You are what you eat?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Okay, this is over a year late but since I'm up late cooking our osechi for 2014, I thought I might as well post these old pics from last year too!
                                                  This was last year's Kinpira Gobo.

                         2013 was the year of my "make my own ramen" phase.
                        I decided to do a Tonkatsu Ramen for Osechi Ryori.

Teri Chicken, Abalone-like with cucumber salad, hanjuku eggs, Chicken maze gohan, spinach with sesane seeds, kinpira gobo, tangerines, homemade napa tsukemono, green beans with miso dressing, edamame, etc.

Sunomono               Asst'd sushi

Seaweed salad



Buta no Kakuni

Full people

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spicy Pork Red Chile (carne adovada style chile)

you know what? I can kinda cook but I am bad at documenting things that I cook and I usually always forget about taking pics and stuff so basically I suck at blogging! Gomen nasai. Well, anyways. I made some red chile for a friend's Memorial day party and because one of my friends doesn't eat beef I decided to try a pork red chile. This is basically a recipe for carne adovada but with a lot more sauce. I served it with the Bhut Jolokai powder shaker and a hot cayenne shaker on the side for those that like that little extra heat because even with all the chile that's in there, the heat is the slow to warm type and not the instant sting that the ghost chile and hot cayenne can give.


5 tbsp    Ancho chile powder
5 tbsp    New Mexico cp (hot)
5 tbsp    California cp (mild)
1 oz pkg  Pasilla negra cp  (from Sprouts + approx. 4 tbsp)
1 oz pkg  Chile de arbol cp  (from Sprouts + approx. 4 tbsp)
1 tbsp     Chipotle cp
1 tbsp     Cayenne  (30k scoville units)
1 tbsp     Hot cayenne (90k scoville units from Vitamin college. pequin is similar heat wise)
1 tsp       Bhut jolokia cp
2 tbsp granulated onion or onion powder
2 tbsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp coarse fresh ground black pepper

1 lb lean bacon (cut lengthwise, then crosswise into squares)
4 lbs pork shoulder cubed
3 lbs pork country style ribs cubed
2 boxes chicken stock
1-28 oz can  Tomato puree (I use Cento brand)
1 bulb garlic (bulb broken into cloves, tossed with corn oil, then roasted at 350deg until golden)
2 lbs sweet onion fine diced
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp corn oil (or any vegetable oil)
3 tbsp mexican oregano
cumin  additional to taste  
1 tbsp coarsely fresh ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste
1/4 cup Cholula hot sauce (for the vinegar. Tabasco would work too)


Fry the bacon on medium heat until all fat is cooked out. Remove the bacon and reserve the fat. The bacon will be used for a different dish.
Add the bacon fat to a 4qt deep saucepan and put it on medium low heat. slowly add all the chile powders, the onion and garlic powder and 1 tsp cumin to the fat stirring constantly. add vegetable oil as needed to keep the consistency like a thick gravy. Cook slowly stirring constantly, adding oil as needed. do not allow it to burn (about 25 minutes to 1/2 hour). Allow mixture to cool.
Cube all your pork and divide into 4 gallon sized zip locks. Add the cooled chile mixture to each bag, squeeze out all the air and seal. manipulate the bag to distribute the chile mixture so all the pork is coated, lay flat on a plate and refrigerate overnight.

Break the garlic bulb into cloves. leave the skins on but chop off the hard stems. place on foil, coat with a little vegetable oil and roast until golden at 350 deg.   set them aside to cool.
Pour about half of a box of chicken stock into a bag of the marinated pork, reseal and manipulate the bag to thin the marinade, pour everything into a colander set over a large mixing bowl and stir the pork to allow the chile to strain off. Dump the chile/chicken stock into an 8 qt stock pot and put on medium heat. transfer the pork to another mixing bowl. repeat for the other bags of marinated pork (there will still be a lot of marinade on the pork). Add vegetable oil to a heavy skillet and brown the marinated pork in batches on medium high heat. add the meat to the simmering chile stock when cooked. reduce the chile stock to a simmer.
Wipe out the skillet and add the butter and the oil to the pan and set heat on medium. add all the fine diced onion to the pan, salt and pepper, and cook down constantly stirring until there is no "bite" to the onion and they are fully caramelized (long slow cook Indian style can easily take around 1/2 hour). when the onions have been cooking for about 20 minutes, squeeze your roasted garlic cloves from their skins and mince. add the garlic to the onions and continue cooking until the onions are done. add the onion/garlic mixture to the chili. add the tomato puree and raise the heat until it starts to boil then reduce it to maintain a simmer.
add the oregano, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 cup Cholula (or any good vinegared hot sauce), 1 tbsp cfg black pepper.
Allow to simmer until the meat is tender. adjust seasoning to taste.

I served it with ranch style pintos loaded with the bacon, chorizo, jalapenos, red peppers, oregano and such for those that like beans with their bowl of red and also had shakers of in your face chile powder for the other chile masochists like me. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shoyu and Wasabi Roasted Almonds

It's been a long time since I posted a recipe or pictures. Yeah, I basically suck at keeping track of things when I cook because so much of what I do is on the fly and all those years of doing things to my mind has pretty much killed whatever short term memory I have I guess. Well anyway, I have this huge bag of wasabi powder that I bought around New Year's because we've been doing a pretty big somewhat traditional japanese feast called Osechi Ryori. Because sashimi and sushi are usually involved wasabi is required. I also wanted to try making a mini cucmber wasabi pickle that my uncle had made at Thanksgiving and it required three tablespoons of wasabi powder. So one of those little 1oz tins costs around 5 to 7 bucks and the bulk wasabi 2.2lb bag costs about 15 bucks. I needed at least two of those small cans....  that;s why I've got a poopload of wasabi left. So I was cruising around the internet looking for something tasty I could do with it and going to the fridge for a pop I saw the two 3lb bags of raw almonds we had in the fridge. Around Christmas time there was some major cookie baking happening around here to the tune of like 50 dozen. A work related thing for my daughter. We had bought a bag of almonds for us and one for her but she had already picked up her own almonds so....   
                                      Wow do I meander!
Back to the post at hand. Shitload of wasabi + shitload of almonds = shitload of wasabi almonds was what I was thinking. Searching the internet I didn't find very much info and the few that I found didn't match what I thought would be a good wasabi nuts recipe. Some used egg white and some used oil and there were a few others but none of the pictures looked like what I had in mind. I read a lot of reviews of those recipes and it seemed like the most common complaint was that there never was enough wasabi flavor to the nuts. It seemed like no matter how much wasabi people used, after the nuts were cooked, the wasabi had lost it's bite. The solution?

     Patient: "Doctor it hurts when I go like this"
     Doctor: "Don't go like that!'

Don't cook the wasabi.
Problem number two.
Whenever I had made spiced nuts in the past it always seemed like the majority of my seasoning ended up in the bottom of the bowl and not on the nuts. I've had store bought wasabi nuts before that had plenty of wasabi on the outside. So I looked on the Blue Diamond website at the ingredients for their Wasabi Almonds. I think I found the answer. Corn starch. Like the sugar on a powdered donut. It's not just sugar. It's sugar AND corn starch and that's part of why most of that sugar stays on that donut.
Okay so this is what I made...

Shoyu and Wasabi Roasted Almonds


4-5 cups   Whole raw almonds

marinade ingredients:

5 tbsp       shoyu (about I tbsp per cup of almonds if you're gonna make a smaller batch)
1/2 tsp      garlic powder
1/2 tsp      onion powder
1/2 tsp      cayenne pepper
1 tsp         powdered sugar

dry ingredients

3-5 tbsp   wasabi powder (or less if you don't want the wasabi to overpower the flavor of the almonds)
1 tsp        finely ground sea salt
1 tsp        corn starch


Since most "wasabi powder" is actually not wasabi root powder but is instead horseradish, mustard, and usually some citric component, if you want to up the burn you can add extra horseradish, dry mustard (Colman), or even cayenne for a different kind of heat.


Cover a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper or spray aluminum foil with non-stick. Preheat oven to 350deg.
Spread the almonds on the sheet in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes. While they are baking, combine and whisk the marinade ingredients in a large enough stainless mixing bowl that will  accomodate the almonds.
After the ten minute bake pour the hot almonds into the marinade and toss and stir to coat evenly. Then return them onto the pan and spread them out evenly.
Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until they are roasted and crunchy. Stir them occasionally as they bake and taste one after about ten minutes and periodically to check doneness.
While they are in the oven, rinse and dry the SS mixing bowl that the marinade was in. Combine the dry ingredients and stir well.
When the nuts are done cooking pour them immediately into the wasabi mixture and coat them evenly (I used my hand and a disposable food glove to mix/press the powder into the nuts).
Put them in a wire sieve over a bowl and shake the excess wasabi mixture off. Reserve the wasabi for later use. Eat them warm or cool and bag. 

They will be little wasabi bombs so if you don't want them this spicy dial back the wasabi powder. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Diet? No, a change of eating habits...

For the last 10 weeks I've been participating in a 12 week program  at work to both lose weight and to become more fit. I've been doing pretty good with the losing weight part, I still need lots of work on the getting in shape part. So far I have lost 25 lbs which is still a long ways from my ideal weight but I'm at least headed in the right direction. No real diet plan other than reducing the amount of carb intake while trying to eat something still resembling the standard food pyramid. I have strayed from the path several times but even then always with the intent of eating more veggies and protein and having very little if any high carb items. My daily meals are usually a fairly nutritional meal for morning (salads included or as the whole meal), followed by a handful of almonds or pecans (oven roasted) with a diet soda or water for a snack, a 1/2 cup of a high fiber cereal with a 1/2 cup of milk, a handful of pecans added in, plus an apple for lunch, and then a cup of greek yogurt for my afternoon snack. 10 weeks, 25 lbs. I'll continue eating like this until I reach an acceptable weight and then only modify what I eat slightly to maintain that weight. It feels good!

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's cold outside! Soup's on!

Yep, when the mustache gets icicles in it from shovelling that hellacious pile of white stuff off the driveway it is definitely time for something warm and comforting in the stomache to melt those popsicle toes and fingers. Not a lot in the house so's we headed out onto the snow packed streets to peruse what was on sale and sounding good at the grocery store. We had some brisket and round steak leftover so stew was on the menu but for the non-beef eater in the house I was thinking chicken soup of some sort. Nice, a pretty much people free store with lots of veggies on sale! Hmmm stew or chili.... stew. Root vegetables and let's see...  some fennel root and criminy shrooms. Now for the soup, poblano chiles on sale, chicken sausage, zucchini, and calabacitas, let's get a couple ears of corn, and a can of posole (hominy). Kind of a cross between an albondigas and a tortilla soup should be good. Oh and kale is on sale too! Here's my recipe for a tasty warmer-upper on a cold winter day.

albondigas con tortilla y col rizada
for the broth:
       4 - fresh chicken carcasses remnant meat and skin intact
       4 - 32oz boxes organic chicken stock
 3lbs  - Spicy chicken sausage (I used a green chile chipotle chicken sausage) sliced into 3/4" rounds
      3 - medium poblano chiles
  5-7 - Big Jim, Anaheim, or Hatch green chiles
      1 - large dried ancho chile
      5- dried chiles de arbol
      3 - small to medium calabacita squash cut inot 1/2" cubes
      3 - small zucchini squash cut into 1/2" cubes
  5-7 - medium carrots cut into 3/8 x 3/4 rectangles
      3 - large sweet yellow onions
      2 - bulbs of garlic 
     3 - ears of fresh corn
     1 - 28oz can of white hominy drained and rinsed
     1 - 14.5 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
          1 - 14.5 oz can of roasted tomatoes
     1 - bunch cilantro
     1 - teaspoon dried mexican oregano
 1-2 - teaspoons chipotle chile powder
  1/2 - teaspoon ground cumin
     2 - bay leaves
          fresh ground black pepper
         garlic salt
         sea salt
         extra virgin olive oil
    5 - bunches fresh kale
         fresh lime wedges
         blue corn tortilla chips

some other possible toppings:
sliced into strips corn tortillas baked or fried or tortilla chips, avocado, limes, crema fresca, queso fresco, fine chopped sweet onion,  a hot salsa, etc

preheat your oven to 400 deg. Line a 1/2 sheet cookie sheet with non-stick foil.
Rinse the chicken bones, dry them and put a peeled and halved onion and the garlic bulbs (broken into cloves but unpeeled) on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. bake in the oven until well browned but not burned (the garlic will need to be taken out when the skins are lightly blackened). Put the bones and onion from the oven into a 10 quart stockpot and cover with chicken stock.Set the burner on medium high. Bring to a boil and skim any scum that rises then reduce to a simmer. Remove the skins from the garlic. Coarse chop about a 1/3 of the garlic and add it to the pot. continue to simmer for 2-3 hours adding more chicken stock as needed to keep the bones covered. Strain the stock through a colander reserving the bones. Cool the stock and refrigerate. After the bones have cooled, collect any meat and add it back to the stock.

skim the fat off of the chicken stock and put it back in the stockpot on medium low heat. 
Chop all of your veggies. slice the stem and heel off the squash, cut them lengthwise in half and cut the halves radially lengthwise into 1/3's before cutting into 1/2" chunks. Cut the carrots into sticks and then into 3/4" pieces, thin slice the roasted garlic. Shuck and remove the silk from the ears of corn and then slice it off the cob. Next, broil or in a dry hot skillet roast the fresh chile peppers until the skin blackens and then throw them into a paper sack and seal to steam. When cooled enough to handle,  remove the skins. Discard the stems and seeds. Put the ancho chile either in a hot skillet or directly on the burner on medium and toast pressing down and rotating to keep from burning. Do the same for the chiles de arbol. Put the ancho chile into the hot stock to soften. Large dice the poblanos and big jims. When the ancho is soft, remove it from the stock and very finely mince it. Add the chiles to the stock.
(clockwise from top left) chiles de arbol, ancho chile, poblanos, and Big Jims
Dice the remaining two onions. put a tablespoon of butter and enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a 12" cast iron or heavy frying pan set on medium heat. add the onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper and slow cook them turning occasionally until nicely caramelized.

onions almost done

when the onions reach about the color shown above add about 1/2 of the remaining garlic that you've sliced and cook until browned. Add them to the stock. Slice the sausages into 3/4" rounds
Add more olive oil to the pan and cook the sausages until nicely browned then add them to the stock.
first of two batches

add more olive oil to the pan and cook the carrots on medium until not quite tender. add to the stock. cook both squashes on medium heat until par-cooked. remove to a bowl. Add the tomatoes, black beans, hominy, and fresh corn to the soup.

elote y posole'

fresh corn being added to the pot

add the bay leaf, oregano, half of the cilantro (coarse chopped), cumin, and chipotle chile powder and let simmer for at least 1/2 hour (longer is better) add the squash back in about 15 minutes before serving. Adjust the seasoning (I added a little garlic salt).  Serve with chopped kale, avocado, fried corn tortilla strips or chips, lime wedges, raw onion, cliantro, and mexican cheese if you like. Hot sauce or a salsa is also a nice flavor addition!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi by Thomas Keller)

So in my quest to find delicious but healthy food I recalled the animated movie Ratatouille and the dish that Thomas Keller created for it. Although we had just watched the movie weeks ago, despite a thorough search we couldn't find our copy of the DVD but a little investigating on the internet turned up a lot of people with the same intent. Cooking food ala Remy the rat. I'm re-posting Chef Keller's recipe that I got on from Origamifreak   and although I didn't follow the ingredients to a "T",  I did use the cooking instructions as a time guide. My cook follows the recipe.

Confit Byaldi

  • Prep Time: 1 hrs 30 mins
  • Total Time: 4 hrs
  • Servings: 4

About This Recipe

"Remy's Ratatouille, from the movie, (by Thomas Keller, via NYT 6/13/07)"



    • 1/2 red peppers, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1/2 yellow peppers, seeds and ribs removed
    • 1/2 orange bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup yellow onions, finely diced
    • 3 tomatoes, peeled seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved ( about 12 ounces total weight)
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 1 sprig flat leaf parsley
    • 1/2 bay leaves
    • kosher salt


    • 1 zucchini, sliced in 1/16-inch rounds ( 4 to 5 ounces)
    • 1 Japanese eggplants, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds ( 4 to 5 ounces)
    • 1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds ( 4 to 5 ounces)
    • 4 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    • assorted fresh herbs ( thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
    • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. For piperade, heat oven to 450 degrees. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.
  2. Combine oil, garlic, and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs. Reserve tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.
  3. For vegetables, heat oven to 275 degrees. Down center of pan, arrange a strip of 8 alternating slices of vegetables over piperade, overlapping so that only 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed.
  4. Mix garlic, oil, and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover pan with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If there is excess liquid in pan, place over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350-degree oven until warm.).
  5. For vinaigrette, combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
  6. To serve, heat broiler and place byaldi underneath until lightly browned (about 5 minutes on low). Slice in quarters and very carefully lift onto plate with offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees, guiding byaldi into fan shape. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.
plated ratatouille on Kimberly's nice plate  

 I made the piperade sauce the night before because I wanted the flavors to meld more. I basically doubled the recipe by using whole roasted skin removed red, yellow, and orange bell peppers cut into 1/4 inch squares. A whole sweet onion also diced into 1/4 inch squares. 11 cloves of roasted garlic minced finely. A 28 oz can of Cento brand Chef's cut tomatoes (drained, liquid saved) . 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, 5 of fresh oregano, a whole bay leaf, and seat salt and black pepper to taste. I cooked the onions on a  low heat until they were tender with no "bite" about 20 minutes and added the minced roasted garlic and continued on low for another 5-8 minutes. I then added the the cento tomatoes (the chef's cut are seedless), the thyme, oregano, and bay leaf and raised the temp to medium until they returned to a simmer and the lowered the heat again and let it go for about another 10 minutes and then added the diced roasted peppers. with about half of the reserved tomato liquid and cooked it until the peppers were tender and most of the liquid had evaporated.
Day two of the cook: preheat the oven to 275 degrees. I mandolined the zucchini (two small)and the yellow squash (three small) but ending up having to hand cut the eggplant (two chinese eggplants) and two red bell peppers all about an 1/8 of an inch thick. I spread the 3/4 of the piperade in the bottom of an 8.5 x 12.5 inch casserole dish and then layed the veggies alternating into the pan overlapping with a 1/4 inch or so exposed of each. (I'll do less next time. I ended up with a second 10 x 10 inch casserole dish).
I drizzled a mixture of about a dozenfinely minced cloves of roasted garlic, two teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme leaves, fresh ground black pepper,  kosher salt and 5 tablespoons of olive oil over the dish and then tightly covered it with tin foil and put it in the 275 deg oven for 2 hours before removing the foil and letting it go another 1/ hour uncovered.
Before serving I warmed it in a 350 deg oven for 10 minutes and then under the broiler on low for another 5 minutes. I made the balsamic vinaigrette but failed to reserve any piperade for it so I made it with: EV olive oil, balsamic vinegar, yet more roasted garlic, fresh thyme, oregano, basil leaves, fresh pepper, kosher salt ( I also added red wine vinegar because the balsamic on it's own was too sweet and the vinaigrette needed more acidity). served with a chiffonade of fresh basil, and the balsamic vinaigrette. Pretty good. Of course the next one will be better.
Yeah I forgot the vinaigrette drizzle...

Monday, January 9, 2012

New year, new leaf? Well lots of new leaves!

Okay then. The holidays are done and so are the ridiculously massive cooking projects... well at least until the next one! They have a diet/fitness incentive program at work and that was the impetus I needed to get off my butt or get my butt off of me actually. So the carb/calorie counting begins anew with the new year. I was never one to watch what I ate when I tried to lose weight but rather I would watch how much I ate. Now I'm gonna do both. But that doesn't mean I've lost my sense of taste. Take this picture of the topping on the salad we just had. It's got a huge pile of baby spinach topped with sliced strawberries, Valdosta pecans w/craisins, goat cheese, and there was also some fried shallots sprinkled on top after the dressing. The dressing I made from a 1/2 cup of Fischer and Wieser Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, a cup of balsamic vinegar, about 5 large minced cloves of roasted garlic, two tablespoons of minced shallot, about a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme (normally I would have added about a 1/2 cup of Country Style Dijon mustard too but sadly we were out...). I like a tasty salad a rich non-creamy soup, vegetables in general so I think I'm gonna do alright sticking with my new direction in eating so hopefully soon you'll be seeing a lot less of me...  when you see me! I'll try to post pics and recipes of the especially tasty "diet" foods I prepare. Healthy New Year 2012!