Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm Obsessed with:

Gregory Peck, They just don't make 'em like this anymore. Like George Clooney, this guy only got hotter as he aged. I just discovered, upon researching him a bit, that he was born in La Jolla! I think it's only fitting that I proceed to rent every movie he ever starred in and swoon at his fabulously good looks and equally fabulous acting. His original name was Eldred Gregory Peck—nice choice on the name change, Handsome. I love him best in his roles in Spellbound, Roman Holiday, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even in Old Gringo (I only liked it b/c I was in Mexico when I watched it, stateside it's probably not that good).

—In unrelated news, I LOVE Nabisco Newtons Fruit Crisps!!! No, no one's paying me to promote these (I wish they were), but I've taken to eating these daily. I haven't tried the mixed berry one, I'm still working through a box of the apple cinnamon...tastes like an apple turnover. YUMMO! Now go buy.
Audio books, the cure to Meg's road rage. My dearest friend Sarah had to witness my road rage while she stayed with me in San Diego for a while and it wasn't until I heard the moans of mortal terror coming from her in response to my behind-the-wheel outbursts that I realized I had a problem. A big one. I hate sitting in traffic, foot beginning to ache from being poised over the accelerator in hopes of using it. I hate A-hole days on the road during which it seems like everyone got the memo that cutting off, tailing, honking, and ignoring blind spots is okay. But true to new-age California, I have been enlightened, I have risen from road rage to road zen. I pop in an audio CD from the library (God bless 'em) and mentally go away, the road may do as it will b/c I'm not in a hurry when I'm absorbing Nabakov's Lolita, Kerouac's On the Road, or Ellison's The Invisible Man. Indeed, I've been known to remain in my car post-journey in order to prolong my literary car sessions. So I say viva la audio book! Oh, and by the way, so long as the audio book is unabridged, you can TOTALLY say you've "read" that book. No question.

Unusual vegetables, or at least unusual to me:
—I'm a fan of spaghetti squash, you bake it like a potato at 375 for 15-25 minutes depending (don't forget to poke holes in it!). Once baked, carefully split the squash, deseed it, and use a fork to separate the strands of meat. They're not hairy strands like other squashes and they take on the taste of whatever you put on them (I did chicken medallions, peanut sauce, chives, and broccoli with mine). So why not just eat normal noodles? Because spaghetti squash is super good for you!

—I've also fallen for eggplant, I made a low-fat eggplant parm the other night that was to die for. Crispy on the outside and chewy, earthy eggplant on the inside. Let me know if you would like the recipe. *update* recipe is found in comments on this post.

—Butternut squash, it's a pain b/c it's really hard to cut and you have to peel them, but I cut mine into french fry shapes, baked them with some olive oil at 425 for about 15 minutes, put salt on them, and enjoyed alternative french fries.

—Beets, also hard to cut, peel them and either sautee them with some evoo, salt, and pepper or steam them, puree them and make into beet soup, here's a great recipe I found (I replaced the whipping cream with F.F. sour cream, and ditched the butter, and it still tasted indulgent).

—Asparagus, not exactly exotic, but I finally found a way to prepare it that I'll eat! I broil just the ends in evoo, a splash of soy, and some minced garlic until the outside is crispy and the inside is tender and limp. *Tip*: how do you know where asparagus woodiness ends and tender, good-to-eat tenderness begins? Simply take the aspargus stalks one at a time and snap them into two pieces, they break at the perfect point.

More veggies I'm going to try/learn to cook and love: brusselsprouts (they have a bad rep., but I hear these adorable little cabbage dudes are delicious if prepared well), artichokes (I can never make these right...), endive, and garbanzo beans. However, I refuse to touch water chestnuts. Sick.


Heather Lea said...

i DO want the eggplant recipe. I've been looking for a good one. NICE JOB with the veggies...i'm impressed. And that's a great compliment coming from the daughter of the one and only Linda Mullen. You should feel really good about yourself. :) LOVE YOU!

Meg Schudel said...

I think I should be a little more clear, this isn't a "great-for-you" meal necessarily, it's lower in fat than other recipes, but overall you could definitely do worse :)

Eggplant Parm recipe:
Wash and cut eggplant into 1/3 inch slices, spread out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle about 1 T. of salt on them front and back and let them weep for about 30 minutes (this takes away the moisture so they cook up nice and chrip, not soggy. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil, and sautee minced garlic(to your taste). Once the garlic is golden brown, add tomato sauce (either puree your own, fresh tomatoes, or just buy a can of tomat. sauce) and fresh basil. Keep warm in the pan. I don't have any measurements for this stuff b/c you can totally just make sauce to your liking. I likem ore basil and garlic than most people. *This makes a thin marinara and tastes nice and fresh, but if you'd like, you could just buy it too.
Once your eggplant's ready, tap off excess water, drag through a mixture of whole wheat flour with a tsp. of black pepper mixed in, then fat free eggbeaters (or egg, obviously), then whole wheat breadcrumbs mixed with plenty of shredded parmesan cheese (grated works well too). Heat up olive oil in the pan again until it sizzles when you flick a drop of water in it. Carefully lay slices of prepared eggplant in the pan. Let fry until golden brown and outsides are crusty.
Generously pour marinara on top of slices and serve! (Can easily add some whole wheat pasta to make this more fulfilling)
I would serve this with no bread, just a nice side salad of basalmic vinegarette dressing, with fresh strawberries and spring greens, or something equally light. Something creamy for dessert would balance the acidity of a meal like this. (Gelatto anyone?)