Thursday, November 18, 2010

While Writing A Novel...

Good morning, Everyone! My company arrived yesterday afternoon--my youngest daughter, Donna, and her husband, Ron. This morning Ron went with Steve to train to take dents out of cars! Odd, you say? Well, life is odd...and seems to get more so every day. But we'll stick to the writing a novel. It's beginning to feel basic after writing every day for over two weeks. Now I have to say that I only have a little over 20,000 words, and I must have 50,000 words to get it published! I have to admit that it isn't looking good for me to reach that count. But as Scarlett said, I'll think about that tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to give you a good idea to try before Thanksgiving dinner arrives.

What is the first thing that you think of when you think of Thanksgiving? Food! And lots of it. Hot and delicious turkey, chicken, ham, or whatever meat you like, and lots of vegetables. And fresh, hot bread. Then there's cranberry sauce and desserts. We can talk about those later. I was thinking about all this and thought how nice it might be to follow a recipe from Mireille Guiliano's book French Women Don't Get Fat for a day or two before overeating at your Thanksgiving dinner. Here's a recipe for a leek soup with special instructions to help you maintain your weight.

Magical Leek Soup (Broth)
Serves 1 for the weekend

Ingredients: 2 pounds leeks

1. Clean the leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil. Cut off the ends of the dark green parts, leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of pale green. (Reserve the extra greens for soup stock.)

2. Put the leeks in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and reserve. Place the leeks in a bowl.

The juice is to be drunk (reheated or at room temperature to taste) every 2 to 3 hours, 1 cup at a time.

For meals, or whenever hungry, have some of the leeks themselves, 1/2 cup at a time. Drizzle with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season sparingly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if you wish.

This will be your nourishment for both days, until Sunday dinner, when you can have a small piece of meat or fish (4 to 6 ounces--don't lose that scale yet!), with 2 vegetables, steamed with a bit of butter or olive oil, and a piece of fruit.

But not everyone likes leeks by themselves, and for those people, Mireille has another solution. Mireille says: Pity those who don't love the sweet taste and delicate texture of leeks. Eventually, you probably will. If not, follow the example of my cousin in Aix-en-Provence; after the birth of two sons, she needed to shed a few pounds but didn't love leeks. A neightbor suggested hiding the leeks among other flavorful and healthful ingredients. This Provencal version is known as soupe mimosa (Mimosa Soup). 

Mimosa Soup
Serves 1 for the weekend


1     head lettuce
1/2  pound carrots
1/2  pound celeriac
1/2  pound turnips 
1     pound leeks
1/2  pound cauliflower
1/2  cup chopped parsley
2     hard-boiled eggs, chopped 

1. Clean and chop all vegetables in rough pieces and put them in a pot, except for the cauliflower and parsley. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook for another 15 minutes.

2. Pass all the cooked vegetables through a food mill.

3. Serve the soup in a bowl and add parsley and pieces of chopping hard-boiled eggs.

Eat 1 cup (at room temperature or reheated) every 3 hours or so all day Saturday and Sunday until Sunday dinner when you can have a small piece (4 to 6 ounces) of fish or meat, 2 steamed vegetables with a dash of butter or olive oil, and 1 piece of fruit. Somewhat less liquidy and magical than the leek soup, this soup is nevertheless an effective and tasty alternative.

Both versions are so good, and such an adventure for most palates, that you will have a hard time seeing them as prison rations. Especially if these tastes are new to you, jot your impressions of flavor and fragrance on the next clean page of the notebook in which you have recorded your last three weeks. (Mireille has advised us to keep up with what we eat for at least three weeks.) In time, this exercise will intensify your pleasures, and you may want to keep a regular diary of your gastronomic experiences.

I have tried this leek soup, and I love it. It is really a broth, but it's very tasty and easy to enjoy. I also like a vegetable soup, though I haven't tried this exact recipe. Just see what you think! 

Have a great Thursday! The weekend is coming soon.

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