Monday, August 21, 2006

The Significant Eater

In another venue I muse from time to time about what to call my “significant other”. He’s not a ‘boyfriend’ (a ridiculous term for any man once they reach the age of wearing long trousers), we may or may not live together but whatever our connection it is not about forsaking all others. I often give him the moniker “the not-boyfriend”, while he prefers polyamorous lover.

Here in the world of food all that doesn’t matter. He may be my significant other, but in the kitchen he is my Significant Eater. The one exposed most to my culinary dalliances, and me to his.

I am divided on the equal joys of solo cooking and providing for others. The first allows more experimentation and fewer restrictions. The latter provides feedback and collaboration. Both have their merits. But cooking for your Significant Eater is also about meshing 2 or more peoples likes and dislikes, allergies, intolerances and general pickiness. My SE, being a Gemini, brings a world of unpredictability into to the provision of food. Is this going to be an over the top with lashings of grog type meal, or is it a Food Nazi of a whole different ilk who will sit at the table?

My food fanaticism is consistent. I err on the side of good health, with a little antioxidant rich chocolate and wine for spice. My body doesn’t tolerate most dairy products and for reasons more historical than anything else, I don’t eat meat other than seafood. I detest peas and capsicum – but that’s just a relationship between my mind and tastebuds.

Some days my SE puts my healthy diet to shame, he goes the whole hog and one ups me. Sometimes the food combining enthusiast sits down to sup and out comes a whole other set of culinary rules. On such a day proteins and carbohydrates must not mix. If I am cooking, the request comes for “carbs and veggies” or “protein and veg”. Along with this is the expectation the food is unadulterated with cooked oil and nothing refined will be on the plate.

This weekend, it was the food combining twin that settled into a couple of days of renovating. I’d much prefer to cook than paint (and to be fair, so would he). I’d got it wrong and stocked up on comfort food, not salad. So a bit like the Iron Chef, I took my challenge and ad libbed as best I could.

A tale of 2 salads

Protein and Vegetables

It’s Friday night and this is the plea from the SE who is getting over a nasty flu. With more time a bean rich soup would have hit the spot. Fortunately spring is in the air and salad season is back. The limited protein choices in the pantry include – beans, tofu, eggs or canned fish.

Iron Chef – this is your challenge, in the absence of leafy greens create a salad with tinned salmon that is delicious and nutritious. Your time starts now!

Put some water on to boil and search fridge for vegetables suitable for blanching. In this case it was cauliflower cut into florets and zucchini. Toss into boiling water for a minute or 2. Drain and refresh in iced water.

Find some vegetables suitable to eat raw. Carrots – cut into matchsticks and spring onions finely sliced.

Combine all ingredients and good quality, canned red salmon with a lot of lemon juice and just a dash of olive oil. Season surreptitiously with freshly ground sea salt and pepper.

The dish was delicious. Lots of al dente cauliflower for bulk. Chopped parsley and capers would have been a tasty addition.

Carbohydrates and Vegetables
Carbs in this case was a choice of brown rice or steamed potatoes. I love spuds but find the steamed variety a little bland without lashings of salted butter to sex them up a bit. So this was - Iron Chef brown rice challenge!

Cook brown rice by absorption method, allowing additional time to cool. Blanch the remaining cauliflower.

Rice has a subtle flavour, brown has an additional nuttiness that can be played up with some toasted sesame seed. Technically heating seeds and nuts is not the greatest thing to do health wise – but it tastes good, so dry roast some seeds in a fry pan, shaking constantly so they don’t burn.

Painstakingly de-stone a large handful of olives. It was a labour of love as all I had were tiny wild olives and some only marginally larger Lingurian. Gently press down with the flat blade of a knife to squeeze out the little stone.

Combine the salad dressing so the olives can marinade in it while the rice cooks and cools. Today's dressing - lemon juice, olive oil, lots of crushed garlic, finely chopped organic lemon peel and a touch of Dijon mustard.

Find any remaining raw vegetables to add – spring onions, Lebanese cucumber and a couple of tomatoes, all quite finely diced.

Combine before eating. Season if desired. For non-food combining folk – some tuna tastes great with this!

Result: The resident chef passed both challenges and the Significant Eater did a great job painting the corridor.

Go visit the The Reluctant Housewife for other entries in the Summer Salad Recipes Event (even for us upside down folk who are yet to embrace summer :)

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Blogger Gabriella True said...


The round up will be up in the next couple of days. Can you please put a link to the event and to my blog within the post?

3:29 pm  

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