Monday, August 29, 2011

Hot Soup in the Summer

Mediterranean Lentil and Chickpea Soup

 Really?  "Hot" soup in the summer?  

Some may interpret that phrase as either a sadistic joke, a terribly misguided choice, or a little of both.  And if you happen to live anywhere near me in the broiler sometimes known as Texas, I wouldn't fault you for thinking it downright crazy.  But believe it or not, keeping your diet well supplied with steaming soup, warm tea, and fiery salsas in the summer is not such a bad thing.  And as ironic as it may sound, it may actually help your body to remain cooler.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ginger Tea: Drink Up

Salabat, aka Ginger Tea

Ahhhh, ginger.  It is one of my favorite ingredients and a staple in my kitchen, whether fresh, pickled, or ground.  I adore that unique spicy bite and the warmth that travels from the back of your throat to your fingertips and toes.  But mind you it wasn't always like this.  As a child, my mother and grandmother were also fans of the fiery root, using it liberally in stews and soups.  Imagine my surprise when what I thought was a potato was in fact a huge chunk of ginger.  "Fire in the hole" is the closest phrase I can think of (that's appropriate) to capture that feeling.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lentil Salad: The First Time

I'll never forget it.  

It was the summer of 1996 and I was attending orientation for incoming freshmen at University of Michigan.  It was great to be away from home (even if just 45 minutes away) and to find myself staring over the precipice of a new, exciting journey with so many new faces to meet and experiences to learn from was...breathtaking.  After the first time, I couldn't wait for the next opportunity.  I would lie awake on the top bunk of the stuffy dorm room, unable to stop thinking about it.  I was mildly infatuated, which for the teenager I was probably read as overzealous obsession.  Trying to force myself to stop thinking about it had the exact opposite effect.  I wondered if others felt the same way I did about it...

[sigh]...  Lentil salad.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Canary Tip: Keep It Cool

So we've just recently set a record here in Austin.  More than 27 consecutive day of triple-digit temperatures.  And on top of that, barely any rain.  Now if you think I'm complaining, you're partly right.  I'm really just acknowledging our current climatic state of affairs.  Trust me when I say that you will know when I am complaining.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bread, Eggs, Cheese...Oh My!

Strata with Balsamic Caramelized Onions,
Tomatoes, and Spinach

One of the many perks of working at The Steeping Room is the constant flow of inspiration from our talented and creative chefs.  The menu is anything but standard, and one of the things I love best about working there is being able to introduce people to things they would never think of trying otherwise, whether it be an unusual ingredient or an unexpected combination of ingredients or flavors.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What's Your Recipe for Happy?

The subtitle for The Canary Files reads, "Gluten and Dairy-Free: My Recipe for Happy."  And while that's definitely true, I began to think to myself:  is there a way for me to make that even more true?

For me, gluten and dairy were the biggest hurdles in terms of getting my life and my health back on track.  When I finally eliminated both, it was a total 180.  An epiphany.  And that really helped me to understand how much influence my food choices have over my quality of living.  Now, over the past 4 years, I've finally been able to pay attention to how food affects me.  And as I've mentioned in a previous post, I've learned how to listen to my body, to not only help give it what it needs but also help it avoid what it doesn't.  I am consistently GF and DF, but there are several other things that I either moderate in my diet or do not eat at all.  And this has translated to my cooking and baking.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Smoothie Time

Cucumber Avocado Smoothie

In last week's recipe post, I was raving about how delicious fruits and vegetables taste during the summer season.  Thanks to modern day farming and importing practices, we can have the convenience of fruits all year-round.  But if you taste a peach, a cucumber, or a watermelon at the height of their natural growing season, you'll see for yourself that the difference in flavor, color, and texture is truly night and day.  And if you're lucky enough to buy your fruits or veggies from a local, sustainable farmer, it can be even better.