March 2011 Archives

What I ate: March 31, 2011

Breakfast: 2 pancakes, made fresh today, 0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (previously made and frozen and reheated on the griddle). I made a batch of 9 pancakes, so I have three servings to be frozen and vacuum sealed for a quick breakfast in the future. And one left over. I'm not sure what to do with that one.

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Lunch: Beef with broccoli and scallions. And rice.

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Snack: 2.7 oz. yogurt, maple syrup, 0.8 oz. granola, fresh blueberries (left over from making blueberry muffins).

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Dinner: 2 slices of Positive Pie carcass pizza: pepperoni, sausage, meatballs and mushroom. It's half of a "personal" sized pizza, previously frozen and reheated for 12 minutes at 400°F on a sheet pan. And 2 glasses of Las Rocas of San Alejandro garancha, Spain 2008.

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Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels. 0.7 oz. peanuts. A chocolate chip cookie. And 0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.

Even though I theoretically sit at a desk all day, I figured I probably walk quite a bit between walking around the house doing things, errands around town (that I almost always walk for) and walking Roscoe. So I got a pedometer. And the answer is: Yes, I walk a lot. 13,150 steps today.

Apparently, sedentary is less than 5,000 steps, the goal for being active is over 10,000, and above 12,500 is highly active. 

Now this is probably a little higher than average because on Thursdays I clean my house and volunteer at a soup kitchen which takes away from my sitting at my desk time. But still, that's a lot of steps. I still probably shouldn't have had that pizza and the snacks, however.

Steps: 13,150
Weight at beginning of the day: 111.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.2 lbs.


What I ate: March 30, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, jalapeño, onion and egg breakfast burrito. In a Maria and Ricardo's multi-grain organic tortilla (100 % whole grains).

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Lunch: Twice-cooked pork with scallions. Somehow I ended up buying an extra package of scallions, so I didn't want them to go to waste.

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Dinner: 5.0 oz. roasted chicken, rice, broccoli and gravy. And 2 glasses of Hacienda đl Plata malbec, Argentina 2008.

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Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

Snack: 0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.


Weight at beginning of the day: 112.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.8 lbs.



What I ate: March 29, 2011

Breakfast: 1 organic egg scrambled, 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon and 1 slice of homemade whole wheat cinnamon raisin walnuts bread with Earth Balance spread.

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Lunch: Fried mozzarella sticks at Bolton Valley skiing. And Switchback beer. I probably should have only eaten half of that. And it's an appetizer! And, actually, snowboarding today, for the first time ever!

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Dinner: Japanese style ground beef ("crushed hamburger"), sautéed cabbage with garlic and rice. And 2 glasses of Hacienda đl Plata malbec, Argentina 2008.

ate.2011.03.29.d.jpgDessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.


Weight at beginning of the day: 112.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.8 lbs.


What I ate: March 28, 2011

Breakfast: A homemade blueberry muffin and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (both previously frozen).

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Lunch: 2.8 oz. Misty Knoll grilled chicken Caesar salad with Romaine lettuce and Drew's Caesar dressing and a very small amount of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. And a homemade whole wheat and oat roll with Vermont Butter and Cheese cultured butter.

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I also roasted a chicken, divided, vacuum sealed, and froze it. And made pan gravy. And chicken stock and chicken soup. The chicken is for Wednesday's dinner, but I walked to the Coop and Shaws today for groceries, so I thought I'd just go and cook everything off today.

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Dinner: Sesame tofu, broccoli and celeriac with sweet and spicy garlic sauce. This was possibly the best tofu I've ever made. Highly recommended!

seasamegarlictofu5.jpg And 2 glasses of Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, Portugal.

And I baked a half dozen blueberry muffins.

ate.2011.03.28.c1.jpgAnd 1.5 lbs. Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon. I'm done cooking for the day!

Snack: 0.7 oz. Snyders of Hanover pretzels (left over from making sriracha Chex mix). And 0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.


Weight at beginning of the day: 111.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.4 lbs.

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This is probably one of the best recipes for tofu that I've made! Sure, it's a lot more work than tofu, broccoli and scallions but it's really, really tasty. 

Start by making a basic teriyaki marinade. I used some soy sauce, minced fresh garlic, ginger and a little sake. Heat in a small saucepan to just before boiling, reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer for a couple minutes.

Cut the tofu into serving sized pieces. I marinated in a vacuum sealed bag which speeds the marination process and greatly reduces the amount of marinade needed. But any sort of bowl, dish, or even a zip-lock bag would work. Refrigerate.

This is half of a 14 oz. package of tofu, which I considered to be one serving, but it's quite a bit of tofu.

seasamegarlictofu1.jpgPrepare a recipe of sweet and spicy garlic sauce.
 
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When ready to cook, mix together sesame seeds and all-purpose flour. Drain and discard the marinade. Pull the tofu pieces out a few at a time and remove excess garlic and ginger clinging to them. Dredge in the sesame seed and flour mixture.

seasamegarlictofu3.jpgHeat oil (I used peanut oil) over medium high heat in a non-stick sauté pan. Add the tofu and cook for a few minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. When browned, flip each piece over. Add more oil if necessary. Cook until browned, a few more minutes.

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Meanwhile, slice some vegetables. I used broccoli and celeriac but choose whatever you like. I've made broccoli, celeriac and Brussels sprouts with the garlic sauce and no tofu and it's delicious.

Heat a separate sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add a high temperate oil like peanut or canola. Add the vegetables and stir-fry until cooked. Start with hard vegetables like celeriac, broccoli stems, carrots, etc. first.

When done, remove from the heat and add the tofu. Add the chili garlic sauce and stir to coat.

Serve with rice.

This dish is vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free.

It would be nut-free if you used canola oil instead of peanut.

It could be made gluten-free with gluten-free soy sauce and any wheat-free flour substitute.

Here's another picture of it, with just broccoli and the sesame tofu:

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Roasted chicken

I roasted a whole chicken. Really, in the oven. No sous vide, smoker, infrared grill, or anything!

I made a 5 lb. antibiotic and hormone-free, vegetarian feed-only chicken.

Remove anything from the cavity. I just discard the various bits. Rinse and pat dry. I removed the tips of the wings to the first joint because there's basically no meat and they sometimes will burn. I could have trussed it, but I wasn't going to carve it at a table so I didn't mind that it was a little floppy.

Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and ground sage.

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Roast in the oven at 400°F until the temperature deep in the thigh meat reaches 160°F. It took 45 minutes for my 5 lb. chicken. After 20 minutes, add 8 oz. of water to the pan.

I drizzled my chicken with soy sauce as well, which wasn't really intentional. I do it for pork roast, roast beef, etc. but only after I did it I thought, "Wait, I don't usually do that for chicken."

When done, remove the chicken from the pan, draining any juice in the cavity into the roasting pan. Set the chicken aside and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

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Add 12 oz. water to a bowl; I like to use a 16 oz. Pyrex measuring cup. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and mix thoroughly.

Put the pan juices in the roasting pan on the stove top over high heat. Add the flour and water slurry. As soon as the gravy starts to bubble lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce.

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When the gravy is done, cut up the chicken.

roastedchicken4.jpgI further broke down the chicken:

2x 6.0 oz. sliced breast meat for chicken and gravy
1x 6.0 oz. sliced breast meat with some thigh meat for chicken and gravy
1x 3.1 oz. sliced leg and thigh meat for stir-fry or chicken salad
1x 3.0 oz. sliced leg and thigh meat for soup
some left over bits for Roscoe

Most of it I vacuum sealed.

I then used the chicken carcass, wings and bones to make chicken stock and the base for chicken soup. There was quite a bit of meat and bones, so I added the full 64 oz. of water (along with a carrot, onions and two stalks of celery) and simmered for 3 hours.

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That produced 48 oz. of nice chicken stock and 6 oz. of chicken bits. Instead of making plain broth, I used that chicken and 3 oz. of the leg and thigh to make three servings of chicken soup: 16 fl. oz. broth and 3 oz. chicken each. I vacuum sealed and froze them.

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I started the chicken at 12:30 PM. Even though it was done way before dinner, it didn't matter anyway because I had a completely different dinner and Roasted Chicken is Wednesday night's dinner. It was nice to have everything completely cleaned up in one day, which is really only possible starting that early. The soup package still didn't go into the freezer until 7 PM!




What I ate: March 27, 2011

Breakfast: 1 organic scrambled egg, 2 tiny end slices of homemade 9-grain bread toast with Earth Balance spread and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon.

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Lunch: Stir-fry of one small zucchini and one slice of bacon. With rice.

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Snack: 2 Late July organic crackers with a little Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese.

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Dinner: Big plate of fried food! Chicken fingers, boneless Buffalo chicken "wings," and jalapeño poppers. The sauces are Buffalo wing sauce, Blue cheese dressing, barbecue sauce and raspberry chipotle. With less than a glass of Switchback beer.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels.

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And 0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.


Weight at beginning of the day: 111.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.0 lbs.






Chicken fingers, Buffalo 'wings' and poppers


ate.2011.03.27.d.jpgOkay, it's a big plate of fried food. Not one of my healthier meals, but very tasty!

The sauces are: Buffalo wing sauce, Blue cheese dressing, barbecue and raspberry chipotle.

Prepare a serving of jalapeño poppers. I used two jalapeños, 0.7 oz. cream cheese, half of a shallot, and a clove of garlic in my serving of poppers.

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Dredge the filled jalapeños in flour, egg, then seasoned breadcrumbs. You'll also use the same breading for the chicken.
 

There's 6.0 oz. of chicken breast, before cooking, per serving.

Cut it into small pieces, some finger/nugget shaped (left) and some a little smaller for my boneless Buffalo 'wings' (right).

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Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper.

Dredge in flour.

Set aside the 'wings;' they only get up to the flour.

Dip the floured chicken fingers in the egg then in seasoned breadcrumbs.


Heat the deep fryer to 360°F.

Cook the poppers for about a minute.

Cook the fingers and wings for about 2 minutes if they're small like the ones above, or a little longer if they're bigger.


For the Buffalo wing sauce I used 0.5 oz. (1 tbsp.) butter, melted, with 0.8 oz. Frank's hot sauce. Soak the fried 'wings' in the sauce for a minute before serving.

Serve with celery.

I often make this meal with French fries instead of jalapeño poppers, as well.








What I ate: March 26, 2011

Breakfast: Waffles and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (both previously frozen). Reheated on a sheet pan in the oven, 8 minutes at 350°F. And this was the waffle that I kind of mangled getting out of the waffle maker.


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Lunch: Sausage and green pepper stir-fry with rice. There's one green pepper and one Vermont Smoke and Cure breakfast sausage link in one serving. I pre-cooked the sausage and froze it, then defrosted and reheated it in the microwave, covered, for 0:40. Seasoned with garlic powder, pepper and soy sauce.

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Beverage: Sweet berry lime green iced tea from the Keurig. 70 calories. Despite the cold temperatures, spring must be approaching because I haven't wanted an iced tea since last summer!

Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.8 oz. of homemade granola.

ate.2011.03.26.s.jpgDinner: Delmonico steak with loaded baked potato.

ate.2011.03.26.d.jpgCoincidentally, this is the same lunch/dinner combination as Saturday, March 12. The steak was the last of my frozen indoor steak that I wasn't particularly happy with, but it was still tasty.

The big experiment was with the potato. While it's not a big deal to bake a potato, it takes an hour in the oven. I'm not a fan of the texture of a microwaved baked potato, though it is fast. I made a few extra baked potatoes the last time I made salt and olive oil rubbed baked potatoes, vacuum sealed, and froze them.

The question is whether I could reconstitute them. Boil-in-bag works really, really well for frozen mashed potatoes, making potatoes that you might not recognize as being previously frozen. So I thought, "Why not try it for a whole potato?" Well, actually half of a potato, because I was doing a reprise of my steak and loaded baked potato meal. Answer: it works really well!

I took my vacuum-sealed, frozen, half of a baked potato and put it in a boiling pot of water, waited for it to return to a boil, and simmered it for 22 minutes, covered. I then removed it from the vacuum bag and added the toppings.

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And baked it in the oven with the topping for 5 minutes at 350°F mainly to melt the cheese.

I'll concede that 22 minutes in a boil-in-bag is not a huge savings over 60 minutes in the oven, but it is less time, and it does provide a way to save a half of a potato, or to preserve potatoes that are getting a little too sprouty.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle. And 2-Up Shiraz, Australia.

0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 112.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.6 lbs.


What I ate: March 25, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, jalapeño, onion and egg breakfast burrito. In a Maria and Ricardo's multi-grain organic tortilla (100 % whole grains).

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Lunch: A quite tasty fried cod fish sandwich at Bolton Valley. With French fries. And Switchback beer. We were so busy admiring this nice looking sandwich, I forgot to take a picture of it.


Dinner: Roasted pork, sautéed cabbage and rice. And 2 glasses of Finca la Linda Malbec.

ate.2011.03.25.d.jpgI previously roasted, sliced and vacuum sealed the pork. Just 45 minutes in the sous vide at 150°F and it was perfectly reheated.

1.4 oz. of evil sriracha Chex mix. Fortunately this is the last of the Chex mix, which I will not be making again immediately.

2 somewhat evil chocolate chip cookies (previously frozen).

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Weight at beginning of the day: 111.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.8 lbs.



What I ate: March 24, 2011

Breakfast: Sausage, egg, and cheese on a homemade 100 % whole grain whole wheat and oat English muffin. With homemade sausage, Cabot cheddar cheese and one organic egg.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. organic peanuts with salt.

Lunch: Organic spinach salad with homemade sherry vinaigrette, 0.5 oz. Vermont Butter & Cheese goat cheese and 0.5 oz. homemade maple candied walnuts. And a homemade whole wheat and oat dinner roll with Vermont Butter & Cheese cultured butter.

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Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.8 oz. of homemade granola.

Dinner: 5.0 oz. roasted turkey, broccoli, rice and gravy. And a glass of Crossroads Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand.
 
ate.2011.03.24.d.jpgDessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle. And a glass of Finca La Linda Malbec.

3.0 oz. of evil sriracha Chex mix. Fortunately I can see the end of the bag in sight, thanks to giving away a good amount of it. It needs to go away.

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.4 lbs.

What I ate: March 23, 2011

Breakfast: 2 pancakes (previously made then frozen), 0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup, and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (also previously made and frozen). 8 minutes on a lightly greased sheet pan at 350°F and everything reheated perfectly.

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Lunch: Beef with broccoli and scallion stir-fry, rice.

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I also baked a loaf of delicious 9-grain bread.

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Dinner: Citrus and garlic marinated flounder soft tacos and tortilla chips with salsa fresca, salsa verde and guacamole. This is the food waiting to be served. That really is homemade guacamole - it's in a vacuum sealed bag so the flavors can melt without the avocado turning brown.

ate.2011.03.23.d.jpgAnd Sauza hornitos margaritas.

And 1.5 oz. evil sriracha Chex mix.


Weight at beginning of the day: 111.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.2 lbs.






What I ate: March 22, 2011

Breakfast: Homemade whole wheat bagel with 2.0 oz. Grindstone wild salmon lox, 0.8 oz. Organic Valley cream cheese, tomato and red onion.

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Lunch: Shrimp and onion stir-fry with rice.

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Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.8 oz. of homemade granola.


I cooked a batch of tonkatsu, Japanese thinly sliced, panko breaded, deep fried pork. This is probably one of the most time-consuming dishes that I cook, taking about an hour and a half of active cooking to make the seven servings shown here. But it is very delicious and probably one of my favorite foods.

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Dinner: Tonkatsu (4.2 oz.), rice, sautéed cabbage.

ate.2011.03.22.d.jpgAnd 2 glasses of Per Linda Montepulciano d'Abruzzi.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

1.0 oz. of evil sriracha Chex mix.

The Green Mountain Naturals hot apple cider for Keurig isn't bad. It's supposedly made from real apples. It's a little sweet for me, but with a little added brandy, it's quite delicious.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 112.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.8 lbs.



Bar simple syrup

The secret to making a good margarita is using good lime juice. Preferably fresh squeezed. Or at least a good lime juice, preferably frozen, though a good 100 % juice in a jar without preservatives will do in a pinch.

"Real Lime" does not qualify, by the way. Nor does Rose's Lime Juice.

And, of course, good tequila. I like Sauza Horintos, myself, of the affordable tequilas, for a margarita.

But you can't overlook the sweetener, either. A well prepared bar simple syrup is the key to getting just the right balance of sweet and sour.

I make it at a ratio of 1:1, that is to say, equal weights of sugar and water.

As it turns out, 12 oz. by weight of sugar is actually only a little more than 12 fl. oz. if you pour it into a Pyrex measuring cup, so you probably could just fake it if you don't have a scale.

simplesyrup1.jpgAdd 12 oz. of water (which is also 12 fl. oz., because that's the way water works, at least at sea level) in a saucepan, stirring frequently.

First you won't hear the granules of sugar rubbing the bottom of the pan, then wisps of clear will appear.

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Then the whole thing will turn transparent. Remove from the heat. This is all before it boils.

Bakers sometimes use a different variation of simple syrup that's reduced (often by 50 %), but that's not really helpful behind the bar. It's too viscous and clogs up the speed pour.

Note that even though you added 12 fl. oz. water and 12 oz. of sugar you'll only end up with a little more than 16 fl. oz. of simple syrup because the sugar dissolves into the water.

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Simple syrup will keep for months in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Also, there is an alternative: superfine sugar. Note that this is not confectioner's sugar which is a completely different, powdery, thing. Sometimes superfine sugar is called bar sugar. It dissolves much more easily than regular granulated sugar, but I still prefer the pre-dissolved simple syrup.

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Shrimp and onion stir-fry

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This dish is similar to a dish Mom made when I was little. It's simple, tasty, and quick to make. And delicious, as long as you like shrimp and onions!

I also have a newer recipe that adds spinach to this dish.

Serves 1. Multiply as necessary.

cooking oil, such as peanut or canola
1 medium to large white onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. shrimp, shelled, deveined, tail removed and cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ginger, minced
1 oz. sake
1 tbsp. sugar
soy sauce

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil to coat the bottom thinly.

Add the sliced onions and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the shrimp, garlic and ginger and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, a couple minutes.

Add the sake and sugar. Stir. Add soy sauce. Serve with rice.




What I ate: March 21, 2011

Breakfast: 1 organic scrambled egg, 1 slice of homemade 9-grain bread toast with Earth Balance spread and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. organic peanuts with salt.

Lunch: Organic spinach salad with homemade sherry vinaigrette, 0.5 oz. Vermont Butter & Cheese goat cheese and 0.5 oz. homemade maple candied walnuts. And a homemade whole wheat and oat dinner roll with Vermont Butter & Cheese cultured butter.

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Beverage: Soy chai latte.

Dinner: Spaghetti with Italian sausage. With a slice of Red Hen Bakery Mad River Grain bread.

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2.0 oz. Barilla spaghetti, one Vermont Smoke and Cure hot Italian sausage (previously cooked and frozen and reheated in the microwave) and 5.2 oz. Bove's basil marinara. Actually, a little less than that I didn't use all of the sauce.

And 2 glasses of Per Linda Montepulciano d'Abruzzi.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.

1.0 oz. of evil sriracha Chex mix.

Weight at beginning of the day: 112.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.0 lbs.



What I cooked: March 21, 2011

I roasted a turkey breast. Well, it's roasted for 20 minutes at 400°F to brown it, then it's vacuum sealed and cooked sous vide for 90 minutes at 160°F to stay moist and tender.

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Even just a 1.73 lb. turkey breast is too much for me to eat in a reasonable amount of time so I slice, vacuum seal, and freeze individual serving sizes: 3x 5.0 oz. for turkey and gravy dinner, 1x 3.0 oz. for turkey sandwich and 1x 2.8 oz. for stir-fry. And a little left over for Roscoe.

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I also needed gravy to go with three servings of the turkey, so I made a batch of 24 fl. oz. of gravy.

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I cooked 1.5 lbs. Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon. I don't need bacon yet as I still have some left in the freezer, but I bought it the last time I was in the supermarket and the oven was already at 400°F for the turkey, so I figured I might as well cook off the bacon too.

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I grilled a North Hollow Farms strip steak. After the somewhat unsuccessful indoor steak attempt I went back to grilling outside on my Solaire infrared propane grill. Just 1:30 on one side and 1:00 on the other and it looked good. It's not fully cooked; I vacuum sealed and froze it so I can make a perfect steak in the sous vide when I'm in the mood for steak. I did kind of feel like a crazy person because I was outside grilling a steak in 28°F weather, before it was supposed to snow, at 9:00 AM.


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I did this last night, but I also shelled and deveined a half pound of large Gulf of California white shrimp, vacuum sealed, and froze them. Each serving is around 4 oz. and suitable for my favorites like shrimp fra diavolo with spinach, shrimp scampi with spinach, shrimp pad Thai and others.

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And I separated and vacuum sealed some spinach. This size container of fresh baby spinach fills two quart sized jars, fairly tightly packed, with some left over. The jars are the perfect size for a spinach salad or a single serving of sautéed spinach and keep fresh much longer than not vacuum sealed.

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And this was all before noon! I'm done cooking for the day.

Okay, I take that back. A friend posted on Facebook that she was having spaghetti, and that got me thinking I was more in the mood for pasta with Italian sausage than my original menu of turkey, gravy, rice and broccoli. So I vacuum sealed the turkey and gravy. And then divided a jar of Bove's basil marinara, making one serving for tonight and three vacuum sealed and frozen for later. This is how I solve the problem of not being able to eat an entire jar of sauce before it goes bad, because I don't have spaghetti very often.

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Gravy

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While I like to make a nice pan gravy from the pan dripping and so forth, my cooking of extremely small pieces of meat and the use of the sous vide often makes this impossible. This is my gravy shortcut.

This is a batch of gravy to go with my roasted turkey breast. There are some pan drippings for this dish, and some liquid from the sous vide bag, but this way is convenient and delicious. Technically it's chicken gravy, but no one will ever notice.

Using the More Than Gourmet beef and veal stock also works great for making gravy for beef, veal or lamb.

Boil 16 oz. of water in a large pan.

Add 0.8 oz. More Than Gourmet chicken concentrate. This is a gelled chicken stock that keeps forever in the refrigerator, and is actual chicken stock with no fillers or and little added salt.

Bring to a boil to dissolve the concentrate, then reduce the heat.

In a separate container, add 12 oz. cold water. Then add 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, stirring constantly.

Add the flour and water slurry to the pot on the stove, stirring constantly. Increase the heat to high.

Just before the gravy boils, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to cook out the flour taste.

Add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

I usually plan for 6 to 8 fl. oz. of gravy per serving, so this recipe for about 24 fl. oz. of gravy is perfect for my 3 servings of 5.0 oz. of sliced turkey breast with gravy.

I vacuum seal my gravy. This pretty much requires a chamber vacuum sealer because the FoodSaver and such will just suck the gravy out of the pouch, which isn't very productive. Also, even with a chamber vacuum sealer, chill the gravy before sealing otherwise it will boil in the bag when the pressure drops and make a gigantic mess. Trust me on that one.

To reheat gravy, cook it in a saucepan. Microwaving gravy pretty much always ends badly.

What I ate: March 20, 2011

Breakfast: A very small maple donut from the Very Small Donut company in Waitsfield, Vermont. Very tasty, and, indeed, very small. I think the intended serving size is more than one. That's not a dinner plate, it's a 7" side plate.

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Fortunately, I also had a chorizo, green pepper, jalapeño, onion and egg breakfast burrito. In a Maria and Ricardo's multi-grain organic tortilla (100 % whole grains).

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Lunch: Cheeseburger and Doritos at the Bolton Valley barbecue. And some Switchback beer. It was too hard to balance a cheeseburger sitting outside on a bench and take a picture. But it was nice sitting out in the sun eating a burger hot of the grill!


Dinner: Thai-style pork (3.2 oz.) with green pepper, onion, jalapeño, garlic, red chile sauce, toasted and hot pepper sesame oil, soy sauce and rice. And 2 glasses of Schmitt Söhne Riesling. The funny thing is that this is, by far, the recipe that I most forget to take a picture of. I have no idea why. It looked kind of like this, but a little smaller.

ate.20101223.d.jpg Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.



Weight at beginning of the day: 112.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.8 lbs.



What I ate: March 19, 2011

Breakfast: Waffles and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (both previously frozen). Reheated on a sheet pan in the oven, 8 minutes at 350°F.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. organic peanuts with salt.

Lunch: Tofu, broccoli and scallion stir-fry with rice.

ate.2011.03.19.l.jpgSnack: 2.6 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.7 oz. of homemade granola.

Dinner: Shrimp fra diavolo with spinach and spinach linguini. With Red Hen Bakery Mad River Grain bread and 2 glasses of Schmitt Söhne Riesling.

ate.2011.03.19.d.jpgDessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

2.6 oz. of evil sriracha Chex mix.


Weight at beginning of the day: 110.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.0 lbs.



Shrimp fra diavolo with spinach

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This delicious dish partly mussels fra diavolo with shrimp instead of mussels, with spinach and spinach linguini like shrimp scampi with spinach.

Serves 1, multiply as necessary.

1.5 oz. linguini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large or 2 small Italian plum tomatos, 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
4 oz. uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 cups fresh spinach
salt
pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. I used Barilla spinach linguini though regular or fine linguini also work well.

Heat 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 shrimp, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the cover from the pan. Add the spinach, leaving the pan uncovered. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about a minute. If it looks too dry, add a little more wine.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the pan and toss.

Plate the contents of the pan.

Pictured with a slice of Red Hen Bakery Mad River Grain bread and Schmitt Söhne Riesling.

What I ate: March 18, 2011

Breakfast: A homemade blueberry muffin and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (both previously frozen).

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Snack: 0.7 oz. organic peanuts with salt.

Lunch: Organic spinach salad with homemade sherry vinaigrette, 0.5 oz. Vermont Butter & Cheese goat cheese and 0.5 oz. homemade maple candied walnuts. And a homemade whole wheat and oat dinner roll with Vermont Butter & Cheese cultured butter.

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Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.7 oz. of homemade granola.

Beverage: Soy chai latte.

Dinner: Grilled arctic char, rice and sautéed cabbage.

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Arctic char is currently sustainably harvested in the wild and is also responsibly farmed on land, in closed pens. It's related to both salmon and trout. Quite tasty.

I seasoned it with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, a little cayenne pepper and olive oil. I grilled it for 2 minutes per side on medium on my Solaire infrared gas grill. On a regular gas grill you might need to cook longer, possibly on high. These were pretty thin fillets; if you had thicker fish you'd also have to cook longer, of course.

And Parker Station Pinot Noir, California, 2009.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

1.0 oz. of evil sriracha Chex mix.


Weight at beginning of the day: 112.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 110.8 lbs.

What I ate: March 17, 2011

Breakfast: 1 organic scrambled egg, 1 slice of homemade 9-grain bread toast with Earth Balance spread and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. organic peanuts with salt.

Lunch: Beef with broccoli and scallions with rice.

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I made a batch of sriracha Chex mix. It is ridiculously addictive. I don't think I should make it anymore.

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I'm not a huge fan of corned beef and cabbage, and I was going to make Shepherd's pie for dinner but there was no lamb roast at the grocery store a few days ago and I won't make it with ground beef. So no special St. Patrick's Day meal today. 

Dinner: Pasta with meat sauce and zucchini. With a slice of Red Hen Mad River Grain bread with olive oil. And 1 1/2 glasses of Root: 1 Cabernet Sauvignon. Chile, 2008.

ate.2011.03.17.d.jpgThere's 2.0 oz. Barilla cellentani pasta, 4.5 oz. Bove's basil marinara, 3.1 oz. local Maple Lane farms ground beef and a small zucchini. I previously made the meat sauce, vacuum sealed, and froze it.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

Snack: Two 1.0 oz. bowls of sriracha Chex mix.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 110.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.8 lbs.




Sriracha Chex Mix

chex1.jpgThis is pretty much the normal Chex Mix recipe, but I added some sriracha to make it extra spicy. Delicious and terribly addictive.

3 cups corn Chex (3.1 oz.)
3 cups rice Chex (3.1 oz.)
3 cups wheat Chex (3.1 oz.)
1 cup mixed nuts (5 oz).
1 cup bite-sized pretzels (2 oz.)
1 cup bite-sized cheese crackers such as cheez-its (2 oz.)
1 cup bagel chips (2 oz.)

2 oz. butter (4 tbsp., half a stick)
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 1/2 tbsp. sriracha (more for extra spicy)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt

spray oil (such as Pam)


Preheat oven to 250°F.

Combine the top dry ingredients in a large bowl, big enough to easily mix the ingredients together.

Melt butter in the microwave (about 40 seconds), then add in the other seasoning ingredients and stir to combine.

Drizzle some of the the seasoning liquid over the dry ingredients in the bowl and stir. Repeat several times until you've used all of the sauce and the pieces are all evenly coated.

Lightly spritz two sheet pans with spray oil (Pam).

Bake uncovered for 1 hour, stirring, flipping and making sure they're not sticking to the pan every 15 minutes. After each stirring, switch the top and bottom pans in the oven and rotate them 180°.

Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes and store in airtight containers or a gallon zip-lock bag.

Makes 22.1 oz. of completed Chex mix. That's a good-sized bowl or a full 1 gallon zip-lock bag.

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For a 1.0 oz. serving (approximately 22 servings per batch), from caloriecount.about.com:

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Also, all of the cholesterol appears to be from the butter. If you substituted Earth Balance or some other buttery substitute, the recipe should be cholesterol-free. And if you also leave-out the Cheez-Its it should be dairy-free.

And vegan, I think, as long as you use vegetarian Worcestershire sauce - the regular stuff has a small amount of anchovy in it.


Since I only eat it 1.0 oz. per day, by the end of the month the last bit of the bag starts to get a little stale. The solution is not to vacuum seal it in a bag, which was a disaster even at low vacuum pressure. Chex is not as structurally sound as you'd think. This time I vacuum sealed it in jars, which I think will work much better. No breakage, at least.

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Update
10/8/2012: Increased the amount of butter from 2 oz. to 2 1/2 oz. and sriracha from 2 tbsp. to 3 tbsp. The extra butter adds more liquid, which makes it easier to make sure each bite gets a little sauce.

Update 1/25/2012: Reduced the butter back to 2 oz. and increased the Sriracha from 3 to 3 1/2 tbsp.

Update 7/21/2013: I was noticing that the corn and rice Chex are gluten-free now. If you left out the wheat Chex, pita chips, and Cheez-its and substituted Snyder's gluten-free pretzels, it would be gluten-free, I think. Maybe throw in some more nuts, or maybe a GF cracker of some sort?

Update 11/1/2013: I started giving the sheet pan a little spritz of spray oil (Pam, for example). It's not really necessary with all the butter, but it does make it easier to do the first flip and makes the pans easier to wash when you're done.

Update 12/3/2013: I modified the steps. I used to spread the dry ingredients on the sheet pan and then drizzle the sauce over it. It works better to drizzle the sauce while the dry ingredients are still in the bowl. It coats more evenly and without the excess sauce on the sheet pan it doesn't stick as much and is easier to clean up.


What I ate: March 16, 2011

Breakfast: 2 pancakes (previously made then frozen), 0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup, and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (also previously made and frozen). 8 minutes on a lightly greased sheet pan at 350°F and everything reheated perfectly.

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I also cooked 1.5 lbs. Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon. That will be frozen for later use.

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And a roasted pork. That will be for dinner tonight. I like to cook, and I like to eat, but I don't really like to do the two things together. I'd just as soon have as much stuff pre-cooked and all cleaned up so after dinner it's just a few dishes into the dishwasher.

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Snack: A few little bits of roasted pork. A delicious treat every time I make a roasted pork! These are some of the meaty trimmings from trimming the fat off the roast.

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Lunch: 2.8 oz. grilled chicken Caesar salad with Romaine lettuce and Drew's Caesar dressing, 1.0 oz. anchovies, 4 Olivia's multi-grain with garlic croutons and a very small amount of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. And a homemade whole wheat and oat roll with Cabot butter. 

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Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.7 oz. of homemade granola.

Dinner: Roasted pork, sautéed cabbage and rice.

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Dessert: I got a free squares of Dagoba xocolatl (dark chocolate, chiles and nibs) and lavender blueberry chocolate at the supermarket today. They were pretty good. The chile one could use more chiles. I also had a three thin Lake Champlain chocolate squares. 

And 2 glasses of Root: 1 Cabernet Sauvignon. Chile, 2008. Drinkable but not exceptional. Cheap.


Weight at beginning of the day: 112.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 110.6 lbs.






What I ate: March 15, 2011

Breakfast: 1 organic egg scrambled, 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon and 1 slice of homemade whole wheat cinnamon raisin walnuts bread with Earth Balance spread.

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Lunch: A bowl of clam chowder at Bolton Valley. And Switchback beer.

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Dinner: Grilled salmon (previously frozen and reheated in the sous vide for 40 minutes at 136°F), sautéed spinach and rice with furikake. And 2 glasses of of Schmitt Söhne Riesling.

ate.2011.03.15.d.jpg
Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

And 0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.

And 3 very delicious but unfortunate homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Weight at beginning of the day: 111.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 112.4 lbs.

Chocolate chip cookies #2

cookies1.jpg
I almost never crave sweet foods; I'm not sure what's going on here. But in any case, I was in the mood for a chocolate chip cookie so I had to bake one. Or a dozen.

In the past I'd use the Nestlé Toll House recipe, but I thought I'd try something else. This one looked good.

My recipe is for 1 dozen cookies, converted to weighed measure. Multiply as necessary.

4 oz. butter, softened (1/2 cup, or 1 stick)
3.6 oz. granulated (white) sugar (1/2 cup)
3.2 oz. brown sugar (1/2 cup, packed)

1.9 oz. egg (1 large)
0.130 oz. vanilla extract (1 tsp.)

7.5 oz. all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
0.100 oz. baking soda (1/2 tsp.)
0.035 oz. salt (1/4 tsp)

5.6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
2.0 oz. chopped walnuts (1/2 cup)

Cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract.

Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt) and mix into the batter.

Add the chocolate chips and walnuts.

The original recipe said 10 minutes at 350°F, but I cooked mine on a silpat on a shiny aluminum sheet pan and it took 15 minutes.

It's partly the function of using a silpat and a shiny pan, but these turned out thick and chewy. And they were quite delicious.

What I ate: March 14, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, jalapeño, onion and egg breakfast burrito. In a Maria and Ricardo's multi-grain organic tortilla (100 % whole grains). I reheated the filling for 45 seconds in the microwave and the tortilla wrapped in a damp kitchen towel for 35 seconds.

ate.2011.03.14.b.jpg
Lunch: Homemade chicken soup with 1.0 oz. soba noodles and spinach. Served with rice with furikake.

ate.2011.03.14.l.jpg
Beverage: Soy chai latte. 50 calories.

Snack: 0.7 oz. organic peanuts with salt.

Dinner: Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and broccoli.

ate.2011.03.14.d.jpg
5.1 oz. turkey, 4.2 oz. garlic mashed potatoes (previously frozen and reheated boil-in-bag, which is the only reasonable way to reheat frozen mashed potatoes), 2.9 oz. broccoli (microwaved 1:20, covered, with a little water) and 4.2 oz. gravy (reheated in a saucepan).

And 2 glasses of of Schmitt Söhne Riesling.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.

I also had a homemade blueberry muffin. I was craving something sweet. I actually wanted a slice of key lime pie (as today is Pi Day, 3.14), but I didn't think of it early enough to make a pie today.

And blog comments are turned back on, and linked to Facebook now, too.

Weight at beginning of the day: 109.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.0 lbs.



Chicken soup with soba noodles and spinach

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My lunch today was a big bowl of Japanese-style chicken soup. Very delicious and healthy.

It all starts when I roast a whole chicken; I then use the carcass of the chicken to make packages of plain chicken stock, and usually enough bits of chicken come off to make one serving of chicken soup. I vacuum seal and freeze these for when I'm in the mood for soup.

There's about 16 fluid oz. of broth and chicken bits one serving. Heat to a boil and add soba noodles. Lower the heat slightly so it's gently boiling. Cook according to package directions; mine took 6 minutes. I used 1.0 oz. soba (Japanese buckwheat) noodles for the single serving.

About a minute before the noodles are done, add a cup or two of fresh spinach.

Season with soy sauce and freshly ground pepper. Note that the chicken stock as I prepared it above didn't have salt added yet, however.

I served it with rice with furikake. There are many kinds of furikake; this is nori komi which mostly consists of black seaweed (nori) and sesame seeds.




What I ate: March 13, 2011

Breakfast: Waffle (new recipe), 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon and 0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup. I actually ate 3/4 of the waffle, but it was delicious.

waffles1.jpg
Lunch: Beef with broccoli and scallion stir-fry, rice.

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Soy chai latte. This was quite tasty. It's about half "India spice chai tea" from the Kerig and half steamed Silk vanilla soy milk (steamed with my espresso maker). Though I try not to drink beverages with calories (um, except those containing alcohol) I could see how these could get a little addictive. 4 oz. of soy milk is only 50 calories, however.

 ate.2011.03.13.s1.jpgIn case you're wondering, I normally drink 2-3 cups of black coffee, 1 espresso, 2-4 cups of tea (herbal and green) and countless glasses of ice water. I gave up Diet Coke more than a year ago, which was surprisingly difficult to do.

Snack: 0.7 oz. organic peanuts with salt.

Dinner: Shrimp scampi with spinach, a slice of Red Hen Mad River Grain bread, and 2 glasses of Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, Portugal.

ate.2011.03.13.d.jpg
Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle. And 1 glass of Sebastiani Zinfandel.

And 1 slice of my new recipe for whole wheat cinnamon raisin walnuts bread with Earth Balance spread. This version of the recipe is much better than the last one.

raisinbread5.jpgSnack: 0.7 oz. potato chips.


Weight at beginning of the day: 109.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 109.8 lbs.




Whole wheat cinnamon raisin walnut bread #2

raisinbread4.jpg
I updated the version I made earlier time and now it's even better! Though now you have to start the day before you want to make bread, which is pretty much the case with all of the bread that I make, so no big deal there.

4 oz. whole wheat flour
0.02 oz. instant yeast (1/8 tsp.)
3.5 oz. water at 70°F

Combine the whole wheat flour, 0.02 oz. instant yeast and the water. Let sit at room temperature for 3 hours, then refrigerate overnight. This is the poolish and the spending the night in the refrigerator brings out more of the flavor in the whole wheat.

4 oz. King Arthur white whole wheat flour (or substitute bread flour)
0.33 oz. granulated sugar
0.16 oz. salt
0.09 oz. instant yeast
0.08 oz. ground cinnamon
0.83 oz. egg (half a large egg, though I used the whole thing, 1.9 oz.)
1.5 oz. water, milk or buttermilk (I used water, and I think this might be too much liquid)
0.5 oz. refined coconut oil (can substitute shortening)

4.0 oz. raisins
2.0 oz. chopped walnuts

0.5 oz. sugar
0.05 oz. ground cinnamon


The King Arthur white whole wheat flour is a high-gluten spring wheat flour and is 100 % whole grain. You could also just use regular bread flour.

Stir together the dry ingredients (through cinnamon) in the mixer bowl. Add the ingredients through the coconut oil and mix with the paddle attachment until a ball of dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes. Adjust the texture of the dough by adding flour or water as necessary.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead in the raisins and walnuts by hand for a few minutes to evenly distribute them in the dough. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Let rise for 2 to 3 hours until doubled.

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Transfer back to a floured surface and form a 5" x 7" rectangle.

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Combine the second group of sugar and cinnamon and coat the rectangle with the cinnamon sugar mixture, except for a small strip along the edge where the roll will be sealed up

Roll starting from the short side. Roll somewhat loosely. It should fill the length of a 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" loaf pan when done, as it will spread out as you roll it. Pick off any raisins or nuts on the surface of the loaf.

Transfer to a lightly oiled loaf pan, seam side down.

raisinbread6.jpg
Proof for 90 minutes.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F, rotate the loaf pan 180° and bake for another 20 minutes until the center temperature is 190°F.

Remove from the oven, immediately remove the loaf from the pan and cook on a wire rack for 1 to 2 hours.

raisinbread2.jpgThis version was quite delicious!

raisinbread5.jpg
The recipe is fairly significantly modified from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, pp. 147 - 149. It has a much better explanation and tips. And the recipe in the book is double this recipe, which explains the half an egg thing. In case you're keeping track: I switched to using whole wheat poolish, from shortening to coconut oil, and added the layer of cinnamon sugar in the rolling process.

Here's another loaf:

ate.2012.07.11.c2.jpg




Waffles #2

waffles1.jpg
I updated my original waffle recipe, which basically was the recipe that came with my Waring Pro waffle maker.

Makes 4 waffles. Multiply as desired.

5.0 oz. all-purpose flour (1 cup)
0.217 oz. granulated sugar (1/2 tbsp.)
0.065 oz. salt (1/2 tsp.)
0.060 oz. instant yeast ("bread machine yeast," 1/2 tsp.)
4 oz. water at 70°F
8 oz. milk at 70°F
2.0 oz. unsalted butter, melted

Mix the flour, salt, yeast and sugar together in a bowl. And the water, milk and melted butter and stir to combine. Let sit for 3 hours at room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.

1.9 oz. egg, beaten (1 large)
0.100 oz. vanilla extract (1 tsp.)
0.030 oz. baking soda (1/8 tsp.)

In the morning, add the egg, vanilla extract, and baking soda. Stir. Making the batter in a large Pyrex measuring cup works great because you can easily pour the batter into the Waring measuring cup instead of trying to scoop it out of a bowl. It greatly reduces waste and mess.

waffles2.jpg
The original recipe included an unusually large amount of yeast. I think it's because they wanted to make the recipe serve six waffles and didn't want to do something like use a half packet of yeast, so they just made it use 1 packet of active dry yeast. I cut the amount in half and the waffles were still light and fluffy. The original recipe also calls for leaving the batter out at room temperature overnight. I thought this was a little dicey for a batter that contains milk, so I modified it to sit for 3 hours at room temperature so the yeast can work, then overnight in the refrigerator.

Freezing and Reheating Waffles

These waffles are very light and airy and kind of fragile. I found this technique to work well for freezing leftover waffles:

After cooking, store the extra waffles on a cooling rack so they won't get soggy on the bottom. Once they're all ready, put them in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes to crisp. I just put the whole sheet pan grid into the oven. The remove from the oven and let cool on the cooling rack.

You can store up to 3 or so waffles in a single gallon zip-lock bag. Separate the waffles with wax paper so they don't freeze together.

Reheat by lightly spraying a sheet pan with spray oil then heating the frozen waffles for 8 minutes at 350°F. 

You can reheat pre-cooked frozen bacon on the same sheet pan. Pre-cooked frozen link sausage needs to be defrosted first, but then it can go on the sheet pan as well.


What I ate: March 12, 2011

Breakfast: A homemade blueberry muffin and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (both previously frozen).

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Lunch: Sausage and green pepper stir-fry with rice. There's one green pepper and one Vermont Smoke and Cure breakfast link sausage in the serving.

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I baked a batch of a dozen delicious whole wheat and oat dinner rolls.

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And started a batch of waffle batter for breakfast tomorrow. It's a yeast-risen recipe and it has to sit overnight. I fairly significantly modified the recipe, so we'll see how it works tomorrow.

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And I wrote a new recipe for cinnamon raisin walnut wheat bread (old recipe) that I'll try out tomorrow. But today I started with a poolish (whole wheat flour, water and yeast) that will rise at room temperature for 3 hours and then retard in the refrigerator overnight.

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Dinner: Delmonico steak with loaded baked potato.

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The steak was an experiment in cooking a steak in my Cuisinart 3-in-1 griddle/grill/panini-press, which was not entirely successful. The steak was still tasty but my indoor steak post explains what happened.

And 2 glasses of Sebastiani Zinfandel.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.


Weight at beginning of the day: 111.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 109.8 lbs.






Loaded baked potato

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I made a loaded baked potato to go with my steak. It was very delicious, though a little high in calories. But once in a while it is a treat.

Make a standard baked potato. A large Russet potato works well for this recipe as each serving is half a potato.

Clean the potato, dry it, then coat it with olive oil and kosher salt.

Place on a wire rack on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350°F.

bakedpotato2.jpg
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes or so.

Cut the potato lengthwise. Scoop out a little bit of the potato to make it easier to fill and not have the filling fall off. In a twice-baked potato you'd scoop out the whole thing, mix it with stuff, and put it back in, but I just scooped out and discarded a little potato to make room here.

Add thin slices of butter. I used 1 tbsp. per serving (half a potato) which might be a little much, but it was tasty.

Microwave a small amount of broccoli, covered, with a little added water, for 0:50, and add to the potato.

Take 1 slice of frozen, pre-cooked Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon, cut into small pieces and add to the potato.

Season with salt and pepper.

And finally top with a little grated Cabot cheddar cheese. I could have added a little more.

Put the completed potato on a sheet pan in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes or so.

Serve with sour cream on the side.


What I ate: March 11, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, jalapeño, onion and egg breakfast burrito. In a Maria and Ricardo's multi-grain organic tortilla (100 % whole grains). This is a little time-consuming to prep and cook the filling, but since I make two meals' worth and refrigerate the second serving of filling, it only takes a minute with the microwave to serve the second meal. And it's very delicious.

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Lunch: Twice-cooked pork with scallions and broccoli and rice. 3.2 oz. pork.

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I also made a batch of maple candied walnuts for my spinach salads.

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And started the oat soaker and whole wheat poolish so I can bake whole wheat and oat rolls tomorrow. You need to plan ahead to make them!

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Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.8 oz. homemade granola.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. organic peanuts with salt.

Dinner: Grilled salmon, sautéed spinach with hana katso and rice with furikake. And 2 glasses of Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, Portugal.

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I previously cooked the salmon in the sous vide, grilled it, then re-vacuum sealed and froze it. Putting the frozen salmon directly into the 140°F sous vide for 45 minutes produced a perfectly cooked salmon with essentially no effort. It only takes a few minutes to sautée the spinach, which I had previously divided and vacuum sealed in quart jars.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle. And 1 glass of Cannonball cabernet sauvignon.

Snack: 0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips

I also cooked a steak for tomorrow's dinner.

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.0  lbs.






Indoor steak

I bought a nice North Hollow Farms Delmonico steak for dinner tomorrow.

steak1.jpgI cut it into two servings and seasoned it with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, dark chile powder and olive oil:

steak2.jpg
Normally I grill food on my Solaire infrared propane grill that is tiny, but extremely high temperature. It's basically the temperature of charcoal, with a 3 minute warm-up time. It's significantly hotter than normal propane grills. It only takes 1:30 per side to sear a steak.

steak5.jpg
Though my grill is under a porch I have to walk through an area that's currently full of ice and rain to get to it, so I decided to try indoor grilling. I'm not a fan in general because my electric stove cannot in any way match the temperature of my infrared propane grill and I have a severe lack of ventilation in my kitchen, which to say none, unless I open a window.

But I never attempted to grill meat in my Cuisinart grill/panini machine, so I thought I'd at least give it a try.

steak3.jpgI cooked the steak for 3 minutes, and since it's a grill/panini press it has the advantage of cooking both sides at the same time, so my kitchen was not excessively smoky.

It looked pretty good:

steak4.jpg
They're probably not fully cooked yet. But they will be vacuum sealed and one frozen and one will be ready for tomorrow's dinner after 30 minutes to an hour in the sous vide at 133°F for a perfect rare to medium rare steak.

We'll see tomorrow.

One thing for sure: Cleaning the non-stick plates of the grill/panini press is more work than wire brushing off the stainless steel grate on the Solaire grill outside!

The verdict:

It really doesn't work that well, especially for a thin steak like this one. The steak was barely seared on the outside, and was cooked past medium rare inside, a result of the grill not being hot enough to effectively sear the meat. The Cuisinart was about 350°F on high, where my Solaire infrared grill can reach 900°F. So there you have it.



What I ate: March 10, 2011

Breakfast: Sausage, egg, and cheese on a homemade 100 % whole grain whole wheat and oat English muffin. With homemade sausage.

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Lunch: Organic spinach salad with homemade sherry vinaigrette, 0.5 oz. Vermont Butter & Cheese goat cheese and 0.5 oz. homemade maple candied walnuts. And a homemade whole wheat and oat dinner roll with Vermont Butter & Cheese cultured butter.

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Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.7 oz. of homemade granola.

And 2 small rice balls (omusbe) wrapped in nori and served with soy sauce with wasabi.

ate.2011.03.10.s2.jpg

And 2 Kashi roasted garlic crackers and 2 Late July crackers with Mt. Mansfield gondolier herbed havarti cheese.

ate.2011.03.10.s1.jpgDinner: Tapas at NECI on Main (Main Street Grill). And Switchback beer.

Chick Pea Fries (Provence) ~ with rouille sauce:

ate.2011.03.10.d1.jpg
Sis Kebabi (Lebanon) ~ grilled lamb skewers, tabbouleh salad:

ate.2011.03.10.d2.jpg
Pato y Espinacas con Mole (Spain) ~ duck & spinach empanadillas, red mole sauce:

ate.2011.03.10.d3.jpg

Weight at beginning of the day: 111.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.6 lbs.







What I ate: March 9, 2011

Breakfast: 1 organic scrambled egg, 1 slice of homemade whole wheat cinnamon raisin toast with Earth Balance spread and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon.

Apparently I forgot to take a picture of it, and I've never eaten this exact meal before, so I don't have an older picture, either.


Lunch: Mussels with fennel and bacon at Bolton Valley. And Switchback beer.

ate.2011.03.09.l.jpg

Dinner: Japanese style curry with rice. I previously made, vacuum sealed, and froze this serving. To reheat: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the vacuum sealed bag. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, and simmer for 22 minutes. 1 glass of Seaglass sauvignon blanc, New Zealand.

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Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle. And 1 glass of Cannonball cabernet sauvignon.


Weight at beginning of the day: 110.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.2 lbs.


What I ate: March 8, 2011

Breakfast: 2 pancakes (previously made then frozen), 0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup, and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (also previously made and frozen). 8 minutes on a lightly greased sheet pan at 350°F and everything reheated perfectly.

I was going to make beignets in honor of Mardis Gras, but was feeling lazy. This is a variation on the Shove Tuesday pancake dinner, which I figure was close enough.

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Lunch: Organic spinach salad with homemade sherry vinaigrette, 0.5 oz. Vermont Butter & Cheese goat cheese and 0.5 oz. homemade maple candied walnuts. And a homemade whole wheat and oat dinner roll with Vermont Butter & Cheese cultured butter.

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Dinner: Meatloaf, gravy, rice and broccoli. I reduced the portion size to 1 and 1/2 slices (approximately 5 oz.) after I actually weighed two slices of meatloaf. I reheat the previously frozen, vacuum sealed meatloaf in the sous vide for 45 minutes at 134°F. I reheated the gravy in a saucepan, the only way to reconstitute frozen gravy. And cooked the broccoli for 1:20 in the microwave, with a little water and tightly covered.

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And 2 glasses of Hacienda đl Plata malbec, Argentina 2008.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

Snack: 0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips. And 1/8 cup air popped popcorn with 1/2 tbsp. butter.


Weight at beginning of the day: 110.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 110.6 lbs.



What I ate: March 7, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, jalapeño, onion and egg breakfast burrito. In a Maria and Ricardo's multi-grain organic tortilla (100 % whole grains).


ate.2011.03.07.b.jpgSnack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.

Lunch: Organic spinach salad with homemade sherry vinaigrette, 0.5 oz. Vermont Butter & Cheese goat cheese and 0.5 oz. homemade maple candied walnuts. And a homemade whole wheat and oat dinner roll with Vermont Butter & Cheese cultured butter.

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Snack: Small rice ball.

Dinner: Japanese style ground beef ("crushed hamburger"), sautéed cabbage with garlic and rice.

ate.2011.03.07.d.jpg And 2 glasses of Hacienda đl Plata malbec, Argentina 2008.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

And 0.7 oz. Madhouse Munchies sour cream and onion potato chips.

Weight at beginning of the day: 110.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 110.2 lbs.



What I ate: March 6, 2011

Breakfast: 1 organic scrambled egg, 1 slice of homemade 9-grain bread toast with Earth Balance spread and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.

Lunch: Zucchini stir-fry with bacon and rice.

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Snack: 1 slice of homemade raisin bread with walnuts and Vermont Butter and Cheese cultured butter.

ate.2011.03.06.s.jpgDinner: Steak soft taco with salsa fresca and guacamole on a Maria and Ricardo's multi-grain tortilla. With 1.0 oz. corn tortilla chips and the rest of the salsa fresca and guacamole. With 2 small glasses of Switchback beer. It was spicy. Ridiculously spicy.

ate.2011.03.06.d.jpgDessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle and Los Alamos malbec.

And 0.7 oz. potato chips and Cabot French onion dip. And, thankfully, that's the last of the dip that I bought during my sickness junk food binge!


Weight at beginning of the day: 111.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 110.2 lbs.




Whole wheat cinnamon raisin walnut bread

raisinbread.jpg
Update: I made a new version of this recipe that I like much better. I'd suggest the new recipe.

This is a great recipe for whole wheat raisin bread. There's very little added sugar unlike many mass-produced raisin breads.

8 oz. King Arthur white whole wheat flour
0.33 oz. granulated sugar (you may want to add more)
0.16 oz. salt
0.11 oz. instant yeast
0.08 oz. ground cinnamon
0.83 oz. egg (half a large egg, though I used the whole thing)
0.5 oz. shortening
2 oz. whole milk (or buttermilk) at 70°F
3 oz. water at 70°F
4.5 oz. raisins
2 oz. chopped walnuts

The King Arthur white whole wheat flour is a high-gluten spring wheat flour and is 100 % whole grain. It works well in this recipe. The original recipe uses unbleached bread flour, which would also work well, but wouldn't be whole grain.

Stir together the dry ingredients (through cinnamon) in the mixer bowl. Add the ingredients through the water and mix with the paddle attachment until a ball of dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead in the raisins and walnuts by hand for a few minutes to evenly distribute them in the dough. Let rise for 2 hours until doubled.

Transfer back to a floured surface and form a 5" x 7" rectangle. Roll starting from the short side. It should fill the length of a 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" loaf pan when done, as it will spread out as you roll it. Transfer to a lightly oiled loaf pan and proof for 90 minutes.

Another option would be to sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on the rectangle before rolling. That would make that swirl effect inside the loaf.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F, rotate the loaf pan 180° and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the center temperature is 190°F.

Remove from the oven, immediately remove the loaf from the pan and cook on a wire rack for 1 to 2 hours.

This recipe could be made without the nuts with no other modifications. I considered substituting coconut oil for the shortening, which would remove the trans-fats but I was already changing the flour and I didn't want to change too many things at once.

The recipe is basically from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, pp. 147 - 149. It has a much better explanation and tips. And the recipe in the book is double this recipe, which explains the half an egg thing.

What I ate: March 5, 2011

Breakfast: A homemade blueberry muffin and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (previously frozen).

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Lunch: 2.8 oz. grilled chicken Caesar salad with Romaine lettuce and Drew's Caesar dressing and a very small amount of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. And a homemade whole wheat and oat roll with Vermont Butter and Cheese company cultured butter.

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Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.7 oz. of homemade granola.

Dinner: Sushi platter. Cucumber, avocado and carrot nori roll. Tuna and cucumber roll. Spicy tuna and cucumber roll (with sriracha). Tuna sashimi. With a glass of Momokawa ruby cold sake.

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Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle and Los Alamos malbec.

And 0.7 oz. potato chips and Cabot French onion dip. And 1 chocolate chip cookie. And 1.5 oz. blueberries.


Weight at beginning of the day: 110.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.4 lbs.



What I cooked: March 5, 2011

It was unseasonably warm today, 44°F, so that means one thing: grilling!

I made grilled Misty Knoll chicken breast for my grilled chicken Caesar salads. I cheat a little by seasoning the chicken, vacuum sealing, cooking in the sous vide for 90 minutes at 160°F, then grilling. This eliminates any issues with the chicken not fully cooking through before it burns on the outside on the grill. You just cook until nicely browned 1:30 to 2 minutes per side on my grill. And it's always juicy and tender.

cooked.2011.03.05.1.jpgThe chicken gets cut into bit-sized pieces, divided into 2.8 oz. servings (4, in this case), vacuum sealed and frozen.

I do the same thing for salmon, except it's 45 minutes at 140°F in the sous vide and 1:00 to 1:30 per side on the grill. That's approximately 0.75 lbs. of organic Shetland salmon.

cooked.2011.03.05.2.jpgI divided the salmon into two approximately 6 oz. servings, vacuum sealed, and froze the servings. They can be reheated by putting the frozen packages into the sous vide at 140°F for 45 minutes.


What I ate: March 4, 2011

Breakfast: 1 organic scrambled egg, 1 slice of homemade 9-grain bread toast with Earth Balance spread and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon.

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Lunch: Seared tuna with sriracha aioli, pickled onion, lettuce, tomato on a roll with French fries at Bolton Valley. And Switchback beer.

ate.2011.03.04.l.jpgSkiing cuisine has definitely stepped it up a notch since the days when I started skiing, 35 years ago, when lunch consisted of a greasy cheeseburger from a frozen patty, wrapped in foil, sitting under a heat lamp!


Dinner: Stir-fry of tofu, scallions and broccoli. With rice.

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Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle and Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Pinot Noir, 2006.

0.7 oz. potato chips and French onion dip.


Weight at beginning of the day: 110.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 110.8 lbs.


What I ate: March 3, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo, green pepper, jalapeño, onion and egg breakfast burrito. In a Maria and Ricardo's multi-grain organic tortilla (100 % whole grains).

ate.2011.03.03.b.jpg
Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts

Lunch: 2.8 oz. grilled chicken Caesar salad with Romaine lettuce and Drew's Caesar dressing and a very small amount of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. And a homemade whole wheat and oat roll with Vermont Butter and Cheese company cultured butter.

ate.2011.03.03.l.jpg
Snack: 0.4 oz. Scholten Farm Weybridge (soft cow's milk cheese) on 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers ("natural Triscuits").

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Dinner: 5.0 oz. Misty Knoll turkey breast with broccoli, rice and gravy.

ate.2011.03.03.d.jpg2 glasses of Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Pinot Noir, 2006.

Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

1.5 oz. blueberries. Leftovers from making blueberry muffins.

ate.2011.03.03.s2.jpgAnd 0.7 oz. potato chips and Cabot French onion dip. And 2 chocolate chip cookies.

Weight at beginning of the day: 111.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 110.4 lbs.

I can't really explain the weight loss, but that brought me back to my weight before my week long vacation and eating out. I had gained 3.4 lbs. and it took about a week to get back to my original weight, which is reasonable. 




What I ate: March 2, 2011

Breakfast: Homemade whole wheat bagel with 2.0 oz. lox, 1.0 oz. Organic Valley cream cheese, tomato and red onion.

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Lunch: Organic spinach salad with homemade sherry vinaigrette, 0.5 oz. Vermont Butter & Cheese goat cheese and 0.5 oz. homemade maple candied walnuts. And a homemade whole wheat and oat dinner roll with Vermont Butter & Cheese cultured butter.

ate.2011.03.02.l.jpg
Snack: 2.7 oz. plain organic Greek yogurt with Vermont maple syrup and 0.7 oz. of homemade granola.


Dinner: Mussels fra diavolo with 1.5 oz. fine linguini and 1 slice of Red Hen Mad River Grain bread. This dish is quick, easy, inexpensive, sustainable and very tasty. With Sea Glass sauvignon blanc.

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Dessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle and Cannonball cabernet sauvignon.

Snack: 1/8 cup air-popped popcorn with 1 tbsp. Vermont Butter and Cheese butter.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 111.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.2 lbs.

What I cooked: March 2, 2011

Just a little cooking today:

A half batch of blueberry muffins since I recently finished off the last one in the freezer.

cooked.2011.03.02.1.jpgAnd another 1.5 lbs. Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon, which I cook on sheet pans in the oven and freeze.

cooked.2011.03.02.2.jpgAnd finally a 3.2 lb. top round beef roast. I cut it into two pieces to separate out the layer of fat and silverskin in the roast, seasoned it, and cooked it in the sous vide for 2 hours at 133°F. I then let it rest for an hour, sliced, divided, and vacuum sealed it. It made two servings of sliced roast beef (5.0 oz. each) and seven servings for stir-fry (3.3 oz. each). And a small container of leftover bits for Roscoe.

cooked.2011.03.02.3.jpg

What I ate: March 1, 2011

Breakfast: 2 pancakes, made fresh today, 0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup and 3 slices of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (previously made and frozen and reheated on the griddle). I made a batch of 8 pancakes, so I have three servings to be frozen and vacuum sealed for a quick breakfast in the future.

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Lunch: Coconut fried shrimp at Bolton Valley with Otter Creek Moose Madness beer (a.k.a. Single Chair Ale, if I was at Mad River Glen instead of Bolton).

ate.2011.03.01.l.jpgDinner: Beef with broccoli and scallion stir fry. And Cannonball cabernet sauvignon.

ate.2011.03.01.d.jpgDessert: 1 square of Lake Champlain dark chocolate raspberry truffle.

And 0.7 oz. potato chips and French onion dip.

Weight at beginning of the day: 111.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 111.2 lbs.



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