Posts Tagged ‘Fondue Pot’

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.

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.

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.

Top Ten Vegan and Vegetarian Posts

January 7, 2011

I know what I like to eat and I don’t look for exact recipes, I look for ideas. Naturally, I surf Foodpress daily in almost every category except baking and desserts.  It is probably a sin to destroy your temple by eating sweets when you have a tendency towards obesity and equally sinful to turn on an oven when cooking meals for one.

I am more of an accidental Vegetarian than a committed one and it probably started with my friend Tracey who talks the talk of vegetarianism but will start her day with a bag of Doritos and not even the original ones which were not too artificial. As the year progressed, I have cut my meat portions from 8 ounces to 4 ounces and reduced the number of times I eat meat in a week from twice a day to 3-4 times a week.  This means I have cut back from 7 pounds per week to about 1 pound per week due to the intentionally portion controlled meals and the unintentional shrift to a vegetarian diet.

Of course the shift involves my cooking for female friends all who happen to favor vegetarian diets.  Frankly  by focusing on the rich foods of India which have developed from centuries of a vegetarian diet and the foods of Italy which have had centuries of meatless Friday’s, I have not suffered from a lack of flavor or foods that I really like. Yet I still will honestly post on what I eat.

This post evolved from two Foodpress listings, one from the Teacher Cooks on her top ten posts for the year and the other from Lisa’s call for vegan and vegetarian recipes with the intent of moving “to live a more sustainable and fulfilling life through getting back to basics, especially through food.” While it may seem weird that I do a lot of cooking in my coffeepot, it is consistent with my goal of minimal energy consumption for a small amount of food.

I also purchase as much as I can from the local Vegetable Market which has great vegetables in the American winter and fantastic fruit in summer.  It is unfortunate that when cooking meals for one, you sort of rely on canned beans because the alternative is to cook large quantities  and have infinite leftovers or waste a lot of energy cooking a cup of beans because you still have to  keep the almost empty pot on the stove for the same length of time you would cook a full pot.

Well, Lisa here is the Ten Vegan and Vegetable meals from my site and I once again learned something as I did with my post The Peoples Choice – A Bakers Dozen of Top Recipes

In the case of the following list all of the top 6 are boldly flavored vegan recipes if you leave out the dollop of sour cream on two of the soups.  The last 4 are Italian vegetarian creations based on dairy products.  Super healthy meals that taste great like Diabetic Friendly and Vegan Tomatoes and Cannelloni Beans Over Barley which was one of my favorites did not make the list. Oh well healthy is good  – just not too healthy.

  1. Pinto Bean Curry (Rajma Chawal) – A Tribute to Monica
  2. Super Vegan Acorn Squash Soup
  3. Caribbean Black Bean Soup (vegetarian)
  4. Vegan Red Beans and Brown Rice
  5. Crucian Butternut Squash Fritters
  6. Picture Perfect Borscht Tastes Good Too!
  7. Penne with Cauliflower in White Sauce or “Penne con Cavolfiore”
  8. Melt in Your Mouth Eggplant Parmesan
  9. Vegetarian Broccoli Soup
  10. Rotini Dolores

In the past year, I have lost 65 pounds without a diet.  I eat everything  I want for dinner in small portions and during the day I graze on all the items a rabbit would eat i.e raw carrots, celery,  lettuce and cucumbers.  When available I eat locally grown fresh fruits. I am not suffering from a lack of energy as I walk 2-5 miles a day in addition to some yard work and daily cooking.  I don’t really even count how many carrots or pieces of celery I eat or how much fluids I drink because I now eat as much rabbit food as I want and  drink all the fluids I want.

I am not perfect or even close to it. I party with my family and gain a quick 5 pounds because of the lifestyle change and when they are gone, I revert back.  The 5 pounds is gone in about 2 weeks without any draconian efforts.  I intend to drop another 15 pounds to 165 so I can claim to have lost 100 pounds from my peak weight but will settle for a permanent weight of 170-172 which last occurred in 1967. Oh well, it’s a plan, not a resolution or a dream.

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.

What Do You Do With Woodies?

December 22, 2010

Grandma's Carrots

My Grandmother was an amazing woman. She was born in the Ox Age in rural Poland and was shipped to America for an arranged marriage. She lived about half her married life in NYC before saving enough with her husband to buy a farm in the rolling hills of rural New Jersey. Babka, as we called her, lived long enough to become totally fascinated by the Space Age and people actually walking on the moon so she had a lot in common with her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren even though her English was heavily accented with her Polish and Polish remained her primary language throughout her life.

Despite her fascination with the Space age, she never really adapted to modern living and she would have been comfortable living at Walden Pond. Her house was barely wired with one electrical outlet for a radio because she kept up on current events and a light bulb to read her papers in English, Polish and Russian which her children would get for her in the New York area. She never did have Central heat or indoor plumbing and all her life in her country farm, she used a wood burning stove and chopped her own wood which she also burnt in the pot bellied stove for heat.

She grew her own chickens, ducks and geese. Of course, she did her own butchering and cleaning and actually saved the goose down to make or repair the quilts she needed to keep warm during the winter months. Naturally, she used all the excess eggs and didn’t particularly care which animal they came from.

She had her own garden and managed to survive on her root cellar crops until spring. The only groceries I remember her buying were salt, pepper, sugar, lard, dried beans and coffee. She even stretched out her coffee consumption by blending it with chicory which had been touted by the government during World War II to reduce foreign dependencies during food rationing. Some say she really extended the time between coffee purchases because no one would drink that nasty brew. Eventually as she grew older and started slowing down, she got a refrigerator to preserve food.

Since I started controlling my eating, I snack on celery, carrots and lettuce during the day. Unfortunately, baby carrots cost about 3-5 times as much as regular carrots so I buy the regular ones on sale and snack on the smallest ones first and use the medium sized ones for cooking. Inevitably I end up with 3 or 4 bags with a couple of slightly wilted Gigantic Woodies that are too big to eat raw and two bitter to want to cook . That’s when I remembered my Grandmother’s slow cooked candied carrots which were constantly available because she always kept a moist covered pan on the back (cooler) portion of her wood burning stove. That was also the location for the slow cook soup pot so it was either soup or carrots for a healthy snack for her visitors.

The Dreaded Woodies!

Ingredients:

1-2 T. Butter enough to cover pan bottom when melted

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

¼ tsp nutmeg

3-4 whole cloves

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in pot. When melted stir in spices until uniform across pot bottom.
  2. Peal and slice carrots in 4 ” lengths. Split in Half
  3. Stew in Butter and spice, covered to retain the moisture at very low temperatures below the boiling point about 200 Fahrenheit.

    Stew in butter and spices

  4. After a couple of hours turn over and replace cover.

    Turn over and continue cooking

  5. Cook until done ie tender to your fork and wilted not woody.
  6. Sprinkle with brown sugar and let melt.

    Add sugar and continue cooking

    7. Serve when brown sugar is melted.

Since I never was around when my Grandmother started this dish, I am not sure what was included. I know cinnamon was in her recipe and she usually cooked with cloves. The four that I chose are compatible and traditional for pumpkin and other squash recipes. Remarkably, these four are on the list of ten spices that can make you live longer and healthier

Because of the need for a long low cooking time, my coffeepot was an excellent choice and my fondue pot has excellent temperature control within a couple of degrees. You could also use a covered pan in a warm oven but I am not sure how stable the temperature is at that low a setting. The long cooking time in the butter is needed to break down the woody nature of old carrots so don’t rush this side dish or you wont like it.

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