Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Girlfriend Gayle’s Dining Delights

Gayle can’t have peanuts, dairy, or wheat; she has also sworn off of red meat and anything with growth hormones, so cooking for her family can be quite challenging. Because she has to eat a lot of protein, I spent the day concocting dishes that would delight her and satisfy Chuck.

Whole Foods provided the ingredients and Richard emailed some of his special recipes. I now have at least a week’s worth of ingredients for preparing fine cuisine for Gayle and Chuck’s dining delight. Richard shared with me his recipes for Salmon with Peppers and Leeks and for Honey Roasted Root Vegetables. Oh, how I missed Richard when faced with all that peeling, paring, slicing, and dicing!

I ended up with over a gallon of sliced fennel, yellow bell pepper, leeks, green chili peppers, and ginger. Not only did we have enough for Gayle and Chuck’s salmon, Buffy and I served it over Scott’s Asian Glazed Barbecued Chicken Thighs. And since I was making Mashed Dijon Cauliflower for Gayle, I also made some as a side dish to accompany our chicken.

The side dish for Gayle’s salmon was Mashed Butternut Squash with Orange Zest. She can serve her cauliflower with anything she desires; I made it to see if there may be some way to get Chuck to enjoy this cruciferous creation. For a bit of extra ant-oxidants in their diets, I baked and acorn squash and covered it with a sauce containing a healthy dose of tart cherries.

Richard’s recipe for Honey Roasted Root Vegetables calls for sweet potatoes, but all nightshade vegetables are off Gayle’s grocery list. I substituted fresh organic beets for the potatoes for an interesting bit of sweet flavor and creative coloration. Pink tinted vegetables may not be to everyone’s taste, but Buffy sure liked the results. Scott complained that he’s never even heard of most of the vegetables I was cutting up in his kitchen.

To make sure that Gayle and Chuck stay well-fed for at least a week, I prepared Italian Chicken Sausage with Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers to be served over rice-based pasta (I know Chuck can manage to boil his own pasta.), and I stuffed some portabella mushrooms with a savory stuffing containing rice-based Italian breadcrumbs. I even bought Chuck a package of wheat-free bread mix for his bread machine. Who knew there were so many rice-based varieties of ingredients outside of an Oriental grocery store?

By the time Buffy arrived home from work, I had every pot in the house full of food and every burner on the stove going full blast. Bless Buffy’s heart, she complimented me on all the delicious smells emanating from her kitchen, and began to wash pots as I finished with them. I couldn’t imagine a better daughter-in-law. If she was Yiddish, she’d be called a real mensch.

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