Here’s another cooking tip. Part of me feels like no one will ever really do this in their home, but another part of me feels it’s worth knowing, simply due to the millions of citrus fruits (citri?) that I’ve sectioned in my life. Someone, somewhere, LOVES to have their grapefruit and oranges sectioned, to get rid of that awful pith! I also do this in my own home, quite often!
Watch the video technique, here:
Now … on to today’s crab salad!
Crab Salad with Avocado and Tangerines
Below is kind of a fun recipe. It’s A LOT easier than it looks. Don’t be intimidated by it. The hardest part is cutting the tangerines. The rest only takes a few minutes, requires no cooking and your friends and family will swear you’ve been slaving away for days! It’s little more than a few fresh ingredients, thrown together in the right order, and then pressed, in layers, into a “ring mold”.
A “ring mold” is nothing more than a hollow cylinder. They come on all shapes and sizes, ranging from squat wide cookie cutters, to tall and narrow “toilet paper roll” shapes. I’ve seen expensive stainless steel ring molds and I’ve seen molds used from PVC pipe sections. I’ve also seen similar concepts in a variety of shapes, too! The same thing could be done as a square … or a star, if you have the mold and feel so inclined!
I actually purchased this Ring Mold Set and use it when I have guests. The weird part is … one of my favorite things is the tamper that comes with it! I use it to push down and squish all sorts of things. I love my tamper! 🙂
I gotz some lurnin’ to do!
The strangest thing keeps happening. I keep receiving comments (critiques?) of my blog and website, with people wanting to hear more about me, personally. That’s so odd to me. I’m BORING! I work and cook and exercise and blog. If something interesting happens, I generally slip it into the blog, but … very little ever really happens! I might complain about the gym, if y’all would like! Maybe another time, perhaps (MY hamstrings feel like feeling off!)
Here’s kind of a fun one, though. A big part of moving to Seattle from Mexico was the option for more “stuff” in my environment. More movies, better acts, greater selection of educational pursuits, a wider variety of ingredients, etc. I’m really trying to take advantage of all that a big city has to offer and have recently started taking a food writing course at Bastyr University. I really REALLY want to put forth great blog. It’s VERY important to me! (I’m not supposed to use words like “very” or “really” …)
Every Wednesday morning, I get up before the crack of dawn and head out for my near hour commute to learn about food writing from Cynthia Lair, a truly gifted woman. Her classes are inspiring and I’m learning loads from her. Being in college environment is intimidating, but … oh what an experience it’s been, so far! I suspect you’ll all get to read my homework, fairly soon. I need some constructive editing, anyway.
Check out this wonderful speech my teacher gave at a TED talk a few months ago. I LOVE the way she sees food and cooking. Such an inspiration!
Watch Cynthia, here:
Now, on to today’s totally unrelated, but far more famous salad!
The Famous Cobb Salad
Here we have the famous Cobb Salad! It’s not really known where this particular salad originated, but it generally seems to be attributed to The Brown Derby restaurant in the late 1920’s or 1930’s. It’s a 90 year old salad and … it’s great for a low carb way of life!
It’s got a wide mixture of salad greens, vegetables and healthy fats from a variety of ingredients. In fact, the odd assortment of ingredients, while building a truly healthy and wonderful combination of fats and nutrients, is a bit puzzling to me. After having made it and combing through information about the salad, I really have begun to subscribe to the idea that Robert Howard Cobb (the owner of the Brown Derby) was hungry, late one night, and raided his kitchen. He grabbed a little of this … and a little of that, combining a random assortment of fresh prepared ingredients, tossed them into a bowl and topped it all with salad dressing!
I’m sure he loved it so much … it became a staple!
One of the great things about this salad is, it’s less than 4 carbs, but it’s a massive bowl of good foods. Even at induction levels, this still leaves more than 16 carbs for the rest of the day. The “steak and eggs” diet, my eye!
Note: This recipe implies you have a few precooked, chilled, ready-to-go ingredients. Pay close attention to the list of ingredients, as the salad “can” be a bit time consuming, just gathering the stuff!
The following recipes are still being researched for nutrition, but … coming to an Inbox, near you!
My Mom’s Chicken Piccata
Sole en Papillote (paper sole)
Don’t forget about today’s recipe!
Grilled Steak Caesar with Asparagus
What a lovely and simple salad idea! It sort of plays off of one of my favorite all time meal styles … the “warm” salad. It’s comforting and relaxing and warm, while still retaining most of the nutrients and vibrancy of a full raw salad. It exists somewhere between cooked and … not cooked.
This particular salad is incredibly easy. It’s little more than a 1/4 head of romaine lettuce, some flank steak and a small handful of asparagus. It’s liberally brushed with Caesar dressing, is seasoned with salt and pepper, then it is grilled!
The romaine goes on a plate, followed by the asparagus, then the steak is sliced thin and added to the plate. Finally, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and … VIOLA! Grilled Steak Caesar!
Note: I actually did this with a grill pan in my kitchen. Sure, the smoky flavor of an outdoor grill will complement this dish, but … if it’s cold and you’re in the mood, you can grill this up, indoors!
Second Note: I tend to like my flank steak a bit on the raw side. Flank can get raw and tough if overcooked. Cook to your desired temperature, but keep in mind a little rare and very thin slices will go a great distance towards giving a nice tender steak!
Blanching and Shocking
I received a request for more cooking tips and “behind the scenes” restaurant style cooking tips. Here’s one that I use A LOT. It’s called “Blanching and Shocking”. I use this in my home, as well! The idea is, you cook veggies, then cool them in ice water. This stops the cooking, but it also really preserves the bright colors!
Imagine you’re trying to cook 350 dinners and need fast, perfect green beans on every plate (or imagine you’ve got extended family coming over and you need fast, perfect green beans on every plate). You can pre-cook the green beans, to about 90% cooked; then plunge them into ice water, until chilled through. Then, moments before adding to the hot plate of food, simply reheat and plate!
This is one of the tricks that allow restaurants to put out such high volumes of fresh food … quickly!
Watch a video showing the technique:
Use this tip for today’s recipe!
Broccoli Salad with Carrot, Cranberries and Bacon
When I was younger, I worked in a grocery store deli. I really don’t know the grand total, but I suspect we had upwards of 100 different salads we’d display in our beautiful display cases. One of them was a broccoli salad; consisting primarily of broccoli, carrots, sunflower seeds and coleslaw dressing, if memory serves. It was really VERY popular, but … I confess to struggling with a big bowl of raw broccoli, whether it’s dressed up for a night on the town, or not. It’s just simply not my bag.
I recently got a request for more salads, so I cruised through the leafy greens of my mind and pulled this one out of the archives, but … twisted it around to make it more personally appealing. The main “trick” is something called “blanching and shocking”, which essentially means you fully or partially cook something in boiling water and then plunge it into ice water. This act completely stops the cooking process in its tracks, while also preserving the vibrant colors and a large portion of the nutritional integrity. It stops the aging/oxidation of the ingredient.
In THIS case, I’ve quickly blanched the broccoli and carrots in salted water for merely 1 minute. This allows them to keep that crispity crunch and also seems to boost the color to an even more brilliant green and orange. With the addition of the pecans, this salad has a sublime textural profile. Finally, it reads much more pleasing to my own palette and even feels a very tiny little bit like cheating, due to the little bits of sweet cranberries, but … it’s actually an incredible quick little salad which would complement almost any meal. YUM!
Note: I’m a big fan of broccoli stems. When you cut the florets off of the large broccoli trunk, you’re left with something that looks like what the Jolly Green Giant might use for lumber, if he were a very very small giant. Cut off the bigger branches, then with a vegetable peeler, peel the hard fibrous skin on the outside. You’ll eventually get a a beautiful, bright, almost white green core. This is the “broccoli heart” and it’s delicious! Cut the center core into pieces about the same size as the florets and cook it right along with them. Enjoy!
Before we get into today’s recipe, I want to point out a slightly different recipe that goes into detail about “how to cook steak”. Click the image to take a look!
In Other News
In other news, I was recently invited to join the “Village Green Network“. It looks like an amazing collection of health related bloggers. I feel honored to be included. The network is fairly large and helps bloggers promote one another via each other’s blogs, in addition to all sorts of other interesting promotional methods. This will help me network and communicate with other bloggers that I already know and look up to. It’s my belief that communicating with them, listening and learning will really help my site — help others!
However, one of the rules is: I must run two banner ads on my website. I’m personally not a big lover of ads, but friends keep suggesting I run them and that my work has value. Having done this for several months, I will confess … blogging about food isn’t easy!
I also suspect ads are just part of the game. Goes with the territory. In any event, I’m going to be placing some (minimal) banner ads on my site. I’m not completely sure how it works, but I do promise to keep them non-invasive. In the long run, if I don’t like it, I believe I can remove them. I haven’t signed anything.
Just another experiment from this here Foodie!
Don’t forget to check out today’s recipe, too!
Chilled Soy-Lime Flank Steak Salad
The core idea is to cook a portion of meat and chill it (chicken, pork, shrimp, etc. in place of the flank would all work with the flavors, as well). Alternately, use a leftover piece of meat. The salad would be assembled in a Tupperware container, with the meat placed in top. I tend to like slicing it in advance, as it makes eating it quickly “on the run” a little easier when I’m out and about. Flank steak also tends to have a reputation of being a little on the tough side. As a result, I tend to cook it closer to a rare and slice it thin. These tricks help keep it tender and pleasantly beefy!
The sweet and salty dressing is really intended to be packed up in a separate container and sent along with the lunch. When it’s time to eat … drizzle the dressing on the salad and enjoy it!
Note: As written, it’s a chilled salad, but it would be just as delicious warm!
Fat is good. Fat is flavor!
I recently had a woman on Facebook state, “Just made the vanilla fat bombs from your page. OMG. Yum! This may sound weird, but can you steer me towards some of your other higher fat recipes? Eating more fat seems to work for me.”
I wrote back, “Hmmm … that IS an interesting question. High Fat/Low Carb is definitely something that works for a lot of people. I’m probably one of them, too; I just don’t tend to think along those lines. That said, there is A LOT of fat throughout my recipes. Here are some that I think would … hit the spot!
Savory … A lot of these are sauces, but the idea would be … cook a steak, or a pork chop, then douse it with one of these sauces. Some are also full recipes!
Sweet … A few of these are very similar to the vanilla fat bombs. They’re basically all cream based desserts, but … they are full of fat and … they are YUM!
Finally, try making ice cream out of this one: www.djfoodie.com/Creme-Anglais-Vanilla-Custard-Sauce
OK, that’s a healthy list. Also, you can wrap anything with bacon! Crumble macadamia nuts into salads. Spread cream cheese all over your food, pour liberal amounts of olive oil on your salads, do shots of coconut oil, etc. LOTS of great ways to get fat!
As my old chef instructor said in cooking school … ‘Fat is flavor!'”
Speaking of fat filled recipes … this Taco Salad is dripping with it!
Beefy Taco Salad
Taco Salads are those huge massive salads you’ll see at Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants. They’re overflowing salads built, usually, into a gargantuan fried flour tortilla bowl, which has been made and fried with special equipment.
Here, we’re going to do the same basic thing, but … without all the special equipment and with a bowl made from cheese, instead! Yep! A bowl made of cheese!
The other big different would be the use of black soy beans, rather than refried or pinto beans.
You can assemble this with hot or cold ingredients, but the recipe is built with hot fresh ingredients in mind!
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