Archive for the ‘Coffee Pot Cooking’ Category

Coffeepot Meatloaf!

June 7, 2012

Turkey Meatloaf and Coleslaw

I love meatloaf. It is one of the all-time great comfort food and every family makes it good and every institutions gets it wrong. I made meatloaf, my wife made meatloaf, my mother-in-law made meatloaf and my mother made meatloaf. It was all different and all good. When I was still eating a lot of beef and pork, I kept ground pork and ground beef around because the mixture makes a pleasant meatloaf. I tried making meatloaf in my coffeepot several times and was not satisfied with the results. It was either messy, stuck to the mold or just didn’t work out correctly. It seems you are never too old to learn from your children and this meal was made possible by learning from both my son and my daughter.

While visiting my son, He and my Granddaughter were making cupcakes and I was just amazed to see how well Silicon Cupcake molds worked. You use them as standalone molds on top of a cookie pan and the cupcakes cook and nothing sticks to the mold. I just knew that they would be perfect for coffeepot meatloaf and I got some. After cooking each mold holds a 4 ounce piece of meat loaf so this meal is for two portions. I must admit I ate two of them for dinner because it came out so well and snacked on the third. Oh well!

None of my previous recipes came out particularly well as they are all too moist and there is no way to cook off the extra moisture in a coffeepot. For this success, I turned to my daughter who is an excellent cook and for more traditional cooking methods, you might want to visit Dinner By Dagny. The key to my success was her recipe for turkey burgers which I adapted into turkey meatloaf. She is a big fan of ground turkey and there are two secretes to her success. First, purchase quality ground turkey not the cheapest house brand and also start with a good recipe.

Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients:

Meatloaf:

1/2 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 T crushed garlic
1 handful of fresh Herbs (I used basil and parsley and minced the blend))
1/2 tsp Adobo or other seasoned salt
1/2 tsp cracked pepper (I put peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and cracked them)
1 Tomato diced
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I grated the amount off a piece of frozen whole wheat bread)

4 oz tomato sauce to cover the meat. (I used leftover sauce)

Method:

Add all the ingredients to a bowl except the sauce.

1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl except the sauce.

Mix all the ingredients together and stuff the cupcake molds.

2. Mix all the ingredients together and stuff the cupcake molds.

Place carefully in the coffeepot and cover with sauce.

3. Place carefully in the coffeepot and cover with sauce.

Cook covered with foil for over 4-8 hours.

4. Cook covered with foil for over 4-8 hours.

5. Take out of the molds and serve.

This was excellent meatloaf and a double success. The turkey meatloaf was excellent and the molds did their job.

Thank You Andy and Dagny!

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Indescribably Delicious Chicken Stew!

May 30, 2012

Indescribably Delicious Chicken Stew

When my brother, Walt and sister-in-law, Marge, come to visit, almost anything can happen in my kitchen. The pantry may be rearranged so it takes me six months of using up hurricane supplies to find everything again or all my cabinets are rearranged and glasses put directly above the sink even though I never use glasses and drink the water from a bottle and coffee and tea from my mug. The reason of course is that “everybody does it their way” and this would make it easier for guests. Now the only frequent visitors are my daughter’s family and their daughter (my niece) and the last time everyone came, they complained they couldn’t find anything because it had all been moved.

Oh well, none of this is important and worth worrying about so I just ignore it. Besides, sometimes I even learn something new. Like Marge does, I usually buy chicken thighs on sale and skin and bone them myself and the same with chicken breasts. Marge likes to cook and Walter prefers food cooked exactly her way with exactly the ingredients they use at home. This means at the end of a visit I end up with weird stuff I never use full of sugar and artificial flavors and colors which end up getting dumped. Every now and then a good idea sneaks up on me by surprise.

One year, after they were gone, I pulled some frosted over chicken parts out of the freezer for my next days dinner and when I started preparing my evening meal, I found a bag full of skin and bones with almost no meat. Naturally, I avoided confrontation and called my niece to find out what the heck I was looking at and it seems she knew the answer and this time it was logical. This was how her mom stored all the chicken parts from deboned chicken thighs and breasts and also the carcase from a roasted chicken after it was finished carving. She uses it as a base for chicken soup.

I liked the idea but decided to carry it to the next level. Since many recipes that call for a quarter teaspoon of a pinch of some spice are difficult to scale down, I hold the sauce constant and cut back on the meat and vegetables to four to six ounces of meat instead of a pound. Some times I will use the sauce and turn a vegan meal into a chicken meal, other times I will just save the sauce and add it to the skin and bones container and freeze it.

If the sauce is really good, it is likely to be rebuilt into a second meal. If I don’t think it was perfect, I will add it to the container of skin and bones and freeze it. The container could be quite eclectic with Pot Liquor from Collard greens and smoked turkey, sauce leftover from vegan or chicken curry, standard giblet gravy or pan drippings from a roast turkey or chicken. Everything vegan, chicken or turkey goes into the container. I don’t include any vegetables as the get mushy – just the sauce gets added to the container.

I don’t worry too much about the mixture of flavors. I also add the liquid from canned beans when the liquid is not added to the recipe. It seems that our local stores pack 5 pieces of chicken to a tray in the meat counter. Recently as I tightened up on my portion control, I add the odd pieces of chicken to the pot as I know I only need two small legs or thighs and cooking that extra piece in a pack serves no useful purpose as leftovers but does help build the pot of soup.

Pretty much the stew featured above was made from various sauces, skin and bones with one thigh and one leg. After defrosting and cooking for a couple of hours I removed the skin and bones and discarded them leaving just the thigh and leg. I added a handful of parsley and celery from my garden and a can of garbanzos with the liquid and a half cup of barley and let it cook a couple more hours. Next, I added the potato and carrot and 12 ounces of water as the barley had adsorbed all of the stock and it needed to be thinned out to cook the carrots and potato.

Sometimes, I add dumplings and leave out the potato. If I have leftover peas or corn, it gets added to the pot. Depending on my mood and what I have, I could also substitute brown rice for barley.

There can be no  recipe for this chicken stew because;

Indescribably Delicious Chicken Stew is a lifestyle.

 

Fish is Brain Food – Fact or Fiction??

May 19, 2012


Salt Fish Marinara (Baccala alla Marinara)

My mother always said fish was brain food and ate a lot of fish. She snacked on sardines and tuna and loved any fish we caught and cooked it for herself if no one else wanted fish. She died at the age of 93 with her brain still functioning and her wit and wisdom intact. I eat a lot of Fish because I like it.

When I first started my lifestyle change, I went to a nutritionist who also supported the consumption of large amounts of fish and the use of a fish oil supplement for improved cardiovascular health and this was definitely not a problem for me. Now that I have been living my new life style for two and a half years I am satisfied with my weight and excercise program so I have started to focus on what I eat. Unfortunately, fish has a tendency to concentrate the highly toxic environmental pollutant methyl mercury. Methyl Mercury is so toxic that a few drops on the outside of a scientist’s protective rubber glove which was cleaned and disposed of instantly still caused death within five days by skin adsorption.

Around 2000, the FDA and EPA put out a joint advisory that women who wanted to get pregnant, were pregnant or lactating should stop eating fish. Many did and the results proved my mom knew what she was talking about. Seems that scientist found a benifit for children of women who ignored the warning and continued to consume ocean fish. Their children had advanced cognitive and motor skill development compared to the children of women who skipped fish in the diet. Moreover, resent research reports from the University of California at Berkley document that eating fish can play a positive role in mental health. Some interesting preliminary studies suggest that fish oil, usually in the form of supplements because they are easy to use in research, may be of some help in treating bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) and schizophrenia.

I never stopped eating fish as the probability of me being pregnant or lactating is remote and at least two (anchovies and tilapia) of the four fish that I regularly eat are low in mercury. I am not too worried about the high mercury level in ahi tuna as I can’t afford to eat it very often. The other fish I love has been worshiped in a bawdy calypso song by the Mighty Sparrow.

Saltfish,
Nothing in the world sweeter than
Saltfish
English, colloquial, Bajans
Saltfish,
It’s sweeter than meat
When you want to eat
All saltfish sweet

If you look up the health benefits of saltfish, people who are not familiar with cooking or eating this fish condemn it for it’s high salt content. If you check Mediterranean or Caribbean Recipes, you find the salt is extracted from the meat over 24 hours with multiple water washes and you sometimes have to add flavor to the pot because all the salt has been removed.

The meal pictured above was actually closer to my Perfect Puttanesca because after washing the saltfish, it had very little flavor. You don’t lose the protein or oil by soaking the fish just the salt. Since I was just starting the meal, I used the following ingredients to build more flavor.

Ingredients:

Tablespoon extra virgin Olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 large yellow onion -diced
Thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper or crushed red pepper to taste
3-4 thin pieces of anchovies the size you get on pizza -diced
1 sprig basil with leaves
1 fresh bay leaf
T capers
Can of diced tomatoes.
4 to 6 ounces of well washed saltfish

Method:

1. The oil, garlic, onion, anchovies pepper, bay and basil are placed together in the coffee pot and and sautéed for about two hours
2. The capers are added to the pot along with the can of tomatoes. Stir and let cook 2-4 hours
3. About 1 hour before dinner, add the saltfish.
Serve with Pasta

A final thought is that all saltfish is not created equal. The three main variety of fish are Ling, Cod and Alaskan Pollock. Ling and Cod have high mercury levels so Alaskan Pollock is the preferred choice. Even at that, the recommended amount of Ling and Cod is no more than 12 ounces of fish per week I eat 4 to 6 ounces of saltfish about once a month so I guess it really wouldn’t matter which one I chose. Given that they are all available and all about the same price, I guess I’ll stick with Alaskan Pollock.

Vegan Black Beans and Tomatoes with Brown Rice

May 9, 2012

Vegan Black Beans and Tomatoes with Brown Rice

I simply like black beans and complex flavors and this meal just popped into my head. I have eaten similar meals with barley made with chicken stock but this time I had a cup of cooked brown rice made with no flavoring or salt so it could easily be accompanied by strong flavors. Since it was a vegan start and I hadn’t defrosted any meat, I decided to stick with the genera.

The starting point was the red beans and brown rice which I had done a while back. In that recipe, I had started with uncooked rice and used vegetable broth instead of water and cooked it all day. I also used less spices. This time I only had about 5 hours which is enough for canned beans and cooked rice. Well the meal was full flavored and complex, I loved it but only ate about half of the cooked beans and tomatoes. The rice was 200 calories and the rest of the pot was less than 800 so I only had about 600 calories and was very comfortable. Even if I had eaten all, it would have ended up at less than a 1000 calories for dinner.

Vegan Black Beans and Tomatoes with Brown Rice

Ingredients:

1-2 T of olive oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 T minced garlic
1 T thin sliced ginger
1 medium onion rough cut
1 thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1 package Sazon (optional)

1 can Black Beans
1 can diced Tomatoes

1 cup cooked brown rice or barley

Method:

1. Put all ingredients in the coffeepot and cook covered with a piece of foil for about 2 hours.

2. Add the Beans and tomatoes and all of the liquid to the pot.

3. Stir and let cook for another 2 hours.

4. Microwave cooked rice for 3 minutes.

5. Serve and Enjoy!!!

The most amazing epiphany I had with this meal is that 600 calories would really satisfy me. When I started my lifestyle change, I used to consume as much as 5000 to 6000 calories a day. including food and beverages and couldn’t concieve of a meal without meat.

Without thinking about it yesterday, I ate 1/2 coconut which has 700 calories, small amounts of celery probably less than 100 calories including dip, dinner 600 calories and wine 1000 calories or 2400 calories. I also walked 3 miles and worked in my yard for a few hours. Pretty much, I act like this everyday and I have lost all the weight I recently gained on vacations (about 10 pounds). I am now at 172 pounds with a 37 inch waste. That is down from 265 pounds with a 56 inch waist at my peak and 245 pounds with a 47 inch waist at the the start of my commitment to a lifestyle change.

Imagine that meatless days by choice and no perceived sacrifice. Amazing!!!

I Finished My Book!!!

April 30, 2012

I finally finished my most recent project and it is available for distribution. My Book, “An Introduction to Coffeepot Cooking: How I Lost 101 pounds with Portioned Controlled Meals”, is now available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book.

The focus is not on the food I ate, but the commitment that I made to my family to lose weight so I would avoid another premature death in the family. I would like to say that the entire process was driven by their love alone, but secondary influences included a stroke and a disc replacement surgery both caused by my being too fat for too many years. At $2.99 this little book will hopefully be a guide to others who are obese and need to shed a few pounds. It took me 65 years to recognize that there are no secrete diets, magic pills or special foods that will make you lose weight and become healthy.

My Ebook for Kindle

In writing this book, I came to understand that there were only three changes in my life that led to the loss of 101 pounds in a fairly painless manner spread over 2 years. Here’s the secrets if you want to call it that:

  1. Eat less all day and for dinner.
  2. Drink fewer calories whether it’s beer, wine, liquor, juice, soda or smoothies.
  3. Exercise more, at least 20 minutes every day and an hour or more a few times a week. (the hour can include heavy yard work or work on your home.

Now that you know the secrets, I hope you still buy the book whether for yourself or a friend. I started this process while morbidly obese and out of shape and have encouraged others who were even fatter than me and in worse shape. Fortunately, I had daily encouragement from my family and weekly assessments with positive and sometimes critical reminders of the need. I also looked positively on the help I received from my Creator who reminded me with my minor stroke and the need for a disc replacement that I had to take care of my body and the gift of life if I wanted to keep enjoying myself for as long as possible.

For those who don’t have a Kindle reader, you can get a free one for your PC, laptop, tablet or iPad. computers and still buy the book. I will post follow-ups as the book becomes available for other electronic media and in print

Pollo en Escabeche – A Zesty Chicken Dinner

April 23, 2012

Pollo en Escabeche - A Zesty Chicken Dinner

In my last post on Pollo en Escabeche, I mentioned a Goya recipe that looked attractive and for the most part, I followed their recipe with only a few minor changes. What attracted my attention was that their meal was definitely served as a dinner and not just an appetizer. Well I just had to give it a try to see how their presentation compared to mine.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, skinned and deboned.
1 packets Sazón GOYA con Azafrán
1/2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
2 carrots, coined
2 T crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 bay leaves
½ tsp thyme
3 whole cloves
1 thin slice scotch bonnet pepper
1 T Spanish olives
1 oz dark rum
2 oz Lime or Lemon Juice
2 oz Balsamic Vinegar

Method:

  1. Wash chicken with lime and sprinkle evenly with Sazón.
  2. Add oil to the coffeepot and add all ingredients except rum, vinegar and chicken.
  3. Cook about 1 hour until onions are glazed add rum and chicken. Cook covered until done. Minimum of 2 hours but can be up to 8 hrs.
  4. Add vinegar, stir and serve.
  5. I served the chicken hot with brown rice and used the oil blend as gravy for the rice.

Actually, I think I like this better than the appetizer Pollo en Escabeche that I previously published. Even though it used the same ingredients, it just looks more like a dinner.

Colorful Hash

April 20, 2012

Colorful Hash

I have been visiting over at Audrey Can Cook since January of this yer when she caught my attention with a recipe for blintzes. For those who don’t know, these crapes, when used as a dessert, are stuffed with a sweetened cheese filling. Now I am not big on desserts, but her focus is on small portions whether it’s a meal or a dessert so I keep going back.

In March, she had a very simple recipe for Hash and the only substitution I made was to use a yam instead of a white Irish Potato. Seems I didn’t have any potatoes on hand and didn’t feel like making a special trip to the store so I used ½ of a medium sized yam which is still larger than a normal potato. While this may not be traditional, the hash turned out excellent.

Ingredients:
1/2 Yam, cooked and cubed
1 carrot, coined
1T olive oil
1 piece Italian sausage remove meat from the casings
1 small onion, rough cut
1 bell pepper (red), diced
1 T garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Method:
1. Pre-Cook Carrots and Yam. (Put coined carrots and cubed yam in coffeepot with tsp salt. Run water through coffeemaker to heat up and let drip on yam and carrots. When done dripping, cover with foil and cook for about one hour. Drain and remove from pot and hold for later.
2. Cook meat, onions and garlic in 1T of olive oil about 1 hour
3. Add peppers to the pot and cook covered for one hour
4. Add cooked carrots and yams to the pot, cook covered for 2 more hours.
5. mix well and season to taste

As the picture shows, this was a colorful combination and the next time I cook it, I will stick with the yam. The other advice I would give for this simple flavorful meal, is to make sure you get the best sausage you can find. A lot of the flavor comes from the spices in the sausage and the fat gets adsorbed by the vegetables. So good sausage will give you a good hash.

Any Thoughts on Bok Choy or Pok Choi

April 3, 2012

Bok Choy and Smoked Turkey

My friend Chino from St. Croix had a standard answer when asked about anything substandard. If you asked about a questionable person, his answer would always be He or She “is alright.” If you asked about a poorly cooked or tasteless meal, his answer would be, “It’s alright”. He was a positive person who had programmed all negative responses out of his system. If he couldn’t say anything good, he would always say, “It’s alright”.

Now what brought this story to mind is my love-hate relationship with Bok Choy or Pok Choi. I love having this vegetable growing in the garden because it loves my soil and grows healthy and disease free without any special attention. A very special addition is that when I put a plant among my tomato plants and arugula plants, I can tell by looking from my gallery which is 100 feet away if my garden needs water. If the bok choy is wilted, everything needs water but is not quite as visible.

My only wish is that I could cook it so I could safely eat it. Most web recipes call for fish sauce, oyster sauce or soy sauce and when you stir fry it with any of them, the stuff tastes great and one little helping gives you all the salt you need for the whole day even if you don’t add salt to anything else.

I tried my collard green recipe using  Bok Choy (pictured above) instead of collard greens and ate it. All I can really say is, “It’s alright!”

If anybody has any suggestions for a tasty meal that is low in sodium, feel free to share them. And I don’t consider low salt soy sauce a substitute, because it still has a lot of salt and most cooks just add more.

The one thing I keep in mind is that about 80% of the world population considers this a staple so I am sure someone knows how to cook it without too much salt.

Egg Muffin or Egg Souffle – Coffeepot Style

March 31, 2012

Egg Muffin or Egg Souffle, The Top One has Salsa

Over the past few months, I have stumbled on some very good cooks who are actively blogging their secrets. It seems about a year ago, the bloggers I was following grew tired and posted fewer recipes to stimulate my creative juices and so I also dropped out. Since I reached my weight goals, I have started to get sloppy with my cooking and eating habits and lack the discipline of cooking smaller portions in my coffeepot. I find that once you have the grill heated up, it’s just as easy to BBQ a whole rack of ribs as it is to prepare only two that you really need for dinner. Besides leftover ribs are a treat.

So now that I have been officially bad for a few months, I am glad that there are new creative cooks to provide me with the stimulation I need to cook portion controlled meals even if I have to translate from metric to English measures and don’t always make the exact meal. Over at Daily Dose of Fresh, the author presented Egg Muffins for Breakfast and makes suggestions for doing it your way with the ingredients you have or like.

Now that was too much of a challenge to pass up so of course I used Adobo as the seasoning and covered the muffin with salsa for a little Caribbean Flair. For additional flavor there was the arugula, onion and sharp cheddar cheese. I might have called these fluffy light muffins a souffle but with either name, they were delicious. The only secret to cooking them in the coffeepot is to use those silicone cupcake holders filled within a ¼ inch of the top and to put a little water in the bottom of the pot to steam the muffins quicker.

Oh yeah, I made them for a light dinner as I am trying to regain portion controlled meals and dump the unhealthy snacking. At 178 pounds, I am about six pounds heavier than I want to be but still down 87 pounds from my high.

Egg Muffin or Egg Souffle – Coffeepot Style

Ingredients – 4 Muffins:

1 small onion minced

hand full of chopped arugula

½ tsp Adobo

¼ tsp of freshly ground black pepper

3 oz Sharp Cheddar cheese shredded

2 oz water

Serve with Salsa

Method:

  1. Pull arugula or spinach from stems and shred or cut into small pieces. Place in bowl.
  2. Mince the onions and add to bowl.
  3. Shred the cheese into the bowl.
  4. Toss with a fork until uniform.
  5. Add eggs to the bowl, break yoke and mix into the cheese and vegetables.
  6. Fill 3 silicone cups with mixture about ¼ inch from top.
  7. Put 2 oz of water into coffeepot (this will increase heat transfer and prevent any spillage from sticking to the bottom
  8. Carefully place silicone cups with egg mixture into coffeepot.
  9. Cook for 1 hour.
  10. Separate muffins from walls of silicone cup with a fork. Turn over and remove silicone cup.
  11. Serve with salsa.

Unlike all those fallen souffle jokes on television, mine were fluffy and light but never really rose to overflow the cup.

Spicy Fish and Garbanzo Beans

March 24, 2012

Spicy Fish and Garbanzo Beans

The major problem I have in cooking for one person is scaling recipes, especially those using unfamiliar spices or those that call for a pinch of something. I have both problems scaling Indian Foods which are new to me yet are well worth my interest when it comes to flavor. I have been inspired by Monica at the Spice Diary and have been a student of hers for almost two years. Some of the things I have noticed about her recipes are: Indian spices are unique and it is difficult to make substitutes; because of this, don’t even try a recipe unless you have all the ingredients; and don’t second guess the amount Monica uses until you are totally comfortable with the genera.

Initially, I decided to make her recipes using the recommended amounts for the spice blends (masala), marinades and sauces and just reduce the amount of meat and potatoes. Even though I hate to waste anything, I figured if I were to never use the spices again, making too much sauce was really not much of a waste. Eventually, I figured out that I was a real fan of Monica’s cooking and beginning to be a fan of her style of Indian cooking, but still, I was not familiar enough with the spices she used to know where I could scale back. I didn’t want to cook a pound of Chicken for three meals instead of 5 ounces of meat so there was always sauce left over.

Eventually the same solution evolved for all of the Italian, Caribbean and Indian Meals I make and that is rebuilding the sauce into an entirely different meal. Over the next few posts, I will present an example of each type of meal being rebuilt into something entirely different without voiding the concept of portion control or being tempted by leftovers.

The Spicy Fish and Garbanzo Beans is a remake of Monica’s Spicy Chicken Previously Published on February 27. Now I know that that meal was prepared about February 10th because of the flowers with this meal pictured above. I had purchased a dozen carnations on February 13, and gave away half to women I knew in semi random acts of kindness. A couple of nights before, I had a grilled fish and ate half. If you check the Spicy Chicken Recipe closely, you will find about 12 ounces of seasoning and sauce for the two small thighs I ate.

Recipe (if you want to call it that):

I saved the sauce left over from Monica’s Spicy Chicken. I added the deboaned half of the fish to the sauce. I cooked a half cup of garbanzo beans (1 drained can) and added that to the fish and the sauce. Warm in the coffeepot for two hours, serve with flowers and enjoy.

The next day was Valentines and I gave away half of the flowers I had left  to friends at the Palms Resort and kept the rest.

Take note, the bottle to the left of the wine glass is local West Indian Hot Sauce. Talk about cross cultural confusion? Even though I added hot pepper to the original recipe, I wanted just a little more heat with this meal.