Thursday, February 28, 2013

Asking the hipster to leave
(or my failed relationship with kale).

Kale is that hipster in the ugly sweater we've all told ourselves we adore. Interesting and dark. A little tough. A little sensitive. Promotes biodiversity. Sticks around your fridge for way longer than he was invited. And quite frankly, he's a little bit of a jerk.

The last two days, I've dressed my Kale up and down, added some honey, balsamic it was ok, then tried it with cashews, red peppers and cheddar, then paired it up with sun dried tomatoes. But still, I find that it doesn't hold dressing quite like romaine and doesn't complement other veggies quite like spinach. I think its time we kick kale out of the party and make some room for the other leafy greens.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Butcher's Daughter

Since starting to eat clean, I've felt amazing. Digestive issues I didn't know I had have vanished, I have more energy, and my skin looks fabulous, however, there is one sacrifice I have made that has ignited a flicker of sadness in my heart. This is flicker is caused by the omission of one solitary item I am lacking in my diet -- a juicy, rare, meaty beef burger. Now, I do recognize that I have maybe but one burger every other month, but the thought of not being able to indulge in a thick, rare patty with cheese on a brioche bun on any given day has caused me much distress. For the most part, these days, I have almost completely eliminated meat from my diet for fear of what might lie within (see yesterday's post). But, as a butcher's daughter, meat has always been at the center of nearly every meal, it was my family's livelihood, and my earliest memories are in the back room of my dad's butcher shop happily playing with Barbie just a few feet down from the meat locker. Each time I've pondered going vegetarian, I could not face the disapproval that was sure to come from my father, as well as the horror of never having a burger again!

My pseudo-vegetarianism as of late, though, really comes from a lack of options at restaurants -- and a lack of an industrial meat grinder in my tiny two room apartment. If I'm going to eat beef, its going to be organic, anti-biotic free, grass fed and from the happiest, most well fed cow that ever grazed this earth. And last night, I dined at an organic carnivore's haven, Bareburger in NYC. Everything, from the burgers right down to their sodas and ketchup (ketchup!) are made in house and are GMO free, organic, anti-biotic free, and sustainable.

We started our evening with fries, spicy fried pickle spears and every dipping sauce you could ever want. It was absolutely delectable, and the pickles were encrusted in cornmeal, juicy, sweet and spicy. The burger was heaven, I had a grass feed, anti-biotic free bison burger topped with maple caramelized onions, applewood smoked bacon, avocado and pepper jack cheese -- clearly I went knee deep in burger. My one criticism would be on the construction of the sandwich, the toppings-to-burger ratio was way off in a way that made it difficult to eat. I was not lacking for burger at all, but avocado became the casualty of my inferior jawline. But it was not a bad problem to have. The all natural, organic house-made sodas were also sweet and fresh tasting and had no added coloring or preservatives. I will definitely be dragging friends here soon!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Horse Meat

After reading on Serious Eats that a number of other vendors (Including Burger King and Ikea) have recalled their beef (including those delicious little meatballs!) after being found containing high percentages of horse meat. Here's the link which includes two other food-policy related highlights.

The article goes to state that they traced this meat back to a plant in Ireland. And I've decided, I don't want to eat meat that has to be "traced." I've been feeling removed from my food, and perhaps that is what has mostly sparked this desire to change what I'm eating. In my home, food is how we bond and care for one another. Its something personal and deeply engrained in tradition, and often times, you're only as good as the last meal you cooked. But the traditions we have are rooted in a time when we took care of our food and knew exactly where it came from. My grandmother in Croatia still tends her own chickens and grows her own potatoes and asparagus. When its time to you, you slaughter the hen and dig in the yard. Food didn't have a connecting flight with a 3 hour layover to get to your table; it was in your backyard.

Now I don't intend by any means to turn my tiny Manhattan apartment into a chicken coop, but I want to start relationships with the farmers. I met a man who raises cattle upstate, and he looked so proud as he spoke about his cows and the different cuts of meat he had brought with him to the farmer's market. There was no horse meat in his cooler.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Coming Clean

It has been 2 weeks, 2 days and about 17 hours since I decided to go clean (but who's counting?) And the journey, so far, has not been as emotionally or mentally challenging as I thought it would be.

This life change of mine was catalyzed by a documentary I stumbled upon on Netflix while searching for cooking shows. The documentary (Fresh) focused on the food industry in America and how our vegetables are altered and the animals we eat are kept in filth and pumped up with antibiotics to keep them alive. I started to do some research, and the more I read, the more I realized I needed to take charge of what I put into my body.

So here I am, taking charge and making changes, and sharing my journey and any knowledge I pick up along the way.