8 PM. Sit down to a very delicious and satisfying dinner.
A perspective and attitude change has gradually taken root in my brain. This has allowed all home-cooked dinners to take place with a giant amount of willingness and love baked or cooked into every morsel.
Since my Celiac diagnosis in November 05, weâ€™ve been eating home quite a bit, as you can imagine. No longer can we, on a whim, run out for a quick bite. Itâ€™s just not that simple. While there are definitely Celiac-friendly restaurants in our area, it still is a bit of a production, what with explaining to the waitstaff and then praying they donâ€™t bring your salad with croutons. It just ainâ€™t worth it. So, we eat home. A lot. A lot more than we ever used to. Itâ€™s actually been an amazing transformation for meJ. And I like it a great deal. We both do.
Ok, sometimes I whine, mostly to myself. There is still a part of me that would love to drive two miles to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. #2, #6, #36, #103. I donâ€™t remember the Vietnamese names of these culinary creations, but the taste of each of those dishes remains indelibly imprinted in my brain and on my tongue. Unfortunately, once I discovered that they cooked the rice noodles in the same water that they cooked the wheat noodles, we stopped going there. Stomachache explained. Tiny kitchen, frenzied activity which you can clearly see from the dining room. No place in which to take a chance any longer.
So what constitutes the perspective and attitude change? Two behaviors have contributed to this change. Drum roll please. This is big for me.
#1: I deleted the idea from my head that insisted meals had to include a big hunk oâ€™ meat, vegetable, and starch. Even though Iâ€™ve been cooking my way around the globe over the last umpteen years, more often than not, I revert back to that old way of preparing meals. Once I changed my way of thinking, our dining experiences became much more varied, much less predictable, in fact more interesting.
Last night is a perfect example. We dined on freshly made Szechwan slaw and leftover Brown Rice with cabbage and onions. Not an ounce of meat anywhere near our plates.
#2: The other way in which our dining experiences have evolved and morphed is that I often challenge myself to open the frig and come up with something based on whatever is lurking in the crisper drawers. Thatâ€™s what happened last night. Green cabbage, red cabbage (sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, doesnâ€™t it?), one red pepper, some carrots. Oh yes, my brain begins to quiver with excitement. Thereâ€™s a recipe somewhere in my files for a cabbage concoction that is not your usual run-of-the-mill slaw recipe. Itâ€™s an Asian twist on the typical American coleslaw. Crispy, sweet, with a little bite from the ginger. Rummage through files. Ta-Da! There it is. My adaptation of a recipe from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook. Took about 20 minutes to prepare. Heat up the leftover brown rice from the previous nightsâ€™ dinner. Done. Delicious. Try it, youâ€™ll like it!
Â¼ cup rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
Â¼ cup safflower oil
Â¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
Â¼ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
Â¼ cup minced cilantro
Â¼ cup minced fresh mint
Salt to taste
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 large red pepper, seeded and thinkly sliced
4 scallions, sliced thinly and on the diagonal
1 large carrot, grated
1/8 cup black sesame seeds (found these at local Asian market)
Prepare the dressing by combining the vinegar, oil, sugar, ginger, red chili flakes, cilantro, mint, and salt. Set aside.
Prepare the salad by mixing the cabbages, pepper, scallions, carrot, and sesame seeds. Fifteen minutes before serving, toss the salad with the dressing.
Optional: Can add Â¼ pound snow peas, use a combination of red and yellow peppers, use light colored sesame seeds instead of black sesame seeds.