Thursday, June 16, 2011

From the inside out - the anti diet

I don't believe in diets, and yet I do watch what I eat a whole lot more this time of year than any other, with just two rules: avoid sugar as much as possible, and eat vegetables more than usual with every meal (snacks included). And since we don't eat processed or premade foods, I think that's enough effort. This quote pretty much sums it up, "Don't focus on the growth of something ... focus on it's health! Healthy things grow!" Eat right, feel right.

No time to cook? Try this one on for size: snow peas and onions are flash heated and left perfectly crisp by draining pasta over them right in the strainer. Add in fresh, ripe tomatoes, a bunch of herbs, some garlic and a hint of cheese, your dinner is ready in 15 minutes. You could even barbecue chicken in the same time by pounding chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap until 1/4 inch thick, seasoning with salt and pepper, and brushing with good for you olive oil. Barbecue on medium heat for about 12 - 15 minutes. I bet waiting for pizza delivery would leave your belly hungry for a whole lot longer!

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Spring Garden Pasta
Serves 4 - 6

1 lb dried shell pasta
2 cups snow peas, trimmed and cut in half
2 cups ripe grape tomatoes, any variety
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

herb pesto:
2 cups fresh herbs, like basil or parsley, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 - 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan OR 1 cup grated Mozzarella

Cook pasta until tender.
Meanwhile, place trimmed, halved snow peas and sliced red onion in a colander set in the sink for draining the pasta.
Make the pesto by pulsing the garlic and salt in a blender, then add herbs, olive oil, pepper and Parmesan (if using Mozzarella, don't add to the blender, but stir into pasta when ready). Pulse again until combined. If you have a proper chefs knife, you can skip the blender by chopping your herbs and garlic super fine, and stirring into olive oil, then adding cheese.
When pasta is tender (but not mushy), drain right over the vegetables in the colander. Do not rinse. Pour pasta and veggies into a large bowl, add pesto, cheese and tomatoes, toss to combine. Serve with additional cheese if you so desire.

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