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Posts Tagged ‘vegetable’

Excelsior! As promised, I’ve finally got around to finishing up the first piece in a new series of cook-the-book style posts! First at-bat is Stan Lee Presents the Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook. 

The book begins with a brief introduction and some basic tips on safety and kitchen cleanliness. Then, as any good morning would, delves into some breakfast.

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A wise man once said “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food” and a trip to your local diner will prove that every time. While studies have more or less debunked the conventional wisdom that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, starting your morning with good food is a great way to set the tone for the rest of the day.

With Captain America’s Day Starters, we get a few different options for easy, healthy and delicious kick start.

‘Fresh fruit or fruit juice. Lots of vitamins C and A’

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I’ve wrote on here a few times about how great smoothies can be for breakfast. Blend up your favorite mix of fruits and veggies with some juice or milk (I also like to throw some type of sea vegetable in the mix) and you’re ready to go. Once you blend your mix, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray to make things even easier while you’re still groggy. This particular blend I threw together features banana, pineapple, orange, mango and sweet potato.

‘Milk is the best source of calcium. It’s need for strong bones and teeth. It also supplies protein – essential building blocks for our bodies’img_4825

Milk is certainly nutritious, if not a little bit weird as a concept, but yogurt has even more calcium and is loaded with beneficial bacteria. Mixed with granola and some fresh fruit, it makes for a hearty, protein-packed breakfast.

‘Bread or cereal, lots of variations in this department’

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For simplicity, flavor and customization, look no further than Avocado Toast, loaded with Omega 3 fats and complex carbohydrates. The only two things you need are in the name itself. Apart from avocado and toasted bread, the possibilities are near endless. The folks over that The Kitchn have a great piece to get your creative juices going; Here, I’ve got 12 grain bread with butter and sesame seeds, mashed avocado, and thinly sliced cucumber tossed with salt, pepper, chili flake and lime juice.

Now, for those looking for a more traditional American-style breakfast, look no further than Hulk’s Fried Potatoes with Bacon and Eggs

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This dish needs little explanation, if any at all. Bacon, eggs, toast, breakfast potatoes; Maybe some coffee, if you’re so inclined. I will give one little trick I recently picked  up while working mainly breakfast shifts: par-boil your potatoes with onions and garlic. This cooks them through, so when you fry ’em up they’ll be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s the same principle to making great French Fries.

In Our Next Exciting Issue…

The Thing’s Clobbered Omelet

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Doesn’t it feel like no matter what you do for work., and however many hours you work, money is always tight? Rent, utilities, loans, bills, gas, maybe some groceries, and you’re lucky if you have enough left over to get a cup of coffee in the morning. I’m slowly beginning to bring myself out of a cycle I’ve been in the past year or so where I get a paycheck and then it’s immediately spent paying past due bills. But even with money being tight, eating well is important. Heading for the Golden Arches when you’re short on cash may seem like a good idea at the time, but poor eating habits have been linked to increased problems with depression and countless other health issues. The word cheap is normally associated with quick, lower quality foodstuffs, but at the halfway point of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge, we’ve set out to prove that you can save your wallet and also not eat like shit.

When it comes to cheap meals, I think it really comes down to two major aspects: Being able to utilize what you’be already got on hand in your fridge and pantry, and wise shopping. With that in mind, I set out to the grocery with a crisp $10 bill as my entire budget to feed two people. Last week, I had noticed the fish counter had some nice looking fish heads and I got the itch to make some curry. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I’m not really sure which), when I went back to pick up ingredients they were sold out for the week. Offhandedly, my friend mentioned that I should just get instant ramen since it’, with it’s long standing status as the cheapest of the cheap foods. At first I laughed it off, but after thinking about it for a bit it really didn’t seem like that bad of an idea. With a little ingenuity, it’s actually pretty easy to supe up your instant noodles into something somewhat respectable.

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Total spent: $8.69. Not too shabby. To level up your ramen, you have to look at each component and how you can make it better.

The Noodles: Obviously the most important part of the dish. If you’re starting the instant ramen packs, there really isn’t much you can do to save face here. They are what they are. Treating it like you would regular past goes a long way though: Cook in boiling, well-salted water until just tender, then drain thoroughly and rinse in cold water.

The Broth: Probably the only other crucial aspect of a good ramen bowl. At my work, we actually do really good ramen on Tuesday nights and spend days making a traditional dashi that’ll blow you out of the water. But, working with instant ramen you don’t quite get that luxury.

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Luckily Maruchan has a pretty good variety of flavors at this point, and when they’re three-for-a-dollar, it’s easy to mix and match to suit your tastes. I picked pork, mushroom, and roast beef for this one, but there’s lots to pick from. I feel like shrimp ,vegetable, and spicy chili might be really good too. With the flavor packets in hand, I mixed them in a pot of boiling water, and added in some thin sliced onion and good helping of white miso that I had in my fridge. Simmered for about 20 minutes, the flavors come together pretty nicely, and you don’t quite get the crazy  salt bomb you’d expect from the instant packets.

The Add-In: Noodles and broth are all you really need, but what makes ramen great is all the stuff you can put in it. Traditional toppings include meats, vegetables, herbs, and eggs. I picked up some pork ribs that were on sale and slow cooked them with soy sauce, sriracha, ginger and a little miso. I also grabbed a pack of stir fry veggies from the freezer section, some fresh cilantro, and a lime to give it some nice acid.

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I was actually surprised at how great this came out. The noodles were a bit limp and soft, but that was kind of to be expected. But as far as everything else goes, I would say it’s very nearly comparable to restaurant quality ramen that I’ve had in the past, and at $2.90 a portion, I really cant complain. I think that, ultimately, the best part about a dish like this is that you can really build it however you like. I really enjoy recipes that aren’t actually recipes, that’ll give you a bit more freedom to explore what you want to cook. Super tasty, and incredibly filling; I’m going to have to keep this in mind for the coming months when I’ve got some serious expenses to save up for.

Oh, and with the buck and changI had left over from shopping, I managed to get myself a nice drink

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Super classy, I know.

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It’s no secret that slow-cooked meats are a wonder of the culinary world. Not only does the longer, gentler cooking creating juicy, tender meat, but it relieves much of the hassle of trying to cook a meal quickly or at the last minute; Just get everything together in the morning or the night before, throw it in the oven, kick back and relax. Like the Beastie Boys said “Slow and low, that is the tempo” (I know I’ve probably used that joke a thousand times, but it will never stop being funny to me).

The 10th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge is braising; a technique used by chefs and cooks for centuries, I don’t think I need to expound too much about the process itself. As with everything, however, the fundamentals are key: well seasoned meat and/or vegetables, flavorful cooking liquid, and time. If you can nail those down, you’ll be pretty well in the clear.

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In the grand German tradition of making normal words sound terrifying, this dish is called Schweineschmorbraten, which roughly translates as braised pork or pork pot roast. The process is incredibly similar to making any other kind of braised or slow-roasted whole-muscle, but the key is in the spices and vegetables. Pork loin (or shoulder, whichever you prefer) gets butterflied open and rubbed down with caraway, juniper, garlic and salt before getting wrapped in bacon for a nice bit of fat and smoke. For the vegetables (rübengemüse), I used a blend of carrots, parsnips, potato, celery root and onion. The pork gets nestled in a roasting pan with the veggies, and covered with chicken stock and red wine, then slow-cooked to perfection. Like most braised dishes, the cooking liquid can easily be turned into a delicious gravy to top the whole dish.

Schweineschmorbraten (German Braised Pork Roast)

Serves 5-6

  • Pork Loin or Shoulder, about 4-5lbs
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • Juniper Berries, 2 tablespoons, ground
  • Caraway Seed, 1 tablespoon, ground
  • Garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons
  • Maple Bacon*, about 8 strips
  • Red Wine, 2 cups
  • Chicken Stock, 3 cups
  • Bay Leaf, 1 each
  • Thyme, 2 sprigs
  • Carrot, peeled, diced, 2 each
  • Parsnip, peeled, diced, 2 each
  • Yukon Gold Potato, diced, 2 each
  • Celery Root (Celeriac), peeled, diced, 1 each
  • Sherry Vinegar, 3 tablespoons
  • Cornstarch, 3 tablespoons

Preheat oven to 275F. Butterfly the pork so it lays flat. Rub pork on all sides with salt, pepper, juniper, caraway, and garlic, then roll closed. Lay out strips of bacon, overlapping the long side, to form a sheet. Place pork on one end of bacon, then carefully roll pork to wrap in bacon**.In a heavy-bottomed pan, sear pork until bacon is browned and crisp, about 6 minutes on each side. While pork is searing, combine red wine, stock, bay leaf and thyme in a pot and bring to a simmer. Place vegetables into a medium to large roasting pan. When the pork is well seared, transfer into the pan with the vegetables, nestling the pork down to the bottom. Add stock and wine mixture. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and cook at 275F until tender and a thermometer registers 145F-150F in the center. Remove pork from roasting pan and allow to rest before carving. While the pork is resting, strain liquid from vegetables into a sauce pot, and bring to a boil. Combine sherry vinegar and cornstarch to form a slurry. While braising liquid is boiling, add slurry while whisking vigorously. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Serve pork and vegetables topped with gravy.

*I like to use maple bacon in most things that I cook, but if you prefer a bacon that’s more smokey or less sweet, feel free to substitute.

**At this point, I actually sealed mine in a FoodSaver Bag and let it sit overnight. This could be easily done with plastic wrap or a ziploc bag, but is also entirely optional.

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As with many people these days, I’ve been trying to eat healthier. For a long time, I just had oatmeal with fruit and nuts for breakfast because I had read that it contained a good balance of nutrients to start off the day. What they didn’t say, however, was that this gets very, very boring quickly. After a while it seemed like I was eating it because I had to and not because I wanted to. That was when I decided to look into something that could hold my interest for longer, and still be really tasty and nutritious.

If you go into most any grocery store these days, you’re bombarded with the “all-natural” section’s vast array of hippie foods that have become available. While I still feel that some people’s idea of a healthy diet just being chocked full of anything labeled organic, there are definitely some good products out there that are tasty and good for you. One of these products is the Green Machine Superfood Smoothie from Naked Juice. Like it admits on the package, it looks really weird but tastes really good. I didn’t think that it would be practical to go out and buy a smoothie every morning for breakfast, so I set out to make my own.

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Apple, banana, pineapple, kiwi, kale and avocado, blended with apple juice to make a nice smooth mixture. To be honest, I actually like this better than the bottled stuff. Being that I don’t want to do too much work when I’m just getting up in the morning, I read about a good method for making smoothies quickly. If you puree the fruits and freeze the puree in ice cube trays, you can take out just as much as you need and puree it with the juice. I normally use 3 cubes to a cup of juice and the consistency comes out really nicely. I like to have mine with some nice grainy toast with peanut butter and honey. A quick, easy, balanced breakfast and a great way to start off the day.

Not only does it taste better, it’s actually a little bit better for you.

Nutrition comparison

Note: The serving sizes on these are both a bit skewed, and the homemade version doesn’t have any of the “boosts” that the bottled one has. Still, it’s a pretty significant difference. Not to mention the homemade version coming out to about $.77 a portion while the bottled comes in at $1.49 a portion.

Homemade Green Machine Smoothie

  • Kale, chopped, 1 cup
  • Banana, sliced, 1 each
  • Green Apple, peeled, cored, chopped, 1 each
  • Kiwi, peeled, chopped, 2 each
  • Pineapple, chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • Avocado, pitted, 1 each
  • Apple Juice*, as needed

Combine all fruits and vegetables in a blender and blend until smooth, adding apple juice as needed. Transfer into ice cube trays and freeze.

To make smoothie: Combine 3 fruit cubes with 8oz of apple juice and blend until smooth.

*You can really use whatever kind of juice you’d like to. I tried it with Odwalla carrot juice at first, but it make the whole thing taste like nothing but carrot juice. I’ve found that apple doesn’t really give it too much flavor and retains the nice green color a lot better.

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