I am a good cook. Some people will say I’m a great cook. I think I’m a good cook and a good baker, mostly because saying I’m anything better than that is bragging and I try very hard not to do that.
It occurred to me today that I have a few weak points when it comes to cooking. Since I didn’t grow up eating a lot of vegetables that weren’t canned to the point of death, or fresh corn on the cob, I really don’t know how to cook vegetables very well. I don’t tend to remember to plan them into meals, which is really bad when you’re doing a low-carb diet because you need those vegetables to fill in with the good carbs and fiber or you are going to spend a long time sitting on a toilet, wishing all that protein would just MOVE.
Been there, done THAT.
I also don’t make all that many salads. Part of that is I hate Iceberg Lettuce salads with a fiery passion that rivals the sun – they are SO boring! If I wanted to eat water, I’d chew on ice cubes. (shudder!) I’m not fond of bitter greens, Romaine is great and spinach is nice, but all the other baby greens go slimy very quickly. Tomatoes give me heartburn, I’m allergic to mushrooms (which sucks because I love them!) and there are only so many other combinations that appeal to me. I also don’t like eating salad in the colder months, because I’m cold – I don’t want cold food. I want CHILI!
So my vegetable repertoire is essentially the following:
- Deep Fried Brussels Sprouts
- Brussels Sprouts with bacon and shallots
- Creamed Spinach
- Cheesy Cauliflower Bake
- Roasted Acorn Squash
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Roasted Carrots
- Grilled Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto
- Cole Slaw
Since I no longer eat potatoes, corn, mushrooms or green peas, my veggie choices are any of the above OR whatever steamable bag of veggies I pull out of my freezer. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a nice side of steamed broccoli or carrots. It’s just that they are so BLAND and BLAH, and sometimes the texture can be a bit slimy. I don’t get the ones with the sauces because they have too much salt, sugar and stuff I can’t pronounce for me to feel comfortable eating them. So I slap some butter and falksalt on my steamed broccoli, or use a garlic, chive and scallion mix I buy from Penzey’s spices.
So I have decided to challenge myself. I’m going to learn to make seven different vegetable side dishes. They must be:
- Easy to make. I’m not going to commit to eating more veggies if it’s a pain in the ass to make them
- Tasty for both of us. If only one of us likes it, that’s fine for when we’re not together. Since we eat most of our dinners together, we both need to like to results.
- Low Carb. He’s diabetic, I’ve been dancing around pre-diabetes for years. We need to stick to low carb foods to keep our blood sugar under control.
- Different – yes, I know there are a million ways to cook cauliflower – I am not looking for that. I’m looking for something else – more leafy greens, more vegetables with potassium and magnesium in them (because I’m low on those)
- Easy to find – I don’t want to have to go to a special market to get the vegetables. If the local farmer’s market carries it, or I can get it at the larger grocery store, it’s fair game.
So, talking with the hubby, I think I’m going to look for recipes with the following vegetables:
- Broccoli Rabe
- Summer Squash/Zucchini
I will share with you the results of our experiments, and perhaps you will also join us and try some different vegetables with dinner.