I mentioned earlier in the month that my wife decided to take on a new diet regimen, spitting in the face of all the temptations of the season. She’s trying out the “Slow Carb” diet popularized by Tim Ferriss in The Four-Hour Body. I can’t exactly say that I’ve been following that diet for the past year+, but it has informed my eating in some pretty significant ways (I just wasn’t religious about it). She resisted it for a year plus, because she felt like she couldn’t say no to all those other carbs. But as she read more about the diet itself in Ferriss’s latest book, The Four-Hour Chef, she decided she wanted to give it a try. And just as with Weight Watchers in the past, that puts me back in the role of personal chef. This time, though, it’s a little easier since I’m basically following the same diet (who am I kidding—I end up following pretty much the same diet anyway).
If you’re not familiar with Slow Carb, the basic idea is this: every meal = protein (c. 30g) + vegetable(s) + legumes (beans, lentils—these are the slow-digesting carbs). No grains, no fruits, no dairy (except, as it happens, cottage cheese). So actually, the dairy was always a problem for my wife too. Oh, and the beans: not a big bean fan. So, you know, pretty much the whole premise of the diet.
That said, it’s “so far, so good,” right now, on what might be called a modified Slow Carb diet. At this point, it’s close, and she’s getting results, so we won’t nitpick too much. We’ve had a couple things that have helped her get through.
First, she’s not a big fan of beans, and she hasn’t liked the way that I have prepared and eaten lentils for myself. This Red Lentil Soup that a friend made was good enough to eat on its own. And then she also remembered liking some kind of Ethiopian lentils, like we had on our first date. Like, 7 years ago. Luckily for me, the first recipe I tried, for Mesir Wat, was to her liking. One nice thing about it was that it didn’t call for any spices that I didn’t have, nor for putting together a labor-intensive blend of spices, as some other Ethiopian recipes did. The only caveat I would add to the recipe was that lentils do not reach “the consistency of a thick paste” after 30-40 minutes of simmering. However, when they get close, an immersion blender can get them right where you want them.
What really made the dish work, though, was the Paleo Flatbread recipe I found. It’s not exactly like a bread, but it made a nice vessel for the Mesir Wat: the basic idea is just mixing pureed steamed cauliflower with egg yolks and parsley, then mixing that into egg whites that have been beaten until they formed stiff peaks. I found that a little more cauliflower than the recipe called for was no bad thing. Also, instead of wasting a ton of coconut oil on greasing your pan (have you checked the price of coconut oil lately??), line your pan with parchment and either grease that or use spray oil. The flatbread came right off with this treatment.
This flatbread includes both a protein and a vegetable, although probably not quite enough of either one. The first night we had it, I had the good fortune to find some reduced-price Yellowfin Tuna at the grocer, and I seared that with some salt, pepper, and red pepper and then served it with soy sauce as an appetizer. Yum. Making the lentils the focus of the meal, though, helps to make it a really filling meal.