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Lamb sausage one-pot meal

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I’m really pleased that I finally realized that the 2-quart cast-iron dutch oven holds four meals and not two (unless you are physically quite active). I noticed the meal tonight (1/4 of the pot) was reasonable in size and quite filling, not to mention extremely tasty.

Pour a little olive oil in the empty pot, then with your hands coat the sides and also the inside of the lid. Then layers, from the bottom up:

4 chopped shallots
a little chopped celery (perhaps 1/4 c)
3 chopped domestic white mushrooms (about the size of a squash ball)
1/3 c hulled barley (I think next time I’ll go to 1/2 c)
1 lb lamb sausage (Istanbul sausage from Whole Foods: spicy)
minced garlic
chopped fresh fennel (this time the fronds, not the bulb: bulb next time)
1/2 medium zucchini, diced
4 slices Italian eggplant, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
about 16 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
crumbled feta cheese (sheep and goat milk)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 lemon, ends cut off and then diced

If you make one of these one-pot meals, you’ll notice that it doesn’t take much quantity to create a layer.

You might wonder why I count this as a low-carb recipe, given the 1/3 c hulled barley. But 1/3 c hulled barley = 12g, which amounts  8.8g total carbs, of which 2g is dietary fiber, so roughly 7g net carbs for four servings: <2g per serving. That’s low carb.

The lemon contributes 12g carbs – 5g dietary fiber, for 7g net carbs: again <2g per serving.

The pour-over:

2 Tbsp Bragg vinaigrette
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp smoked paprika

Shake well in a little jar and pour over the top.

There was a little extra liquid, but it is quite tasty, so no problem. But I’ll cut back on the added liquid. I imagine the tomatoes and lemon contribute a fair amount of liquid.

We each ate 1/4 of the pot, so the remaining 1/2 pot will be dinner for tomorrow—and a very tasty dinner it will be.

I’m very glad to get back to these meals. I like how they make improvisation easy, how they have a lot of vegetables while you can easily limit the amount of starch and protein, and how very tasty they are.

You really should try it. Cover and cook 45.0 minutes at 450ºF, and then let sit 15 minutes.

I will note that the problem with the Lodge 2-quart cast-iron dutch oven is that it is low and squat, which doesn’t work so well with layering the food. Still, $22.50 isn’t bad. Le Creuset is a better shave, but $200 seems steep.

But check this out: Martha Stewart Collection Collector’s Enameled Cast Iron 2 Qt. Round Casserole: $40. Right now that looks like your best bet.

The $22 Texsport 2-quart dutch oven was perfect, but they are out of stock. I have, however, sent them a plea to make more of these.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 July 2016 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Food, GOPM, Low carb, Recipes

A 1-person, 1-meal Glorious One-Pot Meal

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When The Wife got into doing GOPM cookery, she didn’t want to make two meals at once, so I got her this 1.25-quart Staub cast-iron saucepot. It’s $119 at link (I paid $80, but Staub was just being introduced at the time). You can also get it from Amazon for $249 if you want.

It’s the same thing: layer the food, cover the pan, cook in the oven at 450ºF for 45 minutes, let cool for 15 minutes, and you have a meal. I’m cooking my lunch now.

For me the appeal comes from several factors:

  1. Only one pot to clean.
  2. Easy to improvise recipes
  3. Easy to assemble meal and—more important—fun to assemble meal
  4. Easy to balance the meal: a little starch, a little protein, lots of fresh vegetables
  5. Cooking requires a timer but no attention
  6. Inevitably extremely tasty

This one by layer from bottom up:

1 shallot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 Tbsp hulled barley
1.5 Tbsp Crosse & Blackwell mint sauce
1 mild Italian sausage (about 3.2 oz: 5 sausages to the pound), cut into pieces
1/2 bunch chopped mint leaves (the rest of the mint)
1/2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 slices Italian eggplant, chopped
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/2 lemon, end cut off, diced

The pour-over:

2 Tbsp Bragg Sesame and Ginger vinaigrette
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

It’s cooling now.

UPDATE: It was very tasty, but I’m thinking that 1 quart of food for a meal, while perhaps fine for runners and triathletes and such, is too much for a sedentary person like myself. A pint is more like it.

So I’m going to use the 1-qt Staub pan for two meals for us, and the 2 quart for 4 meals, 2 of which we eat on the spot, the other two as leftovers.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2016 at 12:31 pm

Posted in Food, GOPM, Recipes

First Glorious One-Pot Meal in quite a while

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I was making Glorious One-Pot Meals (GOPM) quite regularly for a while, but what with one thing and another got out of the habit, although I do like them a lot. For no particular reason other than recipe fatigue, it occurred to me to get back into it because they are extremely easy to improvise once you get the pattern down.

Glorious one-pot meals are built in a 2-quart cast-iron pot, and my favorite is the Staub 2.25-quart round cocotte though the Texsport 2-quart cast-iron Dutch oven works well and is much less costly (around $22, if you can find it). (The Staub runs $190, but I bought it when it was being introduced and got mine for $100.) Elizabeth’s Yarnell’s book calls for a 2-quart Dutch oven (and for some reason she likes Le Creuset, but I find the Staub, which costs less, much better in several ways), but it turns out that 2.25 quarts is a convenient size. (Staub 2.25 quart round cocottes are somewhat hard to find: they seem to have moved to one a pint larger, 2.75 quart. I prefer the 2.25 quart, but the other will work.)

Some people who hear “one-pot meal” think of using a slow cooker, but GOPM is pretty much the opposite: instead of cooking a long time at low heat (typically 8-12 hours at 200ºF), GOPM is cooked for a short time (45 minute + 15 minute rest) at high heat (450ºF). Thus meats that require long slow cooking for tenderness (e.g., oxtails, short-ribs, shanks) would not be suitable in a GOPM.

The ingredients are layered in the pot: reading from the first (bottom) layer up, a typical dish will have:

  1. aromatics (onion, spring onion, green garlic, celery, leeks, shallots, carrots, whatever)
  2. starch (rice, barley, quinoa, egg noodles, cut pasta, tiny potatoes, whatever)
  3. protein (marinated tempeh, chicken, fish, beef, lamb, pork, whatever)
  4. vegetables

After layering the ingredients, about 4-6 Tbsp of liquid is poured over the contents—the “pour-over.” Then the pot is covered and put into a 450ºF oven for 45 minutes, whereupon it is removed to sit for 15 minutes, and—voilà!—dinner for two.

Here’s a more detailed explanation and template.

In her book Yarnell provides a variety of recipes, which are helpful in getting the idea, but the recipes themselves are almost unbearably bland—plus for some reason she always puts in enough rice for 4 servings, not 2: she uses 1 cup of uncooked rice, and one serving is 1/4 cup uncooked rice, so she should use 1/2 cup. I asked why, and it turned out to be simple ignorance on her part. (She is extremely active, so probably burned up the extra carbs without noticing it.) I tend to use 1/3 c rice (or barley) in the pot: a little less than 2 servings, but I follow a low-carb diet.

The meals have always been extremely tasty and they are quite easy (and rather fun) to prepare: you layer the foods, pour over the liquid, and an hour later dinner’s ready.

Here’s the one I made tonight that’s in the oven now. I first rub the interior of the pot (including the bottom of the lid) with olive oil before I begin. The layers, from the first (bottom) layer up:

3 large chopped scallions
2 ribs celery with quite a few leaves, chopped
1/3 c pearled barley
0.67 lb lamb stew meat (actually, little lamb flank steaks that I cut into squares)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c chopped mint
1 medium yellow crookneck squash, diced
4 good slices eggplant (plan was 1 Japanese eggplant, but store didn’t have)
12-15 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
5 oz crumbled feta cheese
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 lemon, ends cut off and discarded, then the lemon diced

The pour-over:

2 Tbsp Crosse & Blackwell mint sauce [update: next time use 1 Tbsp]
2 Tbsp Bragg’s vinaigrette salad dressing (Sesame & Ginger, in this case)
1 Tbsp red wine [update: next time skip this]
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard

I put all that in a little jar, shook it well, and poured it over the top. I might have added smoked paprika if I had thought of it.

I am looking forward to this. I do have more than half an eggplant left over, so I’ll probably make another meal using the rest of the eggplant.

I totally made up this recipe, just thinking of a general lamb/Mediterranean theme.

BTW, in an earlier post you can find Yarnell’s patent for her method.

UPDATE: Extremely tasty. A little more liquid than I like, but very little. I would leave out the 1 Tbsp red wine in the pour-over next time, and perhaps use just 1 Tbsp mint sauce.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 July 2016 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Food, GOPM, Recipes

Dinner tonight

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We’re still meatless. It makes it easier that you can simply skip the whole aisle/section.

Greek eggplant with rice

Modified from Glorious One-Pot Meals

Layers from bottom in my 2.25-qt Staub round cocotte:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ c white rice
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • allium: e.g., ½ med onion, 2 large shallots, 1 leek, or 1 bunch scallions: chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Small pitted black olives
  • 1/4 c pine nuts
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 3-4 oz feta cheese, crumbled (I’m using a French goat-milk feta)
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzos/chickpeas, drained and rinsed

She splits stuff up and does two layers. Not for me.

Pour-over will be something like:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp red wine
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin

Shake well, pour over. 450ºF for 45 minutes.

I got to reading about Calrose rice, quite interesting in itself and I’m definitely buying some, but it also took me to the wide variety of interesting rices from Lundberg. I can’t wait to try a lot of those.

UPDATE: Extremely tasty. Definitely will make this again. For the allium, I chopped two good-sized spring shallots, including the green part. Cut pine nuts to 1/4 cup and half that (2 Tbsp) would probably be enough.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 July 2013 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Food, GOPM, Recipes

Exceptional good Andouille GOPM

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Last night’s was especially good. I took my 2.25-qt Staub round cocotte (and you can use any 2-qt cast-iron dutch oven), poured in a little olive oil, and used a small pastry/barbecue brush to spread the oil over the interior of the pot and the inside of the lid. Then I added the following in layers, from the bottom up:

1/2 c pearled barley
2 Tbs sherry vinegar
1 bunch scallions, sliced, including all the green part
2 stalks green garlic, sliced thinly, including all the green part (could substitute regular cloves of garlic)
2 pork Andouille sausages, cut into chunks
1 good-sized yellow crookneck squash, diced
3 medium tomatoes, diced (including pulp and seeds)
1 small handful pitted Saracena olives (about a dozen)
2 Meyer lemons, cubed (including the skin, but I cut off the ends)

Pour-over: In  a small jar, I put:

2 Tbsp Penzey’s Country French Vinagrette dressing, mixed according to instructions
2 Tbsp ponzu sauce
1 Tbsp Red Boat fish sauce
2-3 Tbsp bourbon
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp smoked paprika

Shake well, pour over the top, cover, put in 450ºF oven for 45 minutes. Remove, take off lid, and let sit 5 minutes.

Extremely tasty.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 June 2013 at 9:35 am

Posted in Food, GOPM, Recipes

Daily life, some reflections, and a GOPM recipe

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Let’s get the recipe out of the way first, since that’s fresh in my mind. This one turned out exceptionally well, saith The Wife. As always, I give the recipe as I made it from what I have. If I used a Meyer lemon, I’ll write that, but obviously you can substitute as you wish. I used sherry vinegar because sherry vinegar is what I happened to have. If I had apple cider vinegar, I would have used that. Recipes generally have an unrealistic level of specificity, IMO.

Rub the inside of a Staub 2.25-qt round cocotte (I used the red one) with olive oil. Note—and this is very important—do NOT buy a Staub round cocotte from Amazon.com. I bought mine there—it was $110 and quite obviously superior to the $135 Le Creuset—but tonight their prices are, literally, insane. Depending on the color, the price varies, all over the place, but is uniformly HIGH—Jeff Bezos must be having trouble reaching profit goals. $170, $285, and $460, depending on color. That is crazy. The link above is to a store that is not having a nervous breakdown, pricing-wise.

The layers, from bottom up:

1/2 cup Lundberg Organic White Basmati rice — I buy Lundberg because their rice is lower in arsenic and they address the problem directly. It’s also what Whole Foods has in the bulk bins.

1 quite large leek, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (meant to put it on the rice, forgot until this layer)
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/3 large eggplant, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
3/4 bunch asparagus, cut into segments
1 organic Eureka lemon (probably would have used a Meyer lemon if available), diced after ends removed

Pour-over:

2 Tbsp Penzeys Country French Vinaigrette (mixed according to instructions)
2 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
2 Tbsp Amontillado sherry
1 Tbsp Red Boat fish sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Shake well in bottle, pour over.

Cover cocotte and cook in 450ºF oven for 45 minutes.

The rice formed a sort of rice cake in the bottom. All very tasty—and I put it together in 15 minutes, just before leaving for my Pilates mat class.

I have gained enough weight that I would have to say I am fat once more—too much sitting—and the first session I felt horribly awkward and unable to even approximate the exercises because of being fat (too much bulk), inflexible, and weak. But, oddly, I was okay with that. I’ve been here before and I know what happens. Indeed, I am particularly interested in how bad I am and paid attention to it because this is the baseline from which I shall mark my progress—and I know from experience that regular practice will produce progress, quite rapid at first, and then more slowly.

Obviously, my previous Pilates experience helps: I know better how to follow the instructions regarding posture and muscle tension, so that moves faster.

And today I indeed noticed that I was better at some things and I enjoyed it more. And I’m more inclined to work on things. I’m wondering whether being continuously sedentary doesn’t throw oneself into his mind more, with the body mostly ignored; but when regular movement and exertion is part of the day—the body getting exercise and practicing control—one’s mind moves into a somewhat different mode where it can draw not only upon the resources of the brain but of the body as well. Or, more likely, the mind has available to it more of the brain’s resources—viz., those resources dedicated to controlling the body in motion and rest—and these additional resources alter the working of mind. As noted here (and elsewhere):

Albert Einstein once stated that he felt it in his muscles, when he was thinking about something that later proved to be very significant. This heightened kinesthetic sense tells us that helping develop this kinesthetic sensitivity from an early age, instead of suppressing it, will help people turning out to be more creative individuals.

At any rate, I feel that I am doing the right thing and eager to see my progress. (Cf. the book Mindset, by Carol Dweck: I’ve tried to adopt what she calls the “growth mindset.”)

While I’m pleased to be doing Pilates again—and mat exercises have the benefit that I can also practice at home—I am also pleased at some progress on the project of converting daily common chores into sources of enjoyment (cf. shaving).

In pondering this, I recently recalled the story in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which you surely have read more than once, of the episode of whitewashing the fence: a horrible chore that was so bad that whitewasher’s coevals felt free to mock him. Tom neatly turns the tables, making the practice—indeed, art—of whitewashing something so desired that others pay him for the privilege and perform the chore with thorough and genuine enjoyment—genuine enough so that they pay for the privilege and in no wise feel cheated.

I suddenly realized that what I’m saying is that we can do this to ourselves—we don’t need a Tom Sawyer, we can be our own Tom Sawyer.

We have no dishwasher, so dishes are washed by hand. I do this, and dishes build up—you know the story. Then recently I decided that I would not have a dirty dish dormant in the kitchen. At the earliest possible moment—i.e., as soon as either of us finishes eating from a dish—I grab the dish and wash it and put it in the rack to dry. At first this took time, but the more I did it, the less time it took: there was never a backlog, so I would be washing one bowl or two, for example. That’s easily and quickly done. When I found dry dishes in rack, I immediately put them away. Dirty dishes became rare, so I would wipe off counters, put things away. Soon even that was rare. A dirty dish became a kind of prize. And keeping the kitchen clean was easy: the effort involved at any time was tiny, and I practically can do it as I walk through the kitchen.

As I thought about it, I realized I had also discovered something else: a natural and unique time to tackle it. The time was as soon as I had something to clean. That is, as soon as something was dirtied, I cleaned it. “As soon as” is quite specific and easily identifiable. “Later” is vague, amorphous, and no particular time. “Later” omits a starting bell, whereas with “as soon as” sounds the bell clearly.

I was thinking about this and trying to find a way to increase the regularity of teeth brushing. (Sorry if this is TMI, but it was instructive to me.) I had much the same problems with my electric, software-controlled toothbrush as I had with the multiblade-cartridge razor: the process has been so polished and automated that it is totally boring and repellent. Replacing the multiblade cartridge and canned foam with a DE safety razor and true lather, made with brush and soap, made my shave once again interesting and enjoyable. Maybe it would work with brushing my teeth?

My dental hygienist had mentioned that the Braun brushes were, in her view, too firm and could damage gum tissue if used with pressure. She gave me a very soft manual toothbrush and recommended that I use that for a while.

The Braun (like the Sonicare and others) has a built-in timer: you brush each half of each row (top and bottom) for 30 seconds: 2 minutes total. That amount of time is recommended, and I didn’t especially want to count or to look at a clock, when I discovered that you can buy a 30-second sandglass: they’re used as game timers. (The site at the link has quite a variety of sandglasses of all durations.) So I got a 30-second sandglass and use it to time the brushing for each quadrant, reversing it as I complete each one.

That was almost enough to make it enjoyable, but I added my dishwashing discovery: brush my teeth as soon as I could after each meal. That is, choose the unique starting bell for the task: as soon as you can do it, rather than “later”—which thus requires a subsequent decision and the effort of that. I am relieved of a decision, I enjoy turning over the little sandglass, and I have found a way to make dental hygiene enjoyable.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 May 2013 at 9:23 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Food, GOPM, Recipes

Cloven-hooved one-pot

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Tonight’s GOPM features flesh of the cloven-hooved, in this case lamb Merguez sausage and pork chops.

Rub 2.25-qt Staub round cocotte with olive oil, then add these layers in the order listed, bottom layer first:

1/2 c white rice (we’re using Lundberg these days)
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
3 spring onions, sliced thin with most of green part
2 green garlic, sliced thin
1 lamb Merguez sausage, sliced into disks
1/3 bunch of celery, sliced thin (keeps meat from sticking together)
1.5 pork chops, cut into chunks
1/4 c pine nuts
good shaking of Penzey’s Old World Seasoning
1 yellow squash, diced small
1 bunch asparagus, cut into short sections
slices of Meyer lemon (including peel) to cover

The pour-over:

1 Tbsp Red Boat 40º fish sauce (on the Worcestershire sauce analogy—still feeling my way)
2 Tbsp Penzey’s French Country Vinaigrette
Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon I had around
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1-2 Tbsp smoked paparika
1-2 Tbsp Amontillado sherry
1 tsp dried thyme

Shake vigorously and pour over the top. Cover, put in 450ºF oven for 45 minutes, and there’s your dinner, if you’re The Wife.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 April 2013 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Food, GOPM, Recipes

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