Dieting, continued

I cannot begin to describe how much I love tomatoes, tomatoes and cottage cheese is the perfect food. Unfortunately these tomatoes which I took a chance on at the farmer’s market tasted OK but the consistency was really wrong. 

My spice rack

This only one of 3 drawers, well, shelves that roll out. On/in the other ones are larger jars of things I use a lot of, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, mustard, sage, you get the idea. This spice set is actually Ashish’s. He didn’t take it with him to Belgium. Now I have it. It’s not really how I like to do things, I like the more random approach to spice jars. 

Omaha chicken

Omaha Steaks, presents: Crappy Chicken. 

Who buys this crap?? Aside from my mother, that is. I don’t know how much this costs. But I am certain it is at least twice as much as it might cost elsewhere. Packaged in plastic and a piece not big enough to serve as an entree. What a rip-off. She doesn’t even like chicken breast, she only eats thighs and legs.

Wilted lettuce salad

This is the perfect use for iceberg lettuce. In fact, no other lettuce will work as well. Chop the lettuce into cubes, you hope that some of it will stay in that cube shape but no worries if it doesn’t. Slice up some tomatoes, onions and chop some olives (I used some Mediterranean herbed, dry-cured pitted, things I get at Whole Foods in their olive bar) and you can add capers and pepperoncini (although technically this is getting a little too fancy). Feta cheese is nice too.

Douse it well with white wine vinegar (must be vinegary) and olive oil. Salt and pepper and 

let it sit for 2 hours at least. At room temp.

First tomatoes

I took a chance at the farmer’s market last Saturday and bought tomatoes from a (an?) Hmong kid. I don’t know how they got them to ripeness so quickly. It’s like a month ahead of schedule. They weren’t exactly cheap. They weren’t exactly good either. Not that they were bad. They just weren’t that garden-fresh, vine-ripened good that I am searching for. The texture is just not right, more chewy than one expects from a tomato. 

They were OK in my wilted lettuce salad. To which I am now addicted to.

Key lime pie

Back when I had a restaurant, we served key lime pie. There is some “thing” about key lime pie. People will come just for it and compare it to other key lime pie, there are lists and preferences and key lime lovers seem to know one another and trade opinions.

We bought ours from a supplier (and people said it was the best and often people came in because other people told them so) and once when demand was high they were unable to deliver. We had to make our own. The thing of key lime pie is that it’s not a recipe like stew where everyone’s is different. It HAS to be what it is. The lime juice/egg yolk/sweetened condensed milk (and that’s ALL that’s in it) ratio has to be the same or it doesn’t cook. 

Being the insane nut bar I am, I insisted on squeezing our own key lime juice. This was not an easy task. Key limes are tiny. As it turns out, it tastes the same if you take the time to squeeze a billion little key limes, use bottled, or use squeeze regular limes. Seriously.

Recipe follows.

Herewith the recipe:

Key Lime Pie

16 full size graham crackers crushed

6 TBS of butter softened

3 TB sugar

1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup lime juice (regular limes work just fine)

1TBS lime zest

4 egg yolks

Mix the crust and put it in the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan, bake 12 minutes at 350

Whisk together the condensed milk and eggs, 

add the lime juice and pour into the slightly cooled crust. 

Bake 12 minutes.


1/2 block cream cheese

1/2 cup of cream

2 TBS powdered sugar

2 TBS lime zest

1 tsp vanilla

Whip until smooth 

Making the pie enough in advance to cool the pie in the refrigerator and then

spreading topping and letting it sit overnight increases the stick-to-it-iveness of 

the whipped topping. It does make a difference.

Salsa to Soup

I am not sure why it seems so weird to me, but using jarred salsa as anything but chip dip seems wrong.  In my restaurant I used jarred, Ortega only, thank you very much, salsa that I zipped up with green onions, cilantro, tomatoes and avocado. It was a knock out, slam dunk home run. I use it for other things like I would spaghetti sauce but my real breakthrough was the diet lunch of salsa soup. I mean, why not? 

Half salsa, half chicken stock. Microwave, top with sliced green onions and cilantro. No calories.

Salsa Recipe


Easy and fabulous.

1 jar of Ortega salsa. I’m sure another brand would do but I never risk it.

Add, say 1/4 cup each of: Sliced green onions, chopped tomatoes, 

avocado, chopped green and/or red peppers

And then a couple TB each of: Sliced black olives, cilantro, corn, pickled jalapeños 

(I used the “tamed” kind, a cop out I know, I love hot but lots of people don’t and 

it tastes great without the heat), black beans and pepitas.

And then 2 TB of best quality chili powder. Mix well.

You can leave out any of these things as long as there’s fresh cilantro

 and a few of these other things it’ll be fine.

If you add the whole can of black beans you can serve it as salad and it will be a hit.

Grilled beets

I did get a beet in my CSA package. I grilled it with onions and a bit of coriander, I really had no idea what else to do with the stuff. It was great.