Monday, July 6, 2009

The Experiment Has Begun!

Okay, I’m late.

For those of you who have been keeping up, yesterday was the start of the grand experiment. Beginning yesterday, I have determined to consume no breads and no sugar for a month. As I indicated when I first mentioned this, I am eliminating all forms of breads, grains, starchy vegetables, and breaded foods from my diet. Also eliminated are sugars and artificial sweeteners. I will only be using agave nectar, because it has a lesser impact on blood sugar than other sweeteners. I still haven’t decided about honey, but if I use it, the use will be minimal.

My biggest issue will be non-compliance, to which I am quite prone. Already I nearly succumbed to non-compliance, on the first. Day. Yesterday. Having failed to consume and/or throw out all my bread, I had four wheat bolillos in my fridge. I had, and still have, leftovers from a scrumptious, starch-free seafood stew I made just Saturday evening, and I was reheating some for Sunday lunch. Saturday night’s serving had been accompanied by well-buttered slices of crunchy toast from thick slices of a sandwich roll, some of the bread the taxi driver gave me from the panadería. Yummy! I like sopping soups and stews with toast! I wanted more!

I almost had it.

And then I said no.

True, it’s my experiment, and I can conduct it how I want to. I can start and stop any time I want. But I said I’d start on July 5th, and I said I’d do it for the next four weeks. I need to keep my word, even if no one else is watching. Because, although you’re not telling me you’ve seen any of this, it’s out there, and you will someday. And I want you to know I kept to my word. Beyond this, even if you never see it, God sees. That’s even more important.

So, on this second day of my grand experiment, I’ve started well. The breads I didn’t eat are in the chest freezer, me not liking to waste good food even if it’s not exactly what I should be eating. I have my supply of agave nectar laid in for the month. All my granulated sugar is used up and gone—at least, gone out of any stage I can use for cooking, hahaha.

So what’s in my stew? It went a little something like this:

Mise en place (French for get your mess in place :-)! )

Chop a large white onion, five ribs of celery, and one red bell pepper. The original recipe calls for fresh garlic; now is the time to prepare it. I used a largish spoonful from a jar.

Open and drain two 14-oz cans each of mushrooms and diced tomatoes.

Scoop out about four ounces of tomato paste.

Prepare 32 oz chicken broth and whatever seasonings you want.

Prepare assorted seafoods, up to about three pounds. Make sure it is in bite-sized chunks.

Now, heat ¼ C each butter and olive oil in a large pot. Cook the onion, celery, pepper, and garlic until just starting to brown, about eight minutes. Remove half and set it aside.

To the other half, add half the mushrooms and tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat. Remove all the vegetables in the pot and about half the liquid to a carafe blender, pulse on low to get started, then raise the speed and puree. Alternately, you can puree it all in the pot with a stick blender.

Add back in the reserved vegetables, the rest of the mushrooms and tomatoes, and the seafoods. Return the pot to the heat and cook until seafoods are cooked.

Bread eaters will enjoy sopping this savory stew with thick pieces of bread or toast. Goes great with lemonade sweetened with agave nectar. My perfect recipe is one part each agave and lemon juice in six parts water. The same amount of sugar can be substituted for the agave nectar with equally tasty results.

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