Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Aaron's Day 2:

Slept better than usual and got up on time. If one day of veggies and cran water can do that, think of the possibilities for the next 9. Cran-psyllium-lemon water routine, check. Smoothie, check.

Tonight the cleanse group is doing a potluck (I think). I’m looking forward to this for 2 reasons: first, it will be a good social opportunity to hang out with some cool-like minded people,and we will NOT be inviting Bud Lite, Joe Camel or any of their friends. I’m assuming this is kind of what the AA members feel like when they go get coffee after meanings. I doubt I could do this cleanse if I was flying solo. Last night was a little lonely and to say I was slightly fidgety would be an understatement. Secondly, this is an opportunity to make some bad-ass food and showcase my skills so everyone can go, “hmmmmm” and shower me with praise and hire me to cook cleanse-friendly food for their wedding or barmitzvah or next bridge-club get together.

Tonight I will be putting my culinary wit and skills to the test by trying to create the perception of salty food without using salt or salted products. The foods available to me for this cleanse are practically infinite and represent some of the finest items one can put in their mouth: fresh garlic, onions, kale, arugula, organic carrots...i could go on for a while. I have always loved these vegetables and they need no additions or frills to taste delicious...except salt. Salt punctuates flavor and makes mouths water. It turns simple two-dimensional flavors into something ethereal and is often the one thing that separates casual or untrained cooks from world-class chefs. Keen and consistent use of salt has been drilled into my head from day one. Salt drops from my fingers while cooking as naturally as walking and breathing. So,today might be a pain in the ass.

Instead of salt I am going to utilize a few “flavor-inhancing” ingredients and techniques. Here they are:

Acid: along with salt, maybe the second most important additive to create balanced, complex and satisfying flavors. This can be in the form of vinegar, citrus, wine and most fruits (although they are also quite sweet and therefore, balance out the sourness). In this case my acid of choice will be organic lemon juice.

Umami: one of the 5 currently recognized tastes, “umami”, a japanese word most accurately translated as “delicious” or “savory”. Umami foods have a very high glutamate content, which is an amino acid that when deposited on the tongue sends a signal to the brain that says “we're eating something meaty and delicious! We're gonna be full and satisfied!”. Its probably most famous for its artificial form, Monosodium glutamate or “MSG”. These glutamates are naturally occurring in many foods other than meat, like aged cheese, fermented products (like miso or soy sauce), nutritional yeast and especially in a seaweed called kombu or kelp. The latter two will be on the menu tonight.

Fats: Fats of all sorts coat the mouth, giving food a rich, savory, weighty feel. Fats send a message to the brain which is, in some ways, remeniscent to the umami amino acids . Fats come in the form of butter, cream, olive oil, meat, fish, poultry and avocado. Tonight's star is the avocado along with some fresh fish that will benefit us with its omega-3 fatty acids, as well as its fresh aroma and umami-laden taste.

Picante: Asian and south American cooks have used chilis and spice to enhance flavor for centuries and many even consider picante a sixth taste. One just as important as the five we recognize (salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami). Tonight I will utilize some fresh jalapenos. They have wonderful “green” flavor profile and if the seeds and gills are carefully removed from the insides, what once was inedible spicy, is now a mild, flavorful taste-enhancer.

In conclusion, my addition to tonight's potluck is brown rice sushi with avocado and scallion, with a dipping sauce made with flax seed oil, jalapeno and nutritional yeast.

Aaron's sushi. Such a cleanse treat!

Dipping sauce for the sushi roll, added a nice kick, and I think he accomplished that illusion of salt.

Delicious arame salad. Sugar is out on the cleanse, so the dressing was made with Apple Cider Vinegar and stevia.

Carrot and beet salad-so sweet and yummy.

Cleanser being social, feels good.

No comments: