Thursday, May 30, 2013

Better luck next time

I’m going to cut to the chase and say this post might be a bit of a disappointment, since the dish I made wasn’t the greatest. But with changes I think it has promise, so I’m giving it a chance. (Plus, I took photos and didn’t want them to go to waste).

I started a new “diet” last week. I hate using that word even though I suppose that’s what it is. After years of relying on—and doing (mostly) well—on medication for my ulcerative colitis, I stumbled on an old book I purchased when I was first diagnosed about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. SCD is a way of eating targeted specifically for people with inflammatory disorders (UC, Crohns, IBS, celiac, etc.) It’s very similar to a paleo-style diet, except a bit less strict as some legumes are allowed whereas in Paleo they’re not. SCD is basically a grain-free, refined sugar-free, lactose-free lifestyle. The cons: no grains of ANY kind (even couscous and quinoa), no refined sugars (i.e. chocolate, booo!!!), and no lactose. But that still leaves a lot: pretty much all fruits and veggies, meats, seafoods, non- or very low-lactose cheese (which are in abundance, I’ve discovered!). I actually CAN have dairy if I make my own yogurt (because it needs to be fermented for 24 hours) and use that yogurt to make other items like ice cream, cream cheese, etc. I decided that if this diet can reduce my dependence on medication in any way, it's worth a try.

Consequently, I’ve been combing through cookbooks, pinterest boards, and recipe websites to find both basic recipes (how do I make pancakes?????) as well as more interesting meals. Tonight was a combination of Google + what I had in the cupboard. I decided to do a version of this guy since I already had beef, sundried tomatoes, and fresh basil. I nixed the pasta, but did have a homemade sour cream that I was planning on substituting for the cream cheese. I also figured I could use beef broth instead of the wine. Incidentally, I CAN consume dry wines, but just didn’t have any in the house.

I pan-fried the beef, deglazed the pan with the beef broth, brought to a simmer and added the sundried tomatoes, reduced heat and stirred in a good dollop of sour cream and the basil.  I served with a side of kale massaged with olive oil and garlic. And topped with goat cheese, because…well….why not?

 ^ Preparing the kale for its massage............The finished product ^

The verdict? It looked significantly better than it tasted. Unless you think it looks like shit. Then maybe it’s on par. Here is my analysis:
1) the beef I had was really stewing beef….so not the best quality. 2) I thought the beef broth would have been a decent alternative to the wine. Nope. Should have used chicken broth in that case. The beef broth tasted really “fake.” It reminded me of Campbells Beef N’ Barley soup, which is good.....if you’re 12. 3) The sundried tomatoes tasted great on their own, but this particular recipe would have been better with dried sun-dried tomatoes—not those in oil like I used. There was a bit of a flavor fight going on there.

The goat cheese was awesome. I’d eat anything with goat cheese on it.

So there you have it; not my best moment. I will have to post a recipe for the cinnamon-almond pancakes I made this week though. Now that was a success!


  1. Aww... Mara, that's awesome that you're giving the diet a try.... Sounds really hard to me, but you're a trooper!

    So what is it about homemade dairy based products that make it Ok to eat? I'll try and send along any recipes that sound delicious and meet the no grain, no lactose criteria. Luckily the summer and market season full of fresh veggies has begun!

  2. Thanks Alana! By making my own yogurt, I can make sure it's fermented for a longer period of time (24 hours) than store-bought would be. I guess 24 hours is what's necessary for the lactose to be broken down properly. (So they say.) Some people on this diet still steer clear of dairy entirely, but my god, then what's left???? The problem is, yogurt is such an easy grab-and-go snack that I think I've been eating too much of it out of I need to cut back and focus more on prepping snacks...cutting up veggies, fruit, etc. ahead of time.

  3. Homemade yogurt sounds amazing, can you please share when you start making your own?!

    This sounds like a tough diet, but it's a the perfect time of year to start it. Do what makes you feel good ... and I'm sure you can find vegan, refined-sugar free chocolate!! There also seems to be an explosion of Paleo-blogs, so hopefully you'll be able to get inspiration from those. Good luck, and I can't wait to hear about the progress!!

  4. You know, it's incredible how much information is out there--pinterest has been an especially fun outlet, like this board:

    I won't be at a loss for recipes, it's just one of those things that takes more planning ahead than I'm used to. But that's GOOD because it gives me a better appreciation of my food, as cheesy as that sounds.

    Alana, I know you already make your own yogurt, but I was SO PLEASED with the result of mine--using organic whole milk and Astro Balkan-style yogurt for my starter (using commercial is ok for a starter in this case) it turned out almost exactly like the balkan yogurt, which is what I used to buy. And the frozen yogurt I made with cinnamon and honey tasted very similar to Tutti Fruiti's 'tart' variety, which I looooove. But I do think I'll invest in an ice cream maker in the semi-near future, just so the consistency is better.

    I chatted with Michelle about SCD since she is also careful about certain foods in her diet, and we both agreed that the hardest part won't be cooking at home or even eating out (there's always salad w/ oil and vinegar!), but eating at other people's homes. I hate the idea of being "that girl"...i.e. the 'thanks for the gorgeous dinner but all I can eat is the parsley garnish' girl, but it's all part of the experience I guess!