Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chicken Kebabs

Before we go on with the reviews of The Garden of Eating, a small interlude and picture of some INSANE chicken kebabs.

Simple, so here we go; rub a pound of skinless boneless chicken thighs with some cumin, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Now for the secret ingredient add 1/4 cup of fresh chopped mint. 2 tbsps lemon juice and 3 tbsps olive oil. Let it sit in the fridge for 6-8 hours.

Cut the thighs into chunks and grab your metal kebab skewers, (if you don't have these, go buy some! They are cheap and much better to work with than wood) another secret disclosed, man I can't believe I'm giving this one away....drizzle some olive oil on a paper towel and run it over the skewers. Now thread the chicken on the skewer. The greased skewer will help make the chicken taste delicious and keeps it juicy. Toss on the grill.

For all of you that eat greek yogurt (if you eat sour cream, add 1tbsp to the yogurt). Take a 1/4 cup, shred some cucumber and a tiny bit of fresh garlic (careful, you only need a tiny bit). A pinch of sea salt. Spoon this over your kebabs.

Will someone please try this and get back to me?? I'm telling you honestly, this will be one of the best kebabs you have ever eaten.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Garden of Eating, Cook Book Review Part 1.

Well, I've been cooking up a storm thanks to my new friend Ms. Rachel Albert-Matesz. Also know as The Healthy Cooking Coach.

About a month ago, Rachel contacted yours truly and told me she liked my blog and the way I went about cooking. (I was full of spring all day, and saw my long dream of becoming a famous chef turn into reality, but I digress ;-) )

She offered to send me a copy of her cookbook and if I would be so kind to try the recipes and write some reviews. So here we are. Before I get into the cook, it need to mention Rachel's' ex-husband Don Matesz. He helped co-write the book. If you read Richard's blog (I do everyday) you might already be familiar with Don as he comments frequently. Don has his own SUPERB blog called Primal Wisdom. It is very concise and well written. He makes difficult subjects easy to understand for all. So please take a look if you haven't yet. it will become one of your daily reads.

The Garden of Eating

I don't know how many of you are cook book aficionados, but unlike the more traditional variety with just pictures and directions, this baby (all 580 pages of it) is part cook book, part paleo/primal education and part meal planning and shopping guide. It also cleverly shows a nutritional break down for each recipe which ties in with the chapter on how to construct a good eating regimen.

Heavily influenced by Weston A. Price. The start of the book gives a great review of what "Real Food" eating is all about. They even tackle the subject of FAT. I like that, because with all the quality information out there in regards to the myth of "bad fat", we are still a "fat-phobed" nation.

This book would be excellent as a gift for friends and family that would like to start eating the way our little community does. I can not stress enough how simple Rachel makes it to get going. For everyone that still struggles with inspiration, BUY this book. You will be set for at least a year.

I will write more about the different non-cooking chapters of the book in the rest of the series. I will do at least 7 posts with recipes and pictures. A good weeks worth of The Garden of Eating".

So what did I make first? There's so much to choose from, so I decided to just let fate decide. I tossed the book on the kitchen table and randomly opened to a page. What did I get?


I can always get my hands on fresh local shrimp so this was a great one to start with. Ingredients; 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (side note; this is where Rachel really shines with her thoroughness for people that need help cooking. Little notes along the ingredients like "make sure the shrimp are patted dry"). 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, 1 teasp. sea salt, 1 cup finely chopped onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 cup thinly sliced crimini mushrooms, 1 cup of carrots, 1 -14 ounce can of coconut milk, 3 cups of "shrimp shell stock" or preservative free chicken stock, 1 tbsps paprika, 1 tbsps lemon juice or acv , 1/4 or 1/2 teasp chipotle or hot sauce, 1/4 teasp black pepper, 3 tbsps arrow root powder (again the little details) or...4 tbsps if you are using lite coconut milk. 1/4 cup minced scallions, chives or parsley for garnish. (My input, you can use cilantro also.)

1. chop veggies and set aside

2. Heat oil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic,mushrooms, salt and carrot, stirring for 1 minute after each addition. Cover reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Shake unopened can of coconut milk. Rinse top and remove lid. If contents have separated, whisk or puree in blender or food processor until smooth (see how she helps if you are new to coconut milk. Many people are)

4. Add coconut milk, stock or broth, paprika, lemon juice, chipotle and black pepper. Bring to a boil, add shrimp and dissolved arrow root. Reduce heat and simmer. Stir until thick and shrimp turns pink, about 5-7 minutes. Ladle into bowls, garnish and serve.

Nutrition for 1 serving; 296 calories, 13 gr. protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 18 g fat, 42 mg calcium, 416mg sodium.

Before I tell you how this "fine restaurant tasting bisque" came out, I want to quickly explain the shrimp shell stock.

Just the take the shells from about 1 pound of shrimp. Toss together with 2 celery stalks, small onion, a few carrots 2 or 3 garlic cloves a bay leaf and 5 or so peppercorns. Cover with water, (about 3 inches above food line) bring to a boil turn down heat and simmer for an hour. When you pour it threw your strainer, press on the veggies to get out all the flavor. I added 1 tbsp of fish sauce to this stock. This is so simple to make, and will give you bisque the real restaurant type flavor you're used to.

The bisque was unbelievable. I almost didn't believe I was the one who made it. Full of strong and subtle flavors, perfect texture and great aroma. This is really an easy recipe to try and you will be most pleased with the results.

Ok, back to my day job. Much more to follow.

Had you ever heard of Rachel? Have you seen the book? Was my recipe description clear?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some more Pictures and Back to Food

Signs like this one above, do remind you that you are in a place were there could be serious danger. People there live with this reality, but it does not damper the spirit or way of life in the least.
For all you potential "Bruno" fans, I took his picture.

Contrasts? From Bruno billboards to the inside of this incredible Armenian church from 450 AD. The art work inside was stunning.

A side entrance of the same church.

A soldier lends a helping hand to a mom struggling with her stroller going down the stairs.

A simple might not see every where ;-)

Someone praying at the Western Wall. What you see are tons of tiny pieces of paper stuffed in the cracks of the wall. People of all religions, write messages, wishes, and prayers and leave them there.

The "VIA DOLOROSA" the very street Jesus walked with the cross on the way to his crucifixion. How can your hair not stand on end visiting a city like this. You can feel the history.

I figured I'd share a few more pictures, but then it's Back to Food.
I will start the series of the cook book I've been asked to review.
I look forward to getting a lot of feedback from everyone. As I'm curious on what you think about it.
Have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Spices, Food and Pictures

I just love spices and flavors from different parts of the world. The Middle Easts has it's share of some amazing variety. A lot of the flavor is dominated by one spice in particular, namely Cumin.

This little spice shop was delightful. I brought back a few little containers for experimenting.
One of the big "street foods" in Israel is "Shwarma". It's sliced turkey,chicken or lamb. Threaded onto a massive skewer that spins around some heat elements for cooking. they serve it in a pita or on a plate with salad, dressing and pickled vegetables. The spices they use to make the Shwarma gives it it's unique flavor. So I bought some to try at home. I used chicken thighs and grilled them. I let the spice rub marinate overnight.
It was delicious! Strangely the chicken (even though it looks like it) took on this dark brown color. I cooked it on indirect heat, so it didn't burn. But something in the spice mix gave it this color. Any thoughts?

To go along with it, I made some Israeli Coleslaw. Red and green cabbage, with a tehina dressing. (tehina, water, toasted sesame oil, 1 clove of garlic and lemon juice. salt and pepper to taste)

While in Tel Aviv we ate at a "grill" restaurant for my mom's birthday.
Didn't look like much from the outside, but no need to judge a book by it's cover.
The food was outrages. The middle east (this includes, southern italy, greece and spain) loves their appetizers.

Salads, pickled veggies, eggplant marinated and "mushed up" in several different way. The grilled kebabs of chicken,beef,lamb were so tasty,but I did not snap a pic.

This is an entrance point to the old city in Jerusalem known as the "Jaffa Gate"

Make it a great week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Back from Vacation

I've had a glorious week away. I've have not written about it much, but traveling is truly one of my passions in life. I enjoy being in immersed in different cultures. It helps you re-connect with humanity in my opinion. Ultimately we're all the same.....but we can get so caught up in our little daily drama that we tend to forget it. Traveling can help you escape the "smallness of your own life". So where did I go? Let's take a look at this first picture. Any guesses?

Don't scroll down to fast, or you will spoil the fun. A mountain es area, but this country has the ocean beside it too.

Anyone? Anyone?

We continue, this is one of the better know cities, but not the most well known of this country.

(look closely to the right for a "Gaudi" designed building)
A river runs through it......

Let's travel north. To the most most well known city. Most likely, the most well known city in the world.....
To not give it away yet for those who are not sure, here is this picture....

We are going to take a little picture tour through.............the holiest city in the world;


Over the next few days, I will post some more pictures and share a few stories. The food I ate was wonderful and I did take a few pictures of that too. Stay tuned..... (the first pictures are of the city, Tel Aviv)

Next week I will start my series of posts about the cookbook I've been asked to review. I think you will very much enjoy it.

Happy Friday everyone, count your blessings, be happy with what you have and how far you've come, and love with all your heart.
Have a great weekend.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pictures and a short break

Here are some pictures of my "paleo/ef/primal" son Jack. He eats "real foods". Some think he's to thin...I tell him he's just perfect. It makes me feel good that when my kids (when they are with me) make play dough art, they make "real food" sculptures.
Lastly, a simple breakfast off eggs, spinach salad and some bacon.
I will be on vacation for about a week. Pictures to follow.
Stay tuned for some amazing reviews of a very very special cook book I was asked to look into to.
I'm proud and humbled tat they selected me to write some reviews.
Eat right, have fun and look forward to some really good news posts!