Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year

Daiku and I returned from holiday traveling late on December 30th, so New Year's Eve day was the first full day we had at home. We were anxious to do some home-cooking after a bunch of road food and rich holiday food, and were both preparing to embark on a detox (based on Alex Jamieson's book "The Great American Detox Diet") in the new year. (Thanks again to Midwest Vegan for sending me this thought-provoking book!)

For breakfast, I decided to make the Mt. Washington Hot Bread that Emmy had written about on her Vegan Diva blog. She had veganized the original recipe found on Wait-and-See Pudding. There was only one problem: in anticipation of the detox, we had gotten rid of all the refined sugar in the house. However, this was an opportunity to test how well unrefined sweeteners can replace sugar in a recipe. The "Great American Detox" has a great conversion chart, so I replaced the 1/2 cup sugar called for in the recipe with 1/2 cup maple syrup (thanks for the huge jug of maple syrup, mom!) and eliminated most of the liquid called for in the recipe. (Instead of 1/2 cup of soymilk, I used a small splash).

The resulting hot bread made a warming, hearty breakfast:

As you can see the texture was not too greatly affected by the maple syrup substitution. However, the bread did dry out a bit after a couple of hours (I think white sugar helps keep baked goods nice and moist), which wasn't a problem, since Daiku and I polished these off pretty quickly. Thanks for the tip, Emmy!

On New Year's Eve, Daiku and I stay home and cook pretty elaborate dinners to celebrate. However, this year, having just gotten back home and with the detox soon to start, we toned things down a little.

A glass (or two) of our favorite cheapo wine from California, Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc.

Some breadsticks (made with leftover dough from our Thanksgiving dinner rolls) coated in Italian seasoning

...and eaten with white bean dip. (I blended a drained can of cannelini beans with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, some veggie broth powder, water, oregano, sage, and a small pinch of coriander)

And one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, pad thai, courtesy of Daiku. We realized that we had bought soybean sprouts instead of mung bean sprouts, but they were crunchy and good. What else did he throw in there?... Some mock duck (from a can) marinated in barbeque sauce and baked, shallots, carrots, cilantro, peanut butter and roasted peanuts, shoyu, and lots of other things I'm sure I'm forgetting.

We indulged in our dinner with candlelight and a fire.

The next day, we knew we weren't fully detoxing, since we had some leftovers to get through. But we began implementing changes.

Breakfast was miso soup with tofu and wakame and dulse seaweeds, accompanied by organic orange juice and water with organic lime. I always have to convince myself that broth-based things can be satisfying, and indeed, this simple breakfast kept us going for most of the day, which included a hike.

Since Syracuse, like much of the rest of the country is unseasonably warm, we took advantage of the fact and went to our favorite close-by hiking trail, the Clark Reservation to welcome the new year and get some exercise. Here are some shots from the hike.

Finally, last night we tried a new thing. Daiku had read about Goma Dofu, a staple of zen vegetarian cuisine in Japan, and had been wanting to try it. It is basically a tofu made of sesame paste and kuzu (starch) instead of soybeans. Making it is considered zen practice, since it involves a lot of time-consuming, meditative work such as pounding sesame seeds by hand. Daiku wants to try making this at some point, but just to get a sense of what it's like, we decided to try a packaged version first.

Unfortunately, we couldn't understand the instructions on how to prepare the goma dofu! (Why, oh why, did I never learn Japanese?) We even tried going to the company website, but no luck finding English instructions. Going by the illustrations, we decided to place the packages in some hot water for a few minutes, and then immerse them in cold water.

This is how the goma dofu looked out of the package, with little packets of sauce to accompany it.

Here it is on our plate, ready to eat. The texture is like a firm silken, custardy tofu, and the taste is mildly sweet and reminiscent of sesame. The sauce, from what we could taste, had some plum, ume, shoyu...? It took a while to get used to the different flavor, but by the end, we both liked the faint, delicate sweetness and depth.

And that is ultimately our resolution for the new year: to continue to explore and try new things, to expand our knowledge and our repertoire. (Sure, there are more everyday resolutions too: work on dissertation more, become more environmentally aware, travel more, lose weight, stop procrastinating... but I like the first one the most.)

Happy new year to all my dear blogging friends!



Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Good for you for preparing for the Detox. I've done a 3 day one long ago when my diet consisted of pizza, pizza, and more pizza. I think it would be much easier to do with my dietary changes now.

Those breadsticks look awesome..mmmmm!


Village Mama said...

Happy new year to you too Bazu!

Wishing you strength in your goals, abundance in health, love, yummy foods and vegan chocolate possibilities.


Judy said...

We are starting a detox on Thursday, though I am unsure how it compares to the one you are doing. We do Dr Joshi, we have done it once before and it was awesome. I am also trying to 'eat up' the perishable non-detox items over the next few days.
That pad thai looks amazing.
Good luck with the detox!

springsandwells said...

Hi Bazu,
How nice to do a detox. I have never done one... although I find the idea quite appealing. Musty is totally repulsed by the concept though, so I'd have to do it on my own or wait for him to go out of town or something. :) Luckily, this year I don't feel that I've really indulged very excessively, so I'm not feeling too bogged down by the holidays. What a relief. Good luck to you with your resolutions - I especially look forward to seeing all the interesting new foods you try. This Dofu looks very cool!

Anonymous said...

I am very interested in hearing how your detox goes. I have thought about doing one before and do think the idea has merit. I was looking it up on the internet a while ago and found a website for this woman (who now eats raw only) who detoxed and then fasted with water only for 23 days. She kept an online journal and by the third or fourth day I was so hungry just reading about it!

Your food looks very delicious! I could go for some pad thai right now. I've never made it at home. You have just inspired me. :)

Dori said...

I too am detox curious. I like the candlelight in your pictures the most, so warm and inviting. The pad thai does look good, this is a cuisine i have not worked with much. I wish you the best on your goals for 2007.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bazu,

I did Chef Alex's detox for 7 weeks last summer (I figured I could leave off 1 week since I was already vegan and didn't need to detox from meat, dairy, and eggs). It was great! I had some nasty headaches for the first couple days, but after that, I loved every minute of it. I made the scones weekly and ate them for breakfast, but I modified them and made lemon-raisin instead of orange-date most of the time. I still make recipes from that book all the time; it's become a favorite. Have fun w/ it and I'm looking forward to reading all about your experience!


bazu said...

Crystal, I totally agree with you, this detox would be much harder for someone who eats bunches of fast food and junk food, which I really don't.

Village Mama, thank you so much! Happy new year to you and your beautiful family, too!

Judy, I look forward to peeking in on your detox experience. It was hard to finish up all the perishables (we ended up freezing a lot of things), but we're pretty much on track now. Good luck!

Amey, you are right, pretty much all your foods are detox-friendly! I'm actually looking forward to trying some of your recipes in the next few weeks. I like this detox because it's not radical in any way. You could probably secretly implement it and Musty would never know ;-)

Crystal, I will definitely be writing about my detox experience- but there is nothing as radical as a water or even liquid fast in this one. So hopefully it will work much better for me!

Dori, thank you for the kind wishes! I will definitely keep you up-to-date with the detox experience, good or bad.

Vegyogini, thanks so much for your input! I've never met anyone who's tried this particular detox, but Chef Alex's suggestions just sound so right and down-to-earth, that I really wanted to give it a try. My partner, especially, could use a break from caffeine! I look forward to trying the recipes, too- half the book is recipes- yum!

runswithdog said...

I love Clark Reservation! Isn't it just a great place? I actually hiked out at Highland Forest over the New Year weekend.

The pad thai looks delish. I can never make it as good at home as it is in a restaurant :-(

theONLYtania said...

For some reason.. I'm finding the most simple part of this recipe very droolworthy.. breadsticks mmmm. I should make some soon! Now pad thai is something I've never made or even had.. I'm not even exactly sure what it is. But it looks great! Happy new year!

Urban Vegan said...

What an amazing array of yumminess. I'm intrigued by the sesame tofu/dofu.

How wonderful that you are detoxing together--that sure makes it easier. I have that Alex Jamiseon book and it is an eye-opening wealth of information, even if you don't do everything she recommends.

Keep us posted on your progress!

Anonymous said...

Happy new year! Everything looks so good - I love pad thai too but have never made it at home.

Good luck detoxing!

wheresmymind said...

Looks like a great night! I'm so contemplating that white bean dip!

Anonymous said...

what a huge post! sounds lik eyou had a great new year's eve!

Emmy said...

Happy New Year Bazu and Daiku!!! Good luck with your detox :)

Yay for Mt. Washington Hot Bread. It's so delicious and what great pics of it you took. I'm glad to know it turns out well using maple syrup too (I buy a big jug of it at Sam's Club).

Oh yum, those breadsticks look terrific. I've never dipped breadsticks in white bean dip. It sounds good. I usually dip mine in pizza sauce.

Pad Thai is one my all time favorites. I've been using the recipe from VwaV for Pad Thai and just made some this past weekend. Daiku's pad thai looks incredible. Yum! Does he offer any personal chef services? If so, is Chicago too far? LOL

I love the pics from your nature hike. Really pretty. Thanks for sharing. I can't believe how mild the weather has been...I'm not complaining though :)

That's really cool you tried Goma Dofu. I always enjoy reading about the nifty stuff you try.

Love the pic of the Romanesco Cauliflowers from your previous post. So neat! I love Union Square Farmer's Market and always try to go there when I visit NYC. And the cup with a frog in the bottom is hysterical. Although, I probably would have freaked out the moment I saw two eyes popping up through my drink!!!!

Take care and best wishes for a wonderful 2007 :)

Anonymous said...

You're welcome, Bazu! Feel free to e-mail me about the detox at any time. I've tested the majority of the recipes with great results and I'd love to "talk" about the detox if you ever feel the need. You're so lucky to have a partner going through it with you. :-)


jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I would love some pad thai.
Also, that's my favorite cheapo wine as well! I get it from Trader Joe's in Portland - somewhat also horrid - I adore the Zinfandel!

Your NY photos are beautiful, and really make me nostalgiac for home.

aTxVegn said...

Hi, Bazu! What a great post. All the food looks really great, as usual! I'm planning a trip to the asian supermarket this weekend and looking forward to interesting food finds.

I watched Supersize Me the other night. Toward the end of the show, Alex prepares a detox diet for her now fat and toxic-livered husband. I wondered if that's how her book got started. Do keep us posted on how the detox goes.

- Diann

Too Fond of Books said...

I feel like I've been over indulging of late, so I've been thinking about doing a detox of some sort, but haven't wanted to do anything to radical. No fasting for me, I would not be pleasant to be around. I'll be interested to read about your experiences, and I just put the Great American Detox Diet on hold at the library so I can check it out.

Anonymous said...

I wish you a new ywear filled with amazing good things!

love the breadsticks with the dip, yum!

Kati said...

Hey Bazu - glad to see that you're back posting again! I'm excited to hear about how the detox goes for you. I never have enough resolve to stick to any cleansing diets - maybe you will provide a little inspiration for me. Or maybe my new year's resolution just needs to be to commit to things more fully!

Your food looks great, too. I'm really interested in that hot bread...