Damn you Reset, you stole my Crunch!

January 20, 2012

Kale Chips

Sorry to leave you mid-guide the last few days! We’ve got one more meal to go and then that recipe post I’ve been promising. So here we go…it’s time for Dinner…

No matter how much I’ve preached in the past about cooking with “balance”, in terms of taste, appearance, and texture, the latter of that bunch is always the hardest to remember to plan for. But without a contrast in texture, even the most delicious meal can fall flat. And during the Reset, it will become increasingly clear how much you are missing a good “crunch”!

In general, finding ways to enjoy your dinner without meat, wheat, and dairy can be pretty easy actually. There are amazing pasta substitutes that you can buy if you get desperate, but even thinly shredded raw zucchini can sub for spaghetti if you have a craving. Otherwise dining on stir frys, soups, and stews are easy and comforting and plates full of side dishes can be just as filling as your standard “meat, starch, and veg” meal we all grew up on. Ironically enough, you may also find you have more time to enjoy your meal as most of these recipes involve quick cooking ingredients. The point I guess I’m making is, dinners on the Reset can be really frickin delicious and exciting. But you’ve got to get a little creative for your crunch.

Without the wonder of breadcrumbs, crispy bread, flour tortillas, etc. these are the best crunchifier suggestions I’ve got so far…what about you guys? Any good crunch substitutes to suggest?

Kale chips: These have become all the rage, particularly in NYC. My guess is they were the result of a culinary accident but if you haven’t tried these, you have to get on board the train. I like to use dinosaur kale or lacinto kale because the leaves seem to hold up a bit better than your standard supermarket kale. Either way, baking the leaves at 350 with a little olive oil and salt for just a few minutes renders you with some fantastic crispy chips. These aren’t so sturdy to use for dipping but when you need a fix, these are your go to!

Pan roasted chickpeas: A while back, I saw Em’s Mom making a batch of these; a can of strained chickpeas in a cast iron pan over low heat with a little rosemary and salt. While we chatted (and probably drank some red wine) I waited to see what would become of these otherwise boring chickpeas and after about 45 minutes I was addicted. These guys get nice and crispy and their flavor intensifies like crazy. You can mess around with any seasonings you like on this. I love to add curry powder to mine. But I can’t imagine you can go wrong here. Perfect to top a salad or soup!

– Nuts: This may seem like an obvious one, but I’m not talking about simply throwing some walnuts in a beet salad. What I mean is that just like breadcrumbs topping your favorite dish, crushed nuts (particularly hazelnuts and almonds) make for an amazing compliment to a meal. So you might not be able to nut-crust a piece of chicken on the Reset, but roasted over some asparagus or cauliflower, you’ve got yourself a delicious Reset friendly topping.

Baked spring rolls: I made these during my last reset and am actually bummed I didn’t think about them again until writing this post. These remedied my need for crunch then, and they will do the same for you. Using rice paper wrappers ensures you are Reset approved and essentially you could stuff these things with anything. I went a more traditional Asian style last time with cabbage, mushrooms, and tamari but these would work perfectly for other flavor profiles as well. They are little tricky to work with the first time but don’t worry. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be cranking these out like crazy. Just soften the rice wrapper in warm water and then add your filling and wrap. Bake these guys off at 375 until nice and crunchy!

So there it is, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a few great snacks making for a great 10 day Reset. But what about dessert? Don’t worry I’ve got you covered. More thoughts on the Reset and the recipe post coming soon!




Tapas Tuesday!

August 31, 2011

Tapas and Wine

Well, actually this was from Monday but I ran out of time yesterday and who doesn’t love a little alliteration….

It sounds ridiculous, but in all honesty, with all of the excitement around Tapas or “small plates” at restaurants around the city, I had never thought about it as a way to eat at home. But after Monday’s dinner, I realize how wrong I had been. Two weeks prior, a few buddies and I hit up Tia Pol on the West Side after a ton of encouragement over the years. It was frickin’ awesome and reminded me of the amazing meals Em and I had in Barcelona. So to continue the deliciousness I decided to work on a few tapas of my own.

Sardines, Fresh Tomato Sauce and Egg

Some were super traditional, like the charred shishito peppers (posted about these before) while others were a bit more fun. Take this sardine, hard boiled egg, and fresh tomato sauce dish as an example. I know it sounds a bit weird but the sweetness of the farmers market cherry tomatoes act as a perfect balancer for the fishiness of the sardines. With a little egg providing richness, honestly this was really awesome. With some roasted chickpeas and an heirloom tomato and ricotta salata salad rounding out the meal, it was truly a tapas success!

Heirloom and Ricotta Salata Salad

And you might be thinking, “I barely have time to cook one thing after work, and now you want me to cook 4!”. But with the exception of the tomato sauce that I made from the fresh tomatoes, nothing here took any real time! All of the preparations were simple and relaxing just like the bottle of rioja we enjoyed!

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