Isn’t February just flying by? It feels like just yesterday that Rob and I were sitting down to our fabulous Valentines Day dinner, rather than over a week ago. I kind of wish it was just yesterday – we had the most amazing meal: Marinated Flank Steak, perfectly grilled (despite the pouring rain and 30+ mph wind gusts – our garage smelled like a steakhouse, but it was well worth the smell and safety hazard), sweet potato soufflé, roasted asparagus with hollandaise sauce, 36-hour fermented rosemary and citrus Fougasse bread, and finally a chocolate sponge cake with pinot-marionberry sauce. Needless to say, we were weak at the knees, and not just for each other.
We had to get in as much quality time together as possible as Rob has had a funky schedule lately, and my week was filled with a trip to Portland. Wednesday morning, six other teachers and I drove up to attend a national Mathematics Leadership Conference put on by the Teacher Development Group. It was simply an honor to be asked to go, as it was geared towards teaching us how to teach teachers to become better teachers. The week was filled with fabulous research, mathematical practices and developments, and the over-arching mentality and high expectation to honor thinking. By Saturday night, my brain was full… and so was my stomach.
We were fed like royalty! Giant dinners, beautiful lunches, all you can eat (and I did) breakfasts, and a dessert table that was always at the ready with any pastry, cake, cookie, or puff a heart could desire. There was so much food, and so much sitting, then more food – I started to hope that my brain’s energy was capable of burning calories.
Alas, algebraically proving a linear function did not quite accomplish the same results as a 5-mile run. So on top of sleeping most of Sunday, I planed for a major detox.
In a few of my entries, I’ve mentioned my former vegetarian days and have fond memories of cooking many meatless meals. Vegetarian cooking is what made me a cook – figuring out flavorful alternatives to protein and animal fat was a welcomed challenge, and I was always delighted when those enjoying my food would have the oh-my-gosh-there’s-no-meat-in-this-dish epiphany with only a few bites left on the plate (just ask my Irish mother-in-law). But such that it was, after many years, pork belly (bacon, pancetta, etc.) brought me back to the omnivore world.
So this past Sunday morning, still sleepily in my PJs, I had to honor the thinking of my past and go back to enjoying my vegetarian days. Wanting to really detox, I decided to nix dairy and limit bread as well, leaving my compilation of vegetarian recipes more veganized. Carrot in hand, I knew I soon would be feeling cleansed, at least until a Bacon Butty sang my name.
With Tuesday rolling on through, so far, so good. Even my meat-loving hubby has taken on the detox challenge (beer is mostly yeast, barley, and water, right?). The last few days has provided us with a flurry of delicious fruit and vegetable smoothies, two rounds of leek broth that never got the opportunity to see the inside of the fridge,and experiments with Tahini paste. But the most amazing dish so far has been a simple chard salad with a finger-licking roasted garlic dressing. The hot bite of garlic just plain gives in to the long intense oven heat, leaving the cloves so sweet, caramelized, and wonderfully mushy. Mushy garlic = yum. Not exactly an equation for a linear function, but the answer to an insanely healthy vegan salad.
And tonight’s meal was another unbelievable flavor sensation… Chinese Peanut Lettuce Wraps. Should detoxing really be this much fun?!
- 5-7 stalks of large swiss chard leaves, washed, ripped off the stem and julienned into small “ribbons”
- 1/4 c dried cherries, roughly chopped
- 2 c crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
- 1 head of garlic, sliced in half
- 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Agave nectar
- 3/4 tsp finely chopped rosemary
- about 1 tsp water
To make the vinaigrette, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take the sliced head of garlic, and create a package, lightly folding aluminum foil around the garlic. Reopen and add the water and a bit of s&p. Lightly close the package, place on a sheet tray, and roast for about 30 minutes, until garlic is slightly browned and mushy (a pairing knife can be inserted into a clove and pulled out without resistance).
Once cooled enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their paper into a bowl. Add the rosemary, white balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, and mix to incorporate. Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, whisking all the while. Taste for seasoning.
Pour the dressing into a salad bowl, and assemble the salad ingredients in the same bowl. Toss to incorporate. Taste for seasoning.
Enjoy with some crusty buttered bread, or spiced croutons!