Friday, July 25, 2008

Peanut Butter and Jelly- Retro Lunch and a Dinner Recap

I was running a few minutes late this morning so John made lunch for both of us! I was actually sort of craving a salad, but he made me a pb&j! So sweet. I found it in my gym bag along with a peach. Unfortunately my hunger has gotten the best of me and I ate half of it before 10am! Guess it is breakfast/lunch. Not to be confused with brunch. See brunch is one single meal, I am attempting to make my sandwich last for two meals. Hmmm. It shouldn't be too hard considering I made steak fillet with a blue cheese sauce last night for dinner. It was QUITE good, so good that there was no time for photographic evidence. It had to be eaten.
That said, I was quite impressed with what I made up on the fly. I sauteed red onions, then added cream, a little butter, white wine, and some blue cheese. This was drizzled all over the steaks and it was delish. I am officially off the vegetarian bandwagon. Not sure what happened. Maybe a change in my body chemistry or something. John likes to take credit for the change. Hmmm...

Lunchtime Salad

I made one of my usual salads for lunch yesterday. It was a combo of spinach and romaine and stuffed with veggies. Celery, tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumber, feta, red bell pepper, and some sliced tofurkey. I stuff it all in a tupperware and I am off to work! At home I ALWAYS make my own salad dressing, but I get lazy before work. AND I bought these cute little containers perfect for salad dressing and they leak. So I have a bottle of Newman's Own Light Italian or something along those lines in the fridge at the office. Then I pour it in, put the top back on, and shake her up! Perfect salad.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Don't I Eat More CousCous?!

I made couscous last night. I bought a box of whole wheat couscous at Trader Joe's a week or so ago and decided to dive into it. This stuff is the easiest stuff on the planet. I can't believe I don't do this more often. I cooked it in chicken stock to add more flavor, but I think that you can really just do it with some water.

It's all about the add-ins with couscous. So, I added some chopped Kalamata olives, chopped sundried tomatoes, feta, scallions, and some celery for crunch. I also added some olive oil, both from the jar of sun dried tomatoes and from a bottle. It was delicious. Oh, some red pepper flakes as well. I actually just kept throwing things in and John asked if I was ever going to be finished, because he was hungry.

I decided that couscous could be like artwork. I remember in art class I would just keep painting a painting. There's always another layer you can add, another color, another edge to smooth, until finally my teacher would say "you're finished. There's nothing more you can do." That was like my couscous last night. I finally had to say, ok, I'm done! Rocks!

So another Tuesday another organic delivery from the lovely Planet Organics. This time I got:
2 heirloom tomatoes
yellow squash
new potatoes

Yum yum. I have already used some celery and tonight there will be a lot of squash being cooked. I like to cook it for dinner one night and then stick it in a salad for lunch the next day. Quite nice I must say my self!

Proper Chicken Caesar Salad- The Naked Chef Way

This past weekend I was watching the Food Network, as usual, and Jamie Oliver made a Chicken Caesar Salad. He was outside, as he always is with his new show, and he "chucked" some chicken legs in his outdoor fire pit that were dressed with olive oil and rosemary and laid over a bed of broken up bread.
About 40 minutes into the roasting process, at 400F, he laid some pancetta over the chicken legs and stuck it in the oven/outdoor heat box thingy for another 20 minutes. I decided on prosciutto, in my dabbling with the meats again prosciutto seems less scary than pancetta in a totally irrational way (I know!). I was giggling to myself while I was making this because when I took the chicken out of the oven to layer the prosciutto over it I had just jumped out of the shower. So i was literally the Naked Chef. Thank god no one can see inside my kitchen! Amateurs be warned, coking while naked can lead to pain. I have a little scar on my stomach from some errant oil that once jumped out of a pan while I was stirring between a shower and getting dressed.
As this was stirring about in the oven, I made a homemade Caesar dressing. Now I know that traditional Caesar begins with a raw egg yolk, but Jamie's called for Creme Fraiche, which I was happy to use. I mashed up 4 anchovies with a clove of garlic. Jamie used a mortar and pestle which would have been lovely since I attempted to scrape the two together on my cutting board to mediocre results. I stuck this in a jar that I use to shake up dressing and added the juice of one lemon, a heaping spoonful of creme fraiche, 3x the olive oil as there was lemon juice, a heap of parmesan cheese, and some salt and pepper. I shook it all up vigorously and... Eh, the creme fraiche was too apparent in the flavors. So I added a teaspoon of red wine vinegar and some dijon mustard. And then it was perfect!

I chopped up a ton of Romaine and then went to town on the chicken. Actually, what really happened was a bit more complex. At this point I needed to transfer this entire project over to John's house. He was working from home, putting in another 12 hour day, and I said I would bring over dinner, as well as organize it so we could have lunch the next day. So I placed enough Romaine in a large bowl to feed two dinners and two lunches, grabbed some Tupperware for lunches, and placed it all in a grocery bag. Then I grabbed my chicken dish with some pot holders and a kitchen towel and set the hot plate onto the floor of the passenger seat of the car. I kept it uncovered because I knew that it would be better if the chicken, croutons, and prosciutto were more warm instead of piping hot. I drove over to John's house, carefully, and then reset myself in his kitchen.
I shredded some of the chicken using two forks (but really mostly my hands) and crumbled up some of the prosciutto. The croutons were incredible as well. Almost TOO rich! Well, I suppose that they had sucked up olive oil and chicken drippings for about an hour in the oven.

John and I ate this for dinner on Monday night and then lunch on Tuesday. I liked it a little better warm than cold the next day, but it was tasty either way. We both laughed that our co-workers must have hated us with our anchovy/garlic breath. Oh well!

Lunch Time Yum

I usually don't do lunch posts but I am trying to start. On Monday I did not bring a lunch so Kiki, my coworker and friend, and I ran down to a salad bar place called Wildflower on Sansome St. I love this place. It has two large salad bars, one with prepared food and one that is a regular salad bar. I try not to spend too much money when I am there though, they do everything by weight and I try to keep it under $10. I was about $6.50 this time and I was very proud of that!
I had some cellophane noodles, which I love, some broccoli, and a cabbage and chicken salad. I added some corn and pea salad, a seaweed salad which is delicious, and then piled my plate with spinach, tomatoes, sprouts, olives, red peppers, mandarin oranges and some avocado.
This totally filled me up for the rest of the afternoon, plus I thought that it was fairly healthy. I try to fill myself up with vegetables every day to curb my real cravings which are mainly for anything made from flour. Bread, pasta, etc. i could probably live on noodles and toast and be a happy girl for eternity. But then I would get scurvy which would be sad...
Kiki wanted me to show her salad as well. She said she did a less healthy version, which means she added lots of blue cheese etc. I thought it looked pretty good too. Plus this place is about 8 blocks away, so we get exercise by going there. Hmmm, not sure if that really works like that!

Monday, July 21, 2008

To Pig or Not to Pig- My Struggle with Vegetarianism

At age 12 I gave up meat. I think that perhaps it was an overdose of "Charlotte's Web" at a young age, or perhaps it was the fact that I am a complete bleeding heart and would be physically incapable of ever killing an animal, but I told my mother I would not eat meat anymore. This was completely unacceptable to her. I lived in a house with four other meat eaters (my parents, brother and sister) and she was not going to cook a special meal for me every night (understandably). But I felt VERY passionate about my inability to eat Wilbur or any of his buddies and I held my ground. Eventually we came to a compromise, I would continue to eat fish and poultry but I would cut out the main barnyard creatures. No more pigs, cows, lambs, etc. I was never a huge meat lover to begin with so this was not a problem. I have always hated pepperoni pizza and preferred salad over steak, so the personal change was not as tough.

When I went to college I became a total vegetarian. No more chicken and fish. I even went through 9 months in Europe without tasting one bistecca Fiorentina or a authentic moussaka or souvlaki. I have never felt as though I was missing out on too much, but recently I have begun dabbling back into the meat world. The world of the Omnivores. Now, I have always been surrounded by said omnivores. I am friends with them, I date them, I am related to them, I even live with them. It never bothered me, it was more a "to each his own" kind of sentiment. But since I have started dabbling in the meats (there is now a bite about once a week. And I ate a strip of flank steak last night) I am beginning to feel guilty and have some remorse.

This morning John and I were driving through China town on our way to work and we saw a large truck. As we were nearing said vehicle, it became apparent that the contents of this 4-wheeled monstrosity were pig carcasses. Yes, they were filling it to the brim. I was shocked! Now, I know that bacon, pancetta, pork, and guanciale and all other funny words are actually a nice way to say "dead pig prepared in the manner of..." Yes, I am not naive. But somehow seeing an entire truck filled with the little guys makes it all more real. This is not one single strip of bacon that I am eating (I usually like to say I am just tasting it, for some reason the euphemism makes it less cruel)but I am a responsible party in the butchering of animals. I am an active consumer of animals and it made me feel awful. Now, I believe I am actually overestimating my meat consumption. I have yet to actually purchase any red meat (I know Pork is "the other white meat" but I put it in the same category). I buy fish and chicken, but I actually eat those in only small amounts as well.

So, what to do/ Do I continue my exploration into the dark world of the omnivores? Or do I rapidly remove myself and go back to my old ways? I have thought about going to complete vegetarianism again too. How long would it last? Well, the problem is John eats the meat, and I am a sucker for sushi. My brief foray into veganism made me realize that I am capable of eating that way and will try to eat a mainly vegan diet for many of my meals, but I cannot exclude cheese from my diet. I could probably never eat cream again, or milk, ice cream or even yogurt, but not the cheese. I am weak for it. I love it. It makes me smile/ I'll save my cheese love for another day. But what is a girl to do. When you starting walking down a path do you embrace it or not?

Well, I have yet to decide but I know this, I will never be a huge meat eater ever. I do not like it that much and I am TRULY dedicated to attempting to buy food that is GOOD for this earth. I try to shop at local markets, buy from local brands, and I am lucky that the Bay Area has some of the more incredible food producers in the country. I enjoy supporting places like the Cowgirl Creamery and the Acme Bread Company. So, am I going to purchase a steak one day? I have no idea. I still have huge issues with the slaughtering of animals and really don't want that in my body very often. So what should I do? I guess I will figure it out. Maybe it will just come to me organically...

What to Have in a Pantry at All Times

According to Sara Moulton of "Sara's Secret's" on the Food Network and of Gourmet Magazine, these are her top picks for what every pantry needs. I agree with some of them (I can't tell you how many kitchens I have been in that are lacking simple things like vinegar or soy sauce) but there are others that seem arbitrary (roasted pimentos?!). I would have to add honey to this list. Hmmm, what else? A jar of pasta sauce, popcorn (snack attack), I always have bread at all times, and butter, but those aren't really pantry staples because they spoil more quickly. I do usually have a can of sardines in my pantry, as I love them on crackers with some mustard. Or between two pieces of (untoasted) fresh whole wheat bread with some lettuce, thinly sliced cucumber, dijon mustard and fresh cracked pepper. Trust me, this is one of the best sandwiches you can have. It is inexpensive and full or both protein and calcium.

Canned and Bottled Items:
Tuna, in oil or water
Beans-pinto, white, and black
Chicken broth
Plum tomatoes
artichoke hearts
Peanut butter
Roasted pimentos
Dijon mustard
Soy sauce

Pastas , Beans, Grains:
Various pastas
Rice-brown, arborio, basmati, long-grain

Extra-virgin Olive

White or red wine
Sherry wine

Sun-dried tomatoes
Dry mushrooms
Onions, shallots and garlic

Various spices

Sunday Dinner- Courtesy of Mom

We went over to my mom's house last night to eat a nice family dinner. She recently procured a French boy who showed up last night. He is now living at my parent's house, how very funny. The best past is they gave him the recently remodeled guest house, the only other option would have been the bedroom that I sleep in when I am there, which is located directly next door to the bedroom of my 18 year old sister. My mom thinks that he seems nice, but is smart enough to put the 19 year old boy out of the house and away from her!
So we had dinner celebrating Becky's birthday, my sister in law, and the arrival of Quentin (pronounced Kahn-tan in thick French accent. Stepdad began calling him "Q"). Jim grilled some flank steak with teriyaki marinade and my mom made a green salad, a Caprese salad, and a terrine of potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash. Basil abounded as well.
Dinner was lovely as was the peach pie we had for dessert. I fed my baby nephew (21 months) lots of vanilla ice cream which he was very pleased to eat. He ate it and every time I went back to the plate to put more in the spoon he was waiting with his mouth wide open for some more. SO cute! He also growls like a tiger. But enough Jake stories...
Food was very nice. It was nice to get some veggies in as usual considering how few we got through the weekend. (Unless beer counts as a vegetable, in that case we had a bunch. And wine? One of your five a day as a grape perhaps? Martini olives too, do they count as a serving?!)

Camping Food Part Deux- Did I Really Cook Salmon?!

I know that camping food is typically burgers and hot dogs, you're lucky to have a vegetable unless you count ketchup. But that is not really the way I operate, so while shopping at Raley's in Auburn, Ca, I decided to buy some salmon. I thought I could wrap it in aluminum soil, drizzle it with honey and soy sauce (my fave) and call it a day. And... it worked! Now, it was actually much prettier than the picture shows (and please notice the Budweiser box plate mat, high class all the way!)and the taste was phenomenal!
I also wrapped corn in foil and stuck those on the grill as well. The corn was ok, it could have benefited from some olive oil or butter, neither of which we had on hand. But I was pleased to be eating a vegetable and there is nothing like corn during a cookout!
There's me attempting to flip the corn using a handmade beer box/tin foil spatula
We also had begun wiht a lovely appetizer of sardines and cheddar cheese with some sourdough bread. No mustard? No problem! John and I found sardines that were actually packaged in mustard! Amazing. I know that this looks sort of gross, but it's actually one of my favorites!
Quite possibly one of the more interesting conversations I had during this trip was about what is a "barbecue" and what is not. Rafting and camping with us were two guys from Georgia, Brian and Jason. Somehow the conversation came up that all of us Californians are always "barbecuing" when in fact we are not. Brian said, "you can have a picnic or a cookout, but if you say you're having a barbecue I better see a damn pig when I walk up." This made me laugh and think about the fact that it is true. We Californians, or non-Southerners, do invite people over for barbecues all the time. These barbecues can consist of anything from a couple of beers sitting outside, to some burgers and dogs, etc. I have made pizza on a barbecue and said that we were having a barbecue, but according to our Southern experts, a barbecue is not a kind of party, it's a kind of food. You need to be roasting a pig pretty much in order to be able to call something a barbecue. Well, you learn something new every day!
Camping is STILL not my favorite thing in the world, but I am having a little more fun with it. Could be partly to do with the shower that I snuck in at the campsite (speaking of authenticity, many might say if there are SHOWERS then it is not really camping. But, for me sleeping in a tent, even if it is in the backyard, is roughing it.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wrap It Up!- Lunch Vegan Style

I rarely write about lunch because usually I am either a) busy at work, b) too tired in the morning or evening to bother taking photos, c) eating some random combination of apples and kettle chips and pistachios, or d) simply forgetful. But I woke up this morning and made another wrap, the fourth I've made this week. I'm not sure if you can see all the ingredients but my wrap consisted of the following:

a whole wheat tortilla
peppered Tofurkey
spicy hummus
baked tofu
sesame seeds
pickled ginger

The hummus and pickled ginger REALLY gave the wrap a kick! I made one for myself and dropped one off at John's office along with an orange so he could have a good lunch too. Poor thing has been working super long days. He was at the office until midnight last night and came in at 6 this morning! So he needs some fresh food in his belly. He emailed me to say the ginger was amazing and it was a good call. I said, of COURSE! I knew that when I put it in!
I am really liking these wraps for lunch and I think that they will become a more constant in my lunch cycle. And John really likes the baked tofu which is amazing, so there's that. The one thing I DID learn was they are best made the morning of. They get soggy if done the night before.
(above- the look of my counter this morning...)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Picnic in Dolores Park- Orzo Salad

To celebrate Katie's birthday last night we went to a very windy Dolores Park for some wine, food, and fun. I made an orzo salad that was a huge hit! Here's my makeshift recipe. It fed an army!

1.5 boxes of orzo (cooked and cooled)
1 cup of dried cranberries (or cherries would be good too)
1 bag of washed and cleaned arugula
1/2 c toasted pine nuts
a block of ricotta salata
zest and juice of two lemons
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper
chiffonade of basil

The salad was delish. It was even better after sitting in the fridge for a night and day. I didn't have any because I was trying to stick to my vegan guns, munched on bread and hummus, some chips and salsa etc. I had a little non-cheese bite. But we had a lovely picnic and HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE!!!

Brrr, it was really windy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vegan Day Three- Oops, I Cheated

So, I made an Orzo salad last night for the birthday picnic I am attending tonight. An ingredient in the salad is Ricotta Salata, and who am I to deny my friends a better pasta salad, so I chose to add it in. I ran over to the incredible Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building and picked up some Ricotta Salata. But when I was there I got a bit distracted. I am going river rafting and camping this weekend so I thought it would be in my best interest to get some yummy cheese for said trip. I asked the very helpful guy behind the counter what a good camping cheese would be. I needed something that was hard and not goopy, and something that could withstand some changes in temperature, bounce around a bit, etc. He helped me choose two cheeses, which will be unveiled after the trip! But OF COURSE I had to taste them. So, whoops. No more vegan. But if you are going to cheat, I truly believe an amazing piece of cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery is worth it.

I told John when I got back to the office that I cheated on our diet and... he did too! He had a yogurt for lunch. I pretended to yell at him but secretly I might feel better than we both did. It was just a bite after all!

I stuck to my guns for dinner though and made Pesto pasta with roasted cauliflower. This was the gorgeous purple cauliflower that I got in my organic delivery. I roasted it Monday night with some olive oil and a squeeze of a lime (I absolutely love cauliflower with citrus). So I tossed it in a pan to reheat it, added some frozen spinach pesto from a month ago or so, and then added the Spinach and Chive and Whole Wheat linguine I cooked.
It was delicious and totally satisfying. John loved the flavors and the extra body the cauliflower added. We also had a green bean and tomato salad. I blanched the green beans the night before (such an industrious girl I am!) and added those with some lovely heirloom tomatoes I bought at the Ferry building. I made a vinaigrette of dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and two teaspoons of sugar. All you have to do is let it sit for awhile. This is really one of those salads that are better off if you dress it way before eating. At least 15 minutes I would say.

The dinner was quite tasty and filling. I didn't even finish my pasta, too much! I have no idea if the nutritional value of this meal was anywhere close to what we need, protein and whole grains wise. There were walnuts in the pesto and one of the linguines was whole wheat. But I have read over and over again that Americans actually get WAY more protein than necessary. So I'm not too concerned. Plus for lunch I had a whole wheat tortilla wrap with tomatoes, cucumber, tofu, tofurkey, ginger, and hummus, so I am pretty sure I am set. All those veggies along with an apple and a peach, I was a pretty vitamin filled girl yesterday! And John was a happy boy as well. It was the perfect warm meal to eat after a nice but windy run at Crissy Field.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vegan Experiments- aka Peanut Sauce is Good

Part of the Vegan Week is an attempt to create/use flavors that I don't typically use. I am very much a Mediterranean cook. Lots of olive oil, herbs, etc. So making an Asian dish was something I haven't done too often. I don't really have a background in it or a ton of skills, so I was pleasantly surprised that this dish turned out so well.

The first thing I did was roast an eggplant in the oven. I split it in half and stuck it in there, sprinkled with some salt (that's supposed to help leach out some of the water). Then I went to town on the sauce. Once that was finished I cut a block of tofu in half through the middle two make two thinner "steaks." I stuck this, with a sliced zucchini, in the oven on the same tray as the eggplant. I took it all out, cubed the tofu and stuck it in a frying pan, cubed the eggplant, and placed the zucchini all in the pan. Add soba noodles and the peanut sauce and I was done. I topped it with scallions and some toasted sesame seeds.

Now, what would I have done differently? I would have cooked the tofu a little more thoroughly. I don't mind it being super soft, but John thought it was a bit mushy. I also could do some real reading about how to properly cook an eggplant. The problem is I HAVE read how to do it a million times, and there are a million different ways. The whole, sprinkle with salt, lay out on a tray for 40 minutes, blot away the moisture. That seems too complex in my opinion. So I prefer a simpler method (aka- no method).

But we both really enjoyed the dish. And the MAIN thing I will change is little things about the peanut sauce. I used Julie's, a Foodbuzz Friend/Dorian's wife, recipe. It called for 1/2 a cup of peanut butter plus two additional tablespoons of sugar. I used Jif, which is already quite sweet. So when i first tasted the sauce it was SUPER sweet. It was fine, I even it out with an additional squirt of Sirachi, and another tablespoon or so of soy sauce and rice vinegar. IT perfectly mellowed out the sweetness and then it was dinner!

Easy Supper

So, John and I are on a health kick. Ok- maybe I am simply putting him on one. But I decided that I was eating too much crap. And I really don't eat crap, but too many rich foods (yes, the enchiladas were delicious, but after three days of them, I felt a bit heavy. So first off, we are eating vegan all week. What you say? Sacrilege?! Well, not really. I am not much of a meat eater (as discussed at other times in this blog) and I am also somewhat lactose intolerant, so not eating that stuff is both easy and probably better for me.
So I made an easy dinner. We went running along the water at Chrissy Field again and were both hungry when we got home. So, I decided to eat leftover corn and make a salad using basically anything I could dig up in my fridge. This meant spinach, carrots, celery, corn, radishes, avocado, tomatoes with a yummy dijon/red wine vinegar vinaigrette. Yum!
I really love eating simply and easy like this. It feels better going down and I don't liek that heavy feeling I feel so often after eating out.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Enchiladas Supremo- Ole!

Ok- I am not one to toot my own horn very much, but I will say that the enchiladas I made last night were AMAZING. Awesome in fact. I used the filling I had made the previous night and they didn't even take too long to put together. I placed tortillas in the oven while it was preheating to warm them up. I then soaked each one in Enchilada sauce (I bought the sauce but I am going to make my own next time) and slathered some refried beans (low-fat and vegetarian) on each and then loaded in the filling. The filling was the roasted chicken, shredded, a mix of cheddar and jack cheese, green chili peppers (2 little cans, yes I can make these but they are so easy from the can), sauteed onions and zucchini (in sticks), sour cream (I used about 1/2 a 9 oz. container), garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, a pour of the enchilada sauce, and an unauthentic dash of Crystal super hot sauce. I rolled up all the tortillas in a baking dish, covered it with jack and cheddar and a can of the enchilada sauce. I baked these covered for about 20 minutes at 375F and then uncovered for another 5 minutes. They came out looking not the most beautiful, but still good.
For the plating I shredded about 1/2 a cabbage and placed it on each of the three plates. I added a beautiful orange tomato to this and made a quick vinaigrette to go over the "salad." I had bought both fire roasted tomato salsa and a green salsa, so I added about 2 tbsp of the green salsa to a bowl, mixed it with some red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and mixed it all up. I poured this over the cabbage and tomatoes and then added a enchilada on top.
To dress the enchiladas I drizzled each kind of salsa on it, cubed red tomatoes and avocado dressed with lime juice and salt, and some cilantro. The whole thing was really incredible. It was spicy but not too spicy. we had a ton of veggies with the salsas, tomatoes, avocado, cabbage, zucchini, onions, and peppers. Protein came from the chicken and beans. And besides using some sour cream (4 oz for two HUGE casserole dishes) and two blocks of cheese, these weren't bad for you.
I saved calories by not frying the tortillas before rolling them up as well. I can see that this could make them a bit crisper, because I will admit that I think it would be a waste of calories and time. i might also use less sour cream next time and drain the green peppers more effectively, as well as use black beans instead of refried. The refried beans got lost in the texture, so I think that black beans would be able to stand out more.
One thing that REALLY stood out was the addition of cabbage. I thought about this because a) I had it on hand, b) I wanted a green that could stand up to the heat of the enchiladas and add a crunch, and c) in traditional Baja style fish tacos they add cabbage, so I figured that this would not be an unauthentic choice. The mild tang of the vinegar was also lovely, as well as the lime that covered the veggies. I think that these would NOT have been as good if they weren't over the cabbage, this will definitely be a new stand by for me.
These didn't come from a recipe either. I read probably 40 enchilada recipes in the last few days and simply took elements that seemed good from each one. This is the way I cook and why I don't enjoy baking as much. I like guessing and doing what seems right at the time. Anyway, I might have to do this again and actually write down what I am doing so I can share with others one day. Also need to figure out how to freeze these. Do you freeze it before baking or after?
The funniest part is that I roasted corn to go along with this meal, but by the time we finished our enchiladas, we were all too stuffed to eat it. Oh well, I can have it for lunch tomorrow. And dinner tonight. And dinner tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Organic Delivery- Planet Organics

Every other Tuesday I get a delivery to my office from a company called They put together a group of fruits and veggies for you but I usually customize my own the Friday before it comes. I have the $32 produce box. Now, you can get a box with groceries as well, but I usually stick to only veggies. What did I get in this week's box?
4 nectarines
3 Valencia Oranges
1 lb green Beans
4 White Corn
.5 lbs Black Prince Heirloom Tomatoes (in the bag)
1 Haas avocado
2 peaches
1 Purple Cauliflower
I bunch Pink Radishes
1 lb sweet potatoes
1 lb zucchini
So, what am I going to make with all this? Well, I usually use the radishes in salads throughout the week, as well as the tomatoes. I can make zucchini, green beans, corn, and cauliflower as my veggies sides for the next 10 days or so. I try to eat at least one to two pieces of fruit every day, and the sweet potatoes will be my starch for a couple of days. Or a tasty lunch at work.

I love the organic delivery. They often bring me veggies I wouldn't usually buy at the market, I am supporting a local business and local farms and the product is amazing. Recently I got little purple, yellow, and white carrots that were incredible. We are so used to eating mass produced produce that I forgot how sweet a carrot could be. It really is worth the money because you can save money by not having to use condiments on your veggies. A naturally sweet tomato doesn't need salt or vinegar, it is delicious on its own. So sign up if you can and make sure you eat your veggies! Five a day!

It's not that hard, when I think about it I am certain I eat WAY more than five every day. Already today I had a nectarine, a plum, and carrots, potatoes, beets, and onions at lunch. For dinner I will have tomatoes, both fresh and with the salsa, cabbage (thinking about serving the enchiladas on a bed of cabbage, ooh that sounds good), the chicken is mixed with stewed onions and zucchini, avocado, I am serving corn too... So I am pretty certain I am not missing any vegetables.

It's funny. I am not on a "diet." I never have been. I have made claims to WANT to diet or to need to, but I have never effectively been the kind of person who can limit what they eat, etc. That said, I believe I am fortunate that I actually crave food that is good for me. I love fruit and snack on fruit and raw almonds and pistachios almost every day. And besides the occasional bag of potato chips (Kettle Chips Sea Salt and Vinegar really hits the spot) and french fries if I am out, I don't eat an unhealthy diet. I am sure that I get enough vitamins with the amount of produce I eat. I eat cheese and butter but not in huge amounts (those are really the only dairy products I can consume these days. I have been lactose intolerant, or at least extremely sensitive to milk, cream, ice cream, etc for a number of years now). And since I have a HUGE love of bread, I try to make sure I buy whole grain bread for my daily toast habit (San Luis Sourdough makes an amazing whole grain sourdough).

I didn't eat any red meat or pork for over 15 years and just in the last few months I have been flirting with the animals. That said, I have not actually ordered a steak while out or eaten a hamburger, but I did have a bite out of my very first In & Out Burger the other day on the way home from Tahoe! And guess what, it was ok but I still preferred eating my "grilled cheese" that I had ordered. I like a bite every now and then, but I think I am going to stick to my basic diet of fish, free range chicken, and a little turkey. And I don't even eat those every day. Often times I will realize that it has been a week since I last had any meat products, completely fine by me. I could probably eat spaghetti with tomato sauce for dinner every night and be a happy girl, so there aren't any steak cravings from me!

The only foods I would say I really DON'T eat, or severely limit, is anything fake. I cannot stand the idea of "low fat" cookies or chips or cheese or any of that gunk that is loaded with preservatives and chemicals. I cannot understand how one would ever think that margarine was superior to natural butter, or that the nasty fake frozen yogurt that comes out of a machine is better Haagen Daz which has about 4 ingredients, cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla (or whichever flavor you choose). Eating fresh fruits and veggies and attempting to buy organic meats, dairy etc is really my main goal when grocery shopping. you should try it too!

Roast Chicken- poor little birdy!

After the gym yesterday, where I ran on the treadmill and my hip started hurting- again, I ran to the grocery store to grab some ingredients. I was all psyched to make Enchiladas for John and myself. I have never made them before and for some reason I really wanted to. But John decided to stay home last night, so I didn't want to make them until he came over tonight. I had already bought the ingredients and I needed to cook chicken for them anyway, so I roasted a chicken that I had purchased with some beets I had on hand, carrots, potatoes, a few onions and some garlic and sage. If I am going to make a roast chicken for guests, I try to make it a little nicer than last night's. I usually use a lemon and I will stuff the bird with herbs etc. But I was casual and it was just for me.
Actually, I didn't even eat this for dinner last night. I roasted it for one hour and while I was doing this I got hungry, so I decided to make a mini-Mexican meal. I soaked a tortilla in the enchilada sauce I bought for tonight's enchiladas, layered it with jack and cheddar cheese, and stuck it in a dry pan. Two minutes later my yummy quesadilla was ready. I paired it with 1/4 avocado and some fire roasted tomato salsa. Good stuff!

Another close up of the raw bird...
Anyway, I took the chicken out of the oven and allowed it to cool. I then put all the veggies in a big tupperware and went to town on shredding the thing. I used about 3/4 of it for the enchiladas, the rest I added to the veggies (guess what I ate for lunch today...)

So there's my chicken. Afterwards I am going to admit that I committed the ULTIMATE cooking sin. I discarded the bird instead of making stock. I know I know, I should have stuck that thing in my HUGE pot that I have, perfect for making stock, and cooked it up. I actually have extra carrots, celery, and onions in the fridge at the moment too. I have NO excuse, except it was about midnight and I was tired.