Rice crackers, all purpose flour, graham flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, steel cut oats, grits, rice, pasta, quinoa, beans, lentils, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and potato chips…whew! After I cleared all the high carbohydrate foods from the pantry, there was nothing left but salt, coffee, tea, and spices. Wow.
I’ve never been much of a dieter, but after this holiday season, D. and I are probably carrying around a combined excess of 50 lbs. We got started early this year, with a gastronomic week-long vacation in Chicago. As a chef, it’s great to have a partner that is an equally adventurous eater. But when you’re working 60-80 hours a week with little time to exercise, it’s not so great for the waistline. So, until the weather improves and I can throw my running shoes on, we’re using the Atkins plan to help us get back on track.
I’m excited to see how this will change the way we cook. The popularity of the Atkins diet and the South Beach variation have really changed the way people eat. For some time, restaurants have been getting requests for low carb or no carb options. It is especially important for casual neighborhood restaurants to make sure the are able to offer suitable menu options. It will be good to add some Atkins friendly dishes to the repertoire.
In the first two weeks of Atkins, the induction phase, you are only allowed meats, fish, dairy, fats, and low carbohydrate vegetables. This still leaves a good variety of options for flavorful meals. For dinner our first day, I was able to use kale salad and chicken tenders leftover from Superbowl Sunday. I marinated the chicken tenders with some olive oil, black pepper, rosemary, and fresh oregano and set them aside as I boiled a few eggs and blanched some green beans. Instead of making a vinaigrette for the kale salad (which usually contains honey, lemon juice, and wine vinegar, all not allowed) I made deviled egg salad from the boiled eggs, dijon mustard, mayonnaise, chopped cornichons, pickle juice, and a little hot sauce. It was creamy and tangy, and tossed with the kale and green beans, made a good substitute for salad dressing. The chicken tenders took just a few minutes to cook in a grill pan, and finished the salad. Simple, easy, flavorful.
Oh, and all the carbs from the pantry? Stored away until we are allowed to have them again.