A bodacious healthy breakfast – quinoa and steel cut oats

My go to breakfast has been steel cut oats with fruit and nuts.  I shook it up just a tad, equal portions of steel cut oats and quinoa topped with mango, raw almonds and balsamic reduction.

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I love this balsamic reduction and it makes the quinoa/steel cut oats extra yummy.

Information

  • Equipment: Small pot with lid
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Course: Breakfast
  • Cuisine: American
  • Servings: 1
  • Author: Bodacious Grub

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/8 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup of water (to cook the grains)
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 1/8 cup raw almonds chopped
  • a nice drizzle of balsamic reduction

Instructions

  • Add the oats and quinoa to the water and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.  Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Once the grains are cooked, top them with mango, almonds and a good drizzle of the balsamic.

Bodacious breakfast, it’s all about the balsamic and grain combination.

Plus budget conscious, I found the balsamic at Grocery Outlet for $1.99.   Normally it sells for 10.99 a bottle. 

Don’t forget about Grocery Outlet, Bodacious Eating on a Budget.

Enjoy!

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Bodacious & Healthy Kale, Navy Bean and Linguica Sausage Soup

Yes another bargain and very healthy.  Bodacious Yes!

 

I picked up organic kale from the farm stand along with onions and potatoes, a single link of linguica sausage (from the local sausage maker) and some navy beans. I bet the whole pot of soup didn’t cost me more than $5 and I got 6 servings of caldo verde soup.

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Now this is Bodacious Eating on a budget and health conscious too boot.

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

Serendipity: Green Lipped Mussels – Thai Style

I went downtown to the Asian market to buy herbs and other food.  I found the best fresh food at the market including the most beautiful fresh galangal that I have ever seen.  It was so fresh.   Galangal is a rhizome of plants in the ginger family.  It’s culinary uses originated in Indonesia.  It is used in various Asian cuisines (Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese and throughout Indonesian cuisine).  While it is related to ginger it does not taste similar,  It is more like a combination of citrus, black pepper, cedar and ginger.  I love this stuff and I have never seen such a gorgeous selection of galangal.  It was very well priced too.

Fresh galangal
Fresh galangal

While I was shopping I ran into Melanie and she told me that there was a Songkran (Thai New Year) celebration happening in downtown San Jose, just 1 block from the market. It is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day from April 13 – April 15. So after I finished my shopping I packed my car with my goodies and wandered over to the street party.

Songkran
Songkran – Thai New Year

It was a beautiful sunny day with festivities and fun happening everyone.  There were tents and booths over a two block stretch. There was also a beauty pageant taking place at a stage at the end of one of the streets.  Another event that was taking place was a wrestling competition.  Can’t say I expected that.

As I walked through the festival I noticed people walking around with what appeared to be powder on their faces.  I asked someone about the significance of the powder on their faces.  A lovely young woman responded that a big part of the  celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water upon others. People roam the streets with containers of water or water guns. Also, many people  have bowls of beige colored powder and they mix it with water.  This paste  is then smeared on the faces and bodies of random people as a blessing for the new year. That’s what I saw everywhere, faces smeared with powdery paste.  After I asked, I thanked them and one of the guys squirted me with the water gun.  I laughed and said spray me more as it is hot.

After I finished my exploration of the That New Year celebration I came home and decided to make a mussel dish to celebrate the new year at home.  I had picked up the ingredients at the market earlier and thought how appropriate it would be to make Thai influenced green lipped mussels.  What a coincidence, go to the market to buy food, find out it is Thai New Year and then I make Thai green lipped mussels.  Serendipity for sure.

Songkran
Thai green lipped mussels in celebration of Songkran

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green lipped mussels (I used frozen green lippped mussels on the half shell as that is all I could find)
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 3/4 cup white wine (I used Austrian Gewurztraminer, an old one that I lost in the cellar, I wanted the foral aromatics of the Gewurtz)
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 14 oz can coconut cream
  • 1 1/2″ knob of fresh galangal (mine was about 1 1/2″ diameter) cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass – smashed to open up the fibers and cut into 2 ” lengths
  • 3 tsp green curry paste
  • 15 leaves of Thai basil
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tbl coconut oil

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a deep pot.
  2. Add onions and saute until softened
  3. Add curry paste and saute to extract the flavors
  4. Add white wine and continue to saute for a couple of minutes
  5. Add coconut cream, galangal, lemon grass, thai basil leaves, a handful of cilantro and bring to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes until thickened, reduced and until the flavors are incorporated.
  7. Add green lipped mussels and cook for 12-15 minutes or until done.
  8. Serve in a deep bowl with lots of liquid to soak up the juices, Garnish with fresh cilantro.  I topped mine with a mint/cilantro/basil pesto as well.
Yummy, all gone.
Yummy, all gone.

Lavender, Rose Soda Water – Bodaciously Delicious

It’s a gorgeous sunny April Sunday, threatening to hit 86 degrees, and I was picking through recipes and cookbooks as I often do on Sunday mornings.  Somehow I tripped upon a celery soda water recipe on the Internet and from there I was on the search for flavored soda waters and how to make them.   As I discovered many flavored soda waters start with a base of flavored simple syrup.  I found many flavors of soda water from celery soda water to lavender soda water.  I found something totally interesting and that was a recipe for Lavender Syrup (based on a recipe from The Girl and The Fig restaurant in Sonoma, CA).   I thought that would be an interesting place to start.

And so I started playing with the recipe and went from there. On my monthly pilgrimage to Costco I found coconut sugar and bought a bag of it.  I did want to change the lavender syrup recipe up as I didn’t want to use sugar but rather coconut sugar.   I have been using coconut oil these days for frying my food and coconut milk and coconut cream when I make Thai food.  So I thought coconut sugar must be healthy.  I bought it sight unseen and did my research when I got home.  Well coconut sugar is a powerhouse of nutrients too.

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Coconut sugar is made from the sugar blossoms of the coconut tree.  The one I bought is organic.  Information I found online indicated that it is a  natural sweetener and studies show promising results for people who suffer from conditions such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It has a low glycemic index: 35 which is 1/2 of the  GI of white table sugar of 68. It is filled with lots of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut sugar contains the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus and boron. It contains 12 of the B vitamins and 16 of the 20 amino acids.  It’s a health powerhouse.

The bud of the coconut tree flower is sliced to release the sap or coconut nectar.  The sap is boiled into a thick caramel.  It is dried into crystals.  It looks and tastes similar to brown sugar.

So I thought coconut sugar for the white sugar in the recipe that I found online.  I also reduced the amount of sugar in the syrup as I thought it was sweet enough (I reduced the water to sugar ratio to 2:1 instead of 1:1).  Once I made the syrup I let it cool and bottled it so I could use it to make Lavender, Rose Water Soda Water. I added 1 tablespoon of the syrup to 3/4 cup of soda water and garnished it with a sprig of mint for a refreshingly delicious drink on a hot Sunday afternoon.

syrupsoda

Ingredients for Lavender/Rose Water Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/8 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 1/8 cup rose water

Directions

  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil
  2. Add lavender flowers and rose water and simmer 10 minutes
  3. Let cool and strain into a clean jar or bottle

Yield: 200 ml or 13.5 tbl
Calories:  205 = 13 calories/tablespoon