Thursday, March 27, 2008


Emma is a really picky eater - one of the most picky I've met. Her cousin is not picky at all - in fact, I think the child will eat anything you put in front of her, provided she's hungry. Emma's pickiness can be somewhat frustrating at times - when deciding what we are going to eat, we contemplate whether we want to make something tasty and put up the necessary fight to get her to eat, or if we want to cave pre-emptively and just have spaghetti (or rather, buttered noodles for her) or pizza or tacos or chicken strips (not actual chicken) or something similarly mundane that she'll gladly gobble up.

Bobby was a picky eater as a child, but now it seems he'll eat anything I put in front of him. He has this idea that I will also eat anything, probably because I've always liked foods most kids avoid, like sushi. Secretly though, I'm a pretty picky eater myself, always have been. My pickiness is just very different than most people's. The best example I can give is cheese - as a child, I was never fond of cheese. I know, I'm a freak of nature.

Every kid I know adores cheese, and will eat blocks of it if you let them. Growing up, I would only eat cheese if it were melted on nachos or pizza, or in a quesadilla or grilled cheese sandwich, etc. But cold cheese, blech. No cheese on my sandwich, cheese & crackers (although, my 12 year old self did like those spray cans of cheese like substance, but I don't think that's actual cheese), package of string cheese, nothing. Doesn't matter what kind.

But recently, I've been acquiring a fondness for cheese. By recently, I mean in the last 3 years or so. Not sure if it is coincidence that around the same time I also developed an appreciation for wine and beer; it seems my tastes are expanding. There are other foods I never cared for growing up that have in the last 5 years become appealing to me: lettuces other than iceberg, avocados, bell peppers (although I still avoid the green ones), raw red onions, shortbread cookies...

It may also be the kind of cheese I was trying. I'm still not very fond of cheddar, and I still don't like thick slices of cheese on a sandwich, but I do like thinly sliced provolone. I can eat gouda and edam and havarti straight, and now it seems I always want them to be in my fridge. I like gorgonzola, and I tried brie for the first time last month and enjoyed it quite a bit. Last week I bought a small package of herb rolled chevre (aka goat cheese) to try.

I only recently began to appreciate cheese on my salads as well. I still avoid cheddar, preferring feta, parmesan, and anejo, but something about the chevre and crackers I was snacking on made me wonder how it would taste on a chicken salad. So last night I made salads.

Herb Chicken & Chevre Salad

I picked and chopped some marjoram and oregano from the back yard, mixed it with a little basil pesto (I need to buy some basil to plant, last year's are sleeping, or dead), olive oil, crushed garlic, fleur de sel, and pepper. I rubbed that onto and two chicken breasts so that the herbs coated them, and put them on a skillet over very low heat.

I chopped up what romaine and red leaf lettuce I had left, a little red cabbage (I would have preferred radiccio, but I didn't want to go to the store, and mine isn't ready to pick just yet), and tossed that with some olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. After portioning that into some salad bowls, I put some tomato slices and red onion on top, sprinkled with pine nuts and crumbled some of the herb rolled chevre on top. By then I'd pulled the chicken breasts off and they'd had a chance to sit a moment. I chopped those up and put one on each salad.

Tasty stuff, I wish I'd taken a picture because it was beautiful too. Even Bobby, who normally shy's away from chicken was really pleased with the salad. I'm definitely making that again.

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