Aug 14 2011

I’m Going to do A Juice Reboot – Part One

Recently I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead – a documentary about a man who finds himself overweight, diseased and unhappy. He decides to challenge himself to take on a 60-day juice fast wherein he will ingest nothing but water and juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables.

The results are good, and he goes on an awareness campaign across America. People try his idea for ten days and see great results, cue victory music etc. Now they have a website that endorses juicing products and talks about the wonders of their “Juice Reboot” program, and even offers some useful recipes. I am glad the movie came out and I hope people watch it.

At any rate, I just got back from a job that required me to travel to Bossier City, Louisiana and stay at the Louisiana Boardwalk for a month. This was like the inverse of the 60 Day Juice cleanse; the Boardwalk is essentially a tourist trap with restaurants like Fuddruckers, Joe’s Crab Shack, Buffalo Bill Wings and Coldstone Creamery. Asking for a salad usually results in a small bowl of iceberg lettuce with croutons and shredded cheese on top, usually covered in thick gloppy dressing. After a month of trying to sort through this fare, I put on another five pounds and felt like a marshmallow that had been left behind the fridge. In a bucket of bacon grease. Time to reset.

Juicing menu

Stocked up and ready to juice!


I grew up on a diet that intermittently consisted of juicing and macrobiotics interspersed with a light omnivore’s menu (because I don’t like feeling as wispy as I do when I don’t eat any animal protein at all.) So as soon as I got back I bee-lined for Target and bought the first reasonable powerful juicer I could find for under 200 bucks and five grocery bags filled with fruits and veggies (as many from the organic section of the store as possible).

I am not going to provide you an official guide to juice fasting properly or responsibly. I am not going to give you medical advice. You must always consult your doctor before taking on any form of special diet, particularly when you have existing health issues. I am also not going to necessarily share my progress in a daily journal, because that would just be too much work for me and not enough fun. But I will be sure to offer some small tips where I can.

BUT I am going to document some of the juice recipes I come up with. While I do reference some greatbooks on juicing, due to the fact that I have been doing this virtually my entire life, and because I like to experiment and after this IS the Taste Odyssey (da dum!) I hope to share some creative and exciting juice ideas with you. And heck, maybe I’ll report on the improvements I’m seeing (and juice combo mistakes I may make) just for good measure.

Today I woke up anxious to put my new juicer to work. Here is what I put inside it:

Keram’s Kickstarter Energy Blast

  • 4 carrots (tops removed always as the greens are toxic to humans)
  • 1 handful of raw spinach leaves
  • 1 Green apple (always remove apple seeds before juicing as they contain cyanide)
  • 1 handful of Italian parsley (push it through the hopper with the carrots)
  • 1/3 raw sweet potato

Let me tell you this makes for a very sweet, slightly thick concoction that tastes like a fruit drink. It will definitely start “cleaning you out”. Be sure to supplement your juicing habits with plenty of water throughout the day.

People who go on juice diets tend to feel a little weird the first couple of days as they begin to detox and adapt to the change. It is best to start slow, winding down a heavier diet by transitioning to a diet of light soups and salads. But like I said, I do not plan to offer a dietary guide since I am not a qualified dietician, nutritionist or doctor so again please do your research when embarking upon such a thing.

Look forward to your comments and hope you come along for the ride. Please feel free to share your recipes with me too.

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Jan 13 2011

Recipe: Ribollita (Rechauffe of bread and vegetable soup)

RIBOLLITA

Usually, comfort foods are laden with gravies and hearty meats, but, it IS the new year and I at least wanted to make it somewhat on the healthy side, and deliver a deliciously savory dish that vegetarians and meat-eaters can guiltlessly enjoy whilst bundled up during these cold months.  For this dish, I decided to pull from the “Tuscan Cookery” by Elisabetta Piazzesi. [English edition ©2003 by Casa Editice Bonechi, via Cairolo] maybe it spoke to me because I just recently watched “Eat Pray Love” on a plane while traveling over the holidays, and got a craving for some delicious Italian cuisine.

RIBOLLITA (Rechauffe of bread and vegetable soup)

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 Fairly large red-skinned onion
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Celery stick
  • 4 Potatoes
  • 10 Courgettes(Zucchini)
  • 300g/11oz. dried beans
  • bunch of Swiss chard
  • 1 Savoy cabbage
  • 1 Bunch of Tuscan ‘black’ cabbage or kale
  • 1 Leek
  • Tomato puree
  • 2 Days’ stale  Tuscan white bread

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

  1. Soak the dried beans and cook over a slow flame.
  2. In a pan, gently fry the onion, sliced.
  3. Add the other vegetables diced, with the exception of the cabbage, kale and beans,(which are added later)
  4. When the vegetables have sweated out their juice, cover with hot water and then add all the cabbage and kale shredded.
  5. Cover and simmer for an hour over medium heat.
  6. Add the cooked beans(some whole , some pureed), add salt and pepper as well.
  7. Leave to simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring frequently (the beans tend to stick to the bottom of the pan so this is an important step)
  8. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of tomato puree.
  9. Slice the stale bread and in an earthenware casserole, alternate layers of bread with the soup until the bread is well impregnated.
  10. Leave to stand for a day.

TO SERVE:

Remove the desired amount from casserole and heat it up or “re-boil” it as the name in Italian suggests.

And you have yourself a mouth-watering, hearty, yet healthy Italian dish.  It may take some prep time, but this news worthy meal is well worth the wait.

Buon Appetito!

~FoodDiva

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Nov 05 2010

Recipe: Tarte aux Poires et Porc (Baked Pork and Pear Tart)

Published by under Baked Goods,Pork,Recipes

From my good friend Natalie Bourdeau-Legris comes this tantalizing and totally unexpected creation – A Pork and Pear Tart filled with mouth watering goodness, an incredible discovery on my continuing Taste Odyssey!

tarte au poirs et porc

Serves 4

What You Need

* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 5 ounces pork sausage, casings removed (or ground pork)
* 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, 1/2 finely chopped, 1/2 thinly sliced
* 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
* 1/2 medium green cabbage, about 1/2 pound, cored and shredded
* 2 dried juniper berries, slightly crushed with the flat side of a large knife (optional)
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/4 cup cider vinegar
* 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
* Short Pastry Crust (see previous foto)
* All-purpose flour, for work surface
* 4 pears
* 1 egg yolk (for brushing crust)

What You Need To Do

1. Cook the meat
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage/pork; cook until well browned, about 3 minutes, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Add chopped onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add sage; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute more. Transfer to a medium bowl; season with pepper. Stir in cheese; set aside.

2. Cook the Cabbage
Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in cabbage, juniper berries, bay leaf, cider vinegar, and sugar, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen any browned bits. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is wilted and tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard juniper berries and bay leaf.

3. Make the pie shell
Roll 3/4 of the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 21-by-12-inch rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick. Line a 13-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan (or any pan close to this) with dough, allowing dough to drape over edges.

4. Prep the pears
Using an apple corer, remove 3/4 of the core from each pear, leaving stem end intact. Remove another tablespoon flesh from each cavity. Spoon 2 tablespoons sausage/pork mixture into cavity of each pear; set aside.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Assemble pie: Spread cabbage mixture in an even layer over dough. Set stuffed pears on top. Roll out remaining dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14-by-6-inch rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out four 2-inch circles from dough along centerline, where you will place the pears. Place dough over pie, with pears poking through the holes. Gently crimp edges of dough to seal.

6. Whisk egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush crust with egg wash. Bake pie on a rimmed baking sheet until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes.

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