Velveting

If you’ve never seen this word before, I can tell you that it is the reason why when you eat at most Chinese  restaurants, your chicken, beef and pork is so tender and buttery soft. Like Velvet..

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Velveting is a very simple Chines cooking technique that will blow you away. You will feel like a “cook” not a “kook”. (surfer term for wanna be surfer of limited skill…like me)

Please try this at home ,as when you use fresh good quality protein the results are even better than in the restaurant.

Ok let’s get started this is what you will need.

1 pound beef, chicken or pork

1 tablespoon oil of your choice (ghee/clarified butter works well also)

2 teaspoons Chinese cooking wine or sake or sherry. If you absolutely want to try and dont have any of these you can use rice vinegar.

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

In a bowl, gently whisk together the cooking wine, corn starch, oil, salt and egg white. Next prepare your protein to the desired size for you dish. (Bite sized pieces, strips, cubes) .

Gently mix the protein in with the mixture. Cover and let it marinate for 30-45 minutes. Drain in colander.

A few pics to make it easy:

Very simple chicken and broccoli.(shallot, garlic and medium spicy pepper from the garden)

Get your pan or wok nice and hot and saute your onion, garlic and pepper. I par boiled my broccoli before hand. When your “veggie’ mixture is ready at the chicken and cook until done. Add your broccoli and combine gently.

Another option is to quickly boil your chicken/beef/pork for 1 minute in boiling water and than add to the pan for “finishing”.

There you have it…velveting. I made some the other day for my inlaws with pork tenderloin in bite size pieces. Gloriously delicious.

BE HAPPY….and have some fun. Life is supposed to be fun….make it your way.

 

 

Food and Simple Recipe Ideas

Just a few pictures with limited instructions. Be creative, try some things and you might just end up with something uniquely your own. Like below for example. Asian chicken salad on a corn tortilla.

I was absolutely STARVING for food after I did a “Don Wildman Circuit Workout”. It took me about an hour and 10 minutes to do. It’s was a much longer workout than what I’m used to, and the result was that I needed to eat a small wolly mammoth ASAP.

It was my birthday yesterday…yup, Billy Clinton and I do it on the same day. 🙂

Birthdays to me are more like the TRUE new years celebrations complete with resolutions.. I like using my birthday as a stepping stone.

Over the last months I’ve been slowly changing up my exercise “life”. Not to get more ripped or to increase my VO2 max….but simply because I enjoy it.

I always VERY much enjoyed competition. I honestly did not care as much about winning as my other team mates, but I was MORE competitive than most. I just really enjoyed that part of it. If we lost a match, It wouldn’t change my day. I was ready to play with my friends.

But that energy….that feeling of the game. The pressure, the quick thinking, the pushing yourself to keep running when you thought you couldn’t….THAT was SO much fun to me. AND STILL IS. I miss it! So what I’m doing is bringing that JOY back to my life. One of MY life’s pleasures. I don’t play in a league anymore, so I just make my “exercise” time a fun game for myself. Where I test myself a bit, push myself a bit and sometimes get a little “wonky” from the effort… Yes, I like that 🙂

What brought YOU real  joy when you were younger? Do you still try and do some of those things?

So I think its really important to develop/design routines that include activities that YOU love. Look at Chris Highcock, his HillFit program is a perfect example. Chris simply and smartly designed his routine around his love of Hill Walking.

Corn tortilla ALWAYS gets heated on the flame. It brings out a unique flavor and actually gives you less of a “corn” flavor, which is nice as it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the ingredients in your little taco. Above some  Asian flavored chicken salad (hot sesame oil, 1 teaspoon mayo and a few drops shiracha sauce)

And here’s some rendang beef from the other night. I actually made it with ground beef (just kept it chunky) for the first time and it was just as good. Bit of rice and lettuce/cucumber salad for some “crisp and cool”  :

Have you ever “velveted” your chicken or pork loin? Coming up next. Simple, easy and outrageous results and how to “velvet” your protein of choice.

BE HAPPY.

 

 

Comfort Food

We all have our own version I guess.

Growing up in Amsterdam, my comfort food is from one of the original Dutch colonies namely Indonesia.

When I was younger, Indonesian food was everywhere, local, home made and cheap. I ate it often.

I guess that’s how it became a comfort food for me. Whenever my mom wasn’t around in the evening due to a commitment, my dad would pick me up after work and we would hit his favorite local Indonesian spot.

Often on Saturdays after my soccer match (age 14) my dad would treat me to a nice warm filling Indonesian meal. I suspect that my love for spicy food comes from this also as Indonesian food can have quite a bite to it.

I’ve eaten it all over the years, from the common dishes to the extremely weird.

I’ve tried my best to learn some real authentic recipes. I make a pretty darn good peanut satay sauce and my rendang beef holds its own.

In comes Ayam opor. A classic chicken dish simmered with mild chilis, onions and coconut milk.

 

Ok, I will admit, this might be a bit of a complicated ingredient list, so I will just give you a frame work and you can incorporate your own spices and flavors.

Get yourself a “flavor base”.

This can be anything you like but here’s an example with ingredients you will likely have in your house.

In a food processor , mix together a few cloves of garlic, 1/4 of an onion, 1/4 teaspoon tomato paste, pinch of salt, fresh pepper, cayenne, coriander, and a few drizzles olive oil. Make into a nice paste.

Next cut up your chicken in bite sized pieces (about 1 pound for the above spice mixture). In a large pan, saute your spice paste until fragrant and hot. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes on high heat. Keep it cooking longer if you like “crispier” chicken. Next add a glass of water and mix well. Heat still on high. Let the water almost evaporate and than add a half to full can of coconut milk (I like to start with half a can…you can always add more). When bubbling turn down your heat and cover. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Next, instead of rice, I like potato with this one.

4-5 small red potatoes. Washed and cut into bite size pieces. Boil them until almost done.

Next in a large saute pan add a pat of butter and saute 1/2 cup of shallots….onions will do fine. When shallots are starting to turn color add the potato and 1 clove chopped garlic. pinch of salt and fresh pepper. Cook until potatoes are to your desired color. (brown and crispy or not…either way)

Eat, enjoy and feel satisfied. Just the way comfort food is supposed to do.

BE HAPPY

Fitness, What Does That Mean?

For me, like I’ve always told my kids, fitness is about keeping your body “ready” to PLAY at all times.

If over time, your body composition adapts and you are lucky enough to look good nekid from your own “keeping fit routines”, good for you, but it shouldn’t be your actual goal.  Consider it a nice side bonus.

The goal should simply be “Ready Fitness”. Whether you are 30 or 60 years old, if your  child or little niece runs out into the street, you should be able to sprint  after them , out of a neutral position without pulling a hamstring.

If you are traveling and your suit case weighs a neat 50 pounds per airport specifications, whether you’re 30 or 60 years old, you should be able to lift that suit case easily and handle it without putting your back in traction.

When playing outside with your kids, whether you’re 30 or 60 years old, you should be able to crawl through the grass with them and throw a ball and crouch and squat easily, without aches and pains and without waking up the following morning sore because you played with your son in the backyard.

To take this point all the way home (stop reading if sexuality freaks you out), many people are simply not fit enough to make proper love to their partners. How does an emotion that dominates your life as a young man, simply vanish in importance like that?? With out real fitness, life starts to deteriorate mighty fast.

Cells are secretory in nature. It doesn’t take a lot of insight to figure out how your bodies “movement” is a major factor/contributor in that process.

Our little guy’s GREAT grandma is in the second stage of her 80’s decade. Her “fitness” has kept her body strong, flexible and ready to play. Regular walks are part of her life, simple as that. Some water aerobics are another fun way. Proof is in the pudding folks and I can share with you that our amazing great grandma never bought an e-book with the “secret to fitness” ever 🙂

Whenever I see my mother in law with our little one (almost 6) I’m always amazed how flexible and limber she is. Walking, like her mom has always simply been part of life. Taking walks make you feel good. Of course her “fitness” allows her to go “line dancing” on a Thursday night and she will dance circles around her contemporaries and most in attendance for the full 3 hours. THAT is fitness in my opinion.

In a few weeks I will turn 46 years young, and I can tell you that it simply feels good to DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO!

So a few weeks ago, our little one wanted a fresh coconut out of a tree while we were in a tropical spot. Not one that had already fallen to the ground…oh kids 🙂

So I climbed the tree and grabbed him one.

Keep moving, sitting, standing, bending squatting, crawling, rolling etc etc…. your life will thank you.

Coming up next, the TRUE power of daily meditation.

Be Happy

 

Recipe Ideas and Asian Supermarket

Do you shop at your local Asian market?

There is a huge one near where we live and I have to tell you, it might not be organic, but the produce section is outrageous and 1/3 of the cost cheaper than anywhere else. I found California strawberries for 99 cents a package. The cheapest I find that anywhere else is $1.99 or $2.49. Gorgeous scallions that for 99 cents are 3x the weight of regular 99 cents purchases.

Affordable condiments are another huge plus. Organic tamari is cheaper there than anywhere buy a full $3.

Chinese rice cooking wine is (Shaoxing) still hard to find in most places. Plenty of choices for this of course at your Asian market and the prices are right.

Of course the seafood and meat section can be a bit intimidating…even when you know a few things. There were assortments of dried fish, shrimps and dried thinly sliced fish that I have never seen.

I picked up a bit of yummy marinated pork also. (bulgogi)

Here’s dinner.

Some recipe ideas to play with that you might have not tried before:

1. When I make rice, I like to add a teaspoon of hot sesame oil and sliced scallions when preparing it to go along with Asian flavored food.

2. For more Meditteranean flavor add some olive oil,  fresh garlic,  fresh thyme and/or fresh basil and pinc of salt.

3. Mexican flavor, add a bit of olive oil or chili oil plus fresh cilantro and 1 teaspoon of lime juice.

4. Totally different dressing for a nice cabbage/ napa cabbage, red pepper cucumber and onion slaw.

table spoon of peanut butter, 1/4 teaspoon tehina, splash of soy sauce, hot sesame oil 1/3 teaspoon, 1 crushed clove of garlic and one pinch fresh ginger. Add water and stir until right consistency. (salad above)

5. Asian pot roast. Pot roast is not one of the popular kids on the block anymore, it used to be, but has been relegated to “jerky” meat for the numerous jerky companies out there. Found a nice piece of grass fed super cheap at a local market.

In the crockpot she went after the following.

Rubbed with steak seasoning mix (salt pepper garlic cayenne onion) and browned/seared on all sides in plenty of yummy hot bubbly butter.

Next I made a classic  japanese marinade of soy sauce, sugar, mirin (rice wine) and sake. About 1 teaspoon sugar, 3 table spoons soy sauce , 1 table spoon mirin and 2 table spoons sake. Bring to a boil and reduce a bit. I added some beef stock to it when it had reduced by a 1/3. About 3/4 cup.

Next in the crockpot I made a nice thick bed of sliced onions laying on top of few napa cabbage leaves. Put your hunk of meat on top and low and slow for the next 8-10 hours (3 pounds will take 8 hours).

When done, shred it and store it. To be used for a variety of stuff.

Like this little corn tortilla breakfast taco.

There is magic in eating real home made cooked food.

I’ve been simply more and more amazed lately with what I see all around me. People eat like shit! Life is not so wonderful when you are constantly dealing with your body not cooperating with your plans. I’m blown away by the amount of health issues that so many folks are dealing with. Sadly, there is a too simple fix for what ails many….and that is getting their food intake dialed in. Perhaps because it is TO simple, people simply don’t believe it. Have we been so perfectly marketed to, that we are now conditioned to believe that if there’s a problem we need an “expert” to fix it? Of course we need and help and there is some serious expertise out there at a price, but when it comes to taken care of our selves? Who possibly could be the expert but you?

Be Happy