October 2010 Archives

What I ate: October 31, 2010

Breakfast: Sausage, egg, and cheese English muffin. That's local Tangletown Farm antibiotic-free pork sausage (2.0 oz. raw or 0.8 oz. cooked weight), a Pete and Gerry's organic egg, Barowski's organic whole wheat English muffin, and 0.5 oz. Cabot cheddar cheese. 436 calories. This is an older picture but it looked like this:

breakfastsandwich1.jpgSnack: Half a Greek yogurt with maple syrup and homemade granola. 150 calories.

Lunch: Beef with broccoli and scallions stir-fry with rice. 3.0 oz. beef.

ate.20101031.l.jpgSnack: 2 Late July crackers with Mt. Mansfield gondolier cheese. And a small glass of Finca la Linda malbec. About 75 calories (not counting the wine).

ate.20101031.s1.jpgDinner: Mussels fra diavalo and a piece of Red Hen Bakery ciabatta. 458 calories, not counting the bread and wine (Tienen Duende Verdejo, Spain, 2007). 689 calories for everything.

ate.20101031.d.jpgAnd 2 squares of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle dark chocolate. 120 calories total. It's Halloween - extra candy!

Snack: 1.4 oz. popcorn with 1/2 tbsp. butter and salt. 171 calories.

And maybe an Absolut madarin and soda.

Weight at beginning of the day: 112.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day:  113.6 lbs.

I'm not sure about that, but 112.8 is really low and 113.6 seems to be about the new average, so I'm okay with it.

What I ate: October 30, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito. 423 calories. This is an older picture, but it looked just like this:

ate.20101022.b.jpgSnack: Half a Greek yogurt with maple syrup and homemade granola. 150 calories.

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Lunch: Turkey and Napa cabbage stir-fry with rice. 4.0 oz. roasted turkey breast. 360 calories.

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Dinner: Two grilled steak tacos with salsa fresca and shredded Napa cabbage on steamed corn tortillas. With 1.0 oz. tortilla chips and more salsa fresca. A little more than 450 calories.

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And 12 oz. beer. It was a Corona, which was very disappointing. I would normally have had a Switchback, a local unfiltered American pale ale. Except a beer line in my kegerator froze and it didn't want to dispense.

And 1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle dark chocolate bar. 60 calories.

And a glass of Tiasta torrontes white wine. And a Finca la Linda Malbec. And maybe Absolut citron and soda.

Snack: 1.4 oz. popcorn with 1/2 tbsp. butter and salt. 171 calories.

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.8 lbs.




Greek yogurt

I like Greek yogurt. Well that's not entirely true. Plain, I think it's kind of awful. But with a little real maple syrup and some granola it's delicious.

While the 5.3 oz. packages of Stonyfield yogurt are only 90 calories, when you add in 2 tsp. maple syrup (20 calories) and 1/3 cup of homemade granola (187 calories), you're up to 297 calories and that's too much for a snack.

My solution is to just split out 2.6 oz. into a separate container and add 1 tsp. maple syrup to each. I only add the granola to the one I was going to eat right away.

And now I have a delicious 150 calorie snack, which, incidentally, is the same number of calories in 1 oz. of potato chips, but this is much healthier!

greekyogurt.jpg

What I ate: October 29, 2010

Breakfast: 2 pancakes, 3 slices of bacon, and 0.5 oz. maple syrup. 440 calories.

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Lunch: Twice cooked pork with scallions and rice. 407 calories. 2.8 oz. pork.

ate.20101029.l.jpgSnack: 0.4 oz. peanuts. 86 calories.

Snack: Two Late July crackers with Mt. Mansfield gondolier cheese. About 75 calories.

ate.20101029.s.jpgDinner: Roasted turkey with gravy, rice, and spicy Brussels sprouts. The gravy looks funny due to a failed experiment. I know that microwave reheated frozen gravy is bad, as is beef-temperature sous vide (133°F). I thought maybe the higher temperature for turkey (160°F) would make the gravy "fix" itself like it does on the stove. The answer is: No.

The spicy Brussels sprouts just cooked in toasted sesame oil with garlic, hot pepper sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce (like Thai pork). The theory behind this is that Brussels sprouts are just tiny cabbages, and kim chee is spicy cabbage, so this should work, right? Okay, kim chee is fermented and has a lot of other things going on, as well, but this was actually pretty good.

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Served with Anton Bauer Gmörk Grüner Veltliner 2009, Austria.

And 1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle dark chocolate. 60 calories.

Snack: 1.4 oz. popcorn with 1/2 tbsp. butter and salt. 171 calories.

Snack: 0.7 oz. potato chips. 105 calories.

And perhaps an Absolut Pear and soda.

Weight at beginning of the day: 115.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.0 lbs.

I can't really explain that, either.

Algebra

It's true: you can use algebra in real life.

If you follow this blog you've probably seen pictures of me making food on a scale. It was making batter for vegetable pakora which uses 3.5 oz. of besan (chickpea flour) and 4.0 oz. water.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to stop pouring water in and accidentally added 4.9 oz. water. This would make the batter too runny and I'd only made it once before and I couldn't remember exactly how thick it was supposed to be.

Algebra to the rescue!
algebra.jpgAdd 0.8 oz. more besan.



What I ate: October 28, 2010

Breakfast: Homemade bagel with Earth Balance buttery spread and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon. 426 calories. Probably a few more calories since the slices of bacon were kind of large.

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Lunch: Miso soup, rice, and furikake.

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Snack: 2 Late July crackers with Orb weaver cheese:

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Dinner: Vegetable pakora with hari chutney. Deep fried, but full of vegetables!

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And beer at the Main Street Grill.

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.0 lbs.

I expected to gain weight from beer at the Main Street Grill, but that seems oddly excessive.




What I ate: October 27, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito. 423 calories. This is an older picture, but it looked just like this:

ate.20101022.b.jpgLunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories.

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Snack: This is a high calorie but very delicious snack. I wanted to use up the half an avocado from yesterday's sushi plate and I made guacamole. 338 calories with 1.0 oz. tortilla chips.

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Dinner: Thai pork. This one was especially delicious because in addition to the usual pork, green pepper, onion, basil, garlic, and chili pepper sauce, I had an extra Thai chili pepper left over from spicy tofu. These little red peppers (also known as Bird's Eye peppers) pack a punch: 50,000 to 225,000 Scoville units!

ate.20101027.d.jpg2 glasses of Tiasta torrontes (Argentina, 2010).

1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle (60 calories).

Snack: Smoked squid. This is a popular Japanese snack. Really.

ate.20101027.s.jpgAnd possibly some Absolut Ruby Red grapefruit and soda.

I did 30 minutes of run/walk intervals at a slightly faster pace on the treadmill - walking at 3.2 MPH and running at 6.2 MPH, then completely forgot to note the distance traveled. I also walked to the Coop to get a few groceries, about 1 1/2 miles. 


Weight at beginning of the day: 113.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.6 lbs.

Not a surprise since I had the big chips and guacamole snack. And the squid.

Guacamole

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I had a half an avocado left over from my sushi plate and I couldn't let it go to waste, despite the rather large number of calories in this snack. It's also kind of labor-intensive, but very delicious!

This amount serves 1, multiply as necessary.

1/2 small onion
1 jalapeño, minced
1/2 small tomato
1 clove garlic
cilantro, chopped

1/2 avocado, mashed
salt
a little freshly squeezed lime juice

1 oz. tortilla chips

Finely chop the first group of five ingredients and combine. I like mine spicy so I just stem the jalapeño and mince the seeds and ribs which are the spicy part. Here's what it looked like. Actually, if you look closely you'll notice that there's no onion, which I completely forgot to add. It was still good without it.

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Add the avocado and mash with a fork. Add a little salt and lime juice.

Avocados turn brown when exposed to air, though vacuum sealing them in the skin, with the pit, can keep them pretty pretty well for a day in the refrigerator. Here's my almost day-old avocado:


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So the bad news is that it's 338 calories with 1.0 oz. tortilla chips (198 for just the guacamole). Here are the Nutrition Facts from caloriecount.about.com:

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What I ate: October 26, 2010

Breakfast: 1 1/2 slices of Vermont Bread Company alfalfa sprout bread French toast with 2 1/2 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon and 0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup. 452 calories.

ate.20101026.b.jpgSnack: 0.4 oz. peanuts. 86 calories.

Lunch: Twice cooked pork with scallions and rice. 407 calories.

porkscallions1.jpgSnack: Orb weaver cheese on Late July crackers. About 75 calories.

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Dinner: Tuna sushi plate: hosomaki, nigirizushi, avocado roll, and tuna sashimi.

sushi1.jpgI also had one more avocado roll and some sashimi trimmings. And Sea Glass sauvignon blanc 2009.


Weight at beginning of the day: 113.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.2 lbs.

That was a little bit of a surprise since I had a fairly big lunch and dinner. Huh.





Tuna sushi plate #2

sushi1.jpgUpdate: New recipe at Tuna Sushi Plate #3, which is also much better looking.

A little different than yesterday's fried chicken and sweet potato fries... a plate of sushi and sashimi:

Hosomaki: tuna, shredded carrot, cucumber, and rice surrounded by nori
Nigirizushi: tuna on rice
Tuna sashimi
Avocado roll, with cucumber, shredded carrot and rice, surrounded by nori

I like to take my hot sushi rice, add the vinegar/sugar mixture and spread it out on a sheet pan to let it cool. I then cut off strips of rice with my giant 10" spatula and drop it right onto the nori. It comes out perfect every single time!

sushi2.jpgMy tuna awaiting cutting.

sushi3.jpgAnd for the rolls to be bite-sized, it really works better to use a half sheet of nori for each roll. I'm not sure sure why the sheets are the size they are.



Twice cooked pork with scallions

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I make this dish all the time but I never did the Nutrition Facts for it, so here we go:

1/2 tbsp. peanut oil
5 large scallions, cut into 1" pieces, separating the white and green parts
2.8 oz. roasted pork, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. stir fry sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir-fry sauce)
1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup rice

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Add the white parts of the scallions and cook for several minutes until softened.

Add the roasted pork and the tougher green pieces of the scallion and cook until the meat is browned.

Add the green parts of the scallions.

Season with pepper and garlic powder.

When the scallions have softened, remove from the heat and add the stir fry sauce and soy sauce.

Serve with sushi rice.

It's a little high in sodium; omitting the extra soy sauce would probably help there if you have to watch your sodium, but other than that it's pretty healthy. 407 calories. Nutrition Facts from caloriecount.about.com:

porkscallions_nf.jpg


What I ate: October 25, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito. 423 calories. This is an older picture, but it looked just like this:

ate.20101022.b.jpgLunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories. Also an older picture.

ate.20101021.l.jpgDinner: Fried chicken and sweet potato fries. And a glass of Switchback beer. I'm not even going to attempt to calculate the calories in this dish!

friedchicken7.jpgAlso, some Marasso malbec. And 1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle (60 calories).
 
The weather has taken a turn for the dark, cold, and rainy so my run/walk was inside on the treadmill today. I picked up the pace a bit and managed to not launch myself off the end of the treadmill, so that's good. But my 2.1 miles inside is still less distance than my 2.66 miles outside for the same intervals.

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.2 lbs.

That's surprising since I thought 113.0 was an anomaly, and dinner was fried chicken and sweet potato fries!



Fried chicken and sweet potato fries

friedchicken7.jpgThis is not a particularly healthy meal, but it sure is delicious! Pre-cooking the chicken in the sous vide makes sure it's fully cooked but still moist and tender, and a quick 3-minute trip through the deep fryer makes it a little healthier.

I started with a 1.9 lb. package of local, antibiotic free chicken legs. The $ 5.87 package will make three servings, so that's not a bad deal.

friedchicken1.jpg
I separated the drum stick and seasoned the pieces with salt, pepper, and dry rub. I then put the chicken in vacuum sealed bags and refrigerated for about five hours.

friedchicken2.jpg
Heat the sous vide to 160°F and cook the chicken for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When done, remove the chicken from the sous vide and let sit for 15 minutes. This causes the meat to reabsorb some of the juices that came out while cooking.

friedchicken4.jpgCut a sweet potato into French-fry sized pieces. Soak in water for 15 minutes to release some starch, then dry thoroughly.

friedchicken3.jpgfriedchicken5.jpgPreheat the deep fryer to 360°F.

Pour about 8 oz. of buttermilk in a bowl. I used previously frozen buttermilk - I take whatever is left in the carton after making a recipe, vacuum seal, and freeze it.

Put about a cup of all-purpose flour on a plate.

Dip the chicken in the flour, then the buttermilk, then back in the flour.

Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes until crispy.

Normally when I make French fries I use a two-step blanching then cooking method which really is the best. Unfortunately I forgot that I had fries to blanch and set the deep fryer immediately to 360°F instead of 325°F. I just cooked the fries for 3 minutes at 360°F and they came out fine.

friedchicken6.jpg
I really like the sous vide then fry technique because it makes very moist and not particularly greasy fried chicken. The only other way I'd make fried chicken is with a pressure fryer. I have a lot of obscure appliances, but a pressure fryer is pretty much only used to make fried chicken, and that seems ridiculous. And there is a certain level of danger having a pressurized vessel of boiling hot oil in your kitchen!

What I ate: October 24, 2010

Breakfast: Homemade bagel with Earth Balance buttery spread and 2 large slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon. 426 calories.

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Snack: 0.4 oz. peanuts. 84 calories.

Lunch: 1 medium zucchini stir-fried with 1/2 slice bacon. 316 calories.

ate.20101024.l.jpgDinner: Roasted turkey breast, gravy, rice, and sautéed Napa cabbage. That 4.0 oz. turkey.

turkey7.jpgAnd Polka Dot Riesling.

1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle dark chocolate (60 calories).

And 40 grams of popcorn with 1/2 tbsp. butter. Also 0.7 oz. potato chips. And 0.7 oz. peanuts.

No running, but I did walk to the Coop to get the turkey, about 1.5 miles round-trip.

Weight at beginning of the day: 114.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.0 lbs.

I can't explain that, either.

Roasted turkey breast

turkey7.jpg
As I generally cook for myself and try to limit my consumption of meat to 3.0 oz. per meal (not always successfully), cooking a full-sized turkey is one of those things that just doesn't make any sense. I like turkey, however, so I decided to make a little breast of turkey. I decided to try a new method of preparation using the sous vide.

1.9 lb. turkey breast
salt
pepper
granulated garlic
rubbed sage
1 tbsp. melted butter
8 oz. chicken stock
1/4 cup flour in 8 oz. of water

Preheat the sous vide machine to 160°F.
Preheat the broiler. [See Update below for modified cooking instructions.]

My 1.9 lb. natural, free-range, turkey breast:

turkey1.jpg
Lightly grease a broiler-safe pan with spray oil. Place the turkey breast in the pan skin side up. Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, rubbed sage, and coat the skin with 1 tbsp. melted butter.

turkey2.jpg
Broil for 4 to 5 minutes or until the skin is nicely browned. I broiled it on high, but it might have worked better to use a lower broiling temperature and cook longer since the very top was overdone and the rest was underdone.

turkey3.jpgUpdate: When I made this recipe a second time I cooked the turkey for 25 minutes at 400°F which worked much better. I still followed up with 1:30 in the sous vide at 160°F. That worked much better.


Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Put in an unsealed vacuum bag and rapidly chill.

turkey4.jpgSince this method of cooking doesn't really make juices, I cheated and made a quick chicken gravy instead of a turkey gravy. I made it using More than Gourmet roasted chicken stock concentrate, and they do make a roasted turkey stock concentrate as well, but I didn't have any.

Heat a pan on the stove.

Mix 0.4 oz. of More than Gourmet chicken stock with 8 oz. of hot water. Once fully dissolved, add to the pan.

Mix about 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour with 8 oz. of cold water and thoroughly mix. Add the flour-water slurry to the hot pan of stock. Stir constantly for 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with freshly ground pepper and soy sauce.

turkey5.jpg
Once the turkey has been chilled, vacuum seal the bag and put in the sous vide for about an hour and a half. Remove from the sous vide and let rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

The nice thing about the sous vide preparation is that it guarantees a moist and tender turkey that's evenly cooked all the way through.

When done, I had four 4.0 oz. servings for turkey and gravy (though only enough gravy for two servings) and three 3.0 oz. servings for stir-fry. Even though the meat was expensive ($ 14.16!) it makes 7 meals so that's not a bad deal after all.

turkey8.jpgServed with rice and sautéed Napa cabbage. And Polka Dot Riesling.




What I ate: October 23, 2010

Breakfast: 3 slices of Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon, 1 Pete & Gerry's egg, scrambled, 1 slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat toast with Earth Balance spread. 467 calories.

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Lunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories. Picture omitted because I eat this, what, four or five times a week!

Snack: Rice ball (omusubi) with salt. 43 calories.

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Snack: Two Late July crackers with Mt. Mansfield gondolier cheese. About 75 calories.

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Dinner: Beef (3.0 oz.) with broccoli and sweet and spicy garlic sauce. With rice and Momokawa Ruby saké. 486 calories (not including the sake).

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Snack: Popcorn, 40 grams, with 1/2 tbsp. butter. Yes, I know my measurements are screwy mixture of weight and volume, metric and US. 171 calories.

And perhaps some Absolut açaí berry and soda.

No running, but I did walk all over town running errands.

Weight at beginning of the day: 114.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.2 lbs.

After the big drop from the previous day (115.0 to 114.0) I assumed the 114.0 was an anomaly so I'm pleased with 114.2! Plus, the sweet and spicy garlic sauce on the beef with broccoli was pretty high in calories (though delicious).


What I ate: October 22, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito. 423 calories. I made the filling yesterday and just reheated it and a fresh tortilla to make breakfast in a minute or two.

ate.20101022.b.jpgLunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories. This is yesterday's picture, but it looked like this:

ate.20101021.l.jpg Dinner: Two roasted pork tacos (2.8 oz. pork) with salsa fresca and shredded Napa cabbage on steamed corn tortillas. With 1.0 oz. tortilla chips and more salsa fresca. And two 12 oz. glasses of Switchback beer. 450 calories (not including the beer).

ate.20101022.d2.jpgate.20101022.d1.jpgThe rest of the day is especially hard to reconcile with my losing a pound by the next morning. I really have no explanation.

1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle (60 calories)
2 glasses Polka Dot Riesling (121 calories)
40 grams of popcorn (before popping), air popped, with 1/2 tbsp. butter (171 calories)
0.7 oz. potato chips (105 calories)
2 chocolate chip cookies
Some Absolute Mandarin and soda


Weight at beginning of the day: 115.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.0 lbs.

I can't explain that. I really can't.





Roasted pork, like Mom makes, without any special kitchen equipment!

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I was in the mood for a roasted pork in the style of Mom's roasted pork. Unfortunately there wasn't a good 7-rib bone-in cut at the supermarket so I had to settle for a bone-in sirloin end pork cut, which is kind of difficult to deal with. It was a bargain, however.

roastedpork1.jpgI try to buy local organic meat, but I have trouble finding organic pork roasts for some reason, so I got this at my regular supermarket.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

After much hacking away at it, I managed to separate out the nice roast piece from the layer of fat and silverskin and "the other chunk of meat." If you just threw the roast from the supermarket directly in the oven you'd have this annoying fat and gristle layer in each slice of chop, which is just not good eating! Plus. the odd shape would cause parts of it to be overdone and parts to be underdone.

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This is what went into the oven. There are a couple smaller pieces of meat, a few scraps. and a big roast. All were seasoned with granulated garlic and freshly ground black pepper.

Cook for 15 minutes. Drizzle soy sauce over the pieces.

Cook for 15 more minutes, then remove the small bits. If the other pieces are 155°F, remove them as well.

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The small bits are crispy and delicious. Just add a little more soy sauce and eat as a snack!

Add a small amount of water to the pan (enough the cover the bottom but not very deep), drizzle a little more soy sauce over the roast.

Cook for 15 more minutes then check the doneness of the roast. I had to cook 10 more minutes after that. Make sure there's a little water in the pan so the juices don't burn.

Remove the roast from the pan and let rest for 10 minutes.

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Add more water to the pan if necessary to deglaze and add a little more soy sauce the the pan. Cook for a few minutes on the stovetop to make a sauce. Strain.

Made:
7 2.6 oz. packages for stir-fries.
1 3.7 oz. package for a big stir-fry.
2 4.3 oz. boneless "chops" with jus.

roastedpork7.jpg

Update (3/16/2011):

I made this again, this time using a bone-in center-cut pork roast, which is much simpler to deal with. Just trim a little fat off the top.

roastedpork1.jpgAnd roasted:

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What I ate: October 21, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito423 calories. I forgot to take a picture of it, but it looks like this:

breakfastburrito8.jpgSnack: 2 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with chèvre. 75 calories.

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Lunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories.

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Snack: Half a small apple (1.8 oz.) and 4 small pieces of cheddar cheese (0.4 oz.). 70 calories.

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Dinner: 4.2 oz. Roasted pork, pan sauce, rice, sautéed Napa cabbage with garlic.

ate.20101021.d.jpgDessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle

And a couple glasses of red wine.


Weight at beginning of the day: 115.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.0 lbs.






What I ate: October 20, 2010

Breakfast: Homemade bagels with 1.0 oz. cream cheese, 2.0 oz. lox, red onion, and tomato. 420 calories. Actually, I only used about 0.6 oz. of cream cheese this time but I think there was more than 2.0 oz. of lox, so it's probably about the right number of calories in the end.

ate.20101020.b.jpgSnack: Half an empire apple. 37 calories.

Lunch: Spicy vegetarian chili with jalapeño cornbread. I updated both recipes with Nutrition Facts and they are 218 and 208 calories, respectively. 426 calories is more than I normally eat for lunch, so I'll probably have to stick with just the chili in the future. But not surprisingly, the spicy vegetarian chili is super healthy, and tasty too!

ate.20101020.l.jpgDinner: Thai-style pork with peppers, onions, and basil. 522 calories including 1 cup of sushi rice. The link is a new recipe with amounts and a full Nutrition Facts panel. Served with a glass of Per Linda trebbiano d'Abruzzi Italian white wine (121 calories).

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Snack: 40 grams of popcorn (before popping), air popped, with 1/2 tbsp. butter. 171 calories.

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Running: Walk/run intervals, 2.66 miles, 31:36, 282 calories. I run with a ridiculous amount of electronic equipment, but the Garmin Forerunner 305 is particularly cool. It's a GPS watch with wireless heart rate monitor. Here's a graph of my pace (teal) vs. heart rate (red) from today:

exercise.jpgIt also calculates calories burned based on your body weight, heart rate, and possibly other factors.

Weight at beginning of the day: 115.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.0 lbs.

OK, heading back in the right direction despite the caloric accident at lunch with the cornbread and the evening snack of popcorn.




Thai style pork with peppers, onions, and basil

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I've made this dish numerous times, but I've never done it with nutrition facts, so here we go:

Makes 1 serving. Multiply as necessary.

1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
3.2 oz. cooked pork, sliced
2 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sesame oil
freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Add the toasted sesame oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom. Add the onion.

After a minute or two, add the green peppers and the cooked pork.

When the peppers are fully cooked, add the chili garlic sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee brand), soy sauce, hot pepper sesame oil, black pepper, and chopped fresh basil. Stir to combine.

Serve with 1 cup of rice.

Here's are the Nutrition Facts for one serving including 1 cup of white sushi rice from caloriecount.about.com. 522 calories - very reasonable for a big plate of very delicious food!

thai_nf.jpgI like salty food and have low-to-normal blood pressure so the rather high sodium levels don't bother me. But you could cut back or even eliminate the soy sauce for a lower sodium version.

This dish would be good with a meat substitute like tofu for a vegetarian version. The sauce is very flavorful.

What I ate: October 19, 2010

Breakfast: 1 scrambled egg, 3 slices of Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon, and 1 slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat bread with Earth Balance buttery spread. 467 calories.

ate.20101019.b.jpg
Lunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories.

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Snack: Two Late July crackers ("organic Ritz crackers") with Orb Weaver farmhouse cow's milk cheese. About 75 calories.

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Dinner: Mussels fra diavolo, linguini, and bread. And a glass of Per Linda Trebbiano d'Aburuzzi Italian white wine. 689 calories with the bread and wine.

mussels3.jpgAnd possibly vodka and soda.

Weight at beginning of the day: 115.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.2 lbs.

I can't explain that.

Mussels fra diavalo

mussels3.jpg
I love this dish! It's garlicy, a little spicy, and delicious. And Prince Edward Island (PEI) mussels are a sustainable seafood, and a bargain at $ 2.99 per pound and about a half pound per serving (a dozen).

Serves 1, multiply as necessary.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 Italian plum tomatoes, diced
1/8 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
0.5 oz. fresh parsley, chopped (1/4 c.)
1 oz. white wine
1 dozen small PEI mussels (about a half pound)
salt
pepper
fresh basil, chiffonade
1.5 oz. linguini

Clean and de-beard mussels.

Cook pasta according to package directions. I used linguine fini (fine linguini) which has the added benefit of cooking in 6 minutes, which is just about how long everything else takes. I also reduced the amount of pasta to 1.5 oz. from the normal 2.0 oz. serving size to lower the calorie count of the meal.

mussels1.jpgHeat a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic, diced tomato, dried oregano, crushed red pepper, chopped fresh parsley, and white wine. Add the mussels, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the mussels from the pan, discarding any that do not open.

Add the basil to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

mussels2.jpg
Add the pasta to the pan and toss.

Plate the contents of the pan and add the mussels.

This dish is 458 calories, which is quite reasonable.

Pictured with a slice of Red Hen Bakery ciabatta bread, add 110 more calories for a total of 568 calories.

And a glass of wine, Per Linda Trebbiano d'Aburzzi, 121 more calories for a total of 689. High but reasonable for dinner.

Nutrition facts for the dish (not counting bread or wine) from caloriecount.about.com>

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What I ate: October 18, 2010

Breakfast: Homemade bagel, lightly toasted, with Earth Balance spread and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon. 426 calories.

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Snack: Half an empire apple. 37 calories. (Not actually today's picture, but it was basically this amount.)

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Lunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories.

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Snack: Two Late July crackers ("organic Ritz crackers") with Mt. Mansfield Creamery Goldolier cheese. 75 calories.

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Dinner: Tingua Poblana: Mexican pork and chorizo stew with potatoes in a tomato, chipotle and smoky adobo sauce. It previously made this, vacuum sealed, and froze a serving. 45 minutes in the sous vide at 160°F, direct from the freezer, and it was a good as the first time I made it!

ate.20101018.d.jpgServed with 2 glasses of Hacienda dl Plata Malbec (Argentina) 2008. 121 calories each.

Dessert: One square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle. 60 calories.

Snack: 0.7 oz. Kettle Chips spicy Thai potato chips. 105 calories.

And possibly some vodka and soda.

And 4 very delicious chocolate chip cookies from my friend Sarah. Not diet friendly!

Today, for a change, I thought I'd run a straight 5K. Unfortunately, I missed my turnaround point, so I ran a 5.17 kilometers. Close enough.

3.2 miles in 28:44. Average pace 8:59/mile. Calories burned 377. Average heart rate: 165 beats per minute.

Weight at beginning of the day: 114.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.0 lbs.

I definitely should not have had the potato chips and chocolate chip cookies, especially late in the evening! Especially with that big plate of tingua poblana for dinner.

Fruit-flavored vodka

There is a possibility that my love of fruit-flavored vodka and soda water is getting out of control...

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squashsoup4.jpg
This is a creamy squash soup that doesn't actually have any cream in it! And it's so delicious, I don't think you'll miss it!

One trick to the recipe is my vegan cream substitute. It starts with a roux made of olive oil and all-purpose flour which unflavored, unsweetened almond milk is added. It gets nice and thick and is what gives this soup a velvety mouth feel even though it doesn't have cream.

The other is the vegetable broth, described below.

Makes two 8 oz. servings. Multiply as necessary.

1 delicata squash
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
8 oz. vegetable stock
4 oz. vegan cream replacement
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

This is a delicata squash, which is small, thin-skined, and pretty sweet.

squashsoup1.jpgHalve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds.

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Place the squash cut-side down in a glass baking pan. Add 1/8" of water to the pan, cover with foil, and bake for 35-40 minutes until tender. Let cool.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook for a couple minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the onion is softened and translucent, being careful to not burn the onion or garlic.

Scrape the squash into the saucepan.

For the stock I use More than Gourmet Veggie Stock gold. It's made of real vegetables, no fillers, and is low in sodium. Do not attempt to use vegetable bouillon cubes which pretty much just taste like salt! You could use a packaged vegetable broth (the Pacific brand is pretty good), but I like More than Gourmet because it comes as a concentrate that lasts for months in the refrigerator so you don't end up throwing out all of those partial containers of vegetable (chicken, mushroom, etc.) broths. I use a 1:20 ratio so 0.4 oz. (by weight) of concentrate for 8 oz. of hot water.

Add the stock and cream substitute. Cook for about 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

squashsoup3.jpgPurée the soup in a food processor or blender. My first attempt using the stick blender did not succeed in fully puréeing the onions so I switched to the food processor, which worked perfectly.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Each 8 oz. serving is a very respectable 197 calories. It's so good, however, you might want to eat a giant 16 oz. bowl of it, which is still a reasonable 393 calories.

This recipe is vegan, and therefore also vegetarian and dairy-free.

It does contain gluten and tree nuts, though it can easily be modified.

The original recipe I based this on did have butter and heavy cream in it and I'm sure it was delicious as well. It was also extremely high in fat and calories. The heavy cream version is 331 calories for 8 oz. but if you add in the calories for a salad or a sandwich, then you're talking quite a few calories for a lunch. And a lot of saturated fat.







What I ate: October 17, 2010

Breakfast: Homemade bagels with 1.0 oz. cream cheese, 2.0 oz. lox, red onion, and tomato. 420 calories.

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Lunch: Twice-cooked pork with scallions and noodles. I've made this recipe a number of times, especially when I've forgotten to make rice. I apparently never did the calorie calculation before, because it's high. Really high! 557 calories! Well, high for my lunch, at least.

It's made with ramen noodles (just the noodles, not the flavoring packet). But, as it turns out, a package of ramen is actually two servings. Who eats a half package of ramen noodles? In any case, I'll have to start making this with a half package of noodles because it a much more reasonable 336 calories with a half package of noodles. Ramen noodles are high in calories, by the way, because they're fried.

And "really high" is a relative term. A McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese, medium fries, and a diet soda are 890 calories, but I wouldn't use McDonalds as a benchmark for diet food, either. It is really high compared to spinach, sardines, and rice at 221 calories.

ate.20101017.l.jpgDinner: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and celeriac in sweet and spicy garlic sauce. 593 calories. OK, the total number of calories were higher than lunch, but it's in the correct range for dinner. And it has more than 3 cups of vegetables in it!

veggarlicstir5.jpgAnd 2 glasses of Polka Dot Riesling.

And perhaps some Absolut apeach and soda.

Sunday is not normally a running day, but after the little caloric error at lunch I figured that a half hour run/walk should help. With run/walk intervals I did 2.84 miles in 31:46 and should have canceled out 302 calories, so that got me back on track for the day. Plus I had that giant plate of vegetables for dinner. And skipped my cheese and crackers.

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.4 lbs.

That was pretty much expected.
veggarlicstir5.jpg
This is just a big plate of sautéed vegetables in a Chinese-style sweet and spicy garlic sauce. Delicious and healthy!

After yesterday's delicious but heavy roasted duck with pomegranate chili sauce I decided to make something vegetarian and healthy. And not like my tempeh wontons, shiitake egg roll, and General Tso's tofu dinner which is vegetarian but not quite as healthy seeing as everything came out of the deep fryer!

This meal has 12.7 grams of protein; about equivalent to 1.4 oz. of chicken. Certainly you could throw any number of things like tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, or meat in it if you were worried about it.

Chop 1 cup each:

broccoli
celeriac (peel and chop)
Brussels sprouts (stem and cut in half)

veggarlicstir3.jpgThe actual vegetables don't really matter - I just happened to have all of those handy. Throw anything you like in it!

Heat a sauté pan or wok over medium-high to high heat. Add high temperature oil such as peanut or canola oil.

Start with the things that take longer to cook like broccoli stems, celeriac, carrots, etc..

Then add the faster to cook vegetables like broccoli florets, Brussels sprouts, etc..

Yes, that's a vegetable serving for one person!

veggarlicstir4.jpgWhen done, toss with 1/4 cup of the garlic sauce and serve with 1 cup of rice.

Nutrition information for the whole plate above, including vegetables, sauce, and rice. 593 calories, which is pretty reasonable for dinner.

veggarlicstir8.jpg 172 of those calories come from the sauce, but the sauce is essential. It's sweet, spicy, salty, and delicious. There is no way I could eat 3 cups of steamed vegetables, but this was excellent!

The 593 does not include the wine, add 121 calories more for that.

This meal is vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, at least when using the Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce.

It's gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce.

It contains tree nuts if you use peanut oil, but is nut-free with other oils such as canola.

Pictured above with Polka Dot Riesling.

Sweet and spicy garlic sauce

This is a great spicy, and also slightly sweet and slightly salty stir-fry sauce!

I used this recipe, with a few modifications. It makes 1/2 cup of sauce, which I think should be enough for two servings. I refrigerated the other serving of sauce for a future recipe.

2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. rice wine, sake, mirin, etc.
1 tbsp. chili sauce
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. peanut oil
4 cloves garlic

I dramatically increased the chili sauce from 1/4 tsp. to 1 tbsp.. I used Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce, so there's extra garlic flavor, too. I also used hot pepper sesame oil instead of regular sesame oil and increased the amount.

I didn't have Chinese dark soy sauce, so I just used 2 tbsp. regular soy sauce.

Combine the first group of ingredients (through sesame oil) in a small bowl.

In another small bowl combine the cornstarch and the water to dissolve the cornstarch.

veggarlicstir1.jpgHeat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about a minute, making sure it doesn't burn.

Add the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, etc. mixture and stir. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.

Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened to the desired consistency.

veggarlicstir9.jpg
This should make about 1/2 cup of sauce (2 servings). I got a little less than that; this is a quarter cup measure:

veggarlicstir2.jpgNutrition information for one serving, approximately 1/4 cup. 172 calories per serving, but it's very, very delicious.

veggarlicstir7.jpg
The sauce should be vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free, at least with the Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce.

It contains wheat gluten, unless you use gluten-free soy sauce.

It will contain tree nuts if you use peanut oil but you can substitute canola.

Homemade bagels with cream cheese, lox, red onion, and tomato

bagel5.jpg
This is what happens around here: It's 6:30 PM and I'm doing tomorrow's menu planning. After going through a number of possible breakfast choices all of the sudden I think "bagel!"

Now of course any reasonable person would go to the store a buy a bagel but I instead decided to make my own, from scratch. The recipe I use is incredibly involved, requiring making a sponge (yeast, flour, and water) and letting that rise for 2 hours, then making the dough and kneading, dividing, relaxing.

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Then forming and float-testing. And then they have to go into the refrigerator overnight to retard.

And then, the next morning, they need to be boiled, then baked!

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This is a serious recipe, but it does produce really, really good New York style chewy water bagels. And, because I make them myself, I can make them abnormally small to get the calorie counts in order.

The recipe comes from the excellent bread baking book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice (Mastering the art of extraordinary bread) by Peter Reinhart, pages 115-122. Yes, the discussion and recipe are eight pages in the book.

Since I can't possibly condense that much information into this post, I'll just include the ingredient list for a half recipe of bagels - this produces 9 small (3 oz.) bagels. This convenient amount fits on a single half sheet pan.

Sponge:

0.055 oz. instant yeast
9 oz. unbleached bread flour
10 oz. water at room temperature

Dough:

0.027 oz. instant yeast
8.5 oz. unbleached bread flour
0.35 oz. salt
0.25 oz. Barley malt syrup

The real recipe calls for high-gluten flour, but bread flour is a reasonable substitute.

The sponge is made two hours prior to making the dough. The dough kneading, relaxing, forming, etc. takes about an hour, and the dough must retard overnight in the refrigerator.

I scaled out 3.0 oz. of dough for each bagel; this produced a nice, somewhat small bagel that I think is a good portion size. It's roughly the size of a Lender's frozen bagel, not the size of bagel shop bagel. You could go up to 4.5 oz. per bagel.

The next day the bagels get boiled for 2 minutes, then baked for 5 minutes at 500°F.

While of course the bagels are best fresh, they actually do freeze quite well. I ate one immediately, put one in my 55°F cool storage, and froze the rest.

The book also lists variations for flavored bagels, too. I made two sesame seed and salt bagels.

For my breakfast I made a New York bagel:

bagel 201 calories
1.0 oz. cream cheese 100 calories
thinly sliced red onion
tomato
2.0 oz. lox (smoked salmon) 110 calories
total: 420 calories

This was unbelievably delicious on my hot, fresh out of the oven, soft yet chewy bagel!

According to caloriecount.about.com my 3.0 oz. bagels are 201 calories, which is more than a slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat toast (70 calories) and not as healthy since it's not whole grain. But for a sandwich, it's more like two slices of bread, and that's 140 calories, so 201 is not that much more.

bagel6.jpgLet's see how some sample meals work out:

bagel 201 calories
1 tbsp. Earth balance buttery spread 100 calories
3 slices of bacon 125 calories
total: 426 calories

bagel 201 calories
egg 63 calories
1/2 tbsp. Earth Balance (to cook the egg) 50 calories
0.25 oz. Cheddar cheese 28 calories
3 slices of bacon 125
total: 467 calories

I'm not a big cream cheese person, but 1 oz. of cream cheese is 100 calories, so it's the same number of calories as 1 tbsp. of Earth Balance or even real butter.



What I ate: October 16, 2010

Breakfast: 1 1/2 slices of Vermont Bread Company alfalfa sprout French toast, 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon, and 0.5 oz. real Vermont maple syrup. 452 calories.

ate.20101016.b.jpgSnack: Half of an empire apple. You'll notice it's a little discolored - I did an experiment to see if just vacuum sealing was enough, or whether I also needed to include lemon juice or something of that nature. It would seem so. 37 calories.

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Lunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories.

ate.20101016.l.jpgSnack: 0.3 oz. of Mt. Mansfield Creamery Goldolier cheese on two Kashi heart to heart roasted garlic crackers. Though in retrospect I should have used a plain cracker because the herbed Havarti cheese didn't really go with the roasted garlic crackers. About 75 calories.

ate.20101016.s3.jpgI picked up this cheese at the Farmers Market today - it's an herbed Havarti cow's milk cheese with garlic, onion, parsley, celery, and chives.

ate.20101016.s2.jpgDinner: Roasted duck with pomegranate chili sauce, buttercup squash roasted with butter and maple syrup, and garlic Brussels sprouts. Calorie count is unknown, but probably a little high. There's 3.5 oz. of duck in the serving.

duck2.jpgAnd 2 glasses red wine. 121 calories each.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain Chocolate raspberry truffle. 60 calories.

Snack: 0.7 oz. popcorn, air popped, with 1/2 tbsp. melted butter and salt. 110 calories.

ate.20101016.s4.jpgAnd possibly some Absolut açaí berry and soda. 110 calories each.

No running on the weekends but I did walk to the Coop (1.5 miles) and the farmers market (less than a mile).

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.8 lbs.

I really can't explain that. I checked multiple times. I thought for sure the multiple snacks and big plate of duck would have a detrimental effect on my weight!




duck2.jpg
This dish was pretty good but I like the roasted duck breast recipe much better. It's also a lot easier to cook duck breast. But now I can say that I've cooked a whole duck. It was part of Meat CSA Installment #5.

This recipe is pretty much this recipe though I reduced the cooking times because my duck was smaller. I didn't reduce them enough, however, and my duck was a little overdone. But the pomegranate chili sauce made everything OK.

The plate also included buttercup squash roasted with maple syrup and butter.

And a few Brussels sprouts. They were stemmed and cut in half and stir-fried with a little olive oil. When they were partially cooked I added minced garlic. The rest of the seasoning is just salt and pepper.

4.75 lb. Long Island duck (also known as Pekin duck)
2 cups boiling-hot water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

If necessary, cut off wing tips with poultry shears or a sharp knife. Remove and discard excess fat from body cavity and neck, then rinse duck inside and out.

Prick skin all over with a sharp fork. Fold neck skin under body, then put duck, breast side up, on a rack in a 13- by 9- by 3-inch roasting pan and pour boiling-hot water over duck (to tighten skin). (Like chicken, "breast side up" is when the drumsticks are on top.)

Cool duck, then pour out any water from cavity into pan. Pat duck dry inside and out, reserving water in pan, then rub duck inside and out with kosher salt and pepper.

Roast duck, breast side up, 30 minutes, then remove from oven. Turn duck over and roast 30 minutes more.

The original recipe said to use two wooden spoons but I found that one spoon and a very large pair of tongs works better. But be careful not to puncture the skin with the tongs.

Turn duck over again (breast side up), tilting duck to drain any liquid from cavity into pan. Continue to roast duck until skin is brown and crisp, about 30 minutes more (total roasting time: about 90 minutes). Tilt duck to drain any more liquid from cavity into pan. Transfer duck to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

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My duck was only 4.75 pounds, and I could have cooked it even less than that. I took it out 7 minutes early but I probably should have reduced the times to 25-25-25 instead. The original recipe called for 45-45-45 which I can't help but think would terribly overcook the duck unless if was truly huge.

You could separate out the liquid and duck fat by refrigerating it, but I already had enough duck fat so I just discarded the pan liquid.




Pomegranate chili sauce

I've made this sauce before, and it's excellent! It's from Bon Appétit, December 2009, via epicurious.com. It works really well with roasted duck but it would be good on chicken, as well.

This recipe is basically unchanged from the original.

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups low salt chicken broth
4 large dried California chiles (I used Anaheim)
1 1/2 tsp. adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. ground cumin (not toasted)
kosher salt
freshly ground back pepper.

Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.

Increase heat; boil until syrup is deep amber color, swirling pan occasionally, about 8 minutes.

The original recipe recommends refrigerated pomegranate such as Pom, but since I didn't have that I substituted 100 % pomegranate from Lakewood and it was fine.

I also substituted Anaheim chiles for California, though I think the sauce could be spicier so I might throw in something a little hotter next time.

Also I used 0.8 oz. More than Gourmet chicken stock concentrate and 16 oz. water. More than Gourmet is also low in sodium but it's more flavorful and the concentrate lasts forever in the refrigerator.

Add juice, broth, and California chiles. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 25 minutes. Watch out as the sauce may want to boil over if you use too small of a pot.

pomegranatesauce.jpg

Remove from heat; cool. Puree in tightly covered blender until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Whisk in adobo sauce, vinegar, and cumin. Season to taste with generous amount of coarse salt and pepper.

I don't think I sufficiently blended the sauce so I ended up straining it, as well. But this made it thinner and not as as spicy, so really thorough blending is a much better plan.

Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over low heat before using.

I also have successfully vacuum sealed and frozen the sauce.

So I just assumed this sauce would be high in calories, but it's really not that bad. For a reasonable serving size of 1.25 oz. (one-eighth of the recipe above), it's 71 calories according to caloriecount.about.com. Bring on the sauce!

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Roasted buttercup squash with maple syrup and butter

I wanted a slightly sweet winter squash to go with my slightly spicy pomegranate duck sauce so I went with this very basic preparation.

Buttercup squash:

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Cut a buttercup squash in half and remove the seeds. Cut each half into four more slices to make a total of 8. This will make it easier to trim out any remaining pulpy bits in the center.

Also, once done cooking it will make it easier to remove the skin.

Melt a tablespoon of butter and add a tablespoon of maple syrup. Lightly coat each of the squash slices with the butter and syrup mixture using a pastry brush (or your hands).

Set skin side down on sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes at 400°F or until tender but not too soft.

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Remove from then oven and let cool a bit. Remove the skin from the squash and cut into reasonable serving sizes, probably about 1" dice.

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Farmers Market 10/16/2010

My vegetable CSA has been over for more than a week, and my meat CSA ended today. But I still was able to get a few things at the Montpelier Farmers Market.

farmersmarket1.jpgFrom Dog River Farms:

broccoli
brussels sprouts
spinach
green peppers
pie pumpkin

And from Mt. Mansfield Creamery, Gondolier cheese. It's an herbed havarti cheese with garlic, onion, parsley, celery, and chives.

That bag of spinach was so large that even after vacuum sealing four pint jars there was so much left over that I had to blanch, the vacuum seal and freeze the remainder!

This:

spinach1.jpgEnded up as this:

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Meat CSA Installment #5

It's the fifth and final installment of my Tangletown Farm meat CSA for this season.

This week:

half chicken
whole fresh duck
beef loin T-bone steak
ground pork
beef round eye of round steak

meat-csa5.jpgAlso:

What I ate: October 15, 2010

Breakfast: 1 scrambled egg, 3 slices of Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon, and 1 slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat bread with Earth Balance buttery spread. 467 calories.

ate.20101015.b.jpgSnack: Half an empire apple. 37 calories. 

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Lunch: Sausage and red pepper stir-fry. 376 calories.

ate.20101015.l.jpgSnack: 2 Kashi heart to heart roasted garlic crackers ("natural triscuits") with Lazy Lady Farms La Roche, a chèvre (goat's milk cheese). 75 calories.

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Dinner: Chicken paprika, rice, and broccoli with sour cream sauce. I made a few modifications to the recipe and actually got the whole plate down to 642 calories! The link is a new recipe.

chickenpaprika7.jpgAnd possibly some wine. And vodka.

And my walk/run on the treadmill, which still comes out to 2.4 miles outside and only 1.9 miles inside. I guess I need to pick up the pace inside!

Weight at beginning of the day: 115.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.8 lbs.

I knew my starting weight was high because of the beer the night before. But I really didn't expect it to drop that much. Weird! I fully expect the next day to be 114.something since that seems to be the trend.





Chicken paprika (revisit)

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I did a post on this earlier, but I thought I'd revisit it from a diet perspective. As it turns out, it's not nearly as unhealthy as it looks!

This is (as far as I can remember) basically a recipe from the old Joy of Cooking. I started making this in college, probably about 24 years ago, and it's so simple and tasty I keep making it, despite misplacing that ancient copy of Joy of Cooking.

One of the changes from my original recipe is that I reduced the size of the chicken portion. As it turns out, one breast of chicken is actually a lot of chicken. A "proper" serving is 3.0 oz. but in the interest of not starving, I bumped it to 5.0 oz.. Here are my portioned chicken breasts out of a 1.43 lb. package of Misty Knoll local, antibiotic-free chicken.

chickenpaprika4.jpg
Season chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Dice an onion and finely chop garlic to taste. For one serving, I used half a medium onion and two small garlic cloves.

The completed mise en place for the meal:

chickenpaprika5.jpg
Add a little oil to a sauté pan and cook the onions for a minute. Push the onions to one side of the pan and add the chicken to the other. When browned, flip the chicken over. Add the garlic to the onions.

Add chicken broth. I used 1 cup for my serving for one. Actually, I used 0.4 oz. (by weight) of More than Gourmet chicken stock gold with 8 oz. of boiling water. The More than Gourmet stock concentrate is great because it lasts for at least a year in the refrigerator, and you just cut off bits of the gelled concentrate and add it to water. It's also low in sodium and has no fillers. And it tastes much richer than the stuff in a can. You'll notice that the stock is not the pale yellow color of chicken broth.

Add 1 tbsp. paprika or more. Ideally, add a mixture of hot and sweet Hungarian paprika to taste. Cover, and cook for several minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160°F. It took 12 minutes to cook my chicken.

chickenpaprika6.jpg
Remove the chicken to a warmed platter.

Reduce the broth. Add 1/4 cup sour cream to make a sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

chickenpaprika9.jpg
I served it with 1 cup of white sushi rice and 1/2 cup of broccoli, with everything covered in the sour cream sauce.

I had some sour cream sauce left over, so the actual calories were a little lower than this (from caloriecount.about.com). This is the entire plate, including rice and broccoli.

chickenpaprika8.jpg642 calories is a little high, but not unreasonable. Fat is a little high but not unreasonable for dinner. All in all, I found it quite surprising that it was not worse nutritionally with all that sour cream sauce. Not something to eat every day, but once in a while it's not that bad. Just watch out on the size of the chicken serving!

Also, that's using real full fat sour cream because I don't really believe in using the reduced fat or reduced calorie products. I just use less of the "real" product.

Update 5/22/2012: Minor edits to the cooking steps.

ate.2012.05.22.d.jpg

What I ate: October 14, 2010

Breakfast: 1 scrambled egg, 3 slices of Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon, and 1 slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat bread with Earth Balance buttery spread. 467 calories.

ate.20101014.b.jpgSnack: 0.5 oz. peanuts. 85 calories.

Lunch: Tuna salad salad. 430 calories.

ate.20101014.l.jpgSnack: 2 Kashi heart to heart roasted garlic crackers ("natural triscuits") with Lazy Lady Farms La Roche, a chèvre (goat's milk cheese). 75 calories.

ate.20101014.s1.jpgThe cheese:

ate.20101014.s2.jpg
Dinner: Salmon tacos with salsa fresca and shredded Napa cabbage. This is basically the same recipe as my shrimp tacos, but with salmon instead of shrimp. Probably about 390 calories with 1 oz. tortilla chips and more salsa fresca.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 114.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.2 lbs.

I knew that was going to happen since I had three large meals and it was a Main Street Grill night. Too many calories in beer!




What I ate: October 13, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito. 423 calories. This was a reheat of the filling from a few days ago (and also a recycling of that picture).

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Lunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories. (This is yesterday's picture, but it looked the same.)

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Dinner: Local, organic T-bone steak, salt and olive oil-rubbed baked potato, and sautéed zucchini

steakpotatozuc5.jpgI didn't eat 1/4 of the very delicious potato, but I did have a several glasses of Sebastini zinfandel, Sonoma, California, 2006. And a square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle dark chocolate.

And a few peanuts with salt. My normal serving size is 0.5 oz., 85 calories.

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.8 lbs.

While I did have a pretty big steak and a lot of wine, I'm pretty sure it's just that my weight at the beginning of the day was anomalously low, because my weight is the same as the day before.



Steak, baked potato, and sautéed zucchini

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A local, organic 0.89 lb. Tangletown farm T-bone steak, trimmed, seasoned with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, and dark chili powder. And a little olive oil.

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I grilled it for 2 minutes per side, over very high heat then rapidly chilled it.

steakpotatozuc2.jpgI then vacuum sealed it and cooked it in the sous vide at 133°F for about 45 minutes, though the time is quite flexible. It probably could be cooked in as little as 30 minutes and it would still be perfectly medium-rare after an hour and a half. That's the great thing about the sous vide!

I followed my regular recipe for baked potato, rubbed with olive oil and kosher salt. On the rack waiting to go into the oven:

steakpotatozuc3.jpg
And I really do make a reverse chronological list when I cook food that needs to be done at the same time. And yes, I really do eat dinner at 5:00 PM. Sometimes earlier...

5:00 PM Eat
4:59 PM Remove plate and potato
4:58 PM Heat plate in oven
4:55 PM Cook zucchini
4:52 PM Heat pan for zucchini, prep zucchini
4:50 PM Steak out of sous vide
4:05 PM Steak into sous vide
4:00 PM Potato into oven at 350°F
3:56 PM Prepare potato
3:50 PM Preheat oven
3:30 PM Preheat sous vide to 133°F

The magnetic kitchen timer is also helpful. I have four of them and stick them to whatever I'm timing.

steakpotatozuc4.jpgI cut the steak to make a 4.1 oz. (cooked) serving. Adding in the zucchini, potato, and butter on the potato, the total was 539 calories. Not bad.

And I didn't eat 1/4 of the very delicious potato, so I actually consumed less than that. I did, however, serve it with Sebastini zinfandel, Sonoma, California, 2006, another 121 calories, so I gained some back.




What I ate: October 12, 2010

Breakfast: Sausage, egg, and cheese English muffin. That's local Tangletown Farm antibiotic-free pork sausage (0.8 oz. cooked weight), a Pete and Gerry's organic egg, Barowski's organic whole wheat English muffin, and 0.5 oz. Cabot cheddar cheese. 436 calories.

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Lunch: Spinach, hana katsuo, sardines, and rice with furikake. 221 calories. Aside from being tasty, filling enough, low in calories, and pretty healthy, I think I discovered why I like this meal so much. It's really, really salty! There's soy sauce in the spinach and on the sardines. And furikake (on the rice) and hana katso (in the spinach) are salty too. It's a good thing I don't have high blood pressure!

ate.20101012.l.jpgSnack: Two tiny rice balls (omusubi) with salt, 43 calories each.

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Dinner: Teriyaki barbecued pork with rice and broccoli. There's 3.6 oz. of pork on the plate, about 1 cup of rice, and 1/2 cup broccoli. 397 calories. 

teriyakibbqpork5.jpgOne square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle (60 calories), and two glasses on Cannonball cabernet sauvignon (121 calories each).

And I might have had Absolut mandarin and soda.

Weight at beginning of today: 114.8
Weight at beginning of the next day: 113.8

I'm not sure whether the next morning's weight was anomalously low (I did measure it three times), or today's starting weight was anomalously high.

And it might be a genetic disposition toward being able to metabolize white sushi rice, but I did consume nearly two cups (10.2 oz.) of white sushi rice today.



Teriyaki barbecued pork

teriyakibbqpork5.jpg
This is similar to a dish that Mom makes. It's very thinly sliced pork, marinated in a teriyaki marinade, and grilled.

I only had the idea that this is what I wanted to eat for dinner a little before noon, so I had to make a few modifications to get it done in time.

Prepare a batch of homemade teriyaki marinade by mixing soy sauce, sake, a little sugar, and minced fresh garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil in a small sauce pan, then let cool slightly. I didn't include any amounts because I tend to just throw it in a pan to taste, and also I made far less marinade than you will likely need.

You could use a commercial product, but it works better if you use something that's specifically a marinade; teriyaki sauce is generally way too thick.

The best cut is a center cut 7-rib boneless roast. I didn't have one, so I used a boneless sirloin cut. It's also best to freeze it for 2 hours, or cut it before it's fully defrosted. Since I was pressed for time, I cut it at thawed temperature which makes it much more difficult to get uniform, thin slices.

teriyakibbqpork1.jpg
Take the best pieces and marinate them.

I like to marinate in a vacuum sealed bag because it speeds the absorption of the marinade and also dramatically reduces the amount of marinade you need. This can pretty much only be done if you have a chamber vacuum sealer, because the FoodSaver type machines will just suck the marinade out of the bag. And even with a chamber machine it's iffy a best vacuum sealing hot marinade because it wants to boil when the pressure drops. Care is required here, too. Refrigerate the vacuum bag or bowl of pieces to marinate.

teriyakibbqpork2.jpg
There will be a variety of end pieces, oddly shaped bits, and so forth. I placed them in a lightly oiled roasting pan, seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and baked for 20 minutes at 350°F. I removed the thin pieces, then baked for another 10 minutes. These bits will be cut up, vacuum sealed, and frozen for stir fries. This made two 2.6 oz. (cooked) servings.

teriyakibbqpork3.jpg
When ready to grill, remove the pork from the marinade. If you decide to use the marinade as a dipping sauce you can boil and strain it, but it's pretty flavorful and you might not need a sauce.

The meat is extremely thin so it only needs to cook a minute and a half on each side if you have a very hot grill.

teriyakibbqpork4.jpgServed with about 1 cup of rice, and a half cup of broccoli. Total is about 397 calories. I didn't do a nutrition facts label because I couldn't begin to guess how much salt was absorbed during the marinating process!

I started with a 1.33 lb. sirloin roast and ended up with two 3.6 oz. dinner servings of barbecued pork and two 2.6 oz. stir-fry meat servings. This is a great meal for one because the leftovers freeze well. You could even grill it off on a weekend and freeze all of the portions.

You can throw vacuum sealed bags frozen into the sous vide (155°F), boil-in-bag (simmer for 15 to 20 minutes), or just microwave to reheat.





What I ate: October 11, 2010

Breakfast: 2 pancakes, 3 pieces of Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon, 0.5 oz. real maple syrup. Yes, there are 3 pancakes pictured but I didn't eat one of them. 440 calories.

pancakes6.jpg
Lunch: Chicken and cabbage stir-fry with rice. 330 calories.

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Snack: Two Late July organic classic rich crackers ("natural Ritz crackers") with 0.4 oz. Orb Weaver farmhouse cow's milk cheese from New Haven, VT. And a glass of Chateau St. Michelle chardonnay white wine. Approximately 75 calories for the cheese and crackers and 121 for the wine is 196 calories.
 
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Dinner: Shrimp scampi on spinach linguini with a slice of Red Hen ciabatta bread and a glass of wine. Link is a new, slightly updated recipe. 514 calories for just the shrimp scampi, 745 calories with bread and wine.

shrimpscampi1.jpgAnd I might have had Absolut ruby red grapefruit and soda water.

I finally got back on my run/walk schedule. The usual: 5 minute walk, then alternating 5 minute run and 3 minute walk, three times. 2.5 miles, 29 minutes. -269 calories.

Weight at beginning of today: 114.6 lbs.
Weight at beginning of the next day: 114.8 lbs.

Apparently putting pancakes, a stir fry, and shrimp scampi in the same day is just too much. I probably should have mixed in a lighter breakfast (1 piece of toast, 3 slices of bacon, 1 egg) or a lighter lunch (spinach, sardines, and rice) if I was going to make shrimp scampi.

While 0.2 lbs. isn't much, and is the resolution of my scale, so it could be close to a rounding error, if I were to actually gain 0.2 lbs. every day, that's 73 lbs. per year!


Shrimp Scampi #2

shrimpscampi1.jpg
This is slight modification of my original shrimp scampi recipe to make it a little more diet-friendly.

There is also now a Shrimp Scampi #3 which is a little easier to prepare and solves a problem where the garlic and parsley may burn on the broiler.

Serves 1, multiple as necessary.

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
0.5 oz. Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped (a handful)
0.3 oz. garlic, pressed (3 cloves)
4 oz. uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (1/4 lb., about 6 large shrimp)
red pepper flakes
salt
pepper
2.0 oz. spinach fettuccine (dry)


Bring a pot of water to boil and prepare fettuccine or spinach fettuccine. According to the nutrition facts they're pretty much identical, but I do like the green color of the spinach version.

Preheat the broiler.

Heat an ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and add olive oil. Add the garlic and cook through but do not brown.

Add the shrimp and parsley, toss to coat the shrimp. Cook for a few minutes until the shrimp turns pink. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Put under the broiler for 2 minutes so brown the shrimp slightly. Remove from the broiler. Add the cooked and drained noodles and toss to coat the noodles. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve.

I reduced the amount of shrimp, olive oil, and butter from my earlier recipe to get the calories count under control. It's still very delicious and filling, however.

Here are the nutrition facts, according to caloriecount.about.com:

shrimpscampi2.jpgAdd in 110 calories more for the slice of ciabatta bread and 121 calories for a glass of wine and the total is 745 - a little high but acceptable for dinner once in a while.
 


Conditioning my cutting board

It seems like "conditioning my cutting board" might be a euphemism, but in this case, I really just conditioned my wood cutting board with a mix of mineral oil and food-safe beeswax.

cuttingboard2.jpgI use Howard butcher block conditioner. I ordered it from Amazon.com and it works great. I use it about once a month, but I use my cutting board very, very frequently.


Pancakes (revisit)

pancakes6.jpg
It's been quite a while since I made my original posting about pancakes, and I've made them once or twice since then, so I thought I'd do an update.

1 egg
1/2 tbsp. sugar
8 fl. oz. milk (1 cup)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. melted butter
4.5 oz. (by weight) all-purpose flour (1 cup)
1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat a non-stick griddle to 375°F.

Whisk the egg with sugar. Add milk, vanilla extract, and melted butter. Add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing as little as possible.

Use 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Makes 6 pancakes. [Note: See Update #1 below]

Originally I made my serving size be 3 pancakes, but I've since reconsidered and it's now 2 pancakes. Here's the nutrition information for 2 pancakes from caloriecount.about.com:

pancakes5.jpgAdding in 3 slices of bacon (125 calories) and 0.5 oz. maple syrup (50 calories) makes 440 calories, which is right in my breakfast target range.

For diet purposes, don't add any more butter at the table and dip the bites into the maple syrup rather than pouring. You'll use a lot less syrup that way.

I freeze then vacuum seal the leftover pancakes. Then, for a quick breakfast I just preheat the oven to 350°F and put in a sheet pan with frozen pre-cooked bacon and pancakes. Lightly grease the portion under the pancakes with spray oil to make sure the pancakes don't stick. Cook for about 9 minutes.

It's also good with sausage links, which I also pre-cook and freeze, but they need to be defrosted (30 seconds in the microwave on high for 2) before putting on the sheet pan for reheating.

ate.2011.12.08.b.jpg
Scaled and slightly modified from the Mark Bittman recipe in How to Cook Everything, here.

Update #1: I really have no idea how I only got 6 pancakes before. I got 11 this time, and I think I've gotten 10 before. 

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ate.2011.12.16.b1.jpg





What I ate: October 10, 2010

Hmm... it's 10/10/10. Neat!

Breakfast: Ham and cheese croissant. While it might appear that way, I don't actually cook everything I eat from scratch, though I try to. For breakfast today I walked to La Brioche and bought a ham and cheese croissant, as making croissants from scratch is really kind of a pain!

ate.20101010.b.jpg
Lunch: Spicy vegetarian chili and jalapeño cornbread. I previously made the chili, vacuum sealed servings, and froze them. I reheated it by boiling a pot water, adding the vacuum sealed bag, bringing back to a boil, then lowering the heat and simmering for 20 minutes.

ate.20101010.l.jpg
Dinner: Braised short ribs and 4 oz. garlic mashed potatoes. The beauty of this meal is that it came entirely from my freezer. The vacuum sealed packages of short ribs and mashed potatoes went directly from the freezer to the 140°F sous vide machine where they cooked for 45 minutes and that was it. Straight to the plate!

shortribs8.jpgPlus 2 glasses of red wine and 1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle dark chocolate bar. And Absolut mandarin and soda.

Weight at the start of today: 114.8
Weight at the start of the next day: 114.6

I can't complain about that since I had a relatively large amount of delicious food today and didn't really do any exercise.

Braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes

shortribs8.jpg
I got a package of beef short ribs in my Meat CSA and decided braised short ribs sounded good.

I did some searching and found Tom Colicchio's braised short rib recipe in Food & Wine magazine. Who am I to argue with Tom Colicchio's recipe, so I basically prepared it exactly like the recipe.

In any case, it's quite time consuming to prepare but it's exceedingly delicious, moist, and tender. I'd make it again.

The actual recipe calls for 4 pounds of short ribs, but this is only 1.4 pounds. I didn't scale back the liquid in the recipe because I was worried about not having enough liquid in the braising pan. Though I do wonder how you'd deal with 4 pounds of ribs unless you used very large pans, however.

shortribs1.jpg
 After browning for 18 minutes in a sauté pan:

shortribs2.jpgBrowned vegetables for the wine marinade, another 20 minutes.

shortribs3.jpgRibs in wine marinade; this goes into the refrigerator overnight. That's almost an entire bottle of Yellow Tail cabernet sauvignon. This is pushing the envelope for "only cook with wine that you'd drink" but it turned out great.

shortribs4.jpgI followed the chef's suggestion to strain the marinating liquid and add new celery, carrots, onion, and garlic in the braising liquid.

After cooking for 2 hours and 15 minutes in the oven; I told you this recipe takes a long time to make!
shortribs6.jpgAll cooked. It's so tender it just fell right off the bone. I packaged 6 oz. of strained braising liquid for each serving, but that's way more than you need. 2 or 3 fluid oz. is more than enough.
shortribs7.jpgAfter all this effort I wasn't actually that hungry for short ribs anymore, so I vacuum sealed and froze them in two packages. To reheat, I just dropped a frozen package into the sous vide at 140°F for about 45 minutes and it turned out perfect.

I forgot the step about finishing it under the broiler, which probably would have made it even better. But it was excellent the way it was.



What I ate: October 9, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito. 423 calories.

ate.20101009.b.jpgLunch: Tuna salad on green salad. 290 calories.

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Snack: Two Kashi heart to heart roasted garlic crackers with 1/8 of a 5.0 oz. wheel of Jasper Hill Farms constant bliss cheese. And some Per Linda trebbiano d'Abruzzi white wine. 196 calories.

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Dinner: Very delicious and healthy grilled chicken tacos with salsa fresca and shredded Napa cabbage on steamed corn tortillas. 468 calories.
 
chickentaco1.jpgAnd I walked to the coop to get some groceries, about 1.5 miles total.

I seemingly spent the entire day cooking... in addition to the three meals above, I also cooked and froze a dozen hot Italian sausages, a batch of vegan cream substitute and delicata squash soup.

Weight at beginning of today: 114.8 lbs.
Weight at beginning of the next day: 114.8 lbs.

I probably would have lost weight if not for the drinks consumed while out last night with friends. Or if I had gone for a run.






Grilled chicken taco with salsa fresca

chickentaco1.jpg

This is a very delicious and very healthy taco, basically the complete opposite of the spaghetti taco earlier in the week.

Season chicken breasts with:

salt
pepper
garlic powder
chili powder
olive oil

Grill until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160°F. The USDA recommends 165°F now, and some experts say 170°F, but the higher temperatures will result in a drier meat.

I had intended to grill the chicken breasts old school on the grill, but they were getting kind of overcooked on the outside and not sufficiently cooked inside, so I decided to switch gears, bring them inside, rapidly chill them, and sous vide them at 160°F the rest of the way to make sure they stayed moist and properly cooked. I cooked for an hour, let cool a bit, then refrigerated.

I thinly sliced the chicken breast; my 1.29 lb. package of Misty Knoll natural, antibiotic-free chicken made four 2.6 oz. servings for chicken caesar salad (about 1/2 cup of chicken, 115 calories) that I vacuum sealed and froze and one 3.6 oz. serving for the tacos.

chickentaco2.jpg
Prepare a recipe of salsa fresca. That's basically all vegetables and herbs: tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and just a little salt and lemon juice. This should be done 30 minutes before serving time.

Steam two corn tortillas using this technique.

The tacos are filled with sliced grilled chicken (3.6 oz.), lots of salsa fresca, and a little shredded Napa cabbage.

Two tacos total 290 calories. With 1 oz. of tortilla chips and more salsa fresca, 468 calories.


Espresso

espresso.jpg
I have an espresso pretty much every day. One of the things I noticed in Italy was that a large number of the locals seemed to add sugar to their espresso.

Epiphany! It's no longer so bitter and harsh, in fact it's unbelievably delicious.

As part of my diet I wanted to reduce the amount of sugar I consumed, but didn't want to use artificial sweeteners, either. My solution is stevia, an incredibly sweet herb. It also has a negligible effect on blood glucose, which is good.

Unfortunately, 100 % stevia is pretty harsh-tasting stuff. I eventually found Sun Crystals, which is a mix of pure cane sugar (sucrose) and stevia, which has a nice flavor and is all natural.

A bunch of the zero calorie brands of stevia accomplish this by using sugar alcohols (such as xylitol), and I think I'd rather have a few grams of sucrose and have an all-natural sweetener.

I use half a packet in my espresso, so for 2.5 calories I haven't even been listing it on my what I ate list, which also omits things that have essentially no calories, like black coffee (5 calories) and tea (2 calories).

I also use it to make iced tea, using the unsweetened black tea K-Cups for the Keurig and one packet of Sun Crystals.

Incidentally, my espresso maker is a Saeco Odea Go super-automatic, which is very nice.

Vegan cream substitute

I made a small batch of this for use in my vegan 'cream' of broccoli soup and it's quite good. Not that you could make whipped topping or put it in your coffee, but in an otherwise flavorful vegetable soup it does thicken it up and make a creamy sort of soup with significantly less fat and calories than actual cream.

A cup of cream substitute is 247 calories. A cup of actual heavy whipping cream is 820 calories and also very high in saturated fat. Even if you're not a vegan, you may want to try this cream substitute as a way to cut calories and saturated fats from recipes that use cream.

It's a pain to make a small amount of roux so now I make an entire container of milk-replacement, 32 oz., at a time. I'm going to try freezing it; I don't see an obvious reason why it won't work, but we'll see.

1.0 oz. olive oil (4 tbsp.)
1.7 oz. flour (6 tbsp. or 3/8 cup)
32 oz. unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or other milk substitute)

vegancream1.jpg
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil then the flour and mix so all of the oil is absorbed into the flour.

Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. You will probably need to lower the heat as the cooking progresses to prevent it from burning, but you want to make sure the floury taste gets cooked out.

vegancream2.jpg
Add the milk substitute a little at a time, whisking constantly to get the flour to incorporate. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.

Once partially combined you can speed up the process by using a stick blender.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and continue to cook until it becomes thick and smooth.

vegancream3.jpg
Remove from the heat and let cool a little. Strain into a suitable container; I like to use a large Pyrex measuring cup since it makes pouring it out and measuring it much easier. You should have about 20 oz. to 24 oz. of cream substitute.

I vacuum sealed it, but that's not really necessary.

vegancream4.jpgEstimated nutrition information for 8 oz. of cream substitute from caloriecount.about.com:

vegancream7.jpgThe fat, however, is from olive oil, so it's healthy, mono-unsaturated fat. And it's surprisingly high in protein!

8 fluid oz. of cream substitute weighs 8.5 oz.

This recipe is vegan, and therefore also vegetarian and dairy-free.

It probably would work using rice flour and would then be gluten-free.

It does contain tree nuts (almonds in the almond milk), but you could easily substitute hemp, soy, or rice milk that's unflavored and unsweetened.







What I ate: October 8, 2010

Breakfast: 1 scrambled egg, 3 slices of Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon, and 1 slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat bread with Earth Balance buttery spread.

ate.20101008.b.jpgLunch: Beef with broccoli and scallions and rice. That 2.4 oz. of leftover steak (previously vacuum sealed and frozen). The sauce is a little Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir-fry sauce and soy sauce.

ate.20101008.l.jpgDinner: Meatloaf with gravy, rice, and broccoli. Yes, I realize that I had beef, broccoli, and rice for lunch as well. It was still on my mind, apparently. The meatloaf is local Tangletown Farm organic ground beef that I previously made vacuum sealed and froze. I just take the frozen package and cook it in the sous vide machine at 133°F for 45 minutes or so. And frozen gravy must always be heated on the stove, never in the microwave, because otherwise its doesn't return to the correct gravy consistency.

ate.20101008.d.jpgAlso some Finca La Linda Malbec. And 1 square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle.

Snack: 1/8 cup of air popped popcorn with 1 tbsp. butter and salt.

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Weight at start of the this day: 114.2 lbs.
Weight at start of the next day: 114.8 lbs.

I probably shouldn't have had popcorn after eating a big serving of meatloaf and gravy. And I had a big lunch. And I did basically no physical activity. I will have to rectify that tomorrow!

Szechuan sesame tofu

szechuantofu8.jpgThis is my first attempt at Szechuan cooking. I don't typically make Chinese food, with the exception of General Tso's tofu, so I don't think I've quite perfected the techniques. But this was pretty good.

14 oz. cake of extra-firm tofu
black pepper
garlic powder
all-purpose flour
sesame seeds
canola oil (or other oil)
toasted sesame oil

carrot
fresh ginger
hot peppers
peanut oil (or other high temperature oil)
hot pepper sesame oil
soy sauce
Szechuan peppercorns
4 oz. vegetable broth
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch

The only somewhat unusual ingredient is the Szechuan peppercorns, which I ordered from wholespice.com.

There are no amounts here, because it's pretty much a dish where you throw stuff into a pan to taste.

 Place a cake of extra firm tofu between two plates and put something heavy on it. Press for 15 minutes or so, periodically draining the water that comes out.

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Cut into pieces. I find this pattern works well because you don't want them too large or the pieces will likely break apart in the final stir-fry. Cut the cake in half parallel to the cutting board, the cut in half in the long direction, in half in the short direction. Then make two more cuts in the quarters and it should look like this:
szechuantofu4.jpgSeason the pieces with black pepper and garlic powder.

Mix together about a quarter cup of all-purpose flour and a handful of sesame seeds. Dredge the tofu pieces in the flour and sesame seed mix and set aside.

szechuantofu5.jpgHeat a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan; I used a mix of canola and toasted sesame oil. Add the tofu to the pan and cook until lightly browned, turning once.

szechuantofu6.jpg
Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Cut a carrot into 1/8" thick rounds or half-rounds. Add a little water, cover, and microwave for 40 seconds to partially cook. You could also boil or steam them, if you prefer.

Peel and mince fresh ginger.

Cut some hot peppers on the bias. I used what I think are Thai chili peppers, but I could be wrong. They're about 2 inches long.

szechuantofu9.jpgI used 2, but I think I could have used 3 or 4

szechuantofu2.jpg
Heat a clean sauté pan or wok over high heat. Add some high temperature oil, like peanut oil. (Extra virgin olive oil is one that you definitely cannot use, as it will start to smoke.)

Add the carrots, ginger, and hot peppers and cook for a minute.

Add the tofu, hot pepper sesame oil, and Szechuan peppercorns to taste. I used about 2 tsp. I could have used a little more.

Add the vegetable broth. I used 0.2 oz. More than Gourmet veggie stock gold. It's very good, low in sodium, and contains no fillers. You mix the liquid concentrate with water. The main advantage is that the concentrate keeps in the refrigerator for many months so you don't end up throwing away partial containers of stock.

Add the sugar.

Mix the cornstarch with a little water, and add that to the pan.

Add the soy sauce.

Stir contents of the pan to cook until the sauce thickens.

szechuantofu7.jpg

Depending on how much hot pepper sesame oil you use, what kind and how many chili peppers you add, and how much Szechuan peppercorn you add, this dish can be anywhere from slightly hot to sweat-inducing hot.

This dish is vegetarian. It should be vegan. And lactose-free.

You could make a gluten-free version by using a different type of flour and using gluten-free soy sauce. It could be tree-nut free if you used an oil other than peanut; canola should be fine.

Serve with rice.




CSA Week #17

It's the last week of the CSA season :-(

csa17-1.jpg
pumpkin
butternut squash
Napa cabbage
kale
red peppers
garlic
potatoes
celeriac
onions



What I ate: October 7, 2010

Breakfast: 1 egg Western omelette (ham, green peppers, and onions) with 1 slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat bread with Earth Balance buttery spread. This is the second half of the filling I made earlier in the week.

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Lunch: Spinach, sardines, and rice. Yes, I eat this a lot.

ate.20101007.l.jpgSnack: Two Late July organic classic rich crackers ("natural Ritz crackers") with 0.5 oz. Orb Weaver farmhouse cow's milk cheese from New Haven, VT.

ate.20101007.s.jpgDinner: Szechuan sesame tofu with rice with a glass of Per Linda Trebbiano d'Abruzzo (Italian white wine).

szechuantofu8.jpgAnd some Switchback beer later.

I probably walked about 2 3/4 miles between walking to the Coop for groceries and walking up to Vermont College to pick up my CSA.

Weight at the start of today: 113.2 (a weight I have not been since 1986)
Weight at the start of the next day: 114.2

Too much beer... not a good idea for dieting!





What I ate: October 6, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito. This is a reheat of the filling left over from a few days ago in a freshly heated tortilla and just takes a couple minutes to make in the morning!

breakfastburrito8.jpgLunch: Tuna salad salad. The link is a new post about my tuna salad salad with calorie counts, too.

tunasalad1.jpgDinner: Spaghetti taco. I know, it's ridiculous. There was an article about the spaghetti taco in the New York Times. It started as a gag on the TV show iCarly and has gotten out of hand and become a real food that kids like.

spaghettitaco.jpgAlso, some Per Linda Montepulciano d'Abruzzi red wine. And a square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

Weight at the start of today: 114.2
Weight at the start of the next day: 113.2 (lowest weight since 1986!)

And, I had spaghetti tacos for dinner. Weird.

Spaghetti taco

spaghettitaco.jpg

I know, it's ridiculous. There was an article about the spaghetti taco in the New York Times. It started as a gag on the TV show iCarly and has gotten out of hand and become a real food that kids like.

I was very skeptical, but I'll try anything once. But I had to adjust some things, since I still had to eat it.

I should point out that I'm probably not the best judge for this meal since I'm not the target demographic and my tacos don't look anything like ground beef, lettuce, tomato, and cheese in a U-shaped shell; mine have things like smoked pork, or grilled steak and caramelized onions, or grilled lime and tequila marinated shrimp. I will, however, give it a fair shot.

The recipe calls for an American-style U-shaped hard corn taco shell. Here are the nutrition facts for Old El Paso taco shells from caloriecount.about.com:

tacoshell.jpg
My guess is that the taco shell ought to be replacing the bread that might be served with spaghetti. I wouldn't actually eat Pepperidge Farm frozen garlic bread but let's see how it stacks up. Really, from a calorie, fat, and carbs standpoint, they're pretty much even. OK, that's a good sign.
garlicbread.jpg
I needed to cut 150 calories out of my normal spaghetti serving. The logical choice was to cut back on the amount of pasta, from 2 oz. to 1 oz., and cut the amount of pasta sauce from 4.2 oz. to 2.1 oz. to account for the reduced amount of pasta. That saved 100 calories from the pasta and 40 from the sauce, so it pretty much works out!

Plus, I was pretty sure it wouldn't be possible to fit 2.0 oz. of pasta in three taco shells along with Italian sausage. I had to put something other than carbs in the meal.

Recipe for one, multiply as necessary:

1.0 oz. dry spaghetti
2.1 oz. pasta sauce

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt. Break the spaghetti in half (maybe thirds) and cook according to pacakage directions (9 minutes for Barilla spaghetti). I don't normally break my spaghetti in half, but one of the tips in the article mentioned it makes it easier to stuff in the taco shells. It's still kind of difficult.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the taco shells for 6 to 7 minutes or according to package directions.

Heat the pasta sauce; since I was only making one serving I microwaved it, covered, for a minute.

Cut the Italian sausage into small pieces. I get a package of Vermont Smoke and Cure hot Italian sausage and cook the whole thing. Then I vacuum seal and freeze it so all I need to do to cook it is take a link out of the freezer and microwave it for 1:20.

When the pasta is done, drain then mix together with the sauce in a bowl.

One of the things in the article mentioned using taco toppings (lettuce and tomato). That seemed really weird but I had to try it so I made one taco that way. I briefly considered putting taco seasoned ground beef in there too, but decided against it. In any case, it's bad. It's like mixing a salad in with your spaghetti, and that makes no sense.

The other two I just topped the spaghetti and sauce with Italian sausage, fresh basil, and Italian flat leaf parsley which seemed a little more reasonable. And indeed, it was actually pretty good. I was happy with those two.

Served with Per Linda Montepulciano d'Abuzzo, because everything's better with wine.

Would I make it again? No. It's not that good and it actually requires a number more pans than just making spaghetti and Italian sausage the normal way.

But as long as you cut back on the pasta and don't serve it with bread, it's really no worse nutritionally than serving regular spaghetti with mass-produced garlic bread or Texas toast. So if your kids like it that way, I say by all means go for it and don't feel guilty about it.

And now I can say I've had a spaghetti taco.

Tuna salad salad #2

tunasalad1.jpg
I've blogged about my tuna salad, which is really Mom's tuna salad, made with Kraft Catalina dressing and mayo, which gives it a vaguely Thousand Island dressing quality to it.

As it turns out, this is also not a bad thing for dieting, because mayo (at least full-fat mayo) has twice the calories as the salad dressing, so you can cut back on some of the mayo and still get something with nice texture.

Albacore tuna: 300 calories
Mayo 2 tbsp. 180 calories
Catalina dressing: 2 tbsp. 90 calories
Celery, 1 stalk: 10 calories
Total (2 servings): 580 calories
One Serving: 290 calories

I used to always make it as a sandwich with potato chips. Here's where the diet problem begins:

Two slices of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat bread: 140 calories
1 oz. Kettle brand spicy Thai potato chips: 150 calories
Total w/tuna salad: 580 calories

That's kind of a lot, especially compared to spinach, sardines, and rice (221 calories).

I do love a good tuna sandwich, but it's also good on a bed of lettuce with a little more Catalina dressing, and, in this case, tomato and croutons.

Lettuce: 20 calories
Kraft Catalina salad dressing, 2 tbsp. 90 calories
4 Olivia's organic croutons: 30 calories
Total w/tuna salad: 430 calories

What was kind of interesting is that if you leave out the potato chips, the two slices of bread are equal in calories to the lettuce, additional dressing, and croutons. And two slices of whole wheat bread is arguably a lot more filling than a pile of lettuce. I might start doing that occasionally.

And, while I usually eat natural salad dressings, I haven't found a substitute for Catalina, and actually it's pretty low in calories (90 for 2 tbsp.). Annie's organic Asian sesame is 120 calories, for example.

I do miss the crunch of the potato chips, so I toss is some extra celery. And I do occasionally eat potato chips as a snack.

If you really wanted to cut down on calories, Hellmann's light mayo is 90 calories for 2 tbsp. and Kraft fat-free Catalina is 50 calories for 2 tbsp. but I prefer to stick with the normal fat versions and just eat less.

Also, I have to throw in a plug for the best tuna: Wild Planet albacore tuna in water. It's sustainably caught, low in mercury, packed in BPA-free tins, and very delicious.

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What I ate: October 5, 2010

Breakfast: Plain Stonyfield Farm Greek yogurt with 1 tbsp. maple syrup and 1/3 c. homemade granola with 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon. I seem to have forgotten to take a picture but it looks like this, minus the blueberries. (451 calories)

Snack: A few peanuts. You've seen what the serving looks like.

Lunch: Pork with scallions and noodles, kind of like lo mein.

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Snack: A few peanuts. You've seen what the serving looks like.

Dinner: Local smoked barbecue pork spare ribs and hand-cut seasoned red potato French fries. It's not diet food but I think it's OK to have French fries, especially if you hand-cut them and fry them yourself. And clean up the deep fryer when you're done. That's enough disincentive to not have them very often! And Switchback beer, a local American pale ale.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. of not natural nor local Wavy lays potato chips and Cabot French onion dip.

ate.20101003.s2.jpgMy Monday run/walk was delayed to today: 2.5 miles, 30 minutes.

And I might have a Absolut açaí berry and soda.

Weight at the start of today: 115.2
Weight at the start of the next day: 114.2

I'm not sure what happened with the morning's weight. It seems to have been some weird anomaly.

friesribs1.jpgOK, it's not exactly healthy but it is very tasty.

Local, organic pork spare ribs from Tangletown farms seasoned with a dry rub for 24 hours, then cooked in a sous vide for 12 more hours, coated with local barbecue sauce, then finished in the smoker with hickory wood.

Hand-cut, local, organic red potato French fries, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

I'm pretty much of the mindset that you can have French fries any time you want... as long as you make your own fries from scratch. And clean out the deep fryer every time you use it. That's enough disincentive to limit your consumption of fries.

I served this with a glass of Switchback beer, local American pale ale.






Hand-cut seasoned French fries

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I cut a red potato into 1/4" pieces. I didn't peel the potato, since I ended up squaring it off as much as practical and peeling off the corners to make more evenly sized pieces. This results in a little more waste, but makes it easier to cook the potatoes evenly since the pieces are a more uniform size.

frenchfries2.jpgAnd it doesn't have to be a red potato - russet, Yukon gold, and many other potatoes are popular for fries. I just happened to have some red potato from from CSA Week #15.

Soak the cut potatoes in cold water for 15 minutes or so.

frenchfries3.jpgDry thoroughly.

Heat oil in the deep fryer to 270°F.

Blanch the potatoes for 4 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. They won't be browned yet, but should be cooked through.

When ready to serve, heat the oil to 370°F.

Return the potatoes and fry until golden - 2 minutes to 2:30.

Remove to a wire rack, paper towel, or kraft paper. Salt immediately. Season with pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

Also: the closely related steak fry recipe.



Tip: Separate the entire head of garlic at once

It took me a surprisingly long time to figure out this tip. I cook with a fair amount of garlic, and was always annoyed at dealing with removing a clove or two from the head of garlic. The papery outer skin would get loose and disperse through the kitchen, or I'd pull off a small clove when I wanted a big one, etc..

Then it occurred to me that I just ought to separate (but not peel) all of the cloves at once. I store them in a ramekin in my 55°F cool storage reach-in cooler.

Now I don't hesitate to reach for a clove of garlic since they're so easy to get to!

garlic1.jpg

What I ate: October 4, 2010

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño, and egg breakfast burrito. I've finally perfected the 423 calorie breakfast burrito, which is right in my target calorie range for breakfast, and the link a the new post about it.

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Lunch: Sautéed spinach, rice, and sardines. That's 221 calories, by the way.

ate.20100930.l.jpgSnack: 2 Kashi heart to heart roasted garlic crackers and 1/8th of a wheel of Jasper Hill Farms constant bliss cheese. And Crossroads sauvignon blanc. (75 calories for the cheese and crackers, and 121 for the wine.)
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Dinner: One dozen clams casino (onion, green pepper, bacon, and Parmesan cheese). And another glass of wine. This was too much work to calculate the calories for since I didn't have exact measurements of the ingredients.

Though it's a lot of effort to shuck the clams and prepare for a large number of people, doing a dozen for one person really isn't that bad. And they're surprisingly inexpensive. They were on sale at the Shaws supermarket for $ 4.99 a pound, and a dozen is only 0.65 lbs., so $ 2.92. Not bad!

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Weight at the start of today: 114.0
Weight at the start of the next day: 115.2

I'm not sure what happened with the next morning's weight. It was some sort of weird anomaly and the following day's weight was 114.2.





Breakfast Burrito #4

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I've finally perfected a tasty and convenient chorizo breakfast burrito that doesn't cause me to gain weight.

The ingredients may vary, but usually are:

3.0 oz. chorizo sausage, diced
onion, diced
green pepper or red pepper, diced
jalapeño, minced
1 egg, beaten

The important thing is that this is the filling for two burritos. I make one and save half of the filling for another later in the week.

The basic problem is that a 7" Mission flour tortilla is 150 calories, more than twice the calories of a slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat or alfala sprout bread. The whole amount of filling above is 546 calories, but half plus the tortilla works out to 423 calories which is right in the target range for my breakfast.

In a sauté pan over medium heat add the chorizo and cook for several minutes until mostly cooked.

Add the onion, green pepper and jalapeño and cook until done.

Slide the ingredients to the side then add the beaten egg. Tilt the pan slightly so the egg stays on its side and scramble. When almost done, mix the ingredients together so the egg is distributed through the filling.

breakfastburrito5.jpgSeason with salt (not too much, since the chorizo is salty) and freshly ground black pepper.

When I go to make one later in the week I just take out my handy Pyrex container of filling and microwave it for 40 seconds. I wrap the tortilla in a damped clean kitchen towel and microwave for 45 seconds. The package says to use damp paper towels; I suppose that would work too.

It's a good idea to carefully scoop the filling out of the container rather than just dumping the contents of the container into the burrito. Or slip a piece of paper towel into the bottom of the container to soak up any excess liquid before dumping the container into the tortilla.

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Before folding:
breakfastburrito6.jpg
Update July 23, 2013: I've switched to using a whole wheat tortilla.

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What I ate: October 3, 2010

Breakfast: One-egg Western omelette (onion, green peppers, and ham) with one slice of Vermont Bread Company whole wheat toast with Earth Balance buttery spread.

westernomelette3.jpg
Lunch: Doro wat (Ethiopian chicken) and injera (bread). Also a glass of beer because it was so insanely spicy I had to drink something to cool down my mouth! This was ridiculously time consuming to make but making Ethiopian food for the first (and likely, last) time was an interesting experience.

wat1.jpgSnack: A few organic roasted peanuts with salt. OK, this is the picture from two days prior, but it was the same amount.

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Dinner: Thai pork with red peppers, onion, basil and garlic. And rice. And some Tiasta malbec.

ate.20101003.d.jpgSnack: Potato chips and dip. This is a weakness. And the chips are Wavy Lays, the best potato chips with dip, but not organic or local. However I did limit myself to 0.7 oz. of chips, which is less than a serving size (1.0 oz.).

ate.20101003.s2.jpgAnd I might have had some Absolut mandarin and soda.

And for the first time in a while I didn't gain weight over the weekend!

Weight at the start of today: 114.4
Weight at the start of the next day: 114.0



Doro Wat - Ethiopian

wat1.jpgWat is apparently the national dish of Ethiopia. What possessed me to make a ridiculously complicated dish that I've never eaten before is a question still unanswered, but it was pretty good.

It's actually four separate recipes, berberé and niter kibbeh, ingredients in the wat, injera, the bread, and the wat itself. This is chicken wat known as doro wat. There are many varieties.

I should also point out that this dish is spicy. Really. There are chili peppers, all sorts of spices. Oh, and 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper for a dish that serves two people.

1 lb. chicken legs and thighs, skin removed, diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1 oz. niter kibbeh (1/8 c.)
1 tbsp. paprika
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp. ginger, minced
1/4 c. berberé paste
4 oz. chicken stock (1/2 c.)
1 oz. red wine (1/8 c.)
a small tomato, chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. In Ethiopia, you don't get any utensils, all you get is injera which you rip pieces off and use to eat the wat.

wat2.jpg
Mix together the chicken, lemon, and salt and marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. This is typically done in a bowl but I find it more effective to put the chicken in a vacuum bag and vacuum seal it.

wat3.jpg
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the niter kibbeh (seasoned clarified butter) and paprika. Cook for a minute. Add the berberé paste and cook for a few minutes.

Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, being careful not to burn it.

wat5.jpg

Add the chicken stock, wine, chicken, and the remaining spices. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, the simmer covered for 45 minutes.

wat6.jpg
Serves 2 or 3.

My final verdict is that injera is kind of weird tasting, the chicken was good and crazy spicy, but all in all this was not worth the ridiculous amount of effort it requires to make it!

Based on this recipe and this recipe.



Injera - Ethiopian bread

This is part of my attempt to make wat, the national dish of Ethiopia. Injera is not only the bread, but all of the food is served on it, so it's a plate, and you rip off pieces of it to eat the wat, so it's also a utensil.

This is also scary stuff because it involves leaving things out at room temperature to gather natural yeast and ferment.

This is a half recipe, but you might want to double it because it was only enough for two 8 to 10 inch diameter injera.

2.5 oz. teff flour (1/2 cup)
4 oz. water
salt

Teff is the smallest grain in the world and is made into flour. It's commonly used in Ethiopia, and basically nowhere else. Bob's Red Mill sells teff flour, so you can probably get it from specialty grocery stores and health food stores, however.

Combine the flour and water in a bowl.

injera1.jpg
Cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature for up to three days. It should begin to bubble and ferment. The longer you let it sit the more sour the bread will be.

This is what it looked like after 46 hours. What's that discoloration? I hope that isn't mold...

injera2.jpg
There is no yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc. in the bread - it relies on the wild yeasts in the air, which is why you can't enclose it in an airtight container or refrigerate it.

The first time I made it, it smelled so bad I had to throw it out. The second time I made it, it only smelled a little bad, and I think that's what it's supposed to do. I hope.

When you're ready to make the bread, add salt and stir. This step released some pungent odors, which alarmed me a bit, but I haven't died. Yet.

injera3.jpg
Heat a 10" non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Add a little spray oil and add 1/3 cup of the batter to the pan and roll the pan from side to side to get it to spread out. Wait for it to bubble, then flip over. Like making a pancake or crêpe.

I think it's actually supposed to be thicker than what I made, so maybe more batter is in order. Also, apparently in Ethiopia is somehow they make these things 20" in diameter which is quite a feat.

injera4.jpg
This recipe is based on this recipe and this recipe.



Niter Kibbeh - Ethiopian spice infused clarified butter

This is another ingredient that's supposed to be essential for making wat, the national dish of Ethiopia. Like all things in this dish, it seems to be kind of ridiculously time consuming and have a large number of ingredients, but here we go:


8 oz. unsalted butter (1/2 pound)
half a small onion (half a small onion), minced
2 cloves garlic
1 piece sliced ginger (about 1 tsp.)
2 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/2" cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. tumeric

Toast the whole caradmom and fenugreek in a dry sauté pan until toasted but not burned.

Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan - do not brown or let it bubble. I did this at "4" on my stove and it took 20 minutes. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat because the milk solids burn easily. Once foam starts to form on top of the butter, scoop it off and discard. Lower the heat to prevent boiling. This is basically the same technique I normally use to make clarified butter.

Increase the heat and add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook for a few minutes and add the remaining ingredients. Lower the heat and cook over low heat for a half hour. Continue to remove any foam that forms on top.

niterkibbeh1.jpg
Pour into a heatproof container suitable for pouring. I like to use a pyrex measuring cup.

Scoop off any foam that forms and let sit for several minutes. Gently pour into another container leaving the milk solids, onion, garlic, and ginger in the measuring cup and allowing only the pure butterfat into the storage container. Pouring through a fine sieve will catch the spices so the storage container contains only seasoned clarified butter. I like to use an airtight glass storage container with a plastic top.

Let cool then refrigerate. It should keep for a few months or can be frozen.
 
Based on this recipe and this recipe.


Berberé (Ethiopian red pepper spice paste)

This spicy paste is apparently an essential ingredient in making wat, the national dish of Ethiopia. It has a ridiculous number of ingredients and is quite spicy.

1 tsp. whole cumin
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
4 whole peppercorns
3 allspice berries
2 whole cloves
2 New Mexico dried chiles
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 oz. vegetable oil (1/4 cup)
1 oz. red wine (1/8 cup)

Toast the whole spices in a sauté pan over medium heat in a dry pan being careful not to burn them.
 berbere2.jpgToast the New Mexico chiles over an open flame until softened but not burned. Remove the seeds then chop. This method is not necessarily the most efficient or the safest:

berbere3.jpg
Grind the spices and chili peppers in a spice grinder and add the remainder of the spices.

berbere1.jpg
Combine the ground spices and the remaining ingredients in the food processor.

berbere4.jpg
Basically it's the same as this recipe, scaled down.



Western omelette

westernomelette3.jpg
I like to make a Western or Denver omelette occasionally - that's the one with onions, green peppers, and ham. When I have leftover ham I often will dice it, divide it into 3.5 oz. portions, vacuum seal it, and freeze it. This makes it convenient for making a quick omelette.

Another useful way to reduce portion size and increase convenience when making omelettes for one person is to make enough filling for two omelettes. Since most of the work is in dicing the vegetables and cooking the vegetables and meat, this saves a lot of work when you go to make the second omelette later in the week. Just reheat the filling in the microwave and cook a fresh egg.

And my diet tip is to avoid the mix-in. There's basically no way to make a mix-in omelette with one egg, and my portion here is one egg. I make the egg in a 8" non-stick sauté pan.

Finely dice a small onion, and equal amount of green pepper, and about 3.5 oz. of ham. This should be enough filling for two one-egg omelettes.

westernomelette1.jpgHeat a sauté pan over medium heat. I use Earth Balance natural buttery spread but butter or vegetable oil would also work well. Cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the green pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the ham.

westernomelette2.jpg
Heat a 8" non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and add Earth Balance or butter. Beat one egg with salt and white pepper then pour into the pan. When almost completely cooked, flip the egg over.

These little Pyrex containers with Rubbermaid lids are great for storing the leftover filling and are microwave and dishwasher safe.

westernomelette4.jpg
The ham is from Vermont Smoke and Cure and the bread is Vermont Bread Company whole wheat.


Update October 4, 2014: Here's a 2-egg version, made with 2.0 oz. ham for a single serving. This seems to be a good size.

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What I ate: October 2, 2010

Breakfast: A chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeno, and egg breakfast burrito.

ate.20101002.b.jpgWhen I made one like this a few days ago I made extra filling. This turns out to be a great quick breakfast, with the filling reheated for 40 seconds in the microwave and the tortilla heated in a damp towel in the microwave for 25 seconds it's a really tasty breakfast in just a couple minutes.


Lunch: Roasted pork with scallion stir-fry and rice. There are 3.3 oz. roasted pork and 5 scallions here.

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Snack: 1/8 of a 5 oz. wheel of Jasper Hill Farms constant bliss cheese on two Kashi garlic and herb crackers. And a little Crossroads sauvignon blanc, 2008, Marlborough (New Zealand).

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Dinner: PEI mussels with tomato, garlic, parsley, and basil over linguini with Red Hen Bakery ciabatta bread. And a little more wine.

ate.20101002.d.jpgPrince Edward Island (PEI) mussels are sustainable shellfish and are surprisingly affordable. My dozen mussels (1 serving) weighed 0.59 lbs. and cost $ 1.76. That's a pretty good deal compared to most of the food that I eat.

I might have had Absolute acai berry vodka and soda, as well.

I take the weekends off from running, but I did walk to the Hunger Mountain Coop (1.4 mile round trip) and to the Shaws (less than a mile) to get groceries.

Weight at the start of today: 114.8
Weight at the start of the next day: 114.4 Excellent!







Peanuts

So, for basically all of my life, I somehow presumed that "dry roasted" peanuts were somehow healthier than regular roasted ("cocktail") peanuts. I mean, they're "dry," that means less oil, which is healthier, right?

So here are the Nutrition Facts for Planter's cocktail peanuts (left) and dry roasted (right):

peanuts.jpgSo the dry roasted variety has 10 fewer calories. But that is curious, because it has the same amount of fat but has twice the sugar. Weird.

Ingredients for cocktail peanuts: peanuts, peanut and/or cotton seed oil, sea salt.

Ingredients for dry roasted peanuts: peanuts, sea salt, sugar, cornstarch, monosodium glutamate (MSG), gelatin, torula yeast, corn syrup solids, paprika, onion and garlic powder, spices, natural flavoring.

Well there you go. I think I'll go with the cocktail peanuts.



Miso marinated pork (butaniku no misozuke)

misopork1.jpgThis is a new dish for me but a new favorite... one of the best flavors in a pork dish I've ever tasted!

I have an updated version of this recipe that has slightly modified quantities and preparation steps.

2.5 oz. shiro miso (3 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp. sake
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce

thinly sliced pork pieces (4 to 5 oz. per serving)

Mix together the first group of ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag. I used a vacuum sealer bag because I like to vacuum seal my food to be marinated, which helps draw the seasoning into the food. This probably will only work if you have a commercial chamber vacuum sealer, however, since the FoodSaver type vacuum sealers will tend to suck the marinade out of the bag, which is counter-productive.

I used a 0.71 lb. thick cut pork chop with bone, then removed the fat and bone, leaving a small piece of meat about ¾" thick. I then sliced this into slices about 3/16" thick. The idea is to make bite-sized pieces so it can be eaten with chop sticks (no knifes on the table).

misopork3.jpg
This is probably one of the least efficient ways of doing this, however. Cutting off pieces of a boneless center cut pork roast (like how I make tonkatsu) would make much more sense.

misopork4.jpg
Marinate overnight, at least 4 hours but less than 24 hours.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Remove the excess marinade and ginger and cook the pieces a few minutes on each side until browned. A non-stick pan is probably a good idea for this dish because of the miso and sugar.

misopork2.jpg

Serve with rice (Japanese sushi rice, of course). Served above with sautéed zucchini.

The recipe is mostly unchanged from this recipe.

It can be frozen and reheats easily in the sous vide (45 minutes from frozen at 155°F) or microwave.


Here's when I made it on June 14, 2012. It kind of makes a mess because of the water content in the miso. It sure is tasty, though.

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Updated January 7, 2015: I updated the marinade recipe, reducing the miso to 2.5 oz. total, using 1/2 tbsp. sugar, and adding 1 tbsp. soy sauce. The original recipe is below, the new recipe that I prefer is at the top of the page.

2.5 oz. white miso (3 tbsp.)
2.5 oz. red miso (3 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp. sake
1 tbsp. sugar


What I ate: October 1, 2010

Breakfast: French toast. That's one and a half slices of Vermont Bread Company alfalfa sprout bread, about half an egg, an ounce of real Vermont maple syrup, and three slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure natural bacon. The French toast was cooked in about a teaspoon of Earth Balance natural buttery spread.

ate.20101001.b.jpgDiet tip: Dip bites in the syrup instead of pouring the syrup over the whole thing. It doesn't soak in as much, and I only used about half an ounce of syrup. One of these days I will remember to just put half an ounce in the ramekin to begin with.

Quick meal tip: Cook your bacon ahead of time and freeze it. It only takes a couple minutes to reheat bacon in a frying pan and it's much less messy because the grease has been rendered from it already. It also allows me to cook the bacon and the french toast in the same pan at the same time, since there's so much less grease involved.

Lunch: Stir-fried spinach, sardines, and rice. I only eat a half can of sardines per serving, so this is the other half of the can from yesterday. There's a pint of spinach in each serving! To make things easier and to help the spinach last longer, I wash it and vacuum seal it in pint-sized vacuum sealed jars.

ate.20101001.l.jpgSnack: A few organic peanuts with added salt.

ate.20101001.s1.jpgSnack: Two Late July organic classic rich crackers ("natural Ritz crackers") with 0.5 oz. Orb Weaver farmhouse cow's milk cheese from New Haven, VT. And a half glass of the Etc. Malbec from yesterday.

ate.20101001.s2.jpgDinner: Miso marinated pork (butaniku no misozuke) with sautéed zucchini and rice. And some more wine.

misopork1.jpgI also had two very tiny evening snacks, which normally would have been a bad idea, diet-wise, but with all of the exercise and my healthy lunch my weight was unchanged the next day.

Snack: A few Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips (made in Vermont).

ate.20101001.s3.jpgSnack: One square of Lake Champlain chocolate raspberry truffle dark chocolate bar (made in Vermont).

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And I might have had some Absolut mandarin and soda water.

I started the day with a 30-minute run/walk, though due to the ark-worthy rain I did it on the treadmill. And why is it that when I do it outside, I go 2.6 miles but if I do the same thing on the treadmill, I only go 1.8 miles?

And, at lunch time, since the rain let up somewhat I went for a quick 50 minute, 2.7 mile hike up to and around Hubbard Park. Lots of hills. I didn't expect to run into many people even during a break in the torrential rain, but I really didn't expect to run into a group of pre-school kids out for a hike and story time! This is Vermont. Torrential rain or -20°F temperatures, you will go outside!

Weight at the start of today: 114.8
Weight at the start of the next day: 114.8


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