June 2012 Archives

What I ate: June 30, 2012

Breakfast: A friend recommended the Oikos Greek yogurt, key lime flavor, and it really is tasty. I used to eat plain Greek yogurt with homemade granola and maple syrup but for some reason I haven't been in the mood in a long time.

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And a side of bacon.

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Ribs out of the sous vide and into a cool bath. Then sauced with homemade barbecue sauce and into the smoker for an hour with hickory wood. Yes, I have the smoker running at 7:00 AM on a Saturday. I started these ribs on Thursday around 10:00 AM, so it takes a while to finish them!

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All sliced, vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer - six dinners of 5 ribs each.

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Lunch: Red lentils and kale in coconut curry sauce (new recipe).

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Snack: 0.4 oz. pretzels and a Saranac Kölsch German-style ale. Fewer pretzels than usual since that was the last in the bag and I accidentally grabbed the Snyder's gluten-free pretzels instead of the regular ones. The gluten-free ones are not good.

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And 0.7 oz. peanuts.


Dinner: A salad with carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes, cucumber, mushrooms, red onion, grape tomatoes and Olivia's croutons with Kraft Tuscan house Italian dressing.

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And a leg and thigh of fried chicken, double-dipped in buttermilk and flour and deep fried.

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And 2 glasses of Sebastiani pinot noir.


Weight at beginning of the day: 120.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.6 lbs.


Red lentils and kale in coconut curry sauce

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This is something a little different than what I normally make but I spotted it on Pinterest and it looked good! The original recipe is here and mine is basically the same.

1 cup red lentils
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green part separated
1 bunch of kale (5 leaves), stems removed and leaves cut into 1" wide strips
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (14 oz.)
1 shallot
1 tsp. Thai red curry paste or curry powder
salt
freshly ground black pepper
oil for frying

Rinse the lentils and pick out any bad looking ones.

Boil 2 cups of water and use it to soak the lentils. I use my electric tea kettle to heat the water, then put the lentils in a Pyrex measuring cup and pour the boiling water over them. Soak for 15-20 minutes. Or you could put the lentils and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil then remove from the heat.

Thinly slice the shallot so it forms rings or strips. Add a small amount of oil (I used canola) to a sauté pan and cook the shallots until crisp and brown, then pull them out and set them aside.

Drain the lentils.

In a large sauté pan add some oil. I just used the oil that was left after cooking the shallots. Add the minced ginger, white parts of the scallions and cook for a minute. Add the kale and cook until wilted, a few minutes. Remove everything to a bowl and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary and add the lentils. Cook for a few minutes, turn them over, and cook for a few more minutes. Add the coconut milk and curry paste or curry powder and stir.

Cook until thickened, then add the kale mixture and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and top with the crispy shallot. Serves 3 or 4.

This was good but not great, but I'm pretty sure the problem is that I used lite coconut milk. I know I'd had really bad luck in the past when I'd used it, and I must have grabbed the wrong can by accident at the store and I only had the one can in my cupboard.


What I ate: June 29, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito with chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño and egg. And a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix. And a Spicy V-8.


Finished cooking beef short ribs. This was not the best choice for a day with temperatures in the 90°Fs as it requires bringing to a boil on the stove, then 2:15 in a 350°F oven. Fortunately, I have air conditioning. And I was cooking at 7:00 AM.

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Vacuum sealed and ready to freeze.

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Pork spare ribs into the sous vide for 18 hours. I needed both machines there were so many packages of ribs! The nice thing about the sous vide machine is that they're only warm to the touch on the outside even at 155°F.

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Lunch: Twice-cooked pork with scallions and noodles. With scallions from CSA Week #3.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.

Dinner: Rigatoni, prosciutto and tomato in spicy vodka cream sauce with Parmesan and Romano cheese. There's usually some broccoli in it, but I was going to have a salad today, so I left it out. But then because making this dish requires active cooking and is best served right away, so the cheese is freshly melted, I decided to have the salad second. Then I was so full, and I skipped the salad.

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It's also made with sliced grape tomatoes because didn't remember the number of tomatoes I had on hand correctly and didn't get more. I need one for Sunday's bagel, lox and cream cheese with tomato and red onion. It still was excellent.


And 2 glasses of Sebastiani pinot noir.

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Dessert: 2 strips (6 squares) of Green & Black's hazelnut currant dark chocolate. I have no idea why I stopped eating this - it's delicious! I keep it in my 55°F chiller so it's not as melty as it would be at room temperature, which is 82°F now, and not as hard as putting it in the refrigerator.


Weight at beginning of the day: 122.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 120.0 lbs.

What I ate: June 28, 2012

Breakfast: Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit. With homemade spicy pork breakfast sausage on a homemade buttermilk biscuit.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Prepped a whole pile of pork ribs (6.36 lbs.), cutting them into manageable pieces (6 ribs each), coating with homemade dry rub and vacuum sealing. They'll rest until tomorrow in the refrigerator, then into the sous vide for 18 hours.

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Lunch: Sautéed baby Swiss chard with pancetta, rice. The Swiss chard was from CSA Week #4. This was very good and my favorite way to make Swiss chard now.

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Did the first step of the ever-delicious Tom Collichio beef short ribs. This involved browning the ribs, cooking a mirepoix and marinating the ribs in the red wine and mirepoix overnight.

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And grilled some filet mignon steak. I vacuum sealed and froze it for a future steak dinner.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.


Dinner: Meatloaf, rice, gravy and fresh peas (new post).

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And 2 glasses of Cupcake malbec.



Weight at beginning of the day: 119.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 122.4 lbs.



Fresh peas

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As far as I can remember I've never made fresh peas. Frozen, sure, but never fresh. I got a bag of "shell peas" in CSA Week #4.

I had to look up how to shell them. This was a good description. Basically look at the pea pod and one seam sticks out and one is indented slightly. Grab the stem and tear down the indented side and the pod just zips open! Then just knock the peas out of the pod with your finger or thumb. Easy!

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Fresh peas can be steamed or boiled. I went with boiled since that's how I make frozen peas.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the peas, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, uncovered. Drain. Return to the pan and season with salt and pepper. A lot of people add some butter here, but I did not.

These were really good, well worth the effort. At least for a couple servings of peas it's more zen than annoying to shell the peas.

Here are my peas with meatloaf, rice and gravy.

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Update July 2, 2014: I've decided that I really don't like frozen peas, either. Now these fresh peas, they're awesome and I'm not going to eat any other kind. Also, I added a tiny bit of butter this time, along with the salt and freshly ground pepper.

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Sautéed baby Swiss chard with pancetta

ate.2012.06.28.l.jpgThis was delicious! My new favorite way to cook Swiss chard, kale, etc..

This was baby Swiss chard so I only removed a few of the larger ribs and cut off some of the larger stem ends.

Sauté 1.5 oz. of diced pancetta until fully cooked and the fat rendered.

Add 1 minced clove of garlic and cook for a minute.

Add the Swiss chard, kale, beet greens, tat soi, arugula, whatever you like and cook until wilted.

Add a splash of champagne vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Here it is with tat soi:

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What I ate: June 27, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito with chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño and egg.

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I made a batch of spicy carrot ginger soup (revised recipe).

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Sautéed arugula with sardines (new post). I've made this with spinach, kale, tat soi so I figured why not arugula? The arugula was good, but I normally eat a half can of Wild Planet sustainably caught sardines in water. That's half a can of King Oscar sardines in olive oil and I don't like these at all. The Wild Planet ones are more like eating fish, these were all mushy.

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CSA Week #4 and salad prep.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels and a Saranac Black Forest beer.

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Dinner: A salad with carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes, cucumber, mushrooms, red onion, grape tomatoes and Olivia's croutons with Kraft Tuscan house Italian dressing.

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And 5.5 oz. (cooked weight) of filet mignon steak, rare, seared on the grill, frozen, then reheated sous vide (45 minutes at 132°F).

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And 2 glasses of Cupcake malbec.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 119.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.8 lbs.


CSA Week #4 (2012)

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Today's CSA:

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I selected baby lettuce, shell peas, kale, beets, baby Swiss chard and cilantro.

I separated the beets from the beet greens, washing the greens and putting them in a zip-lock bag to stay fresh until I'm ready to use them. Maybe a stir-fry?

This week I prepped four salads, definitely salad season here! I used the last of the lettuce from CSA Week #3 and some of the new lettuce. Even though the lettuce is ripped, it will keep for a minimum of 5 days in its vacuum sealed jar without turning brown.

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And salad veggies for four salads. This week: carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes (from CSA Week #3), cucumber, mushrooms and red onion.

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And all vacuum sealed for quick salad-y goodness any time in the next 5 or so days. I really should get some 8 oz. mason jars.

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I made Sautéed baby Swiss chard with pancetta which was excellent!

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I cooked my fresh peas and ate them with meatloaf, rice and gravy.

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I made red lentils and kale in coconut curry sauce.

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I used the beet greens to make sautéed beet greens with hana katso and soy sauce.

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Last Week: CSA Week #3
Next Week: CSA Week #5




Spicy carrot ginger soup #3

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This soup is very tasty, healthy, and a great way to use up excess carrots. Seriously, there are 6 oz. of carrots in every bowl! And it's not really spicy, but it definitely has more going on than regular carrot ginger soup.

1.5 oz. unsalted butter (3 tbsp.) (can substitute olive oil)
6.7 oz. yellow onion, chopped (1 onion)
0.3 oz. garlic, minced (2 cloves)
0.8 oz. ginger, finely chopped (a little more than 1/8 cup; can use more if desired)
24 oz. carrots, peeled and diced
4.0 oz. white wine
32 oz. vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
1 tbsp. Thai red curry paste
salt
fresh ground black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper

Seriously, a lot of carrots!

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Chopping the carrot is the hard part. Here's the onion, garlic and ginger.

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Heat a large pot over medium-low heat 3 tbsp. unsalted butter. Add the onions and garlic and heat for several minutes until translucent.

Add the ginger and cook for a few more minutes.

Increase the heat to high and add the white wine. Boil for a few minutes to reduce the wine slightly and boil off the alcohol.

This dish can be made with vegetable or chicken stock. For chicken, I use my own chicken stock when I can, but it takes exactly one 32 oz. stock in an aseptic package with no leftover, so it's very convenient. I used 1.5 oz. (by weight) of More Than Gourmet vegetable stock base with 30.5 oz. of hot water.

Add the stock and carrots and bring back to a boil. Skim off any foam that forms on top of the liquid and discard. The soup is quite thick when done, yet it has no thickener other than carrots. You could add more stock to stretch it and make a thinner soup.

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Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

When done, add the Thai red curry paste. I use Thai Kitchen which just contains red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger), salt, spices, and kaffir lime. It's vegan (and gluten-free), too. You could also just use curry powder.

Purée the soup using a blender or food processor in batches. Because of the amount of blending required to purée the carrots, I found that a stick blender isn't a very efficient for this soup. Transfer to a large bowl to adjust the seasoning. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.

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Makes 4 10 oz. servings. Easily doubles. I've made it in the past and gotten 12 oz. servings.

With vegetable stock it's vegetarian. Replacing the butter with olive oil it's vegan. It should be gluten-free. And lactose free if you substitute for the butter. Hey, it's even nut-free and soy-free. We can accommodate almost any food choice or allergy with this recipe!

More or less based on this recipe, scaled and some of the preparation steps modified.

This soups also freezes well. I like to vacuum seal it and reheat it by bringing a pot of water to a boil, adding the frozen bag, bringing back to a boil, reducing the heat to simmer, and simmering, covered, for 20 minutes.

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This is almost the same recipe as the original, but I incorporated the modifications from #2 and added some more pictures.



Sautéed arugula, sardines and rice

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You might have noticed a trend here. I've made this same dish with spinach, kale and tat soi, and here's the version with arugula from CSA Week #3.
 
Wash and spin dry the arugula.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a little oil (I used canola, but it doesn't really matter). Add the arugula.

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Sauté until softened and it reduces in volume. And reduce it does - that whole pan of arugula made the amount on the plate!

Season with black pepper and granulated garlic. You could also use a minced clove of garlic instead.

Add hana katsuo (Japanese dried bonito fish flakes). These could be left out, but I think it adds good flavor to the dish, so add it if you can. And finally, some soy sauce. That's it!

I normally eat a half can of Wild Planet sustainably caught sardines in water. That's half a can of King Oscar sardines in olive oil and I don't like these at all. The Wild Planet ones are more like eating fish, these were all mushy.

The rice is reheated in the microwave (40 seconds from refrigerator temperature, covered) and seasoned with furikake.

What I ate: June 26, 2012

Breakfast: Blueberry muffin and bacon.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix. And a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Rosemary lamb pita. With yogurt dill sauce and lettuce on a homemade whole wheat pita.

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I failed yet again to bake ciabatta bread. I made a loaf of very tasty white bread, but still no ciabatta. Here's ciabatta failure #3.

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Snack: A piece of bread with butter. This is half of a piece, but I ate the other half as well...

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I grilled 14 oz. of chicken breast tenders for grilled chicken Caesar salad.

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Dinner: Pasta with grilled chicken, zucchini and garlic scape and basil pesto (new recipe). And whole wheat penne pasta. With a glass of Kim Crawford New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

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And 2 glasses of Yauquen malbec.



Weight at beginning of the day: 120.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.2 lbs.

Pasta with chicken, zucchini and garlic scape pesto

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This dish is delicious and quite healthy with whole wheat pasta and only 2.8 oz. of grilled chicken breast. It's pretty much the same as my original version without the chicken but I simplified a few steps.

Serves 1, multiply as necessary.

2.0 oz. whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
olive oil
half of a small zucchini
2.8 oz. grilled chicken, diced
salt and pepper
garlic scape and basil pesto
Parmesan cheese


Cook the pasta according to package directions.

When about 6 minutes from completion, heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add a little olive oil and the zucchini. After a few minutes add the diced chicken.

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Season with salt and pepper. A minute before the pasta is done, turn off the heat for the sauté pan.

When done, drain the pasta and add to the sauté pan.

Add the pesto. You don't want to cook the basil pesto because it will lose flavor. I used one of my pre-packaged jars, 1/3 of a recipe of pesto.

Thoroughly combine everything.

Plate. Microplane a little Parmesan cheese over the top. Serve!


Update 6/24/2013: I made this again and it was still excellent! This time I served it with homemade ciabatta bread.

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Of course you could leave out the chicken and it would be vegetarian and still delicious.

It would probably be pretty good vegan, leaving out the chicken and Parmesan cheese. But you'd need to plan ahead, because there's Parmesan in the garlic scape pesto as well.


Ciabatta failure #3

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I love the crunchy-on-the-outside and air-filled Italian bread known as ciabatta. It is also my nemesis and one of the things I have never been able to bake successfully, as evidenced by failure #1 and failure #2.

I finally succeeded in making this, with Ciabatta #4!

I'm reading Michael Ruhlman's Ratio, which is an excellent book, by the way, and he makes it sound like the easiest thing to make. How can this be? So I set out to make his ciabatta.

20 oz. bread flour
12 oz. water
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast

Combine the ingredients with the paddle attachment then knead in with the dough hook for 8 minutes or so. Or, in my case, since my Kitchen Aid broke during this exercise, spend a lot of time and energy kneading by hand.

Let double in size, a couple hours.

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Knead on a floured surface. Let rest 15 minutes.

Pull on the ends to form a rectangle about a 1 foot long and 1 inch thick.

Dust a peel with semolina flour and transfer the dough to the peel. Let rise for 1 hour.

15 to 30 minutes into rising, put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450°F.

Gently coat the bread with olive oil and kosher salt after it's done rising.

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Cook for 10 minutes at 450°F then lower the heat to 375°F and continue cooking for 30 more minutes. The internal temperature of the bread should be 205°F.

Let rest for a minimum of 45 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.

And the result is... plain white bread.

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Now this is really tasty white bread, but it's not ciabatta. I ate the other half slice it was so tasty. I suspect in this case the problem may have been insufficient kneading since I ended up doing it by hand. I wasn't able to pass the window-pane test before my arms were ready to give out.

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What I ate: June 25, 2012

Breakfast: Egg, toast and bacon.

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Lunch: McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese and medium French fries. I replaced a sink at Mom and Dad's and was running some errands when I had a craving.

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Dinner: Salad with two kinds of lettuce, arugula, cucumber, red onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes and mushrooms, 4 organic grape tomatoes and Kraft Tuscan house Italian dressing. With Olivia's croutons.

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And 2 slices of pepperoni and mushroom pizza (each slice is 1/8 of a small pizza).

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And 2 glasses of Yauquen malbec.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 120.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 120.6 lbs.

What I ate: June 24, 2012

Breakfast: Bagel, lox and cream cheese. On a homemade whole wheat bagel with tomato and red onion. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Spicy sesame beef with snow pea stir-fry and rice.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels and an Saranac Session IPA.

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Dinner: Iron Chef Chinese Buffet with Mom and Dad.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 119.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 120.0 lbs.


What I ate: June 23, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito with chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño and egg.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Made a fresh batch of Sriracha chex mix.

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Made a batch of whole wheat pita bread (new recipe).

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Lunch: Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. With 3 slices of bacon on one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. With Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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Dinner: Falafel. My meal timing was a little off because I made it ahead, along with the yogurt dill sauce and fresh homemade whole wheat pita bread, but I was so curious as to whether it worked I ended up eating "dinner" at 2:30 PM, so I'm not sure how this is going to work in the end. In any case, I had a structural problem with the falafel, but it was delicious!

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Snack: 4 Garden valley veggie Wheat Thins toasted crisps with Cabot extra sharp cheddar. And a half glass of Kim Crawford New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

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Dinner #2: Japanese-style crushed hamburger and rice. I probably should not have eaten this much, but that's how much there was in the package in the freezer.

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And 2 glasses of Cholilo Ranch malbec.


Weight at beginning of the day: 118.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.8 lbs.


Yogurt dill sauce (for falafel)

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I got the idea for making homemade falafel from this excellent blog, which was also the source for the garlic scape and basil pesto recipe. Here's Andrea's yogurt dill sauce that goes on top of the falafel, though I made a half recipe. It's good, and healthy too!

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1 small clove of garlic, minced
3/4 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
1/4 tsp. lemon zest, minced
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper



Falafel

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I got the idea for making homemade falafel from this excellent blog, which was also the source for the garlic scape and basil pesto recipe. I had never made falafel from scratch, either, and it's been years since I've made it at all. I wonder why? I love a good falafel.

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup red onion
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
salt and pepper

Here is most of the mise en place.

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Combine the ingredients in the food processor.

Form into patties. I used 1.5 oz. per patty, formed in a 2 1/4" cookie cutter. Here's the trick I used: Put that little bowl on the scale and spoon filling to get 1.5 oz.. Then take the filling in your hand and squish it into a ball, then push it into the cookie cutter and flatten it out. Pop it out of the cutter and flip it upside down onto the sheet pan.

Or you could just take a handful of it and form it into a ball or slightly flattened ball. I've seen it that way too.

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Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a sheet pan with olive oil. Place the formed patties on the sheet pan. You should get 7.

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Funny thing: I was going to cook them in the deep fryer because I thought it would be faster. I've also made them in a sauté pan, but this can be difficult because sometimes they fall apart. In any case, the deep fryer was a complete failure. Because the patties were not very well bonded to themselves and are high in water content, as they bounce around in the hot oil they keep shedding off the outside layer and getting smaller and smaller! After 1 minute, I had something the size of a couple quarters that was still raw. Oops! That's where the 7th patty went.

Here they are out of the oven:

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This didn't quite turn out as well as I had hoped. I don't think I added enough oil and they were quite dry. When I reheated them I did it in a sauté pan with olive oil, which did a nice job of moistening them, but they still didn't have enough structural stability. The flavor was great, though.

I think I need to blend it more. Some recipes add a little flour. That might help.

I also made Andrea's yogurt dill sauce, though I made a half recipe, and that was delicious.

I also made a batch of homemade whole wheat pita bread (new recipe) that was delicious! Once you have these delicious homemade whole wheat pita you won't the plain store-bought ones anymore!

Serve over the falafel in a pita with lettuce, red onion and cucumber. The original recipe called for tomato but I omitted it.

The falafel patties themselves are vegan and gluten-free. There is dairy in the yogurt sauce (obviously) and in the pita, and of course the whole wheat pita has wheat gluten.


Whole wheat pita bread #2

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This whole wheat pita bread is delicious! It's surprisingly light and fluffy for whole wheat, and you'll never want to eat a store-bought pita after making this!

5.0 oz. whole wheat flour (1 cup)
10.0 oz. white whole wheat flour (a little more than 2 cups)
1 tsp. instant ("bread machine") yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
8.0 oz. milk
2.0 oz. water (give or take, to make a nice ball of dough)

The white whole wheat flour is from King Arthur and is made from winter wheat and it's still 100 % whole grain. It's also high gluten, so it behaves more like bread flour than plain whole wheat flour.

Mix all of the ingredients with the dough hook with the mixer until a ball of dough forms, adding water as necessary. Knead for 8 minutes. You should keep an eye on the mixer - this is a really tough dough and it completely jammed my Kitchen Aid mixer once.

Update 6/26/2012: Now I know the mixer was on its last legs and completely failed when making Ciabatta #3. Who knew that even the new Kitchen Aid "Professional" 6 quart mixers have plastic housing on the gear assembly? Mine cracked, which then caused the worm gear assembly to slip and strip off several teeth. A new all-metal housing, a new gear and grease are on the way.

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Remove the ball of dough from the mixer bowl, lightly oil the bowl with spray oil, return the ball of dough to the bowl and flip once. Loosely cover with plastic wrap (or a towel) and let rise for 2 to 3 hours in a warm place until doubled in size.

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Divide into 3.0 oz balls. You should get 8 and probably have a little left over. Let rest for 10 minutes, then roll out into circles 5 to 6 inches in diameter.

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Put 4 circles on each of two half sheet pans with silpats and let rise for 30 minutes. You could also use parchment paper. I think the idea is to make sure the bread doesn't stick to the pan when it puffs up, since presumably it won't puff up.

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Bake for 4 to 5 minutes at 450°F on the bottom rack of the oven until puffed up.

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This is pretty much the same recipe as my original recipe, except this time I used 1/3 whole wheat flour and 2/3 white whole wheat flour instead of bread flour. I also simplified the steps, since with instant yeast (bread machine yeast) you don't need to go through all the steps you do for active dry yeast.


What I ate: June 22, 2012

Breakfast: Pancakes and bacon, both previously frozen and reheated in the oven, 8 minutes at 350°F from frozen on a sheet pan.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Shrimp, onion and spinach stir-fry with rice.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels and a Saranac blueberry blonde ale. Light and refreshing! And later 0.7 oz. peanuts.

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Dinner: Salad with two kinds of lettuce, arugula, cucumber, red onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes and mushrooms. I forgot the tomatoes. Tossed with Kraft Tuscan house Italian dressing. With Olivia's croutons.

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Spaghetti with Italian sausage and homemade tomato sauce.

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And 2 glasses of Cholila Ranch malbec.

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And a little rhubarb sorbet.

Weight at beginning of the day: 118.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.8 lbs.



What I ate: June 21, 2012

Breakfast: Sausage, egg and cheese English muffin. With homemade spicy pork breakfast sausage on a Barowski's whole wheat English muffin.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Sautéed tat soi, sardines and rice. Tat soi is a slightly spicy Asian braising green, and it's great in this dish. Better than kale and spinach and my favorite... too bad it's impossible to get here when you don't get it in CSA Week #3.

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And it's another cooking day, though this was a pretty mild one.

Here's the piece of wild sockeye salmon fillet I picked up at the grocery store, about 1/2 pound. Seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper and granulated garlic and lightly coated with olive oil on both sides.

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Beautiful after coming off the grill. Very high temperature on the infrared grill, 90 seconds on each side.

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Vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer.

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Made a new batch of garlic mashed potatoes (new post), vacuum sealed and frozen for future meals.

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And a batch of garlic scape and basil pesto, vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer.

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It's ridiculously hot here, so when I was done with all of my cooking I celebrated with a Henrick's gin and Q tonic. Q tonic is HFCS-free, made with natural flavors, quinine and agave. Delicious and lower in calories, too.

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Dinner: I started with the salad fixing I vacuum sealed yesterday. That included two kinds of lettuce, arugula, cucumber, red onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes and mushrooms. I added 4 organic grape tomatoes (halved) and tossed with Annie's cowgirl ranch. I do this in a separate bowl so I can make sure the salad is evenly dressed, then I pick out the majority of the lettuce and put it in the bottom of my serving bowl, followed by the vegetables and the rest of the lettuce and finally croutons. It's an extra bowl to wash, but the salad looks great!

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And finally my homemade pork spare ribs with homemade barbecue sauce and seasoned French fries. The spare ribs are reheated for 45 minutes at 155°F in the sous vide from frozen. Then they are crisped for 30 seconds at 360°F in the deep fryer. They come out and in go 3.0 oz. of Cascadian organic shoestring French fries for 2 minutes. Once they come out they get seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper.

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And 2 glasses of Liberty School cabernet sauvignon.

And the liquor store had a new flavor of Absolut vodka today! Absolut Cherrykran, with cherry, white cranberry and plum.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 118.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.2 lbs.


Sautéed tat soi, sardines and rice

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Tat soi is a slightly spicy Asian braising green, and it works great in this dish. I think it's my favorite version, even better than the version I make with kale or spinach. I got a head of it in CSA Week #3. This a simple but tasty and healthy lunch, though probably not everyone would be a fan.

Remove the tough ends of the stems. They're edible, but not as good in this dish. Or you could put them in and cook them down a bit before adding the tender leaves. You don't have to remove the stem like kale or chard.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a little oil (I used canola, but it doesn't really matter). Add the tat soi.

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Sauté until softened and it reduces in volume.

Season with black pepper and granulated garlic. You could also use a minced clove of garlic instead.

Add hana katsuo (Japanese dried bonito fish flakes). These could be left out, but I think it adds good flavor to the dish, so add it if you can. And finally, some soy sauce. That's it!

The sardines are a half can of Wild Planet sustainably caught sardines in water.

The rice is reheated in the microwave (40 seconds from refrigerator temperature, covered) and seasoned with furikake.

This is basically the same recipe as Sautéed spinach, sardines and rice.


Update: July 10, 2014
: I started eating a whole 4.375 oz. can of sardines instead of half. This solves the problem of what to do with a half can of leftover sardines, and is still a reasonable serving size.

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Garlic mashed potatoes #2

This is my standard recipe for delicious garlic mashed potatoes.

2.0 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1"-2" pieces
2.0 oz. butter (half stick, or more)
6.0 to 8.0 oz. heavy cream
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
salt and pepper

This is about 2 pounds of potatoes (before peeling), peeled and diced.

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Bring potatoes and water to a boil, cook for 15-25 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain.

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Run the potatoes through a potato ricer. This is my potato ricer. It's kind of big.

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Add butter and let it melt. Add heavy cream, garlic, salt, and pepper.

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Here are my potatoes divided and vacuum sealed. Five packages of about 5.0 oz. and one with the remainder, 7.3 oz. Ready for the freezer.

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To reheat the potatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. And the frozen, vacuum sealed bag and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. They're almost as good as fresh!

Updated 8/7/2012: Since I already had the sous vide going at 150°F for beef short ribs I stuck a frozen 5.0 oz. serving of mashed potatoes in at the same time. Now I haven't had very much luck reheating mashed potatoes in the sous vide at lower temperatures, but this time I finished the mashed potatoes in a non-stick sauté pan over medium-low heat. I added a little more cream, stirred and heated the potatoes and they were perfect!

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This recipe is basically the same as my original recipe, but I added more pictures.


What I ate: June 20, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


It's hot! Okay, it's hot outside but I'm inside and have air conditioning, so it's not really a big deal. I wasn't really in the mood for a spinach salad after all. I wasn't sure what I wanted so I pulled up my menu viewer and clicked on the Lunch category and scrolled through all of my recipes looking for something I was in the mood for. And I found...

Lunch: Hot dog. With mustard and pickle relish on a whole wheat hot dog bun and Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips. And a Saranac Summer Ale.

ate.2012.06.20.l.jpgate.2012.06.20.e1.jpg
CSA Week #3!

I also prepped and vacuum sealed salad veggies and salad (new post) for next week. The veggies included cucumber, red onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes and mushrooms. The salad included green and red leaf lettuce and arugula.

Snack: 0.8 oz. peanuts.


Dinner: Braised beef short ribs and 4.0 oz. garlic mashed potatoes. Both were previously frozen; I reheated the short ribs for 45 minutes from frozen in the sous vide at 140°F and the mashed potatoes for 20 minutes boil-in-bag.

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And 2 glasses of Liberty School cabernet sauvignon.

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I was going to make a salad, but then remember how big dinner was, so I skipped it.


Weight at beginning of the day: 119.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.8 lbs.


Vacuum sealed salad

During the summer I eat quite a few salads, but making salad for one person is tedious at best, especially if you want a nice variety of vegetables and lettuce in it. Vacuum sealer to the rescue!

Here are my salad veggies prepped for 3 salads. These will look perfect for 5 days and are passable for a week, vacuum sealed in jars. I did a series of posts on this a few years ago, The Great Salad Experiment. Today I have cucumber, red onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes and mushrooms. The radishes were from CSA Week #2.

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You can put almost anything you want in your salad jar. I don't put the tomatoes in the jar because I keep the tomatoes in my 55°F refrigerator - the real refrigerator is too cold and they lost taste and texture. And do not, under any circumstances, put broccoli (or probably cauliflower) in the vacuum sealed jar unless you blanch it first! Storing raw broccoli in a low-oxygen environment causes it to release an odorous chemical that will practically knock you over when you open the jar!

Here are the vegetables vacuum sealed and ready for the refrigerator. These are wide-mouth pint-sized canning jars. I can fit two at a time in my chamber vacuum sealer, but if you're using a FoodSaver type vacuum sealer, you'll need to use narrow-mouth jars and the jar sealer attachment, which works, but isn't nearly as convenient.

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I don't always make the salad part ahead. If I only have one kind of lettuce, for example, it's not that much work to make a salad. But this week I have lettuce from CSA Week #2 and red leaf lettuce from CSA Week #3 so it does make things easier to wash, dry, and rip or cut and divide the lettuce and vacuum seal. There's more in the salads than this - I can never guess exactly how much lettuce I will need.

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And vacuum sealed in pint-sized jars.

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Now all I need to do is grab a jar of each and dress. Add croutons and some cherry tomatoes. A minute, tops!

Here's a salad the next day with Annie's cowgirl ranch dressing, 4 organic grape tomatoes and Olivia's croutons.

ate.2012.06.21.d1.jpgIncidentally, I dress the salad in a separate bowl so I can make sure the salad is evenly dressed, then I pick out the majority of the lettuce and put it in the bottom of my serving bowl, followed by the vegetables and the rest of the lettuce and finally croutons. It's an extra bowl to wash, but the salad looks great!

Here's the prep for four salads the following week...

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CSA Week #3 (2012)

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This week:

Arugula
Lettuce
Tat soi
Scallions
Radishes
Garlic Scapes


I made sautéed tat soi with sardines and rice for lunch.

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And another batch of garlic scape and basil pesto.

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I put some of the lettuce and arugula in my pre-made vacuum-sealed salads.

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Some lettuce went into my falafel.

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And some lettuce went into my rosemary lamb pita.

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And made sautéed argula with sardines and rice for lunch with the rest of the arugula.

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I made twice-cooked pork with scallions and noodles with the scallions.

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Last Week: CSA Week #2
Next Week: CSA Week #4

What I ate: June 19, 2012

Breakfast: Homemade blueberry muffin and bacon.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Sautéed kale, sardines and rice.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.

Dinner: Japanese-style lamb curry and rice. Previously frozen and reheated boil-in-bag, 20 minutes from frozen.

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And 2 glasses of Tercos malbec.


Weight at beginning of the day: 120.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.2 lbs.



Sautéed kale, sardines and rice

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This a simple but tasty lunch, though probably not everyone would be a fan.

I used a good amount of kale, 5 leaves, the entire amount from CSA Week #2. Stems removed, chopped, washed and dried.

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Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a little oil (I used canola, but it doesn't really matter). Add the kale. Sauté until softened and it reduces in volume.

Add a splash of vinegar (I used rice vinegar). I don't add vinegar when I make this dish with spinach, but I think it helps with the kale.

Season with black pepper and granulated garlic. You could also use a minced clove of garlic instead.

Add hana katsuo (Japanese dried bonito fish flakes). These could be left out, but I think it adds good flavor to the dish, so add it if you can. And finally, some soy sauce. That's it!

The sardines are a half can of Wild Planet sustainably caught sardines in water.

The rice is reheated in the microwave (40 seconds from refrigerator temperature, covered) and seasoned with furikake.


This is basically the same recipe as Sautéed spinach, sardines and rice.

It also works great with mizuna.

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What I ate: June 18, 2012

Breakfast: Egg, toast and bacon.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Twice-cooked pork, broccoli and scallion stir-fry with rice.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. And, as a reminder, this is how much 0.7 oz. of peanuts is:

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Dinner: I was originally going to make falafel, which I haven't had in years. But then I wasn't really feeling the falafel vibe today. Instead, a salad with the last of the lettuce from CSA Week #1 and lettuce from CSA Week #2 with my vacuum-sealed prepared vegetables (cucumber, carrot, celery, mushrooms and radishes from CSA Week #2), Olivia's croutons and Kraft Tuscan house Italian dressing.

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And 3 slices of Panni pepperoni and mushroom pizza from a small pizza, previously frozen.

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And 2 glasses of Tercos malbec.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 120.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 120.0 lbs.



What I ate: June 17, 2012

Breakfast: Bagel, lox and cream cheese. On a homemade whole wheat bagel with tomato and red onion. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.


Lunch: Mom's sushi and tofu with kamaboku and scallions at Mom and Dad's.

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Dinner: Iron Chef Chinese buffet with Mom and Dad.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 119.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 120.0 lbs.

What I ate: June 16, 2012

Breakfast: Pancakes and bacon. I cooked a fresh batch today and froze the extras.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Sausage and green pepper stir-fry and rice.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels and a Saranac Summer Ale. It's a little on the light side, almost a pilsner, but it would be pretty refreshing on a hot summer day.

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Dinner: A salad with lettuce from CSA Week #1 and CSA Week #2 with my vacuum-sealed prepared vegetables (cucumber, carrot, celery, mushrooms and radishes from CSA Week #2), Olivia's croutons and Amy's cowgirl ranch dressing.

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And a cheeseburger on a Barowski's whole wheat hamburger bun. With 4.0 oz. (before cooking) of homemade lean ground beef, grilled, frozen and reheated in the sous vide (45 minutes at 132°F from frozen) then browned in the deep fryer, 30 seconds at 160°F. And 3.0 oz. Cascadian frozen organic French fries, heated for 2 minutes at 360°F in the deep fryer, from frozen, and seasoned with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper.

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And 2 glasses of 90+ pinot noir.

I don't obsess over calorie counts, but this was surprising to me. I sort of figured that ranch dressing would be higher in calories than regular Italian dressing. But, at least when you compare Annie's Natural organic cowgirl ranch to Kraft Tuscan house Italian, the ranch is less at 110 compared with Italian at 130. Huh.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 119.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.2 lbs.



What I ate: June 15, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito with chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño and egg. The reheat of the filling from Wednesday is usually Saturday's breakfast, but I was in a mood for it today.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Asian lettuce wrap with lettuce from CSA Week #2.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.


Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels and a Saranac Kölsch German-style ale.

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Dinner: Whole wheat penne pasta with zucchini and garlic scape pesto (new recipe) and a salad.

The salad has lettuce from CSA Week #1 and CSA Week #2 with my vacuum-sealed prepared vegetables (cucumber, carrot, celery, mushrooms and radishes from CSA Week #2), Olivia's croutons and Kraft Tuscan house Italian dressing. And a glass of very refreshing Kim Crawford New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

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And 2 glasses of 90+ pinot noir. It's very drinkable, but not intriguing or outstanding. I think it would make a great dinner party wine for people who are not wine aficionados. 

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Weight at beginning of the day: 121.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.2 lbs.


Pasta with zucchini and garlic scape pesto

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Yesterday I made a delicious garlic scape and basil pesto so I needed to come up with a recipe to use it. I decided to sauté some zucchini and add that to whole wheat penne pasta and combine that with the garlic scape pesto, a little olive oil and a little Parmesan cheese. It was delicious!


Prepare 2.0 oz. whole wheat penne pasta per serving.

Dice a small zucchini or half of a large zucchini per serving. Maybe a little less.

Mince a glove of garlic. This might not be necessary because the garlic scapes are pretty garlicy on their own.

Finely chop some fresh flat leaf parsley and fresh basil. This is probably optional.

Here's the mise en place:

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Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add a little olive oil, the zucchini and garlic and sauté until softened. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Remove from the heat and add the drained pasta. Add the garlic scape pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped fresh parsley and basil. Combine well.

Plate then microplate a little Parmesan cheese over the top. Serve.

This dish is delicious and quite healthy. It's vegetarian.

There's Parmesan in both the pesto and sprinkled on top so it's not vegan, and I think it's a good flavor to have, but certainly it could be omitted to make it vegan.

What I ate: June 14, 2012

Breakfast: Bacon, egg and cheese English muffin.

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Lunch: Spinach salad. With 1.0 oz. goat cheese, 0.5 oz. maple candied walnuts and homemade vinaigrette. With a homemade whole wheat and oat roll.

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Another grocery shopping and cooking day!

Made a batch of my homemade red wine pasta sauce. Here are the vegetables that go into it:

ate.2012.06.14.c1.jpgAll vacuum sealed and ready for freezing: 8 packages of 6.0 oz. each.

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This is what my boneless pork roast looked like from the supermarket:

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Broken down into the "white meat" and "dark meat" pieces, with all of the fat and silverskin separated out.

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The dark meat portion prepared for miso marinated pork, vacuum marinated and into the refrigerator.

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The white meat portion vacuum sealed and ready to go into the sous vide, 90 minutes at 155°F.

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Sliced, vacuum sealed and into the freezer: 4 servings of pork for stir-fry, 3.2 oz. each. The pork roast was $ 8.88 but I got 1 dinner and 4 lunches out of it, so that's not bad.

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Prepared salad veggies for the salads this week. With cucumber, carrot, mushrooms, green pepper and radishes. Vacuum sealed they're nearly perfect for up to 5 days or so.

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Prepared a batch of delicious garlic scape and basil pesto (new recipe) with the garlic scapes from CSA Week #2.

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Two packages for the freezer, one for the refrigerator.

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Made homemade ground beef from chuck steak, in the food processor. Here is is all spread out so I can pick out any  stringy bits.

ate.2012.06.14.c14.jpgAnd three packages vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer: 5.1 oz.., 6.0 oz. and 8.0 oz.

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That's it! It looks like it would have taken all day, but I really was done with everything and all cleaned up before 2 PM.


Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.


Dinner: Miso-marinated pork and rice.

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And 1 1/2 glasses of The Seeker malbec. The rest of the half bottle went into the tomato sauce I made this morning.


Weight at beginning of the day: 118.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 121.0 lbs.



Garlic scape and basil pesto

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I got this recipe from this excellent blog. There were garlic scapes in CSA Week #2 and I couldn't wait to try it!

7 garlic scapes, chopped
pine nuts (optional, see update below)
a good amount of basil, chopped
some Parmesan cheese, grated
juice of half of a lemon
olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Here's the mise en place to get a better idea of the quantities.

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By the way, garlic scapes are the above-ground stalk of the garlic plant. I've never seen them in a supermarket, but I've gotten them in my CSAs and in farmers' markets in places where garlic can be grown.


The original recipe called for walnuts, but I omitted them. When I made it the second time I substituted pine nuts, which worked really well.

And after I chopped the scapes and picked the basil leaves and chopped them.

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Combine scapes and the pine nuts in the food processor and chop.

Add the remaining ingredients. Drizzle the olive oil in until it becomes pesto-y. Season with salt and pepper.

Here it is packaged into 4.0 oz. freezer-safe jelly jars. I kept one in the refrigerator and froze the other two.


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Update July 9, 2014: When I made it again I added pine nuts, which was a nice addition.

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And put it in vacuum sealed bags, which are easier to store. Also, I can't figure out where all of my little glass jars are. I know a bunch of them contain barbecue sauce, but it just doesn't add up!

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What I ate: June 13, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito with chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño and egg.

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Walked to the post office, a little over 1 mile.


Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix. And a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Grilled chicken Caesar salad. With 2.8 oz. grilled chicken, a tiny amount of Parmesan cheese and Drew's Romano Caesar dressing. And a homemade whole wheat and oat roll with butter.

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CSA Week #2!


Snack: 0.8 oz. peanuts.


Dinner: Fried chicken fingers, boneless Buffalo 'wings' and French fries.

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And 2 glasses of The Seeker malbec.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 117.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.4 lbs.


CSA Week #2 (2012)

ate.2012.06.13.csa1.jpgThis week:

Scallions
Garlic scapes
Radishes
Kale
Lettuce

I made a batch of delicious garlic scape and basil pesto.

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I used some of the radishes to make prepared salad vegetables. Vacuum sealed, these jars of green pepper, cucumber, radishes, mushrooms, carrots and celery will last 5 days in the refrigerator and still be nearly perfect.

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I reheated some of the frozen Asian lettuce wrap filling and used some of this week's lettuce.

ate.2012.06.15.l.jpgTwice-cooked pork, broccoli and scallion stir-fry with rice.

ate.2012.06.18.l.jpgA bunch of salads with the lettuce.

ate.2012.06.18.d1.jpg Sautéed kale, sardines and rice.

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And that's just about it - only a little lettuce and a couple radishes left, just in time for Week 3!


Last Week: CSA Week #1


What I ate: June 12, 2012

Breakfast: Homemade blueberry muffin and bacon.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


I cooked and froze two pounds of bacon.


Lunch: Chana masala and rice.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.


Dinner: Strip steak and a salad.

Salad is made from lettuce from CSA Week #1, the last container of vacuum-sealed prepared vegetables (celery, carrot, green pepper, cucumber and mushrooms), Olivia's croutons, homemade real bacon bits and Kraft Tuscan House Italian dressing.

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And 5.5 oz. of strip steak. I cut off the edge because the steak was too large, and here's what the inside of my nice rare steak looks like. And it was previously grilled and frozen! That's the beauty of the sous vide, a perfect reheated steak 45 minutes from frozen at 132°F.

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And 2 glasses of 90+ malbec.



Weight at beginning of the day: 119.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 117.8 lbs.

What I ate: June 11, 2012

Breakfast: Egg, toast and bacon.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Red lentils with rhubarb and Indian spices. And rice. Yes, it's a savory rhubarb dish, and it's pretty good! It's also ridiculously healthy.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts and a Saranac IPA.

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Snack: 4 Garden valley veggie Wheat Thins toasted crisps with Cabot extra sharp cheddar.

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Dinner: Asparagus and prosciutto pasta with whole wheat penne. And a glass of Kim Crawford New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

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And 2 glasses of 90+ malbec.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 119.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.4 lbs.




Red lentils and rhubarb with Indian spices

ate.2012.06.11.l.jpgA savory rhubarb dish? This is a little odd, but pretty good. I don't think I'd make it every week, but I'd make once every rhubarb season. It certainly is healthy!

The recipe here is pretty much a half recipe of this recipe. That, in turn, is apparently from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

1/2 cup dried lentils, washed and picked through for any defective ones
2 stalks rhubarb, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 cardamom pods
1/2 tbsp. mustard seeds
1 whole clove (the spice, not garlic)
1 dried mild chile (the recipe calls for ancho; I used California), seeds removed and diced
salt
freshly ground black pepper

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Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and add water to cover by 1/2" or a little more. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer.

Cook for 20 - 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and it's not too soupy. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. It would probably be good to pick out the clove, but I couldn't find mine.

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve with rice.

It's vegan (and therefore also vegetarian, dairy-free and lactose-free). It's also gluten-free. It's also non-fat, as there isn't even any cooking oil in it. Lentils are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, including iron. So I guess maybe I should make this more often!

From caloriecount.about.com (not including the rice):
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What I ate: June 10, 2012

Breakfast: Bagel, lox and cream cheese. On a homemade whole wheat bagel with tomato and red onion. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.

Lunch: Asian lettuce wrap (new recipe). This was delicious and a tasty way to use up some lettuce from CSA Week #1 without resorting to a salad!

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Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels and a Saranac rye IPA.

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Dinner: Iron Chef Chinese buffet with Mom and Dad.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 120.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.2 lbs.




Asian lettuce wrap

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I still have an abundance of lettuce from CSA Week #1 and didn't want a salad, so I whipped up a very tasty batch of spicy Asian lettuce wraps. My recipe is a slightly modified half-recipe of this recipe.

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. ground beef

1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3-5 scallions, chopped, white and green parts separated
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and finely diced

1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Asian chili garlic sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

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Add the oil to a medium sauté pan and brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain any fat and remove the beef to a dish or bowl.

In the same pan, add a little more oil if necessary and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes.

Add the garlic, the white part of the scallions, ginger and water chestnuts. Cook for a few more minutes.

Add the cooked ground beef and the green parts of the scallions and cook for a minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook for a minute.

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Serve on lettuce, or serve it in a bowl at the table with lettuce on the side so everyone can individually make their own. It also probably works better to fold the lettuce burrito style instead taco style.

This was delicious. Serves 2 - 3.

And, yes, this turns out to be a much better way to serve it:

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What I ate: June 9, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito with chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño and egg.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Tuna salad salad with baby lettuce mix from CSA Week #1. With Kraft Catalina dressing.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.

Dinner: Tonkatsu and rice with furikake. That's 5 small pieces with a total weight of 5.0 oz. And Roscoe at some of it.

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And 2 glasses of Panizzi Sangiovese.


Weight at beginning of the day: 118.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 120.0 lbs.


What I ate: June 8, 2012

Breakfast: Corned beef hash, egg and toast.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Sausage and green pepper stir-fry with rice.

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A Saranac Session IPA after lawn mowing and weed whacking.

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Dinner: 3 slices of pepperoni and mushroom pizza and a salad.

I made the salad with baby lettuce from CSA Week #1 and my prepared vegetables (celery, carrot, green pepper, cucumber and mushrooms). With Olivia's croutons and Annie's Cowgirl Ranch dressing. It's so nice being able to open up a vacuum sealed jar of veggies and have a complete salad in under a minute!

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I reheated the pizza for 8 minutes at 400°F which was probably a little too long for a still mostly hot pizza. It was nice and crispy, however. I also served it on a hot plate, heated in the oven for the last minute of cooking so the crust would stay crispy.

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And 2 glasses of Panizzi Sangiovese.

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And a little rhubarb sorbet.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 118.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.8 lbs.


What I ate: June 7, 2012

Breakfast: Bacon, egg and cheese English muffin.

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Lunch: Twice-cooked pork and scallions and noodles. With scallions from CSA Week #1.

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Cooked a batch of Japanese-style curry to freeze for a future dinner. This time I made it with lamb instead of chicken and updated the recipe with some pictures.

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Four servings vacuum sealed and ready to freeze for a future meal.

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Made homemade ground beef from chuck steak and a food processor. I did not do that with the knife in the picture.

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Formed it into four 4.5 oz. burgers and grilled them.

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Individually vacuum sealed so they can be reheated in the sous vide: 45 minutes at 132°F from frozen and the burger is still perfectly medium rare.

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And grilled 7 Hebrew National beef hot dogs.

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They're individually vacuum sealed so they can be reheated sous vide (30 minutes at 160°F) or boil-in-bag (10 minutes).

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I cooked a batch of Chana masala for future lunches. Vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer.

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And prepped salad veggies for a three salads. I have radishes from CSA Week #1, celery, carrot, green pepper, cucumber and mushrooms. I did not add tomato since they don't keep well and are better not refrigerated. The vegetables are vacuum sealed in glass jars so they'll keep several days (see The Great Salad Experiment for more information).

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That was a lot of vacuum sealing! It's a good thing I have the commercial chamber vacuum sealer (Ary VacMaster) because my old FoodSaver would be coughing and wheezing by now, if not entirely dead!


Dinner: Chicken balsamic. And a salad with baby lettuce from CSA Week #1 and my prepared vegetables (celery, carrot, green pepper, cucumber and mushrooms). With Olivia's croutons and Annie's Cowgirl Ranch dressing.

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It's not very obvious in the picture, but it looks like my chicken has a mild case of jaundice. I apparently did not get all of the tumeric out of the pan after making chana masala. Oops!


And 2 glasses of Desierto 25/5 malbec, Argentina, 2007.


Weight at beginning of the day: 118.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.2 lbs.

What I ate: June 6, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito with chorizo, onion, green pepper, jalapeño and egg. And a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix. And a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Chicken soup with soba noodles and spinach.

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It's the first week of my CSA!


Dinner: Grilled salmon, rice and sautéed beet greens. And a glass of Kim Crawford New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

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And 2 glasses of Desierto 25/5 malbec, Argentina, 2007.


Dessert: A little homemade rhubarb sorbet, with the rhubarb from CSA Week #1. It was actually really good. I wanted more.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 119.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.0 lbs.


Rhubarb sorbet

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I got some rhubarb in CSA Week #1 so I set out to find some recipes other than strawberry rhubarb pie, because the last thing I need to do is eat a whole pie. I love the CSA because it challenges me with situations like, "What the heck am I going to do with rhubarb?"

Rhubarb sorbet sounded interesting and I had all of the ingredients and equipment, so I gave it a try, with a half recipe of this recipe, more or less. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, and am possibly slightly lactose intolerant, so this was a really good possibility.

10 oz. rhubarb
16 oz. water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

Cut the rhubarb into 1/2" wide slices.

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In a sauce pan, add 16 oz. water and the rhubarb. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes.

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The original recipe called for squishing the rhubarb through a sieve which is a ridiculously low-tech approach. I used my food mill with the fine screen.

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Remember the liquid is the part you want to keep. :-) There was a bowl under the food mill. Add the sugar and brown sugar and dissolve. The liquid was hot enough that I didn't need to put it back on the stove.

Add the lemon juice. I used the juice of a half of a slightly-old lemon. Chill. I put the bowl of liquid in a sink of cold water for 10 minutes.

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I also added a splash of vodka because I've heard it help prevent gelato and sorbet from freezing as hard in a regular freezer. And, well, everything is better with vodka, right?

While the liquid was chilling I started my ice cream maker chilling. It's a self-chilling model so it cools down quite quickly. Incidentally, my Musso Lussino 4080 is an impressive machine, but is the least used appliance in my kitchen. Lesson learned.

Though without it I wouldn't be making rhubarb sorbet, chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream or lemon gelato, so there is that.

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It really was delicious! I wanted to have more, but this is what I ate for dessert.

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Sautéed beet greens

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I received a small bunch of beet greens in CSA Week #1.

Remove any large stems from the beet greens, wash and dry.

Finely mince a clove of garlic.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.

Add olive to the pan then the garlic and cook briefly (less than a minute) making sure the garlic doesn't burn.

Add the beet greens and cook down for a few minutes.

Add crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

They were delicious - milder and more tender than kale or chard. And they do cook down significantly - this is the entire amount in the sauté pan above!

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CSA Week #1 (2012)

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And the new CSA season begins! I didn't get a CSA ("Community Supported Agriculture") share last year because I was in the midst of moving just as the growing season was starting, but this year I got one from Earth's Harvest Farms in Morris, New York.

I was surprised at how much I got for it being so early in the year.

Baby lettuce
Fresh oregano
Scallions
Lettuce
Rhubarb
Beet Greens
Radishes

With the beet greens I made sautéed beet greens (with garlic and crushed red pepper flakes).

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Part of the rhubarb I used to make rhubarb sorbet, which was really very delicious!

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I used the scallions to make Twice-cooked pork with scallions and noodles.

ate.2012.06.07.l.jpgAnd some delicious salad with the baby lettuce and radishes.

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Asian lettuce wraps.

ate.2012.06.10.l.jpgRed lentils with rhubarb and Indian spices. Yes, it's a savory rhubarb dish, and it's pretty good! It's also ridiculously healthy.

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Next Week: CSA Week #2



What I ate: June 5, 2012

Breakfast: Homemade blueberry muffin and bacon.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.

Lunch: Spicy vegetarian chili and jalapeño cornbread. Both previously frozen.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels and a Saranac Hefeweizen, unfiltered wheat ale.

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Dinner: Asparagus prosciutto pasta.

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And 2 glasses of Chateau Vieux Meyney Bordeaux.


Weight at beginning of the day: 118.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.0 lbs.

What I ate: June 4, 2012

Breakfast: Egg, toast and bacon.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix. And a Spicy V-8.
 

Lunch: Pork, broccoli and scallion stir-fry.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. pretzels and a Saranac Adirondack lager. Today was painting day for my guest bedroom/exercise room. This has actually been going on since last Thursday with emptying the room, repairing drywall, priming, and painting the ceiling, but painting the walls is certainly the biggest job. A beer was in order.

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Dinner: Coq au vin. This was delicious! The link is for a new recipe, basically Michael Ruhlman's "Weekday Coq au Vin" recipe, which actually is pretty simple.

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And 2 glasses of Chateau Vieux Meyney Bordeaux.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 118.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.2 lbs.


Coq au vin #2

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Coq au vin (chicken in wine) is one of those classic dishes that I don't make very often, because it's kind of labor intensive. I previously made it more or less using Alton Brown's recipe but this time I decided to give Michael Ruhlman's "Weekday Coq au vin" recipe from Ruhlman's Twenty a try. This version is quite a bit easier and still very delicious! And I highly recommend the book.

The recipe calls for 4 chicken legs. I'm making a half recipe (2 servings) with the legs from breaking down a 4.7 lb. whole chicken. I prefer to do it this way so I know exactly what I'm getting, and my grocery store sells natural (no antibiotic, no hormone, vegetable feed) whole chicken, but not parts.

I froze the breasts and wings and use the rest of the carcass for soup a few days ago. My two legs (drumstick and thigh) weighed 1 lb. 4.0 oz. with bone and skin.

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Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Since I was only making two legs I put the chicken, skin-side up, in a small roasting pan. I probably should have lightly oiled the pan because the chicken stuck to it.

And in the "I didn't expect that" department: When I broke down the chicken I vacuum sealed and refrigerated the legs. The vacuum sealing isn't strictly necessary but it's nice because it pretty much guarantees the chicken won't leak in my refrigerator. After a day or two in its vacuum sealed bag, pretty much all of the texture of the skin was gone and it became perfectly smooth. But the texture comes back after you finish cooking it. Weird!

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Roast for 20 minutes, remove from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Chicken still looks oddly smooth.

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The recipe calls for slab bacon lardons or raw bacon, but all I had was my frozen pre-cooked bacon, which worked fine. I probably should have added a little oil or bacon grease to compensate for the lack of fat, but it worked okay without it. I used 3 slices of cooked bacon, 1.8 oz.. I think the slab bacon lardons would have been better, however.

Finely dice 1/2 medium yellow onion. Mince 2 cloves of garlic.

I really like Ruhlman's technique for rendering the bacon and cooking the onion and garlic. Put the bacon, onion and garlic in a pot large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Add enough water to just cover and heat on high heat until the water evaporates.

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Lower the heat to medium-low (low on my stove) and cook until the onions begin to caramelize. This technique works really well and results in perfectly cooked onion and garlic without burning!

ate.2012.06.04.c4.jpgWhen done, add 1 1/2 tbsp. of all-purpose flour to the pan and cook for a minute or two.

While the water is boiling off, cut up 4 large white mushrooms (4.4 oz.). The recipe calls for quartering, but I cut them in half then into 4 slices because I don't like large mushroom pieces, though they do shrink so maybe quartering would be fine.

I should not have cut the carrot because it's just there for flavor and gets removed before serving. And I peeled 4 shallots. This is much less work than the pile of pearl onions in the other recipe!

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To the pot with the cooked bacon, onions and garlic, add:

Roasted chicken, skin side down
Mushrooms, carrot, shallots
2 bay leaves
8 oz. red wine
1 tbsp. honey
salt

Add water so the liquid covers 3/4 of the height of the chicken. Put in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

I used malbec because that's what I had open, but I think burgundy or pinot noir would be more traditional. This recipe uses significantly less wine than the other recipe, which calls for 1 3/4 liters! 

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Flip the chicken over so it's skin-side up and roast for 20 more minutes, uncovered. Looks good!

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Remove the bay leaves and carrot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Because I prepared this a day ahead and was going to freeze one of the servings I rapidly chilled the pot in a sink full of cold water. I then filled each vacuum bag with one chicken leg (about 8.8 oz. cooked weight, with bone, each), two shallots and 6 oz. of the liquid, mushrooms and bacon.

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The original recipe says it can be reheated from refrigerator temperature in the oven, 30 minutes at 325°F. Since it was already in a vacuum sealed bag I reheated in the sous vide, 45 minutes at 160°F.

Serve with 1.5 oz. egg noodles.

Before serving, crisp the skin of the chicken. This can be done on the grill or broiler. I cooked it for about 5 minutes under the broiler while the noodles were cooking.

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I plated by putting the drained noodles in a large bowl, added the chicken and and added the juice, mushroom and bacon mix. I possibly should have poured the juice everywhere but the chicken, because I ended up un-crisping the chicken pouring juice over the top of the chicken. It was still delicious, regardless.

Served with a little minced flat leaf parsley as garnish.

I tweeted the picture at the top of the page to @Ruhlman and he retweeted a nice response!

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What I ate: June 3, 2012

Breakfast: Bagel, lox and cream cheese. On a homemade whole wheat bagel with tomato and red onion. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. With three slices of bacon on one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. And Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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Snack: 4 Garden valley veggie Wheat Thins toasted crisps with Cabot extra sharp cheddar.

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And a half glass of Kim Crawford New Zealand sauvignon blanc. This is one of the first NZ SB that I ever had and I still love it! It tastes like grapefruit!

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Dinner: Iron Chef Chinese buffet with Mom and Dad.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 118.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.2 lbs.

What I ate: June 2, 2012

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito. Reheat of the filling from last Wednesday in a fresh tortilla.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Broke down a 4.7 lb. natural (antibiotic and steroid free, vegetarian feed) chicken. The legs are for making coq a vin; I vacuum sealed and froze the wings and breasts.

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The carcass, neck, gizzards, etc. all went into the stock pot with onion, celery and carrot to make a batch of chicken stock for homemade chicken soup. I added a little too much water and ended up making two packages of 16 oz. stock with 2.1 oz. chicken, plus one 9.4 oz. package of stock. I didn't really need the extra 9.4 oz. of stock.

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Cooked and froze 2 pounds of bacon.

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Lunch: Shrimp and onion stir-fry with spinach.

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Dinner: Japanese-style chicken curry.

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And 2 glasses of 90+ malbec. I've had the 90+ pinot noir, which is okay, but I really like the 90+ malbec.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 119.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 118.6 lbs.

What I ate: June 1, 2012

Breakfast: Waffle and bacon. With 0.5 oz. real Vermont maple syrup.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix.


Lunch: Hot dog and potato chips. A grilled Hebrew National hot dog (previously cooked and frozen) on a whole wheat hot dog bug with Dijon mustard and pickle relish. And Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips. And a Saranac Black Forest beer.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.

Dinner: Spaghetti and meatballs. With 2.0 oz. Barilla spaghetti and a slice of wheat Italian bread with olive oil.

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And 2 glasses of Dorgan Cellars cabernet sauvignon.


Weight at beginning of the day: 118.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 119.2 lbs.

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