Thursday, March 22, 2012

Are You Feeling Sick? Good!

Don't I sound callous! I have a point, though, I promise: even on days when you feel a mess and, say, your hot water heater refuses to work for longer than 15 minutes, it’s still possible to eat good stuff. 

A few months ago, while I was in the process of moving and feeling like I had cotton stuffed in my head and lacking a functioning water heater (meaning I had to take some showers at friends' houses for a week), I had a night of profound hunger with no energy or will to spend an hour cooking. One of my oldest and best friends, who works about 20 hours a day, had recently confessed to me that her cooking skills tend to max out at about 4 ingredients. I had that in mind as I dragged myself out of bed. I looked at my two pans on the stove top, counted all the things involved with my dinner, and smiled-- 6 ingredients (counting cooking fats).

Big pan, back burner:
-Sirloin steak, cooked rare to medium rare (a very pretty reddish pink all the way through, and so incredibly juicy)
-bacon fat to keep things tender and flavored

Small pan, front burner:
-olive oil (we won’t count the sea salt and cracked pepper to flavor the veggies)

Fortunately, I had pre-cooked the steak, carrots, and parsnips the day before I started feeling like Death was playing me like an old-school Atari, so I only had to wait about 6-7 minutes to reheat them. The veggies took the longest to initially cook in the oven because I wanted them so crispy they were practically burnt. When they’re covered in olive oil and baked into submission, they become quite sweet, even more so on the browned parts. (Think about the difference between regular cheese and browned-almost-burnt cheese... that’s what we’re talking about here.)

Steak cooked in bacon fat is just plain edible seduction. I have family members that prefer their meats to be cooked so thoroughly that the texture becomes indistinguishable from that of blackboard erasers. Not me. While I’m not a fan of meat too undercooked that I could have a conversation with it while it’s in the pan, I do like it to be light and juicy so that when it’s cut, it almost falls apart. To my delight, during my transition, I discovered that Paleo encourages meats to be cooked as little as possible-- how many cavepeople had access to industrial kitchens, after all?

And for dessert that night, a BIG mug of echinacea tea and a sledgehammer to the head. Sure enough, after a 14 hour nap and a warm bath, I was feeling fantastic the next day. Further proof that what you put into you body is what you get out of your body.

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