Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jalapeno Goat Cheese, A Pile of Cilantro, and Dessert For Breakfast Just Because I Want To

The other day I was reading a special post from a fellow blogger showcasing the last meals requested by prisoners on death row. I was pretty stunned to see the choices of these hardened criminals when faced with a decision that pulls one of our most primal triggers: that of what to place within our mouth. Some chose obvious meals that connected their bellies with comfort food or a nostalgic time from somewhere in the distance past like a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a tub of their favorite childhood ice cream. Some chose fattening and sinful dishes that would please their overindulgent tendencies one last time without consequence like a 20-piece spread of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Still others, the ones who were extremely cold, calculated and ascetic, seemed to not care so much about their last dish but to concoct it eerily like a math equation with a protein, vegetable and starch.

It started me thinking about what I would eat for my last meal and then I realized that I eat what I want everyday already and that sometimes my choices even surprise me, coming from a adult who used to be a child who couldn’t wait to get out in the world and live on my own so I could eat nothing but ice cream, pizza, mangoes, and lobster tails. It’s interesting to see how our taste buds morph and form once we actually do build our own sense of diet and what decades later we find ourselves eating when we have the freedom to do so in any fashion.

Today I paid attention to the items in my kitchen from the viewpoint of cooking only meals for myself that I would gladly use for a last meal while also trying to keep my whole day at 1,500 calories (the amount I eat on weekdays so I don’t gain any weight and can still splurge on weekends and special occasions). I was surprised not only that I do stock my kitchen with food that’s near and dear to my heart, but that at any given time I have not only the nurturing and nutritious good stuff for my healthy palette but also sweet things to please my pleasure points as well and that both of those things are extremely fine tuned to the me of me in lifestyle, convenience, ingredient and tone.

Breakfast, 386 calories

It’s nice when you can eat dessert for breakfast because no one is watching. Dark chocolate almond soy ice cream topped with two tablespoons of homemade whipped cream. One of my dirty little secrets is that I keep a bowl of freshly whipped cream, whipped with an immersion blender and just one tiny drop of almond oil, in my fridge most of the time. It’s the fat of my dreams and oftentimes provides a small spot of brightness in my otherwise healthy day. It makes my coffee brighter as well.

Lunch, 400 calories

One of my favorite things to do is take a handful (in this case seven) organic shishito peppers fresh from the Farmer’s Market, throw them on a baking tray in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes sprinkled only with olive oil and kosher flake salt until they blister. Then, pop them in my mouth either piping hot or let them cool off and acquire a more chewy and sweet milieu. After the peppery heat, two cups of fresh chopped watermelon ensued.

Dinner, 475 calories

I managed to be the recipient of one of the Cute Gardener’s prized butternut squashes and was inspired by a pasta he made me including the lovely veg once; although for my version I added ingredients that I knew he wouldn’t eat, nor many other people unless they had my particular palette, and it turned out simply sensational for my brand of flavor profile. I would highly recommend this dish to anyone who has the gene that actually likes cilantro as well as the spice of jalapenos. 

(makes two servings)

One medium butternut squash
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup jalapeno goat cheese
4 oz. whole-wheat linguine
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Halve the squash and put on a baking sheet with olive oil and flake kosher salt sprinkled across it. I don’t like to clean mine of seeds and pulp till done roasting because it keeps it moist. I only take the pulp out if making cubed squash as a straight up side dish and want it firmer like a potato. Roast in a 350-degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Take out, clean and peel and loosely chop squash. As it cools, boil your water for the pasta with a tablespoon of olive oil and salt thrown in. Cook your pasta to al dente form. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, throw in the garlic and heat until golden. Then add the butternut squash and blend well. Finally, throw in the drained, cooked pasta and swirl in the goat cheese until it melts and coats everything in a creamy wash. Lastly, throw in the cilantro, salt and pepper and toss before serving.

The best thing I have learned as an adult in the land of food is that balance is everything. There’s no reason why we can’t have our cake in life and eat it to, I sure do!

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