Ina Garten’s Sauteed Carrots

 In our last CSA box from Hopkins Farms, David threw in a bag of baby carrots, and I needed to come up with something easy to get them on our plates last week.  I knew my girl Ina Garten would have something to say about them, and I promptly found her recipe for sauteed carrots.  Minimal ingredients and simple prep.  I was sold, and you will be, too.  In the words of Ina herself, these are “JUST FABULOUS!”

 Ina Garten's Herbed Sauteed Carrots - oysters and pearls

We couldn’t get enough of these carrots!  This recipe will be one I use forever and ever, Amen.

Ina Garten’s Sauteed Carrots Recipe

ingredients

– 1 bag baby carrots
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (if on Whole30, use ghee)
– salt & pepper
– 1.5 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (Ina recommends dill and parsley, but I think rosemary would be delicious, too!) OR just give it a few shakes of dried dill weed if you’re in a hurry.

instructions

Place baby carrots (or 6 cups peeled and cut whole carrots) in a saute pan and barely cover with water (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup).  Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through.  Add the butter and continue to saute until the water has evaporated and the carrots are coated with butter.  Remove from heat, toss with herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

NOW HOW EASY IS THAT?????

But seriously, this carrot recipe is a real winner.  Write it down.  Right meow.

Until Next Time - oysters and pearls

#BainbridgeLiving: Spring Creek

This post is a bit belated, but I wanted to share it anyway.  Better late than never, right?

A bit of a disclaimer: The first half of these pictures are from my brother- and sister-in-law’s GoPro camera!

Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls

We Kirbo sibs (aka Wheat, his two brothers, Carlyle and Parks, Carlyle’s wife Sloane, and I) paddled down Spring Creek just outside of Bainbridge a few weeks ago (was this really back in May?) and as it was my first time experiencing this gem, I wanted to shout it from the mountain tops that this is yet another reason why living in Bainbridge is pretty great.  This is an amazing trip!  It’s about an 8 mile (downstream the entire time) paddle that can take you about 2 to 3 hours if you paddle constantly without stopping, or an all day affair if you pack a lunch, stop to see the sights, and take your time (we chose the latter option).

To do the trip we did, you’ll want to put in at the landing in Brinson.  See the map and address below:

Where to Put In to Paddle Spring Creek - oysters and pearls

You’ll either have to leave your vehicles ahead of time at Smith Landing (where you’ll take out) or have someone pick you and your kayaks/canoes/paddleboards/etc. up there.  Again, see the map and address below:

Where to Take out of Spring Creek - oysters and pearls

Now that the logistics are out of the way, let me show you why you should come to Bainbridge and paddle Spring Creek!

Most of the Creek is wooded, secluded, quiet, and serene.  And yes, I paddle boarded the entire way.  It’s downstream the entire time, so it’s not too bad – but it was definitely a pretty intense workout!  I will probably get a kayak down the road at some point, but until then, paddle boarding is too much fun. :)

Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls

Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearlsSo obviously, based on the name, there are multiple large springs (aka blue holes) along the creek.  However, unfortunately for us regular folks, most of them are on private property.  I don’t condone entering those!  But there is one spring that, although privately owned, boaters are allowed in to.  You’ll probably see people coming and going from it – it will be on your right side toward the end of your paddle.  I can’t really tell you how to find it other than that!  Just keep your eyes peeled, because you sure don’t want to miss it!

Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls Spring Creek Paddle, Bainbridge, Georgia - oysters and pearls

All right, now for my not quite as great iPhone pictures:

  

  

It is seriously such a gorgeous paddle and worth a trip to Bainbridge to do it.  Comment below with any questions about the Creek or suggestions for other paddlers!

Until Next Time - oysters and pearls

Grain Brain Turmeric Blackened Fish 

So after I got done with Whole30, I moved straight on to reading Grain Brain by Neurologist Dr. Perlmutter.  I’ve mentioned here before that my in-laws are on the Grain Brain train.  Up until now, I have promoted eating real foods (i.e. avoiding processed foods when at all possible) but haven’t really made a conscious effort to be aware of what I put in my body.  Whole30 helped with that.  A lot.  And now I’m making an effort to not only eat real foods and avoid certain types of foods (processed, a lot of dairy, soy, legumes (to an extent) and grain/gluten), but I’m also trying to make a conscious effort to incorporate some ingredients and supplements I’ve never used before.  One of those ingredients being turmeric.  Here’s a snippet from Dr. Perlmutter’s website that explains it much more clearly than I can:

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is known as the seasoning that gives curry powder its yellow color, but it has recently developed a reputation, thanks to intense scientific research, as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, has beneficial effects for a variety of diseases and conditions. It’s curcumin that gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

In a recent report in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers investigated the association between curry consumption level and cognitive function in elderly Asians. Those who consumed curry “occasionally” and “often or very often” had significantly better scores on specific tests designed to measure cognitive function than did subjects who “never or rarely” consumed curry. The results of this study are not surprising given the strong association of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia with inflammation and the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.

But the relationship of turmeric to brain health, and specifically to Alzheimer’s, goes much deeper. One of the important elements of Alzheimer’s disease is the finding of elevated amounts of amyloid protein,  which may be a highly damaging protein, in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers. Indeed, amyloid is considered one of the hallmarks of this disease. New research published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research has shown that curcumin actually inhibits the formation of amyloid protein. So promising were these findings that the author of the study concluded that curcumin “could be a key molecule for the development of therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease.” To be sure, much research indicates that amyloid protein in and of itself may actually be the brain’s response to inflammation or infection and thus turmeric may work its magic by acting to reduce inflammation or even viral infection.

On top of the benefits of turmeric, eating fish more often is considered to be one of the easiest ways you can improve your brain (and overall!) health.  Another excerpt from Dr. Permutter’s website:

Morris and colleagues report data from a remarkable prospective study of Alzheimer disease (AD) in a biracial community in Chicago, Ill (815 people, aged 65-94 years). They found that subjects who ate fish once a week or more had a 60% lower risk for developing AD than those who consumed fish less frequently. The data were statistically adjusted to correct for the effects of age, sex, ethnicity, education, stroke, hypertension, heart disease, apolipoprotein E (apo E) genotype, total caloric intake, and consumption of other fats or vitamin E. Intake of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and docosahexaenoic acid (omega-3) was associated with a reduced risk of developing AD over the 4 years of the study. Intake of α-linolenic acid or eicosapentaenpoic acid was not associated with disease after adjustment. Intake of α-linolenic acid, found in vegetable oils and nuts, was protective only in people with the apoE ϵ4 allele, and total n-3 fatty acid intake was protective only in women. These data and other work in the area suggest that consumption of PUFAs found in fish, vegetable oils, and nuts may reduce AD risk.

Therefore, I’ve been trying to cook with turmeric more (and by more, cooking with it at all is more than I used to!) and trying to consciously eat fish at least once per week.  Even if you don’t ever read Grain Brain, and don’t care about what health benefits turmeric or fish oil may offer, if you like spicy, blackened fish, I highly recommend you make this recipe anyway.

I came up with this turmeric blackened fish recipe on a whim a couple of weeks ago, and although I shared it on Instagram, I thought I would also share it here so I could include it in my archives.  It’s simple, DELICIOUS and Wheat’s already asked for it again.

Grain Brain Approved Turmeric Blackened Fish Recipe - oysters and pearls

Turmeric Blackened Fish Recipe

 ingredients

– one fish fillet per person (we used red snapper)
– turmeric powder
Chinese Five Spice
– cumin
– ground red pepper (could substitute cayenne)
– kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
– high heat cooking oil of your choice (extra light olive oil or coconut oil preferred)

instructions

Rinse and pat dry fish fillets.  Season all sides of the fish fillets with all the seasonings (equal amounts of each, maybe a bit light on the red pepper).

Heat enough oil in a cast iron skillet (or heavy frying pan) to medium high heat, or until oil is shimmering.  Gently place seasoned fillets in the oil with a bit of space between each filet.  Allow to cook until the fillets easily release from the bottom of the pan with a pair of tongs.  When they do, flip them and allow to cook until the other side releases easily from the bottom of the pan.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note: If you don’t get the oil hot enough, the spice won’t develop that crispy, blackened crust.  It will still be delicious – just not very crispy!

Grain Brain and Whole30 Compliant Turmeric Blackened Fish Recipe - oysters and pearls

And see those carrots back there behind the fish?  They were da bomb.com and I’m coming back to share that simple little recipe, too!  Does anyone have any favorite recipes that include turmeric or curry for me to try?  Please share them!

Until Next Time - oysters and pearls