Archive for the ‘Diet’ Category

Back Again!

September 5, 2015

Well it is sort of official. I am 3 pounds more than when I had my stroke six years ago. Yes, I am still fifty-five pounds lighter than I was at my peak but I once again am officially obese. I live alone with a four burner gas stove and a 36 inch oven. It is far easier to cook three meals at a time than to cook one small meal. Unfortunately, since I lack will power, three meals of 2000 calories only last a day and 1/2. Even worse, when I get into manual labor, I believe I deserve the extra calories and a few beers to wash it down.

The only way I know to break this trend is Coffee Pot Cooking so here I am recycling this blog for the third to fifth time with a twist. I will prepare one portioned controlled meal a day by any means necessary. Tomorrow, I will post on cooking sauteed spicy potatoes and tilapia using my microwave and coffee pot.

I saw Don Bailey from the University tilapia program and swore I was going to get serious about aqua phonics while growing my own fish and greens. Oh well, good intentions pave the way to hell but I did have coffeepot tilapia and sauteed spicy potatoes tonight so the recipe should follow tomorrow. I got lazy and used both my microwave and coffeepot but it was definitely portioned controlled which is my real issue. I have also cooked the same meal in my electric fondue pot set at 275 degrees in a portioned controlled manner but you have to use what you have available.

BTW, I tend to prepare full flavored meals with flexible cooking times that would serve college students, myself as a writer. and other dingy people who are temporally challenged.  The joy of this meal from the coffee pot is you don’t have to watch it as closely as an electric fondue pot.

Also my starting and perhaps final weight if I do not succeed is now 212.

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Crucian Cherries, A Perfect Diet Food!

May 18, 2012

Crucian Cherries or Acerola Cheries

When you Google “Crucian Cherry”, the only thing that comes up is a cute little song by local entertainer Jazzy Blue extolling the virtue of this berry and the fact that you can’t just eat one because the first one makes you want more. But since one of my three trees is heavily bearing, I decided to see how much harm I was doing by eating several handfuls three times a day. I had also heard our Crucians of Puerto Rican heritage call it Arecibo Cherry so decided to search that term. I ended up with the right answer for the wrong reason. Seems that this tree is called the acerola tree which just means cherry in Spanish. Hence calling them Acerola Cheries is just like calling them Cherry Cherries. Of course we do the same thing when we order or make Shrimp Scampi because Scampi means shrimp in Italian.

But my search was made to find out if my addiction to these tasty morsels is causing me damage. After all, a handful may have 5 or 6 cherries and doing three handfuls twice a day will give a total of 30 cherries which weighs about a pound. Fortunately, I only get about three crops a year and they only are ripe for a couple of weeks. My scale tells me a big Julie Mango a few times a week does more damage to my weight so the question really became one about if Crucian Cherries are any good for you.

From nutritiousfruit.com, I found that Acerola cherry is juicy, sweet and sour in flavor and “very high in vitamin C and other nutrients. It is incredible and unbelievable that one tiny cherry has a higher vitamin C content than an orange. Specifically, the vitamin C content is 65 times greater than an orange, which means one cherry has a vitamin C content that is equal to the minimum daily recommended requirements.”

I am not sure whether or not I really eat a pound a day of these things but even if I did, it really wouldn’t matter. With only 100 calories per pound, I am now eating 120 times the daily requirement of vitamin C. This bulk loading of Vitamin C is supposed to be useful for fighting pain, healing cuts, bruises damaged muscles and keeping colds and flu away. I eat them because I like them, but it’s still nice to know I get something right once in awhile.

What does it take to Lose 101 Pounds? My Story!

May 12, 2012

Eric over at Health Demystified is young and serious and trying to save the world from the ill effect of obesity with a free product. More importantly in my mind one of the obese people he is trying to save is his father and he deserves all the help he can get. At my advanced age, I am not sure that there is a single product that would help people lose weight, and even if it were free, I’m not sure how many people would use it because of all the negative uses of the word free on the Internet.

However, his knowledge, sincerity and hard work make me want to help him so I took the time to assess what were the principle reasons I achieved a lifestyle change starting in 2010 which led to my 101 pound weight loss and as of today I am now stable around 173 pounds with a 37 inch waste when measured above the belly button. A waist above 40 inches is just as deadly as obesity and I have been as high as 57 inches at my peak weight of 265 pounds.

I apologize for the length of this post, but the following text described the knowledge gained from forty years of dieting and 3 years of lifestyle changes.

There are only a few elements to consider for a permanent weight loss and perhaps hundreds of ways to focus on them. Any holistic plan to achieve a permanent drop in weight from life threatening obesity must address all of the key issue and recognize where weight loss information is being compromised usually for commercial purposes. At the simplest level, your weight is governed by the calories you eat and drink and the amount of physical work you do. There are no magic drugs, exercises or food plans. When it comes to calories and the fat in your body, “in minus out equals accumulated weight.”

The biggest problem with this simple wisdom is that on the short term it doesn’t seem to work as our body fights our erratic behavior and tries to maintain stability. Up to a point, fat is good to provide energy when, and if, there are lean periods of reduced consumption or periods of increased activity. Yet if we eat or drink too much and exercise too little, there is no instantaneous weight gain because our body will get rid of those excess calories in our body waste. Eventually gluttony wins the battle and new fat is added to our body and a new higher weight plateau is reached.

Likewise, the reverse of the process is not instantaneous. Going to the gym without a lifestyle change probably won’t alter your weight very much. While exercise is an excellent lifestyle change to help you control the weight you are at and increase longevity, the results would be more realistically evaluated with a tape measure, a mirror and your wardrobe.

There is a very good reason to be concerned about your appearance beyond vanity. The chances of health problems double with people who have a big belly even if they have “normal weight”. Measured just above the belly button, a man should be below 40 inches and 36″ is the recommended size. For a woman to sustain good health, she should be below 35 inches and 31″ is recommended.

There is also no magic solution to shedding belly bulge. It simply involves eating and drinking less and exercising more but the gym alone won’t shed weight. An hour of moderate workout in the gym will burn about 300 calories and it would take about twelve days to lose a pound if eating and drinking habits remained the same. Even at this modest rate of loss, most grossly overweight or obese people are only capable of light exercise so they would have to workout for two hours every day to lose a pound in twelve days unless they reduce food consumption.

At 265 pounds with a 57 inch waist, I was too ashamed to go to a gym so I purchased a treadmill which I hated because I was bored to tears. I used it and controlled my drinking and eating and dropped to 225 pounds but was still bored to tears because the only way for me to cut back on food and alcohol was to cut back on socializing. My weight drifted all over the place because of my lack of commitment to a lifestyle change. When I started on my current path in December of 2009, I was 245 pounds and had a 47 inch waist, which was still in the deadly zone because of both waist size and obesity.

Now I am a cautious person and I never make a commitment without understanding everything about the nature of the endeavor. For me, a person should know enough about obesity to understand that obesity is not just about the length of time a person will live, it is also about the general quality of life and the ability to participate in family events. Also, the chance of a slow, lingering and painful death increases with weight. Morbid obesity is associated with a substantially increased risk of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The hardest first step for an obese person is to accept they have real issues. When I was morbidly obese, I didn’t know anything about obesity, Body Mass Index (BMI) or a slow and lingering death and in the case of obesity, ignorance is bliss. I didn’t even own a scale. I got weighed on the doctors scale and at work so was generally aware of my weight range. The two issues which had the highest impact on family life bothered my wife and I different ways. Above 235 pounds, breathing became an issue and it stopped me from having an active sex life which didn’t seem to bother my wife very much. The issue which bothered her was sleep apnea.

Dolores had been trained as a nurse and my father had died from sleep apnea where he simply stopped breathing in his sleep at age 71. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with abnormal long pauses in breathing during sleep. Individuals with low muscle tone and soft tissue around the airway (jowls because of obesity) are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Old male couch potatoes, with jowls and weak muscles, are more likely to have sleep apnea than women and Dolores was worried about me.

So at that point in time, I got a scale and an education on obesity. Health problems relative to normal people start occurring almost instantly as people move outside the normal weight range. At the extreme of morbid obesity (BMI over 40; or for me 262 pounds at 68 inches tall), the odds of incurring any health care problem is twice as often and the cost goes up with the amount of excess weight. The penalty for morbid obesity is about $3000 per year more in medical bills than for a normal person. Only 2% to 3% of the nation is in this special group but I qualified.

It didn’t take me long to learn enough to abuse science. From the studies and BMI charts, I found that I only had to drop to Class 1, Obesity at a BMI of 30 to shed about 3/4 of my health problems and costs. Also the drop in weight led to an improved sex life. The problem of sleep apnea occasionally remained as I bounced around in a range between 220 and 240 but moistly above 230. This meant every time I did binge level eating or drinking and gained a couple of pounds, the sleep apnea returned. As long as Dolores was alive and sharing my bed, I was constantly appraised when I was on the wrong side of the line because my irregular breathing was ruining her ability to sleep. I stopped using the exercise equipment, and the scale wore out and was never replaced because of my lack of commitment. Thirty-six percent (36%) of the Nation is obese in all three classes

In my adult lifetime, I had a tendency to binge eat or drink when I was under severe stress. My first diet, the Stillman all protein diet, was in 1970 when I was starting a winery and trying to balance a full time job. The first gas crises in 1974 crushed my tourist winery that I had successfully started and which depended on people driving to reach it. In 1982, I lost a job and sought solace in food until I opened an outdoor beach club which did exceptionally well and I dropped to 182 for the last time until my current lifestyle changes . In 1988, it rained on 39 consecutive outdoor events at the Beach Club and I was broke and lost the business. By 2004, things were going reasonably well and I just got fat and lazy due to becoming a “desk jokey” and not engaging in any physical activity because I could hire people to do everything that needed to be done and take time off to go fishing and drinking beer with my friends.

Still after that zenith of 265 in 2004, I managed to hold between 220 and 240 using the Type O diet until Dolores died. Then I started seeking solace in food and cooking and eating too much. Drinking was no longer that big of a problem as I was not happy enough to enjoy socializing and drinking. Unfortunately, Dolores was no longer sharing my bed to tell me when I was too fat to breath at night. This is where My Daughter Dagny and My Niece Cait joined forces and convinced me it was time for a lifestyle change.

So what are the essential elements of my 101 Pound weight loss.

1. General knowledge about obesity and acceptance of the scientific data. You must understand the problem before attempting to solve it.

2. Strong Emotional support from family (Dagny, Cait and Carson). Non judgmental loving support and encouragement is needed. Very few can solve the obesity problem entirely on their own.

3. A strong and vocal Personal Commitment and let the world know. Commitment is a struggle especially at the start because your weight loss is so fragile and unstable. When I started my diet at 265 without a commitment to a lifestyle change I had dropped about 45 pounds in a few months just by starving and working at the gym. I went on vacation where there was no scale and gained 27 pounds in a long weekend eating 3 meals a day, drinking beer mid day and having wine and a big dinner in the evening. I brought a scale because I felt I was gaining weight and when I got the result, I knew it was flawed and returned the scale to the store. Eventually, I quit the diet because the diet failed me and the weight loss wasn’t permanent. The first three to five months of a lifestyle change are most critical and a lifestyle change of only three months will also fail.

4. A commitment to reduce the calories consumed with beverages and food.  My personal commitment is covered in my book “An introduction to coffeepot cooking: How I lost 101 pounds cooking Portion Controlled Meals” which is available in Kindle format from Amazon. You can get a free Kindle app for almost every computer and operating system.

5. A commitment to a minimum of a half hour of exercise everyday or worst case every other day. It is better and you lose more weight, if you do a minimum of a half hour everyday and an hour a day three times a week. It is also better if you do it first thing in the morning to jump start your metabolism and stay physically active all day.

I firmly believe That there is no substitute for the advice in the first three steps. And a great amount of flexibility in the last two. When it comes to exercise, it is the time you commit to exercising regardless of which form of exercise you choose. I like walking because almost everybody can do it. When you work with your heart monitor and push yourself to safely do only a half hour a day, you get stronger everyday and are able to do more. Everybody in my family has a favorite physical activity and mine just happens to be walking and not a chore at all because it fits my personality. When I miss two days because of rain, I’ll look for a break in the weather and go for it. If it rains, I don’t care because I am still walking and enjoying the sights and proud of my accomplishments.

When it comes to eating, you can eat and drink what you like as long as your total calorie count is around 2000 which if you pace it during the day with moderate amounts of fruit, vegetables and protein; and then eat a light dinner, there is still a 1000 calories left over for a few glasses of wine. If on the other hand you don’t drink, then stick with the light fruit and vegetables all day and have a slightly heartier dinner and you will lose the weight a little faster by skipping beverages with calories and carbonation.

I don’t believe in special diets or severely restricted diets because for me they simply create a repressed demand for the foods I want and the quantities I am used to. When I started holding about 2000 calories, walking in the morning, getting into yard work as much as possible, walking in the afternoon when possible, and going to bed relaxed on a full stomach, I didn’t feel deprived of anything and drifted into a steady routine right away.

The process isn’t fast. In the first month, I lost 20 pounds and in the second 15. In the third month I lost 5 pounds. Remember, from previous diets, I found those first three months are the most unstable and the easiest time to have a relapse and regain the lost weight. After that, I shed weight at the rate of about 3 pounds per month. If this was a diet, I probably would have quit after the second month because I would be bored with a steady special diet of meat, carbohydrates, vegetables, vegan, caveman food, or any other cult diet.

However, this was a lifestyle change which allowed for lapses while on vacation with planed sacrifices of more work and less food after vacation. I also started in January when I wouldn’t see my family and party with them for the next six months or so I planned. I have now stuck with the plan for about 3 years and see little reason to change.

A natural evolution is that I now eat vegan about once a week, vegetarian twice a week and chicken, turkey and fish the rest of the time. However, and this is important to my mental well being, if I get a craving for liver, kidneys, sausage or any of the other weird things like my mother ate which let her live to be 93, I eat them and don’t consider it a failure in my lifestyle, just part of it. The same is true if I have a few midday beers while hanging with my family or friends. The only results my family really cares about is what the scale says and how big my belly is and that’s fine with me.

My total diet was discussed in the book mentioned above but;

Remember continue to enjoy fine food, just less of it.

Super Healthy Yams

December 27, 2010
Super Healthy Yams as a Side Dish

Super Healthy Yams as a Side Dish

I had made up my mind that I wanted baked sweet potatoes served in their skin and smothered in butter for dinner. The problem was that there were none on St. Croix along with the fact that their also isn’t any cold or snow so I suffer through a few culinary shortages. Without thinking I picked up a couple of yams and got them home before I remember all my reasons for not eating them on a regular basis.

When baked, they are dryer and harder than a true sweet potato so people feel the need to smother them in brown sugar and butter which usually caramelizes into black gunk or smother them in cute little pink and white marshmallows which clash with the orange food. As I started preparation I got the usual chorus of “don’t make any for me”. That got me to thinking of making boiled mashed yams without brown or white sugar and especially no artificial chemical substances designed to trick our taste buds into believing that God given sugar is present.

The cleaned and diced yams were cooked for about 30 minutes and a test piece was tender enough to mash with a fork. Sugar free yams are a heart healthy product that controls blood sugar and contributes to weight loss in addition to other health benefits. The butter helps solubilize the beta carotene so it passes to your blood. I selected four spices from the list of the 10 healthiest spices to prevent cancer and improve your health on the basis that the four are very compatible flavors often found working together in Indian and West Indian foods.

I had finished preparing all the food and ran to my bedroom to get my camera for some beautiful food shots and found that the food was already on the table and a slight bit messy I might add. Oh well, it’s Christmas and everything was delicious even in the photos were not up to the standards of Tes and Monica. Everybody who said “don’t make any for me I don’t eat yams” ate there fill and I ended up with no leftovers. (There was leftover duck, white potatoes and Lima beans.)

Ingredients:

2 yams

1 teaspoon shaved ginger

3 minced loves fresh or 1 T. crushed Garlic

½ tsp cumin

2 T butter

½ tsp turmeric

Directions:

  1. Clean and cube yams.
  2. Shave ginger and prepare garlic

    Shaved Ginger

  3. Put yams, garlic and ginger in a pot and cover with water
  4. Bring to a boil and simmer for ½ hour

    Cook the yams, garlic and ginger

  5. When tender pour through a fine colander preserving the garlic and ginger.
  6. Add the butter and the rest of the spices
  7. Mash with potato masher.

    Mashed spiced yams

  8. Serve as a wonderful side dish.

Another four spices on the 10 healthiest list that would probably work as well are the combination found in many Pumpkin Pie recipes: Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. I plan to try that in the future once again without sugar but since there is never any sugar in Indian Recipes, I started with a known winner.

Hello World 2.0

December 3, 2010

Lemon Grass Three Months Old

Time flies when your having fun but nothing shows how long it’s been since I have written about food like the growth in my Lemon Grass bed which was photographed as newly replanted in my last post. I had visits to my home by my granddaughters alone for two weeks where we hiked, swam and cooked every day and they played with all the challenges at my house. Then my daughter Dagny, her husband Carson and another friend came to the house along with my niece Cait and we cooked, hiked and swam. One of my favorite hikes was to Annely Bay which is from the top of the mountain and drops 1100 feet to the Bay over a 2 ½ mile trail and then back up. Going down is always easy.

I also went to Marbel Head and visited my other granddaughter Pippa and her parents, Andrew and Lauren. We had a great time and I was fascinated that a 3 year old could completely use and control her parents iPad actually mostly her Mothers

I also published two Children’s books for Kindle. Pippa and her iPad is about my 3 year old Granddaughter and her computer literacy the other is Mother Goose, A picture Book for Kindle. The purpose of these books is to develop picture books for young readers so they can accept that the kindle is actually a book and get used to the device. It’s amazing but most Kindle Books that claim to be illustrated are not.

I love my Kindle and it’s easy for my old eyes to read without strain even by candlelight. Writing the books taught me how to control graphics in a Kindle format so I can proceed with a cookbook. The Kindle is perfect size to uses as a cookbook on a counter while cooking and it never runs out of power and is very light. It also stays open to the proper page without breaking the binding as happens with a physical cookbook.

I had another family visit from my sister, her daughter, son-in-law and grandson. It was fantastic and of course I cooked with Zack, and went hiking and sailing and swimming. It was a great visit.

Coffee Pot Cooking

It’s only about 11 months since I started cooking in my coffeepot and reading and writing about food and I have to admit I have become a little compulsive about what I eat and how I am cooking it. The good news is that I am now 60 pounds lighter than I was last Thanksgiving.

Also, I have also been researching two food related projects which I will discuss in the future, but for now, I am going to be catching up on surfing for recipes and publishing on meals for one, coffeepot cooking and everything that’s been going on for the past three months.

Vegetarian Carrot Soup or Potage Crecey

August 19, 2010

Potage Crecey - Purred Carrot Soup

Potage Crecey is one of those old fashioned soups that I first started cooking when 30 years ago or the first time I was chronically unemployed in the Virgin Islands. The recipe is from the Larousse Gastronomique and I would not recommend the new edition because it is a $75 dumbed down version of the hurricane damaged copy I still use.

This is one of those messy old fashioned soups that was pureed using a sieve, then I used my food processor and now that I discovered my blender does an easier to cleanup version with a slightly different texture, I may make it more often.

I made this soup twice this year, once with my mini food processor which made a mess of my kitchen and once using my blender. The big difference, in addition to texture, is the quantity you can make. A professional chef could use a food processor to make soup for hundreds whereas the blender is superior in ease of use when making meals for one. I actually prefer the texture of a totally pureed soup so I am lucky to be able to make my soup for one or two.

Vegetarian Carrot Soup or Potage Crecey

Ingredients

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Butter

1 Onion diced

1 clove garlic minced

2 stalks celery

1 thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper or equivalent (optional)

4 carrots either food processed or coined.

1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley (½ dried)

½ teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 oz sherry

1 can vegetable broth 14.5 oz

Prepare everything on the list up to the carrots and put into the coffeepot and start to saute.(remove the slice of hot pepper before the carrots are added.)

Shredding the Carrots

If using the food processor, shred the carrots and add to the pot or else coin the carrots and add to the pot. Add all the rest of the spices and sherry and continue to simmer for ½ hour stirring occasionally.

Simmering the Carrots and Onions

Add the broth and let cook all day.

All in the Pot and Cooking

If you used the food processor to shred the carrots you are done. This is show below served with grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches.

Carrot Soup with Grilled Cheese and Tomato

If you coined the carrots, pore the pot into the blender, liquify and serve. Either way I love my carrot soup, the blender is just easier to clean and not as messy.

Italian Flag Salad

August 18, 2010

Italian Flag Salad

I like playing with my food so made this salad with ingredients traditionally used in Italy and made it in the style of the Italian Flag. I made a Polish flag salad which had balanced flavors of a cottage cheese salad with pickled beets which was pleasant. While this might be another clever idea for a salad, it is defiantly not for wimps.

Recipe:

Green Section:

sliced Romaine and Iceberg lettuce.

White section:

1 cup cottage cheese with 1 small diced onion and celery stalk

Three marinated artichoke hearts on top of the salad

crumbled Gorgonzola sprinkled on top

Red Section

Tuna Salad

3 oz tuna fish

½ teaspoon horseradish

½ teaspoon crushed garlic

½ Tablespoon soy sauce

Mix all ingredients until well blended

Overlay with red pimento

I loved the flavor of this bold tuna salad so I expect you will see more of that as a protein source with vegetarian soups for dinner. I served the red and green parts of the salad with marinated artichoke hearts and black olives to some of our family friends at my daughter’s house and was worried about overdoing it with bold flavors. Everybody loved it and several asked for recipes.

My daughter and I cook bold for ourselves, our families and our friends and they keep coming back for more so I guess we are doing OK.

I Do Have a Stove Which is Why I Need My Coffeepot.

August 13, 2010

Stove Top Cooking

Old habits are hard to break. Of course I have a stove as a matter of fact 2 but when cooking on a stove top, the meal is usually started when I am hungry and after a owning a few restaurants and family gatherings, I have a collection of super-size pots and darn few small ones. But my lack of will power occasionally forces me to use a stove because there are meals that will not work in either the coffeepot or fondue pot.

Regular readers know that whenever I get a craving I indulge it just like a normal human being. I am not on a prohibitively strict diet with dos and do nots. What I am trying to accomplish is a lifestyle change where I live and get healthy eating portioned controlled meals but occasionally bad habits rule the day.

I had a craving for ravioli so I purchased some frozen ones in a 24 ounce bag for about $8 which I thought was outrageous and I had some leftover homemade sauce in the refrigerator. All day long I dreamed about the meal so I reheated the sauce and divided the bag in thirds without thinking. Of course the meal fit on the 11 inch plates and I ate all that I had cooked without thinking that 8 ounces of pasta is like eating half a loaf of bread. When I checked the bag, it said it serves 5 so without thinking I had eaten almost two portions.

And their in lies the problem with me cooking on the stove top when I am hungry. I simply cook and eat too much so I get fat. While one day’s indulgence may foretell the end of a diet, it doesn’t destroy a lifestyle change because good habits are also hard to break. The next few days I was back to coffeepot cooking to reinforce my portion controlled meals.

Ravioli and Sauce

There really is no recipe except reheat the sauce, boil salted water and cook the frozen ravioli for as long as it says. Serve with the heated sauce. I had a women last night tell me she can’t cook and that her boyfriend cooks every meal. She’s lucky because I think I told her there is a huge difference between”can’t cook” and “wont cook” but since she was attractive, young and alone, I did offer to cook a meal for her and she accepted. Too bad, I will be occupied with family for the next month.

Another Simply Beautiful Salad

August 12, 2010

Simply Beautiful Salad

Most people never learn that a salad can be a lot more than shredded lettuce, pink hothouse tomato slices and wilted limp cucumber slices. Italians and Greeks seem to have gotten the message and serve the most creative and unnamed combinations as Greek Salad or Antipasto. My wife was from the Italian school by heritage and so creative salads were always present.

In season, I prefer the richness of fresh Tomatoes to the bland flavor of Roasted Red Peppers from a jar but the peppers are preferred to hothouse tomatoes. With tomatoes on hand, I prefer fresh mozzarella for the subtle flavor that balances tomatoes. With the bland roasted red bell peppers, I prefer a Cottage Cheese and Gorgonzola topping.

Cheese and Gorgonzola Recipe:

1 cup cottage cheese

1 diced small onion

1 diced stick of celery

2 oz Gorgonzola crumbs

Mix everything together. Slice Romain lettuce across the stem in ½ inch slices and spread around the plate. Place pimento slices on top and then scoop as much of the cottage cheese as you would like on the plate. Another unusual, flavorful and beautiful combination.

Near Perfect Pea Soup

August 9, 2010

Creamy Pea Soup

When it comes to comfort foods, noting beats pea soup on a rainy day. Our mothers both made it and made it about the same. The both strived for a rich creamy texture and built the soup around an old ham bone which contributed to the richness. Of course Dolores’ Mother added more meat and Carrots whereas my mom cooking for six instead of three, used less meat and included dumplings to add some substance to the soup. Dolores hated dumplings so I learned to leave them out and include carrots.

Now forget about dumplings in a coffeepot, they are hard enough to do on a stove top where you can turn up the heat but I suppose one day, I will give it a try just to see if it can be done. But for now I just wanted to see how close I could come to our mothers pea soup in terms of texture and flavor and yes, this soup started life as a vegan meal before I kicked it up a notch by adding Turkey Ham to get the flavor I am used to.

Recipe:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

2 stalks diced celery

1 bay leaf

1 thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper

½ teaspoon Thyme

½ teaspoon Rosemary

1 Tablespoon Parsley

Separate the can of peas add the liquid to the pot and mash the peas with a potato masher.

1 can 14.5 oz Vegetable broth. Or if adding turkey ham, use chicken broth.

4 oz Turkey Ham

Now as the ingredient list shows, there is no major change in the ingredients from the vegetarian pea soup other than the Turkey Ham, the biggest change was in the processing and the Peas. Other than my old standby Cruzan Rum, I rarely go out of my way to buy a specific brand of almost any product although I do read the labels and as I said last time avoid anything with sugar added. I usually buy the generic brand because I never see much of a difference.

Libby's Naturals Sweet Peas

This time I stumbled upon a can of “Libby’s Naturals” Sweet Peas that are just peas and water with nothing else added to enhance flavor or improve the color over what God provided.
The other major change was that when I separated the peas and water, I held back the water because it really doesn’t have that much flavor and put the peas in a blender with the broth and liquified the peas. The soup had perfect consistency in line with our family traditions but if you like it thinner, you can add some back to the pot about an hour or so before you want to serve it.

I tested the soup about 2 hours before I wanted to eat it and it was great. However, at this point I succumbed to the call of the turkey ham screaming from my refrigerator to make the soup perfect. I added about 4 ounces of turkey ham and let it cook for 2 more hours.

The end result was fantastic, but I’m not sure it was perfect. Maybe that’s the purest in me coming out and I believe it cant be perfect unless it’s made from dry beans and you suffer over the pot for a day hoping that the beans will completely break down into the rich creamy texture desired by dinnertime.

As described above, the vegetarian meal has about about 300 calories and the turkey ham only adds about 150 more with about 40 fat calories. Since I’m not a purest about any food fads and eat most anything, I don’t think the 40 fat calories will do more damage than the bottle of wine I consumed with the meal.