Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A little Thai cooking!

I was watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, a favorite show.  It showed this talented gentleman from Thailand make this simple, healthy, low-carb salad that I have now made twice.  It is called Pork Larb and it takes minutes to make and is so good.  It turned out to be a huge hit in my family.  So here is the recipe, enjoy.

 from yummy.com

Adapted from Serious Eats

3/4 lb of lean ground pork (you could use beef, chicken or turkey if you like)
2 c shredded carrot
1 c red onion, cut thinly into slivers
1/2 c fish sauce
1/4-1/2 c of fresh squeezed lime juice, and more limes to serve with the meal
2 c shredded red and or green cabbage
2 scallions, cut thinly
1/2 c basil, preferably Thai if you can find it-chopped
1/2 c cilantro-chopped
1/4 c fresh mint leaves-torn
2 T. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T. honey
Cold Romaine Heart Leaves

In a large skillet, brown your meat till cooked through, drain away any grease.  With the heat on add your carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, then add your onions and let this cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Turn the heat off and add everything else to and toss to coat.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to suite you.
I like lots of fish sauce and pepper flakes.
Fish sauce can now be found at most large grocery stores, or better yet Asian markets.  They charge a lot less.  My favorite Asian market is over on Harry between Web and 143rd.  I buy most anything there that I need.
Serve this with lettuce leaves for wrap or scooping.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Corned Beef Hash-Done

The cool morning yesterday at the Old Town Farmers Market was amazing.  Full sunshine, light breeze and temps in the 60's.  It was so beautiful and enjoyable.  We chopped, we cooked and we went with the flow.  The menu for the day was scratch made corned beef, and flat bread with roasted veggies and a local white cheddar.  So here are the recipes

Scratch Made Corned Beef
Warning: This takes 10 days to brine, so plan accordingly, it is so worth the planning.

I used Alton Browns brine recipe for the grass fed brisket from Graze the Prairie Ranch in Beaumont Ks. 

Alton Brown here is his recipe.  Tip: rinse your brisket well before cooking it.  You will find that your final dish will not need salt.

Roast your brisket in a 250 degree oven for 8 hours.  You can let your creativity come out here. Always add about 4 cups of water to prevent it from burning or drying out.

In your roasting pan layer 2 onions sliced thinly, add about 12 whole peeled garlic cloves; place your brisket on top and cover tightly.  I will often use an oven bag.  Into the oven for an all day slow roast. 

Now the fun starts; what to do with all that corned beef?  Ruben sandwiches are a great choice, but our favorite is Hash!

Farmers Market Corned Beef Hash 
2 lbs of fresh made corned beef, roasted and shredded
2 cups of fresh corn, removed from the cobb
1-2 green, red, orange peppers (your choice) diced
1 red onion sliced thinly
4 cups of red potatoes, diced and boiled till tender
8 farm fresh eggs

In a large skillet start with a couple knobs of butter (about 4 T).  Add the onions and saute for about 3 minutes, then the corn and peppers.  Saute for about 4 minutes till they just begin to soften.  Now add the brisket.  You will want to warm the brisket up,  I like to press it down into the pan and allow it to get crusty.  You may need add more butter in order to keep everything browning.  Once you start to get the meat crispy add your potatoes.  Stir and continue to cook till everything is really hot.  Turn your heat down and flatten the hash down into the skillet.  Make 8 small indentations; crack an egg into a small bowl, one at a time, then tip the egg into the shallow cup into the hash, repeat with the remainder of the eggs.  Place a lid on the skillet and allow the eggs to cook, or you can place your skillet (if it is oven proof) under the broiler, or you can scramble the eggs into the hash.  Your choice.
Serve with fresh fruit and whole wheat sourdough toast from Crust and Crumb Bakery out of Newton, but available at the market.

Roasted Veggies on Flat Bread
Delano Bakery has these great flat breads that are par-baked and ready for you to top and enjoy,
Pick your veggies of choice-zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers; what ever you like.  Grill the veggies with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt.  I like to grill the veggies in large pieces then cut them down for the flat bread.
You can add meat if you like (we used the brisket), keep the size similar to the veggie pieces so that everything will heat evenly.

Top your flat bread with any cooked meat and roasted veggies that you like and have on hand.  Top with your favorite cheese, we used a local raw milk hearty cheddar.  You can then place them in the oven at 350 till the cheese is all melty and the flat bread a bit crispy.  You can also place these on your grill, cover with the lid and let them finish.  Do watch them carefully so that they don't burn.


In two weeks I will be preparing a a locally grown and processed chicken from Faye Farms out of Udall.  I will cook the bird whole, on the grill.  But don't forget checking out the Old Town Farmers Market each Saturday from 7:00-12:00.  A great way to find new friends and eat healthy.
See you there!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day three and doing great, not just good, but great.  I feel better than I have felt in years.  I don't have that bloated, heavy, sluggish feeling that I thought was normal.  Guess what?  It is not normal!  I could get use to this.

I am trying to be very honest with myself about my eating.  I have to work on the why in order to keep the weight at bay.  I am trying to figure out why I over eat and what plan to put in place.  Here is a couple of things I have started to figure out.

1.  I am an emotional eater, give me an emotion and I eat.  I eat out of sheer boredom....sitting in front of the TV and my mind goes off and I eat.  I don't really enjoy what I eat, I just consume.

2. I do not eat what I truly want....I eat what is either around or what I think my family will eat.  There are certain menus and foods that get me really excited-Maui Maui with a Mango Jalapeno Salsa....A fresh Corn salad with feta cheese.  Steak with Blue Cheese Butter....and so forth.  I have pictures in my head about what food I would really like to eat, and that is what I am going to act upon.  My family will simply have to come along for the ride....

3. I eat out of anger....when I get upset at my dear hubby, I go an eat....my internal voice goes something like this..."I will show him, I will eat....cake, brownie, cereal with toast, pbj, I will show him I am in control of my world"....can we say crazy thinking?  Insane internal voice?  Who am I hurting?  Not my hubby, even in some type of twisted way.  Wow! how we lie to ourselves.

4. Finding a positive turn around.  When we have these negative crazy thoughts instead of acting on them in a way that will be negative against ourselves, what can I do that would be positive?  When I get bored and my mind starts an inventory of the pantry and fridge, what can I do that will be beneficial to myself?  Here is my list:- have a knitting project, read or listen to my Bible, knit and listen to my Bible or an audio book.  Go outside and take a look at my flowers, garden, animals, sunset anything to just remove myself.  Work on my recipe books....I have a couple of Smash Books that I seem to never have time to work on...

Get the idea?  Do something anything positive....change that internal voice that screams at us all the time with false information.  I will no longer be defined by my weight.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chapter One, Page Two

Day Two:

I ate my dinner, and did not eat anything else.  That was hard, and the more I thought about it the harder it was.  So I watched a non-food show and tried to get a new knitting project going.  I did keep from eating, but am still figuring out which knitting project.

When I started to think on food and what I "couldn't" have I kept honest and asked myself am I hungry?  I wasn't....and I refused to think about what there might be to eat.  I, with tons of prayers from other, did not give in.  When I went to bed I was hungry, but you know what, I was not going to die from it.  So I just went to bed and slept like a log.

When I got up this morning, I sat and took inventory of how I felt.  Was my pain there, yes, was I tired?  No I wasn't, I felt pretty good.  Mornings for me are really hard, I feel sluggish, and in a lot of pain. I usually feel so tired....bone aching tired.  I still had pain, but I felt good.  So off I went to take my shower and weight myself...according to the scale I was down 6lbs.

Now I asked myself how could I loose that much in only one day....then I thought I really don't care....I am going by what the scale said.  So I am down 6 lbs!!!!!  And I feel well rested.

So day two is in motion!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chapter One...

Here we go....a new chapter, taking back control, living a better life.  All of this is my new motto.  I want to live long and I need to live healthy...that can not be done at my current weight.  So it must change.
Today I have started my new lifestyle.  It will be hard, change always is, but change is usually good.

How does a person who loves to cook, loves food, and enjoys loving on people through food do on a diet? How do I meet that internal God given passion and lose weight?  Diets are just that diets, but the word die has more meaning than just the perceived drought of food.  Jesus informs us that we must die to self in order to follow Him, could this mean dying to food as we eat it in today's world?  Could it mean actually giving up things in order to turn toward Christ whole heatedly?  I think so.

With that said I am going to go on a "diet" and lay my food will before His feet and each day die to it.  But I still have the passion that God has given me and I am going to turn that towards my "diet" and learn to eat differently, healthy and with control.

My first day I have done my shake and lunch will be a couple of hard boiled eggs (which I love and never make), handful of raw almonds.  I was not as prepared as I should have been, but tomorrow will be a little better. Tonight I am having Mexican Pile On, a bed of romaine lettuce, 4-6 ounces of protein, beef, cheese, sour cream, then a few tomatoes and salsa.  Then I find a new knitting project, because if I am knitting I can't eat.  I will need to give up watching a lot of my cooking shows, I will record them.  It is hard to see the food and not replicate it at home.

I have several health problems, I have 2 heart mummers, high blood pressure, an arthritic knee, and something called Charot's Foot which is pretty serious and non-reversible.  Taking the weight off will be the best thing for it. I have belly fat which is bad all the way around.  I want to change all of this and it is all related to weight.

Today is my first day of chapter one.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Seeing is Beliving...

It was sunny, then a little cloudy, a bit of wind, but lots and lots of heat.  So to all you brave people who came out to the Old Town Farmers Market, my hat is off to you.  We had fun, we cooked, we ate, and we talked.  Here are some photos of Saturday.

It was really hot grilling but the brats were well worth it.

The table loaded with food, sauerkraut, bread with home made butter....

We had fun....

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sour What?

What a great time we had at the Old Town Farmers Market this morning!  It was hot and muggy, but what better way can a group of like-minded spend our time than chatting, drinking cherry limeade, eating kettle corn, watching the kids be thrilled with balloon creations, and eating fresh, homemade bread?  We had fun.

At the Chef's Table we demonstrated what fermented food is, how to make it, and then, the best part, how to eat it.  We also made real butter....my gosh, if I had known that it was this easy I would have done it much sooner.  Seven minutes in the food processor, and presto: cream transforms into golden globs of buttery goodness.  I had made a batch in my Kitchenaid the night before but using the food processor was faster. 

Fermented foods have so many beneficial qualities, and our society has lost the art of creating these foods.  But what if the medical studies continue to prove that those qualities could make us healthier....really healthy?  Now, the medical community is slow but our great grandparents where not.  I strongly believe that food is the best medicine we have.  Today's food can either be the worst poison or the very best medicine.  We choose with our wallets which of the two we believe it is.
So, one of the best things we can eat is fermented foods; coffee, chocolate, tea, sauerkraut, yogurt, and cultured butter, milk and so much more.

All the recipes or techniques come from the book "Real Food Fermentation" by Alex Lewin

Cultured Butter

1 qt. of raw heavy cream (find a local farmer, or message me on Facebook)
a bit of real sea salt

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add about half the cream.  Secure the lid and turn on...walk away or watch.  In about 7-10 minutes, you will have large globs of butter and the milky whey.  Strain the mixture, separating the whey from the butter.  Knead the butter with your hands, squeezing the whey out.  Rinse the butter and knead  a bit more.  Store in the fridge and enjoy on bread purchased from "Crumb and Crust", some of the best bread I have had in years.  Thank you for this treat.


Most any crisp veggie can be used.
2 lbs of shredded green cabbage (you can add purple if you like, but the color does fade)
1 onion sliced very thin
2 adult carrots- shredded
2 cucumbers

Once everything is sliced, add 2-3 t. of sea salt.  Mash the mixture with your hands, turning and crushing.  Do this for about 15 minutes, on and off.  Once everything is mashed and moisture starts to build up, stuff sterilized qt. mason jars - and I do mean stuff - with the sauerkraut. The liquid should come to the top.  Put lids and rings on the jars and set on a baking sheet in a cool dark area.
On each of the first four days, let the gases that build up out by taking the lid off . It will be messy, so do it over the sink.

Get the book and read up on how you can provide some medicine via food for your family.  They may balk at first, but keep at it.

I would like to thank Pat Randles and all of those at the the Help Table who make my time at the Chef's Table so much fun.  Also a huge shout out to Eric who helped at the table today.  Eric, you were fun and so helpful...Thank you!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hummus and Home Grown Chicken...

I have been on vacation, but I am home and ready to hit the computer keys. It was nice to get away, but it is always great to get back to your own bed!

I have been cooking like crazy...a clean kitchen really helps to produce great meals.

Made brown beans with ham hocks....home made corn bread and fried potatoes.  I soaked the beans in water all night.  This really did create a creamier bean....the gravy from the beans was thick and rich.  The smoke flavor from the ham hocks laced the beans and they were so good.  I love my spilled over cornbread and the soaked bread is almost like a pudding.

Then Sunday Night....

I took our last home grown chicken, cut the back bone out and open it up.  Then I rubbed the bird with olive oil than about a cup of Z'atar seasoning.  Rub it under the skin as well.  Brown the bird in an oven proof skillet....flip the bird skin side up and roast it in the oven at 400 degrees till it is 160 internally and the juices run clear.

Home Made Hummus

2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 c of tahini paste (can be found at most any store now)
1 T ground cumin
1 T Z'atar seasoning
1-2 t. of garlic salt
juice from on lemon
olive oil

Place everything in a food processor or blender.  Blend till smooth add the olive oil to thin it out a bit.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Take about 8 pitas, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle lots of the Z'atar seasoning over them.  Pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Serve the pita with hummus spread on it topped with the chicken.  You can also serve olives and those tiny dill pickles on it.  A fresh vine ripe tomato diced up would be a great addition to the meal.

This was all eaten with great relish and gusto at our house.  I had very little hummus, no pita and 1/2 of the chicken.  Which got turned into my Son's famous chicken salad for Monday's dinner.  Way to hot to cook.

Today is my Son's 22 birthday....we are cooking out hamburgers and corn on the cob, baked potatoes, grilled veggies and tomatoes.  Cheesecake for dessert...just have to find a great cheesecake.