Monday, May 7, 2012

Eat To Live, Or Live To Eat?

That one has always been a struggle for me.  I think it's the biggest reason I try to make exercise such a big part of my routine (try being the key word there) - so I can eat what I want and still fit into the clothes I want to wear.  I'm definitely NOT one of those chicks who was blessed with a great metabolism.  If you're one of those chicks, well... I hate you.  Okay, I don't hate you.  But I envy the hell out of your lucky ass.

I will admit that I am doing much better these days about making smarter food choices.  I try and Eat To Live most of the time.  But there are times (usually around dinner!) that I want to indulge a bit.  Not like a pound o'butter and fried in lard indulgences, but definitely a little more fat and usually some sort of starch.  When I was cleansing, I ran across a recipe on my girl Parker's blog for Spicy Orange Zested Cashew Chicken, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since!  I decided to make it Friday night for dinner.  I did tweak the ingredients slightly - my tongue is kinda wimpy when it comes to spicy and salty flavors since the cleanse.  I just cut back on some of the hoisin and chili garlic sauce, and I omitted the jalapeno.  I also used a little coconut oil and some canola cooking spray to saute the chicken.  I love that the recipe called for sauteing the breasts whole and chopping them up afterwards, instead of cubing them up first.  The chicken gets a lot more crusty brown goodness on the outside that way, and in my experience, it stays much more moist.  I cooked up some brown jasmine rice (and used coconut milk instead of water, as Parker suggested) and steamed some broccoli to go with it.  I ended up just tossing the broccoli in with the chicken and sauce, because that stuff was just So. Damn. Good.  My mouth was on fire, and so was Jake's, but it was so well balanced with the sweet flavors that neither of us could stop until our plates were clean.  I will be making it again.  This is what it looked like:

I made a ring of rice around the perimeter of the bowl before scooping the chicken mixture into it.  Doing it that way helps keep the sauce from running everywhere, but more importantly, it tricks my brain into thinking I'm eating a whole plate of rice, when really it's not that much.  It was maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup.

On Saturday, we had some errands to run.  Errands are so much easier when Jake comes along.  Mostly because he's my very bestest friend, and I enjoy his company, but partly because he's our daughter's most favoritest person in the entire world.  Which means all of her Up! Up! Up!'s get directed at him instead of me!  Our last errand (to Lowes) put us right next door to one of our favorite restaurants in town, La Tour.  Okay, okay.  That's kind of a lie (outright lie).  We actually had no business whatsoever at Lowes, but we were both really craving said restaurant, and going to Lowes first seemed like a better excuse to drive across town than feeding our pieholes.  So there's the truth.  And I'm immaturely sticking my tongue out at you right now for making me admit it.

La Tour is a little cafe (the kind where you order at the counter and they bring it to your table a few minutes later) that serves French bistro style food, but with some Vietnamese influences tossed in.  They also have pizzas and panini, so it's a little Italian, too, I guess.  Whatever.  The point is, it's fucking GOOD.  I ordered their eggplant parmesan tartine - grilled eggplant, herbed breadcrumbs, mozzarella, and parmesan on their artisanal bread - with a side salad and a cup of mint water (lightly sweetened minty goodness that looks like swamp ass but tastes delightful and refreshing).  YUM.  Their house salad dressing is to friggin' die for.  It's creamy (kind of looks like a runny ranch dressing), but it's got a balsamic vinegar/Italian dressing flavor.  They also serve the dressing with their pommes frites... which I'll discuss later.  Oh yes, I will definitely discuss them.

This is their eggplant tartine.  It's not my plate, because I was too excited about it to remember to take a picture.  If I had remembered to take a picture, you can bet I wouldn't have been a dumbass and blocked half the view of the sandwich with a plastic lid! I was also WAY too excited to use a knife and fork.  But this is what it looked like.

Jake ordered their signature burger.  I've had it before, and it's the most fantastic burger I've ever had in my life.  Period.  This bad boy is composed of Wagyu beef, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, and salsa verde with Havarti on a toasted challah bun.  It's served with pommes frites, and I'm convinced these babies are fried in a magic spell.  Or possibly in oil that's been blessed by the Pope.  I should point out that Jake and I are both french fry snobs, and we usually eat very few of them whenever we order them at most places.  That's because we pick out only the most tasty, crunchy ones in the pile and leave the rest to rot in soggy fry hell.  But it doesn't go down like this at La Tour, because every fry, every single one, is cooked to absolute perfection.  The only better fries we've ever had anywhere are the Duck Fat Fries (fries fried in duck fat!) served at a French cafe we love in Carmel, Indiana.

That's the mint water pictured above.  I forgot to mention they also make their own pickles.  And as you can see, they're not shy about the portion size on the pommes frites, so we end up having enough to share with the whole family off the one plate.  Just looking at this makes me want to go back and sink my teeth into that burger.  And I'm not usually a burger kind of girl.  Did I mention this WAGYU BEEF burger w/ fries plate is only $8.90?!  IN HAWAII?!?! Unheard of.  But I'm not complaining!

We didn't do much today.  Mostly sat around entertaining the little one.  I did get in 30 minutes on the mat to finish up Level 4 of my Meta reboot.  We were gonna go to the pool, but the universe scoffed and sent in the clouds, so we nixed the idea.  Instead we made a quick trip to the grocery to pick up stuff for dinner.  (And we got the pimped out CARt instead of the hoopty mobile - woot woot!)  Since we'd kind of ignored the whole Cinco De Mayo thing on Saturday (sorry, Mexico), we decided to have quick chicken tacos with guacamole and sauteed veggies.  The "quick" part means I bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded that little cutie all up.  I warmed up some corn tortillas, slathered the insides with guac (literally just avocado mashed with lime juice and salt - I'm a guac purist), and put the shredded chicken on top.  The sauteed veg consisted of portobello mushrooms, red bell pepper, a fresno chile, sweet onion, corn, zucchini, garlic, and grape tomatoes, with about half a can of black beans (rinsed and drained) thrown in for more protein and fiber.  I seasoned it with dried oregano, dried thyme, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice and some fresh cilantro and parsley tossed in at the end.  We are goat cheese lovers, so I put a few crumbles of that on top once I served everything up.

Everything was super tasty, but it was really filling - I ate all the veg, but I could only eat one whole taco.  The veggies were better than I'd even hoped, and they could stand on their own as a vegetarian taco/burrito filling.  There was a lot of food leftover, so tomorrow for lunch I'm planning to toss some baby spinach with a store-bought lime vinaigrette (Newman's Own) and top it with the chicken and veggies.  And goat cheese.  (Duh.)  Yum.


  1. one word for you J, yummy!!

    1. Thanks, Shan! I was thinking how tasty the cashew chicken would be with seared tofu... definitely gonna give it a try sometime! Oh, and I used raw cashews for the topping (leftover from our nut milk) - they were super sweet and buttery!

    2. I am so honored you made my recipe! I totally made that shit up! And your pic looks awesome!!!! Love u, my sistah from another mistah!

    3. I will be making it over and over, my sistah! I love when shit you throw together because you're craving some particular flavor or dish ends up being a new favorite thing! The tough part is remembering what the hell you did so you can type it out! And JP's first post-cleanse meal totally inspired our taco night... I couldn't stop thinking about those damn tacos after you posted that! Love you right back, my dear - I may be lost without you this week! Have fun :)