Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cottage Cheese, Pepper, Onion and Pineapple_____Trust!

You know how it feels to hear about some food combinations and your first thought is something akin to utter revulsion and then you try it, and you are utterly repulsed.  Then other times you hear of strange pairings and you try it, and it is totally delicious.  For me this falls into the latter rather than the former.  I first heard of this from an acquaintance years ago and of course I thought she had lost her ever loving mind.

I understand pineapple and cottage cheese.  I remember it from the school lunch line, a pineapple ring with a scoop of cottage cheese and  maraschino cherry on top of it. I admit to eating it a time or two, especially when dog food and gravy mystery meat was  the hot lunch offering.  We all do what we have to do in dire circumstances.  And I understood the peppers and onion and cottage cheese.  I have often eaten it with a couple of tomato slices and enjoyed a savory cottage cheese lunch.  But I could not wrap my mind around the sweet savory combo.  How in the world could it be decent?

Of course I tried it one day.  I had to do it just so I could go back to my friend to tell her how horrid the concoction was.  So I followed her directions for a single serving.

                                     A Slightly Different Cottage Cheese Lunch

1/2 cup cottage cheese ( full fat tastes best but I use non-fat)
1/2 small container of crushed pineapple well drained but still moist ( don't blot it)
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1-2 tablespoons minced jalapeno ( seed and remove the ribs prior to mincing)
2-3 tablespoons sliced scallions ( both white and green parts)
salt to taste ( a pinch maybe)

In a small bowl mix all the ingredients until they are well blended.  That is pretty much all you have to do to have this table ready, but you might want to gussie it up just a bit before sitting down to eat.  After all, we eat with our eyes first.  Put a large lettuce leaf on a plate and put the cottage cheese mixture on top of it.  If you want yours to look like the one in the picture just put the mix in the empty pineapple can, center the can with the center of the lettuce leaf, and invert the plate over the can.  Turn it over and the cottage cheese will neatly plop onto the lettuce.  Now the real question is how many of you believe that if I am the only one eating lunch I will plate it on a lettuce leaf rather than just eating it from the bowl I used to mix it.

You might notice in the picture, I used pineapple chunks rather than the crushed pineapple. (Whatever you do use crushed pineapple) I went to the pantry and grabbed the crushed pineapple which was sitting on the shelf next to the chunks.  There is a bit of mystery from that point on. I walked about 12 steps to the counter and got the can opener working.  Imagine my surprise when I opened the crushed pineapple can only to find the chunk variety.

It was an irritant, but I understand how a can of chunk could be mislabeled at the beginning or end of a canning run.  Then I looked at the label and noticed it said pineapple chunks. How did that happen?  Using all my deductive reasoning skills I have come up with the only possible solution.  During the process of walking from the pantry to the counter I passed through a parallel universe and the parallel me was reaching for pineapple chunks.  Through some weird physics we can't yet understand, the cans were switched, leaving me with a can of chunks and the alternate me with a can of crushed.  At least that is my story and I am sticking to it.

The sweetness from the pineapple with the creaminess of the cottage cheese is a nice background for the heat from the jalapeno and the sharpness of the onion.  The bell pepper acts as the bridge between the two flavors and provides lots of crunch.  If you are facing a hot day and want a quick lunch I really do suggest this, unless you are a hater of pineapple, peppers,  onions and cottage cheese.  In that case you might want to just eat a PB&J.

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