IN THE KITCHEN WITH GiGi:
Simple, Efficient & Delicious!
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:
Hi everyone! I am GiGi (or I guess now, Mrs. Ashworth – hee hee), a former competitive snowboarder and horseback rider that has since become an allergen-friendly cook and certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in Nutrition Communications. I currently live in Los Angeles and have what some might call a humorous weekly blog/vlog called GiGi Eats Celebrities. This blog/vlog is a place where people with diet concerns, as my enthusiasm stems from my own severe diet-related problems (Crohn’s, Celiac, Ulcerative Colitis and no large intestine), can get advice (such as traveling with food intolerances and autoimmune diseases) along with allergen-friendly recipes that everyone can enjoy. I am also self-proclaimed extreme eater (I can eat 6 pounds of US Wellness Meats’ Grass-Fed Beef Burgers in one sitting, no joke!) and food fanatic. Oh and on my blog/vlog… I say what I am thinking, no sugar-coating what-so-ever (aka: NO filter)… Because well, I can’t eat sugar!
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH COOKING?
I think when I popped out of the womb, the first thing my dad said to me was: “what do you want for dinner?” Or in other words… My dad is really the one who got me very interested, if not full on obsessed with food and cooking. I remember being his sous chef at a young age, helping him knead bread and glaze donuts, deep fry potatoes in duck fat, make French pastries and of course, chop onions… Because he didn’t want to be the one with stinging eyes, but of course! I also remember us helping him make beef patties when we decided to fire up the grill, and I even recall my snacking on the raw meat while constructing the burgers. In retrospect, this memory repulses me, not because raw meat is disgusting, but because the meat was NOT grass-fed and grass-finished. These days, I still eat raw meat (I am European after all, we love our tar tar), but I make sure it’s 100% grass-fed and finished, I.E. US Wellness Meats!
DESCRIBE YOUR COOKING STYLE:
My cooking style is definitely simple, quick, non-threatening and very easy. Sure, I grew up with the influence of my father, who loves ELABORATE recipes that take up at least 5 pages of a cookbook… But I have learned how to master delicious recipes, without making people read a NOVEL worth of cooking instructions! Also what motivated me to come up with efficient and delicious recipes was my HUNGER. While these elaborate recipes would have to simmer over low heat for 8 hours or bake in the oven for 5 hours, I would become so hungry that when the food finally arrived at my mouth, I could no longer appreciate it because I just needed to feed the beast within! I won’t lie to you, when I visit my family and my dad wants to create one of his delicious masterpieces, I am definitely known for getting a bit cranky (that’s an understatement) while we wait for the flavors to coagulate. That being said, at home, I am the queen of the 30 minutes or less meals… Sorry Rachel Ray, but I have taken your crown!
HOW DID YOU LEARN ABOUT GRASS-FED MEATS?
I have to give credit to my Mom as well as Dr. Joseph Mercola for informing me about grass-fed/finished meats. If you can believe it, I have been eating strictly grass-fed/finished red meats for 16 years… Way before it was “in vogue”… And I have never, ever and I mean EVER eaten or even really looked at another piece of conventionally raised meat since. Okay, I take that back, I have looked at the meat, but only to tell my husband NOT TO BUY IT! It’s actually cute… Because my husband now tries very hard to make sure he only buys grass-fed/finished meats and when people ask him why, he reiterates everything I have told him! Look at me being a positive influence!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE FEATURING GRASS-FED MEAT:
YOU’RE STRANDED ON A DESERTED ISLAND; LUCKILY, YOU’RE ALSO STRANDED WITH YOUR TOP FIVE INGREDIENTS:
- Ground Beef & Salmon: My favorite macronutrient… While most would think it’s protein, because boy does protein fill up pretty much my entire plate whenever I sit down to a meal…. Fatty protein specifically, but if we have to single out macronutrients here, protein is a close second to FAT! There is truly nothing more satisfying than fat according to my taste buds. I have been known to pour pan-drippings into my mouth because I am classy like that. Now I’m not quite sure WHY fat tantalizes my taste buds so much, but this is why ground beef and salmon are necessary on my deserted island! Also, they are chalk full of omega-3 fatty acids, to keep me healthy and nourished so as to fuel my survival activities on the island!
- Spinach & Sweet Potatoes: While I can eat spinach until I am blue in the face and in fact, I typically eat spinach like one might potato chips… I stick my hand in the pre-washed spinach bag or tub and shove it right in my mouth (typically with some sugar-free ketchup)… I would need to master the art of creating fire on my deserted island in order for me to indulge in sweet potatoes. I know some people who eat it raw, but there is nothing quite like the sweet, creamy taste and texture of vitamin A and fiber-rich roasted sweet potatoes. My diet requires me to consume a low fiber, low carbohydrate diet, but sweet potatoes fit the bill as my go-to carbohydrate of choice and the best part is… My stomach loves it!
- Salt: I was blessed with a “salt tooth”. I am the type of person who salts her food before she tries it. Sure, that might be a faux pas, but I own that faux pas and will never stop enjoying salty foods!
BEST COOKING SECRET/TIP YOU’VE LEARNED:
Have children and make them do the tedious cooking tasks you don’t want to do in the kitchen? Ha, no, that would be my dad’s tip… But mine would most likely be don’t underestimate the power of your broiler. If you think you have no time to cook, let your broiler take the reins and it will transform your thinking about not having time. A lot of my meals that I cook for myself and/or my husband involve the broiler. Broiling is essentially grilling food upside down (you can flip what you’re cooking half way through the cooking process if you so choose) and it cooks food in almost half the time that baking typically does. Of course, when you broil you must PAY ATTENTION to your food; don’t go fold laundry, clean the toilet or get caught up on social media (I don’t care how cute that baby kitten rolling with the stuffed mouse is), because before you know it… You will start to smell something burning!
FAVORITE QUOTE/SONG FOR CULINARY INSPIRATION:
There is a band or group called Leftover Salmon. I have never heard their music before, however, I feel like I would love them because… I would eat ALL of their leftover salmon? Honestly though, the term “leftover” is foreign to me because I am the QUEEN of the CLEAN PLATE CLUB!
Now there is in fact at least song out there that reminds me of food and eating… However it is vastly inappropriate, but it does speak to me because I am all about putting food in my mouth. Ahem… And that is as far as I will go with that one!
As for food quotes, I never really pay attention to them, so what I just did was ask everyone on Facebook what THEIR favorite quotes are and here is what I found out…
- “9 out of 10 people like bacon. We think the 10th person is a liar.”
- “I just don’t want to look back later and realize DAMN… I really could have eaten the whole thing.”
- “My life is a series of embarrassing moments, broken up by snacks.”
- WTF = “Where’s The Food?”
- “Do you like it well done, cause I do it well. Cause I’m well-seasoned if ya couldn’t tell.”
- “Life is like a box of chocolate.”
- “The meal isn’t over until I am full. The meal is over when I hate myself.”
- “Don’t just stare at it. Eat it!”
You see! Some people think Facebook is for posting 10 trillion photos of their babies… Or updating the world on what their daily routine is… But for me, it’s asking thought provoking questions like this one!