Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Battling boredom...with tapenade
One of the things that I'm sure everyone experiences with their diet (not just food allergy people)is boredom. You have the same three things for lunch, you go to the same restaurants, you make the same recipes. For those of us on restrictive diets, it gets even more tiresome since you're allergically restricted from wandering too far off the path. I eat a lot of meat, veggies, Mexican and Thai food and sometimes I'm just bored silly with my choices. So for tonight's protein of choice, lamb chops, I decided to jazz it up a litle. Traditional cooking treatment for lamb is garlic and rosemary, but the FAQ is ixnay on the garlic. Plus it's, well, boring. One of my fave recipes pre-Allergy Discovery was from the Dean and Deluca cookbook, where they paired an tapenade (French black olive spread) butter flavored with orange peel on top of the lamb so that it melts onto the meat and makes it seem unique and different. It's so simple and elegant, yet interesting enough that I use it as a standard for dinner parties.
Tonight I made up an FAQ version of the tapenade spread without the butter -- kalamata olives, capers, Bronco Bob's raspberry chipotle sauce (my new favorite ingredient available in the BBQ sauce dept at Whole Foods) and some hot mustard. Mmmm. Made the lamb taste totally brand-new. Afterwards, I really thought about all the ways I could use it in addition to lamb. I could put on hamburgers, and turkey sandwiches if I could eat bread. Lighten it up with some olive oil and put in on fish or chicken. Add some red onions and a little vinegar and make a salad dressing. Certainly puts a whole new twist on the everyday everyday stuff.
A traditional French tapenade is made with oil-cured black olives, anchovies, capers, olive oil and salt and pepper. Depending on how adventurous you feel, I recommend starting with chopping the olives (they can be regular canned olives), then adding a savory (onions, garlic or shallots, or anchovies if you like that taste), capers if you have them, something a little sweet (jam or jelly), mustard and then a little vinegar or lemon juice. Roasted red peppers? Orange or lemon peel? Finely diced cucumbers? Taste for what you like/what your diet allows and be creative. Go forth and conquer!
PS. I'm also including a picture of the nastiest candy bar I've had in a while. Picked up a bar of sugar-free chocolate at See's Candy, and literally had to spit it out after one chew. Bitter, nasty aftertaste, wooden texture, truly awful -- I had to wipe my tongue afterwards. I wish I was kidding. Also for those allergic to corn, note it's sweetened with malitol, which is corn-based (and scarily has a warning that it might have laxative properties...double yikes.)