- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove tough outer leaves of the fennel, cut a slice from the core end, and remove the stalks and feathery leaves, but please save them to dice and throw into a salad.
- Cut the bulb in half. Rub the outside with olive oil.
- Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay fennel on the foil and sprinkle with balsamic.
- Roast 15 to 20 minutes, until fennel begins to caramelize. Makes 2 servings.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I just got an e-mail from the South Beach Diet folks, talking about four ways to handle sweet gifts. I've expanded on their ideas a bit, because I swear these four tips were not written by anyone with a sweet tooth.
- Regift the treat. Instead of eating the sweets yourself, place them on a decorative platter and bring them to a party. What South Beach fails to mention is that if you do this even 10 minutes before you leave your house, chances are some of the regift might be eaten. My advice is to place the treats on the platter as you are leaving for the party, all dressed and ready to go. Then put it in the trunk. Another suggestion is to bring the goodies into the office. Caution: Do this only if you can put them far, far away from your desk, in some corner you will never visit.
- Consider a gift swap. Here's the deal: If someone receives a carton of citrus, they just might be willing to swap it for your box of petits fours. Come on: Bring them to a nursing home.
- Tell your family and friends that sweet treat gifts are not acceptable this year. Instead, drop hints about things you really want. Sorry, but in this economy, that is rude. So many people are making gifts from their kitchen, and they are doing it with love. Accept graciously and then decide what to do.
- The next one will never work for me: It's OK to allow yourself a few bites of a holiday pie or a little dark chocolate. My brain does not compute the adjectives "few bites" and "little." I know everyone says that for a diet to work, you need to incorporate treats into your eating plan. For me, that's almost impossible. One bite leads to another — and another — and another — until that whole box of chocolates is gone. The folks at South Beach say these treats are acceptable if you continue to follow their eating plan and exercise.
For me, there are two solutions to sweet gifts:
- Immediately throw them out. Even if they stay wrapped, if I am hungry enough, there is nothing that will separate me from sugar.
- If my husband, Jack, wants the treat, I'll give it to him on the condition that he hides it from me.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
- If you haven't soak the lentils, cover them with hot water and set them aside while you start the rest of the soup.
- Warm the oil in a wide soup pot, Add the onion, carrot, red pepper and parsley. Cook over medium heat, stirring now and then, until the onion is softened and starting to color, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, then stir in the tomato paste and mustard, working both into the vegetables and cooking until there's a film on the bottom of the pot.
- Pour in the wine, scrape up the pan juices, then simmer until partially reduced after a few minutes.
- Drain the lentils and add them to the pot with the bay leaf and water, using the larger amount if the lentils were soaked only briefly.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 30 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and continue cooking until the lentils are soft, another 10 to 20 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
- Add the spinach to the soup and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste the soup and add the mint and a little vinegar to sharpen the flavors.
- Four serving ideas:
- Shave thin slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese over the soup before serving.
- Peel, seed and dice one or two tomatoes -- and stir them into the hot soup at the end.
- Add a cup or so of cooked pasta to the soup just before serving.The pasta may be tiny shapes like orzo or stars or bigger pieces such as little shells or snails.
- Puree the lentils until very smooth, then add the spinach and any of the garnishes suggested. Makes 2 quarts.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
- Bring rice and water to a boil. Add two pinches sea salt and reduce flame to simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes.
- Add a small amount of water to a frying pan and water sauté onion for 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and broccoli cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Combine garlic, shoyu, water, maple syrup and toasted sesame oil. Pour over stir-fry, cover and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Dish out stir-fry on top of cooked brown rice and garnish with scallions. Serves four.
1 cup water
2 Tblsp. rolled oats
1 Tblsp. maple syrup or other sweetner
Splash of almond milk
- Bring rice, water, rolled oats, dried fruit and cinnamon to a boil. Cover and reduce flame to medium for 5-7 minutes. Add sweetener and a splash of your favorite milk.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
- Cut off the crown, then cut the pomegranate into sections.
- Place the sections in a bowl of water, then using your fingers, roll out the seeds into the water. You only want the seeds; discard the skin and the membrane.
- Strain out the water. Voila! Hundreds of ready-to-eat juice sacs.
1 large of 2 lbs. firm-fleshed, 1/2-inch thick halibut
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil or butter
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup pomegranate juice or 3 Tblsp. pomegranate paste
1 Tblsp. slivered candied orange peel, purchased or use the recipe that follows
2 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. ground saffron, dissolved in 2 Tblsp. hot water
2 Tblsp. chopped walnuts
2 Tblsp. pomegranate seeds
- Rinse fish in cold water. Pat dry with paper towel and rub both sides with 1 teaspoon salt. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large frying pan and brown onion and garlic. Add all ingredients except the saffron water, lime juice and garnish ingredients, and cook for 3 minutes. Mix well and remove stuffing from heat.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay fish out on the baking dish. Place a layer of stuffing on one end of the fish about 1 inch long and gently roll from the stuffing end and pin closed if necessary. If you are using halibut pieces, roll each separately. Pour the saffron water, the rest of the oil, and the lime juice over the fish. Place in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes (until the fish flakes easily with a fork), basting from time to time.
- Arrange the fish on a serving platter. Pour the sauce from the baking dish over the fish and garnish with walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Makes 8 servings.
Candied Orange Peel
4 cups sugar, divided
3 cups water
- Cut peel on each orange into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Cook in large pot of boiling water 15 minutes; drain, rinse, and drain again.
- Bring 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peel. Return to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until peel is very soft, about 45 minutes. Drain.
- Toss peel and 1 cup sugar on rimmed baking sheet, separating strips. Lift peel from sugar; transfer to sheet of foil. Let stand until coating is dry, 1 to 2 days. Wrap and freeze up to 2 months.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Which means I am not eating correctly. I am constantly exhausted, and for me, that translates into little exercise and making poor food choices. What a diffference a few days can make. Last week I was determined to eat correctly this holiday season. This week I am desparately trying to find time to fit in a healthy meal.
This is not good news for my body. But I am not giving up. Instead, I need to plan. I cannot leave the house like I did yesterday without eating breakfast. In fact, what I really need to do is eat three healthy meals a day, and include easy snacks to keep my blood sugar level. And drink water. This is so not rocket science.
And when I reach for something I really should not eat, I will give my hand a mental slap. I learned this trick years ago, and if you remember to do it, it works. As you see your hand reaching for something loaded with sugar and calories, imagine your other hand giving it a good slap. And make it a hard one. There are times when it can actually hurt. Or is that my mind screaming that it really wants that chocolate chip cookie? Whatever, the mental slap can be effective.
I obviously need some help!