Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day 18

What I ate today. . .
Brewed tea with 1/2 cup 2%; 2-1/2 slices of french toast with syrup, two bites of Grandma’s sassy apples and probably 3/4 of a cup homemade hash browns, half a really bad vanilla latte (fake vanilla syrup, ew); leftover cup of Moroccan spaghetti with a handful of green grapes and 1/3 of my meatless BBQ jerky strip (see below); homemade mushroom cannolini with cream sauce, green beans, toasted asiago bagel strips; brewed chai with 2% milk and a cup of frootloops; large handful of blueberries.

Yes, I did indeed say “Meatless Jerky,” which is branded right onto the packaging and so not a secret. George had a mini freak out when he saw the packet, thinking at first that it was for him because it really did look like real beef. The brand is Primal Strips from Primal Spirit Foods. I tried the Soy Texas BBQ flavor of their low fat, super protein meatless jerky. I was expecting the worst. It’s a regular looking strip, but marinated in something so that it looks like a raw cut of beef rather than dried like regular jerky. One package is 81 calories, 1 gram of fat and 10 grams of protein. Anyway, when the jerky is peeled apart, the strip looks sort of like fish food, those flaky reddish thin layers. It’s like eating reddish toned nori. However, the taste is surprisingly good. I don’t think I’ll be able to get George to try it, but he should. It’s amazing how the chew is so similar to beef jerky. While it does have that slight soy aftertaste, it’s really good while you’re eating it. I think that if they had an unflavored version, I could use it in stir fry and George wouldn’t know the difference. I would definitely get this again.

I remember the first time I tried real beef jerky. I hadn’t even eaten real beef anything, but it seemed like a good thing to try when I spied it in the gas station on the seven-hour journey home from academy. It was a brand called Pemmican, a good old Midwestern brand that I can’t find around Colorado. I thought to myself, this is what the Indians used to eat, because I remembered the word from history classes about Lewis and Clark learning from their guides. I only bought a small package, maybe 6 oz or so. It was rather expensive. Unfortunately, I was hooked after chewing through the first chunk. I partly liked the idea that I could chew on it for so long, thinking it’d take a while to get through this stuff, but I also liked the taste. George gets large packs of jerky for car trips. He likes things that last a long time in your mouth, the way sunflower seeds keep your tongue busy or lemon drops take forever to melt. Jerky needs to be worked on in order to be consumed, and I guess that’s his requisite for car rides. I tend to get quick things, not things that need to be savored. So when I scarf the last peanut M&M or chewy SweetTart, where do you think I turn?

Tonight, my cooking instincts led me wrong today. I decided to make a mushroom cannoloni (how do you spell that anyway?) and it didn’t go well. I sautéed mushrooms, garlic and onions, mixed them with ricotta, an egg white, parsley and salt and pepper. I used the mix to fill manicotti shells, and this is the part that went okay. I SHOULD have just slathered the whole thing in marinara and baked it up, but of course I thought it would be nice to try a cream sauce. So I heated butter and made a roux, then mixed in warmed cream and milk, seasoned everything and poured the sauce over the shells. It baked up really nice and soaked in, but it was so rich and creamy it was kind-of gross. And also, when you use lots of cream, add more salt! It had a sort-of sweet flavor. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve eaten ever, at all, but I wouldn’t make it again. If I had just done the marinara thing, it would have cut the sweetness and been fine. Next time. . . .

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