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Let’s Get Cookin’!

7 Jan

Many of you have heard from me that the easiest way to be successful at this “no grains thing” is to prepare your menus and meals in advance so there are always options available for you in the refrigerator.  This will prevent you from eating “whatever” is around, or worse: eating out and making even worse choices.

In the new year, I am reinvigorating my efforts to cook A LOT on Sundays in anticipation of the week.  And yesterday, I did just that.  After heading to 2 different grocery stores, in the pictures below you will see my haul.  And here’s what was either made, prepped for, or purchased to make later in the week:

Nothing like a stoveful of cooking magic

Nothing like a stoveful of cooking magic

Bryan Voltaggio’s Beef Stew with Ale (recipe)

Slow-Cooked Cinnamon Pork Loin with Parsnips

Fermented Brassicas (cauliflower, romanesco, red cabbage)

Roasted Beet, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad

Below all from Diane Sanfilippo’s Book Practical Paleo (for sale at FIT)

Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs

Lemony Lamb Dolmas

Swirly Crustless Quiche

B.E.A.T Salad from Mark’s Daily Apple

 

Yes, that’s a lot of food, but it will be for two people, for the week.  Additionally, some of it might get frozen for eating later on.

A kitchen full of fresh veggies? A beautiful thing

A kitchen full of fresh veggies? A beautiful thing

A full fridge is a happy fridge!

A full fridge is a happy fridge!

So now that you’ve seen what my week’s worth of food looks like, how does yours compare?

Share your pictures with us; either here, or on the FIT facebook page.

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How the Trainers Eat, vol. 4

31 Dec

While long overdue, I wanted to share a little dish that is sure to warm the soul and give you the fuel to power through those first few workouts of 2013.  This soup will make a great post-workout dish, as well as something to keep you warm on these cool and damp northern California nights.


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Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash

3.5 lb. sweet potatoes

3 c. chicken or vegetable stock (I used my own homemade pork stock)

1/2 c. half-and-half

1/2 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 T. coriander

1.5 T. curry powder

1 T. chili powder

Panchetta for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Soft goat cheese for garnish

Chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut squash in half and clean out seeds.  Place face down on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Place whole sweet potatoes on the same sheet.  Roast until squash and potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.  Once cool to the touch, remove skin and place the flesh in a large soup pot.  Add stock and half-and-half.  Stir until incorporated.

Add onion, garlic, coriander, curry, and chili powder; bring to a simmer, and maintain for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

In a small saute pan, cook panchetta over medium-high heat until done, approximately 5 minutes.

Using an immersion or traditional blender, puree soup until smooth.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with soft goat cheese, chives, and cooked panchetta.

Serves 6

 

Cooking note: goes great with grilled meat.

 

How the Trainers Eat, vol. 3

31 Aug

And now for another look at my tasty eats…

As summer is winding down (or just picking up here in the foggy environs of San Francisco), I wanted to get as much mileage as I could out of all the wonderful corn from Eating with the Seasons.  It is also the time of year for grilling!

With that in mind, I decided to grill some steaks – my favorite being a marinated hanger cut – as well as grill the corn, and then create a wonderful spicy soup that could be enjoyed either warm or cold.

Ingredients

6 ears of corn

1½ green bell peppers, chopped

3 T. butter or ghee

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 white onion, chopped

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. chili powder

4 red-skinned potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 radishes, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 c. chicken broth (homemade if you can)

4 dried arbol chiles

Directions

About an hour before starting the meal, soak the corn – in husks – in a pot of water.  When ready to cook, place the corn (still in the husks) and peppers on a hot grill over medium heat.  Turn occasionally, letting the husks dry and begin to char.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  Peel the husks off, being careful of any hot water that might drip out of the husks.  When corn and peppers are lightly charred, remove from the grill and set aside to cool.

In a large pot, melt the butter.  Saute the onions and garlic until translucent.  Add the potatoes, cayenne, chili powder, and salt to taste.  Stir to coat the potatoes.  Cook until the potatoes begin to soften and then add 2 cups of chicken broth.  Bring to a light simmer, stirring frequently so as not to burn.

Add the radishes, carrots, and dried chiles and stir.  At this point, chop the green peppers and add to the pot.  Stand the corn cobs vertically on end and slice off the kernels; add to the pot as well.  Continue stirring to incorporate all the ingredients.  When potatoes and carrots are soft, remove the pot from the heat.

Working in batches, carefully ladle the soup into a blender or food processor and puree to your desired consistency.  Add the pureed soup back into the pot and add the remaining chicken broth to get the thickness of soup you would like.  Serve hot or cold with a garnish of fresh cilantro and a dollop of whole milk sour cream.

How the Trainers Eat, vol. 2

9 Aug

So it’s been a while since I posted any of my culinary explorations, but here is the most recent:

Curry Carnitas & Indian Style Corn

While we here at FIT generally recommend staying away from grains, this corn might be an exception. It comes courtesy of our wonderful CSA friends over at Eating with the Seasons so we know that it is not genetically modified and comes pesticide free.  And since corn is not a gluten-grain, I can safely say that it won’t trigger any digestive distress for those who are celiacs, or others with wheat intolerances.  We usually advocate for a lower carbohydrate intake, but there’s just something great – maybe it’s my Midwestern roots – about fresh corn on a warm evening in the summer (it was even rather warm at my house in SF!).

The corn recipe comes from the wonderful Sally Fallon cookbook “Nourishing Traditions”.

And to go along with the Indian flavors, the pork was rubbed with a Vadouvan curry spice, kosher salt, and white pepper.  It was then cooked “carnitas style,” meaning that it was braised in lard (about 3 cups) with aromatics for several hours (in this case chopped red onions, garlic, and cilantro stems).  Keep your oven low, and let it cook for several hours (250deg. for 3-ish hours for a 3-lb. bone in pork shoulder).

I hope you enjoy!

How do the Trainers Eat

18 Apr

Here are a collection of my more recent culinary endeavors to get your mind going in the kitchen.  Please email me at matt@focusedtrainers.com for recipes or for nutrition/cooking consultations.  Enjoy

Chimicurri Salmon with Sauteed Cabbage

Sirloin Strips and Braised Greens

Garam Masal Pork Chop with Cumin Spiced Boc Choi and Asparagus

Roast Leg of Lamb with Tarragon Mint Butter served on Garland of Spring Vegetables

New Family Favorite

19 Mar

It’s always a special evening when setting the nights meal on the table does not illicit a chorus of “I don’t like that” quickly followed by “how much do I need to eat?” Even better when, following that chorus, the first bites are taken and quiet ‘yumm’s are heard from the youngest diners. I always retest within a week to ensure I have, in fact, found a winning combination and in this case, it’s clearly a winner so thought I’d share.

This recipe is taken from Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan currently available for purchase at FIT.

Blue Ribbon Country Captain Chicken
3 strips of sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon (optional)
2 lbs boneless, skinless thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbs coconut oil
4 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
3 large bell peppers (red and/or green) thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs raisings
1/2 c chicken broth
2 Tbs curry powder (penzeys maharajah is awesome)
3 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced
3 Tbs sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Cut bacon crosswise into 1/4″ wide pieces. Place chopped bacon in a large, cold skillet, turn heat to med-high, and fry bacon till crisp (i recommend thick sliced bacon). Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. add coconut oil to the bacon fat in the pan, and reheat skillet. add chicken in a single layer, smooth side down. Don’t crowd the pan and don’t annoy the chicken! You want it to form a crisp, brown crust so place it in the pan and leave it alone, about 4 mins per side. As the chicken browns remove it from the skillet and place in a single layer in a 13×9 baking pan.

in same pan without draining any of the remaining fat, sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and raisings until the veggies just begin to soften, but are not cooked through. Spread them on top of the chicken and return the skillet to the stove.

pour chicken broth into the hot skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. add curry powder to the pan and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Pour sauce over the chicken and wrap the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

bake 35 mins, then remove foil, increase the heat to 400 F, and bake an additional 5-10 mins. Before serving, sprinkle with scallions, bacon and almonds.

Divine! And I have enough veggies left over to make some sort of delicious veggie side later on this week. Let me know what you think!

Recipe Updates

28 Oct

Sorry for the lack of posting, but as many of you know, I recently moved, and have been inundated with trying to unpack and make my new home all my own.  So…here are a few recipes from recent Wednesday night meetings.

Pre- & Post-Workout Snacks

Pre-Workout

Smoked Salmon with Avocado on Veggie Rounds

2-3 oz. Smoked Alaskan Salmon (most likely will find Sockeye at the grocery store)

Make sure that the only ingredients are salmon, salt, and smoke

1/4 avocado

Sliced eggplant or cucumber

To assemble, smear some of the avocado onto the veggie round and place salmon on top.

These can be made in advance, or just put together as you need them.  Remember that a pre-workout snack should be mostly protein and/or fat, but in smaller portions than a full meal.  It is really intended to prepare the body for exercise with a hormonal stimulus freeing up fatty acids to fuel your workout.

Post-Workout

Quick Pickled Curry Carrots

Slice carrots into coins or sticks and place in a sealable container.  In a separate bowl, mix together salt, curry powder, fresh ground black pepper, powdered ginger, and mustard powder.  The exact amounts you use depend on your tastes, but make sure that you have plenty of salt.  This is what produces the “pickling” of the carrots.  Mix 3 parts vinegar (I like to use apple cider vinegar) and 1 part water together in the bowl with the spices.  Pour mixture over the carrots, enough to cover them.  Seal the container and refrigerate for at least an hour.  The longer the carrots stay in the refrigerator, the more pickled they will become.  Other firm vegetables – beets, cauliflower – can be used in place of carrots.

Sweet Potato Chips

Wash and peel sweet potatoes.  Slice as thinly as possible – a mandolin works really well here.  Grease a sheet pan with coconut oil and spread potato chips out on the tray.  In a small dish, heat coconut oil until it is melted.  Pour over the potato chips just enough to coat.  Sprinkle any seasonings (MSG-free) on the chips that you like.  Place tray in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees and cook until desired doneness, about 30-40 minutes.  If you like, you can flip the chips halfway through and season again.  This will make them crispier as well.

Post-workout snacks should be a combination of carbohydrate and protein, with minimal fat.  These two options can be combined with more of the smoked salmon (no avocado this time) or with other protein on hand.  

 

And in case you were on the fence about choosing organics, here is a great article from the Organic Consumers Association.

Best take away: Organic foods are nutritionally dense compared to foods produced with toxic chemicals, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds.

Whole 30 Dinner Meeting

23 Oct

I hope things are going well for everybody so far; 3+ weeks through the Whole 30!  How is everyone feeling?  Just wanted to shoot everybody a quick reminder that our last weekly meeting will be this Wednesday, October 26th, at 7pm.  We will be discussing dinner options, as well as other questions that have come up through the last several weeks.

For this week, though, we are asking that everyone bring one of their favorite dishes.  This could be something that was a go-to quick fix on a busy week night, or something more elaborate that you experimented with.  Either way, whatever you fix will surely be delicious.  Keep on the lookout for another announcement about where this dinner will be held.

Good luck heading into the last week.  And don’t forget to share your experiences for others to read.

Sunday Brunch

16 Oct

Who says you can't have pancakes on the Whole 30?

How are you doing after the first 2 weekends in the Whole 30?  Were you able to stay away from the glass of wine at dinner, or french fries watching the 49ers and Raiders bring home Ws?

I know some of you may be a getting a little sick of having eggs for breakfast, so figured I would share a lazy Sunday brunch staple of mine: Almond Butter Banana Pancakes

1 Banana, cut into 1-2 inch pieces

1 egg

Heaping spoonful of almond butter

In a small mixing bowl, mash the banana.  Add the egg and almond butter and mix until well combined and the banana is integrated into the butter.  Add almond butter as needed to get the consistency of pancake batter.

In a small saute pan, heat a teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat until warm.  Cooking in batches, spoon some of the batter into the pan.  Cook as you would a conventional pancake – once the batter starts to bubble, flip over and cook the second side until lightly browned.

This will serve one person, making about 2-3 cakes, but the recipe can easily be increased, for as many cakes as needed.  They are also good served cold.

I served mine with a side of uncured Niman Ranch bacon and some caraway seed sauerkraut.  Enjoy, and let me know what YOU come up with for breakfast.

Wednesday Meeting Recap

14 Oct

Great meeting this week everybody!  We discussed some different questions, especially regarding nuts as snacks – try and find some other snacks and not just depend on almonds to quell your hunger.

We served:

Zucchini Hummus

2 zucchini
3/4 cup tahini (raw)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil (cold pressed, if you want it to be truly raw)
4 cloves garlic
2.5 teaspoons salt (I would cut down on this)
1/2 tablespoon cumin

Chop the zucchini and blend everything in the blender. Add the lemon juice and garlic (and salt)
a little bit at a time to get the flavor that you want.

Coconut Apple Custard

2 cans coconut milk (or cream)
3 apples, diced
Whichever spices you like, to taste: I used cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and vanilla

In a medium saucepan, add the coconut over medium heat.  Add the apples and spices, and mix thoroughly.  Stirring occasionally, let the apples simmer until they are soft enough to smash with the back of the spoon.  
Once the apples are cooked, pour the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor and puree thoroughly.
Pour into a temperature safe container and place in the freezer to cool.  Once cold, the custard should be solid enough to eat with a spoon.

Blueberry Protein Balls

4 dates

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

2 tbs melted coconut oil

1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

 

1. Remove pits from dates and chop in food processor till paste forms

2. Add walnuts and macadamia nuts and process till nuts are finely chopped.

3. With processor running, drizzle in coconut oil

4. scrape contents into bowl and fold in 1/2 cup of coconut and the blueberries.

5. Form into balls, roll in remaining coconut

6. Ready to eat or refrigerate for later.

 

Keep up the good work everybody.  Let us know how things are going so far and what you’ve been eating.