Posts Tagged ‘Brunch’

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.

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.

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.

Bok Choy and Flowers

April 21, 2012

Flowers and Panas en Escabeche

Last week the winds brought down partially ripe breadfruit from a tree and I got 3 of them. Now breadfruit is one of those items that is best eaten in the green phase as when ripe, it gets a very sweet taste and has the consistency of custard  I am not fond of the ripe ones. Even green it is not a popular vegetable in the Virgin Islands but gets more popular in the Eastern Caribbean. When I was in St. Kitts last summer a friend prepared Breadfruit Plantains and they are fantastic.

They are essentially fried and when cooked for only five minutes they are according to my granddaughters who did not know I made a switch with regular white potatoes, the best French Fries they had ever eaten. When they are cooked for 15 minutes or so, they turn a golden brown and get very crispy like a potato chip. I like them both ways and have been know to over indulge since you start with a whole breadfruit weighing about four pounds and you can fry another batch ever 5 to 10 minutes.

Since I had three breadfruit to play with, I started searching for other recipes. It seems the first recipe I found was called “Soused Breadfruit” which I had never heard of nor could I find it anywhere on the web other than that one recipe. But in the West Indies, most souse recipes call for Vinegar and oil which is the basis for Puerto Rican Escabeche so I expanded my search for Panas en Escabeche.

Essentially, these is just like the Green Banana salad (Escabeche de Guineos) previously published. You dice the Breadfruit after pealing and discarding the seed. The breadfruit cubes are boiled for about 20- to 25 minutes which makes them soft to a fork. All of the other ingredients are added to the bowl and tossed.

This time I had green and red bell peppers so I used both. Also I had a cucumber that I wanted to use up so, I pealed it and sliced it very thin with a cheese slicer and added that to the salad. It was a pretty good salad  but not as good as “the Best French Fries ever.”

So what has this got to do with Bok Choy? My friend Gloria loves Bok Choy and at 90 pounds is not worried about salt and high blood pressure from traditional stir fried recipes which are really quite good.  Gloria Powell (www.antilleslilies.com) is a event florist on St, Croix heavily involved in working with tourists who want to get married in a St. Croix celebration.The solution, I made a trade of my excess arugula and Bok Choy for her gift of flowers. She also bought me a glass of wine.

Arugula Party Dip

April 15, 2012

I am not quite done with my detox but I am satisfied with the results as I am now about 5 pounds in 14 days with no suffering or exotic pills, packaged meals or special exercise. I am also nearing the completion of my book. For those who would like to follow my daily activities, I post on Facebook.

During my detox from Alcohol, I still eat and exercise and during those periods of procrastination from sitting at my desk, I seek out and cook, new meals. The only reason I don’t usually report on the recipes is that it takes even more time away from my primary goals. This recipe is simple and involves no cooking so as I return to normal on Wednesday, I am taking the time to post it.

For those who don’t know, arugula (rocket) is a peppery kind of lettuce which I happen to like. It is also another one of those green vegetables which is growing like a weed in my garden and as I was surfing the net, I stumbled upon a Spinach Dip Recipe at Eat at E’s. Since I don’t have spinach growing wild, I made note that I would probably try the recipe using Arugula.

Chef Enes said to let him know how it turns out because he likes Arugula but had worries that it might yellow with age. Well the dip never turned yellow because it was gone in two days and it was good. I am not sure if it was as good as the original as I left out the salt, was generous with the red pepper and cut back on the Mayonnaise and substituted Dijon mustard to reduce the fat content. I always modify recipes to reduce fat and salt. Some times it works, some times it doesn’t. This time it did.

I am glad I made the trip to Eat at E’s because his recipe inspired me to try this dip recipe which turned out quite well and added more flavor to my vegetable snacks.

Arugula Party Dip

Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed fresh devained arugula

Top of 2 green onion chopped

1/4 tsp pepper

2 T mayonnaise

2 T Dijon Mustard

2 T sour cream

1/2 tsp lime

sprinkle red pepper flakes on top

salt to taste

Method:

1. Place all ingredients in blender except for red pepper and salt.

2. Blend on low speed

3. Serve with fresh vegetable.

This is one of those recipes that should be prepare 5-6 hours in advance to smooth out the flavors.

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.

Jeera Aloo (Cumin Potatoes) – Coffeepot Style

February 19, 2012

 

Jeera Aloo (Cumin Potatoes)

While I had been lazy in 2011, Monica has been busy Running her Dinner Club, appearing on Television and even publishing new recipes. Of course as I returned to creative cooking and eating, I was delighted to find a powerful vegan dish, Jeera Aloo or cumin potatoes and decided to adapt it to my coffeepot.

I like my food spicy and this boiled potato has eight different spices and I decided to leave out the salt. That was a poor but correctable decision as I added the salt prior to eating at the table and it perked up all the other flavors. But then, I really should have know better than trying to second guess Monica of the Spice Diary. The next time I cook this meal, I will add a piece of scotch bonnet pepper as I like the traditional Caribbean hot pepper flavor and know it will merge very well with the rest of the flavors.

Jeera Aloo (Cumin Potatoes) – Coffeepot Style

 Ingredients:

1 large or two small potatoes – I used red and didn’t bother pealing them.

1/2 tsp salt or according taste

½ tsp paprika powder

1/2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 smallonion, thinly sliced

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

pinch of asafoetida (optional)

1 T dried coriander, chopped

Instructions:

1. Put cubed bite-sized potato and a ½ tsp of salt in the coffeepot and pass water through the unit to cover the potatoes.

2. After unit is done perking, cover the pot with foil and cook until tender. (1-2 hours, test with a fork.)

3. Drain and set cooked potatoes aside.

4. Add salt, paprika, mango powder and garam masala in a plastic bag and mix well.

5. Put cooked potatoes in bag and shake until evenly coated .

Coating the potatoes with the spice blend

 

6. Heat oil in coffeepot.

7. Add cumin, mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves. When they begin to sizzle, add the onions and 2T water. Cook covered until onions glaze over.

8. Stir well and add the potatoes.

9. Mix the potatoes and add the coriander.

10. Warm for about 1 hour.

I skipped meat for the day and had the potatoes and a Tomato and Arugula Salad which is all I needed to feel full and get a good night’s sleep.

Pollo en Escabeche – Puerto Rican Pulled Chicken

February 16, 2012

Pollo en Escabeche - Puerto Rican Pulled Chicken

There are 8 million Puerto Ricans in the US with about half living on the mainland and the other half on their home island. Since both men and woman in the islands cook, I would guess there are 4 million people who cook Puerto Rican Style food. What makes this interesting is I not sure any two cook everything the same way. While pretty much everybody uses the same ingredients, some are not seasonally available and and also, personal preference changes which ingredients go into the pot.

Finding a good recipe for something you were served in Puerto Rico is compounded by the fact that Cuba and the Dominican Republic have a different set of preferred ingredients for the same meal and many Latin American countries use the same name for entirely different meals. Even worse, some words can have different meanings for different meals.

According to Wikipedia which interprets the word “Escabeche” pretty much the way I know it to be:

“Escabeche is a typical Mediterranean cuisine which refers to both a dish of poached or fried fish (escabeche of chicken, rabbit or pork is common in Spain) that is marinated in an acidic mixture before serving, and to the marinade itself. The dish is common in Spanish, Salvadoran, Panamanian, Peruvian, Philippine, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican and Guatemalan cuisine, and popular in Catalonia, Portugal and Provence. Influences of the dish appear as far as Asia-Pacific with adjustments to local food staples. It is usually served cold after marinating in a refrigerator overnight or longer. The acid in the marinade is usually vinegar but can also include citrus juice. Escabeche is a popular presentation of canned or potted preserved fish, such as tuna, bonito or sardines. In the New World, versions of the basic marinade are often used with other foods than fish and meats, for example green bananas and chicken gizzards (Puerto Rico), jalapeño peppers (Mexico), etc. The origin of the word escabeche is Persian, and was brought to Spain by the Arabs during the Moorish conquests. The word derives from al-sikbaj, the name of a popular meat dish that was cooked in a sweet and sour sauce, usually vinegar and honey or date molasses.”

The chicken in todays post was served pulled (shredded) and hot but that is not always the case. This is the appetizer version served with crackers, traditionally saltine type. If served for dinner, it could be a cut-up whole chicken made with carrots and other vegetables or refrigerated and sliced on a sandwich. Of course all of the meals carry the same name.

Pollo en Escabeche

Ingredients:

1 Piece skinless and Boneless Chicken Breast 4-6 oz.

4T cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium-sized sweet or regular onions (cut off ends, remove outer skin, then chunk)

1 T. minced garlic

1 oz rum or white wine

1 bay leaf

1 T. Lime Juice

1/8” piece Scotch Bonnet or Jalapeño Pepper

1/4 tsp salt

2-3 T. Balsamic or Red Wine vinegar

Preparation:

  1. Add olive oil to a large coffeepot.
  2. Add onions, garlic, and rum and saute until onions are soft (1 hour).
  3. Add in chicken, lime juice, hot pepper, salt, bay leaves), cover with aluminum foil and cook for about 2 hours.
  4. Remove the chicken meat and shred the chicken.
  5. Stir in shredded chicken, add vinegar and continue to simmer until chicken is warm (30 minutes).
  6. Of course I served it with my favorite Stoned Wheat Crackers.

While refreshing my memory, I saw many good recipes and one that attracted my attention was from Goya which was with carrots and is served as a dinner. Of course I must give it a try for another slightly different dinner.

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.