Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Eating Locally, Eating Well

I've been MIA. As I mentioned in a TWD post from a million weeks ago, I'm on a diet. Believe it or not, I think it's working. After gaining over 30 pounds in the last 4 years, I was done with hating what I saw in the mirror. Since I already had a little-used gym membership, I decided to upgrade to a plan that included personal training. This isn't just about losing weight, it's about feeling fit and better about myself.

After 3 weeks, I've lost some fat, gained some muscle, and found that my clothes fit a hell of a lot better. However, I haven't been much of a food blogger. My food intake has dropped dramatically and has become a bit monotonous. When I reach maintenance, I'll be much more liberal in my food choices, but right now, I'm being a bit paranoid about what and how often I eat, which isn't much to write about. Well, unless there are people interested in my protein bar taste tests.

Eating healthfully fits very well with eating locally. I'm lucky to live very close to the farmer's market in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood, so D. and I usually visit to pick up vegetables. Also, my backyard has produced tomatoes and some herbs, so I've had an opportunity to actually use them for a few things.

Grilled corn and veggies:

The corn's from the farmer's market and the squash and carrots are from our CSA. We have since stopped our CSA subscription, but it was fun while it lasted. The thyme? Courtesy of yours truly.

I'm a little flabbergasted at how well the tomatoes turned out.

Our plant looks a bit raggedy, but it's producing fruit. Given my astronomical failures of the past, I'm happy with production. I also learned that a little plant food goes a long way.

What to do with these tomatoes? My basil was also doing very well, so I decided to make bruschetta.

The last CSA box had some cherry tomatoes on hand, so I threw those in. My favorite little touches? Meyer lemon olive oil and fresh thyme. They give an interesting twist to a classic bruschetta.

Moo's Bastardized Bruschetta
(amounts are not exact... feel free to adjust them to taste)

8 small tomatoes (or 4 handfuls of cherry tomatoes), roughly chopped
1 cup loosely packed basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (if using a flavored oil, use 1/8 cup flavored oil mixed with 1/8 cup unflavored extra-virgin)
5 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, stripped off the stem

Mix everything together thoroughly, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve by heaping small spoonfuls on slices of fresh, lightly-toasted baguette.

With leftover baguette, I decided to make one of my favorite sandwiches: basil, brie, and tomato. The brie, naturally, isn't local, but everything else is. The baguette comes from my favorite San Diego bakery, Bread & Cie.

Basil was also a recurring character in our CSA summer boxes, along with arugula, so pesto was an obvious answer to using up large quantities of both leafy greens. I tossed the pesto with linguine and more tomatoes.

The following isn't exactly a recipe, but more like a layout to my version of a decent and easy pesto.

Moo's Pesto Framework
(Adjust amounts to taste)

2:1 basil:arugula
small handful of nuts (I prefer pistachio, but pine nuts are traditionally used)
olive oil
lemon juice

Place the basil and arugula leaves in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add nuts and pulse until everything is chopped and combined. With the processor running, slowly dribble olive oil through the addition chute until the mixture forms a pasty suspension. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

4 bites:

Jennywenny said...

Good job! Keep it up! I keep trying to eat a little less, but life seems to be getting in the way, hopefully things will settle down soon and I can get back on track.

RecipeGirl said...

Hey, good for you! My husband is trying to get us both to do the "Abs Diet" but I'm not all that into it. I should be... but it's just tough.

We should meet up sometime in SD and have lunch... a healthy lunch!

Bungalow Barbara said...

Good for you for changing your habits! Your pictures are lovely!

Growing your own vegetables is so satisfying! We grow tomatos, peppers, basil, lettuce, peas, garlic, onions, shallots, and pole beans. It's amazing how much good stuff you can get out of a fairly small space.

TeaLady said...

WAY TO GO GIRL on the weight loss. It is hard and you are doing a great job. Keep it up.

4 bites