Salad with yogurt-based dressing, and steak topped with a yogurt-based mushroom sauceI bought a new brand of yogurt at the grocery store the other day — I always like trying new things — but when I ate it with my breakfast granola, I didn’t like it nearly as much as the incredibly good Greek yogurt I’ve been eating. It was really good yogurt, though, just not what I wanted for breakfast. So yesterday I made up yogurt recipes.

Early in the day, I made salad dressing: some yogurt, some olive oil, some finely chopped garlic, the juice of half a lime, a teaspoon or so of honey, and several chopped-up mint leaves. I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavors would mix, then had it on a salad of green leaf lettuce, thinly sliced cucumbers, radish and red onion. I was expecting it to feel Greek — because of  the mint and cucumber, I expect — but I think the lime and the honey made it different. It was delicious, though.

Then for dinner, I made a mushroom sauce to go over steak. I used to hate mushrooms — really, full-bore hatred. I thought they were disgusting slimy things and the feel of them in my mouth made me gag. Even now, I can get a visceral reaction of disgust when I think about them. But I discovered about ten years ago that I liked the flavor, just not the feel, and when I started AIP, my diet was so limited that I really started experimenting with any food that I was allowed to eat. Including mushrooms.

Eventually–maybe about six months ago–they became something I liked playing with. First, I mostly hid them — a tiny bit of finely chopped, sautéed mushroom in scrambled eggs, for example, or a few of them thrown into a stew. Just for the flavor, with no danger of encountering their texture. Then I started trying them raw, in salads. Or in my sandwich substitutes. For example, a thick slice of turkey, spread with pesto, topped with chopped mushrooms, and rolled up. Yum. And finally I graduated to eating them cooked and alone. Earlier this week, I chopped some in half and grilled them with a hamburger. With a little blue cheese dressing, they were very tasty.

Which brings me back to yesterday’s sauce. I sautéed a mix of mushrooms and some chopped up garlic in butter, then added room temperature yogurt, green onion, a little dijon mustard, some dried green herbs (a mix that I think includes parsley and oregano), and a sprinkle of salt, and let it simmer. I let it simmer for too long — as you can see in the picture, it wound up not quite a sauce anymore. But it was crazy delicious. I wanted to lick the pan when I was done. I ate every bite and I wished I had a lot more of them.

I think next time I will skip the steak. Well, and not simmer the mushrooms for quite so long. It would have been absolutely delicious as a creamy sauce over pasta or, since I have yet to find a gluten-free pasta that I appreciate, brown rice.

If you had told me as little as a year ago that I was going to consider eating mushroom sauce over brown rice… well, I suspect I would have laughed at you. I certainly wouldn’t have believed you.

I’ve decided that three nights, four max, is the right amount of time to stay in one place. That gives me two days to enjoy my campsite without needing to think about moving. When I go longer than that, I wind up with a situation like the one I’m in today: lots of cooking => lots of washing dishes => a full gray tank that needs to be dumped. I need to pack up today so that I can go dump the tank, and then come right back here for one more night. It’s not a big deal, really, but it’s a hassle.

And less time than that is really disruptive. In my fantasies of this life, I spent less time planning where I was going to spend the night and more time planning what I was writing. Finding the balance between those two things has been so much harder than I anticipated.

And given that today is going to be disrupted by needing to dump the tanks and tomorrow is going to be a relocation day — possibly with a trip to Trader Joe’s along the way — I should get back to the real writing. So far my grand fantasies of making it through Akira’s return have not worked out, but who knows, today might be the day that it all falls into place.