Every once in a while, I like to wake up, look at myself in the mirror, and then cry.
First, having a giant vat of duck fat in my fridge probably isn’t helping my love handles. Unrelated to that, the morning is also when I realize that I’m never going to be the kind of adult I thought existed when I was a child (see: mature and confident). Basically, it’s a recipe for misery, and planning a fatty meal will only add to the sadness.
But I’ve found a way to combat the a.m. gloomies. Plan a healthy meal for dinner the day you wake up in tears, and then you buy yourself about three days of dry eyes, pork bellies and beer.
“But Theo,” you say, “I’m not a god-damned rabbit, and I refuse to spend my evening chewing celery stalks and leaving little pellets around the house.”
That’s a bit hyperbolic.
Plus, I think if you eat celery, your poop is pretty much the same as normal.
Also, how many times have you read the word “poop” in a food column? See what I’m willing to do for you people?
The fact is, the recipe below is healthy and delicious, and it tricks you into thinking it’s rich when it’s really just a nice assortment of nutty and sweet flavors. And filling up on vegetable matter is a much more pleasant, unbuckle-your-belt-and-exhale experience, mostly because your body will turn that food into fuel much faster, and you can put your pants back on and go TPing houses or to 24 Hour Fitness or whatever it is you do after dinner.
Note: If you want something more starchy and filling, you can add the gnocchi recipe from a few weeks ago to this dish. It’s crazy delicious.
Parsley and cashew pesto
Half a bunch of Italian parsley
2 tbsp. chopped basil leaves
¼ cup cashews (dry roasted preferably)
3 garlic cloves (roasted would be best, but raw will be just fine)
1 tsp. honey Salt and pepper to taste Up to
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients but olive oil in a food processor or blender until the blades cannot cut the mixture any finer (you’ll hear that high-pitched, we’re-not-doing-anything sound).
Add about a tablespoon of olive oil at first, just to get things working again. You may need to stop the processor and scrape the inside walls as well.
It’s really up to you how much oil you add. I like a pesto that is more like a paste than a sauce, but it’s your call. Just know that the veggies will cook in oil as well.
For the veggies
About 2 cups Brussels sprouts
About 2 cups broccoli florets
3 pickled beets, sliced into fourths
2 portabella mushrooms
1 cup cherry tomatoes
¾ cup parsley and cashew pesto
In a large saucepan, set to medium high, add about a tablespoon of olive oil.
Quarter each Brussels sprout and add to the pan the moment you see the oil begin to smoke. Toss the sprouts a few times, then add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Once sprouts begin to color, chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces and add to pan.
The broccoli will start to turn a darker green, starting with the leaves. Once the stalks color, chop each mushroom into ½-inch squares and add them to the pan. The mushrooms will cook faster if there’s a bit more moisture, so maybe add a teaspoon more oil depending on how much is already in the pan.
The beets are cooked (pickled, whatever), so wait until the mushrooms are cooked through to add. You’ll want to put about 2 tablespoons of pesto in with the beets and toss for about 3 minutes.
Paint a thick stripe of pesto on each plate. Then spoon the veggies over it.
Now that the pan is empty, halve each cherry tomato and toss in the pan until they start to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about ¼ cup over each dish.