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Good recipes #1
Old 04-20-2004, 01:14 AM   #1
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Good recipes #1

One of the things we have more time for in ER is cooking, and its something I've really taken to.

I thought I'd share some good recipes that I've come up with. We're mostly what is called these days "flexitarians"...people who eat primarily low fat vegetarian dishes but arent militant about it and incorporate some meat and fats in our diet.

I'd encourage ER's to borrow Dean Ornish's "Eat More, Weigh Less". An excellent book by a real doctor who explains how our bodies handle nutrition, how it reacts to various diets, and includes some really good recipes in the latter 3/4 of the book.

The big drawbacks to such a diet is increased shopping and time to prepare. Dont we have a little extra time on our hands to challenge those 40 year firecalc runs?

Here's the one I made tonight. Neither meatless or really low fat, but adjustable.

Thai Chicken Stew

This has a more or less traditional thai soup base (coconut, ginger, garlic, lime), with a variable protein source and veggies.

1 lb ground chicken or turkey (beef is workable, "gimme lean" or other soy based "ground meat substitute" is also workable). Chunks of chicken or turkey can be used. I generally go for the 99% fat free ground turkey breast I can get for about $1.30 a pound at my local market.

Mix or rub the protein with a tablespoon of chinese 5 spice, a teaspoon or more of hot pepper flakes, and a teaspoon of salt. I grow a variety of chili peppers in the summer and whatever I dont chow down on I dry on an aluminum cookie sheet in the back window of my car...a cheap dehydrator...then I grind them in my blender and put them in tupperware...homemade hot pepper flakes/chili powder. Everyone that gets in my car draws a deep sniff and says "your car smells REALLY good!".

Let your meat mix or rubbed meat stand for an hour in the fridge. Please, no jokes about rubbing your meat.

While thats happening, slice, dice or matchstick a chunk of ginger the size of your thumb, or more, or less. I use a LOT. Use a lot or less. See if I care. Add a similar amount of chopped garlic. Shhh...I use the stuff in a jar most of the time because I'm too lazy to skin and chop it, and I'd rather use an inferior product all the time than a superior one now and then. Slice the white ends of four to six green onions.

Heat a large broad pan and add a tiny bit of olive oil. I have spray cans of olive and canola that work fine for this. Roll the meat (or whatever) mix into 1" balls and add to the pan. The original recipe called for rolling them in flour. I dont, but whatever makes you happy. Brown them nicely all around. When thats done, add all the stuff you sliced and diced above. Toss until fragrant, a couple of minutes. No deep browning is needed here, but do what works for you. You might preserve the garlic until last, since it cooks and turns bitter a lot faster than the other aromatics.

Add one or two cans of coconut milk. You can use full or low fat. More cans = more broth to stuff ratio. I like two. Add one or two cans of stock...chicken or vegetable works well. I use a roasted vegetable stock I get from Trader Joes.

Roughly chop and add 2-4 tomato's, depending on how much you like tomato's. I add 3 romas, seeded and chopped.

Another variable, added veggies. A can of baby corn and a can of straw mushrooms are my base standard. You could add fresh corn or fresh mushrooms. I've put in bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, etc. Use whats fresh and local or buy a couple of big cans or frozen pouches of "stir fry vegetables" and throw those in. In the winter I use frozen and canned, in the summer when its all fresh and cheap, I use what looks good to me. Next time I do this I may add a diced sweet potato.

Simmer over medium heat until everything is warm and the meat is definitely done through.

I then add a green, either fresh baby bok choy or spinach. I got a nice big bunch of fresh spinach this afternoon, still had dirt clods on the roots. Turn off the heat, cover and let the greens "steam down" into the broth.

If you raise any fresh herbs, add a big double handful here. I raise several types of parsley and basil. I add some cinnamon basil leaves, some lime basil, and some italian curly parsley to this at the very last minute. Cillantro would also go well if you have it and you like it.

Serve in a big bowl with the chopped green remainder of the green onions over top and a half a lime to squeeze into the soup...the lime is ESSENTIAL. Big spoons and crusty bread.

After your first time through this, it goes together in about 15 minutes, you can use the fresh local ingredients, and its yummy.

If you're using chunks of extra firm tofu instead of meat, rub those with the same spice ingredients above, chill for an hour, and stir them in at the last minute before serving. Less fat, lower cost, and high protein, plus the benefits of soy isoflavones.

Bon appetit...
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-20-2004, 06:22 AM   #2
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Re: Good recipes #1

The variation we eat of this Thai soup recipe is to use shrimp for the meat with cauliflower (and the spinach) for the vegetable. Excellent! We have also substituted half and half for the coconut milk, but the coconut milk is best.
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-20-2004, 06:41 AM   #3
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Re: Good recipes #1

Although Folse on PBS is experimenting on taking fat and salt out of cajun, we follow the barbarian feast and famine stategy ala the stock market barbell strategy.

Low fat, high fiber breakfast and lunch and then, and then 3-4 times a week - seafood fried/boiled, bar-b-que meat along with red beans and rice, and all that stuff. The famine makes the feast.
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-20-2004, 01:42 PM   #4
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Re: Good recipes #1

Is this a soup that you cook a long time, or just long enough to cook the meat and veggies?

What is Chinese 5 spice? I was looking for it at the store but didn't find any. Is there any other name?

Sounds great!
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-20-2004, 02:50 PM   #5
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Re: Good recipes #1

McCormick Gourmet Collection - Chinese five spice powder. There are other brands. Try McCormick spices on the net and use their local store near you search.
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-20-2004, 04:41 PM   #6
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Re: Good recipes #1

You just want to make sure the meat is done through and any veggies are also done. If you have something that would take a long time to cook, you might want to precook that and add it to the soup.

You definitely dont want to boil this for a long time, its a heat and eat.

Chinese 5 spice powder is made up of star anise, szechwan pepper, cinnamon, fennel and cloves. It is usually in the spice section at the supermarket. If you cant find it there, a local asian market or a specialty store should. A little goes a long way...a small spice bottle usually lasts me almost a year. If its just not around and you dont feel like making a major production out of this, mix equal amounts of powdered cloves (like you dust a ham with) and cinnamon, and increase the amount of red pepper flakes.

The same mix of 5 spice, chili flakes or powder, and salt used in the meatballs, mixed into turkey breast and made into patties also produces a really tasty turkey burger.

You can also use beef meatballs, beef broth, precooked rice noodles, the same sliced onions, ginger and garlic, and a little extra 5 spice, chili flakes and salt in the broth (no coconut milk), and have a somewhat passable version of the vietnamese soup Pho. Cook it in the same order and the same way as the soup above. Add basil leaves, bean sprouts, and a squeeze of lime at the table, and have a bottle of chili-garlic sauce to add to spice it up to individual taste.

The rice noodles are usually available in the asian section of your market or a specialty store. You cover them with boiling water for a few minutes and then drain and add to the soup. If you cant find these, use angel hair pasta. I wont tell.

The shrimp idea above is a good one. I'll pass on the cauliflower though...one of the few things I dont like is broccolli and cauliflower is simply white broccolli. They arent fooling me for a second

So there are two different and fairly simple soups with a lot of flavor that can be made very low in fat and have a lot of flexibility in ingredients.
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-22-2004, 11:25 PM   #7
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Re: Good recipes #1

Nothing wrong with fat. Look at the long lifespans of the Mediterreaneans who use lots of olive oil, or the French who use butter.

Better yet, use both
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-23-2004, 03:41 AM   #8
 
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Re: Good recipes #1

I love good food and am married to a fabulous cook.
Still, if left to my own devices..................

Just got back from a week long road trip. Lived on Slimfast, Frappacino and bananas, with a couple
of McChicken sandwiches thrown in. Lost two (2)
lbs.

John Galt
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-23-2004, 05:39 AM   #9
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Re: Good recipes #1

I know my time is coming - but so far weight, BP, and chloresterol ok - AND I live in New Orleans, AND Jazzfest, crawfish season, and barbecue weather is here. Soooo?
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-23-2004, 02:06 PM   #10
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Re: Good recipes #1

Quote:
Nothing wrong with fat. Look at the long lifespans of the Mediterreaneans who use lots of olive oil, or the French who use butter.

Better yet, use both

Hah, I do when I fry because the butter gives nice flavor and the olive oil stabilizes the butter and keeps it from burning.

And yes, pork fat rules.

But when I use a spread these days, I use one of the reduced fat margarines that include plant phytosterols. Phytosterols actually reduce the bad cholesterol, and are being added to some margarines, orange juice, and other food products. They cost more, but whats more amusing than eating a piece of toast with margarine on it to reduce your cholesterol?

But have a look at this:
http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/1/3075_903

And largely saving a trip to the library for the Ornish book, read these:
http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/8/3075_865
http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/9/3068_9408.htm
http://www.fatfree.com/diets/ornish.html

Unclemick...did you say barbecue...?
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-24-2004, 09:03 AM   #11
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Re: Good recipes #1

Oh, I've read the Ornish book. Got a copy right here.

He's wrong, though.

There was a great article in the NYTimes about this two years ago, called "What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?":

http://www.musc.edu/psychiatry/slater/Taubes1.html

A quote:

Quote:
These researchers point out that there are plenty of reasons to suggest that the low-fat-is-good-health hypothesis has now effectively failed the test of time. In particular, that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that started around the early 1980's, and that this was coincident with the rise of the low-fat dogma. (Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, also rose significantly through this period.) They say that low-fat weight-loss diets have proved in clinical trials and real life to be dismal failures, and that on top of it all, the percentage of fat in the American diet has been decreasing for two decades. Our cholesterol levels have been declining, and we have been smoking less, and yet the incidence of heart disease has not declined as would be expected. ''That is very disconcerting,'' Willett says. ''It suggests that something else bad is happening.''
We're probably facing a diabetes epidemic because of the one-sided emphasis on carbs, especially high-glycemic ones (brown rice included.)



And make sure that margarine is non-hydrogenated!
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-26-2004, 01:21 PM   #12
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Re: Good recipes #1

I actually went back to butter about 10 years ago when the margarine controversy went around, but these newer margarines with the sterols are getting good publicity. Since getting on this diet, incorporating some flax seed and fish based oils, and working in the sterol based margarines and orange juice, my cholesterol (which wasnt bad) has improved.

Diet controversies? Who ever heard of such a thing.

And I agree, fat isnt the worst thing out there...high fructose corn syrup might be the worst.

Do your research, read your papers, and above all talk to your doctor about what your diet should address and how they feel its good to do it.

When you read your studies and papers, make sure you circular file all the ones that were funded by companies that sell billions of dollars in products that serve the diet that "the foundation" "school" or doctors group just proved was the best.

None of them are best for everyone...they each have their ups and downs...and if you cant stay on the diet on a sustained basis due to foods or preparation incompatible with their preferences, lifestyle or long term health...its not going to be effective anyway.

This one works for me, my doctor loves it, and I've lost almost 20lbs - my girlfriend about 10. Our energy levels are improved, we feel good, and although she works in a hospital and has sick people coughing in her face all night, she hasnt caught anything since we started on it.

Bear in mind that neither of us is even close to fat or obese, and this diet isnt going to shred 100 lbs off of you in 3 months like some others claim...but you have to ask your doctor if losing that much weight that fast is a good idea.
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Re: Good recipes #1
Old 04-26-2004, 01:50 PM   #13
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Re: Good recipes #1

Since you like butter, how about the easiest Eggs Benedict around?

Warning: once you make this, you will be forced to make it like clockwork. Avoidance is not an option.

Put out as many eggs as you need for poaching, plus two for the sauce. Allow to warm up a little, about 30 minutes.

Separate enough english muffins for your portions, I use the thomas's sandwich size for a little more room. Preheat your toaster oven.

Portion up some canadian bacon, smoked ham, etc. I've used proscuitto and thats my favorite. You can also use a slice of grilled tomato or some cooked asparagus. Be creative. If you'd put butter and salt on it, and its not overpowering, try it here.

Perfect poached eggs: Heat about 2" of water in a non-stick saute or frying pan large enough to hold the eggs..a larger pan is best even if you're only doing 2-4 eggs. When the water is boiling briskly, turn off the heat, add 3-5 tablespoons of white vinegar. This will help the eggs set more quickly. Break each egg into a separate area of the pan. Cover and let stand for 7 minutes. NO HEAT. Towards the end lift the cover and poke the yolks gently with a finger or non-sharp utensil until they're as firm as you like them.

Start toasting the english muffins and set out plates.

Hollandaise in a blender: pre-heat the blender jar by filling it with very hot water and letting it stand a minute. Pour out water from blender. Break two eggs into the blender, add 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice. You can sub orange, lime, or a mix of juice. Blend briefly. Melt a stick of butter in a large measuring cup in the microwave...30 seconds at a time and keep an eye on it. Turn on the blender and add the butter through the hole in the top of the blender container in a stream. You should now have a thick mayonaise consistency. Add a few drops of tabasco, a half teaspoon of dijon mustard, and more salt and pepper to taste if you prefer, run the blender and taste test, continue to balance the seasoning.

Remove the muffins, add the ham (or whatever), use a slotted spoon to drain the eggs and put on top of ham, and top with a few spoonfulls of the sauce.

This should make enough sauce for 6-8 muffins if you're not too heavy handed with it.

Pretty good, beats the hell out of paying $10 a plate for it in a restaurant, and the wait is shorter.

To make a blender bearnaise sauce, make the above hollandaise but use some white or tarragon vinegar (which you can make by adding some fresh or dry tarragon to good white wine vinegar and allowing to stand several days).

In a saucepan, simmer 2 tablespoons white wine, 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar, 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 1/2 teaspoon fresh tarragon or a pinch of dry, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Pour this into the blender when its been reduced to about 1 tablespoon of liquid. You may strain it into the blender if you want a smooth sauce. Tarragon isnt a well used herb, so I buy a bunch for this, dry it, wrap it in a paper towel, ziploc bag and freeze it. It will last up to six months in the freezer. Just break off a bit when you need it.

Serve this over red meat, chicken, or fish. Asparagus likes it too.

For a large informal crowd, I'll get a whole round eye roast (its about 2' long - 8-10 lbs), for about $25-30. Its long and 3" thick, looks like a whole tenderloin. Rub with olive oil and roast at high heat - 400 - Until rare or medium rare. You dont want to cook this any further, it'll turn tough as shoeleather. Allow to stand 10 minutes (time to make the sauce and finish your sides), slice about 1/2-1" thick diagonally with an electric knife, and serve with side dishes and the bearnaise. Nobody will notice they're eating round steak with a sauce this good.

If either sauce "breaks", add more lemon juice, more vinegar and/or more butter in small amounts...which one you need more of will depend...if you didnt add enough butter or had too much or not enough acidic. Even "broken" the sauces taste the same, the appearance just isnt creamy.
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