January 02, 2008

Lobster Flambee


This was the second lobster of the week - it was a big two pounder! Also, I killed it myself, and if you don't want pictures, don't click the link below! I cooked it according to a recipe on America's Test Kitchen (click the Flambeed Lobster link for video). Sadly, after a LOT of work and a 30 dollar bottle of bourbon, this lobster didn't taste all that good. I prefer it steamed from the store - which happily, is a lot easier too.

To the left is the lobster still alive, above the ingredients that it'll be cooked with!

Unlike the ATK recipe, I put my lobster in the freezer for about 15 minutes to knock it out before knifing it, so there weren't a lot of death throes as it was brutally knifed in half. This is actually supposed to be the most humane way to do it, unless you talk to PETA, who will be glad to recommend you go vegetarian. It was surprisingly difficult and exhilarating (I sorta pride myself on being rational) to kill the food that I was going to eat, and probably this was the most exciting part of the recipe - cuz it didn't taste that good.

And here's the finished dish, which looks pretty good (better than the one in the video at ATK, I think) but didn't taste all that great. I don't think I like the taste of bourbon. The flambee was impressive, though! Lotsa fire!

Posted by JAY at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2008

Scaling It Down: Week 1 (try 2)

So far so good: I lost about one and a half pounds in the past week.
I've been watching TV while jumping on the trampoline, so that's about 1-2 hours of jumping a day. The numbers are lower than before, because I've been weighing in the morning - the daily numbers are also more consistent. Also, it encourages me not to eat in the evenings before bed (well, not last night), because you see it on the scale in the morning!
Encouragingly, for the last 3 days, the scale has been calling me overweight instead of obese! It looks like the cut-off for obese for my age/gender is 25% fat.
DateWeight lbsBody Fat %Water %
Dec 29 171.6 25.2 54.1
Jan 5 170.0 24.7 54.4
Posted by JAY at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2008

Recipe: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Nothing beats this from a taste to trouble ratio - it's really, really easy and tastes really, really good. A combination of swiss and cheddar cheese gives a good balance of salt, flavour and texture. I made the bread yesterday and it was ideal for this - light and airy. A panini press or electric grill would probably do a good job too.

Ingredients:

Slices of bread
2 tbs butter, melted (add a tiny bit of salt if it's unsalted, till you can barely tasted it)
Swiss cheese sliced to cover
Cheddar cheese sliced to cover (use more swiss if you used salted butter)

Heat a grill pan over high heat until very hot, then turn down. (alternatively heat grill/press)

Brush melted butter lightly on the outside of the slices of bread.

Fill the inside (unbuttered side) with 3 layers of thinly sliced cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper (or chili flakes if you like hot stuff!).

Put it on the grill pan - it should sizzle lightly. Weight it down with a cake pan containing a can, to press it into the grill. Cook for about 4 minutes until there are good grill marks on the bread.

Flip with a spatula and replace the cake pan and weight. Grill until cheese is melted and grill marks are visible on the bread.

Posted by JAY at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2008

Sushi Feast

Jen and I had a feast right before the end of the holidays. Jen got a whole bunch of sushi delivered and I picked up a couple of lobsters on the way back from work. Everything was delicious and we finished almost everything! Naomi looked interested in the lobster but chickened out whenever we offered her any - Daddy's little girl, everything here would've totally grossed Dan out! Man, was it ever good!

I read Naomi a few stories before bedtime and tucked her in. She asked for Tyrone, a Backyardigan. I went to look for him and found a stuffed Pablo and Tasha (correction from Jen: NOT Uniqua), but no Tyrone. Jen told me later that they don't have Tyrone! Sigh! Naomi waited quietly while I was looking all over the house, but once we said goodnight she was a bit fussy.

Posted by JAY at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

Scaling It Down: Week 2

I was both good and bad this week.

My evenings have been awful... I've really been chowing down at all hours. The worst culprit is the cinnamon buns... mmm, cinnamon buns. I did give about 1/2 of them away, though, to parents and friends (Naomi liked just eating the sticky tops!). Over the course of the week I also went through a can of roasted cashews that the parents gave me.

On the bright side, I've been eating a low calorie breakfast each morning - a bit of bran flakes and skim milk - about 200 calories. Lunch is also pretty restrained, since there's limited amounts, whatever I carry to work. It's really just dinner where I'm bad.

I've been good with the exercise - I jump for 10 minutes or so before breakfast, and average about 1 hour per day on the trampoline. The night that I ate 4 cinnamon buns after dinner, I spent 2+ hours on the trampoline to try to make up for some of it. It seemed to work - I didn't gain any weight overnight (though I didn't lose any either).

So I lost 0.8lbs. Judging by the body fat percentages, that might be mostly water, but actually, this is the first week that's gone by where my body fat percentage has consistently been under 25% (averaging about 24), which means that my scale has been calling me overweight instead of obese! Yay!
DateWeight lbsBody Fat %Water %
Dec 29 171.6 25.2 54.1
Jan 5 170.0 24.7 54.4
Jan 12 169.2 24.7 54.3
Posted by JAY at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

Recipe: Caramel Bourbon Pudding

Mom and Dad came over for dinner today, we shared a single T-bone steak, some rice, mushrooms and carrots. However, I tried Nigella's Caramel Croissant Pudding and it was really good. However, it's noteworthy that on the Food Network site and other American sites, they incorrectly translate her 100g of sugar to 1 cup! Which would be way too much - double, actually, as 200g of sugar = 1 cup. I doubled the recipe and cooked it in an 8x2 inch cake pan. I put in 1 cup of sugar, correcting the amount, and it was still plenty sweet and very enjoyable. I might cut back just a tad on the bourbon next time though - it's pretty strong.

(doubled, cuz that's how I'm likely to make it!)
4 stale croissants (I just put fresh ones in the oven for a little)

200g caster sugar (1 cup)

4 tbsp water

1 cup double cream

1 cup full-fat milk

(I substituted half and half cream for both milk and cream)

4 tbsp bourbon (will reduce to 3 next time)

4 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350F (I used 325 with convection).

Tear up the croissants into pieces and put them into a buttered pan.

Put the water, then sugar, into a sauce pan that holds at least 3 cups. Do not stir, and boil until it turns deep amber.

Add cream and whisk till dissolved (it'll sputter). Add the milk and bourbon and keep whisking.

Add the eggs while whisking.

Pour over the croissants, let steep for 10 min, then bake for 20 min.

Posted by JAY at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2008

Mattamy - Buying a house!

So I visited the Mattamy trailer twice today, the first time with Jen and then later with Trev, Rucell and Riley. They've got a subdivision starting in Newmarket and it's close to where I live now.

So yeah, Trev and Rucell bought a house while I played with Riley :) Then Riley got really tired and cranky and conked out instantly in his dad's arms (mental note: baby crying = bored, tired, hungry, needs changing... eliminate each one!)

It's really nice. There was one that I liked too, but they're a bit out of my price range and I don't have a deposit. Anyway, I'm glad they'll be close by - almost neighbors! Well, when it closes next year, anyway.

Posted by JAY at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

Recipe: Bourbon Caramel Custard


So I took the Baked Custard recipe and the Croissant Pudding recipe and mashed them together and came up with this recipe, which I like better than either. The bad news? It's FULL of fat. Oh well! I've been using bourbon a lot lately, because I'm totally out of vanilla extract.

Yields 7, 7oz ramekins (reduce cream for 6... 7 fits in my pan!)

1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar

4+ cups cream (I used 10% half and half, might be better with some whipping cream)
3 tbs bourbon (optionally, substitute rum)
4 eggs, 4 yolks (next time, I'll try 3 eggs)

Put the water and then the sugar into a 5 cup sauce pan. Heat without stirring over medium heat until the sugar is bubbling and turned a dark amber color.

Turn off the heat and whisk in 2 cups of cream. The mixture will hiss and spurt. Keep whisking until any hardened caramel is dissolved.

Add bourbon and Let stand while doing the rest.

Put a large kettle/pot of water to boil (for a bain marie).
Preheat the oven to 300F.

Put all the eggs and yolks into an 8 cup measuring bowl that pours easily. Whisk in 1 cup of cream.

Once the oven is preheated and the water is boiling, gradually whisk the caramel cream mixture into the eggs.
Top up the custard mixture with cream till it's a total of about 5 cups (just over 4 cups if you have 6 ramekins).
Strain the mixture into the cool pan and then strain again back into the pouring bowl.
Fill the ramekins.

Line a pan that's capable of holding all the ramekins with a dish cloth.
Pour the boiling water into it.
Put the ramekins into the water and put into the oven. (you can ladle out water if there's too much as you put in the custards)

Bake for about 45 minutes or until barely set (a knife inserted will come out with solid bits of custard sticking to it, rather than liquid coating it).

Ideally, cool before serving - it'll taste much creamier. (I always eat 1 or 2 though...)

Posted by JAY at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2008

Scaling It Down: Week 3

It's been an odd week - I've been staying up late and getting very little sleep. I've also been eating late. Throughout the week, that's been affecting my morning weigh-ins, which have been climbing. However, last night I got a lot of sleep and didn't eat too late, and my numbers were very good. I lost about 1 lb this week, so I'm still on the half pound a week schedule.

Among other things that I'm doing to lose weight:
  • Drinking lots of skim milk - apparently dairy sourced calcium reduces the amount of fat that the body can absorb.
  • Eating breakfast - I bought a big package of Bran Flakes and eat them with the skim milk to try to kick start my metabolism in the morning. Lately, I've been adding berries to make it more palatable.
  • Trying to exercise a bit in the morning on the rebounder/mini-trampoline and doing about an hours worth of rebounding a day.
DateWeight lbsBody Fat %Water %
Dec 29 171.6 25.2 54.1
Jan 5 170.0 24.7 54.4
Jan 12 169.2 24.7 54.3
Jan 19 167.6 23.5 55.0
Posted by JAY at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

Caramel Pudding

I'm on a caramel streak. I made a caramel pudding, but I think I went waaaay too strong on the caramel, it's way too powerful! On the other hand, just a tiny bit is pretty satisfying. Thinking that I should probably use it as a sauce on other desserts - it tasted pretty good on blackberries.

Posted by JAY at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2008

Scaling It Down: Week 4

Ugh, I barely lost 0.6lbs this week. I'm not sleeping enough and I've been eating late. Although with the exception of one sushi buffet, my eating has been pretty good. Anyway, I still made my weight target and I'll try to be better next week! At least my body fat percentage is still dropping (at a slow crawl). On a day-to-day basis, the body fat percentage seems to be more steady than weight. I actually hit a percentage in the 22's this week (22.9, but still!).

ETA:
The other things that possibly slowed me down: My bags of skim milk ran out last weekend and I haven't gotten around to buying more. Thus, I haven't been getting the dairy calcium that's supposed to inhibit fat absorption, and I haven't been eating my bran flakes for breakfast. Double whammy!
DateWeight lbsBody Fat %Water %
Dec 29 171.6 25.2 54.1
Jan 5 170.0 24.7 54.4
Jan 12 169.2 24.7 54.3
Jan 19 167.6 23.5 55.0
Jan 26 167.0 23.1 55.3
Posted by JAY at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

Recipe: Tilapia in Ten Minutes


This was really, really good - and super fast! Tilapia fillets are on sale this week, so they were a yummy dinner. Baby spinach was also on sale, and I must say that having it there and prewashed is very, very convenient. The dressing is a simple one of brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. It's important to season the fish here, instead of seasoning the dredging flours... that way, you have control over how much seasoning the fish get.

Pan Fried Tilapia

Start a heavy (preferably cast iron) skillet preheating on the stove over medium high heat.

Season the filets with salt and pepper on both sides, being fairly generous.

Whisk together roughly equal parts of flour and corn starch - a few tablespoons of each should do.

Dredge the fish in the flour.

Pour enough oil in the pan to liberally coat the bottom after swirling. The oil should be shimmering slightly and the oil should move easily, but if there's any smoke wisps it's too hot - let it cool off a bit.

Shake any excess flour off the fish and put it into the pan. It should give a nice sizzle. Cook for about 3 minutes and then flip carefully with a spatula and cook for another 3 minutes or so till golden.

Posted by JAY at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)