Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’

Losing 25 pounds by New Years -Back to Basics

November 6, 2015
Hard Boiled Eggs - Coffee pot method.

Hard Boiled Eggs – Coffee pot method.

It appears that I am permanently 60 pounds lighter than I was 5 years ago, but at 205, I am still classified as obese. Unfortunately, loosing 100 pounds was a full time job and I am simply not sure I want to work that hard everyday of my life to keep off the last 40 pounds that I regained.

After I recommitted to coffeepot cooking on September 5, I have been somewhat careful about making portion controlled meals, snacking on rabbit food – cucumbers, celery, carrots, lettuce and radishes. I have also cut back slightly on wine but will have to quit drinking entirely if I really want to shed a great deal of weight before the first of the year.

Since September 5th, I am back down to 205 from 212 which really isn’t spectacular for a man who is close to 5′ 8” tall when barefoot. I still walk about 3 to 5 miles a day when it doesn’t rain and everybody tells me I am in great shape, but that is a rather low standard when it comes from a group of old people who eat and drink too much and never exercise. I also checked my last few posts and it seems I get excited about coffeepot cooking and portion controlled meals when I reach 212 to 215 and get bored when I reach 205 pounds.

On the positive side, I am again starting to focus on what I will cook for the day and then prepare portion controlled meals by what ever means necessary. I still use my coffeepot but not as religiously as when I dropped 100 pounds down to 165. I think this foray into the diet world may be more lasting than the last few times as I set a definite goal to lose 25 pounds by the first of the year and keep it off. BTW at 180 pounds I am still classified as overweight but I know at 165 I look terrible and am still considered overweight.

One indication that I am on the right path is I started out by reviewing all the different recipes on my coffeepot cooking blog and preparing portion controlled meals. I am starting to get fixated on portion controlled healthy meals and am searching out full flavored new recipes and have reverted back to vegetarian and even an occasional vegan meal.

Perhaps the biggest change is my breakfast routine. I would pick up my paper along with a grapefruit soda and a bag of nuts. Everybody knows that grapefruit is good for you and nuts are good for your heart. So that was 500 calories whether or not I walked, worked in my yard or spent the day at my desk. Of course, I had toast before I left my house. and cream in my coffee just to round out my morning to about 1000 calories. Now it is just bush tea for breakfast; a blend of cinnamon, lemon-grass and basil.

My plan for the future is to post recipes for portion controlled meals for one person using recipes I have previously posted or new recipes I found and adapted to a portion controlled meal for one person. So what does this diatribe about dieting have to do with hard boiled eggs.

Truthfully, not much except that it reminds me of when I started. I was afraid of safety issues and of course willpower was always a concern. I used an engineering approach to resolve all safety issues and it has not been a concern even when my granddaughters insisted on helping. My safety discussion is here.

I resolves issues with my insatiable appetite by recognizing that if I don’t cook it, I wont eat it. Also, if there are no leftovers in the refrigerator, there will be no temptation to eat between meals. So when it takes all day to cook a meal and there is only one small portion in the pot, I cannot over eat. The complete recipe is here for both cooking the eggs and making egg salad. For the most part, future recipes will stand alone and be complete in ingredients and directions.

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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.

Just for Fun: Soft Boiled Eggs and Coffee

March 22, 2012

Soft Boiled Egg on Toast with Coffee

I haven’t written very many recipes in my blog in the last couple of weeks as I have been busy working on my book entitled: “An Introduction to Coffeepot Cooking: How I Lost 101 pounds with Portioned Controlled Meals.” However, as I am preparing a chapter of a dozen sample recipes, I noticed that most of my meals focused on portion controlled dinners and also, I had never made coffee in my coffeepot in the 2 ½ years I have been cooking in it. For a broader presentation, I decided to include a simple breakfast of soft boiled eggs and coffee in the chapter of sample recipes.

Most of the meals published in the sample chapter require very little attention with regard to cooking time and once everything is in the pot, the meal can pretty much be ignored until it is done and you are ready to eat. Soft boiled eggs present a unique challenge whether you are doing it on the stove pot or in the coffeepot. My wife liked 3-4 minute eggs and made them perfect every time. When she ordered soft boiled eggs at a restaurant, it was hit or miss meal, and even worse in Virginia, it was illegal to make it her way. Seems, the egg white must be thoroughly cooked above 140 degrees which means the white is rubbery, and the yoke starting to solidify. That is hardly a soft boiled egg.

Because of the need to pay careful attention to the critical timing, I never really cooked soft boiled eggs in my coffeepot. There are also a couple of other reasons including the fact that I rarely eat a structured breakfast but settle for a piece of fruit and some tea to start my day. I am far more likely to build a meal around eggs for dinner. Soft boiled eggs turned out to be remarkably simple based on the experiments with meals I had made involving hard boiled eggs and how long that took.

I verified by cooking some eggs and at twenty minutes, both the egg white and yoke are runny or about the same as a two minute egg. At thirty minutes, the white is mostly solidified and the yoke is still runny, just like a 3 minute egg. At forty minutes, the white is all solid and the yoke has the texture of cold butter which can be spread but breaks apart. Above an hour you have a fully cooked hard boiled egg.

Ingredients:

Eggs

Coffee

Water

Dairy and sugar to taste

Method:

Eggs in Coffeepot, Coffee in Filter, Water in Tank
All Ready to Go!

  1. Place two eggs in the coffeepot. (The pot will actually hold about six eggs without changing cooking times too much.)
  2. Add 1 Tablespoon of ground coffee per 5 oz cup of water. (Check the coffee label to be sure)
  3. Add the appropriate amount of water. (about 5-6 cups to cover 2 eggs. Less for more eggs.)
  4. Cook the appropriate amount of time for the type eggs you want. (go take a shower or read)
  5. If you like, take off a cup of coffee while the eggs continue to cook.
  6. Make toast in a toaster of serve with fresh bread or roll.

    Soft Boiled Egg, Ready to Eat

  7. Enjoy.

I’m sorry the pictures are a little on the dark side, but I am really not at my best early in the morning but the eggs and coffee were good.

Tostones Revisited

February 13, 2012
Tostones and Mojo

Tostones and Mojo

I simply can’t resist a bargain so when I saw three green plantains for a dollar, I just had to purchase them. Now the only thing that I know how to cook are Tostones which are basically pan-Caribbean from Cuba to the Virgin Islands. I am sure other cultures do the same but the Spanish word Tostones is used where there are significant Spanish influences as the word derives from the Spanish verb tostar which means “to toast”. Actually, they are not toasted at all but fried in oil twice until a beautiful Golden color develops.

Occasionally, I still snack in the early afternoon and usually it’s air popped popcorn with no salt, oil or butter. This is not the worst choice I could make as popcorn is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Manganese. But since your mostly eating air and the 100 calories that go with it, it doest have much real nutritional value and neither does canned corn without the added sugar and salt.

Since I had already adapted to a fairly healthy diet snack with the popcorn, I decided to check on how much damage I was doing to myself by eating Tostones on two separate occasions. Regardless of the outcome, I would eat the third one as I eat everything I occasionally crave in small portions.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find that plantains are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and potassium. Plantains are also high in dietary fiber and a medium sized plantain is only 200 calories. Even a dusting (1/4 tsp) of Adobo, Puerto Rican Seasoned Salt, only adds 14% or your daily requirement for salt.

Probably the worst part is the oil you fry it in and I tend to use extra virgin olive to minimize damage. However now that coconut oil is being touted as a cure for Alzheimers, I’ll probably switch, if I can remember to buy some.

Bush Tea

January 29, 2012

Ingredients for Tea

Most Days, I drink tea, I favor green tea, bush tea or a combination of the two. As a matter of fact, my most common bled is lemon grass, basil and a green tea teabag. There are really no fixed recipes and you just have to play to get what you want. I tend to like stronger complex teas wheres many of my friends will cut my tea in half with water and add sugar and lemon.

Strong Bush Tea

In the Caribbean when we refer to bush tea, we mean herbs or plants either wild or domesticated. Hibiscus flowers make a nice addition to the pot and turn the tea a brilliant purple. When lemon is added, the tea turns pink.

Occasionally, I add mint and have tried many wild medicinal plants which have the flavor and aroma of cut grass on a dry day. I tend to avoid some medicinal plants (Black Wattle and Vervain) that taste good as they seem to interfere with my blood pressure medicine, although there are exceptions. The leaves of the Soursop, and even the fruit, contain a gentle relaxant that induces sleep and doesn’t seem to have side effects.

Making Bush tea is a personal endeavor and you have to experiment to find what you like. I make mine in a 4 cup pot and just crush the bush with my hands and put it in the pot with the tea bag. Water is poured through the heater section and drips on the bush. I take my first mug  right away before it gets too strong and then add a mug of water to refill the pot. I have my second mug in about an hour and once again, add back water. I do this 3-4 times each day and then turn off the pot and let the last potful cool to room temperature and use it for ice tea.

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.

Crucian Prayer Breakfast

January 20, 2011

Crucian Prayer Breakfast

I don’t know how many other Caribbean Islands have a custom as lovely as our Crucian Prayer Breakfast. These are held for such unholy purposes as fundraisers for politicians and to bless candidates who are lying through their teeth in order to deceive the public and get reelected. Occasionally, they are held for good purposes such as the one I attended this past Saturday.

I am on the Steel Workers Scholarship board which is a Union endeavor at self help among the members to give their children scholarships to help defer the cost of college. Every year, I get to meet a half dozen very bright and sincere children who are working so hard to make it, I am sure that they would succeed without our help but they are so young that they don’t understand how strong they are so they always thank us and even come back years later to thank us again.

Since awarding scholarships is a seasonal occupation, we only meet from January to June. One of the nicer customs of this harmonious group is to start each year with a prayer breakfast which combines prayer, camaraderie and food as we discuss the coming year. Since most of us have been doing this for a decade, the administrative procedures have been stabilized so the focus is on the children as it should be.

Regardless if the purpose is good as in helping children succeed or evil as with politicians using the event to deceive the public, the food is always excellent and the offering differs from event to event.

The plate of food pictured above is what I started with and yes I had seconds. The numbers around the edge of the plate are approximately the position of a clock and the descriptions below correspond to the numbers in the picture.

1. Salt-fish Gundy. This is well washed salt-fish ground or chopped into a coarse past and blended with minced onion and oil and vinegar salad dressing. Occasionally lime juice is also used. This is appropriately served at breakfast, brunch, or cocktail hour.

3. Deviled Eggs

5. Herring Grundy Similar to Salt fish Gundy but based on dried herring. Usually a little spicier than Saltfish Gundy

7. Whole Wheat Dumb Bread made without yeast.

9. Stewed Eggplant

11. Stewed Okra and greens.

There was also a Tofu  dish for the vegetarian in our group.

          Last year we had pumpkin and banana fritters instead or Dumb bread and the ever popular jonny cake is usually available. What is served is based on the culinary skills of the person doing the cooking and also on what’s available. I have also had ham, scrambled eggs, black bread, avocado, cheese, stewed saltfish and I am sure many other items that I can’t remember.

          In my mind this is a tradition that should be shared with the world and it’s unfortunate that visitors to our island rarely get a chance to join these wonderful events or share the food.

          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.

          Puerto Rican Green Banana Salad or Escabeche de Guineos

          January 6, 2011

          Green Fig Side Salad

          The first two people who served me this side dish were of Puerto Rican extraction so I called it Puerto Rican Green Banana Salad or Escabeche de Guineos. Actually, it is common throughout the Caribbean because it evolved by eating green bananas as a starchy substance when times are tough. In addition to being called Green Banana in English, it is also referred to as Green Fig Salad although there is no relationship with Figs as most Americans understand the word. This is not to be confused with plantains which appear to be big green bananas as this salad is made from regular unripe starchy bananas.

          Green Fig

          I would imagine this side dish evolved from an era when you had fields of bananas and none ripe and nothing to feed the kids for lunch. The solution is simple, boil the green bananas and toss them in a salad with whatever you have. The recipes are more standard now but there are still personal and regional variations. Of course, the source for my recipe is once again my friend Chino who shared his kitchen with anybody who liked to drink beer and keep him company while he was cooking. This was not as difficult as going to a culinary college so I found myself joining him quite frequently.

          At a Crucian Breakfast or Brunch, you will traditionally find a salt-fish dish, johnnycake, various fritters and Green Banana Salad. After that the variety of side dishes for breakfast is an endless combinations of old fashioned foods. At other meals Green Fig can be served as a side dish from a bowl like seasoned rice or any other vegetable or can be garnished and served as a salad as above. Eating it on new years will bring you green for the year.

          Ingredients:

          2 Green Bananas

          ¼ cup olive oil

          2 T. distilled white vinegar

          2 T. lemon juice

          10 sliced green Spanish Olives stuffed with pimento

          1T. Crushed Garlic

          1 tsp. capers

          1 Onion thin sliced and separated into rings.

          ½ green pepper cut into thin rings

          1 bay leaf

          ½ tsp. salt

          ¼ tsp. Pepper

          Directions:

          1. Cut the ends off the green bananas and score it lengthwise. Try not to go deeper than the skin as a deep cut will discolor. Leave the skins on and boil for 20-25 minutes on the stove top or cut in half put in coffeepot and run 10 cups of water through the coffeemaker let stay on hot plate covered with foil for 1 hour.

            Prepare Green Banana for Cooking

          2. Remove skin from the cooked bananas and slice into pieces – your choice I have seen them cut from 3/8 inch discs to 1 inch long pieces. Some people serve them whole without any dressing. They are all good. I used about ½ inch pieces.

            Boiled Pealed Green Fig

          3. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork until evenly distributed.
          4. Add bananas and gently toss until all are coated with the dressing and blended with the other ingredients.

            Tossed Salad Ready to Serve

          5. Serve from the Bowl or make as a side salad.
          6. For the simple salad plate,  I used a bed of lettuce and fresh ripe tomatoes locally grown.

          Winter is our strongest growing season for vegetables as that is when it is cool enough to grow a lot of North American summer crops. We have fantastic tomatoes and cucumbers but since the salad was already white, I left the cucumbers out for appearance but if you like cucumbers and have them on hand, why not include them?

          Hibiscus Punch – A Beautiful Natural Pink Limeade.

          January 3, 2011

          Hibiscus Punch – A Beautiful Natural Pink Limeade.

          When my granddaughters, family and friends visit, we swim or walk in the morning, take a mid day break, referred to as quiet time, where everybody can read or join me in the kitchen and back to the beach in the afternoon. My granddaughters go on food fads where one trip they will drink gallons of juice and not enough milk products, the next trip it’s all milk. Last trip is was no juice at all. However, I try to balance this by what we cook together and since they help make the healthy item, they alter their consumption to eat what they cooked.

          When I suggested we make Hibiscus punch to increase their juice consumption, everybody, except my son-in-law came to play. Let’s get the ingredients out of the way and then we can explain the method by showing everybody’s participation.

          Ingredients:

          6 Hibiscus flowers in full bloom

          5 Ripe Limes (about 4 ounces of juice)

          water as needed to make a half gallon

          ½ cup sugar

          ½ tsp ginger

          Helping Mom Make Juice

          In this picture Ms. Ana is helping her mother extract the fruit from passion fruit for juice which we made at the same time but that’s a story for another day.

          Flowers for Hibiscus Punch

          The starting point is 6 beautiful red hibiscus flowers which really don’t add much taste but they certainly contribute to a wonderful pink lemonade.

          Putting the Petals into the Pot

          The petals are removed from the flowers and placed in a pot to be covered with water and heated to extract the color. In our case when we are playing and cooking with kids, it is just more fun way to use the coffeepot although my daughter who is a lover of passion fruit juice used a real pot to make hers.

          The Cooked Flowers Turn The Water Purple

          Water is run through the coffeemaker on to the petals in the pot and you get that wonderfully rich purple color from red flowers. (about 10 -11 cups)

          Rolling the Limes

          Now to squeeze, limes by hand, you first roll them under pressure and you can use either your hands or feet. I demonstrated how to do one with my foot and then rinsed it off but Todd and Cayla opted to use their hands. Yes the yellow fruit is actually limes that are tree ripened outside my front door.

          Turn Inside Out to Free Juice

          Once the pulp is broken down, you cut the limes in half and turn them inside out over a cup, the juice is freely extracted from the pulp.

          Pour Lime Juice into Pot

          The juice is added to the pot after the flowers have been removed being careful to keep the seeds out.

          Stir in Sugar and Powered Ginger

          After that, the sugar and the ginger is added to the final jug it is to be stored in and any adjustments to sweetness, ginger or sugar is made at this time.

          A good time was had by all and no local juices were wasted. The kids and I drank the Hibiscus Punch for breakfast, the other adults seemed to prefer Cruzan Rum and Passion fruit juice later in the day.