Something Green?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new recipe. I love kale and have been wanting to try some in a protein shake.

1.5 cups coconut milk
2 scoops protein powder.
1 apple (cored and sliced for the blendtec)
1.5 cups ice
1.5 cups chopped kale

Blend on smoothie and drink up

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The natural pectin in the apple made it remarkable smooth and creamy!

My vote is a 2 thumbs up!!

My thoughts on protein powder and shakes. Bottom line, make your own. When you have control with what goes in, you can better manage your Marco nutrients, carbs, and get enough protein.

On protein powder . . . Read the damn label!!!! Go for as few ingredients as possible. Make sure you can read everything on that list!! I avoid.

Yummy Crabs, Happy Family

One of our favorite traditions (and gifts from my Gram & Papa) are New Year’s Dungeness Crab being flown in from Pikes (www.pikeplacefish.com).  This year, our lovely friends arrived early on Monday morning.  I got them cleaned and ready to go.

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Tonight was spectacular.  Bodies and legs eaten until we were all full.  More for tomorrow lunch.  Then I’ll sit down and crack the rest.

Thanks for a lovely dinner!!!  We loved every morsel and minute of it!!!!!

In case you haven’t cracked crab before . . .

  1. Turn crab to it’s tummy and lift the apron.
  2. Once the apron is off,  use both thumbs and remove the top shell.
  3. Remove the gills and rinse out the mustard “guts”.
  4. If you have it, put the rinsed crab legs in a roasting pan up on a “cooling” rack or similar to allow the “juice” to not pool in the crab meat.
  5. Cover with a damp dish cloth and put in the coldest part of your freezer until ready to eat.
  6. Crabs will keep 2-3 days in the fridge.

FC-82-Crack-a-Dungeness-Crab

Eating Crab???

That is entirely up to personal preference.  The best tools are simple ones.  I small nut cracker or mallet if you’d rather. A knife and little picking stick.  Get ready to get dirty.

Rob works his way cracking and slurping one part after the other.  Jeremy only eats the legs.  Sean tries a body for the first time and loved it.  Me??  I crack the legs and body and make a small little pile.  Then I eat my treasure in a couple of yummy bites.  A couple glasses of white wine and homemade sauce.  MMMMMMMMMMM.

Tonight’s dinner, we toasted Uncle Chris.  So many great memories around kitchen tables, eating, joking, ribbing and having fun.  As a little kid, Uncle Chris would work tirelessly to help get me a pile of crab meat.  I would gobble it up and then he’d help me make more.  Chris help “initiate” Rob with the proper rituals of family get togethers.  Help lay the newspaper out on the table.  put out beer, bowls, knives and sauce. They would sit Rob closest to the kitchen.  My poor fiancee would barely sit down when one of the Dernetz brothers would ask if Rob could “get” them another beer.  A good laugh was had once Rob figured out that getting them beers was preventing him from eating more crab and shrimp.  “Welcome to the family”, the Dernetz’s howled!!!!

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Here’s to you Uncle Chris!!  We are greater to have had you in our lives.  We miss you terribly.

IMG_3401 IMG_3402 - Version 2And thank you my little Friend!!!!  You were a tasty tasty treat.

 

Cranberry Sauce!!

It is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and we are starting to prepare for our Family/Friend get together.  As always for most of our group dinners, we are blessed that everyone pitches.  It may be bringing just napkins & rolls, a side dish or wine, or even double drying the silver to pacify my OCD, but everyone always pitches in.

My favorite part of holiday cooking is bring out new and old recipes to try or recreate from memory.  I spend a good amount of time planning to see what can be prepped ahead of time.  For anyone that has entertained a house full, you know that this prep work is CRITICAL to 1) getting it all done, 2) enabling you to get some sit down time with your guests and 3) to not be a raving bitch because you are overworked and insisted that you “do it all” yourself.

I learned how to make home made cranberry sauce at the first Feast Campout with Jeremy & Sean’s troop.  If I  knew how simple it was, I would have stopped resorting to “canned gelatinous goo” years ago.  So in the spirit of paying it forward and saving future generations from the processed canned crap,  here you go.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups / 12 ounces cranberries (find them in the produce section of your grocer)
  • 1.5 cups sugar (yes, you can use Splenda)
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cups rasberries (fresh or frozen)
  • zest of orange

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Remove the cranberries and rinse throughly.  Be sure to check if any rotten ones ended up in the package.

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Add sugar and cranberries to large quart sauce pan with the heat on medium high.

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Bring mixture to a boil.  Stir occasionally to ensure everything is well mixed.  As the cranberries heat up, their sides will split open releasing the fruit’s natural pectin.  This pectin helps to thicken up the sauce mixture.

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Monitor your heat so the mixture doesn’t boil over.  As the cranberry and sugar mixture thicken, measure and then add your raspberries to the boiling pot.

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IMG_3217Stir the raspberries into the mixture.  The heat will break them down.  So don’t worry when they start to fall apart.

Take your orange zest and add to the thickened sauce

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After adding the zest, turn down the heat to just under medium and let the sauce bubble covered for 7-10 minutes on the stove.  If you do mix it, be careful to not splash as the berry sauce is EXTREMELY HOT!!!

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When complete, I transfer the cranberry sauce to another pot to let cool & chill.

Enjoy!

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Strange in Kansas

You know the demographics in your neighborhood are changing or have already changed when new & strange food shows up in the grocery store.

Someone needs to request the new foods.  A buyer needs to be able to locate them from the central depot.  They have to be priced and or advertised.  No sales . . . no profit . . . just loss.

So, this mornings mad dash to the grocer turned up these fine specimens.  Dragon fruit, Hands of Buddha, and Lychees.  Now all we need to do is find a good recipe to go with them.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit

Hands of Buddha

Hands of Buddha

Lychees

Lychees

 

Sweet Potato Waffle

I was cruising the primal sites and the thought piqued my interest.  A sweet potato waffle.  Served with barbecue and hoison sauce.  Unfortunately, they were only previewing pictures from the new book and hadn’t shared recipes yet.

Hen House had sweet potato’s on sale, so I tried my own version.

Ingredients.  Medium size sweet potato, 2 eggs, cheese, garlic powder, dried onions

Step 1- dust off the old waffle maker.  Geez.  It’s been years since that poor old boy was taken off the shelf.

Step 2 – peel & shred 1 medium size sweet potato. I used my Cuisinart to easily shred the tuber.

Step 3 – put 1/2 the shredded sweet potato in a bowl.

Step 4 – add 1 egg to each 1/2 of the mixture.  Add approximately 1/3 cup cheese, then garlic powder & dried onion to taste.  Mix with your hands.  EEEWWWWWW  Use a glove if you don’t like your hands getting icky.

Step 5 – Heat the waffle iron, and when heated – lightly grease the iron.  Smooosh 1/2 of the mixture onto the iron, close and set the timer.

I cooked the 1st waffle at 2 minutes each side.  But after eating the goods, I think 2.5 minutes each side would be better.  I also used our old deep Belgium waffle maker.  I think the less deep waffle irons may be easier to make a more crisp waffle. I might also use more cheese next time too.

Enjoy.

Sweet Potato Waffle

Carnitas de Julia

I found this recipe on Mark’s Daily Apple.  I had been wanting to try for a couple weeks now.  The challenge with trying a new recipe is that you need to “watch” it to ensure it’s coming out okay.

Take 2-4 pounds of Pork Shoulder and cut into large chunks.  I did mine about 2x as large as normal “stew” meat.  Since I purchased the large cryo pack at Costco, I used the vacuum sealer and ended up freezing the other 1/2.Pork SholderNext, get your spices together & pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees

  • 1-2 tbs salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • lots of garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 1 chopped yellow onion

mix the dry spices together.

Spices

Dry Spices

Place pork into roasting pan and mix thrououghly.  Because I am cooking with chili’s I use disposable rubber gloves to protect my hands.  Once the meat is well spiced, then add the garlic and mix again.

Finally, add the chopped onion, 2 bay leafs, and 1 cinnamon stick on top and cover with water nearly so the pork is just peaking over the top of the onions.

Spices & onions

Place into the oven and let the roasting begin.  Plan on setting your timer for 90 minutes and then pull the carnitas out and mix up with a heavy durable spoon.  At about this time mark, nearly 1/2 the water will have been cooked off/absorbed into the meat.  Place back in the oven to let the meat finishing cooking and get crispy.  After a minimum of 3.5 hours total cooking, your Carnitas will be nearly ready.  All the water should be gone, and the juice carmelization will be evident around the meat and the edges of the pan.

Remove from the oven, take out the bay leafs and cinnamon stick.  Then break up the meat into shredded pieces.  Let sit or serve immediately.  Sunday’s meal was finished off with corn tortillas (for the men- I had mine over salad), guacamole, salsa’s, lime and tequila.Carnitas

The carnitas will keep a couple days in the fridge.  Be sure to use the left overs up.  Eat cold over salad or heat up in a pan and cook with fresh eggs.

Links:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/crispy-carnitas/#axzz2JNIXNBPQ

Porterhouse Porkchops

As you all know, we do a lot of fresh cooking at Chez Day.  The challenge with this is both fun/rewarding, but that you do end up making frequent trips to the grocer.  I really prefer the days that I head out with my list, moving deftly from one side of the store to the other, efficiently avoiding the center aisle’s like the plague.  But sometimes, it doesn’t strike me what’s for dinner until I start into the vegetable section and end up chatting with the butcher asking “what’s good today”.

Thursday’s dinner followed the latter.  Bare butt cold in Kansas, I trot into Hen House wondering what I actually need to buy for dinner.  My.  Those mushrooms look tasty.  I know, lets do up my famous garlic mushrooms and onions.  I get to the butcher counter and realize I don’t know how many I am actually cooking for.  I offer the next person to go ahead while I try to call the teenager to see if he is home or working that night.  Darn. No Answer.   Oooooooohhhhhhhhh those Porterhouse Porkchops look tasty.  I’ll take 4 of those, please.  Oh and what would be the best meat to make carnitas.  thanks!!!!

So home I get and let the cooking begin.  This delicious meal starts with my blue Le Cruset pan.  I add butter to the pan and then brown the pork chops

Porterhouse Chops

 

Once they are brown on both sides, remove from pan and let sit.  I just put mine on a kitchen plate and turn on the burner to low to keep them from chilling.

Next add a bit more butter, garlic and onions to pan.

Onions

 

Finally I add in the mushrooms.  let everything cook down to a yummy goodness.

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Add a little wine . . .(some to your glass) . . .

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Sautee sautee sautee         IMG_1608and presto!

Sorry.  I forgot to take a “plated” picture of dinner.  But take my word for it.  was excellent.

 

Roasted Chicken

Well the boys left yesterday to do a skiing night at Snow Creek with the Boy Scouts.  Unfortunately, Scout is too young to board.  The little tyke got his last set of puppy shots yesterday and his official rabies license.  27.3 pounds (oh yes I had that marked correctly for the bet pool).

Bad news for me, is thinking that I may be getting the flu that has been going around.  As of this morning, I think it was just an upset tummy.  YEAH!!!!  But I did make early preparations just incase it was going to be full on flu with only the dogs to back stop me.

Roast Chicken to the rescue.

Roast ChickenBring home 1 roasting chicken.  Rinse is and pat dry with paper towels.  Put chicken into roasting pan and slover all over with olive oil.  add salt, pepper and rosemary.  Pop that puppy into the over at 425 degrees for 70 minutes and you have tasty roasted chicken.

Save all the bones, and plop into the pressure cooker to make chicken broth.  Don’t for get to add some vegetable to the broth to tasty it up.  Bring up to pressure and cook for 10 minutes and then let temperature drop naturally.  Strain and save for your sick day.

Feeling much better today.  The puppies let me sleep until 6:18 before rustling and needing to get up.  I feel a ton better, so I can’t wait for all my boys to get home and tell me about their ski adventures.

 

 

 

Artichokes & Pressure Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs

A couple of weeks ago, I found a wonderful web site for pressure cooking http://www.hippressurecooking.com  They really have some wonderful recipes and great directions to improve your pressure cooking techniques.

This morning I plunged in and tried doing the hard boiled eggs in the cooker.  I know, I know, you are probably envisioning egg mess to clean up, but it was extremely easy.  And the Bonus?  You can use fresh eggs.  The site says it much better than I do, but in a nut shell, conventionally hard boiled fresh eggs become hermetically sealed due to the very very small pocket of air between the membrane that holds in the “whites” and the shell.  Older eggs have a much bigger air pocket which is why their shells are soooooo much easier to peel.  The pressure cooker forces that small bit of air to expand creating an optimal environment to cook the egg.  Bottom line, they take less time to cook and  warm fresh pressure cooked eggs taste gooooodddddd.

Warm Eggs served with left over Artichokes and home made primal mayoArtichoke & Pressure Cooked Eggs