I know I promised something about cocktails, but I canâ€™t resist a few words on oral surgery first. I had a tooth extracted today and was reminded of the great pureed and soft foods that we take for granted or overlook.
Being a vegetarian chef type gets you into all kinds of conversations, and I recently learned that my dentistsâ€™ two sons are vegetarian. So she expressed interest in trying my food and had some advice for me as a veggie faced with a few days of no chewing. (Dr. Lloyd, if you decided to tune in â€“ hello! You did a magnificent job!)
After she proclaimed that Iâ€™d managed very well, especially â€œfor such a small girlâ€ and before she got concerned about my high blood pressure and ghost-pale face, she suggested cauliflower. Mash it up, she told me, and itâ€™s wonderful. I have an organic head of the stuff waiting in my fridge right now. Iâ€™ll let you know how it comes out. Iâ€™ve heard of mashed cauliflower as a suggestion for carb counters, a kind of mashed potato substitute. It occurs to me now that itâ€™s a nutritious and interesting alternative for anyone.
What Iâ€™ve already made is a smoothie (frozen banana, oat milk, yogurt, peanut butter, and Nutella) and okra stew with fufu. Yes, okraâ€™s not in season, but I cheated and got canned. I sautÃ©ed up some red onion, garlic, cabbage, and carrot, then added canned fire-roasted tomatoes and the okra. I sprinkled on some seasoning and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Pulverized it with my hand blender and it was ready to go!
I made the fufu from a mix. If you want to try it but canâ€™t find a good mix (i.e. one in an international grocery store that doesnâ€™t have potato as its main ingredient), check out this recipe and learn more.
So far, this has been far better than the last time I needed to avoid solid food. That was when I got my tongue pierced. Being a busy college student, I didnâ€™t have time to make elaborate mashed dishes and, as usual, all of the blenders in the dining co-op were busted or missing pieces. I ate an awful lot of bread soaked in soy milk.
I say take a vacation from chewing now and then. Donâ€™t wait until your next major piercing or you need a tooth tugged out of your mouth!
Back when I got all four impacted wisdom teeth out in my first experience both with surgery and with painkillers (truly), Suzanne kept me well supplied with awesome mushy soups. I’m fairly certain this Potato-Kale Soup chez Suzanne dates to that time. Simple but delicious, of course:
Lightly saute an enormous amount of potatoes (yup, that’s what it says) and simmer in vegetable stock. Steam stemmed kale in the pot. Season with coriander, lots of lemon zest, mint, cumin, and black pepper. Puree in batches, thinning if necessary. Add lemon juice immediately before serving.
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