I have had a great few days playing with all sorts of foods I would call marginal, though I am definitely not saying they are lacking in taste or even particularly unhealthy. It's just that they don't work well for me on a daily basis. I'm talking about desserts and breads and crackers, gluten-free and dairy-free, of course, but still not my daily diet.
So today, it's back to basics for me. By basics, I mean all my favorite proteins, fats, and carbs in the tastiest, simplest, healthiest forms. I am not a dietician or a medical professional of any sort, so I'm not prescribing but describing the foods that make me feel good. As is the case for any foodie sort, it will not make me feel good if it doesn't taste good, oops I mean great.
I am not teaching this week, so I have lots of time to play with food (interspersed with self-pampering activities---facials, manicures, hairdresser, etc. this is my vacation after all) but mostly, playing with food. Playing for me often means making sure our kitchen is stocked with safe foods. Sometimes we all want a quick snack or a no-brainer, no cooking dinner, especially with our current weather conditions---hot and hotter. This requires advance planning and prep when you can't order pizza or grab some cheese and crackers. This should be everyday stuff because we do eat everyday, and we darned well out to be able to eat well and eat safely. For me, partly because I love to cook and I hate pain, this means eating at home. Sometimes, clearly, we can't spend everyday in the kitchen even if we want to, and I do realize that not everyone wants to. (Don't understand it though.)
Simple things like cold cuts aren't even so simple. Salami often contains milk products, sliced deli meats can have all manner of additives, including gluten, and you can count on too much sodium and an array of ingredients you can't pronounce. We are fans of simple roast turkey, sliced thick or thin, depending on its intended use. I pick up packages in the store, even from high-end companies, and quickly put them back after reading the ingredients. This I do a couple of times a month with the identical products. I don't know if I'm hoping for a miraculous change from the company or that I'll decide I can really eat all that junk. Neither happens, anyway. I always put the package back in the case. The same is true at a deli counter. Read the ingredients. Look at the labels, same companies. I did recently buy 6 ounces of sliced turkey at a natural foods grocery without additives for 7 or 8 dollars. It made two sandwiches, and these were not large sandwiches. I bit high, I believe, for everyday meals.
Instead, on days like today when I have the sense of extra time, I like to roast a turkey breast to slice after it's chilled. It really takes so little time that this could be an evening meal with leftovers sliced for the next day or two. I simply rinsed and dried a two-pound turkey breast, sprinkled it with Frontier Herbs Savory Seasoning blend and a little sea salt and black pepper. I rubbed a bit of good olive oil over all sides, and placed it skin-side up on a small round cake rack in a covered pan. I used Le Crueset's low-sided, round covered pan. Then I simply poured about an ounce of white wine in the bottom and set it uncovered in the oven which had been pre-heated to 400. After a few minutes, I covered it and turned the oven down to 325. I use a remote meat thermometer, but you can go by feel of the meat if you prefer. When the thermometer registers 150 or 160, remove it from the oven, and let sit with the lid slightly ajar. I should mention this is not as pretty as a Thanksgiving Day turkey, but it's moister and its uses are almost limitless. Slice it thin for sandwiches, thicker for salads, or in chunks for a salad like the Cobb.
I have not had a Cobb salad since realizing I had to avoid dairy products. That is about to change. It may not be a traditional Cobb, but it should be a great tasting one. Some of the turkey breast that just came out of oven will find its way into that salad. The dressing will be my usual olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper with an herb or two from the garden thrown in for good measure. I can eat everything in a traditional Cobb except the blue cheese, so while I may whine as I put some on GK's and not mine, it will be mostly for show.
I have gotten used to creating a pretty wide safety zone between me and ALL dairy products. This blue cheese, in fact, the blue cheese for the Cobb salad was purchased for that specific purpose. We don't keep it in the house, normally. He goes out to lunch with friends several times a week, so our agreement to keep our house a safety zone for me doesn't really keep him from enjoying those foods that I can't eat. And of course, we make the occasional exceptions for him like the blue cheese for a few salads and bagels for yesterday's salmon.