Friday, April 28, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Eight (day 8 menu)

 I'm going to try to start listing my ingredients and quantities. I weigh almost everything, and I've been keeping extensive notes over the course of this series, so feel free to ask if you'd like quantities or ingredients for anything I've posted in the past too.

This week I had an interesting task for prep, I made a huge vat of "Thai" pumpkin curry sauce for our dinner. This is a different recipe than I've used before, but we wanted to try something new, and it didn't disappoint. I say "Thai" in quotes because I cook a lot of Thai food, and this recipe does not really work up the same way I'm used to when making Thai style curry. Plus I'm pretty sure normally Thai food doesn't have bitters in it.

I regularly make my own broths out of leftover bones or veggies, and freeze them in 1 oz cubes. When I make broth, I do so without adding any salt or oil. This way when I add the broth to other recipes later, I have the option of adding salt or something flavorful and salty without having to worry about how much salt is already in my broth. If you are using a store-bought broth that contains salt or sodium, you will need to adjust the recipe.

Check out these broth ice cubes tho...

1 tb olive oil
1 large shallot (about 5 oz)
2 serrano chilies
1 tb minced garlic
1 tb minced ginger
1 tb minced basil
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can coconut milk (I like Chaokoh brand)
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tb fish sauce
2 tb brown sugar
1 tb Angostura bitters

Chop and sautee your shallot in the olive oil, stirring occasionally, until it's starting to caramelize and get translucent. Add your chopped serranos, ginger, and garlic, and sautee until fragrant. Then dump in the whole can of pumpkin, the whole can of coconut milk, the basil, and your broth. 

Once everything is incorporated, I like to blitz it a little with an immersion blender, but you could also transfer it to a regular blender. If you're going to use a regular blender don't put hot liquid in there, put your cans of liquid and your broth in, and then add the other ingredients from the pan.

After you've done your blending, season to taste with the remaining ingredients.

My recipe yielded 6 cups of sauce, at 1396 calories total, making each cup about 233 calories. These kind of sauces typically also freeze well, so you could make this ahead, freeze it in portions, and then thaw it to use as needed.

For breakfast I made a 1.5 egg omelet with what was left of my pork roll, some scallop mushrooms, and a bit of goat cheese.

Every other day, I cracked three eggs into a container, beat them a bit, and then used half to make that day's omelette and saved the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for the following day.

1.5 eggs
1.5 oz mushrooms
1 oz diced pork roll
.5 oz goat cheese
salt & pepper to taste

All the tasty stuff is hiding inside.

Omelette, coffee with sugar - 278 calories

For lunch, I decided to use some of the leftover pineapple rings from last week in place of the pineapple juice suggested with breakfast, and make a pear and pineapple salad. I figure if I'm going to eat a pear and some lettuce with cheese I might as well make it the most fabulous salad I can come up with.

1 oz spring mix lettuce
1 pineapple ring, chopped
1 oz pear, diced
1 oz gorgonzola cheese
1 oz pecans
1-2 tb dressing

3 tb olive oil
4 tb balsamic vinegar
4 tb maple syrup
1 tb yellow mustard
1 tb minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Dressing yields about 13 tb, each tb is about 48 calories

I ended up with about a tablespoon of dressing left in my bowl every day, so even though I'm counting two tb worth of calories it may actually be a bit less.

Salad & kombucha - 443 calories

For dinner we had chicken and carrots in pumpkin curry sauce with rice. 

To cook the chicken, put 1 cup of the sauce into a small sauce pan on low heat. Thinly slice the raw chicken breast and add it to the warm sauce, stirring until it's completely covered. Add a little water if needed to cover the chicken. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes. Serve over rice and steamed carrots, garnish with minced basil.

This picture is from the same day that I made the sauce, so I also garnished our plates with a few drips of the coconut milk that was left in the can after making the whole batch of sauce.

3-5 oz chicken breast
1/2 c curry sauce
1 medium carrot
1/2 c rice
1 tsp minced basil

Chicken curry with rice - 511 calories -- this is with up to 5 oz chicken, it's much less if you use less chicken.

Total day's calories - 1232

Next week is another weird fruit salad lunch... should be fun! Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week 7 (day 7 menu)

Weirdly, this week there was no prep needed for any of our meals.

For breakfast, instead of an orange, oatmeal, and toast, I'm having some similar stuff I already had around in the cabinets at home - Cream of Wheat with butter, maple, and raisins. This is one serving of the one minute Cream of Wheat, with 1/2 tb butter, 1 tb maple syrup, and 1 oz of raisins.

Cream of wheat, toppings, coffee with sugar - 316 calories.

For lunch things are about to get a little weird. The menu called for a bologna and butter sandwich, but that sounds awful to me. When I was shopping around thinking about a bologna alternative I happened upon a rarity in the deli case - Taylor Ham. I've never seen this stuff outside of New Jersey, and as far as weird lunch meats are concerned the nostalgia factor is high with this one, so I bought it. It's the most indulgent junk-food lunch I've had in ages.

It comes wrapped in plastic, and inside the plastic is a canvas tube which you peel back and then slice off pieces as you go. It's firm and easy to slice evenly. The slices are quite small in diameter.

The slices need to be cut a little so that they don't bubble up while you  sear them in a pan. No extra oils or anything are needed, and the bit of oil left behind from frying the ham is plenty to cook the egg in.

I cracked an egg into the pan after removing the ham, broke the yolk so it'd cook along with the white, and then added a piece of american cheese after flipping the egg once. American cheese is kind of nasty, and doesn't really qualify as cheese, but I think this is as close as I'll ever get to bologna and butter sandwich. This meal is so indulgent, I'm skipping the cake and salad.

I present my "pork roll, egg, and cheese" sliders with dill pickle - 430 calories

For dinner the menu listed steak, mushrooms, tomato, spinach, half a head of lettuce with vinegar, a slice of bread, and a half cup of pineapple and apple. I've made a few changes here because we still had a lot of broccoli left over from last week, and I couldn't imagine either of us eating half a head of lettuce with vinegar along with our dinner. This is 3 oz of NY strip steak, half an oz of maitake mushrooms, 4 oz of cherry tomatoes, and 8 oz of broccoli. The mushrooms and tomatoes were sauteed in a small frying pan with a spritz of oil. The tomatoes do a great job of adding a bit of extra liquid to the pan to make the cooking of the mushrooms easier with almost no oil.

Steak, mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli - 158 calories.

For dessert we continued with the baked apples from last week, but on Thursday it was pineapple upside-down cake day, so we had pineapple right-side-up apples instead. This is before they went into the oven, and they're probably the cutest thing I've cooked in ages. The pineapple and cherries add 52 calories to the baked apple recipe from last week.

Pineapple right-side-up apples - 323 calories.

Daily total calories - 1227

I've made it half way through the book now! Next week is pretty tame, but should be fun anyway. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Six (day 6 menu)

If you were wondering on Sunday who was cutting onions, it was me. For prep this week I broke down three large red onions and five bell peppers, made pasta salad, trimmed a bunch of chicken livers, and cried a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

Seriously it was a lot of onions and peppers... this is only about half.

For breakfast I thought I'd shake things up a bit and stray from my well loved poached egg and toast, so this week I had cloud egg, on toast with butter. I decided to skip the orange juice and just have coffee with sugar.

To make a cloud egg, you whip your single egg white with a pinch of salt until it forms stiff peaks, then pile it on parchment paper or a silpat. Make sure to make a little dent in the middle where your egg yolk will sit, but don't put the yolk in yet. First, bake the white at about 350 F for 3-5 minutes, then carefully drop the yolk into the dent you made and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until the yolk reaches your desired firmness and the white has started to brown a bit. For me I like the yolks a bit firmer here than I do with a poached egg.

This recipe is awesome if you gently fold in a bit of shredded cheese or some fresh herbs before baking the white, but I went with plain salt and pepper so that I could have the butter on my toast.

Cloud egg, toast with butter, coffee with sugar - 238 calories.

For lunch, the menu suggested turkey sandwich, but I think I'm developing a lettuce leaf habit so I decided instead I'd have some other stuff with my poultry. I had some more of that beautiful local pasta, so this time I put it together as a salad. This is fresh red wheat fusilli with baked herbed chicken, goat cheese, and red onion, served with a dill pickle sliced in quarters.

To make the salad I cooked the baked chicken breast just like in week 1, diced it up, added it to the pasta, cheese, and diced red onion, and seasoned with salt and pepper. It was pretty tasty but next time I'd use a bit less onion.

10 oz chicken, 14 oz pasta, 9 oz onion, and 5 oz cheese, the salad comes out to roughly 66 calories per oz. I'm having a 3.5 oz serving for lunch with my dill pickle.

Pasta salad and small dill pickle - 236 calories.

Dinner was supposed to be calf liver with onion, potato, broccoli, and bread, but I couldn't find calf liver anywhere so I went with chicken livers. I have always enjoyed chicken liver, even as a child, so this week was kind of a weird treat for me.

To prepare the liver, I dry it off with a paper towel before dry-frying it for 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat in a small skillet. Dry frying means there is no oil in the pan, not even spray, just pan and liver. I also let the liver rest for about 4 minutes after cooking.

The potato is one small russet potato, peeled, boiled, and then mashed with two tablespoons of milk and some salt and pepper. The broccoli is just steamed with some salt.

To make the "onions" I sauteed half a red onion and one whole red bell pepper in 1 tb of olive oil and 2 tsp sugar. When the onion and pepper slices are limp and translucent, add 2 tb of balsamic vinegar and cook until it starts to reduce and lose a bit of its sharpness, then add about 1 tb of chopped basil. Season with salt to taste, then serve. Makes 2-3 servings depending on the size of your veggies. In this case my recipe made 3 servings at 108 calories each. After I served the peppers and onions, I tossed my chicken livers in the sauce left in the pan before serving.

On this day I seasoned my oil a little by frying a couple garlic cloves in it before starting the onion mix, you can see one of the cloves at the top of my plate.

3 oz chicken liver, 1 cup steamed broccoli, potato, onions & peppers, garlic - 483 calories.

Now it's time for baked apple, and really I think it might always be time for baked apple. To make my baked apples I used honeycrisp apples. These were huge apples from Costco, the largest one weighed about 10 oz by itself. I tried to pick out some of the smaller ones but they were still 6-8 oz before coring.

When you core your apples for this, don't cut all the way through them. The idea is to trap the tasty stuff you're about to put in these apples so that it bakes into the flesh inside them, so you just want to scoop out the top and the part with the seeds, but leave the bottom of the apple intact. This would probably be easier with a melon baller, but I don't have one so I used a very sharp small knife (careful!) and a spoon to get the junk out.

After coring, stuff your apples with up to 1 tb sugar and then top with 1 tb butter. I cooked mine in a bread loaf pan, with about half a cup of water in the bottom.

Tent loosely with tin foil, so that it's not touching the tops of your apples, and bake at 375 F for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

This stuff is so delicious!

Once your apples are out of the oven, drain off the butter sludge into the pan liquid, and pour all of the liquid in the pan into a small saucepan with whatever spices you like on your apples. This is my favorite mix here, one cinnamon quill (this one is broken in half) and this mulling spice tea bag, but this would also be good using a chai tea or earl gray tea.

Simmer the spices and the apple liquid for a few minutes so that you infuse all that tasty flavor in there. For mine I let it simmer for about five minutes. Keep your apples covered while you do this so they cool a little but not too much.

After you've infused your liquid, remove the tea bag and spices, turn down the heat on the pan to low, and add 1 tb corn starch. Make a slurry with your corn starch and some water before you add it so that you don't get lumps, and make sure that your liquid isn't too hot while adding the slurry.

Stir until it thickens, usually just a minute or two, then remove from the heat and add some salt. Don't be afraid to be generous with the salt, it will help balance out all the sweetness. Think salted caramel, that's what we're going for.

Dump that stuff over your apples, and enjoy. Makes two servings.

Spiced salted caramel baked apple - 271 calories.

Total day's calories - 1228

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Five (day 5 menu)

This week was one I have been looking forward to more than most. For prep, I turned the rest of my grapefruits into juice, hard boiled some eggs, and prepped six trouts for baking.

Behold my terrifying and hilarious french cat apron. My boss brought this back from Paris for me as a gift a few years ago.

I don't spend as much time prepping trout as some people do, because I bake it with the bones in and remove them as I'm serving it. I feel like you get more fish that way, losing less of it to the knife when you try to take the bones out while it's raw.

For this week, I placed my cleaned trouts on a bed of parsley and spinach, stuffed the body cavity with garlic and shallots, salted the inside and out thoroughly, and then made them into neat little trout envelopes, stored in a bag in the fridge. I moved them to the freezer on Wednesday, and took one out to thaw in time for dinner each day after that.

For breakfast, the book called for two strips of bacon, 1/2 cup grapefruit juice, and dry toast. Instead I'm having one strip of bacon, an egg over-easy with Tapatio hot sauce, toast, and grapefruit drink, which is three tablespoons of grapefruit juice in 8 oz of sparkling water.

Bacon, egg, toast, grapefruit drink, coffee with sugar - 273 calories.

For lunch, the menu lists bread, boiled egg, lettuce, and cherry pie. Don't tell Domino sugar, but I'm not having any lettuce leaves this week.

Using one hard boiled egg per day, I added my mayo mustard mix, salt, pepper, and paprika, and made egg salad sandwich. Served with half a tomato with salt, and my homemade lemon rose jello fluff.

When I was a kid my mom used to make a "jello pie" which was several layers of whipped and unwhipped jello, so I thought I'd take a shot at whipped jello this week.

The jello fluff was made with two packets of gelatin, 1 cup lemon juice, 2 tb sugar, 1/2 tsp rose water, and 1 c water. I put it in the fridge to chill for about half an hour, then as it was starting to set I whipped it until it was frothy and then put it back in the fridge. It ends up separating a bit as the bubbles all rise to the top, so you get a thin layer of regular jello at the bottom and this fluffy whip at the top.

Lemon rosewater is one of my favorite drinks during the summer when it gets too warm out, and the flavor is no less refreshing when it's chilled jello whip.

Egg salad sandwich and tomato - 210 calories

Whipped jello snack - 65 calories

For dinner I got super lucky at the Saturday farmer's market. There is a local pasta artist who makes a variety of awesome fresh pastas from locally grown grains, and this week he had squid ink pasta on the table. The flavor is very neutral, and similar enough to regular pasta that Randy said if I hadn't told him what it was, he wouldn't have known it wasn't just regular pasta with food coloring. I personally think it has a bit of a savory flavor that's different from regular pasta and goes well with seafood, so we're having squid ink pasta instead of boiled potato.

I baked the trout, steamed the green beans, and then used the garlic and shallots from inside the trout to make a brown butter & lemon sauce for the pasta and cook down the cherry tomatoes a little bit.

4 oz baked rainbow trout, green beans with salt, squid ink pasta with tomatoes and sauce - 429 calories.

For pie, I was set on making my own filling, and it's not cherry season right now. Randy suggested strawberry rhubarb pie after seeing some rhubarb on the shelf at the store, even though he's never had it before and I've never made it before. This was also my first time attempting a lattice top pie, so I probably could have done better getting a golden crust on top but I think it turned out pretty well anyway.

The filling was 12 oz each of strawberries and rhubarb, set in a bowl with 1 cup sugar, 4 tb corn starch, 1 tb water, 1 tsp lemon juice, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp vanilla. I left the bowl in my fridge for a few hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until a good amount of liquid had come out of the fruits, then scooped the solids into the pie crust, and added just enough of the juice to fill the shell. Then I made a lattice over the top with a second pie crust, brushed with some egg white, and baked for about 40 minutes at 375 until the crust was golden.

The pie comes out to 170 calories per slice, probably a little less because I didn't end up using all of the top crust or the filling but I left them as part of the total anyway.

Total day's calories - 1147

Next week we have another liver dish on the menu... yummmm.

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