The Dude Diet.
I have chosen to share this with all of you because it is a miracle, and because if I can get Logan to like eating healthily, I am pretty much a culinary genius. And you can be too. Allow me to explain…
Logan eats as if he is still a college athlete (which in his mind, I’m pretty sure he still is). And because he is now a very busy and important man, he no longer has the time to exercise.* This poses a slight problem physically, especially when one’s diet consists largely of burgers, pizza, and cheese steaks. Like most guys, he’s packed on a few lbs since college, but he’s never seemed overly concerned about it. Nothing a good button-down can’t hide, right?
|Logan and a meatball sub.|
Therefore, I was surprised when he casually mentioned a few months ago that he’d gained some weight. I believe his exact words were, “I think I might be pushing a deuce. Maybe I should go on a diet.” Naturally, I said nothing (as any intelligent person knows that comments like this are a trap) and figured that little would come of this revelation. I was right. Later that week he came home from an executive workout at the Racquet Club* and enthusiastically informed me that he was only 194 pounds! I was confused by his excitement…he seemed to think that he was 6 pounds underweight. He probably had a cheeseburger for dinner to celebrate.
From time to time I have casually suggested to Logan that he try eating a little bit better, but these suggestions were typically met with shrugs and derogatory comments about vegetables and health food. Until last week. I was in the kitchen when I heard a panicked, “Is this scale right?!” coming from the bedroom. Yes, dear. I don’t know what the number on that scale was, but I’m guessing from his reaction that it exceeded the aforementioned “deuce.” Since that fateful day, Logan has committed himself to going on a diet.
|Commitment face. In it to win it.|
There are several issues with boys going on diets. First, men seem to know significantly less about nutrition than women. This is probably because they haven’t been stressed about bikini season since age 13.*** In my experience, guys tend to internalize the broad concepts of various diet trends and then eff them up royally. For the record, dudes, a salad is not healthy if it involves anything fried, ranch dressing, or large quantities of cheese (especially if it involves all three). An Italian hero is not good for you because you got it in a “wrap.” Sweet potato fries do not count as a vegetable. Need I go on?
My point here is not simply that boys are stupid; it is more that they are often nutritionally confused. They either have no concept of what is healthy, or they envision “healthy food” as salads, tofu, and all manner of boring, tasteless things. Now that Logan is on a diet, I am determined to come up with healthy and hearty meals that he will still get excited about eating. I have secretly been feeding him healthy dinners in disguise for months, but since this diet has gone into effect, I’ve really stepped up my game. My first great success: Pork “osso bucco” with spicy ratatouille and cauliflower puree. I promise to keep you updated on Logan’s progress. We’re calling it “the dude diet.” Get on board.
*I know the feeling. Exercising is very time consuming. And also hard.
**Executive workout= Sauna, steam, shower.
***I know not all women are concerned about staying svelte. Good for them.
If you are reading this, you already know: I have outed you as a nutritional idiot and a dieter. I want you to know that I do this with love. A small group of people read this blog and because of you they will be inspired to cook delicious healthy meals and get their slightly fat-asses into Justin Timberlake shape! Consider yourself an inspiration to men everywhere. The dude diet is about to take off. I love you, your body is a wonderland.
Preparing your osso bucco:
-Chop the vegetables into mirepoix (small dice).
-Heat the oil in a pan until very hot. Season the meat with salt and pepper, then brown the shanks well on all sides. Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside.
-Sweat the vegetables in a saucepan or a large pot (depending what you have in your kitchen) over medium-low heat until tender, about ten minutes.
-Add the tomato paste and cook while mixing for two minutes (I have used ketchup in an emergency…).
-Add the wine and allow it to reduce by half.
-Add the pork shanks and the chicken stock until it covers ¾ of the meat. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cover.
-Cook for at least 90 minutes, turning the shanks regularly (every 15 mins or so) but the longer you cook it the more the tender the meat will become! Make sure to add more chicken stock as needed to make sure the meat is always ¾ covered.
-Remove from cooking liquid and serve! People are always impressed by anything braised, and it’s almost impossible to eff up!
Spicy ratatouille:(Serves 4)
Preparing your ratatouille:
-Chop all of your vegetables into a medium dice (1/4-1/2 inch cubes)
-Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the bell peppers and onions with a pinch of salt. Saute for approximately five minutes.
-Add the zucchini and squash and sauté another five minutes until tender.
-Add the tomatoes and chili flakes. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least a 15 minutes. 30-45 minutes is ideal. Salt to taste.
For pictures of this preparation see the ratatouille recipe from: http://www.domesticate-me.com/2011/04/my-roommate-locked-me-in-apartment.html (the process is nearly identical.)
Preparing your puree:
-Remove florets from the head of cauliflower. (Florets= not the stalk! Duh?).
-Place florets in a pot and add either milk or chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer until cauliflower is very tender, approximately 12 minutes.
-Strain the cauliflower reserving about a half cup of the cooking liquid.
-In a blender or food processor combine cauliflower with ¼ cup of cooking liquid. Puree. Add more cooking liquid if necessary.
-Add cheese if using, and salt and pepper to taste. This can be reheated in a pot over low heat when you are ready to serve!
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