As an MDA Worker Bee always on the lookout for new Primal dishes I’ve developed a few tricks. My favorite method is by scanning different restaurant menus and then finding substitutes for highly-processed or high-carb ingredients, and through a system of trial-and-error, creating a new Grok-inspired treat.
Last week I wandered around Brooklyn’s Smith Street to see what I could do about the strange wintry-food yen I was experiencing (how could I crave hot stew in 90 degree weather?). I discovered it was not so strange – there are plenty of people enjoying winter eats even in the crux of July. Beef stew, macaroni and cheese, pork shoulder are all top menu items even while city temperatures skyrocket. When I asked a staff member at one of the restaurants why these items stayed so popular, even during months when people would seem to want lighter fare, he replied these meals were “the most satisfying.” Good taste, I suppose, knows no weather.
Farmers’ markets are unpredictable. What’s being sold one week in abundance may not be sold at all the next week. Sometimes this is a seasonal shift, sometimes vendors just run out of produce early and sometimes, well, who knows? The size and shape of produce at farmers’ markets is also unpredictable and never as uniform as it is at grocery stores. Fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This unpredictability is what I love about farmers’ markets, but I wouldn’t be an honest Worker Bee if I didn’t admit it’s a little frustrating at times.
Worker Bee here – bringing you another weekend Primal recipe. This time it’s all about modern foraging for a simple, creative summer dish.
The weekend at Mom’s was long and full of summer picnics, food served trough-style in big aluminum pans, set out for questionably long periods of time in the hot summer sun; food that looked about as uncomfortable and sweaty as we all were sitting packed beside one another on tight picnic benches under someone’s backyard tent.
The only clearly edible options at the summer smorgasbord were the ones I felt least safe tasting – the pulled pork, the burgers looking a little off-color, even whilst mingling under their protective grill lids. I spent the majority of the time at the outings sipping cups of iced water, picking at plates of raw vegetables and watching other people pump the keg and eat potentially E-Colied food with their bare fingers.
Sometimes chefs seem like magicians. How else could they transform food into shapes and flavors that seem impossible to replicate at home? Training, yes, but let’s also not forget that just like every good magician has a few props, (a double-sided quarter here, some disappearing ink there) so does a good chef. Maybe the perfectly sliced and diced vegetables on your plate were the work of a well-trained prep cook, but it’s just as likely they were quickly cut on a nifty device called a mandoline.
During the summer, it’s easy to turn into an impulse buyer. How can you not come home from the store or farmers’ market with more than you need when there’s all that irresistible produce out there? Freezing is one way to handle the excess. Getting creative in the kitchen is another way. Start by looking at a recipe, then mix it up a little. Before long you’ll find yourself throwing things like broccoli rabe into the food processor with nuts, a few garlic cloves and olive oil. Voila! Broccoli Rabe Pesto. Just like there aren’t any rules that say pesto has to be made with cheese, there aren’t any rules that say pesto has to be made out of herbs.
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