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Detox Complete!

1 Feb

And so we have completed our 5-day detox!

A pleasant surprise for me on this detox: the second and third days of the cleanse, which in the past were very difficult, full of cravings and headaches, weren’t so bad!  Although feeling a little wan (conserving energy) and hungry, with minor headaches here and there, the liquid-only days passed less agonizingly than before.   The biggest challenge turned out to be dinner time — since eating dinner together is such a big part of our everyday life, it was very strange to have separate regimens for 5 days.

Anyway, all finished, detoxed and cleansed!

Now onto planning the menu for Superbowl Sunday… x

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5-day Liver Detox

29 Jan

Sometimes you just have to throw yourself into a cleanse.   David and I have been talking about doing a cleanse ever since we returned to New York from Stockholm… almost a year ago.  Life just kind of plugged along, something always came up, or we always found some reason why not.  But at some point you just have to jump right in and get it done.  And so, finally, here we are.

David and I have done a few cleanses in the past few years, all with Dr. Schulze’s detox programs.  Lasting only 5 days, the detox is designed to be manageable for a working/busy/real person.   There are 3 levels —  beginner, intermediate, or advanced — depending on how much change you’re willing to make in your diet for those 5 days.  We’ve always done the “advanced” program, during which you eat raw fruit and vegetable on the first and fifth day, and only diluted fruit/vegetable juices on the second, third, and fourth days.  On all days you take herbal tinctures, tea, and a liver flush drink to flush out toxins, as well as a green drink for supplements and you drink a lot of water.

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I ♥: Kevita Sparkling Probiotic Drink

5 Dec

photo

I love all-natural fizzy beverages without/very little sugar and low (or without) calories.  When we lived in Stockholm, I went crazy over their wide variety of sparkling water flavors.  My recent favorite fizzy beverage treat is Kevita Sparkling Probiotic Drink.  It contains 4 strains of live probiotics and is low calorie, gluten free, lactose/dairy free, made with certified organic ingredients and is vegan, too!  My favorite flavors are the Coconut, Mango Coconut, and the Strawberry Acai Coconut, which have the least amount of sugars (the Coconut one has the least).  The drinks are similar to konbucha, but without such a strong “fermented” taste (I think).  I have only seen Kevita at Whole Foods so far, and they are priced around konbucha prices ($3+) so they are not cheap.  But they are delicious and refreshing, and satisfies my sweet craving during the day.  If you see Kevita and are interested, give it a try!

Sole “Pie”

23 Sep

Every so often, I see local, wild-caught sole on sale at Whole Foods.  Sole can be tricky to cook, because it can be rather bland without frying or adding a lot of fat.  This Sole “Pie” is a neat and delicious way to eat sole baked — basically, it’s Asian-style eggplant caponata sandwiched between two layers of sole.  Chinese eggplants work best for this dish, because their skin is thin and cook quite easily without having to sweat the eggplants beforehand.

Here’s how:

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A (Lil’) Garden Grows Over Brooklyn

29 Jul

Our garden has expanded into 2 long planters and 2 smaller ones.  We are growing: 4 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, Japanese eggplants, shishito peppers, sage, thyme, 2 types of basil (regular and “lettuce” basil), and a shiso plant.  They are doing quite well and have given our balcony a lush, green look.  We love our little garden!

Our first harvest was a lovely little tomato (which we ate with our bun-less burgers):

Currently, there are 2 Japanese eggplants growing very nicely.  We may eat them by the end of this week!

Our urban petit jardin overlooking Brooklyn — it’s giving us great joy so far this summer!

Our Petit Jardin

28 May

This weekend, David and I finally began a little garden on our balcony!  We planted 3 types of heirloom tomatoes, a Japanese eggplant, German thyme, and basil.  We are excited to grow our own vegetables!

Having been inspired by our first planter, we think we will get one more — we plan on adding to our vegetable roster shishito peppers, shiso leaves, sage, and another type of basil (Japanese “lettuce” basil).

Here’s hoping for a plentiful summer!

Returning SOON!

30 Apr

Long time, no blog — it’s been a busy April!  We’ve been on vacation that has included our friends’ wedding in which I was a bridesmaid, and, as usual, plenty of delicious eating!  I will be back and blogging food the end of this week, however, so please stay tuned!

Love + good eating x x x x

I ♥: Mario Batali Arrabbiata Sauce

24 Mar

Mario Batali’s arrabbiata sauce is by far our favorite, go-to pre-made tomato sauce.  All natural, no preservatives, no added sugar.  And the sauce is actually spicy — as arrabbiata sauces should be — unlike many other arrabbiata sauces we’ve tried.  I am a huge fan of Mario Batali’s restaurants, and my appreciation for Mario has now extended to his tomato sauce.

GO: Esperanto (Stockholm, Sweden)

29 Feb

On our final night in Stockholm, David and I treated ourselves to a romantic dinner at Esperanto.  Housed inside a former theater, Esperanto has a Michelin star and recently shared the title for Stockholm’s best restaurant in the much-respected White Guide.  Having read many positive reviews and after checking out the menu of the website — which seemed fairly paleo-friendly — I was keen to go before leaving Sweden.

And boy, did it not disappoint!

Esperanto only offers tasting menus — 5 or 8 courses.  David and I went for the full 8-course experience.  I would describe the food approach as modern “Scandinavian kaiseki” with wonderful, whimsical theatrical flair.  There is great emphasis on seasonal produce and their presentation, and each course has a “title.”   Inspired by the season — winter at the moment — each dish seems to bring forth a winter scene.  There is a great amount of Japanese influence, whilst using many Swedish/Scandinavian ingredients.

The tasting course is preceded by wonderful amuse bouche — 4 lovely, playful treats.  The service was excellent, very personal and attentive.  All the service staff are trained sommeliers, and our wine suggestions were perfect for our taste as well as the dishes.

Although it was a kind of “cheat day” for us — wherein we eat some things that are not paleo — it wasn’t too bad a stray and it was definitely worth the experience!  We had a great time throughout the meal.  What we loved was the playful, humorous, entertaining aspect of the dishes and the quirky flavor-combinations — as well as the commitment to using offal in interesting ways — offset by very restrained, skillful and beautiful presentations as well as tastes.  If you get a chance to go, I highly recommend it!  (Just make sure to book in advance, and leave a lot of time for eating.)

Here are a few snapshots of our meal there:

As you arrive to your table, you find not a bread basket but fried cod skin and meringue dip. I am already in love with the restaurant.

Moss...? Onion fritters that appear to be moss. Part of the amuse bouche.

Steamed egg custard with seaweed and oyster, inspired by the Japanese chawan-mushi. Also part of the amuse bouche.

1st course: Grilled frozen cream of oysters and parsley root, trout roe, cucumber and oyster juice.

2nd course: "Winter concerning cauliflower and garden mushrooms."

3rd course: Flaky Norwegian cod and dry cured cod roe, dashi-infused egg yolk and wasabi (grated table-side).

4th course: "Obscure chicken from Ockelbo, beans from Tuscany and preserved black trumpets" (grilled chicken heart and liver, chicken skin on top)

I think my favorite dish was below: the lightly boiled langoustine served with bone marrow and caramelized hazelnuts.  It was amazing!  The langoustine is just barely cooked — beautifully creamy on the inside.  Eaten together with a bit of marrow and some hazelnuts… it’s the most incredible version of surf and turf your mouth has ever tasted!

5th course: Lightly broiled langoustine served with bone marrow and caramelized hazelnuts.

(Bone marrow that accompanies the langoustine, above.)

The 6th course — Pommes de terres avec truffles, along with the moss fritter amuse, was one of the funniest, charming dishes.  It looks like dirt, so it’s literally “pommes de terres” (apples of the land).  Beneath the black “dirt” (which are essentially made of onions and black truffles), lies creamy mashed potatoes.  And as if to signal the approach of spring, out of the dirt sprouts some fresh greens and sprigs made of fried potatoes!  It does feel like you’re eating dirt (not taste, but texture), which feels ridiculously silly in such a refined environment.  It felt like a mood shift — a little comic relief.

6th course: "Pommes de terres avec truffles."

7th course: A study of Swedish reindeer calf with blackened salsify.

8th course: "Pumpkin festival with Butternut squash, Hokkaido pumpkin and sea buckthorn" -- beautiful dessert, much of the sweetness comes from the pumpkins themselves, and the frozen yogurt was wonderful.

The meal took about 3 hours — which was ballsy (or potentially stupid) for us to do, as we needed to pack up our apartment to leave early the next morning.  But the experience was so worth it, so wonderful, I am so glad we went.  The service was fantastic and the food so lovely, it turned out to be the most fabulous and glamorous “3 hour break” from our packing frenzy.  (We continued packing late into the night after we returned home, newly refreshed by the gorgeous dining experience.)

Garnet Yams+Japanese Sweet Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat

23 Feb

Duck-fat-fried anything is delicious.  Rich, yes.  Probably not ideal for your waistline, yes.  But occasionally?  Fabulous.  Often, when I sear duck breasts, I strain out the fat and keep it refrigerated in a glass jar.  Recently, I came across organic garnet yams AND organic Japanese sweet potatoes on Fresh Direct.  David had wanted to have more sweet potatoes available for snacking purposes, and so I thought this was a good time to try…yams and sweet potatoes cooked in duck fat.

Here’s how I went about cooking the gorgeous yams and sweet potatoes in duck fat:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Peel the yams and sweet potatoes — I used 2 yams and 3 sweet potatoes.  Chop them into pieces, about 1 inch cubes.  Finely chop one onion.

In a skillet on medium-high heat, heat about 2 tablespoons of duck fat.  Once it melts, stir in the potatoes, making sure to coat them in the fat.  Salt and pepper.  After a few minutes, add the onions.  Stirring frequently, cook the potatoes until the sides begin to sear and turn brown.

Put the skillet in the oven to finish cooking.  (Note: I discovered that the Japanese sweet potatoes cook faster than the yams, which I didn’t expect.)  Stirring occasionally, cook until the yams are cooked and a fork goes easily through it.  You might want put it under broil it for a few minutes to brown the potatoes a little more.  Adjust the seasoning if needed.

The result was more like a chunky hash than “fried” potato pieces — which suits us fine.  The caramelized onions go nicely with the sweet potatoes.  The duck fat definitely adds the flavor, but the potatoes do not come out greasy at all.  Savory and sweet at the same time, this yam/sweet potato concoction turned out delicious!