I am trying really hard to be healthier these days.
Not the high school kind of ‘healthier’ that involved only eating pretzels and Italian ice at lunch time. (In fact, this is the opposite of healthy, girls. Do not do this!)
And not the college type of ‘healthier’ that involved sugar-free, fat-free EVERYTHING. (Well, except the pizza, pitas and Chinese food I gorged from 2 am – 4 am.) Let me tell you, those chemical-y (MENSA, I am so not kidding. Stop judging.) fat-free, sugar-free, “diet” products, especially the frozen yogurt, will MESS with your stomach. Anything that makes you feel that sick can not be good for your body. Honestly.
No, I am talking truly healthier. Like, I am working on cutting out food from our groceries that we don’t really need, so that I have some room in the budget to buy more organic foods where it really counts. Dairy, proteins, thin-skinned fruit and veggies. And I am talking about eating more vegetables (Even at breakfast! We all now love kale shakes – thanks M!) Also, making sure that the fats we eat are the good kinds. The omega-3 kinds. I have talked about this before, but this will actually save you money in the future when your kids get academic scholarships. You’ve got to think big picture here, folks.
I am not saying we never, ever eat fast food or never eat burgers Five Napkin style, or that we only eat organic food or anything. I mean, it’s great if you do that. But I haven’t figured out how to make that a reality at this point. I am just saying that I am trying. Something about having kids makes you want to try to do everything better. To be more generous, more kind, more fun, harder-working, and yes, healthier. Especially when you are putting food into tiny, pristine bellies that is then being used to grow little baby boys into big, strong men. None of us are perfect, but it makes you want to try, that’s for sure.
Anyway, as I work to feed my family in a healthier way, I have realized that I often find myself going back to versions of things my mum made for us growing up. Like that tofu stir fry, for example. All that time I grumbled and whined about why we couldn’t eat normal food like everyone else. (I loved being at someone else’s house for dinner when they had pot roast, sloppy joe’s or any version of meat, really. And you don’t even want to know how many Oatmeal Creme Pies and Fritos I devoured when hanging out at friends’ houses. I probably owe their parents a pretty penny.)
But now I see. Thanks, mum.
And in tonight’s meal, I used another of my mum’s recipes: her famous French vinaigrette. Which literally could be found in a Pyrex cup on our kitchen counter Every. Single. Day. She never measures out the amounts, so I had to kind of guess the amounts in the recipe below, but you can experiment and make it your own. Although, no matter how I make it, there is something about my mum’s that is better. Even when I use canola oil, like she does, it doesn’t taste the same. My husband suggested I start doing it in a glass that looks exactly like her’s but it still didn’t work. (Shockingly.) Oh well, at least it gives us a reason to go visit them.
And the salad is a twist on one that we get every time we go to a French restaurant: The Frisée salad with poached eggs and lardons. In my recipe, I switched out lardons for turkey bacon, getting rid of all of that fat…and then bringing fat back into the recipe in the form of avocado and olive oil.
And if you have kids, like mine, who aren’t ready to eat just a salad for dinner yet, simply put a whole egg (shell on) in the boiling water with the poaching eggs and cook it all the way through. Throw it on top of some noodles with the turkey bacon and avocado. Then add butter… or even the vinaigrette!
Enjoy, mes amis!
I just got this poaching aid for a dollar or two at Crate & Barrel, but I always used to just poach straight in the water.
Just make it a slightly stronger boil if you are putting them straight into the water, so that they will hold their shape well.
Twisted Frisée: (That is ‘FREE-ZAY.’ It’s fine if you say it incorrectly if you’re, say, a computer programmer. But it drives me crazy when chefs call it ‘FRIH-ZEE’…usually the same chefs that say ‘chipoLTe’ instead of ‘chipotle.’ Know the words of your craft, guys! Okay, done venting.)
Red wine vinegar
Fill a pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a low boil. (Some bubbles coming up from the bottom, bot not aggressively boiling on top)
While the water is coming to a low boil, wash and dry the lettuce and out it on a plate or wide bowl. Cook the turkey bacon (I found inexpensive organic, nitrate-free, applewood smoked turkey bacon at Trader Joe’s) and then crumble it into pieces over the lettuce. Dice the avocado and put it on top, as well.
Make the dressing: Chop up a few cloves of garlic (anywhere from 2-5, depending on how much you like garlic). You can use a garlic press, if you prefer. Put them in a glass, bowl, or other dressing container. Add a spoonful or two of Dijon mustard. Add about a 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar and mix. Then slowing drizzle in the oil, while whisking until it looks nice and blended and creamy. Maybe an 1/8 to a 1/4 cup of oil. My mum uses cold-pressed canola oil, which works just as well. (Better, if you ask my husband. But he’s a kiss up.) The amounts here are all flexible. Make it a few times and see which ingredient you want to taste more/less of in your French vinaigrette.
Pour the salad dressing on each plate of salad.
Crack eggs 1 or 2 at a time into the low boiling water, using an egg poaching aid, if you have one. You can do it straight into the water, too, though, just turn the heat up a nudge. When the eggs look opaque, they are done. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon (or just lift out your poaching aid) and put 1 or 2 on top of each salad.
Voila! (That’s French. Get it?)