Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Concoctions and detoxes

An experiment in the making

Driving home from work today, I knew that I'd be on my own for dinner tonight.  I had leftover veggies and a little brown rice left to finish, so I decided that would be my meal.   I thought it would be nice to have a creamy rice, but I'm trying to wean off cheese.  More on that later.  This spawned my cockamamie idea to create a cream from some of the leftover black eyed peas.  Crazy?  Probably.  But I was feeling embiggened and brave enough to let my hair down in the kitchen.  So here we go:

Leftovers, aka The Great Food Pyramid

Food Processor

Not looking too bad yet.  Maybe I haven't gone insane.  So the details: I only had a 1/2 cup of rice left at most, so I just needed a small amount of the cream.  Probably less than 1/4 cup of black eyed peas went into the processor with the juice.  I then dropped two drizzles of balsamic vinaigrette (yes, I'm obsessed with it!) and a couple Tbsp of soy milk into the mix.  I eyeballed the whole thing because I was fairly doubtful that it would be a repeater recipe.  Whir it up until it's a creamy mix, then heat it up.  Even simpler with an all-leftover combo, pour it over the rice before heating, and it all comes out hot together.  Like so:

Creamed black eyed pea rice

So the real test was the taste.  While I didn't weep from a huge similarity to creamy cheesy rice dishes, it was actually pretty good.  It basically tasted like black eyed peas and rice, but that's not a bad combo and I appreciated the soupiness on such a cold day.  While I doubt the occasion will ever occur for me to make it again, I would if I faced a similar leftover dilemma.

For anyone who is interested in recreating this dish, it would qualify for Katie's Vegan Thursdays challenge.

Cheese detox

I think I've had a cheese dependency, in large part due to my husband, Irish.  His holdout to veganism is a complete obsession with dairy.  It's not unheard of for him to polish off 2 gallons of milk a week.  I often find more than one block of cheese listed on the weekly grocery bill.  Most nights at about 11pm, you can find him fixing a cheese sammich in the kitchen-- whole grain bread, cheese, fat free mayo.  No need to toast, just eat.

So I slipped into his realm to some degree.  I was not addicted to it, but I was known to skim a slice from him, allow him to slather some meals with cheese, make grilled cheeses extra thick.  As I began researching vegetarian and vegan eating, I knew that the pitfalls of becoming vegan would be twofold: milk and eggs in bakery items, and dairy in... anything my husband creates.  Well to be fair, cheese is rampant in anything my husband makes AND in many restaurant items.

While I am still eating cheese in items that come that way (I'm guilty of eating frozen prepared meals for lunch), I am not eating it intentionally where I can avoid it.  Fajitas without the cheese (and without the meat), veggies without melted cheese, etc.  I bought a pepper jack almond cheese for us to try, but I've started to get stumped on how to use it since I've weaned off it.  I've noticed the same with meat.  I just don't really care to eat it anymore.  So the detox continues... less cheese for me.

Food Buzz update

I may be a little slow to sort all of this out, but at least I found my personal link on FoodBuzz.  For anyone who wants to be friends, here I am!  I'm very up in the air about whether to be come a featured publisher or not.  So many people are, but it doesn't quite sit right with me that you have to sign a confidentiality agreement before you even get the tiniest of details.  If anybody would like to send me an email to talk about it, I would appreciate your input.  (Please delete the tail end of the email address to successfully send the email-- just trying to reduce spammers!)

What was your biggest creative success in the kitchen?  What's the biggest food vice that you've reduced in your life?