Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Better Than Boeuf

Not all went as planned in the kitchen this holiday season. There were some definite highs and lows. Unfortunately, our Christmas Eve dinner of Boeuf Bourguignon was a low. I used Julia Child's recipe, of course, and all seemed fine as I prepared the dish. The end result, however, was just not to my liking. The braised onions and sauteed mushrooms were quite good, and the sauce was fine, but the boeuf was not tender and the overall beefy flavor was unpleasant.

The tenderness issue could have been because of the cut of beef I chose lean stew meat, cut not specified; or the size of the beef cubes a little on the small side; or the meat may have been overcooked beyond the point of tenderness, or maybe it wasn't cooked long enough and never reached the desired tenderness to begin with. There was still plenty of stewing liquid when I removed it from the oven, so I doubt it was overdone, but I'd never made Boeuf Bourguignon before and I'm not much of a beef person anyway, so I'm really not sure.

That was the other issue the fact that I'm not much of a beef person. The dish sounded so good: rich stew, red wine sauce, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. But the kitchen smelled like, well, beef. The whole house smelled like beef. I smelled like beef. And the meaty beefy-ness of the dish was kind of a turn-off, not just to me, but to my husband and kids too. I had a few bites of beef then picked out onions, mushrooms, and pieces of carrot, which were good with the sauce even though a little less... let me think... beef flavor would have been nice.

That night, I couldn't wait to get my clothes into the laundry, wash my hair, and air out the house to get rid of the beef smell that seemed to be everywhere. And for days now, the boeuf leftovers have been sitting in the fridge, mocking me. "Where's the boeuf? Here's the boeuf!" I know it's going to end up in the trash. I really don't know why I haven't dumped it already. I guess I just feel bad. It's such a waste.

Next was Christmas Day. Our tradition is to make homemade pasta with red (marinara) and green (basil pesto) sauces. My husband is the pasta expert, so I usually leave that to him and the kids, who have a lot of fun running the dough through the pasta machine. I focus on the sauces and a side salad. Well, the first problem was that I had trouble finding fresh basil. Trader Joe's, my usual source, was out. I got the very last bunch from another store, but it looked a little iffy. Indeed, when I opened it up on Christmas day to make the pesto, it just didn't smell or look right. On top of that, my husband had a bad head cold and wasn't in the mood to exert any effort into making pasta. Plan B: dry pasta and marinara sauce. It was fine. Everyone likes spaghetti, right? Yes. And to change things up a bit, I had my pasta with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly grated Pecorino, and a few grinds of black pepper. It was yummy!

Moving on to the highs... I received a cookbook for Christmas: The Big Book of Soups & Stews. Yes, there's a recipe for "Oven Burgundy Beef Stew" (pictured on the cover, in fact), which I definitely will not be making, ever. Then there's a recipe for Coq Au Vin, which is probably what I should have made for Christmas Eve dinner (we'll do it next year). There's also a recipe for "Greek Chicken Stew with Rice." I made it the other night and we loved it! Many other recipes look delicious too, and I think I'll make a number of them over the next few months during our cold, rainy season. I'll be steering clear, however, of the boeuf section. At least for a good while.

Another high was lobster! About ten days before Christmas, I arrived home to find a box on the front porch marked "Legal Sea Foods." At first I thought, Oh how nice. Instead of a box of Omaha Steaks, the husband's company has sent us sea food for Christmas. That idea was quickly discarded from my brain (they would never do that). Next I checked the return label Boston  and I started to think about the unlikely possibility of lobster. I opened the box and looked at the packing slip, which sat atop a slab of Styrofoam. It was an early Christmas gift from my in-laws. My heart was pounding as again, I dared to think lobster. I lifted up the Styrofoam and there, surrounded by a bunch of seaweed, were two live lobsters! Also in the box, I found jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, and clam chowder with all the necessary fixings, even claw crackers and plastic bibs. All we needed was butter!

Coincidentally, it was my husband's birthday. Birthday dinner plans obviously changed and I completely forgot what we were originally planning to have. We got out the big wort pot from our beer-making days, and put on the water. We munched on shrimp cocktail and drank white wine while we waited impatiently for the water to boil. With only a little squeamishness (I'm sure the wine helped), I plunged the poor guys into the boiling water, melted some butter with lemon juice and thyme, and 12 minutes later we were feasting on lobster! It was one of the best gifts ever, obviously perfect for me, and definitely the funnest gift I've received since Barbie's Dream House! Thank you so much to my in-laws!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Peppermint Bark

My 7-year-old had a homework assignment to have Mom or Dad help him follow a recipe to make a holiday treat. I thought about it and informed him we would be making peppermint bark didn't even give him a chance to make suggestions. One of my sisters makes the best peppermint bark that she sometimes sends to me at Christmas-time. It's super pepper-minty I love it! I thought it would make a nice, homemade gift for our neighbors too. After a little more thought, I decided not to try to replicate my sister's awesome recipe, but make chocolate peppermint bark instead.

To be honest, although my son usually loves to help me in the kitchen, he wasn't that into the whole peppermint bark thing. But he was a good little cook, followed directions, smiled sweetly for the camera, and even took a few snapshots himself.

The stuff turned out terriffic! If you like strong peppermint flavor, I'd recommend adding peppermint extract as we did, otherwise leave it out. And definitely use semi-sweet chocolate as opposed to milk chocolate. We used pretty red, green, and white candy canes, but obviously you can use whatever color you like. Just watch out for those crazy, fruit-flavored candy cane imposters.

This will make at least two tin-fulls, if you're thinking about making Christmas gifts.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark  PRINTABLE RECIPE

24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
24 oz. white chocolate chips
16 peppermint candy canes
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract (optional)

1. Unwrap the candy canes and place them in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the candy is crushed into small pieces. The largest pieces should be about 1/4" and some of it will basically be powder.

2. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

3. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and, using a spatula, spread to a little more than 1/8" thick, up to 1/4" thick at most (ours was on the thick side and it was fine). It doesn't have to be perfectly even or reach the edges of the pan. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate is completely hardened.

4. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in your double boiler. As it's melting, stir in the peppermint extract and most of the crushed candy canes. Set aside 1/4 cup or so of the candy.

5. Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate over the semi-sweet chocolate.

6. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the entire surface and press down ever-so-gently to ensure it sticks. Place the baking sheet back in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until the white chocolate is hardened.

7. Remove the peppermint bark from the refrigerator and break, by hand, into small, uneven pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. (Don't let it get too warm, for obvious reasons.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanksgiving Food Photos

My 7-Year-Old Helper, chopping green onions.
The "Cranberries"
The Turkey, Gravy, and Gluten-Free Stuffing
(GF stuffing was disappointing, but OK with lots of gravy).

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Shallots (that were not
crispy). The "Cranberries" again. And the Salad - the Best!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Roasted Vegetables

For years and years I ate boring steamed vegetables. I can't believe now that I ever even enjoyed them that way. These days, I grill them, stir-fry them, or  my favorite  roast them. It started with asparagus. It's been many years now, but the first time I roasted the asparagus, I knew I could never go back to boiled or steamed. Then it was broccoli. I don't think I've ever shared my roasted broccoli recipe here (I just want to keep that one for myself), but it's good stuff. People who think they don't like green vegetables love this broccoli. Someone once told me it tasted like steak (in a good way, of course)!

My new favorite recipe for roasted vegetables is super simple. I'm not even sure why it's so good as there's not much to it. Maybe because the vegetables can just roast and caramelize a bit with very little fuss, and that allows their wonderful flavors to come out all on their own. I found the original recipe from Gourmet magazine via Epicurious on my iPhone. It was for Brussels sprouts. Now, if you don't like Brussels sprouts, it's probably because you've never had them roasted. Am I right? Believe me, you've got to try them. Anyway, the Brussels sprouts were great, but I've used the same recipe for carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and I bet it makes great beets and other vegetables too.

Roasted Vegetables with Caraway Seeds  PRINTABLE RECIPE

About 1-1/2 lbs of firm vegetables (any one or any combination): Brussels sprouts - trimmed & halved, Carrots - peeled & sliced to 1/4" thick, Broccoli - small flowerettes, Cauliflower - small flowerettes, Beets - peeled & sliced to 1/4" thick
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp caraway seeds
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450°

2. In a large bowl, toss vegetables with olive oil, about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.

3. Roast on center rack of oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with caraway seeds, and toss. Arrange again in a single layer and roast for about 10 minutes more, until vegetables are crisp-tender and browned in spots. 

That's it. Simple, right? Enjoy! 

By the way, I have to say thank you to Mike Caldwell  wherever you are these days  for helping me to learn to spell vegetable way back in 5th or 6th grade:  VE - GE - TABLE.  I still sound it out in my head that way every time I write (or type) the word. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Am Thankful For a Day to Cook

Marinated Feta Made This Afternoon
I so look forward to the day of cooking, chopping, and whisking ahead! I don't look forward to the dishes, but I'll have some helpers, I hope.

We'll need a little something for snacking before the meal, so I started some marinated feta just now. I'll do everything else tomorrow. It'll  be a small group for Thanksgiving dinner at my house, but there are certain required dishes, so there will be plenty to do:

Turkey, of course. I do the same thing every year - turkey stuffed with orange & lemon wedges, chunks of onion, and fresh herbs. Every year I think, I'll try something new and different next year, but I never do. It's a good turkey recipe, so I stick with it.

Gravy. I pretty much wing it with the gravy while the turkey is resting, and it always turns out great. Every year I feel lucky (and thankful) that somehow the gravy turned out.

Stuffing. Not in the bird because that's already stuffed with the aromatics mentioned above, but on the side. Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dish. This will be the first time to make or eat gluten-free stuffing. Fingers crossed.

Mashed sweet potatoes with crispy shallots. Pretty basic, but very good.

Baby greens with pomegranate seeds, pear slices, and some sort of last-minute, made-up dressing.

Cranberries. I am not a fan. I've made cranberry sauce once or twice, but everyone at my house (except me) prefers the jellied, canned stuff, so this one will be easy. Can opener please!

Finally, pumpkin pie. The filling will be homemade with canned pumpkin puree, and I will use a frozen, gluten-free crust. The crust is my favorite part of any pie, so again, fingers crossed as I haven't tried one of these gluten-free crusts before. We'll make our own whipped cream - fun to do with the kids, and way better than the store-bought stuff.

That's it. No green beans, Brussels sprouts, or dinner rolls - not enough people for all that food this year.

The frozen turkey has been thawing in the fridge since early Monday afternoon. Will it be ready in time? Fingers crossed.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy the day, the feast, your family & friends, the rain, the sunshine, or the snow - whatever you've got. And be thankful for it all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My First Time: Risotto

I made risotto for the first time the other night. Of course, I've eaten it before.... Risotto with wild mushrooms seems to be a popular offering, and I do enjoy it that way. I've also liked it with asparagus and lemon zest. And of course, there's always a bit of grated Italian cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano.

The recipe I prepared included mushrooms, baby spinach, and bacon, with Asiago. The dish was supposedly light, but it was so rich, creamy, and bacon-y that it's just hard to believe it could be light. I guess that means it was risotto done right, as creamy is the goal and the reason one stands at the stove stirring, stirring, and stirring forever - well, for a long time anyway. I guess this constant stirring is necessary so that a) it doesn't burn, and b) it doesn't turn into one solid glob - not appetizing.

I served the risotto with roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots with a sprinkling of caraway seeds, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. The Brussels sprouts, especially, were really good with the risotto because, light or not, it's a rich dish and it was nice to have something green and slightly bitter to contrast with the creamy rice. Asparagus would have made a nice side too. And I kept thinking, bitter arugula instead spinach in the risotto itself might have been good. Maybe I'll try that sometime.

Below is a link to the recipe from Cooking Light magazine. I followed it to the letter, except that I did not use homemade chicken stock. (I hope you'll forgive me.)

Bacon & Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chicken Three Times

Food & Wine Magazine recently published a series of Blank-Canvas Cooking recipes, including three recipes for chicken breasts. I cooked all three and found all, especially the first two, to be delicious!

Chicken Breasts with Artichoke-Olive sauce came first. It's not at all exotic, but was easy, fast and delicious, with easy-to-find ingredients. Yucatan-Spiced Chicken was next - a little more involved, but the chayote was surprisingly easy to find at my local Safeway, and the sauce was yum! The first bite threw me just a little, but then I couldn't stop - so good! Finally, I made the Indian Barbecue Chicken. It was last because I had a bit of a challenge locating a couple of the ingredients. It turned out good, but was not my favorite. It's the only one of the three I probably won't make again.

Sadly, I captured no photos, but you can find some on the Food & Wine site. Below is the link to the article and recipes. Try one or two or all three and let me know what you think.

Food & Wine Blank Canvas Chicken

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Love in a Bowl: Tortilla Soup

I made this tortilla soup for dinner last night and wow, yum, delicious – I loved it! The broth is beautiful and rich, but really, it’s all about the condiments: crisp tortilla chips, mellow avocado, smoky dried peppers, sharp cheese, sour cream, lime juice, and cilantro. You must include tortilla chips in your soup to make it "tortilla" soup, I suppose, and I can’t imagine going without the avocado or the cheese. But the other toppings are optional and may be used in any combination you like. I like to add, lime juice and crushed pasilla chile in addition to the tortilla chips, avocado, and cheese.

I so enjoyed the process of making this soup. In the blender, the raw ingredients transform into a gorgeous, deep brown purée. And the aroma that fills the house while the soup is simmering and the flavors are concentrating is simply intoxicating – warm and smoky. Even the kids said it smelled "really good!" Of course, they didn't even try the soup as they were afraid of the chile pepper, which indeed, probably would have been too much for them. They had cheese quesadillas for dinner instead.

If you're up for it, you can make your own fried tortilla strips. Personally, I have an aversion to deep-frying things (though not to eating deep-fried things). I hate dealing with all that oil. It’s a mess, and I never know what to do with the used oil when I’m done. For this soup, I just bought some really good, crispy, salty, slightly greasy tortilla chips and broke them up into smallish pieces.

I like to use a medium to sharp cheddar cheese, but a Mexican cheese such as cotija would be more authentic. The dried chiles are easy to find in the Mexican/Hispanic section of most grocery stores, and all the other ingredients are every-day items. One note of caution: Be careful not to over-salt the broth. It’s tempting, but your toppings, especially the cheese and tortilla chips, will add a lot of saltiness and flavor, so you don’t need that extra salt in the broth.


4 dried pasilla chiles - stemmed, and seeded
2 dried chiles de árbol - stemmed
1/2 Lb. tomatoes – cut into wedges
1 large white onion - coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves - chopped
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dried, crushed oregano
kosher salt

2 cups crisp tortilla strips
1 large avocado - cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 lime – cut into 6 wedges
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 pasilla chile – toasted & crumbled (see below)

1. Toast chiles in a dry heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium to high heat, turning until slightly smoky. Coarsely crumble 1 pasilla chile and set aside to use as a topping.

2. Purée tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles de árbol, and 3 pasilla chiles with 1/2 cup broth in a blender. You'll probably need to poke it a couple times with a wooden spoon to get it going, but don't leave the top off the blender or you could end up with a big mess.

3. Heat vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add purée and bring just to boil. Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes.

4. Stir in oregano, 1 tsp salt, remaining 4-1/2 cups broth, and 3 cups water. Bring just to boil, then turn heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. While it simmers, you can prepare your toppings. After 45 minutes, add approximately 2 to 3 tsp salt to taste.

5. Place avocado pieces in six soup bowls and ladle in soup. Add additional toppings at the table as desired.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

About the Roast Chicken

Here it is. It looks beautiful, doesn't it? And although it was indeed good, it wasn't quite what I was going for. It kind of reminded me of one of those rotisserie chickens you can buy pre-cooked at all the markets these days. I mean, it was definitely better than that - more moist for sure and more flavorful too, but it wasn't good enough for publication. So, I'll be taking another stab at it with a few alterations before I share my recipe. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Last Night's Salmon

Another dinner of ordinary salmon (see Ordinary Salmon Part I and Part II). Last night it was grilled with tarragon and chives (both from the backyard), lemon juice, a little olive oil, and quite a bit of butter. A little over-done (as usual - this is my downfall when cooking fish), but still delicious.

Looking forward to the roast chicken tonight. It's in the fridge, marinating now.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Burnt Chicken (in a good way)

I'm working on a roast chicken recipe to share, but I haven't made it myself yet. I need to make it to be sure I've got it right and to take a photograph - I'm planning on tomorrow night. First, however, I'll be making a beautiful side of wild salmon on the grill. I need to make that while the fish is still gorgeous and fresh - that's tonight.

In the mean time, here's an easy and flavorful chicken recipe. The original recipe was given to me by a woman I used to know who came from Tennessee. It really is burnt, at least on the outside. Don't be afraid to broil until the skin is charred black and your kitchen is getting smoky. (Be sure to turn on the exhaust fan or open a window.)

When it's done, you'll have some delicious pan juices, which are wonderful with potatoes as well as the chicken. Standard mashed potatoes, or boiled or roasted new potatoes - any kind will do. Lots of flavor here with minimal work - enjoy!

Tennessee Burnt Chicken  PRINTABLE RECIPE

4 chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves - minced
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup soy sauce

1. Preheat broiler. Place chicken in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with half the garlic and pour half the lemon juice over. Broil until black.

2. Remove chicken from the oven and turn the broiler off. Set heat to 375°. Sprinkle the rest of the garlic over the chicken and pour the rest of the lemon juice, wine, and soy sauce over. Return chicken to the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until done.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grandma's Cucumbers with Sour Cream

We grilled up some chicken sausages the other night, heated some baked beans (out of the can), and put out some good mustard and sauerkraut. I was trying to think of something other than the usual side salad or coleslaw to serve with our meal, and my grandmother's cucumbers with sour cream dressing came to mind. I couldn't remember the last time I had these cucumbers - maybe not since my grandmother, who died many years ago, made them. The recipe was not to be found in my collection, so I went to epicurious on my iPhone and found a recipe from House & Garden, 1956!

I used fresh chives from my backyard and fresh dill from the grocery store. Lowfat sour cream worked fine, but I probably wouldn't try it with nonfat. The salad turned out pretty good - cool, crisp, and creamy all at once. Next time I think I'll add a little extra sugar and maybe a bit more vinegar too to give it some extra zing. For now, here's the original recipe from 1956:

Sour Cream Cucumbers  PRINTABLE RECIPE

1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped chives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp celery seed
2 firm fresh cucumbers

1. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar, add the sour cream and stir until smooth. You may like more or less vinegar, salt or sugar, but don't make the dressing too sweet. Add the chives, dill and celery seed.

2. Slice the unpared cucumbers paper-thin and combine with the dressing.

3. Chill for 1 hour or more. Sour cream cucumbers improve in taste as they stand. The flavor of the cucumbers seeps into the dressing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Village Hut Bento

I lived near this little bento place in Multnomah Village for eight years and somehow never managed to stop in to try the food. Then, a few months ago, I moved away, never giving a thought to the little shack on the corner of SW Capitol Hwy & 31st Ave.

Yesterday afternoon, however, I was back in the old neighborhood for an appointment and my stomach was really grumbling. I needed something to eat and fast, so I could still get to my appointment on time. I figured Village Hut would be my best bet for a quick, gluten-free meal and so, for the first time ever, I stepped inside the tiny building and ordered a small chicken bento box with brown rice (there's a choice of brown or jasmine). It was quickly prepared and served, and from the assortment of condiments on the counter, I chose a little sriracha to put on the side.

I took an eager bite, not even caring if it was good, and was amazed by the tenderness of the chicken and the great flavor of the sauce - homemade (I assume) teriyaki sauce. In addition to the rice, which was done just right, it came with Asian coleslaw and a small slice of watermelon. I loved the crisp slaw, which was perfect with the teriyaki and grill flavors. And the watermelon was cool and sweet - also a nice accompaniment to the chicken dish.

Now, of course, I'm dying to go back to try their other offerings, including smoked pulled pork, salmon, beef, and even halibut! They have a veggie box and grilled tofu too. The ingredients are fresh, local, and handled with care. Very impressive!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finally, a Chicken Recipe

This grilled chicken is soooo good! I found the recipe last year in Food & Wine magazine and it's now my go-to recipe for summer grilling. The Food & Wine recipe calls for whole chicken legs (legs with thighs still attached as in this photo), but it works better for me with a whole cut-up chicken. Get started early as the chicken needs to marinate for at least four hours. Then watch the heat when grilling. My gas grill tends to be hot-hot-hot and I have to keep adjusting the heat, to keep it at 325°, and/or moving the chicken around (especially the smaller pieces), so it doesn't get over-charred (again, see photo - too much char). Serve this with corn on the cob, and watermelon or a fruit salad for a really wonderful backyard barbecue.

Fennel-Garlic Chicken  PRINTABLE RECIPE

1-1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
1-1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 whole cut-up chicken

1. In a mortar, pound the garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, and crushed red pepper with 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt until a coarse paste forms. Stir in the 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil.
2. Make two to four deep slashes on each chicken piece, cutting to the bone.
3. Rub the paste into the slashes; cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
5. Start the grill and while it's heating brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt.
6. Grill over moderate heat (325° to 350° max.), turning, until lightly charred and cooked through - about 25 minutes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I know I said I would share a couple chicken recipes, and I still will, but I'm currently marinating chunks of top round in garlic, rosemary, olive oil, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. It smells wonderful. I mention the pepper because I have this amazing pepper grinder that my husband got me at Williams-Sonoma a few years ago. It makes for a really coarse grind - truly cracked peppercorns - a wonderful pepper experience. Then there's the rosemary. I love the smell of fresh rosemary and we have a huge clump - not sure if that's the right term, it's more like a bush - in our backyard. So, garlic, rosemary, black pepper, and well, I'm not the biggest beef fan, but it's Father's Day...

We're planning to grill simple beef kabobs with sweet onion and bell pepper (red and green) for our special dinner tonight. No recipe to share because I'm just winging it.


OK, so I don't have much experience cooking beef. The kabobs looked great, smelled great, seemed to be cooked perfectly, but they sure gave my jaws a workout and weren't very flavorful either. Apparently, top round (london broil) is not the right cut for kabobs. I'm now being told it should be cooked more slowly, so it has time to tenderize. Oh well - don't ask me for tips on cooking beef anytime soon. Hope your dinner was better than mine!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What to Eat

So, here's the deal... I'm having a hard time lately figuring out what to eat. My mom found out last year that she has a genetic gluten intolerance and, it seems, I inherited that same intolerance. Now, I'm thinking I may have dairy sensitivity too. I haven't, however, made myself eliminate that from my diet yet, to see what difference (if any) it makes.

To add to my confusion, I read (OK, I just skimmed) Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution. According to Wolf, not only should we eliminate gluten and dairy from our diets, but virtually all grains, legumes, and sugars. His argument makes sense to me, but I certainly have not subscribed to the diet at this point.

As you know, I haven't been much of a meat eater in the past as I'm less than thrilled with the practices of the meat industry and the impact on the environment. Finally, my son has a peanut/tree nut allergy, so I avoid nuts for the most part too.

I know I should focus on all the good foods I can eat, and not on the things I should not, but I love cheese (do you hear the whine?) and I don't want to eat gobs of meat. I'm overwhelmed. I am eating more meat. I'm avoiding gluten. But I'm not really feeling any better overall. I guess dairy is next on the hit list. Then, we'll see. Good thing I love salads and vegetables.

Watch for a couple delicious chicken recipes coming soon.