Thursday, January 26, 2012

Good things come in twos and so do other things

Two salads from Nancy Silverton's Mozza:

1. Nancy's chopped salad. Envision (or just look at the picture above) a mountain of chopped iceberg lettuce, radicchio, red onion, salami, aged provolone, and chickpeas tossed with an oregano vinaigrette. One of the few salads that not only survives, but improves overnight. It does lose crunch and starts to resemble sauerkraut, but it tastes zestier on day 2 than on day 1. Which is good because there was lots left over. Husband: "How many does this serve?" Me: "I think four." Isabel: "Four elephants?" Yes, my saucy daughter. And now it is all gone. What does that tell you? The recipe is here, although the online version calls for twice the quantity of cheese and salami as the version in the book. I think 4 ounces of each was plenty and healthier.

2. Little gems with gorgonzola and dates. I separated all the little gems (found at Whole Foods; like tiny heads of romaine) into individual leaves to wash them, and then it turns out the salad was supposed to be made wedge style, with the leaves not separated. Forged ahead. Tossed the leaves with an incredibly decadent and copious dressing made from yogurt, buttermilk (I used milk), thyme, sherry vinegar and huge chunks of gorgonzola. Served with a few thinly sliced dates. The combination of the sweet-jammy dates, creamy-salty gorgonzola, and crunchy-refreshing lettuce: crazy genius. (Too much dressing though; you can make this salad three times over with the quantity Silverton's recipe produces.) The recipe is here. Try it. Small portions.Very rich.

Two obstacles to full engagement with the glories of Mozza this week:

1. We have two ovens and both of them are broken. The parts have been on order for a month. This eliminates about half the recipes from Mozza, including the veal stracotto, walnut biscotti, and pizzas. Of course that leaves the pastas and the Greek yogurt gelato. Except. Except. Except.

2.  Sheepish about this because I have always thought they were ridiculous and have been opposed philosophically and emotionally, but I am on a reduced carbohydrate diet right now and have to eat my words because I like it and it is working. I was not screwing around when I started a diet back in December, and when the militant calorie counting/exercise yielding dismal results, I changed tactics. Not Atkins or South Beach, just zero starch (grains, potatoes) or processed sugar and almost zero alcohol. A modified version of this. I'm not doing his bizarre exercise program (although I'm curious about it) and he doesn't endorse gorgonzola or salami, not to mention oil, so very modified. Also, he says to eat 10 servings of vegetables per day and I am incapable. I am not, after all, an elephant. More to say about the diet in the future. Prepare yourselves.

Anyway, this is why I am not throwing myself at Silverton's gnocchi with chanterelles or her goat cheese and bacon pizza or her coconut sorbetto. One day I will, although it looks like I'll have to be altogether more moderate going forward than in the past.

Two movies I dread, but will probably see:

1. Albert Nobbs. The preview is a complete turnoff, but then there's this.

2. Melancholia. Kept putting it off. Now someone in the house is insisting.


  1. I've been hesitant to post here about this because it seems kind of tacky, but now that you've shared that you're on a low carb diet, I really want to share something with you.

    I'm a long-time reader and giant fan, so I hope this is OK.

    I just published a cookbook packed with grain-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free, legume-free, sugar-free recipes. It's called Well Fed, and it's getting a pretty great response.

    I would love to send you a copy -- but if you want to check it out first, you can get a free 30-page preview here:

    It can be really, REALLY hard to give up grains, sugar, etc., etc., but I agree with you: it really does work and food can still be super pleasurable.

    I hope you stop by and check out Well Fed. And best wishes to you with your diet. Sounds like it's going great!

  2. I would LOVE a copy. My one problem with the Smarter Science of Slim is that the food as described is very austere and unappetizing. I'm going to look at the sampler right now.

  3. 1. That salad looks like the pagliaccio salad that the local pizza chain Pagliacci serves - which is also SO delicious the next day, even if it gets a skosh on the slimy side. Whenever we order one I get a large so that I can eat the leftovers for lunch.

    2. Carb-eliminating diets are the only way I can get rid of the spare tire that creeps around my middle. After three weeks of vacation food and gallons of wine, I am about to have to do it again. I'll check out your plan.

  4. Yay! Thanks for putting the full post in Reader! And see, here I am clicking over to comment anyway per usual.
    The no-white-stuff way is a hard one but the only truly effective, actually healthy way I have ever heard of. Hooray for you & good luck with it!

  5. take dramamine before seeing 'Melancolia'

  6. I'm trying his diet. I bought the Kindle version and started right away. Today I had Greek yogurt with vanilla and splenda added (I don't like plain yogurt, alas), some roasted cauliflower, some mushroom soup, a Greek yogurt smoothie with flax meal, a red bell pepper, and am about to have some cod and asparagus. I'm actually too full to make said cod yet. Then I added up all that food in the Weight Watchers points calculator, and it turns out it adds up to 15 points, leaving me 11 more for wine, if I want it. I haven't gotten to Jonathan Bailors advice about wine, so I'm pleading ignorance ;) I agree that the way of eating he describes sounds more like medicine than food. How do you just sit down and eat cottage cheese? I hope you will share any cool meals you dream up to follow this diet.

  7. I think Bailor's advice about high intensity exercise and resistance training is spot on, but I would argue his point about "overexercising." I think too many people "junk exercise"--doing the same exercise without varying does promote efficiency. You will begin to burn fewer calories because you are simply more efficient. I would also argue that people who exercise with effort 5-7x/week--i.e. endurance athletes-- don't have to worry about their dress size increasing. I have never been as lean as when I was triathlon training--to the tune of 18 hours/week.
    Between you and the piglet I am going to have way too many cookbooks :) 2nd batch of bagels rising as we speak.

  8. Did you use the tomatoes? It looks great- and something my family would like

  9. My Kids Mom -- I bought the cherry tomatoes and forgot to put them in. They're still on the counter.

    Ginny -- His exercises fascinate me. I tried one the other day that involved holding onto the doorknob (!) and looked very simple, but I did something wrong that hurt a lot. All better now, but I'm nervous about trying more without guidance. Meanwhile, spinning. Just trying to do it harder.

    Tori, Meme, Anonymous -- I can't believe I didn't start a diet like this sooner. Calorie counting doesn't work for me anymore. AT ALL. And it has nothing to do with will power.

  10. I've been low-carbing it for nearly a year, and have lost lots of weight, with a bit still to go. I swore I'd never go down that path, yet I feel happy and healthy and well-fed.

    Cottage cheese is my breakfast every morning (sometimes with scrambled eggs, sometimes with veggies). I miss the crunch of good toast, but can live without it for now.

    Best wishes on your journey!

  11. The Primal/Paleo diet seems a lot like what you are doing -- and there are lots of cookbooks out there with pretty good options. I've been doing it for a while after switching from counting calories and while there are a lot of foods I miss, I do love the freedom of eating as much as I want of the things I can have. Here's two good places to check out: and

  12. I consider myself as someone who loves food, but I love feeling well more. As you get older, this is of greater concern, believe me! You can modify your diet in such a way as to feel better, but it requires a lot of effort in learning new ways to cook and eat. It truly is unhealthy to eat a carb heavy diet. If anyone can do it, you can! Good luck on your journey to do this.

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