So I started this project out with minimal clue about how you really eat. I know what macronutrients should go in what combination according to conventional US fitness and nutrition wisdom. Yet eating according to macros is pretty unsatisfying. So I kept looking. What does it mean to eat? Moreover, how do you put together seasonal meals? I mean for years I've lived via grocery store. Heck I can basically eat the same thing day in and day out. It's one of the ways I got my weight back under control. But that's not how you eat or experience food at it's best. The more I looked around the US and found we've got a pretty jacked up set of eating traditions. So I started looking to Europe. That part of the world has a substantially lower rate of obesity, and most parts of Europe retain a much stronger cultural identity.
I picked up an AWESOME book series called Culinaria. Do check out the inside of the book. These books basically take various nations and break down their eating traditions and foods. Based roughly on the climate of the Central Texas region, I decided I'd start by looking at the foods of Italy and Spain to get a rough idea of some ways that I can start putting meals together. Both countries have regions with longer growing seasons, access to seafood, and quality beef, pork, and poultry.
After a couple weeks of tinkering to get some basics in place, I took the plunge into a specific regional dish. This one is Chorizo en sidra. Chorizo sausage in cider.
The Asturias region of Spain is located in the north, close to France and Basque country. Historically the folks in this part of the world were shepherds, farmers, and fishermen. Regional specialties include cheese, more cheese, cider and sausage. The pig is an amazing animal. You can literally use every part of the pig from snout to trotters. Only thing you can't use is the oink. I correctly butchered hog can provide a wide range of food items both for sale (hams) and for family use and storage (bacon and sausages). These higher fat meats were vital to help keep people going through the winter seasons. Keep in mind, back in the day you didn't have your local Mega Mart. If you didn't have food that was nutritionally dense in storage, come winter you were going to starve.
Sausage is one of the first things you give up when you start a diet. It's full of fat which is evil! It's not actually evil. It's a very high energy food. Like anything, in moderation it's fine. In theory. Overcoming the years of FAT EVIL is taking a little work. So I decided tackling a sausage dish was a good start.
My sausage of choice is an andouille sausage from Whole Foods. It's not chorizo, but I couldn't find any. Next best. Sidra, or cider in Asturias is a similarly big deal. Since my access to Spanish cider is limited, I've got a bottle of Woodchuck Dark from Vermont. (Hey, I couldn't find anything Texas made. Shush!).
Recipe is simple. One pound sausage, three cups cider. Pop into a terra cotta dish and boil until liquid reduced by half. Again, lacking in terra cotta, but I do have a spiffy Le Creuset dish that works.
The result! Okay, so it's not overly pretty. It also wasn't incredibly tasty. The spice from the sausage quickly overpowered the cider. I think it's a function of poor sausage choice on my part. But, I'm interested enough that I think it's worth trying again. I can also see where it's an excellent winter dish. Because it was hot and humid today. This ended up being way too heavy to eat with ease. So this works onto the rotation as a try later in the year dish.
In a completely unrelated note, I need to buy a water filter. What's coming out of my tap currently is not helping with the taste factor for my happy foods.
So the night is being finished off with a nice 150 wall tosses with my new medicine ball. Wall tosses are just what they sound like. You take medicine ball (in this case 4 pounds) and toss it at the wall. It bounces back, you catch and throw again. Sounds easy yes? No, not so much. But it's quite fun and a good way to finish off the day.
Yeah I know, I'm a little odd.