Last night I had a run-in with the law.
And by law…I mean a bag of a certain chocolatey-delicious shell filled with a peanut butter/confectioner’s sugar mash-up also known as the only chocolate candy worth eating EVER.
Umm yeah. Same thing.
It was a make or break kind of moment.
Like when you’re driving and you hear those sirens go off behind you. And you’re like uh, not me. So in that moment as the panic creeps up, you can either speed away as fast as you can and hope that no one decides to chase you or send a SWAT team or open fire.
Or you can pull over like the complacent citizen you are, listen to the officer try to tell you that you went through a stop sign that you know for sure doesn’t exist. Bat your pretty eyelashes, say you’ll never do it again, and get away with a warning.
You know…one of those moments.
So I had a stare-down with that bag of orangey gold foil covered chocolate treats.
I stared them down as I unwrapped 8 ounces worth of them. And then I stared them down some more as I chopped those 8 ounces into itty bitty pieces. And then again as I swirled them into a peanut butter banana bread batter.
And then, right when I couldn’t possibly stare them down anymore without some sort of short circuiting in my brain and/or olfactory bulb (really…you start to smell them as soon as you open the bag. It’s intoxicating.) The moment happened.
I had a choice.
I could either eat the other 11 ounces of peanut butter cups in that bag. Or. I could not.
It sounds easy, but in that second, it’s the hardest choice to make. All you can feel is hedonism and the intense to desire to coat your entire being (especially your tastebuds) in a chocolate/peanut butter mix.
And all you can hear is alarms going off in your mind screaming NOOOOOOOOOO.
And then a knock at the door tells you that the peanut butter cup police are at your door, and what are you going to do?!?!?!?
We’re reaching the point in January where resolve starts to waver and these forks in the road seem to be coming at us at an increasingly breackneck speed.
But maybe it doesn’t have to be so binary. Maybe we can have one peanut butter cup. And then put the bag down.
Maybe it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Because this isn’t about one day. It’s about a lifetime. And a lifetime without peanut butter cups…that’s just unrealistic. But so is a lifetime of eating entire bags of them in one sitting. It’s your choice.
Making good food choices is easier when you have healthy ingredients in the cupboard and healthy, EXCITING recipes on your menu plan. Personally..I’m always excited by ethnic spices and exotic flavors. Especially curry.
So when Hunt’s sent me a few of their products and told me to go forth and create! I knew I wanted to make some kind of fusion between the Italian fare we usually think of when we see tomato sauce and tomato paste and canned diced tomatoes…and the Indian flavors that I crave almost constantly.
After spying a recipe for zucchini “meatballs” in one of my Madhur Jaffrey cookbooks, I knew the direction I wanted to take. Gingery zucchini meatballs, bound with chickpea flour for an extra dose of fiber and protein, paired with a tomato-curry sauce and all served atop of a creamy yet creamless polenta. Though Jaffrey’s “meatballs” were fried, I baked mine with excellent results, making this a delicious meal that you can feel good about.
Really. We have enough of those forks in the road to health to contend with. Let’s not make dinner one of them.
Zucchini Meatballs and Curry-Tomato Sauce over Polenta
Serves 4, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking
- 3 medium zucchini, about 1-1.25 pounds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 hot green chili, seeded and minced
- 3 tbsp finely minced onion
- 1/2 tsp peeled and very finely grated ginger
- 2 tbsp parsley, finely minced
- 1/3 cup chickpea flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium-sized onions, peeled and very finely minced
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 14 oz can Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cup polenta
- salt, to taste
- Wash, trim and grate the zucchini. Put it into a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside for half an hour.
- Squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the zucchini by pressing handfuls of it between your palms. Save the zucchini liquid for the sauce. Dry off the bowl and put the zucchini back into it. Add the chili, 3 tbsp onion, grated ginger, and parsley. Sift the chickpea flour over the vegetable mixture. Mix well and form 16 balls.
- Preheat oven to 400. Spray zucchini meatballs with cooking spray. Place on a silpat or parchment paper on a large baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- While zucchini balls are cooking, make the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, put into the minced onions. Stir and fry for 7-8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn brown at the edges. Take the pan off the fire for a few seconds and add the turmeric, cayenne, ground cumin, and ground coriander. Stir once and put the pan back on the flame. Stir for another 5 seconds. Add the tomatoes. Stir on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini juice (about 1 cup. Add water if there is not enough.) Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and let the sauce simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Add the almond milk, garam masala, 1/2 tsp cumin, and salt to taste. Mix well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Cook polenta according to package directions. I usually just use cornmeal when I’m feeling lazy, which cooks up in 5 minutes.
- Spoon the sauce over the polenta and serve topped with zucchini meatballs.