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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Flatiron Fajitas

The Ingredients (for 4 to 6 servings):


  • 6 to 8 tomatillos, weighing approximately 450 g (or 1 lb)
  • 1 medium red onion, weighing approximately 225 g (or 8 oz)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 15 g (or ½ oz)
  • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of cooking grade olive oil
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, weighing approximately 43 g (or 1½ oz)
  •  1 lime
  • 1 whole jalapeño or 2 whole Hawaiian chilis or the equivalent

  •  30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of mayonnaise
  • 45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of prepared horseradish
  •  45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of almond milk
  • 55 g (or 2 oz) of feta cheese

  •  900 g (or 2 lb) of flatiron steak
  •  10 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of ground cumin
  • 8 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of ground coriander
  • 10 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of hot paprika
  • salt
  •  pepper
  •  cooking grade olive oil

The Method:

Tomatillo Salsa
  1. At least 2 hours before cooking the steak, make the salsa by first husking then washing the tomatillos. Cut each in half and place them in a medium bowl.
  2. Peel the onion and slice it thinly, then add the onion slices to the bowl.
  3. Bruise and peel the garlic cloves, then add them to the bowl.
  4. Add the olive oil and mix it in until every piece of vegetable is lightly coated.
  5. Spread the tomatillo mixture out onto a baking sheet or broiler pan covered with aluminum foil. Place the tomatillos with their skins facing upward.
  6. Turn on the broiler to high and, when it is hot, place the pan of vegetables under it, at a distance of about 7.5 to 10 cm (or 3 to 4 inches). 
  7. Broil the tomatillo mixture until the vegetables are beginning to char, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Set the tomatillo mixture aside to cool.
  9. Meanwhile, wash the cilantro and chop it roughly, then place it into a blender or food processor.
  10. Zest the lime, and add it to the food processor.
  11. Squeeze the lime, and add the juice and pulp to the food processor.
  12. Wash the chili pepper(s) and chop them finely, then add them to the food processor.
  13. When the tomatillo mixture is cooled, add this also to the food processor and purée to the desired consistency.

  14. Set the salsa aside to develop and blend the flavors.
Horseradish Cream
  1. At least one hour before cooking the steak, make the horseradish cream by combining the mayonnaise, horseradish, almond milk, and crumbled feta in a blender.
  2. Blend until there are no lumps of cheese. If necessary, adjust the proportions of the ingredients and blend again so that the consistency is like that of a thick cream.
  3.  Place the horseradish cream in the refrigerator.
Flatiron Steak
  1. Rinse the flatiron steak briefly, pat it dry, and place it on a wide board or platter.
  2. Heat a griddle or skillet to high.
  3. While the griddle is heating, place the cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well to combine them evenly.
  4. Sprinkle or rub the seasoning mixture onto both sides of the steak.
  5.  When the griddle is hot, spray or lightly spread olive oil all over it.
  6. Place the seasoned steak onto the griddle and cook it undisturbed for 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the steak and cook the other side for 4 to 5 minutes also.

The Fajita:

Cut the flatiron steak into thin slices across the grain. Serve with soft, warmed tortillas, crisp lettuce leaves, and the tomatillo salsa and horseradish cream.

The Story:

This dish is adapted from a recipe I found on a website called The Chew.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Steelhead Dijonnaise

Steelhead Dijonnaise, an Artichaut Vinaigrette, also on this blog, and chick-pea flour linguine with pesto

The Ingredients (for 5 to 6 servings):

  • 680 g (or 1½ lb) of steelhead trout fillet(s) (I used a single, large fillet which was easier to skin)
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 20 g ( or ¾ oz)
  • 2 g (or ¼ teaspoon) of salt
  • 80 ml (or ⅓ cup) of white wine
  • 60 ml (or 4 tablespoons) of Dijon mustard
  • 25 ml (or 1½ tablespoons) of lemon juice
  • 5 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of dried dill weed
  • 8 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of unsalted lemon-pepper seasoning
  • Olive oil

    The Method:
    1. If necessary, peel the skin off the steelhead fillet(s) using a small, sharp knife to loosen the flesh while pulling the skin back with the other hand.
    2. Turn on the oven and set it to 205°C (or 400°F).
    3. Spray or brush olive oil all over the inside of an oven-proof dish that will hold the steelhead comfortably in one layer.
    4. Place the fillet(s) into the oven-proof dish.
    5. Peel the garlic cloves and mash or grind them with the salt until they form a paste.
    6. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the garlic, wine, mustard, lemon juice, dill, and lemon-pepper seasoning until the mixture is homogeneous.
    7. Pour the wine and mustard mixture over the steelhead fillet(s) until they are completely coated.
    8. Place the dish into the oven and bake the steelhead until it is opaque on the outside and still soft and moist in the thickest part of the fillet. This might take 10 to 16 minutes, depending on the size of the fillet(s). 

      The Story:

      This dish is very little changed from a recipe by Nora on the allrecipes web site.

      Thursday, October 26, 2017

      Megan's Wholesome Bread


      • This recipe was developed using a bread machine, specifically, the Oster CKSTBRTW20, which has been an excellent investment for our household.
      • Sourdough starter can be bought online. Having been a long-time resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I preferred to order from SourdoughBreads, and received a very helpful instruction booklet with the sourdough starter.

        The Ingredients (for a 2-lb loaf):

        • 475 ml (or 2 cups) of filtered (but not distilled) water
        • 120 ml (or ½ cup of live sourdough starter
        • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of honey
        • 60 g (or ½ cup) of whole grain oat flour
          (or approximately  60 g (¾ cup) of 1-minute quick cooking, whole-grain rolled oats)
        •  310 g (or 2¾ cups) of whole wheat flour (bread flour if available)
        • 180 g (or ¾ cup) of white flour (bread flour if available)
        •  35 g (or ¼ cup) of bulgur
        •  32 g (or ¼ cup) of raw sesame seeds
        •  32 g (or ¼ cup) of raw sunflower seeds
        •  25 g (or ¼ cup) of ground flaxseed
        •  4.5 g (or 1¼ teaspoons) of yeast for bread machines
        •  8 g (or 1½ teaspoons) of salt
        • 15 g (or 2 tablespoons) of raw hemp seeds
        •  coarse-grind, whole grain cornmeal

        The Method:

        1. It is best to begin this recipe early in the morning, as it may take all day for the sourdough to ferment enough.
        2. If you have no oat flour, use the rolled oats by first placing them into a food processor or grain mill and then grinding it into flour.
          (We use the smoothie attachment of our food processor and it works very well for this small volume.)
        3. In a straight-sided, transparent container such as a Pyrex® casserole dish, place the filtered water, the sourdough starter, honey, oat flour, and just  115 g (or 1 cup) of the whole wheat flour.

        4. Stir the starter mixture gently but thoroughly, breaking up any lumps, to distribute the ingredients evenly throughout.

        5.  Place the starter mixture in a warm, dry spot such as a wide window sill and allow it to sit for several hours.
          The mixture will start to form bubbles immediately. After a couple of hours it might produce a thin layer of liquid on top. Do not disturb this liquid.

          The starter is ready when there are bubbles or foam (from the yeast fermentation) all over the top of the mixture and the watery layer has sunk under the floury, foamy layer.
          Bubbles all over the top of the starter

          The watery layer is evident below the bubbly layer
        6. Check on the starter mixture hourly until it achieves this appearance.
          (In my kitchen in Hawai'i the ambient temperature was 24°C (75°F) and the whole starter fermentation process took 5 hours.)
        7. Place the starter mixture into the baking pan of the bread machine and add (consistent with manufacturer's instructions as to order of ingredients) the remaining  195 g (or 1¾ cups) of whole wheat flour, the white flour, the bulgur, the sesame seeds, the sunflower seeds, the flaxseed, the salt, and the yeast.
        8. Place the pan into the bread machine.
        9. Plug in the bread machine and set it to:
          Menu: "Whole Wheat"
          Loaf Size: "2 lb"
          Crust Color: "Dark"
        10. Press the Start button on the bread machine.
        11. Either remove the loaf at the end of the baking cycle or, if you want a free-form loaf, stop the bread machine after the final rise and before it begins to heat up for the baking step.
          (This takes a calculation based on the schedule for a 2-lb, whole grain loaf in the manufacturer's instruction booklet.)
        12. Roll the dough onto a flat surface and shape it into a boule, gently but quickly stretching the sides down and underneath the boule until they meet.
        13. Sprinkle the hemp seeds onto the flat surface and roll the boule gently across them so that the seeds stick to the top and sides.

        14. Sprinkle a sparse layer of cornmeal onto a baking sheet.
        15. Lift the boule gently onto the cornmeal.
        16.  With a safety razor or extremely sharp knife, make criss-cross cuts on the top of the boule.
        17. Place the boule onto a middle shelf in the cold oven.
        18. Place a pan of water underneath on a lower oven shelf.
        19. Turn on the oven and set it to 190°C (375°F).
        20. Bake the boule for 40 minutes.
        21. Place the boule on a rack and allow it to cool.

        The Story:

        Thanks to my daughter Megan for working on this recipe until she was satisfied with it. The starting point was Alton Brown's Very Basic Bread and a comparison of the two recipes shows how many tweaks and changes she made.

        The mostly whole grain flours, the very low sugar, and the many kinds of seeds in this bread make it a good choice for a source of carbs in the diabetic diet. The sourdough, the crustiness, and again the seeds give it a unique taste. Sourdough starter can be bought online in dried form, as mentioned in the Notes section above. Once hydrated and allowed to ferment, it can be kept in the refrigerator indefinitely with regular additions of water and flour, according to instructions that should be included with the initial purchase.

        Sunday, October 1, 2017

        Orange You a Snapper?

        The Ingredients (for 6 servings):

        • 900 g (or 2 lb) of fileted snapper or similar fish (I used opakapaka, a Hawaiian pink snapper)
        • 1 orange
        • 4 g (or ½ teaspoon) of salt
        • 3 g (or ¾ teaspoon) of ground white pepper
        • 60 ml (or 4 tablespoons) of tangerine balsamic vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
        • 1 medium onion, weighing approximately 170 g (or 6 oz)
        • 225 g (or 8 oz) of white mushrooms (I used king oyster mushrooms)
        • 6 small Asian eggplants, weighing approximately 675 g (or 1½ lb)
        • 40 g (or 1½ oz) of ginger root, preferably young ginger
        • 450 g (or 1 lb) of cauliflower
        • 450 g (or 1 lb) of  broccoli
        • Cooking grade olive oil

        The Method:
        1. Rinse the filets of snapper, pat them dry, and slice them into pieces a little larger than bite size. 
        2. Place the snapper into a bowl that will hold it comfortably.
        3. Scrub the orange skin to clean it, then grate off the zest.
        4. Add the orange zest, salt, white pepper, and about half of the balsamic vinegar to the snapper.
        5. Mix the marinade thoroughly but gently into the snapper pieces.
        6. Place the snapper into the refrigerator for up to one hour.
        7. Chop the onion into small dice.
        8. Chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
        9. Chop the eggplants into slices about 2 cm (or ¾ in) thick.
        10. Place a deep skillet or large wok over high heat and add 45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of olive oil.
        11. Place the onion, mushrooms, and eggplant into the skillet and stir-fry rapidly until the oil coats all slices. If necessary, add a little more olive oil.
        12. Stir-fry the vegetables frequently until the oil is absorbed and is beginning to be rendered by the eggplant.
        13. Add the remaining balsamic vinegar and stir-fry briefly to mix it evenly.
        14. Remove the skillet from the heat and place the eggplant mixture into a bowl.
        15. Wash and brush the ginger root. If it is a mature root peel the skin, but this is not necessary for young ginger.
        16. Slice the ginger as finely as possible.
        17. Slice or separate the florets of cauliflower and broccoli.
        18. Reheat the skillet over high heat with about 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of olive oil.
        19. Place the ginger slices in the skillet and stir-fry them until they are limp and somewhat translucent.
        20. Immediately add the cauliflower and broccoli and stir-fry just long enough to coat each piece with oil. If necessary, add a little more olive oil.
        21. Lower the heat to medium and add back the eggplant mixture. Stir-fry briefly to mix the vegetables.
        22. Spread the pieces of snapper on top of the vegetables, cover the skillet, and steam the fish for approximately 7 minutes, until it is just cooked. If necessary, add a little water to the skillet.
        23. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir gently to fold the fish into the vegetables.

        Monday, September 4, 2017

        La Voix Off

        The following article appeared in The Guardian US Edition on 04 Sep 2017. I have also copied the content below in case the link is only temporary.

        Is there such a thing as sugar addiction?

        Oh, just the three then …
         Oh, just the three then … Photograph: Tetra Images/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

        It comes in a white, crystalline form and gives us a pleasurable high – but refined sugar is as habit-forming as cocaine or nicotine, according to a review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Animal studies show that sugar is the drug of choice for lab rats which, when given a choice of levers to pull, will switch from cocaine to sucrose in the twitch of a tail.
        In evolutionary terms, we worked for our sugar fix by eating honey and ripe fruit. We then stored any surplus energy as fat for the lean times when bison were scarce. Now that sugar is available as highly concentrated sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup – both stripped of nutritional value (minerals and vitamins are lost in the refining process) – we’re hooked.
        Sugar makes us obese, can promote the development of type 2 diabetes, raises our blood pressure and give us fatty livers. But it also alters our mood, making us feel rewarded and euphoric.

        The solution

        The lead author of the review, James DiNicolantonio at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, says that, unlike salt, sugar has no “aversion signal”. “Salt taste receptors will ‘flip’ when you’ve had too much, but this doesn’t happen with sugar – so we have a built-in safety mechanism that protects us from overconsuming salt but not sugar,” he says. “People can eat an entire bag of cookies or endless bars of chocolate and still want more.”

        Whether refined sugar is technically addictive or not has long been debated. What isn’t in doubt is that we eat too much of it. And we should forget the notion of moderation – any refined sugar is excessive. In the US, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine says: “The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.”
        DiNicolantonio argues that refined sugars can produce bingeing and cravings – indicative of an addictive substance. And then there’s withdrawal. He says: “Withdrawal symptoms from sugar come from dopamine deficiency in the brain. This may lead to symptoms such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and it may even create a similar state in the brain as found in patients with depression.”
        There is some evidence of genetic differences in our response to sugar because we all perceive sweetness differently. But, overall, the review says, refined sugar gives us one of the most intense sensory pleasures of modern life. Which is worrying for many reasons.

        Sunday, September 3, 2017

        Asean Arugula au Pear

        The Ingredients (for 2 servings):

        • 80 ml (or ⅓ cup) of rice vinegar
        • 22 ml (or 1½ tablespoons) of sherry
        • stevia equivalent of  35 g (or 2 tablespoons) of sugar
        • 12 g (or 1½ teaspoons) of salt
        • 5 g (or 1½ teaspoons) of ground white pepper
        • 60 ml (or ¼ cup) of toasted sesame oil
        • 180 ml (or ¾ cup) of grapeseed oil

        • 30 g (or  ¼ cup) of pecans
        • 1 bunch of arugula, weighing approximately 115 g (or 4 oz)
        • 1 Asian pear, weighing approximately 225 g (or 8 oz)
        • 55 g (or 2 oz) of blue cheese

          The Method:

          Salad Dressing
          1. Place the rice vinegar, the sherry, the stevia, and the salt into a cruet or similar vessel.
          2. Swirl to dissolve the salt.
          3. Add the pepper and swirl again to distribute it evenly.
          4. Add the sesame oil and the grapeseed oil.
          5. Shake the cruet vigorously to form an emulsion.
          Salad Assembly
          1. Toast the pecans in an oven at 175°C (or 350°F) for 5 minutes. Allow them to cool.
          2. Wash and trim the arugula and place it in a bowl sufficiently large to toss it in.
          3. Wash the pear, core it, and slice it into thin wedges.
          4. Toss the arugula and pear with a little of the salad dressing, to taste. (The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator and used for more or different salads.)
          5. Crumble the blue cheese and sprinkle it over the arugula and pear.
          6. Finally, sprinkle the pecans over the salad.
            Asean Arugula au Pear complements Sichuan spiced rack of lamb

          Sunday, August 13, 2017

          Going Bananas for Bread

          The Ingredients:

          • 70 g (or ¾ cup) of pure almond flour
          • 25 g (or ¼ cup) of pure coconut flour
          • 3 g (or ½ teaspoon) of salt
          • 3.5 g (or ¾ teaspoon) of baking soda
          • 60 g (or ½ cup) of walnut pieces
          • 45 g (or ¼ cup) of dried blueberries
          • 45 g (or 3 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
          • 4 eggs (3 whole eggs and 1 egg white)
          • 7 ml (or ½ tablespoon) of vanilla
          • stevia equivalent of  42 g (or 3 tablespoons) of sugar
          • 350 g (or 12 oz) of ripe bananas

            The Method:
            1. Grease a loaf pan with oil or butter, and cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom.
            2. Turn on the oven and set it to 175°C (or 350°F).
            3. In a medium size bowl, place the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda and mix them together thoroughly with a fork.
            4. Chop the walnut pieces into small nuggets approximately 6 mm (or ¼ inch) in diameter.
            5. Add the chopped walnuts and the dried blueberries to the flours and mix them in with a fork until they are coated with flour and evenly distributed.
            6. Melt the butter without boiling it, and set it aside to cool slightly.
            7. In another medium size bowl, place the three eggs and one egg-white, the vanilla, and the stevia.
            8. Whisk the egg mixture just long enough to break the eggs and thoroughly blend the yolks with the whites.
            9.  Peel the bananas and purée them in a food processor or blender, or mash them as finely as possible with a fork.
            10. Add the bananas and melted butter to the egg mixture and blend or whisk until the mixture is homogeneous.
            11. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
            12. Pour the batter into the parchment-lined loaf pan and bake it for 40 minutes. (Check whether the loaf is ready by inserting a small skewer into the middle.)  

              The Story:

              The basic proportions for this loaf I copied from a recipe on a web site called comfy belly. However, I changed, adjusted, added and subtracted ingredients to get to the version I am sharing here.

              This loaf does not last long around our household. People start eating it as soon as it has cooled enough to slice.