A recap of the weekend:
Dinner, May 4. Well, we broke down and ended up eating out before the movie--Pizza Inferno, down the street from the office, has two-for-one happy hour pizzas, so we got one tomato-garlic and one tomato-basil personal-sized thin-crust pizza. Funny how much this has made me enjoy such simple foods, though. I would have been tempted otherwise to get a more complicated pizza--goat cheese and walnut, maybe, or ricotta and roasted pepper--but the plain tomato sauce pizzas were just heavenly after a week of plain salads, beans, eggs, and nuts. Afterwards, I ate a frozen banana covered in chocolate with almonds. (One of the ice cream shops in Japantown makes these from scratch, but inexplicably puts the bananas on long, deadly sharp bamboo skewers instead of popsicle sticks.)
Breakfast, May 5.
Coffee with soy milk. I don't remember what else I had.
Lunch, May 5.
I had some of Rahul's risotto for lunch, some beans, and an apple. The apple was disappointing--rotten spots all through it, and I ended up throwing away most of it uneaten.
Dinner, May 5.
Social outings strike again. I went with some coworkers to see our other coworker perform in Pippin, all the way across town at San Francisco State. We took the 22 to the Mission and I had a quesadilla, chips, salsa, and strawberry agua fresca of possibly local origins. I got an urgent call from Rahul while I was at the restaurant: something had gone wrong with our new hot water heater and it was spewing boiling water all over the side yard. By the time I got back inside and scarfed down the rest of my quesadilla plus some of my coworker's vegetarian burrito (the part I had was mostly rice, beans, and tortilla) we were running extremely late and took a cab down to the theater. The Mission had started filling up with crowds of Cinco de Mayo revelers.
When I came home, I found that Rahul had gone to Trader Joe's and stocked up on food, so I'm going to be using Trader Joe's almonds for the next week or so rather than farmer's market almonds. They're from the San Joaquin Valley, so more or less local, although not grown as close as I would like.
Breakfast, May 6 (Saturday).
We went to Monterey Market and the Berkeley Farmer's Market this morning and picked up some more produce. I had forgotten to go to the bank, and Rahul was grouchy and holding the purse strings, so I didn't really get to buy all the things I wanted at the market. However, we did go home with some yummy garlic quark, shining white corn, a big bag of beautiful salad greens with edible orange marigold petals and tiny blue cornflowers, red and Yukon Gold potatoes, and a big bag of carrots. The man who runs the Ludwig Farms potato stall also sells beautiful goose and chicken eggs (including blue Aracauna), pecans, black-eyed peas, cranberry beans--and some delicious-looking pecan brittle and mini-pecan pies. I eyed the pecan brittle sadly, and thought of it as we biked home to meet the plumber. The first week of June, maybe I'll go back and buy a chunk of it.
Because I roasted a sweet potato in the toaster oven at work yesterday and then forgot to eat it, I had it cold for a late breakfast, dabbed with garlic quark.
Lunch, May 6.
I discovered an open bag of croutons in the cabinet that I had bought just before starting this diet, so I'm making an exemption so they don't go stale and end up getting thrown away. I also have a little bag full of Mexican avocados from Trader Joe's that have been sitting in the fridge for weeks, slowly ripening. One of them was soft today, so I decided to go ahead and eat it. I made a big bowl of salad for lunch with croutons and avocado slices--no dressing. I also snacked on some apples.
We cleaned house, and I slow-baked another pot of beans with oil, garlic, sage, salt, and pepper, using up the rest of the bag.
Dinner, May 6.
Home-fried potatoes (diced and boiled till tender, then pan-fried with rosemary until crisp).
Mushroom soup: a soffritto of onions, carrots, celery, and garlic fried in a little bit of oil, with dried thyme, salt, and a handful of chopped button mushrooms added along with enough water to cover it all. I simmered this for a while and stirred in some fresh spinach and chopped parsley at the end. Rahul said it tasted "healthy," but apparently not in the way that is code for "tastes terrible."
I also made a rather odd but fairly tasty carrot cake:
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup ground almonds (I'm not sure how local these are--I used some leftover almond meal from Trader Joe's, so I'm guessing they're also from the San Joaquin Valley)
4-5 Tbsp honey
2 eggs + 3 egg whites (left over from the ice cream)
I preheated the oven to 350 degrees first, then separated the eggs and beat the whites to a stiff foam. I mixed the yolks with the honey and spices, then with the carrots and almonds. Finally, I folded in the egg yolks. I sprayed a baking pan with olive oil and poured in the batter, then baked for about half an hour, until the cake was brown. The flavor is like standard carrot cake, but the appearance and texture are odd--instead of the usual homogeneous moist, brown cake with a coarse crumb, my cake turned out as orange carrot shreds suspended in a yellow souffle-like medium. It turned out fine once I frosted it with a container of mascarpone beaten with honey and lemon.
Breakfast, May 7 (Sunday).
I don't think I ate anything for breakfast. An apple, maybe?
Lunch, May 7.
I ate a big bowl of salad for lunch, with orange slices and croutons, splashed with a dressing of shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and blood orange olive oil. We went to the discount grocery store, and I resisted the chocolate Rahul bought himself as a treat.
Dinner, May 7.
We went out to try a new tiki bar in Alameda that Rahul had fact-checked for work: Forbidden Island. We had a great time. I had some sweet potato fries (possibly local) and some definitely non-local drinks, which were just amazing. Rahul got a Hawaii Kai Treasure: rum, lime, honey, and grapefruit juice. I got a Macadamia Nut Chi Chi--huge, sweet, creamy, served in a big glass goblet with a paper umbrella: vodka, pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nut liqueur. After that, we shared a Classic Mai Tai: lime juice, orange curaçao, orgeat, and rum. For dinner, we went to downtown Alameda and I had a burrito at a little Mexican restaurant.
When I got home, I did a lot of cooking for the next day: lemon rice and a big pot of broth. The rice was a variation on riso in bianco or insalata di riso, roughly following a recipe in John Thorne's Pot on the Fire.
I started by boiling a huge pot of water with some sea salt. While I waited for it to boil, I mixed up an egg with the juice of half a lemon and some salt and pepper. When the water was boiling, I dumped some peeled and chopped carrots, asparagus spears, and broccoli florets into the water, and let them simmer until tender. I fished them out with a skimmer, and then poured 1/2 lb. of Arborio rice into the pot. I boiled it for 15 minutes or so, until al dente, then strained it and tossed it with some olive oil, the vegetables, some chopped fresh parsley and crunchy celery, and the egg and lemon mixture, which gently cooked and clung to the rice as it would in a carbonara sauce.
For the broth, I sauteed half an onion and a handful of vegetable trimmings (I'd been saving these in the fridge and had a large bag full of celery strings, asparagus peelings, and carrot peelings and ends). When these were browned, I poured in some salt and a lot of water--10 or 12 cups, maybe?--and dumped in the rest of the bag of trimmings. I simmered it for a while as I washed dishes--not sure how long, but the vegetables were pale and pulpy by the time I strained the broth. I haven't tried it; will check it out tonight (May 8).
Breakfast, May 8.
Polished off the rest of my yogurt with some honey and toasted almonds.
Lunch, May 8.
Carrot sticks, lemon rice, and beans. A cup of maple tea.