True foodies follow trends across restaurants and blogs, always eager to try the next gastronomical marvel or savor an amuse-bouche somewhere glamorous. Humble Foodies love to try new things, but are more likely to do the experimenting in their own kitchens or with friends and family than to spend a ton of money at restaurants. While Kerry and I love to share foods with an unusual twist, like sweet tea made from hibiscus flowers or the CPT Panini, we most often find inspiration in simple ingredients that most everyone can find. My current food crushes are things that I can’t stop sauteeing, sprinkling, searing, toasting, and sipping. Here are the top five!
1. Leafy Greens
Recent events have convinced me that my love affair with leafy greens will never die. Usually spinach, kale, or chard is filling the crisper of my fridge, just waiting to be steamed, sauteed, or braised and thrown into any meal. When I ran out two days ago, I started to get real cranky. I had carrots, I had cauliflower, I even had the easy solution of microwavable steamed veggies–but nothing was good enough to replace nutrient-dense leafy greens. Kale is my especial favorite with bragging rights to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, cholesterol-lowering ability, and cancer-preventive benefits. It also comes in many beautiful colors, and there’s nothing wrong with food looking pretty!
2. Chili Powder
My belief that chili powder can improve almost any dish has not yet been shaken. My current favorite is the regular chili powder from The Spice House. I add it to sweet potatoes, grilled asparagus, taco seasoning (okay, that one’s obvious), and have been known to try it on everything from plantains to pumpkin ice cream. Good quality spices should enhance without overpowering the natural flavors of whole foods, and chili powder can do just that.
3. Pan-Seared Steak
Alright, alright–it’s tough to argue that the oven is a better way to cook steak than the grill. While I love the look and taste of dark grill marks on a juicy steak, I don’t always have the time or desire to prepare food on the grill. An easy solution that works in rain or shine is to sear a steak in a pan and finish it in the oven. Here’s how I’ve been doing it for steaks of about 1-1.5 inches thick and about one pound.
- Remove the steak from the fridge 30-60 minutes before cooking. Let sit at room temperature and season with freshly cracked pepper, sea salt, and perhaps some oregano or thyme.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat your fat of choice (ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Be patient and allow the pan to heat slowly and evenly.
- When the pan is heated, carefully add the steak and cook for two minutes. Flip and immediately move to the oven.
- Finish in the oven for 4-8 minutes or to a sufficient internal temperature following your preference.
- Remove steak from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before eating.
4. Toasted Coconut
Confession: I have burned more coconut than I have toasted. Like, waaaay more. My choice seems to be between standing in front of the toaster, hopping from foot to foot, and checking the coconut flakes every minute, or setting it to what seems like a very reasonable time but returning to a sad tray of blackened chunks. Let’s just say that I’m still experimenting with the timing on this one, but when I choose the hopping and waiting method, the coconut flakes are divine! They have the perfect balance of crunch and moisture and make a great snack or topping for–ahem–a wee spoonful of Sunbutter, perhaps. If you’re into that kind of thing.
If you need a better coconut flake role model than I, please go admire the Pink Raised Donuts with Toasted Coconut at Joy the Baker. She is proof that it is, in fact, very possible for most people to toast coconut with ease and make donuts look quite glam in the process.
5. Pour-Over Coffee
I discovered pour-over coffee when I found my roommate’s ceramic brewer in one of our cabinets. Though this method of brewing coffee is more time-consuming than drip coffee, it produces a smooth, strong cup that is perfect for slowly waking Saturday mornings. My favorite accompaniment to this warm drink is a new book or magazine, and I like to savor both while curled up on the couch. The above cup has a hearty serving of coconut milk mixed in and still retains a fairly dark color. Pour-over coffee is delicious plain or mixed with heavy cream, coconut milk, or coconut oil and cinnamon.
What are your food crushes?
Is there a spice that goes into every meal, a brand of dark chocolate that makes you weak at the knees, or a recipe that you discovered and want to eat all the time? Share them with us in the comments!