Pattypan Squash and Love

I just really like the name of this fall squash.

With leftover bacon grease from my escarole soup, I sautéed the pattypan squash with red onion, garlic and a dash of sweet smoked paprika powder.

I then added thinly-sliced bottom round steak, sautéed for a few more minutes, and finished it off with a bit of red wine cream sauce.

I really enjoyed my dinner last night.

Are you still “in love” with your significant other? I’m going to guess that at some point he or she was all you could think about. So if that’s not the case today, three, five or 10 years later, what happend?

All year round the lover is mad,
Unkempt, lovesick and in disgrace.
Without love there is nothing but grief.
In love… what else matters?”    RUMI

Miso Shrimp with Smoked Salmon, Spinach and Asparagus

I could start with a little “gym” rant this morning…but instead let me focus my attention on giving you a simple recipe and hopefully some straight forward instructions to make this dish.

  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 3 small slices of smoked salmon, ripped/cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
  • handful of spinach
  • 3  asparagus spears, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow miso paste
  • 1/3 cup of water

Saute the garlic and onion in butter. Add the thinly sliced asparagus and stir. Next add your cleaned shrimp (I deveined them and cut them into pieces). Cook for a minute or two, careful not to over cook the shrimp. While that’s cooking, mix the miso paste with the water in a small dish. When the shrimp is almost cooked, add the salmon and mix. Add the miso liquid, stirring to coat. Add spinach, and cook until it’s wilted, and serve.

Miso imparts such a nice flavor to this dish. Try it sometime and let me know how it comes out.

Does anyone know if Chris McDougall ran the NYC marathon barefoot or in his VFF? Does anyone know his time?

Be nice today….

Escarole Soup with Grass Fed Beef

It’s SO nice to have the farmers market back in my life. Not just for all the great food, but for my wallet too.

Yesterday morning I spent $85 for a week’s worth of food, (including two pounds of fresh shrimp) $35 of which was for grass fed beef, the bones and bacon from Whole Foods.

The local organic farm has a stand at the market and is loaded with goodies right now, one of my favorites being the “Asian cukes”. They don’t have a lot of seeds and are so full of freh cucumber flavor. They also had some tremendous looking escarole. Escarole is a little less bitter compared to endive and this simple escarole soup is easy to make and oh so delicious.

It’s cold here in sunny Florida. It was 59 degrees here yesterday. Cold right? 😉 Well I thought soup would be perfect for a crisp day.

Question; do we tolerate “roughage” better when cooked and pureed?

Try this…

Wash your escarole (and wash it well, especially if you picked it up at a farmers market, to get all the “sand” off) and break it into the pieces.  You do have a salad spinner don’t you?

Next slice up some shallots (or yellow onion) and scallions. Chop about 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary or grind it with your mortar and pestle.  Also add some lemon zest and lemon juice, about a teaspoon of each.  Sauté the onions and fresh rosemary in butter, then add a  splash of olive oil when the onions are soft and translucent.

Now add your escarole (for this recipe use one large head of escarole). Mix togehter well and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add 3 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let the soup cool a bit.

Next I used my blender (if you have an immersion blender, use it right in the pot of soup) and pureed the soup. Return to the pan.

While the soup was cooking, I cooked some grass fed ground beef in a bit of butter sprinkled with sea salt, fresh gound pepper and red pepper flakes. Get yourself a nice looking soup bowl, ladel in your soup and add some cut/crumbled ground beef to it. Enjoy.

The rosemary and lemon blend working together with the escarole is what gives this soup it’s really intense flavor. You could add a potato for a thicker soup. I’ve tried heavy cream before, but the cream takes away a lot of the flavor of this soup.

This Sunday I have a 20K race to run. I’m looking forward to it.

Be nice…

Grilled Chicken and Chia Seeds

Here’s a simple marinade to try;

Chicken thighs (skinless and about a pound), 1/4 cup white wine,  2 tblspoons evoo,  4 large crushed garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet or hot), 1 tbspoon tomato paste , fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste. I like to grill these on a nice wood charcoal fire. (marinate the chicken for at least 4-6 hours. I marinated it over night)

A side salad to go with it. The black dots you see on the salad are chia seeds. I will admit, I got suckered into buying them as they had a really good special on them. Have you ever tried them? Did you buy them right after reading about them in Born to Run?  

Recently I have been trying a different bit of “breakfast”. I have been drinking about 1 cup of goat’s milk kefir, and I add about a tbspoon of the chia seeds to it.

Primal Sliders?

I’m calling these primal because they have a bit of good parmesan cheese added to the recipe. So they are not strict paleo.

For everyone that misses “sliders” (sliders are basically mini hamburgers)  in their diet, or still cries over not going to White Castle anymore, here’s something for you to try and I promise you will not be dissapointed.

So this is what you will need; ground beef, zucchini, parmigiano reggiano. (not pictured are the spices. You will need fresh ground pepper, sea salt, garlic powder)

 

Using a grater of some sort, grate your parmigiano and zucchini.

For measurement you will want about half grated zucchini to the total amount of meat. And just a quarter of parmesan in relation to the zucchini. Simple enough right? Mix it all together and add some fresh ground pepper, garlic powder (about 1 teaspoon for pound of meat) and salt to taste, but don’t “work” it to much, or your meat will get tough.  One more tip, mix the zucchini and parmesan first, and then add the meat.Now make yourself a few small patties. Make sure your patties are THIN. This way they will cook quickly. The secret to this tasty treat is the quick cooking time AND the zucchini. The moisture of the zucchini will keep these babies from tasting like dried out leather pucks. I will say it again, keep the patties THIN. In a nice hot skillet with a bit of butter of course fry them up quickly. (An electric skillet is what I used)

And FLIP,

And voila, Primal Sliders. You can take some romaine lettuce and make a “sandwhich” out of them or just eat them up hot out of the pan, which is what I did. Would love to know if you tried to make them and how they came out. This is a great dish to serve if you have company that does not eat primal/paleo. Just get some small slider buns and everyone will be happy. Everyone can ad their own fixings and you could serve with a nice big salad.

Can I get your feedback please? Once again a different picture format. Is that better? Is the image too large? Does it take to long to load the page this way?

“It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there’s nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do not control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.” Wayne Dyer

Lamb Shoulder and some Thoughts

Per my previous post, I told you I was going to share some thoughts/ideas that came to me when I was in Amsterdam (Holland).

Overweight people are practically non-existent. Besides from being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the Dutch hold the record as the tallest nation in the world at the moment. so perhaps with all that height, they “hide” the weight better. In reality there are a few other factors at work I think. For one, it is a “colder climate country”. It’s speculated that when it’s cold you can eat a bit more food and get away with it. The body uses calories as a fuel for the internal heater to keep you warm. Next, the Dutch are ACTIVE. It is a country of bicycles and from a young age everyone rides their bicycle daily to get around. For many, this does not stop when they get older, I would even venture to say that the majority of the population rides their bicycle daily, well into old age. (many people will never own a car in their lifetime)

Portions; well folks no surprise here, the portions are just plain smaller. I have often tried to point to people here Stateside, that our portions are completely out of whack. As an example, lets look at the size of a sandwhich.  A sandwhich here is so big that it will easily satisfy a male standing 6’1, weighing in at 200 pounds. Yet that same sandwhich is eaten by everyone. So do you think that portion is appropriate for a female standing 5″4 weighing 125?  In Holland, its not uncommon for large males to eat two small sandwhiches.

Eventhough the trend is changing, traditionally people in Holland go out to eat for special occasions. Unlike here where so many I know eat out 4 days a week or more for lunch and dinner. It’s also easier to keep those portions smaller, as the trend to use big plates, big glasses and big cups has not taken a hold there yet.

Which leads me to coffee. Do you know how many mugs you can fill with a grande coffee? I’ll tell you. It’s 2. That’s a lot of coffee. I believe that coffee is supposed to be comsumed in small quantities. The flavor needs to be strong, but the portion small. If you look at cultures where coffee has been a staple for a long time (think Turkey for example) it was traditionally drunk from small containers. I think there is a clue there to coffe consumption. Jeff Erno just did a little coffee experiment that he documented. Zen to Fitness also had a guest post about coffee . I’m curious if anyone tried an experiment with just drinking less coffee. I know from my personal experience that a large mug of coffee doesn’t really agree with my internals. But a small strong shot of espresso, is just fine and doesn’t effect me negatively.

Even though people in Holland might drink 2 or 3 espresso’s a day, the quantity of those “shots” would fill a quarter of a regular coffee mug here. If you then realize that many folks drink 2 “cups” a day here and think that they are doing good….it gives you something to think about. What’s your mileage with coffee?

These are just some speculative thoughts obviously.

I know I had promised you all a free ebook. I have just been a bit bogged down with work lately, and I’m not 100% satisfied with it. So, as a thank you for your continued support of my blog, I will share TWO recipes you have not seen before here.  First is a really yummy lamb shoulder slow cooked in the oven.

Lamb shoulder is an affordable cut. Prepare the following way. In about 2 tbspoons of good quality butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of coriander. If butter is not salted, add some salt to taste. Now take your butter and spice mixture and rub it all over the piece of lamb. Next smash about 3-4 cloves of garlic per piece of lamb. Add the garlic and next add some fresh rosemary. pour in just a bit of water so the bottom of the pan is covered and cover with foil. If you have a nice oven pan with cover (Le Creuset for example), go right ahead and use that. At 325-350 degrees and about 2 hours and 15 minutes later and you are left with one fall of the bone, fork tender piece of deliciousness. I took about two spoons full of greek yogurt and added a dash of olive oil and chili paste to it. Mix it together and it is a nice added touch to the lamb.

I’m still “learning” wordpress. So this picture format is a bit different. I’m not sure I really like it. Also the picture of the “fork with a piece of meat” somehow snuck in the gallery and I couldn’t delete it……yet.

Next post I will show you a very unique way of making “Primal Sliders”.

Slow Cooking Spinach

I don’t cook much with extra virgin olive oil. Heat doesn’t get along so well with it’s make up. But I do love it’s flavor. When I do use the evoo for cooking, I just “slow cook” on very low heat. Tomorrow I will show you how I use evoo with some small potatoes.

In a large skillet gently warm some evoo with 2 small cloves of garlic thinly sliced. I then added a small teaspoon of garlic chili and mixed it with the oil. Add a generous amount of fresh baby spinach, and fold it together wth the oil. Nice and gentle…nice and slow.

I had marinated chicken thighs in some middle eastern spices, lemon juice, yogurt and a bit of olive oil. Grilled over some wood charcoal.

I really love this tpye of simple meal, filled with flavor.

Pay no mind to the date stamp…forgot to set it on my camera.

Did you grill over the weekend??

Tomato Soup and Beef Jello

A few weeks ago I made a big batch of bone broth. My preferred way is to use the crockpot. I let this batch simmer for 48 hours. After putting it in the fridge and letting it cool, I skimmed the fat (saved for later use) and made a bunch of individual portions and stuck them in the freezer. My kids call bone broth “beef jello”. They love watching and helping me skim off the fat, and then putting the “beef jello” in ziplock bags. When your bone broth looks like “beef jello”, you’ve been succesful in making a super nutritious broth.

Last night I made a quick tomato soup. In a saucepan bring your “beef jello” to a boil and reduce down a bit to intensify the flavor. (2.5-3 cups of broth reduced down to 2 cups, recipe for two people) Now add 4 diced roma tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, 1/4 of a red onion and 2 cloves og garlic. Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste. Bring to a boil.

Next I transferred the soup to the food processor and pureed it.
Toss back in the pan and add a shot of heavy cream. (just add a little first, you can always add more)
It looks like the soup is very light from the cream, but it is the poor lighting for the picture that makes it look like that. Instead of the more traditional creme fraiche, I added a small dollop of greek yogurt.
I ate 2 nice bowls of it. If you are a person that doesn’t sleep well if you eat late, see if soup has a different result. I didn’t get to eat till about 9pm, which is usually on the late side to eat for me. But soup doesn’t have the same effect as a meal does. Warms the body nicely for sleep mode 😉
What do you like to make with your bone broth?

Sashimi II

When you have the right ingredients, you can really make yourself  “restaurant” food at home.

I made some more sashimi for lunch today. A quick visit to the Asian market to pick up a few supplies and I was ready. Since I’m mentioning the Asian market, go find yours where you live, you will enjoy it. They are very affordable and once you’ve shown up there a few times, the shop keepers won’t ignore you anymore 😉 It is also a great place to buy unique and cheap produce. I picked up a very large Daikon, scallions and some small fiery fresh peppers.The Daikon has a much better and stronger flavor then the ones I get at the supermarket. Also picked up some good wasabi. One word of caution, asian products liberally use MSG, food coloring, HFCS, and other ingredients you might want to avoid, but they also carry products that DON’T have them, so shop carefully and read labels.

Here some more ankimo. I grated daikon and tossed a few scallions on it. Laid the slices of monk fish liver on top and drizzled with some ponzu sauce and a few more scallions.
The daikon with the ponzu sauce is a tremendous pairing.

I used to eat this little dish below at a very special japanese restaurant in New York. It was a true authentic sushi restaurant where no cooked food was served. It had authentic Japanese protocol, they did not take reservations and they were known for turning customers away when there were many open tables available. They would turn people away, because they had so many regular customers, that they knew for example that a certain customer would come around 7 on a Thursday night. They had no menu’s and no prices. The sushi chefs were unbelievable.Many times when I sat down at the sushi bar they would serve a little dish immediately with out me asking. This was usuallly a bit of salmon, cucumber scallion and some soy sauce and sesame oil. So this is what I tried to copy today.
 
It came out well, I really enjoy the combined flavors.
And lastly, just some salmon sashimi and scallop (Hotategai in Japanese).
I’m not a huge scallop fan, but I love raw scallop. If you eat raw scallop, make sure you buy yourself the freshest you can find. Store in the fridge wrapped in paper towel. The paper towel will get all the moisture out of it and will result in getting maximum flavor.
Now what should I make for dinner?

Sashimi, Salad and a Silly Band Queen

I don’t live in a big city as you know, so my sushi restaurants locally are not the greatest. Don’t get me wrong, they’re ok but just not fantastic. Sadly, they are all pretty expensive. So every now and then I treat myself to an order from Catalina Offshore Products.  (no compensation) They are located in San Diego, and sell some terrific products, including some of the best Uni (sea urchin roe) I have had. When you sign up as member, you will receive emails with specials. I took advantage of one of those specials and ordered some wild California King Salmon. Now the product is frozen, but let me tell you how good this is. I have a friend who is a chef and he laughed at me that I ordered frozen fish. He said “I can order you anything you want fresh”. Yes folks, fresh is better then frozen, BUT…..I brought my “non believing” friend a small sample to try and I can tell you he was blown away.
Take a look at this nice fatty salmon sashimi;

This salmon is so tasty, you don’t even need soy/tamari sauce and wasabi. I had some with and with out. I also put a tiny dollop of garlic chili sauce on the salmon instead of tamari and wasabi dip. Delicious.

I don’t know if you have ever tried this in a sushi restaurant;

This little treat is called “Ankimo
It’s monk fish liver. It is sometimes called “foie gras of the sea”
A bit of ponzu sauce really let the flavors stand out.
A quick home made ponzu sauce you can make (and use for many other dishes) is just adding some lemon juice to your soy/tamari sauce. It makes for a nice change of flavor.
When you order this as an appetizer in a sushi restaurant, it usually costs between $9.95 and $15.95. A whole roll from Catalina costs $15.99. Ahhh affordable sushi/sashimi what could be better?
Life can’t always be filled with the above delicacies, and other days we make do with the basics. Like a salad.
Just a nice lunch salad consisting of romaine lettuce, cucumber, peppers, red onion and salami.
Dressing is just some evoo and fresh ground pepper and a dash of sea salt.
And here my Silly Band Queen
Amazing isn’t it? Some one decides to manufacture some plastic bracelets in all sorts of shapes and becomes a multi millionaire pretty much over night. Has this crazyness hit your area too?
“You can get everything in life you want…..if you will just help enough other people get what they want”