Shrimp & Okra, 60 Minutes Episode and Video Question

Fresh organic okra from the farmers market. Bhindi Masala with a twist as I add some shrimp.

Bhindi masala, is a pretty classic Indian dish. Basically okra with onions and tomatoes and Indian spices.

Give it a try;

Pound of okra, 1 large onion, 2 medium tomatoes, 1 small green red or yellow pepper, 1 tbsp cumin seed, 1/4 tsp chili powder,  1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp amchur (dried mango powder), 1 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp coriander.

Optional 3/4 pound of shrimp.

Cut the ends of the okra and cut length wise. Put fat of your choice in large frying pan and fry up the okra. Get it a bit brown here and there, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove the okra from the pan, add a bit more cooking fat of your choice and some cumin seed. When they begin to “pop” add the onion and cook until browned. Once browned add the tomato, garlic and pepper (I used a red pepper. I don’t like green peppers very much). Cook until the pepper softens. Now add all the spices and mix well and add your shrimp. Cook until shrimp are done. About 3 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Made a bit of cucumber salad to go with it. Slice cucumber, 1 to 2 tablespoons of yogurt and add some spices. (garlic powder, cayenne, pepper, sea salt)

Did you catch the 60 Minutes episode this past Sunday night? I’ve been really thinking about this and how this ties in to Stephan Guyenet theories about obesity and food reward. For anyone that has a direct line to him, could you ask him about it please? The people being interviewed had no problem acknowledging that they are trying to create “addictive” food. Still wondering why you are having a tough time saying no to the donuts in the office? Watch it. Again…EAT REAL FOOD.

Lastly, I shot a tiny little video on the beach I wanted to share with you all. Does anyone know how I can embed the video into the post without a youtube link or vimeo? Is there a way to do it directly you can share with me? Thank you in advance for your help.
“Today like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.

Take down the dulcimer,

Let the beauty we love BE what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kiss the ground”   RUMI

Delicious Turkey

Well I totally forgot to take pictures, but I did want to share with you what I did different this year to make one delicious Turkey.

I started with a humanely raised bird, and not frozen. Don’t know if it makes a difference in flavor and taste, but I will tell you that the breast is surprisingly small in comparison to regular turkeys like butter ball or similar.

This is what I did different this year. I did not brine the turkey. The last time I did, it was the best turkey I ever made, this time around though all I did was wash the bird dried it and then liberally salted it with course kosher salt. LIBERALLY.

Next I put it in the fridge uncovered and left it there overnight. Now what this does is interesting. First it pulls the skin taught from all the salt allowing for the making of the best cripsy skin you have ever tasted AND, the salt draws into the meat, allowing it to really hold it’s moisture while it cooks. The night before I made a broth out of the giblets, neck etc. In a sauce pan add water to the turkey parts with some onion carrots celery or whatever you have on hand. A bay leaf maybe. It doesn’t really matter all that much as long as the broth simmers for a while (overnight). The next day preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I stuffed the turkey with a handful of garlic cloves a half an onion and a half a lemon. In the four corners of the roasting pan (don’t use the big roasting pan you buy at the grocery store. The sides are too high and will interfere with crispy skin on the legs and the lower part of the turkey. Put your bird on the pan and gentle pour about 1 cup of the broth on the bottom of the pan, so that the birs sits in about a 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of broth. When you put the turkey in the oven, turn down your oven to 350. Every 45 minutes turn your roaster pan in the oven and give it a quick baste if you want. i’m really not al that convinced the basting does anything…but it feels good 🙂

When close to the end, if you notice that the skin is starting to burn or too crispy for your liking, gently cover it with some foil.

My girlfriend made some sweet potatoes that were so sinfully delicious, that I was on my 3rd helping when I realized i had forgotten to take a picture.

Of course i made a HUGE pan of stock with all the bones and carcass of the turkey. I let that simmer for about 24 hours.

Hope everyone that celebrated Thanks Giving had a wonderful family filled Thursday.

Smile a lot today and pay attention to your thoughts…..

Getting Lean

A few questions today.

Are you trying to get “lean”?

Why are you trying to get “lean”

How do you define  “lean” as it relates to yourself?

After some recent, as always, wonderful posts by Matt Metzgar,and his thoughts on Eating in the absence of hunger, I’ve been thinking quiet a bit about the whole “lean” look. So many stories I read and so many people I talk to, are after the “lean” look.The overall feeling….It’s a STRUGGLE.  They just can’t quite seem to get there. For A LOT of people I know that have had the will power to deprive their caloric intake so significantly, that they lost enough weight to look lean…the sad accompanying side effect, is saggy skin and a lot of diminished muscle mass.

As you are used to by know; here follow some un-scientific and non-researched speculative  thoughts by yours truly, as to why some people can’t get lean after true effort. The thoughts ARE based on careful individual observation and some N=1 experiences. 🙂  In no particular order here we go;

1. 95% of us simply eat to much. Even if you think you are dialed in, there is a good chance you eat to much. A bigger chance that you eat foods that are simply to “”rich”. Yes a grilled ribeye steak is too rich.

2. Very simply, not every body type allows for a “lean look”!!  In tribes (look at any national geographic or similar documentary), there are wiry tree climbers and big guys that wrestle with hippos. Well maybe not hippos but you get my point. Don’t they ALL eat the same in then tribal village. The bigger guy does not stash  doritos in his hut.

3. If you are a “sitter”,  meaning you sit 8 hours a day at a desk job, you can practically forget about being lean and ripped (yes there are exceptions, but the percentage is so miniscule, it’s not even relevant to be argued or pointed out). Has anyone ever read any studies about what caloric intake range is relevant to someone who sits for 8 hours a day?? All I’ve ever seen is that an adult male should consume 2200 calories on average. Did you know that 140 strawberries total about 500 calories??!! Calories are BS.

4. If you are dialed in and do your reading, and the web DOES have really solid information if you know where to look (see blogroll) and you exercise the “right way”….again the majority STILL doesn’t get lean. How many people exercise daily the natural way the body was mean to move?? What is that you ask? WALKING. simple as pie. Who has the time these days to walk 1-3 hours a day?

What are your thoughts? Fire away please 🙂

No food picture today….

Taking a walk with my love last night…I couldn’t get over the setting sun and the peacefulness of the sky. The boat in the far off distance completed the serene view.

Feel Good Eating Shrimp

Deliciously fresh local shrimp. These beauties came off the boat at 3 am or so and I was at the farmers market early to bring these bad boys home at 8 am that same morning.

I marinated them briefly in a bit of ketjap manis and hot sauce. Ketjap manis is a sweet soy sauce. It has sugar added but when cooking/grilling you will eliminate most of it.

I grilled a few shrimp and then I also took my cast iron skillet put that on the grill and added a strip of bacon cut up in little pieces. Once the oil got hot from the bacon I added a tiny bit of the sweet soy sauce and added the shrimp. This came out REALLY good.

I showed my good friend how tasty the legs and head are. He was pleasantly surprised as he had never eaten all the yummy insides of the head of the shrimp.

I like to have a good snack when I have company in my kitchen as I’m cooking. This is some of my favorite quality time with my lover, my friends and family. Sharing a good glass of wine, good conversation, lots of love and positive vibes going all around and…..some REAL FOOD cooking.

Sometimes I will put out a few olives and salami, sometimes a bit of cheese, but for this past Saturday night i put out a big bowl of kale chips. You’re allowed to make fun of me if you have something against kale chips 🙂 BUT, I love “chips” and I can honestly say even after all these years I still miss eating potato chips. So this salty snack comes pretty close and it’s fun for people that have never had it. Especially people that would never dream of eating KALE 🙂

No red wine, but some delicious nigori sake accompanied this meal. I have really been enjoying sake for the past months. Post coming up about that next.

Kale chips almost ready;

ENJOY the DAY, let go of your worries, be clear about what you want, go get it…and have no doubts that you will. With an attitude like that…what do you think the outcome will be?

30 day Paleo Challenge, Thank you Richard aka Free the Animal

After reading Richard’s post  I just felt compelled to join him for some reason. My motivation was also simple vanity, as I saw a bit of my shape “drooping”. I had been going to the gym, but not enough and I was just not keeping up with my usual levels of activity. For me there’s a huge connection between feeling good and activity levels. Our bodies are made to move. And I do sit in an office all day, so it’s a must for me. Also, I noticed I was eating a good amount of rice. I’ve written about it before, that for me comfort food is rice with some type of sauce. I just love it and I can devour plates of it. It’s interesting, portion control is not a problem for me with the tubers (yams, yellow potatoes, red potatoes etc) but it does become an issue with rice. And lastly…lately life has been just so wonderful, that I find myself enjoying my wine with my lover and family and before you know it, I keep pouring after that second glass. So, I decided I would join Richard and just stay nice and strict for 30 days.

I’ve had no alcohol since Saturday and sticking to meats and veggies and tubers.

Last nights dinner;

In some chicken stock I slow cooked a 1/4 of a sweet potato, 1 small onion, 3 baby carrots, 2 cloves of garlic, 3 asparagus spears and one cut up strip of bacon. Slowly simmered until all the flavors melted together.

Lamb shoulder steak. Nice cheap cut, flavor full and on the grill with some shawarma spices and garlic. I made a little tin foil boat with a drizzle of evoo and garlic and had that in the corner of the gril geeting warm from the heat but NOT heated directly.

Eat real food, not too much, move your body and enjoy!! Words to live by 🙂

Spirit of the Immovable Heart & some Shrimp and Sausage

How’s that for a flowing post title 🙂

When I was learning my martial art, one of the schools (or lineages if you will) was called Shinden Fudo Ryu. Roughly translated as “The school of the immovable heart.” This particular style of movement had surprise and up and down movement as it’s main component. the other main component was that you did not use your hands to hold or grab onto anything, but you used your body to tie up and immobilise your opponent, leaving the hands free do do whatever (punch, claw, tear etc). The reason the school got it’s name was because of the accompanying attitude/energy/quality you must posses to execute it correctly….namely the immovable heart. Only when you can completely and utterly release your “SELF” can you calmly and detached flow with whatever is being thrown your way.

Heart that has abandoned self doesn’t pursue experiences or cling to them. It lives abandoning everything each moment.It isn’t tied to anything. If your heart is liberated like this, the heart is completely free. The heart is calm, isn’t moved by anything and transcends all desires and obsessions.

I know a tall order for sure for us to accomplish, but it’s good to work towards. This is the reason I always really enjoyed my Japanese teach, his martial art and my teacher here in the U.S. Real martial arts are about living life. My teacher used to say “let go of this notion of winning”. I’m not sure if this is of interest to anyone, but wanted to share some of it anyway.

Shrimp and Sausage;

A bit fuzzy due to the steam coming off the food, my apologies.

So simple, add your choice of cooking fat to the pan and add some diced onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped asparagus. Cook for 2 minutes. Add splash of white wine. Let alcohol evaporate and add some spicy sausage and saute for 2 minutes. I had some chicken sausage. Add 2-4 tblspoons of chicken stock…mix well, now add a hand full of shrimp. Toss together and cover for a minute or 2. Don’t overcook those shrimp.  Total prep and cook time is about 10-12 minutes.

One more teacher quote..”when you have immovable heart…life is free”

The Art of Staying Positive

That’s right, I consider it an art form. Because artists are individuals who have practiced their craft so regularly and without giving up, that they get to a point of being free to express themselves through their chosen medium.They get to manipulate their instrument or knowledge in ways that make other people marvel at their competence. Mostly the secret to becoming a real artist is endless “right practice”.  There are artists in many chosen fields. Musicians, sculptors, mathematicians, chef’s, engineers and the list goes on and on. I’m humbly involved in the process of becoming an artist myself. I’m becoming an artist of positive thought.

 Just like the other areas of expertise, this takes long years of practice and a steadfastness through the inevitable seas of turmoil and the ability to shut out the well meaning opinion of others. In the end, we only have control of one thing. And that is very simply, the thoughts we choose. In another one of life’s wonderful paradoxes, the simplicity of it, actually makes it very hard. But I’m committed to my “instrument”. I will keep practicing the right way, and I will master the art of staying postive. I know in my heart that this “art form” will give you the life of your dreams. How can it not? My Japanese teacher used to call this “art” ,THE IMMOVABLE HEART. More to follow on this.

Spanish rice, shrimp with garlic and a few ribs.

In a pot drizzle a bit of olive oil and add a half a sliced small onion. When translucent (NOT BROWN) add 1 cup of rice, 1 and a 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1 tsp of turmeric, 1 tbsp of hot/smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp of salt and if you have it, a handful of firm green olives. It’s delicious and ready when all the liquid is gone. About 15-20 minutes. In a pan add a lot of chopped garlic to some olive oil (low heat if you do) or butter and saute a few shrimps. When almost done add a splash of white wine. Let the alcohol cook off and serve. sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Had some left over ribs so served those with it too.

Stay Positive and choose your thoughts wisely