Hi Guys! I have a special treat for you today, a guest post from my boyfriend, Wil. A little background – Wil is the Culinary Director for a high volume restaurant group in DC with four locations, and when I asked if he’d be interested in writing a post for you guys, he said he knew exactly what he wanted to write. He has his own blog about his other passion, music, that he writes in very infrequently – feel free to check it out – Phish Makes My Teeth Itch. Without further ado, here’s Wil!
The best professional cooks and chefs are animals at heart. Survival is the game. A typical day feels like you are getting shot at. Stay ahead, watch your back, don’t complain. Nutrition rarely figures into it.
In this jungle, butter is measured by the amount the animal can fit into the tips of its tongs; Olive oil is drizzled liberally on dishes from the beaks of the wise food runners; Entrée salads that contain more fat calories than a cheeseburger are happily delivered by the foxy waitstaff…
It can be tough to morph back into a human being when cooking at home. Huge blocks of gooey cheese, pate, and water crackers was a typical meal for us a few years ago. So, when Beth began to consider her dietary choices more carefully, there was a bit of trouble in our kitchen. I was resistant to this new attitude. I shut down, stopped cooking at home, cursed the big bag of Splenda in the pantry, and ate at work every night.
After a little time off, I renewed my interest in cooking at home and began to modify my approach a bit to compliment Beth’s new lifestyle. This turned out not to be a sacrifice, but an epiphany. It hit me one night after I added some olive oil to brown rice. Of course olive oil is a healthy, delicious substance, but Beth pointed out that every component of the meal contained some sort of fat. As I ate, it occurred to me that she was right. The oil was unnecessary. There was no contrast in mouth feel between the elements on the plate.
Beth reminded me of the simple rule of balance. This changed the way I cook at home as well as how I cook at work. Nothing too drastic, but certainly a more thoughtful approach to using fats and oils. I also spend more time developing lighter dishes with full flavor featuring more vegetables, which was usually an afterthought.
I design menus for four restaurants, so Beth’s influence reaches well beyond our tiny kitchen or this blog. I have included the following recipe for a soup I created for an upcoming Spring menu. The flavors are bold and bright. This soup may be served either hot or cold with an array of garnishes. It is shown here with crispy rice noodles, mint, and mint oil.
I am pretty sure this soup would not exist without Beth in my life. Enjoy!
Carrot Ginger Soup (serves 8)
- 8 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup ginger, peeled and chopped (adjust to taste)
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups orange juice
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 onion
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Allow the soup to cool slightly.
- In batches, carefully pour the contents of the pot into a blender and puree very
- Adjust the seasoning, sweetness, and consistency by adding additional amounts of salt, honey, and water as you go.
- Allow the soup to chill, stirring constantly.
- Soup may be served hot or cold.
Nutritional Info: Per Serving (1/8 of recipe or 1 cup): 118 Calories; 1g Fat; 2g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 833mg Sodium.
Who has influenced the way you cook and/or eat the most in your life?