I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle Globis of The Palm Springs Plan a few weekends ago when my family took a little vacation to Palm Springs. The family that we rented the house with suggested we look in to hiring a private chef for one evening so that we could all really enjoy the vacation without having to do tons of work. Done. Through a friend of my husbands, we found out about Michelle and we contacted her to see if she was available. Luckily she was free for the night we wanted and I spoke with her over the phone about my son's food allergy requirements. She was so easy to talk with and made me feel completely comfortable that she had a handle on what he could and couldn't eat. The interesting part about working with her is that she follow a Paleo diet. It is also known as the Hunt and Gather diet or Caveman diet. I won't go in to detail but it is basically a diet consisting of everything that man survived on before man got crazy futzing with crops and processing. I really didn't know too much about it but I was confident that we would love whatever she came up with. I left it up to her to set the menu after telling her a few items we knew we didn't want.
She showed up in the early afternoon with everything she would need to prepare and serve not only our dinner but also some appetizers and a beverage. She served us this AMAZING basil lemon and lime ade. I must have had at least 5 glasses of it. SO amazingly refreshing. She made a quick guacamole which we ate with plantain chips (as regular chips are out of the question on a Paleo diet). Plantain chips, although they resemble bananas, are not sweet. These were fried lightly in coconut oil and were the perfect accompaniment to the dip. They have a potato like quality that made them feel substantial and satisfying. I am totally going to give these a shot at home.
Along with the guacamole and crudite, she also made endive with a kalamata olive tapenade and another version with an artichoke heart salad. Yum! And I had never tried French radishes before but I am certainly going to seek those out.
Although I was kept pretty busy with one sick child and another one intent on keeping me from sitting down on vacation, I was able to chit chat with Michelle while she was preparing the dishes. She is a wealth of knowledge and I found out that she is a food educator and works with several non profits on healthier eating. Partially as a result of my son's food allergies, I have become really interested in how food affects our health and shapes our lifestyles. I could have talked with Michelle for days about all of those issues. And she is just an amazing women. I loved hearing about her background and world travels.
Hey you guys, bacon is totally part of the Paleo diet. Grass fed beef with no nitrites, nitrates, etc. so you are getting really good bacon.
Our first course was a caesar salad with roasted heirloom tomatoes, and bacon with a delicious creamy dressing. Because of the egg in the dressing and my son's food allergies and kid's general disregard for things that they aren't that experienced with, she made the most amazingly simple and equally delicious vinaigrette for their salads. I'm not kidding, she used a really good, fruity olive oil and some lemon juice. I know this is going to sound odd, but it sort of tasted like frosting. It was sweet and rich with the brightness from the lemon. I am on the look out for that olive oil now.
She prepared 3 side dishes to go along with our main course. She made mashed cauliflower which mimics mashed potatoes. It had a depth of flavor that I wasn't expecting which I think partially came from the fact that she used a homemade stock and other tricks to really up the ante. I had several helpings. Another side was this asparagus, mushroom and bacon saute. INSANELY tasty. I had several helpings of this too. Michelle doesn't judge. :) The final side dish was cooked carrots. I forgot to take a picture of these. I even had more of those. Watching her prepare these dishes was a good reminder that you don't need to cook veggies very long which is totally something I need to work on.
For the main course Michelle prepared lamb chops. Amen. She worked with me to find the more well-done chops which is my preference and was not offended that I had that request. Anyone who dines on meat with me knows I don't like pink. But by food knowledge (most of which I have gained from hours of tv watching of The Food Network and Bravo food themed shows) tells me that lamb chops should not be over cooked, pink is ok. But I still don't want to eat it. The other awesome part of having lamb for dinner is that it is not something I would cook at home. So it really was like getting a restaurant dinner in the comfort of your own home. And for those of you with kids, you know that going to dinner at a restaurant is not something that is relaxing or even, at times, enjoyable. And I didn't have to get dressed up. Word to your mother. Although refined sugars are not part of the Paleo diet, Michelle made sure that we had some dessert options. The chocolate pudding she made for us was served in these adorable green vintage glasses with petite spoons. Totally a girl after my own heart. She nailed it with all her serving dishes. Now let's talk about the pudding. Cocoa powder, avocados and a natural sweetener. It was so good!!!! I'm a dessert fanatic and this really excited me because it was such a revelation. I can have dessert and get those intense flavors I love but they can be made in a healthier way. The avocados provide good fats to your body and it was rich and creamy without adding processed ingredients. I have made this twice since we've been home.
Along with providing personal chef and nutrition coaching services, Michelle also makes some ready-made items that can be purchased from her website. These macaroons are one of those items and they are delightful. Full of flavor with a really nice consistency these cookies were an awesome accompaniment to the pudding.
Even though my son didn't get to eat the food that was tailored around his allergies, the adults thoroughly enjoyed the dishes that Michelle made for us. I am so glad to have met her and hope that any of you who are planning a vacation to Palm Springs will consider having her over to cook for you!
*This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive a discount and wanted to share an awesome experience with my readers. Check out Michelle's website for more info about what she can help you with and if you happen to see it, check out the July issue of Palm Springs Life Magazine to see her featured.