Clare's Chaotic Cacophony

This is my little piece of cyberspace where I chronicle events in my life. Where I can vent, or dream, or wax poetic… Grab a heavily alcoholic beverage and join me, if you will.

Fresh is Best!

I already posted about my week of fresh, healthy foods and what a time saver the “twice as much meat” method was. I’m actually kind of bummed that it’s over. I really need to locate more of these recipe chains that span a week. Regardless, it was fun cooking so very…fresh. I love cooking with fresh wholesome ingredients. It always tastes better and you feel better after eating fresh ingredients. Another thing I’ve noticed is that it actually looks better as well! Don’t we always eat with our eyes first? If your stew looks like puke-in-a-bowl, you probably aren’t going to dig in heartily. For example, everytime I open the My Fitness Pal app, the loading screen just incites hunger. It looks so rustic, like foods you’d take to a picnic at a Mediterranean hillside. Observe:

MFPscreen

Doesn’t that look amazing? Well, everything except the purple things, which I’m 99.9% sure are beets (aka Satan’s turds). But that’s just me.

Cooking fresh often comes with a caveat, however. It does take more time. You can bang out a pot of Kraft mac and cheese in under 30 minutes whereas making it from scratch will take at least twice as long. When you’re a mom with an adorable yet noisy 18 month old frantically pushing your legs away from the counter and shrieking, that box of Kraft just says “Screw it and cook me now!”. So I’m on a mission to find ways to make fresher more organic meals take less time. Any little tip or trick that would reduce the time I spend getting shrieked at is golden to me. This brings me to my first small victory…fresh herbs.

I love fresh herbs. Yes, I of course have a pantry and spice rack full of the dried ones as well, and that’s fine, but some recipes just require fresh ones. Cilantro, for example, really isn’t the same dried. Besides, it’s almost a mood booster to inhale it’s fragrance while chopping it. (The one downfall to dealing with fresh cilantro for me is that it gives me a powerful craving for Pho, but I digress..) Still, chopping herbs is messy and frustrating to me. Then one glorious day a tip from the online heavens passed before my eyes and revolutionized my herb chopping. “Use a pizza wheel.” This intrigued me. Not everyone has a mezzaluna. I don’t and as much as I love collecting interesting kitchen gadgets with specific uses, there’s only so much drawer and cabinet space in one home. But a pizza wheel…who doesn’t have that? So one of my aforementioned recipes required fresh oregano. That’s even smaller than cilantro and I didn’t want it all over my kitchen. So I killed two birds with one stone. I used the pizza wheel, and I cut it on a paper plate.

oregano

The paper plate kept the herbs contained in the cutting area. It also created a disposable cutting board with no scrubbing involved. The pizza wheel sliced through the herbs in no time at all and rather evenly too. In seconds, I had this beautiful, fragrant pile of fresh ingredient.

chopped

 

I used the same method on cilantro and actually reused the paper plate to also cut avocados for a salad. Once again, since the plate had raised edges, I could toss the avocado in lemon juice and seasonings and it picked up the remnants of the cilantro as well. Even my kids who claimed they didn’t like avocado ate it in their salad that day. I had fewer things to wash. Everyone came out happy. Score one for busy home cooks everywhere! 😉

 



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