Archives for category: cooking

As many of my friends know, for some years now I have eliminated almost all grains from my life. Save for the occasional cheat, I do not eat wheat or any other grain. I try to avoid added sugar and anything processed. My diet consists of meat (especially grass fed beef and bacon), green vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach), and nuts (almonds). For treats I eat dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, and dates — but I am trying to reduce those.

The result of this way of eating is that your body ceases running primarily on sugar (which the body derives from carbohydrates like wheat) and instead runs on fats. It is important, therefore, to get enough healthy fats.

One way to do this is to eat a lot of grass fed butter. (Cows that are grass fed create food that is good for you and has a healthy balance of things like Omega 3 fats, etc.). David Asprey, who founded the Bulletproof Executive, has developed a great way to have a cup of morning coffee and get lots of the good stuff.

My trainer, Grant Hill, recently turned me on to Asprey’s “Bulletproof Coffee.” I am now a convert. A cup of this will charge up your morning and power you into lunchtime easy. It sounds insane, but it is quite tasty (like a latte) and way easy to make.

I could not find a good tutorial (i.e., one with step by step photos for the simpleminded like me) on how to make Bulletproof Coffee, so I thought I would post one here.

Enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 ml of GOOD coffee. Organic is best.
  • up to 80g of grass fed butter, unsalted. Kerrygold, at Trader Joe’s, is good. [UPDATE: Not salted, not grain fed.]
  • 1TB give or take of coconut oil (optional).

First, brew the coffee.

The kettle's on

The kettle’s on

Melitta is still the best way to get awesome coffee

Melitta is still the best way to get awesome coffee

Pour the brewed coffee into a blender.

Then get your butter and coconut oil ready:

Kerrygold unsalted butter, use about 2TBs. Coconut oil not pictured.

Kerrygold unsalted butter, use about 2TBs. Coconut oil not pictured.

Toss it all into the blender with the coffee.

Now . . . blend for about 20 seconds:

Blend for 20 seconds, until frothy.

Blend for 20 seconds, until frothy.

It will look like this when at rest:

The froth.

The froth.

Enjoy!

Yum! Tastes like a latte. Add stevia for sweetness if desired.

Yum! Tastes like a latte. Add stevia for sweetness if desired.

Let me know if you try it.

It is a family tradition in our house to eat black eyed peas. On New Year’s Day. It is said to bring luck. As someone who says “rabbit rabbit” religiously every first-of-the-month, who am I to resist?

In the past, I have included black eyed peas in soup for New Year’s Day. But lately, I have been making Hopping John. This Year’s version was quite tasty, so I thought I would share.

Hoppin’ John

It helps to start with some leftover ham.

First, clean and soak 1 pound (a bag) of black eyed peas overnight. Use between six and eight cups of water. Use a big pot (like 8 quarts or more), one that can take heat over the stove.

Yes, that's our jar of bacon fat in the middle

In the morning, chop up an onion, three celery stalks, and a whole green pepper. Sauté them in bacon fat (you have some in the fridge, right?) or butter. Get them soft but not caramelized. Then throw in about a half pound of diced ham, stirring to get it warmed through.

Put the onion, pepper, celery and ham in the pot with the beans and their water. To this, add: four cups chicken stock, a tablespoon of salt,a teaspoon of pepper, and a few shakes of Tabasco. The whole thing will be the consistency of a thick soup.

Bring the whole mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes until the beans are tender.

A this point, it will have a consistency of something between soup and stew.

Add two cups of rice, and bring it all to a boil again. Then reduce heat, cover, and cook the rice for 25 minutes.

Now, remove the cover and keep the heat on until whatever moisture is left evaporates so it is a slightly creamy consistency (like a thick risotto).

Hoppin' John

Add Tabasco to taste and enjoy!

When we have a few people coming over, and something casual on the agenda, I often get a request from the family for me to make a batch of enchiladas. They feed a lot, are tasty, and look like they are harder to make than they are.

Here’s my recipe.

What you need:

  • Chicken (boneless skinless thighs)
  • Enchilada sauce (at least four cans)
  • Shredded Mexican cheese mix (at least two 16 ounce packages)
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Chili Powder
  • Whole Peppercorns

First, you’ll need to cook up some chicken. It is best if you don’t use chicken breast, which will dry out because of all the cooking you will need to do. Instead, go for boneless, skinless thighs. They won’t dry out. I start out by making a court bouillon to cook my chicken:

  • Start with a pot of cold water.
  • Add a quartered onion, a few sliced celery stalks, a handful of whole peppercorns, and a bunch of chili powder.
  • Add the chicken thighs and make sure the water barely covers the whole thing (you may need to add water).
  • Put the pot on the burner on high until it starts to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Making Court Bouillon

Turn off the heat, and remove the chicken pieces. Now you will need to cut it all up into bits. This is a fun part!

Before

After

Meanwhile, while the chicken was cooking, it’s best to get everything else ready:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Mix shredded Mexican cheese with enchilada sauce.
  • Prepare baking dishes by spraying with Pam and pouring enchilada sauce to cover bottom.
  • Warm up at least 10 flour tortillas (microwave a package for 1 minute).
  • Put the cut-up chicken into a bowl.

At The Ready

Now you are ready to build your enchiladas! It’s easy, and really messy:

  • Open at least four cans of enchilada sauce.
  • Get a big plate, pour enchilada sauce to cover the bottom.
  • Take one tortilla and put it in the plate.
  • Flip it so both sides are covered with sauce.
  • Put a little line of chicken and the cheese/sauce mixture across the diameter of the tortilla.
  • Roll it up and put it in one of the baking dishes.
  • When dish is full, cover with more enchilada sauce and cheese.

As you run out of sauce and cheese, add it to keep your supplies topped off.

Now, cook the enchiladas at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. You want the cheese to be bubbly all through, so make sure you give it enough time.

Enjoy! Whatever you don’t eat is awesome the next day or the next.

Nom Nom Nom

Farfalle With Chicken In Dijon Cream Sauce

Farfalle With Chicken In Dijon Cream Sauce

Here’s a dish that sounds like it might be complicated but is really, really easy to make. Lots of times I will want to make a cream sauce for pasta, but I get sort of tired of the usual. This has a slight tang to it and it’s tasty.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1lb Farfalle pasta (or penne)
  • 1 Onion
  • 1.5lb boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 3/4c Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3T Butter
  • 1T Dijon mustard
  • 3T Rice Vinegar (or white wine)
  • 1.4c grated Parmesan cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

If you use your time wisely while the pasta water is coming to a boil, you can get it all done pretty quickly. The trick is to get ready while the water is boilng, and then do everything at once. Here’s how to make it.

Get ready:

  1. Start the salted pasta water boiling
  2. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, each about the size of a small walnut. Season aggressively with salt and pepper
  3. Dice onion (use this onion slicing method)
  4. When the pasta water is at a rolling boil, heat a saucepan over medium high heat. When it is hot, add olive oil to coat the bottom, and let the oil heat until it shimmers. Toss in about 2TB of butter and let it melt.

Up to this point you can take it easy. But now that the oil is ready, it’s go time! Tell everyone you’ll be eating in about 15 minutes.

Go:

  1. Add the chicken pieces to the hot saucepan. There’s a trick to this! Use tongs to place them one at a time, quickly, so that they are covering the bottom of the saucepan. They should be sizzling. Start the timer so you know how long the chicken is cooking.
  2. Add pasta to the pasta water
  3. Let the chicken pieces sit. DO NOT check them! After four minutes, try turning one over with tongs. If it turns easy and is browned on one side, then you can turn the rest. If not, wait one more minute and turn them all. Do this quickly so they are all pretty much turned at the same time.
  4. Meanwhile, be mindful of the pasta water! When it’s boiling, start a timer for 11 minutes. (This will prbably be about halfway through the chicken part, but it depends on various factors.)
  5. Let the chicken cook for one minute on the second side. Remove them and set them aside in a bowl.
  6. Drain the saucepan of oil and turn the heat to medium
  7. Add 1TB of butter and the onions. Salt the onions so they will break down. Let them soften for 2 minutes. Add the 1T of Dijon mustard and mix it around for 1 minute.
  8. Deglaze the pan with the rice vinegar or white wine. Just a little bit! Scrape up all the bits and let the liquid boil a bit.
  9. Pour in the heavy whipping cream and let it come to a boil so it starts to reduce. (Stir it!) Add in a handful of Parmesan cheese, and lots of pepper.
  10. Once it has reduced, lower heat to low and add the chicken (and whatever juices have drained into the bowl). Let it warm for one minute.
  11. Drain pasta, pour into saucepan, and then turn that out into a large pasta bowl for serving.
  12. Mix the pasta a bit so it is covered with the sauce (but don’t bury the chicken pieces, which should stay at the top when you flip the saucepan). Top with pepper and Paremsan cheese.

Enjoy! This is tasty with some Italian country bread.

It’s Saturday morning, 8:30. You’ve gone out to get the car washed and your hair cut. But it’s still too early to mow the lawn. And the family is waking up hungry. What do you do? Pancakes, that’s what!

Believe me, this takes about as much time as making toast, and is a lot more fun. Plus, you get the satisfaction of thinking to yourself, “Who needs pancake mix?” and you can tell everyone at work on Monday that you made pancakes from scratch.

“Who Needs Pancake Mix?” Pancakes

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 C Flour
  • 2 T Sugar
  • 1 T Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ t Salt
  • 2 C Milk + a little
  • 4 T Butter, melted in the microwave
All set up!

All set up!

Heat a nonstick griddle over medium-high heat.

Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) until they’re a uniform powder. Then pour in the melted butter, milk and crack the eggs into the mixture. Stir it all together so the yolks make the batter a bit yellowish. Stir until it’s just mixed but still a little lumpy. It should seem a bit thin – if it’s too thick add a few more splashes of milk.

Test to see if the griddle is hot enough by flicking some water onto it – the drops should sizzle and dance if it’s ready. It CAN get too hot, though, so check it after not too long.

Ready to flip

Ready to flip

Use a quarter-cup measuring cup or a ladle to pour the pancakes out onto the griddle. When bubbles begin to form around their edges, they are ready to flip.

After you flip them, they will puff up a little. Wait a moment, then press them down with the spatula (they’re tastier if they are thinner). If you want, cut a piece of butter to put on top of each one while the second side is cooking, so it melts down into it.

If you are cooking for a large group, you can have the oven on “warm” with a plate in it – keep the finished pancakes there while you make griddleful after griddleful. Serve in stacks with syrup and watch your family enjoy their morning.

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

You can double the recipe and save it in the fridge overnight for Sunday morning pancakes too. It tastes even better after sitting a while.