Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

We found some large, low-fat, high fiber wraps at HEB the other day, so last night I decided that I'd use them to make some grilled Buffalo chicken wraps. These are easy to make, delicious and nutritious. I first had them at a country club restaurant and thought, "well, I can do that!" So I did and I hope you do too.

Ingredients(Serves four)

2 chicken breasts
1 T Homemade spice mix
4 T Buffalo wing sauce(I prefer Frank's)
1/2 head shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato(diced)
4 low-fat, high fiber tortillas/wraps
4 T low-fat bleu cheese/ranch dressing


Season chicken breasts with homemade spice mix and grill on your BBQ on under a broiler until nicely cooked, but still juicy inside.

Warm up the tortillas/wraps. While they are warming, slice the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. When the tortillas/wraps are warm, spread 1 T of bleu cheese/ranch dressing onto each one. Add chicken pieces and drizzle 1 T Buffalo hot sauce over them. Add shredded lettuce and diced tomato. Tightly roll up the tortilla/wrap. Slice in half and enjoy. We like them with organic tortilla chips.

Enjoy and let me know in the comment section if you like the recipe, or not.

Be well. Eat well. Love well. Live long!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Surf 'n' Learn

Time for this week's installment of Surf 'N' Learn. I can just hear your brain gears clicking like a fine Swiss watch and know that nothing excites you more each week! So without further adieu, here are you weekly links.

Hold the Fries I'm all about trying to eat as healthy as possible, but I'm also an 'everything in moderation' kinda guy. Especially, for our armed services. "Yeah, you can die for your country, but you can't have a Whopper or watch a first-run movie." What a bunch of hooey!!

Eat Your Fiber You gotta take in at least three grams of fiber each day to have an effect on cholesterol levels.

Eight Foods You Should Eat Every Day From my favorite healthy eating website, Eat This, Not That. You should buy their books!(I receive no moolah nor do I have any affiliation with this site)

Be well. Eat well. Love well. Live Long!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tacos al Pastor

Sunday I smoked a four-pound pork shoulder for pulled pork sandwiches. The sandwiches were good with a mustard-based sauce on sesame seed buns. But, I have some left over pork shoulder. I normally make carnitas or tacos al pastor for the left overs, although the meat is wonderful cold in a sandwich with mayo and horseradish. YUMMY!!

Tonight, I made tacos al pastor. I eat them at a Mexican Restaurant here in Clear Lake and a taqueria in Pasadena. The name means "shepard-style tacos." The picture above shows them being served similar to Greek gyros. If'n yer interested, you can read all about them here. I searched for recipes and chopped and deleted what I didn't like I added what I thought would be some tasty additions.

What follows is my version of tacos al pastor. I used pork shoulder but you can also use tenderloin or chops. This should serve four comfortably.


2 t canola oil/homemade lard
1 pound cooked pork shoulder shredded/chopped(your choice)
1/2 t granulated garlic
1 1/2 t ground cumin
2 t chile powder(use my recipe)
S&P to taste
1 T vinegar
Juice 1/2-1 orange(to taste)
2 t chiles in adobo sauce(to taste...feelin' spicy, add more)
1/2 t brown sugar
1/4 c water for deglazing

Corn tortillas
Diced onion
Chopped cilantro
Salsa verde(recipe to follow at a later date)


Heat skillet to medium high and add oil/lard. Add pork and spices, and saute for approximately 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan(get the good bits(called fond off the bottom) with about 1/4 cup water. Reduce heat and add vinegar, chiles in adobo sauce and orange juice. Let simmer for another 5-8 minutes to absorb liquid.

Serve on warm corn tortillas with diced onion, cilantro and salsa verde. For an extra crunchy treat, crush some tortilla chips(baked, of course) into the tacos along with the meat and veggies) Enjoy!!

Be well. Eat well. Love well. Live long!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

When chefs begin to learn to...well, be chefs... a simple test of their skills is their ability to make fluffy and light scrambled eggs. Too often, scrambled eggs are hard and nasty, just like mine were for years. But then there was....wait for it........ The Egg Epiphany. And where did this happen, you ask? At Waffle House, of course.

The wife and I had a fun date night many moons ago and topped the evening off at said aforementioned establishment. And we sat near the counter. I love to watch short order cooks doin' they thang!! Those folks are amazing!

Anyhoo, I watched this man crack eggs into a milkshake container. You know the kind. The tall metal ones that were found in malt shops all over America. Well, after cracking, he put the container and made an egg shake, if you will. Although, I didn't see him add any milk or chocolate syrup.

So they next time I made scrambled eggs I tried the same thing, but not with a milkshake machine. I did mine with an immersion blender. You can use a regular blender too. They whipped up very fluffy. Yummy!! I do add milk and spice to mine.

The next step is how they're cooked once fluffed up with the blender. You need to be gentle, both with heat and with your spatula. Become one with the eggs. I describe the technique below.

Because we're health conscious but not, at the same time, askeered of eggs, we use half eggs and half egg whites.

Here's the low down.

Ingredients(per person)

2 eggs(or 1 egg and 1/4 c egg substitute, or 1/2 c egg it??)
1 T skim milk(use 2% if yer feelin' especially frisky)
Few shakes Everyday Shaker Spice Mix(see Kitchen Staples at right)
1 T light butter


Heat skillet to medium high for 5 minutes to fully heat the pan. Reduce the heat to just below medium and above medium low while you prepare the ingredients. Low and sloooooow. You'll thank me for this!!

While the pan heats, crack the eggs(on the counter, not over the edge of a bowl...keeps out the shells) and place into a tall container, if using an immersion blender or directly into a counter top blender. Add milk and seasoning. Turn on the blender and blend the eggs for a full minute. If you don't have a blender, use a whisk and blend vigorously for 2-3 minutes. You should have a very frothy mix.

Add the butter to the pan and when it's all melted, but hopefully not frothy, gently pour the eggs into the skillet and let them juuuuuust begin to set, while not disturbing them. Once that happens, gently stir the eggs in a circular fashion, preferably with a silicon spatula. This motion should be gentle lifting(called folding). Making larger and larger circles as you move outward. Tilt the pan to fill in the empty spots as you fold the eggs. Do not overwork the eggs! The goal is to maintain the fluffiness and creaminess.

Turn off the heat before you think the eggs are done and let the residual heat finishing cooking them. Gently slide your masterpiece onto a plate and enjoy! This process takes longer, but I promise that it's worth the effort.

If you want to add cheese, add it at the end and gently fold it into the eggs. The heat will melt the cheese. If you want to add veggies or meat, add them after blending/whisking and cook them along with the eggs.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Be well. Eat well. Love well. Live long!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Surf 'N' Learn

Time for this weeks installment of Surf 'N' Learn. These are websites chocked full of information on food, recipes and the like. ENJOY!

One Third of Breast Cancer Avoidable This story just illustrates how important what you put into your body is to what happens to your body!

Health law will make calorie counts hard to ignore Oh, the changes coming from the new health reform bill!!!

Cucumber Salsa This gives me an idea. I'm going to try my salsa verde with tomatillos and cucumbers!! Could be yummy!!

Be well. Eat well. Love well. Live long!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

My wife got a hankerin' for some homemade red beans and rice. I don't like beans, not even a little bit, 'cept for green beans and the occasional baked beans with BBQ. Anyhoo, I obliged and made her a batch, suffering through the smell and consistency whilst I made it. She said it was delicious, especially since I made it. Perhaps she's biased. I'm not quite sure, but I'll get back to you on that.

Red beans and rice is a Cajun dish that I'd not heard of until I moved to the Great Nation of Texas. Cajuns were/are amazing thrifty cooks, utilizing ingredients not used in other cultures. There is a strong French influence along with African influences in some dishes as well.

Red beans and rice is a staple comfort food in Cajun culture, as are gumbo, etouffee' and jambalaya. I'll post recipes for those dishes later. Cajun food is probably my favorite cuisine. Can I say 'cuisine' on here? Oh well, I'm feeling dangerous, so I will!

It's a simple dish to prepare. To wit:


1 pound red beans(soaked overnight, water changed frequently)
2 tsp oil(I prefer canola)
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1-3 cloves garlic diced(to your taste)
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, sliced(may substitute other sausage)
1 tsp Thyme
2 Bay leaves
1-2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper(more, if you're feeling frisky!)
Louisiana hot sauce (to taste)
Water/chicken stock
Cooked long grain rice


Saute the veggies over medium high heat until translucent or browned(your choice...I prefer the onions browned for caramelization). Add the garlic near the end of the saute', so it doesn't burn. Add the sliced sausage and cook for 2-3 minutes to release some of the fat. Now add the previously soaked red beans and the remaining ingredients. Add water/chicken stock(I use chicken stock) to cover the beans. Bring to a boil, cover pot(I use a cast iron Dutch oven) with lid, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 3 hours. When the beans start to soften, mash some of them in the pot to release flavor and thicken the broth. Do not let the water/chicken stock level get below bean level or the beans won't cook. Serve over rice.

And there you have it! And don't forget to add the sprig of fresh parsley from your garden like I did. the dish won't taste the same without it!{SARCASM ALERT}

Be well. Eat well. Love well. Live long!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Kitchen Tip

After a wonderful weekend camping I cam home to an email box full of stuff. Amongst all the "stuff" was an email from an old childhood friend with whom I recently reconnected on Facebook. He tells me that he is an avid reader of my food blog. Anyhoo, his name is John and he sent me a bunch of kitchen/home tips that he received from his wife, but there are some that I'm not familiar with so I thought I'd pass one on to you.

Here's one in particular that I found interesting, and thanks again, John!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Can anyone either confirm or deny this about peppers? I assume the green bell peppers are what's being addressed. Please leave a comment if'n ya know!

Be well, eat well, love well, live long!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Surf and Learn

Periodically, I'll post links to interesting websites where you can learn more about cooking, food, healthy eating and restaurants. Here's the first installment.

7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin Cooking Technique This installment from the Fine Cooking website shows you how to grill a perfect pork tenderloin every time. It also mentions brining, which is a technique I use quite often, after learning about it many moons ago. I'll post about this technique later.

Cinnamon and Sugar Metaboilsm It seems that some of the chemicals in cinnamon are beneficial in the metabolism of sugar in the human body. I learned this a while back and now try to eat cinnamon more and more. And what a great excuse to make homemade cinnamon rolls!! I have a great recipe for those!!

Processed Hot Dogs Possibly Linked to Leukemia I just read a study about this while back. It seems that some of the chemicals used to preserve processed meats(eg, hot dogs) have been linked to childhood leukemia. Just another reason to eat whole unprocessed foods as much as possible and avoid preservatives whenever you can. Homemade RULES!!

Be well, eat well, love well and live long!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Homemade Chile Powder

My son and I ground some fresh chuck roast into ground beef this morning so that he could cook burgers. He did and they were GREAT!!!! I was asking SWMBO what she wanted for dinner and she said, "how about chili?" Sounds good to me on one of the last cool nights until the unending summer arrives! So, I got a wild hair and decided to make some homemade chili powder.

I bought three packages of whole dried chiles; one pasilla, one cascabel and one New Mexico.

The first step is to de-stem and de-seed the chiles. I found that this worked best with a pair of kitchen scissors. So, I commenced to stemin' and seedin', wearing gloves, of course. THESE PUPPIES WILL BURN YOUR SKIN, SO WEAR GLOVES WHENEVER HANDLING THEM!!! Below is a picture of the processed chile peppers with all the seeds and stems removed.

The next step was to roast them to bring out more of the flavor. I popped them in a 300 degree oven, on a half sheet pan for about five minutes.

The smell in the kitchen was amazing!!! SCRATCH HERE FOR THE SMELL

Next step? Grind 'em up into a fine powder. I thought that this job would be best handled by my trusty KitchenAid(TM) food processor. I use that appliance more than any other small appliance in the kitchen.

So I moved the roasted chiles from the pan to the processor and ground. And ground. And ground, ground , ground, ground, ground!!!

But it never became a fine powder. Arrrgh!! What to do? "Ah, the coffee/spice grinder should work," I said aloud, marveling at my brilliance!{SARCASM ALERT}.

I transferred the chunky chile concoction to the grinder and voila', chile powder. Smells yummy and tastes even better.

You'll notice that I've spelled it chile powder and not chili powder. Chile powder is ground chiles. Chili powder is ground chiles with other spices, like garlic, pepper, paprika, cumin and oregano added. I prefer to add these other spices myself. Just for fun though, I added about a teaspoon of garlic and a teaspoon of oregano.

So there you have it! Homemade chile powder.

Fresh homemade chili for some fresh ground chuck chili tonight. I'll post my chili recipe another time. It's yummy, so they tell me.

Edit 3-21-10 The chili that I made with this new spice mix was amazing. Although, I'm sure the homemade beef stock and freshly ground lean chuck didn't hurt either!!

Be well, eat well, love well, live long!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Break Science Experiment

My 9-year old son and I are both on Spring Break this week. We had a wonderful day together and I topped it off tonight by having him perform a little science experiment. I put some heavy whipping cream in a bowl and had him commence to mixin' that cream with a hand held mixer.

He watched it gain volume and become whipped cream, as it moved through both soft and firm peak stages. I had him taste it as he went along and he really didn't like the whipped cream. No sugar, mind you. Not enjoyable for a young boy expecting whipped cream out of a can.

Anyhoo, he continued to mix and watched the whipped cream lose volume, turn a light shade of yellow and begin to develop a bit of milky white residue at the bottom of the bowl. The cream was turning into curds and whey. He whipped for a while longer, just like Devo and voila the cream turned to butter and the whey went wayward all over the counter.

We then took the butter curds out of the bowl and moved them to a strainer. I had him squish the butter between his fingers(after his mother made him wash his hands first, of course) and he squeezed out the last bit of buttermilk(whey) out.

We then heated up a piece of artisan bread that I'd made earlier in the day, spread on some butter and we had a snack fit for a king, or prince in my son's case.

Be well, eat well, love well & live long!
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