Thursday, August 26, 2010

Skinny scallops

 Sorry for the delay in posts!  I haven't lost my zest for blogging only a few weeks in, I promise.  You can thank Air Canada for my absence... I didn't think it was possible to be jet-lagged across two time zones, but I guess 4 hours of delays in YYZ will do that to you.  Anyhow!  More on that particular weekend in food later; I need to get caught up.  Bottom line: I'm back in the 'Peg, safe and sound, and it's time to face the music.

The G.I. Diet Clinic: Rick Gallop's Week-by-Week Guide to Permanent Weight LossI've mentioned a couple of recipes from the "G.I. Diet Clinic" book that I have.  It's by Rick Gallop, a past president of the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation.  I have to thank one of my BFFs, Kimmi, for introducing me to it.  She has the best possible description for it: "It's basically the Canadian Food Guide for dummies".  Count me among the dummies :P  Oh, sure, I know that I need to eat more vegetables and fewer fatty meats and carbs... but this book truly does take the guesswork out of things.  It even has a week-by-week meal plan.  The basic premise is to eat foods that take longer for your body to break down (complex carbs, fibre), and to eat more frequently so you're not feeling like you're starving yourself.  It labels everyday foods as "green light" (eat pretty well as much as you want), yellow light (eat infrequently), and red light (avoid if at all possible).  The recipes, too, are by and large delicious and easy to prepare.  I jumped on it initally, and it definitely helped me trim down... but unfortunately I haven't really been adhering to the glycemic index way of life very well, despite knowing that this book will definitely help me lose the extra poundage around the ol' waistline.

I think part of my failure to stick with things is my hesitation to turn my kitchen over to a predetermined meal plan.  Sometimes I just don't FEEL like eating chicken if that's what's on the menu that day.  This makes it less likely that I'll cook the orange almond poultry dish, which then usually leads to ordering pizza instead.  Still, some of the recipes look so good that it's easy to incorporate them into my dinner plans.  This scallop dish was one of those situations.  I actually photocopied (shh!) the recipe from another G.I. diet book by the same author.  President's Choice offers "Blue Menu" (their healthier-for-you line of products) Argentinian sea scallops for a very reasonable price, so I had a package in my freezer and was trying to figure out what to do with them.  Voilà.  For some reason I was out of the sort of bean that the recipe recommends, so I'll just post the recipe here as I prepared it.

Sesame Scallop and Mixed Bean Toss
Adapted from "Living the G.I. Diet" by Rick Gallop
Serves 2
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 lb (~225 grams, or half a package of PC Blue Menu) sea scallops
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 fresh tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 yellow zucchini, sliced (the same one I got from the market.  Yum!!)
  • 1 cup canned mixed beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (sort of an Asian barbecue sauce; find it near the teriyaki and soy sauce in the supermarket)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (see note)
  • Pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional, for those who hate it)
  1. Place sesame seeds on plate.  Roll scallops around in seeds to coat; set aside.
  2. In large non-stick skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat.  Brown scallops on all sides and remove to plate; cover to keep warm.  Leave remaining sesame seeds in skillet.
  3. In same skillet, reduce heat to medium and cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes.  Ad broccoli, tomato, beans, hoisin, orange juice, sesame oil (see note), salt, and pepper; cook for about 8 minutes or until broccoli is tender-crisp.  Return scallops to skillet and heat through  Sprinkle with cilantro, if you can bear the taste of it.
  4. Devour.
Note: You can find small bottles of sesame seed oil near the rest of the oils (olive, canola, etc) at the supermarket, but you have to look hard.  DO NOT overshoot the amount you need.  When I cook, I tend to just eyeball things as I toss them in, instead of measuring properly... THIS IS A MISTAKE when it comes to the very pungent, very strong sesame oil.  Just a dab'll do ya.  I added way too much the first go-around here... and didn't notice until things started smelling unappetizingly "funny".  Since I knew what everything else in the pan smelled like, I concluded it was the sesame oil that was overpowering everything (I'm relatively new to it).  No worries; a little more hoisin, a little more orange juice, and I was back in business.  But please, if you're going to break out the measuring spoons for anything in this recipe, let it be the oil.

Close-up while cooking.  I absolutely love the look of yellow zucchini.  Things were starting to smell better at this point, thank goodness.
With the sesame and hoisin sauce, this seemed "asian" enough to serve on the sushi set that Hubs lovingly bought for me a few Christmases ago.  And yes, despite detesting almost every member of the capsicum family, I'm a Pepper.  Go figure.
 My quick rescue attempt, detailed in the note above the pics, actually reminded me... I need to give you all a disclaimer.  While I may post a lot of delicious recipes from the G.I. Diet series of books, I often make modifications to them based on 1) what I have on hand, 2) what ingredients I do and don't like, and 3) my total disregard for measuring cups, outside the realm of baking.  Therefore, I cannot guarantee that these recipes are still "green light", or recommended for weight loss as part of the G.I. Diet.  Please don't eat nothing but these scallops and that delicious thai red curry pasta, then curse my name if you don't shed a pound.  I warned you.

Without the Diet DP this time, though aspartame-sweetened sodas are technically "green-light".  I'm not 100% sure where I stand on the claim that no studies have shown long-term harms from aspartame consumption... I need to review the primary literature and get back to you.
I guess that's part of my problem with this diet, too... if given a choice between proper cooking conditions and severely restricting oil usage, for example, I'd go with a well-lubricated skillet any day.  There's nothing worse than onions and garlic burning in a too-dry sauté pan, let me tell you.  While I completely respect the goal of these recipes, at the same time I can't bring myself to potentially ruin what would otherwise be Good Eats (I miss you, Alton.  I need to find out what time your show airs in Central Standard Time).

Pebbles (a.k.a. "The Pebbinator"), a temporary flatmate of mine, relaxing next to some enlightening food literature.  He clearly enjoys good eats on a regular basis, given that he's 26 pounds of furry grey tabby love.  I only pray that I won't become his bipedal counterpart in the adipose tissue department... 
On that note, I'm off to tug on some yoga pants and hit the gym.  I'm attempting a "couch potato to 5-kilometre" plan... hopefully by the time Kimmi is showing off her fantastic new figure in her wedding dress in October, I'll be looking a few pounds leaner in my very cute bridesmaid's dress.  Ah, the consummate problem for the serious food addict affectionado... and it certainly won't be helped by the delicious weekend that I have planned ahead.

Hoping that she and hubs (combined) will one day be able to snuggle on a standard lawn chair without fearing for its structural integrity,

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