About six months ago I bought my first jar of coconut oil. It was about a year coming. I was dying to make something with it but never had a recipe in mind so held off buying some for a long time for fear of wasting it. After my first purchase of coconut oil, it continued to sit in the pantry for another several months, still no ideas flowing through my head.
Finally it was time to open the stuff. Baby steps. I cooked up some sautéed chicken with it. The second big step was granola. Replacing my standard canola oil with coconut oil in my simple granola recipe made the flavors burst. I was getting hooked. What happened if I baked with it? The Secret Recipe Club as always gave me a great base to experiment with.
Lately dinner has been a rush. Work is wonderful but stressful so late nights lead to quick fixes like burgers or mac & cheese or worse…takeout. Needless to say, I haven’t been cooking as much as I’d like. Which also accounts for the long periods of silence in between posts. I just haven’t been able to experiment with creating new recipes lately.
While dinner is a struggle, breakfast is something I’ve come to love and need. I used to be the person who never ate breakfast, went to work, maybe grabbed a cup of coffee on the way, and then didn’t put anything of substance in my stomach until about 1:30 or 2pm. Yet somehow when I started forcing myself to eat breakfast a few years ago, I became addicted and now need it to survive. On the occasional day I leave my apartment without food in my belly, I feel nauseous and dizzy on the subway ride in, until I’m able to finally fill that void. To avoid the drab bowl of cereal, I try to prep some foods on Sunday night to carry me through the week’s mornings.
It’s been a while since my last Secret Recipe Club post. Did you think I left them? Of course not! With so much going on during the holidays, it was decided that December and January would form one BIG month. Weeks A & B would reveal the first two weeks of December, then we’d all enjoy the holidays and customary post holiday food coma for a month, the C & D would reveal. So here we are, rounding out the double month with Week D’s reveal. February will be back to our regularly scheduled programming. Promise.
This month I was assigned Table for Seven. Erin is an amazing cook who has challenged herself to provide healthy, not from the freezer meals for her and her family. Oh, I’m sorry, you don’t think that’s too difficult? Hmm, well did I mention her family includes her and her husband plus FIVE kids? That’s where the Table for Seven comes from. I hardly have the time to cook for just my husband and I sometimes, so Erin, for cooking and still having the energy to share with us…BRAVO!
Considering the recent surge of strawberry recipes you probably assume I’m a strawberry fiend. Not true. Strawberries are a sign of spring, summer and harvest to come. I coo over them not because of love, but because what they represent and what will soon follow. Cherries are my true love. It pains me to see out of season cherries. Occasionally I’ll succumb to the pressure of deep red foreign cherries, toying with my eyes and stomach. My gluttony is rewarded with sourness and lack of flavor. Cherries are only good when ripe. Fresh and ripe. Off the farm ripe, not early picked and intended to ripen over the 3000 mile journey from California ripe.
I’ve already admitted to cheating the locavore thing with a few bananas a week. It’s just so easy to grab on the go and really fills me up. If I have a bagel with cream cheese in the morning I’m usually not hungry again until mid afternoon. Somehow a tiny banana has a very similar effect on me. And then there are those days that I forget about the bananas, not in the mood, or whatever, and we end up with black, dying bananas. I personally prefer my bananas a little under ripened, with flecks of green still on its skin, so as soon as those brown spots begin to appear, I’m turned off. But I’m not going to just throw them away. That would be sacrilegious. They might be fair trade, but they’re not local and the only thing worse than not eating local is buying something from thousands of miles away and not eating it. So I make banana bread or some form of.