What I’m eating

I really need to take my camera out of the cupboard… Having an Iphone has made me lazy about my food photography. Apologies for the following lackluster pictures. I thought I’d post a few pictures of meals I’ve made recently. Nothing too complicated, nothing heavy-it is the summer after all-and mostly locally sourced ingredients.

I’m becoming less moderate about my eating choices. I can’t continue learning about the food industry without make personal changes to what and how I feed myself. I’ll be elaborating on some of these thoughts over the coming weeks and months: suffice to say, it ain’t pretty. Environmental degradation, animal abuse, increased risks of viruses and diseases, waste, corruption, profit over human rights; the list goes on and on.

I’m taking a serious step in reducing my meat intake(including fish). I plan on only buying from sources I know provide acceptable living standards for their animals, and I will do my best to only frequent restaurants that do the same, unfortunately, there aren’t many. I will occasionally make exceptions, but my hope is that within a few months I won’t have to do that anymore. We’ll see how it goes. To a certain extent, to anyone who knows me, I’m reverting to my vegetarianism. Oh boy… I guess I’ll be cooking more than I already do. Hosting parties will have to be more frequent as well.

I bought porc and beef sausages from Valens farms, a cooperative of smaller farms that is doing its best to provide Quebecers with healthier and ethically superior food options. There were 3 small sausages, but that was enough to last me for 3 meals. One advice I always give to people who are considering cutting down on their meat intake is to prepare dishes where less is needed.

Here are a few things you can easily make at home:

1. A peach, arugula and goat cheese salad. We’re getting Ontario peaches in Qu├ębec at the moment and they’re wonderful. Mixing them with peppery arugula, adding a few crunchy and spicy slices of radish, and a tart goat cheese and you’ve got something that’s absolutely delicious. There are some toasted almonds in there too, for extra protein, and the full bodied nutty flavor it adds.

peaches, arugula, goat cheese, radishes

2. I bought these corn tortillas at the supermarket last week. They come in packs of about 30 and I’ve had to eat at bunch of different kinds of tortillas recently. The corn that they’re made of is also problematic, as it’s most likely a GMO crop… I’d rather avoid supporting the companies that produce such products, but I succumbed to my desire for something I hadn’t eaten in a long time. Anyways, these tortillas were filled with brown rice mixed with fresh organic corn I bought from a small farm just outside of Montreal, black beans, the above mentioned sausages, tomatoes and some coriander. The spicy paste I made with dried chipotle peppers I had that I soaked in rhum, and blended with tomatoes, roasted garlic, coriander and cumin seeds and some other things that escape me now. Tasty.

tortillas with spicy paste, and a filling of sausages, corn, black beans, tomatoes and coriander

3. This is a salad I was very pleased with. Simple but the ingredients worked very well together and its acidity provided the refreshing quality I was looking for after a sweltering day biking around town. I sliced apples, let them soak in a bit of lemon juice, added redcurrants, olive oil sauteed pieces of bread, sauteed slices of the sausages, sliced Parmesan and mixed all of it with an arugula and endive lettuce blend I prepared. The dressing was a mix of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, grain mustard, and sunflower oil.

I was quite pleased with this one: arugula, endive, redcurrants, apples, homemade breadcrumbs, Parmesan and sauteed sausages

4. I wish I had had more Feta for the following dish. It was a quick take on a greek salad: dried oregano, tomatoes, olive oil sauteed bread, red onion slices, kalamata olives, capers and the last remaining feta.

Wish I had had more Feta… pretty good anyways

Protein rich salad with Gizzards(optional ;) )

Lunch!

Ingredients:

Mixed salad greens: ideally something peppery and bitter
Sliced cherry tomatoes: seasoned with capers, salt and pepper, thinly sliced onions and olive oil
Boiled and butter and fresh rosemary sauteed cauliflower pieces
Large Parmesan slices: the bigger the better!
Toasted almonds
Boiled quinoa
Hard boiled egg

Option: thinly sliced confit gizzard. I highly recommend this but they’re not always easy to find, so an alternative of confit duck legs, sauteed chicken livers, braised lamb would work. A rich, full flavored and aromatic meat is best; especially if you find some nice bitter greens like dandelion leaves…

Vinaigrette:
Teaspoon dijon mustard
A bit of fresh thyme
About a tbls of sherry vinegar
About a tbls of olive oil
About 2 tbls of sunflower seed oil

This is a fresh but nutrient rich salad. Even without the meat, there’s more than enough protein in here to please your appetite. I’ve been exercising a lot lately and am looking for simple and fresher alternatives to heavier foods. This was a perfect lunch.

Gizzards:
Part of the digestive system in fowl, it’s an organ that’s not very common but seriously tasty. For those who’ve never tried it, the confit gizzards that I added to my salad bore no organ flavor that might dissuade some from enjoying them. There was none of that metallic and farmy flavor that’s sometimes found in kidneys and livers. They’re a richly flavored meat that’s nicely textured. Explore!

Picture taken from Paprikahead site. Thanks.

The summer sun and its ill effects

My mother is a moderate, sensible and lovely person. She’s a great communicator, is careful judge of character and approaches life simply and responsibly. She eats very well. Her diet includes lots of vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, grains and fruit. She eats fish and meat but doesn’t do so that often. She walks often and for long periods of time and has remained fit, lean and disease free for all of her 57 yrs.

There is one thing she does that drives me a bit crazy (well there are others, but for the sake of this article…). She is not moderate about skin care and sunscreen use; she’s a serial applier and a great believer in the stuff. Her concern about skin diseases caused by UV rays is rather surprising coming from such a moderate and reasoned person, and yet, perhaps my impression of her as such a hypochondriac when it comes to skin care is stubborn and naive. Excessive time spent under the warming rays of the sun are unhealthy. Yes, there’s vitamin D to be had, and that’s good, however, the UV rays remain something we should all be concerned about. And so, I think, that perhaps I’m the one who’s crazy not to give my skin the care it needs.

Recently, an American truck driver has been in the news for having a face that very clearly revealed the impact of the sun on our skins. Having sat for hours in the driver’s seat of trucks, the left side of his face received quantitatively higher levels of exposure than the right side of his face did. And look at what happened:

I mention this, because an article appears in the NYtimes today about taking sun exposure more seriously.

It’s worth reading:

Slathering on sunscreen, early and often, by JANE E. BRODY

Sorry buddy, NOT funny…

Don’t underestimate the dangers of sun exposure.