Thursday, 18 October 2012

Cleanse-Friendly Comfort Food

Sweet Jesus, I FINALLY have a moment! Remember that wedding I mentioned a few weeks ago? Well that is happening this weekend. I have the least stressful bride in the world to be a MOH for, (that’s TLC-speak for Maid of Honour!) and yet somehow I am stressed to the bejesus about it.

Mostly I am stressed about my speech. But fret none, my little chefs! I have it written and if I can deliver it not-wasted, then I think we can call that an achievement.

In other wedding news, I obviously want to look great in my dress, and since I tend to turn donuts and hash browns when I’m stressed, I opted to do a cleanse over the past two weeks so I would feel energetic and slim in my little Vera Wang number. (That’s right- more TLC-speak for a SLAMMIN’ dress!)

What does this consist of? Well, it’s more like, what does it not consist of. No dairy, no sugar, no nuts, no alcohol, no caffeine and no gluten. Now, I know what you are thinking, because I thought the same thing to myself, “What the hell am I supposed to eat then?!”

Good news abounds though. Number one, there is no gluten in rice and quinoa (ha! My Mac spellcheck does not recognize this word- get with it Apple, quinoa is the granola of the Millennial generation- half the people who work at Apple probably subsist entirely on the stuff…). Anyway. You can also eat meat and fish, which is easy to do. The biggest upside though, is that goat cheese and goat milk of any variety is permitted. And this means you can make mostly anything delicious.

Craving a Cheese Dream? Of course you are, because they are the most delicious treat that ever existed. So obviously the bagel and cheddar cheese is out, but you can have a brown rice cake with goat brie on top! Trust me, on Day 7 of this cleanse, that will feel like QUITE a little treat for yourself.

This is a 14-day cleanse though, and you can eat only so many brown rice and lentil curries before you find yourself dreading the curry powder. I was feeling like Italian one night, and was in quite a pickle about how I might make a delicious pasta dish when I couldn’t use neither dairy nor pasta. Loblaws (which my friend Kelly once commented that I must go to everyday, which is true) once again saves the day however. They not only carry rice pasta (allowed) but they also carry goat milk yogurt (also allowed- and not as nasty as it sounds. If you like goat cheese, you’ll like goat yogurt.) So now my friends, the magic begins to happen.

Firstly, start your sauce. You need some canned tomatoes or crushed tomatoes (hypothetically citrus is not allowed on the cleanse, but I would be lost without tomatoes). Maybe your mummy is as jazzy as mine is, and cans her own tomatoes, and they taste like they just came off the vine, even though it’s October. Or maybe not. But what you need to do first is sauté an onion all chopped up and some crushed garlic in olive oil (because of course you aren’t using butter on the cleanse). Then once they are delightfully caramelized, you are going to be fancy for a minute. This is where if you’re cooking for someone, it’s beneficial to have him or her in the kitchen so they can think to themselves that you are quite a little chef, and therefore of course, a catch. De-glaze your pan with red wine (I know there’s no alcohol on this cleanse, but I’m pretty sure it cooks off because your pan is going to be quite hot- and anyway, sometimes you need to have a little fun in life) and then let it simmer until it reduces by half.

Now add your tomatoes. Give them a stir and bring it to a simmer. Simmer for as long as you want, the longer you do, the more flavour develops.

Time for the pasta. Bring your water to the boil with salt in it. Rice pasta is pretty much the same as normal pasta, but you REALLY do not want to overcook it. If you overcook it, it becomes a large mass of starch and it won’t be edible. So concentrate.

Drain your pasta and give it a quick rinse with cool water to ensure it doesn’t overcook. (Don’t make it ice cold, obviously. Just a rinse.) Now, take your pasta sauce off the heat and add fresh chopped basil and a spoonful of goat yogurt to make it a creamy sauce. A little stir and voila! You have cleanse-friendly comfort food. If you don’t tell anyone it’s healthy, no one will suspect you. 

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