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After a series of health scares pointed Piper Harris in the direction of paleo eating, she never turned back. Instead, she created The 4 AM Chef to share her recipes and experiences with others. In addition to reaching people through her website, she works with local high school students, teaching them the importance of healthy food (and that it can still taste good!). Harris’ work is an inspiration for us all, and we hope that she continues to help others in her local community as well as her web community.
Why did you first start cooking?
I have been cooking for as long as I can remember! Growing up one of my chores was to prepare my family a meal. I can remember one of my very firsts: stew! My cooking style, like many things in life, morphed and changed with a maturing palate but also poor health. In 2010, I had had enough! My husband introduced me to the paleo way of eating, so I dove head first into a healthier lifestyle!
If you could have anyone over to dinner, who would you invite and what would you serve them?
I believe food is a blessing not only to nourish and sustain our bodies but it is a bridge, which brings a community together. If I could invite someone to dinner, I couldn’t possibly choose just one. I’d invite the man on the corner begging. I’d invite the elderly Chinese woman whose fingers look as if they’ve prepared a history’s worth of dishes. I’d invite great scholars and philosophers and beckon them to share their thoughts on my food. I’d invite my godfather who has long since passed from a life ended too early due to obesity. I’d invite my family and share my newest “take” on stew. I’d invite the great chef’s in history from Julia Child to MFK Fisher to James Beard. I would choose to invite those that I could love through my food. But, also those I could learn from. My joy and passion for cooking comes in part from my craving to learn more—not of just food but of people.
What is the inspiration for your blog?
My greatest desire is to inspire people into health through beautiful whole foods! I love to experiment with all sorts of cuisines, spices, and ingredients—tempting my taste buds as well as my reader’s into new frontiers.
What is one thing that is always in your refrigerator or pantry?
Sardines and Sriracha! Sardines are a great go-to source for protein that I can crack open on the go, and I gotta have Sriracha - I like it hot!
Something you wish someone had told you when you started a gluten-free lifestyle?
You should’ve done this sooner!
Where do you find inspiration for recipes?
I find inspiration from an exotic spice I’ve read about, a strange piece of produce found in a farmer’s market, or a recipe in a magazine that causes me to think “I can create something better!”
What exactly are you teaching the students you work with?
I have a passion not only for cooking but also for showing others how to find health through food: not a prescription or a fad diet - just plain ol’ real food to heal your body!
My passion has also led me to teaching local high school students. I focus on teaching students how paleo, primal, and gluten-free eating differ and how each can be accomplished without a massive amount of stress or money to sustain their own lives. AND I’m always sure to cook something up to PROVE to them it is still DELICIOUS!
Orange Cardamom Pork
- 4 blade end boneless pork chops
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup prepared orange juice
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp. ground Cardamom
- 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. pepper
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- Handful chives
- 1 orange, zest
- Using half of each: sprinkle garlic, salt, and pepper over pork chops, allowing meat to come to room temperature.
- Turn skillet to high heat, adding olive oil. Sear pork until golden brown, about 2 minutes, flip and sear other side. Remove pork from skillet.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add chicken stock, making sure to scrape bits from bottom of pan. Add orange juice, cardamom, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Bring sauce to a boil and reduce by ½ (about 15 minutes). Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Place pork chops into sauce, cover and allow to braise, about 6 minutes or until meat is desired doneness.
- Remove pork from sauce, and continue to reduce by ¼.
- To plate: spoon orange cardamom glaze onto plate, place chop over glaze, garnish with almonds, chives, and zest. Serve with roasted brussel sprouts or asparagus.
Posted on Thu, June 5, 2014
by Victoria Foster filed under