My food philosophy is fairly simple.
I cook real foods. I cook the foods that my grandmothers and their mothers have made for generations before me. I believe that the body’s fuel should come from the natural world: plants, grass-fed meats, fish.
I believe that creating nourishing and healthful meals for ourselves and our families should fill us with joy, and love, and enthusiasm, and hope. I believe that food should make you feel something.
I believe that we should be actively engaged in the cooking that we do, constantly dipping a finger into whatever it is that we’re concocting. Taste that sauce, that dressing, that mash; eat spoonfuls of batter or custard or gravy or tzatziki. Edit as you go. You are the captain of your own culinary ship, and you steer the course – the first course, the second course, and all the rest.
My main culinary tenet is summed up by Michael Pollan’s excellent advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I prefer to categorize my meals as emphasizing fresh vegetables and fruits, and healthy proteins and fats in the form of grass-fed meats and wild seafood and full-fat dairy products, rather than the avoidance of one ingredient or another. I find this allows the healthiest foods to naturally take priority.
I am hesitant to classify my culinary style as a specific category, because I believe that deprivation or unrealistically strict dietary rules not necessitated by medical condition are difficult to follow. We should take pleasure in the preparation of our meals, and enjoy the eating of our meals. In my experience, the stress from struggling to eat the “right” ingredients – or the guilt following a “slip-up” at the local pizzeria – negates that pleasure.
To make this site as inclusive as possible, I will categorize my kitchen as this: Real foods. If it comes down to a choice between something created in a factory versus something created by Mother Nature, I believe that Mother Nature is always the better choice.
I believe that everyone must adhere to what works best for their body. All of our bodies have different nutritional requirements.
Most of what is shared here in the Flora + Davis kitchen falls under a great many healthful dietary plans – and can easily be amended to fit all of them.
Swap out butter for olive oil, and a recipe veers from vegetarian to vegan. Exchange white potatoes for sweet potatoes, and your meal becomes Paleo, rather than simply vegetarian. As I mentioned above, trust yourself and cook what you want to eat. Avoid processed foods when you can, and don’t beat yourself up when you feel like using that store-bought puff pastry to prepare an eggplant and zucchini tart.
I believe that there is a time for simple dishes, and a time for “projects.”
Simple recipes are those thrown together in a single pot and could prepare with your eyes closed.
Projects are the meals you purchase ingredients for- in advance, from four different stores- and require a full day in the kitchen, or more. (Most mysteriously involve approximately 90% of the kitchen appliances you own, as well.)
You will find both types of recipes listed here. I work four ten-hour days per week, and limit myself to simple recipes during those days. I find that being realistic about my time and energy levels during the week is conducive to a healthy relationship with my sweetheart and allows me to more fully enjoy my kitchen projects on the weekend.
With regard to culinary genre: I was raised outside of Seattle in a kitchen fragrant with spicy garlic and the smoky scent of searing meats, where meals were created with fresh ingredients and a sense of curiosity, and eaten together as a family around the table.
My parents originally were both teachers, and through hosting exchange students, learned to cook in the culinary traditions of many other regions. Thai noodles dressed with cilantro and peanuts; savory enchiladas verdes with queso fresco; airy British scones with orange zest and dried cranberry; light and tender Pacific Northwest salmon roasted with Kalamata olives, asparagus, anchovies and bright cherry tomatoes all appeared on our dinner table at one time or another.
My father moved between culinary genres with a deft hand and provided invaluable exposure to flavor profiles beyond the traditional American cuisines he himself was raised with. Living in Montana, with limited (but growing!) access to certain spice blends, seasoning pastes, or types of dry goods (particularly of the Asian variety), I have found myself more than ever craving the diverse flavors one cannot find here.
My culinary skills have developed out of necessity, as I could not simply swing by the local noodle shop and grab a to-go order of steaming, rich bowl of Vietnamese phở. If I wanted it, I had to make it myself. The same rules applied to Indian curry (chicken korma is a restaurant favorite that is terribly difficult to recreate in a home kitchen), authentic Baja-style tacos, Cantonese char siu bao, or Cuban arepas (a favorite from a brief post-college stint in Miami).
Thus, the recipes posted here will always attempt to incorporate bits of culture from around the globe into our seasonal cooking here at Flora + Davis.
With that, I welcome you to the corner of Flora + Davis!
The wine flows freely, the butter is chilled, and there is always a pan of garlicky goodness on the stove. Oh, and lots of love and laughter in the air.
Thank you for stopping by.