Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Low carb’ Category

Whole-food but not completely plant-based: What I’m going to make tomorrow — update: Plan vs. Actual

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The Wife and I went to Farm & Field Butchers today, me to buy Okazu Spicy Chili Miso with sesame oil (sunflower oil, too, which I despise (very bad omega-6:omega-3 ratio), but I figure just once in a while is okay). I’ll use it to sauté tofu cubes or slabs. It’s wonderful stuff.

They did have some very good looking thick cross-sections of beef shank, so I yielded to temptation and got one. Here’s my plan:

I’ll use my yellow 24cm Staub round cocotte (3.8L — see above) rather than the red 20cm (2.2L) one. I bought these just as they were being introduced, apparently: I remember that the red one cost me $65, and I see the price today is $300. (I also got most of my All-Clad at introductory prices.) I’m going to use the 3.8L one so I can spread out the food more to braise in the liquid.

After I posted how I planned to make it, this morning I actually made it, and the difference is enough that I describing the two (planned and actual) separately, with the planned method first.


• 1 head red Russian garlic, cloves peeled, sliced thinly, and set aside to rest
• 1 beef shank cross-section, allowed to rest at room temperature for an hour

Thoroughly dry the beef. Heat the pot, add a little olive oil, and brown shank well on both sides, then remove it and set it aside.

Add to the pot:

• 1 large leek and 3 leek tops I’ve saved, all sliced thinly
• a little more oil if needed

Cook the leeks 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Add:

• the garlic, which has been resting and preparing itself for this moment
• 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
• dried sage leaves
• dried thyme
• ground coriander
• ground black pepper
• 6 or so whole allspice, ground
• 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (from the refrigerated section)

Put the shank to the pot and nestled it among the veggies so that it rests on the bottom of the pot. Add:

• many small domestic white mushrooms, whole (I got these today)
• some red wine — not a lot: maybe 1/2 cup
• juice of a lemon
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or maybe tamari: umami is what we want)
• maybe a tablespoon of the Spicy Chili Miso.

If I had any cognac, I’d add a little of that, perhaps toward the end.

I’ll cover the pot, put it into a 200ºF oven and leave it for 8 hours or so.


I decided to skip browning the meat. The idea of browning meat is get flavor from the Maillard reaction and (especially with steaks) to have a flavoral crust.  But I will get plenty of flavor from the other ingredients, including lots of umami (mushrooms and Worcestershire or tamari), not browning the meat means greater tenderness for meats that are stewed or braised. For example, I stopped browning the little pieces of beef when I made chili. (I much prefer beef to pork for chili: much more tender, especially a chuck roast that you cut into small pieces and cook long and slow.) The Younger Daughter taught me about not browning meat for stews and braising, and Quebec Steve reminded me this time. So no browning.

Moreover, I decided that I would not sauté the vegetables for much the same reason: not needed for flavor, and also obviates the need for added oil (the extra-virgin olive oil).

So here’s what I actually did — and note that in some cases I revised the amounts:

Put beef shank into pot.

In a large bowl, mix:

• 1 large leek and 3 leek tops I’ve saved, all sliced thinly
• 1 head red Russian garlic, cloves peeled, sliced thinly (no need to let it rest)
• 1/4 head red cabbage, shredded (1/2 head would have been too much)
• dried sage leaves
• dried thyme
• ground coriander [discovered I was out; I’ll get more and would have used it]
• ground black pepper (about 2 tablespoons
• about 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 cup prepared horseradish (from the refrigerated section)
• 1/2 cup red wine
• juice of a lemon
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons Spicy Chili Miso.

Pour the mixed vegetables, herbs, spices, and flavorings over the beef shank. This filled the pot (since I did not sauté the vegetables, they were still voluminous, though they will cook down). Put the pot in a 225ºF oven for 1 1/2 hours to allow vegetables to cook down to reduce the volume. This did work, which left room for the next step.

Remove pot from oven and add:

• small (about the diameter of a quarter — 30¢ at the most) white domestic mushrooms

I added all that I had purchased, which covered the top of the vegetables 1 (small) mushroom deep. I then used a spatula to mix the mushrooms in with the vegetables, leaving the beef on bottom.

Cover pot, return to oven, reduce heat to 200ºF, and cook for another 6 1/2 hours.

Once I’ve eaten a serving for dinner, I’ll update with my verdict.


At the right is a photo of the stew (as it is turning out to be) when I checked it after 5 hours. I think 3 hours more will be plenty. Although the pot is sitting on my induction burner, it is merely resting there for the photo; it’s being cooked, covered, in the oven.

It turned out that 6 1/2 hours was plenty: meat very tender, flavors melded (but probably better tomorrow). I’m having a bowl of it now, and it is well suited for winter dinner. One bowl stew alone (topped with the single bit of marrow), one bowl over kamut and lentils — good both ways.

I think next time I’ll try it on a mirepoix (not much — just a cup) with more of those little mushrooms. And I might throw in some marrow bones to get more marrow. But I won’t be having it for a while — still mostly plant-based.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 November 2020 at 6:40 pm

How traditional French butter is made

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Written by LeisureGuy

9 October 2020 at 11:03 am

Some excellent tips on making scrambled eggs

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I’ve pretty much stopped eating eggs (after watching this brief video), but The Wife has a couple of scrambled eggs each morning for breakfast, so I sent this article to her. It begins:

Scrambled eggs are one of the ultimate throw-together meals. Less work than even the easiest poaching, and less fuss than a standard fried.
Still, who hasn’t overcooked scrambled eggs into rubbery unpleasantness? I know I have. Here are a few tips to success, as well as strategies for cooking your eggs exactly the way you want them.
Consider a nonstick skillet. I know, some of you are going to swear you make great scrambled eggs in your well-seasoned cast-iron. And if you do, don’t let me deter you! But for anyone who has struggled with eggs sticking or burning to the skillet, nonstick can be a lifesaver. “Most pans, even the really good ones, are actually filled with little cracks and crevices,” Joseph Provost, a chemistry and biochemistry professor at the University of San Diego, told me last year. Provost, who co-wrote “The Science of Cooking: Understanding the Biology and Chemistry Behind Food and Cooking,” explained that when a pan is heated, the metal expands, which means eggs can get trapped in those microscopic cracks, where they then stick and burn. The coating of a nonstick skillet provides a smooth surface and separates the food from the metal.
Use a smaller skillet. One of the easiest ways to guard against overcooking is using a smaller skillet. My 12-inch nonstick skillet is great for when I want a very thin omelet for folding onto a sandwich. The greater surface area, though, means it’s all too easy for the eggs to dry out quickly. When you want actual curds (whether dense and creamy or light and fluffy), consider dropping the skillet size to 10 or even 8 inches, depending on how many eggs you’re cooking.
Salting. From a taste perspective alone, I have found that adding a little more salt (I favor Diamond Crystal for its easy-to-grasp grains that nonetheless dissolve well) than my instincts would tell me has made a marked improvement in flavor. My eggs have gone from blah to, wouldn’t you know, well-seasoned!
But there’s another reason salting is important for scrambled eggs: It can actually improve the texture. As Harold McGee explains in “Keys to Good Cooking,” heating eggs (more on that below) causes the proteins in both the yolks and whites to stick together, or coagulate. The more that happens, the more dry and rubbery the eggs get. The goal, then, is to keep those proteins from getting too close and squeezing out water. Salt can help achieve that. In “The Food Lab,” cookbook author and food science guru J. Kenji López-Alt explains that the salt serves as a kind of buffer between the proteins. For the best effect, he recommends salting eggs at least 15 minutes before cooking (while you assemble other ingredients/preheat the skillet, perhaps) to allow the salt to evenly dissolve, though just before cooking also helps. He found that salting toward the end of cooking produced tougher eggs that wept liquid.
Similarly, in “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” Samin Nosrat suggests “a few secret drops of lemon juice” in scrambled eggs. Like salt, acid affects the way proteins bond, in this case affecting the speed and density at which the they coagulate. . .

Continue reading for more tips.

BTW, I not only don’t eat eggs, I also don’t add salt to what I cook.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 September 2020 at 12:21 pm

High-Fat Diets Still Don’t Boost Endurance

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Interesting article, though the low-carb high-fat diet is now quite small in my rear-view mirror. Still, I persisted on it for five years. But the more I learned, the worse the diet looked.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2020 at 10:58 am

Pulverized cashew idea

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I made creamy cashew sauce again: soak raw cashews in water for two hours, drain, put into a blender or food processor with a little water, and pulverize. This time I didn’t add a measured amount of water, just added water a little at a time, processing/blending after each addition, until I got the consistency I wanted.

When I tasted it, I immediately thought that I should next time include a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a couple of tablespoons of erythritol and use it over berries. (Definitely not refined sugar — causes cavities — or artificial sweetener — destroys gut microbiome).

Written by LeisureGuy

10 August 2020 at 11:39 am

Salt & Pepper Ribs: Easy-Peasy

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Recipe for Salt & Pepper Ribs includes the video below, but is printable at the link. (He serves it with All-American Barbecue Sauce.)

And the sauce:

Written by LeisureGuy

28 June 2020 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

Hanger steak vs. Flat-iron steak

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Hanger steak is tougher/chewier and has more flavor. Flat-iron steak is pretty tender and very good.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2020 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Low carb

Beef short ribs later today

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I follow a whole-food plant-based diet almost exclusively, and today the emphasis is on “almost.” For some reason I got a hankering for beef after seeing some extremely nice beef short ribs at the supermarket. I got three very chunky short ribs — much meat, little bone — and I browned them well on all sides in a cast-iron skillet while I prepared the veg for slow roasting in my Staub 24cm Round Cocotte, which holds 4 US quarts.

2 heads spring garlic, chopped small along with about 5″ of the stem
2 carrots cut in large dice (or moderate chunks)
1 large red onion cut into chunks
1 largish turnip cut into chunks
about a dozen small domestic white mushrooms, entire

The garlic and carrots went into the pot for the bottom layer, then I nestled the browned shorts into those veg. I scattered the red onion, turnip, the mushrooms over the meat, then added:

about 2 teaspoons dried thyme, rubbed between my hands to crush it
a good amount of ground black pepper
a pinch of smoked salt
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
juice of 2 lemons
a sprinkling of malt vinegar
about 1/4 cup good cognac

Here’s the result:

I covered the pot and put it into a 200ºF oven, where it will laze away the day.

I bought some crème fraîche and I’ll mix that with some:

ground white pepper
horseradish from the refrigerated section, squeezed dry
a little Dijon mustard
a pinch of sugar

That will go nicely with the beef.

UPDATE: The turnips are in lieu of potatoes — potatoes are too starchy for my diabetes. And I like the flavor of turnips. It occurs to me that a cup or so of shredded red cabbage might be very good. I think I’ll add it. One benefit of long slow cooking is that it accommodates afterthoughts.

ANOTHER UPDATE. I found a useful post on the sizes of the Staub round cocottes (and oval cocottes as well). Note that in that post “quart” means the Imperial quart: 1 Imperial qt = 1.2 US quarts. The Staub cocotte pictured is the 24cm one, so is 3.3 Imperial quarts — 3.96 US quarts. My little red Staub round cocotte is 20cm, or 2.25 US quarts.

I really like these Staub round cocottes, FWIW.

VERDICT: I had a bowl at 4:00pm — seven hours of cooking. Delicious. Pot is now atop stove, cooling, and oven is off. Here they are with one bowl (including one short rib) already removed (and eaten). The horseradish sauce,  BTW, was top-notch.

It occurs to me that a little crushed red pepper flakes would have been good — not a lot, just to provide some warmth and presence.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 May 2020 at 9:08 am

Check out the documentary “Meat the Future”

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Use to find where you can see it on-line: real meat without killing animals and without the environmental cost. Fascinating: Meat the Future.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 May 2020 at 8:36 pm

Back from fish shopping

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I like having a fish store within easy walking distance. And spring is nice here. I’ve notice that some towns seems to have more houses with flowers than other towns. Things like this along the way, just beside the sidewalk, make the walk so much nicer:

And then a couple of blocks later, I encountered some of these:

The day is a bit overcast, which is fine. I got cold-smoked sablefish, cold-smoked tuna, a large piece of BC halibut for a stir-fry, and a salmon cake for breakfast. As you can see, I am having a bit of fish every now and then.

For the halibut, I’m going to do something along these lines.

I’ll do the scallions as described — sautéing a few bunches of the white part of the scallion, but in 1″ lengths, for 20 minutes, then adding the green part similarly sectioned and cook 15 minutes.

But then I’ll add some spring garlic (with some of the green above the bulb), chopped small, and also some daikon radish, cubed, and sauté that for 5 minutes or so.

Then I’ll add the halibut, cut into chunks, along with the sauce. I’ll use the two kinds of soy sauce (not so much as 1/4 cup though — probably 1.5 tablespoons of each) and also a tablespoon of Chinese black vinegar. I’m not decided about the sugar. I might just skip that.

There’s also the possibility of chopped mushrooms added with the garlic and daikon.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 May 2020 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

World’s best olive oils, the 2020 edition

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 May 2020 at 8:25 am

Posted in Food, Low carb

Another problem with the low-carb high-fat diet: Colon cancer

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The problem is that low-carb high-fat diets overwhelmingly are high in meat—and thus high in animal protein and animal far.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2020 at 10:15 am

Low-carb high-fat diet NOT good for type 2 diabetes — the opposite

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This was an eye opener:

And BTW: today 3.23mph for 00:39:57 = 2.149 miles.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 February 2020 at 10:00 am

Best Beef Stroganoff recipe

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Just got a comment on this recipe, which reminded me of it.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 February 2020 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Beef, Food, Low carb, Recipes

A simple way to roast chicken

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I still would spatchcock the bird, I think. But maybe not. Check out this simple recipe: bird in cast-iron skillet, breast side up, well rubbed with kosher salt and olive oil at roasted at 325ºF for 2.5 hours. Actual recipe here. Recipe link appears at the end of this (somewhat lengthy) article.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 February 2020 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

Why it’s called a “flatiron” steak

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Flatiron steak:


The grain in this (very tender) steak goes lengthwise, so when you cut the steak, you’re cutting across the grain. Most steaks (NY strip, ribeye, T-bone or Porterhouse) have been cut across the grain to produce the slab of steak, so when you cut off a bit of those, you’re cutting with the grain.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 January 2020 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb

Why I’m glad I quit the low-carb diet: Low-Carb Diets and Coronary Blood Flow

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5 December 2019 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Food, Health, Low carb, Science, Video

The Paleo diet and insulin levels

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Very interesting video:

Written by LeisureGuy

15 November 2019 at 8:55 am

Best cooked turkey: Spatchcock a fresh (never-frozen) turkey

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The skin of a turkey that’s not been frozen is much better than the (somewhat rubbery) skin of a bird that’s once been frozen. And spatchcocking the turkey ensures even cooking and easy carving.

Let me also point out using mayonnaise as a marinade — or coating the turkey with mayo before putting it into the oven.

Update: I’ve been told in a comment on Quora from Amanda Rene Fisher that spatchcocking doesn’t work all that well on large turkeys. It was suggested that if the bird is 16 pounds or more, just break it down and roast it rather than trying to spatchcock it. She adds, “spatchcocking is BRILLIANT for birds up to 14–15 pounds- especially if you put it over the dressing/stuffing! That was our “gateway drug” to getting a bigger one, and totally breaking it down and proceeding from there.”

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2019 at 10:18 am

Mayonnaise improves grilling meat

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J. Kenji López-Alt reports in the NY Times:

For the past couple of years, I’ve been seeing a trend among the online community of sous-vide cooking enthusiasts: rubbing meat with mayonnaise before searing it. A parallel trend has also been hitting the grilled cheese forums (there’s a message board for everything), where folks are slathering their bread with mayonnaise before griddling, insisting that mayonnaise produces a golden-brown crust that’s superior to the one you get with butter.

. . . [Y]ou should try it! I first let mayo get intimate with some sous-vide steaks a couple years ago. The steaks browned like a dream. Next I rubbed some mayo on my grilled cheese. It’s true: Mayo really does brown better than butter (though these days I use both).

More recently, I’ve been testing the limits of cooking with mayonnaise and discovering it may just be the most magical marinade ingredient I’ve ever encountered. I mean it.

There are a few reasons mayo is so effective. For starters, mayonnaise — a seasoned emulsion of oil in water — is mostly fat, making it a great delivery mechanism for the fat-soluble flavor compounds found in many aromatics, while leaving behind no distinct flavor of its own. (This means that mayo-marinated meats don’t taste like mayo once they are cooked.)

Moreover, that fat is suspended in an emulsion. An emulsion is a homogeneous mixture of two or more liquids that typically don’t mix together. Fat droplets have a natural tendency to coalesce when suspended in water. (Think: the shattered pieces of the liquid metal Terminator coming back together.) To make mayonnaise, the trick is to break up that fat into droplets that are so fine that they have difficulty reuniting.

p class=”css-exrw3m evys1bk0″>Emulsions are always more viscous than either of their independent constituents, which is what gives mayonnaise its semisolid texture. This quality makes it easy to spread a mayonnaise-based marinade evenly across the surface of a piece of meat — and more important, it stays there.

Mayo also improves Maillard browning, which are the chemical reactions that take place when you sear foods.

Functionally, we can think of mayonnaise as consisting of three ingredients: Along with fat and water, there is also egg protein. As the mayonnaise on the surface of a piece of meat cooks, its water content eventually evaporates away, breaking the emulsion and leaving behind a thin, evenly distributed layer of fat, as well as a very, very thin coating of egg protein.

This extra source of protein and fat can increase browning on naked meat or in watery or low-sugar marinades. This comes in handy when you want to minimize the time a piece of meat spends on the grill or in a pan. Thinner cuts — skirt steak, flank steak, skinnier pork chops — typically have trouble browning before they overcook in the center. A chicken cutlet will be cook through on a hot grill or skillet in under four minutes. This isn’t a lot of time to properly brown, but with a thin coat of a mayo-based marinade, it’s easy.

On the other hand, it’s difficult to work with sweet sauces like barbecue or teriyaki, which have a tendency to burn as your meat grills. Mayo solves this problem by diluting and coating the sugars with fat and egg protein. Combining a sweet sauce with mayonnaise before rubbing it on the meat allows you to grill as hot as you like without risk of burning. Also, that sauce flavor really sticks to the meat.

Perhaps the greatest advantage a mayo marinade gives you is the ability to easily incorporate flavors. I tried combining mayonnaise with a wide range of sauces and condiments — chimichurri, pesto, Thai red curry paste, barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, Buffalo sauce — before marinating and grilling chicken cutlets, steaks, pork chops, vegetables and fish fillets, and tasting side-by-side with mayo-free counterparts.

Every marinade and sauce was improved — every single one. This was true with both homemade and store-bought mayo.

Another neat thing I discovered: Mayo-marinated meat can be cooked in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet as is, no extra oil necessary. The mayonnaise provides all the fat the pan needs. . .

Continue reading.

He seasons the meat with salt and pepper and rubs it with a combination of some saurce of marinade combined with some mayo. He lets it marinate, cooks the meat, and serves it with the remaining sauce.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 October 2019 at 4:37 pm

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