I woke up this morning thinking about Tom Brady.
Not in THAT way.
I was thinking about the TB12 diet for which I forked out $78 dollars to fork up plants for 3 nights.
The diet was doomed from the start. The box arrived marked perishable and somehow was left at the very edge of our property amidst the traffic of elementary schoolers. A kind neighbor friend left her car idling to bring the box all the way to our door and was attacked by the school parking people. The normal parent patrol has stepped up their game and now call Denver Public School police to help with parking.
So my well meaning friend made it halfway up the path and deposited the box, rushing back to her offending car.
After I wrestled the large box through my small door (not a euphemism) I took a moment to contemplate the tag line. “Eat like a Goat.” Now I don’t want to get started on the debate over whether or not Tom Brady is the Greatest of All Time. Instead I want to remind you of how a goat eats. A goat eats everything and the tin can it came in. The goat would be just as excited about the box as the vegetables within. Frankly Tom himself might enjoy the box as long as it is brightened up by the fresh zip of persimmons. Cardboard is not so far from crispy turnip cake.
Somehow I had not read the fine print on the diet. Despite months of the pretense of a no-carb diet TB12 was decidedly carb-ful. Sadly these carbs did NOT include potatoes. Here are some other things TB12 does not include: Nightshades (which include tomatoes), dairy (which includes cheese), gluten (which includes french bread) or meat (which includes bacon.)
But here were were and as it is the closet I will ever get to Tommy I decided to give it a try. The packaging was copious. The goat would have been happy. It included three meals for 2. So sorry boys, you will have to suffer through pepperoni pizza. We decided to start with the Ramen bowl with nutty brown rice noodles (cause no gluten) and savory sweet tamari (no soy.) Plus many veggies.
Despite being clearly written and including full colored glossy pictures I struggled to follow the instructions. I don’t like instructions.
MISO MASTER: Preheat oven to 450°F. In a medium saucepan combine the miso paste, coconut cloud, tamari, and 3 cups water. Bring broth to a boil over medium-high heat and whisk to break up the miso paste. Reduce heat to low and let broth gently simmer until you are ready to build the ramen bowls. Step one went well. Except I forgot to whisk the miso paste so it was a little clumpy. That is small potatoes (mmmm potatoes). I might not be a miso master but I am clearly a miso apprentice.
STEP 2 ROAST THE BROCCOLINI Place a medium pot of water over high heat. Rinse and dry the broccolini, and trim a half inch off of the stem. Transfer broccolini to a baking sheet and toss with 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp vegetable oil, and a pinch of salt. Roast in the oven until the florets are somewhat charred and stems are bright green and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Once roasted, immediately sprinkle with hemp seeds (bold). Step two asked me to roast the broccolini with sesame oil, vegetable oil and salt. Alternatively you can put them in completely dry and have them stick to the pan and emerge with no flavor. Your choice.
STEP 3 MIS EN PLACE Rinse and dry the watermelon radish and amaranth greens. Thinly slice the watermelon radish into rounds. Rough chop the amaranth greens and stems. Peel and mince the ginger. Slice the scallion. In a small bowl combine the tahini, reserved 1 tsp sesame oil, and nori blend. Add a pinch of salt and stir with a fork to combine. involved knife skills. I love my knife. I love rough chopping and mincing, I love thin slicing. I don’t love rinsing so I skipped that step. Rinse and dry the watermelon radish and amaranth greens. Thinly slice the watermelon radish into rounds. Rough chop the amaranth greens and stems. Peel and mince the ginger. Slice the scallion. In a small bowl combine the tahini, reserved 1 tsp sesame oil, and nori blend. Add a pinch of salt and stir with a fork to combine. It says combine. See that. Combine. So maybe I put the nori and tahini and oil into the vegetables when they didn’t belong. So if you are keeping track in step two I skipped the wet ingredients and in step three I added them. You know what’s not that tasty? Watermelon radish COOKED in tahini. Whoops.
STEP 4 COOK THE PASTA Once the water is boiling (What water? Did they expect me to just have water going?), add the brown rice noodles and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and gently separate noodles with a fork and cook until al dente, an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Strain noodles and run under cool water to stop them from cooking It told me to cook the pasta. In fact it was the title of the whole step. They weren’t so bold as to call me a pasta master and they were prescient about this. Remember step one when I *almost* got the miso coconut broth correct? Well it wasn’t too late to ruin that. Most of you cook pasta in water.In fact the first line mentions water. But it never told me how much or where so I guess I pretended it wasn’t relevant. However I DID have a hot liquid on the stove. Why not cook the pasta in the miso broth. It makes sense to me. The pasta will end up in the broth. Why that extra water step? Dunno. But Steve said I needed to use water. He is no fun.
STEP FIVE ALL THINGS GREEN Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tsp vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the amaranth greens and stems and cook, stirring frequently, until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and remove from heat. Chop the charred broccolini into 2 inch pieces. First of all I am now worried that Tommy might be red/green colorblind. Because watermelon radish? Not green. But back to the cooking. If one had already added tahini to the red/green mixture one might have a sticky mess whilst wilting the amaranth greens. I said might. Also- the broccolini chopping? The knife section was totally over. Two inch pieces/ huge long stalks?
STEP 6 BUILD YOUR BOWLS Divide brown rice noodles between deep bowls. Top with coconut miso broth, charred broccolini, gingered amaranth greens, scallion, and watermelon radish. Drizzle with nori tahini sauce and serve with chili garlic sauce for an added kick. OK. So maybe the tahini sauce has reduced a bit in the pan but we are totally cooking now. Or maybe we are done cooking. Steve pulls out our giant serving bowls. And we build them. I almost expect there to be an allen wrench. Just like building furniture from IKEA at the very end there is an extra piece. Everything has been done and yet the hemp seeds stare up at me accusingly. If this thing doesn’t taste right it is because of these seeds. So I do what is obvious and sprinkle them on top of the bowls. Just like a cherry on a sundae. Just. Like. A Sundae.
So this is what made it to our table. While Steve and I were working on all things red/green Oliver was toasting pizza. And Leo was making himself a board dinner. Neither of them skipped any steps…but then again neither of them were dealing with nori-tahini-hemp.
Quick quiz: which of these three dishes had leftovers?
The prize for getting 100% on the quiz is a crispy turnip cake.