I've had an interesting year in regards to overall health and awareness. I started CrossFit classes in April at TJ's Gym in Marin as I felt that even though my eating habits were somewhat under control, I was not happy with my body image and as I am not getting any younger, I knew I needed to get a regular workout into my life. Yes, the workout is hard, but I can't imagine going back to any other kind of workout situation now--it would be all mind numbingly boring.
The reason I mention TJ's is that shortly after starting the workout, I realized that many folks who seek out greater health benefits in the gym environment have a difficult time getting around the nutrition aspect of the whole deal. There are a few ways to come to total body health and none of them include eating poorly. So, starting with this post, I am going to start putting up what I send to a few email recipients on a regular basis regarding food. The recipes and insights I will share with you follow the Paleo style of eating with some notes and anecdotes either directly stolen from or inspired by Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon which follow the tenants of the Weston A. Price Foundation. All of the recipes should assume that the ingredients are organic and locally sourced and I will talk about how or why they are not if the case exists. I would LOVE feedback and comments and tips from any and all readers.
So to begin, I made this last night:
This curry sauce seemed endless to put together, but the results are WELL worth it--trust me, I was dubious about halfway through and then I tasted the end result and almost just poured a glass of it for myself. I recommend enlisting a partner to help get the prep work done for it. By myself it took just under an hour to put together. The upside is that I have this amazing sauce to put into and on everything for a couple of weeks, you can be sure it will turn up in the next few posts.
GREEN CURRY PASTE from Simply Ming, by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm
Makes 4 cups so half it if you won't go bonkers with it over the next couple of weeks
5 dried Thai chiles or 5 fresh Serrano chiles (I used 3 serranos in case it got too hot for the kids--could have gone the full 5)
2 TBSP cumin seed
5 TBSP coriander seed
2 TBSP black peppercorns
2 TBSP kosher salt
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 tsp. turmeric
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger or galangal (a stronger tasting ginger)
1/3 cup minced garlic
3 lemongrass stalks, white parts only, minced
8 kaffir lime leaves or grated zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup lime juice
.1/2 cup Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 cup medium shallots, sliced
13/4 cups Asian peanut oil or sunflower oil
In a small, heavy skillet, combine the chiles (whole), cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns and heat over med. heat, stirring occasionally, just until the spices tart to smoke, about 6 min. Using a spice grinder, grind the spices (you can chop the chile up a little for this) until fine and set aside.
Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with ice water. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the cilantro, basil, and mint, and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the bowl of ice water. Drain, squeeze to remove as much water as possible, and set aside.
In a food processor, combine the turmeric, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves/zest, lime juice, and fish sauce and process to make a smooth puree. Add the shallots, reserved spices, the 2 TBSP of salt, and the blanched herbs and puree again. With the machine running, drizzle in the oil to make a paste. Mine came out a little more like a sauce so I've reduced the original oil amount down for you. Feel free to make it to the consistency that works best for you. I found I didn't need any more salt or pepper, but, again, taste and adjust as necessary.
I used the sauce in the CHICKEN BURGERS
1.5 lbs. ground dark meat chicken
.5 cup Green curry Paste
1 large ripe tomato
Combine the sauce with the meat until just combined and let marinate for at least 30 min. but no more than 2 hours. Form into patties and grill on high heat about 4-5 min. a side. I served with Gluten-Free (udi's) buns, but honestly they tasted better by themselves on a nice tomato that had been lightly salted.
CELERY ROOT FRIES
Preheat oven to 425. Cut Celery root into fries. Drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt. Put into single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 30-40 min. turning over occasionally so they brown evenly.