A little background: The Medford Coop posted this challenge as an alternative to the usual New Year's Resolutions. 10 days, 0 "processed" food. I'm placing quotes around "processed," because all food goes through a process (washing, cooking, grinding, etc.), and I don't really need the nitpickers to get caught up in semantics.
Non-processed food -- what this challenge is calling Real Food -- is simply whole grains, no sweeteners (except honey or fruit juice concentrate or maple syrup), fruits or veggies (fresh, preferably local), wild-caught seafood or locally processed meat, and dairy. Luckily, coffee, tea, wine & beer are all acceptable. Let's be honest, people would die otherwise. The most important rule is nothing purchased in a package can have more than 5 ingredients. Other than pasta, I don't foresee buying anything in a package.
We had one house rule: Shanti can use turbinado sugar in his coffee.
DAY 1 MEAL
Breakfast: Shanti didn't eat breakfast, but I did. In fact, I ate so late in the day, it was my lunch. I had the breakfast I have every morning. 70g of berries (yes, I weigh them), 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (which I make myself), and 3/4 cup of raw rolled oats. I am not saying this breakfast is for everyone. I know most people like their oats cooked, and I know most people like their yogurt sweetened. This breakfast is easily adapted for those tastes, though. The oats can be cooked (I would leave out any dairy) and topped with plain berries. Or, you can substitute the berries with a fruit-sweetened or honey-sweetened jam.
Lunch: Shanti had a salad, which consisted of romaine lettuce and sunflower seeds, topped with a mustard vinaigrette. I make the vinaigrette myself (olive oil, stone ground mustard, balsamic vinegar, a touch of honey and some soy sauce). The romaine we buy every couple of weeks. I purchase 6 or 7 heads of lettuce, and we wash and chop them all and then store them in Mason jars, and the lettuce keeps for about 2 weeks that way. This negates the whole "I want salad, but I don't feel like chopping up everything" problem.
Dinner: Now here's where you'd think a lot of compromising would happen. We had winter vegetable lasagne (with whole wheat lasagne noodles). I don't really like whole wheat pasta, but lasagne is the one exception. Since the noodles play a diminished role in this dish, you don't notice the difference at all. Filled with sauteed broccoli & cauliflower and caramelized onions, this lasagne has a red sauce (which I had put together and canned up this summer) and a white sauce (cream, cottage cheese, garlic and shredded parmesan). I took the Cooks Ill. recipe for summer vegetables and just modified it for broccoli/cauli.
We drank an 11-year-old Pinot Noir, and I had a pear for dessert. Shanti had two full helpings of lasagne, as well as 2 pieces of bread. It was this bread:
I made it the other night, and it was supposed to be croutons, but I never got around to it. This bread is pretty amazing. You put together a sponge (like a sourdough starter, but less work) and in another bowl, you put together what's called a soaker. The sponge is more dough-like, and the soaker has more liquid. Both sit overnight. The next day you mix the two, do a bit of kneading (not much), let it rise in the loaf pan, then bake.
The thing is, it does not taste like whole wheat bread. It's sweet and light. Orange juice cuts out the tannins in the whole wheat that impart bitterness. A bit of yogurt in the mix kickstarts some fermentation to give the bread that "artisanal" flavor. And the overnight rest for the sponge and soaker produce a light crumb.
The best part is, however, the recipe gives a weight for the flour -- you can sub in any flour, just keep everything to the same weight. And it doesn't have to be flour. You can use whole grains or sprouted grains or nuts or seeds. So this bread can be the healthiest bread in the world with tons of fiber and sprouted stuff, but there's no "health food" taste.
And I'm pretty sure that's a corollary of this challenge: whole foods, prepared simply, are tasty.
I'll be back tomorrow with Day 2's yumminess!