Wednesday, August 23, 2006

what to eat on LID*


Seriously, you have to cook larger amounts than you normally would, just so you don't spend all day, every day, cooking. Or obsessing about cooking. It helps enormously to have, say, cold sliced pork in the refrigerator that you can easily reheat for breakfast.

I may have scandalized a few readers with that thought, but the rule around here is There are two things you can't have for breakfast: lunch and dinner. If it's food, it's fair game. I need protein in the morning, or else I'm useless for much of the day, and since whole eggs, butter, cheese, yogurt, and cream are right out, I'm content to have a slice of last night's dinner along with some fruit.

I have become an LID minimalist. My first two rounds, I had the energy and enthusiasm to make things like apple pancakes for breakfast, and to bake breads of both the yeast and quick varieties. This time around, I'm happy with roasted meats, my daily salad (minus the olives and roasted peppers, alas), and fruit. A lot of fruit.

If I want something crunchy I have my Trader Joe's no-salt-added tortilla chips, which approach divine. A handful of pecans is nice, too. In fact, a handful of pecans and a handful of dried apricots are my preferred "LID lunch to go", being easy to pack, easy to carry, nutritionally dense and thus satisfying.

I've had some disappointments this time around, too. The chicken I get at Sam's Club now has added sea salt, so that's right out; I ended up getting some Foster Farms at Henry's. The pork I usually buy may or may not be OK, but I don't know because I get the whole loin and then cut it up into individual roasts and then freeze it -- so instead of chancing it, I just bought some pork tenderloins that were awesome. And last night we had some grassfed sirloin (from Henry's) that was quite tasty,and there's quite a bit left in the fridge, too.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment was finding out that my favorite cafe, Flancer's, does use iodized salt in its bread. Whether or not they were doing it last time I was on LID, I don't know. There's no point in lamenting the fact that I may have screwed up my scan, because even though the scan was negative, my Tg was elevated, and so they nuked me anyway. And I had terrific uptake after the RAI treatment, I remember Dr. S commenting that he was surprised by how much uptake there was. So the past is past and I'm not concerned about it, I'm just bummed that if I want bread, I'll have to make it myself. (My problem is that I want really good bread, and that requires a significant time investment. It's easier to just skip bread altogether.)

But I haven't been completely lazy. Monday I pushed through my fatigue and made tomato sauce and Italian sausage. The linked recipes were my inspirations, but here's what I actually did:

LID Tomato Sauce
The recipe linked above is a little too plain for my family's taste, and it uses butter which is an LID no-no. This recipe adds a bit more depth of flavor using tomato paste (Contadina brand contains only tomatoes, no salt), and adding dried herbs. I pretty much always have these things on hand. I'm not sure how "authentic" it is, but everyone liked it very much.

1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
6 baby carrots, chopped
1/2 small zuchini, chopped (I didn't have any celery)
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 dried bay leaves
1 can Contadina tomato paste
2 cans Trader Joe's no-salt-added tomatoes
1-2 tsp sugar

Heat oil over medium-low heat in large pot, and add the onions and garlic. Saute the vegetables until they are soft and the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and zuchini, and saute for about another 10 minutes until they are softened, too. Add salt (about 1/4 teaspoon, you can always add more), fresh ground black pepper, basil, oregano, and tomato paste. Mash up the paste into the vegetables and stir well to combine. Cook for a few minutes so that the paste comes up to temperature, then add the canned tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for at least an hour.

Stir, and taste. If the sauce tastes bitter or acidic, stir in a teaspoon of sugar, then taste again. Add the second teaspoon if the sauce needs it.

Remove from the heat and let cool so you can safely handle it. Discard the bay leaves. For a smoother sauce, puree in small batches using a blender (I did) or food processor, then return to the pot to keep warm for dinner.

LID Italian Sausage
I didn't have the ground anise that Emeril's recipe called for on hand, but no one complained about it's absence. This went together in a snap and tasted very good, even though I didn't have time to let it sit so the flavors could mingle properly. Ideally, you would mix this up the night before you want to eat it, but it's good even if you cook it right away.

1 pound ground pork -- be sure no salt has been added!
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1+1/2 tsp paprika (the sweet kind)
3/4 tsp toasted fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt
several turns of fresh ground black pepper (about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp worth)
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 scant T dried parsley, or 3/4 T fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 T red wine

If you are using dried parsley, put 1 T of water and the parsley in a small bowl and microwave for about 10-15 seconds. This will help rehydrate the parsley so it's not crunchy in the sausage if you are cooking it right away.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, being careful to sprinkle the spices over as much meat as possible so they don't clump up. (I got a mouthful of cayenne! Yikes!) Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to cook; overnight is desireable, up to 24 hours is OK, but if you have to cook right away, you should be OK.

You should taste a small amount before cooking up the whole mess, so take about a tablespoon or so of the mixture and press it into a flat patty, and then fry it quickly. In a non-stick pan, it doesn't need anything at all. Let the little patty cool and taste it, then add more salt/pepper/cayenne according to your taste.

Form the meat into little patties (I got eight out of a pound of ground pork), then fry for about 6-8 minutes on each side, making sure they are thoroughly cooked.

Barilla pasta's only ingredients are semolina, durum flour, and vitamins, so it's LID-friendly as well, and makes an excellent accompaniment to the sauce and the sausage.

(*) LID= low iodine diet

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