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Monthly Archives: December 2011

If you have ever taken a nutrition class, you have most likely seen the movie Supersize Me. You know, the one with the guy that eats McDonalds for 30 days to see how unhealthy it makes him? Yea, that one. It is every nutrition teacher’s educational treat on those days that they just don’t have the energy to create a power point in the shape of a food pyramid. Believe it or not, there is a guy that made a film as a follow up to Supersize me. Yet, you have probably never heard of it, and if you have than you are way ahead of the game. Here is the film that I believe should follow any viewing of Supersize Me. I present to you: Fat Head. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Cooking with someone else in the kitchen is not something I am used to, but the other day I had the pleasure of sharing the kitchen with a crazy skydiver and fellow culinary student. Meet Michael:

I have to admit that I am a pretty big control freak when it comes to sharing a kitchen with someone, but since he passed his fundamentals class practical final, and is nearly as big of a food nerd as me, I gladly welcomed him into the kitchen.

We started off our day with a drive to the dollar bookstore to browse the cookbook section and pick out a random recipe that sounded somewhat appealing. After spending a long enough time sorting through old diet books we finally stumbled upon this hidden treasure…

Inside this fashionable 80’s style Bon Appetit cookbook was this little gem of a recipe:

Macadamia Nut Crusted Sea Bass with Thai Red Curry Sauce

Fish in a Thai red curry sauce? Yes please. We headed over to the market for a few ingredients and got started in the kitchen.

Michael got started on cutting up some zucchini that would end up being encrusted in cornmeal (organic of course )  and pan fried in some coconut oil while I got started on the red curry sauce.

I really enjoyed the sauce in this recipe. It packed a lot of flavor, but it was mild in the curry department. If you are used to Indian curry’s you might find this sauce a little weak, but resist the urge to add more curry and just enjoy as is. Taste the coconut, and the curry paste–love the flavors, and accept the differences.

Here is the Recipe

Thai Red Curry Sauce

1 Tbs. Coconut oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tbs. Thai Red Curry paste

2 Cups chicken stock

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

2 Tbs. fish sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbs. of water

1 Tbs. cornstarch

10 large fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a heacy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add curry paste and stir 1 minute. Add stock and coconut milk. Simmer 5 minutes and stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and garlic. Simmer until reduced almost half. ( about 20 minutes ). Mix together the water and the cornstarch in a separate bowl. Slowly add the mixture to the sauce a little at at time until it has reached your desired thickness. You can puree the sauce in a blender first or serve as is.

Now for the fish.

We couldn’t find Sea Bass so we subbed it with Cod. It worked really well. We did follow the recipe and used regular flour but I would love to revise it and make it paleo/gluten free friendly. You could probably get away with grinding the Macadamia nuts down making them as fine as possible and soaking the fish some milk first or just dipping them in egg to get the nuts to stick to it. I think I will try this soon and see how it works.

Here is the original recipe:

Macadamia-Crusted Sea Bass

1 cup toasted macadamia nuts ( About 4 ounces )

2 cups all purpose flour

1 egg beaten to blend

4- 6 ounce sea bass fillets

Thai Red Curry Sauce

Chopped fresh basil

Finely chop nuts with 1 cup of flour in processor. Transfer the mixture to medium bowl. Place remaining 1 cup flour in another medium bowl. Place beaten egg in shallow bowl. Season fish with salt and pepper. ( Season your breading too.. it always helps ) Lightly coat the fish with plain flour; shake off excess. Dip fish into egg, then into macadamia nut mixture, coating completely and pressing nuts firmly to adhere to fish.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add fish and cook until crusty and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. ( Or less )

And the end result:

We served it over a bed of rice and with the zucchini as the side. Finding old, cheap cookbooks is a new hobby of mine and everything turned out delicious. It will be intriguing to see what we cook up in the kitchen next…Tamales anyone?

 

 

Olive Oil…you know, that stuff with Rachel Ray’s face pasted all over it. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or as you may commonly hear it referred to: EVOO.

It's only called EVOO because they couldn't put a picture of Rach and the words "Extra Virgin" on the same label. Hint: Don't ever Google image search "Rachel Ray".

Up until a few weeks ago, I myself had failed to realize what real olive was, and how much of a difference it makes when you using it with good food. Thanks to Chaffin Family Orchards, I found out what real olive oil was.

Instantly after opening a bottle of this oil I could tell the difference. The smell was so much more pronounced. Fresh, and fruity. The nearly rancid smell you get from the store-bought stuff was completely absent.

Not only does this oil taste better than the stuff you buy at the grocery store, but there is two different kinds. Mid-Season and Late season. So what’s the difference?

Mid-Season: This oil is from olives harvested about 4 to 6 weeks earlier than the late harvest. These olives produce a sharper oil that has a spicy finish and slightly higher polyphenol levels. This oil is great for salad dressings and savory applications.

Late-Season: Harvested from olives that are fully ripe. They produce very soft mild buttery flavors. It’s more mild flavor allows you to use it in dishes where you don’t really want to taste the oil. ( mayonnaise for example ).

I am starting to sound like a commercial. But I promise I am not getting paid to advertise, this oil was really just that impressive.

Before I go any further. People, please do not use olive oil for frying. It is a more delicate oil which means it burns at high heat. I know you see Rachel and Emeril doing it all the time but guess what? They are trying to sell their product and don’t really care if you burn it. Olive oil has a smoke point between the ranges of 350-420 degrees F. When you burn oil it releases toxins that can cause cancer. No one wants cancer in a pan.

In reality, olive oil is best used with low heat and salad dressings. I love the fruity notes that extra virgin olive oil gives to salad dressings. Here are a few recipes that are great for using extra virgin olive oil.

Mid-Season:

Cranberry Walnut Apple Salad

Ingredients

For The Salad:

3 Cups of spinach or spring salad mix

1 cup of toasted walnuts, chopped

1 cup of dried cranberries

3 apples, julienned

 For the Dressing:

¼ cup of  extra virgin olive oil or mandarin infused olive oil

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

 Procedure:

To toast the walnuts Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or toast them in a skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Combine all of the ingredients for the salad. In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients to the dressing until well combined and add to the salad.

Late Season:

Homemade Mayonnaise

Oh Mayonnaise. You either love it, or hate it. I know, those dieticians have been telling you to sub it for mustard the past 10 years but the truth is if you just make it yourself, it has only a few ingredients and is full of good healthy fats.

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks

16 ounces of EVOO

1 Tbs. Apple Cider vinegar

1 tsp dry mustard

1 Tbs. Lemon juice or to taste

Salt to taste

Procedure:

You can either whip up mayonnaise the old fashion way with some will power and a whisk ( like we had to do in culinary school ) or you can use a food processor. I have done my fair share of whisking so I went for the easier route this time.

Place egg yolks, dry mustard, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar in the food processor.

Pulse a few times to mix up the ingredients and then slowly add in the oi while pulsing.

Continue adding the oil and pulsing until the emulsion forms and looks like this:

Now it is starting to look like Mayo. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add more lemon juice or salt until you are satisfied with how it tastes.

You can store mayonnaise in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure to label and date it!

If you are scared of consuming raw eggs…there is a way you can pasteurize them at home.

To pasteurize your eggs:  place them in a saucepan filled with water and fitted with a digital thermometer. Turn on the heat and bring the water up to 140F.
Keep the water temperature at 140F for 3 minutes (and no more than 142F), reducing the heat on the burner if necessary. Remove eggs from hot water and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
Store in the refrigerator until needed or use right away.
Jumbo sized eggs need to 5 minutes in 140F water.

Enjoy your chemical free mayo!