On the evening of January 31st, I made my favorite meal–a Cobb salad–so that I could enjoy chicken and bacon one last time until March 1st (at least, maybe longer… we’ll see how it goes). During the month of February, I’ll only be eating seafood and eggs as my main sources of protein. Gone are the days of bacon-wrapped dates, at least for a while… 😉
Why am I going mostly vegetarian? I just felt like I was eating too much meat, that’s all. It was getting to be pork or chicken or beef almost every single night for dinner. I don’t feel like it’s very good for me or for the environment, even though I buy organic and grass-fed meats when at all possible. I asked myself if I would have been willing to kill and butcher every single piece of meat that I had eaten since my diet has been so meat heavy (in the last two years). And, though I would have definitely been willing to hunt/forage/kill/clean some of the meats in the meals Andy and I have enjoyed (especially the holiday ones), I have to admit I would not want to have to kill something everyday or clean it everyday. I’d rather go pick an apple and get down with some almond butter! 😉
I decided since February is the shortest month, it would be completely doable to cut out feathers, fur, or animals with snouts. 😉 I’ll be enjoying seafood once or twice a week, nuts (in moderation), some cheese (organic), Greek yogurt, and rarely–organic beans/lentils for protein. Not as Paleo, but again… I am always questioning why salami or bacon is Paleo and some other things like organically grown beans, corn, or rice aren’t…
I had a charcuterie plate for dinner about 2 weeks ago, and I was just sitting there thinking, man… I probably shouldn’t be eating this. So many calories and cholesterol… So much meat… So much salt. Need. To. Cut. Back!
So veggies for a month it is! But first…
I studded my last meaty meal with Santé Roasted Salted Pecans, sent to me after attending the NASFT Winter San Francisco Fancy Food Show. What I liked best about this variety of Santé is that it didn’t have any added sugar like some of the other varieties do. I rarely buy pecans because of their high calorie content, so when I get them sent to me, it’s a rare treat.
In addition to the Roasted Salted variety, Santé also offers Candied Pecans, Cinnamon Pecans, Sweet & Spicy Pecans, Candied Walnuts, Cardamom Cashews, Chipotle Almonds, and Garlic Almonds.
Some fun nut and wine pairings can be found on their website here.
You can buy Santé Nuts local to Sacramento at Whole Foods market and at Draeger’s in the Bay area. There is also a product locator you can use on their website. You can find them on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.
This month, stay tuned for some vegetarian recipes using more products from manufacturers I met at the Fancy Food show! It will be exciting to use my creativity in the kitchen and share with you here… maybe even gain some vegetarian readers while I am at it.
One thing that I took away from my tour of The Diestel Family Turkey Ranch last week is that people don’t really eat all that much turkey. As Americans we probably only enjoy it a few times a year. Maybe the problem is that we associate a lot of fear in cooking such a large and expensive piece of meat. Traumatized by an overcooked bird or a fried turkey explosion? Do we brine or do we not brine? Do we cook it breast side down first? What do I do with the carcass?!?! Maybe we overeat so much during the holiday turkey dinners and have so many incarnations of turkey leftovers, that the thought of having a turkey once a week sounds completely unappealing.
But forget about the larger 20-pound creatures for a moment. If you didn’t have to prepare a monstrosity every time, wouldn’t you love to have turkey once a week or even every couple of days? Think about all the possibilities…. not just turkey lunch meats, but turkey burgers, turkey bacon, turkey sausages, and even turkeys that are the size of roasting chickens? What if you didn’t even have to cook the turkey?
After the Diestel tour, Andy purchased a Diestel turkey breast (from their store on the ranch) to have for dinner at some point the following week. He marinated overnight (Greek style) and then grilled it. The next day he brought some over so I could make a version of my latest obsession, a Cobb salad, only this time, it would be a turkey Cobb salad!
I’m not sure why I am so in love the the Cobb right now. It could be because I love everything in one and the only thing non-Paleo in it is the cheese (I don’t use dressing either because to me it’s not needed with so many other toppings).
The Cobb originated in 1937 at the Brown Derby, when the restaurant’s owner Bob Cobb wanted a late night snack. I imagine it was a kind of TV’s Chopped moment when he raided the cooler and the pantry and combined what he could find inside: head of lettuce, an avocado, some romaine, watercress, tomatoes, some cold breast of chicken, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese, and of course bacon. Even Cobb knew that bacon makes everything better. 😉 The salad dressing Cobb invented ontained red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, garlic, olive oil, dry mustard, and salad oil. Soon everyone was asking for The Cobb Salad, and since 1937, more than 4 million salads have been sold at Brown Derby restaurants.
And that’s what I have had for dinner the past three nights! Last night I wanted to see how wonderful the Diestel Turkey would be in a Cobb. And it was everything I hoped. My Cobb salad had organic Earthbound Farms lettuce (herb blend–with dill in it, my favorite!!), heirloom tomatoes from Feeding Crane Farms, avocado, hard boiled Diestel chicken eggs, blue cheese, bacon, and of course the grilled Diestel turkey breast. We also had sauteed onions and mushrooms on the side, which I enjoy with almost anything.
We enjoyed the salad paired with a Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir. By the way, both chardonnays and pinot noir work very well with a Cobb Salad.
So it’s that easy. Just take the chicken out of your favorite recipe and put turkey up to bat! Turkey Cordon Bleu, Turkey and Dumplings, Turkey Chili, Turkey enchiladas… the list goes on. And, if you are gluten free or Paleo, there are tons of chicken recipes on the internet that you can swap in turkey meat instead.