food, past and present

Before I forget: Kate and I had John and Mike and our neighbor Marc over for dinner two nights ago. (Jill, Marc’s SO, had to stay home working on a paper.) I made roasted red-pepper soup from a new favorite cookbook, Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone." She suggested polenta croutons to go with it, so I made up a cookie sheet’s worth of polenta, cut everyone’s first initial out of the cooled polenta, and popped the letters under the broiler with some monterey jack and parmesan cheese shavings on them, which crisped them up nicely. When we served the soup, I floated the initials, one in each bowl. I was inordinately proud of the presentation, so expect me to start putting initials in everything I cook from here on out.

Kate made the marinade for “Pollo Borracho” from the El Charro cookbook. Dark beer (i.e. Guiness) lime juice, garlic, bay leaf, cloves, and some other stuff I don’t recall just now – it’s a stellar marinade for chicken, and we used it that way. I managed to eke some half-decent grill marks from the stovetop electric grill over here. Salad began the meal and the last of our Trader Joe’s cookies finished it. Long conversations about bicycles, local politics, Jill’s course work… We sent Marc home to Jill with a plastic container fulla soup and a polenta “J”.

We needed to finish off the cookies because of the cleanse – perhaps more appropriately referred to as The Cleanse – which Kate and John and I are doing. It’s a month long sequence of dietary changes designed to help give you more energy and clean out your innards and lose weight and restore your chi and rotate your chakras for even wear and lord knows what all else. John and Kate and Larissa are actually going to the weekly Wednesday sessions – I’m just overhearing what they come home with and eating the same way they are.

This cleanse sounds somewhat less rigorous than the cleanse that swept around Upromise a couple of years ago – leastwise, there’s been no mention of putting tablespoons of bentonite clay into one’s lunchtime smoothies yet – but there’s still some things about it I don’t get. Citrus is bad… but lemons are okay. Legumes are good … but almond butter is better than peanut butter. Miso paste is good, but tofu is too refined. (I guess this last one makes some sense – the finer things are ground, the quicker they’re absorbed… maybe. I’m not entirely clear on it.) Kate came home with a bag fulla powders and supplements. I’m assuming that over the course of the month we’ll work out just what we need to buy from the place doing the cleanse and what we’ll get from the Coop.

Lots of the principles of the cleanse make a lot of sense, don’t get me wrong – whole grains, fruits and vegetables, minimally processed foods, organic meats – and I think it’ll be a good learning exercise for a month.

Anyhow, we’ve eaten or pitched a buncha stuff that we won’t be eating for the next month, and I’m drinking the last of a murky purple shake for breakfast. The leftover roasted pepper soup has nothing forbidden in it, so that’ll be good for lunch. I can already tell we’re going to be explicitly planning meals far more carefully this month.