Six short weeks before my son’s Bar Mitzvah, I discovered that my weight has creeped up to where it was the day before he was born. Terrified at the thought of appearing in front of my ex’s family with that extra baggage I sprung into diet.
Of all the weight-loss approaches out there, I found one I could really relate to. It wasn't about “dieting” but about eating clean and green and surrounding oneself with a supportive community. This approach, promoted by a handsome Jewish doctor by the name of Mark Hyman, will reverse “”insulin resistance”.
Insulin resistance is considered by many to be the source of man health issues. Dr. Hyman gained even more points because believes in the healing power of community “Americans (should) take back their kitchens...and rebuild community and connection. Health happens in community." he writes in his blog.
I can do that! I am lucky enough to be part of an amazing local food community (i.e Princeton) that produces this beautiful clean, green, unprocessed food. And after all, I made a career teaching people to eat seasonal, local, unprocessed food.
But No Pain No Gain (or loss) and the beginning is harsh: For 6 weeks I have to avoid any processed food, gluten, dairy, sugar, wine, bread or coffee. I am allowed only vegetables, some fruit, a few whole grains and some high quality lean protein.
Oh well, let's do it anyway...and blog about it, too. I will share recipes, tips from the trenches and information that will hopefully help others.
My first step, then, was to make sure that the very little I’m allowed tastes good. So I went on to stock the freezer with my secret ingredient.
Most cooks have a secret ingredient that makes their food delicious and theirs. Mine is onion confit: diced onions, simmered in olive oil for a long time until they are caramelized, aromatic, creamy and rich. My grandmother used to make it after the doctor ordered her to get off “schmaltz” - that yummy chicken fat ubiquitous in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.
Onion confit delivers that same richness as schmaltz without the cholesterol. It makes everything taste full flavored, well rounded and delicious, and in such a restrictive diet you need Delicious!
And by the way, needless to say, my grandmother had no idea what confit was...
Make a large amount and freeze in little ziplocks. Use it as needed to start soups, sauces, stir-fry’s, pilafs, braises. You can double and triple the recipe and make sure you always have some at hand.
3 onions, diced
1 cup olive oil
a few sprigs of time, optional
Salt and pepper
In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil for about a minute. Add onions, salt and stir until onions are coated.
Add the optional thyme. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes on a very low heat. until the onions are very soft and released a lot of juices. Make sure they don’t catch color. After 10 minutes remove the lid and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the onions, stirring frequently until the sugars released in the first stage caramelized and the onions turn golden brown. Taste and correct seasoning. Keep in the refrigerator for a week or freeze.