The bland leading the bland


Today’s post title is a quote from the new and not very nice Top Chef judge, Toby Young, and it unfortunately refers to the dinner I made last night. I guess I was trying to compensate for the indulgent (but 100% worth it) brunch I had at Barney Greengrass, a.k.a. the sturgeon king, earlier in the day. There are few things better than making your way through a wintery Sunday afternoon on the UWS with friends and a toasted bialy with scallion cream cheese, white fish and tomato. The trouble is that I’m trying to lower my carb intake in ’09, and specifically, I am terrified of putting on a bathing suit this weekend on my quick trip to Miami. I literally cannot remember the last time I wore one. And, I hate diets. Why would anyone voluntarily restrict the amount of bread, pasta, rice and sweets? Misery. Anyway, that’s long story behind the very plain chicken breast and roasted broccoli I prepared last night. It was so dry and devoid of flavor, the act of chewing was actually tiring. I’m going to have to be much more creative with my “diet” dinners from now on. Suggestions?

Bagel image courtesy Broccoli image courtesy


4 Responses to The bland leading the bland

  1. Steff says:

    I have been into healthy, but hearty soups. One of my recent favorites is this Morrocan Chickpea Soup (more like a stew). It is delicious, flavorful and really filling.

    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
    1 large onion, medium diced
    6 to 8 cloves garlic, pressed
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
    1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
    3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
    1 quart vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
    1 teaspoon sugar
    Kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 (5-ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach
    Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent; lower heat if browning starts to occur. Add spices and saute a minute or so. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, and sugar. Season with a couple pinches of salt and 10 grinds fresh pepper. Stir well. Chickpeas should be just covered with liquid. If level is shy, add some water so the chickpeas are just covered.

    Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.

    Remove soup from heat. Use a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. Stir in the spinach and let heat through until wilted, just a couple minutes.

    Season again, to taste, with salt and pepper.

    Serve soup, drizzled lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired

  2. Kim says:

    My favorite when trying to keep the carbs low: A nice steak and tons o’ green beans with a homemade herb/garlic butter on top. I also do roasted chicken and asparagus (baked on cookie sheet, 400 degrees, olive oil, salt and pepper) or my favorite: chicken, tortilla soup topped with fresh avocado cubes. I think I could eat 2-3 avocados everyday if I could afford it–and find really nice ones!

  3. […] don’t get to the UWS all that often (though I do love Barney Greengrass), so I eagerly agreed to join a friend for brunch there on what was arguable the nicest day in 2009 […]

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