Monday, January 20, 2014

Spicy Potato Leek Soup with Peanuts (inflammation fighter)

I started with a large frying pan with water, gave it a double pinch of salt and started processing the leeks. I cut the green tops of four leeks off and washed them well,  (they often collect sand and dirt). I cut them into quarter inch pieces and placed in the boiling water. Next I cut up five red potatoes and they went in next with 6 bay leaves. They need 20 minutes to cook at least.

4 green tops leeks
5 red potatoes
6 bay leaves

While the leeks are cooking, this is a good time to assemble the spices to match your tastes. NOTE: do not salt at this point, salt will be coming with the finishing ingredients.

The primary spices in descending order are:
Cayenne pepper, Kathy had also thrown in some dried habaneros, so we decided to add one and plan on eating our supper with a couple paper tissues :)
Black pepper
Rosemary, I use fresh and am careful not to overdo it, you can make your simmer sauce bitter with too much rosemary.

I mix them dry in a small bowl and taste as I go along. Now heading for the finish line.  First check to make sure the potatoes are done and the leeks are tender, (every once in a while I run into red potatoes that are ornery and take a long time to cook). Turn the burner down to a low setting, from now on this is a simmer sauce. As you add the final ingredients, take your time, get each one completely mixed in. A whisk can be very handy.

1/4 cup cheddar cheese powder
1/8 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup peanuts ( you can put them in earlier, but I prefer a little crunch, also salted is OK, we are going to taste for salt shortly)

Now, what you should have is a thick soup. It is time to make any final adjustments.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

GF Sausage done five ways

Steve's wife is out of town and so Kathy offered to have us bring the snacks for our church small group. Lately I have been fascinated with the ground turkey that is 99% lean, 1% fat. I decided it would be fun to do ground turkey five ways, but all as a, or involving sausage.

Some common tricks

I cooked up small batches, about 15 1.5 inch patties. With each of the sausages, (all gluten free and all but the last lactose free), I used a single egg as a binder.  Also the first one has corn meal of course, but the other four used 3 heaping teaspoons of brown rice flavor. They all have a few drops of liquid smoke, if I tried to do this on the Traeger it would take 24 hours. Experiment with quantities and flavorings to make a turkey only sausage and then consider some variations.

Always, when doing exploratory cooking after you mix up a batter cook up one patty as a test case. That way, you have a chance to adjust the recipe.

Corn bread with Parrillada Grilled Polish Sausage

The first set I did was a corn bread with Parriillada style grilled Polish Sausage; lots of sausage. With health oriented stores, (Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc), you can sometimes get this uncured. You can duplicate this style of grilling by cutting off any casing, slicing it in half lengthwise and sear it on one of those lodgepole cast iron skillets with the ridges to put burn marks on the meat, but let any fat drop down into the valleys. I learned about this from a lunch at Las Margaritas

GF Ground Turkey w Scallions

In the second batch, I added Greek salt free seasoning, the tops of green onions. Here is a tip. Wal-Mart sells them in a bag. They tend to keep much better than others AND there is a cool trick. Using a razor sharp knife cut the top off the bag. Push the onions out of the bag, maybe 1/2 inch at a time and cut pieces off the entire bunch as thin as possible. This is the fastest way I know of to process these.

GF Ground Turkey w Sour Cherries

This is the hardest sausage to cook. All I know to say is be patient, use the lowest heat possible. If your broiler supports broiling while the door is open, you can really improve the odds of a successful batch. You heat the bottom up with the range and a skillet and then use the broiler to heat the top enough to flip the whole mess. How do you use the cherries? Well I would start with Mostara Cherries or the best simulation possible. If you can pull it off it is great. Some hot pepper can add to the experience.

GF Five Pepper Spicy Pepper 

Start with the sausage recipe that works for you. Now lets fire it up. Add some black pepper, cayene, paprika, grill a guajillo pepper Parrillada style and chop fine, and finish with a serrano. This is where the test case really pays off, you can always add more spice, but can never take it away. If your tongue turns black, you may have used too much spice.

GF Cheeseburger

This will probably ruin my reputation as a foodie, but in the past six seeks I have been craving McDonalds Cheeseburgers, (without onions). But at 440 calories per burger, plus white flour buns and cholesterol, I have been experimenting with making a healthier version. What if I ditch the bun?

So here is the deal. Same basic sausage mix. Add:

  • Mustard, I used dijon because I did not have the McDonalds yellow mustard
  • Catchup, Hunts makes a no preservatives, no high sugar fructose, unless you make your own this is a good choice.
  • Pickles, chopped into 1/4 " pieces. Vlassic carries a hamburger pickle called ovals that are the misshapened pickles that are much more economical than perfect pickles. Since we are cutting them up anyway, who cares what they are shaped like? Kathy and I love pickles, we went heavy pickles and even snuck some of the juice into the mix.
  • Cheddar cheese powder, go big or go home. 
The cheese dried the mix up, I used liquid egg whiles to get to the right consistency. The crazy thing; it actually worked. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

GF Apple Pizza

/* Right now this is experimental, when I get a few more tests done, will post a recipe with quantities */

All these wonderful gluten free flours need to get used up, they have a finite shelf life, which means keep on baking. Life is hard, eh :) I mixed equal parts brown rice flour, ground flax seed, almond powder and Parmesan Romano cheese powder. Stirred to mix. Added just a pinch of salt, the cheese will add salt. Added as little olive oil as possible to have a consistent mixture of the flours and the oil, the cheese will also add fat. Added a bit of cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and some sour cherry jam for sweetness. I did add some baking powder, probably something in the neighborhood of a 1/2 TSP. I wanted it to rise buy not turn into bread. Brought it to a pizza dough consistency by adding egg whites as my liquid. Placed parchment paper on a baking pan and rolled it out using the ground cheese to keep the dough from sticking to my non-stick rolling pin.  Set my oven for 325 and put the dough in to cook.

While the dough was cooking, (took about 20 minutes), peeled and cored two decent sized granny smith apples, chopped one relatively fine, grated the other, (next time I think I will just use my blender on the second apple). Add the same spicing as the crust. Added some egg white and powdered cheese to serve as a binder. Spooned the apple mix onto the crust and spread it around with the bottom of a spoon, I chose to cover all the crust, didn't want it to burn.

Kathy suggested some slivered almonds, so she sprinkled them on and I pushed them into the apple mix so they would not fall off. Once again, in the oven at 325 this took about 50 minutes, next time I may try a slightly higher temperature.

Flavor was good, crust was a bit dry. Binders worked everything held together so you could eat a slice with your hands as if it was, well, pizza. The classic solution to that is more oil, or even better, butter, but trying to make this as low fat as possible. One thought is to baste the crust as it almost finished baking with egg white or a fruit juice.

iRobot Roomba and Scooba

A couple of weeks ago we were bombing through Costco and they had a pallet full of 500 series Roombas for $299.00 if I remember right. We through one in the cart. I had one a long time ago and it was OK, not great. This one blew my mind. It can go under most of our furniture and that really helps keep dust under control. We run it in some part of the house almost every day.

They have improved the cliff protection so Roomba does not fall down the stairs. It is now February 2 and we are still happy with Roomba's performance as well as amazed at how much it picks up. Not that surprising though, as the sun sets over the lake, it comes straight through the slider and I was amazed at the amount of dust in the air in the room. One contributor to the atmospheric particular matter is China's smog. It comes across the ocean and enters the US from Seattle to Los Angeles. Another, in winter are the people that heat their house with wood. But there should be a burning ban somewhere around the end of February. I need to watch out for that myself with my wood fired pizza oven. I have signed up for automated alerts.

Anyway, Roomba works so well, we ordered their robot mop, Scooba. This does not work as well, it costs more, and did not come with spare brushes like the Roomba they sell at Costco. I am concerned about the amount of water it puts down for the wood floors, but I may look into trying to seal the kitchen and dining room.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Las Margaritas, Becca Iverson Real Estate and Concierge, India is about to announce being polio free

We were supposed to have lunch with Jay Beale from InGuardians, but the timing was off so we headed south.  I wanted to visit ShoWare center and see if I could get some good seats for the Harlem Globetrotters, it has been years since I have seen one of their games.

And since I was almost there, took  I 167 three more exits to enjoy a late lunch at Las Margaritas in Auburn. This is one of my favorite Mexican style restaurants in the US. We went all out and ordered the Parriillada Nortena for two. It was much more than we could eat, but we took what was left home; yumm.

Ran into Becca Iverson of Savvy Solutions. Have mentioned her before, we relied on her reliability and unflappability during the phase of life we were traveling all the time. Now days, the real estate aspect of her life has been ramping up. She is working with Keller Williams in Tacoma WA, (253) 678-7089. If I was buying a house in the Seattle/Tacoma WA area, I would want her on our team. Heck, she IS on our team.

Just read today that there has not been a confirmed case of polio in India in three years.  That means there is now a chance of eliminating the disease globally. That, I think, counts as good news.

Friday, January 10, 2014

GF Red Potato, Garbanzo Bean Flour, Cilantro Pancakes


2 lb Red potatoes cut up into sixteenths each
1 Cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 Of a bunch of green onions
1/4 Cup cilantro (don't pack it down)
1/8 Cup salsa or picante sauce
1/8 Cup walnuts chopped coarsely
3 Heaping tablespoons cheddar cheese powder
2 Eggs (these are the last ingredient to add)
2 Tablespoons red onion chopped fine
2 Tablespoons olive oil (put in your skillet)
1 Teaspoon minced garlic

Spices to taste:

Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Thyme, Red Pepper, Cumin


Potatoes in microwave with a bit of water till mashable
Onions and garlic to the skillet, cook on low heat

When potatoes are mashable, add the cheddar cheese powder and onions from the skillet. Stir till the oil is mixed in evenly. Add only enough warm water to mix things, should be a thick paste, remember you have two eggs coming. Add spices, taste often till you like your mix, be a bit bold with the black pepper. When it tastes right, you can add the eggs and any water you feel is needed. Portions will be level tablespoon amount.


Skillet method, (recommended), low heat, no oil, if the recipe is done right they will not stick if you have a high quality non-stick skillet. Use a lid to get more even performance and minimize splatters. Start with a single test, if all is well go into production. After 4.5 minutes see if it is ready to flip. When both sides are done, taste, and make any adjustments. In production, what I do is flip, wait two minutes, kill the heat and let them finish in the warm pan.

Baking pan method, you will need a high quality baking pan and still need to mist some oil down on the pan. I spray a row, put down the pancakes, then spray the next row because non-stick pans tend to bead the oil up. I use 325 degrees and let them coast when they are almost done.

Serving suggestion:

I like to use the appropriate amount of rotisserie chicken, (Costco's is my favorite). As a sauce I mix equal parts Greek yogurt, salsa and cheddar cheese powder. Mix well with chicken and microwave to just above room temperature. Stirring can be a good idea.

Green salad, you know what to do.

Pancakes, on a good day, they will be hot off the skillet. I mix two tablespoons of Greek yogurt, microwaved just to room temp and stir in a few drops of cilantro oil.

Cilantro oil:

Winpro sells a bunch of cilantro for 44c, the price is right but what to do with that much cilantro and it does not keep that well. Use some in a couple dishes and then while it is still in good shape make the oil. Chop up the cilantro including the stems. put them in the skillet. Pour Olive oil, or whatever oil you want to use into your cooking container then add a little more, some of the oil vanishes during the process, (corn oil can be fun if you are think Mexican fare, peanut oil is you are thinking Indian foods). Even my smallest burner is too much heat. My options seem to be you set up a double boiler, or turning the burner off every few minutes.

Kathy ordered a box of nifty small glass jars with corks, she wants me to make rosemary oil for the neighbors next Christmas. We use a fine mesh strainer which I hold over a funnel, and Kathy puts the cilantro into the strainer. At the end we squeeze the mash with a thick scoop spatula, Kathy likes to rotate all four directions, she calls it North, South, East, West. Store it in the fridge and you are rancid safe for four to six months as long as:
- The cilantro was rinsed well for contaminants
- The cilantro is thoroughly dried, not in the sense of dried herbs, but of no excess water. Kathy bought me a seed sorter screen from horizon herbs. I wash the cilantro a day before I make the oil and spread it out of the seed sorter to dry.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

BBQ Tacos and Chicken Pastrami

I took Kathy to Wal-Mart to get some of their microwave popcorn. While we were headed to the checkout, we went down the Asian/Latino Aisle and I noticed Wal-Marts own brand of taco shells and threw them in the cart.

That night, I made the standard Mexican style tacos, they were fun and I really enjoyed the crunch of the Wal-Mart shells, they come with a plastic bottom and a seal on the top. Kathy and I only eat two tacos, what to do with the rest.

We had breakfast tacos the next day. What if I take some of the fat free turkey breast strips and add a bit of cheddar cheese powder to them with some pasteurized egg whites, some green pepper and some of the classic spices. It was good and fun to have finger food at breakfast. We still had four shells left.

I took the last of my fat free turkey, some green pepper and tops of green onions, a few drops of olive oil, (praise God for giving us non-stick pans), 1/4 TSP of minced garlic, a couple table spoons of cheddar cheese powder and one TBSP of ground flax to serve as binder and then finished with Buz and Neds(tm) BBQ sauce to taste, (not that it is the best, but because it was in my fridge). It was a unique approach to tacos and a fun experience for both of us.

Am kinda taco'ed out right now, but maybe next week. In the mean time, I am craving a Rueben. The problem is I am on a salt reduced intake and sometimes they leave too much fat on the Pastrami for my taste. What about alternate meats? I have elk, chicken and salmon in the fridge. I decided to roughly base my first try on the Bradley Smoker recipe. However, I don't use sodium nitrate, this will be salt only.  I have the meat marinating till Sunday in a sealed bag, which I try to flip every time I open the fridge. Have till Sunday to think about the bread. Kathy is not gluten friendly so need to come up with something similar to a rye bread with no gluten, which means no rye. Right off the bat I am thinking caraway seeds ground fine, some coffee for color and possibly some tomato powder for color and taste. Should be fun.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Black rice, halibut, lemon butter basil sauce

One of the things Kathy and I are learning is the importance of portion control. In the past, if our son Hunter had the time to share a meal with us, you could take it to the bank there wouldn't be any leftovers. This is designed for two people and no leftovers.

Black rice

  • 1/2 cup black rice, cover with water 2x the height of the rice.
  • 2 heaping TBSP green onion tops cut up finely, (TIP: when you buy green onions go from the top towards the white part, the top goes first)
  • 1 stalk celery, cut up finely
  • 5 baby carrots cut up finely
  • 2 pinches of sea salt

Boil the water, add the rice. When the rice is about 1/2 done add the green onions. Then add the celery, wait to add the carrots until most of the water is gone. I like carrot to still have a bit of crisp as opposed to mush.


  • 2 2"x1" halibut steak or filet, pick out as many bones as possible

Lemon butter basil sauce

  • 1/2 cup powdered cheese
  • 1 TBLS powdered milk
  • 1 TBLS dry basil
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • have chicken broth handy
Stir and mix dry ingredients. On the lowest heat possible, start adding the chicken stock slowly. Keep stirring until you have a smooth sauce just a little thinner than you will want the final product to be.
  • 1/2" pat of butter
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • Lemon juice to taste

Add remaining ingredients after stirring for a minute, taste the sauce and make any adjustments. Place the halibut in the sauce. Place the halibut in the sauce. From time to time spoon sauce over the top. Different people like their fish at different degrees of doneness. On low heat I cook halibut steaks 5 minutes on each side; halibut filets 3.5 minutes on each side. The goal is to reach the point where the center begins to flake and then call it done, you can check with a fork. Serve immediatlely.

Gluten free "Indulgent Trailmix" fruitcake cookies

We bought a bag of Wal-Mart "Indulgent Trailmix" and oh my, is it indulgent. We could have metabolized it 35 years ago, but no way. So what to do with it.

When I can, I sometimes bring little goodies to church. This being Seattle is prime time for drinking coffee and talking about the Seahawks before the service starts. This recipe make 4.5 baking pans worth of cookies. I save my Costco rotisserie chicken plastic containers and use these to store and transport the cookies. That way I can leave the container. NOTE: cookies must be completely cooled before packaging.

  • 1      cup of flax flour
  • 1.25 cup Winpro bulk aisle powdered cheese (like the stuff you use for Mac Cheese)
  • 1      cup gluten free pancake and waffle mix
  • 1      cup Wal-Mart "Great Value Indulgent tailmix", if you can't find the mix, it is various dried fruits including Craisins, various chips, (chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch), and almonds, chopped fine or "lightly blendered"
  • 1/2   cup powdered milk
  • 1/2   cup dried Montmorency cherries
  • 1/4   cup dried blueberries
  • 1/4   cup dried mangos, (I rinse them to remove the excess sugar)
  • 4      pinches sea salt, (you may want more, we use a salt restricted lifestyle)
  • OPTIONAL: couple spins of the pepper grinder, I like it as a foil against the sweet stuff
Stir the dry goods until mixed

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup corn or vegetable oil, (oil is primarily for stickiness, if you have really good non-stick baking pans you can reduce to a tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • Add egg white until just a bit thicker than pancakes NOTE: you can always add more egg while, but you can't take it away, so be patient and run a test batch

If you stop and think about it, you have a lot invested in that batter, so stop and do a test run. If you are going off to do other things like read email be sure to use time bake, (I have created a lot of carbon from food products in my life time).

Oven to 310, (my oven burns the bottoms at 350), 1 heaping TBLS portion in the center of the baking pan you are going to use, (I put a slightly smaller pan on the lower rack of the oven, larger on top). Spoon test. When it is cooked, do a taste test, this is your opportunity to make any adjustments to the batter.

I time bake between 12 and 15 minutes and then let them coast, perfect if you are going out shopping. They will be waiting on you when you get back.

Bread pudding option:

If you have a fairly widemouth small jar you can try a bread pudding. My favorite for this is the larger pesto jars.  This is best done after you have made a batch of cookies or two, so you see the final size. Make the cookies small enough to fit in the jar, but try to have them fill up the jar, it is OK to smoosh them a bit. Next, fill with liquid to take the air out, this is why it is crucial to have as much cookie in the jar as possible. I generally use Orange Juice Concentrate and sometime augment with a TBLS of either dark rum or triple sec.

Spoon out the bread pudding ingredients, place in a non-stick skillet, if you have a large one, use it since you do not want to stir for the first few minutes. Cook at a medium heat till all or most of the liquid boils off. Serve with Creme Fraiche.

NOTE: given my druthers to serve small portions, (though enough of them my guests do not leave hungry), I would serve a small plate with a tablespoon sized portion along with Russian style buckwheat pancakes, (which helps use up the Creme Fraiche).  Finally, I would hit each plate with  a table spoon size of Mostarda cherries. Here is a recipe, but I use lemon to taste for the tartness instead of balsamic vinegar, (careful it is easy to over lemonize), 1/4 cup of dark cane sugar instead of 1/3 regular sugar, and Dried Montmorency cherries instead of Bing.