Eating

Sand 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.3.15 Running Hot & Cold

Sand between my toes is but a distant memory. The crunch of snow underfoot is what greeted me after my short vacation in Antigua. But I'm not complaining: I was lucky to get away and even luckier to return to my tiny cottage in the woods, my geriatric kitty, my cozy kitchen and everything I hold most dear and famliar. All the little routines—my meditation, watching birds in the yard while drinking my morning cup of tea, cooking dinner—these incremental steps in the journey of life bring me the most happiness. (Mary Oliver says it so much better.) I have some photos to illustrate the transition from island paradise to winter wonderland, and a few ideas for cold-weather cooking, and I've cobbled them together here into a long, image-studded meandering that ends in a recipe for duck confit that is so easy and so delicious you just have to make it.


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Beet 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.12.15 I Am Love

Don't go out for dinner on Valentine's Day. Unless you're on your own and just want to be defiant and sit at the bar somewhere twirling some delicious noodles on your fork and sucking down an excellent glass of red. Everybody in the world will be cinched into little black dresses, drinking overpriced bottles of Champagne, crowded into candlelit two-tops and contemplating fussy tasting menus. If you want to celebrate with your beloved, do it at home. That's where the true romance happens anyway, right? If you pour your heart into your cooking, you can really taste the love.


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Guac1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.6.15 Rock Your Guac (& a giveaway that's The Shizzle!)

You may remember that I was lucky enough to have spice wizard Lior Lev Sercarz create a custom blend for Glutton for Life and that it was duly dubbed "The Shizzle." And you may have entered last year's holiday giveaway to win a jar. And you may still be pining to try this deliciously piquant mix that is poised in flavor somewhere between Mexico and Thailand. I'm happy to be offering another 2 jars of this spectacular seasoned salt to my readers, so please leave a comment below by midnight on Friday 2/13 to be eligible to win. And to those of you who recently won a jar on Glutton for Life's Facebook page, read on for a recipe that makes great use of The Shizzle!


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Tonic1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.3.15 Sunshine Tonic

Aches and pains. Who would we be without them? Young, I suppose. But they remind us that our bodies are working organisms made up of tissue and bone and blood. And that we are constantly reacting to all kinds of external stimuli—from intense workouts and deep massages to freezing temperatures and air pollution. Do you know about free radicals? (No, they're not hippie GMO protestors.) These volatile molecules are everywhere and cause oxidation at the cellular level. This is largely responsible for inflammation in the body, which manifests as many unpleasant things, like arthritis, irritable bowel, and swellings and irritations of all kinds. Antioxidants are our allies in the fight against free radicals, which is why it's so important, among other practices, to eat lots of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. By this time, you've probably heard that turmeric—that bright yellow but otherwise mysterious Indian spice—is good for inflammation. Maybe you've even bought a bottle of curcumin tablets at the health food store. Yes? No? Either way, there's good information for you here.


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2 squashes 790 xxx
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1.27.15 Squash Your Cravings

I turned 52 last week. It seems like only yesterday I was confronting the milestone that is turning 50. As much as I believe that age is just a number—as opposed to something that defines us, inside or out—it can feel a bit alarming when the clichés become increasingly relevant. When I texted a friend recently to ask him how his photo shoot was going and he wrote back complaining about "the concrete floors," I had to chuckle. Until being out snowshoeing for hours in the freezing cold resulted in my knee suffering from what I think might be a little bursitis. Tell me that word doesn't conjure up your grandmother. How do I weather the changes? With a sense of humor, a healthy dose of denial and a stockpile of resilience. Which is not to say I don't occasionally stare aghast at the loosening skin on my neck. But I think Nora Ephron covered all that more than adequately and so I'd rather talk to you about another thing I stockpile: winter squash.


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a short film by gluttonforlife

1.20.15 Get Your Goat (& a short film by GFL TV)

I'm thrilled to debut a short film we made about goats. I hope it inspires you to learn more about these delightful creatures and to enjoy them in the fields and on your plate—remembering that, if you like goat cheese and goat's milk yogurt, you contribute to a more sustanainable system by eating goat's meat, too.

 

Here are a few recipes for cooking with goat's milk, cheese and meat:

Cajeta (Goat's Milk Caramel)

Phyllo Triangles with Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese

Birria Jocotepec (Mexican-Style Braised Goat)


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Tagged — Mexico, video, GFL TV, birria, goat
Bite 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.12.15 Resolve

My resolve to not eat chocolate and sweets has stemmed largely from an awareness that my body seems to be showing signs of irritation and inflammation. Since I started on a protocol of Chinese herbs about 5 months ago, prescribed for my diagnosis of "damp-heat in the liver," my chronic herpes and gallbladder issues have happily been steadily resolving. But a couple of months ago, I began to get persistent outbreaks—small red pimples and a few deeper cysts—around my mouth, chin and jawline. This is extremely rare for me as I take painstaking care of my skin, so I found it puzzling and upsetting. I still do. I cannot seem to pinpoint the cause or solution, but I have begun eliminating things from my diet—chocolate, nuts, sugar, alcohol, dairy and now citrus—and I'm treating the area with my homemade calendula oil, which does seem to calm things down. I'm sipping bone broth every morning, trying to increase my water intake, getting plenty of sleep and exercising more. But what about that chocolate cake? you ask politely. Yes, well, read on...


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1.6.15 Fresh Start

Happy New Year! On this day of Epiphany, the holidays are finally concluded with a resounding oomph. The weeks of chocolates, cookies, cakes, cheese, candies and Champagne (why do they all start with "C"?!) being relentlessly thrust upon us from all sides are finally over. I did my best to resist, but it's difficult not to buckle in the face of tradition. Who doesn't like a cup of eggnog on Christmas morning? Or a handful of sea salt caramels? Or a celebratory cocktail? Or a rich and complicated dessert to end a festive meal? I am not impervious to any of these charms, but the older I get, the more my body rejects them. I consulted a few different sources online and have determined that, in Ayurvedic terms, I have an excess of Kapha at the moment (you can read about the doshas here). So I have cut out all sugar and dairy, and am also avoiding fermented foods and soy. Even after just a week of this, I am feeling much better—more energetic, more optimistic, more rested. I have been making bone broths with fresh ginger juice and freshly grated turmeric stirred in; steaming bowls of kichari with a squeeze of fresh lemon; and lots of vegetables, roasted and steamed. For a treat, and to make the most of all the gorgeous winter citrus in my fridge, I devised an update of the Orange Julius that I think improves upon the original.


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Hoppin john 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.29.15 Get Lucky

Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year. Rice for riches and peas for peace. So goes the saying about Hoppin’ John, the classic Low Country dish of rice and peas that’s a New Year’s day tradition in the South. Consuming a plateful is thought to guarantee a prosperous year filled with good fortune. The peas symbolize coins and the greens served on the side—usually collards—recall good old dollar bills. Add cornbread and you’ve got gold. Culinary gold, anyway.

As much as I cling to the idea of a random universe, I'm actually pretty superstitious. I've lived my life in fear of tempting the Fates: Clotho, who spins the thread of life; Lachesis, who chooses one's lot in life and measures how long it will be; and Atropos, who with her shears cuts the thread of life. Like some old gypsy woman, I avoid calling attention to my good fortune or the things I covet most because I dread attracting the evil eye. I remember my mother telling me about a moment she had, an ordinary Northern California moment of driving the car along a sunny road, when she was seized with the notion that her life was so wonderful—perfect, really—and then felt a chill pass over her heart as she realized this must be too good to be true. Shortly thereafter, my father's stomach cancer announced itself and my mother's own battle with a benign tumor on her spine kicked into high gear.

I masquerade as a rational being, but deep within I harbor superstitions worthy of a medieval sorceress. I hold my breath and lift my feet when we drive over railroad tracks. I say "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" first thing on the first of every month. Because if there is such a thing as luck, I want some. What directs your hand to that winning ticket? Guides you into the path of your soulmate? Chance, fate, destiny, luck...I'll do whatever I can to tip the scale in my favor, won't you? So join me in embracing this bit of Southern lore on January 1st. C'mon, get lucky.


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Stock 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.17.14 Down to the Bone (and a Caramels Giveaway)

I fell down a deep well last week. G was away for a few days, it was bitter cold and night seemed to descend before each day had barely begun. A weighty cloak of despair settled over me as I sank into the couch in front of the dying embers of the fire. I questioned my purpose. I listened to the sneering voices that crowded my mind. I grew listless and small. I sent a text to my husband: I feel frightened and disconnected. And then I realized I had not left the confines of our tiny cottage in four days! I forced myself outside, spent nearly an hour chipping away with a shovel at the ice on our front stoop and then made it to yoga for the first time in a week. When I got home, I was a new woman. Light and movement had managed to penetrate that bleak darkness. Dear reader, I was SAD—as in suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It was no joke, but I am better now and committed to going outside every day, no matter what the weather has up its wicked sleeve. 

I'm also done with nuts, chocolate and sugar for the season. Enough! Those things are particularly bad for my constitution. They bring me down. Instead, I have stocked the fridge with pomegranates and sweet-tart clementines, a gorgeous block of Stilton and some fresh chestnuts. And, as always, nourishing bone broths. Don't you love it when something that has been around for millennia—fasting! kale!—suddenly becomes a trend? So it is with bone broths, which are on everyone's lists for "what's hot in 2015." 

Before we go any further, let’s consider how stock differs from broth, often merely a question of semantics. A general consensus seems to be that stock is a relatively clear, unsalted liquid made by slowly simmering bones and sometimes vegetables, which is then used as the basis for sauces and soups. Broth is a simple soup in itself, more highly seasoned than stock and perhaps containing bits of meat. In most recipes the two can be interchanged, though stock is more neutral, with its salinity, strength and seasoning dependent on how it will be used.


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