Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clandestine Vegetable Ops

Okay, I was completely derailed by the discovery of Homeland.  I don't...I can't...I just...


Why didn't you tell me it was the most important television development since Friday Night Lights?

On a particularly hot afternoon a few days ago I thought I would give the first episode a whirl.
The next thing I knew I was glued to the couch imagining myself as a CIA operative.  Did you know you can apply to be a Clandestine Operations Officer?  I don't know what that is, but I was fairly certain for most of Wednesday that I would be really good at it.

Coach disagreed.

"Oh please.  I would be awesome at anything with clandestine in the title.  I had the kids convinced we were going to learn pottery from a Native American when we were, in fact, going zip-lining.  I am nothing if not clandestine." I said.

"Maybe," he said, "but you wouldn't be caught dead in cargo pants."

And as quickly as it came, my fleeting career in the CIA was over.  Because he is right- I'm not wearing anything deemed cargo or utility.

It's summer so the living is definitely easier around here.  I've been cooking, playing with the dogs, and gardening.  I've also been trying to find new and exciting ways to prepare zucchini.  We have two zucchini plants, and I've harvested well over 30 pounds of zucchini.

So to drive home the clandestine point with Coach I decided to make a zucchini recipe and try to pass it off to the kids as tater tots.  I call them Zucchini Tots.

You can find the recipe here.

I'll have you know the Operation Zucchini Freedom was a success.

Coach, as I've mentioned before, has become a Crossfitter.  And with that comes an obsession with Paleo Diets.  We've discussed it before.

Things amped up a bit when this showed up at our house:

Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie & Charles Mayfield

Now, I'm always skeptical of Paleo foods because, well, CARBS, but the more I read the more I understand that the key to a long life free of chronic disease may require that we back away from the carb buffet.

So.  I agreed to Paleo 80% of the time.  The other 20% can include carbs and what have you, but our commitment to locally sourced meats and vegetables is 100% in the Momsense kitchen.

Anyway, if you find yourself trying to clean things up while simultaneously missing fried chicken, then this is your book.

Now, I'm not a religious recipe follower.  I change ingredients, add ingredients, and so on.  But I always find a cookbook is a great place to start and get inspiration.  So here are a few of my other favorites.

Off the Eaten Path and Second Helpings by Morgan Murphy

Okay.  THESE.  Oh the recipes.  This is what happens when Southern Living and Morgan Murphy get together for food-loving.  He travels all over the South and eats in local eateries.  Then he coaxes the owners to give up a couple of trademark recipes.

This is the book you want when you are going to a potluck.  Trust me.

Now, these recipes are decidedly not Paleo, but they will get the job done for the other 20%.  If I'm going off the rails and eating carbs, then I'm going to do it with something in one of these books.

Ina Garten's Foolproof

You can't beat Ina Garten.  She's good about using high-quality produce and meats.  She does enjoy a carb or two, but her chicken recipes are out of this world and I've found ways to make them Paleo-esque.

And they are foolproof.  You really can't go wrong here.

Farm Fresh Southern Cooking by Tammy Algood

A year ago Rutabagas and Chard were not in our wheelhouse.  This book helped me learn how to cook vegetables in a way that most of our family will eat them.  (We still have one who rejects vegetables on principle.)

Because of this book my family now eats goat cheese, brussels sprouts, and kale.  So, mission accomplished here.  

Virginia Willis makes elegant comfort food using ingredients that we have in our backyard.  This is a Southern book written by a classically trained French chef.  The food is out of this world.  Many recipes are Paleo-friendly, and many more can be made so with a few minor alterations.  And of course, if you don't care anything about Paleo and you just want good food- this is your book.  It is one of my all-time favorites.

I've got to run and work on my tomatoes. I've got 16 heirloom varieties growing out back and I'm sure there will be pounds of zucchini just waiting to be picked.

See y'all!

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