Author Archives: Justin Winokur

Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry

20140319-190815.jpgI made a chicken-cabbage stir-fry of sorts. It was actually inspired by the egg rolls last week.

I started by making shredded chicken. In the past, I pressure cooked it but this time, I just poached it. I used ~2/3 lbs of chicken. Most sites said to simmer for 10 minutes and let it sit in the water for another 10-15. That is basically what I did with broth (Osem since its easy) with additional spices

While the chicken simmering, I chopped half a head of cabbage, half a bunch of dino kale, and two small carrots. Once it was finished poaching, I sauteed 1/2 an onion in a bit of olive oil. I then added 4 cloves of chopped garlic and a good amount of grated ginger.

I added all of the veggies then a bit of the poaching liquid to steam and wilt the green. I added some oyster sauce, sriracha, teriyaki sauce (the thin stuff, not Soy Vey) and a few other seasonings.

I used the mixer to shred the chicken and added that.

Overall, it was actually really good. It made a decent amount of food with a lot of food. The oyster sauce smelled pretty bad but actually tasted fine in the mix.


Roasted Green Beans and Sautéed Shrimp

20140319-160427.jpgI made a pretty simple meal. I roasted two (!!) pounds of french green beans. I tossed them with a little bit of olive oil then (too much) Penzy’s Sandwich Sprinkle. I simply roasted them for 15 minutes at 450. This was a lot easier than sautéing! Next time, I will go much lighter on the seasonings. It was very salty. I like using the french green beans from Costco since you don’t really have to cut off the stems.

I also sauteed about 2/3 lbs of shrimp with a little bit of olive oil and some salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder. The shrimp were not shelled as I had thought but I just pealed them while I ate. They were pretty good though maybe a bit overdone.

Not a lot to this meal except a large mass of green beans. About 20 minutes total and much of that time was passive!


Taco Stew


Meredith and I made the pretty standard lentil taco stew. We went a bit heavy on everything to make a bit more. We also tried an experiment: we had some leftover bacon fat from the morning so as used that. It made it smell good but the flavor was a bit out if place.

We also separately sautéed two jalapeños (forgot them sooner) and added that. It made the apartment fill with jalapeño burn. Ouch.

It made enough for two dinner and two lunches.

BATs (Bacon, Avocado, Tomato)

20140317-195848.jpgWe had a pretty simple breakfast: BATs (Bacon, Avocado, Tomato) We had Whole Foods’ Black Forrest Bacon which we baked at 350 until it was crisp (Best bacon and best method to bake it). We also had a not-quite-ripe avocado, tomato slices and Brummel and Browns. The bread was a few slices of rye from last week’s meals and small (slightly stale) rolls from Whole Foods.

Simple and good meal.


African Peanut Soup and Oysters on the Half Shell


We made African Peanut Soup with Meredith’s regular recipe. The recipe is originally from 2013-11-09 except that we forgot all of the seasonings and skipped the peppers (hence why in the main thing, I said they were optional). However, despite forgetting these things, the soup was incredible! This is only my second time having it and I do not recall the last time exactly, this one was amazing!

We used a mixture of Better Than Bouillon and Osem. Also, it was a bit salty so we added another cup of water. We went heavy on the ginger and the peanut butter (hence those notes too). I also think that doing it in the cast-iron dutch oven and a really long simmer helped!

We also had a dozen oysters on the half shell. I am not totally sure what variety they were but e bought them at Fresh Market. They were not as good as ones we have had from Whole Foods. When I shucked them, they didn’t seem to have much liquid (“liquor”) though they seemed to be better later (how? I don’t know…). Meredith and I each got a funky ones but the rest were…okay. Our stomachs still feel fine so I guess that says something.

Lentil Egg and Spring rolls



I made lentil egg rolls and spring rolls. I used the recipe on the back of the egg-roll wrappers (see photo from last time) with a few modifications. First of all, I used lentils instead of meat. I cooked 3/4 cup lentils in 1.5 cups water for 10 minutes and drained. Meanwhile, I finely chopped and sautéed mushrooms which gave the whole dish a lot of flavor. The only other changes were to go heavy on the ginger (also like last time), heavy on the oyster sauce, and add some soy sauce, sriracha and a bit of rice vinegar. I used half of a small head of cabbage while last time, it was a quarter of a large head.

The recipe doesn’t say much about after adding the sauce. I kept it going until it all cooked down nicely. I also didn’t let it cool before filling.

I decided to cook it hotter at 425F for 15 minutes. As you can see from the photos, I did 6 egg rolls and 6 spring rolls. Two of the spring rolls were the large ones and they were too big. I had to eat it with a fork and knife. Also, the eggs rolls really were much better when it comes to heating/warming the rolls. But, the wrappers are a lot less healthy compared to the rice paper.

The rolls were very, very good! They tasted like regular egg rolls but fresher and less greasy inside. I will certainly do these again. They are “almost vegetarian” but I used real oyster sauce. If I want to do them fully vegetarian, I could use the vegan oyster sauce from 2013-06-17 (the wrappers have egg in them so they won’t be vegan).

Also, while i was cutting the carrot, it was a strange shape so I used my hands with the pan to go to the finger guard as I got closer. It would have been a fine plan had my hand not slipped. I took off a nice chuck of my thumb. Oops!


Rueben Springrolls and Rutabaga Chips



After the failure of Reuben Crepes/Garden Rolls a few weeks ago, I decided to try again. I used the same basic fillers except I also toasted and sliced rye bread (see the photos below). The other fillings were 1/2 lean corned beef, 3 slices of light swiss, fat free thousand island, and sauerkraut. I further cooked the sauerkraut in a pan to get rid or more moisture. I filled them into 22cm rice paper wrappers (except the last one which was 33cm). I experimented a bit with different ways to rill them including

  • folding the back before the sides (folding the sides first was better)
  • Using colder water to soak the rice paper (warmer water is better. 5 seconds is enough if its warm)
  • Rolling on a wet and dry paper towel. (Dry was awful, it really tried to stick. Wet was only marginally better)
  • Putting the ingredients in a different order (No real difference)

Anyway, I made 8 regular ones and one larger one. I put them on a pammed baking sheet, pammed them all, and baked them for 10 minutes at 350, flipped, and 10 more minutes. While it was not as catastrophic as last time, they still stuck. I didn’t have this problem when I did it with eggs (see 2014-02-27) using non-stick aluminum foil so I will go back to that. Also some cheese spilled out but that may have only been in the ones that tore a bit.

My goal in cooking them is to crisp the wrappers, melt the cheese, and let the flavors meld. I think that I do not need 20 minutes at 350 and instead would do better with less at a higher temp. (I did 15@425 last time). Also, I do not think there was much benefit to flipping them but I’ll decide later if I want to do that.

They were really good though! Even the ones that tore still had the classic Reuben dichotomy of flavors where you a bunch of unique flavors. And they were pretty easy to make!

I also made rutabaga chips like last time. I did 1/8″ slices and roasted them at 425 for 15 minutes, flipped them, and did another 10. Some burned so I think next time, I will go a bit lower for longer. Also, letting them cool helped them crisp more.

Also, a note on names. I have decided to call baked rice paper rolls “spring rolls” and if they are fresh, then “garden rolls” or “fresh rolls”

Cilantro Egg-Drop Soup



Meredith has been talking about this soup for a while so I finally decided to give it a try. First of all, I am not totally sure what it is supposed to be called so I’ll stick with my boring name (but it will always be Meredith’s Soup in my book).

Anyway, I followed the recipe below with the following general changes:

  • I made the croutons out of 2 slices of rye. I also skipped the anchovies and only used 1 Tbsp of olive oil (instead of butter). After sautéing the garlic, I tossed the cubed rye into the garlic-oil mix. I then sprayed them with pam, added a bit of salt and toasted them for 7 minutes or so (see the photo below).
  • I used about 8 oz of stew meat. I think it is the same cut but not sure. That made it a bit chewy since it wasn’t stewed but between the “marinade” and the small pieces, it was fine.
  • I used almond-coconut milk instead of whole milk. I actually really liked that since the coconut milk gave it some creaminess still
  • I used egg beaters (yellow) instead of whites. Also, I used 1/2 a cup which is equivalent to two whole eggs and not just two egg whites. Oh well, it was a bit thicker but good
  • I used seranno peppers instead “long green chilis.” I was nervous that they would be super spice so I seeded them but it was actually a perfect amount of spice!

As far as following recipes goes, I guess I was pretty close (I even used real garlic when called and actually grated it as best I could)

The soup was incredibly good. Lots of flavor and complexity. It was also pretty hearty as a meal given the egg and the beef. It would actually probably be fine with ground beef in the future and maybe (just maybe!) lentils (not really sure)

I was debating trying to lower the olive oil and I still may try to do so but honestly, I didn’t think that 1/8 cups == 2 Tbsp (plus whatever else from the rest) was really that bad.

I would definitely do it again. And I imagine soon enough, I will be adding it to my recipe book once I tweak it to be where I want it.

2014-03-12 Update: A few notes having eaten this for lunch two days later. The first is that I shouldn’t have added the croutons for lunch until  I was about to eat. They just disintegrated. The second is that it was a bit….for lack of a better word… udgy cold. Too much oil and a strange texture. I’ll heat it up next time.

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Bison Patty Melts and Butternut Squash Chips


I made patty melts as I have done before but this time, I used fresh ground bison. I formed it into patties, topped it with some salt and pepper, and I cooked it on the cast iron pan. Each patty was about 3/8 of a pound. Meanwhile, I sautéed/caramelized onions. When they were all finished, I spread Brummel and Browns on the rye bread, topped it with the burger, the onions, then some fat free thousand island and finally a slice of low fat swiss. After having so much through last time, I decided to break out the griddler to cook them. It worked well enough except that on the top where there wasn’t burger, just got soggy. It works better for flat and even sandwiches.

I also [attempted] butternut squash chips. I sliced the top part into 1/8″ slices and I put them on a baking sheet with parchment paper and pam. I roasted them at 450 for 15 minutes, turned them and then intended to do another 15 but stopped around another 8 minutes when I saw they were browning. When I flipped them at 15, they felt very soggy still making me wonder if there is a better way to cook them. The parts that weren’t burned were pretty good!

I also made a stove-top butternut squash hash with the bulb-part of the squash. I started them on the pan and then eventually added a bit of water and  loosely covered it. This helped it all cook. Then I sautéed them once they were more cooked through. I made that for lunch the next day but when I tried one, it was pretty good.