Thursday, February 09, 2012

Day 2: Mocktail Hour

We knew that one of the most difficult parts of the 30 day elimination challenge would be not drinking alcohol, and that Friday evening would probably be the hardest time. So, our first Friday on the plan, I mixed up some "mocktails." The fact that we also weren't eating sugar made things a bit challenging, but that's what creativity is for. I minced up some fresh ginger, zested and juiced a Meyer lemon, added those to sparkling water and mocktails managed. It was pretty tasty, with the ginger adding a very refreshing sweet heat. It would never be a substitute for that happy hour pint, but it was a fun and refreshing sipper.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Day 26: Clam Chowder

I've been toying with this idea since I made curried mussels (week 1, day 5 or 6), and was even more excited once I found celeriac at the local produce stand. I was going to make this last week, but was a bit intimidated by the idea, so punted and made scallop and celeriac salad instead (stay tuned for that winning day 20 recipe!).

This week I decided to do it on a Monday (weeknight! late dinner alert!), but prepped my celeriac in advance, as the peeling seemed the most time consuming. Turns out, once that was done, the rest was quite easy. Total prep and cook time (other than the advance celeriac prep) was ~ 30 minutes. I was originally envisioning using coconut milk to give the chowder a creamy texture (no dairy during The Challenge), but after tasting the broth mid-simmer, I decided it wasn't necessary. The soup is as delicious, flavorful, and filling as any chowder I've had, with the big caveat that I almost never eat chowder because of the presumed caloric hit.

Bring a cup or so of water to boil. I added some celery fronds, too. Add clams (used 2 1/2 pounds large live clams), cover, and steam until the clams have opened. Mine only took 5 minutes. Strain the clams, reserving all of the broth. When the clams have cooled, remove from the shell and roughly chop, then stash them somewhere safe from George the Cat.

Brown 5 slices bacon, then add about a cup of chopped onions, some diced celery (a few stalks), and a few cloves of garlic, minced. Once all the veg are soft, add the reserved clam broth, some fresh thyme sprigs, a bay leaf, and the peeled and diced celeriac root (one large bulb). Simmer until the celeriac is tender, 15 - 20 minutes. (I then popped in the immersion blender to puree some of the veg; this isn't really necessary.) Divide the reserved clams into 4 bowls, and pour the soup over top. Top with diced green onions and fresh ground pepper (optional, but delicious).

I served this with a spinach salad with apples, walnuts, and a walnut oil vinaigrette for a very light and tasty meal.
Introducing the Adventurous Triathlete's Paleo Cookbook
or, more accurately the not-so-adventurous mid-pack-triathlete's not-really-paleo blog

A few friends, Jeff, and I are wrapping up a 30 day "elimination diet" that is endorsed/supported by a couple of nutritionists (the one who is a friend of a friend who got us into this lives here on the internet). We've eliminated food types that are causes of frequent food sensitivities and inflammation as well as processed foods / additives. This leaves us with meat, eggs, seafood, fruits, vegetables (all but white potatoes and corn), healthy oils (coconut, olive, sesame), and nuts - all as organic / local / sustainable as possible. My motivation is to improve my eating/drinking habits and lose some weight - key goals for 2012 as I enter my 40th year. If I discover actual food sensitivities, that will be a great finding, but I don't have any real reason to suspect that I will (yet).

As we've been going through this process, we've had some highs, some lows, and a lot of great discoveries, some personal, and some culinary. A friend jokingly suggested a book, "the Adventurous Triathlete's Paleo Cookbook." While the title is a bit of a misnomer, I do think that this is great fodder for a blog, so I'll try to recreate some recent and future adventures, some culinary, some beyond.