...until suddenly YOU KNOW what is in your food.
Hi. I've missed you all! Thanks for sticking by me while I lived through the turmoil of moving, squatting for a week without furniture, moving again, squatting in the fiance's new apt for several days, and then finally moving for good...only to have my family show up for a few days. Woooo-eeeeee....it was a busy time.
But this post isn't about that. It's about food (I know, I know...about time!). See...the fiance came to spend the weekend with me, and we went to Trader Joe's...to buy such staples as dried flattened mango and pineapple...and we went out to this excellent italian restaurant that my friend Claire's parents took us to one weekend a few summers ago (Hi Claire! I miss you!). It's an excellent, pretty cheap italian restauant, and the food was really high quality...so we thought.
We each ate a pasta dish - he got a triple mushroom dish over spaghetti with white wine sauce. I got this very strange dish that caught my eye. I don't really remember what it was called...but it had EVERYTHING. Tomato sauce, cream sauce, peas, carrots, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, almonds, walnuts...maybe some cheese. It was crazy and really different. I decided to call it 'leftover pasta dish' because I firmly believe that this dish is what happens when the restaurant has just a little, tiny bit of everything that they use to prepare the other dishes leftover. Voila! Amazing, random leftover pasta dish.
Now, I was hungry when we started. I wanted to eat all of the pasta, believe me. However, even with the fiance's help, we only managed to finish 1/4-1/3 of the dish. We packed it up and brought it home to eat for lunch the next day.
So, today we sat down after a long walk to eat lunch. I assembled a big salad of romaine, tomatoes, squash, peppers, herbs, avocado, a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and some lemon juice. The fiance was in charge of getting the dish out of our combined leftovers, transferring it to a plate, and microwaving it.
That is when we knew we had a problem. The pasta was so congealed together, it was difficult to get out of the box. We warmed it up and it loosened up but made a huge pile of grease on the plate. We used some paper towels to sop up some of it and ate as much of the food as we could. Then I got curious. Exactly how much fat was actually there?
I measured it.
I measured 1/4 cup of fat. That really means that there was at least 1/2 cup of fat in our entire dishes combined.
Before you tell me that it was 'good fat', olive oil and such, I want you to go over and look at your bottle of olive oil. If you don't have olive oil, veg oil will give you the same effect. What phase is it in? Solid, liquid, or gas?
I bet it's a liquid. If it's not freezing in your house, it's liquid. If you put it in the fridge, it'd still be liquid.
The fat in my dish was not liquid in the fridge, meaning it came from short chain, unsaturated fatty acids. Once we heated them up, they didn't go back into the creamy sauce that they had come from, similar to when you heat up salad dressing. Anyway, short chain fats: The ones that are REALLY, REALLY bad for you. (Need a primer on fats? Read this post.) And there was a lot of them in my meal: way more than I would have ever cooked with in my own house.
Which reminds me that restaurants always use MORE fat, sugar, salt, and carbs than I ever would and I need to be careful. Nothing like the visual reminder of a puddle of grease...