This is a blog from our Dupree Catering Executive Chef, Tony. He’s a fabulous cook as well as father and husband…
So I just found out that my pregnant wife has gestational diabetes and is anemic on top of that. The doctors let her know on Friday, five minutes before their office closed. They didn’t give her any nutritional advice or guidelines. Hooray for HMO’s! I took that as a culinary challenge. I’ve had a hard time coming up with menus lately. The cold winter in Kentucky will do that to your inspiration. However, I found myself looking up some basic facts about nutrition on the internet and the ideas just started running through my head. What I found out was actually pretty straightforward. Go easy on the sugar. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables. Balance your meals with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, fiber, and “good” fats. Not too complicated, huh? I thought that sounded like a good way to eat regardless of your condition. So without attempting to give any medical advice, (I am not a doctor) here is my take on cooking healthier.
I went to the store and started attacking the produce section. I never go grocery shopping with a specific dish or menu in mind. I come up with it when I see what looks fresh. I was in luck because the produce looked great! Collards, beets, celery, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, baby cucumbers (my favorite, also cheaper than English), zucchini, fresh black eye peas, mushrooms, spinach, edamame, I got it all. I grabbed some leaner protein like chicken breast, pork loin, ground sirloin, corned beef, and sirloin steak. OK, I said leaner. This is not a diet! I also bought some fruit and soy nuts for snacking. Soy is a good source of iron and is also low on carbs. I went home and started cooking. Here is my menu:
Sirloin Steak – well trimmed and marinated in lemon juice, mustard, garlic, parsley, Worcestershire, soy sauce, dry savory, salt pepper and olive oil. I pour the marinade and the steaks in a Ziploc bag and let them sit at room temp for around thirty minutes. Then, throw it on a hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Also keep in mind that if you are an impatient griller like me, and you want to cook out when it is 45 F outside, it will take a little longer for the grill to get hot.
Broccoli and Bean Sprout Salad – This is one that my mom showed me. I blanch the broccoli in boiling water for about three minutes and add the bean sprouts for another minute. Rinse with cold water and drain if you forgot to refill your ice trays and can’t make an ice bath. I finished the salad with a simple vinaigrette: vinegar, EVOO, mustard, salt and pepper. I also took half of the vegetables and put them in a Ziploc bag. I put the remaining dressing in another bag so they are ready for my wife’s lunch at work tomorrow.
Broccoli and Bean Sprout Salad
Mashed Cauliflower – I boil the cauliflower until it’s pretty soft, drain, return to the hot pot I boiled it in. I added jut a little butter and olive oil, milk, salt, pepper and some fresh chopped parsley
Sautéed Beet Greens – I bought the bunch beets(they are high in iron) I trimmed the root for (spoiler alert!) tomorrow’s dish and kept the leaves. This is the great thing about buying foods that are not processed. You get more out of them, they are cheaper, and only a few people have touched them. Anyway, I threw them in the boiling water after I was done cooking all the other vegetables, then straight into the sauté pan with evoo, salt, pepper and a touch of red wine vinegar at the end. And here is what it all looked like.
Sauteed Beet Greens