Category: Recipes


Even though it has been around a week since the last post it certainly feels a lot longer. This week has brought a myriad of, for no other word, stuff. Saturday I made a new soup, a coconut based soup with shrimp and noodles, that my wife loved so much she told me to make this one all the time, plus a shrimp cooked in coconut milk dish that works very well with rice. After that was done it was time to get ready for the Halloween party at the gym. I decided to go as a person of darkness and looked closer to The Joker portrayed by the late Heath Ledger, even my cat backed away from me when I walked anywhere near her so it must have looked good. I did get some strange stares when I went in to a couple of stores before getting to the gym.

The beginning of the week was interesting as Hurricane Sandy started to get more attention as it’s direction had where we were in its crosshairs, luckily for us it changed direction just a bit and by Tuesday and Wednesday brought us gusty winds, warm air, and not as much rain as predicted. If you lived 8 hours or more south of me you got blasted pretty good and I hope that most people only had minor problems.

Tuesday brought my next challenge a couple of days earlier than planned but that’s okay. Doing pullups for the first time since the shoulder issue. It would be close to 5 months since the last time I was allowed to even touch the pull-up rig as the coaches and trainers made sure I stayed clear until they felt it would be good to “test” the shoulder. It felt damn good to actually do a pull-up even though I used a band for assistance and then managed to complete the workout with no pain or soreness. The slow measured steps leading up to this point had paid off and we will see how we progress. Next step will be when I have to hang from the pull-up bar to do knees to elbows or toes to bar.

The week also brought out some nasty little bodyweight workouts that, while they do not necessarily use weights, my body at 210 lbs, can do enough damage when I use it against myself. Squats, push ups, pullups, wall balls, running, situps all take their toll when you are a heavy as me, thus the need to lose 20 more pounds. My knees need to find some WD-40 soon, today they have a sound that should only be heard when your crush a paper bag. Yes, they are that bad! A bad transmission probably sounds better, which is why I need to have someone find a way to make WD-40 usable for humans in their joints, even duralube would be good. I had trouble going downstairs these last three days, luckily I was at home, and must find a way to alleviate that grinding as one day the knees will lock up and I will need assistance just to stand.

This week is not over and while I have some minor problems, it has been a great week. I almost forgot that Friday my wife and I will doing the usual volunteering for the Poppy Drive for the Legion at the Regional Hospital. This worth while cause is for remembering all the military people who have lost their lives and to raise money for the local chapter in each city culminating on November 11th, Armistice/Remembrance Day at 11am with ceremonies all over the country. While I may complain and wonder about my aches and pains, on this day in particular my pain is minor when compared to these fine people.

Pork Vindaloo

This recipe is for Stephanie D at work. She has been working really hard at losing some weight and getting in better shape (I know she means wants to “get fit” as she has a great figure) eventually I will get her to join Crossfit, I think she would love the challenge of it. Today was our weigh in day for the group at work that in a weight loss challenge. I am proud to say that I just edged Steph out for the weekly pot. The wheat/gluten-free diet was a success. I have also decided to enter work’s “Biggest Loser” 10 week challenge.

Stephanie asked me what I brought in to work the other day that smelled wonderful. I explained that it was Pork Vindaloo, a delicious recipe that has many variations depending on the person who is cooking it and the region, but the basics are the same. My friends from India provided me with one recipe and I have a slightly different version. Adjust some of the seasoning and make it your own way. That’s the beauty of cooking it yourself. Here is my take:

PORK VINDALOO

Ingredient List

1 kg Pork (deboned) cut into cubes

4 tbsp ghee or a good oil

5 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 onions

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp tomato paste

3 tomatoes chopped

3 tbsp wine or cider vinegar

salt and a pinch of crushed peppercorns (add more if desired)

1 tbsp of cilantro leaves

Vindaloo ingredients

The Pork and marinade/paste

The pork and marinade paste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPICE PASTE:

1 tsp cumin seeds

4 cardamom pods

4 cloves

1 inch piece of a cinnamon stick

5 black peppercorns

1 green chile, chopped (Steph this will not be hot with it in the mix)

1 inch piece of ginger root, chopped

4 garlic cloves

3 tbsp lemon juice

Spice Paste – Marinade

Spice paste – Marinade pounded in the mortar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

METHOD

Make spice paste – grind cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, and peppercorn to a fine powder if you have a clean coffee grinder that would be perfect – I use my stone mortar and just pound the crap out everything. Its good therapy 🙂 Blend all that with the green chili, ginger, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor to make a fine paste.

Mix the pork with the paste in a large bowl. Place in a ZipLock bag, take out the air, and let marinate for at least 1.5 hours in the fridge.

Heat the oil  in a very large frying pan/wok. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook until they are golden, stirring occasionally. Add the turmeric, chili powder, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, and vinegar and stir well.

Almost ready for the pork

Almost ready for the pork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the marinated pork and salt to taste. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in one cup water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until pork is cooked through and the sauce is thick.

Looks like a mess – but tastes great – need to learn to take a picture better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the black pepper, then serve hot and garnish with the chopped cilantro leaves.

 

Day 2 – Wheat and Gluten Free

Saturday was day 1 and so far after two days of this challenge, I have not had any desire to kill or maim anyone except for my football team, the Buffalo Bills. They were ranked better than they have been in years and are getting smoked in the first game of the year. Oh well it is only one game there are 16 more to suffer through.

With the start of this challenge I needed to get rid of all the wheat and gluten food in the house and the food bank in our area is the winner? in that they will receive a big box of items that I am sure if they knew wheat and gluten could do to someones health they would call the police.

Now that a lot of food has left the building we needed to get started on making lunches and dinner for the week as we both have little time with the commute and workouts that we do 4 times a week. I have not had pork in while and wanted to do a different curry than the same old stuff. The winner was Pork Curry with Mango. I think I mentioned that I lived in India and travelled in SE Asia for while and during that time I tried lots of food. This is a combination of a few recipes and is a bit sour if you are not used to it. This curry will not look like a typical curry that north americans are used to seeing as it is not the usual colour. In Asia curries are similar to a north american stew.

Ingredient list – 1.5lbs/650 g of Pork Fillet/Tenderloin, 2 tbsp fish sauce(Nam Pla), 2 tsp Lime Juice, 6 shallots finely sliced, 5 tbsp of coconut oil, 1 small unripe mango peeled and Julienne, 1 tbsp Thick tamarind water salt and pepper, one 200 g can of sliced bamboo shoots.

Paste mix – 4 large garlic cloves, 1/4 tsp of shrimp paste, 2 tsp fresh ginger, 2 large red chillies seeded and finely chopped

Paste mix Pork Curry

Paste Mix for Pork Curry

Pork Curry with mango ingredients

 

What to do – FIRST – marinate pork in the mixture of fish sauce and lime juice for at least 20 minutes

The make the paste by crushing the paste ingredients in a mortar and pestle until smooth.

Mortar and pestle

Pounding the paste

Heat the oil in a wok or fry pan. Then fry half the pork over a moderate heat for a few minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and repeat with the rest of the pork then remove the pork and set aside to drain on a paper towel.

There should be enough oil left over for the next step, if not add some. Heat the oil again over moderate heat then stir fry the shallots for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low add the paste from the mortar and stir 2-4 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups of hot water, stir and bring to a boil. Put in the tamarind water. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Then adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Return the pork to the wok and add the sliced bamboo shoots, stir to mix and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Serve with rice or side of salad.

Finished Pork Curry with Mango

Finished Pork Curry with Mango

I did not think it would last and I was right. The inexpensive food menu that my wife decided to embark on was doomed from the start. It involved prepared foods and cheap snacks and pretty much junk food. For the last year or so been trying to find ways to reduce the cost of daily living as the cost of petrol/gas has increased so has almost everything else except our wages (that is another story for another time).

I love cooking, baking and anything else that has to do with preparing food. I am not much of sugar fiend however that does not mean I don’t enjoy sweets, I just don’t eat them often. I do like making them though and for that my wife has a love/hate thing going on when I make Chocolate Mousse or an Apple Flan then eat one piece/ramekin and leave the rest.

I have cookbooks coming out the wazoo from many countries, in different languages (Thai/French/Indian/Mexican/English, etc.), different eras (middle ages/early 1800’s/modern), technical books, teaching books, magazines, diet books, if there was a book that had some great recipes I would get it. They are the only books I own while my wife has “normal” books in her library.

The reason I mention this is that, I think I said this earlier, I love to cook. My wife likes to eat my food and so do many other colleagues and friends. We have been so busy on Fridays lately baking for a new local store that we have drifted away from cooking REAL food. Now with the new wheat belly kick she is on that seems to be working for her she now is realizing that real food is the way to go. No more prepackaged food items, no more snacks, no more garbage.

I am now planning the bunch of menu’s with some curries and Thai food. This is making me a very happy camper but the selection I want to do is so large it may take a bit to narrow it down to a few recipes and I have only 24 hours to decide what to cook. I have narrowed it down to three main items: Shrimp, Pork and Chicken – now the issue is where to go to cook. Indonesia, Thailand and India have hit the list and just for refinement I will do a French recipe.

Cooking starts this weekend – I will be having a blast and will remember to take pics along the way this time.

For all my colleagues at the gym who are on the Paleo Diet Challenge here is a recipe that will get the day started off great, plus it makes a good all round meal for lunch or dinner if you add a salad.

Frittatas are essentially a quiche without the crust so they lend themselves perfectly to the diet and they can modified in a number ways by adding chicken, pork, beef, veal or any other meat, BACON!! you can think of. Don’t like meat, then add veggies. You can use just egg whites if you like and that makes the variations endless.  I figured if I added the word “bacon” it would grab their attention.

This recipe uses some little used and thought of foods and that is why I choose it.

Asparagus Tomato Frittata

Ingredient list:

8 large eggs (yes Erica N use the whole egg in this recipe)
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
8 medium asparagus spears, cut in 1-inch lengths
1 cup artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in oil)
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

How to put together and cook:

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk eggs, stir in two tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.

Over medium heat, sauté onions in one tablespoon olive oil using an oven-safe skillet until softened and slightly browned. Add the asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes, basil, onion powder, salt and pepper. Sauté another 3 minutes.

Pour in egg mixture and mix together. Cover at low to medium heat for 3 minutes.

Place pan in oven for 15 minutes.

Remove (using oven mitt!) from oven. Cool for five minutes then, using a spatula, release the frittata around the edges and under the bottom. Slice and serve.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk eggs, stir in two tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.

Over medium heat, sauté onions in one tablespoon olive oil using an oven-safe skillet until softened and slightly browned. Add the asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes, basil, onion powder, salt and pepper. Sauté another 3 minutes.

Pour in egg mixture and mix together. Cover at low to medium heat for 3 minutes.

Remove cover and sprinkle Romano cheese over top. Place pan in oven for 15 minutes.

Remove (using oven mitt!) from oven. Cool for five minutes then, using a spatula, release the frittata around the edges and under the bottom. Slice and serve.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk eggs, stir in two tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.

Over medium heat, sauté onions in one tablespoon olive oil using an oven-safe skillet until softened and slightly browned. Add the asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes, basil, onion powder, salt and pepper. Sauté another 3 minutes.

Pour in egg mixture and mix together. Cover at low to medium heat for 3 minutes.

Remove cover and sprinkle Romano cheese over top. Place pan in oven for 15 minutes.

Remove (using oven mitt!) from oven. Cool for five minutes then, using a spatula, release the frittata around the edges and under the bottom. Slice and serve.

At the gym a lot of the members are going to be doing a Paleo Diet 30 Day Challenge. This is the first time I am not involved in one of these challenges. Right now my mind-set is not focused on this part of my recovery and joining in would only put one team into a deficit situation causing them to lose the challenge. However that does not mean I cannot eat well and provide a recipe for a tasty meal. I chose to lead off with the one world’s most popular Thai dish the famous Masaman Curry which meets all the requirements of the Paleo challenge at the gym as they have decided to include “honey” this time around. Honey is the only modification to this recipe as  the Thai people use Palm Sugar in their recipe.

I got this recipe from Thai teacher who taught Home Economics and worked in cookery lab since 1974 in Bangkok.

What you need is a good heavy mortar and pestle, I have a stone mortar and pestle that I brought back from Phuket in my luggage and that is another story altogether. You can use any type of meat, chicken, pork or beef as it is interchangeable. In Thai cooking, no times are provided as it is done through taste, smell and feel. which makes it hard to replicate each time but provides a new flavour experience each time you do a dish.

Spice mixture for Masaman: 3 dried chillies, seeds removed, soaked in water – 1 tsp of salt – 1 tsp minced roasted “Galangal” (ginger can be used if none available) – 1 heaping tbsp thinly sliced roasted lemon grass – 5 roasted shallots – 2 roasted garlic bulbs – 2 cloves roasted and ground – 1 tbsp ground roasted coriander seeds – 1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds – 5 peppercorns – 1 tsp shrimp paste

Place spice mixture in mortar and pound until ground and mixed thoroughly.

The other ingredients: 1/2 kg of choice of meat – 3 cups of coconut milk – 2 tbsp roasted peanuts – 5 peeled onions (100 grams) – 5 small sweet potatoes cut in large pieces – 3 bay leaves – 5 roasted cardamom pods – 1 piece of roasted cinnamon 1 cm long – 3 tbsp honey – 3 tbsp tamarind juice – 3 tbsp lemon juice

Cut choice of meat in 2 inch chunks

Place two cups of coconut milk in a pot (large enough to hold all the ingredients) with the choice of meat and simmer until tender. If you use beef use more coconut milk for the longer cooking time required.

Heat remaining coconut milk in another pot then add spice mixture and cook until fragrant (see no cooking time use your nose). Pour into pot with meat and add peanuts. Taste and adjust the flavour as it is sweet, salty and sour by adding tamarind juice, honey and lemon juice. Add bay leaves, cardamoms, cinnamon, sweet potatoes and onion and simmer until tender.

Serve with an assortment of pickled veggies – I have my own pickled carrots and I use pickled ginger as well  – or a salad.

Pounding the spices is the longest part of this recipe for time. Once they are ready the process does not take that long.

 

Last week I mentioned that I had some friends over for a dinner and made a fantastic Prosciutto wrapped pork loin with stuffed ground pork, apples and mushrooms. I was tight for time that day and did not take a picture of the meal which really pissed me off as it looked as good as it tasted. So good in fact that I had no leftovers for lunch or dinner last week. It just so happened that I had two more pork loins in the freezer of which one is already earmarked for a pork curry next week, the other I decided was going to be a repeat of last Sunday’s meal along with a pic and the recipe. If you do try to do this I hope that yours turns out as tasty as mine.

Filling:

1 cup of chopped mushrooms (pick your type, white, porcini, oyster, shiitake, etc)

3/4 cup of chopped apples

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup minced onion

1 tbsp finely minced garlic

1 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme and rosemary

2 tbsp of apple cider (fresh pressed if available) I have an orchard just up the road that makes a nice cider

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 lb of ground pork

The Pork Loin:

3 lb pork loin (trimmed)

1 tsp fleur de sel

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3-4 oz of sliced prosciutto

4 sprigs of rosemary

2 large Honey Crisp apples, cored, peeled and quartered

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup of apple cider

Putting it together:

The Filling

In a large skillet over medium heat add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add onion, cook stirring often, until soft and lightly golden, about 7-9 minutes. Add mushrooms and apples, cook, stirring occasionally, until flavours meld, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme and rosemary, cook for 1 minute. Add cider and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool completely. Add ground pork and stir to combine well.

The Pork

If you can get a butcher to butterfly the pork, great. If not, then follow these easy steps.

Put pork loin on work surface with short end facing you. Holding a long thin sharp knife parallel to the work surface and beginning along one side, cut 1/2 inch above underside of the roast. Continue slicing inward, pulling back the meat with your free hand and unrolling the roast like a carpet, until the entire loin is flat. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet ( I do not have one, but I do have old Irons from the 1900’s that are perfect for getting the met to an even thickness.

Remove wrap and season with salt and pepper. With the loin flat add the filling, leaving a 3/4 inch border around the outside.  Now roll the pork very tightly like a sleeping bag, cylinder or swiss roll. Wrap the pork with the prosciutto and tie the roast securely with kitchen twine at one inch intervals. Place rosemary sprigs under the twine.

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place apples in large Dutch Oven. In a skillet over medium high heat add olive oil and brown roast on all sides, about 5 -7 minutes total, then set on apples in Dutch Oven. Add cider to skillet and bring to boil, scrape off the brown bit and pour over roast. You should roast pork to an inside temp reaches 140 degrees about 1 hour and 40 minutes. After it is done let roast rest for 20 minutes. Put roast on platter along with apples.

If you are not on any Paleo Diet challenge you can heat up the juices and thicken it with butter or tapioca for a nice gravy.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples, Julienned Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms

For us Paleo Diet people it is always a challenge to come up wth fast and fresh ideas for food. This has no cooking and has a wonderful flavour. This can used as a side dish or as nice “salad” for lunch.

Ingredients:

1 small coconut

1 slice of fresh pineapple finely diced

1 small onion finely chopped

2 small chilies, deseeded and chopped

2 inch piece of lemon grass

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp fish stock

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro

Putting it together together:

Puncture the coconut with a screwdriver or ice pick and remove the milk (reserve for another use). Crack the coconut and pry the flesh from the shell and coarsely grate in a bowl.

Mix the coconut with the pineapple, onion, chilies, and lemon grass

Blend together the salt, lime juice and fish stock then stir the mixture in the sambal. Stir in cilantro.

Chicken Curry

This is a family recipe from India – I have modified it a bit with chicken thighs and coconut cream as the original recipe is for a whole chicken and sour cream. If use wish to use boneless chicken thighs that is fine as it is less messy, but it will miss some of the heartiness.

Ingredients :

3lbs Chicken thighs  bone in

1/2 cup of oil (coconut oil for paleo diets) or ghee

2 cups finely chopped onion (approx 2 large) I prefer Vidalia – however use what is on hand

3 inch stick of cinnamon

3 tbsp chopped garlic

2 tbsp chopped ginger

2 cups chopped tomatoes (2 large)

1 tbsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp Garam Masala

1 tbsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 cup coconut cream

2 cups water

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Putting it together:

In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat for 1 minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and saute for 5 to 8 minutes, until onions are golden. Add garlic and saute for another 4 minutes. Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne. Coook this masala for 5 minutes, or until oil separates from the masala.

Remove and discard the skins from the chicken thighs, wash thighs and add to masala. Stir well. Cook chicken thighs for 10 minutes, until the chicken looks cooked on the outside. Add coconut/sour cream and water and stir well. Increase heat to medium high. When curry starts to boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and coook for 15 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times, until chciken is completely cooked. Poke thighs with with a knife and if they are still pink cokk for another 5 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

Cool curry for at least half an hour. You will not have to do this with boneless thighs. Transfer cooled chicken to a mixing bowl. Wearing latex gloves remove chicken meat off the bones. Discard the bones and stir chicken back into curry. Just before serving heat curry on medium heat unitl it starts to boil lightly. Stir in cilantro.

Serves six or in my house two people for 2 days.

 

After watching Iceland Annie destroy the competition in the rope climb and clean and press, I feel the need to start getting more seafood in my diet. I have been eating way too much meat, white or dark. Lately it has been beef with a few chickens and pork tossed in the mix. I even had some lamb a few weeks back but have avoided or not bothered with stuff from the sea. Oh, I did have some shrimp on the weekend but that has been it.

I needed something that is easy to make and can be kept for frozen for ease of cooking after getting home late most nights.

I think I found a solution in these lovely little cakes. While I am not a big fan of crab meat (I prefer lobster, who doesn’t) you can practically use any type of seafood and make this recipe work.

The list of good stuff:   Makes 4 cakes

360 grams crab meat, lobster, etc

2 sprigs cilantro

3 tbs of mayo ( I make my own) use more as needed

2 tbs chopped pickled ginger (you can find that where they sell sushi in your supermarket or most asian food stores)

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

Oil for frying (Paleo people use coconut oil)

The construction of it all:

Gently squeeze out the excess moisture from the crab, lobster, etc. Place the seafood in a food processor with the cilantro, mayo, pickled ginger, salt and a pinch of pepper. Be generous when adding the mayo as it needs to be moist. (Yes Princess Leah I said moist, get over it). Proces with a few short pulses to mix. Do not over process the seafood should be somewhat chunky.

If you have them use a 3 inch metal ring to mold the uniformly form the mixture. You should get 4 cakes. The cakes should not be too thick or packed too tightly. Bread all sides of the cakes and refrigerate until needed.

To cook them heat a drop or two of oil in a nonstick pan over a medium heat. Cook the cakes unitl a light golden crust forms and the seafood is warmed through, around a minute per side. Resist the temptation to lift and check let them cook for at least 45 seconds before you do that. If you have to use a timer.

The Rouille Sauce:   Makes 1 liter

Juice of 2 lemons

pinch of saffron

50 ml chopped garlic (or to taste)

3 egg yolks

1-2 red peppers

15-30 ml of dijon mustard

500 ml Olive Oil

250 ml Grapeseed oil

salt and white pepper

The Sauce Construction:

In a small pot over low heat, heat the lemon juice with the saffron. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temp.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, egg yolks, peppers and mustard. Pulse to mix, then puree unitl smooth. add about 45 ml of the Olive Oil a few drops at a time, mixing constantly. Add the remaining olive oil and the grapeseed oil in a slow stream, continue to mix. The Rouille should be thick , glossy and just hold its shape like the mayo.

To finish, add the saffron-infused lemon juice and season with salt and white pepper, blending to incorporate.

This can be store covered in the fridge for a week.

Other than the breadcrumbs this is a good paleo recipe. You can try to substitute the breadcrumbs with shredded coconut, or some gluten free flour but it will not be the same visual appeal or taste.