Category Archives: protein

Flavorful Moo Shu Rolls

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Moo Shu Rolls are really fun to eat, and for anyone on a high protein low carb diet, this is an appetizer for you. We use lean meats so in order to make the dish taste good you will need to make sure you add plenty of spice and flavor, and use a slow cooker that soaks up all the good juices. Moo Shu Rolls are fun to eat and a satisfying balance of salty sweet. The meat is a little salty, and the bibb lettuce provides a sweet crunch.

This recipe was adapted from this Slow Cook It recipe book.

Moo Shu Roll Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground lean beef (7% fat or less)
1/2 ground turkey (original recipe calls for pork–feel free to use either)
1 large portobello mushroom cap, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
20 Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves
3 carrots, shredded
10 thin scallions, sliced
5 radishes thinly sliced

You will need a slow cooker for this recipe.

Moo Shu Roll Directions

1. Combine beef, mushroom, onion, and garlic in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Mix broth, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and five spice powder in small bowl; pour over beef mixture. Cover and cook until flavors are blended and sauce is slightly thickened, 4-5 hours or 8-10 hours on low.

2. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon beef mixture in center of each lettuce leaf. Top each with about 1 tablespoon carrots, 1 tablespoon scallion and 1 tablespoon radishes; roll up.

I served this dish with a dollop of smoky hot grain mustard and the Trader Joe’s aoli mustard. You also might want to add a yogurt based sauce.

Per serving (2 rolls) about 94 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 27 mg Chol, 144 mg Sod, 5 g carbs, 11 g Prot, 1 g Fiber.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

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Two weeks ago I was running around Lake Merritt and I smelled something amazing. A young man was eating chicken on the bench–and it wasn’t just chicken, it was Jamaican Jerk Chicken. The smell of that charred grilled chicken struck a chord with me. So much so that last night I made my own “rendition” of Jerk chicken.

There are quite a few recipes for Jerk chicken, and mine was probably a distant cousin of Jerk chicken, something made without dark rum (I didn’t have any in the house) but made with quite a few herbs–nothin too crazy or fancy. But enough to make a broiled chicken with a kick. I found this funny description of the origin of the name of Jerk chicken below.

The island of Jamaica is famous for its beautiful beaches, reggae music, Blue Mountain coffee, exotic fruits, and its cheerful people with their beautiful patois language. But, you haven’t tasted Jamaica until you’ve tried Jamaican Jerk, ya mon!

The term jerk is said to come from the word charqui, a Spanish term for jerked or dried meat, which eventually became jerky in English.

That being said, Jerk chicken is meant to be a little dry.

For my recipe, a variation of this traditional recipe, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup malt vinegar (or any rice vinegar)
  • 4 green onion tops, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • chicken for two (amount will vary according to your appetite). I make extra (four breasts so we have enough for lunch the next day).
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp barbecue sauce

Directions:

1. Clean your chickens and set them aside.
2. Put all ingredients in a bowl and place chicken breasts in the bowl.
3. Allow to sit in the fridge for 30 mins-overnight. The longer you allow the chickens to marinate, the softer and juicier the meat will be.
4. Put the oven on broil and when you are ready put your meat on foil in a heat safe pan of some kind.
5. Allow to cook for between 20 and 30 minutes depending on how cooked you like your meat.
6. Enjoy with some rice on the side.

Disclosure. My chicken lived up to its name, and when I opened the oven, it rolled off the rack onto the floor. What a jerk!


A Simple Steak

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I had a trainer this year named Lisa who not only kicked my butt in the weight room, she gave me some great tips on cooking.

Lisa taught me that a great piece of meat doesn’t need a lot of handling. The prep work is very simple. I didn’t realize that trainers ate steak (and a lot of other seemingly heavy meats). I was wrong!

A great steak is a very sexy thing to serve someone you care about. It’s steak–satisfying, sumptuous, hearty, juicy meat. I gave this recipe last week to my friend who is in law school–doesn’t have endless time–and was making dinner for her new man. Whether you are cooking for a date, your parents, your neighbor or your self, this steak is a crowd pleaser.

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Because I am an environmentally conscious-animal-loving-Jewish guilt ridden chef, I encourage you to buy meat that has some kind of stamp from an organization validating your purchase of an eco-friendly, fairly treated piece of meat. It matters.

Here is what you will need for your steak dinner for two:

Two big pieces filet mignon meat (leanest of the meats)
kosher salt
pepper
olive oil

Only four ingredients–not bad!

These are very easy steps, but pay attention. The timing has to be exact or the meat will be overcooked (or undercooked).

This is a science–and was inspired by direction from this SF Foodie.

1. Take meat out of fridge, wash with water, dry off with paper towel.
2. Pat down with thick grainy salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for 25 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
4. Put your cast iron pan–or any pan you have–in small oven at 500 degrees.
3. Leave pan in oven for ten minutes.
4. Take pan out of oven and put it on the stove on high heat. Put a touch of olive oil on the pan and fry steak 30 seconds on each side.
5. Put steaks in hot oven and time steaks so they cook for exactly two minutes on each side.
6. Take steaks out of oven and cover with foil so they finish cooking for two minutes.

I served this steak with soba noodles in a light peanut sauce. Soba noodles are very easy to cook and you can purchase them in the dairy section from any Whole Foods (they are made of buckwheat). You can serve steak with yam fries, salad or just some roasted vegetables. Nothing too heavy as your steak is the star of the show! Enjoy.

Good Ol’ American Dinner

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It’s summer and during these cool Oakland nights I like to indulge in something spicy and cool. My mom was always great at making meals with contrast and texture. Her creativity as an artist came from the same place as her notion of food.

If I had one theme across all of my cooking-it would be “intuitive” cooking. Trusting your instincts, using your own senses and your palate as a guide.

My mom was a chef cognizant of heat. If she made salty baked potatoes they were topped with some cool dairy product (the 90’s were the decade of “margarine.”

anecdotal fun fact:

In 1870 margarine was created by a Frenchman from Provence, France — Hippolyte Mège-Mouriez — in response to an offer by the Emperor Louis Napoleon III for the production of a satisfactory substitute for butter. To formulate his entry, Mège-Mouriez used margaric acid, a fatty acid component … and named because of the lustrous pearly drops that reminded him of the Greek word for pearl — margarites. From this word, Mège-Mouriez coined the name margarine for his invention that claimed the Emperor’s prize.

While my margarine enthusiasm is tongue and cheek, I am still an enthusiast for replacements.

Tonight we had egg potato salad with egg, lemon, dill and Greek yogurt instead of mayo. It’s a nice cool side next to a hot and spicy chicken dish.

For this summer side dish you will need:

1 and 1/2 lemons
two potatoes
five eggs
one cup fage 0% yogurt (or any Greek yogurt)
1 tsp dillweed
1 tsp kosher salt (or more-to taste)
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley (fresh if you can get it)
1 Tbsp basil (fresh)
2 Tbsp brown grain mustard (and any other mustards you have such as honey mustard and/or Aioli–same amount)

Boil potatoes (or create holes with a fork and cook in microwave for 8 mins. on high). Boil eggs. When eggs are ready–dig them out of water with a large spoon and wash with cool water. Take off shells. Chop potatoes and eggs and put in large bowl. Mix in all ingredients (sprinkle dill on last) and put in fridge. Serve cold.

Hot & spicy summer chicken breasts

This chicken is sumptuous and will melt in your mouth. It isn’t technical and is a crowd pleaser especially if you are cooking for men who sometimes prefer savory or tangy food. I used Lawry’s taco seasoning–something generally used on tacos but perfectly suitable for chicken.

Here is what you will need:

1 package free range chicken breast (about 5 breasts)
1 packet Lawry’s taco seasoning

1 tsp hot pepper sauce
olive oil spray for your foil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 lemon

Spray foil with olive oil spray. Put chicken breasts on foil (spread out so none are touching). Squeeze lemon over chickens. Rub chickens with Lawry’s seasoning. Sprinkle with hot pepper sauce and salt. Put in oven (smaller oven preferred) and broil so the top becomes crispy similar to a skin. Cook chicken for around 30 minutes and check chicken every eight minutes or so until chicken loses pink color on the inside (cut with knife to check).

Feed to someone you want to win over (even if that’s yourself)!

Not Your Grandma’s Loaf

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I can’t help but watch the show “Chopped” on my favorite channel The Food Network. The contestants are given a basket of surprise ingredients and must incorporate them into a gourmet dish for the judges.

This is not dissimilar to the way I cook dinner.

Step One: Blake opens fridge and scans shelves (days where the meal hasn’t been planned-I’m not always that organized about our meals)

Step Two: What are we in the mood for and how can we morph our ingredients into something we’re in the mood for? (actually my other kitchen patron is very easy going–he just eats what I put in front of him).

The loaf is always a crowd pleaser. It’s hearty and easy to make!

Our grandmothers pioneered this dish during the Ike [Eisenhower] Era. It’s the turkey-loaf. I like this meal because it’s very lean–a great source of protein when you come back from a long run or a good workout (or a long work day)!

I’m not a fan or proponent of a no-fat diet, but there’s virtually no fat in this dish–and it’s incredibly satiating.

Here’s what you will need:

1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper
1lb of extra lean turkey meat
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs (any kind)
2 table spoons barbecue sauce
generous amount of ketchup
Olive oil spray
Garlic salt
Basil/rosemary
Salt/pepper

Optional additions to spice up your loaf:

1/2 cup wet lentils (Trader Joe’s ready made–adds a lot of fiber)
2 tablespoons brown grain mustard (or yellow is great too)
1/2 cup of chicken broth (if you like a juicy meat)
Three stalks green onion
1/3 cup mushrooms
1/3 cup broccoli
1/3 cup salsa
1/3 cup pasta sauce

These are a lot of ingredients–you can add what you have in the house. The truth is the only things you truly need are the turkey meat, the eggs, bread crumbs, ketchup and herbs/spices. Use what you have in your fridge and pantry.

Directions:

1. Wash meat
2. Wash veggies and chop them into baby size bites
3. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl
4. Spray a loaf pan
5. Put mixture in pain
6. Brush ketchup on top
7. Set oven to broil so meat will be crispy and hard on top
8. Meat should be ready in around 30-40 minutes (monitor until meat is crispy on top and no sign of pink in the middle–test w/knife)

Enjoy with cottage cheese and tomato on top. Great for leftovers!

Here’s to you grandma!

My loaf depicted below.