Welcome to my fridge at its most presentable! By the end of the week, it will no doubt look more like a war zone, but I try and give it a good reset once a week to clear out the old and get inspired for some new food experiments.
As far as feeding myself I’m all about meal planning and organization, but keeping it super flexible. I’ll usually pick one new and adventurous meal I want to make that week, and have the rest of what I eat be built on healthy staples and “flavor bomb” dressings or sauces that make it effortless to whip up nourishing meals on the fly.
If I have any kind of philosophy, it's this: eat intuitively. It’s not always easy when you’re busy, but it’s life changing. I do have a guideline of comprising meals of about 50% vegetables, leafy greens and probiotic rich foods, but from there I do my best to honor my hunger without guilt, shame or rigid formulas. From day to day, our physiology is constantly shifting with the tides of hormones, stress, and our unique nutritional needs, our bodies are constantly seeking their perfect balance, so I try to allow myself joy and ease around food, knowing that if I’m taking care of the basics my body will give me intelligent signals when it’s full or deprived. As a chef, to be able to guide people to experience food as a source of utter pleasure and a path towards vibrant health is just magic to me.
I’ll start where I make build the foundations of my meals.
Since we're at the tail end of winter, welcome spring! (or, “winter”, since I’m in Los Angeles where it’s perpetually paradise), that usually means I’m eating more cooked and warming foods, root vegetables and homemade broths. There’s a giant container of 18-hour chicken bone broth made from bones I save up in my freezer over a couple weeks. I’ll probably make some kind of veggie packed pho situation with that, since I got the new Elizabeth Street Cafe cookbook for my birthday and I’m eager to dive in!
Black lentils are my major staple for quickie meals. I simmered them simply with whole cloves of garlic and some kombu (a sea vegetable that is packed with health-promoting, thyroid-balancing minerals and flavor compounds. I put it in everything I can get away with).
Lemons, limes, avocados and radishes are always at the ready because as far as I’m concerned, food is naked without at least one of them. I always take the radish greens off right away, it prevents them from getting all wrinkly and sad.
An obscene amount of cilantro kept in water so it’ll stay fresh longer and remind me to use it.
Most of the vegetable are tucked away in the crisper drawers: burdock root (incredibly nourishing and blood purifying), kale, cauliflower, the cutest bunapi mushrooms, purple cabbage, romaine lettuce, rainbow carrots, ginger, persian cucumber, leeks, and fennel.
Some lingering Whole Foods leftovers in the brown container.
Pasture-raised eggs from the Melrose market. My favorite simple lunch is a two-egg omelet cooked in ghee (try Ancient Organics brand and you’ll never go back).
Ginger infused honey, we use it as a quick warming remedy when we’re under the weather, or often in place of simple syrup in the occasional homemade cocktail.
Speaking of booze, there’s some Booch Craft (ginger+lime+rose hip flavor), and some leftover sake from when we had Japanese food last week. I tend to drink alcohol just one day out of the week, or else I notice my health and mood start to slide.
A batch of my Lemon Coconut Gems for when the mood strikes (recipe below).
In the middle drawer, I keep sheep feta and chickpea miso (which is so incredible for your gut flora and digestion, there’s a million ways to use it, from making soup to lending a “cheesy” taste to non-dairy sauces and pestos).
I infuse a quart of nutritive tea a couple times a week, and right now there’s some Moringa tea in the Mason jar. I bought some dried moringa from a woman at the market, it’s rumored to have amazing curative properties. I also adore nettles for their incredible mineral and iron content. Drinking infusions is such a great way to hydrate and get healing nutrients!
A home to condiments and other misfits that make meals great.
Goat yogurt that I use sparingly as a tangy complement to rich dishes, or perhaps as the base for a creamy harissa dressing. I rarely go for dairy, but I prefer goat's (or sheep's) because it’s much easier to digest and is not mucus-forming like cow dairy.
Capers, anchovies, yuzu kosho (thanks to the hype from Alison Roman), green Thai curry paste (fast food at its finest), Moon Juice Fermented Sea Vegetables, cured botija olives, and Soom tahini, which is the best I've ever tasted.
Tahini “ranch” dressing. For everything.
Homemade sesame salt (gomasio), in my favorite little sesame grinder.
Moon Juice goodies, perks of being a part of their stellar team: bee pollen (I consider it my “multivitamin”), chaga donuts, aloe vera juice and bottles of cold brew (my boyfriend’s; I’m firmly on the tea side of morning beverages).
Not pictured is the rest of my whole foods arsenal: the jars upon jars of dry goods (beans, sprouted quinoa, nuts, seeds), sea vegetables, a pathological amount of teas and herbs, vinegars, healthy fats, and cans of full fat coconut milk to make super quick Thai curries or coconut “whipped cream” for improv desserts.
LEMON COCONUT GEMS
These truffle like healthy treats are shining with good fats and just the right amount of sweetness. They really hit the spot with some tea in the afternoon. If I’m in a chocolate mood, I'll leave out the lemon and sub in 1/4 cup of cacao powder and 1/4 tsp almond extract. I’ll sometimes add in some adaptogens, like Reishi mushroom, for a functional boost!
Makes about 20
By Blaine Arin Tacker
2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup softened coconut oil
5 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar
The zest and juice of one small lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or raw vanilla powder
Small pinch sea salt
½ teaspoon dried turmeric (optional, but gives a nice vibrant yellow)
Add coconut to the bowl of a food processor. Blend continuously until the coconut is finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and continue blending until it holds together like a dough and holds together well when squeezed, another 30 seconds or so.
Roll dough into tablespoon size balls, placing on a large platter or baking sheet as you go. Set in the fridge for a few hours until firmed up. They’re great right out of the freezer, too!