Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A blathering dissertation on ... well, I’m not quite sure what (or, T-Day minus 8)

So I’m sure you’re wondering, especially after that last post, how the whole Great Detox of 2009 is going. Why, thank you for asking! It’s going really well, and I’ve managed to drop a few pounds in the process (the whole working out 6 days a week thing helped the pound loss too). And that whole thing I droned on about regarding not depriving myself, well it’s true. I’m not depriving myself. For example, last Friday night, the boy and I went out to eat someplace swanky, and I had scallops crusted with a layer of Asiago cheese, fresh pasta bathing in a pepper cream sauce, WARM CHOCOLATE CAKE! WHIPPED CREAM! And three glasses of Veuve Cliquot (or was it four? Bah, who’s counting). I had a grand ol’ time. The boy was eating lobster tail and we both dared each other to “do” a shot of butter (the butter in the ramekin which accompanied his lobster). I might have bet him 5 bucks to do it (which he didn’t), and let me tell you I was nearly tempted myself. Alas, the butter stayed put in its wee little ramekin.

I know it sounds as though we are starving ourselves, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m eating roughly every 3 hours or so. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. The snacks have been mostly good quality granola bars and fruit – I’ve eaten enough pears to fill a tree. Thank God for pear season, seriously. Those things are so good, I can’t get enough of them and I’ve been eating them daily (along with apples and bananas) for two months straight. Gone is the white rice, replaced by brown rice, which if you’ve never had it before, tastes a lot better than white. Gone are potatoes – for the most part. I made Brunswick stew the other night with some leftover smoked pork the boy made, and I did cut up a few red potatoes to toss in there, but not as many as I previously would have. I’ve become friendly with all the different squash varieties in the produce aisle, things I’d never heard of before. They beckon me from their bins, all shades of red and orange and brown and green. I treat them all as I would a butternut squash (perhaps boring, but this works for me). Peel (if I’m in the mood, sometimes I don’t peel). Chop into cubes. Toss on a baking sheet with salt, pepper, a handful of chopped herbs (whatever I have available, sage is always a safe bet), and a carefully measured out tablespoon of olive oil. If you’re worried that the oil amount won’t cover it all, toss with your ridiculously clean hands to ensure even coating, or even use a pastry brush. You can even toss in a couple of roughly chopped garlic cloves for a bonus burst of flavor. Bake at 350 or 375, depending on your mood, and test with a fork after a half an hour. It could take up to 45 minutes. You can smoosh these up into a purée, or you could toss in the blender with some stock and call it soup. Or you could serve as a side. It’s pretty damn tasty and very healthy.

So we’re not using butter in our cooking (except for that whole shot dare thing), and we’re not eating cheese, and I’m being very frugal in my doses of oils when sautéing anything. During every trip to our local friendly Kroger grocery store, I have to walk through the cheese department on the way to the produce; and do you know that blue cheese has a wee little pipsqueak voice? It does! You’d never know, seeing as it’s strong in flavor – you’d think it would be all bellowing at me. But it calls to me in its pipsqueak voice, and I ignore it. Because I know when I really want to eat some, I will. Just not right now. Everything in moderation.

Segue into Thanksgiving. Yes, I’m going to eat my Dad’s stuffing. Yes, I’m going to make a big humongous village- sized crème brulée. And pear caramel cheesecake! And DEEP FRIED TURKEY (oh, and a roasted one too, for good measure). and the most buttery, sour creamed, dairy-filled, smoothest mashed potatoes ever. And homemade yeast rolls. Like I’d mentioned in a previous post, part of why I’m doing this whole GD of 2009 is that we’re coming up on the Big Eatin’ holidays. And big eating is about to begin. So next Thursday we’re going to eat like pigs, and be thankful that we can do such a thing. Then we’ll be back to lighter food by the weekend. And I’ll send the boy to work with the remnants of Thanksgiving dessert to share with his people (best not to keep things like that around the house).

This exercise in moderation (or quality control, or quantity control, whatever you want to call it) has been eye opening in a way. It makes me appreciate all the foods that I am not indulging in, such as the taste of butter, or a good ice cream. I savor those flavors even more now that I’m not having them all the time. We took three hours over dinner on Friday; we could have taken less time, but we were totally enjoying the hell out of ourselves, taking pleasure in each and every bite of food. People always envy restaurant critics, but lately I’ve come to realize I could never have that job – I think that my appreciation of food in general would wane. Eating out wouldn’t be enjoyable anymore; it could become trite. I hope I never get to that point in my life.


the above squash, a mix of butternut and red kuri, were blended into tasty soup.

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