Posts Tagged ‘Hotel Cooking’

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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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.

La Quinta Fondue Stew

July 17, 2010

Finished Stew in Fondue Pot

Everybody loves a new toy and mine is my fondue pot. I purchased it specifically for sous vide but noticed that the temperature is controllable from about 125 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit which is an extremely wide range. It goes from sous vide lamb to wok temperatures and has a beautiful shape for stir fry in addition to being deep enough for sous vide. I noticed the versatility right away and decided to test it out while in my hotel room in Florida.

Of course one of my simplest recipes was the hobo stem with available, and in this case very limited ingredients. It was raining too hard to walk to a restaurant and flooding too much to safely drive so it was time to make do. I had a left over piece of London broil from a sous vide experiment, celery, garlic, carrots and potato. I had restaurant salt and pepper and a small jar of olive oil. I didn’t even have an onion but if I had one I certainly would have used it. Ditto for flower to thicken the rather acceptable “ditch gravy”.

Recipe

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

2 cloves garlic sliced

½ pound London Broil cubed in to 1 inch pieces

1 stalk celery diced

1 potato diced

handful of baby carrots

3 packts hote4l salt

3 packets hotel pepper

water to simmer

dash of soy sauce

Browning the Meat

The heating element on the fondue is powerful so above 300 the oil splattered as the meat and garlic browned. I finally settled around 250 to brown the meat which is definitely a task I can’t do in my coffeepot.

The Stew is Cooking

After the meat and garlic were browned all of the vegetables were added with about a cup of water and simmered with a lid for about 40 minutes at 212.

The plate used to cover the pot was removed and some of the water evaporated as it boiled. Salt and pepper and soy sauce were added to the pot. Total cooking time was right about 1 hour.

Well it looks like I finally found a new useful tool in cooking rightsized meals for one without dirtying ever pot in the house. This thing is Teflon coated and very easy to clean. I never owned a wok so don’t know what I will be missing as I try another Thai meal in my new toy.

Lamb Sous Vide – La Quinta Motel

July 2, 2010

For those who don’t know and that is many professional chiefs in America, Sous vide cooking is low temperature cooking with the meat sealed in a vacuum bag.  It was all the rage of cooking blogs about two months ago but has dropped off the horizon.  I am still curious as to whether it is food fact or food fiction that it does a better job than traditional methods.

I simply haven’t had any success with low temperature sous vide because I have been busy getting my neck fixed and don’t think it would be wise to carry sophisticated electronic controllers through Customs and TSA. Still, I knew I would be bored and would do some cooking in my Hotel Room, but my first attempt at finding a rightsized cooker more traditional than a coffeepot was the small Crockpot which simply didn’t work as well. I like my coffeepot cooking in making “meals for one” because the food tastes the way it is supposed to and that is not always the case with sous vide.

When I was shopping for the Crockpot, I saw a fondue pot and started playing with the thermostatic control. I discovered it was a continuous dial with no fixed set points and when I turned it between off and warm, there was an audible click about half way between the two settings. I dint buy it right away because it was $30 and I didn’t know if it would work. With the small Crockpot a total failure incapable of making a safe stew or soup, I went back and bought my $30 “Sous Vide Egalitarian” Fondue Pot, a $10 digital thermometer, and a $2 dinner plate to use as a cover and to eat off of. My vacuum Pump and Vacuum Bags were Ziplock and the starter kit was under $5.00. Once again, the bags were allegedly Polyethylene but really didn’t feel like it. Caveat Emptor!

I chose a rather poor cut of Lamb, a shoulder chop, which has flavor but can be greasy when roasted or dry when grilled. I did this on purpose because it’s easy to cook a good piece of meat and if I’m going to buy new equipment or use new techniques it has to be special. The Picnic HamBBQ Ribs, and Turkey were special but can be done almost as well in normal equipment at normal temperatures and nothing else I did worked.

The review by Cara Parks claimed that cooking Lamb for one Hour at 134 was all that was needed and that it was excellent. My piece of meat was tougher and also I like my lamb about 140 at the bone so I choose 2 hours at 145.

It really wasn’t tough to set up the Fondue pot as a Sous Vide cooker. I put water in and heated it up. If it got too hot, I added cold water and turned down the dial. Two notches below warm was proper for 145 and it held very constant for the 2 hours needed to cook the meat without any adjustments or water added.

Lamb in the "Sous Vide Egalitarian" Fondue Pot

The meat was seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper and placed in the vacuum bag. Because of the fat, it floated until I placed a set of keys on the bag to weight it down. A lid was placed on the Fondue Pot to hold the heat.

Serving Plate Used as Cover

The picture below is the uncooked and unseasoned piece of meat. The one right below it is the piece after it was cooked for two hours at 145 Fahrenheit. Take note it is really cooked as the meat has broken away from the bone and the texture of the meat and fat has changed. Unlike high temperature roasted shoulder chops, the grease did not spread to the meat and the fat was easy to remove from the meat.

Uncooked Lamb

Cooked Lamb Chop

I would consider this a First Class win for Sous Vide that is pretty much unique to this style of cooking. A slow cooker is fine for tenderizing a cheap cut of meat, but only if you like eating all the grease and fat that come with the least expensive cuts.

Thai Won On – La Quinta Style

July 1, 2010

Cooking Thai Food with Dagny in my Hotel Room was a special event. First she eats Thai food on a regular basis and knows what it is supposed to taste like, she is a “make do” cook with a good sense of taste so substitutes freely and she also has a great sense of adventure. Well as mentioned in the previous post on the La Quinta Casserole, my new Crockpot was not even close to being the right tool for a stir fry, but still I was more interested in the flavoring used and matching authentic Thai Flavors so we decided to proceed in a “make do” manner adapting a recipe from Tes who is a very interactive blogger. She listed Thai recipes for me in the comment section of one post on yummy lunches and I decided on a stir fry recipe as a starting point.

In attempting to separate the fun from the food, I am presenting Dagny who was in charge of making the Microwave rice because I had prepared the rest of the food while she had to work at the last moment. Seems that the Hotel had bought an odd lot of Sylvania Ghost Microwaves from Hell and their solution was to unplug them but leave them in the room without warning the guests.

Struggling to Plug in the Goast Microwave from Hell

Dagny did a trouble shooting on the microwave and verified it wasn’t plugged in. No problem she simply moved the wooden cabinet that held the refrigerator and the microwave while both remained inside then crawled behind it to plug it in.

Dagny Calling me a Nasty Name

She then discovered that I was documenting her monumental struggle because the cord was too short for both her to reach and plug it in yet she persisted to fight the battle to assist in dinner preparation. She burst out laughing and called me a nasty name when she caught me photographing her efforts. She’s lucky shes my daughter and I have a sense of humor otherwise I would have posted a more unflattering picture.

The microwave started nuking the rice with a 6 minute and 36 second cooking time and could not be reset. Dagny’s solution was let it cook, open the door at 5 minutes and 6 seconds and take out the rice. The microwave from hell cooked the rice but kept on randomly beeping and making weird noise whether the door was open or not until Dagny unplugged the machine.

Smiling with Pride over her Epic Battle

I am not sure if the whimsical smile while serving the rice was because of winning her epic battle with the Ghost Microwave from Hell or because she was having fun cooking with her Father. I certainly hope it was the latter.

Rice & Thai Flavored chicken with Peppers and Onions

Ingredients:

For chicken

1 lb Chicken cut into small pieces

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp Thai chili paste

2-4 packets Hotel Salt to taste

1 tbsp Soy sauce

2 packets hotel sugar (tsp)

1 tbsp olive oil

For veggies

3/4 pound sliced Peppers and Onions Fajita mix

For Rice

1 package microwave white rice

Now right from the start, I knew my cooking utensils were limited to an undersized coffeepot that cuts off in an hour and a crock pot with hot walls and a cold bottom so I decided to use both tools, with the coffeepot doing the cooking and the Crockpot doing the holding. If I had a larger coffeepot, I would have used that alone.

The procedure was straight forward for a cook who understands food processing. The chicken was blanched by adding sliced raw chicken and salt to the coffeepot and water to the coffeemaker. As the water perked, it took the heat up to 175 right away. The very moist chicken was placed in the Crockpot on warm (160 Fahrenheit) and held until all of the rest of the ingredients were combined in the coffeepot and heated until the garlic was glazed. The sauce was then added to the chicken and stirred until the chicken was thoroughly coated.

Chicken Coated with Sauce

The vegetables were added on top of the chicken and not mixed, Dagny and I went for our walk and then we stopped so I could have a couple of beers and be bad. After all, it was two days after surgery.

Dinner is Served

We ate the meal and her comment was the same as usual. It’s good and I could even pick up a woman by cooking her dinner (She knows I do.). But I still have to shake the weird factor of cooking in my coffeepot if I want anybody to really follow my recipes.

Actually Dagny, I’m working on it and may have a solution.

La Quinta Casserole – Crockpot or Coffee Pot

June 30, 2010

La Quinta Casserole Cooked and Ready to Eat

My daughter tells me that a lot more people would use my recipes if I could shake the weird factor of cooking in my coffeepot. Her point is the food tastes good, the recipes are easy to follow but cooking in a coffeepot is weird. Many people need the advice on how to prepare traditional hearty or cultural meals for one, but would never think or even dream about doing it in a coffeepot.

So I knew I would have time on my hands in Florida with nothing to do for days on end so I went shopping for a more universally acceptable cooking device and ended up with a crock pot which was exactly the same size as my coffeepot and it even had three settings, warm low and high. After all, I like everyone at La Quinta so, I can justify $10 for a Crockpot of my own instead of using their coffeepot.

My very first use was to heat water and find out about the temperatures. Warm was 160, Low was 185 and high was well above 200 and I think you could boil water so that setting for a slow cooker was not of interest except to sauté onions and garlic and to brown meat just like I could do in my coffee pot.

Since I had already made one version of La Quinta Casserole in the very small pot that automatically turns off after 1 hour, I figured my new perfectly sized crock pot would make life easier.

WRONG!!!

When it comes to casseroles, it’s easy to guess my favorite ingredients. I love onions, garlic, tomatoes, summer squash, peppers, chicken and cant live without basil and wine.

Well I went to the grocery store and found some stuff called fajita vegetable mix which was red and white onions and red, green and yellow peppers all cleaned and rough cut.

Recipe:

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced

½ pound fajita mix

1 very small summer squash

1 14.5 oz can of stewed Italian tomatoes

½ tsp basil

½ pound chicken breast

1-2 oz wine.

I put the oil and the garlic in the Crockpot and turned it on high and nothing happened. Seems this Crockpot had all the heating elements in the side so there was no heat getting to the low level of oil. I added the fajita mix and wine and cooked it on high and nothing happened except the vegetables against the wall started to brown.

Uncooked Vegetables with Oil and Wine

I blanched the chicken breast in the coffeepot because I was fearful of it cooking so slow in the Crockpot that it would cause me food poising issues. In quick succession, I added the sliced summer squash and sliced blanched chicken breast.

Sliced Squash and Chickn in the Pot

Immediately thereafter, I added the rest of the ingredients, stirred the pot and let it cook for 2.5 hours on low heat.

All in Pot - Uncooked

Everything came out fine and it was delicious. Seems that this particular Crockpot is tougher to use than my coffeepot and not as safe. It is the right size but the wrong heating configuration and unless there is enough liquid to cover all the solids, it is not likely to cook anything very well. Oh well, the coffeepot is weird but works. Just don’t let anyone see you cook in it.

The La Quinta Inn Coffeepot Casserole

May 19, 2010

The people at the La Quinta Inn (Clearwater Central) probably do not deserve my tribute to them. They were friendly, intelligent, helpful, concerned people who did a great job of providing an inexpensive hotel room with reasonable amenities for the duration of my stay. I have tentatively scheduled my return and will want to stay with them upon my return so I hope they don’t get too mad at me.

But still this is the first meal I ever cooked for myself in a hotel room and it was inspired by available ingredients, ease of preparation and the fact that every single ingredient could be eaten uncooked or cold from the can without harm . But as it turned out, the cooked version with the ameliorated flavors was far superior to eating raw onions and summer squash. My major concern was that a safety feature on the pot turned it off after one hour so the cooking process would have to be restarted and the ingredients added in a set sequence so nothing over cooked.

However since I was done with all testing and just waiting to go home, I decided to stay in the room and cook and work for the day.

The La Quinta Inn Coffeepot Casserole

Ingredients:


Onion

Italian Style Stewed Tomatoes

Summer Squash

Canned Chicken Breast

Sliced Mozzarella Cheese

Hotel salt and pepper to taste

I had to purchase a real knife to open the canned tomatoes and cut the squash. But obviously, the salt, pepper, plate and fork were from the hotel supplies.

The onion was rough chopped and added to the pot with a little juice from the tomatoes and cooked for one hour.

The squash was sliced and added to the pot.

The tomatoes were then added to the pot.

After an hour of cooking, the chicken was added.

Two slices of cheese were placed on top.

The pot was then heated for approximately an hour until the cheese melted.

Everything was properly cooked and flavorful. Honestly, for the most part I love to eat out when on vacation but after the scare I had about a stroke and paralysis, I decided to continue with healthy eating, and even skipped the salt because there was enough in the canned products.