Mint and Peas

March 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

The thing about balancing my love for the culinary world and my enjoyment of food with weightloss is that sometimes my weaknesses prevail and I lose the balancing force.  My recent weight gain has me frustrated (but I’ve been making some pretty valiant strides at losing those few pounds – lost three pounds last week alone!).   I do my best to cook with fresh ingredients at home and try my hand at new healthful recipes but my appetite craves quantity; always has, always will. Clearly I joined weightwatchers because I’ve always had a hard time with portion control but I’ve had am increasingly hard time with that portion control over the past few weeks. That, combined with overwhelming fatigue and the lack of energy to exercise had left me about 6 lbs over my last weigh in when I had been close to goal.  And of course as of this week I am now up 0.2….tracked everything and exercised.  Big let down.  I’ll just have to look back at my tracker to review what I was doing during my most successful weeks and make changes accordingly.
Whats most upsetting is that I had been so close to goal and was so proud of the way I looked and felt in my clothes.  I had recently purchased pencil skirts in a size I havent worn since middle school, then, by some stroke of gluttony, managed to work myself back up to an unappealing dress size.  I cannot explain why my weight packs on so rapidly and in particular areas but needless to say, this made me unhappy.  Ive tried to offset this weight gain by fitting in more gym-time and p90x work-outs as well as learning about more spices and infusing my recipe bank with light and flavorful soups.  I went to my happy place to find some new options; the kitchen.

During residency I’ve done whatever I could to keep me balanced and happy, spending time at the stove with one of many foodie mags, friends, baking, yoga, etc, but lately my favorite has been delving into 1) soups and 2) persian recipes.  I started focusing on the Persian recipes after…well, long story…to cut it short, mainly because I’m Persian and because I was given the best gift a man could ever give a woman…it’s golden, expensive, and requires hours of labor to acquire the perfect amount….SAFFRON!  Almost 1/4 of a pound of the golden pleasure, to be exact.  Now while this entry does not involve saffron, it was my catalyst.  If you know about spices, you know that saffron is the world’s most costly per ounce and by Persian standards is more-or less the mother of spices, so yes, I’d say that this is by far the best gift a man has ever given me.  That being said, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen working on several recipes trying to make them more WW friendly.

I’ve grown fond of soups for multiple reasons; they’re versatile, low maintenance, hold well to reheating, and can be enjoyed for almost any meal.   A wonderful recipe I recently came across was from Fine Cooking’s soups edition; mint pea soup. Mint is a persian staple and i’ve always got a bushel growing in my backyard a home. It adds a beautful freshness to what’s typically a drab soup.  Moreover, this has been an excellent way for me to measure my portions and is a pretty fresh, healthful, and weighwatchers friendly lunch. Im hoping that with enough of these healthy recipes, better portion contrl and continued gym-time i can get back into thosr pencil skirts!

Mint and Pea Soup with Lemon Cream

as adapted from Fine Cooking.


2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 cups fresh shelled peas (3-1/2 to 4 lb. unshelled) or frozen peas *I used frozen for the sake of time
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth (I used chicken Stock)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch granulated sugar (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used fat free half and half with lemon zest and did not whip it)
Finely grated zest of one-half medium lemon

Melt the butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until both are very soft, 6 to 8 minutes. They shouldn’t brown. If they’re cooking too fast, reduce the heat to medium low.

Add the peas, broth, half of the mint, and 2 cups water. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer vigorously until the peas are very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. In batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the peas weren’t very sweet, stir in the sugar.

 

Pour the half and half into a medium bowl and Fold in the lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with a generous spoonful of the lemon cream. Scatter the remaining chopped mint over the soup and serve. If you choose to serve the soup cold, chill it in the fridge but take it out 15 minutes before you serve. Adjust the seasoning if necessary before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 200; Fat (g): 12; Fat Calories (kcal): 110; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Carbohydrates (g): 17; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): 240; Cholesterol (mg): 35; Fiber (g): 5
5 WW pluspoints/serving
Any recipes or snacking strategies that have been successful for you?


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