This past week, Marnina and I went on a Turkish kick. We literally ate and prepared all things Turkish for lunch and dinner. Marnina’s mother recently bought and sent us a signed copy of The Ottoman Turk and the Pretty Jewish Girl. It is a wonderful cookbook that should be on every foodie’s shelf (especially if you love Mediterranean cuisine!). The pictures reminded us of our culinary journey through Turkey this past summer and left us yearning to recreate some of those memories in our kitchen. While the recipes are simple and involve few and easy-to-find ingredients, most are not quick to prepare. We had taken a cooking class in Istanbul and afterwards we had still not fully understood how many steps were involved in most of the dishes we had prepared.
Posts tagged ‘tomatoes’
As we continue on our fresh herb kick, we recently decided to counteract the cold weather with not one, but two, old-time comfort foods: tomato basil soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. But this wasn’t any ordinary pairing of the two comfort foods – instead of eating them separately or dunking the grilled cheese sandwiches into the soup, the sandwiches acted as the croutons. They were nothing like regular croutons that have a crunch, and instead were mostly soft and chewy. Pan-frying them did give them a slight crunch on the exterior though. The basil provided an extra kick of flavor; tomato basil is a great combination and we recommend pairing the two ingredients whenever possible.
We recently returned home from our global travels, and in many ways our trip was a gastronomic tour of Turkish and Israeli cuisine. We tried our best to sample as many mezes, main dishes, desserts, and other foods that we could fit into our stomachs within a 3-week time span. We were able to stay relatively svelte and fit thanks to walking an average of 8 miles each day. Our goal during the trip was to try all the authentic cultural foods that these two countries offer, and of course, to stay healthy. At times, Marnina was forced to expand her diet either because: 1) a Crohn’s-friendly dish was not available; 2) the language barrier caused confusion that led to Marnina biting into a food stuffed with seeds; or 3) she could not resist the temptation of ordering an authentic dish that contained some form of food that might upset her GI tract. However, thanks to proper plannning (over-the-counter medications, antibiotics, flushable wipes), Marnina was prepared for the worst. Luckily, neither of us got sick from the food and water in either country. It turns out that the water is unsafe to drink in Turkey (even for natives) so bottled water was incredibly cheap. (more…)
An inflammatory bowel disease “attack” can be frustrating and exhausting, and sometimes even embarrassing (if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and don’t have immediate access to a bathroom). Recently, Marnina had an attack that caused her to use the bathroom about 5 times within a 3 hour span. She attributed the attack to not going to the bathroom the previous day, and then running 5 miles the next morning. Her intestines literally went into hyper-drive after running, and she nearly ran another 5 miler going to and from the bathroom! She decided to eat light the rest of the day because her stomach was on “the edge” as she says. If she challenged herself with something mildly fibrous, difficult to digest, or something entirely new, she would fall over that edge and risk the onset of stomach pain, or possibly another attack.
Invariably, the onset of cold weather leads Marnina and I (and probably most everyone else) to crave certain foods. Cold smoothies, garden vegetable dishes, and fish with a glass of white wine are replaced with warm soups, hearty chili, red wine and stews. This week, Marnina and I were in the mood for a filling stew that would last us the week – we often spend a large chunk of Sunday night slaving away in the kitchen to prepare our lunches and dinners for the upcoming week. Marnina had picked out a winter veggie stew with Moroccan spices, and after shopping for all the root veggies (we even found some purple carrots!), we were ready to begin the stew…until we realized that the recipe called for a Dutch oven…a tool that we did not have. Instead, we used a large cooking pot that would accommodate all the ingredients, but also require more work to ensure that the stew was evenly seasoned.
After a particularly fat-laden meal, Marnina will often complain that she feels irritated and bloated. Crohn’s disease often affects one’s ability to digest or absorb fat normally. When Marnina does occasionally eat red meat (that is not lean) for dinner, she will wake up the next morning and claim to feel like last night’s dinner is still sitting in her. Her body just does not digest fat very quickly and instead sits inside of her. While many fatty foods are trigger foods, there are some foods that are particularly troublesome, such as butter, margarine, ice cream, fried foods and fatty red meat, among other foods. Fat is harder to digest than other nutrients, plain and simple. (more…)