Um, hello! Yeah, hi, this is your body speaking. Remember me? Yeah, I know, it's been a while. If you don't mind putting down that Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte Extra Whip for a second, I was wondering if I could have a word with you. There you go. That wasn't so difficult. Thanks.
Now, I promise this won't take long and I'll try to be as delicate as possible. I know the last three or four months have been hard on you. First the weather got chilly, which sent us indoors. No more walks in the park or runs on the water, but it was okay because we managed to catch a lot of really great reruns of Law and Order that we totally missed out on during the summer. Then came the holidays. The parties, the presents, and oh the food! (By the way, fabulous turkey this year, kudos, loved it). And we would have almost managed to come out even on the increased calorie intake from Grandma's fruitcake with all the exercise we got running around present shopping. That is, if it weren't for the extra chocolate bar (or ten) you ate to help us deal with the stress of it all.
And now it's winter. Really I can't blame you. If I had any control over what you put in our mouth, I might make the same choices. Two months into winter and I don't know many people who would be dying to jump right back on the diet bandwagon. Don't get me wrong; I did find all that mac and cheese comforting. Especially in the area of the thighs, where I believe it has now taken up permanent residence. I also enjoyed to no end the cassoulets, stews, steaks and chops. No need to defend yourself, I agree! We needed to have them. Its cold--they're warm, and it's not like you eat this food all the time. Only the nine months out of the year the temperature dips below 70, is all.
So what we need to talk about is this: I have noticed lately that--how shall I put this?--we're growing. Considering that we grew up up a long time ago, it's fair to say that this type of growth is more in the region of our general circumference. You can't say you haven’t noticed it too. The chairs haven't been quite so hard (extra padding), and you've done away with the belt on your slouchy trousers, since, well, they're not so slouchy anymore.
I am not asking you to start running marathons in the blizzard or swear over your life to South Beach. It just might be time for an early spring cleaning, if you know what I mean. Let's keep it simple: some roughage, a few greens, something to get our system flowing again. It's not quite spring and the farmers' market is looking a little bleak. But at the grocery store there still are more than a few un-frozen items we could use to get us up and running again.
Take some fennel. Spicy and crisp with a slight licorice taste, it won't overpower the palate when sliced thin. Then get zestier with some sliced radish. It packs a punch strong enough to wake us up inside and out. Let's then segment some grapefruits (lots of fiber in whole fruit, not to mention Vitamin C to ward off lingering cold and flu germs). Toss those with the salad and use the juice for a dressing. Oh, and then, to top it all off, we'll take that grapefruit juice mixed with some lemon juice, honey, oil, salt and black pepper, toss it together and Viola! Oh the flavor! The texture!
Your body thanks you, my friend. We are alive and moving, in every sense of the word.
Grapefruit and Fennel Watercress Salad Recipe
Ready in: under 30 minutes
* 1 bulb fennel
* 1 bunch red radishes
* 1 pink grapefruit
* 1 bunch watercress
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 2 teaspoons honey
* Pepper and salt
* 6 tablespoons olive oil
Remove fronds from fennel bulb and trim root end. Slice in half lengthwise and remove outer layer, discard. With a very sharp knife, slice fennel lengthwise to form thin sheets (this can also be done on a mandolin). Add to salad bowl.
Remove stems from radish and slice each into thin rounds. Add to bowl.
Working with a sharp knife, slice off skin and pith from the grapefruit. Working over a bowl to save dripping juice, work with a pairing knife slicing along the edge of each membrane to remove segments. Let segments drop into bowl. Squeeze juice from the empty fruit carcass into the bowl and reserve.
Wash watercress and chop into three longish pieces. Add to salad bowl.
To make dressing, mix half of reserve grapefruit juice with lemon juice, honey, salt and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. Pour in oil and whisk to emulsify.
Toss salad with dressing to taste. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Divide grapefruit segments among salad plates to serve.