Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Preserving Energy With Cooking: Frozen Vegetable Magic

From reading the title, you might think this post is about ecologically sound ways to cook.  But it is actually about preserving my energy, something at which those of us with chronic illness and autoimmune disease need to become master strategists. 

I like to buy fresh vegetables when possible from the farmer's market or the super market and have one with dinner every night.  Depending on what's in season, I am big fan of spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and have recently added swiss chard my regimen.  But there are certainly many evenings when the process of washing, chopping, and cooking vegetables is too much for me.  My fingers can be stiff and tired or I might just have general fatigue.  

On those evenings, I tend to scour my freezer for frozen vegetables that can be easily microwaved without much effort on my part.  Yesterday was one of those evenings.  The problem is that I have grown tired of what can often be soggy microwavable vegetables.  On a whim, I decided to try an experiment and "doctor" a bag of frozen cauliflower to see if I could make it a bit tastier.  I came up with Microwaved Cauliflower Sauté. Pictured below:

Cauliflower Sauté

*ingredients in bold*

1) Dig through your freezer for a bag of frozen cauliflower  (Hearty vegetables like broccoli or brussels sprouts might be a good substitute)

2) Microwave for half the time suggested so the vegetables are defrosted, but still cold.

3) Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat.

3) Add the cauliflower and a pinch of sea salt.

4) Saute for five minutes turning the cauliflower so parts turn brown, but are not over done.

5) Remove form the pan and serve

I didn't know what to expect, but it worked!  The cauliflower was definitely delicious.  Crisp and not soggy or watery.  I could have eaten a couple more helpings if I didn't have to share with my husband.  I'm not sure he could actually tell the difference between last night's experiment and the fresh variety.  I didn't say a word to him (Shhhh) about using frozen cauliflower because I think a blind taste test between the two might be in order.  This dish is also more economical than buying the fresh variety of organic cauliflower so it is a good way to save a few dollars every now and then.  The best part is that the whole process of cooking only took 8 minutes without any chopping or pain, and clean-up was minimal.

What tricks and adaptations have you made in the kitchen to accommodate living with autoimmune disease?