When Karly and I set out on a 26-week Secret Ingredient Cook-Off, we had no idea exactly what we were getting into. First, we individually made lists of ingredients we thought we'd like to work with. Then we picked our favorites. Where we duplicated each other's answers, we threw in the odd ingredient. Finally, our Facebook fans chose one last ingredient, and there you go. 26 weeks. 6 recipes a week. 156 DISHES!!
So you can rightly imagine how ready we were for a break. This week, I have started a sort of cleanse. No carbs, no sugar. Blech. Who likes that? But apparently my body does, because it's the only way I ever lose any weight.
On the KP Facebook page, I'm outspoken about health issues and eating right, but if you saw me, I would not look the part. I weigh a whole lot more than I'd like to, and that needs to be fixed. PRONTO. But I have a couple of hurdles to meet: I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Sydrome) and I have Systemic Candidiasis. The prior is a hormone/insulin thing, and the latter is a bad yeast that colonizes in the intestines. Both conditions contribute to obesity, and they make it very difficult to lose weight, so you see how I can get very frustrated, very easily.
Today, I made a Cleanse Lemonade: water, lemons, maple syrup, and cayenne. Sounds simple, and it pretty much is, but since I am worried about pesticides, I had to prepare my lemons. How so?
If they're not organic lemons, or any other citrus fruit, they're covered in pesticides. So I boil a pot of water and let the lemons sit in the water for about thirty seconds, then drain on a towel. After a minute, the pesticides begin to leave a residue. When that happens, I dunk them again for another thirty seconds. I repeat, 2-3 times, until I don't see any more white residue on the lemon skins. Clue: if you ever use citrus peel for cooking, do this process first. The pesticides will "pervert" the taste of your dish.
Next, I peel them all, setting the rinds aside to roast and grind for later use. The lemons I run through the juicer. 6 lemons makes me a little more than 1/2 cup of juice.
I have a 32-ounce drink - uh, thing - and I pour the 1/2 cup of juice in there, add about 1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup, 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (from my garden! Dried and ground), and water to the top! Done. Lemme tell you, my cayenne pepper is HOT, so I have to drink it fairly quickly, because it only gets hotter, the longer it sits there.
Long story short, here's the Cleanse Lemonade:
32 ounces pure water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 cup pure organic maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
As for dealing with the rinds, I run them through the food processor for about 40-60 seconds. Then on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, I set them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. About halfway through, I open the oven door and leave it open until the lemon bits are dry.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg