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A New Lifestyle A New Way of Eating

I’ve been on a health kick since the beginning of 2018, I want to shed all the extra weight.

I am eating super healthy (at least I think so) and not spending a lot of money.  Mostly I am eating a lot of fruit, vegetables, grains, beans and lentils.  Call it whole foods plant based with a bit of fish, eggs and meat (no dairy, no caffeine, and very little bread).

This was my latest find at Grocery Outlet, Autumn Lentil Blend, bargain at $2.99 for the entire bag, 2 pound bag.  I expect this will make a lot of soup this winter.

Lentil Blend for soup
Autumn Lentil Blend – This will make a lot of healthy soup this fall.

One can eat super healthy, inexpensively and lose weight too.

Bodacious Living for sure!

Celebrating A Lifestyle Change – Bodacious Food to Add to Your Diet

So I’m sitting here reflecting on the last 8 months and the first fifty pounds that I dropped.   Was it difficult, no, not really.   In fact it was fun.  I feel great.

I still have my indulgences like dinners out with friends drinking fantastic wine.

wine

Am I eating great, I think so.  I think I’m eating better than I have in the past.   What has changed for me?   I still go to the farmer’s market every week.   That’s one of the great pleasures in my life.  Wandering around on a Sunday morning looking at all the great fresh food in the farmer’s stalls.   Some organic, some not.   That could be a change?  I buy organic now (for the most part everything is organic).   I thought about the difference it makes in the budget, very little for me.  I only cook for myself and 1 person doesn’t eat a lot of food.  I now am very careful what I buy on a weekly basis.  In the past, if something was on sale I bought it resulting in a lot of food in the fridge that quite often went to waste.  Now I buy only what I can eat for the week.  Nothing more and only organic.

I also look for food that I haven’t tried.  This week it was rambutan.

Rambutan

Yummy.  Made a gorgeous bok choy and rambutan soup.

SoupRambutan1

I am into probiotics now.  That’s a big change for me.  Every week I rush to the store to buy raw goat and cow’s milk before it is sold out.  This stuff is gone in a matter of a day or two.   Then I make my kefir, about a batch every two or three days.  Kefir is so healthy for the body.   Only one problem, the grains multiply like crazy.  Soon I’ll be separating the grains and gifting them to a person in my Slow Foods Group.   That’s a good thing.

Kefirgrains

I have a morning smoothie made with 1 cup of fresh kefir.  The flavor varies with the fruit and veg that I have in the house, sometimes I use avocado, sometimes bananas, apples, pears.   Today it was cow milk kefir with avocado and apple.  Yesterday it was goat milk kefir with banana and pear.   So tasty.

I also made a 1/2 gallon of sauerkraut (cabbage, beet and caraway seeds).  That’s a lot of sauerkraut.  I started having a 1/4 cup with the midday and evening meal.  Also good for the digestion.   I think I’ll make a sauerkraut soup with some of it and mix in sausage and cider.

saurkraut

Sauerkraut1

Other than adding probiotics I also eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and for the most part no gluten.  None at all.  Have I missed it, not really.  In fact, I did slip and have a dessert at lunch a couple of weeks ago and my body felt it the next day.  I was super tired.   So no more gluten and desserts for a while.

I also am testing out the idea of eating the largest meal of the day at midday.  We’ll see how that goes.

What about the next six months?  So far it’s been great, so I am going to continue doing what I have been doing.

Continue with the exercise bike, perhaps step it up or maybe take it outside and enjoy the CA fall weather.

Add some swimming to the exercise regiment.

Make some sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut4

And most of all, ENJOY my journey to health and wellness, while creating and consuming bodacious healthy and tasty food.

SauerkrautKefir3,pg

What In The World Is Rambutan!!! Bok Choy with Rambutan

So I haven’t been writing much as I am on a quest to get healthy and make healthy food choices.   How can I make bodacious food and still eat healthy? I’m used to cooking with lots of flavors and yes lots of fat.  But if want to get healthy I need to make healthier food.

So this blog may shift for a while to be Bodacious Grub that is Bodaciously Healthy with Big Bold Bodacious Flavors. 

Yesterday I went to my local Vietnamese market to buy a few things and came home with a bag of this strange looking fruit, rambutan.

Rambutan

I was looking at a hairy red fruit that looks more like a work of art that was created by an artist rather than being grown.  They are native to Malaysia and Indonesia and are a common snack throughout Asia,

They have an odd hairy exterior that hides the smooth, sweet white fruit within. It can be easily peeled open by splitting the skin apart with your nails and spreading it back, much as one would peel an orange.

2004:07:29 18:06:23

The spines look sharp but are actually quite soft and bend back easily.

Rambutancleaned

I found the flavor of the rambutan to be similar to the lychee fruit, perhaps a tad more tart.  They are eaten as a snack and can also be muddled into cocktails or put into a tropical fruit salad.

The woman at the shop said they were very fresh.  So I wanted to take advantage of their freshness.  While I could have eaten them all  I wanted to also cook with them so I opted to add them to  baby bok choy and braise them at least that was my intent.  The finished product was more like a soup with bok choy, caramelized red onions, green peppers, hot red pepper, garlic and rambutan.  I topped it with fresh cilantro, sesame seeds and fresh rambutan.  It was fabulous, bodaciously bold and really healthy.

Braised Bok Choy with Rambutan

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 baby bok choy – split in half
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 10 fresh rambutan – reserve 1 for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 green pepper – diced
  • 1 hot red pepper – diced
  • 1 tbl sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro – chopped for garnish

Method:

  1. Heat oil in soup pan
  2. Add diced onion to pan.  Saute until softened
  3. Add diced green pepper and garlic and continue sauteing.
  4. Add bok choy to pan cut side down.
  5. Add chicken stock, rambutan and hot red pepper to the pan and cover.  Simmer until  bok choy is tender.
  6. Serve and garnish with sesame seeds, cilantro and fresh rambutan.

SoupRambutan

Bon Appetite!

Spanish Influenced Pig Trotter Split Pea Soup

Split Pea and Pigs' Feet Soup with Spanish Influence
Split Pea and Pigs’ Feet Soup with Spanish Influence

It was a nice summer day in California and I wanted to cook something interesting with some Duroc pigs’ feet that I had in the fridge. Duroc pork is an heritage variety of pork. I was talking to my mum recently about my Grandmother’s days in Holland and how they used to butcher a pig that would be used for the entire year. At that time they didn’t have a freezer so they canned a lot of the meat. We also spoke about eating the entire animal and not wasting any of the meat. I’ve been on that kick these days myself. I was at an Offal Even in Sacramento on Sunday and the food prepared was outstanding, all made from meat that is normally discarded.

After this event, I picked up some pigs’ feet as this is another cut of meat that many people don’t eat. The question was what was I going to do with it. I know some people sous vide the pigs’ feet, others braise it, I wanted to make pea soup and use the pigs’ feet to add extra flavor. I didn’t have white beans in the house, otherwise I may have made white bean soup with the pig’s feet. Oh well, next time.

Duroc Pork trotters
Duroc pig trotters

As for seasoning, I just seasoned the soup as I went along. I had picked up some pebrella at the Spanish Table in Berkeley so I started with that. Pebrella is a rare form of wild thyme indigenous to the area in Spain between Valencia and Alicante. It has a flavor that is reminiscent of savory, oregano and thyme all at once. Then I added some Chimayo Chile Powder (not quite Spanish, but it did come from New Mexico). Finally I added some Spanish paprika, some dried thyme and a bay leaf. It as my version of a Pig Trotter Split Pea Soup with a Spanish Influence. Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

2 pig’s feet – split (I used Duroc Pork trotters)
2 cups green split peas
6 cups water
1 tsp dried thyme
1 large bay leaf
1/4 tsp pebrella (Wild Spanish Thyme)
1/4 Chimayo chile powder
1/4 tsp Spanish paprika
3/4 tsp salt

1 large carrot diced
1 leek diced
1 stalk celery diced
1 tbl olive oil (I used Spanish olive oil)

Directions

1. Boil water, cover split beans in boiling water and soak for 2 hours
2. Drain split peas
3. Add split peas to dutch oven
4. Wash pigs’ feet
5. Add pigs’ feet to dutch oven
6. Cover split peas and pigs’ feet with water
7. Add bay leaf and thyme to dutch oven

duroc pork trotter and split pea soup
Duroc pork trotter and split pea soup

8. Bring water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, skim off any skim and simmer for 2 hours.
9. In another pan saute the carrot, leek and celery in olive oil.
9. Remove trotters (pigs’ feet), add seasonings and vegetables and continue to simmer for another hour.
10. After trotters have cooled removed meat from the bone and reserve meat.
11. Add meat back to pan. I didn’t have a lot of meat, perhaps 2 ounces from the 2 pigs’ feet. Mix meat through.

Garnish with your favorite yummy tidbits.

I garnished with Pickled Watermelon Rind and Chocolate Sea Salt.

Split Pea Pig Trotter Soup
Spanish Influenced Split Pea Pig Trotter Soup

Enjoy!

Bodacious Goatherd’s Pie – A New Take on Shepherd’s Pie

Yes it is summer and yes it is not exactly hot weather food.  But I wanted to make a shepherd’s pie and wanted to spin it differently.  Use goat instead of lamb.

Goat is a very healthy alternative to other red meat.  A 3-ounce serving of cooked ground goat meat contains about 120 calories, of which 75 percent comes from protein and the remaining 25 percent coming from fat, far less than beef or pork.  I bought my ground goat from a local farmer’s market.  The vendor raises the goat in Oregon and brings the meat down to the market.

This is the best ground goat I’ve had.  My friends who are not lovers of goat meat are skeptical of the taste.  They love it too.  Not gamey, just beautiful tasting meat.  Very little fat was rendered when I was cooking it up.  Very lean ground goat!

This recipe is an adaptation of a shepherd’s pie recipe that I got from my friend Nuala, an Irish gal who knows about Shepherd’s Pie.  I think the version made with goat is a very tasty alternative to the more traditional shepherd’s pie.  I hope you think so too!

Goatherd's Pie
Goatherd’s Pie – Bodacious Style

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground goat
  • 1 1/2c sliced mushrooms
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2c beef stock
  • 1 tbl worchestshire sauce
  • salt/black pepper
  • 4-6 large potatoes (yukon gold)
  • 1/4 cup hot milk
  • 2 tbl butter

Method

  1. In a large pan (I use a copper Mauveil pan) render fat from goat – drain off fat
  2. Remove goat from pan and add 1 tbl of fat back into the pan
  3. Add vegetables to fat
  4. Cook until soft
  5. Return goat, add flour and cook stirring for a minute
  6. Add stock, worchestshire sauce, salt pepper, bring to a boil
  7. Turn down the heat, simmer covered for 30 minutes
  8. While simmering make the mashed potatoes (with the quantity of potatoes, milk and butter listed above).  I like to put my potatoes through a potato ricer as I find I get a nice texture.
  9. Cool goat mixture before assembling
  10. Put goat mixture in individual serving dishes, top with mashed potatoes.  Or you may put in a larger baking dish, cooking time goes up a bit.
  11. Bake for at 400 degrees for 30 minutes

Remove from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

This recipe is easily doubled and freezes very well.

Little Chef Counter – Bodaciously Delicious

I love Little Chef Counter. It’s wonderful.

Little Chef Counter is a micro-bistro in San Jose, which specializes in Californian-French cuisine. They place an emphasis on seasonal and fresh ingredients. As the name says, it’s little, really little. Only 5 seats at the counter, 6 for their dinner series events.

These events are held every 1-2 months. Diners pay a fixed price for a multi course dinner. It’s simply wonderful to sit at the counter that to the chefs as they prepare the feast. The food is bought at the San Jose Farmer’s Market on Friday so it is fresh.

These guys are creative, fun and the dinner is not to be missed. I went to my first one on May 26, 2013. Wow it was a feast, I couldn’t move afterwards. Ultra fun night. The photos are below. Enjoy the feast for your eyes. I know it was a feast for my eyes and stomach. Can’t wait to go to the next one on July 28, 2103. Salut!

Menu_opt (2)

Caprese - Kumquat Marmalade with goat cheese toast point, Duxelles with Arugula puree, bacon
Caprese – Kumquat Marmalade with goat cheese toast point, Duxelles with Arugula puree, bacon
Asparagus amuse with beet relish
Asparagus amuse with beet relish
Potato gnocchi ravioli
Potato Gnocchi Ravioli = Ricotta cheese, braised kale, egg yolk and Parmesan broth
Warm Spinach Salad
Warm Spinach Salad. Bloomsdale spinach, pickled onions, cherry tomato & bacon vinaigrette
Pan-roasted Local Halibut - spring vegetable succotash, artichoke puree, grapefruit vinaigrette
Pan-roasted Local Halibut – spring vegetable succotash, artichoke puree, grapefruit vinaigrette
Tomato sauce braised Mary's Spring Game Hen - Fingerling potatoes, basil, balsamic gastrique
Tomato sauce braised Mary’s Spring Game Hen – Fingerling potatoes, basil, balsamic gastrique
Melon sorbet, mint, black pepper flakes
Melon sorbet, mint, black pepper flakes

Halibut and Heirlooms – Bodacious Summer Food

It’s been a beautiful summer so far. Perfect weather in sunny CA.

I had a fantastic week. Two dinners with two dear friends both who sent me home with fruits of their labor: heirloom tomatoes grown with care by my friend Dan and CA halibut caught by line by my friend Jon. Yes, CA halibut caught by line. Dan is the master of the tomato garden, I can honestly say I have not had better tomatoes than his. Jon is the master of the sea. Who catches halibut by line, this was a big one, 15 pounds.

I wanted to eat both the tomatoes and the halibut quickly to take advantage of the freshness of both. So why not combine them together and top the dish with lovely fresh made pesto (I used basil, thai basil and almonds (instead of pine nuts) and garlic.

My friend Robert suggested adding some ascorbic acid (grind a Vitamin C tablet with a mortar and pestle) to the pesto to prevent oxidation and help to keep it green, even after sitting a while. He said to make sure it is pure Vitamin C (e.g., no rose hips or other vitamins) and use about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. Briefly blanching and icing the basil will also help keep it really green.

It’s great to have foodie friends! Thanks guys!!!

Halibut and Heirloom
Halibut and Heirloom

I prepared the dish very simply, poached the halibut in water, with some white wine added, fresh parsley, thyme, cilantro and garlic. It poached for about 8 minutes. I removed the fish from the poaching liquid, patted it dry and then laid it down on the diced tomatoes and topped the dish with freshly made pesto.

Delicious, perfect for a summer dinner. So fresh and tasty.

The pesto didn’t overwhelm the fish but complimented the fish and tomatoes perfectly.

Enjoy!

It’s a Thing of Beauty – Hand Thrown Fermentation Crock

I’ve been on a health kick lately and learning more about the paleo diet and fermentation.  I know not exactly in the same vein.  But I like to learn about lots of stuff.

I was doing what I always do on Saturday mornings, learning more about food and all things food related.  This Saturday morning was no different except I was flipping through a book instead of starting on my computer.  I recently ordered a new book from Amazon:  The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the World by Sandor Ellix Katz and Michael Pollan

This book is the bible of fermentation.  A lot of information and I am hooked on learning more about fermentation.  But where to start.   In the middle of the book are beautiful photos and I hit one that caught my eye.  It was a photo of a fermentation crock made by a local potter in Berkeley, Sarah Kersten of Counter Culture Pottery.  These crocks are stunning!

Counter Culture Pottery
Counter Culture Pottery Fermentation Crock (photo Counter Culture Pottery)

This one is a Handcrafted Water-Seal Vegetable Fermentation Crock crafted for regular home use.  It is handmade on the wheel by Sarah who makes homemade fermented foods herself.   This crock has an unusual lid design that has its origins in ancient China.  You can read more about Sarah’s crocks on her website at Counter Culture Pottery.

I saw on her site that she just put 5 new crocks on her Etsy store so I wandered over to Etsy to check it out.  Only one left so I moved fast as it was the last one left at least for now.

Counter Culture Pottery Fermentation Crock
My New Fermentation Crock

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I am thrilled my new crock will arrive this week and I can now start exploring fermentation and the wonderful world of kim chi and sauerkraut and making these very healthy products in my lovely Counter Culture Pottery crock.

Fermentation Crock
It’s a thing of beauty