My wife has been traveling a lot recently - like 60,000 miles already this calendar year. She’s under a lot of stress at work, and she’s struggling with finding enough “self-care” time. So, we’ve designated this weekend as a “spa weekend.” We’re going to do a lot of relaxing, and primping, and just recharging her batteries. I’ve already got the massages and mani/pedis scheduled, the house will get a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning Thursday and Friday, there’s new linens on the bed and in the bathroom, and there will be fresh flowers in the house when she gets home.
I’m needing some help planning food for the weekend. I’m under a fair number of constraints; we’re trying to minimize the simple carbs in our diet, trying to increase the number of vegetables we eat, and in general just trying to eat a lot healthier. In addition, we’re trying to get in as much…shall we say “romance?”…as possible this weekend, so I want to avoid really heavy foods, anything that’s likely to leave us with particularly bad breath, or anything that might upset my wife’s stomach (which essentially means only moderate amounts of dairy). Also I’d like to, as much as possible, do a lot of prep work and cooking over the next couple of days so that I don’t spend a ton of time actually cooking over the weekend; more like just assembling stuff I’ve already done. I’d really like to keep things pretty healthy but at the same time not feel like we’re depriving ourselves of anything.
So, here’s what I’m thinking of so far:
[li]Baked Eggs with some crisped Prosciutto, chilled tomato juice (she loves tomato juice), and maybe some sautéed wild mushrooms[/li][/ul] Lunches
[li]Poached Chicken Salad[/li][li]Miami Chilled Avocado Soup[/li][/ul] Dinners
[li]Halibut Baked in Green Salsa, steamed Green Beans, and a brown/wild rice medley[/li][/ul]
I could use suggestions for at least one more dinner and one breakfast. One thing to keep in mind; I’m in Brevard County, Florida and access to exotic ingredients can be tricky. Although, I just remembered I’ve got a couple of ducks and a couple of rabbits in the freezer. I’m a pretty competent home cook with a reasonably well-equipped kitchen (although I have to deal with an electric range. Grrr.)
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s breakfast fried rice is to die for, and it’s easy to throw together. Don’t get hung up on the “fried rice” name - it’s not at all like the greasy heavy fried rice you’re thinking of. I hear you on the simple carb thing, though. I try to follow that as well. So with this recipe, I go heavy on the leeks and light on the rice, at least a 1:1 ratio and maybe more. Or you could use a different grain, maybe a brown rice or quinoa. I think it would work with anything, and I can’t say enough how delicious this recipe is.
Thai Grilled-Beef Salad. This is originally a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. I’ve made it several times, and it’s delicious - think asian spiced meat over a salad made entirely of herbs with a sweet-salty-sour dressing. The recipe suggests mint and cilantro, but I’ve made it with basil instead of one or both of those. Or really, any herb that you have handy/is cheap at the grocery store.
Even the beef isn’t necessary. I’ve made it with duck breasts, or just about anything else works too. The real beauty of the salad is the interplay of all the herbs and the veggies. Feel free to throw more veggies in as well - I like red bell pepper and carrots in this salad.
Oooh, yes! I’ve never tried to make it at home, but I know just the Thai salad from restaurants, and I think it’s just what the OP is looking for. Fresh, filling, light and energizing. My favorite place serves it over a bed of baby fancy lettuces, for even more veggie goodness. And now that I have a recipe, I’m going to try making it at home.
Maybe I’ll try my hand at someSpring Rolls while I’m at it! I like mine with some thin strips of pan seared tofu along with all the veggies and herbs.
Keep a big pitcher of spa water chilled in the refrigerator. Spa water is just water with plenty of sliced cucumbers. It has the most refreshing flavor and scent.
Would your wife enjoy a bloody Mary since she likes tomato juice with breakfast?
A nice vegetable omelet – mushrooms, spinach, tomato, herbs etc. – with some fruit is a light and filling breakfast. You can make an attractive parfait with Greek yogurt, fruit, and granola in a pretty glass.
I like to eat with my fingers when I’m feeling decadent – shrimp, artichokes, asparagus. I’m not above buying some precooked or at least peeled shrimp.
Prep lots of colorful sliced fruit to keep on hand for snacks and to round out breakfast and lunch. Enjoy yourself! The weekend sounds lovely.
I’ve done a couple of “Spa Days” at my house for friends, so I second the water-with-cucumber-or-lemon thing. You may want to make some gazpacho, chilled fruit soup, or smoothies, all are healthy and light but very yummy. Giada De Laurentiis’ Italian Chicken Salad is also good, and one of my friends always brings cucumber sandwiches.
If you want alcohol, margaritas or other drinks made with fresh citrus juices are snappy and feel healthy, even though they may not be.
The Thai beef salad looks good, and I know it’s a favorite of my wife’s. Not sure how she’d view the fried rice thing; I may make some for myself during the week and see how well I execute it.
I hadn’t thought about the cucumber-flavored water, but that’s a great idea. I already have Evian on the shopping list (she’s a water snob like that), and was planning to keep lots of fresh fruit on hand. Also, orange juice for Mimosas (I put a splash of pineapple juice in mine as well), and other favorite white wines for other occasions.
I can certainly do a vegetable omelet for breakfast one morning, but I do omelets fairly often. I was hoping to to something more out of the ordinary. It’s a good idea, though, and something I can just throw together with whatever’s in the refrigerator.