a tale of two dinners

February 12th, 2009 · 39 Comments

and they’re completely unrelated. but i thought i’d give you two for the price of one. because i believe that you deserve two – if only because i am the slacker of all food bloggers and have miserably fallen down on my posting. and because neither dish photographed all that well. and perhaps mostly because time somehow disappears and i’ve no idea where it goes…

today is a completely lovely day in middle tennessee and well, i sold my car by accident and the new one’s not here yet (or even close) so i am housebound with the ‘amazing growing puppy’ and two pissed off cats. meaning, i need to write, if only as a diversion to my current state of affairs. and ummm, if any one wants to come to my house and take me shopping, that would be super.

so anyway, these are for you and really, they were both excellent.

below we have my adaptation of a gordon ramsey recipe from his book ‘healthy appetite’ which i dearly love due to the fact that the recipes are interesting AND light. so even if his own personal goose is getting cooked right now, i’m still a fan. he is without a doubt a great chef. but gordon? perhaps you shoulda killed ‘em with some kindness afterall, as your karma might be messing with you…

regardless, the scallops were wonderful. peas and lima beans (both frozen) with a lot of mint and a hint of butter, the perfect bed to rest 3 scallops upon, seared with fresh thyme. gordon called for fava beans, not lima’s – and fresh shelled peas. but i don’t have to fear ‘the ramsey’ getting all up in my face, so the executive bean decision was – lima.


fyi – the scallops were NOT burned they were just deeply colored rendering them unattractive yet delicious

and this is a staple around here. greens (turnip this time although usually lacinato kale) and beans (rancho gordo – cannellini’s) with a dose of good red wine vinegar and olive oil, accompanied by copious amounts of rosemary and garlic – topped with a poached egg. and this is really just very, very damn good.

fyi – this totally tasted so much better than it looks here…

lately my food has been simple. even more so than usual. we’re eating things like whole wheat pasta with my own tomato sauce. the current blend is made with heirlooms grown in canadian hot houses, thrown in a blender and then added to a saute of olive oil with garlic, an anchovy, capers and red chile flakes with just a touch of sugar for balance and a few black kalamata olives. 5 big shrimp thrown on top work quite nicely. and then i have most certainly become a vegetable roasting fool. the last batch was portabella’s with eggplant, fennel and red bell peppers – served up with a grilled bison steak. so this is what i’ve eaten lately. not terribly exciting. but really good and wholesome. there is no cheese to speak of, no cream, minimal butter or (sob) bacon, no real desserts – and portions are definitely on the smaller side. yet somehow i am surviving. and i feel better already.

and THEN there are my guilty pleasures because i am ONLY HUMAN and i thought i would tell you what fills in the blanks these days:

(in no particular order)

  • laughing cow low fat cheese wedges – 35 processed calories = a hunk of creamy spreadable cheese
  • acai juice – 1/2 cup per day. which tastes almost like someone got funky chocolate on my funky raspberries
  • diet dr. pepper – one a day. my fave besides dr. browns diet cream soda
  • very lightly buttered toast with marmite and a cup of tea – i love this…
  • sparsely spread peanut butter with june taylor’s blood orange marmalade
  • amy’s frozen dinners – especially their ‘veggie loaf’ and ‘rice macaroni and cheese’ and well, i’ve been eating these for a long time…
  • imagine’s boxed soups – butternut squash and creamy tomato (not proud)
  • very little pieces of good dark chocolate with an espresso

for the record, my 1000 calories a day is looking much more like 1150. when i can stay at 1000 i am pleased with myself – but yes, it’s a tough number to adhere to. i’m on week 4 and i’m down about 6 lbs. i won’t lose much more than 1.5 a week (age and lack of exercise) but as long as i stay the course, i’ll be fine before too long. it’s still about 4 more solid months of me being ON IT. then i can loosen up a bit.

(i keep eyeing my spring clothes tucked away in the corner of my closet. one very pretty little pale overpriced grey dress in particular…)

Tags: beans · eggs · greens · seafood

39 responses so far ↓

  • 1 maggie (p&c) // Feb 12, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Wow, I’m impressed at 1150. You’re doing great.

    Now if I would only cook up some of the beans in my cupboard and join you. I just haven’t had success yet. The last rancho gordos took HOURS (perhaps I had them simmering too low.)

  • 2 dan // Feb 12, 2009 at 10:45 am

    i want to talk about how wonderful it is to have you back, and that poached eggs look good on top of sand, and that simple homemade tomato sauce is one of my most trusty kitchen staples.


    MARMITE? Really?

    Marmite and Vegemite were the things the Brit and Aussie counselors at camp used to make us eat when we sat at their table in the dining hall. We were not amused…

    Ah well, I hereby bequeath all Marmite to which I was owed by the cosmos to CY.

    And welcome back. And those poached eggs ARE deliciously good looking. And I can’t wait until my Mom’s ‘maters are in this summer so I can make sauce like that (and just slice them salt them, and munch on them).

  • 3 Robert // Feb 12, 2009 at 11:16 am


    3 casual obervations:

    (1) i sold my car by accident – Right.

    (2) i feel better already – YEAH!!

    (3) one ……little pale….. grey dress – Mmmm

  • 4 naomi // Feb 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Poached eggs make everything taste great no? I salute your new sustainable diet – hopefully not always so reduced, but full of delicious treats that are also healthy. Whatever you cook up always sounds completely delicious to me – who said roasted vegetables were boring anyway?

    Out of crisis comes creativity.

    x x x

  • 5 michelle @ TNS // Feb 12, 2009 at 11:48 am

    anything with a poached egg on top is good. anything. and if the egg has been well poached, i think it’s virtually impossible to take a bad picture of it. i’m ripping this recipe off for cheap-ass mondays.

    i still haven’t gotten off my ass to order the damn rancho gordo beans. although i do note with some interest that by birthday is nearly 2 months past and no care package has arrived from nashville…

    healthy or not, all that food looks good.

  • 6 Indeo // Feb 12, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    laughing cow cheese slowly melted in milk, then added to 3 oz of whole wheat pasta and a sprinkle of parm…maybe some peas & carrots added to the mix…the day I learned that laughing cow cheese could be converted to a thick & creamy sauce was a very happy day…a guilty pleasure I highly recommend, for those of us on reduced calorie diets …congrads on losing 5 lbs! awesome.

  • 7 The Italian Dish // Feb 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Well, hats off to you. I’m impressed. And just eating healthy is a big plus. (The scallops, by the way, look perfect).

  • 8 Lesley // Feb 12, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I tried really hard to stay at 1200 a day for several weeks and…nothing. Gone are the days when I could just not eat for a few days and magically be thinner. Oh to be 27 again.

    BTW, this Trader Giotto’s frozen garden lasagna is not as good as mine, but only has 290 calories. Impressive.

  • 9 noble pig // Feb 12, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Okay I love the half-sies picture…it made me laugh.

    What’s acai juice? Guess I can look it up.

    I have several of those dresses waiting…just waiting. I need to try the Amy’s dinners.

  • 10 Ken Albala // Feb 12, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    The scallops look great, not burned at all. And so do the eggs. And Gordon deserves to be reamed anyway.

    “The Emperor” Yes I grew the grapes that became the sapa. Ken

  • 11 Melissa // Feb 12, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Glad you’re doing well. I should have come to read this today before asking you in my reply to your email…

    I know the cannellinis with greens and egg tasted good since I have made the RG cannelinis with greens myself, and also marinated overnight in olive oil, salt, pepper, mint and lemon for a light lunch (which you MUST try). I just need to poach that egg on top a la Jennifer Hess.

    ummm, if any one wants to come to my house and take me shopping, that would be super.

    Me! Me!

    Oh wait. You live 2,000 miles away.

    Crap. :(

  • 12 Amy at Minimally Invasive // Feb 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Glad to hear you’ve come around on the whole wheat pasta, even if it did involve a bit of kicking and screaming. I assume you found one of the non-cardboard varieties to please your palette, so please share!

    For the record, I love marmite; my Brit roomies got me into it. Strangely, I never developed a taste for PG tips. Oh, well…

    Great going with your diet. I’m really, really impressed with your will power. We miss you around these parts, though.

  • 13 [eatingclub] vancouver || js // Feb 12, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Simple meals are all of the good. I admire your stick-to-it-ness. Hang in there!

  • 14 cookiecrumb // Feb 12, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    OK, that just sounds like… FOOD! I’d eat that stuff. (Oh, wait. I do.)
    If you’re losing a pound+ a week, you’re doing fantastic. You might get some hand weights and rock out to Depeche Mode. Well, I would…
    (Heather got to you, eh?)

  • 15 we are never full // Feb 12, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    you go girl. you sound like you’re doing great . keep up the good work. (do i sound like a school counselor yet?). if eating lite means eating these two dishes, well, i’m in.

    as for diet dr. pepper, it’s my fave too out of any diet soda. i’m w/ cookie crumb – depeche mode usually isn’t my exercise music of choice, but buy their remix album and you’ll def. be rocking.

  • 16 Kristie // Feb 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Okay, so I think you’re gorgeous. Like “HiI’mClaudiaI’mamodel” gorgeous. But if you’re going to diet, shouldn’t you be eating, at minimum, 1200 calories per day? Or is that just for really large people? I just know that I lose jack and shit for weight if I go below 1600 calories per day. Seriously. It just stalls. Then if I get to 1800 a day I gain. I mean, fuck. Who can keep that close a count? Stupid genes.

  • 17 maris // Feb 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    It soundsa like you’re doing great! My 1150 is more like 1750 or 2250 so you should be proud :)

    I like those Laughing Cow cheeses also, they taste so much richer than they are! And I’m sorry to hear that you’re housebound. I was home sick last week for 3 days and had some serious cabin fever!

  • 18 Abby @ mangerlaville // Feb 12, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Congrats on the diet, losing weight is hard, but your snacks sound delicious. I will say the poached eggs over beans and greens sounds healthy delicious and something I could eat everyday.

  • 19 Heather // Feb 12, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Another gimme is those Tasty Bite Indian meals. Easy, couple hundred calories, and not bad.

    Almost there!

  • 20 democommie // Feb 13, 2009 at 7:13 am


    The food is lookin’ good! Not as good as you, but, lookin’ good. I could eat a cedar shingle if it had a few poached eggs on its bad self.

    I made a sort of cioppinoish stew the other day with some kielbasa, chorizo, mussels and scallop in a tomato, mire poix, sherry infused chicken broth base. It was not calorie concious, but it very easily could have been using some lean pork or chicken. It is delicious and would have been even better if I had access to some nice fresh fish.

    Stay on your plan and cheat as necessary!

  • 21 Jennifer Hess // Feb 13, 2009 at 9:01 am

    That all looks great, sweets. Can you get farro pasta down there? If not, I’m totally sending you a care package. It’s far, far superior to whole wheat in flavor and texture (imho).

    (and Melissa: you have me cracking up here :D)

  • 22 Julie // Feb 13, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Hey, the food looks great but where are the puppy pictures?

  • 23 lo // Feb 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Mmm. Did I ever tell you that lima beans are my favorite?
    Totally loving the scallops dish.

    And heck — what doesn’t photograph well separately looks darned good together. :)

  • 24 SpinachTiger // Feb 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I love poached eggs and when I’m dieting, I tend to eat a lot of them and I also try to find something other than bread to sop them up. …Glad you are doing well on your plan, and keeping a good sense of humor about it.

  • 25 Laura // Feb 13, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Oh eggs. How I love thee. I think the word “unctuous” was coined just to describe the texture of the yolk of a perfectly-poached egg, running down into whatever it rests atop. Sexy. I hereby declare that any food item with a well-poached egg on top of it becomes a Sexy Food Item. Plain risotto? No way. Sexy Risotto? Yes please. Plain beans and greens. Yawn. Sexy Beans and Greens? Oh, sign me up, mama!

    Bourdain called himself an egg slut the other night on No Reservations. Yeah… Me, too.

  • 26 Laura // Feb 13, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Oops. Also, new blog.

  • 27 rebekka // Feb 14, 2009 at 11:18 am

    So diet Dr. Pepper, huh!? I keep hearing that commercial on Lightning 100 with the dialouge between the lady and her husband about it and I’m like, man…there must be something to this stuff!

  • 28 Bren // Feb 15, 2009 at 10:11 am

    girl, you are funny!!! I’ve been bad about posting too, In fact, yesterday was my first in 2 weeks. I won’t admit I was so removed from writing. I was also traveling, so I have somewhat of an excuse. Glad you’re back on it. Eggs on top of anything works for me. ;)

  • 29 Peter // Feb 15, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    For the life of me I can’t believe you didn’t stretch these into two posts. You’re even lazy at being lazy!

    Seriously, though, I think eating this way can make one a better cook- forcing you to extract nuances of flavor so that simpler food can still excite.

    But not with Marmite, though. Marmite is the devil.

  • 30 Rachel (S[d]OC) // Feb 16, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Congrats on the lost pounds. I think I gained back everything I lost this weekend. V-day was an eating frenzy (but so worth it).

    Interesting article about Gordon Ramsey. I guess his ego got the better of him.

    I love your beans and greens with eggs on top idea. I should try that for hubby. He likes beans and lvoes it when I throw eggs on tops of things.

  • 31 ponyboat // Feb 16, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Diet Dr Pepper is laced with heroin. It is highly addictive and I have proof. It is usually the only soft drink I keep stocked, and on several occasions I have offered friends their first one ever, to change it up from their usual Diet Coke. After the first sip, I can see the change behind their eyes. Invariably, upon my next visit to their home, I open the fridge, and there’s nothing in it but Diet Dr Pepper. Open the pantry, same thing. It’s like the body snatcher of soft drinks.

  • 32 Brittany // Feb 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Yay for beans and greens. Add a drippy egg and I am putty in your hands.

    There is a little (independant, not jamba juice) smoothie place next door to where I work that makes acai smoothies with a ashot of B 12 in them for added crack-like energy.
    I’m officially addicted. They don’t taste great, but they don’t taste like shit either.

    I’m totally making your tomato sauce tonight.

  • 33 Lauren // Feb 16, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    if that’s the diet food, i think i could get on board. i drool for scallops. you are well aware of my love of amy’s veggie loaf. as for the butternut squash soup, i had a great bowl of it at a local restaurant a few weeks ago and i’m pretty sure it wasn’t low calorie, but it was soooo good.
    keep up the diet. you’re doing great.

  • 34 marianne // Feb 16, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Do you know what happened to the lovely ” life in recipes” blog????

  • 35 goodfoodmatters // Feb 17, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Claudia, your scallops look delish–nice crusty-ish caramelizing–not unattractive at all!

  • 36 Irene // Feb 17, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Both look awesome, and I have a special weakness for scallops, and well, eggs over anything is a winner with me. We are doing the same thing around here in terms of re-learning balanced diet and portion size (huh, balanced… portion size? I used to know how to do that once upon a time!) :)

  • 37 Maffy // Feb 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I’m on ly finishing up week 1, so it’s very hard. I haven’t hit 1000, yet, but I’m close. If I do have a low day, I’ve probably not done very much, either. I weigh in Friday, so I’ll know how week 1 went. It’s tough to stay interesting with food, but you keep the inspiration coming. I have red summer dress that I really hope to wear in NYC in June, but I’ll have to stay the course. You are not alone! And your efforts and blogging (when you can) are greatly appreciated.

  • 38 Vincent // Feb 18, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    love it love it love it… egg whites are the new black for me. smooches.

  • 39 Marie // Feb 18, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Way to go Claudia! I really should be following in your footsteps!

Leave a Comment