FINALLY – I’m back

I know that it has been a long time and finally here I am. You can see why I have been so tardy over at my medical blog –

So anyway – here I am not working and trying to get well as quickly as I can. I have been experimenting with my diet and after reading lots from Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and quite a bit on the Paleo or Caveman diet, I have decided to really cut out the refined food from my diet. That is where I am starting. There is actually another level to the Paleo diet called AIP Paleo – which stands for Auto Immune Protocol – that addresses excessive inflammation in the body. Inflammation that takes the forms of Arthritis, Lupus, etc. Things that I am trying to avoid. Also – the faster I heal, the faster I get off the Prednisone. AIP is VERY limited so I am easing into it and really trying for a 95/5% ratio of sticking to this new way of eating.

With that in mind I am sharing a recipe I made last night for dinner. I love Tomatillos – they are so flavorful and amazing. So I made Chicken Chile Verde.

It was an easy recipe.

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So here are the little guys after being washed.  I then cut the up and roasted them with some garlic cloves for about 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here they are going into the oven.

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Finally – here is what the finished dish looks like  I served it with more fresh Cilantro, sour cream and some hot sauce and warm corn tortillas.  It was really good.  Recipe follows

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Chicken Chile Verde – Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly
Chicken, Clean eating, Mexican
source Tasty-yummies.com
INGREDIENTS

Tomatillo Salsa Verde Recipe
makes about 3 cups
1 1/2 lbs fresh tomatillos
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 jalapeños, stems removed and deseeded (for extra heat use serranos instead)
juice and zest from 1 lime
1 tablespoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
approx 3 cups salsa verde
2 cups water, chicken broth or vegetable broth ( I used chicken broth only)

The Main Dish:

3 pounds Organic chicken thighs and breast mixed
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS

Preheat your broiler to high.
Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse them well. Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves. Place the pan under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes, to lightly blacken the skin on the tomatillos. (You can also roast them in a 450ºF oven for about 10 minutes). Allow to cool for a couple minutes.
Put the tomatillos, garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeños, lime juice and zest, cumin, honey and salt into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe:
Cut up the chicken any way you like – I did long pieces as it will be shredded with two forks later, but you can leave it whole if you like.

Saute the onion and bell pepper in olive oil in a large sauté pan on dutch oven until soft, add the chicken, stock, Salsa Verde (See recipe above), bay leaf, coriander and cilantro.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to maintain a simmer.  Cover pot
Add the salsa verde and two cups of liquid (water, broth or combo of the two) to the slow cooker. Place the chicken parts in and add the onion, bell pepper, bay leaf, ground coriander and fresh cilantro. Give it all a stir.

Let simmer at least 1 hour to marry the flavors together.  When the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees or more), take two forks and shred meat either in the pan or on a cutting board and add back to sauce.

Servie with tortillas, lime wedges, additional cilantro, sour cream, salsa, hot sauce and beans!

 

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Cakes

Its my fathers girlfriends birthday this weekend and so I made lunch yesterday and surprised her when they got home from the gym.  I had a great time and made really easy-to-prepare food with lots of prep that could be done ahead of time.  So here they are;

 

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These are the brownie cakes.  It is a small bundt pan that is made of silicone so the cakes are easy to get out, and are just the right size for one person.  They are cute as can be.

 

Here are my “cheaters” chocolate cakes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees 

1 package Hershey Brownie mix

2 eggs (follow the directions for the cake like batter)

1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips

Powdered sugar

milk

sprinkles 

So make the brownie mix as directed.  Mix in the chocolate chips – more if you like the chunks in there, less if you don’t.  You coulld use white chocolate, or cinnamon or nuts – it is completely up to you.

Use Pam to grease the silicon baking cups

Fill each cup about 2/3 rds full and put on a baking sheet for baking.  Adds stability to the muffin tin which is flexible and not steady.

Bake at least 25 minutes, but check every 5 minutes after that.  I used a skewer stuck into a few of the bundts to establish done-ness.  When the skewer is clean, the cakes are done.

Take out of the oven and let rest upside down on the cooling rack for 5-10 minutes.  Then carefully take each on out of the pan.

 

Mix 1/4 c powdered sugar with a teaspoon milk to start, it should be a thick but drip-able consistency.  I went a bit thinner.  Add sprinkles and you are done.  This recipe only makes about 5 cakes.

Bread = Part 2

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So I got up this morning and finished the bread.  Here is a picture so you can see how resilient it is (even though I made a few errors)

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Crusty and beautiful huh?  Here is what I did wrong and right:

 

So in the morning, heat the oven to 450 degrees then put your pot in the oven with the lid on and let it heat for 30 minutes.  Please make sure to remove the dough from the oven before you turn it on – I didn’t  so the dough  I have is a little loose and weird.  Photo here:

 

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But I just dumped it onto a tea towel with a ton of flour and shaped in into a ball shape hoping it would be ok.  I also think I used too  much yeast as I dumped a whole envelope in and didn’t measure a 1/4 tsp.  But oh well – it seems to have worked.  Proving that this recipe is indestructible.

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After the opt has heated for 30 minutes, take it out carefully and dump the bread ball in, no greasing of the pot needed.  Cover and put in the oven for 30 minutes, then uncover and let cook another 15 minutes.

Take it out and cool on a rack.

Next up?  Roasted garlic and herb bread, parmesan and bacon bread….  The possibilities are endless.  I can’t wait.

 

Now – go read about my hip at http://www.hgpatz.blogspot.com.  Im off the walker!

Salt – the bridge to flavor

Salt

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Lately, there has been a flood of salts into the market.  Himalayan salt, grey sea salt, Hawaiian pink salt, etc.  What are all of these you might ask?

Well, they are all salt that comes from different areas and are gathered and processed different ways but what I want to outline here is what salt to use when.

Kosher salt isn’t really kosher but that is the name it goes by.  This, in my opinion, is the best salt to cook with.  It is made naturally, the sea water evaporated and leaves sheets of salt which are then broken up and come to you as ragged crytsals that have holes and craters in them.  This makes a great salt to cook with because of the are in the crystals, which melt more quickly  and is more forgiving then our second type.  This is the type of salt used in every professional kitchen I have cooked in.

 

Here are some reference articles and websites

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/cooking/six-types-salt-10000000675816/

http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices-by-category/salt#content

Iodized table salt – Mortons – this salt is manufactured, which is fine, and has iodine added (or not) and is round.  Not craggily bits like the one above.  It is easier to over salt a dish with this type of salt so if you are using it – go slowly and taste often

Sea salt – like Maldon are naturally sea salts that do not hold up as well to cooking and can be used as a finishing salt.  Maldon sprinkled over fresh lettuce and tossed before being dressed is a great way to use salts like this.  There are infinite varieties of these and fun to experiment with.  A restaurant in San Francisco has an expensive steak that comes with 16 different salts on a plate and each bite is completely different depending on which salt is used.  It is a great time, if not good for blood pressure.

Look in my recipes for how to use each salt – and this post is really basic, there is quite a bit out there that I don’t know about it as well.

Bread

People ask me all the time what I like to cook when a discussion of culinary school comes up.  I always say savory dishes as I hate to bake.  And as I have continued to say this, I realize that I don’t hate to bake, just get frustrated over how much time it takes.  Then it occurred to me that I need to work on my patience and so ……..I am baking.

Today is bread.  I found a super simple (we shall see) recipe on Pinterest of an overnight rise bread that is now sitting in my oven gently rising until tomorrow morning when we will complete this.  For now I have pictures of the process and the ingredients and will post the recipe at the end of the post when I see if it works.Image

So this is three cups of unbleached all purpose flour in a large bowl.

 

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Here is the flour with salt (use kosher, see my post on salt) and rapid rise or instant yeast, which you then stir up with a whisk like this

 

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Then add 1 1/2 cups of water to the dry ingredients and stir

 

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It ends up looking like this.  I used a spatula to mix it and then arranged it at the bottom of the bowl, covered it with saran wrap and put it in the over to rise for 12 -18 hours.  So long about 7 or 8 AM I will have it proofed and ready to go.  So I am publishing this and part two will be tomorrow when I hope to have a fragrant and delicious loaf of bread to show off.

Mock chicken noodle soup

Today I decided to make my
sick hubby chicken noodle soup. I say mock because I didn’t make my own stock and used chicken left over from my fajitas yesterday.
Pictures to follow.

So I sautéed some baby leeks with some baby carrots and some of the onion that came with the fajitas then added 32 oz chicken broth and a bouillon cube and extra cup if water. I brought it to a boil, added some of the white meat chicken fajitas. I let that simmer for about 10
minutes, threw in some angel hair pasta and voila – soup!

Here is an official recipe

2 carrots, cut thinly in coin shape
2 baby leeks, washed and cut into small chunks
1/2 a yellow onion, big dice
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 cup water
32 oz box Chicken broth
1 chicken breast, cooked
1/4 package of angel hair pasta
Pepper
Olive oil

Sauté the carrots, leeks and onion in 1 tsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth, bouillon cube and water and bring to a boil.
Add chicken and simmer atleast 10 minutes but as long as you like. Keep heat on low to simmer
Add pasta which has been broken into 3rds and cook until pasta is done.
Adjust seasonings – adding pepper and salt to taste. Remember that the chicken broth will be salty too.

You can also add other seasonings. Mine was slightly Mexican flavored due to the fajita chicken being used. You could add dill, paprika, garlic etc to change the flavor as well. Nothing wrong with experimenting!

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I’m back

I have been quiet the last fews days as I was at Stanford having a hip replacement.  I am back now and have the other hip done in a few weeks.  In the meantime we can have some fun cooking with recipes that won’t “overdo it” for my new right hip.  Lots of braising and baking coming up!

In celebration of coming home, I ordered a sandwich from Ike’s for lunch.  Ike’s is a amazing sandwich place here in SF.  I had the Going Home For Thanksgiving.  Yup – what it sounds like but with a lot of twists.  Turkey piled on with havarti and cranberry sauce, lettuce, mayo , tomatoes and Siriacha sauce for a bit of spice.  I had it on a Dutch Crunch roll (did you know they get that crisp topping by rubbing the top with rice flour before baking? ) The place is also famous for the dirty sauce, which comes on everything.  It’s basically a garlic aioli but it is so much more and no one knows what that is.

So imagine, turkey and sweetness from the cranberry and the crunch of lettuce and the bun and creamy from the mayo and dirty sauce and then this heat.  Not overwhelming, but there.  It is a great combo.  One of the best sandwiches ever. Really.  If you find yourself in the area, do yourself the favor and go to Ike’s.

Enough for now, I will begin cooking later in the week.  See ya then and check back often for photos and updates.