Thursday, March 29, 2012

Something different for a change...

Okay... I owe my utmost, deepest apology for not being able to keep up with the blog as much as I wanted to. After all, I was supposed to post a recipe a day. 

I finished a novel, yes, finally, after writing it since 2002. The "hiatus" was due to the novel and due to the fellowship application my boss wanted me to submit. In chronological order: I was stressed out after the fellowship application, hence why I decided to take time and retreat to my "dream world". Writing recipes to me is pretty close to writing lab protocols, so, there... My deepest apologies.

In the next months, I will be trying something new. Call it my no salt diet recipes. Reason? Well, although I will posts all my recipes containing salt and a bunch of other seasonings (due to my daughter's birthday), I'm more concerned with my weight problems. In short, I will mainly be tinkering with salt-free cooking in the meantime. Just be forewarned.

Anyways, as an introduction to salt-free cooking: it's actually easy. Although I must admit that it does take time to "get used to it", especially if you have been eating out (or eating ramen like me) often. The perks? The most obvious one is weight loss. However, I also noticed that since I started the diet, it gets easier as time passed. I also sharpened my taste buds more, meaning that I tasted more of the food as they should be. And boy... that made a whole lot of difference.

To start, let's meet some of my good friends that helped me through the first week:

1. Shichimi/nanami togarashi: Japanese assorted chili peppers. This is a mixed, somewhat spicy seasoning. It contains orange peel, sesame seeds, ginger, and chili peppers, as well as others. You can make this yourself, if you want, but this is quite ubiquitously found in any Asian grocery store (cheaper than Amazon price, so shop around!). A sprinkle of this adds a ton of flavor to otherwise bland salt-less dish.
2. Garlic, lemon, sesame oil, ginger: you cannot make do without them. I use these to flavor my meat since I hate meat that smells like meat (yes, go figure!).
3. Balsamic vinegar: this little one deserve a whole post all on its own. I sprinkle about a teaspoon of balsamic as I sauteed my meat/tofu right about a minute before I took it out of the pan. It adds a nice char to my meat/tofu, and combined with a sprinkle of togarashi... it's heaven on a plate.

So, stock up on those three. Splurge on a really good balsamic vinegar, trust me, it's worth it. About an hour from where I live, there's a balsamic vinegar/olive oil store. If you have something similar, check it out. They're more expensive than regular store balsamic vinegar/olive oil, but with good balsamic vinegar, a little goes a long way. 

Alrighty. I'll end my intro for now. On to cooking in the coming week. For now, I must concentrate on the upcoming conference... Chicago, baby! And yes, when it's possible, I will peel my eyes for low sodium Chicago eats (I'm not sure if I could, considering the conference schedule is pretty packed :'( ).

Until next time...

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