Monday, December 24, 2012

Herb Crusted Prime Rib



I just have to say, I made this recipe for our Friend Christmas Potluck last night, and it blew away my expectations. It's super easy to make, and will impress your friends into thinking you spent all day in the kitchen. My roast was just about 5.21lbs, so I just cooked it exactly like in the recipe, except that my roast happened to be boneless. Thinking about adapting this for a rack of lamb for new years. Enjoy!





Sunday, October 7, 2012

cauliflower "elotes"



3 months later and still on a cauliflower kick. I stumbled upon this version by happenstance, and it immediately reminded me of mexican (or cuban in some instances) corn - the kind with chili powder, cheese, lime and salt... not to mention mayo and/or sour cream for the truly initiated. I didn't even realize I'd been missing it until I tried this recipe and then I got really excited because the cauliflower stands up extremely well to the intense flavors of the seasoning. And I got to fulfill a craving I didn't even know I had!

- 1 large head cauliflower (or 2 smaller ones), cut into florets
- olive oil to coat
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more, up to you)
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- juice of 1/2 lime
- grated parmeson for topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss florets with everything except the cilantro, lime juice, and parmesan. Spread evenly into shallow baking dish or cookie sheet. Roast for 40-45 min or until golden brown and crispy on the edges. Remove from oven and toss with cilantro and lime juice. Topping with grated parmesan cheese is optional but highly recommended. Feel free to dip into mayo for extra flavorrrr.

it's not as crispy as i'd like it to be in the photo, but the smell was so intoxicating i couldn't wait :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

cauliflower "mac" and cheese



just over 5 weeks into my new keto lifestyle and surprisingly i have not broken down and committed carbicide. sure, i miss bread and pasta and fruit, but the benefits have been outweighing whatever cravings i have by FAR. plus it's kind of fun to find alternative ways to make my old carb-loaded stand bys. which brings us to this dish.

cauliflower is the jack of all trades in the cruciferous veggie world. it can be as bland and unassuming or as bold and packed with flavor as you want. it's a blank canvas that you can season and enhance to your specifications. i'm already looking into making cauliflower "tater" tots next time around :)

for this recipe, you'll need:

- kosher salt, as needed
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- butter for greasing a shallow baking pan (8x8 or 9x13)
- 1 C heavy cream
- 2 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
- 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar, plus another 1/2 C for topping the casserole
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder

preheat oven to 375°F. bring a large pot of water to a boil. season the water with salt. grease the baking dish with butter. cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. drain well and pat between several layers of paper towels to dry. transfer the cauliflower to the baking dish and set aside.

bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, and whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. stir in 1 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder, and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. [note: i used half cheddar and half irish dubliners cheese mixed together, just for kicks.] remove from heat, pour over the cauliflower, and stir to combine. top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake until browned and bubbly hot, about 15 minutes. serve.

some thoughts: i think thoroughly drying the cauliflower after boiling is essential, because i was a little lax with it and the end result for me was a bit runnier than i'd expected. of course this could be solved with MORE cheese to hold everything together. i felt like it could be much cheesier anyway. i also added a pinch of nutmeg because for me, anything with cream + cheese just begs for nutmeg.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hamachi Kama



aka yellowtail collar. this delectable japanese dish usually goes for upwards of $10 for one collar or "cheek" at a restaurant, so when i saw it at my local H mart for about $7 for two, i jumped on it. the beauty of this dish is that there is no actual recipe, per se. more like a method. you need:

- 2 yellowtail collars (found at the seafood section in some asian markets)
- kosher salt for seasoning
- olive oil
- soy sauce
- splash lemon juice

put oven safe skillet (i used the le creuset but you can use cast iron too) in oven and preheat to 400°F. season both sides of cheeks with kosher salt, drizzle with a little olive oil, soy sauce, and a splash lemon juice. place skin side down in the pan and cook for 10 min, flip, then cook for another 10 or until it looks like the picture, depending on the size. mine were about 6oz each!

it's usually served with ponzu sauce/grated radish/green onion but i ate it with nothing and it was AWESOME. fattier than salmon and melts in your mouth... jeff and i couldn't shut up about it while we started to dig in, and then silence soon fell on us as we stuffed our faces.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

mexican chicken soup



i don't update for a couple months and i barely recognize blogger. does anyone even use this? or are all the cool kids on tumblr and wordpress now? lol i dgaf. during my time away from blogger i've remembered my dad's passing with my family who came to visit for a weekend, how a year has already gone by i'll never know. i literally feel like i've lost a whole year of my life. we celebrated jeff's 32nd birthday, as well as my 29th. my mom came to visit me from korea for 2 short weeks. jeff and i went to coachella! popped our live musical event cherries with a hot and sweaty weekend full of HEAT, music, and food. i started training muay thai! my friend jason introduced me to the gym where he trains, and so far i love it. i come home bruised and beat as hell, but i keep going back.

with family in town and music festivals taking up my time, i haven't cooked anything in a long time. so i made some mexican chicken soup that jeff has been asking for since weeks ago. it's probably not very authentic but my guatamalan coworker told me it was delicious. that probably means nothing re: authenticity but he went to le cordon bleu so thats good enough for me.

you need:
- 2 large chicken breasts, butterflied open
- chicken stock, i used the biggest one i could find and made up the rest of the volume with water
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped (i omitted since i didn't have any)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 14oz diced tomatoes with jalapeño
- 1 Tbsp chipotle sauce
- 1 chopped jalapeño
- salt to taste

cook chicken breasts and when cooled, shred the meat. sauté the onion, celery, carrot over medium heat with some oil for about 10 minutes until the onion just begins to brown. add garlic and cook for about a minute. add chicken stock and/or water, jalapeño, tomatoes, spices, and shredded chicken. bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. serve with sour cream, avocado, cilantro, tortilla chips... whatever you like!

Monday, February 27, 2012

cajun inspired shrimp


[disclaimer - not my photo, but the closest one i could find to what this recipe looks like]

if you live in socal you may have heard of a hugely successful chain of vietnamese-owned cajun-style restaurants called boiling crab. if not, then you should go on your next available dinner date and expect to wait an hour at least because it is so worth it. and your hands will smell like it for days so you can relive your crustacean feast even after you've finished. i don't know how authentic the food is at this chain, but it's good enough to STILL have lines out the door after more than 6 years of business. and i thought i could out-wait the hype...

so i decided to make my own! the secret is in the sauce. i've eaten there enough to nail down the main flavor components... celery salt, cayenne, garlic, lemon, paprika. it took a bit of googling to figure out that there was also cumin and onion powder, in addition to thyme and oregano. if you can find large, 16/18 ct. shrimp, preferably with HEAD on (the best part!), then your dish will be even tastier than the one i made here, because i couldn't find any with their heads still intact. of course, if you're not into sucking shrimp brains, then you can forego the heads.

you'll need:

1 lb shrimp, tail (and/or head) on
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder (i also added 6 cloves roughly chopped)
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp celery salt
Sliced lemon
Salt to taste

Mix everything together well, cook in a skillet or pan until done.

at the restaurant this sauce is also available on crawfish, lobster, king crab, and clams. sides include spicy cajun fries (probably made with a similar combo of the dry spices in this recipe), as well as corn cobs and andouille sausage cooked right in the same bag as the saucy seafood. i might add some corn and even potatoes next time to make it a full meal. might even be pretty tasty atop a mound of salad greens. or on top of brown rice... the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

NEW HABITS

so i am now on my second week of solid foods after my 21 day juice fast. i have pretty much incorporated back in all the foods i was eating before, of course i'm not talking about all the junk i was eating... but i am 100% back on all animal products and dairy, except for milk which gives me an upset stomach now. i've switched to almond :)

OK, so the question on everyone's minds and lips has been if i've gained any weight. i think i gained about 3 or 4 lbs simply due to the fact that i am now eating solid food and i carry it around in my system as it digests. i have not noticed any difference in the way my clothes are fitting (still happily in my tier 2 jeans - working on getting into tier 1s!), nor do i see any difference visually since i've started eating again. if you don't know what the parenthetical means see this post.

jeff has been nothing but supportive before, during, and now after my fast :) we are both on our way towards health and happiness thanks to the food scale i was only using for baking french macarons (pesky metric system, haha, americans are too smart for that!). we now weigh out and record everything that we eat. i even weighed and portioned out my own snacks to bring to the movies last night and didn't miss the popcorn and nachos at all. i've been using the myfitnesspal iphone app to log all my macros and calories. who are we...?

if there's anything i miss about juicing it's the convenience. yes, it does take effort to keep your fridge constantly stocked with fresh produce and no, the juicer doesn't clean itself. but it was nice not to have to plan meals or make grocery lists or cook anything. still, i'm glad to be eating again, and excited for my new healthy lifestyle (disclaimer: it's way easier when you have someone doing it with you)! now that my fast is over i have a new set of goals.

• work out intensely and regularly
• keep cheating to a minimum - 1 MEAL per week.
• watch portion control
• do something active on the weekends (went hiking last sunday!)
• be patient
• eat more veggies (still something to work on)
• hit my macros, get enough protein

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

life after juice



i have graduated from the apple (one of which makes me full now), and have ventured into more "real food-like" veggies... last night i had an avocado, diced with some cherry tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro, with a squeeze of lime juice. it was... sublime. the richness of the avocado, the umami of the tomato, the acidic lime juice... i was in heaven. it was so good i ate it for lunch again today. perhaps some green juice and fruit for dinner/dessert.

i'll probably try going back to the gym next week when i can start eating animal products and grains again. i'll be starting from close to scratch, but hopefully this time with my diet in check, i'll see results sooner than later. so far so good, and i haven't gained any weight since sunday. superbowl party is this coming weekend and i'm not worried. i'll be bringing a big salad for myself and anyone who wants to avoid the junk that will no doubt be there :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

DAY 21



today is the last day of my 21 day fast. i was pretty sure i'd be going another week, but they say when your body is ready to break the fast, you'll know. hard to say what it is, but it feels right to break my fast after three weeks. i'll still be drinking a lot of juice the next week, as i slowly ease back into solid foods. my first "meal" will probably be an apple later tonight. i'm having a green juice right now for an early dinner.

there is some unexpected anxiety about returning to solid foods. i think it's a bit of a lot of different things - nervous about gaining weight, about how to make sure i can put all my healthy mental gains into real world practice, and also about not falling back into the same patterns. after 21 days, juice fasting feels like the status quo to me, so breaking it is a bit daunting. on the other hand, i'm excited to reshape the way i eat, and to finally be cooking again. i have a food processor and a le creuset french oven that i haven't had the chance to use yet, so that is definitely something i'm looking forward to.

i have lost 15+ lbs during my 21 days, but more impressive than that (to me), i have learned SO much about myself and food, as in, my relationship with food. by removing food from the equation altogether, it actually made me think about food itself and break down the very reason i love it, and somewhere along the line i would come to situations where i found myself feeling stronger, and then i felt like i could remember this the next time i'm tempted to eat that fat slice of cake.

i learned that i was addicted and although i was making enough of an effort not to gain too much weight, i still had little to no willpower when it came to food. now, i feel mentally stronger than ever. willpower is definitely a muscle that can be exercised and built up. before, i would feel helpless against food in unhealthy social settings, but now i feel like i can control anything. it's kind of like i sent myself to food rehab. now... will all this newfound knowledge i learned during my epiphany last forever? what if after 6 months i find myself falling back into old habits?

i think if i felt like i needed to, i would definitely fast again. i will most likely not do it for this long. maybe a 10 day fast every once in a while if i've fallen off the wagon. i would definitely recommend everyone try some version of a juice fast for themselves. if i had to make a list of tips for anyone looking to try a juice fast, i would include the following:

• watch "fat, sick, and nearly dead" on netflix or hulu. great source of motivation and more educational than i expected.
• check out www.jointhereboot.com for support, recipes, and interested articles about juicing in general.
• juice slowly... the more time you spend juicing, the more juice your produce will yield.
• it's ok to start out with fruit juices, but try to limit fruits to the mornings, so you don't take in too much sugar too late in the day.
• softer fruit tend to be harder to juice, with my juicer anyway. the pulp would just fly everywhere and barely any juice came out. with fruits like lemons or orange, i usually just squeeze them by hand at the end.
• beets are sweet and grassy, but they are potent so limit beets to 1 per juice, per day. and be careful, the juice is blood red and will stain.
• drink as much juice as it takes to not feel hungry. that could be 60oz - 90+oz a day depending on the person.
• drink lots of water! juice does not replace water intake. you'll be peeing like every hour.
• i know organic is more expensive, but it's ideal since you are taking in the juice in it's purest form. farmer's markets are great places to find affordable organic produce.
• use the first and last week of your fast act as a time to ease in and out of the liquid only diet. eat fresh fruits and veggies and fresh broth or light soup. this way your system won't be as jarred when you get off solid foods, and again when you get back on them.
• no coffee, alcohol, or soda. you can have an herbal (decaf) tea at night to help with digestion. i took mine with lemo, honey, and a slice of ginger.
• don't forget why you're fasting! keep reminding yourself of it will help you in those moments of weakness when you want to give up.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

DAY 17


back to mean green, modified with honeydew :)

day 21 is fast approaching and i still haven't decided if i will break my fast next monday or if will continue for 9 more days. for now i will talk about my jeans.

i would say i have... 3 tiers of jeans. tier 3 jeans are the ones that fit me when i am at my heaviest, maybe a bit snugly, but they fit. i wear tier 3 jeans the most because they're usually really stretchy, comfortable, and versatile. then there are tier 2 jeans. the ones that i could wear maybe a year or two ago. when i was really working out and working with a trainer and carefully watching what i eat. i can force myself into them even when i should be wearing tier 3 jeans, but they're not comfortable, probably not that flattering, and feel excellent when taken off. tier 1 jeans haven't seen daylight in years. i probably wore them 3 or 4 years ago when i had a job that required being on my feet all day. i was also younger and didn't have to go to the gym.

i am now comfortably wearing tier 2 jeans. my tier 3 jeans are now loose and i don't look as put-together with them on. i have a pair of cords i just bought maybe a month ago that were pretty tight, and now they look like gardening-at-home-so-i-have-to-be-comfy pants. will i be able to wear my tier 1 pants by the end of my fast? maybe. maybe not. i'm pretty stoked to have moved down a whole tier, so i'll be happy regardless but man! slipping into a tier 1 would be bad ass...

i'll finish with a quick and dirty before/after just to show the difference in my face. the angles are a little different, but there is definitely a difference!