Thursday, December 10, 2009

Comfort Food

I have a topic off to the side I've called NT recipes. This acronym stands for Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, I book I've mentioned a few times in my writing. And the acronym, in its strictest sense would mean cooking that conforms to the standards espoused by Sally Fallon: the use of raw, whole fat milk and dairy products, lacto-fermented foods, soaked whole grains, free range eggs, unprocessed fats and sugars, organ meats, organic foods, etc. I think the term traditional diet means almost the same thing.

I had a hard time deciding what to call this topic, since I rarely use completely NT methods and products. Economy of time and money forces me to use what is readily available. I try to avoid processed foods and have eliminated vegetable oils from my cooking. I try to soak some grains; I include whey or yogurt in this when I have it. I use whey for lacto-fermenting several kinds of vegies.

I have not eliminated regular sugars or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) completely. I try to watch labels and stay away from things that are obviously full of HFCS such as pop and white corn syrup. I use honey and molasses for many things. And I buy some natural sugars. The kids didn't like the first kind I bought, so we mix half and half with regular. It tasted like black strap molasses and didn't dissolve or stir in as easily as white sugar. I have another kind ready and waiting, but I'm forcing us to finish up this other. I found this chart interesting, (scroll down at link) especially thinking of the fact that sugar, in it's natural form actually has nutritional value.

I buy organic only if it's convenient and cheap at this point. Our meats come from many sources, some of which are more closely NT than others.

With all of these things, food is food. And I try not to turn healthy eating into idolatry. Health wisdom changes so rapidly, there could be a whole new way to eat well in a few years.

Slow foods might be a better term for how I cook. But then, as a mother of many, that is not really my primary concern either. I make a few changes here and there and leave the rest in God's hands.

No matter what you call it, I made a true comfort food for supper tonight. I'll tell you what I did (roughly- amounts of everything are estimates).

Ham and Clams Over Rice
1 c diced ham
a diced onion
3 cloves slivered garlic (the little individual cloves, that is)
few tablespoons each, bacon fat and coconut oil
I put these in my cast iron dutch oven and let them simmer until the moisture had cooked off and the ham was starting to crisp a bit.

frozen peas, about 1 1/2 c
I stirred these into the pan and covered it and let it steam for about 5 minutes

2 small cans of clams with juice
about 1/2 tbs black pepper
about 1 tsp salt
Stir into pot

I also stirred in some corn starch, but I think I'd wait til the end if I did it again.

I poured over about 1/2 gallon of milk (make sure its whole, raw milk, preferable from grass fed cows if you want it to be truly NT. I used just regular grocery store whole milk, since my raw milk provider's cow is currently dry.)

Cut up 1/2 cube butter and stir it in. Stir in more salt to taste. I think I added another 1 1/2 to 2 tsp.

I covered the pot and put it on low for the milk to warm. My corn starch kind of stuck on the bottom and I ended up stirring it more than I would have just warming milk. But I heat the milk to boiling and then still had to add more thickener. Oh, well.

I had also put rice in the rice cooker before I started everything else.

My kids would have liked biscuits, but, alas, I have not mastered GF biscuits. Anything light and flaky is kind of out of the question. But the white sauce was really good over rice and I think everyone agreed.

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