Posts Tagged ‘Bacon’

Birthday!!!!

Posted: March 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Spicy Peruvian Lima Bean Succotash  - www.nerdsteak.com

Spicy Peruvian Lima Bean Succotash – http://www.nerdsteak.com

Here is a tasty recipe using Peruvian Lima Beans. They are quite a large bean that ends up having a very creamy consistency when cooks, so be gentle when mixing.  I soaked them overnight, then boiled them for about 1-1/2 hours for this recipe.  Watch them close when boiling because they can go from cooked to a mushy mess in a few minutes.

Spicy Peruvian Lima Bean Succotash

5 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 tablespoons Aleppo chile flake
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups cooked Peruvian Lima Beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1-1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 cup picked cilantro leaves
1/4 cup roughlly chopped arugula

Fry bacon on medium heat in a large skillet until crispy, then remove to drain on a paper towel, leaving excess rendered fat in the pan.
Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add garlic, chile flake, salt and pepper and sauté just until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Add cooked Peruvian Lima Beans, tomatoes and corn to pan, and cook just until tomatoes are tender, about 4 minutes.
Finish by adding sherry vinegar, then turn off heat, fold in cilantro and arugula and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes about 6 servings

Bacon…that is all…

ID-100142619The American diet as it relates to calories has actually changed very little over the past 80 years.  There has been a switch from a high carbohydrate and animal fat diet in the past, to a high vegetable fat based, higher protein diet in more recent years.  We also have the addition of increased fiber, understanding of healthy fats, as well as an increase in raw vegetable and fruit consumption.  This shift, specifically over the last 40 years, does not proportionally match the increase in the obesity problem. So what is the cause?

Due to the breakthroughs in technology, the average calorie expenditure of individuals has DRASTICALLY decreased, especially starting in the 80’s.  A reduction in jobs requiring manual labor, new modes of transportation, and a huge increase in the tech. industry has wiped out the need for the population to get their hands dirty, focusing more on computer skills and less on physical activity, as well as the use of things like the internet, TV, and video games.  (For the record, I love the internet, TV, and video games.) This basically means that the diets of the average person has remained relatively unchanged (with a slow and steady caloric increase,) while our way of life has drastically reduced general physical activity.  In the 60’s over half of the private jobs required some kind of manual labor, but now it is less than 16%.

Although red meat still reigns supreme in the US diet over the past years, chicken consumption increased drastically since the 1970’s as did the average fruit and vegetable daily intake.  Although the vegetable and salad oil use has increased a good amount over this same time period, most likely due to the availability of fried foods and snacks, the use of butter and margarine spreads at meal times has decreased along with a huge swing from whole milk to lower fat varieties.  There has been an obvious increase in carbohydrate consumption over the years due to things like HFCS as well, but as stated before, this does not proportionately reflect the skyrocketing obesity rates. Also, the diets of previous years had a larger portion of calories coming from carb. sources like breads, pasta, white rice and potatoes.

Americans have drastically increased in eating out as opposed to cooking at home, but the options available at restaurants have shifted to healthier options, even if a good portion of consumers still do not choose them.  The American consumer also forged the path to larger portion size.  They demanded greater value and their purchasing habits reflected this, however the actually content of the food has remain steady of the years, which supports the fact that the food industry should not be directly to blame for this obesity epidemic, but the US lifestyle should.  Just like any industry, it reacts to the purchasing habits of its consumers, and the food industry is no exception. That being said, the food industry could defiantly do a better job in promoting low calorie, fresher foods.

I just want to leave you with one more interesting fact…the average person is now 33 pounds heavier then they were in the 60’s and also burn almost 200 less calories a day, which can account for almost 60% of those extra pounds.  Add just a bit more of physical activity, we can start shedding the weight.

 

Honey Dijon Farro Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Fontina Cheese, Flat Leaf Parsley

Honey Dijon Farro Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Fontina Cheese, Flat Leaf Parsley

This is how you make a real bacon bowl!

This is how you make a real bacon bowl!

Gruyere and Caramelized Leek Couscous Stuffed Tomato with Porcini Mushrooms and Fennel

Gruyere and Caramelized Leek Couscous Stuffed Tomato with Porcini Mushrooms and Fennel

Arugula and Red Cabbage Salad with Maple Vinegrette, Roasted Pears, Caramelized Pearl Onions, Candied Walnuts, and Cheddar Chip

Arugula and Red Cabbage Salad with Maple Vinegrette, Roasted Pears, Caramelized Pearl Onions, Candied Walnuts, and Cheddar Chip

BACON!!!!!!!!!

BACON!!!!!!!!!

Grano Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, Baby Kale, Red Onions, Diced Cherry Tomatoes, and BACON!

Grano Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, Baby Kale, Red Onions, Diced Cherry Tomatoes, and BACON!

Here are a few key items that can upgrade your cooking skills from amateur to PRO status:

•Mandoline – You can slice, dice, and even make french fries.  If you think a chef is spending time slicing that radish paper thin for your salad, you are mistaken.  If you need to get a perfect dice, or baton even, start with a mandoline slice, then finish with a chefs knife.  Need to sliced potatoes for a gratin…the mandoline is your best bet.

•Blender – I want to make an ‘xyz’ puree…BLENDER.  I want to whip up a vinaigrette or mayonnaise from scratch…BLENDER.  I feel like a pistachio cilantro pesto on my salmon…BLENDER.  I love cream of broccoli soup…BLENDER…blender.

Stand Mixer – No matter what brand you prefer, you can whip, blend, fold, kneed, grind and stuff all with the same piece of equipment. Multi-tasking at its finest, in some case you can set it…AAANNNDDD?

Ice – Being a master with something as simple as ice can make your ingredient prep. pro level.  In a fast, high volume restaurant, do you think they are always cooking your risotto or pasta from raw product to order?  Do you think every batch of sauce is cooked and held hot? Nothing helps with speed, and quality control than cooking and cooling food items in an ice bath.  Perfect for vegetables when wanting to keep a bright green color with a tender mouthfeel.  Holding foods hot changes its color, flavor, and appearance.  Cooling hot foods fast to refrigerated temperatures is also a food safety bonus!

Silpat – The most non-sticky bulletproof pan liner you can find.  It will hold up to high over temperatures, melted sugar and will keep coming back for more.  Baked goods don’t stand a chance, and neither does anything else for that matter.

•Strainer/cheese cloth combo – A chinois is also acceptable, but if you ever wondered how a chefs sauce or soup is nice and smooth with no lumps or grittiness, its because the strain out the bad stuff.  Is your gravy or cheese sauce a little to chunky?  Toss it into a strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth and save the day.

What are some of your favorite cooking tools that make you feel pro???

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