Thursday, September 11, 2014


This beautiful salad I ate for lunch today was only reminiscent of the nicoise salads I enjoyed in days of yore. Here, grilled vegetables from last night's dinner stand in for the roasted potatoes found in a traditional nicoise salad. The piquant capers effectively transported my tastebuds to the rooftop restaurant in Athens, Greece, where I first learned to love this culinary genre. This was a delicious, empty-starch-free lunch.

My first impulse was to title this post "Nicoisish" but then the second syllable unlocked a random and almost forgotten memory of having studied an element of Neoclassical Decorative Arts called "Chinoiserie". My mind is all over the place today, but it's rather exciting. I am so surprised at what is coming forth. Most of these emerging memories had been faded, forgotten and potentially lost. Could it be that the Wahls' Protocol is beginning to work? I love thinking, and remembering. I've had a lovely life thus far and it'd be a shame not to know about it.

Along with a few of my fellow Art History Major compadres at my alma mater, William and Mary, I was fortunate enough to take a wonderful Decorative Arts class within the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, across the street from the College and historic Duke of Gloucester Street. "Chinoiserie" was one representation of European Neoclassical Decorative Arts toward the end of the 18th century. It is simply the Eastern influence in European designs in furniture, textiles and other decorative items created during that time. It was one of my favorite classes.  It was amazing to be able to study the actual items instead of slides in a sleepy, dark auditorium. How I'd love to do it all again -- even the dark auditorium part!

Fun fact: The historic building which houses the Dewitt Wallace Museum was formerly a sanitarium (modern euphemism for what used to be called an "insane asylum"). A former neighbor of my mother's was in residence there in her later years. The neighbor used to babysit my mom and her younger sister, and had always made mom uneasy. Currently there is a history museum to commemorate the building's former incarnation on the upper level of the building. True story.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What is This?

You've probably guessed it: eggs! In this case turmeric/dill eggs. This was so much more fabulously delicious than it looks. The eggs look cooked to death, but don't let the rusty turmeric hue fool you. While lightly crisp on the outside, the yolks were still liquidy-warm inside.

Turmeric is so good for us! Regaled for it's integrative success in treating head-and neck cancers, it's also a powerful anti-inflammatory and, surprisingly, has been found in a clinical study to give Prozac a run for it's money in treating certain forms of depression. I'll not eschew any of these benefits, but I indulge in turmeric, in food and supplement form, for its anti-inflammatory role. For those of us with auto-immune disorders, anti-inflammatories are a valuable end-game tool. They not only alleviate aches and pains, they quiet the over-the-top immune response that usually accompanies inflammation of any kind. Despite our best efforts to avoid immune system triggers, it does happen. It's nice to have a few tricks up our sleeves for the inevitable occasional assault. I enjoy turmeric at least once every day, whether in curries, just sprinkled atop food as a seasoning or in a delicious mug of Wahls' Protocol Bone Broth with coconut milk and a little cinnamon. This healing, warming rhizome will be more and more appealing as the weather cools. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spooky! + My Autumnal Garden

When I peered out my back window, I marveled at the leaf seemingly hovering in midair. Upon closer inspection:

This web was enormous -- stretching all the way across the path of our forest. The spider looked like a brown recluse, so I didn't get very close.  Looking at these photos, it's surprising to see how dark our forest is in midday. The leafy cover is very thick still, despite the season beginning to turn.

While the output of the garden has slowed, and the temperature is still summer-hot, there is a sepia tone to the plot which portends the coming of Autumn.

Look at how beautiful my rotten-cabbage-in-the-crisper-surprise turned out to be! I love how the water droplets sit still upon the frosty surface of the leaves.

These tomatoes are huge, but they refuse to redden. Because the trees around the garden have grown, they don't get as much sun as they want. I picked one anyway and set it upon my counter to see what would happen. I was surprised to see it turn red within a week. It certainly gets less sun inside my house than it did in the garden, and our indoor 74 degrees shouldn't be as conducive to ripening as the great outdoors' hellish 90's, but redden it did. My leading theory has to do with the lack of jungle-like humidity on the inside. If anyone has a more well-informed hypothesis, I'd be interested!

Bonus food shot: another recent breakfast. I know you've seen lots of eggs, but they are always so pretty I have to catch them -- in this case with arugula and mixed grape tomatoes.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Sustainable Source

Some time ago, one of the physicians with whom I worked at Atlanta Functional Medicine recommended a wonderful website for sustainable, sushi-grade, wild-caught fish: Vital Choice. At the time I was still mostly vegan, only occasionally partaking of sea creatures. As my diet has evolved, I've learned that animal protein is crucial for my health, but only organic animal protein. I can palpably feel the negative effects of non-organic animals. Though I have yet to accomplish a fully Wahls Protocol diet, I've incorporated as much of it as my system will currently tolerate. I do suspect I'll find the Protocol easier to follow as I adjust, but I'm not doing myself any favors by eating grocery store, non-organic animals.

Vital Choice is predictably on the pricey side, but there are ways to maximize savings by selecting random-sized pieces of fish. I chose four lbs. of wild-caught King Salmon frozen in individual servings, and four lbs. of Atlantic Cod, frozen in four large 1 lb. chunks. I will need to do some planning for the cod. Nobody here loves fish the way I do, but if I get creative, I bet I could sell fresh ceviche in addition to fillets on the grill, en papillote or sauteed with some of these lovely tomatoes or some fresh greens. I'll share future experiments.

Obviously the salmon in individual portions is easier to thaw and prepare on the fly, and I've enjoyed it so much -- so fresh and with no "fishy" or "off" scent or flavor. I normally like mine more rare than this one, but in the spirit of enlisting my husband in my fish-eating frenzy, I was grateful to have him grill a couple of filets. They were delicious with lemon and a pile of fresh dill.