Andrea is the cook in our house. Steven is in charge of dishes. In most households this would be an unfair division of labor. In our household, it balances out perfectly because when Andrea cooks she uses every pan, dish and utensil in the kitchen. Andrea cooks like our four-year-old nephew eats. It’s a joyous, full-body experience. Nothing is left untouched. The aftermath looks like the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Hello. My name is Steven. I used to hate kale. Now I love it.
When did it become a virtue to never change your mind? Watch any recent political coverage and the conclusion is unavoidable. We, as a country, have decided that new information should have no impact on opinions and beliefs. If you abandon a single conviction you held in seventh grade, you’re a weak-minded flip-flopper. It doesn’t matter what life experiences you’ve had between then and now. New evidence be damned. Changing your mind for any reason betrays you as indecisive and lacking in backbone.
Go ahead and accuse me of being un-American. I have flip flopped on kale.
I used to think that kale was far too bitter. It turns that my dislike of kale had everything to do with how it was prepared. The minute I tasted Andrea’s kale it became my favorite vegetable. Andrea and I are now in complete agreement that kale is the world’s most perfect vegetable. It’s low-calorie and high-nutrition. It’s delicious. It is the perfect compliment to any Drink Your Carbs meal.
Full Disclosure: These brownies are not 100 percent Drink Your Carbs compliant. The Basic Drink Your Carbs diet eliminates both maple syrup and honey. When it comes to sweeteners, Drink Your Carbs is more restrictive than Paleo or pretty much any other diet we’ve seen. Our reasoning is simple. If we want to continue drinking alcohol, we have to cut calories elsewhere. Eliminating sweeteners is the easiest and most efficient way to accomplish this.
If we want something to finish a meal, our choice is invariably another glass of wine, beer or an occasional Scotch. But even we bust out this recipe for special occasions. If we plan to make dessert for a party, these are our go to choice.
"You’re going to have to eat that salad if you want dessert." Growing up in Steven’s house, a plate of leafy greens was viewed as a punishment. Each of the kids was required to consume at least a few pieces of iceberg lettuce drowning in bottled ranch dressing. Steven, in particular, responded to it as though he was being asked to eat a live cockroach.
Contrast this with Andrea’s house. There was no iceberg lettuce or store-bought dressing sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and pumped full of chemicals to increase the shelf life. Her family assembled salads of fresh romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and other vegetables served lightly dressed in a homemade dressing.
Throughout the long Colorado summers, Andrea and her siblings would pick fresh greens and vegetables from their garden and then fight over who got to wash and cut them. The downside of all of this “kitchen help” was that someone was invariably served a slug.
Long before marrying Andrea, Steven dated a Cuban girl from Miami. It was a typical college relationship. They were madly in love within days and broken up less than six months later. The relationship had all the hallmarks of an old-fashioned melodrama. Every emotion was amplified by the inexperience and hormones of youth. After the breakup, the girl sacrificed a live chicken in order to curse Steven in a Santeria ritual. Steven probably deserved the curse; he had a tendency to crack inappropriate jokes at times when no words should be spoken. The chicken, however, was completely innocent.
It turns out that, for Steven, a cursed life is largely indistinguishable from a lucky one. Even that crazy relationship turned out to be a lucky break. Out of the wreckage, Steven managed to salvage the girl’s family recipe for traditional Cuban black beans. Over the past 20 years, Andrea has taken that recipe, and, as she’s prone to do, both simplified and perfected it.
Before dating Andrea, Steven lived on ramen noodles and Taco Bell. Friends can vouch for the fact that he would occasionally eat at Taco Bell twice in the same day. He maintained a Costco membership solely to purchase ramen by the carload. On the rare occasions he craved vegetables, he headed over to a buck-a-scoop Chinese place for a version of beef with broccoli that likely contained as much MSG as broccoli.
Steven did not even know that kale was edible. He had never actually seen anyone eat it. He thought it was only used to garnish salad bars. He avoided salad bars at all cost. To Steven’s pre-Andrea way of thinking, salad was for losers.
If Colonel Sanders ever embraces Drink Your Carbs, this will be the replacement for the Original Recipe™.
This is highly unlikely since the Colonel died in 1980, but it is not impossible. All it requires is a monumental shift in KFC corporate philosophy and Tupac’s special effects team.
In our home, burgers serve the same role that pizza delivery serves in the average American household; if we are tired, lazy or just feel like kicking back in front of a football game, we make burgers.
Of course, our version removes the bun and the fries in favor of wine and beer because we prefer to drink our carbs.
Until a recent cooking mishap, we believed that we made damn good burgers. We were wrong. A fortunate accident set us straight. We now know how to make burgers so ridiculously good that they cause Tourette’s. Everyone who has tasted them has reacted similarly, “ Holy f@#k! I will never make normal burgers again.”
Over 15 years ago, we visited the Galapagos Islands. Anyone who has studied Charles Darwin knows that these islands can have a strong and lasting impact on a young mind. Our trip lasted seven days. To this day, we show our affection for one another by performing the mating dance of the blue-footed booby.
When it comes to eating salad, we still channel our inner giant tortoise. The tortoises of the Galapagos grow to five feet in diameter and can weigh over 800 pounds. We never saw these giants in the wild, but at the Conservation Center we watched them devour leaves by the bushel. Their movements were slow and deliberate. Their focus was absolute. Imagine a speed-eating contest filmed in Matrix Bullet Time.
The tortoises were unperturbed by visitors. In fact, they could give a rat’s ass about the noise and the photographs as long as no one got between them and their leafy greens.
We serve our nightly salad from a bowl better sized for movie theater popcorn. As far as we are concerned—and we assure you that the tortoises agree—there is no such thing as too much salad.
To be clear, we are not vegetarians like the giant tortoises. Nor are we adherents to the raw food movement. We just love salad.
“There is nothing that cannot be improved by the addition of either chocolate or bacon.” Before we discovered Drink Your Carbs, this was our culinary philosophy. Bacon is still a mainstay, but chocolate is now a rare occurrence. One of the sacrifices we have made for DYC is to cut nearly all added sugar from our diets. We have traded the empty calories in the dessert course for the calories delivered in wine, beer and other liquor.
These days we have a new philosophy. “There is nothing that cannot be improved by the addition of either bacon or Green Sauce.” The truth is, if you add Green Sauce bacon is unnecessary. Green Sauce really is that good. We have yet to discover any meat or vegetable that is not improved by the addition.