Article/blog # 384
Diabetes cooking: Today is special
At 7PM every evening, my friends in New York City lean out their windows, clap, bang pots an and sing as a thank you to all those risking so much at this dangerous and fear infested time. It is a simple thing. It takes 5 minutes. It means so much for all involved.
With life seeming so difficult and fearful, do we:
“Need a little Christmas
Right this very minute”
-By Jerry Herman (Mame 1966)
Omnipresent on the American table at Thanksgiving is a turkey. It is that turkey that makes that holiday special. In many homes, turkey comes back on the Christmas table. Are turkeys ONLY available in the fall and winter?
The answer is no. Depending on where you live you can buy at least a frozen turkey all year around. Many people make it as part of Easter dinner. Turkey “seems” far less frightening than a leg of lamb.
Roasting a turkey is really not a big deal. There are dozens of methods. Go online and find one that you feel comfortable trying. When you serve the turkey, those at your table may be very appreciative of your efforts AND the delicious food on their plate. There is an almost automatic connection to a joyous occasion. With just the smaller group and the absence of crazy Uncle Edgar and disapproving Aunt Kitty you may enjoy your meal even more. The extra benefit is that making a turkey for just your household, even just for you, yields enough no cook meals in the future. There is no turkey sandwich that even gets close to one made from homemade turkey. It is also a little better for you than what you can get at the deli. Sure, a frozen or “fresh” turkey is shot with salt water to keep it from spoiling. The amount of salt is nothing compared to the salt used in “deli” turkey.
Perhaps we don’t need Christmas or Thanksgiving, “right this very minute”; but something special to lift our spirits seems very much in order right now.
In my family it was/is, food.
I made blintzes the other night. It is a dish my grandmother used to make for special occasions; especially on HER birthday. No, I am not going to share the recipe here. Yes, I can make a lower (but not low) carbohydrate version of blintzes. Blintzes, while absolutely wonderful, are an involved dish to prepare. They take a lot of steps. Despite NOT being able to find the “right” (according to my grandmother) cheese, the end result was delicious and well worth the effort. We enjoyed them immensely.
For me it was as much the connection to my grandmother at the stove, as it was the flavor. It was also the joy and the power I feel having mastered the crepe/skin of the blintzes. The first one out of the pan is a total disaster. It really shakes my confidence. The second one is far better and by the time I have finished the batch…perfection. I have to wonder why I was so distressed by the first one.
The other wonderful thing about making this dish is I made especially for the one I love. It is the joy we get from giving joy to others. It is a big part of why I cook.
“I know it’s hard for you, my baby
because (sometimes) it’s hard for me, my baby
There’s something I want you to do,
especially for (you)”
A 12 year old boy in California has created his own “Quarantine” cookbook. The reactions on my local station reflect people in general. One was very enthusiastic about trying something a little new and different. One was not interested because she was not much of a cook and was sure she would “mess up”. One was delighted at the kid’s initiative but still wanted to order (and support) from the local restaurants that do take out or delivery. OK, she “hates” to cook.
All of them are “right” for the way they live.
Making something (more) special is an act of love and an act expanding your mind. When you have Diabetes it is an act of self-preservation. Baked chicken is all well and good if you don’t cook it so much that it dries out. As long as you are going to turn the oven on, why not make it a “little” special by seasoning it with some different herbs and spices. It is too simple to go from boring to interesting. It is easy to go from every day to international. One of the sections of the “stupidmarket” that seems not to be effected by shortages these days is the spice aisle. There are jars and jars of Italian seasoning, French seasoning, Asian seasoning, and spice rubs of every variety. If we all get together and try some, perhaps we can start a new area of shortage. While we are doing that, we will be enjoying different flavors. Hey, it is something to do.
By tradition, I prepare a dessert every weekend. Even though I have Diabetes, I have dozens and dozens of recipes to choose from. In these “daze”, when Tuesday somehow seems the same as Saturday; having a special dessert makes the weekend feel… special. That and an afternoon nap. Perhaps we should consider it before we join Violet (Dowager Countess of Grantham) in asking: “What is a weekend?”
So if you are feeling a little blue and bored, cook something new. I found it easier and more satisfying than making my own face masks. Try an old holiday recipe and it might brighten the day. Try a recipe from a friend…or even me. You have the time and it will (one way or another) make that day and that meal special…especially for you.
Enjoy, be healthy, be happy, be decadent!
Carbohydrates 2 grams
Chef’s Note: I was invited to my friend Florence’s apartment for dinner one night. When I arrived she had all the ingredients to prepare this dish but no clue how to go about it. This is one of the chicken recipes I recommend cooking with the skin on and bone in. You DON’T have to eat the skin but it adds moisture to the dish and “softens” the flavors of the paprika. This works as well, maybe better with chicken leg quarters.
½ tsp. powdered or ground garlic
1 TBSP. sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup dry sherry or white wine or
1/4 cup Chicken broth or stock
2 TBSP.. vegetable oil, divided
2 TBSP. butter, divided
2 Chicken breast halves or leg quarters
1- TBSP. butter
1- shallot or 2 scallions minced
¼ cup Chicken broth or stock
3 TBSP. sour cream
HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Combine chicken, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and sherry or ¼ cup chicken stock and 1 TBSP. of the oil in a bowl. Make sure to completely coat the chicken pieces Marinate for 45 minutes but over night is better.
Pat the chicken down and reserve the liquid. Sautee the chicken in the remaining oil and. butter for 7-8 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan.
Melt remaining oil and butter in the pan. Add the shallots or scallions. Allow to wilt slightly. Add the reserved liquid to the pan plus ¼ cup chicken stock or broth and reduce by 1/3. Add the sour cream and stir to combine. Add the chicken pieces, lower the heat and cook 9-10 minutes more, turning to coat the chicken.
Serve over “riced” or mashed cauliflower.