Many of you reading this blog already know that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my jaw. Sometimes it works just fine and chews [mostly] without complaint, and other times (like now, as you might have guessed) it refuses to do much of anything at all. I realized yesterday that I’ve forgotten how to bite things — hopefully biting is the sort of intuitive motion that will come back automatically once I regain some mobility. But until then, I’m on the mushy foods diet — no chewing (and especially no biting) necessary. And despite how much I love yogurt, I could only go so long without trying to get a little more creative with the soft food, so I’m here to share a little of it with you.
One of the few side benefits of not being able to chew is that you get to eat more ice cream than usual. Other benefits include, and are perhaps limited to: discovering the joys of mixing mashed banana into five-grain hot cereal; breaking strawberries into bite-size pieces on the walk home from the farm stand and getting juice all over your fingers; regularly eating spoonfuls of peanut butter and hummus; and treating pesto as a standalone food in its own right, rather than just a sauce or condiment.
I’d been wanting to try kale pesto for a while, and this was a perfect time for it. Not only did we have a bit of an excess of kale from the farm share (I know, I know, “excess of kale” is an oxymoron…just bear with me), but chewing kale leaves is currently out of the question for me. I followed this recipe from TasteSpotting, substituting pecans for the walnuts because that’s what we have around. And let me tell you, if there is one thing you should take away from this post, it’s that you need to make kale pesto. It is really delicious and can definitely be eaten on its own, not just used as a sauce for pasta or whatever else you tend to do with pesto. My current favorite no-chewing-necessary meal is a plate of kale pesto, sweet potato, hummus, some chopped tomato, and plain yogurt sprinkled with za’atar (a middle eastern spice blend, if you’re unfamiliar). It is a meal worth trying even if you can chew — although I wouldn’t blame you for adding in something a little less mushy, like pita or cucumber.
Despite how much ice cream I’ve had license to eat lately, I’ve only made it once since my current jaw troubles began (all you Valley folk out there have probably guessed already that the whole no-chew thing is a pretty excellent excuse to get lots of froyo from GoBerry). Given how much rhubarb we’ve had this year, I had been wanting to try putting it in ice cream. I used this recipe from the New York Times, omitting the caramel swirl and using yogurt instead of sour cream, but pretty much following the recipe otherwise. I do wonder if it’s a little too sweet, but obviously rhubarb has to be sweetened quite a bit and the yogurt did give a nice contrasting tang. I still might cut down on the sugar a little next time, although it really is a nice ice cream.
The next few posts on here will probably all be mushy ones…I’m thinking of trying some new kinds of pureed vegetable soups with all that we’re getting from the farm share. So keep an eye out for that! Chewing is so unnecessary, folks. (Well, sort of.)
(p.s. If you didn’t know, “Eat More Kale” is a reference to this guy in Vermont who makes t-shirts. He sent me a free shirt once because I wanted a sticker, so that was pretty cool.)