Don’t you find it inconvenient that your weight increases by a few pounds each year? If your consumption remains the same, shouldn’t your weight stay static as well? Or is this nature’s unforgiving way of reminding us that our bodies can no longer handle the obscene food and alcohol intake that we’ve become accustomed to? I miss pre-pubescence, a time when there was no limit to my intake of birthday cake, French fries and heaping bowls of pasta. My mother never had a scale in the house due to her belief that it only contributed to women’s neuroses about overeating, and as a result I am in a state of weight denial. But alas, chef Ahearn has finally reached the mark that I believe puts me in the top percentile for weight in proportion to my height. So I’ve given this whole lifestyle adjustment thing consideration. Less alcohol? A good idea but not always a realistic goal. Fewer carbohydrates? An effective way to drop a few pounds, but pasta is comfort food. Less dessert? Maybe, but I’ll still keep that Toblerone bar in the freezer just in case. How about more of something, like more healthy salads, fruits and vegetables, leaving less room for indulgence? That sounds like a diet I can handle. Here’s a recipe for my favorite winter salad, using blood oranges, toasted pine nuts and pecorino. It beats starving any day.
Blood Orange, Toasted Pine Nuts and Pecorino Salad (Serves 4)
2 bunches arugula, cleaned and cut in bite-sized pieces
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
4 blood oranges, peeled and cut in 1/4 inch discs
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 oz pecorino cheese from a wedge
1/4 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, picked from stems and cleaned
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Place the arugula in a salad bowl. Sprinkle the red onions on top. In a large frying pan, toast the pine nuts over low heat, tossing constantly until they begin to brown. Let cool. Lay the blood orange discs on top of the salad. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top. Shave pecorino over the salad. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley. Add oil and vinegar and toss. Serve with a glass of cool white wine and watch the pounds fall off your ass. Ha! Just kidding. Enjoy.