Man, oh man did I want to quit Whole 30 this weekend. It snowed in New York and I desperately wanted hot chocolate, grilled cheese with tomato soup, and red wine. They were more than cravings: They felt like yearnings. For the first time, I felt like I was missing out on something by restricting my diet. I hemmed and hawed because one of the primary reasons to do this program is to determine if you have any food sensitivities and I'm pretty sure that I don't. So, I spent some time thinking about why else I'm doing it and I thought I'd share some of them. But please keep in mind that these are the reasons this works FOR ME, not a prescription for anyone else.
I know what's in my food. For real: Cooking all of our meals for 30 days is a huge time and energy commitment, but the payoff is immense. I'm reminded that I can throw together something delicious on even the roughest day and that takeout doesn't have to be our default. Which also means, I decide how much and what type of salt and fat we eat, what processes by which our fruits and vegetables are grown, and how humanely our meat is raised.
I get to be the food boss: Eating this way removes some of food's power. Though I really wanted some of my wintry favorites this weekend, red wine isn't exactly oxygen. I won't die if I don't have any. These short-term "rules" make it easier to resist those cravings (yearnings?) and realize that I'm the boss, not the food. That's not to say that I never have any control over what I eat, quite the contrary. But I have less control than I'd like and this short reset gets me back on track.
I feel damn good: This is my third go-round with Whole 30 and I can honestly say that I feel terrific once I get a few days under my belt. Yes, the first week or so is tough because I feel tired and cranky. But after a short while, my skin looks better, I have more energy, and I'm sleeping better. For some people, this happens while eating dairy, legumes, and grains. Unfortunately, I'm not always one of those people.
We still get to eat REALLY good food: Bread and cheese aren't the ONLY delicious foods in the universe. This next recipe is all the proof I need.
I based this recipe on Mario Batali's Tortilla Espanola from Food & Wine. After doing a lot of research on tradition recipes for this dish, I realized that they all required frying the potatoes in several cups of oil and then flipping the entire egg and vegetable structure over and over using a large plate and a cast iron pan while cooking. What?!?! Do Spanish people do this with toddlers underfoot? If so, I salute you, Spanish parents. I wasn't game to take this on, but MB's recipe uses much less oil and forgoes the flipping, proving that it can be done! I cooked this like a frittata, letting the eggs set on the side and then cooking the rest in the oven because, laziness.
1 lb potatoes, sliced into 1/8 inch thick pieces or thinner
1 large fennel bulb (about 8 oz), sliced thinly
6 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 small links chorizo (4 oz), sliced
Preheat oven to 350. Heat your oil in a 10-inch cast iron or other oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced potatoes and fennel and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often to prevent browning, until the potatoes are fork tender. Cooking time with vary depending on the thickness of your potatoes, but plan for anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
While the veggies are cooking, crack your eggs into a large bowl (pausing to stir the potatoes and fennel) and whisk to combine the whites and yolks. Don’t overwhisk! These don’t need to be frothy, just combined.
When your veggies are cooked, add the scallions and cook for one minute more. Turn off the heat and let the veggies cool slightly while you slice and add the chorizo to the whisked eggs. Add the cooked veggies and stir to combine. Reheat your pan over a medium flame and dump the egg, meat, and vegetable mess back into the pan. Cook on the stovetop until the sides begin to set, about 7-10 minutes. Put into the oven to cook through, about 10-15 minutes. Check the middle with a skewer, chop stick, or popsicle stick to test for doneness.
Serve immediately or let sit out for up to three hours. This is also delicious cold!
Yield: 8-10 servings.