Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pan fried Scallops with almost crispy Brussel sprouts, shallots, and cranberries


Last week, I visited a Turkish/Greek/Lebanese tapas restaurant in Washington DC called Zaytinya.  The food was fantastic!  My two favorite dishes were the crispy brussel sprouts and the scallops.  My memory of these dishes inspired this one. Sadly, my sprouts aren't nearly as good as theirs, but good nonetheless.

This recipe serves 1, multiply as needed.

4 1-2 inch diameter scallops (I used frozen from Trader Joe's)
1 lime
Salt
Pepper
Coconut oil
Two large hand-fulls of brussel sprouts sliced in half
1-2 Shallots sliced
1 small hand-full of dried cranberries

First, if you have frozen scallops, put them in cold water to thaw.  Slice your brussel sprouts and place them in a vegetable steamer and steam until soft, but still bright green.  While the brussel sprouts are steaming, preheat the oven to 450F, slice your shallots,  sauté them in some coconut oil, and place aside.  When the brussel sprouts are soft (about 10 min), remove them from the steamer and add to the sautéed.  Place them in a pan and into the oven.  Be sure to mix them around in the coconut oil you sautéed he shallots in.  Wait about 5 min so the brussel sprouts start roasting and then prepare the scallops.

To prepare the scallops, add coconut oil to a non-stick fry pan and melt at medium heat.  Dry the scallops with paper towels and add salt and pepper.  Fry on each side for 3 minutes.  By this time, the brussel sprouts should be getting brown. Take them out, plate them and put the scallops on the top.  Finish with the juice of 1 lime and the cranberries.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Coconut chlli lime shrimp and spicy bok choi


I've made this one about 5 times this week trying to get it right.  I'm still not happy with the crispiness of the srhimp, but it still tastes damn good. Sorry it's got so many directions....

You will need:

1 pound peeled deveined and uncooked shrimp. I used frozen.
3 limes
1 knob ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 fresh jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
6 baby bok choi (the trick is to find small ones, the big ones like those pictured don't taste as good)
1 bunch of green onions
Coconut oil

Thaw the shrimp and dry with paper towels.  Put in a bowl and marinate with the juice of 2 limes. Preheat the oven to 400F. While the shrimp is marinating, mince the ginger, garlic, and jalapeno pepper.  Slice the green onions into half inch cylinders.  Wash the bok choi and cut off the stems such that all the leaves separate.

Once finished with the prep, drain the lime juice from the shrimp and add the almond flour and shredded coconut with a spoonful of coconut oil.  Mix around and place in a shallow oven safe/broiler safe dish.

Put in the oven at 400F and immedately start the vegetables.  Put a spoonful of coconut oil along with the minced ginger, garlic, jalapeno pepper and red chili flakes in a frying pan or wok.  Heat on medium high for about 1-2 min, turn the heat down to medium and add the green onions followed by the bok choi. Cover and mix occasionally while watching the shrimp.

When the bok choi is done (~5 min) it will be soft and look like this:

At this point, turn on the broiler to make the shrimp crispy.  When they are done, they will look something like this:


Plate and enjoy:


Will serve 4 normal people or two crossfitters

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Watermelon zinger


Those of you who know me well, know that I'm not one to drink alcoholic beverages very often.  However, today I had a brilliant idea.

Take the Watermelon and Pear mingle mangle, and pop it in a blender.  Then add a shot of vodka to an 8 oz glass and top off with the blended fruit mix.

It is fabulous.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Spicy Watermelon and Pear mingle-mangle


Watermelon is sweet and juicy, Asian pears are cool and crispy, limes are magically acidic, and jalapeno peppers are frighteningly basic.  Mix them all together and you will generate a taste explosion.

You will need:
1 medium sized watermelon (basket ball sized)
4 limes
1 fresh Jalapeno pepper (use about 3/4 of the pepper)


Chop everything up.  With the Jalapeno pepper, slice in half on the long axis, remove the seeds and dice very small.  Best to wear gloves, but if you don't have any, wash you hands a few times alternating between vinegar and olive oil to neutralize and solubilize the capsaicin.  Add the juice of the limes and enjoy the explosion in your mouth.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Steak and Bluberries


 I learned an interesting way to cook steak the other day, so I invented a recipe to try it.

You will need:

2 rib-eye steaks
12 oz fresh (not frozen) blueberries
1/2 cup cranberry pomegranate juice (sugar free)
1 teaspoon of honey

To cook the steak - see the directions on the Modernist Cuisine blog.  I decided to use the blowtorch method, as it seemed a lot more fun.  I ordered the Blazer GT8000 Big Shot butane torch from Amazon.com.  To keep track of the steak temperature while cooking in the oven, I used the Oregon Scientific AW131.  Using the blow torch to sear the steak was indeed as fun as I thought.  If you try it, do make sure you do it in a well ventilated area.  My kitchen fan is a little weak, so I tripped the smoke alarm a few times - but no more than when I cook steak using any other method.

Here's what it looked like after finished cooking. Of course, you don't have to cook the steak this weay, but I have to say that the taste and texture of the steak was quite amazing using this technique as compared to other more conventional methods I've used before


While the steak is cooking in the oven, prepare the blueberry sauce.  In a small saucepan combine the blueberries with the cranberry pomegranate juice and honey.  Heat on medium until bubbling and then turn to low stirring occasionally until thickens a bit - about 30 min.  As it cools, it will thicken more.  Once the steaks are done, warm up the sauce a bit and then enjoy!



Saturday, May 4, 2013

Chocolate covered grilled chicken and roasted plums



Yay! I've got a day off, so I decided to cook.  Many years ago, I visited my brother while he was working at a fancy restaurant near Acadia National Park.  I didn't have the use of a car (not even sure I was licensed to drive a that time), so while my brother was working I had to fend for myself.  There were not many restaurants in the area he was living, but I did find a Mexican place near by.  Their menu was quite different than the stereotypical American Mexican restaurant serving tacos and burritos. I had "Chocolate Chicken" which was... strange tasting.  It was basically a roasted chicken breast covered in unsweetened coco powder.  Not so delicious.  However, the pairing of chicken and chocolate has intrigued me since then.  Here's my version, which I guarantee is exceptionally delicious.

You will need:
4 black plums
1 lime
olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 oz dark chocolate (I used 70% dark)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Bacon

First, cook your bacon however you like.  I use the oven: 20-25 min at 400F on a foil lined baking sheet.  Crumble a few pieces   Next slice the black plums in half and remove the pit.  Place cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the juice from 1/2 of the lime and some olive oil.  Place in the oven at 375F and roast for 15 min.  Flip the plums and roast for another 10 min.  They should look like this:


After the plums are done, prepare the chocolate.  Melt in the microwave in short 20-30s intervals.  When melted add a good pinch of cayenne pepper and the juice from the other half of the lime.  Then add spoonfulls of water while mixing until it has a smooth less viscous texture.  It should be the consistency of heavy cream.

After preparing the chocolate, grill your chicken breasts.  To plate, slice the roasted plums and place on top of the grilled chicken.  Then drizzle the chocolate over the chicken and plums finishing with some black pepper and the crumbled bacon.  Enjoy!



Sunday, March 31, 2013

Carnitas


I've made carnitas a number of times.  To be totally honest, I'm not exactly sure what authentic carnitas is supposed to taste like.  However, in my experiments I've found I like it to have a strong citrus bite with a hint of heat.  In addition, it should be exceptionally tender with a little charring.  Here's my perfected carnitas recipe.

You will need:



4-5 pound pork shoulder, with our without the bone
2 tablespoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of coriander
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons chili powder
7.5 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
5 cloves of garlic
1 cup of fresh salsa
5 limes
5 lemons
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Chopped cilantro and green onion for garnish

Take your pork shoulder and make several deep cuts into the meat. This will allow the citrus base to really get inside the meat.  Put the pork in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker.  If you have a bone in shoulder, cut the meat so it mostly covers the bottom of the slow cooker.  This way the added liquid will be able to completely cover it.  Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and chili powder, rubbing into the meat and getting the spices inside the deep cuts you just made. Dump in the entire can of chipotle peppers and adobo sauce and the fresh salsa.  Add the garlic cloves whole or just slightly smashed.  Juice the 5 limes and 5 lemons and add to the slow cooker with the cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar.  This should be enough liquid to cover the meat. Set the slow cooker to go for 10 hours on low heat.

After 10 hours in the slow cooker, carefully remove the meat shred in a bowl.  Spread on a foil lined baking sheet and add a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid.  Place under the broiler for 5-10 minutes until you get the desired amount of crispy charry goodness.
Before charring

After charring

Enjoy with sliced green onions and chopped cilantro.  


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mustard Salmon and Potato Chips!



You will need:

Lemons
Olive oil
Salmon Fillet
Mural of Flavour seasoning from Penzeys
Stone ground whole grain mustard
2.5 oz kettle cooked potato chips

First take your salmon and marinate it in the juice of one lemon and about 1/4 cup of olive oil.  I forgot to get lemons at the store today and am definitely too lazy to go back on a Friday evening, so I skipped this part. However, if you want the best flavour, don't skip this.

After marinating for 10 min or so, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a pan with parchment paper. Drain the marinade and place the salmon fillet on the parchment skin side down.  Sprinkle with the Mural of Flavour seasoning and then spread a thin layer of the mustard on the salmon.



Take 2.5 oz of the kettle cooked potato chips and crush them up. Put a few handfuls in a plastic bag and squish them. Sprinkle on top of the Salmon and put in the oven. Bake until the Salmon is done - about 20 min.

Before baking

After baking!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tandoori Steak, broccoli, and onions


I've been munching on frozen meals based on slow cooked chicken (recipes coming soon) for the past several days and didn't want it again for dinner. I had some steak in the freezer and some broccoli and onions in the fridge. Using these and a few other things in my kitchen I put this recipe together.

You will need:
20 oz Steak
Tandoori spice mixture
Crushed red pepper
Salt
Pepper
2 Onions
2 heads of broccoli
Roasted Tandoori spiced nuts

Defrosting the steak for a while (maybe 1 hour), I sliced it in to 1/4 inch thick strips and put them in a bowl with two tablespoons of the Tandoori spice mixture and some salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and some olive oil.


Then, while the Tandoori is helping the steak defrost a bit more, slice up the onions and broccoli.  Add several tablespoons of olive oil to your favorite nonstick frying pan and add the onions.  Stir fry on medium heat until they start to get a little soft. Add the broccoli and stir fry until the onions start to brown and the broccoli gets a little tender.  Take of the heat and transfer the onions and broccoli to a bowl.


Next, put a bit more oil in the pan and add your steak in a single layer.  Cook for a few min on one side and then flip the pieces and cook until just about done.


Finally, Add back the broccoli and onions and add a few handfuls of your spiced nuts.  It's done, eat up!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Pork tenderloin, apples, onions, and asparagus




You will need

1 pork tenderloin, sliced into 0.5 inch cubes
3 tablespoons of Chinese five spice powder
thumb sized knob of ginger
2 garlic cloves
A similar amount of cilantro stalks (probably 1/4 of a bunch)
Crushed red pepper to taste
2 diced yellow onions
2 apples
Juice of 2 lemons
1 bunch of asparagus sliced into 1" long peices (discard the woody parts near the root end)

First slice up the pork into 0.5 inch on a side cubes.  Place in a bowl and cover with the Chinese five spice powder.

Next slice mince the ginger, garlic, and cilantro stalks and slice up the onion, asparagus, and apples.  Put the apples in a separate bowl and douse with the lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.



Now that everything is prepped, put a frying pan or wok on at high heat with some olive oil.  When hot briefly brown the pork in two batches. Don't cook it all the way through, just brown the outside. When it's brown, remove from the pan.



After finishing with the pork, put some more oil in the pan and add the ginger, garlic, cilantro, and crushed red pepper on medium heat. Stir fry for a minute and the add the onions.  When the onions are soft (about 3 minutes) add the asparagus.  At this point, it can be useful to cover the pan to help steam the asparagus (about 3 minutes)



When the asparagus is tender, drain the lemon juice from the apples and add them to the pan along with the browned pork.  Cook stirring continuously until the apples are soft and the pork is cooked through (about 3 minutes).



Eat - maybe 3-4 servings.

You should roast your own nuts




Why you should roast your own nuts:
  1. taste
  2. less salt
  3. more interesting flavours 
  4. taste
  5. taste 
  6. taste
  7. less money needed for air freshnener (because they smell awesome for days)
  8. taste
  9. taste
  10. taste
I discovered roasting nuts while I was in Korea. Most nuts sold there are raw and not roasted. The ones that are roasted had so much salt, they were inedible.  It was a challenge to roast nuts there as I didn't have an oven - but you can use a frying pan on low heat and achieve the same effect - you just have to keep mixing them around so they don't burn. 

How to roast your nuts:
Buy some raw nuts. I recommend visiting nuts.com. I like to buy almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and pecans and mix them.

Line a sheet pan (approximately 18 inches x 13 inches) with parchment paper.

Spread the nuts out in the pan - a single layer is not necessary, but don't go too crazy. It's better to roast a small amount so next time you can try with a different spice mixture.

Put them in the oven at 350F for 30-35 min.

Test every 10 min or so to see if they have achieved your desired level of crunchieness.

Remove from the oven and add flavorings.

1. Vanilla extract - 2 tablespoons
2. Olive oil/butter - about 3-6 tablespoons. The nuts will absorb most of the oil and who cares if you use too much.
3. Add spices: go to penzeys.com and order some blends - I really like the Tandoori blend to put on the nuts. I use 3-4 tablespoons.

Smell,
Eat,
Be Happy.

If there are any left after they cool, store them at room temperature in a sealed container.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Orange peel beef

Beef + oranges = happy taste buds



You will need:
20 oz New York strip steak (about 2)
1 Cup Orange Juice
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
Almond flour
Coconut Oil
Thumb sized bit of fresh ginger minced
3 garlic cloves minced
Minced stalks from 1 bunch of cilantro
Dried red chilli pepper flakes
Peel from 2 oranges
1 bunch of green onions sliced in 1 inch chunks
sections from 4 clementines (or oranges, but clementines are easier)

To begin, put your steaks in the freezer for 20 min to make them easy to slice into thin strips.

After slicing, but them in a bowl and add the orange juice, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Let this mixture marinate at room temperature for about 1 hour.


While the meat is marinating, chop up the ginger, garlic, cilantro stalks and green onions; grate the orange peel with a microplane grater, and peel and separate the clementine sections.

After the meat has marinated for an hour, drain and discard the the liquid. Add about half a cup of almond flour. Add the almond flour until it looks like this:

To make sure that everything gets cooked well, it's best to cook in two batches. Get your wok (it had better be a nonstick one, or you will be in trouble in short order) out and put in a very generous spoonful of coconut oil.  Turn the heat on high (between 7-9 out of 10).  When the coconut oil melts, add half the orange peel, ginger, garlic, and cilantro stalks with a small or large pinch of the dried chili peppers depending on your preference. Swirl around in the pan for a minute or two, but don't let it burn.


Next, put in about half the beef. Put in a single layer on top of the mixture above so it will cook fast.


After it's been cooking for about a minute on one side, shake the pan and flip the steak over so the other side can cook.  At the same time, add half of the sliced green onions


Cook for another minute or two while continuing to keep the food in motion in the wok by stirring so everything gets hot. Next add half the clementine sections


Continue cooking another minute or two always keeping the food in motion in the pan with your spatula.

It's done! Repeat with the other half of the ingredients. Eat immediately - probably will serve 3-4 people

PS. I'm not so sure of the exact cooking times, you will just have to get a feel for it.  However, this one cooks quick!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Drinking this will give you a berry smooth snatch

Drinking chocolate protein powder mixed with water for post workout recovery is boring, and my snatch isn't getting any better, so I concocted this super smoothie which I guarantee will help you achieve a body weight snatch or better within this millennium.

handful fresh strawberries
handful frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 shot of flax seed oil
1 cup whole milk (skim milk is just dirty water, don't use it!)
2 scoops vanilla or plain protein powder


Pop this all in a blender and blend - go slow at first so it doesn't splatter.



Depending on what's available, you can switch which fruit is frozen, blueberries, strawberries, or the banana; but I recommend keeping the ratio of one frozen to two fresh to get the best consistency. This will easily store for 24 hours in the refrigerator if you use the recommended ratio of fresh to frozen fruit. It'll just require a quick shake. However, if you use too much frozen fruit, it will contain too much water which will result in separation upon storage and it won't be nearly as smooth and creamy; even after shaking to recombine.

For the protein powder, I like whey because it has a creamy consistency and least offensive taste and odor.  My favorite brand is Solgar Whey To Go, but I suppose you could use Progenex as well; I haven't tested it yet. 

Enjoy~