Archive for March 2013

Beefing up my iron levels

leave a comment »

I made a weird but more-ish dish the other day because I was scheduled to give blood and have had slightly low iron several times in the past and been unable to donate–I figured I’d eat some good red meat the night before and try to bump my blood iron levels back up.

Put a little oil in a skillet and brown a package of ground beef on medium heat, breaking it up into crumbles with a spatula. Chop up 1 bunch of scallions and cook them in the oil from the ground beef until they are soft and starting to turn brown. Add a small amount of Szechuan peppercorns (I overdid it–probably 1/4 tsp would be enough), hot red chili pepper flakes, soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Add a spoonful of pine nuts and let them toast in the pan. Drizzle toasted sesame oil over the top, then chop fresh cilantro and stir it in.

In the meantime, stab a spaghetti squash a few times Norman Bates-style and microwave for 15 minutes. 

De-seed the spaghetti squash and add the shredded “spaghetti” to the skillet. Stir everything around together. Eat.

It worked like a charm. Iron level needed to be 12.1, and this time I was at 13.5. Also, I think those green smoothies are doing wonders (though it might be the yoga)–my blood pressure normally hovers around 120 over 80, and has been there for years; this time it was 98 over 68. 


Written by orata

March 25, 2013 at 7:53 pm

turkeyherd’s pie

leave a comment »

I made a shepherd’s pie for St. Paddy’s last night–at least, if shepherds herded turkeys.

Peel and dice about 4 or 5 Yukon Gold potatoes. Cover with cold water, add a dash of salt, and boil till tender. Drain, return to the pot, and mash with a couple Tbsp each of sour cream and butter. Add chopped scallions, fresh parsley, and ground pepper.

In the meantime, in a large cast-iron skillet:

Saute 1 diced onion, 2 ribs celery (diced), 2 carrots (diced) in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Add 4 cloves garlic, minced, and cook for a minute. Add 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded, and 1 cup water. Cook, uncovered, until the cabbage is tender. Add 1 package (1 1/2 lbs) ground turkey, about 2 Tbsp tomato paste, dried oregano, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, generous splashes of Worcestershire and soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of cold water, and smash everything up together with a spatula. Cook until the turkey is cooked through and the water is mostly evaporated. Stir in chopped fresh parsley and scallions.

Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture in the skillet and spread it out evenly, as much as possible. Broil for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are slightly brown and crusty.

Written by orata

March 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

pie and potatoes

leave a comment »

Ate some delicious lavender honey ice cream at Sylvie’s today.

Made a very runny pie for bandmates in a mixing session the other night:

1 1/4 c flour



1 stick butter

1/4 cup water

make crust the standard way; blind-bake (weighted) at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, taking the weights out partway through.

Puree together:

1 package extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)

1/8 cup sugar

a splash of vanilla

a splash of almond extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

a couple Tbsp chunky peanut butter

1 tsp cornstarch

approx 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

Fill pie, eat runny, self-healing mess.

Also made Greek potatoes for book club today (we read A Visit from the Goon Squad and also enjoyed spanakopita and a tasty salad of corn, red onions, cucumbers, and red bell peppers, dressed with a sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing):

Cut up a bunch of Yukon Gold potatoes, skin-on.

Mince 4 cloves garlic.

Mix the potatoes and garlic with about 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup olive oil, a dash of smoked paprika, a couple tsp dried oregano, salt, and pepper.

Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a Silpat.

Roast at 450 degrees for about an hour (until the water has evaporated and the potatoes are brown and crusty)

Toss with chopped fresh parsley, juice from 1/2 lemon, and about 1/4 block crumbled feta cheese. (I also added some crumbled leftover turnip green chips I had because they were really oversalted and I wanted to use them up as a seasoning.)


edit: here is the corn salad recipe:

1 bag of frozen corn boiled for a few minutes and then cooled to room temp
1 can of garbanzo beans rinsed in water
1 bell pepper chopped
1 bunch of green onions chopped
1 cucumber chopped
1 red onion chopped
feta cheese
combine all of these ingredients
sesame oil
rice vinegar
Stir it all together!

Written by orata

March 17, 2013 at 1:04 am

Reddit Pernil, green smoothies

leave a comment »

I’ve been making lots of delicious green smoothies and feeling pretty virtuous:

Take about half a bunch of greens–kale or collard greens seem to taste the best–rinse, remove stems, and tear up leaves into Magic Bullet cup until it’s about 3/4 full. (I used parsley and spinach the other day and it was much too green-tasting.) Pour in a splash of water or vanilla soy creamer. Put in a couple of Tbsp of nonfat Greek yogurt. Add 6-8 frozen strawberries or 1/2 frozen banana (I’ve been using up my freezerburned banana pops with the chocolate coating, but have also frozen some plain, peeled, halved bananas for this purpose). I had some packets of frozen calamansi juice and used those up as well (1-2 per smoothie). Screw on top, blend for a few minutes, drink resulting scary green mixture. This is under 150 calories, if my calorie tracker is to be trusted, and full of raw, fibery fruits and vegetables along with protein and calcium from the yogurt.

I also used this recipe as a guide for making some meat the other day.

Original recipe:

Take a lesson from the Puerto Ricans. Millions of us have managed to survive in one of the most expensive cities on earth with recipes like this:

Find a supermarket that has black beans on sale. Buy as much as you can. Then buy 5 or so pounds of Carolina rice, a bag of onions, a few bulbs of garlic, and a box of Goya Sazon.

Set 2 cups of water to boil

Dick around on reddit until the water is boiling

Throw in one cup of rice, turn the heat down to simmer and lid that shit

Slice up a small onion

Smash up a clove of garlic

Throw some olive oil or butter into a HOT pan.

Throw the onions and garlic into the pan and fry them till the onion gets glassy. Throw some salt in there.

Grind some pepper in there for good luck.

Toss in half a packet of Sazon and stir till you get a paste. Now you have a ghetto sofrito.

Dump in your can of beans bean juice and all.

Stir that shit up.

Add a pinch of Cayenne pepper so you remember that you have a set of cojones

Set that shit on simmer

Your rice is done.

Throw the beans on top.


You should get at least 2 meals out of one can of beans, and if your lucky you can get black beans 2 for $1. Adding the cost of the Garlic, Sazon and a small onion and you still eat a tasty, hearty, relatively healthy meal for less than $1.

Now. You are a growing lad. You need MEAT

OK, first of all, fuck eating lips and assholes. There is a much, much tastier option that has kept millions of starving boriquas alive for generations: PORK SHOULDER.

In my neighborhood in Brooklyn, Pork shoulder is 79 cents a pound. That’s right. 79 cents. A package of hot dogs at $2.50 is more than double the price and has offal and all sorts of vile shit inside.

Buy yourself a nice meaty pork shoulder. 5 lbs should do nicely.

Bring that fucker home and get out a long, thin knife.

In a pilon (that’s a mortar and pestle gringo) smash up a few cloves of Garlic, some sazon, some, salt, some pepper, and some oil. Grind it up GOOD. Now you have another ghetto sofrito.

Take your knife and stab some holes in the pig. Twist the knife around so the holes get nice and wide.

Now, take some of your sofrito and stuff it into the holes. Don’t be shy blanco, ram it in there. Use the remainder to roughly coat the outside of the pig. RUB IT. CARESS IT. This pig died so that you may eat. Salt that shit all over the outside and crack some fucking pepper on there.

Set your oven for ~300 degrees

Throw the pork in skin side up and WAIT.

It’s going to take like 45 minutes a pound…

A warning: The smell is going to drive you fucking INSANE. You have to wait this part out. Farm work is the best cure.

After an an hour and a half, jab it with a meat thermometer, but remember to not rest it on the bone, or you will get a bad reading.

You should be at around 150-160 degrees. Now comes the fun part. CRANK the stove up to 400 degrees. This will give you an orgasmic, crispy skin that will make your pork rinds taste like year old carboard comparison.

At 170 ish? Pull that fucker out, but DON’T carve it up. You need to wait at least ten minutes otherwise all those sweet, sweet pig juices will dribble the fuck out. WAIT.

Congratulations. You just made Pernil. A five pound Pernil should give you meat for at least a week. SAVOR IT BROTHER. SAVOR IT

Edit: Forgot the best and cheapest fucking recipe!!!


Fuck me. Green plaintains are usually like 5 for a fucking dollar!

Here’s my mom’s recipe:

Fry up some bacon. Set the bacon aside and save that lovely, glistening fat.

Take a plantain and run a knife down the side and split the skin off without breaking the plantain. This takes a bit of practice.

Slice up the plantain into ~1/3 inch thick slices. Throw them into a bowl of ice water.

You have a fry daddy? You’re golden papi. No? Pour around half an inch of oil into a frying pan. Corn oil works best, olive oil smokes too easily. Get that shit hot! Throw in your bacon grease.

Take your sliced up plantains out of the ice water and drain them or even pat them with a paper towel till they’re dry.

Fry em up until they just turn golden.

Throw them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Now, here is where you become a MAN: Get yourself a flat bottom glass and a cutting board or a plate. Throw some flour on there. Smash the plantains with the cup. You may need a spatula to get them off the board…

Fry em AGAIN until they are golden and crispy

Make all three of these things together and you have an incredibly delicious and cheap meal!

*TLDR; Learn the lessons of my people: The Nuyoricans. (New York Puerto Ricans) We have survived for DECADES on no money in one of the most expensive cities on the planet. 

Instead of just Sazon Goya, I made a batch of sofrito with cilantro, curly parsley, garlic, poblano chili pepper, onion… and Sazon Goya. The first time I made this, I tried it with turkey back; it was tasty but not nearly meaty enough. (I did cook some plantains as a side that were delicious, and ate everything with Greek yogurt.) Second time, to use up the rest of the sofrito, I used pork butt (which is called butt but is apparently shoulder?), stabbed with holes as recommended. Yum.

Written by orata

March 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm