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If you’re gonna end up eating it anyway, then eat it in the morning

Ceviche and Beer on The Beach

Any diet that prescribes eating pizza for breakfast sounds like the right diet for me. There was some leftover pizza from the day before beckoning to me from the rear of my refrigerator . I figured if I was going to end up eating it anyway, I might as well knock it out early in the morning so that I have the rest of the day to “work it off“.

Before I took the pizza home yesterday from the fancy gourmet pizza joint in town, I respectfully asked the pizza master if I was committing sacrilege by daring to take the leftovers of this perfect pie home. I, unfortunately did not have a handmade, wood fired, special pizza oven (read my previous post , “Death by Pizza” for explanation). Alas, we only have the standard oven, the ubiquitous toaster oven and the (even I know not to use) microwave to reheat the pizza . After some careful consideration, the chef begrudgingly admitted that “yes, you can take it home but make sure you heat it in a preheated oven, with the heat from the broiler. He stressed this, as he explained that re-heating the pizza with the broiler was the best method to maintain the light and crispy crust.

Well, he was right. Although not quite as sumptuous as when it came out of his wood fired oven, my little toaster did a commendable job in re-heating the leftover 2 slices. Now, I must admit that these 2 slices were smaller than the mammoth cheesy, grease-laden slices we are used to eating at such places as Rays Original Pizza or Sbarros. To a real Italian that kind of chain-restaurant pizza is as authentic as saying that french fries are from France.  Don’t get me wrong, I grew up eating that kind of pizza in Brooklyn and kept coming back every day for more. My kids clamor for that kind of pizza all the time. In fact, when they took one look at my authentic gourmet pizza, they sniffed and said haughtily “I’m not eating thaaaaat”. “That’s not pizza” they declared and ran off to play some video games.

Their disinterest in eating the fancy pizza was just fine with me as it meant that there was more for moi to consume. So after the kids went off to camp, I sat down with my first of several cups of coffee of the day and polished off the 2 leftover slices of my pizza bianca.

After patting my pleasantly full tummy, I remembered that I am supposed to be at least trying to lose a little weight so I decided that I was going to try to avoid carbs the rest of the day.

As I still had several pounds of fresh fish leftover from Sunday’s catch (see my post “Fishheads and too tight bikinis” for explanation), I decided I was going to make ceviche.  Luckily I had a few limes, lemons and a jalapeno pepper in the fridge.

First you rinse the fish and lay it down on a very clean cutting Then, you carefully slice the  white fish into 1/2 inch cubes, discarding any red or fish-skin yucky parts.  I like to place the cubed raw fish in a wide shallow bowl so that every part gets “cooked” by the citrus juice.

Then you add the juice of 4-5 limes, 1 lemon, 1 small diced onion, 1/2 of a fresh minced jalapeno pepper, 1/4 cup of oil, 1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley, some salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all up making sure that the raw fish is covered by the “cooking juices” and then pop the covered bowl into the refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

I knew that citrus juice “cooked” the raw fish however, I really did not understand the scientific reason how this raw fish could be “cooked” when there was no heat applied. So, I looked it up. 

Basically it comes down to the chemical process called denaturation. Evidently the lime and lemon juices cause the proteins and molecules in the fish to break down, altering their physical and chemical properties. This “denaturation” causes the slightly opaque raw fish to morph into firm, white, delicious and tasty morsels. 

I headed to the beach with the latest Anthony Bourdain (l’enfant terrible of the restaurant world) book. A couple of hours later I returned home, scooped some of my freshly made ceviche into a bowl, poured myself a big glass of pinot grigio and ate….and ate…and ate. The thing with ceviche is that because it basically has no fat, no carbs and very little calories, I had no guilt polishing off the entire 1 lb of fish by myself in one sitting. In retrospect, I realize that this is quite a large amount of food to eat for 1 person (especially if that 1 person is supposedly on a diet) but I figured, I had tons of fresh fish that needed to be consumed lest go bad. So I did what any normal person burdened with the difficult, albeit extraordinary, responsibility of consuming several pounds of fresh fish would do. I ate it. Burp

When the kids came home from camp, they were ravenous. A full day of sports, swimming and running amok will do it to you every time. They begged to go to the local pizzeria, NOT the fancy one but rather the regular pizza joint in town. So I packed them in the car and away we went.

Before we headed out, my older son pleaded with me to fill up his slightly flaccid bicycle tires with air. I dutifully loaded the bike into the trunk and headed to the gas station next to the pizzeria. I have had little experience with pumping air into tires as I usually leave these kind of manual labor chores to my husband however, he was back in the city working, so a mom has got to do what a mom has to do.

Loading the bike into the trunk was easy enough however, somehow during the 7 minute trip to town, the bicycle took a life of its own and managed to wedge itself between the rear seat and the ceiling of the car. Now I don’t know about your local gas station but my local gas station seems to be a haven for Spanish-speaking Day-Laborers hanging out looking for work. As I struggled to maneuver this f***ing bike out of the trunk with my two young boys cheering me supportively on, “Come on mom, you can do it! Just turn the wheel a little more and pull. ” I became keenly aware of the ridiculousnous (is that a word?) of my situation. The bike was big. The bike was heavy. It was hot and I was getting more and more frustrated by the stubbornness of this bicycle’ refusal to dislodge itself from my vehicle.

Finally after several minutes of fully entertaining and amusing my Spanish-speaking audience at the gas station, one of these kind gentleman took pity on me and offered to help me unload the bike. With sweat teaming off my brow and pink-faced from all of that cursing and exertion, I gratefully accepted his assistance. Two seconds later, the bike was dislodged from the rear of my mini SUV and the end was in sight.

I dug out 3 quarters from the bottom out of my LV bucket bag (a task easier said than done as EVERYTHING falls to the bottom depths of this bag), popped them into the coin receptacle and re-filled the tires. As I have neither any experience refilling tires nor possess a tire gauge (not that I would know what to do with one anyway), I just held my breath and hoped for the best. When the tires seemed “firm enough” I placed the bicycle carefully back into the car and headed off to dinner. Whew, what a workout!

The boys ate pizza and I ordered a “Sicilian Salad”. Now this salad is HUGE. In fact it clearly states on the menu “Sicilian Salad for 2 – $18.00″. However as this was my dinner, I had no second thoughts about the amount of salad that was coming my way. Now this salad is unlike many salads you may be familiar with. This salad has NO lettuce but is rather a gorgeous medley or oranges slices, potatoes, fennel, asperagus, string beans, tomatoes and fresh basil. I requested “no potatos” on the salad however my waitress informed me that the chef “was very cranky” and probably would not grant my request. She suggested that I just try and “eat around them”. I meekly  acquiesed. This reminds me of when I was about 7-8 years old and thought that I did not like “beans”. My mother would make “bean soup” all the time. Confronted with a bowl full of beans in starchy but tasty liquid, I would complain to her that “but I hate beans” to which she would prompty reply “Eat around them”. It seemed like a reasonable request at the time. However,  in retrospect, how the hell do you eat around “beans” in “beansoup”?

The waitress brought out the mammoth salad for two, potatoes and all. Unfortunately for my waistline, those lovely little potatoes, glistening in their extra virgin olive oil, lemon and spiced goodness did not have a chance of survival. One bite of those starchy potatoes dripping in their delicious dressing followed by the sweet rush of ripe orange slices and the crunch of the slightly liquorice flavor of the fennel and I was in heaven. I forced myself to stop eating ALL of the salad and took 1/3 of it home. However, I am afraid the damage was done.  Two slices of pizza for breakfast and oil soaked potatoes for dinner was not going to help me lose any weight. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Before we returned home after dinner, I stopped for some ice cream for the kids. I am happy to report that I was a good girl and refrained from consuming any more carb infested indulgences. I mean, I know that this is the I LOVE FOOD DIET but I have to draw the line somewhere…..don’t I!!???

Anyway we returned home after-dark to which my son reminded me that his bike was still in the car. After I gave him the “look of death”, he quickly retreated and went into the house to watch TV. The bike will stay in the trunk until Friday night when my husband comes back from the cityto help me unload. I had had enough of a “workout” for the day.

Chow for now.

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