Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Showing Off

Welcome! Since my last post it has been an interesting couple of days. I stopped into the Housewares Expo at McCormick Place today, but more on that later. Sunday I got a craving for something a bit more upscale. Since I made my decision to post pictures of my kitchen exploits here on the blog I also felt like showing off a bit. I decided to free form a dinner that was hopefully healthy, delicious, and pretty. I was sitting at work and though about how cool the zucchini strips I used for stir fry would look wrapped around a chicken breast. Then I though about a dish called Chicken Bryan that I love from Carraba's. It is chicken breasts stuffed with tart cheese and smothered in a lovely sauce. Clearly not health food, but it was a start.

Here's what I did: I got some thin cut chicken breast and pounded it out pretty thin. My usual serving of chicken went into two "scallopini". I then used my vegetable peeler on the zucchini until I had enough strips to make an even layer over the each of the breasts. The filling was the tricky part. I wanted to get some of the same richness so I decided to use a bit of cheese. I got some goat cheese at the store that was pretty good, but still cheese, so pretty fattening. I needed something tasty to stretch it out and I remembered I had some left over mushrooms in the fridge and I picked up some dried wild mushrooms for extra flavor. This recipe is getting a bit long, but I reconstituted the dried mushrooms and threw those, the fresh mushrooms, about 1 1/2 ounces of the cheese, and a bunch of thyme and a bit of sage into my food processor and blitzed it until smooth. I smeared the lot into the chicken and wrapped it all up in the zucchini. Actually cooking it was the really easy part because I threw the roulades into the oven for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I periodically spooned the pan juices over the top to keep the zucchini from burning and when I pulled the dish out I let the chicken rest and cooked down the drippings into a sauce. Plated with some left over brown rice and a nice garnish it looked gorgeous and tasted just as nice as it looked, and at 650 or so calories not to bad for an indulgent meal.

Like I said, I was trying to show off.

Kitchen Geek Mecca

My uncle Ken works for a product development company that manufactures the ideas of other companies. One of their clients has had them create a line of kitchen gadgets specifically geared towards portion control and is now marketing them to stores to get on the shelves. Ken mentioned to the company marketing the product line that I was on a weight loss journey and that I was blogging about it. One thing led to another and I was asked to come to the show to check out the products. First off I want to thank Ken for spreading the word about my blog. I love that my friends, family, and even acquaintances read the blog, but the idea that a perfect stranger was reading and taking an interest is both flattering and really important to me. A stranger is only going to judge me by what I write here, and that is a heck of a way to keep someone accountable. I also want to thank Ken for getting me into the show, because for an amateur gourmand the housewares trade show is like Christmas morning. Giant booths from all of the brands that dominate our kitchens and smaller tables from the companies with the next big thing. And free stuff. I didn't take much because it didn't feel right under the circumstances and more importantly because I was going straight to work.

The products were very cool. There were serving spoons that were designed to allow you to put one or two scoops on your plate and that is a serving of starch or veggies. There is a special cap that goes on sauces or dressings and only dispenses one or two tablespoons at a time. A salt dispenser that has settings for a pinch or fraction of a teaspoon and will only give you that much. I wouldn't say any of the products are necessary, even to someone doing what I am doing, but they are pretty cool and could be very helpful. I really hope that more products like this come to market because I think it is important, especially for me, to know what you are eating and how much of it. The sales folks were talking about the cumulative effects of the product because as you use it more you start to know what an appropriate portion is. Very cool stuff.

After speaking with the folks who got me in Ken took me around the show. I saw about two dozen things I wanted and was glad that it was not possible to actually buy the products as a consumer. I also found a booth for the folks that made my scale and was able to thank them for making a product in an area that is surprisingly under served, and a product that I have gotten such good use out of. The rep talked to me a bit about my blog and asked for the URL. She said since I use their scale and have mentioned it here (see post 3 from Jan 30th) they might be able to link to it, so that would be really cool. To anybody from Escali who happens to read that post it turns out I do not hate my scale, but I also haven't gained any weight, so that helps. Thanks to Escali for their time and kind words today.

That's all I have for today. Thanks for indulging my kitchen exploits and for continuing to come back. Know that it has made and will continue to make a very real impact on my wellness journey. Thank you all.

1 comment:

  1. Your Grandfather used to spend all day with a food stylist to get a shot like that from your iPhone! Wow.

    Great post and glad you and Ken hooked up - and that you got to play in Kitchen Heaven at the McCormick.

    My son, the "other" Julie/a.