Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Get Back In The Kitchen

I haven't posted many pictures lately, so today you will probably get your fill and then some.  Friday is three months of weight loss and healthy eating, so pictures of me will wait until then so I can do a bit of a before and after and update everyone on my goals.  I think I mentioned last post about craving certain foods and experiencing more hunger than I had for a while.  The hunger has subsided a bit as I maintain discipline in my diet and make sure not to overeat.  I haven't been perfect, but my stomach is adapting.  The cravings are still pretty strong.  I have really wanted middle eastern food this week and I have been living off Hummus and chicken Kebabs/Shawirma for a week.  Not bad choices all things considered, although most falafil shops or kebab places do not carry whole wheat pita, so I have been eating some processed white pitas.  The other cravings have been for sweets.  I have a heck of a sweet tooth and think I am still genuinely addicted to sugar.  I don't have much anymore, but today was pretty bad.  I usually have a piece or two of dark chocolate, and of all of the options for sweets it is pretty good.  I also have coffee.  I like coffee light and sweet, though not as light or sweet as in the past.  I have taken to mixing a little sugar with a packet each of splenda and sweet 'n low.  The combination disguises any after tastes of the artificial sweeteners which I am very sensitive to without too many calories.

Wok This Way

I couldn't resist that one.  A while back I picked up a non-stick steel wok (surprisingly inexpensive.  I've been told cheap is good with woks, and this one was 12 bucks).  I had yet to cook with it, but with some fresh veggies in the fridge and a bit of chicken I needed to cook I decided to throw something together.  I basically put in a little oil and fried some garlic and red pepper flake until they smelled good and then added the other ingredients from longest cooking to shortest.  I knocked together a glaze from some pantry items (sesame oil, soy, chicken stock, cornstarch, and various seasonings) and threw it in and in about 15 minutes I had dinner and lunch for the next day.  Here is the process of cooking:

I started with a quick stir fry of the veggies.  I then pushed them up the side and quickly cooked the chicken.  The third shot is when I added the glaze just before the chicken was done.  I served it in the fourth picture over a bit of leftover brown rice for a balanced meal in less than 20 minutes.  This dish also gave me an opportunity to use my new knives, which you can see in the fourth picture.  You may ask "more new knives, didn't you just get one?"  The answer to that is yes, but I have a very good reason.  The knife I got a month or so ago is nice and works great when breaking down protein, but it is too clumsy for veggies, and lets be honest, I need all the help with veggies I can get.  The blade angle is very obtuse and the knife slips.

I also like the santoku shape a lot less than I thought I would for continuous work, it is just too tiring.  I went into the store just looking for a good paring knife.  What I got instead were an 8" chef's knife (something I really needed but had been trying to do without) and something called a utility knife, which does all the stuff a paring knife does, but also works well for chopping garlic or smaller prep work.  The store (The Chopping Block in Lincoln Square) was having a sale on knives and I fell in love with the knives there, where they let me try them out, and after using them to make that meal I am sold 100%.  They are made by Global and they are the lightest, fastest knives I have ever used and they have incredible balance.  How light?  The chef's knife is 6 ounces (yes, I did weigh it on my food scale).
How incredible is the balance you might ask (you would if you were me)?  This incredible:

I love these knives. I told my step-mom they were "the ones", which cracked her up.  Each knife is one piece of steel.  The handle is hollowed out and filled with just enough ballast to get the balance perfect.  The holes are filled and become the grip. It is amazing how easy and fun cooking is when you have the right tools.  I love gadgets as much as the next wanna be gourmand, but it is the tools that are worth every penny you spend, and to be honest this knife was a steal.  I guess this is what happens when I have a little extra cash.  I don't mind spending the money though, because I know they are going to get me in the kitchen and keep me having fun.  Getting in the kitchen and cooking for myself is the single biggest thing I have done for my health, so they are an investment in my health.  That being said these are the last non-food item I buy for the kitchen for a while.

Oh, You Noticed

This week has been particularly gratifying in the vanity department.  In addition to helping and impressing the CEO at my job, by manager's boss (my boss to the third power) noticed my new slimmer figure this week and was very complimentary.  I say looks are secondary or lower in this journey, but it sure does feel nice to surprise people.  I was wearing the new slacks I had gotten last week, which are already fitting a bit looser that in the fitting room.  My older pairs are pretty baggy now, although I have yet to find someone to do the alterations for a reasonable amount.  For what some of these folks want I could just buy new pants.  Like I have said before, however, this is a problem I don't particularly mind having.

Check back in on Friday for my Three Month Spectacular.  For now I leave you with a couple more pictures I have taken over the last couple of weeks.  The first is of a chicken stroganoff I tried.  Okay, but needs some work before I try it again.  That is 2% fat Greek yogurt, not sour cream, by the way.  The second is a tomato basil soup (shooting for La Madeleine for my Texan readers.  Very close) that turned out very good, (the secret I think is a bit of lemon juice and a good pinch of  freshly ground clove) although a bit calorie rich for everyday eating on a diet.   Good to fill out a meal though.  See you Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Newsy, entertaining, and colorful. Great post, son.