Thursday, 18 August 2016

Eating My Veggies

Cooking is something that brings me joy, though I am fortunate to have access to and can generally afford delicious and high quality foods.  Food is one of the ways I show love, but a passion for good nutrition as well as good tastes means I am going to find a way to make those vegetables delicious rather than constantly feed my loved ones chocolate cake.  Though I will do that too!   It's easy to forget to consider myself one of those who deserves delicious wholesome food as an expression of love, though in fairness my stamina and energy often do not allow me to cook much.  I try to make large batches and freeze things so that my freezer is well stocked with soups and stews, something easy to reheat on the non-cooking days. 

I have mentioned before that I eat a low carb, high fat diet.  This statement tends to alarm people but it is what brings me optimum health and is backed by science, though media is slow to update the public and many still fear fat too much and sugars and starches not enough. Carbohydrates are the macro nutrient I consume the least of and what I do eat comes from mainly from vegetables, small amounts in dairy and nuts.  I love vegetables, but I've never been a huge fan of them raw, nor of salads made mostly of leaves, though a leaf does make a good carrier for some nice creamy dressing.

It's hot lately, and one of the hottest days of summer occurred today but I still turned on my oven and had a vegetable cooking party that should have included a glass of wine only I was too busy and forgot!  Afterwards I sat in front of the electric fan and had a nice big glass of sugar-free lemonade.  Ahhh

 Here it is before going in the oven.  I wish I'd had more green beans.  I roasted them at 400 degrees F for about half an hour, stirring them half way through the cooking time.

In my opinion vegetables are never better than when they are roasted.  A good mix of roasted vegetables is a great way to use up a hodge-podge and in my case, buying many vegetables in advance can be risky.  If I don't have the energy to cook every day then vegetables end up rotting in my fridge.  It's better to cook up a large batch and eat them over the course of a week, just reheating as needed.  So I roasted green beans, mushrooms, onions, fennel bulb, red pepper, eggplant, carrots and garlic, tossed in olive oil and butter.  When they were done, I added salt and herbes de provence.  Yum!!

Another thing I do with roasted vegetables is puree them in tomato juice or pure tomato sauce to make a thicker, richer tasting sauce that's great with meat or added to soups and stews.

I also had baby spinach and baby kale to use.  I wish I could say I grew most of these veggies but that's not an option for me.  

One of my favourite dishes is something I thought up myself but probably didn't invent.  I don't think there is anything new-it's all been done before.  I call it Creamy Kale Custard and this is how I make it. 

Here is some stuff you need:

I definitely take shortcuts to reduce my required energy output but I still want to cook with real food ingredients.  I usually buy spinach and baby kale in these horrific plastic tubs which are at least recyclable.  I find it the freshest of what is available and the only way to get organically grown leaves.  I can't afford to buy all my produce organically grown, but I prefer to with leaves, red peppers, apples and strawberries.  Whether or not buying food labelled organically grown is worthwhile or not is a huge debate you can immerse yourself in online if you care to. 

Other shortcuts I often take is buying bags of already grated cheese when they are on sale and dehydrated chopped garlic. 

For this recipe you need

1 onion                1 cup cream (I use half 18% and half 33%)*
butter                   1 cup crumbled feta cheese
olive oil                1 tsp salt
4 eggs                  garlic
5 cups greens

When cooking I am not always terribly precise about measuring.  The eggs and cream ratio I stick with as it gives me a result I like but other measurements are generally just approximate. 

Chop the onion and soften in a frying pan with a generous knob of butter and some olive oil.
I just like it done this way but you could skip this step.  Combining butter and oil keeps the butter from burning and I like the flavours of both.

Put the cooked onion, 1/2 cup of feta and the garlic in a baking dish.  I don't know if mine is 8x8" or 9x9" or something in between. 

Whisk together the eggs, salt and cream ( * I used what is called coffee cream or table cream here and whipping cream.  I've made this with full fat milk as well. ) Lens cap optional.

Put the greens on top of the onion mixture.  I don't actually measure out 5 cups; it's more like five handfuls.  I combined a bit of spinach with baby kale in this case.  It's just preference.  Pack the greens down with your hands and top with the rest of the feta cheese. 

It will look like this:

Then pour the egg-cream mixture evenly over top.  I press it all down with my rubber spatula after, just to even it out.

This dish would lend itself well to being topped with breadcrumbs but I didn't have any gluten free and low carb bread on hand. It would also be lovely with more grated cheese on top, any white cheese or cheddar.  Is there any such thing as too much cheese? 

Bake it in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F for about 35 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the centre.

This makes about 4 servings if it's the main dish and 6-8 if it's eaten as a side dish. I happily eat it for breakfast too.

Tomorrow it's a pork roast in the slow cooker! 

1 comment:

  1. I love cooking, it's one of my biggest hobbies! I am sure all the dishes you make are very yummy. Vegetables (roasted or stewed) are some of my most favorite meals too. They are also great cold - that's what we call "vegetable caviar" in Russian. Some people like to puree them with a mixer, I prefer a chunky "caviar" myself.

    I am also a fan of kale. You recipe sounds very cozy! I usually just stir fry kale with garlic - yum! :) Some find kale bitter, but I love it.



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