Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OhFeelYa's Easy...Dinners--Lamb Chops and Sauteed Bok Choy, Cabbage, and Leeks

OhFeelYa's still here, and still easy (just kidding, Mom!). Still full of easy dinner ideas. Now that we've made it through the great winter of pork and potatoes, I'm trying to get more veggies in around here. My silly husband, who would attend the Church of Bacon if such a thing existed, is also a great lover of lamb. I got these pretty little chops last Saturday from a vendor at the Chestnut Square Farmer's Market in McKinney, Texas, but you could use beef fillet or pork chops or something similar . Btw, the farmer's markets are open again! Please go support your local farmers and meat producers! (Just make sure you ask each vendor where the produce comes from and if chemicals are used.)

Anyway, I was in a hurry this week, so the lamb just got sprinkled with a little salt, a lot of pepper, and allowed to sit out for a minute to take the chill off.

While the lamb was warming up a little bit (I think it browns more evenly when it's closer to room temp), I hunted around in the veggie drawer to see what needed to be used. I had a leek and three perfect little bok choy as well as the heel of a head of purple cabbage (the rest was sacrificed to the fish taco gods a couple of days ago). I chopped it all up, along with a couple of cloves of garlic, and put the leek and cabbage into some bacon grease with salt and pepper to cook down a bit. I waited to add the bok choy because I just wanted it wilt a bit, not turn into mush.

So here's another something I learned in the last six months or so about searing meat especially: let your pan get HOT. I've always been a bit scared of overheating the pan, and because of that, I never really got a good sear on anything, much to my husband's chagrin (he enjoys his meat blackened on the exterior and basically raw on the interior). Don't fear the hot pan. It's your friend. I put the pan over medium heat, let it get good and hot, and then I added ghee for the lamb to cook in. As soon as the ghee melted, I tossed in the lamb chops. Since my espoused likes his lamb with a dark sear but still quite rare, so I keep my heat in the medium/medium-high range. Flip the lamb when it's brown enough, and keep a close eye on it. If you want to cook it a bit, turn the heat down when you flip it.

While the lamb rested, I added a bit less than 1/4 cup of cider vinegar to the cabbage mix, tossed in the bok choy, and put a lid on that pan. The great thing about this veggie recipe is that it's good with cabbage and onion, brussel sprouts, and other greens. A tiny bit of bacon grease does add great flavor, but you could easily use your favorite oil or shortening and a sprinkle of smoked salt to get the desired effect. (Go easy on the smoked salt. It's potent stuff.)

Attempted pretty picture (I'm not awesome at plating).

I try to take pretty pictures for you all. Really. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not so much. I thought I'd try to take a pic of a normal portion, and it's so-so. However, the picture below, of what my husband actually ate, actually turned out better.
What this basketball-sized plate really looked like just before my hubby ran off with it.
If I could just get him to let me leave out the bacon grease, this is a reasonably decent meal, health-wise (if you only eat half of the amount in this picture). So it's easy to do something different for dinner, get your veggies in, and clean out that veggie drawer. 

Recipe is after the break...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Foodie Confessions...

So, since this is a food blog, I sort of feel compelled to report on all the parts of my life touched by food. Goodness knows, I love me some food. If you've met me, the food-lovin' evidence is pretty clear. I'm big(ish) and beautiful, for sure. I'm a size twelve, I do yoga about four times a week, and I skate regularly.
My and my niece, Christmas the Giant Bunny
I've spent my entire adult life having, like lots of other folks, a complex relationship with food. I love it. I hate it. I think about it a lot. It's my solace, my friend. It's my worst enemy some days. It's a great creative outlet. It's my addiction.

People in our country don't want to hear about food addiction. I've heard it said that it is less shameful in America to have a heroin addiction than it is to be fat. I've seen my own students express sympathy for an alcoholic in one moment and, in the next breath, express distain for a overweight individual, not seeing any similarity between the two. However, research has shown that some elements of food can trigger a similar response in the brain that opiates do. That sucks a lot if you have an addictive personality.

I never really understood why drug addicts and alcoholics couldn't "suck it up" and "exert some will power" regarding their addictions until I found myself binging on fast food in my car week after week about seven years ago. Immediately, self-loathing would set in, and I would promise on everything sacred that it was the last time I would hide out and overeat. I'd never do it again. Less than twelve hours later (sometimes more like two), I'd find myself back in the same place, hating, hating, hating the food and myself and everyone and everything while I ate.  I was worse than any drunk who just can't stay away from the bar.

Food is super weird. You can't quit it cold turkey. You can't avoid places that serve it. If you have struggles with it, you still have to deal with it every day, multiple times a day.

Around Christmas time that year, I just couldn't take it anymore. I was researching food addiction on the Internet when I came across the website for Overeaters Anonymous. I stumbled into my very first Twelve-Step meeting a few days later, sobbing that no one was going to love my fat ass ever again, and I fell into the best place I've ever been. The last seven years have been up and down for me with my food issues, but I've made some progress, and I've never, ever felt as miserable and alone again as I did that Christmas.
I know a lot of folks are skeptical about food addiction. Even more are skeptical of Twelve Step programs. I'm not here to lecture about the validity of either. They're real to me, but everyone else has to make an individual judgment call. I'm not even here to get on my soap box about body image and American culture, though God knows someone desperately needs to. I just really want to speak to other people like me out there. If you feel hopeless, helpless, utterly disgusting and out of control (and this applies to anorexics and bulimics as well), you're not alone. There are a lot of folks out there just like you, and there are many places you can go for help and support.

I'm going to keep writing about food, some of it healthy and some of it decadent, because it gives me pleasure to do so. But please know that people who seem to joyfully relate to food don't necessarily do so easily, and not all people who struggle with weight are just lazy. I guess I really just want to say that if you have a less-than-healthy relationship with food, I get it.

I swear I will finish the kimchi post soon. It was damn good.