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Monday, January 16, 2012

Eat to Live!

After a long hiatus, I am back posting. But this comeback post won't be exciting. Consider yourself warned.

There are two reasons this post is boring. First, it has no pictures. I haven't made Drew photograph our dinners lately, so I have no pictures to post. Sorry. Second, it's about Eat to Live.

What is Eat to Live, you ask? It's a book/lifestyle plan by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. We're following it, which means that we are not eating: (1) oil; (2) dairy; (3) (most) meat; (4) sugar; (5) salt; or (6) refined carbohydrates. But because we are rockstar cooks, we are nonetheless making some delicious meals.

I cheat a little. I have a plethora of homemade chicken stock frozen, so I use it, even though I'm not supposed to eat animal protein. And I use a dash of fish sauce pretty often, which is high in salt. And we have seafood once or twice a week. But on the whole, we're following this pretty strictly.

The first week was hell because we followed the "recipes" in the back of the book. It's an understatement to say they were yucky. Dr. Fuhrman does provide some good recipes, but they're few and far between. And there's not much on the internet...or if there is, I can't find it.

So, I'm going to be posting our favorite Eat to Live-ish recipes over the next...well, lifetime if this sticks. Dr. Fuhrman recognizes that it's hard to eat this way, so we're allowed to eat the restricted foods 10% of the time. So, the death food recipes won't disappear all together, but the healthy recipes will definitely increase. With pictures in the future, I promise.

Accordingly, I offer a recipe for Apple-Butternut Squash Soup:

1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, diced but not peeled
1 red onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. ginger, minced
2 small dried hot red peppers, crushed
5 cups of low-sodium vegetable stock (or homemade chicken stock if you're bad like I am)
2 tbsp. garam masala
1 small squeeze of fish sauce (optional)

Sprinkle squash with about half of the garam masala and roast on a baking pan lined in foil at 425 for 45 minutes or until mushy. In the meantime, saute apples, onion, cloves, peppers, and ginger.

Now, "saute" does not mean "saute in oil," though if you weren't following this diet, you could do that. No, "saute" means "water saute," a term Dr. Furhman coined. Basically you add about 3 tbsp. of water to a very hot pan, add your vegetables, and continue adding small amounts of water as it dries up, until the vegetables are cooked through. They will brown slightly using this method. They will also make a hot mess of your pans.

Ok, so once veggies are sauteed and squash roasted, combine and add stock and remaining garam masala and simmer 30 min or so. Puree in batches in a blender. You can add some arrowroot powder (a tablespoon or so) if you want a thicker consistency, but it works a bit like cornstarch, so it gives soups a kind of shiny texture that I associate with Chinese food and also find weird.

That's it! This soup is good and satisfying on a cold winter night. It takes a while but it's not hard, and it's worth the effort.

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