I assumed my four-pound November/December weight gain would relegate me to average American statistical data. It turns out I’m wrong.
According to a scientific article in The New England Journal of Medicine, the average weight an American puts on over the holidays is about one pound. That doesn’t sound so bad, but the article continues by reporting most people don’t ever lose that one pound of weight — that can add up.
Each pound added to my girth was done so with cognoscente enthusiasm; I plan to shed each and every one of them in the same spirit, which does not translate to denying myself delicious food. In my vocabulary, “diet” is a four-letter word, a noun translating to “denial” that should never be uttered aloud. Extra time at the gym, combined with an abundance of vegetables, grains, lean proteins and healthy fats should help shed the weight I gained.
I looked for one dish that incorporated many vegetables and found a recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine for ratatouille, a French vegetable stew. This recipe includes ingredients typical to most ratatouilles: eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and onion. The recipe is atypical because the author chose to roast instead of simmer or sauté the vegetables for the stew. I like this suggestion as I prefer the technique of roasting, which concentrates each vegetable’s unique flavor profile.
The best ratatouille’s are made at summer’s end with local tomatoes, eggplant, onion and zucchini. But this January ratatouille, using Florida and California vegetables, is filled with the sunny flavors of summer. The Fine Cooking recipe uses fresh tomatoes, but I prefer using a good canned whole tomato at this time of the year, and this was one of the changes I made.
Ratatouille keeps a good week, refrigerated, so I made one large recipe insuring I’d have leftovers in the coming days. I plan to toss the ratatouille with pasta one evening; another night make bruschetta. To make this Italian treat, I’ll spoon ratatouille over whole grain artisan bread slices, top them with grated cheese, and then run the bread under the broiler.
My husband’s birthday is next week, and he’s requested Lamb in Puff Pastry for a special dinner. Life is a balancing act, so puff pastry and butter will find themselves next to bulghur and broccoli in tomorrow’s shopping cart. Every good boy deserves favor.