Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Grub’ Category

Do you ever have a day sort of get away from you? grub

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Today certainly got away from me: at 5 o’clock I felt like I’ve done nothing but play catch-up. OTOH, at 5:16 I had the grub made and cooking:

6-qt wide-diameter pot:

2 Tbsp olive oil
5 red spring onions, sliced and then chopped along with green leaves
3 shallots, chopped
good large pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Sauté until soft and starting to brown, then add:

10 cloves garlic, minced

After a minute or two, add:

8 oz center-cut loin pork chop, cut into small chunks
2 small Italian eggplants, diced
3 zucchini, diced
1 wad dried slivered tomatoes
2 serrano peppers, chopped small (I couldn’t find the two I set aside, so I’m worried that I added them with the garlic, in which I end up with 4 serrano peppers and some spicy-hot grub)
1 cup chopped celery (remembered!)

I sautéed that for a good while, then blended in the Kitchenaid blender:

4 organic Roma tomatoes
1 heritage tomato (left over from some other dish)

And I poured that over the stuff, stirring well, and then added:

6 minced anchovies (for umami)
about 2 cups baby potatoes of various colors—really, just a good double handful: what was left
8 oz organic kale salad—baby and chopped kale, and quite a volume in the pot (though it cooks down)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
finely chopped fresh thyme—about 1.5 Tbsp worth
5 cherry tomatoes, halved, that I found on the counter

It’s pretty liquidy, so I’m adding:

1/2 c. Fregola Sarda pasta

Which will up the starch but also absorb the liquid. And when I went to add the pasta, I saw on the counter the organic lemons trying to hide, and I do love the bitter taste of the lemon with greens. So in goes:

1 organic lemon, diced whole after discard ends.

I feel like I’ve forgotten something, but you know my methods: look around add stuff that looks good. You can do the same.

Once everything’s in, I cook for 30 minutes, and then let it sit for a while so the pasta can absorb more liquid.

UPDATE: Tasty, as (almost) always. Good idea to leave the little baby potatoes whole: I get about two in a bowl, which is about right with the pasta. Either I simply lost the first pair of serrano peppers (accidentally brushed them into the trash with the vegetable trimmings) or four serranos is about right. I suspect the former.

I put grated Parmesan cheese on top. The anchovies were a good idea: you can’t taste them, but the grub tastes has good umami depth. (Both the anchovies and the Parmesan are good contributors to that.) For tomorrow, I’ll probably add some black olives and capers.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 June 2012 at 5:44 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Fitness update

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I’ve decided that some of my readers are themselves working on weight loss—I have no idea whether that’s in fact true, but that’s now my operating assumption—so I’m going to blog this latest weight reduction more closely so my methods will be clear.

This morning’s weight is up: 184.6, but then I expected that: I had a big drop, which generally leads to a bump up: from four days ago, weight by day: 183.3, 181.3, 182.8, and 184.6. But also I:

a. Did not walk for two days.
b. Got intrigued by recipes and measured according to recipes rather than according to my meal template.

Let’s face it: if you live alone and you buy food, all that food ends up inside you. For example, if I buy 8 oz of feta cheese for a couple of recipes, that means I’m going to eat 8 oz of feta cheese. And if a salad dressing calls for 1/3 cup of olive oil, I might as well drink it: it all goes into me. Not (necessarily) in one meal, of course. If the salad serves 4, I might have it for 4 meals: lunch and dinner for two days in a row.

So that means I eat 1/3 cup olive oil over two days: 16 teaspoons. When I cook grub, I use 2 Tbsp olive oil (6 tsp), but I get at least 4 meals (and often 5 or 6) from a batch of grub. Say it’s four meals:

With the salad recipe: 8 tsp olive oil per day
With my grub template: 3 tsp olive oil per day

So I would be eating more than twice as much olive oil than normal. That does have an effect: one thing I learned in the close monitoring I did in the Healthy Way program is that oil is much more powerful than I thought in terms of stalling or even reversing weight loss.

But I’m not really concerned. I know what to do: I get back on the program and I resume eating sensibly and I continue walking. Back to grub tomorrow or Wednesday (because I have that kale salad to eat, and I am indeed making four meals of it, with canned tuna for protein and probably rice or perhaps potatoes—boil some of those baby potatoes, cool, cut in half, add to salad (thus no additional oil or butter used)).

And I’ve decided to walk 6x/week, with Saturday off.

Last week wasn’t so bad. Fitbit.com sends me little weekly reports:


The “-70” is my lifetime weight loss—i.e., I’m down 70 lbs from my max, but of course I need to be down 80 lbs to get to my goal weight (i.e., I was 10 lbs over my goal weight at the time of the report above, but I’m 14.5 lbs over goal now—though still with “normal” range according to BMI). I’ll take care of that.

BTW, I have several times expressed a strong negative reaction to the weight-loss advice, “Just eat less and move more.” That always struck me like “curing” a person who suffers from clinical depression by offering the advice, “Just look on the bright side and count your blessings. Cheer up and you won’t be depressed.” Well, yes—of course and by definition. But stating the goal (“eat less” or “cheer up” or whatever) is very different (in my mind) from defining the means (exactly how does one do that?).

I was hit by this because in talking of the extremely obese person pictured in this James Fallows post, I actually said to The Wife, “He should start eating less.” She pointed out that I had myself uttered the dread phrase, and I was stunned: had I really said that? But now that I can look at it from the other side, as it were, I find that I have a better understanding of why some said it to me.

It’s this: Once you learn how to eat less, then you forget about having acquired that knowledge: it seems natural—and indeed some people by nature seemed to have the skill. And those people don’t understand why anyone would lack the skill—indeed, it is now such a part of their nature that they no longer recognize it as a skill (i.e., something that can be learned and mastered through practice). It’s as though a person with a natural sense of balance is instructing a novice at riding a unicycle: “It’s pretty simple: you just pedal the wheel back and forth as needed to maintain your balance.” The instructions are technically correct but of absolutely no help whatsoever, though of course offering such instructions does make the skilled unicyclist feel as though s/he’s helping.

The fact is that any advice of that sort is worthless and enraging, but it is what comes naturally to mind once the skill is acquired, because by the time the skill’s acquired, the intricacies mostly now reside in the adaptive unconscious, out of reach of the conscious mind. (Cf. the fascinating book Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious, by Timothy Wilson.) I see much of skill acquisition as a process of consciously training the unconscious; once the unconscious learns the skill, the conscious self can (in effect) drop out and let the “autopilot” unconscious take over—in driving, in fencing, in eating, etc. You see it all over the place. The skilled pool player simply sees the shot and hits the ball with the proper force, but to tell the novice, “Look for the shot, and then aim carefully and hit with proper force” is surprisingly unhelpful.

The trick is this: How do you eat less? My grub template is an example: it describes step by step how to build a meal that’s balanced and nutritionally sound and also includes lots of low-calorie bulky foods (greens, vegetables) and also places severe limits—based on actually measuring—on protein, fat, and starch. That’s why I blog so much about those meals—well, that and because I find food very interesting. In the grub template I explain how to eat less, and I think that’s valuable. Another component is the “no-bites” rule: food enters the mouth only at mealtimes and for the two daily fruit snacks (mid-morning and mid-afternoon). And of the grub I take one bowl for lunch, two bowls for dinner.

The other key is patience: slow and steady wins the race. Just keep at it, riding out the weight blips while maintaining the focus on (say) grub and walking. The weight gets lost, the knowledge of how to eat less is gained, and pretty soon you find yourself saying of an obese guy, “Why doesn’t he just eat less and move more?”, forgetting that when you yourself were obese you didn’t know how to accomplish that.

If you do that, along with daily weighing, you eventually get a sense of how your body responds. You know that a sudden big gain/drop will be followed soon by a compensating drop/gain, but the overall trend will be downward—slowly, but downward. I averaged about a pound a week, and that’s probably what I’ll do in this current effort—perhaps a bit better, with the walking.

UPDATE: In learning anything new, whether it’s abstract knowledge or a practical skill, one runs into the mindset issue: those with a fixed mindset will first of all try to avoid failure at all costs (which would demonstrate that their (fixed) level of intelligence is not high enough to learn it) and will quickly abandon the effort as being beyond their (fixed) capabilities.

In contrast, those with a growth mindset see difficulties and failures in learning as prime evidence that here is an area in which they can really grow by mastering a new skill or knowledge.

For more about these mindsets and how they work, I highly recommend Mindset, a book by Carol Dweck that describes the research done by her and others. Practical and interesting.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 June 2012 at 9:24 am

Ratatouille-ish Grub

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I had bought a couple of Italian eggplants for the swordfish grub, but they were on the bottom shelf so I overlooked them. So they will be in the next batch of grub that I’m making this evening.

My thought with eggplant tends toward ratatouille, so that brings in zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil. But no starch, no protein, no greens, so we quickly go beyond ratatouille. The grub will go something like this:

6-qt large-diameter pot.

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 red spring onions, bulb and leaves, chopped
salt, pepper
12 garlic cloves, more or less, minced
12 Thai peppers (have no idea for right number to use: can always add more)
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 cup chopped celery
2 organic zucchini, diced
1 organic yellow crookneck squash, diced
2 large carrots, diced (color and I need the orange: I also bought some mangoes for my fruit)
kernels cut from 1 ear of fresh yellow corn (color, mainly, but also starch to augment the pasta—I use the Kuhn-Rikon corn stripper which works well once you get the hang of it)
2 Italian eggplant, diced
10 oz extra firm tofu, cubed (the protein)
1 wad dried tomatoes from the little PG produce stand

The above is sautéed in stages, then I’ll add:

28-oz can Muir Glen crushed organic tomatoes (I was going to buy fresh organic Romas, but Whole Foods was charging $4 apiece: forget it.)
1 largish bunch red dandelion greens (one bunch of greens)
1 large bunch Italian parsley (a second bunch of greens)
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
5 anchovies, minced
2 rounded Tbsp capers, with juice
1 diced organic lemon, with peel

If a little more liquid is needed, I’ll add some red wine.

I’ll let that cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to cook the greens, then add:

4 oz Fregola Sarda pasta (2 servings starch, but this will make 4-6 meals, so that’s fine—the corn is also a starch)

Cook for 20 minutes more.

This is true grub. I’ll probably add black olives later. I have some freshly grated Parmesan and some freshly grated Romano, so I’m going to be doing some comparisons.

UPDATE: Extremely tasty grub. The pasta was a good choice, the lemon was a good idea, and altogether it worked out great. Plus I have enough for 6 meals easy: made a big batch. It’s not especially hot, so I’m adding more Thai chili peppers and upping the count in the recipe. Extremely tasty with the Parmesan. I added the 7 more Thai chilis before the second serving and still not very hot: some afterglow, but nothing searing.

UPDATE 2: Here’s the grub in the larval stage:

Written by LeisureGuy

31 May 2012 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Swordfish à la Grub

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Grub is cooking so I thought I’d describe the latest dish.

I’m using the 6-qt large-diameter stockpot.

2 Tbsp EVOO
4 red spring onions, chopped
salt

Sauté until onions soft, then add:

10 garlic cloves, minced
2 small zucchini, diced
2 large carrots, diced
3/4 c chopped celery
1 habanero pepper, minced
0.84 lbs Pacific swordfish, cut into chunks (a piece with a fair amount of skin, which I like)
freshly ground pepper

Sauté for 5-10 minutes. Add:

4 large Roma tomatoes, blended to a liquid
1.5 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup converted rice (uncooked: I want it to absorb the liquid)

Stir and let that get to simmering, then add:

1 bunch red chard, stems and leaves chopped
1 container “baby kales” from Whole Foods

The chard was a relatively small bunch, thus the baby kales—and it’s always good to work in some kale.

It will cook now for 30 minutes and then I’ll enjoy a late lunch. This will probably be four meals at least, maybe 5.

Photo of the vegetables sautéing:

And then after adding everything else and cooking until the greens wilt:

UPDATE: You can see in the first photo my wonderful cooking spatula, which is always in my hand as I cook. It stirs things better than a spoon wood (because of the wide flat surface, which produces more turbulence/mixing), and it can also scrape the bottom of the pan efficiently. It’s cherrywood, and it’s made by Woodspoon.com.

I have four of these (don’t like to run out), and you have to request custom make nowadays, which he’s willing to do.

What to order: a medium spatula (left- or right-handed, depending on the user), but with a 12″ handle. It’s a wonderful cooking tool, and as you can tell, I plan never to be without one. Or two or three.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 May 2012 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Grub birth

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My last batch of grub, that described in the Grub Template post, lasted 5 meals, so I’ve another grub to prepare. Here’s how I approach it:

I decided that fish should be the protein, and Dover sole works well and is not expensive ($10/lb fresh). A pound should be right for 5 meals. I immediately thought of spinach for the greens, and I liked the way the Roma tomatoes worked when they were processed into “crushed tomatoes,” so I decided I’d do those. Tomatoes would work well with the spinach, I thought, along with a diced lemon and some ripe olives (thinking “Mediterranean”). I have the other half of the sweet potato for the starch (not Mediterranean now, more like grub: a food added purely for its nutritional content (plus I like the taste)). Spring onions and garlic with EVOO are obvious choices. Maybe some pine nuts? I can add some bright color with a yellow bell pepper (which will play with the diced lemon).

So that’s what I had in mind. But then I saw some really beautiful Chinese eggplant, so I added that, plus a couple of small yellow crookneck squashes (more color). And now that I have the 6-qt large-diameter pot, I can easily fit in more greens, so I got a bunch of red kale to go along with the spinach.

On seeing stuff, I added some things: I restocked on pitted Kalamata olives, and for treats got 2 boxes of organic red raspberries ($3/box! they’re generally much more) and one small spherical seedless watermelon (because I’m want to hit the “Red” category solidly).

I realize writing this that I forgot the spring onions—thought I could shop without a list, always a mistake—but I have a Spanish onion here, so that’s what it will be.

UPDATE: My gosh, it’s delicious! And I need an 8-qt pot…  just kidding, sort of: I did have to add the spinach after the kale cooked down, otherwise wouldn’t fit. But it was a big bunch of (curly-leaf) red kale and a big bunch of spinach, so they were rather bulky. In the end, it’s only a little over 4 qts, I would say. Here’s what happened:

First, cook separately 1/2 c black rice in 1 c water: simmer for 30 minutes. (I decided that the 1/2 sweet potato was not enough starch.)

2 Tbsp EVOO
1 large shallot, chopped
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
salt
2 tsp dried basil

Sauté until transparent. Add

3-4 Tbsp minced garlic—your call; I like garlic

When you smell the garlic, add:

2 jalapeños, minced (seeds, too: all except stem)
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
2 small yellow crookneck squash, diced same size
1 c chopped celery
1/2 sweet potato (washed, skin left on) diced same size
1 large Chinese eggplant (totally beautiful: could not resist)
2 large carrots, diced the same size

Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then blend:

5 large organic Roma tomatoes (remember to remove stickers)

and pour that over the vegetables. Lay over the top:

1 lb Pacific Dover sole fillets
1 organic lemon, diced same as above
1 large bunch red kale, rinsed, stems minced, chopped small
1 large bunch spinach, root ends trimmed, rinsed, chopped small
the cooked black rice

Cover and simmer steadily. I found it necessary to introduce the greens little by little, pushing them into the developing liquid (and thus tearing up the fish, which is the idea: the protein scatters throughout the pot) so they will wilt down. Finally got them all in, added the rice, and simmered, stirring occasionally to mix.

After 20 minutes, it was well mixed and smelling good, but it had a lot of liquid. I added 1/2 c Israeli couscous (the large spherical couscous) to sop up the liquid and cooked it another 20 minutes. I think the starch content is still well within bounds, given that this will be at least 6 meals.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 May 2012 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub

Grub template

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I now have a draft of a grub template as an Excel spreadsheet (current version: 30 June 2012 – 11:42:03). You pick items from Columns A through F to build a grub:

A: Protein, 3-4 oz
B: Starch, 1 small serving
C. Oil, not more than 2 tsp per day—so I usually use 2 Tbsp when cooking a batch of grub (good for 3 days)
D. Greens, a good amount—lately I’ve been using two bunches, sometimes three (different greens, usually)
E. Vegetables, as many as you want
F. Condiments: add to grub as desired, but careful with the salty ones (soy sauce, for example)
G. Fruits, 1 for morning snack, 1 for afternoon snack

I use the template to remind me of possibilities, so rather than simply listing “rice,” for example, I list all the rices I regularly enjoy: black, brown, red, Minnesota wild, converted, and so on. Similarly, rather than listing (say) “onion”, I have Spanish onion, sweet onion, red onion, spring onion, leek, shallots, garlic, green garlic, scallions, ramps, … and any others that may later occur to me. [UPDATE: Pearl onions—just thought of those. I generally buy those frozen: too finicky to peel otherwise.]

Because you probably have your own favorite foods, the template is an unprotected spreadsheet: you can modify it as you want.

I use “grub” to describe the dish that results when all the foods are combined in one pot and then cooked—and that’s what I do, since I don’t like to wash pots. But obviously you could make your selections and cook each item separately and using a different method: broil the protein, boil the starch, sauté some vegetables, steam others—use as many pots and cooking methods as you like, but still hit the template. For me, it’s simply easier, faster, and more efficient to cook them all in one pot, but if you enjoy cleaning lots of pots, go for it: it’s still the same idea and the sample template still applies.

Those whose work week allows little time and who like to cook each food in its own separate pot can cook up several days’ supply and then combine appropriate amounts for a meal. For example, try the following:

Protein: cut a chicken breast or two into chunks, perhaps marinate, then broil or roast and use 3 oz per meal;

Starch: cook 1.5 cups black rice in 3 cups water for 30 minutes and then use 1/3 c (or 1/2 c for a full starch serving) per meal

Greens: actually, “leaves,” since they may be another color, generally red (red kale or red cabbage, for example)—rinse and chop a three or four bunches of greens and steam or simmer until done, splash with a little vinegar or lemon juice, and use a cup per meal;

Vegetables and oil: stir-fry some veggies in a 2 Tbsp sesame or grapeseed or olive oil: chopped onions, minced garlic, chopped celery, diced carrots, diced summer squash, diced zucchini, chopped bell pepper, chopped jalapeño pepper and use 1 c of those for a meal.

The above method also makes it quick and easy to assemble a good lunch to take to work—use containers that allow sufficient room for the volume of vegetables. This three-tier stainless carrier would work: put the protein and starch in one container, the greens in another, and the vegetables in the third.

Grub benefits: Tastes good, nutritionally sound, uses one pot, format independent (that is, grub can take the form of salad, soup, stir-fry, stew, casserole, or whatever: cooking method doesn’t matter), quick, easy, and (to me) interesting combinations.

Grub drawbacks: Because things are cooked together, appearance generally is not striking. This is daily grub, not company fare.

Grub cookware: When I cook rice, I generally cook it in a separate pot (typically 1/2 c rice cooked in 1 c water), and then add the cooked rice to the grub when I add greens. Pasta I just put in the grub pot and let it cook with the grub.

After a certain amount of experience, I can say that the ideal grub pot has a large-diameter bottom (for sautéing and browning) and reasonably tall sides, enough to hold the (frequently quite bulky) greens (which then cook down). My ideal pot is the All-Clad Stainless 6-qt “stockpot” (as they call it): just the ideal size, shape, and material. I found one at a good price on eBay. But any pot of this approximate size and shape will do. That size makes roughly 6 meals.

I also include with the template a chart to assist in selecting vegetables by color: David Heber wrote a very interesting book, What Color Is Your Diet?, in which he suggests eating each day plants from each of 7 different color groups. (Used copies starting at $1.) The color groups:

Green – Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale, Swiss chard

White/green – Artichoke, asparagus, celery, chives, endive, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, scallions, yellow onion

Orange – Acorn & winter squash, apricot, cantaloupe, carrots, mango, pumpkin, sweet potato, persimmons

Orange/yellow – Nectarine, oranges/juice, papaya, peach, pineapple, tangerine, lemon, mandarin orange

Yellow/green – Avocado, collard greens, corn, cucumber, green beans, green peas, honeydew, kiwi, mustard greens, turnip greens, romaine, spinach, yellow/green bell peppers, zucchini with skin

Red/purple – Beets, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries & juice, eggplant, grapes & juice, red peppers, plums, prunes, red apples, red pears, cooked red cabbage, red wine, strawberries, red onions

Red – Tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato puree, tomato salsa, stewed tomatoes, cooked tomatoes, watermelon

I frequently dice vegetables such as zucchini, squash, eggplant, carrots, and the like. It’s quite easy and takes little time: using a chef’s knife, I cut the vegetable length-wise into slabs, stack those and cut the stack length-wise into strips, then cut across those to make dice.

UPDATE: I was reflecting on the Color Chart and realized suddenly that I am getting no orange at all. I think I’ll be using sweet potato for starch more often and including diced carrots among the aromatics (with the onion and celery).

UPDATE 2: For quite a few examples of grub and gradual development of the idea, look through my grub posts (generally “recipes”—i.e., descriptions of what went into the grub).

UPDATE 3: The templates at work: I have to make a new batch of grub tomorrow. I already have a 10-oz cube of extra-firm tofu, so I have my protein in hand, and for some reason I fixated on red dandelion greens for the greens, and that seemed to work well with black rice and I know I’ll use olive oil, so all that’s left is to decide on the vegetables.

I haven’t been doing orange, though, and one possibility is to use a sweet potato (half of it diced for this batch of grub, half held back for the next batch) instead of black rice—and it would be more colorful. So that’s the first change.

I always use onions, and I saw some nice spring onions, but I already have shallots on hand. So I’ll buy just one spring onion and eke it out with shallots. I already have—and will use—garlic and chopped celery. I’m thinking domestic white mushrooms cubed to play games with the cubed tofu (they will look alike). And I think I’ll get a few Roma tomatoes and chop (with their juice and seeds) to add: the liquid will be useful for the sweet potato and dandelion greens. And cubed carrots can play games with the cubed sweet potato (both looking alike).

Acid brightens things up, so I’ll look for Meyer lemons and cube one of those to add as well. [Had to use a regular organic lemon instead; worked fine.] And I have jalapeño peppers on hand, so I’ll use a couple of those as well.

At this point, I’m just playing with it. Maybe add an anchovy or two from the handy bottle I keep for umami purposes. But I also have miso on hand, so I could add a tablespoon of that after I’ve cooked it, and let that be the umami. But I’m thinking the anchovies…

Here’s the recipe as I made it, using my new All-Clad Stainless 6-qt “stockpot”, which was wonderful: plenty of room to hold all the greens.

2 Tbsp EVOO
3 red spring onions, chopped (bulb and leaves)
2 large shallots, chopped
good pinch of salt

Sauté until softened and transparent. Add:

10-12 cloves garlic, minced

Sauté for a minute or two, then add:

10-oz cube extra-firm tofu, diced small
6 domestic white mushrooms, diced the same size
3/4 c chopped celery (two good-sized handfuls)
2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and minced (including seeds)

I sautéed that for a while, then added:

5 whole large Roma organic tomatoes, chopped in food processor—I processed whole tomatoes (with the seeds still in) because I wanted the liquid for cooking the potatoes and greens
1/2 sweet potato, washed but not peeled, and diced
2 carrots, diced the same size
1 bunch red dandelion greens, chopped
1 bunch Lacinato kale, chopped
1 organic lemon, ends cut off and then diced whole
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
4 anchovies, minced

I did two kinds of greens: they both have quite narrow leaves and the bunches were relatively small. Dandelion greens are a little bitter, as is the lemon’s peel, but I like a little bitter from time to time. Bitter melon is a summer favorite.

I covered the grub and simmered it for 30 minutes. At the end there was a fair amount of liquid, so I added:

1/3 cup Israeli couscous (to absorb extra liquid—chia seed is another possibility)

Cover simmer about 10 minutes more. Grub!

— Just had a bowl: really tastes great! I’m surprised, especially since I haven’t had any combination like this one—this was a “themeless” grub. But it tastes very fresh and light. The lemon was a good touch.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2012 at 11:30 am

“Grub” category created

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I wanted to point someone to the “grub” posts, and I found the WordPress search function erratic. So I’ve added a category “grub” and marked the posts that fall into that category, including the initial definitional post, “Food as Grub.” So now you can readily browse past grub-oriented posts.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 May 2012 at 10:09 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, WordPress

Spinach-and-red-kale grüb

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This one came out much as expected, though there are always some surprises.

Cook 1/2 c black rice in 1 c water with pinch of salt and set aside.

In 6-qt large pot (I can’t wait! but I had to use my 4-qt sauté pan, so had lid-fit problems until greens cooked down—in fact, I had to load them in two batches, the second after the first had cooked for 10 minutes):

2 Tbsp EVOO
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
salt
Herbs de Provence — about a teaspoon

Sauté until onions soft and starting to brown. Add:

1 jalapeño peper, minced (with seeds)
12 cloves garlic, minced

Sauté for a minute or two, then add:

3/4 c chopped celery (hah! I remembered!)
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped small
1 yellow crookneck squash, diced small
8 oz tempeh, cut into strips then squares

Sauté that a bit, then add:

1 Italian eggplant, diced small
the black rice
28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
several lashings of black pepper
1/4 c water
1/4 c red wine

Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes. Rinse spinach and red kale well in a sink full of cold water. My fresh spinach comes with stems attached at root, so before I wash I hold the bunch over the trash and slice over the very bottom part, to separate the leaves.

I first did the red kale: minced the stems, chopped the leaves, and put it into the pan. I had to put in some, hold the lid down, let it wilt, stir it in, and add the rest. I got it all in and let it cook 10 minutes. That cooked it down a lot, and I was able to chop the bunch of spinach and add that as well. Again, I had to do it in stages, stirring the fresh spinach into the hot liquid to help it wilt. I sure will be glad when the 6-qt pan arrives.

Covered, simmered 20 minutes, and checked it. Looking good, but too much liquid for me. So I added

1/4 c chia seeds

which thickens it pretty well. I also added

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

to make it bright. I’ll serve topped with grated Romano cheese.

Hey! No meat! Again. But plenty of protein. Tomorrow, I might goose it up with 1/2 c peanuts. Or maybe black olives…

UPDATE: Interesting email from The Wife, at Whole Foods with her iPhone:

I asked her to check, because I stopped buying pine nuts because the price was so high, but then found them at Trader Joe’s for $8. I was excited and bought a bag, and then saw it was an 8-oz bag: $16/lb. Still, I thought that was better than the price at Whole Foods, which I could not remember (had blocked it, no doubt), so I asked The Wife to check. Above photo just arrived.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 May 2012 at 5:45 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub

Grüb thoughts for tomorrow

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The last batch of grüb is drawing to a close: 5 meals (or was it 6?) that were quite satisfying. For the next batch I got red chard, which looked good, and with that I think I’ll go with black rice. Because I’m still in losing mode, I’ll use 1/2 c instead of 3/4 c: making small adjustments here and there, and starch is good for me to cut back.

UPDATE: Recipe edited to reflect what I actually cooked.

So first I cook separately, simmering covered for 30 min:

1/2 c black rice
1 c water

And set that aside. The rest more or less falls into place:

2 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz peeled shallots, chopped
pinch salt

Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for 5-10 minutes. (I use the time to do the rest of the chopping.) Then add:

2 stalks green garlic, sliced thinly
12 cloves regular garlic, minced
3/4 c chopped celery
1/2 c peanuts
8 oz marinated tempeh strips, cut across into little slabs
freshly ground pepper

Sauté that for 5-10 minutes, then add:

1 Chinese eggplant, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 bunch red chard, stems minced, leaves chopped small
the cooked black rice
26 oz can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1/2 c peanuts
1/2 c red wine
good slug homemade pepper sauce (or could use crushed red pepper)

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

It was liquidy, so I added:

1/2 c Israeli couscous

And simmered about 15 minutes more. That sucked up a lot of the liquid.

I’ll buy some grated Romano tomorrow. And I think I’ll pick up a zucchini to include. And some peanuts: more protein. Plus it’s time to make a new batch of pepper sauce.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 May 2012 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Using-up-the-cabbage grüb

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In small saucepan,

1/2 c black rice
1 c water
pinch salt

Bring to boil, cover, simmer 30 minutes, put aside.

In 4-qt sauté pan,

2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 large Spanish onion, diced small
pinch of salt

Sauté for several minutes until turning transparent; stir in:

3 large stalks green garlic, sliced thinly (all white and all green except leaves)
10 oz extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
2 small Italian eggplant, cut into small cubes

Sauté for a while, then add

28 oz San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1/4 c red wine
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 head cabbage, cored and chopped small
the cooked black rice
good slug of homemade pepper sauce, or sprinkling of crushed red pepper

Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, simmer for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

I would have included a zucchini, but thought I’d use a yellow crookneck squash I had on hand, only to find it had gone over. And I blocked on celery again, this time when at the market—so I’m out. So it goes. I’m contemplating adding black olives (and then probably black garlic as well).

For later meals, I might stir in some black bean with garlic sauce or the like. We’ll see how it goes.

UPDATE: Super good! This hit the spot exactly, no celery required. Not really spicy, but good presence and depth. I topped it with grated Romano cheese, a good choice. Nice mix of textures and chewinesses. The extra-firm tofu is quite chewy, which I like.

Also: the slow-roasted tomatoes were a wonderful afternoon snack. I used black Cyprus sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper (after brushing with EVOO). About mid-way it struck me that they still retained a lot of juice, so I mashed them with the back of my wooden cooking spatula and left them to roast in their juices, turning heat up to 250ºF. That did the trick and by the time I was ready for them, they were ready for me. The flavor is indescribable but produced a profound cessation of longing in me for quite a while.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 May 2012 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Tomorrow’s grüb: Pork, cabbage, apple, onion, raisin, black garlic, walnut, …

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I think I’ll do this as a stir-fry/simmer. UPDATE: Edited now to reflect actual dish.

First, cook separately:

3/4 c Minnesota wild rice
1.5 c water
pinch salt
dab EVOO

Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 50 minutes (or until water absorbed).

In 4-qt sauté pan:

2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 med-large shallots, chopped

Sauté for a few minutes until onion transparent, then add:

1/4 c garlic, minced coarsely

As soon as that is fragrant, about 30-60 sec, add:

2 boneless center-cut pork loin chops, cut into chunks, about 12 oz
[crushed red pepper – I used homemade pepper sauce instead: much the same thing – LG]
2 chopped domestic mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped

Sauté for 5 minutes or so, then add:

1 organic Fuji apple, diced
1 fresh fennel bulb, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
1/2 c Thompson raisins
1/2 c black garlic
1/2 c English walnuts
the cooked wild rice
1/2 c water mixed with:
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, and
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp Penzeys Ham Soup Base

Bring to boil, cover, and simmer 20-25 minutes.

It may need a little more or less liquid. Mine came out perfectly: no liquid left after cooking, but mix still nice and moist.

It seems perfectly feasible to make this as a GOPM.

I plan to serve with Greek yogurt.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 May 2012 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Food, Grub, Recipes

Tomorrow’s grüb: GOPM with fresh sardines, spinach, lemon, and rice

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I was thinking of spinach and tofu, but as I put together the meal in my head, I suddenly realized it would be a terrific GOPM. Layers, from bottom:

Chopped sweet onion, scallions 1 large leek, sliced in half lengthwise, then thinly across
Minced garlic
Chopped celery
3/4 cup converted rice (raw)
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
4 fresh sardines, filleted
1 Meyer organic lemon, cubed
2 Tbsp capers, drained
crushed red pepper
4 domestic white mushrooms, sliced (might chop coarsely next time)
1 red bell pepper, diced omitted—ran out of room
1 yellow crookneck squash, diced
1 bunch spinach, rinsed well, chopped small
1 sliced tomato
1.5 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Layer that in 3.5 qt Staub enameled cast-iron dutch oven, cover, pop into 450ºF oven for 45 minutes, and Bob’s your uncle. At least two meals, more likely 3-4. I do have the Staub pot at the link. Staub pots are first-rate, much better than Le Creuset.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 May 2012 at 9:11 pm

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

Grüb thoughts

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Last night I made quite a good-tasting grüb, the contents and method of which will be familiar—recipe is at the bottom. But The Sister called with a nice tuna salad she had made from a Mark Bittman recipe—it was made with bulgur, and as she assembled, she suddenly realized that it was simply tabbouleh with tuna added. And I immediately thought to myself, “Sure: the bulgur is the starch, the olive oil is the oil, and the parsley takes care of the greens (especially if you use a lot of parsley, which I do), so the only part of a meal that’s missing is the protein. The tuna takes care of that, though one could use any protein, such as chopped hard-boiled eggs instead.”

Once I start thinking of these meals, I see them like a 4-column Chinese menu:

Protein (3-4 oz total) Starch (1 small svg) Oil (2 tsp or less) Greens Veggies

.

Then under each heading, a list of possible candidates, which can be very long indeed: I select only a few, clearly, and each person will list those foods they most like. The “Greens” list for me would include:

Kale (red or green or Lacinato or whatever)
Collards
Chard (red, green, rainbow, whatever, though I do favor darker colors)
Mustard greens
Turnip greens
Beet greens
Dandelion greens (red, green)
Cabbage (red, green, Savoy, Napa)
Parsley
Spinach
Brussels sprouts
Broccolini
Bok choy (baby and adult)
Arugula
Radicchio
Endive, curly endive

I’m sure more will occur to me—and of course there are the greens eaten raw, in salads (Romaine, red leaf lettuce, and so on), but here I’m focusing on my grüb tactics.

Last night’s grub, made according to this scheme, tasted quite good. I had already cooked 1/2 cup black rice in 1 cup water with a pinch of salt. With that ready, I got out the 4-qt sauté pan.

2 Tbsp EVOO
1 large Spanish onion, sliced thinly using Swissmar V-chopper
3 good-sized shallots, sliced thinly likewise
1/2 Tbsp Aleppo pepper (not particularly hot)
1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika (ditto)
good shaking crushed red pepper
good pinch of salt

I started that on medium heat and let it cook until onions and shallots softened. Then I added:

1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped small
1 small regular eggplant, diced
5 good sized Roma tomatoes, chopped and added with juice and seeds

I stirred and cooked that for a while, until it was all hot and just starting to stick. Then I added:

1/2 c red wine
1/4 c water
1 bunch red kale, stems minced and leaves chopped small

That went in and I barely could get the lid on, but I let it simmer a while and the kale wilted down so I had room to add:

the cooked black rice

I stirred it up, put on the lid, and simmered 30 minutes. I was about to eat, when I realized I had forgotten to add the protein, so I added that at this point:

1 10-oz cube extra firm tofu, diced

Since the tofu doesn’t pick up a lot of flavor in any event, this was not a serious problem. I stirred in the tofu and cooked it five more minutes to heat the tofu, then ate it with a little grated Parmesan on top.

I forgot the celery again, but may not have had room for it. As I eat it down, I can add variety by including things like: celery, mushrooms, black olives, black garlic, pine nuts, and the like, simmering a while when adding new stuff. The idea in the back of my mind was ratatouille with greens and protein added.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 April 2012 at 9:54 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

End-of-stuff grüb

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An exceptionally tasty grüb tonight, made up totally of what I had on hand to avoid a trip to the grocery store. I thought I was going to have to go for greens, but remembered I had the other half of the red cabbage.

As you perhaps have guessed, I just throw these together impromptu, while making sure I hit the template. So measurements are best guesses and I may update recipe as I remember other things I added.

This morning I cooked 1/2 c black rice (cutting back some because having to get back to my proper weight—ballooned up a bit with the months off) in 1 c water and a pinch of salt, so I had that on hand.

In the 4-qt sauté pan:

2 Tbsp California EVOO
1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 large shallots, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp salt
sprinkling of crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp Aleppo pepper (note very hot at all)

Sweat over low-medium heat until shallots wilt and onion is transparent, 5 or 6 minutes. Stir occasionally. Then add:

1 10-oz block extra firm tofu, cubed
1 head garlic, peeled and minced (that method blogged earlier really works!)
2 medium zucchini, cubed
1 c chopped celery
1/2 c salted peanuts
1/2 c black garlic
1/2 head red cabbage, cored and chopped

Stir and sauté for a few minutes over medium-high heat, stirring. Then add:

the cooked black rice
1/3 c red wine
1/2 c water
1/2 Tbsp Penzeys Ham Soup Base

I stirred that up well and paused to reflect. I wanted the soup base for umami, but I decided to kick it up a notch or two and stirred in:

4 anchovies (from my handy jar), minced
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 Tbsp homemade pepper sauce (it was just sitting there)
1 Tbsp smoked paprika (love that stuff)

I stirred it well, reduced heat to low, covered it, and simmered 30 minutes. It’s quite tasty. Variations obvious, I think.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 April 2012 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Last night’s grüb: Tempeh, red cabbage, and black rice

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I tend think of my meals as indicated in the title: Protein, greens, and starch. Protein first is merely professional courtesy: in fact, greens are the heart of the meal and where I often start.

In the morning, planning this, I cooked 3/4 c black rice in 1.5 cup water with a pinch of salt. That was standing by when I began the grüb. I often will cook a pot of rice (black, white, or Minnesota wild) in the morning, figuring that will be the starch of whatever meal I make. I use 1/4 c uncooked rice as 1 serving, and I generally plan amounts so I get less than a serving of starch. (I’m diabetic.) I cooked 3/4 c rice in the expectation that the pot of grüb that would include the rice would make 4-6 meals.

This recipe uses my 4-qt sauté pan, which was pretty full by the end.

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb (or a little less) peeled shallots, sliced thinly (I used the Swissmar V-Slicer: quick and easy)
pinch kosher salt
several grindings black pepper

Sweat those over medium heat until fully softened, then add:

1/4 c minced garlic
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped small
1 handful, celery chopped small
8 oz tempeh, cut into slabs then chunks—I tried a pre-sliced marinated tempeh: lemon-pepper
good sprinkling crushed red pepper

Sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add:

8 domestic white mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1 yellow crookneck squash, cubed
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
the black rice previously cooked
1/4 c Amontillado sherry
juice of 1 lime
splash of sherry vinegar
good squirt of Thai fish sauce

That made a pretty full pot, and the two servings of tempeh seemed a little slack for so many meals. So I added:

1/2 cup salted peanuts

Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Some things the crossed my mind but I didn’t use: black olives, black garlic, a cubed Meyer lemon (I would have done that, but I had already used the lime juice by the time I thought of it).

Written by LeisureGuy

21 April 2012 at 10:56 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Nice grüb: Spinach and fish

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Actually, quite a few things: I used the 4-qt sauté pan, which got quite full.

First, cook 3/4 c black rice in 1.5 c water. This will be the starch and will be added later.

2 Tbsp Meyer lemon EVOO (which is what I had on hand)
1 large leek, cut in half lengthwise for washing, then sliced thinly
1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped
salt
pepper
crushed red pepper

Sauté until onion soft, then add:

1/4 garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow crookneck squash, chopped
6 domestic white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c pine nuts

Sauté for a while, then add:

2 Tbsp Amontillado sherry
1 Meyer lemon, ends cut off and then cubed (with peel)
2 bunches fresh spinach, rinsed well in a sink full of cold water, then chopped
1/2 cup pitted Saracena olives
1/2 cup black garlic

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and there’s room in the pan. Then add:

the pot of cooked black rice

Stir, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add:

1 lb cod fillet, cut into small chunks

Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

It’s all there: oil, protein, starch, greens, and veggies, with little salt. This looks as though it will be 4-5 meals, at least. I would have preferred Pacific swordfish, but it was $25/lb and the cod was $10/lb. Easy choice. (And, of course, tofu which I would normally use is even cheaper.)

Written by LeisureGuy

17 April 2012 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Trompe-l’œil grüb

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UPDATE: Just made it and have revised original recipe to learn from experience. I have been adding things as I eat it down, though, and the avocado is terrific.

I just thought of this tonight, thinking about the The Son’s notion of using twin ingredients in a dish:

Combine in large stainless bowl:

2/3 c black rice, when is then cooked
2/3 black beluga lentils, cooked for about 10 minutes (just until tender) and drained and rinsed in cold water.

3/4 c chopped celery
1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped (same size)

3/4 c cubed firm tofu
3/4 c cubed sheep feta

2-3 coarsely chopped jalapeños
1 green bell pepper, chopped (same approx size)

1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 c cubed jicama (about the same size)

1/2 c black garlic cloves, halved
1/2 c pitted Kalamata olives, halved.

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half or, if large, quartered
2 bunches Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 c pine nuts (along with 1/4 c cooked brown or Minnesota wild rice would be good)
2 Tbsp EVOO
2 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp horseradish
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp smoked paprika
juice and zest of 2 lemons

Mix well, season with salt and pepper, and chill.

Sounds tasty to me. Maybe add 1 avocado, cubed, as well.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 April 2012 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Grüb of pork, cabbage, apples, walnuts, and more

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The Wife really doesn’t like the term “grub” very much. I adopted the word to signify a meal made purely on nutritional principles—to combine nutritionally desirable foods to hit my standard meal template—without regard to what foods they are, other than they’re foods I like. I do often try to find some sort of theme, which indeed helps: the two flops were themeless meals.

So I decided to drop the down-home “grub” and go to the more uptown “grüb” (pronounced “groob“, accent on the “oo“). That’s a made-up word (can you tell?), derived from the phrase “GReens ÜBer alles,” denoting the importance of greens, the center of the meal in this style of cooking.

(The meal template is as follows: not more than 2 tsp oil, 3-4 oz protein, 1/3-1/2 c cooked starch (1/2 c is typically one serving), at least one serving of leafy greens, and vegetables, spices, and herbs to suit, always with allium well represented.)

Today’s grüb was made in the 4-qt sauté pan and has an obvious theme: the pork-cabbage-apple-walnut nexis.

1.5 Tbsp EVOO
1 c. thinly sliced shallots (I just happened to have a lot of already-peeled shallots—you could just as well use a whole large Spanish onion thinly sliced, or (as I originally planned) a sweet onion and a leek or two: but no leeks)

As that sautés, add:

good sprinkling crushed red pepper
big pinch salt
a couple of grindings of black pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Cook over low heat until shallots fully limp and starting to brown. Add:

2-4 Tbsp minced garlic
8 oz boneless pork chop, cut into chunks
3 oz extra firm tofu, small cubes (once I was assembling, I clearly needed more protein)

Sauté while stirring for a few minutes, then add:

1/2 c chicken stock
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Amontillado

And deglaze pan, scraping with spatula. Add:

cooked Minnesota wild rice (I cooked 1/2 cup in 1 c water, and used all that rice in this dish)
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
1 bulb fennel, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly
2 apples, diced small (I used Gala. I throw away the stem, but use all the rest of the apple.)
1/2-3/4 c English walnuts
1/2 c raisins
1/3-1/2 c black garlic (see update below)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (suggested by The Eldest—and it seems now essential)
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until heated, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. I forgot celery again, but there’s little room. I think it’ll be good anyway. I’m going to try it topped with Greek yogurt.

UPDATE: Man, this is good! And I just added black garlic. I got this package.

UPDATE 2: The black garlic and raisins do that little trick I learned from The Son: little surprises. Another: chunks of green olives and coarsely chopped jalapeños (and, of course, jalapeños and green pepper); and so on. And they’re both sort of chewy and sweet, so the difference is more interesting.

The crushed red pepper works extremely well with the spices, which play well with the cabbage and apples and raisins and walnuts—altogether a very nice dish. Next time, understanding the volume better, I’ll get two 8-oz boneless pork chops: this thing is four meals easy. And the Minnesota wild rice was an excellent choice.

The Eldest suggested including Dijon mustard, and so I did and it works perfectly in the dish: essential. Maybe next time the zest and juice of two lemons, though.

UPDATE 3: Comment on the spices:

I thought about cinnamon, decided against it: wise, I think. This dish has a lot of sweetness (apples, raisins, cabbage, black garlic, and—if you use them—sweet onions), and cinnamon combined with sweetness produces a cinnamon-roll tendency unless chocolate is present, whereupon you are directed toward Mexican chocolate. Good idea to avoid cinnamon here.

As it is, the spices used are more ambiguous than cinnamon, often showing up in savory dishes, and the Dijon mustard helps a lot in pushing this more toward savory.

I wanted to start using more spices because of the health benefits. To that end, I’m thinking the next batch will include 1 tsp turmeric, a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 March 2012 at 12:49 pm

Tasty eggplant grub with tomatoes

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This turned out extremely well. Quite different from other recent grubs. Worth a repeat, definitely. In 4-qt sauté pan:

2 Tbsp EVOO
1 large onion, chopped
4-6 large shallots, sliced thin

Sweat shallots until quite limp, adding:

good pinch of salt
sprinkling (generous, if you’re me) of crushed red pepper
grinding of black pepper
1-2 tsp paprika (love it)

When shallots are really cooked, but before they brown, add:

A lot of garlic, minced—basically, an entire head of garlic, cloves peeled, trimmed, and minced

Sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Then add (and thus: have ready):

6 oz firm tofu, cubed small
4 domestic white mushrooms, of a good size, sliced
1/4 c pignolas

Sauté, stirring with spatula and scraping pan, for a few minutes, then add and stir together:

1 large bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 (or 1/2, if you want) head green cabbage, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
1 c cooked black rice

Sauté, stirring frequently. Evidence of sticking will soon ensue. Add:

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 c red wine

Stir and scrape with spatula to deglaze pan. Add:

1 Italian eggplant (the black banana-shaped ones), diced fairly small
28-oz can diced organic fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 c (or a bit more) Kalamata olives, halved
more red wine if it seems desirable

Stir well together. This would be a good place to add oregano, but I didn’t. Should have.

Cover, simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Variations: I think I’ll top this with shredded Parmesan for at least one meal—and, logically, yogurt topping also. Lemon juice (and zest) instead of red wine vinegar would be good, too, and then Amontillado instead of red wine. Worcestershire sauce or anchovies are a possibility—in fact, I’m going to add anchovies now: just the direction I want to go.

Template: Hit four-square, as you see. It’s more black rice than I would normally use, but I was finishing off a pan, and this looks to be at least three meals. (One cup rice = 2 full starch servings or 3 starch servings of my size.) Greens there (and this would be good also with spinach or red chard), protein. And plenty of peppers.

Tomorrow I’m making a pork-cabbage-fennel-apple-sweet onion-garlic-raisin-walnuts-rice grub: the name pretty much says it all. I’m torn between white rice and black. I’m going with wild rice as a compromise.

UPDATE: When I refer to my “spatula”, I mean this spatula except that the width is 4″ (less than shown). The 11″ handle with 4″ spatula turns out to be my most useful tool when cooking at the stove: for stirring (it stirs better than a wooden spoon because it’s wider), for scraping (the flat side scrapes well), and for turning. You can specifically request that model with a 4″ width, and they’ll make it for you. That’s what I recommend. I have three of them: I’m never going to be without one. Well worth the price, in my opinion.

Another option: Order this spootle as a spatula—i.e., no “spoon” dip. (Reason: the spatula format is more agile and not so thick as the spootle.) The 12″ handle is nice, too.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 March 2012 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Quick-and-simple grub

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This is grub that had to be quick, easy, and use what’s on hand, specifically including one large bunch of really gorgeous red kale, which I wanted to cook while it was fresh. So:

1/2 cup coverted rice — cook for 20 minutes, which is why this rather than black rice (30 minutes). This time I included 1 pinch of salt.

1 bunch kale, washed and chopped small, stalks minced, which I put into a 3-qt saucepan (it just barely fit), added the rest of the beef broth (about 1/4 cup—yay! all gone!) and then about 3/4 c water and 1 tsp Penzey’s chicken soup base. Brought liquid to boil, stirred pot a bit, then covered it and reduced heat to simmer and let it simmer 30 minutes. No salt save what’s in the soup base.

While that was going on, I prepared:

3-oz teriyaki tofu, cubed small
1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped small
1 jalapeño, minced (including seeds—just cut off the cap)
8 cloves garlic, minced

When the kale was done, I moved the saucepan to the back burner, set my 9″ nonstick French skillet on the hot burner, and added to it:

2 tsp EVOO
the chopped onion
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
1 grinding of pepper

I let that sweat over medium heat until onions were well-softened, stirring occasionally—5-10 minutes, I guess. Then I added:

the minced garlic
the cubed tofu
the minced jalapeño

Sautéd those for 3-4 minutes, then added:

1-1 1/2 c of the cooked kale
1/2 c cooked rice
1-2 Tbsp Amontillado sherry

I cooked that over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it was well heated and boiling. Then I turned heat to low, put a lid on the skillet, and let it simmer 10 minutes. Then I removed the lid and squeezed a lemon over the grub to finish it. (Lemon zest would not have gone amiss.)

Quite good, actually. And plenty of kale and rice left for another meal. Indeed, this is so easy and quick, I might repeat.

And the variations practically type themselves—your choice of: various sauces and toppings (yogurt, sour cream, chopped avocado, Parmesan cheese, feta, Sriracha, ketchup, soy, tamari, garlic black bean, hoisin, oyster, Bac’Uns, whatever); different kinds of protein (tempeh, fish, chicken, pork, beans (if starch is a grain: completes the protein; or add cheese), etc.); different kinds of starch (cous cous, pasta, cooked black rice, cooked wheat or rye berries, cooked barley (hulled or pearled), etc.); different kinds of allium (leeks, shallots, spring onions, sweet onions, red onions, etc.—and always garlic (I’m trying black garlic now)); different kinds of greens (collards, chard, dandelion, mustard, spinach, cabbage (green, red, Savoy, Napa,etc.), etc.); different oils (butter, sesame, chili sesame, grapeseed, coconut, chicken fat, duck fat, etc.); and so on. Add nuts (pecans, pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, etc., and/or add olives, or raisins or currants. Many choices of vegetables: squash (summer or winter), green beans, corn, zucchini, bell peppers of various colors, fresh fennel, Roma tomatoes, Meyer lemons, celery (damn!, I always forget!), eggplant, carrots, turnips, mushrooms, beets (and their greens), broccoli, broccolini, cauliflower, and so on: try new things.

PS: For newcomers: A meal must have: 2 tsp added oil (or less); 3-4 oz protein; 2/3 – 1 serving starch; leafy greens; and vegetables galore (allium always included, and peppers are good, too), along with appropriate herbs, spices, and always some acid.

UPDATE: I did indeed do a repeat for dinner, though with some variation:

no paprika
no jalapeño; sprinkling of crushed red pepper instead
3 large shallots, thinly sliced, instead of onion
regular firm tofu instead teriyaki tofu
1/2 Meyer lemon, diced
12 Kalamata olives, halved
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar added during cooking; no lemon juice at end

It was quite tasty, and I ate only about 2/3. To the 1/3 remaining, I’m adding some more kale and rice and tomorrow will heat it in the 9″ skillet and, when it’s hot, make a two-egg fritata (whipping the eggs together with some Parmesan). Nice grub.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 March 2012 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

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