Wednesday, 22 February 2012
While my main quest is to locate tasty spots I have recently been trying to find ways to cook healthy food at home, particularly vegetables, that won't make me gag, begging someone to pass the ice cream. Even though I enjoy my pastries and French fries I have always been a health conscious person. Over the past year I started cooking food for myself but found it difficult making everything taste good. Growing up with a self-made chef of a mother should have made me better at this, I thought. I express this to her and she tells me that it takes time to develop cooking skills. My forte is baking, but I hope to slowly become well rounded in the kitchen.
Having adopted a diet that favors natural food as opposed to processed goods including bread and cereal, I am determined to make vegetables tasty. I find "fashionable" diets that completely eliminate food groups or advocate extremely small portions unsustainable. I have tried these diets before and I am only left cranky, hungry, and fatter then when I started. Throughout my short lifetime (21 years) I have found two "diets" possible to sustain: The Zone and The Paleo Diet. Not only do I believe they are sustainable, but I believe the key to their workability is the attitude of making it into a lifestyle rather than something that will require willpower and constant monitoring.
The Zone focuses on certain amounts of fat, protein and carbohydrates depending on your body weight, age, sex and exercise regimen. It allows you to eat mostly anything you want in moderation and control. For more information visit http://www.zonediet.com/.
The Paleo Diet is the diet I have tried my best to follow for the past 1 1/2 years, and have never felt better. It favors a return to the time of cavemen, advocating that we will be in the best of health if we just ate what our hunter gatherer ancestors ate (nuts, berries, lean meat, and leafy greens). For more information go to http://thepaleodiet.com/.
As I'm sure you can already tell I enjoy delicious food and am not willing to sacrifice flavor. The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. includes great veggie recipes that are simple and tasty. Through experimentation I have learned that you do not need much salt or butter to make everyday food taste good. I have also learned that as a novice cook, like I am, it is best to suck it up and use a recipe. Many times cooking without a recipe, as my mother does, has only left me with a disastrous and/or bland product. Here is my favorite vegetable recipe I have tested thus far.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
4 tbsp roasted walnuts
Preheat oven to broil. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium flame. Add onion and saute for 5-8 minutes, until translucent. Add broccoli and stir until well coated. Place skillet in oven and broil for 10 minutes. After removing from the oven and letting sit for 5 minutes, covered, combine broccoli and onion with broth and lemon juice. Puree in blender until smooth. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with lemon zest and walnuts.
This recipe calls for home made stock. I just used the low sodium boxed variety. The acid from the lemon juice gave the soup a nice zing and the salt from the chicken stock gave it flavor. Everything blended together created a creamy texture without the cream. For someone who is peeved by using recipes I think I did a pretty good job here. Instead of garnishing with walnuts, which I did not have on hand, I used chives, which gave the soup a nice herby finishing touch.
Flavorful and healthful food is what I reach for on a day to day basis. I try to limit myself to 2 desserts a week. I make them count by staking out fabulous bakeries and eateries that use quality ingredients. I have found my own method of indulging in what I love yet maintaining a healthy lifestyle that I enjoy. No willpower required, just a desire to do it and a little kitchen experimentation.
Do you enjoy testing out healthy recipes? What is your favorite indulgent reward for eating healthy most of the time?