The first time we met, we sat side by side on a gym's grey floor mats
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I was so excited to get to work with her as part of the next 9-week challenge to change fitness, eating, and lifestyle habits. “Hi, it's nice to meet you. Do you have any questions about the food plan? We start on Monday.”
“I'm going to say, right upfront. I don't eat vegetables, and I certainly don't like fruit.”
She looked at me; I looked back. Sometimes there simply are no words. Thus began the most interesting of dances, between the veggie lover and the skeptic.
I took the lead
Stop at the local co-op and walk through the organic produce, everything is beautiful, see if something catches your eye. If it's a kitchen chopping/time issue, shop from the frozen section, take the veggies out of the bag, and you're ready to go. Let's experiment with preparation, sautéed, roasted with (or without) a dipping sauce. What about a marinade? A sprinkling of fresh herbs to top them off?
To her credit, she tried and tried some more. Until, as fate would have it one evening, she asked her husband to throw a few on the grill, and they tasted incredible
A convert was born
As her food journals began to reflect exciting veggie dishes (at nearly every meal!) with recipes and ideas now being passed in the opposite direction, I realized it was she who'd quietly stepped out in front.
Why hadn't it sunk in before? It could have been chocolate cake in question just as easily as it was vegetables. She simply wasn't willing to put anything into her mouth unless it tasted good, and her standards are pretty darn high
I took the lesson to heart this week. The list of approved foods in the detox phase for Venice Nutrition's 8-Week Run was terribly small. Without any “treats” to look forward to, the desire to make every meal count took on a new sense of urgency.
This idea came from Shape Magazine. Marinated salmon with a light cucumber salad, which, when paired, form a quick and balanced meal that's incredibly easy to make, especially for the resulting flavor.
Mirin and rice vinegar tenderize the salmon, leaving it moist inside with a perfect outer crust. The recipe strikes a nice balance with just the right amount of salty (from the miso and soy sauce) and sweet (from the mirin). It's probably described best by Wolfgang himself, “Japanese cuisine presents many examples of how you can make light, healthy foods intensely flavorful and satisfying.”
The glaze can be made ahead of time. Another idea your weeknight repertoire
Who says you have to broil your salmon? Once we discovered how unusual this marinade was, we've taken to cooking our salmon on the stovetop until it's flakey. Added to some mixed veggies, it's a quick meal at the ready
- 4 (4 oz) salmon fillets
- ½ cup mirin
- ¼ cup white miso paste
- 2 Tbsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado) - or brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- Marinate the salmon by first putting the fillets in a shallow dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the mirin, miso, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil.
- Pour the marinade over the salmon fillets, turning them to coat on both sides. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or as long as overnight.
- About half an hour before serving time, preheat the broiler.
- Transfer the salmon fillets to a broiler pan or baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.
- Place them under the broiler and cook until nicely browned and barely cooked through in the center, 3 - 4 minutes per side (if the broiler is on high) or 6-7 minutes per side (if the broiler is on low), depending on thickness, turning them carefully with a spatula halfway through.
- 2 cup Japanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced cucumbers and salt and toss well.
- Add the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil and toss well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss again.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time (~ 20 minutes)