Apple Cider Pork Chops Sous Vide

Last time I did double-cut, bone in pork chops sous vide it was the Jack Daniel's recipe fron chef James Briscione. This time, this one.

First step is big meat.

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Double cut, bone-in from Niman Ranch

The recipe is pretty easy

INGREDIENTS

For the pork chops:

  • 4 extra thick pork chops
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 2 apples, peeled and sliced

For the sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) hard apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole grain mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat SousVide Supreme to desired serving temperature 131F/55C.
  2. Lightly salt and pepper the pork chops and seal each individually in cooking pouches along with 2 thyme sprigs and 1 tbsp butter.
  3. Cook at 131F/55C for 12 hours.
  4. Remove the sous vide pork chops from their pouches, reserving the liquid. Quickly sear the pork chops on both sides in a pan over high heat, or on a grill. While the chops are searing finish the sauce.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of butter and the apples to a pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Cook the apples until the juices begin to brown and the apples are beginning to soften.
  7. Add the garlic, sugar, apple cider, cider vinegar, mustard and half of the reserved liquid to the apple mixture. Simmer.
  8. Spoon the sauce over the seared chops and serve.
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All dressed up with someplace to go

I didn't have time to go 12 hours, and I've had great luck with 140F, so that's what I did, for 8 hours. The other thing I did was to use all of the juice from the pouches.

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With mashed potatoes

It was excellent, and especially because pork goes really well with fruit. Sous vide is just so easy to do and I've yet to not have a good experience. I wrote this on Facebook the afternoon I made this.

Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven. The tradeoff with cooking sous vide is that, unlike some stew or crock slow cook dish, you smell nothing throughout the day. It's sealed in vacuum, submerged in water held to a precise temperature. You can't undercook if you go the minimum time. You can't overcook no matter if you have it 48 hours in (best for a brisket).

I have 4, pound and a half bone-in, double cut pork chops nearing 4 hour soak, 4 to go. I watched them cut it for me. I chose the "tenderloin" end, with the T-Bone-esque lean and tender idea in mind.

The Sous Vide method literally transforms proteins into various textures that can, at times, be like meat pudding you can eat with a spoon. We've done that with chicken. Salmon, too, is amazing.

Or, imagine a rare filet that's still rare because it never got more than a half degree over a rare internal temperature, but over time, proteins broke down into curious textures that are foreign to our pallet, accustomed only to fried, grilled or baked meat?

I still only grill ribeyes. The sous vide method is amazing, but I don't like my ribeyes as I like my filets, sushi, or seared ahi. Or, pork chops. Mike Eades told me when invited up to SF to share an SV lunch with him and Tim Ferriss for the kickoff with Heston Blumenthal, "I set out on this to find the perfect pork chop." Oh, my doG, what a success. I've had many guests that can get almost uncomfortably sexual in their relating of experience over eating a damn pork chop.

The point is, I smell nothing during the cooking.

I like to think all that "stink" is still in the meat.

~~~

Looks like the SVS has come down in price from that initial point of about $500 when it was released. Also, there's the Sous Vide Supreme Demi now. Or, for about $80 and a crock pot, you can do the poor man's version: Dorkfood Sous-Vide Temperature Controller (DSV).

The French “Smash” Sandwich

Back when I lived in Toulon, France in the early 90's I discovered a curious sort of sandwich popular in the southern region—always made-to-order in small, charming sidewalk stands. They call it sandwich américain. It's not only one kind, but rather a style, of which there are lots of variations.

My favorite was a ground beef patty on a baguette, SMASHED with shredded gruyère in your basic panini maker. Then, you open it back up, slather in the mayonnaise, and add the pomme frites (french fries). Other variations include using sausages, or not having cheese; using moutarde, or having various produce—just like a typical burger here. And, of course, it's not typically smashed when it has produce.

First you'll want to get your fries going. Twice fried, of course. Those are done in a mix of coconut oil and bacon drippings.

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Pomme Frites

Don't even bother unless you have access to something resembling a true French baguette. Here in San Jose and the Bay Area, Acme Bread Company is about the most authentic I've found, and both Whole Foods and Lunardi's carry it. Sweet, of course, not sourdough.

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Une Baguette

A convenient way to cook the patty is to just use the panini maker. It's done as soon as you see the first sign of drippings.

I added a bit of cheddar I had on hand to the gruyère in this case. 

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Time to smash it.

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Smash Sandwich

Then pull it back open, add the mayo and your fries. Note: it's often smashed with the fries as well as the cheese, but this is likely because the fries aren't hot right out of the fryer as were mine.

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C'est complètement fou, non?

Back in those days, at 30ya, I could easy down a whole one often, and I never added an ounce to my frame. Today, something like this is a rare treat, and I split it with Bea.

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Not Paleo Approved!

Sure, I can see being criticized for even putting stuff like this out there but you know what? You're going to have your indulgences now and then anyway. I'd rather you go get a quality loaf of bread, source some quality ingredients, fry whatever needs frying in good oils, and make it an overall better option than a fast food burger.

Next food post will be about Sous Vide pork chops; but after that, I'll show you a few other great options for a good baguette from Acme Bread Company.

Simple Infrared Grilled Chicken With Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Stock Reduction

Before I explain the meal and in particular, how I grilled it from raw, on high, without torching it, just a bit of blog admin.

The other day I explained that I had decided to revive the Free the Animal Facebook Page. That's gone well and I'm generally limiting posts to the general evolutionary diet, fitness, health realm. At the request of a reader, I've also created a separate page to serve as an outlet for my, uh, unbounded energy: The Daily Fucktard. Take a look and follow along if you like. A good amount of stuff I post is from fans who alert me to stupid shit. As you might imagine, endless supply. I'm having fun with it.

Here's the story of my Char-Broil TRU Infrared Urban Gas Grill. A few years back I purchased one of these and was very happy with it. I basically cook everything on high, because you can't get a flame up, but you can get some flame that quickly dissipates.

But there was a design flaw. The surface was pretty impossible to clean, and what was worse was that is was in about a dozen pieces and if they came apart, nightmare.

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Yuck
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From 30 total pieces to four

The top section for each half was 14 pieces of stainless steel, assembled via tabs & slots. Recently I was at one of the box stores and saw that they had redesigned it. Replaced those 14 pieces with a single cast iron grill surface and in addition, redesigned the single-piece lower section with larger holes and corrugation—in order to channel away the melted fat to reduce flame ups.

So I went online and found that they had the parts as a retrofit, so basically a new grill that works better than ever. Highly recommended.

Here's one of the reasons why. I'm sure that everyone has had the experience of BBQd chicken that's burnt to a crisp on the outside; cold, pink, raw and crunchy on the inside. So for years, the conventional way was to bake the chicken first for the dual-purpose of getting the inside cooked, as well as melting away some of the fat so as to reduce flame up.

So Friday I did a flex test. Cooked completely raw chicken on high the whole time.

Made some mashed potatoes too, and reduced 1/2 gallon of Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock to this much, for 4 servings:

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Deep chicken gravy

Do use the unsalted. If you don't, that much of a reduction will make it quite salty.

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Money shot - click for the larger hi-res version

Our friend Julie brought a nice salad with cheese and pecans, dressed with a home made honey dijon.

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She also brought dessert, which was fresh watermelon, cubed and tossed in salt and lime juice.

Last night I fired up the Sous Vide Supreme. I'll show you what went down with that soon.

Flexible Good Food Eating

Just a dump of photos of the sorts of things I've been eating mostly, lately. Nope: not particularly Paleo, not particularly low carb, not particularly high carb, not particularly high fat, not particularly low fat. Etc. It's not particularly anything at all.

Rather, at different times, places and circumstances, it's one or more of all of those because it's simply...omnivorous.

I will add that achieving the dietary flexibility to have highly satiating starches lately has virtually eliminated all desire or practice of going out and getting some crap sandwich or burger—or even Taco Bell.

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Chicken & Shrimp Pancit Bihon with Rice Noodles
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Leftover Pancit with Bacon Bits, Orange, Fresh Cabbage & Siracha
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Turkey & Swiss on Lightly Toasted Udi's Gluten Free White
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Classic Beefsteak Tomato & Mayo on Toasted Udi's Gluten Free White
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Leftover Corned Beef & Cabbage with Mustard & Horseradish Sauce on Udi's Gluten Free White
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Grilled Ribeye & Mashed Potatoes with Butter, and Salad Vinaigrette
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Sunny Up Eggs over Baked, Cooled & Wok Fried Potatoes in Juka's Red Palm Oil & Leaf Lard Refried Beans
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Over Easy Eggs, German Fried Potatoes and Medium Rare Fresh Ground Beef Patty at Gunther's
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Mom's Take on Classic Potato Salad with Hardboiled Eggs
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Thai Massaman Beef Curry, made on the fly with Russet Potatoes and TJ's pre-cooked Roast Beef
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Patty Melt with Swiss on Udi's Gluten Free White
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Deviled Eggs topped with Dungeness Crab at Dry Creek Grill
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Peruvian Seared Filet Mignon, Sautéed Onions, Peppers & Tomato in a Roasted Garlic & Chile Sauce. Served with Fried Fingerling Potato, Tacu Tacu, and Salsa Criolla at Ciano's Modern Latin Flavors
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Crispy Plantain and Taro Root Chips with Black Bean Hummus at Ciano's Modern Latin Flavors
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Organic Rotisserie Chicken Fettuccine with Leeks, King Trumpet Mushrooms, English Peas, Smoked Tomatoes, Applewood Smoked Bacon, and Shaved Parmesan at Dry Creek Grill

I saved that pasta dish for last because not only was it my last meal (last evening), but I wanted to relay how it went. Since doing all the stuff with Resistant Starch and the Soil-Based Probiotics, I've done a few experiments both in terms of blood glucose (reported here) and heartburn tolerance, since others have reported such improvements over time. A couple of weeks back, I had some pizza & beer, sure to give me heartburn. Nothing. This was test number two, a pasta dish, probably the worst in terms of getting heartburn. In addition, I had half of that deviled egg app and one Perfect Manhattan, stirred, not shaken.

I waited for the inevitable nuclear heartburn to arrive (especially in combo with hard liquor), but it never did. Does that mean I intend to go out and have pasta regularly? Nope, no need. Because, since things are flexible enough now, I can simply have gluten free pasta which I've found to be pretty damn good, and I can have a few sandwiches every week, also on gluten free. The bottom line? Since adding this degree of flexibility, I am far, far less likely to go anywhere and eat something cheap and crappy.

St. Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage

I've actually never made it before!

But yesterday, I went to TJs for a few things and they were sampling their own corned beef that's uncured, pre-cooked, all you have to do it warm it. Tasty, tender, reasonable list of ingredients, so I though 'what the hell?' I know nothing of St. Patrick, nor do I have the slightest interest; and moreover, corned beef and cabbage isn't even an Irish dish, it's more Jewish, actually (beef was cheaper than pork in the US at the time, cabbage cheaper than potatoes). But oh, what the hell.

So I picked up a package, along with some small taters and a head of cabbage...carrots being already in stock chez moi. A few hours in the crock pot with the potatoes and carrots, and a quart of my favorite, Kitchen Basics Real Beef Stock, then I put them on a platter in the oven at 170 to keep warm while I put the cabbage in the stock for 30 minutes.

Then, I added the cabbage to the platter and put it under the broiler to do some scorching while I reduced the stock by about 1/3 to intensify the flavor.

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In the past, the proportions would have been opposite. 2/3 of the plate would have been corned beef, the rest carrots and cabbage and I would have passed on the potatoes. But now, I like having exercised insulin sensitivity and consequent lower fasting blood glucose and post prandial, since for years being as afraid of carbs as a couch potato sizing up a staircase.

Sunday Starchy Breakfast: Beans, Potatoes, Eggs and a Side of Insulin Sensitivity

When It's not a morning smoothie of prebiotics and probiotics (see here for the recipe), this is now closer to the breakfasts Bea and I eat around here. It's taken a while to get used to eating this way rather than eggs, meat, maybe a piece of fruit. In spite of blogging now for a while about how I don't think very low carb diets are optimal long term, it has been really difficult to get out of the practice on average.

Beans with eggs are the bomb for breakfast, as well as other starches with meals. As such, both the wife and I have gone from fasting blood glucose numbers of 100-120 down to the 80s for her (80 this morning) and 90s for me (96 yesterday, didn't check today).

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Some cooked and cooled pinto beans from the fridge, refried with a little butter, half slice of swiss melted on top. The potatoes were leftover from baked potatoes last night (yep, we had potatoes last night, too—along with grilled pork steaks, haricot verts, and hollandaise sauce...all courtesy of our friends).

The potatoes were chilled in the fridge overnight, then I peeled them, chopped them into cubes and fried them in Red Palm Oil. If you've never used red palm oil, you don't know what you're missing. I use it often for frying potatoes and doing oven fries. Has a great flavor and is excellent as a condiment in terms of a dipping sauce or a salad dressing. Goes great on scrambled eggs. And, it's truly red. Those are russets, not yellows.

So anyway, that was my breakfast and Bea had just a little less starch, with one egg. Nothing else, we both drank water. At the 1hr point, I measured 149 and at the 2hr point, 129, and at 3 hours: 95. When I first got a meter and began paying attention, I'd sometimes see 160s. Probably, if you have physiologic insulin resistance brought on by chronic LC, as both Bea and I had, then you're going to have 10-20 points more on your prostpranidials, maybe more. I once hit a 194, and now haven't seen anything over 150 in a while.

Bea didn't test at 1 hr but at 2 hours she was 105. Interestingly, she tested 130 yesterday at 2 hours after eating half of a 4-egg omelet with cheese, some hash browns and a biscuit at a restaurant. Today's meal was a LOT more carbs, but they weren't grain based, not cooked in crap oils, and there's resistant starch and fiber.

Sometimes I wonder if VLC is a self fulfilling prophesy with folks in terms of BG. What I did, having an idea of what I was measuring, was to put away the meter and then start trying to get in starches almost every meal and then a couple of weeks later, picked it up and did some tests and found I had greatly improved across the board. Had I been like so many I see in comments, I would have never gotten that far, unwilling to go through the process, getting freaked out by "hi" readings that were actually caused by the self imposed insulin resistance I'd given myself—not from eating too many carbs, but by eating far too few.

So imagine this. Person goes LC, loses weight, gets on forums, everybody is talking about BG meters and how bad carbs are. It's like: "I can't eat any carbs other than non-starchy vegetables. I had an indulgence the other day of a few slices of pizza and my BG shot up to 160!" Person becomes concerned with all these anecdotes, goes gets a meter, confirms the exact same thing. Prophesy fulfilled. Welcome to the broken club.

And they're stuck, because everyone will tell them "see, you can't eat carbs. They'll make you diabetic!" And never is it considered that insulin sensitivity has been shot from chronic dietary starch and glucose starvation, and what people are seeing is not type 2 diabetes but ironically, a condition they've brought on themselves where the actual cure is in the very thing they believe to be the cause!

Frankly, I'd drop the BG meter for a month, drop the scale too, and get a daily average of 150-200g of carbs—not counting fiber—from rice, beans, potatoes, fruit, maybe even a little raw honey. Prepare those foods so as to maximize Resistant Starch, and consider supplementing as well. Then, after a month, see where your numbers are.

Thai Massaman Beef Curry “Stew”

Those who've been around for a long time probably remember that I have lots of uses for Massaman Curry Paste. You should be able to easily find it at any Asian market or grocery, or, Amazon has several brands. Aroy-D also has it (not in Amazon for some reason) but that's what I'm using now and can't tell a difference.

So here's a search link for all the stuff I've done with that paste. Here's a classic beef stew using it (no rice, typical peas, carrots, and potatoes...and tenderloin). How about wild kill elk? Hamburger Helper?

Massaman Meat Balls, anyone? Of course, if you're going to try that, then you must also try my Blue Cheese Meatballs, as well as the au Roquefort variation.

Ok, so let's do Thai Massaman Curry.

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Ingredients
  • About a pound or so of beef (stew meat is fine)
  • 2 TBS Massaman curry paste (+/- to taste)
  • 1 can coconut milk (not the "light" stuff; you'll make soup)
  • 1-2 cups beef stock, as needed
  • 1 yellow sweet potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 - 2/3 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted peanuts (preferred, but whatever you can get)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A dusting of the meat with cardamon (or 5 crushed pods)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 TBS Thai fish sauce
  • 2 TBS brown sugar

Preparation

  1. I do a slow cooker variation in order to get the meat tender. I don't bother browning the meat, just into the slow cooker, set to high, dust with cardamon, add curry paste, cinnamon, bay leaves, and brown sugar then add beef stock until just right at the level of the meat (don't cover the meat with stock, you'll have too much to reduce later). Cover the pot. In about 2 hours, your beef should be fork tender.
  2. IMG 2129
    Tender chunks of beef
  3. Strain the meat, remove the bay leaves and cinnamon, then set the broth to reduce in the wok while cooking your onion and peanuts. Let it get pretty thick.
  4. IMG 2130
    Reduce until thick
  5. Then add everything else in (coconut milk, fish sauce, carrots and potato), bring to a boil, reduce to light simmer for about 20 minutes while the carrot and potato get tender, but don't become mush. Important: this is where you want to test for flavor, adding more curry paste if you need.
  6. Serve it with rice on the side, and please don't put your curry over the rice. Jasmine is the go-to, but I use parboiled rice for its far lower glycemic index, cooked in chicken stock. Preferred eating method is with a tablespoon (the way Thai people do). The spoon serves as a knife to cut the meat and as a scoop for the rice and sauce.
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Go give it a try. I've been eating Massaman regularly, in any Thai restaurant I go to, and even off street carts in Thailand for over 20 years. I fist discovered it in 1989 at a restaurant name Beau Thai on Cannery Row in Monterey, CA (no longer there). It's my favorite Thai dish and I like a lot of them.

Channeling my Oma: Open Face Sandwiches

Growing up very near my Oma and Opa, the only sandwich she ever made me was a plate of sandwiches, all of them different. Always open faced, always from a loaf of French bread she sliced by hand. Always butter, never mayonnaise...some had various cold cuts, some had liverwurst, some had fresh sliced tomatoes on top of cold cuts or the latter, and some were just the tomato; some had thin slices of onion, some both, and all with black pepper. It was a cornucopia of delicious open-faced sandwich heaven.

I used to do it myself, but never in years. Now, with gluten free bread it's a cinch, and I feel absolutely great afterward. No heartburn, no coma. Plus, I'm very interested to know what levels of resistant starch might be in Udi's Gluten Free White Bread (given potato starch and tapioca flour as primary ingredients...and that it's frozen in distribution which ought form retrograde RS). I submitted a Q via their website, but typical fucking company: no response; not even a more typical bullshit response that begins and ends with "thank you for....and blablablablaBanalNoRealAnswer."

Fuck you, Udi's. You're lame. You're not paying attention to what matters, and particularly with a very legit sciency request, from someone who's been promoting your product to tens of thousands—and I even gave you the links to that, dumshits. Hope you go out of business and get supplanted by competent people. Don't put up a "Contact Us" link and invite inquiries unless you fucking intend to answer ever fucking contact, assholes. This was over six weeks ago.

...There, let's see if Google alerts can do its job and we can get an answer.

So, 4 slices for Bea & I, lightly toasted.

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Half with a Kerrygold "Fat Barrier," Half Aged Cheddar
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So that's a sliced round of liverwurst or low-sodium bologna from Shaller & Weber. I rarely have bacon anymore, but my mom & dad dog sat while Bea & I were in Santa Barbara for the weekend, and she left some in the fridge. Bam! 2 slices longitudinally sliced further, and nuked just right.

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Then some thin sliced celery and thin sliced onion, and you've got yourself a deal. T'was wonderful. Don't forget the liberal sprinkling of black pepper. No salt. Plenty in the food.

...My Oma's diminutive for my Opa was Liebchen.

Chicken Fried Rice, Filipino Sinangag (Garlic Fried Rice) Inspired

When living in Japan throughout the entire late 80's I travelled a lot to the Philippines and Thailand; and all I ever wanted for a breakfast was some sort of rice dish with egg. In the PI, that was sinangag, and in Thailand, plain white rice and a couple of fried eggs on top—with a side of a very hot watery green chili condiment to dribble on the thing. Don't know what it's called.

Coupla weeks ago in my Resistant Starch posts, a commenter originally from the PI found it difficult to contain his elation over being able to eat garlic fried rice, again. And that's when I remembered having it many times. First time, I made it kinda classic, only with yellow and not green onion, and I like to do the egg Japanese fried rice-style.

So good. The garlic is to sinangag what fine ground black pepper is to many of the Japanese fried rice dishes I had.

So last night, this was my chicken fried rice, sinangag inspired. Sometimes, I like to stage everything before I start cooking. Here's your list of 'griedients, in a pic.

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Ingredients
  • Rice from the fridge. Uncle Ben's Original, cooked in chicken stock. It's parboiled, which does two things. Since parboiled in the husk before drying and polishing, it takes on some of the nutrition and second, it has far more resistant starch as opposed to fast digesting starch. This gives it a glycemic index in the 30s instead of 100. Feed your gut bugs, get more nutrition (plus, cooking in chicken stock for even more), and no coma.
  • Leftover chicken from a rotisserie (3rd part of a meal from that one bird, and now, the carcass goes into chicken stock to make soup).
  • 1 slice of bacon, diced up.
  • Kerrygold grassfed butter.
  • Leftover lightly steamed carrots, diced.
  • Diced yellow onion.
  • Diced celery.
  • Two eggs.
  • Star of the show: 3 cloves of garlic hand chopped and diced. You want the bitty chunks. Do it by hand with patience and love.
  • Sea salt, ground black pepper, and soy sauce for the final seasonings.

First, a couple nice pats of butter in the wok, then the garlic, just until they just begin to smoke from toasting. Take it off the heat, remove the toasties to a bowl. Then, introduce the bacon into the same oil, doing it the same way. You'll get a bit more fat from the bacon.

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Bacon to the left of me, garlic to the right. Here I am.

This goes back in...at the very end.

I added just a touch more butter (individual thing: eyeball it), then in went the onion. Normally, I'd put in the onion, celery and carrot at the same time...but the celery was already a bit soft from the fridge, and the carrot had been pre-steamed. Soon as the onion was translucent, in went the celery for a while, then the chicken.

Next was to dump in the rice and carrot. Plus, a decent dusting of pepper, pinch or two of salt. Mix it all up well, then spread it over the wok to heat, on high, getting a little crunch on some of the rice. Then, egg time.

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Push the rice aside, make a wet scramble, then mix it all together until the egg is all cooked. At the very end, toss in your bacon and garlic bits, toss nicely, and then just "rain" some soy sauce on it lightly to finish.

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Two complete meals

Another, artsy-fartsy, depth-of-fieldish?

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Click for Bigger

Give it a shot. For breakfast, I want the classic: just garlic, onion and egg. But this makes a great dinner with a few more veggies and a bit more protein.

My Off The Cuff “Taquitos” as a Sunday Night Football Pizza Alternative

Just now. For two of us. Still two left!

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Just a silly idea. Not a lot in the fridge, didn't want to go to the store.

Chopped up carrot, pinto beans, rice cooked in chicken stock, some bacon bits, BLUE CHEESE CRUMBLES, and cheddar.

Mash it all up, roll 'em up in a corn tortilla. I fried them all in a wok...in pure, lily white leaf lard.