Monday, August 8, 2011

Greek Yogurt, Organic Cottage Cheese, Richard Nixon, and Paella--but not at the same time

First task of the day: Figure out who chaired/co-chaired nine of the biggest non-profit fundraisers in Knoxville last year, collect contact information for those people, and try to schedule a photo shoot on the same day at the same time in the same place for all of them. It's going to be a great feature for Knoxville Magazine called "Dressed to the Nines," but it's a logistic nightmare. You can't go into a task like that without a good breakfast.

The ingredients: peach, plum, Greek yogurt, and honey.

It looks prettier on the plate.

I nibbled on little bits of it between (and sometimes during) the emails and phone calls required to set up a photo shoot involving around 20 people.

Lunchtime already?

I still have all those cucumbers, so a light lunch of cottage cheese and cucumbers sounded good. I headed to the The Market at Union and Gay, figuring that was the most likely source, and cottage cheese is even healthier when you walk a few blocks to buy it. The Market does not have cottage cheese, but good news: there's a little brown paper sack labeled "Suggestions" at the check-out counter.

Not wanting to go home empty handed, I bought some obviously homemade chicken salad.

On the way home, as I walked past Just Ripe on Union Avenue, it occurred to me they might have cottage cheese, so I stopped in. Yes! They have Kalona Super Natural Organic Reduced Fat Cottage Cheese.

I served the cottage cheese with chopped cucumbers, a plop of chicken salad, and a flat bread cracker torn in half.

I have an uneasy relationship with cottage cheese. It's so bland I can only eat it if it's accompanied by something I like and seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and some red pepper flakes.

 My other problem with cottage cheese is that it reminds me of Richard Nixon. Many years ago, I read somewhere that his lunch every day was cottage cheese and ketchup. First of all, that's just gross. Second, I can't imagine eating the same lunch every day. The image of Nixon in the Oval Office eating cottage cheese and ketchup comes to me every time I eat the stuff. It's amazing I can eat it at all.

This cottage cheese was rich and thick with a hint of citrus. It may be the best cottage cheese I've ever had. The chicken salad was simple: mostly chicken and some celery, not too mayonnaisy. If you like a chunky chicken salad, you'll like this. I like mine a little smoother.

After a long afternon of grading papers, I met Bill at Sangria's on Market Square. Our appetite for paella was whetted by the Spanish feast served at Paella at the Park, the Knox Heritage Summer Supper we attended at Park Place Saturday night. Sangria's paella takes 40-45 minutes to prepare, so be prepared to wait or do as we did: call in advance and have your paella delivered to the table as soon as you arrive.

We ordered the vegetarian paella for two.

It came with little loaves of bread and light olive oil and herbs.

We cleaned our plates.

And we still took lots home. That pan of paella could easily have served four, maybe more. The definition of "serving size" in this country is out of control. But that's a topic for another day.

That's what we're having. And we'll be having some more tomorrow.

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