Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee
Israel: Peaceful shores, Historical wonders, Unresolved Conflicts

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Week 6 of the Diet: Yes, I Can Cook!

It is week six of my self-imposed sentence, and yesterday and today, a friend and cousin called while I was in the kitchen. They both said, "I didn't know that you cooked." I laughed because I cook almost every day, and at first I struggled with this sugar free/grain free/gluten free/fruit free regimen. Angels have come to my aid along the way. The Angel-of-the-Week award goes to my old buddy, Corey Thomas, who suggested we meet at one of his favorite places for lunch - a Chinese restaurant with an Oriental Supermarket. I was pleasantly surprised after discovering they sold fresh fish, including bass and red snapper. I pass this place all the time! I scooped up the snapper at a great price and made Tanzanian fish stew. Today, I cooked cabbage and lamb shank using a Senegalese recipe from NY chef Pierre Thiam's cookbook Yolele! We met during a trip to Senegal years ago. For the first time I tried one of his recipes, and he became one of my angels. Here's the proof (Herman and Sara) that KT can cook.

Another angel is the butcher/manager at the Fresh Market in Ridgeland. Tip: Get to know the produce manager and butchers by name. Once we started talking, he introduced me to all kinds of hidden gems in the spice aisle, and best of all they didn't have wheat and very little or no salt. He is a former military man who has lived in Morocco and other parts of Africa. He convinced me to try the lamb shank in a stew and turned me on to Urban Accent's Moroccan Tagine and Madras Curry - all natural one-pot spice packs.

I've cooked lamb chops, rack of lamb, and leg of lamb, but I had only eaten the shank in a restaurant. It wasn't my favorite, but I'm glad I listened to the butcher's recommendation and gave the shank a try in a crock pot with moroccan tagine. The sweet smell of coriander, cumin, black pepper, basil and a few other herbs and spices filled the house like potpourri. It's an earthy rich mix. The curry was my favorite and made an easy curry chicken.

My lesson of the week is that fresh tomatoes or tomato paste along with red peppers add just the right touch to the Mediterranean and Caribbean dishes that I've tried recently.  In fact, I added tomato sauce to homemade crackers made with fresh basil, thyme, and cumin.

The wonderful thing about this journey? I'm constantly learning new things about cooking and myself, and I'm meeting people who love to cook or eat, and realize the importance of healthy eating habits. More often than not, restaurant employees are happy to answer questions about what's in the food and how it's prepared.   I'm thankful for these angels, and on this Memorial Day weekend, I'm thankful for the angels who died in service to our country and those still defending our nation. Next Adventure: Pound Cake With Coconut Flour, Stevia And Vanilla Beans. I am scared of this one because a pound cake needs a good pound of buttah.  Bon Appetit.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Week Four of the Diet: Thanks Mother

It is week four of eight of my candida diet, and on this Mother's Day, I thank God for my mother who convinced me to stick with it. She was blessed with great curves, but not the best metabolism, and she knows any secret you can imagine about healthy cooking. Did you know seaweed is good for thickening soup? Learned that from mother. Anywho, I'm the sixth and last child born to my parents, and unlike my sisters, I wasn't a debutante and didn't take Home Economics in middle school. I can still whip up a mean southern dish of fried chicken or a pretty good french sauce. This gluten free-sugar free-candida diet has me trying new recipes and digging out and enjoying culinary toys that have sat in my kitchen cabinets for years. On Cinco de Mayo, I made homemade guacamole for the first time.

The food processor,, and crock pot are fab for a working lady. I can't have any grain-based flour or vinegar, which means I make my own salad dressing, and treats. I stopped eating most processed meats years ago, but I miss cooking with smoked turkey meat. I mean what's a good pot of collard greens without meat? FYI, organic collard greens don't need the meat. They can be sauteed.

Who would've thunk purple onions, vegetable broth, and fresh sage could work wonders for the boring green bean. Oh, potatoes are out too. A great substitute is rutabagas. I threw a few in the pot with green beans, and cooked a turkey meatloaf with fresh tomato sauce with just a little Stevia. I don't think I've ever cooked meatloaf; so, this turned out to be a nice surprise. My grandmother introduced me to rutabagas, and I think about her every time I cook them. Miss you grandma! This plate's for you, and all the women, (including my big sister Pammy) who taught me to burn. Next, coconut and almond balls courtesy of