Archives for January 9, 2014

New Year’s Resolution – Create Your Own Food

New Year’s Resolution – Create Your Own Food

The new year is upon us. With it comes a new set of goals and resolutions, hopes and promises. Unfortunately the same ten or fifteen pounds is still hanging around. Gyms will be filling up this month and people will be abstaining from the delicious fatty foods that they love all in an attempt to make up for the holiday gluttony. The reality is that most of us will not keep the resolutions that we made. Those resolutions are not made to help us start the new year right; they’re made to help us justify eating pie every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. And that’s OK. You’re not going to better yourself by making faulty promises or outright lies and then feeling guilty when you don’t follow through. All any of us really want is happiness. The trick is to be happy with who and what you are, in whatever situation you find yourself. And the trick to that is to be honest. It’s OK that your butt has grown over the last year. You can shrink it if you want to, but big butts are cool too!

I have found food to be the catalyst to making life better. It makes perfect sense, really. You have to eat food to live. If you take control of your food, you take control of your life. That doesn’t mean eating diet food; fake food makes a fake life!

Resolution: Eat real food. Create your own food.

It’s very easy to plow through a pint or two of ice cream when all you have to do for it is stroll through the frozen food isle at the grocery store. Try making your own; take the time to do it right and you will savor every last spoonful. When you create your own cuisine you know and control what goes into it. You learn to think about what goes into your body. You will take pride in what you make, what you eat, and by extension, what you’re made of. My diet consists of literally anything that I want to eat; but I make most of it myself.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to keep a garden. If that seems too intimidating, start with a few potted herbs. By seeing them grow and being responsible for keeping them alive you will be more compelled to use them. Which means you will cook more. And by using fresh herbs you will cut the need for salt and fat- a sprig of fresh rosemary packs a lot of flavor. Lemon zest is a great way to add a bright flavor and enhance the other ingredients of your dishes. Try making your own pizza dough; top it with olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh herbs, lemon zest, a little salt and pepper, and some freshly ground Parmesan cheese. It will be better than anything that you could get delivered, at a tiny fraction of the cost, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it! Here are a few recipes that take advantage of herbs and spices for flavor. But remember: don’t deprive yourself of the food you like, empower yourself by learning how to create it on your own. That knowledge will go a long way. If you knew what went into making the food that gets passed through the drive-thru window, you would drive right past.

Pomegranate Roasted Lamb

  • 3-4 lb. lamb leg meat
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2-3 sprigs of marjoram
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 oz pomegranate juice
  • 8 oz red wine
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 shallots, diced

Combine the lamb with the coriander, marjoram, rosemary, cardamom, white pepper, juice and wine. Marinate for at least a few hours. Heat oven to 325˚ Heat up a roasting pan or tagine, add the oil. Sauté the onions and garlic until they start to get a bit of color, add the lamb and caramelize slightly on all sides. Add the liquid, loosely cover and move to the oven. Cook until tender, about 1½ hours.

Arugula Cranberry Salad

  • 1 oz. pure cranberry juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp lavender
  • 6 oz. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 lb. fresh arugula
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach
  • 2 TBS each: chopped, fresh basil, parsley, marjoram
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Whisk together the juices, vinegar, mustard, ginger and lavender. Slowly whisk in olive oil, season to taste. Toss with arugula, cranberries, pecans and cheese.

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