Sunday, April 19, 2015

Challenges in Creativity #3 - sauces and dressings

Imagine having to make a salad, but you cant use olive oil, vinegar, butter milk, or egg yolks.  And being the wise person that you are, you refuse to use canola oil or soybean oil.  Hmmmm.... what are you going to dress your salad with?  Sure lemon or lime juice work, but it's not quite the same.

Since starting my 8-12 week elimination diet to help heal my gut and reset my hormones I've cut out among other things: all cows milk dairy (except ghee), olives, anything fermented including vinegar, eggs, sunflower seeds,  sesame seeds, almonds, garlic, coconut, and ginger. The biggest challenges I've had in the past month have been figuring out what to dress my salads with and what kind of sauces to put on my meats.

I picked up a bottle of Walnut oil and Avocado oil at Whole Foods just to begin experimenting with.  I actually like the Avocado oil better since it has a very neutral flavor.  After using up the avocado oil I caved in and bought a bottle of grape seed oil because it's about 1/2 the price of avocado oil.  I don't love grape seed oil and never recommend it to clients because it's high in omega 6 fatty acids which oxidize very easily.  I have no plan to cook with it, but figure using it a couple times a week as a dressing it's not going to cause me any real damage.  About the time I was checking out and giving up on my quest to find something besides lemon juice to add pizzaz to my salads I spied the chilled beverage section at the end of the refrigerator aisle. After looking through about 15 flavors I finally found one without apple juice. (No apples either).  This Suja detox juice beverage is just what I needed.  The combination of strawberries, raspberries, tart cherries, and pinch of cayenne has really helped jazz up my otherwise very boring and dry salads.  I have a small glass bottle I mix the juice and oil in and then tote it to and from work.  Mmmmm... Delicious.

Next, while my parents were visitng the other weekend we grilled chicken thighs which are delicious on their own, but are definitely better with a little BBQ sauce.  I found a recipe for tart cherry sauce in Mark Bittman's 'How to Cook Everything' iphone app and decided to simply replace the tart cherries with frozen cranberries which we've had in our freezer since last November.  Dad really enjoyed it, Ryan was more partial to his BBQ sauce.  For me, it was nice to have something other than just meat with a vegetable and no sauce.

Tart and Spicy Cranberry Sauce.
1. Sautee 1 diced shallot and 1-2 diced jalapenos in a medium saucepan in 1 Tbs of ghee or red palm oil for 3-5 minutes.

2. Dump in 2 cups Frozen cranberries, 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, 2-4 Tbs brown sugar depending upon how tart you like your sauce, the juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Stir everything together and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes until the cranberries have broken down and the sauce is thickened.  

4. Serve warm or room temp with chicken or pork.

Serves 8-10 depending upon how much sauce people eat with their meats.


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