Why hello again. Apologies for being gone so long. I haven’t exactly had writer’s block. Life just happened. Distractions, meetings, and such. I’ve been working long hours at my job for the last couple of weeks, trying to catch up on work after my Seattle jaunt, and since I have to write so much during the day, sometimes I am overtaken by the need to zone out for a while after hours. This all sounds like an excuse. What I meant to say is…Sorry I’ve been gone. I’ve missed you. And I’m back.
After my last post, I feel like I should post something rather cheery. And the title of this post may certainly suggest that I will do such a thing. But over the weekend, a dear friend suffered a horrific tragedy, one that made me want to hold on to everyone I love with a vise-like grip. Life right now feels a bit heavy, and as Will Ferrell would say, “This may sound like gibberish to you, but I think I’m in a tragedy.”
It reminds me of my brief time in West Africa, where the year is marked out according to rainfall… La saison seche et la saison des pluies. The rains began shortly after I arrived and continued on after I left. I probably saw the sun less than a week total. But the people I met there were accustomed to the moodiness of the land, and knew that the rainy season would pass. Life is punctuated by tragedy, and sometimes the punctuations don’t seem to be fairly spaced. The impermanence of life is one of its harshest realities and greatest gifts: terrible things happen, but they pass. And when they pass, we get back to living.
And in my life, getting back to living means good times (translate: good meals) with loved ones, or as I’m often apt to do, by one’s self. NPR and I got to spend one full day together this last weekend, and it was wonderful. The city smiled on us with sunshine and 70-degree weather. NPR did not smile, since–due to his polar bear tendencies–he tends to melt when the thermostat rises above the 60′s (that would be Fahrenheit, apologies to the Centigrade audience). We frolicked in Piedmont Park, were amazed at the astounding Bodies exhibit in Atlantic station, and topped off a perfect day with a delicious meal at Cakes and Ale. Sound familiar? Readers of Bon Appetit? As much as I would love to show you what we ate, I neglected to bring my camera and have nary a picture to share. I will tell you that this restaurant deserves the accolades it received in Bon Appetit. Although if I had to choose between Cafe Alsace and Cakes and Ale (both housed in the charming downtown Decatur), I think I might have to side with my little bit of France. In Georgia. I know that sounds weird.
And breakfast? You didn’t mention breakfast!
Did you even have to ask?
Apologies for the photo quality–this was one of those instances where the dish looked so scrumptious that I scrambled to take a shot as quickly as possible and then dove into the dish, hoping in vain that the picture turned out. Not so much.
A little better. Oeufs en Cocette, courtesy of the lovely Coco at Roost. I followed the recipe with a few exceptions: (1) I swapped rainbow chard for swiss, and (2) I used these lovely baby heirloom tomatoes from Melissa’s. A wonderful breakfast with two thumbs up from the boy. And if you haven’t visited Roost yet, I encourage you to stop by. Coco’s recipes are both delicious and healthy, and her entries make you feel like you’ve been invited over for coffee and are sitting down for a chat in her kitchen.
And for the “Green” bit of this post title…I decided to treat myself to a green juice the other day. Yes, that’s right…I equate veggie juice to a treat. If you have heard about Kris Carr, you’re probably familiar with her mantra to “Make Juice, Not War.” Kris, the late Jack LaLanne and many others are big promoters of juicing, mainly for its nutrient benefits and high digestibility. I particularly love green juice since it takes away the icky relish factor that can arise when you try to replicate green juice recipes in smoothie form. Given that I’m shy of a juicer and an unlimited food budget, I do have a few personal juicing caveats:
1. Only every now and then. Juicing is expensive, whether you own a juicer or you purchase from a juice bar. It takes an incredible amount of produce–especially if you are juicing greens–to squeeze out 8 ounces of juice.
2. Only after workouts. In green smoothies, the presence of fiber, fat, and protein (if you add a supplement) prevents a spike in your blood sugar following consumption. Since the fiber has been strained out in the process of juicing, all juices–including green ones–will cause your blood sugar to increase considerably. Your body is best prepared to handle this spike following a workout, this this is the time that you are most sensitive to insulin.
Again, these are just my personal guidelines for juicing. Feel free to use or discard them. Either way, I do encourage you to give green juices a try. No juicer? Do it on the cheap, à la me. Blend, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Here is a recipe I made up the other day:
1. Separate kale leaves from stalks. Place leaves in blender. Add 1/2 cup water and blend. If the blender gets stuck, add more water. Continue to blend until relatively smooth.
2. Core the apple and add piece by piece to your green juice. Blend. The texture will thicken considerably, so feel free to add more water to increase blend-ability. Continue to blend until smooth.
3. Strain mixture through fine-mesh. It may be useful to use a spoon to press the mixture against the mesh and get as much juice as possible. Pour extracted juice into mason jar, mug, martini glass, etc.
4. Squeeze lemon juice into your juice and stir. It really makes a difference to use Meyer lemons…they are naturally very sweet!
5. Drink immediately, or chill for ~15-30 minutes. I personally prefer mine lightly chilled.
6. Enjoy. Smile. Pay it forward.