (and my air plant getting a bath)! The kombucha is like liquid gold; I should have gotten more, or her name and number, but I felt bad harassing the  largely pregnant woman as she set up her table. If anyone knows of more kombucha, please let me know!

So things are going a lot better. I got the inspiration I was lacking (at around 1am on Thursday night) and have been prepping and cooking more. It's just super time consuming. But I'm sticking with it. I bring leftovers to work and to my cousin's house so I can share a meal with them and stay on task. I complained to a friend that going out to eat or on a date this month is hard, but then ended up cooking for them and it was great! (another omelette, this time with mushrooms and green peppers, with sausage from Cleaver and yummy bread made by Belle Garde that they were also selling at Cleaver). 

I love the basil pesto I made. I need to pick up more basil. It is an easy way to fancy up a meal. I also bought a whole chicken from Cleaver that should last me all week. I got some insane kale that I threw in the dehydrator. 

Well it's pouring rain right now, but they said the bike would go on still. I'm gonna wait until it lets up a little....of course I got a flat tire last night. My neighbor Nathan is amazing and helped me fix it. I really should go get my own kit, considering I've been strictly riding a bike for three years. He told me as thanks, I can bake him a gluten filled rum pie. I'll get right on that. 

Tomorrow I have Cleaver's hog butchering work shop!!!!!! I'm so excited. Also to put out there, if anyone knows of a place where one can go and participate in the chicken butchering process (from start to finish) please let me know!

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ill be back soon...

...with some recipes and yummies. I'm headed to the locavore market at zeitgeist on OC Haley! 

Happy Saturday!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 4 & 5; oysters are local!

Yes they are! And only .25$ an oyster at The Blind Pelican on St. Charles during happy hour. I ate three dozen. 

I also battered and fried squash blossoms and string beans! I used rice flour from Cajun Grain (we carry it at The Green Fork). I also made a big batch of rice to have in the fridge and steamed some spinach. 

I woke up earlier then normal and made some eggs sunny side up. Then starred at them, trying to think how one eats sunny side up eggs without any bready vessel. I ended up eating the yolk part whole, in one big bite (sorry for that mental image). I will never do that again for fear I will never want to eat an egg ever again. 

I made a quick salad to bring to work; I used the local salad from The Green Fork as a base and added strawberries, string beans and peaches. I was super content all day, having some carrot beet cucumber juice (Inglewood Farm) as a snack too. 

*I'm having refrigerator issues, so bare with me ("Bear? Where? I don't see a bear with you!" Heheheheh)

Ok, I need to rant

So I'm sitting in Pizza Delicious in the Bywater, waiting for my Mezzi Rigatoni made with local veggies and pesto. I'm breaking my own Ultra-Strict rule because the pasta isn't local made, but I didn't intend to find myself here and I'm freaking hungry. 

I'm finding meal planning challenging. I have to be at work early, so to be able to cook myself breakfast I have to get up earlier then normal if I don't want to be a starving grumpy person all day. And I ate all my expensive yogurt so my options are eggs. I can't eat eggs everyday. My stomach started hurting today, in like a "yo, too much dairy and meat" kind of way. 

I'm a responsible person. But if I'm honest with myself, I'm still the combination of a 15 year old boy and crazy cat lady. My life is spontaneous and lazy. I haven't felt like cooking much because I'm so tired when I get off work. And while I'd love to eat at some of the fancy restaurants that are participating, I can't necessarily afford to on top of the groceries I've been buying (or find someone to eat with, but lets not talk about my single person problems right now). 

And like now; I needed to run down town last minute to pick up my bike. Bike wasn't ready. Now I have to wait. I'm hungry. Options? Not many (thank you Pizza Delicious, for all you do).

Lets talk about how my fridge continues to freeze everything and ruin my produce even if I do feel inspired to cook. Or, lets talk about how I can't cook rice correctly even if my 15 year old boy self depended on it. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that big pile of mush. 

I'm gonna have to rethink this. I tried to prep some meals, but my heart just isn't in it. I'm definitely being more effected by cutting caffeine out then I thought I would. I'm not giving up, but I think just because milk and meat are local, doesn't mean I have to include them so much more into my diet. Perhaps a way to look into the week ahead is with more strict purchasing; instead of going for the box of general produce, purchase what I KNOW I'm gonna use. 

Alright, thanks for letting me vent. I'm really looking forward to the locavore market this weekend and the biking farm tour! Whoop!

Monday, June 3, 2013

ELC Day 2 & 3 • Spinach Omelette [recipe]

Sunday morning I woke up and made a banging omelette;

Banging Spinach Omelette

3 eggs (Crescent City Farmers Market)
1/2 cup milk (Hollygrove)
Handful of Spinach (Hg)
Cheddar (Hg)
Rosemary (My Garden)
Pecan Oil (Inglewood)

Beat the eggs with milk till fluffy, throw in the spinach, grate the cheddar, throw in the rosemary and salt. Pour it all into pan over medium high with about 2 tablespoons oil. Lift the edges of the omelette up to allow excess liquid to cook. Flip one side onto the other half when solid. Cook until brownish.

Guess what? Crystal is local! Pour a bunch of that on top and enjoy! I rounded my breakfast off with leftover zucchini scramble and sliced steak from the night before. I also have been drinking glasses of milk. I never drink glasses of milk. I can definitely feel a difference from the influx of dairy in my diet.

I also went back to Cleaver & Co. I had to! My friends wanted to check it out...and I'm obsessed. I bought a rib eye (vacuum packed to last longer) and some fried pig skin (they sold out of cracklins!) I'll try to resist another visit until I eat the meat already in my fridge.

I snacked on blueberries and a peach throughout the day, and ate the rest of my omelette for dinnerish...this is what I was afraid of. I get bored. I called La Divina to see what their local gelato or food dish was, but they didn't have anything on the menu yet. I wasn't starving, but really wanted ice cream! That's what being an adult means, right? Being able to have ice cream for dinner if you want?

I decided to go to Rouse's to check out their local selections. There was a vegetable stand when you first entered with cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. Most things I've already got at the farmer's market. I walked up and down the aisles, keeping my eyes peeled for their "Eat Local" signs. A lot of items in the store were labeled "Local" that I am not necessarily adhering to for the long term of the challenge. They are considering New Orleans brands to be local, like Zatarains and coffee brewed in New Orleans.

Being "Ultra-Strict", I am trying to limit my purchases to items that are grown within the radius, and produced with ingredients ONLY in the radius. This isn't necessarily hard, but it's boring. For the sake of research and not going crazy, I got some Abita root beer, Zapp's potato chips, and Kleinpeter's ice cream. I will not be making a habit of this (since I don't usually keep these things in my house anyway).

Day 3

Well, I certainly learned an important lesson today. Eat breakfast. Eat a big breakfast. Eat a WHOLE LOT of breakfast. I got to work at 7 am, and was going going going. Usually I am able to try this or that, drink the last of that smoothie, taste this juice. Wow, did that take some will power. I did drink a juice we made from local veggies from Inglewood farms, and my boss had me try the stuffing for our local acorn squash dish. I also brought some yogurt with strawberries with me, and I poured some of the juice into that. But that is significantly less food then I normally consume during a work day. And I got grumpy. If you know me, I'm not grumpy, especially at work.

I'm sorry yogurt, but you're just not that interesting without granola and stuff

Things I learned:

1. I eat a lot, all the time. Not being able to eat anything at anytime is making me see how much I do it on a regular basis. Fatty over hurr!

2. Dairy isn't the best for me. I'm feeling congested and flemmy from all the milk I've been drinking. Ew. (sorry for that).

3. If I keep eating this amount of dairy and meat, I gots to go to the gym. There is a lot of extra protein in my diet, and while I don't necessarily feel heavy (I actually feel like I've lost weight), I do think I need to do something with it.

I'm sure there was something else, but I'm having a hard time thinking cause I'M HUNGRY! I'm gonna head home and eat my delicious local meals from The Green Fork ! ;) wink wink. I'll be posting pictures throughout the week on our Facebook page, so check it out!

I may go try a local dish from one of the restaurants participating (hey, I'm really hungry)...has anyone had anything particularly super delicious yet? 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Zucchini Potato Hash • [recipe]

Today was rough. I almost felt in a daze all day. I made a salsa (recipe later) to bring to Nikki's birthday party. I was really low energy. I was hoping that I would consume more water, since its one of my only liquids option, but I just didn't drink anything at all, which isn't good for mah bod. 

I went to Cleaver & Co. this afternoon. I'm afraid this might be my new favorite place. I'm really afraid what the influx in meat consumption is gonna do to me. Because I want to eat it all. And the guys there are so friendly! I ended up riding home with short rib pastrami, beef shoulder, and summer sausage. I promised I'd be backing for cracklin (omgitssoamazing)

I snacked on local cheese wrapped in pastrami. I let my tea steep, made from herbs from Divine Garden (OC Haley). I made latkes and then threw some beef shoulder on the charcoal grill (as my neighbors grilled Brie, gaaaa be strong be strong).

I finished everything off with a large glass of whole milk from Hollygrove and am quite content and full. Now if only I could get the snacky monster to stop whispering about chocolate and goodies in my ear. Hmm...maybe someone will go to La Divina to get gelato with me...

Zucchini Potatoe Hash

1 zucchini (Hollygrove)
1 potatoe (Hg)
1 onion (Hg)
1/2 cup pecans (Inglewood)
Rosemary (My Garden*)
1 egg - lightly beaten (Cresecent City Farmers Market)
Pecan Oil (Iw)

Coarsly grate zucchini, potatoe, and onion on a box grater or in a food processor. Put mixture in mesh strainer and squeeze out moisture. 

Finely grate pecans with rosemary in food processor. Add to veg mixture in a bowl with egg. 

Heat oil in skittle and brown mixture. Season with salt

* I live in the middle of the city, in an apartment complex with a court yard. "My Garden" refers to the potted herbs and veggies I grow. Ill do a future post about urban gardening.

ELC Day 1

This morning I woke up, had a big glass of local tap water (ha!) and headed to the Crescent City Farmers Market. I got there a little late but was able to get a dozen eggs, a bunch of peaches, cilantro, pecan pieces, squash blossoms, and some local jellies.

I have a party to go to this afternoon, which will be quite a difficult first day (they're getting BBQ from The Joint). I'm going to make some sort of salsa thing with the veggies and cilantro. 

I need to find some basil so I can make pesto with the pecan pieces and oil. Ill eat it with zucchini and potato latkes. 

For breakfast I'm having non-fat Greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, peach, pecan pieces, and satsuma jelly. It's delicious but I feel like it would be healthier if I could add flax seeds and chia seeds. 

Any cooking suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Last night we had a fantastic meal at Cochon Butcher. I mentioned this was my last meal before doing the challenge, and they said everything was local! I'm afraid I'm gonna eat too much meat this month....