Thursday, September 04, 2014

Adventures in Cooking

Mangos and Basil Seed, yum!

Since I've been funemployed for the past few months, I've had a sneaking suspicion that the Boy has been trying to slowly condition me to be his personal chef.  While he doesn't usually buy books, he's bought at least three cookbooks and left them casually scattered around.

Don't get me wrong, I do love a cooking challenge every once in a while, but then the recipe calls for some ingredient that I don't have and so I just resort to something familiar (Nutmeg? How do you use nutmeg?).

Until I got this book: "The Real Meal Revolution"
They have a popular website as well, definitely check it out: The Real Meal Revolution

The recipes are pretty simple and the ingredients accessible (so far). I did have to substitute or alter the recipe here and there because I was too lazy to be exact, but so far everything has been pretty good!

Blueberry pancakes made with almond meal, ground coconut, eggs, milk, salt, baking soda, vanilla and, of course, blueberries. I put slices of cream cheese in between to make up for no syrup.

I had to tweak this recipe a bit as it asked for ricotta cheese (and they didn't sell any at my market) and I would want to tweak it again as it came out "okay" but a bit too coconutty for my taste. It did make me really full though without feeling totally comatosed.

*Bacon shortcut: I was in a rush and I hate how bacon oil spatters everywhere. Solution: microwave bacon for 1-3 minutes depending on your preference on crispiness. I know, it sounds lame, but it frees up the stovetop when you're cooking everything else!  Don't forget to cover it with something to prevent the spatter.

looove me a Greek salad but I don't always have all the ingredients. You know what makes that flavor I love, though? Olives and cheese.

In my case, I love goats cheese so that's what I crushed up on top. Squeeze those olives with their marinade oils all over the leaves, tomatoes, red onions and avocado (I'm California, avocado is in everything) and I'm a happy girl!

I tried making lamb kofta with tzatziki sauce but I had to substitute and make do without a some ingredients like...lamb and parsley.  What I ended up with was a spiced beef ball with tzatziki sauce, which was still delicious.  Basically, tzatziki with anything is awesome.

 This wasn't in the book, but one of my favorite experiments so far: Jerk Chicken with cauliflower rice.  This dish was great; I did a shortcut and just seasoned the chicken with jerk chicken spice but really enjoyed the "rice" dish as well. The rice included thyme, garlic, kidney beans and coconut milk which I cooked with the chopped up cauliflower.  A surprising success!

Cauliflower "rice"

Jamaican "rice"

Since we don't have an oven here, I've actually been experimenting with the AirFryer:
Pros: Cooks much faster, contains any oil splatter, makes things nice and crispy (like chicken skin, yum!)
Cons: Takes up counter space (precious here in Hong Kong), fills the kitchen with smoke/steam on certain items (chicken thighs), limited space inside (not sure it could fit a whole chicken).

I've actually enjoyed this idea of going no-carb and found that going back and eating rice/pasta is not as satisfying as I remember; I end up feeling very bloated and heavy feeling. But that just might be me. I still eat some carbs because I haven't kicked the habit yet.

As for buying the book, it's been a huge hit so it was a bit tricky to find; we could only find it here.

I think I'll continue my cooking experiments this week and avoid all social interactions...just kidding, kind of.

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