FAT! I wanted to leave a little blurb about this book I’ve been reading…it’s very interesting and also comes with a ton of recipes I can’t wait to try. I would say it is half cookbook and half informational reading. You can find it here on amazon.
(Image from Amazon)
One of the most interesting things I’ve read in it so far involves how fats really work, and how animal fats in particular have really gotten a bad rap…there actually isn’t any link between saturated fats and heart disease. Proponents will say that heart disease-related deaths have decreased since a low-fat diet has become encouraged, and they’re right…but interestingly enough, the rate of disease hasn’t decreased, only the number of deaths attributed to them…which means it’s improvements in healthcare that have really decreased the deaths.
It is also interesting to me that many of the problems we have now with obesity and heart problems are made worse by hydrogenated fats – which means things like margarine and crisco, the “healthier” alternatives to things like lard or tallow. The hudrogenation process makes a fat solid at room temperature and makes the fat able to keep longer before spoiling or going rancid…this is how we get things like margarine, made from vegetable oil (liquid at room temperature, but solid in margarine because of hydrogenation) which are actually – as it turns out – arguably worse for us.
It’s not only interesting, it’s validation.
The girlfriend’s mother got us some Omaha Steaks for Valentine’s Day – and I’ve really enjoyed using them. Surprisingly very good for being frozen on arrival. Made some sirloin and prepared some leftover potatoes.
I seared two top sirloin steaks in butter. And just butter. The only other seasoning I did was to apply freshly ground salt and pepper to the steaks before adding them to the pan. Seared on medium, popped in the oven at 350 until the centers reached 125 degrees, then tented in foil to let the residual heat bring it up to medium rare (135).
I also put some leftover potatoes from Valentine’s day in the oven to eat with the steaks. They were still good.
Lastly, I put a can of corn (drained) in a frying pan with a good two tablespoons of butter and heated it up, bordering on sauteeing. Also added freshly ground salt and pepper. Butter makes everything better.
Here are some pictures:
While I was really, truly looking forward to watching Tom Brady cry, dinner made the entire night okay. These cornish hens actually turned out pretty well. Not that I was particularly invested either way…I could care less about the teams involved. But I decided I wanted to make 2 cornish hens, so I did. I used this recipe at Epicurious.com, but changed a few things…
1. It was just my girlfriend and I, so I used 2 hens.
2. Instead of losing a bunch of heat pulling the pan out to baste, I just added more chicken broth periodically. This also affected the gravy portion, see below.
3. I boiled the juices after taking the meat out while also adding some corn starch…this allowed me to get a little thicker of a gravy. Next time I’m going to use more corn starch.
Will definitely be cooking this again. The slight lemon along with the rosemary and garlic really made this a wonderful meal. And it wasn’t terribly hard to cook, either.
I decided I would test the non-stick seasoning that has been building up on my pan (this is my first cast-iron pan!). What better way than with bacon and eggs? I call it the egg test.
I happened to have 3 slices of bacon, some bread and cheese, and 2 eggs sitting in the fridge. Started by cooking the bacon to get a nice layer of grease built up in the pan.
After the bacon was cooked, I put it on some paper towels to get a little less greasy. Then I nervously cracked two eggs into the pan, awaiting the dreadful moment where it would immediately adhere to the surface and cause me to have to scour and reseason the pan, realizing my worst fears.
Continue reading The Egg Test!
Homemade teriyaki sauce is a lot simpler than I was expecting it. I’ve made it 4 times so far, twice with beef and twice with chicken.
There are only 4 ingredients, in equal parts (I measure them with a shot glass which makes the perfect amount of sauce for one average sized package of stir fry beef or one serving of 2 chicken breasts):
Honey or Brown Sugar (more on this after the list)
A few notes: Honey makes a lighter sauce, and brown sugar makes a darker sauce. I’ve determined that honey is better for chicken and brown sugar for beef.
Mirin is a rice wine cooking sauce that can be found at an Asian market or at a relatively large supermarket, if they have a good international section.
Sake is great for cooking because you use two shot glasses…one for the meal and one for the cook. Amounts for the cook are up to the cook.
To make this is simple. Mix it together, and after browning your beef or cooking your cut up chicken, just pour it into the pan and let it boil off/reduce for a few minutes. BAM you have a glaze. Serve over rice for best results.
My favorite part is eating the rice that has the teriyaki sauce soaked into it. Sweet and delicious.
So I decided I would give this General Tso’s recipe a try. Took a little while to make, but was easier to cook than I was expecting.
2 Chicken Breasts
3 Tbs Corn Starch
2 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Tbs canola oil
1/2 Cup Water
1 Tbs Corn Starch
3 Tbs Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar or Honey
3 Tbs Ketchup
1/4 tsp Dry Ginger
1/2 or 1 Tbs Crushed Red Pepper
Serve over rice and top with sesame seeds.
Here’s what I did:
Rinsed and pat dry the chicken. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Heat oil in frying pan. Whisk together the remaining non-sauce ingredients, add the chicken cubes and mix around. When coated, shake of excess and add to oil. Brown this coating on as many sides as you can, until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken, drain oil, and set aside.
Mix sauce ingredients and add to hot pan. With the corn starch, this will thicken up pretty quickly. Then add the browned, crispy chicken and mix until heated up again. Pour over rice and top with sesame, and you’re done!
Some things I would like to change:
Next time I think I will cut the chicken into smaller, but longer strips. I would like the chicken to be a little more crispy than it was. Other than that, I would add a little more heat in terms of red pepper flakes, but that’s just personal preference. I think mixing up the sauce ingredients the day before would also allow more of the pepper flavor to soak into the sauce.
Also, I highly recommend this rice cooker I got on Amazon…it’s super easy. Dump 1 part rice to 2 parts water (up to 10 cups dry rice at a time) and press the button. 20 minutes later, you have that perfect chinese restaurant sticky rice. And it will keep it warm for hours.
Here’s the rice cooker.
I’ve been spending more time with the beautiful cast iron pan I got for Christmas. Tonight I made two NY strips (look at those beautiful 18-ounce bastards!) and some roasted potatoes.
I started by getting the pan hot on medium high heat, and preheating the oven to 425. While the pan was heating up, I rubbed the steaks with coarse salt, fresh ground pepper, and dried rosemary.
Added a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Once the butter got done bubbling, I threw in the steaks.
Continue reading Cast Iron – Sizzle!
So I realized that I wasn’t using my TV service nearly enough to justify its cost, and I had an 18MB internet connection. For internet and TV it was costing almost $180 per month. The only time I would really ever use the TV would be for my girlfriend to watch the Bachelor, and the occasional football game. It wasn’t like I would get home from work, watch the news, watch SportsCenter, or anything like that. So I ditched it for cable internet.
Now I have just a 50MB internet connection for the same price that I would’ve paid if I canceled just the TV and kept the 18MB internet connection. For what it’s worth, I had no problems with my service…if you want TV I still think that AT&T U-Verse is one of the best services I’ve ever had. But I just wasn’t using it enough to justify the cost, and for the first time ever I have switched providers for a reason that does not in any way include being unsatisfied with the service. But now I’m one of those new-agey pricks that can talk about how I’ve “cut the cord.” Even though technically I just went from an internet company to a cable company. Not for TV though. I just started learning the process of getting used to using and having an HDTV antenna. Amazed that stuff still goes out over the air. Never thought I would be happy for it (I get ABC so the girlfriend won’t kill me for lack of Bachelor access).
So, the end result is I have faster internet access, and consequently, this site loads a little faster. I think it’s doing pretty well considering it is all on a box in a spare bedroom. Now I just have to figure out how to get my router to support Google Domains’ dynamic DNS.
Another effect of this change is that SSL seems to work now, I think. I still (as per the previous post) have the SSL port set to 4433 instead of 443, but I can at least get to the sample test page I have set up by going to the site at the proper port. There’s nothing there yet, just something like “SSL TEST WORKS” or something similar. I’ve already forgotten. So later this week I will attempt to change the port to the standard port, and see if my new ISP has it blocked or in use. Shouldn’t be too hard to get set up. Then comes getting OwnCloud to use it.
The only problem that I am still having is that I can’t access the SSL page at work, but I’m pretty sure that is due to some security settings they have in effect here. They can be pretty aggravating at times, but it’s their network and their computers, and even though I have some downtime at work it’s not like I have anything close to a good case to getting it opened up as an exception to the policy.
But I think I’m finally making some headway. We’ll see if I can get the entire website up and running with SSL, which will make me feel better about having a forum, OwnCloud, etc.
I managed to crash my own Debian server. I got so frustrated with the SSL certificate installation process that I uninstalled apache with the intent of reinstalling it…which didn’t work, because it left all the config files (even after running things like “apt-get –purge remove apache2” and “apt-get clean && apt-get autoclean” and I wanted to start off clean. So, my site was gone. But now it’s back. Gone and back again.
So, I backed up all of the web root folder to a NAS, and even went so far as to dump all of my MySQL databases as well…which I forgot to also move over to the NAS.
So after staying up *way* too late, I had a working installation of Ubuntu Server 14.04 installed, and got apache up and running…and that’s when I realized I didn’t have the databases backed up anywhere…so here I am starting over.
I’ve switched to WordPress, as I found Joomla just had way more features than I needed…so far it’s simpler. I’ll spend more time later finding a better theme and customizing it, but for putting updates on the web that no one will ever read…it does just fine so far.
Up next on my to do list are to get SSL certificates working, which is first and foremost. I want to do that before I start messing with anything else, because if everything gets screwy I don’t want to lose so much having to start back at ground zero.
After that I plan on getting phpBB and OwnCloud back up and running, then I should be good to go.
Now comments can be added…feel free…if there’s anyone actually reading any of this!