If you are in the US, and unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably heard about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I mentioned his mission a little bit before in a previous post, but today want to talk about it a bit more. While I’m not going to get into the politics of American food policy, I do think that everyone can benefit from learning to enjoy fresh quality food that came from real ingredients. Providing ways to eat real foods has always been what my cooking has been about – if for no other reason than quality homemade food tastes good!
Though for the yet uninitiated, the entire process of converting from processed to fresh foods can seem extremely daunting. Produce is expensive, and so is local grass feed beef. Not to mention the “withdrawal time” it takes to readjust the body and taste buds away from the salt. And what’s with all those crazy ingredients? For ex. celery root? How in the world am I supposed to eat something that ugly?? Ok ok, celeriac, or celery root, is intimidating to a lot of people, but it’s alright! However, you’d never know this vegetable has the most delicate taste and makes for a fantastic mash!
Switching to fresh produce and cooking for the first time is about as daunting as learning that my husband was gluten free and I could no longer cook with conventional bread, flour, pasta, oats, beer, etc. etc…. To make such a drastic switch, one has to reteach themselves their way around the kitchen. But it’s alright. You can do it. It may take a little time, but one can learn the routine again, and the benefits of cooking present themselves in so many great ways besides the health. Cooking can be a family activity. It can definitely be a tasty activity. And my favorite, cooking is a form of communication, a way to share friendship and love.
Small tidbits of advice can help, little mantras to aid in navigating around the grocery store, around the kitchen, and on the way to managing one’s health. My advice? Start with what you know. Feeling lost and intimidated by a foreign world of food? Start with something you know you like to eat. Work on making it at home, and then start adding your own personal flair to it. Cooking can become an art form. It frequently is my creative outlet. When I moved to a new country and felt lost, I turned to things I knew. I made lasagna. I made omelettes. Ha I even made buckeyes! I used the familiar in order to explore the new – I tried new types of produce, learned how not to buy $50/kg. chicken, and fell in love with chocolate and hazelnuts. Beginning with the familiar gives us the confidence to move forward into new directions. Sometimes all we need is just a hint that that comfort zone is still there, that safety net still in reach, just enough to allow us to push ourselves into uncharted territory.
It is in that spirit that I share with you this stuffed burger recipe. The cheeseburger is probably one of the few foods nearly everyone in the U.S. knows, and knows well. I myself have many fond memories of family get-togethers outside in under the warm sun, the smell of burgers on the grill wafting into all of our noses and enticing us with delicious aromas while we quenched our thirst with a chilled sweet lemonade. Burgers can be cheap and greasy fast food, or made into a gourmet meal. But what everyone may not know is how easy it is go to from one to the other. As long as one starts with good quality meat, a little produce can go a long way in really dressing up this dish into a downright lusciously delectable experience. Because while health is important, nothing is going to be motivational without the great flavor to accompany it. For learning to cook with real food is not a fad diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s meant to be a permanent change to better one’s health and happiness for the long term. It’s just not going to happen if we can’t approach the issue completely willingly and with open arms.
Whatever your level of food awareness, this burger is bound to please – it’s an inside out cheeseburger – goat cheese and mushrooms stuffed inside the patty rather than on top, which is then cooked the usual way – then garnished with onions, avocado, and fresh greens, all to give great bright flavors that compliment the richness of the meat. You can check out the recipe here on my guest post at The Whole Gang, where Diane is hosting a 30 day event featuring a new blogger each day, with a new tip for cooking fresh food and of course, a new recipe for you to try!
Speaking of guest blogs (I have been writing a few lately!), another great recipe to try new vegetables is quiche , which I wrote about on Darya’s site Summer Tomato – quiche is perfect because it has the eggs and cheese that almost guarantee it to be a crowd pleaser, but you can use just about any veggies you like in it also. So if you are trying something new and feeling a bit of trepidation, again – take something familiar like eggy cheesy goodness, and then experiment with a new twist – you may find yourself liking some foods you never imagined before!
Are you trying to incorporate more fresh foods into your diet? How do you motivate yourself to try new things?