haiti: farm to mug coffee

Much of the food in Haiti is farm to table. We see goats at the market on Tuesday morning, and goat shows up at dinner that night. Almost all of the food is fresh and grown near by and with limited refrigeration, some not having any at all, it is completely necessary. Everything tastes better when fresh and the coffee in Haiti is no exception. It is dark, strong and thick with no bitterness. And the days they serve it with hot milk (sweetened condensed milk watered down)? Amazing.

This year, we picked up some fresh coffee from the market (twigs, dirt and all) and the women at the rectory dried, roasted and ground the beans for us. I wish you could see how finely ground this coffee is – finer than anything I have ever seen! And all done by hand. No fancy coffee grinders here – just a heavy hand and lots of love.

Beans by the scoop

Outside drying

Freshly ground coffee beans – as fragrant as you can imagine

2 days and 2,196 miles later I’ve got fresh Haitian coffee – at home. I’m just missing one thing:


guest post: juicing

I met Emily through my wonderful sister-in-law Mary Beth . Emily and I have a shared interest in (obsession with?) nutrition and cooking, and when she asked me to write a guest post for A Nutritionist Eats, I was incredibly flattered. Thanks for the opportunity, Emily!

What can I say—Emily likes her wine, I like my beer (and my juice)

My interest in nutrition slowly evolved after years of dealing with Crohn’s disease. Prescription medications have a place in controlling Crohn’s and keeping it in remission, but I knew there had to be a way I could help myself from the inside. The disease affects the digestive system, so why not try to heal it through food?

Doctors recommended that I watch my fiber intake, which meant restricting fruits and vegetables. It’s tricky to limit fiber and still get all the necessary nutrients. How can a processed diet of Sprite, chicken ramen, goldfish crackers, and Jell-O help your body heal?

Enter juicing. With just 15 minutes and a pile of produce, you can get several servings of fruits and vegetables in just one sitting. There are myriad benefits to juicing. The concentrated dose of antioxidants you receive helps detoxify your body, cleanse your blood, and boost your immune system, while your stores of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are replenished. Nutrients are easily and efficiently assimilated thanks to juice’s stripped-down state. You can add variety to your diet by incorporating many different fruits and vegetables, and juice is hydrating and energizing.

A quick search online will reveal recipes for any ailment, from anemia and acne to high blood pressure and the common cold. Juicing is also a great way to find balance again after traveling or a particularly rough night of drinking. (I know we’re talking health here, but I can’t wait to juice fresh tomatoes and herbs next summer for Bloody Marys!) I find that green juices in particular help curb my incessant craving for sweets. But the fact that freshly squeezed juice simply tastes so damn good is what will make juicing part of your food routine.

You don’t have to spend much on a juicer to get started. The model I purchased is affordable and easy to clean, two sticking points for many people when it comes to home juicing.

Sometimes I juice first thing in the morning and sip on it as I’m getting ready; lately I’ve found that having juice for dinner with a handful of almonds is a perfect weeknight dinner when I’m not too hungry.

It’s fun to experiment with different combinations, especially as my cravings and available fruits and vegetables change with the seasons. I would have to say, though, that nothing beats a glass of plain grapefruit juice on a crisp January morning. The vibrant pink color alone makes me swoon, and with just one taste, you’ll wonder how you ever ate the fruit with extra sugar sprinkled on top.

Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite combinations. Energizing iron, anti-inflammatory bromelain, bone-building vitamin K, and immune-strengthening vitamins A and C—you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to start your day. And oh! the flavor…do you remember the old Hi-C flavor Ecto Cooler? Well, this is it, only without the added sugar. Welcome to your new breakfast.


Adult Ecto Cooler

  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 3 generous handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/3 bunch of parsley
  • ¼ pineapple
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ cucumber

 

Rinse all vegetables and cut as needed to fit into your juicer. Juice away, give it a stir, and enjoy!

Thank you Molly for making us all drool this morning, now I REALLY want a juicer! Looking forward to reading your blog soon!

 

project food blog #4: an omelette in pictures

I cannot thank you all enough for helping to get me to round 4 of the project food blog. I was shocked and so flattered to find out that I made it to round 4! I also started to immediately panic, wondering what I would do for the next challenge.

Challenge #4 was to create step-by-step instructions on how to make or prepare something – but it is pictures, not words that need to guide the readers through the steps. I wanted to show you all how to prepare something that is simple, healthy and should be a staple in all households – although many people are intimidated by them – omelettes.

Omelettes are something, much like risotto, that once the basics are mastered, the possibilities are endless. You can serve your omelet plain, with cheese or get really fancy and add things like fresh herbs, bacon, vegetables, etc. Often thought of as simply a breakfast food, an omelette is an outstanding meal, anytime of the day.

It is also a dish that almost every culture has a variation on, truly making it a universal food. There are Iranian, Chinese, Italian, French, Thai, Spanish, Moroccan, Indian versions and a number of others that aren’t mentioned.  Next time you’re out traveling? Make sure you try the local “omelette.” There’s a world of omelettes that go beyond the “Denver.”

Now, let’s get to the omelette!

Gather ingredients: 1 Tbsp butter, 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp milk, salt & pepper


Whisk eggs


Add milk, salt & pepper. Beat eggs for about 1 minute


Heat pan over medium-low heat. Add butter and when melted, swirl to coat entire pan


 

When hot, add egg mixture. Swirl pan and use spatula to loosen and round edges


When almost completely set, fold over in half, tilting pan to help. Let sit on heat for another 30 seconds to cook through


I can’t tell you that folding an omelette is exactly an easy thing to do, it takes some practice and I certainly don’t have it mastered. What I can tell you is that no matter what it looks like, it is going to taste amazing. Just make sure you use real butter – it makes all the difference in this simple dish.

ask the nutritionist: what to do with truffle oil

Last Christmas I picked up a bottle of truffle oil for my Mom. Apparently I thought she wanted or desperately needed it like I do. We are now nearing October and I doubt the truffle oil has even been opened (the horror, I know!) and so the question arose – what do I do with truffle oil?

I will start by saying that the tiny, but expensive bottles of truffle oil really do last longer than they look like they might.  The flavor is strong, so typically a few drops is enough and chances are you aren’t going to use it everyday, so if you’ve ever been tempted to pick it up, my recommendation is to get it. You can thank me later.

Ideas for Truffle Oil:

  • drizzle on popcorn
  • drizzle over fries with parmesan cheese
  • mixed into mashed potatoes
  • mushroom pizza (saute mushrooms and finish with truffle oil)
  • scrambled eggs
  • on burgers (truffle burger with brie cheese on an english muffin)
  • homemade mac & cheese

Recipes for Truffle Oil:

Wild Mushroom & Truffled Brie

Truffled Deviled Eggs

Truffled Pasta with Spinach

Mushroom Pâté

Navy Bean & Artichoke Salad

Pan Fried Thyme Potatoes with Baked Eggs & Truffle Oil (from Eating for England)

Do you have truffle oil? What do you use it on?