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Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)

If you aren’t familiar with Quinoa you are in for a treat.

 

 

 

 

Quinoa is a grain from South America that can be prepared like rice.  Unlike rice, Quinoa is a whole balanced protein and is high in fiber and is gluten-free.  In its raw state it can be spouted in as little as 2-4 hours activating its natural enzymes and multiplying its vitamin content.

To prepare Quinoa buy the pre-rinsed variety which has the hull or saponins removed. Rinse the grain briefly in cold water.  Cook as you would rice.  One cup of grain for 2 cups of water or other favored liquid, such as stock or even vegetable juice.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook 10 -15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed.

 

 

 

 

 

With any satisfying meal it is important to not only have good flavors, but combine different textures and even different temperatures.  The crunch of the pepper with the mouth texture of the quinoa and the spice of the tomato mixture and topping provide depth of flavor, texture and spice that is hard to find in any dish.  For a whole meal serve with a cold tossed salad.  This recipe is an original Fat Farm creation.  Let me know what you think. – jug

Stuffed Pepper Directions – Recipe

1. Bring a large pot of water (1 to 2 qts) to a boil.  Put spinach into boiling water for 30 sec. then remove and quickly place in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Reserve.

2. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 additional minute. Stir in spinach and  Ro Tel brand tomatoes & green chilies (reserve juice). Cook 5-10 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

3. Stir in kidney beans, quinoa, carrots, and 2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Stir in 1 cup crumbled extra firm tofu. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

4. Cut the top off of each bell pepper and with a spoon remove the seeds and as much of the white membrane as possible, then rinse.  Fill each bell pepper with heaping amount of the quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Uncover, top with 1 T of tomato spread and bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and sauce each with seasoned pan juices before serving.

Note: any remaining stuffing can be frozen for later use.

 

Ingredients

4 large bell peppers (use multiple colors)

3/4 c of uncooked Quinoa

1 medium onion finely chopped (1 cup)

2 T olive oil

2 ribs of celery, finely chopped (1/2 c)

1 T ground cumin or 1/2 T cumin seeds

2 cloves of minced garlic (2 tsp)

1 cup of extra firm tofu (optional)

1 lb of fresh spinach, blanched and squeezed dry

1 – 10 oz can of RoTel brand Diced tomatoes & green chilies 

 

 

 

 

1 15 oz can of kidney beans.

 

 

 

 

4 T Tomato Spread or similar *

 

*This topping can be cheese which would be very tasty but would change the dish from vegan to vegetarian.  For my vegan friends, Tofutti brand foods have some acceptable dairy substitutes.  Try the health food section of Whole Foods or your local store.

 

 

These stuffed peppers can be made and frozen for several months.  Frozen peppers make a very fast meal, just put in a 350 deg oven for 30 mins or until completely heated through. – jughandle

 

How to Cook Fish

Believe it or not, according to Cook’s Bible there are 9 ways to cook fish.  I’m going to give you the short course on all 9 today.  Selecting and storing fish is another story all together and we’ll tackle that another day.  I will only tell you that the best way to select a fresh fish is to stick your finger into the meat.  If the flesh does not spring back to its original shape or if it exudes water, that fish has been out of the water too long or was not properly handled.  Fresh fish are like “Friday Night Lights” in that they should have “clear eyes” also.

1. Braising – Braising is a method of cooking in a liquid.  For fish the proper cut to braise is a steak.  Saute the fish steak on both sides with olive oil in an oven safe skillet or Dutch-oven.  Remove the fish and reserve it for later.  Add onion, garlic, shallots or similar ingredients to the pan and saute them for about 5 mins, separately from the fish.  Then add to the pan about 1/2 cup of your braising liquid of choice, which could be anything from water, stock, vinegar, or olive juice to wine.  Bring to a simmer and improve the mix with capers, anchovies, olives or other such stuff.  Return the fish to the pan and put the whole pan in a 400 deg oven for 8-10 minutes per inch of fish thickness.

 

 

2. Steaming – Stove top steaming can be accomplished in a “steamer” purchased for just that purpose or in any deep Dutch-oven or pot that can handle the size of the fish.  Into the deep pot add about 1 inch of water and arrange along the bottom something like cookie cutters or cooking rings or anything heat safe that will hold your fish above the water.  We are trying to steam the fish not poach it (see #3).  You can then put your fish on a plate or pan that will fit in the pot and let it rest on the cookie cutters above the water.  Bring the water to a slow boil and put the lid on the pot.  Steam the fish for roughly 10 mins per  inch of fish.  Most whole fishes will cook in under 15 mins. The picture to the left shows a couple of nice slices of fish in a bamboo steamer.  The cook has placed ginger and herbs on the fish while steaming.

 

 

Oven steaming can be even easier to do.  Place you cut of fish on a large sheet of heavy aluminum foil.  Season fish with salt, pepper or other spices or peppers and herbs.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon or lime, or wine on the fish (about 2 tablespoons).  Then fold the foil together over and over from the top, then both ends to create an air tight package, leaving a little space above the fish for steam.  Put the foil fish package on a cookie sheet and into a hot oven, 400-425 deg, for roughly 12-14 mins or until the package puffs up.  Carefully open the foil and serve.  This method is good for fillet or small fish steaks.

 

 

 

3. Poaching – Poaching as opposed to steaming cooks the fish in the liquid but more gently than braising and in more liquid.  While braising is good for fish that has a stronger texture, like swordfish, poaching is great for light flesh or flaky fish such as salmon.  For this reason, the poached fish is more easily handled if you wrap it in cheese-cloth for the poaching.  Place your fish in a large pot capable of holding the fish and liquid.  Cover the fish with your poaching liquid, which could be water, stock, wine or any combination.  Add your flavorings, such as, lemon, lime, bay leaves, parsley, salt, pepper, celery, cilantro etc, etc. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil then turn the heat off, cover the pot and let the fish poach in the hot liquid for 10-15 minutes.  Then remove and serve.  (This is where you thank me for the tip about the cheese-cloth.)

 

 

4. Pan-frying – Pan frying fish is just what it sounds like.  I fry everything in olive oil, both for health and flavor reasons.  Put 1/2 cup of oil in a frying pan.  Bring to a med-high heat (about 375 deg).  Meanwhile dredge the fish in beaten egg then in a combination of flour and cornmeal or Panko breadcrumbs.  Some people use cream of wheat.  Then fry in the hot oil for a few minutes per side or until nicely browned.

 

 

 

 

5. Sauteing – Sauteing is best accomplished with a fish fillet in a hot pan of butter and olive oil.  A small amount of olive oil is added to the butter to raise the smoke point of the butter.  Coat the fillet with seasoned flour or breadcrumbs or some combination of coatings, then saute in a about 1/4 inch of the butter/oil until brown and crispy.  Cook quickly and hot.

 

6. Broiling – This is by far the simplest method of cooking fish.  Just brush the fish with oil or butter and cook the fish in a oven safe pan in the broiler of your oven for 8-10 mins.  You don’t even have to turn over a thin piece of fish.

 

 

 

 

7. Grilling – This is the hardest method of cooking fish.  With sticking a problem, fish can fall apart, so select a nice firm fish such as swordfish or use a grilling basket to hold the fish.  Sea foods are nice to grill.  Shrimp is easy in the shell and lobster is amazing.  The problem with grilling is the heat.  You need a med heat to cook fish, which is hard to accomplish on the grill.  Remember to remove the fish when it is slightly under-cooked to allow the residual heat to finish it off.  Tuna is nice on the grill (see the picture on the left).

 

 

 

8. Roasting – Roasting is the best way to cook a whole fish.  Place the fish on a roasting pan in a hot (450 deg) oven and cook until done, basting with hot oil or butter during the roasting process.  The fish is done when the skin easily peals off or the tip of a sharp knife can easily pierce to the bone.

 

 

 

 

9. Marinating (Ceviche) – Yes, this is a cooking method.  Marinating fish in a acidic liquid for a period of time actually cooks the flesh.  Because no heat is used, you should only try this method with very fresh fish and shell fish.  Cut the fish into small 1/4 -3/8 inch cubes and marinate in the refrigerator covered in vinegar, lime or lemon juice for 4 to 24 hours.  Combine with other flavors and serve.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy your new skills.  Let me know what you’re doing – Jughandle

Jughandle’s Oven Slow Roasted Pork Loin

 

Jughandle’s Pork Loin
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Jughandle’s Fat Farm
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 15 mins
Total time: 1 hour 25 mins
Serves: 10
Moist tender, melt in your mouth, slow roasted Pork Loin
Ingredients
  • One Pork 1/2 Loin
  • 4 T McCormick’s Lemon Pepper
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic- smashed (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat conventional oven to 235 deg F
  2. Wash and pat dry Pork Loin
  3. Rub Lemon Pepper over entire loin
  4. heat olive oil to smoke point in heavy pan or skillet
  5. add garlic to pan
  6. sear the loin quickly until brown on all sides
  7. put loin on roasting pan fat side up
  8. insert oven save temperature probe in largest part of loin
  9. put loin in oven and cook until internal temperature reads 129 deg F.
  10. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil
  11. Rest for at least 20 mins
  12. Internal temperature should now read over 140 deg F.
  13. Slice and eat while still warm.
Serving size: 6 oz Calories: 373.2 Fat: 17.7 g Saturated fat: 6.2 g Unsaturated fat: 9.6 g Carbohydrates: .1 g Sugar: 0 Fiber: 0 Protein: 50. g Cholestrol: 143.3 mg
Notes

This recipe assumes a 3-4 lb loin. Internal cooking temperature is the key to the success of this dish. Cooking to over 150 deg F will produce a dry flavorless piece of meat.

Caveman Steaks on the Grill

Caveman steaks take us back.  The other day we talked about how our bodies haven’t evolved as fast as our technology in the blog about “A Reversal on Carbs“. Here is a chance to step back to our caveman roots and cook a steak directly on the coals. Please use hardwood charcoal, not charcoal briquettes.

This recipe comes from Men’sHealth section on Guy Gourmet – Eat to Live, Live to Eat.

The recipe says that by cooking directly on the coals you will create a crispier crust and juicier steak.  This recipe calls for T-bones, but any grillable cut of meat will do.  Try the hellfire hot sauce for an extra kick.

 

First, make the caveman steaks.

What you’ll need:
4 T-Bone steaks (each about 1 1/2 inches thick and 12 to 14 ounces)
Coarse salt and cracked black peppercorns

How to make it:
1. Build a charcoal fire and rake the coals* into an even layer (leave the front third of the grill coal-free). When the coals glow orange, fan them with a newspaper to blow off any loose ash.
2. Generously season the steaks on both sides with salt and cracked pepper. Place the steaks directly on the embers about 2 inches apart. Grill the steaks until cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare, turning with tongs.
3. Using tongs, lift the steaks out of the fire, shaking each to dislodge any embers. Using a basting brush, brush off any loose ash and arrange the steaks on a platter. Cover the steaks loosely with aluminum foil and let them rest while you make the sauce.

Next, make the hellfire hot sauce. Don’t skip this. All you need is four ingredients and a cast iron skillet.

Hellfire Hot Sauce

What you’ll need:
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced crosswise
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¾ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

How to make it:
Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet directly on the embers, on the side of a gas grill, or on the stove. When the oil is hot, add the jalapenos, garlic, and cilantro. Cook the sauce over high heat until the jalapenos and garlic begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Immediately pour the sauce over the steaks and serve. Serves 4 hungry people.

*Raichlen says: “To get the full effect, you must cook the steaks on a bed of charcoal or wood embers. If you don’t own a charcoal grill, you should. But if you’re firmly wedded to propane, you can achieve acceptable results by preheating your grill screaming hot before you put on the steaks.”

 Jughandle says- Not many things better than a grilled steak and you’ll be getting a good dose of protein too.  Try a grilled sweet potato as a side or grilled vegetables, you’ll love it.

 

Baked Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Baked Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

click here for print version

INGREDIENTS
1 lb chicken breasts, boneless, cut into 4 oz portions
1 oz olive oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, cut in half then sliced thin
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, chopped, (not packed in oil)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock (home made if you’ve got it, low sodium if you don’t)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry.Place an ovenproof skillet over moderate heat. Once warm add oil. When the oil is hot, add half the onions to pan and place chicken in the pan with the onions.
Cook chicken for about 8 minutes or until it will release itself easily from the pan then flip to cook the other side. Continue to cook for 4 minutes.  Stir the onions to keep from burning.

Remove the chicken from the skillet. Set aside.

Place remaining onions and tomatoes over the caramelized onions in pan. Allow the onions and tomatoes to sweat in the pan for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat and add wine. With a spoon stir the pan to remove the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This deglazing technique will remove the flavor stuck to the bottom of the pan and release it to the vegetables.

Add chicken back to the skillet. Add stock just until the liquid level reaches halfway up the sides of the chicken. Add oregano and pepper to taste. Cover with tight fitting lid and place in oven. Bake 30 minutes.

Enjoy.