Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

Summer Squash Pasta Substitute

November 10, 2015
Squash slices in Tomato Sauce

Squash slices in Tomato Sauce

I woke up Sunday at 203 pounds, only 23 pounds more to lose in 52 days. Should be OK, if I don’t have too many failures. Todays meal takes the carbohydrates out of Italian food by substituting thin sliced zucchini or summer squash for pasta in tomato sauce.

This recipe is more visual than wordy. I always have tomato sauce in my refrigerator so it is easy to put the sauce on early in the day and let it heat up in my coffeepot.

Prepping the Squash

Prepping the Squash

The squash is pealed and both ends cut off. Then thin slices are cut from the squash.Notice the seed core is not used in this recipe. There is nothing wrong with the core. The resulting meal is just prettier if you ship it.

Summer Squash Slices

Summer Squash Slices

I use a cheese slicer but there are other tools that can do the same.  I love both Summer Squash and Zucchini and previously made this meal out of the latter. The meal is Vegan before the cheese is added and vegetarian after.

Served with Parmesan Cheese

Served with Parmesan Cheese

BTW, the two soursop’s I bought are not ripe but a friend of mine gave me a fully ripe one today and if your not familiar with the fruit, you might think it looks rotten. That is when they are at their sweetest best.

Soursop, Ripe and Green

Soursop, Ripe and Green

Notice the ripe one is bigger than both of the one pound fruits. Therefore, I am looking at a 1000 calories. When I start to eat it, I will have to program myself to make a very light dinner or soup to offset it. Of course it is a sedative so maybe I will offset some of the calories by cutting back on wine. What ever happens, will happen and I will track it.

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Refrigerator Pickles

November 9, 2015
Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

I am inspired!! I am down to 204 which is my lowest weight for 2015 and with very little effort. I am still eating well and drinking my evening wine but avoiding the soda, peanuts and coffee with cream in the morning. On Saturday morning, I usually take a trip to the Vegetable Market at Le Reine for my week’s supply of fresh Vegetable. Today there was an abundance of cucumbers and a couple of nice young eggplants. I always have sauce in my refrigerator so am planning on Eggplant Parmesan later in the week.

I keep saying that I nibble on rabbit food during the day but that is not exactly true. When I got home today, I turned my cucumbers into Refrigerator Pickles. Since there is no sugar in the brine, the calories are about the same and I like the texture and flavor of pickles better.

Cucumbers are mentioned at least twice in the Bible (Numbers 11:5 and Isaiah 1:8) and history records their usage over 4,000 years ago in Western Asia when cucumbers migrated from their native India to be pickled in the Tigris Valley.

As far back as 850 B.C., Aristotle extolled the healing effects of “cured” cucumbers and Julius Caesar thought pickles had an invigorating effect and supplied his army with them.

Aside from the Bible, Shakespeare specifically mentioned pickled as in drunk and in the The Diary of Samuel Pepys (1660), the word is used to describe a mess “as the house is in a pickle”. He also used pickled as a substitute for drunk.

While the English never solved the problem with scurvy until about 1850 when they all became limeys, The Dutch Navy and others fought the disease with pickles and sauerkraut. Columbus’ ships were supplied with vitamin C-rich pickles, allowing sailors to make the long trip without being debilitated by scurvy.

Cucumbers were brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus, who is known to have grown them on the island of Haiti. Cucumbers adapted quickly to the new world and by 1535 Cartier found cucumbers growing in Canada, and they were known to the colonists of Virginia as early as 1609.

Somewhere along the line, someone figured out that instead of a fermented pickle like a kosher dill, people could make a pretty good imitation without the long and sometimes uncontrolled fermentation process. Refrigerator pickles have a nice texture and flavor and there is minimal risk of making a bad batch.

You need to make enough liquid to cover the cucumbers and onions. I reuse the liquid so I just add enough cucumbers and onions until the Jar is full but the following is a good place to start. There are hundreds ,perhaps even thousand, of truly different pickling recipes on the Internet. Some include dry powered mustered or Turmeric which I like but they turn the brine yellow which I don’t find appealing. Others add sugar and cutback on the water to make a sweet and sour syrup. That’s the last thing I need when dieting although my recipe for pickled beet eggs has sugar, but not enough to make a syrup.

Cut up cucumbers and other ingredients

Cut up cucumbers and other ingredients

Ingredients:

4 to 6 cucumbers cut into spears.
1 onion cut into rings

Brine Ingredients.

4 cups of water
2 cups of vinegar
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons crushed garlic
1 Tablespoon dried dill or a few sprigs of fresh dill
1/2 Tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 Tablespoon of Coriander seeds
1/2 hot pepper scotch bonnet or teaspoon of whole peppercorns

Directions: Slice onions and cucumbers and add to an appropriately sized container with a sound lid. I used one gallon sized. Mix water, vinegar and salt in a pot and make sure salt is all dissolved. Toss the spices into the container, don’t worry about mixing them. Add enough brine to over the raw vegetables. Cover and swirl around to distribute the spices. Stick container in Refrigerator. Since cucumbers are one of my goto snacks when dieting, I might start eating them right away. The do improve with age although, I have never had a batch last more than ten days.

My biggest diet problem started today. I went to the vegetable market and many merchants had out of season Julie mangoes. Also, soursop is in season, these are two of my favorite fruits. For a dollar a fruit, one pound, I brought two of each. Guess we get a chance to see how poor my will power is. Mangoes have about 210 calories with 200 from sugars and a soursop has over 400 calories with about 375 from sugars. However, I cant resist the flavor of fresh ripe locally grown fruit. I will attempt daily progress reports as I beat myself down to 180 pounds to start the new year.

Pot Roasted Chicken

February 9, 2014
Coffeepot Chicken

Coffeepot Chicken; A Portion Controlled Meal

Cooking in my coffeepot is both amusing and it facilitates portion controlled meals. Sometime the amusing factor overrides the portion control especially when I pot roasted a whole chicken in my coffeepot in expectations of doing it for my granddaughters.

Well, it is definitely weird stuffing a chicken into a coffeepot and the girls and I had fun doing dinner for three in my 12 cup coffeemaker. Truth be told, it was a Cornish Hen, but the girls never noticed that it was a rather skinny chicken. The reason I violated the portion control rule the first time I did it was I had to make sure that it cooked all the way through in a reasonable amount of time. Check the link here and you will see that the chicken is falling off the bone.

Now that I have minimized my writing projects to spare the time to totally immerse myself into portion controlled meals, I decided to do a pot roasted thigh in my coffeepot using the method described in the pot roasted chicken link. Of course, none of the great cooks in my immediate family ever look at a recipe and usually never make a meal exactly the same. True to the tradition, I made the meal from memory and found I had substituted chicken bullion for the adobo I used the first time. It was great and I am using the leftover broth as part of my soup stock.

As an aside, the week before, I grilled three of the thighs with a big baked sweet potato and ate everything. My current Manta is: “If you don’t cook it, you cant eat it so start with the proper portion.”

Recipe:

Ingredients

1 potato

1 carrot cut to length that will fit in pot and quartered long ways

1 celery stalk diced

1 medium onion coarse chopped

3 garlic clove sliced or minced

1 bay leaf

Optional, piece of fresh scotch bonnet hot pepper. Size depends on your taste.

Chicken Bullion Cube

1 chicken thigh, about 5-6 oz.

1 oz Crucian Rum

12 oz water

Method:

Precook the carrots and potatoes and set aside.

Put chopped celery, garlic and onion in pot, cook with oil and cook until onion is glazed (about 1 hour).

Add half scotch bonnet and bay leaf so it can be retrieved when sufficient flavor is infused into the cooked veggies.

Wash one thigh with lime juice after skin is removed. Place in pot on top of bullion cube. Add rum to the coffeepot. Cover the pot and let chicken cook until chicken loses the pink color (about 2 hours.)

Add precooked potatoes and carrots and sufficient water through coffee maker to cover everything.

Let cook another two hours.

Serve with flowers and wine. If you are starving to death, you better make what little you eat an elegant experience.

Well, day one is a resounding success. I am down to 206 which is two pounds lighter than I was the day before and on my birthday on January 23. Guess it’s time for a glass of water and a three mile walk. The coffeepot is cooking my liver and onions, but that’s another story. 

I’m Back with Redneck Calamari and More

February 7, 2014
Redneck Calamari

Redneck Calamari

Half the reason I’m back to coffeepot cooking is that I love to cook with my Granddaughters; especially totally ridiculous meals like the one shown above. Of course this meal pretty much comes without a recipe but most people will figure it out. For those fathers who never cook and occasionally get stuck making a meal for children, the recipe is below with a little warning. Perhaps I should have left a link to my grandfathers and hotdog post.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Water, Enough

Hotdogs, Enough

Gold Fish Crackers, Enough

Garnish to make it look like seaweed, Optional, I used Cilantro

Method:P1000502a

Cut bottom 2/3 of hotdog into six legs so it looks like a squid.

Hotdogs in Pot

Hotdogs in Pot

Place in coffeepot

Run water throw the coffeemaker.

Let cook on hotplate for an hour.

Arrange on plates and serve.

Warning!

I used good all beef Hebrew National Hotdogs and “Frankly” they were too dry. If I ever do this again, I will intentionally buy the Brand X greasy cheap hotdogs made from pork and chicken so they have flavor at the end of the cooking process.

The other reason, I am returning to portion controlled coffeepot cooking is because I am becoming a “fat slob”. My daughter and niece were the bearers of the negative assessment this time. I first heard this as a medical assessment in Florida after I suffered a stroke in 2010. I was complaining to the doctor that it didn’t make sense as I had already lost 57 pounds which was morbid obesity at my height.

At the time of the stroke, I was at 210 and still medically classified as obese. Frustrated the doctor explained that he really didn’t care how much I had lost in the past, I was still officially obese and a fat slob.

Over the past 18 months, I have written two books, I never stopped exercising. But as I slid out of my comfort zone of 172 to 178, I never really noticed that there was a dramatic change in my cooking, eating and drinking.

Because  I was researching and writing about history, I stopped my passion for reading and writing about food. I quit cooking in my coffeepot and started grilling double portions on the grill and eating it all or cooking the food in my cute small crockpot which is still bigger than my coffeepot. When I am researching and writing about anything other than food and dieting, I sort of pace around the house and mindlessly eat. At night, I have a few extra glasses of wine so I can kill my brain activity and go to sleep.

Big Belly Man

Big Belly Man

So in 2014 just 2 pounds short of where I had my stroke, I have come to accept that I must split my time between doing what I want and doing what I need to do. I will start becoming food and diet focused again spending some time finding recipes and preparing meals based on quality not quantity. The next time I post a picture, I am sure it will be better than the one above or I must begin to accept that their may not be a next time if I don’t take care of myself.

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.

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.

I Made the Smithsonian!

September 15, 2011

While I was dormant for the past eight months, people were still reading and enjoying my blog coffeepotcooking.wordpress.com

I was more than a little flattered to get an unsolicited mention in http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/ The detailed post is here. If you read it carefully, I’m still not sure I was featured because I am clever enough to cook in my coffeepot and make good food or because I cook with my beautiful granddaughters and include them in fun projects.

Oh well, either way, I am still flattered.

Now I’m just dying to get an Easy Bake Oven and expanding my culinary horizons with portion controlled meals. Maybe even Beef Wellington for one.

Coffeepot Cooking – Easy and Delicious!

September 15, 2011

Pasta and Turkey Meatballs

Tonight was a typical night of coffeepot cooking . I was just a little too lazy to do anything else so I got some cheap sauce and the thing that most of these sauces lack are the spices because they are the most expensive ingredient.

No problem!

I went outside and picked a fresh bay leaf, fresh basil and fresh oregano. I put them in the pot and poured sauce on top. I microwaved 3 turkey meatballs (3 minutes) and added them to the pot and went and took a shower. The amount I cooked was too small for a crockpot and I still didn’t have to watch the stove.

I did have to boil a pot of water to make the pasta, because the only pasta that works well in the coffeepot is angle hair and I didn’t have any. For those of you trying to do this in a coffeepot who still want advice, here is the original post.

I plan on being creative mañana but we will see whether that means tomorrow or just some day in the future.