Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I don't know about you, but my immune system is not okay with me walking for miles in the cold rain as pollen blows in my face.
Soup is definitely in order.

They say that achieving health and wellness is more of an attitude and lifestyle adjustment than the result of isolated actions.
I know I should start eating less grease, but it just tastes so good!
Why would you take a perfectly good food and get rid of its oil, butter, and grease?!

So I decided I need to start eating more unsaturated fats...

Can you spot the saturated and unsaturated fats?

The difference between low-fat and better-fat at is a lot like the difference between good and bad vegetarian food.

Bad vegetarian food is when the person preparing it makes two versions of the exact same dish, only one is missing the meat.

Chicken salad

Burger, fresh off the grill


That, or they will take the meat out and replace it with a vegetable.

act: this wrap contains approximately 0 calories. I knew I was still hungry.

I had to eat a lot of stuff like this as a kid. Cheese lasagna, a Whopper Junior without the patty, and an enormous platter of celery on the seventh-grade field trip to the Dixie Stampede (They made me eat it with my hands!). The problem is that all of these dishes start out as a balanced meal, but even attempting to make a vegetarian version destroys all possible taste and nutritional quality.

Good vegetarian food begins as its own concept, molded out of its own set of rules. It comes from a world where meat doesn't have to be the focal point. The opposite of a Cornish hen is not a piece of cauliflower. Because, well, there is no opposite of a Cornish hen.

This is where you take a leaf [I'm punny!] out of the book of those few, largely vegetarian populations (surely they have to eat something, right?)

Uh, yeah. The whole continent of Asia's got it together.

Three delicious examples:

Falafel? vegetarian.

Dal? vegetarian.

Buddha's feast from P.F. Chang's? vegetarian.

Anyway, I'm not into the idea of cutting a whole category of stuff out of your diet, but at least in these dishes (where there was never even an inkling of killing a sacred cow) that meal is balanced around something [legumes]. There is a definite focal point that packs the protein and tastes, uh, not bad. Quick! Cover it up with spices!

More to my point, this is an analogy for the role that fats play in food.
People need to realize the difference between cutting fat out completely and using other, less harmful fats that still taste good.
Por ejemplo, the wall of shame:

Low fat frozen yogurt? That's not ice cream. Don't trust it.

Turkeys don't grow bacon. That's not even a thing.

What? Who ARE you?!?!?!?!??!!!?!? UGH!!!!!!!!!!

As you can see, taking a formerly delicious food and stripping it of the one thing that makes it palatable is a travesty.

Oh my sweet grease, I could die in a puddle of you.
If only you didn't settle in my gut and make me look 5 months pregnant.

This is why God made "good fat." This category contains a lot of things that I would probably eat anyway even if they weren't healthy.
Peanut butter. Avocados. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews. Sunflower seeds. Tuna nigiri and salmon filets. Cooking oils, including olive, sesame, peanut, and canola.

Seeing large amounts of olive oil always reminds me of the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean is probably my favorite ethnic category of cuisine, and it is often relatively high in unsaturated fats. yeeaaaaaah!

So, today I made Avgolemono, the Greeks' stab at Chicken and Rice soup (mmmmm, my cold is already better).
I bastardized Cat Cora's totally profesh recipe in a couple of ways.
First, I prepared the chicken the same way that I make tinga: shredded, rather than diced. I just like the texture better and think that the chicken gets more flavor when boiled in broth.
I used orzo instead of arborio rice.
I eliminated the leeks, because they were $5 a bundle and what am I, made of money?!
Instead, I added avocado slices. So green, so creamy and rich, avocados are a perfect complement to this fresh chicken soup.

Finally, I de-seeded and minced a cucumber, and mashed it all together with that really soft feta cheese I had left over from when I made the spanikopita. Then I stirred in dill and black pepper. It turned out like a really salty, spreadable tzatziki.
I threw a dollop on the soup for added salt and creaminess to stir in. Like adding a dollop of (full fat!) sour cream in tortilla soup.
Note to self: It was a spectacular idea to treat this like tortilla soup. Only, the next time you want to replace tortilla chips with pita chips, remember that you can't make pita chips. They always turn black, black as night. Is it that you like hearing the sound of the fire alarm? Gone, wasted, another whole package of pita.

I highly recommend this soup, especially if you're feeling under the weather. It's like chicken noodle, but revamped with a freshness to remind you that it's finally spring.

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