Last night, an old friend from high school messaged me on Facebook asking me for easy and tasty foods that would help him address his newly diagnosed insulin resistance. His timing could not have been more perfect: every member of my family had come to the conclusion that we should be eating better.
I am one of those exasperating people who make up recipes as I go, responding to what is in the house and what looks tasty when I shop. I don't tend to write things down, because I just cook until it tastes good.
But after dinner I realized that I should just share what we had for dinner. So here it is in order of preparation with a few cooking tips (such as they are).
Apologies for not having pictures; we ate everything before I thought to find my phone to take some pictures. Promise to take pictures of my food in the future!
Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk
These yummy sprouts are absolutely ridiculous looking... an auspicious start to any meal. The stalk I picked up was too big to fit in the oven, so I hacked it in half with a cleaver, placed it in a glass 9x13x2 rectangular pan covered in plastic food wrap, and microwaved at full power for 5 minutes. Then I removed the plastic, drizzled the stalk with olive oil and honey (maybe 3-4 tablespoons each) and dusted with salt and pepper, and baked in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. In hindsight, I should have rotated the stalks 2 or 3 times during the baking time, because the sprouts touching the pan were all glazed while the ones on top were a little dry (though still tasty).
Apple Crisp (Gluten Free)
Some of the apples I bought today were more bruised than I realized... so a perfect opportunity for an apple crisp! I washed then quartered the apples with a cleaver, cut out the cores with a paring knife, then sliced the apples with the cleaver... a fun way to whack the heck out of something... just make sure to keep your fingers out of the way and the cleaver angled every so slightly away from you to prevent unfortunate amputations. Toss the apples into a round 10 inch glass baking dish, pour in a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and toss to coat the apples. For the topping, put about a cup of flour into a bowl (I used a combo of white rice, brown rice, sorghum and potato starch flour with a half a tablespoon of guar gum... if your family can eat wheat, just use a cup of all purpose flour), mix in about a third of a cup of sugar, a tablespoon or so of cinnamon, a half a teaspoon of salt, then rub in about a half a cup of butter. When the mixture is looking like coarse crumbs, pile on top of the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes (the apples will be visibly bubbling and the crumble top will be pleasantly browned). I prepared the apples while the brussels sprouts were microwaving, and then put the crisp into the oven when the sprouts were done. The crisp bakes through dinner, and is ready to eat after a leisurely dinner. It gives us plenty of time to visit together at the end of the day, and gave the kids a chance to shower and finish up some stray homework before the crisp was cool enough to eat.
Japanese White Rice
While I was waiting for the brussels sprouts to bake, I started the rice. White rice is a treat, especially for those of us watching our blood sugars, but it's fine if you don't eat too much (I limit myself to a quarter cup of cooked white rice to try to keep out of trouble). I have a hot water dispenser set at 180 degrees... it saves me a little time, but if you don't have one, just start with cold tap water. I cooked two cups of rice in three cups of water. You just combine it in a pan with a tight-fitting lid, put it on the stove at high heat until it boils (you will hear the top rattle and if you are not fast enough, it will boil over the sides... don't sweat it, just turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then turn off the flame and let it sit 5 minutes. Then take off the top and gently fold the rice to mix up the middle with the bottom and top grains. Then cover it again for five minutes. It's ready to serve. We have enough left over for one of the kids to have onigiri (rice balls) for lunch tomorrow.
Free Form COle Slaw
I had a quarter head of a cabbage sitting around, so I thought a nice vinegar and oil cole slaw would be tasty. I took out my shredder and shredded the cabbage, then shredded a medium sized red apple and a small white onion. I added about a quarter cup of olive oil, a quarter cup of rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and about a half tablespoon of sugar and tossed it all together.
MMMMMMMMMMM..... easy, easy, easy. Love these mild pickled beets. Just spooned a few out into a bowl.
There is a fish purveyer next door to the music school where my daughter studies viola. I wandered in to see what there was to see, and walked out with a two pound fillet of wild salmon. Pricey, but really, really delicious. I put it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and squeezed a lime over it (somehow there were no lemons in the refrigerators, but there were a couple of limes). I stuck it in the oven right after the brussels sprouts were done, on the top rack with the oven set on broil. It looked wonderful in about 8 minutes (maybe 10)... we removed it from the oven just as the paper was starting to think about catching fire. I sliced across the fillet into sections about and inch and a half wide to make serving a little easier, then slid the whole thing onto a serving platter. With a really nice piece of fish like this one, the fat part of the fillet was almost like sashimi; the narrower parts were cooked through and moist.
Whip the Cream
I had a pint of whipping cream in the fridge, so I whipped it up and added a couple of tablespoons of confectioners sugar at the end. We served it alongside the apple crisp. I am finding that having a lovely, fresh, rich dessert is a satisfying way to end a light meal.