Thursday, March 29, 2007

Middle Eastern Afternoon Delight.

First, a few questions.

For everyone: Do you ever have a day where it turns out you're hankering for a certain cuisine.. the whole day long?

For my fellow intuitive eaters: What's an adored food you would never have eaten when you were dieting?

For those that are still dieting, what's a favourite food you've been able to adapt to your current eating plan and one that just doesn't taste the same no matter how you finagle it? Intuitive Eaters feel free to answer that too if you have ones you remember from your dieting days. (One I did adapt quite well was fish mornay)

Stuffed Zucchini. I haven't had them in a very long time. It's a food I adore, but always avoided whenever I was dieting due to its generally fattiness. I learned to make them at a Greek restaurant, so yes, plenty of The Good Oil was used. Low-fat versions never tasted as good, and I certainly wasn't going to make up a small batch. Far too time consuming and you can't freeze the leftovers, they fall apart.

Last night when I went grocery shopping, there they were in the greengrocery section. Large, bright green, succulent zucchini, without a mark on them, perfect for stuffing. Oh boy, oh boy! Next thing I knew, I had six of the buggers in my shopping trolley. Rice and curry were the plan for dinner, so if I made a little extra rice, there would be enough for the stuffing of said zukes.... (I knew I'd grabbed that bunch of fresh mint, five minutes ago, for a reason. LOL)

Today I went off to Costco to do some shopping. I'd planned to have marinated chicken breasts with the zucchini, but there in the meat section were some Aussie lamb loin chops. YUM! (Much less mutton-tasting than American lamb) And, further down the aisle there was a taste test going on of hummus and pita. Yummy, thick, single-layer pita. Not the thin, pocket pita styles which is all I'd been able to find around here lately. Souvlaki-style, Lebanese-style, almost Turkish-style in its fluffiness. Drooool.

Hmm. Two containers of hummus and a ten pack of these pitas for $11.99? I got two lots. LOL Two packs of pitas and a baba ganoush hummus, a kalamata olive hummus, a tabbouleh, and a cilantro/coriander and jalapeƱo hummus. (Eminently suited for freezing btw.) Some of that for lunch with a glass of tangerine juice and I was in heaven. I had me a middle eastern afternoon delight. {waggles eyebrows} It tasted that good I think I did sound a little like I was having another kind of afternoon delight.

As I was enjoying my decadence this afternoon, something occurred to me. When I was dieting I would have been unable to enjoy my middle eastern craving today. I wouldn't have even stopped to try the hummus, assuming that they would be too fattening. I would not have bought the lamb chops either. I would have thought about that hummus all day, coming home to make a low fat version, which although I can make tasty, would have left me hankering to try those other varieties. Or left me experimenting for hours over the next few weeks trying to work out how they would have tasted. I certainly wouldn't have had the tabbouleh, as it takes a few hours to make. I would have sat there with a salad and my piece of bread and hummus and eaten far more than what I really wanted. Why? Trying desperately to satisfy a craving with food that was not what I was actually craving.

As it was, I ate about a tbs of each of the cilantro and baba ganoush hummuses and 2 tbs of the olive hummus. 1 Tbs for each quarter of the pita bread, and a cup of tabbouleh. I have yet to look at the nutrition table on the back of the container. I doubt that I ever will. The ingredients list on them is all wholesome foods, not a fake additive to behold. That explains why I was still full a few hours later. Every time I've eaten a low fat hummus, I've been hungry again within the hour. And that's with eaten at least double what I ate for lunch today.

I like this intuitive eating stuff. My body likes it. Hell, my taste buds are doing a foxtrot they're that excited!

The tabbouleh made making the stuffed zucchini for dinner easy too. A cup of cooked rice, about 2/3 c tabbouleh, half a bunch of chopped fresh mint, lemon juice and zest, ground cumin seeds --but it still didn't taste quite finished. Don't like pine nuts, unless it's in pesto, therefore they were right out! Without them though, that nutty taste was missing, so I chucked in about a tablespoon of tahini, a touch more mint and lemon juice, and a beaten egg to hold it all together.

Voila! No sauteeing of onion, garlic, lamb, or zucchini innards, but still a pretty damn tasty stuffing for the zukes. Them? Two got sliced in half, disemboweled, laid in a baking tray, stuffed with the filling, drowned in diluted tomato soup and went sunbathing at 400F for an hour. Tasty, non greasy and oh so healthy.

Looks like stuffed zucchini is back on the menu! Yippee!

P.S. The cute, little lamb chops? They're currently cohabiting in a ziploc bag with a concoction of cumin seeds, garlic, fresh mint, paprika, lemon juice, oregano, olive oil, black peppercorns, and salt; that was all whizzed together in the food processor until it reached a pesto-like consistency.When Alaskaboy calls to say he's on his way home, they'll be baked in the oven at 375F for about 45 mins, served with a zucchini and some hummus on the side. Probably with a glass of the tangerine juice as well.

Altogether now ... Y-UMM-YYY!

3 Nibbles:

Marshmallow said...

Oh Yumness! I love turkish and greek foods - turkish cuisine is incredibly popular in New Zealand; greek not so much, yet we seem to be using greek influences in our cuisine yet authentic greek places are difficult to find.

And you know what, I have NEVER seen a low fat hummus before. Nor do I want to! I have the most delicious garlic hummus in my fridge at this moment, all made with beautiful ingredients, at 6 grams of fat per tablespoons, it is fifteen grams worth of pleasure!

Those stuffed zukes sound fan-tacular (heeeey, I made a new word!), too bad I can't get you to come over here and whip up some of it for me!

Thanks for this post, Kada. I reckon that the way to resolve cravings is just to eat the bloody thing and enjoy it. I remember hearing someone bragging about she'd been craving chocolate brownie for 2 months. I'm like, far out, EAT THE GODDAMN BROWNIE! You're doing more damage to yourself by driving yourself insane with deprivation O_O

Kada said...

Outside of Greece, Melbourne is one of the most densely populated cities of Greeks. I miss the familiar ethnic balance of shops and markets and restaurants that I grew up with. One thing I always get when I go back home are souvlakis. Most places here have either the chunks of chicken for doner kebab, or a lamb/beef gyros style of sandwich. I've yet to find a place with the chicken done on the upright rotisserie. I keep looking though!

Here there is an abundance of Mexican cuisine, which I am learning to appreciate. (I always did like it, but now I'm discovering the Mexican grocery shops!) I think it's very human to miss the familiar when you move away.

The garlic hummus they had yesterday didn't have enough garlic for my tastebuds. Believe me, I do understand of what you speak! LOL "Call THIS garlic hummus? Pah-lease!"
The baba ganoush was fantastically smoky though. We both adored it. So many places seem to have insipid baba ganoush, it's like they don't roast the eggplant long enough or something. Or worse yet, they use fake, liquid smoke. Yuck!

The zukes were pretty fantacular! Actually were quite easy to make as well. I'll make some more again probably in the next few days and will take note of measurements this time...

Two months?! Holy shit! That's demented. Especially since they're so easy to get in low fat / low carb / gluten free... pick your flavour of altered food. LOL I bet when she "gave in" she ate an absolute ton of the stuff and then felt awful.

Definitely abnormal. I remember the nights I'd lie awake fantasizing about whatever food I had disallowed myself that week... even if it was a food I didn't particularly like. As soon as I said, no, can't have it, I wanted it, desperately and yes insanely so!

Marshmallow said...

Oh my gosh, Souvlaki! Now there's a word I haven't heard for aaaaaaaaages - the last time I ate it was in Melbourne in 1996... I was 10 years old O_O (So yes, I do get the greek 'infestation' of Melbourne, my tastebuds still remember it!)