Sunday, January 8, 2012

BA Cleanse: Make Ahead Pantry and Dinner One

After about two hours and two stops this morning, I have nearly everything that I need for the Bon Appetit Food Lover's Cleanse. I couldn't even tell you the last time that I shopped for that length of time with such a comprehensive list. While I did manage to spend a bit of time prepping for the trip and determining what I already had on hand, I overlooked grouping needed items as they are arranged in my grocery store. Since I'm still new to this city and my grocery store, certain items are illusive on a regular trip... let alone a trip where I need to find coconut water and miso paste and French lentils. 

If you're going to follow along too, then grab the four files from Bon Appetit's website. There is a fantastic and fully comprehensive Shopping List (it assumes that you do not have anything required, which is great because then you can assess yourself and determine what you need to buy... rather than starting your prep and realizing that you are missing key spices or pantry items because you missed a  recipe page when writing your own list), there are two Food Lover's Cleanse recipe documents (one for Week One and one for Week Two), and there is a schedule of all meals laid out in a two week calendar. 

So, my recommendation on prepping for this little excursion would be to not only review your fridge, freezer and pantry to see what you already have BUT also to read, not review, the shopping list a few times and group any items accordingly. Otherwise, bring a buddy with you to stand with the cart while you run back to a passed aisle to grab that missed ingredient or as you wander aimlessly attempting to locate one of the more specialty items. 

The other recommendation that I have, or maybe it is just a moment of honesty, is to do as much as you can but don't pull your hair out over following every aspect of this cleanse completely. I do give complete credit to those obviously talented chefs and food lovers at Bon Appetit for creating such a neat and appealing cleanse concept. I wish I had a larger pantry, a larger budget and a degree more patience in which to follow this cleanse fully. That said, I don't have any of those three (well, I do have a reasonable amount of patience), so I am making adjustments where I need and my substitutions mean no disrespect! I wasn't buying the fermented black beans and the lentils that I have already might have to do. Walnut oil was proving difficult and I have a really beautiful and nutty extra virgin olive oil here already. I think these substitutions are just fine. If nothing else, I am following a great deal of the plan as it is laid out (despite having a general aversion towards rice milk), am allowing my own culinary creativity to flow when I need to make changes, and recognizing that the whole point of this cleanse (and escapade) is about being intentional about eating and making some lovely detoxifying choices... that will allow me to tox myself back up later. hahah.

Caramelized Onions
Miso-Lime Dressing
Walnut Oil Dressing
Cooked Lentils
Fennel-Meyer Lemon Relish
Chili-Garlic Black Bean Oil
Toasted pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, hazelnuts, and pine nuts
Maple Applesauce

Caramelized Onions
I think that the first task of this cleanse is cleansing all on its own. You are first tasked with chopping five pounds of yellow onions. Shoot me now. I am a crying, runny-nosed, sniffing, onion chopping fool. I practically feel detoxed in the amount of water lost by way of tears. 

There was no fresh thyme in the grocery store... lots of cilantro, parsley and even mint but no thyme. No worries! I substituted 2 teaspoons of dried herbes de provence in lieu of the fresh thyme. I do know that it isn't quite the same but I also know that it will tasty lovely.

Look at how much they shrink!

Miso-Lime Dressing
Need that third grocery run to find miso. Waiting on this one!

Walnut Oil Dressing
Shallots... really?? My eyes hurt!! Thankfully, they are tiny and usually not as TOXIC as chopping the onions. Bring your best knife skills to this party and mince that shallot into the tiniest little pieces possible. Also, another substitution moment here... I thought I had red wine vinegar. I was mistaken. White wine vinegar is going to have to do here.

The macerating takes a bit of the sharpness out of the shallots, both in taste and texture. Adding in your olive oil (and walnut oil, if you grabbed a bottle), then shaking in a mason jar brings out a beautiful creamy texture to the dressing.

Ready....... Set..............


A Good Pot of Lentils
Waiting until tomorrow... we'll see. I am still debating going to buy some new lentils.

Fennel-Meyer Lemon Relish
This is not the place to sub in regular lemons. hahah. Listen to me, now extolling the virtues of a particular ingredient. But MEYER lemons are not just lemons! Meyer lemons are a unique hybrid of a lemon and an orange (debated over mandarin or a regular orange). Tart and sweet, thin-skinned, fragrant and incredibly juicy... these are definitely worth finding. And when you do, buy extra, like I did... and plan to make meyer lemon curd for your cheat days or for celebration when you are done this cleanse. 

When I got down to reading this recipe, it only needed a roughly 8 ounce fennel bulb. The ones that were available to me at the grocery store were more than double that weight! Just something to keep in mind when you shop... you might be able to get away with one bulb rather than the two listed on your shopping list.

Another adjustment... the smallest container of fennel seeds that I could find was roughly one pound in the Indian spice section. Now, for one recipe that calls for one teaspoon... I couldn't do it. Besides, I am not a huge anise fan, so I wasn't too concerned about the loss. It's a personal decision. :)

I did reserve the pretty dark green fronds from each fennel bulb, gave them a quick chop and added them in at the end. 

Chili-Garlic (Black Bean) Oil
I love that in this recipe, they break down exactly where to find fermented black beans but don't pressure you to go for them. I didn't, obviously, so instead this is Chili-Garlic Oil in wannafoodie land.

Toasted Seeds and Nuts
Pretty self-explanatory. Warm until browned and fragrant, then remove from heat. I didn't buy hemp seeds and I need to buy pumpkin seeds another day. I guess I'm at 50% here. 

Maple Applesauce
Running out of steam here... and ready to make dinner. I've got some premade applesauce in the pantry already. I will add a teaspoon of maple syrup to it and hope that does the trick. Or I'll hope for a second wind. 

Tonight, we are going to have:
Black Cod with Caramelized Onions and Apples
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chili and Orange
Instead of the Kale Salad, we had our own Spinach Salad with Cranberries and Almonds (and the Walnut Oil Dressing that we made earlier)

Again, substitutions are required. Doug doesn't eat seafood, so his portion will feature chicken. No juniper berries at either store, so we are missing out there, and I used white wine instead of cider. We are subbing pine nuts with almonds and currants with cranberries. I had every intention of making the kale salad but felt cramped for time. My schedule was a bit out of whack in making two proteins (and one requiring much more time) as compared to one. The roasted sweet potatoes remain generally intact. hahah.

Wow. We just finished eating. It was just amazing. The rich onions and sweet apples brought so much to the fish (and chicken). I'm really proud of how well the chicken turned out too. I seared it on both sides in the pan, similar to the recipe's directions, then popped it into a 350 F oven for about 25+ minutes (until the thermometer read ~165 F).

My dinner with the cod.

Doug's chicken.

Until I started writing this post, I hadn't actually looked at the photos of the finished meals on Bon Appetit's site. If you check out Day One - Dinner, you will see this dinner (with the exception of the kale salad). I think we did pretty good in comparison!

This is definitely a good starting place after all of the hard prep work and a great first meal.

0 thought(s):

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails