Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl–Prime Rib

Ok, now for the recipe that everyone actually comes to my super bowl party for. Who can turn down Prime Rib. I got this recipe from a dear friend who said she got it from her uncle who served it in his restaurant.

Recipe: Prime Rib

Prime Rib, with fat on.
6 Cloves Minced Garlic
Rock Salt, enough to form a crust
1 Cans Beef Broth
1 Cans Chicken Broth

Leave fat on Prime rib. Rub good with garlic. Then heavily sprinkle with rock salt to form a crust over surface of Prime Rib. Place bone side down in pan. Cook at 500 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat and cook until internal temperature of meat is between 115-120. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove crust and cut meat into slices. Combine both broths in a shallow pan. Add a chunk of the crust and heat until it is just below a simmer. Place each piece of meat in broth until cooked to the desired doneness for the eater.

I did find out something when shopping for this recipe. It turns out that Costco does not carry prime rib year around. What they do have it Prime Rib without the ribs (which makes it more of a prime roast). I was only slightly disappointed as it would mean no home made beef stock this year. Another change this year was that instead of rubbing minced garlic all over the outside, I cut slits  crammed the garlic right in the slab of meat.

Prime Rib in the oven

Sadly I did mess up I the cooking as it cook faster than I thought. As such, everyone got there prime rib medium. (Time to invest in a good remote meat thermometer.)

The finished product

It still turned out great and finishing it off in the broth really makes the prime rib moist and wonderful. I didn’t hear a single complaint about the prime rib (or any of the food for that matter).

Happy eating.

Super Bowl - Green Beans with Cranberries and Almonds

I had seen recipes that combined green beans and cranberries and wanted to try them. I found this recipe on line and it looked pretty healthy.

Green Beans with Cranberries and Almonds

a big handful of green beans (about 200g)
⅓ cup dried cranberries
boiling water
⅓ slivered, unblanched almonds
1 Tbsp Grapeseed oil (or other veg oil)
Fresh black pepper

- put the cranberries in a small bowl and just cover with hot water. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 mins.
- clean and trim beans
- heat oil over a medium heat and add beans, stir-frying for about 3 mins until bright green
- add cranberries, with water, and stir until water has mostly evaporated
-add almonds and cook for minute more
- season with salt and pepper.

This turned out to be a great recipe for a busy day of cooking as it was very easy to do (almost heat and serve).

Green Beans with Cranberries and Almonds

This recipe was a big hit with everyone.

Happy Eating!

Super Bowl–Sweet Potatoes with Apple sauce

I found this recipe on line. Knowing that I would be cooking four things at one time, I was looking for something I could cook in the slow cooker. This fit the bill.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Applesauce

6 medium (2 pounds) sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 ½ cups applesauce
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped nuts, toasted

Place sweet potatoes in 2- to 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients except nuts; spoon over potatoes.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 8 hours or until potatoes are very tender.

Sprinkle with nuts.
Makes 6 servings

This was a great fix it and forget it style recipe. My only complaint, and this is a personal complaint, is that I thought it was a little two sweet (but other people loved it).


I think this is definitely a keeper recipe but I might tweak it a little.

Happy eating.

Super Bowl–Smoked Chicken Roll

This recipe is a modification of one my brother does for Christmas. In his recipe, he uses a turkey and sausage where I use a chicken and bacon. There isn’t really a formal recipe but I will cover how I made mine. Step one is to get your whole chicken:


Now the fun part begins, you have to debone the chicken.For this you will need a good knife. Don’t bother going to your knife draw. In stead go to your fishing gear (or the sporting goods section of your store) and get a fillet knife. These knives are super sharp and flexible so they make deboning easier.I like to start with the wings. I cut of the last two segments (not enough meat on them make the effort worth it. For the remaining wing bone, debone it all the way up to joint and then cut out the bone. Once the wings are done, then move to the legs. Make a cut along the leg bone down to the bone and then cut the meat away from the bone. Remember the goal of deboning the chicken is to end with one piece of chicken that is all meat and no bones. From here you just keep cutting away form the bone all the meat. Be careful at the back.There is not a lot of meat there so be careful to not cut through the skin.

One deboned chicken.

Now, do not through those bones away. Use them to make chicken stock (and if you don’t have time right away to make the stock, put them in a freezer bag and freeze them until you do have time.)

Now lay out the deboned chicken, skin side down. You might want to butterfly the breast to make it a little less bulky and easier to roll. Sprinkle the chicken with a good seasoning. Then lay down a layer of bacon so that the bacon goes from the dark meat to the white meat. No lay the port tender-loin across the bacon, between the white and dark meat. now roll up the chicken around the pork tenderloin, starting with the white meat side. Finally tie the roll up.

I did two chicken rolls

At this point, you should place the roll in flavorful brine for a few hours, but I didn’t have time so I skipped that step.  Finally you place the roll in your smoker until the center reaches 170.

Chicken Roll in the smoker

Let it set for a few minutes before cutting it.

The final product

This chicken roll takes a bit of work but it is so good. It is definitely worth the effort.

Happy Eating.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl–Cracked Wheat Rolls

This is one of my favorite recipes. My mom would make these for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are so yummy. If you don’t happen to have a mom who has her own wheat mill to crack wheat for you (and really who doesn’t), then you can find cracked wheat in the bulk food section of your grocery store (or at a bulk food store). Here is the recipe:

Recipe: Cracked Wheat Rolls

1/2 c Cracked Wheat
1 c Water, boiling
1/2 tsp Salt (optional)
1 pkg dry yeast
2 c Warm Water (105-115)
3/4 c non-fat Dry Milk
1/2 c Sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 Egg- room temp, slightly beaten
6 c Flour

Soak Cracked Wheat in cold water and 1/2 tsp salt until room temp (about 4 hours).

On bake day, dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, oil, salt and egg. Add soaked wheat mixture. Add 3 Cups of flours and beat vigorously (75 strokes or 2 minutes at medium speed with and electric mixer, then stop mixer). Stir in the balance of the flour, 1/2 Cup at a time. The dough will be rough, shaggy mass that will cling to the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if needed. Knead dough for 8 minutes. Place in bowl and lightly grease top with butter. Cover and let rise for 50 minutes in a warm place. Remove cover and punch down dough and turn onto flour surface. Make roles by tearing off small amount of dough (about 3/4 the size you want the rolls to be) and work the top smooth, folding it on the bottom. Place rolls in greased baking pan. If making bread, after punching down, divide in half and form into two loaves. Place in greased bread pans. Cover rolls (or bread) and put in a warm place and let rise for at least 35 minutes.

For rolls, place in 375 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden brown. For bread, place in 325 degree oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until done.

Over the years, I have done a few modifications to the recipe. First, the recipe originally called for you to soak the cracked wheat over night in cold water. I found that by using hot water, I can soak the wheat in a couple of hours and it soaks better. The second change was the addition of how to make this into bread.

Your basic pan rolls, but oh so yummy.

As for tips, I highly recommend you sift your flour when making bread. This will help make your bread lighter and rise a little better. Another tip for keeping the crust from getting crunch (unless you want the crust crunchy) is, just before it is completely cool, wrap it up in plastic wrap. As it continues to cool, it will generate moisture and that moisture will keep the crust soft.

Well tomorrow is the big day and I have 4 things left to cook. I will post pics of how it all turns out.

Happy eating!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl–Sweet Potato Cheese Cake

The next item on the list to make is the cheese cake. I make a sweet potato cheese cake that is just wonderful. When I make it, I try to use Yams instead of just sweet potatoes. I think this makes the cheese cake sweeter plus it gives the cheese cake a nice color. I have no idea where I got this recipe from (probably from the internet) but I think the first time I made it was in 2006 in Detroit. Yes I actually lived in the city at the same time as the game was hosted there. I can honestly say that the game didn’t look any different on the TV as when I don’t live in the city. Here is the recipe:

Recipe: Sweet Potato Cheesecake

1 c flour
1/2 c butter, softened
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg yolk
3 med sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
3 pkg (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
4 eggs
1/2 c flour
1/2 c light brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 400. Stir flour, 1/2 c butter, 1/4 c sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and the egg yolk in medium bowl until mixture forms a ball. Pat about two third of the dough on bottom only of 10 inch springform pan (with side removed) to make bottom crust 1/8 inch thick.

2. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until crust just begins to brown around edges. Reduce oven temp to 300. Attach side to pan. Pat remaining dough about 1 inch up inside of pan.

3. Beat sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, the nutmeg and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed until blended; set aside. Beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar in large bowl on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Beat in sweet potato mixture on low speed about 1 minute or until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Spoon batter into crust in pan. Place springform pan in larger pan on oven rack. Pour very hot water into larger pan to one-third the height of spring-form pan.

4. Bake about 1 hour 30 minutes, adding very hot water to larger pan as needed, until center is set. Meanwhile, make Crumb Topping; sprinkle over cheesecake. Bake about 30 minutes longer or until topping is set. Remove from pan of water. Cool cheesecake 30 minutes. Loosen side from pan; remove. Refrigerate uncovered 3 to 4 hours or until chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.


Stir Flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in small bowl until crumbly. Stir in pecans.

When it comes to cooking tubers or winter squash that is to be mashed and used in another recipe, I prefer to steam them. They cook up perfectly and you have to pretty much forget about them to over cook them.

Steamed sweet potatoes. When I was a kid, thought this type of steamer was the best space ship. I didn’t realize it had a use in the kitchen until I was an adult.

My only real issue with this recipe that it says to put the crust on the bottom of the spring-form pan with out the sides and bake. Then you are supposed to put the sides back on. However the crust will expand. This makes putting the sides back on a little tricky.

Cheese cake in the oven. The little one is for me to try. Have to make sure it is ok to eat for the guests.

The recipe makes a lot of cheese cake and as you can see, you end up with a very full spring form pan.

The final product. Now the hard part, waiting for Sunday to cut into it.

This is a really yummy recipe. Be sure that you keep the pan of water full. This helps keep it from drying out and cracking on top.

And that is a Sweet Potato Cheese Cake. On the list for tomorrow: Cracked Wheat Rolls and deboning a chicken.

Happy eating!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Super Bowl–Crème Brulee

I have been told that I host a very different Super Bowl party. At least they say that until I invite them. The game is the game, I don’t do anything special to that. No where I differ is in the food I prepare. Most people to hot wings and pizza. Me, I do prime rib, a hand made smoked chicken roll, cracked wheat rolls, green beans with almonds and cranberries, sweet potatoes with applesauce and for desert, crème brulee and cheese cake. Of course I make it all myself. I love to cook and so does my wife. However, the normal holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc), she considers to be her time to cook (she kicks me out of the kitchen). My only recourse was to make a holiday for myself that would be mine to cook and I can kick her out of the kitchen. The super bowl is that holiday. I have done this for several years now and it always goes over well. Now I realize that the menu I server is anything but health, but I try to be good all year (even Thanksgiving and Christmas), so once a year isn’t that bad. Plus it does support the Rodney Dangerfield diet (If you want to look skinny, you have to hang around fatter people).

OK, enough background, lets talk about the food. Since the super bowl is 4 days away, I started my cooking today. On the menu: crème brulee, or as I am fond of calling it “burnt creamy puddin’”. I am not sure where I got this recipe from (probably a betty crocker cookbook), but it is a good one and always comes out well. My plan is to cook the crème brulees up, cover with plastic wrap until Sunday and then add the burnt sugar on top. A little tip on browning the sugar, don’t try to use those wimpy little torches that cooking stores sell. Instead, go to Home Depot or Lowes and for about $10, get a little propane torch. It has a big bottle attached to it so you won’t run out, it gets hotter than those cheap little ones and has a much bigger surface are so browns faster. Of course, if you don’t have a torch, the you can follow the recipe and just use the broiler on your oven.

Here is the recipe:

Recipe: Creme Brulee

3/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 vanilla beans -- cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
10 fresh egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 flue flan or quiche dishes -- 5 inches by 1 inch deep

Preheat oven to 300F.

Place milk, cream, vanilla bean, sugar and salt in a saucepan and whisk until well combined. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat; remove vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream mixture. Let cool and infuse 1/2 hour. Add egg yolks while whisking, until well combined.

Place flan dishes on a 1 inch deep baking sheet. Fill the flan dishes 3/4 full with the creme brulee mixture. Place in oven and fill baking sheet 3/4 full with hot water. Bake 1 hour or until the cream is set. Remove the dishes from the hot water bath and set aside to cool.

To serve: Sprinkle the top of each serving evenly with brown sugar. Caramelize with a torch or red hot salamander until the sugar browns.

Notes: Creme brulee is best if caramelized with a torch or salamander, but not all home cooks are so well equipped. If not available, place the cooled creme brulee in the refrigerator until chilled. When ready to serve, place the sugar coated creme brulee in a preheated broiler, 6 inches form the flame, being careful not to burn the sugar.
For the party, I use smaller little round ramekins, this lets the recipe go a little further (I get twice the servings). 

Cooling off and waiting to go into the fridge.

I will be sure to post how the final product turns out.

January 2012 Fitness Review

January was a good month for me. I put in good number of miles, I ran my first ever trail race (a real killer) and jamming my toe so hard that it turned a very pretty shade of purple.

So let’s look at the numbers




Run 71 37 61
Walk 0 0 15
Cycle 0 44 10

Like last year I am in full training for a marathon in May (a 1/2 in April), but I am already twice the miles. I have also started doing my LSD run over trails with lots of hills. I think this will help a lot with my endurance, plus it is a lot of fun.

Here is my month to month chart:


My monthly running numbers just keep going up, but at a good pace. I did take a week off of running when I jammed my toe during the Wilson Creek Frozen 10M. I glad to say that it is healing very nicely and after a week of staying off it, I am back at running again (with only minor pain). My bigger concern is my plantar fasciitis. My heal will feel fine during the week and even after trail runs, but after street runs, it hurts. I need to figure out how to permanently heal it so it won’t bother me any more. Time for some research.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2011 Fitness Year in Review

As I look over the data from 2011 and compare it to 2010, my first thought is that I should be a little let down considering how fewer miles I did in 2011 than in 2010. But the truth is, I don’t feel that way at all. In fact I finished the year strong and feel good about myself. Here is a comparison of 2010 and 2011:




Run Miles 668.91 277
Walk Miles 4.96 131.28
Cycle Miles 0 298.04

As you can see my running miles went from 668.91 to 277, but the numbers do not tell the whole story. At the first of the year, I was training for (and signed up) the Dry Creek 1/2 marathon and the Lake Lowell Marathon. The Dry Creek was the first of April while the Lake Lowell was the first of May. About two weeks before the Dry Creek, I started having chest pains. To me they felt like a pulled muscle or bruised rib. They started on Wednesday and by Friday I could barely move. After a trip to the Urgent Care (that ended with a night in the hospital), they found I had fluid in my lungs (pneumonia) and blood clots in both lungs. We never did figure out why they struck me then since I was in the middle of training for the 1/2 and full marathon and I had not gone on any long trip (where I sat for a while).

Well, this meant I had to miss the Dry Creek. I was able to change my Lake Lowell from a full to the 1/2 marathon and was able to do that. After that, I found the blood thinning medication made running a little painful (what would normally just be a little achy joint would turn in the a nice bruise on the medication). I will admit that I did use this as an excuse to not exercise. As such, I put on 30 extra pounds that summer: not good. I was to come off the meds in September so in August, I started walking to help get me back in shape. And in September, I started running again.

You can see in my monthly numbers what I am talking about:


Run Miles

Walk Miles

Cycle Miles

January 36.53 0 44
February 36.61 0 39.12
March 17.28 1.99 21.22
April 37.15 5.95 52.15
May 13.10 2.58 49.41
June 3.23 20.49 37.93
July 3 15.5 0
August 2 65.23 0
September 21.86 7.18 0
October 22.85 7.32 12.67
November 35.77 0 41.54
December 47.62 5.04 0
Total 277 131.28 298.04

Although the 277 might be low, I prefer to look at the last 5 months, where the running number is building. Here is a graph that shows that:


From September on, the number of miles just climbs.

I have a very aggressive plan for 2012 as far as my running goes. My ultimate goal is to do the Goofy Race and a 1/2 Challenge in Disney World in January of 2013. This is a 1/2 marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. I know the key to this is going to be endurance so I will be focusing on building that up. As such, my plan is to do some type of race every month in 2012. My original plan was to do a 1/2 marathon a month but I had some trouble finding 1/2 marathons for every month. Besides, a couple of new friends introduced me to trail running. I have to say, I love trail running. My new plan is to still try to do some type of race each month, but I also want to do my first 50K trail race (should be really good for building endurance). Check out the right side of this blog for the list of my planned races.

In summary, 2011 might have been a year of injury but I refuse to let it stop me from running. I am back at it and just watch me go in 2012.

Happy runnings!