Posts Tagged ‘crockpot’

I Finished My Book!!!

April 30, 2012

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

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

My Ebook for Kindle

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

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

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

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

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Giambotta, Italian Stewed Chicken

April 28, 2012

Giambotta, Italian Stew?

I am indebted to Maria Pitella for reminding me of this meal and I never knew that Giambotta meant Italian Stew. My Mother-in-Law and her Brother were both born in Italy and my wife was a great Italian cook as were her Mother and Aunt. Now the family all favored every type of pasta with red sauce or very good meat as her Grandfather and Uncle had run a Butcher Shop. The red sauce would have seafood or three types of meat, veal, pork (or sausage) and beef (usually meatballs or Braciole).

My wife never made this stew and for good reason. She liked her chicken barbequed and beef, in any recipe including stew. On rainy days, you could almost count on beef stew and on the very rare occasions that she made this, I am not sure if she made it in an Italian style or an Irish style and she simply called it chicken stew. But this is the way Dolores made it with the principle difference being the inclusion of carrots and thickening the gravy with a rue.

Chicken Stew:

Ingredients:

1 potatoes peeled and diced
2 carrots coined
1 1 piece mild Italian sausage sliced into chunks
1 boneless chicken breasts sliced into strips
2 T cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 oz rum
1 small red bell peppers sliced
1 medium onions sliced
1 stalk celery cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp of oregano
1 Bay leaf

1 bullion and 12 oz. Water
cold rue (1 T butter 1 T flour )
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Mix a tablespoon of room temperature butter with a tablespoon of white flower until smooth set aside.
  2. Precook the carrots for an hour in a foil covered coffeepot using about 1 tsp of salt with the cut up carrots and potatoes to the coffeepot and passing 8 cups water through the coffeemaker portion prior to covering with foil. Save and set aside.
  3. Put everything else into the empty coffeepot and cook covered for about 2 hours.
  4. Add the potatoes and carrots and run 12 oz of water through the coffeemaker.
  5. Give the pot about 1 hour for the carrots and potatoes to get hot.
  6. Decant the broth a little at a time into the rue until all the liquid is mixed with the rue. Return it to the pot. Serve when ready.

This was very good but more than a meal for one person but not quite enough for two unless I used more potatoes. That means I had leftovers because I didn’t plan ahead which I definitely try to avoid having around. The only way I am winning “The Battle of the Bulge” is by waging my constant “War Against Leftovers.” In this case I got rid of them by eating them as a snack the next day. They were quite good.

Monica’s Spicy Indian Chicken

February 27, 2012

Monica's Spicy Indian Chicken

It’s far easier to cook creativity when you are “born to” a family of spices. While my mother was not a creative cook and used only minimal spices, I learned to cook Italian at the same time my wife did and because of her heritage and the foods her family and extended family cooked for us, we had a very high standard of excellence. We began to experiment and expand our knowledge of Italian Spices. Of course there are many family tricks, like if the sauce scorches slightly, add a small amount of sugar, or if the new batch of oregano is bitter, use more basil.

I had the chance to be born again into the family of Puerto Rican Spices as I cooked with my good friend Chino. So I just naturally stuck with BBQ, Caribbean and Italian foods as my staples in life until I stumbled on Monica’s Blog of Indian Foods. I don’t know what possessed me to try a new genera, except I was probably bored with the same old flavors. The hardest problem in cooking good Indian Food is finding all the spices and from experience I hate to alter a recipe before I have tried the real deal.

Over time, I have managed to assemble quite a collection of Indian spices and the only one I am not quite sure if I like the flavor is star anise, and it seems I may have figured out the reason why when I was delayed from eating this meal on the day I cooked it and ate it the day after. When you cook Indian Food at low temperatures the first flavor which develops is the star anise and it has a strong Sambuca like flavor which is OK to drink but I am not sure I want it in my food. Since I ate out even though I had prepared the food in my coffeepot, I decided to eat it the next day.

It was fantastic as all the flavors merged together to become one.

Monica’s Spicy Indian Chicken

For the marinade
6 oz chicken (I used thighs with bone. The original recipe calls for up to a pound)
1tsp salt
1tsp black pepper
1T grated garlic (More than the original but I like it.)
1 T fresh grated ginger (More than the original but I like it.)
1/2tsp paprika
1/2tsp garam masala
1 T dried coriander (No fresh available.)
2 T yoghurt

For the masala (Sauce Blend):
3 T olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
Pinch of cinnamon powder
1 onion, diced
1 slice 1/8 inche hot pepper
1 T grated garlic
1 T grated ginger
salt (according to taste)
1tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp paprika powder
1 T coriander
4 oz crushed Tomatoes

Instructions:

1.Mix the marinade in a bowl until uniform, add the chicken pieces.
2.Leave to marinate for one hour in the fridge
3.While waiting, add oil to coffeepot and when hot add cumin, cloves, hot pepper, cinnamon powder, bay leaf and star anise.
4.Once the seeds start to sizzle, add the onion and cook until glazed over about 1 hour
5.Add garlic and ginger and stir into pot
6.Next add the garam masala, turmeric powder, coriander, and paprika. Mix until uniform
7.Add the crushed tomatoes, stir and let cook 1 hour
8.Add the marinaded Chicken and stir until uniform
9.Cover with foil and cook 2 to 4 hours until separates with fork
10.Serve wih brown rice.

In my case I had to refrigerate over night and reheat it the next day. It still amazes me that someone can create a fantastic meal using more than a dozen spices and half a dozen additional flavors and have it come out excellent.

Congratulations Monica.

Stewed Fish and Beans – Puerto Rican Style

February 22, 2012

Puerto Rican Style Stewed Fish and Red Beans

The Fish and Tomato recipe previously presented is just begging for more creativity and the standard ingredients in Puerto Rican or Caribbean Kitchens and personal preference would help you make choices. I don’t always have fresh bell peppers but there is usually a bottle of Sofrito in the refrigerator. Sofrito is just a flavoring blend with various ingredients usually bell pepper, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes.

Of course, you could use Sazon which is a spice blend which adds a lovely natural red color to the pot and another option would be to add a can (8 oz.) of Spanish Style Tomato Sauce. In the two variations presented today, I chose to add beans. Using Red beans would be a typical Puerto Rican Style recipe whereas my using black beans was just a personal adaptation for my own personal preference.

Ingredients:

1 T. Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 medium onion rough cut

1 slice 1/8 inch of hot pepper (Optional)

1-2 oz. Dark Rum

2 T Safrito with tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

1 can Red Beans with liquid

½ tsp Adobo

1 packet of Sazon

4-6 oz Piece of Fish with or without bones

Method:

1. Place oil, rum, hot pepper, onion, and garlic in Coffeepot, place on warmer and heat for 1 hour.

2. Add seasoned salt, beans and tomatoes heat for about 2 hours or other convenient amount of time.

3. When pot is hot, add fish and cook for an additional 2 hours.

Stewed Fish and Black Beans

The meal made above uses the more strongly flavored black beans and the biggest difference was I drained the dark liquid from the beans and rinsed them and drained them again before adding the beans to the pot. I didn’t want the dark liquid to alter the color of the red sauce.

When it comes to cooking Puerto Rican and Caribbean Foods, “To each, his own.”

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.

Italian Pumpkin Soup – Coffeepot Style

February 12, 2012

Pumpkin Soup with Chicken

When I first wrote about Acorn Squash Soup, pumpkin and acorn were about the same price. I like the flavor of roasted acorn squash so I could buy a couple of small ones and make one into soup and the other eat roasted. Well in the past year, one market has dropped the price of pumpkin down as low as fifty cents a pound and started selling one pound pieces. So naturally I decided to try pumpkin soup using my Acorn Squash Soup recipe.

Actually, Italian Pumpkin Soup is richer and bolder than Acorn Squash Soup and just as versatile. I made a vegan version with coined carrots where you have to blanch the carrots until tender and add them back after the pumpkin soup is pureed. The version pictured above is with chicken and when I cooked it on the stove top, I included carrots, dumplings and chicken. When rereading the acorn squash recipe, I see that I no longer add Pasta to soup. If you choose to do this in your coffeepot, you have to cook the pasta for twice as long as called for and avoid leftovers as the pasta has a tendency to turn mushy. So in effect, this really is an entirely different soup and deserves it’s own recipe.

Italian Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

2 can vegetable broth or Chicken Broth

¾ to I pound pumpkin

3-4 cloves garlic minced

1 small onion diced

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Optional – Piece of chicken with or without the bone

Optional – Coined Carrots, precooked

Optional -Tablespoon grated Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Method:

  1. Peal and cube the pumpkin and get rid of the skin and seeds.
  2. Add cubed pumpkin and garlic to the pot and cook with broth for 2 hours
  3. Puree in blender or remove pumpkin from broth and mash by hand.
  4. Add onion and chicken or cooked carrots if desired. Cook additional 2 hours.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with Parmesan at the table

This is one of those soups that loves to be played with. Aside from pasta or dumplings as mentioned above, there are a few obvious spices I might try adding like ginger matchsticks, cumin and parsley. Come to think about it, I don’t believe either my daughter or I have ever made soup exactly the same or followed an exact recipe. It depends on what we feel like and what ingredients we have on hand.

Basic Puerto Rican Fish in Red Sauce, Coffeepot Style

February 1, 2012

Puerto Rican Tomato, Fish and Brown Rice

Over the past couple of years, I find I am eating a lot more fish mostly sashimi grade tuna because I love the flavor and talipia, because it is very inexpensive and fresh from the farm. I have tried the frozen whole taliapa from China which was even cheaper than our fresh local product, but it was so nasty and “off Flavor” that I threw the whole meal out. I’ll stick with fresh, local and still inexpensive Talipia and know I eat the best.

I love tomatoes, garlic, peppers, onions, rice and beans and have taken several pictures of the different combinations I cooked with fish and the best way to eat it is the way you like it. I will start with the absolute simplest ways I have prepared the fish in my coffeepot and later publish slight modifications I have documented over the past couple of years. I am sure I have cooked many more different variations and all are more or less favorable but they are all good. When just starting to cook, you should always start with the most basic ingredients and add more to see if you like it better.

Simple Basic Fish Recipe

Ingredients:

1 T. Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 medium onion rough cut

½ Green Bell Pepper

1 can diced tomatoes

½ Tsp Adobo or other seasoned salt

1 slice 1/8 inch of hot pepper (Optional)

4-6 oz Piece of Fish with or without bones

Method:

  1. Place oil and raw ingredients in Coffeepot, place on warmer and heat for 1 hour.
  2. Add seasoned salt and tomatoes heat for about 2 hours or other convenient amount of time.
  3. When pot is hot, add fish and cook for an additional 2 hours.

Extremely flexible cooking times if you have a thermometer. Just heat sauce above 140 and add the fish. Heat the fish between above 160 and serve. I served it with brown rice as shown above. However, since I sometimes want a change, I have also served it with Barley which is also a healthy alternative.

Coffeepot Pulled Chicken

January 22, 2012

Pulled Chicken Sandwich

While I don’t as a habit buy red meat, it is not really a major health issue with me and I will eat it if served, especially if well cooked. When I visit my Daughter and son-in-law, I tend to eat more meat in a week than I would at home in a month. My daughter Dagny is an excellent cook and she uses her crockpot to cut down on evening cooking time. When I visited, she had me make a pulled pork which was melt in your moth delicious and nothing could be easier. Essentially you slow cook the pork and onions then poor off the juices, shred the meat and add back a red sauce mixture of your choice.

Of course I liked the meal and decided to try the same concept with pulled chicken. Since I didn’t really remember what she had me do for the red sauce, I decided to use my home made BBQ sauce that I had used on the Sloppy Joe.

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil

1 medium onion rough cut

4 cloves garlic minced

1 piece of chicken breast

1 oz. Rum, white wine or  water

½ cup Homemade BBQ sauce

Roll to serve it on

Directions:

  1. Add oil, onions and garlic to the pot.

    Glazed onions and garlic

  2. Add Chicken breast and rum (Some liquid is necessary to promote heat distribution.)

    Add Chicken Breast and Rum

  3. Cook until tender about 4 to 8 hours. (Whatever is best for your schedule.)

    Cook until chicken can be shredded

  4. Remove chicken and shred with forks.

    Shredded Chicken

  5. Poor liquid off onions and garlic. Discard or save for soup base.
  6. Return chicken to pot, add BBQ sauce and stir until uniform.

    Mix Onions, Garlic, Chicken and BBQ Sauce.

  7. Place on hot plate and reheat.

I normally don’t eat bread, but for this meal, I purchased some delicious onion rolls and made this a treat as I ate two sandwiches.

Simply Delicious!!

Beautiful Stuffed Peppers

January 19, 2012

Beautiful Stuffed Red Peppers!

While getting my computer organized which is just another way of wasting time, I actually found a copy of the Stuffed Red Pepper served with mashed potatoes and sauce. It really was a beautiful meal fit for a king or at least this old man. There is no need to post a recipe as the following post is for Stuffed Green Peppers.

Meanwhile, I don’t know if Ill get back to writing more about food but I certainly enjoy the visitors to coffeepotcooking.wordpress.com. There were about 13,000 visitors last year and it seems that the most popular reason why visitors come is to learn about coffeepot cooking in general but there are many who come to find recipes for Puerto Rican food which I learned to cook from my friend Chino. Of course the disasters are all mine as Chino is no longer alive to give constructive criticism. (It might be better if you used cilantro instead of parsley.)

Chino was a very positive human being and the most negative thing he ever told me was “It”s alright.” Of course, I figured out that that was a very negative assessment and I should try again. However, when he said something was good or great he meant it and we used to trade foods we cooked on almost a daily basis.

Of course some of the recipes I intend to post in the future have Puerto Rican influences inspired by Chino and some have Italian Influences inspired by Dolores. Others come from my daughter who is an excellent cook with Caribbean roots. Oh and I would be rude to ignore Monica who has taught me to love Indian food which has a tremendous influence on all Caribbean foods.

Well, I will try to remain committed, at least until I publish the best of what I have been eating so that I don’t have to keep wasting time rooting through piles of paper recipes. I am not quite so manic about what I eat as I have learned to control my input to reasonable amounts and yes I achieved one goal last December of losing 100 pounds from my peak weight (265). I am now contented holding 172 plus or minus 4 pounds. As to exercise I like walking and do about 25 miles in a normal week and last Saturday walked a 26.4 mile Marathon in 10 hours and 15 minutes.