Here we are at the start of a new year. Now what?
It’s no small feat that the world survived 2017 with its record-breaking natural disasters and numerous man-made crises, not to mention the anxiety-induced stress eating we engaged in here on Planet Earth as we helplessly watched the events unfolding.
Comfort food, anyone? Mac and cheese? Pizza? Warm pecan pie a la mode?
Tina Fey pretty much summed it up for us in this Saturday Night Live sketch:
Through it all, Michel has maintained his habitually unflinching outlook (maybe because he’s still a Dutch citizen—just sayin’—or he’s a quintessential Taurus). He continues to invent deliciously healthful dishes and he sees to it that we go to the gym a few days a week.
Moreover, he also prefers that we actually work out while at the gym, unlike the guys who smell from cigarettes and spend considerable time gabbing/texting as they stand beside the weight racks or perhaps a certain reluctant white-haired female who suffered ninth grade PE class PTSD from having to wear a short red (scratchy) jumpsuit with her name across the back while trying to dodge flying objects because she lacked the ability to catch anything.
It’s not for nothing that the term “gym-timidation” has been employed by advertisers to assuage the fears of prospective new members, especially when the new year rolls around.
Photo: Planet Fitness
Michel’s ability to exert self-discipline isn’t limited to exercise and nutrition. He practices the violin at least 3-4 hours a day and spends countless hours every week researching instruments and bows while fielding calls from colleagues in the violin business in the U.S. and elsewhere. It’s a remarkable thing to witness. Enviable, even.
This new recipe is the latest example of his ongoing quest for good food and his intuitive approach to cooking. To most of us, a plastic bag of cauliflower “pearls” might look like the world’s saddest salad ingredient. What does Michel see? A lean and nutritious substitute for risotto.
|Traditional Mushroom Risotto: allrecipes.com|
A side of traditional mushroom risotto with its gooey, starchy goodness will set you back about 450 calories if prepared with Arborio rice, wine, butter, etc. You can do your own math to figure out what an entrée portion would amount to. I prefer to follow Scarlett O’Hara’s plan to “think about it tomorrow” (pronounced tuhmarruh) on the rare occasions I choose a risotto entrée. Also, I don’t understand “fancy” restaurant pricing of risotto dishes. It’s rice. Rice is cheap. Throw in a few mushrooms or whatever and it’s still not a $30 dish.
Even if you were to consume a "yuuuge" amount of Michel’s version you will rack up fewer than 150 calories. Here’s the breakdown from Google:
1 cup sprouts = 38 calories
1 cup artichokes = 60 calories
1 cup mushrooms = 19 calories
1 cup cauliflower = 33 calories
That’s roughly 150 calories for four cups of veggies—and that’s a LOT of veggies, not to mention all of the Vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, etc., you’re ingesting. You’re saving about 300 calories vs. traditional risotto; that’s 300 calories you can use for something less healthful, like, I dunno, half of a Starbucks Venti Toasted White Chocolate Mocha. Just a thought.
Time to put aside holiday indulgences and cook something fast and simple.
You will need:
1 small package of dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated
1 8-ounce package of crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 pound of Brussels sprouts, cut into lengthwise halves
1 16-ounce package of cauliflower pearls
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 heaping teaspoon of capers w/brine
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 6-ounce package of grilled artichoke hearts
Ready to cook?
Steam sprouts for 3-4 minutes.
Chop rehydrated porcini mushrooms.
Add olive oil to wok or your favorite large skillet.
Sauté porcini pieces and crimini slices until they start browning.
Add chopped garlic and continue cooking until mushrooms are fully browned.
Add brined capers, cauliflower pearls, grilled artichoke hearts, steamed sprout halves, and salt/pepper.
Cook for 5-8 minutes to allow ingredients to get well acquainted, i.e., thoroughly heated.
Give yourself a big pat on the back for preparing a healthful meal to start your new year.