Thursday, March 13, 2014

Curried Cauliflower Supreme














What's going on since the holidays?

 It has been a while. My new eating lifestyle changes are working. I'm losing 2 lbs a week with a high protein, all green veggies, and low carb (2-3 T a day, sometimes more). No sugar and junk (fast or processed) food. Only water and flavored water (no sugar and carbonation). No soda and alcohol (at least until my weight goes down dramatically). I've done diet eating before, and failed.

But the options were, live with diabetes/live in hell and continue to hit highs on weight gain, and I have become less mobile. Not working full time hit me hard. The eating is not as boring as I had initially thought.

Actually I posted this today on Facebook...

 "Funny how when you eat healthy, each bite taken, chewed slowly as you go, becomes more intense- tasting salty, flavors pop, and the senses aren't dulled by crap foods" - Chef E

 I am up for bariatric surgery in May, and am going through the hoops, and had a few tests done. It is recommended you eat a pre-surgery diet to become accustomed to the portion size and restrictions. Mostly the same as above, accept for veggies have to be soft, and meats pretty much the same- low fat and ground meats are suggested.

Your stomach will not be able to digest the same as the once full sized. I began in December and am doing well. Recipes like this one are the key to flavor and enjoyment. Basic curry powder (turmeric gives yellow appearance), head of cauliflower, and some oil for a drizzle.

Clean the head of cauliflower; pat dry, and cut into small to medium pieces. Spread onto a baking dish. The one I use is large, but old as the hills (was my moms), so I cover it with foil for easy clean-up. Drizzle oil (whatever you prefer), and then sprinkle as much curry powder on top. In my house we love spicy, though this curry powder does not have the lingering bite a smoked chili powder might have, but it is pungent. No salt is needed, at least in my house.

 BAKE (preheated over): 375 30-45 mins (texture is your preference)

 My hubs gave his thumbs up approval, and he is not a vegetable eater. He told a friend that if he had been served cauliflower this way years ago, he would have eaten it more often. I'm sure this is not original, but was a fabulous discovery.

 I took the leftovers the next night and pureed them in almond milk, unsweetened, a bit more oil and a pat of butter, topped with almond slivers, voila! Soup was fantastic. Enjoy.

 Also, my 1st book is finally out- My South By Southwest: A Cast Iron Tempo Recollection (see, I've been busy!)

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year Meal- Blowfish, Chilean Sea Bass, and Tuna














Blow what? Yes, while visiting hubs mother he got nostalgic and wanted Blow fish. His mom and I wanted sea scallops. We had to settle with Chilean Sea Bass and seared Tuna filets. It was all good, since I made a Grand Marnier cream sauce to accompany all three.

To juggle the cooking of our three seafood New Year's Even meal- prepare prep of diced red onion, seasonings in small bowl for seafood, butter, oil, half slices of cherry tomatoes, heavy cream, juiced and zested orange, taster bottle of Grand Marnier, and anything else you think you will need, such as platters. Then pan sear tuna, sear sea bass second, add a bit more oil for blow fish, wipe out pan to make Grand Marnier cream sauce.

I followed this sauce recipe- Grand Marnier Sauce. Saute red onion in olive oil; then add zest of 1 small orange (about 2 T) and seasonings of choice and stir in; add tomatoes, then orange juice from 1 orange (about 1/2 cup), 1/2 cup cream, and let boil for about 3 or 4 mins. There will not be so much, but it is primarily for flavor. Save a few tables spoons for garnish, but spread most of it onto platter and lay fish on top. Spoon tomatoes around platter and on top for garnish.

I simply salted and peppered the tuna and pan seared to a brown state on both sides on medium-high heat, remove and set aside for platting; set pan off burner until next step. Next you want to rub the seasoning mix you prepared onto one side of the sea bass, and you only want to sear one side of the Chilean sea bass, both of these fish will lift away from pan once seared to a brown state. After you brown on side of the sea bass set it into a non-stick oven dish and cook in preheated 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, remove and set aside.

In the same pan you seared the tuna, add a bit more oil, 3 T of olive oil if need for the next step. This was the second time I prepared Blow Fish. They are often sold small, like a large tiger shrimp (hubs caught them fresh growing up near Bayport, NY sea shore) at the local fish market (see far left pic above). Simply prepare some flour with seasonings of choice, soak blow fish in buttermilk, heavy cream works, but doesn't stick as well. Dip in flour and shallow fry.

Steamed broccoli and potatoes were the sides of choice for this meal. Simple, since the flavor of the sauce and fish dominate this night. The real celebration took place miles away in New York City.













A bowl of goodness, just in case you want more sauce above.

Left to right below: blow fish, sea bass, and seared tuna steaks.
















A bottle of White Burgundy was served with this seafood meal. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year
















The picture is not always clear, what is to come, what was left behind, but a good start is always a blessing.

Due to my busy schedule running a new business and still into my old chef tricks part-time, I will not be posting as much food articles. I still have things on my plate as a chef, but the publishing business is getting to be quite the full time job!

You can find me here Red Dashboard LLC Publishing.

Got an idea for a book?

Do you write poetry, prose, or flash fiction (short stories under 1500 words, max), have artwork or photography you would like to submit, well we have it going on! Submission guidelines are on these sites, as well as the main listed above- Z-composition, Annapurna, and Cowboy Poetry Press.

Hope your New Year is what you want!

Peace,

Chef E
Elizabeth Akin Stelling

Monday, December 16, 2013

Crock-Pot Meals & Happy Holidays
















I haven't posted food lately, due to the fact my oven died and my landlord is a cheap... We deal with it.

So for three weeks I used a crock-pot for meals, and when Thanksgiving arrived, it was the same. The turkey came out fine, turkey legs and thighs (I'm not a fan), stuffing, gravy, and yams in the microwave (mashed). Lamb chops on the grill. We did a lot of grilling to supplement no oven or stove. I did try desserts and to be honest we did not like them- pecan pie, cranberry, and sweet potato. Actually the sweet potato was more like a cake, and okay. And hope we do not have to do it again. Good news, got my oven back working.

Life has been busy since I began my publishing company Red Dashboard.com. And I still run cookAppeal for private events and holidays, so posting here has become more difficult. Its been great blogging since 08, but before that I had a cafe and ran a full time wine and food pairing company. I wish everyone luck on their ventures in writing, and I will try and do something once a month.

We are not eating all the fancy foods at home lately, I had gained some weight and now am scheduled for gastric bypass next year. My daughters death over ten years ago and being over 50 hasn't helped my current weight. Once you slow down as I did when my cafe closed down and a slower metabolism, it got out of control. My family and I are planning to attack it this go round so I can have a healthy lifestyle for a long future. Thanks for following me and have a great holiday with your own family and friends!

Peace to all!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Simple Breakfast- Corn Beef Hash & Eggs



















Deli cooked corn beef chopped with potato, carrots, and onion. Throw second part(s) in a hot skillet, cook until potatoes and carrots are soft, and onions are browned (remember mirepoix lesson in culinary class?- all even sizes for even cooking). Then add beef, just to heat through.

Do not salt, the corn beef is salty! It's a hell of a lot better than the canned stuff (or is it?), less salt, at least I hope.

 Oh and I've been told the Jewish deli corn beef works better than Italian, so we gave it a try.

 Ahhh the things my son does in our pretend test kitchen to make his mom happy on a busy weekend morning publishing books- yes, we (hubs and I) started a new business this summer. Red Dashboard LLC

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

RIP Charlie Trotter



















I am deeply saddened by the death of one of my culinarian gods, Charlie Trotter.

 Death hits me extra hard since my daughter and parents passed away, years ago.

 The last time Robert and I saw Charlie, he was happier than I had ever seen him (while working- Trotters). He introduced me to his mother that day. He was bouncy, smiling, and kissed me on the cheek with a good over the shoulder hug. Normally, he never did this; he was driven, a yeller (which I never liked in the kitchen), but people respected him. He never let you drink hard alcohol before a taste and a good meal to boot, because it would desensitize your taste buds to flavor.

 It was a privilege to have known and worked with him. In the early 2000's, before moving to NJ, in Dallas while working for the culinary school I often helped other chef friends do charity events, The La Toque (Epilepsy Foundation), Cook-offs (BBQ and Chili), and anything we could get the students involved in for experience. It was just after my oldest child passed away from heart disease, and I needed distractions. 

Charlie was at a distance from me while we all were setting up in the afternoon in downtown, and I was put in charge of the wait staff for a 700 seated dinner. He came over next to me to get something, I was slicing paté and he suggested I go in closer with my finger to get a more precise cut (lots to feed that night). He stood there (making me nervous) watching as I worked, but patted me on the back once everyone was done that night. All the top chefs that night opened champagne and insisted we all toast to pulling off a great night. It was fun, because I was around many big names that night and expedited a lot of food off to the wait staff. Volunteering is a great way to learn the trade.

 Each time I saw him afterwards he said hello (which I know is silly, but it meant something to me as a fellow chef), but still always so serious. He saw me and recognized me in Austin, and offered to sign books during a busy night, two my husband and I carried with us just in case we got a moment with him. I even had the privilege of him getting upset with me, which he was known for. I shook it off, because the next time I saw him in Chicago he more than made up for it.

 I did feel, do feel, that often people are so driven they forget to enjoy life, then it is too late.

 I only wanted Charlie, I want you all to be happy while doing what you are passionate about.

 Someone, I forget whom was quoted, said "Heaven will eat better now that he is up there."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ajiaco (Colombian Soup)




















After returning from Colombia, South America my son announced he couldn't get enough of this dish. He described it as being different in varied cities around Colombia (mainly indigenous to Bogota), but he wasn't sure what the ingredients were.

"Possibly potato soup of some kind with chicken" he described.

I found various recipes, even one site I was familiar My Colombian Recipes.

We had to order the seasoning- guascas  an aromatic herb that looks like basil in its natural form.










A chef friend joined us in making this dish, as she herself has been to south America and loves the culture, food and language. It consists of three types of potatoes, chicken, guascas, and alternative garnishes- sour cream or creme fraiche, capers, avocado, corn on the cob, and other.

The flavor was distinctive and good.

We did not have all of the ingredients but will be making other variations of this recipe!

Here is the recipe I followed- Serious Eats, minus the aji (cilantro based sauce) because it can dominate the taste buds, and the chef in me wanted to let the guascas come through. We held off on the capers as well, same reason, to get a handle on the flavor of a dried herb, reconstituted through boiling.