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Monthly Archive for: ‘March, 2019’
Details of Thai Cooking – Jughandle’s Fat Farm

My previous posts on Thai cooking were an attempt to generate interest in what in reality is a very mysterious and complex cuisine.  I in no way intend to belittle or reduce this beautiful and ancient cuisine into a simple fast food that anyone can make on their first try with American ingredients.

No doubt many Thai dish recipes look simple and have few ingredients making them seem easy.  Yes, anyone can slap together even a complex recipe and possibly even manage an edible result.

But, but, but, are we really looking for “edible”?  Most food, even “fast food” is edible.  If we are going to take the time to learn an ancient cuisine in order to enjoy the depths, subtleties and nuances of amazing flavor profiles that can be achieved in a properly prepared Thai dish….  Shouldn’t we learn as much as we can about the process?  I think, YES!

The key to great, consistent, to-die-for, Thai food is two fold:

  1. High quality authentic ingredients.
  2. Flawless execution of preparatory technique

History

Think about it.  The bulk of all Thai food is prepared by street cooks that have been making the dishes for generations with local ingredients.  That is why Thai cooks can make it look so easy.

Pok Pok the Book

Pok Pok

By Andy Ricker and J J Goode

I have been fortunate enough to stumble upon  the writings of a man who has done the bulk of the leg work for us.  His name is Andy Ricker. His new book, Pok Pok, is the exact type of instructive cook book that one can learn from.  The detail and breath of explanation is astonishing.  I haven’t been able to put it down since it arrived.

The book has fabulous pictures of, not only the food, but the ingredients.  Mr. Ricker describes in detail, how the process works and what the food “should” taste like.

Pok Pok the Restaurant

Not only are Mr. Ricker’s details of Thai food preparation and results, fantastic, but how he arrived at this point makes a captivating story.  Mr. Ricker derives the name Pok Pok from the sound made by the mortar and pestle as the cook crushes and combines the meal’s ingredients.

The first Pok Pok was opened in Portland Oregon in 2005. There are now 7 Pok Pok restaurants, 2 Whiskey Soda Lounges and 1 Sen Yai, which recently closed.  It served mostly rice and noodle dishes and cocktails.

Sen Yai Noodles

Sen Yai Noodles

 

Yes, they are all dives and dive bars, even the one in New York.

Pok Pok NY

Pok Pok New York

But as this next picture shows, they are very popular…

Line to get in

Pok Pok New York line

The Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and Pestle

Granite Mortar and Pestle

I was wrong that the mortar and pestle could be replaced by a blender or food processor.  The blender or food processor cuts and slices the food while the Mortar and Pestle crushes the food releasing essential oils and liquids then blending them into one.  There is no substitution. – jughandle

Thai cooks use two different types of Mortar and Pestles. Granite and Clay.  The heavy granite one is used mainly for pounding ingredients into pastes.  The Clay mortar (also wood is acceptable) is deeper and cone shaped used to make the dishes such as papaya salad.  Andy Ricker’s book Pok Pok goes into great detail when to use which mortar, how to use them and what results you should achieve.

Essential Ingredients

Rice – Khao

The center piece of all meals is rice.  Usually jasmine or sticky rice.  The only exception would be meals served with noodles.

Rice has been the center of Thai cooking for centuries.  Even though the dishes don’t name rice, it is implied that rice will be there.  Rice is one of the balance points of each dish.  Remember that Thai cooking is all about balance.  The ying and yang, sweet and sour, hot and cold, soft and crunchy.  “Rice doesn’t provide a complement of flavor as much as it completes the flavor” – Andy Ricker.

 

 

Let’s get started Living better

Alright Fat Farmers, let’s get started living better by getting all the hoopla out of the way and start becoming more healthy today.  

We’re going to start slowly by making only two changes;

  1. Promise to eliminate all processed food.
  2. Eliminate any food that has more than 3 ingredients 

Long List

  • The ingredients list shows these things:
    • A list of what is used to make the product.
    • All ingredients must be listed in descending order by weight, including added water, on the side of the packaging intending to alerting the consumer of the health benefits in what they are eating.
When selecting a food and reading its ingredient label, pay special attention to the first 1-2 items listed. 
These items make up the bulk (largest percentage) of the food.
If unhealthy fats or sugars are listed first, don’t eat that food! 
 
The lists below will help in your decision making process:

 

Ingredients With Added Sugars:  Ingredients High in Saturated Fats and Trans Fats: 
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit Juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Brown Sugar
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Invert sugar
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Raw Sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Syrup?
  • Partly hydrogenated oils
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Coconut oil
  • Cocoa butter
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Palm oil
  • Meat Fat (pork, beef, poultry, etc.)
  • Cream
  • Whole-milk solids
  • Egg Yolks
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil 
Choose These Healthier Oils: Choose More Whole Grains:
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • 100% Whole Wheat
  • Whole Oats
  • Brown Rice
  • Bulgur
  • Graham flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grain corn
  • Whole rye



It Really shouldn’t be that hard.  How important is your health anyway?


Now, if you are really serious and aren’t going to look back, go to the pantry and either finish off (“waist” not, want not) or throw away all, yes ALL of the snack food you have lingering there (potato chips, crackers, chocolate bars, candy etc, etc).


Do it!!


We are going to have 3 or even 4 meals per day and at least 2 snacks in between.

You won’t starve, trust me.


Breakfast: 
Start the day by having eggs and bacon or sausage. Protein will fill you up and stick with you.  No toast today.  Orange or tomato juice or water and or coffee or tea.




Lunch:
Eat at Subway if you have one near by.  Have one of their salads or even a sandwich on wholewheat.  Get one of the ones rated around 500 calories.

 Drink water, not soda, especially not diet anything.



If you are hungry in between meals have an apple, tomato, celery, or even a pickle.

No carbs for snacks!




What we are shooting for is protein in the morning that will stick to your ribs and not turn to sugar quickly.  This should easily hold you until lunch if you don’t put sugar in your coffee.

A nice hardy lunch will maintain your energy until dinner.  If you are tired and hungry eat some fruit in between.

Low Carb Fruits



Can you see, this really isn’t that hard, you just have to want to.  We will get more adventurous in the near future.  Start simple, don’t cheat, please.  


If you find yourself cheating a lot, you really need more help than I can give you.

Either give up and stay fat, cheating your family out of having you around in the future, or get professional consulting.


Let me also explain that our goal is NOT to lose weight, but to be HEALTHY.  The weight loss will follow.

SUN DRIED TOMATO CHICKEN BAKE by Sarah Fargoso

Baked Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • A 1 lb chicken breast(0, boneless, cut into 4 oz portions
  • Olive oil- 1 oz
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped (if you use tomatoes packed in oil leave out the olive oil)
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • 3/4 c chicken stock
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry.
  3. Place an ovenproof skillet over moderate heat.
  4. Once warm add oil.
  5. When the oil is hot, add half the onions to pan
  6. Place chicken in the pan with the onions.
  7. Cook the chicken for about 8 minutes or until it will release itself easily from the pan
  8. Flip to cook the other side.
  9. Continue to cook for 4 minutes.
  10. Stir the onions to keep from burning.
  11. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Set aside.
  12. Place remaining onions and tomatoes over the caramelized onions in pan.
  13. Allow the onions and tomatoes to sweat in the pan for 3-4 minutes.
  14. Reduce heat and add wine.
  15. 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.
  16. Return the chicken to the skillet.
  17. Pour in stock just until the liquid level reaches halfway up the sides of the chicken.
  18. Add oregano and pepper to taste. Cover with tight fitting lid and place in oven. Bake 30 minutes.

SUN DRIED TOMATO CHICKEN BAKE by Sarah Fargoso



Dinner:
Try this recipe and let me know what you think.  You can have it with a simple salad and home made dressing or oil and vinegar (better yet, lemon and a little olive oil).  Drink water or the wine you cook with.  Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.




Baked Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

INGREDIENTS
1 lb chicken breasts, boneless, cut into 4 oz portions
1 oz olive oil
A 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.


No ice cream tonight.  Promise! – jughandle