Being gluten-free forces you to discover new tastes, because unless you want to eat a plain chicken breast with boiled carrots for every meal, you have to read cookbooks, stock your kitchen with ingredients you’ve never used, and basically re-learn how to cook (especially in the baking department). I don’t know how I would have handled having to be gluten-free if I didn’t love to cook and weren’t already pretty darned good at it at the time of semi-diagnosis.
I read a lot of cookbooks. I don’t skip over the science and how-to parts of the cookbooks either, because that is often where I find my inspiration. I use all kinds of cookbooks to figure out what in the world I’m going to cook in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. I also spend a lot of time at allrecipes.com. I’ll decide to try a new ingredient, such as a vegetable I’ve never used, or I’ll look for a way to make ground beef less mundane. When I make our menu for the week (on the weeks that I actually do that), I spend a good two hours or so determining the menu and making the grocery list.
This week, I was looking at The Maker’s Diet book (not a cookbook, more an overall health through food book) for inspiration. In the first phase of the diet, one of the things you’re allowed to eat is goat cheese. I’ve come across this several times looking for food inspiration. Cheese made from goat’s milk. I have quickly discarded it every time. Everything I’ve ever heard about goat cheese is, “Goat cheese? Eww. No,” or “Isn’t that make from goat’s milk? Eww. No.” So I’ve let that color my feelings about goat cheese without my ever having any. And I’m guessing that most of the people who have said, “Goat cheese? Eww. No,” to me have never had any either.
I decided to stop being a chicken and try goat cheese. It has less lactose than cow’s milk cheese, and even with the lactase pills, I’m still having problems with dairy, so lower lactose is a big plus. I bought a tiny thing of goat cheese Thursday (how can it be so tiny yet so expensive?), figuring I would try it, just to say I did, and then throw out what was sure to be a most disgusting bit of food.
Last night for dinner, since we’d had a big lunch of leftover chicken tikka masala, I made a Chebe flatbread with olive oil, fresh basil, a beautifully ripe garden tomato, and balsamic vinegar. I also put out a bowl of strawberries and blackberries and cut up some goat cheese.
So now I have a question. Why has no one ever told me that goat cheese tastes like cream cheese? Except it’s richer and denser and a little more tart, so a little pinch envelopes your tongue as if you just had an entire spoonful of cream cheese. I was putting little swipes and bits on top of individual berries, and I was in food heaven.
It’s my new favorite thing, and that’s saying something, because at lunch we had beets roasted in olive oil with salt and pepper. Yum.