New year, new plan

So here’s the game plan. Overall, eat healthy, eat happy. Which, for us, means less meat, more veg; less butter, more olive oil (as in, oil instead of butter, not extra oil!); less processed food, more homemade food; less fast food and more organic food.

Less meat, to us, means no pork outside of the very occasional (think, maximum, four or five times a year) prerequisite bacon for BLTs, no fowl prepared at the home (is it just me or was the Thanksgiving turkey, well, almost slimy?), and very little red meat prepared at home. So, at home, the only meat, then, will be the very occasional (as in, maybe, two or three times a year, if even that, grilled steak) while, outside of the home, we might order Chicken Bryani (While the original recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated, you have to register to get it. If you want to avoid the bother of it all, and Cook’s makes it a helluva bother, a nice blogger in Canada, Culinary Adventures, has been so kind as to print the recipe.) at our local Indian restaurant.

More vegetables means we am trying new veg. So far, we’ve tried Bitter Greens with Sweet Onions and Tart Cherries which is a recipe from Mollie Katzen, author of the famed Moosewood Cookbook as well as a host of other books (tip: don’t use those nasty canned cherries; if you can’t get fresh, then try frozen), Turnips and Parsnips with Rosemary from Gourmet (tip: I didn’t think it needed the glaze, but if you agree with my taste tester that it is critical, then ease back on the butter and oil to cut the fat) and Caramelized Chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts from the queen of the kitchen, Martha (tip: again, feel free to ease back on the fats and don’t drive yourself nuts - dreadful pun, entirely unintentional - roasting and peeling chestnuts when you can buy them at Trader Joe’s where you can find helpful staff and a fairly useless Website (please guys, list some products, for heaven’s sake).

We liked them all. And once we have expanded our knowledge of veg, we will search for ways to enjoy them that not just lessen the fats, but that eliminates them altogether. Baby steps, just baby steps for now.

As for the less butter more oil (olive, that is), we found a cake at Gourmet that uses no butter at all: Lemon Olive-Oil Cake. No butter: Woo hoo! Tons of olive oil ... erm ... isn’t that too much of a good thing? It is truly delicious (don’t stint on the sprinkled sugar on the top - it makes all the difference and means you don’t need frosting which is all to the good) and a cake with no butter - who knew?! - is divine. Now to search for one that uses less oil.

Less processed and fast food means more cooking (it’s not that we didn’t want to cook; it’s just we didn’t know how / didn’t have the time / didn’t have groceries in the house / insert excuse here). We're now collecting recipe books and reading up on techniques (techniques are more important - we want to learn how to fish for life, not just to eat a fish today). And more organic means more visits to the farmer’s market. Which we adore anyway. So that works out nicely.