Happy New Year

I love watching the ball drop on Times Square as well as the footage from other cities in different time zones who have in the past hours just rung in the New Year. I sometimes question the choice of guests on the big stage in the Big Apple but all in good fun. How wonderful to gauge exactly how cold folks are in the crowd. Fireworks over the Thames with the Parliament serving as a backdrop and the Sydney Opera House illuminations are a pair of my favorites. I so enjoy following my cousins in the UK, South Africa and New Zealand via social media who celebrate the New Year respectively 5, 7 and 18 hours ahead of us. Champagne toasts, enthusiastic embraces and kisses for all. Where is the best place you have ever brought in the New Year?

If you are anything like me, the New Year is a time for immense anticipation, extraordinary albeit attainable resolutions, stepping on the scale and a subsequent regimen. I usually wait until January 2 to acknowledge reality. On New Year's Day, two of my bosom pals from college have everyone to their inviting home to enjoy the husband's famous Bloodies, pulled pork braised overnight, collards massaged by hand in olive oil and apple cider vinegar as well as a fabulous variation of black eyed peas and bright corn. Children are welcome and it is a most enjoyable opportunity to nurse the delight from the night before. Most importantly, it is a marvelous forum for gathering with close friends and kicking off the New Year in due fashion.

Back to basics. In the New Year, I use the term regimen because in my book the word diet has grotesque connotation. Diets, as necessary as they may be at times, make for seriously boring business. I usually associate them with deprivation, hunger, tedium and monotony. For someone who is always thinking about food, recipes, where to eat in which cities, where to travel to eat where and what have you - this is a doomsday scenario. My father always preaches moderation. Unfortunately, we children never conquered restraint in the food department. Sometimes when necessary but not by habit. 

This is why come the start of the New Year, I don't go on a diet. Instead, I prepare a list of items I plan to eliminate from my diet and I vector accordingly. I exercise regularly. Treat myself to regular sauna sessions. Lots of water and hot teas - green, mint, fennel, etc.  You know the routine. After a pair of weeks, I gauge how I feel. I slowly reintroduce things back. If they work, excellent and if not, out they go. At this time, I ensure that the fridge is stocked with great variety including enticing, rich in color goodies that will not only put my hunger at bay but also ensure that I feel satisfied. I make a big production out of most of my meals, breakfast aside but lunch and dinner must be something to which to look forward. I like to be excited about what I am eating. Otherwise, what's the point? More about this tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I have a very temperamental stomach. Many of the foods that I love, do not like me. The marvelous imbroglio is simple. I sometimes enjoy these foods anyway and suffer the consequences later. I am my own worst enemy. Dairy, glutens, many fruits including the powerful antioxidant berries. It is a process of trial and error. So come the New Year, which in the world of Elizabeth is always filled with promise and adventure as well as the notion that this will be the best year yet, I find it best to simply eliminate the goodies that I know do not agree with me.  I am sure I will deviate over the course of the year but starting January 2, I am quite disciplined about getting the job done. Note, I am only human and as such, do the best I can.

In our South African led household, we grew up eating Shepherd's Pie. My mother's was the real deal complete with carrots, peas, traditional beef or lamb and buttery mashed potatoes.   Dinner has always been and continues to be my favorite meal. I need something that not only satisfies my appetite but is visually appealing and tricks my mind into thinking that this is not the diet of a calorie deprived person. The below achieves precisely that.


Hit the Grocers

2 TBS olive oil
1 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 leek
1 lb of ground turkey meat (lean)
4 carrots
1 punnet of crimini mushrooms
A bunch of fresh: rosemary, thyme, parsley, dill
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 cup of chicken stock
3/4 cup of light coconut milk
1 tsp nutmeg
Generous pinch or more of kosher salt

To Prepare

1. On a cutting board, chop the white and light green parts of the leek as well as the garlic. Please set aside. In your Cuisinart, finely chop the onion and put aside. Chopped the carrots and put aside followed by the mushrooms. Now for the herbs. You want the leaves from two stalks or rosemary, multiple legs of thyme, a generous amount of parsley as well as dill. You can gauge amount on your own. I am a believer in the more is better mantra with regard to herbs. Please chop in the Cuisinart and set aside. Don't put the Cuisinart away yet as you will need it for the cauliflower.

2. Add 2 TBS of olive oil to a large pan at medium high heat.  Add the chopped leeks and garlic. Sauté for four minutes or so until soft and bright in color. Now add the onions and cook until translucent  Approximately 5 minutes. Now add the carrots and give a big stir. Let said cook for approximately 5 - 7 minutes. Now add the mushrooms. Give everything a big stir and let said cook for another 5 - 7 minutes. 

3. Add the turkey meat as well as a generous pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Increase the heat to high and mix until all the meat has browned. Once the meat has cooked, add 1/2 cup of chicken stock, bring to a quick boil and lower the heat to medium high. Now you want to add half of the herbs and stir them in. Set the heat to low and continue to stir for about 10 minutes. The meat should be very fragrant at this stage. Take off the heat and pour the meat into a rectangular casserole dish.

4. Roughly chop a head of cauliflower and steam said for approximately 12 minutes or until it is tender with a fork. Once it is cooked, add to the Cuisinart along with the other half of the herbs, the coconut milk, nutmeg, a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until creamy.

5. Pour the cauliflower mash over the meat and bake at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Dig in kids!

1 comment:

  1. Liz, love the idea of the fresh herbs and the coconut milk in the cauliflower mash! I will definitely give that a whirl! Kath