My idea of a bicep curl is lifting a glass of wine to my face. What? Is something wrong with that? When I hear the words, “I’m into fitness,” I’m suddenly transported back to what I like to call, one of my previous lives. Once upon a time, Lady Sensory worked in an inside sales and marketing position at a capital medical equipment company that shall remain nameless. At said company, Lady Sensory encountered the kind of successful, well-dressed, drool-worthy men you see on television: pretty, type-A metrosexuals with their car allowances and hefty expense accounts. However, the very tippy-top sales representative at said company was the complete opposite: a slightly heavy-set, slightly balding, funny, family guy with a wife, 4 or 5 kids, and a reputation for being difficult. I got the pleasure of meeting him and some of the other reps at a local TGIFridays. He sat on a bar stool rocking back and forth, rubbing his thighs and I looked at him and asked, “What in God’s name are you doing?”
He looked me in the face with a very serious expression and said, “I’m into fitness.”
“Yeah,” he continued, “I’m into fitness. This is my workout. You should try it – it’s very effective.” Then he took a sip of beer and burst out laughing. We spent the rest of the night doing the “fitness dance” on the bar stools and imitating the Vice President of Sales. I did the best imitation of him and we all decided that I would be in charge of prank-calling reps in the voice of the VP to ask them if they were going to meet their month-end quotas. Ah, yes, those were the good years. I digress.
As we near the end of January, can you guess what all of my friends are talking about? Probably the same thing all of your friends are talking about. That’s right – losing weight, getting in shape, droppin’ some lbs, and getting back in their pants. Personally, I’d rather have someone else get in my pants. Yes, I went there. I’m just not that into fitness. So while my friends contort, zumba, flex, pump, shimmy, kickbox, yoga, crossfit, shred, plyometric, and spin themselves to the point of Insanity (or damn near exhaustion) with Shaun T, Jillian Michaels and the rest of the gang, I’ve decided to do something drastic. I dropped my gym membership this year. Insert that Joey Lawrence, “Whoa!” here. Yep – it’s true. I wasn’t using it enough to rationalize the expense. Instead, I’ve gone all old-school in tried-and-true VHS-tape fashion. People, I have resorted to this:
Yes, indeed. I am Sweatin’ to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. Are you mocking me? Oh, wait for it. I’m also Cher hot-dancing so I can “Turn Back Time.” That’s right. I’m heading back to George Michael’s “Freedom 90” and pretending I’m Cindy Crawford because when I was in high school, these tapes actually worked. I’ll be sure to let you know how all of this works out, providing I finally put my wine down and move from kitchen to couch without every joint in my body hurting. I do have to say, the Cher hot-dance is pure comedy gold. You’ll burn calories laughing even if you never leave the couch. “Whooooo!”
Before you sit down to laugh at Cher, pour yourself a glass of something and let’s make healthy food together. You didn’t want to work out anyway. Hey, do you like Brussels sprouts? I’m kind of obsessed with them. They’re like those pretty, type-A, metrosexuals in vegetable form. Errrrr, okay, maybe not. Generally, I like to roast them in brown butter and white wine, but that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
Instead, we’re going make a Brussels Sprout Slaw together. Below is an adaptation of a recipe by one of my favorite cooking-people, Joy the Baker. If you don’t follow Joy, well, you need to get on that. She’s pure awesomesauce. Like her on Facebook or something, because she is just great. Original recipe is here: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2011/11/apple-pomegranate-brussels-sprout-salad/ As I have stated before, I like to give credit where credit is due and really, just looking at Joy the Baker’s pics and comments are totally worth hopping over for a second. I’m mildly deviant and have made a few adjustments since pomegranate is rarely available in the Northeast outside of holiday season and I want to introduce you to a new flavor – the yuzu. I’m also calling it a slaw versus a salad because it feels more like a slaw to me. The Brussels sprouts are raw in this, so make sure to wash them thoroughly and remove/trim any nasty business.
Lady Sensory’s version – Brussels Sprout Slaw:
Approximately 1 pound of Brussels sprouts (20-25)
1 pint of raspberries (replaces pomegranate – but the pom is wonderful if you have it and you don’t mind making a hot bloody mess in your kitchen)
1 fennel bulb, sliced very thin
1 Honeycrisp apple, chopped (if not in season, get a Pink Lady or something crisp and slightly sweet-tart)
about 3/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds (slivered is better, but I had a bag of chopped)
salt and pepper
Clean the Brussels sprouts thoroughly, remove any nasty bits. Lay them on their side, gripping the base and slice very thin (some pieces will fall off like a slaw, some will stay together like a slice). Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Add thinly sliced fennel, almonds and raspberries. If serving relatively quickly, add the apple. If not, wait until you are close to serving (I hate brown apples). We’re going to pretend you are serving within the hour so go ahead and add that apple. Now, you can use Joy’s method: juice of one lemon and a healthy drizzle of olive oil as the dressing. It’s perfectly delicious and ingredients are readily available. Toss together, let rest for about 20 minutes in the fridge so the lemon can slightly soften the sprouts OR you can get all “cray cray” and make this fun dressing which may require some shopping at my favorite place in the whole wide world, Williams-Sonoma. They sell yuzu juice in a bottle for roughly $17-20 and you won’t be sorry if you like to experiment with unique flavors in dishes or cocktails. However, if you aren’t feeling the urge to go drop some wad, juice a grapefruit and a clementine (or tangerine) and you’ll get a similar effect. I bet you want to know what the heck a yuzu is. Well, it’s an asian citrus fruit that resembles grapefruit in appearance and flavor, but with a more dimpled, greenish-yellow skin. The Apothia IF fragrance features yuzu in its top notes along with grapefruit on a base of white flowers and musk. I bought this perfume oil over the summer (Barney’s sells it) and I’m still on the fence about it. I don’t think it’s a repeat purchase. Time will tell. What I know for sure is (yes, I’m quoting Oprah) this scent does much better on vacation, just like its owner.
While citrus and I have a love-hate relationship on skin, it certainly does wonders in the kitchen for salads and seafood:
Lady Sensory’s “Cray Cray” Honey Yuzu Salad Dressing
1/4 cup yuzu juice (or a combo of grapefruit/tangerine)
1/8 cup honey (more or less to taste)
1/4 cup blood orange infused olive oil
1/4 cup Persian lime infused olive oil
You can get these fabulous fancy oils here (local to me, but not necessarily to you): http://www.folivers.com/extra-virgin-olive-oil.html
Salt & pepper to taste
I like to add a little less than 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped. If you hate cilantro (believe me, I know some people do) you can use Italian parsley or any herb of your choice to compliment the citrus.
This dressing will keep for about 7-10 days in the fridge. You won’t use all of it on the slaw so give it some love and throw it on other things. Do the same routine as Joy, dress the slaw, toss, let rest at least 20 minutes in the fridge. Slaw will keep (minus the apple) for a day or two. If I know I’m only mixing for me, I just leave the apple out and add it as I serve.
It’s lovely with fish, as pictured here: