Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thanksgiving In A Mouthful & Long-Weekend Catch-Up

You remember that whole thing about me not eating dark chocolate? Yea? Well it's kind of happened. Kind of. I've been really good at not eating straight chocolate morsels - an epic feat considering Whole Foods now places chocolate covered walnuts, almonds, coconut, bananas, and sigh ginger in every visible corner possible - but I've reeeeeally been letting chocolate slide if it's hidden. Chocolate protein shakes? Merhhhh, not really chocolate per say, I'll eat it. Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream? First of all, whoever invented this stuff is satan. I've crushed about 8 servings in less than 24 hours. Remember what I said about added sugar making my beloved almond butter taste nast? That does not apply in this situation. Anyway, clearly I've let that slide as well.

Then there's Ka-Wow Cacao. Emily, there's chocolate in it's name....Yeah. I get that. But I was ravenous, pissy, and needed something fast that wouldn't completely destroy my intestinal cells. Enter Ka-Wow from stage left. Sweetwater Baking Company based out of Floyd, VA dropped these little beauties into my life when I needed them most. They must lubricate their baking equipment with crack because these things are that. good.
They're almost completely paleo (if you eat chocolate), withholding turbinado sugar. But look at that. Goji berries, almonds, seeds, heaven.

In addition to my acceptance of Ka-Wow Cacao under my "no-chocolate-for-40-days" challenge, I've also been "cheating" with Paleo Treats. Their brand tag-line is "Rations for the Driven". Why yes, Paleo Treats, I am indeed driven to consume your tasty Cacao Now treats on the reg. The ingredients in these babies are as follows: cacao butter, cacao powder, honey, natural roasted almonds, raisins, natural roasted pistachios, raw goji berries. Yes. I'm addicted. So here I am now deeming cacao an essential part of my diet EVEN (or especially) when I've cut out dark chocolate. They were excellent to chow down on after a grueling WOD and pre-long drive home. Of course I didn't shower before the latter. That is indeed sweat gleaming on my upper brow. I am quite disgusting.

The sole painted hand. Damn you
ambidextrous mavens. 
You may have been wondering where I've been and what I've been doing. I know my life adventures in the kitchen & at the box must be enthralling for you all. But it's been tech's spring break so I've been at home, relaxing, antique shopping, perusing the aisles of my beloved Whole Foods, eating way too much almond butter and coconut milk ice cream, watching food network, and, of course, cooking. But we'll get to the bulk of those recipes in later posts.

I am in love with being at home. Minus the fact that I forgot almond meal at my apartment and can't bake with my newly purchased cacao powder and cacao nibs. Grrr. But the kitchen is spotless, the oven - amazing, the plates - from like 1980 and super ugly, but beggars can't be choosers. Besides my pictures never look very attractive. Pitfalls of using a camera phone to document your culinary adventures.

My ooooold kitty cat, Misty, is at home and louder than ever. I'm pretty sure he's deaf now and so in order to be sure he's heard he meows like an alley cat much louder than before when his hearing was intact. He's special. You may be wondering, wait Emily, I thought you said Misty...isn't that a girls name? Why yes. You're so observant. Mr. Mist was my fourth birthday present. That means he is, drumroll please, 18 years old! Holy crap my cat is legal to vote! But back then I saw no reason that a boy cat couldn't have a girl name. Besides he was beautiful. If I had been a terrible stage-Mom owner I would have whored him out to cat modeling agents. But I was too young to know I would be able to rake in the cash that way.

Just kidding, I love my Misty and he's not very cat-like so he probably wouldn't come prancing for Whiskies or whatever the cat-food brand is with beautiful, lustrous cat-models. Whiskies sounds wrong. Whiskies actually sounds like a dream-world for my former jack shootin' self. Eh, I could probably make an exception now-a-days if a whiskies adventure park were to open. None of this makes sense or is relevant. Thanks for bearin' with me.

This post has taken me forever to finish writing and, for that, I apologize. I'm back at my apartment now though so things can and will get back to normal. Home was, as I mentioned before, wonderful. I absolutely detest Northern Virginia/DC traffic, but luckily I've moved a bit further out into the sticks. I cannot even begin to explain how horrendous the traffic is though. I lost it the first day I was back. I drove out to Springfield to get some meat and had to take the beltway. On the way back I was so pissed about my experience at the butcher (which I'll get to in a second) that I absolutely lost my sh*t on the phone with Mark after hitting literally 7 potholes in a row. I seriously think my alignment is probably f*cked on my car now, but whatever. I don't wanna drive anymore anyway.

Back to the butcher. So I drove out to Springfield, VA which sucks and I'm sorry if you live there. I would kill people if I had to deal with that traffic and the obnoxious a$$holes in the parking lots. And your butcher. The butcher has, unfortunately, been a dying breed. I think they'll be making a comeback soon as the demand for sustainable, local, grass-fed meat HOPEFULLY rises, but we'll wait and see. This butcher looked legit. They had venison which I was super excited about and so I drove through hell and back to get there. I'm an annoying customer. Why? I ask a ton of questions. I prefer the term informed, but this woman who definitely ran the place saw me as annoying. Here's what I came to learn about this disappointing butcher shop:

A. Their deer meat was farm-raised. Um, I'm sorry...come again? I didn't even know farm-raised deer existed, nonetheless that people actually paid for that sh*t. Thanks to stupid people in charge of fishing and wildlife control over the past several years we have an outrageous deer problem. Luckily with the advent of the automobile we discovered a new, albeit awfully dangerous, way to help control populations. There are other ways as well but I don't feel like giving an ecology lesson at the moment. Ok, so problem 1 - farm-raised deer = no utilization of wild deer populations, which I'm guessing have better meat qualities than these farm-raised weirdos. I think a deer farm is weird. You should too. Problem number 2 - guess what farm-raised deer get stuffed full of? You guessed it! GRAIN. Do I need to explain any further? Good. Apparently this sh*t is normal at Springfield Butcher. Not for me.

B. We go for quality, not locality. I asked where the meat they sold was from. When the woman said the Mid-West I asked if they had anything local and that was the response I got. I'm sorry but locality carries a HUGE connotation of quality to me. The frozen ground beef I've gotten from my beloved Ayrshire Farm sh*t on the ground beef I eventually purchased from this god-forsaken butcher and it was FRESH. Oh and if you're going to make a claim about quality, I would suggest not saying...

C. Almost all of our meat is grain-fed. Excuse me? So you're trying to claim that your meat has a higher quality than that which would have come from a local source, yet those suckers are grain-fed? MOST LIKELY in a CAFO?? (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). This woman seemed appalled that I not only requested locally raised meat but grass-fed as well? Who did I think I was? An informed consumer, b*tch. That's who. I'm not going to go around just eating meat because it's placed in front of me and looks pretty. That's not who I am. We have a serious problem in our country of over-consumption, environmentally damaging livestock operations, and animal welfare. PLEASE, I beg of you, become an informed consumer and don't just buy what appears to be sustainable, quality meat.

Luckily, they ended up having some ground beef that was grass-fed and not too far removed from the local area. Guess what Springfield Butcher? I've had better. There. I said it.

After that rant it's only fair I give you this recipe. I made it before I went home and I was out of meat. This sh*t filled me up oh so well. Brought me back to my vegetarian days. Then the next day I was ravenous for meat. Thus leading to the butcher fiasco. Moral of the story? Always keep your meat stockpiled in that freezer, I tell you what. This stuff tastes like Thanksgiving in your mouth though. It's excellent. Adapted from the lovely kitchen over at Multiply Delicious. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving In A Mouthful: 
Makes about 2-3 servings
  • 1 head of cauliflower, washed, and cut into florets
  • 3 to 4 small to medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place cauliflower and carrots in a steamer basket in a large pot with boiling water almost touching the bottom of the basket, steam until soft (about 10 to 12 minutes, test with fork).
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in non-stick skillet on medium heat. Olive oil really works well with the fresh herbs here so I'd recommend sticking with it.
3. Saute the sweet onion, garlic, and herbs until onion is translucent.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
4. Place steamed cauliflower and carrots into a food processor. My food processor is tiny and I had to switch to my smoothie maker, but either will do. Add the sauteed onion, garlic, herbs, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Process until smooth. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
5. Garnish with additional fresh thyme or rosemary and enjoy that party in your mouth! Hopefully you do a better job of garnishing than I did. It looks like there's rosemary growing out of orange slush. 
Now a brief photo-dump to address some of what I'd been doing at home.

Mark all dyed-up at work trying to get Elle
to stand on a large barrel of some sort.
Crack. Needless to say I crushed these with
my mom in 2.4 seconds. She seemed shocked
that I consumed 90% of the package in one
sitting. Clearly she doesn't read this blog enough...

Mmmm Whole Foods omelette bar. Spinach,
salmon (weird, won't be doing that again),
tomatoes, onion, and I forget what else.
Obviously grape chia kombucha as well!

CREEEEEEPY baby doll head chillin at
the antique shop. I love creepy stuff like this.
Antique pilot helmet. Seriously considering
going back to this store and buying this. It's
so awesome. And I look so ridiculous. Don't mind me..

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