Wednesday Food Post… it’s coming back!

I miss the old WFP, don't you? Its absence hasn't been for lack of cooking. Here I am, though, committed to cook/prep/experiment with one of my very best friends every Wednesday afternoon through the evening, and I realized it was a sign! A sign that I need to get back into writing regularly about this whole eating thing we love so. Katy, my bff since we were 15, and her sweet baby Zachary Owen (hereby known as "ZOG"), are going to be recurring characters in this series. Perhaps I can do a proper intro next week. Katy is my partner in crime in so many ways, but we also (along with her partner Ross) co-own the land that we'll soon be moving to. We aim to grow old and miserly together, all while eating delicious grub and doing yoga into our 90s. It's not often that you get that kind of simple and beautiful connection with people, and I aim to do it right- with lots of bacon fat, of course!

I figure I'll give you a little catch up session, and then we'll go from there. Jeff's restrictive diet has abruptly ended, although it was fairly successful we think. We are still eating according to the same principles we always have, although Jeff has learned that he needs to pay attention to his gut more (lots of fermented veggies and probiotics for him), and he also has found that green tea is very helpful in keeping digestive shenanigans at bay. Interesting, right? In general we are emphasizing the following things:

-Whole, organic, simple, unprocessed food
-Good fats (butter, lard, coconut oil, etc)
-Very few/properly prepared grains (when we do eat them we're going for fermented/soaked/sprouted)
-Bone broth, lots of it.
-Adding in valuable foods like gelatin, cod liver oil, bee pollen, raw honey, etc.

We've been doing this for a while, but it's nice to have Jeff on board. He's always been cooperative, but lately he seems to *get* what I've been doing all this time. It's very gratifying to be so on-the-same-team these days.

Pictured above is a variation on a simple taco. Only I think I made the "tortilla" out of coconut flour? Not sure… I think it was coconut flour and a lot of egg whites. Also, Katy and I made another tortilla incarnation out of cauliflower. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of that one. Both of these things were simply delicious. I think there is a lot of promise in the grain-free-tortilla department, which is very reassuring because I LOVE a simple taco like no other thing. It's one of my favorite meals- savory meat, crunchy vegetable, zesty sauce, all in a warm wrap… it scratches an itch.

Back about a month before Thanksgiving, my little sister and I were talking with my mom about our strong opinions regarding turkey. Essentially we thought it was done all wrong and has been poorly treated. People are stuck in a turkey rut! They think they have to have this classic roasted big golden bird as a centerpiece. Our thinking- it should be cut up and slow cooked… something other than the dry sad version that we cover in gravy and potatoes each year. We both nodded our heads in self-righteous agreement, and my wise mother smiled and said "Great! Turkey can be YOUR job this year!"

Clara and I took the challenge, and I must say it was humbling to take on the job. I've done a lot of cooking, but never something like *the* Thanksgiving turkey. Not to mention, with all my talk about how it's always dry and sad, I simply HAD to get it right. So we researched and prepared, and we went for it.

After much deliberation, we determined that a serious brining was in order. We brined this sucker for over a day in a salt/sugar/rosemary/orange peel/bay leaf/cider concoction that smelled so good we both had to taste it (before the turkey went in, of course). Word of wisdom: tasting the brine was a mistake… way too salty!

The verdict? It was the best turkey I've ever had. Ha! We ended up going with Alton Brown's recipe (we watched a whole food network episode on it, I think it was called "Romancing the Bird"), so all credit goes to him. No slow cooking, actually the opposite. Brine, high temps, covering the breast with foil part way through the cooking. I learned that the breast is better at a lower temp than the legs and thighs. Also, no stuffing! It sucks the juice out and is a big bacterial no-no. Makes sense, really. Make the stuffing on the side, and fill the bird with onion, apple, cinnamon stick, etc. Amazing! It was juicy all the way through, full of flavor, perfect. This was a tougher heritage bird, too. We might have to make the turkey from now on, but it's worth it.

For another family gathering I made a squash pudding with a blue heirloom pumpkin called a "Velvet Lady".

Shredded brussels sprout salad with carrots, bacon, balsamic vinegar, dried cherries.

One of my favorite meals, I've realized, is one of the simplest. Fresh baby lettuces and greens, some kind of meat (leftovers or something) and maybe some sauteed mushrooms, fermented veggies, an over easy or a soft boiled egg, and maybe a little shredded cheese. Salt and pepper. A simple breakfast salad, kind of. We eat this all the time, and more often when we had lots of extra greens after market. I love it.

Lately without internet I've been much more focused on finishing projects. I recently organized and consolidated all my spices.

I even made little labels. Yup. I did.

Jeff had a birthday a few days ago and so I made him a cake. But of course I am just not a baker and can't be bothered to follow recipes, so I just went for it. This cake may never be repeated, but the best way to describe it is like the banana version of carrot cake. Very moist and good! It had blueberries, walnuts, coconut flour, mashed bananas, gelatin… Oh I don't remember. But then I made cream cheese maple frosting and topped it with this chocolate almond coconut yum that we got for Christmas.

And that brings us up to tonight. Katy and I decided to make simple chili and cornbread. Katy has made a grain-free all purpose flour, which I hope to make soon. We followed this recipe, although no psyllium husk, and subbed shortening with lard. Really good! Totally worked. A little crumbly (which I think is what the psyllium husk helps with?), but I didn't mind at all.

Until next week!

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