Health, Hedonism & All the Delicious Things In Between
Category Archives: The Balanced Diet
I didn’t think it was humanly possible. But after a month in Southern California, followed by a month of Cinco de Mayo recipe testing anticipation, followed by a week (Uno through Siete) of celebrating said holiday, I may have officially OD-ed on tortilla chips. I came to this realization on Sunday evening while I stood over yet another vat of homemade guacamole, wrapping yet another stack of corn tortillas in foil to get warm and toasty for fish tacos. Luckily the novelty of the situation (teaching a healthy Mexican cooking class in the comfort of my home!), coupled with the fact that I will never (not ever) OD on mashed avocado, meant that I still inhaled those ‘tillas like a champ. But all of this is to say: while usually I would serve up something like this, this or this … Continue reading
During my youth, I had a tendency to eat the same thing for lunch every day. Around the age of 6, I went through a tuna salad sandwich phase. And being the demanding creature of habit that I was, I would shame my mother into making one for my brown bag morning after morning until, three months later, I OD-ed and never wanted to see or smell tuna fish ever again. (Probably much to the relief of my Kindergarden classmates. That shiz is invasive.) The same thing happened with Nutella and Peanut Butter Sandwiches, then Turkey and Salami. And eventually, by my college years, when I had retired every weird sandwich combination in rotation, I even ruined Asian Chicken Salad for myself.
The poke bowl obsession hit me pretty early into my LA trip. While usually all I can think about are tacos and SugarFish when I’m on the West Coast, a little shop in Santa Monica won my heart and stomach, and would not let me go until I had tried every single one of their condiments. Alright, so that last part was self-imposed and was by no means a result of the pushy staff at Sweetfin Poke, though they were all fabulous people who showed no judgment when I ordered my salmon poke bowl with three out of five sauces on the side. For those of you whom I lost at tacos, here’s the deal. Poke is a Hawaiian specialty that’s a combination of diced raw fish and various Japanese-influenced seasonings. Really, it’s not all that different from a tartare. In bowl … Continue reading
I used to have a serious chicken tikka masala addiction. But it’s one of those dishes that once I learned the recipe (i.e. how much heavy cream went into that luscious tomato sauce) I couldn’t quite carry on life as usual, ignoring the likely cause of all those post tikka tummy aches. So I’ve taken to making my own bastardized version at home. The tweaks are easy, healthy, and would probably make your Indian grandmother wag her Sari in disapproval. But the end result hits all the notes a spicy comfort food should with half the effort and agony.
As I mentioned in my newsletter, a case of the stomach flu left me in a very unromantic state this weekend. Which meant poor Charlie was left no choice but to stay indoors eating this leftover healthy mac and cheese while I sipped bone broth and whimpered from the cold tiles of the bathroom floor. But despite this blip that left me off solid foods for a few days, what I’ve been craving lately is cheese. Warm. Gooey. Glorious cheese. Healthy? No. But necessary in frost-bitten February? In the words of the fictional Fargo-natives that Charlie and I binged on this weekend: you betcha.
One of the most enjoyable memories I have from writing my first cookbook was the research that went into the “Dating and Food” section. I interviewed a bunch of my guy friends to find out what they’d cooked for their dates in the past, and, if nothing, what they might cook for them in the future as a Utopian romantic meal. Their responses? Seared tuna, crusted salmon, and salads. Basically, your stereotypical white girl food. At the time, I was an omnivore. So my love of carbs and bacon, coupled with the feminist instincts of a self-righteous twenty-three-year-old, left me with only one conclusion: men are idiots.
One of the fun things about teaching is that it often reintroduces me to my own long-forgotten creations. And if it hadn’t been for my class at the Institute of Culinary Education in September, the inspiration for this Thai pumpkin curry recipe would have never meandered into my stomach. A few weeks ago I had the OMG honor of meeting Gretchen Rubin, one of my personal wellness heroes and the original gangster of happiness who inspired my project. When I got home from her talk, I paged back through her latest book about finding better ways to arm wrestle our habits into submission.
I know that it’s a beyond cliché thing to say the second week of September, but seriously, where the eff did the summer go? As many of you know, summer to me is the precious time I get to spend on Martha’s Vineyard. I got two good chunks in July and August, including Labor Day weekend. But somehow I managed to miss a lot of my greatest hit traditions. There was no Minemsha sunset. No bike ride to Art Cliff Diner. And most indicative of the comings and goings of the seasons, no Portuguese kale soup.