Monday, August 31, 2009

Sun Dried Tomatoes and Other Wonders

I have had to make lots of changes over the past three years. At first it was simply annoying that I felt I could no longer eat my favorite foods. Then, when I realized that Stevia and Xylitol could indulge my sweet tooth, I thought I might actually be able to stick with this new "Maximized" way of living and eating. Little by little, I found ways to alter traditional recipes. Now, at last, I can't imagine eating beef that is raised in a confinement lot or white bread that makes me crave other processed, unhealthy foods. And now, at last, I realize that I can change most, if not all, of my old favorite recipes so they look good, taste good, and are good for me.

One of the changes I have had to make is in condiments and dressings. Nearly all bottled or jarred salad dressings and condiments are packed in canola oil. So when I want to make my "Sundried Tomato Pesto," I have to start from scratch. I am happy to do it because I know I can enjoy it without worrying that it will make me ill. When it is ready, I can use it to spread on my Flax Seed Bread, or rolled in a flattened chicken breast, scewered with a sprig of rosemary and grilled on the bar-b-que. For those of you who follow the Core Nutrition Plan, this pesto is unbelievable thinned with pasta water and poured over whole grain Italian pasta. Do I have your attention?

Sundried Tomatoes in Oil

Once you prepare these, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to six weeks, if they last that long.

Buy dried sundried tomatoes. They are available in many grocery stores, and sometimes you can find them in bulk food markets.

To reconstitute the dried sundried tomatoes, cover them with boiling water, and let stand for two minutes.

Drain and let them "air out" for about ten minutes.

Place the reconstituted sundried tomatoes in a jar, and cover with oil and other seasonings. I like to add a clove of garlic, salt, pepper, and sometimes a bit of balsamic vinegar. As long as your ingredients are "Maximized," suit yourself.

Sundried Tomato Pesto

Into a food processor, add a jar (about 1 cup) of your made-to-order wonderful sundried tomatoes in olive oil, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, and approximately 1 cup of fresh basil leaves. Blitz, adding a bit of oilive oil, if needed, and about 1/3 cup of freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese. Taste. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Keep this spread at room temperature if using that day over whole grain Italian pasta, or refrigerate for up to two weeks.