So what do you know, I've lost almost nine pounds since starting this Biggest Loser challenge! Not bad for a food blogger on a diet, eh?
I guess trying to lose weight while being a food enthusiast has its disadvantages as well as its advantages. It's pretty clear what the disadvantages are. It's even worse when you're so tied in to what other food perverts are up to; it takes a lot of self control not to want to eat everything in sight after reading about every one else's food adventures via blogs or Twitter. The advantage of being a food enthusiast trying to lose weight is that I can use my knowledge of food to come up with a wider variety of healthy yet delicious things to shove down my gullet.
Take that salad that I featured in the last post, for example. Now you just bought all this wakame seaweed and shaved bonito, but as tasty as it is, you're not going to eat that salad everyday, right? So what to do with all those ingredients? Luckily, this food lover can tell you right away that you can use both to make sunomono--a light, refreshing Japanese cucumber salad that (you guessed it!) tastes good and is good for you!
The best cucumbers to use for sunomono are Japanese cucumbers because of their minimal seeds and thinner and less watery makeup. Japanese cucumbers can be found at Japanese or other Asian markets, but if you can't find these, you can always substitute English or Persian cucumbers; just keep in mind that your salad may turn out a little less crisp.
For a little extra protein and pizazz, I added some octopus/tako (available already boiled at most Japanese markets) to my sunomono, but if you can't get your hands on any or if tentacles gross you out, the salad is just as good without.
(makes about 4 servings)
-4-5 Japanese cucumbers (use 2 English or Persian ones if you can't find Japanese ones, but really, Japanese ones are the way to go; find them at a Japanese or other Asian market)
-A few pinches of salt
-2 teaspoons dried wakame seaweed
-1/2 cup rice vinegar
-1/2 cup dashi (see below) or water
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-1 tablespoon sugar
-A few slices of boiled octopus or other seafood (optional)
-Sliced lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
-A pinch of sesame seeds (optional)
*Use a mandoline or knife to cut the cucumber into ultra thin slices.
*Toss with a couple of pinches of salt and let sit for about 15 minutes.
*Soak the dried wakame seaweed in enough hot water to cover. Let sit a few minutes to rehydrate.
*Meanwhile, mix rice vinegar, dashi, soy sauce and sugar together until well blended.
*Quickly rinse cucumbers and wakame with cold water and squeeze out excess water.
*Arrange cucumbers and wakame in small bowl or dish, add octopus if using.
*Spoon a couple spoonfuls of vinegar dressing onto the salad, adjusting quantity to your liking.
*Garnish with lemon & sprinkle with sesame seeds.
*Since this post isn't about making dashi (a post for another day), here's a quick down and dirty version with no pics. Put a 4" square of kombu/kelp in 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and remove kelp as soon as water boils. Remove from heat. Now remember that shaved bonito you used for your tofu salad? Well take a cup of that and put it in the kelp water and wait until it sinks. Strain, and you've got yourself some dashi stock! (You can also buy the instant kind, but you needed something to make with that leftover bonito, right?)