When Bryan runs a game at our place, I cook and put out snacks for whoever is here. Recently my food for the group is pulled pork tacos made according to the Easy Pulled Pork recipe at Chowhound. I’d bought a 5 lb pork loin to cook for the weekend, so when plans changed, I decided to make it anyway. I usually serve it as the main ingredient in a burrito bar with cheese, olives, sliced red onions, chopped tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream, but I’ve discovered the pulled pork makes a most amazing open face hot sandwich on sourdough bread and dosed with some of the extra defatted broth from the crock and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Even so, it should last us through to the weekend, when I get to make it again for Sunday’s D&D game. I really should get some salad made to put under it as well, because oh, my, it’s good that way, too!
This morning was productive despite the smoke and damp in the air. Cooking and cleaning the kitchen totaled just over two active hours again, which translates to some 600 calories, but the stove is clean, the tacos for dinner only need the meat heated up in the microwave while I cook some tortillas.
I also came up with a killer salad combination based on the antipasto salads I’ve been ordering in. My roommate Bryan is fond of thin-sliced ham for sandwiches, and I just shredded a pound of colby jack so we’ll have it on hand for the week or so it might last around here. Toss in some olives and sriracha sour cream dressing, because sour cream has half the calories of ranch dressing (no, I don’t want lite ranch, thanks). It’s 336 calories of wonderful.
Ham and Cheese Salad
Makes 1 serving. Approximately 336 calories
2-3 cups salad greens, lightly packed
4 slices thin-sliced ham
1/3 cup shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese
10 medium black olives, halved lengthwise
4 Gedney sweet pickled pearl onions
(optional, but awesome if you like them)
Sriracha Sour Cream Dressing
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 Teaspoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Worchestershire sauce, or to taste
Roll the ham slices loosely. Cut the roll lengthwise, then crosswise to make bite-size pieces of stacked ham. Assemble the salad ingredients more or less in the order given. (I like the pickles to the side, but that’s me.) Mix the dressing, adjusting to taste as necessary, and distribute as you like on the salad.
Although this is pretty wonderful by itself, recent experience has taught me there’s a practical reason salads are served with a starch such as croutons or crackers. The salad alone has 15 grams of carbohydrate, mostly simple sugars buried deep within the fibers of those greens. Since I’d worked all morning on a banana, a cup of coffee and gummy vitamins, I burned through those 15 grams of sugar in no time. A slice of heavy whole-grain bread smeared with pbj took care of the problem enough for me to have the nap I also needed. Lesson learned!
Last night was a Hawaiian deluxe pizza night. I’d been up and down all weekend, sleeping six or so hours at a stretch, groggy-awake for about the same length of time, then sleeping again. The cycle broke around 10 pm Saturday, then I was up for most of the next 24 hours. It wasn’t a productive period, as I spent most of the day on Facebook and watching reports of the total eclipse, though I did get a few things done. Today looks to be another long day, though not so sleepy. I have about about a thousand calories to work off after yesterday’s ravening appetite, but my sister Betty took me to the store, so we have lunch meat in the house again; I can skip the rest of the pizza. I figure it will take a few days to work off the load from yesterday, but that’s okay. I can do it. Making at least least two pots of pea soup is the next point of my agenda, so I can freeze now for the next bout of down time. The vegan recipe I make is tasty enough to please the omnivores around me and about 230 calories per cup, so in the worst case, half a dozen two-cup plastic containers will keep us in hot food until I’m able to cook again.
Vegan Pea Soup
Makes approximately 7 cups thick and chunky soup, 223 cal per cup
2 cup Dried Split Green Peas
1 cup Raw Carrots
1 1/2 cups each Celery and Onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Morton Lite Salt
3 teaspoons Thyme, fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon Hickory Liquid Smoke
Combine split peas, vegetables and lite salt in a pot with enough to cover all with an inch or two to spare. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 to 45 minutes on low heat, checking and stirring after every 20 minutes or until the peas start to collapse and the soup thickens. At that point, add thyme and liquid smoke, check for salt, and simmer another 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
This is a soup I am happy to serve to omnivores who aren’t dieting as well as eat myself several times a week. It can be loaded up with milk products and/or smoky meats, but it doesn’t need them to taste good, and the lite salt cuts the sodium load while it spikes the potassium content, which is a particular selling point to me, as my roommate and I don’t generally get enough potassium.