Here’s the list of things I have tried to avoid.
Rice – check
Red meat – check
White meat – check
Alcohol – check, not a drop, I swear.
Coffee – check, not a drop, I swear.
Bread – there were digressions involving white pita after wakeboarding and sunflower seed bread for weekday breakfast (with lovely baked beans)
Eggs – exception: 5 macaroons that were gifted to me! I know, right?
Dairy – exception: yogurt, one tiny scoop of chocolate icecream, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate here and there
It hasn’t been easy but it has not been terribly hard either. Sure rajma chawal (yummy spicy kidney beans on rice) doesn’t taste quite as good without the “chawal” and sure it would be nice to take a sandwich to work and it is painful to not eat a tortilla with my mushroom fajita and guacamole and don’t even get me started on how the smell of pizzas turns me into some kind of feral beast that needs to leashed. But on the bright side, I am discovering more brilliant recipes than ever.
During the last weeks, I discovered two fantastic recipes that involve one of my less-preferred cruciferous vegetable – Broccoli. Broccoli, undercooked, is dental torture and jaw exercise. Broccoli, overcooked, is basically green mud. Broccoli soup is amazing but that is because it has potatoes and sometimes…..parmesan. In all other forms, broccoli is unimpressive, neutral at best. And yet, in my first week of detox, I consumed 4 whole heads of broccoli by myself thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi’s brilliant recipes that involve blanching and char-grilling these babies so they are cooked yet crunchy. Once dressed with a lemony tahini dressing and the other time, dressed with fiery red chilies and garlic equals twice the perfection. I also made a grilled snapper with green tahini which was among the best fish dishes I have ever had.
Lunches to work (so responsible, frugal and all that!) have included a brilliant vegetable salad with a shock-inducing dressing of jalapeno-infused olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and pepper. It was ridiculously good. You see I prefer vegetable salads over salads of greens and salads that involve meat. Greens like arugula and baby spinach (which I love) are ridiculously expensive…while carrots, cucumbers, etc are not.
Believe it or not, I also celebrated cinco de mayo without tortillas. insane! One of the recent additions to my collection of brilliant cookbooks is called “Truly Mexican” by Roberto Santibañez; this book is amazing! It teaches you the fundamentals about Mexican condiments, marinades (adobos), sauces (moles and pipianes) and then shows you how to mix and match these with proteins and sides. Genius! My cinco de mayo meal was a glorious Vietnamese riverside cobbler (aka a cheap whitefish from the supermarket) marinated in velvety adobo made with guajillo chiles and served with a simple guacamole. Santibañez’s technique for making guacamole has, and you will pardon the hyperbole, changed my life. Three fish fillets were cooked this way and trust me, as the marinade seeped in more day by day, each fish tasted better than the last. And that’s 3 meals costing a total of 50 HKD. It doesn’t get better than this. My next experiment will be ceviche!
So I wonder if I should stick with this for as long as I can. I know that during the last week of CFA prep as well as after I won’t be able to.. Mom’s visiting. And sometimes I am genuinely too tired to be a stickler. On Sunday, for instance, Elvish Pixie and I went wakeboarding for two hours and attempted all kinds of fun moves (my ollies are getting good) and I was pretty exhausted at the end of it. So dinner that night was lovely home made baba ganoush with fluffy white pita bread. I can live with that.
Lunch today was more pescado adobado con adobo de guajillo along with some yummy guacamole and the best carrot salad ever (family recipe). Presently snacking on blackberries (the fruit, not the phone).