The healthy hedonist's "fast food" protocol

[What I had for breakfast today: steamed jasmine rice, a fresh hen egg, chopped and sauteed daikon greens, and Adam's kimchi.]

The other day I had this absolutely spectacular dinner: delicious, nutty brown jasmine rice; an unctuous duck egg perfectly over-easy, buttery mushroom confit; and ribbons of sweet purple collards. It was delicious, healthy and balanced, and it took me about five minutes to put together.

Okay. Truthfully, I was only able to put it together so quickly because of a lot of prior preparation: two days before, Adam had reduced a huge pile of fresh mushrooms into a super-umami pint or so of mushroomy tenderness. He'd put about half of them on a homemade pizza, and the remainder sat forlornly in a jar in the fridge. I'd made the rice for breakfast, since we had just run out of white rice. The collards I clipped from the tree collard we'd stuck in the garden as a tiny cutting three or four years ago. A friend gave us a dozen duck eggs in return for Kamal's baby wading pool, which her ducks will certainly enjoy more than Kamal presently does. Basically I melted a little pat of good butter in our big cast-iron skillet, dropped in the rice and mushrooms and cleaned, trimmed greens and egg, and voilà: dinner.

And all this got me thinking about how my general eating system (rice+protein+greens) really does lend itself to eating healthfully with relative ease. Having a garden that gives us delicious greens is helpful, but even if you don't have a garden (or, like me, if there are mornings you just don't want to go outside yet, or don't have time to clean and prep veggies) you can have greens at the ready. 

This is the basic protocol: have at the ready some kind of grain, some kind of greens, some kind of protein and something that serves as a condiment. Heat up a big skillet and melt coconut oil or butter or olive oil or your favorite healthy fat of choice in it. 

You've made a big pot of white or brown rice, barley, farro, or quinoa, or something. Scoop some of it out and plunk it in your skillet.

Next to that in your skillet, add an egg, or chicken, or chickpeas, or some beef, or some tofu...whatever protein you like or have left over from dinner last night. 

Then fill up the rest of your skillet with handfuls the fresh greens you've washed and chopped earlier. 

Prepping three meals. I left the skillet on the burner while getting Kamal dressed, and everything got a little...crisped. Still perfectly edible, but a good reminder to stay present while cooking. 

Saute, flip, monitor your skillet until everything is heated through. Then scoop it into a bowl (or, if you're me and have made three or four meals' worth in your giant skillet, scoop some into a bowl and divide the rest into two or three mason jars and/or thermoses) and add on top a squirt of sriracha, a pile of kimchi or sauerkraut, half an avocado, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed radishes, fresh radishes, or any combination of the above. Or all of the above! Go crazy. 

Jasmine rice, roast chicken, daikon and carrot pickle, over-easy egg, tree collards

A few notes:

-Keeping yourself in cooked greens and washed greens is 80% of the battle.  After that, it's finding the combinations you like. (I like them all.)

-A little good butter and quality salt can do wonders for brown rice or barley, if whole grains aren't typically your thing.

-You can steam or saute the greens in advance, but I don't think they taste as good that way.

-For a busy week (which, let's face it, is every week) we'll often just buy a rotisserie chicken from our local grocery, which uses humanely raised, free-range chickens. 

-To saute radishes, slice fresh radishes into thin coins, saute in butter, and finish with a little salt. You can also chop up the green radish leaves and throw those in with the radishes. So pretty!


-Mushrooms can be cooked into a delicious reduction like Adam's by slicing them thinly and sauteeing them with garlic in olive oil over a low flame for a long time. 

-Kimchi and sauerkraut, besides being an excellent source of cruciferous vegetables, also deliver a nice dose of probiotics. Your gut will thank you. 

Left to right: Adam's fabulous kimchi; Adam's superyellow pineapple-turmeric sauerkraut