Nutrition Challenge, Week 3 Summary

We had a really lovely sit-down dinner this week and everyone pitched in for the cooking! Here’s what we made:

Appetizers

  • Prosciutto Wrapped Melon: Here’s a version at Bell’alimento. We did plain old chunks and skipped the dressing (balsamic glaze is pretty sugary)
  • Cucumber Slices topped with Dill Sauce and Smoked Salmon: my recipe here. (coming soon)
  • Deviled Eggs: from Epicurious.
    • Watch your labels, most store-bought mayo uses soybean oil and preservatives.  Its pretty easy to make your own. This recipe is pretty good, just use light olive oil or grapeseed oil in place of safflower/corn oil.

Main Dishes

We presented a quarter roast chicken 3 ways. A great roast chicken recipe is on Epicurious, I add a tablespoon fennel seed to my salt and pepper.

  • Pureed Celery Root  and Rutabaga & Blistered Tomatoes & French Salsa Verde

    • Peel and chop one celery root and one medium-large rutabega. Boil for about 25 minutes, drain. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1/3 of a can of coconut milk or so. Blend till smooth with food processor or immersion blender. Add salt, pepper, and a little minced fresh herb. (I used mint, but basil, thyme or chive would work well).
    • Toss grape or cherry tomatoes in olive oil. Saute on medium high until the just burst.
    • Dress the whole thing with Michael Symon’ Salsa Verde
  • Roast Acorn Squash & Green Beans with Almonds & Thyme Butter

    • Cut squash into quarters lengthwise, sprinkle  with cinnamon, ginger, and chilli powder. Top with a little butter. Roast at 400F for 30 minutes or until soft throughout and golden at the edges.
    • Saute green beans in a little olive oil, dress with a squeeze of lemon juice and salt, top with sliced almonds.
    • Mix a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and a tablespoon of minced shallot into 4 tablespoons of butter. Use this to dress the chicken and squash.
  • Roasted Root Vegetables & Chard with Onion & Herbed Aioli

    • Cut any combination of root vegetables into french-fry sized pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a cookie sheet at 400F for 20 minutes until soft and browned at the edges
    • Follow this recipe for the Swiss Chard
    • Dress with aioli. Try this recipe, skip the vegetable oil and add some minced parsley and chives.

Sweets

  • 85% Dark Chocolate Chunks and Strawberries
  • Spiced Walnuts and Dried Apple Rings
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Four Season(ing)s

Use any of these recipes to season one pound of ground meat. They are best when mixed into your meat one day ahead, but still very good added right before cooking. Use the seasoned meat for meatballs, patties, frittattas etc. I’ve made a few suggestions about what type of meat to try, but there are no hard, fast rules so feel free to use what you have, what’s on sale, or what you’re in the mood for.

Extra-fresh Thai Herb Mix

IMG_1873

Inspired by this recipe. Try with chicken or pork.

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • serrano pepper, minced
  • zest of one lime
  • 2T gluten-free fish sauce (such as Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Lemony Souvlaki Seasoning

IMG_1876

Inspired by this recipe. Try chicken or tuna.

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leafed parsley, chopped

Chorizo Seasoning

IMG_1877

Adapted from this recipe. Try with pork.

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Breakfast Sausage

IMG_2710

Adapted from this recipe. Try pork or beef.

1 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Meat-N-Veg Balls

Here’s a basic formula for making meat and vegetable balls (or patties) that lets you mix & match flavors to suit your taste.  For simplicity, each uses one pound of lean ground meat, and one bag of frozen vegetables (or a similar quantity fresh). This can go wrong when there’s too much water in the vegetables, so we’ll and drain veggies and add just a little coconut flour to absorb excess moisture. One batch will make 16-20 meatballs for a quick, complete, snack,  for lunch with cut veggies and dipping sauce, or simmered in sauce for dinner.

Basic outline

  • 1 lb. lean ground meat
  • seasoning of your choice (try italian sausage, chorizo, thai, or greek)
  • 4 servings of a vegetable (1 bag frozen or 1 bunch fresh: spinach, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 egg

What to do

  1. Prepare your herbs and spices, mix with ground meat, and let rest in the fridge overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Thaw veggies and break down in a food processor or blender. Process until shredded. Stop well before they turn into a smooth puree.
  4. Toss veggies with a sprinkling of salt and place in colander. Cover with a paper towel and place a bowl full of water on top to press the moisture out. Let drain at least 30 minutes.
  5. After draining, wrap in the paper towel and squeeze out all excess moisture.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix vegetable,  coconut flour, and egg use a fork to thoroughly blend.
  7. Add seasoned ground meat. Mix well.
  8. Make golfball-sized meatballs. I keep a small bowl of olive oil on hand so I can grease my hands occasionally.
  9. Heat a well-oiled, oven-safe pan to medium high and brown meatballs. Since these do not contain breadcrumbs, they may not hold their shape as well as regular meatballs. Be gentle and make sure the pan is well oiled.
  10. Transfer pan to oven, bake for 10 minutes, turning once.

Illustrated notes

Spinach, zucchini, and cauliflower shredded and salted.

Spinach, zucchini, and cauliflower shredded and salted.

A bowl full of water weighs down the vegetables, pressing out the water.

A bowl full of water weighs down the vegetables, pressing out the water.

Really squeeze the water out of your veggies.

Really squeeze the water out of your veggies.

Coconut flower absorbs excess moisture, egg helps to bind the indredients together.

Coconut flower absorbs excess moisture, egg helps to bind the indredients together.

Mix the vegetable, eggs and coconut flower first, then add the seasoned meat.

Mix the vegetable, eggs and coconut flower first, then add the seasoned meat.

I keep a little bowl of olive oil handy so the mixture does not skick to my hands.

I keep a little bowl of olive oil handy so the mixture does not skick to my hands.

Give the meatballs plenty of space while browning. Crowding them will make them slow to crisp up on the outside.

Give the meatballs plenty of space while browning. Crowding them will make them slow to crisp up on the outside.

Let cool completely with some space before packing and refrigerating.

Let cool completely with some space before packing and refrigerating.

Turkey-root Patties

I got some ground white meat turkey at the market this weekend to try out, when I added an egg to it to make burgers, it got a little too slimy, so I tossed a big handful of root slaw to balance it out.  It was a very happy accident:

1# Ground white turkey
Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary, Black Pepper, White Pepper
1 egg
1 C (maybe more) Raw Root Slaw

Mash everything together well.  Divide into 8 equal portions and form patties.  Cook in oiled skillet on medium heat a scant 4 minutes a side or until cooked through.

Chicken Stock

Once I’ve roasted and carved a chicken (see below) I like to toss the carcass into a pot to make stock. This is what I do, mostly because I’m lazy, its no masterpiece but it works for me:

 
Brown:
Chicken carcass, skin, and bones
under broiler for 5 -10 minutes turning once. transfer to large pot.
Add:
1 carrot
1 celery stalk with leaves
several cloves garlic
1 small or 1/2 large onion
rosemary, marjoram, thyme or other herbs to taste.
Fill the pot with cool water to cover bones and veggies by two inches or so. Set stovetop to low, slowly bring to a boil. Reduce to just barely simmering for about 3 hours, adding water as needed to keep contents covered. Remove from heat, strain out solids and let cool at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight and then skim off fat, which should form a solid layer on the top. My stock it usually the consistency of loose jell-o because it ends up pulling a lot of gelatin out of the carcass. I like it this way as braising liquid for lamb or pot roast.

Roast Chicken

Just out of the oven:

Rinse and pat dry:

1 3# or so chicken
Rub inside and out with:
Chicken rub (store-bought)
Generous amounts of thyme and marjoram
Black pepper
Stuff with:
1/2 lemon (mine was just the hull, I used the juice for root slaw)
celery tops
1 carrot broken in half
Truss and place in baking pan. Roast in oven at 425 for about an hour or until a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 180F. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. I will clean this one right away and chop the meat up for lunch salads this week, then boil the skin and bones with some veggies to make stock.