Archive for the ‘Fondue Pot’ 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.

Even Better Bok Choy

April 24, 2012

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
Until your good is better
and your better is best.

Cooked Bok Choy

With all the Bok Choy in my garden, I had to keep searching for a low sodium way to prepare it or else keep giving it away. I found this recipe over at allrecipes.com and there are a few differences other than it calls for no salt at all. With a cooking time of 15 minutes, it is a lot longer than any of the other stir fry recipes I had seen. It also includes capers, vinegar and lemon juice to essentially give this bland vegetable some more flavor beyond the ginger and garlic. Well of course I wasn’t going to buy red wine vinegar just to test the recipe and with a lime tree outside my kitchen door, I thought it senseless to buy a lemon when I use lime for every recipe that calls for lemon and like the taste. So with these very minor changes, the Bok Choi turned out excellent and I will be eating more of it and testing other low sodium recipes with a little longer cooking time.

Ingredients:

6 big leaves bok choy
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 T capers
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced fresh ginger root
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 dash fresh lime juice, or to taste

Method:

1. Remove the leaves from the stems of the bok choy. Cut the stems into bite-sized chunks and shred the leaves.

2. Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and add the stems to the pan

3. Cook the bok choy stems in the oil until slightly tender, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the water and chopped leaves and cook until the water is gone or about 10 more minutes.

5. Stir in the capers, garlic, and ginger and cook 1 minute more.

6. Sprinkle the vinegar and lime juice over the bok choy and remove from heat;

7. Serve immediately.

I used this as a substitute for my mid day salad and am planning a smoked turkey and Bok Choy dinner now that I find I prefer the taste of well cooked bok choy.

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.

Pumpkin Banana Fritters

January 24, 2011

Parade Day Breakfast

The butternut fritters came out so well I decided to try the classic Pumpkin Fritters and I asked an old friend if their was any way to reduce the sugar. I was told that in the old days, there were always bananas and pumpkin growing in the yard but not always enough money for refined sugar so her mom would combine the banana and punkin and make the fritters without sugar.

I decided to give it a try and made them the same as the butternut squash but used a little extra water to thin it out. Vanise and I decided to try them for brunch and even though she’s not a fan of sweet fritters, she liked these. I saved the extra batter and about a week later used the fritters and scrambled eggs as the basis for a big breakfast brunch prior to going to the Festival Parade to party for the next six hours.

I must admit this was a much heather breakfast then the eggs and spam I had a year earlier. I also will acknowledge that my drinking habits for the day were also much healthier for both me and my community as I have to drive about 15 miles to the parade route and festival village and was far more responsible this year.

The plate above has one scrambled egg, with three dots of hot sauce, local fresh cucumbers, and tomatoes, and the pumpkin banana fritters. Filling, healthy and delicious, a wonderful way to start my day.

Ingredients:

1 pound pumpkin

2 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp fresh ground ginger

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup flour

3/4 cup water

Directions:

1. Mash the boiled pumpkin and bananas to the bowl.

Mashed Pumpkin and Banana

2. Mix it and mash it well. (I used the potato masher and did it all by hand.)

3. Add the vanilla and spices and mix it into the pumpkin and bananas until uniform.

4. Add the egg and blend.

5. Add the flour and mix until uniform. I used a whisk for the rest of the steps.

Mix Everything Except Water

6. Add the water and mix until done. ( I used some water I boiled the pumpkin in.)

7. Fry until Golden Brown.

8. Serve as a side dish Crucian style. We snacked on these for brunch and then I ate the rest for my breakfast shown above.

Pumpkin Banana Fritters

Good, Better Best never let it rest. This is healthier but the next time I try it, I will switch to whole wheat flour and see what happens.

Tostones – Puerto Rican Twice Fried Plantains

January 18, 2011

Tostones and Mojo

I have eaten and enjoyed Tostones for the past 40 years of my life but never made them as they are twice fried plantains and that just sounded like a lot of work. A couple of weeks ago there was an interview in the newspaper with Angie Morales of Villa Morales and she said she is so used to cooking them that she could do a batch in 10 minutes from start to finish. I decide to give it a try because I have been in her kitchen when she was making them for a large group and have seen other local cooks making them for smaller groups.

For those who don’t know, Tostones are a fried disc of plantain which is about two inches across and gets enlarged from the standard size during the preparation. They are extremely crispy and great with salt, ketchup, or the more traditional Mojo which is a garlic sauce you make yourself. The starting fruit is an unripe green Plantain. They are great as an appetizer, or as a side dish or snack. Think “French Fried Potatoes” and you will get a good idea of all the ways that children and adults enjoy Tostones.

Ingredients:
Plantain
Frying Oil
Salt

Directions:
1.Peal Plantain, use a knife to start.
2.Slice ½ to ¾ inch thick. (Thicker slices, cut on a diagonal will give a bigger finished Tostone)
3.Fry 2 minutes per side at 350 Fahrenheit (Hot Oil but not smoking) until just tender to the fork.

Fry Half Inch Chunks

4.Remove and drain on paper towel
5.Press flat with palm or flat object. I used a beer mug. They should end up ¼ inch thick. (Sorry about this Picture) If necessary, use a fork to separate them from the bottom of the mug.

Press Flat with Beer Mug

6.Return them to the pan and fry a couple more minutes on each side until golden brown.

Refry Compressed Discs

7.Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with Mojo.

Mojo (Traditional Garlic Sauce)
Ingredients:
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 heaping Tablespoons Crushed Garlic (6 large cloves)
2 Tablespoons Lime or Lemon Juice
½ tsp salt.
Optional:
1 Scotch bonnet hot pepper
¼ cup more oil.

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until a smooth liquid. and serve. The traditional Mojo has no hot pepper but since I like hot pepper, I added a whole one and some more oil and blended it until it had the texture of mayonnaise. If I were serving this to guests, I would definitely leave out the hot pepper and serve it in the traditional manner.

Beef Bourguignon

January 7, 2011

Beef Bourguignon

Beef was one of Dolores most favorite ingredient and same never tired or simple basic recipes. Her favorite was a grilled steak where she seasoned it and I grilled it. Since I was not a big steak eater and she wanted a thick cut of the Tenderloin Section of a porterhouse, there was usually enough to make a second meal and I guess, Beef Stroganoff won as her favorite choice.

Occasionally, she would buy a niece piece of chuck and pot roast it in the crockpot. If she found nice boneless sirloin tips she would make stew. While she liked Beef Bourguignon, she rarely made it and I now understand why. This meal has 17 different ingredient and while the directions are easy enough to follow there are a dozen different steps.

One Day when I was thinking of Dolores I made it and it was good. Honestly, for a lot less work, Beef Stroganoff is easier and tastes just as good. This was not my opinion on Coq au Vin which I thought was worth the effort even if there were multiple steps. Because of the temperatures required, this was done in my fondu pot.

Ingredients:

2 oz ham cut into pieces

2 T. Olive Oil

5 oz beef cut into bite sized cubes

2 carrots peeled and sliced

1 onion chopped

1 clove of garlic

1 eight oz. can of mushrooms

2 celery stalks diced

½ bottle of Red Wine (Barefoot Merlot)

1 beef bullion cube

1 oz flour

1 oz butter

1 T, Fresh chopped parsley

¼ tsp thyme

1 thin slice scotch bonnet peeper

10 small cocktail onions

salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Saute ham strips in olive oil.

    Saute ham strips in olive oil

  2. Make a cold rue of the flour and butter and hold til needed.
  3. Remove the ham when brown
  4. Brown the beef in the same oil add more oil if necessary
  5. Remove the beef and place with ham
  6. In the same oil, saute the hot pepper, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery for about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the excess oil.
  8. Add the meat to the pot
  9. Spoon in the cold rue on top and stir while heating to coat everything evenly. Cook about 5 more minutes while turning the beef cubes.
  10. Add the wine, parsley and thyme and bring to a boil.

    All in and bring to a boil

  11. Cover the pan and simmer for 3 hours.

    Simmer covered for 3 hours

  12. Add the mushrooms, cook for about 15 minutes and serve.

This was traditionally served with boiled potatoes but Dolores preferred noodles so noodles it was and is.

Obviously this can be prepared ahead of time allowing you to socialize with the guests and then the only work is to add the mushrooms and make the noodles which takes about 15 minutes of kitchen time.

Crucian Butternut Squash Fritters

December 19, 2010

Crucian Butternut Squash Fritters Served with King Fish

Butternut squash is one of those vegetable which grows in abundance in St. Croix so the Crucian refers to the nativity of the vegetable. While I have never been served a Butternut Squash fritter in St. Croix a fritter is  fried batter containing fruit or meat or vegetables so you can use what you like.

Locally pumpkin is the most common vegetable fritter and they are very good. This recipe is close to those for pumpkin fitters with the spices kicked up a notch by the addition of fresh grated ginger and nutmeg. I had a butternut squash in the refrigerator and was looking for something new to do with it other than soup or baked with butter and brown sugar when this popped into my mind. So I figured, Why Not?

The procedure is pretty much the same as preparing pumpkin fritters and they came out really well. To start, peal the butternut squash, remove the top part and cut the bottom in half to remove the seeds. Cube everything and put it in water and boil until soft. Mash the squash and put in a measuring cup to make sure you have about the right amount. (a one pound squash gave me 1 ½ cup of cooked mashed squash)

Ingredients:

1 ½ to 2 cups mashed butternut squash

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp fresh ground ginger

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup flour

½ cup water

Directions:

  1. Mash the boiled butternut squash and add brown sugar to the bowl.

    Mashed squash and brown sugar

  2. Mix it into the squash. (I used the potato masher and did it all by hand.)
  3. Add the vanilla and spices and mix it into the squash and sugar until uniform.

    Add spices and blend until uniform

  4. Add the egg and blend. I used a whisk for the rest of the steps.

    Add the egg and blend

  5. Add the flour and mix until uniform.

    Mix in the flour

  6. Add the water and mix until done. ( I used some water I boiled the squash in.)
  7. Fry until Golden Brown.

    Fry until golden brown

  8. Serve as a side dish Crucian style. I have been served pumpkin fritters for breakfast, brunch and Lunch and dinner.

    A super side-dish for breakfast lunch or dinner

Well I made six and ate three as a snack while preparing the meal but I still have a lot of batter left. I refrigerated the rest and will add a comment about how long it lasts and tastes good. I hate to waste any food but even worse I no longer care to overeat or eat the same thing every night so I hope it keeps. I know my daughter is going to love this recipe as she loves to maintain island traditions and teach her daughters about them.

Of course I served it with a piece of King Fish prepared in the local manner which is to wash the fish with lime juice, season with Adobo, and fry for 2-3 minutes per side for moist fish. Adobo is a Puerto Rican Seasoned Salt. The bottle by the plate is locally made hot sauce which is traditionally used to spice up fried fish and almost everything else.

Naturally, for a typical Crucian meal, I simply could not resist using Ginger Thomas, the National Flower of the Virgin Islands, as the garnish.

 

Chick Pea Curry – Indian Style

December 19, 2010

Chick Pea Curry – Indian Cholay

This recipe started life from one posted on Monica’s Spice Diary. I made it when my granddaughters were here and both loved it. I believe part of the reason is because it is not as Spicy and Boldly flavored as the Shrimp Curry or Pinto Bean Curry which only the older one really loved. This time. I made three changes from the original recipe and two are optional and the other recommended.

I used olive oil instead of butter to make it vegan (Optional). Also, I included Lemon Grass (Optional) in the recipe for a few reasons; I have it in abundance, I like the flavor and one other reason. The other change was to include a thickener to make it less watery on the plate as I like the thicker gravy because it clings to the food instead of running over the plate. The first time I made this I did it on the stove so I altered nothing and still found the sauce watery. This time I did it in the coffeepot so any reduction in liquid level would have been impossible with reasonable cooking times.

If you are making enough (at least double this recipe) this recipe will work fine in a crockpot once you have completed steps 1 and 2 and transfer the mixture to the crockpot. It will also work fine on the stove top in a small pot and I still recommend the thickener.

Ingredients:

1 T. Olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 whole diced onion

4 cloves fresh grated minced

1 T. fresh grated ginger

1/2 can diced tomatoes no liquid

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1 can cooked chick peas (also called garbanzo beans) with liquid

1 T. yogurt

1 T. corn starch

1 Handful of freshly chopped coriander

1 piece Lemon Grass for garnish

Directions:

  1. Put the oil and the seeds in the pot and let cook until they sizzle or about ½ hour.

    Sizzlig seeds

  2. Add the onion and Garlic until the onion glazes over.

    Grated fresh ginger

  3. Add the grated ginger, salt, garam marasla, coriander powder, turmeric and paprika.
  4. Place back on hot plate for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and optional lemon grass.

    All spices and aromatics in the pot

  6. Cook for ½ hour
  7. Add the chick peas and cook for 2 hours.

    Add the chick peas

  8. Mix the sour cream and corn starch together and stir into the pot when uniform
  9. When thickened, remove from heat and serve with fresh coriander (cilantro) sprinkled over the rice and curry.

The other reason I added the Lemon Grass in the recipe was so I could use it as a thematic garnish for those who do not recognize what fresh Lemon Grass looks like.

Kerala Fried Fish – A Tribute to Tes

December 17, 2010

Kerala Fried Fish

Other than canned tuna, I simply don’t eat enough fish in my diet so I was happy to see this recipe for Kerala Fried Fish which is made in the Indian style of preparing a spice blend and working with that. Once the blend is made, it will hold in the refrigerator for a few days so it can be made ahead of time. Then, to season the fish and fry it is a minimum of twenty minutes although the fish could also be seasoned ahead of time so that would cut the preparation to a five minute frying time.

This recipe comes from Tes who is a very busy person, with a husband and two year old son. She also has a consulting business, is working on couple of books and is a faithful blogger about food and family. While she lives in Thailand, I wouldn’t classify her as an exclusive Thai cook because there are other global influences including American and Indian. Her recipes are full flavored and mostly quick to cook as would be expected from a busy person.

For some reason I did not find this recipe to be as spicy as it sounds and would classify as full flavored and pleasant. For my on taste, I will actually up the amount of hot peeper that I used although normally, a thin slice of scotch bonnet is more than enough for my meal.

I made my spice blend in a blender so I had to add a tablespoon of olive oil to the blender to get it started and blended the softest ingredients first.

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil

5 cloves garlic rough cut

5 shallots pealed, clean and rough cut

1 inch ginger rough cut

1 thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper (1/8 inch thick)

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

¼ tsp cumin powder

3 pieces king fish, about 1 pound (454 gms.)

Directions:

  1. Place olive oil in blender and garlic and puree on lowest setting
  2. Add shallots and hot pepper and repeat above.
  3. Add rough cut ginger and puree again.
  4. Add the rest of the spices and blend on low until uniform.

    Uniform Spice Blend

  5. Coat both sides with a thick coating of the spice blend and work into the flesh. Let sit for 15 minutes.

    Coat both sides with a thick coating of the spice blend

  6. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side for a one inch thick cut so it is still moist.
  7. Serve with side dish.

I loved this concept but can think of several minor changes. First, Chili powder has silicone dioxide (sand) in it so I prefer to blend my own. Also shallots are very expensive locally and rarely available so I will try an onion. Finally, as I write this the cilantro in my refrigerator is screaming out at me and begging to be included.

The joy of continued creation will help me live longer and enjoy another day. If it turns out well you will read about it here. If not, I will forget I ever mentioned a change in Tes’s recipe. Obviously this is a Tribute to Tes and her work at Tesathome.com

Melt in Your Mouth Eggplant Parmesan

December 14, 2010

Melt in Your Mouth Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is one of those family traditions we just do – There is no such thing called a recipe. All that is involved is making the fried eggplant which as discussed previously is a critical but messy job, placing it in a pan, spreading sauce to cover each piece and placing fresh, whole milk, mozzarella cheese on top. If you start with great fried eggplant, you will make great Eggplant Parmesan, Depending on on your preference, you can sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on prior to cooking or as I prefer after cooking. For sauce we use whatever is in the refrigerator. If it was good enough to serve with pasta it’s good for Eggplant Parmesan.

The tradition method in out family is to layer it in a pan and if the pan is to be frozen we use a disposable aluminum pan. The following photo is a completely frozen pan of Eggplant Parmesan prepared at the same time I fried the eggplant as a side dish which I am saving for my niece at the end of December. Of course in the freezer it is covered with aluminum foil.

Frozen pan of Eggplant Parmesan

When I cook it, I will leave it out on the counter for about an hour or two to defrost and then the covered pan will be placed in the oven at 350 for ½ hour. After that the foil cover will be removed to cook as needed for 15 to 20 more minutes to develop a golden brown cheese on top.

Consideration in cooking meals for one.

When I scale down a recipe for myself, I don’t want excessive leftovers, I want it easy to clean my mess, and I hate to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen for a single meal for me. These criteria make the fondue pot the ideal choice for this meal. My pot is Teflon coated for ease of cleaning, has a precision temperature control, and is the right size to cook a meal for one.

The steps are almost the same except, as will be shown below, you do not get the golden brown color that my wife shrived for but in my mind you get a fresher tasting melted cheese.

  1. Place the friend eggplant in the cold electric skillet (fondue pot) and cover with tomato sauce.

    Fried Eggplant Covered with Tomato Sauce.

  2. Slice the cheese and place a slice or part of a slice on each piece of eggplant.

    A slice on each piece of eggplant

  3. Cover the pot and turn the temperature on the dial to 300 Fahrenheit

    Cover the pot

  4. Cook for about 10 minutes until you hear the sauce and melted cheese sizzling in the pan.

    Cook for about 10 minutes

  5. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan.

Since I love eggplant fried and fresh mozzarella, I like this version just as well as the golden brown one and when making meals for one it is just the right amount. Don’t worry, when you come to dinner I’ll put the pan in the oven and make yours that beautiful golden brown but in the meantime I can cook great tasting traditional meals without excessive leftovers.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this great meal is vegetarian.