Tuesday, November 08, 2011

*november challenge, day 8.

So, I know they're called "Yukon golds," but is that not the yellowest potato you've ever seen? 

That hasn't the slightest to do with any pats of butter in there, nuh uh no sir.

I suppose it was a predictably foregone conclusion that when I said yesterday, "I have aspirations of mixing some [cauliflower soup] in to mashed potatoes," I meant, "as in, three hours from now."

As a programming note, I do want to say that I hope I'm not boring the pants of anyone with all these Dinner, Party of 1 recipes lately. It's definitely a challenge to make single-gal meals, and always more fun to cook for many. My mom asked me to help with Thanksgiving, though, so a) YAY! and b), crap I better get planning.

I'm only on the eighth day of this Food for Thought challenge, and while I certainly feel more mindful about what I'm eating (or, more accurately, what I'm not), even at this early date I have learned a few things:

1. I miss diet sodas. I miss them so hard. My mother swears that I will soon live a soda-free life that will be so glorious that I will no longer even think of wanting one ever, ever again, but. Diet Mt Dew. Fresca. Coke Zero. I love you. I miss you. This thing between water and me never meant anything! I'm sorry for leaving you. Please come back.

2. Thank god for wine.

3. I have not missed my Cheez-Its (no, really!) but I have found that there is a delicate balance of throughout-the-day eating that rests quite carefully on the fulcrum of texture, sugar, and carbs. ("Rests on the fulcrum"? Lord.) If there's not enough crunch, I has a sad. If there's not enough savory, I has a sad. If there's not enough carbs, I has a temper tantrum. See there? Balance, delicate.

4. I miss tortillas. Like thick, trashy, full of preservatives, soft, wonderful flour tortillas. This one surprised me; I don't even have the sense that I eat flour tortillas all THAT often, but there has to be something hard-wired in me that makes me want to tackle small children and steal their turkey wraps. 

Which, ultimately and circuitously, brings me to the subject of sandwiches. I was overjoyed this week to find, at my regular grocer, a normal-seeming loaf of bread that had normal-seeming (and few) ingredients, 100% whole wheat flour, and no sugar. Huzzah! (It doesn't take much to overjoy me, it seems, particularly on the subject of sandwiches.)

To make my dinner, I just boiled one chopped Yukon gold potato until tender, mashed it, and mixed it with a tiny pat of butter, salt, pepper, and about one-third of a cup of creamy cauliflower soup. I seasoned a chicken cutlet with salt and pepper, and then dredged it in a mixture of whole wheat flour, a pinch of dry mustard, a pinch of ground red pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder. Then I dipped it into a bowl of beaten egg, and dredged it in the flour mixture again. I sautéed it in olive oil until golden brown on each side and cooked through, and then just wiped the pan clean and wilted some spinach with a pinch of dried crushed red pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar.

And I saved the second half of the chicken breast for my lunch. I'd been wanting to investigate that old notion of avocado-as-mayonnaise-substitute, even though I suspected it was one of those urban legends along the lines of "I chase my toddlers around as an exercise program." But it was really tasty—and, bonus! the heartiness of the wheat bread means it keeps in the refrigerator overnight and into the next day without getting soggy. That has no connection to the fact that I ate it at an hour that was decidedly morning. Too tempting, sandwich! (Note: I debated adding prosciutto to this to make it sort of a genuine California chicken sandwich, inspired by a BLT, but I decided my ankles would prefer that I took it easy on the sodium. HOLY CRAP I'M OLD. You are young and beautiful, of course, so you should add it—or good old American bacon—if you have a hardier heart than I have.)


Monterey Chicken Sandwich with Avocado Cream

½ avocado 
1 generous tablespoon sour cream
2 chives, finely chopped 
Pinch of ground red pepper 
½ small lemon 
2 100% whole wheat bread slices 
2 red onion slices 
1 slice Monterey Jack cheese 
Cooked chicken cutlet 

1. Mash avocado with a fork, and mix in sour cream, chives, red pepper, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. 

2. Divide avocado cream between 2 bread slices, spreading to the edges. Layer 1 slice with red onion, cheese, and chicken; top with remaining bread slice. Makes 1 serving. 


What's Next? says:
at: 8:21 AM said...

These both look great! I love the mix of dry ingredients for the chicken. I also completely understand the need to reinvent a dish as something else. I added cheese tortellini to my veggie soup and called in tortellini soup. A very sad imitation of a Katie dish.



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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.