With the type of eating I’ve been doing lately, there is little room for exploring new recipes and new cookbooks the way I used to. It’s very “clean” eating, using ingredients as close to their “naked” start as possible. It completely takes the focus off of food, something that takes a little getting used to for this food writer. It is very reminiscent of how and what I ate when I worked out with a personal trainer years ago. There was nothing with “ingredients.” The food was grilled, roasted, steamed or stir-fried, but was as close to nature intended as it could get.
So when I’m looking for recipes now, I’m focusing on fruits, vegetables, salads, or some combination of all of those. There are huge benefits to eating this way for sure. The prep time to get a meal on the table is minimal because the less you do to a food item, the quicker it’s ready. Nothing is any more labor intensive than a little bit of chopping or peeling. The meals itself are a snap to get used to. For me, the challenge is more in changing the mindset. I mean, you’re talking about someone who loves to plan dinner parties, menus, meals weeks on out. That’s all gone. Food is no longer the focus. But I can’t argue with what it’s done to me and my body. It’s simple, takes no thought and doesn’t get much healthier than this.
That being said, it takes me a little longer to find a new recipe I want to make because the criteria is changing. My parents came over for dinner tonight, and usually that would mean the opportunity to try out three or four new recipes, including something sinfully delicious for dessert. Not now. Dinner was grilled chicken and sausages, along with roasted asparagus and a vegetable stir-fry. I did, however, manage to find a new appetizer to try out that kept largely to some of the rules I’ve placed on myself.
I found this recipe for Cucumber-Feta Toasts in a recent issue of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. While the vegetables were getting stir-fried for the main course, I started on the appetizer. It took literally five minutes to make, five minutes in the oven, and satisfied the “clean eating” requirement, along with getting my “try a new recipe” fix out of the way. The opportunities are still there, for sure, it just takes a little more thought as I’m not just grabbing any recipe that looks good.
With the tang of the feta cheese and the lemon juice and the coolness of the fresh, crisp cucumber, it was the perfect start to a light, yet satisfying, dinner.
June 29, 2010, Photo #119
I love when the ponytail happens. It’s not often. We usually have to give her a reason why she needs to put her hair up. Today I told her because she was going to the beach, if she put it up, she wouldn’t get sand in it. She bought it, and it stayed in for a few hours. She much prefers the Little Orphan Annie look.
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, July/August 2010
1 French baguette (I used whole wheat)
3 oz feta cheese
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
Heat over to 450. Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, or in rounds. Toast for five minutes. In a small bowl, mash together the feta, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Once the bread is toasted, spread feta mixture onto each baguette round. Top it with 2 small English cucumber, thinly sliced. Drizzle the top with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.