A great diet or being delusional

Pari-Pari chicken

I’ve been so busy this past week getting Petites Bouchees back into gear: seeing clients, returning correspondence, baking macarons and creating fondant/ gum paste decorations, that figuring some time to fit anything else can be quite challenging.

Attempting to lose weight when I am not sure where to insert my workouts and how to plan my meals around my baking schedule are additional tasks that require careful planning.
After all wasn’t it Bill Phillips who said that, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” (although I’m quite sure it’s a known phrase even before he mentioned it in his book)

I know all of you say it’s just a matter of discipline (seriously, what % of the population has this?) but when you’ve got a gazillon things zinging through your head and if you’ve got the attention span of a gnat, some simple …er.. research can turn into hours (darn internet) and before you know it you realize that you haven’t done a single tangible productive thing on your to-do list all day.

But the key here is “trying”…

So far I’ve eaten healthy in the beginning of the week and have gotten my 4 workouts in. I kinda fell off the map and went and ate Chinese take-out last night after three consecutive days of crazed baking and making fondant flowers until the wee hours of the morning (surprisingly, when I turned off the t.v., making fondant flowers went faster). It’s true that when you are tired you will eat anything.

Before all this madness, I was fortunate to find a Japanese cookbook with easy and rewarding recipes. Harumi’s Japanese home cooking is a gem of a cookbook. I’ve tried several recipes from it and they all turned out very well. Plus, judging from the author’s size, this must be healthy-type eating fare. 😉

I’m not drastic in dieting, I don’t exclude any food groups except, perhaps, pork belly for now. After all, I think I’ve eaten my fair share of it this year. I just try to substitute white rice with brown rice and start eating some vegetables.

So I’m not averse to baking chicken thighs with its skin on. I’d still do anything for crisp chicken skin but someone on twitter told me it’s half the calories of the thigh and so many fat grams. You may try it with breast meat. But I think with high heat cooking, the breast would dry up. Most of the fat will be rendered off anyway and it’s really up to you to slather those delicious drippings back on. And as long as I don’t eat five of this, I think I’m still on track to losing those 5 lbs.

Pari-Pari style Chicken

from “Harumi’s Japanese home cooking”

Serves 4 (I think it serves 2 as main dish)

1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs on bone with skin on
1 tablespoon shokoshu or dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated garlic
pepper 2 tablespoons sesame oil – to coat the chicken
Worcestershire sauce -optional

  1. Debone the chicken. Lightly score the chicken skin.
  2. Mix together the shokoshu, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and pepper and marinate the chicken for about 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F. Cover a baking tray with foil and place the chicken on it, skin side up. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and brush with sesame oil. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes more until the skin is crispy.
  4. Remove from the oven. While hot, cut the chicken into smaller pieces and arrange on a serving plate. Serve with Worcestershire sauce, if desired.

Harumi suggests her Peppers and Crab Mixed rice. I’m not too fond of peppers and that’s why I didn’t think this rice was anything special. But for those who do love peppers I can see how this might be a recipe to keep.

Peppers and crab rice

Peppers and Crab mixed rice

serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
2 teaspoons granulated chicken stock or 1 chicken bullion cube
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup red pepper
1/3 cup green pepper
5-6 mushrooms
1/2 cup cooked white crabmeat
1 3/4 tablespoon butter

  1. If using Japanese rice, wash, drain and leave to stand for 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Dissolve the chicken stock powder with a little hot water then add the remaining water.
  3. Cut the peppers open and discard the seeds. Cut the red pepper into tiny square pieces (1/4 inch) and chop the green pepper into 1/2-inch square pieces. Slice the mushrooms thinly and loosen the crabmeat flakes, ensuring that there are no pieces of shell remaining. Cut the butter into small pieces.
  4. Cook the rice in the chicken stock, adding the bay leaf for extra flavor.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the butter, season with salt and pepper and roughly mix. Then add the peppers, mushrooms and crabmeat, mix again and serve.

These two recipes are highly customizable, you may substitute ginger for the garlic in the chicken recipe or season the rice more with any spice you like.
Whether chicken thighs with skin on becomes the next great “diet” food or I’m being delusional that this works remains to be seen. I do think in order to successfully lose weight it helps to look forward to your meal – not dread or feel miserable eating it. I’ll have a macaron or half a cupcake or a piece of chocolate with a cup of espresso and not feel guilty. I did try going to the salad bar at the Whole Foods and realized I’m not the “other” grains or salad type of gal.

I need some meat and I’ll eat my veggies and please don’t hold the rice.

7 thoughts on “A great diet or being delusional

  1. Sounds like you’re on the right track. Nighttime eating is what kills me. Bad habits are hard to break. Lovely dish though!

  2. Hello 🙂 I’ve been reading – and admiring – your blog for quite a while now.
    I have a request. You mentioned in some of your past posts that you were a bit obsessed with cookbooks. Well, so am I. I buy them in bookstores, hunt them on the web, collect and cherish them. Do you think it would be possible for you to write something more about your favourites? Like, make a separate entry with a list and short description why you consider them useful and worth having? I’d very much enjoy reading about that. Of course, I understand you’re just a tiny little bit busy… 🙂

  3. I came across your site when searching for tips on making macarons. It’s FABULOUS! I really enjoyed reading your post Macaron Stage Atelier Pierre Herme. I bet you had a blast! I was in Paris last November and stopped by Pierre Herme for some macarons. They were AWESOME, tried a truffle one that was weird, but strangely tasty! I had a question about templates used for macarons. Can I just print them out on 11 X 17 paper and stick them underneath a silicon baking mat or parchment paper? Wouldn’t the paper burn? Thanks so much!

  4. Hi Edyta – I’m going through my cookbooks right now and plotting to order more. I might be able to do a list in the future.
    Thanks Liz – after you pipe the shells you can take the paper out.

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