Desperation Diet: Week One

Confession: I’m not quite going paleo (a.k.a. caveman diet) as promised.  With the research I’ve done so far, I have some concerns about the red meat content of paleo, and I am not quite ready to give up any and all sweets.  Or black beans and rice.  I am, however, going to largely eliminate gluten and will focus on farm-to-table eating–courtesy of our weekly CSA bounty–and avoid as much processed, artificial crap as possible (the occasional jelly bean notwithstanding)

As promised, I am going to chronicle my kitchen adventures here as I try to find a diet (or “lifestyle” if I’m being PC and self-important) that will make me hurt less, be awake more, and–if I’m lucky–drop fifteen pounds.  When possible, I’ll post include with first-hand reviews, I’ll undoubtedly bitch or whine a little, and I’ll let you know if my pants get looser.  And if it all starts to get boring, I can try it My Drunk Kitchen style. 😀

Sooooo, without further ado, here’s the first pic of my very first CSA haul (camera phone and bad lighting–sorry!  I’ll bust out the real camera for next week’s pics):


Isn’t it beautiful?!?

It also came with a giant bag of kale, which wouldn’t fit on the platter and therefore didn’t make the photographic cut.  I did however make sure to get a pic of these:


That’s a green egg, folks!!!  Seriously, it’s green.  That is one funky chicken they’ve got there!  Either that, or it’s a rancid and/or radioactive egg.  I’ll get back to you after breakfast to let you know which (Note: I saw green eggs for sale at the co-op over the weekend, so I’m guessing it isn’t radioactive).

First meal post-CSA bounty was Thursday night’s dinner. The lovely platter of veggies above didn’t arrive in time to cook on Thursday, so I decided on a stove-free option.  The obvious choice?  Strawberries with mixed greens and homemade vinaigrette.  The vinaigrette was a no-brainer when I remembered that my stash of Stuarto’s oils and vinegars included a strawberry balsamic and blood orange olive oil:


That’s all that went into the dressing, folks (from left: poppy seeds, strawberry infused balsamic, blood orange olive oil and a green onion; full recipe below).  Oh, and a small dollop of whole grain mustard just to bind it all together, which I forgot to include in the photo.  Easy-peasy.

The next meal I cooked at home was turkey, white bean and kale soup.  Alas, I forgot to take any pictures, but it basically looked (and, incidentally, tasted) like Italian wedding soup.  I am still not over the moon about kale, and I would leave out the turkey next time in favor of more beans and carrots, but the hubs ate three bowls in one sitting, so it counts as a success.

Here are the recipes–or the closest things I can give you to recipes.  I don’t actually follow recipes myself, and I don’t measure anything, so take them as more of a guideline.  Be creative.  Be brave!  There’s one thing you can rely on when cooking with fresh veggies and a few, basic ingredients: it’s actually quite hard to screw stuff up.

Note: T = tablespoon; t = teaspoon.  I think everything else is self-explanatory.

Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Vinaigrette


1/4 c. balsamic vinegar (I used a strawberry balsamic, but regular balsamic would do just fine)

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil (I used blood orange flavored, but again, use what you have; some finely grated orange zest in regular evoo would be great)

White part of a large green onion, grated (maybe 1 T total, but more wouldn’t hurt); chop green tops for salad

Scant handful of poppy seeds

1 t. (give or take) brown mustard (if you like more bite to your dressing, use more)

Mix all ingredients in a cruet/bowl/jar/vessel of your choice and serve over mixture of spring greens, sliced fresh strawberries, green onion tops and/or thinly sliced red onion, and toasted nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts or almonds would work, too).  Or just drink it straight outta the jar.  I won’t tell.

Personal Review:

Some folks might prefer a dressing with more herbs/salt/stuff, but I was going for simple and clean here and it was delicious.  It doesn’t hurt that I really could drink that strawberry balsamic out of the bottle.  Everything else was just gilding the lily.  I made enough salad for 3 or 4 people and I ate every bit by myself.

Turkey, Kale, and White Bean Soup

1 lb. ground turkey (omit for vegetarian version, obviously)

2 large green onions (because that’s what I got from the CSA) or one medium onion, diced.

2 cans Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 large bundle of kale, rinsed, ribs/stems removed, and torn into bite-size pieces (I probably had 8 cups or so of torn kale)

3 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

3-4 cans of chicken or vegetable broth (or 5-6 cups homemade broth if you have it)

Greek or Italian seasoning

Things I didn’t add, but probably will next time: mushrooms, zucchini or squash, and roasted red pepper, or some combination thereof.  Some lemon zest and flat leaf parsley wouldn’t come amiss, either.

In a bit of olive oil, brown the turkey with onion and a few generous dashes of seasoning (I used Greek, because I was out of Italian seasoning; either is fine).  Add carrots, beans, broth, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and add kale, stirring until it wilts (it will look like a LOT of kale, but it shrinks quickly).  Simmer until carrots are tender, then it’s ready to eat.  But it’s better a day or two later.  Just let it cool, then store covered in the fridge.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m guessing it’ll freeze well, too.  Oh, and don’t eat the bay leaf (I have no idea what happens if one eats a bay leaf, but it’s apparently frowned upon).

Personal Review:

As I mentioned above, this recipe didn’t make me a kale disciple, but I liked it better in this dish than any others I’ve tried.  I’m also not a huge fan of ground turkey in most contexts, but my husband really likes it, and I though the soup might need meat for body, so in it went.  If I were making this again, though–and I plan to–I’d forego it in favor of more beans.  Or make turkey meatballs, which for whatever reason, have a more palatable texture to me (and are easier to fish out if one wants a meatless–though obviously not vegetarian–bowl).  It really is essentially Italian wedding soup, so if you like that, definitely give this a shot.  Especially if you need a quick way to use up a lot of kale!

That’s all I’ve got so far for the first batch of CSA goods.  We’ve yet to try the eggs, but I’ll be cracking into them very soon, and I’ll let you know how it goes.  We’re waiting with bated breath to see if that green egg has a similarly-hued yolk.  If so, I am so serving it with some green ham and a giant hat!!!


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