Later On

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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, 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

Meat and Potatoes GOPM

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Last night’s GOPM was sort of interesting. It does require some work and refinement, but it is promising. Wipe out the 2.25-qt Staub round cocotte with olive oil, leaving some on the bottom. Then the layers:

Russian Banana fingerling potatoes, cut in halves or thirds if bigger than very small
1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped
several cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, cut into large dice or small chunks
1 boneless rib-eye steak (8-10 oz), cut into bite-size pieces
sprinkling of Penzeys Old World Seasoning
6 or so Brussels sprouts, sliced
1/2 head cabbage, chopped small
2 Roma tomatoes, diced

The pour-over was:

4 Tbsp beef stock (from the corned beef)
2 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Then cover and cook in 450ºF oven for 45 minutes.

It was tasty, but there was a fair amount of liquid in the bottom: sort of a stew. Potatoes don’t absorb the liquid the way (say) rice or quinoa do. I could add some quinoa to the bottom layer and/or use less liquid. Perhaps:

2 Tbsp beef stock
1 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

The above version also reflects The Wife’s request to drop the vinegar and to add horseradish.

I got the rib-eye steak thinking of prime rib (same meat, only thicker). However, it did seem somewhat dry, though tender. I think I might try a different cut—perhaps a tri-tip.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 March 2013 at 9:24 am

Posted in Beef, Food, GOPM, Recipes

Baby-Lima-Bean GOPM

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Exceptionally tasty. Turn oven to 450ºF to preheat. Wipe out 2.25-qt Staub round cocotte with olive oil, then layer from the bottom.

1/2 c White Basmati Rice from Lundberg
2 Tbsp red vinegar
small handful of green garlic, like scallions, chopped including the green
1 small heart of celery chopped
1 huge mutant carrot cut into largish cubes
good sprinkling Penzeys Old World Seasoning
1 spicy Italian pork sausage, cut into coins (by no means a solid layer)
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1/2 lb frozen baby lima beans, unthawed
5 Roma tomatoes diced

Pour over:

2 Tbsp Country French Vinaigrette
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Amontillado sherry
2 Tbsp smoked paprika

Shake well, pour over top, cover, and bake in oven for 45 minutes.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 March 2013 at 7:06 pm

Posted in Food, GOPM, Recipes

Chicken GOPM with what was on hand

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I had half a boneless skinless chicken breast, and yesterday afternoon I decided to marinate it, so I poured a lot of ponzu sauce over it in a covered storage dish (the glass kind with clamp-on lid) and shook it from time to time during the evening and today. Then I rubbed the inside of the 2.25-qt Staub round cocotte and lid with toasted sesame oil and put in layers of food I had on hand:

1/2 c pearled barley
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
thickly sliced frozen leeks from Trader Joe’s (not thawed)
several cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
the marinated chicken breast, but into chunks
1 good-sized carrot, diced
1/2 small head of Savoy cabbage, cored and chopped
2 Roma tomatoes diced

Pour-over:

1.5 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 Tbsp ponzu sauce
2 Tbsp sherry
1 tsp Colman’s mustard (the dry powder)

Shake well, pour over, cover, and put in 450ºF oven for 45 minutes. Very tasty.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 February 2013 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Food, GOPM, Recipes

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