Rib-eye steak, tots, and collards with corn. 3/2/21

Pan seared rib-eye steak, tater tots, collard greens and corn

This is the penultimate dinner of our vacation and I know that when we get home there will be no more butter, steaks, tater tots, and wine. I have really enjoyed the respite from being super careful about what I eat but I know that this fantasy world cannot continue. I have tried to balance things out somewhat with lots of exercise but I won’t be surprised to see a temporary gain of about 3 lbs. I have no doubt that I can be back to my goal weight in a week. The problem with most of us, though, is once we go on an eating bender we don’t put on the brakes after the vacation is over.

Since we do not have a grill here our son cooked the steaks in a frying pan using a new technique we saw on America’s Test Kitchen. You start the steaks in a dry cold pan, turn the heat to high, and flip the steak every two minutes. The fat renders slowly. After the first couple of flips turn the heat to medium and keep flipping until the steak is medium rare or how ever you like it. You are supposed to do this in a non-stick pan but since we don’t have one here we did add a little butter, thyme, and garlic to the pan and basted the steak. They turned out really well.

As far as the rest of the dinner was concerned, I made the collard greens with some garlic, onion, stem pieces, chiffonade of the leaves, and corn just sautéed for a few minutes. The tater tots cooked in the oven. It was another great dinner!

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Scallops ala Oak City Grill. 3/1/21

Among his many admirable abilities, our son is also a good cook. Since we are on vacation together currently he offered to make a special dinner. The whole family used to enjoy going out to the now defunct Oak City Grill in Menlo Park. My favorite dish was seared scallops in a beurre blanc sauce with mashed potatoes, braised leeks, asparagus, and mushrooms. This was the dish he recreated for us.

Seared scallops in a beurre bland sauce with braised leeks, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms

He made the dinner entirely with no help from us. It was super delicious. The scallops were just cooked through, the mashed potatoes were silky, the asparagus were just a little crisp, the leeks were meltingly good, and the beurre blanc was buttery and delicious. John offered to do the dishes so I spent my evening as a guest. Superb!

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All-American taco dinner. 2/28/21

In 2016 we were all threatened, much to our glee, with a taco truck on every corner if we voted for the wrong candidate. Tacos like hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza have become an American staple served weekly to our children, at sporting events, and at cookouts.  I suppose there are people in the very oldest generation who have not ever eaten a taco but they are probably few and far between.

Fish (halibut) taco, with spicy beans and rice plus tortilla chips

Halibut was looking best at the fish counter here in Southern Utah so it was our fish of choice. John cut it into batons, seasoned it, and pan-fried the pieces. I made the spicy beans and rice adding Rotel pulp into the beans and the liquid into the rice. I also made them tastier with cayenne pepper, cumin, cilantro, onions, bell pepper, and garlic. A diced and seasoned mango augmented the salsa. The corn tortillas were heated up in the oven. At the end of dinner there was not much left over!

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All-American dinner. 2/27/21

We went on a hike yesterday up the Huber Wash in Zion National Park. Although the round-trip is supposedly 4 miles, it was a difficult hike for me since the rock-strewn trail was tortuous for my fragile knee which does not take well to any sort of twisting. My Fitbit said I went over 4 miles and took 12,000 steps but I did not make it to the end of the trail due to large boulders that I was unable to scramble over. The John and our son went on ahead and I sat on a rock and waited for them as they went further down the trail. (Poor me!)

That being said, this is why I felt totally deserving of my all-American dinner of a hamburger on a ciabatta, tater tots, and salad. In my less exhausted mind I would have had a small burger, no roll, half a small baked potato, and the salad.

Hamburger on ciabatta, tater tots, and garden salad

Our son did a super job cooking the burgers to medium rare. I used some of the leftover fennel, onion, and red bell peppers to enliven our salad. And what can I say about tater tots other than that they were easy and yummy!

Sunday will be a recovery day for John and me. And I am planning something a little saner for dinner tomorrow night!

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Kenwood shrimp. 2/26/21

This shrimp recipe comes from the now-defunct Kenwood Grill in Sonoma Wine Country. It was a lovely place to sit and have lunch and a glass of wine. The shrimp dish recipe which  they were nice enough to give us  consists of shrimp in a white wine and Pernod cream sauce served over rice with brunoise vegetables. The recipe follows the picture.

Shrimp in a white wine and Pernod cream sauce with brunoise vegetables over rice

We are currently taking a little vacation so strict dietary standards are being waived.

Kenwood’s Shrimp in White Wine Pernod Sauce

The Mixture
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (if using canned add 1 tsp sugar)
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped fennel
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
1 cup white wine
1 clove minced garlic
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of oregano
2 bay leaves
Healthy pinch of saffron
Salt and cayenne to taste.

The Rest

2 tablespoons Pernod
1 cup heavy (double) cream
24 shrimp (31-40 count)
Fennel fronds or cilantro for garnish

The Method

Cook “the mixture” until nearly dry. Add 2 T Pernod and cook briefly to get rid of the alcohol. Add the cream. Add shrimp and continue to cook for 2 minutes (until done.)

Serve with rice and garnish with fennel fronds or cilantro.

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Fun Purim celebration. 2/25/21

We do not usually celebrate all the Jewish holidays but since we are still pretty isolated due to the pandemic, our daughter thought that finding occasions to celebrate and make new things was a worthy project.

The idea with Purim is that you read the Book of Esther from the Bible (Esther was a Jewish queen who outwitted the evil Haman and saved the Jewish people from destruction), give to charity, eat triangular food (the shape of Haman’s hat), and get a little tipsy.  Sounds perfect!

We started out with some crackers and hummus. Since Esther was Middle Eastern we figured this was a fine appetizer to have.

Rather than make our own triangular food we hit the frozen food aisle to try to find some already made items. We were actually hoping to find spanakopita but no luck. We ended up with samosas that were stuffed with chickpeas and a tamarind chutney and came with a delicious cilantro sauce. I am planning on using this new found sauce on many things in the future. The samosa manufacturer, Sukhi’s, was nice enough to put the recipe online. Recipe for cilantro sauce.

Sukhi’s chickpea samosas with cilantro sauce

Our next find were Buffalo chicken poppers which were triangular and spicy. These were fine although it was hard to find the chicken in them and were not nearly as good as the samosas.

Buffalo chicken poppers

Finally we had homemade hamantashen that our daughter made. They were wonderful! The cookie part was crisp and delicious, kind of a like a sugar cookie. The interior was a great prune jam that she also made.


The tipsy part we took care with a couple of bottles of wine. I realize that this dinner is way off my diet but here’s the thing. If you have a bad day or, in this case, a celebration, once in a while it is not the end of the world, or your diet. The next day you just go back to eating correctly and in about two days any weight you gained from your indiscretion will probably disappear. That is how you stay with your weight loss plan. You treat yourself like you would your best friend. Mentally say, “you had a great time. You know that you will totally be fine. You have not ruined everything. This is just part of the journey.”

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Sous vide chicken breast with roasted vegetables. 2/22/21

Sous vide chicken breast and roasted vegetables

Monday at our house is traditionally reserved for chicken. Especially when the kids were growing up they always knew that there would be some sort of chicken on Mondays. Often our daughter would be assigned to choose the spices for the chicken. One time she put on 17 different spices!

What with more plant-based cuisine and Meatless Mondays I have gotten away from Chicken Monday. Whenever we do have it, the meal is comforting. John is in charge of the chicken now and likes to sous vide it. The chicken comes out moist and delicious. I had a bunch of vegetables that needed using up so I roasted them in the oven. I started the potatoes ahead of the other veg by 10 minutes and in a 425F oven and everything was done in 20 minutes.

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Penne with kale and mushroom. 2/23/21

Whole grain penne with kale and mushrooms

I was just mentioning to John this morning that pasta seems to go with everything. I had never made it with kale before but it worked out perfectly. I especially liked the flavor of the whole grain penne with the bitterness of the kale. Plus this dinner is healthy and quick and easy to make.

While the salted water for the pasta heated up I cut up the mushrooms and onions. John took care of slicing the garlic. I sprayed a pan with olive oil spray and sautéed the mushrooms, then added the onions, and finally the garlic. I also threw in the tough stems from the kale. John dropped the penne into the water and I added some vegetable broth and the kale to my pan. The pasta finished, John drained it, and dumped the penne into the kale/mushroom mixture. I added a little more broth and a teaspoon of olive oil, stirred it around over heat for a minute or two, and it was done.

This was a delicious dinner and I am feeling no guilt for having had a filling vegan pasta dish!

Posted in Easy, Healthy tips, Italian, Kitchen tips, Pasta, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , | Leave a comment

BFD – Eggs with pinto beans and kale. 2/21/21

Note: There is no Menu for the Week this week. Daily posts will go on as usual.

Scrambled eggs on a bed of pinto beans, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes over raw kale

Each Sunday I try to do something a little different with my Breakfast For Dinner. For this week’s BFD I sautéed some mushrooms, onions, and cherry tomatoes and combined them with pinto beans. To make it even more exciting I flavored it with the rest of the adobo sauce we made last week. I poured this combo hot from the pan over the kale to wilt it a bit. Then I scrambled up two eggs to complete my BFD for this week.

In other exciting culinary news, John made his usual omelet for at least the 50th Sunday in a row!

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LFD – Dal soup with additional veg. 2/20/21

Dal soup with mushrooms, spinach, and cabbage

For Leftovers For Dinner I sautéed some mushrooms, cabbage, and kale stems and then added them to the split chickpeas and split pigeon peas stew. I added more broth to it to make it soupier. It seemed to be lacking acid and I also had leftover sauce from the adobo so I put some of that in as well. What ended up was an interesting and complex soup that we were able to stretch to two bowls a piece. Taking an already economical meal and adding probably less than $1 worth of ingredients to make a second meal makes me happy! Waste not, want not!

Posted in American, Easy, Filipino, Indian, Kitchen tips, leftovers, Leftovers For Dinner, Legumes, Mediterranean, soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , | Leave a comment