TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. - I don't know about you, but I am sick of food. I almost hate it, which is bad news for a recipe columnist. The holidays just pushed me over the cliff, (and we are not talking fiscal), right into an abyss where, in the end, nothing tasted good anymore. I was on some kind of weird, high-caloric auto-pilot. I was like a shark - if it was in front of me I ate it and the only time I stopped was when I was sleeping.
After a while, the cookies tasted like turkey which tasted like cheese and crackers, which tasted like egg nog, which tasted like candy. In the end (OK, the last two weeks) I never let myself get hungry enough to appreciate the holiday menu. It was so bad I almost sent my editors a recipe column with that cayenne pepper/honey/lemon juice 10-day fast. But if I were to get behind that I would be too weak to write. Enter the famous, low-cal, high-fiber, super-filling, easy-to-prepare-in-huge-batches, vegetable soup. Did your mother or grandmother ever push the cabbage soup diet on you? Both of mine did. (Resentment!) And I laughed, but I laugh no more. It really is a good way to go after the New Year, or any time this winter. Weight Watchers is an advocate. It gets a thumbs up from Dr. Oz. They serve it on the Biggest Loser. (I made that one up).
The point is, you can enjoy the soup as many times a day as you like and it will stave off hunger, provide great nourishment, and help you get back on track. If eaten in place of, say, cold stuffing consumed directly out of the Tupperware, you will loose weight. Try it, again and again, you'll like it and love the results. If you don't look good, we don't look good. Wow. Too much TV for Simone this holiday season.
What I meant to say was, if you don't look good, join the club.
There is a way out, and it is called ...
Enough Already! Slimming Vegetable Soup
This is a very chunky vegetable soup with not too much broth. If you prefer more broth, just add one or two cups more of chicken or vegetable stock, double up on the Italian seasoning, and throw in a pinch more salt and pepper. If there is a vegetable you favor over another, double up on that vegetable and nix the other.-
3 Tbls. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 Tbls. minced garlic
3 Tbls. olive oil
4 Tbls. soy sauce
32 oz. (four cups) chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups V8 vegetable juice
1 large onion, chopped in medium sized pieces
1 bunch celery, chopped about 1/4 inch thick, including tops
2 cups little, baby carrots
2 cups chopped (about 1-inch long pieces) green beans
2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped (they sell them loose in most super markets)
4 small zucchini, cut into half-inch rounds
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups mushrooms, cut into quarters
half a bunch of chopped parsley
In large, 8-quart pot saute the garlic in olive oil until soft, to release flavor. Add one cup of broth, onions, Italian seasoning, salt and soy sauce. Cook over medium heat until onions are soft. Add all other ingredients with the exception of mushroom and parsley. Place lid on pot and cook over very low heat for about 35 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Remove lid, add mushroom and parsley and cook for another 10 minutes, uncovered, over low heat. Serve as is or, using a slotted spoon, scoop out vegetables and serve on top of roasted acorn squash. Acorn squash is easy to prepare, sweet by nature, and in season. Translation: on sale.
Roasted Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash
1 Tbls. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut squash in half lengthwise, from stem to stem. Scoop out and discard seeds and fibers. Cut a small flat spot on the back of each half so the squash won't roll around on the baking sheet. Rub down both halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake on cookie sheet, flesh side facing up, for one hour.- -