Sides

A detox of sorts

April 9, 2010

Orzo with Roasted Broccolini and Parsley Vinaigrette

I’m not too fond of detox diets and cleanses. Strike that. I scorn detox diets and cleanses. At least those which require days of lemon water, vegetable broth and carrot sticks or special potions consisting of maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I get crabby just thinking about not eating real food. It kind of makes me want a cheeseburger. So without getting too heated about it here (I love a juicy fad diet debate) I’ll politely tell you to blow off those detox diet claims and click past the “healthy” cleanse formula infomercials. I guarantee that bikini-clad spokes-model would not have the energy to happily prance down the beach on a diet of water and acai berry extract. I’m just sayin’.

Anyways, should you come to me looking for advice about a detox diet I will gladly give you the run down. Eat real food – good food, drink plenty of water and move your body. Groundbreaking, isn’t it? Detox can be healthy if it means you’re filling up on whole foods and abstaining from the white stuff (I’m talking sugar and white flour) and alcohol. I’ll be honest, following this past holiday weekend I was in need of a “detox”. I had my fill of Cadbury Cream Eggs (oh yes, the dietitian did just say she eats these), ham, scalloped potatoes and vino. My body was craving green. My body demanded broccolini.  
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Dear April

April 5, 2010

Jícama Salad

Dear April,

Have I told you lately that I love you? I love you this year, anyways. This week. So far.

Since when did you don 80 degrees and sunny? Permit shorts and flip flops? Encourage al fresco dining and post dinner strolls? Allow open window drives and sleeping weather? No complaining here. You’ve made this northeast Ohio gal very happy indeed.

So don’t go breakin’ my heart, April. Don’t go all 38-degrees-and-blustery on me. Don’t make me unpack the sweaters again. Or long wool soccer socks. Or flannel pajamas. Don’t rain on this happy gal’s parade.

Because now I want to cook and eat like it’s a 75-degrees-and-sunny-April. Back porch dining. Bright, fresh and light. Grilled fish and burgers. Jícama salad and salsas. Chilled white wine and mojitos. Doesn’t that sound good to you?

Besides, haven’t you always wanted to be desired as much as that sister of yours, May? Here’s your chance, April. Show ‘em who’s hot. Work it, girl!

Sincerely yours,
C

p.s. I know your showers bring May flowers, but so do sunshine and zero frost. Just keep that in mind, April.
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I’ll miss the squash

March 22, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash with Coriander

I guess I’ll miss a few things about winter. How quiet and still the earth seems after a very heavy snowfall. Ginormous fluffy snowflakes that seem to fall to the ground so slowly you can almost make out their intricacies. Sweaters and scarves. Skiing. The excitement of a possible snow day, even if they never happen. Flannel pajamas. Watching smoke escape from chimneys and the sight and scent of a crackling fire. And, of course, all of the good things that happen in the kitchen during the winter months. Aromas of a Sunday roast or braise wafting throughout the house. Never tiring of steaming bowls of soup. The comfort of hearty lasagnas, casseroles and pot pies. And roasted winter squash. From September to March there is no shortage of winter squash in this house. The bright yellow-orange flesh of acorn, kabocha and butternut lend just enough cheer to keep the promise of warmer days in our sights.

I probably don’t need to list the things I won’t miss about the winter months. To paraphrase: snow, cold, ice, cold, dark, cold and freezing. Yes, I think that sums it up nicely.
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Bright green glory

March 14, 2010

Broccoli Slaw

The snow piles have almost completely disappeared around here thanks to a week of sunshine and near 60 degree temperatures. What remains are a few slushy piles of white along the driveway where, less than a few weeks ago, mini mountains stood. The result of our snow plow. Our snow plow team, rather, known as Kyle and trusty sidekick Blue Shovel. They moved a lot of snow this year. Up and out by 5:30 am to make way for cars and early commutes to work. Working under the light of street lamps until 8 pm after a long day at the office, zigzagging back and forth across the drive in an attempt to make the following morning’s plow a little easier. Believe me, I offered to help. But to no avail. Kyle is a gentleman, through and through, and wouldn’t have me hauling snow. (After ten years he still insists on opening car doors for me. I’m a lucky girl.) And, on multiple occasions (read: daily) I insisted hiring a plow service would be worth its weight in gold. Again, to no avail. Kyle is a sucker for physical labor. He thrives on it and argues that as long as he is young and able enough to do it, he will. And that’s that.

We are both relieved to kiss the snow piles goodbye (fingers crossed we’ve seen the last of them). Though I’d argue this is the worst part of Winter’s end and Spring’s beginning. Happy as I am to see it melt, I’m not crazy about what the sparkling white snow leaves behind. Gray grass. Brown mud. Murky puddles. Crayola could name a really ugly brownish-grayish-blahish crayon color “March in Ohio”. Needless to say I’ve been craving a little bright green in my life. Enter Broccoli Slaw.
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I heart beets

February 3, 2010

Golden Beets in Citrus Vinaigrette

Beets are the classic example of a culinary love or hate relationship (kind of like cilantro or coconut or blue cheese). There are those who either coo at them (“oooohh, beeeeeeets”) or turn up their nose (“eeewwww, beeeeeeets”). As you might have guessed by the title of this post, I’m in the cooing camp. I’ll take them any way they come. Simply prepared, like roasted with a sprinkling of salt, or tossed in a salad of butter lettuce and topped with goat cheese and walnuts. Last week I spotted golden beets at the grocery store and had to have them. And while I realize it’s not exactly beet season, I didn’t have the heart to leave them there, orphaned. Especially with the abundance of winter citrus still lingering which would make for the perfect accompanying vinaigrette.
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