Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Seared Salmon and Hasselback Patatas Bravas Tots


We are starting out the new year cooking healthily (and plan to continue). This was our ease-into-it meal.

We made simple seared salmon with dill. Nothing special but really good as always. The shape of it made it hard to estimate when it was done though.

The main star of the meal with Hasselback Tots but done with Patatas Bravas sauce. I actually just updated that recipe too to account for how I did it. Note that it doesn't make a ton of sauce but it was enough since we didn't have a lot of potatoes.

We made the tots using the same technique from 2015-12-05 except much less oil (but still tossed a second time) and with purple potatoes.


One problem with this meal was that after I tossed the potatoes the second time and put them back on the tray, I forgot that the tray just came out of the oven. I grabbed it with my whole hand. I let go quickly but not before dropping everything on the floor and giving myself a nasty burn

Roasted Cauliflower and Turkey Cutlets


We made a pretty simple meal of turkey and cauliflower. The cauliflower was based on my Curry Roasted Cauliflower Recipe except I used Tandoor Chicken Masala (same as used on 2015-11-11). I was weary of using too much since I recalled it being spicy, but it was fine. Actually, the cauliflower was really, really good. Lots of flavor and really tasty!

We did the turkey breast on the cast-iron pan with McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning. I think we overcooked them a little bit but not much. They came out really good. And low points!

Turkey Cutlets Cooking in the pan Just about done Tandoor Seasoning (from [2015-11-11](/posts/2015/11/2015-11-11_1_Stuffed_Jalapenos.html))[^1]

  1. We just used the tandoori seasoning 

Kale Salad


Meredith made a kale salad for lunches. She used this Bon Appetit recipe (no local, See below) for the dressing only and then just did the rest herself. She massaged the dressing with the [Lacinato /"dino"] kale and topped with rotisserie chicken, sunflower seeds, and lite feta.

The sunflower seeds really added a lot of flavor and texture.

Rather than a local copy of the dressing recipe, she essentially just did as follows.

Combine in a mortar and pestle:

She then whisked in:

Massaged this into the kale and tossed in

Topped with other ingredients as noted above

Seared Scallops and Spicy/Sweet Delicata Squash with Tahini Sauce


(Meredith made this entire meal. I am roughly transcribing her comments)

Delicata Squash

We were reading a few Ottolenghi books and used his Tahini Sauce 1 but scaled way back. (around 3 tbps tahini and 2 tbsp water).

For the squash, Meredith cut them into rounds and sprinkled with

Roasted at 375 for 40 minutes (rotated half way). Topped with the sauce


Pretty standard and simple seared scallops. We used fresh ones from Whole Foods (the "dry" type). They came out pretty good, though maybe a tad overcooked


Heat cast iron pan on medium-high.

Drain, pat dry, and remove the extra muscle on the scallops. Then add salt and pepper to taste.

Melt butter and sear scallops for about 2 minutes, flip, then 1 more minute. Do not overcook. Serve with a wedge of lemon

  1. Done previously on Sabih + Tahini Sauce + Zhoug (2016-06-01) 

Sweet Potato Waffles


Meredith made us these for brunch. We used the recipe from Inspiralized Cookbook (Local Copy). She followed the recipe pretty closely except she used extra cinnamon and an extra egg.

It was pretty easy and the end result was fine. I do not think you would have convinced anyone they were waffles, but they were enjoyable unto themselves. And, they were pretty low points with just the potatoes and egg (and maybe some incidental oil on the waffle iron).

Meredith also made broiled grapefruit. She put some brown sugar (not much) on them and broiled on high for about 10 minutes.

Finally, we had leftover kale salad

Sweet Potato Waffles (From Inspiralized)
Local Copy (U: guest, P: name of my dog, lower case)

"No Idea" Beef Jerky


I decided to get back into jerky making. And, I also decided I wanted to go back to ground beef since, with the help of my new jerk gun (think caulk applicator but for beef), it is so easy to use.

I am calling it "No Idea" Jerky since the flavors are hard to describe. It was inspired a bit by Bilton and also some (but not all) recipes for bresaola.

Recipe and Salt Notes

Below is the recipe I used. I debated the salt content. I read through many recipes both from my own and a few books. They tended to have about 1/2 cup of soy sauce per pound. I had done that too with low sodium making it about 2300mg of sodium. That is about 1 tsp/pound of table salt. I think this worked well. It probably could have been a bit saltier but I kind of liked it not being over whelming. Therefore, I think the general guidance (for me) is about 2300-2800 mg of sodium per pound of ground beef

Anyway, the ingredients and process I followed is below but see below that for comments

I microwaved it all but the beef for about 30 seconds to dissolve the sugar. I then let it sit for about 40 minutes. After mixing the beef in, I let it sit over night (probably about 15 hours or so.

I used the Jerky Gun to form strips and then dehydrated at 145 for about 5:45 (HH:MM). At about the 2-3 hour mark, I took each piece off, blotted it well with paper towel, put it back (flipped) and rotated the trays. I did it again at about the 4-5 hour mark

I chose 145 to try to avoid cooking it too much. The instructions say 160 but many people do it even lower. I figured this was an ok mix

Thoughts and next time

There will be a next time. This came out really good. Not too salty and lots of flavors. I can't really describe it, but they were a nice mix.

Next time though, I think I will use just 1 pound of beef but tweak the spices a bit and scale the salt. This should make it more intense but still keep it from being too strong. I will adjust from there for the future

I will scale the salt to 1tsp but I think I will switch to Morton's Tender Quick to provide some curing agent. Just to keep it safer.

I will actually make another batch soon for the sake of experimentation and having the time.

(2016-02-19: Final version of this recipe is now here)

Cilantro Sabih


Meredith and I made Sabih since we wanted to use up the tahini sauce from Thursday. However, we made a major change to the general idea. Instead of parsely, we used cilantro.

The Sabih calls for Zhoug (both recipes here, but instead, we used Meredith's (favorite) Cilantro Chili Dip. And then we used cilantro in the salad it self.

We roasted the eggplant but forgot to pam/oil them so they look a bit strange and were hard to get off the pan. But other than that, this was a pretty good meal. And low points. Around 2-3 (SmartPoints) for the tahini sauce and 2 for each egg and maybe 1-2 for the cilantro stuff.

"No Idea" Jerky (II) and Thai Jerky


I made more jerky so we would have a good bit for the week.


I made them the night before. I heated the marinade to dissolve the sugar and marry the flavors. I let them sit for about 30-60 minutes, then I added the beef/bison (around 7:45pm on 2016-01-09). Then, around 2:30pm today (2016-01-10), I had it going at 145

I actually left the house and was out for longer than anticipated. Therefore, I did not blot it or anything. I came back around 7:00pm and stopped it. Therefore, it was about 18.75 hours marinating and 4.5 drying.

"No Idea"

As I noted the first time, I wanted to try making the same basic recipe again but with less beef and keeping the rest the same.

That is essentially what I did. Below is the recipe. It again came out really good with lots of flavor. But, too much junper. I would cut it to a scant 3/4 tsp next time but the rest can stay the same. The salt level was perfect

Heated all but the beef just until the sugar was dissolved then let sit for about 30 min to an hour.

(2016-02-19: Final version of this recipe is now here)


I debated exactly how I wanted to do this, but eventually decided on the following. I considered a Thai Chili pepper but decided against it since I was afraid the heat would be inconsistant. I wish I had done it as it was not very hot. I just thought of it now, but next time, I would use the blender to break it up.

The final result was good though. Maybe a tad salty but not bad. Not sure yet if the rice powder added anything

Again, heated all for a bit to combine. See above for comments and times.

Spicy Thai Beef Salad


Meredith and I made Thai Spicy Beef Salad. We again used this recipe (Originally: 2014-11-07). We made similar changes including heating the sauce and using an extra tsp of fish-sauce. We did not put chilies in the marinade but we still put them in the sauce.

We used about 10 oz of Top Round which is really lean. I never know with cooking it, but from the pictures, you can see that it was more rare to medium-rare than medium. I still liked it though! The whole dish was really good and rather low in points since it used lean-proteins.

Additional Photos:

Letting the beef rest Slicing. Pretty rare! Combining

Rotisserie Chicken Lap Salad


Meredith made chicken lap for lunches. She used Costco rotisserie chicken (sold separately as just breast meat) and this recipe as a basis. In addition to the recipe, she added:

It worked out well. Petty low points and a nice size lunch. Only down side was that it gave us both onion (shallot?) breath for the rest of the day.

Rotisserie Chicken Tortillaless Tortilla Soup


Meredith and I made "tortilla" (without any tortilla) soup since we wanted to keep using the rotisserie chicken. We decided to follow Aaron Sanchez' (Local).

With the additional spices, I think it came out pretty good. It still needed more salt though. While we did like it, I still think it kind of lacked flavor. I wouldn't say this is "our recipe" but may be a good jumping off point in the future.

We also made a (1.5-2x) batch of Spicy Spiralized Shoe String Jicama Fries. We probably went heavy on the seasonings. Also, since they were so wet and we had the space, we used two trays to allow them to crisp more. They were really good.

Tortilla Soup (from Aaron Sanchez via The Examiner)

Local Copy (U: guest, P: name of my dog, all lower case)

Broccoli Seitan (homemade)


I made broccoli seitan. Everything was pretty run-of-the-mill except that I made my own seitan.

I did not use my regular recipe which I am rethinking anyway.


I followed the guidance from this recipe (local) which is also on YouTube. I actually didn't use her recipe, but I used her numbers, at least to start, but the big thing was that I used her method to cook it. I rolled it up in aluminum foil and steamed it but for 90 minutes to account for altitude. I still want to keep playing with it, but I liked this cooking method. I didn't have to deal with simmering, I could control the size and shape, and I was able to basically set-and-forget it (though I had to add water).

The flavors were pretty good. I thought it needed more salt and/or flavor. I will add some wine next time and more savory things like more soy sauce or some miso paste. And it was also less spongy (for better or worse)

The key differences I was trying besides the cooking method was to combine and knead by hand to avoid making it too springy. I also wanted to make it with more water. As such, I started with just 200g of vital wheat gluten but I added 20 more as I was kneading. I also added the gluten to the liquid as opposed to the other way around.


Combine all but the gluten1 in the blender. Pour liquid into a bowl and slowly add the gluten and incorporate.

Knead for 1-2 minutes. Spray aluminum foil in pam. For the dough into log and wrap with the foil. Let rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Steam for 60-90 minutes.


In the foil Final result Cubed

  1. I cannot remember if I added the nutritional yeast to the blender or the gluten. I think I did the blender but next time, I'd just do the gluten 

Roasted Cauliflower with Fried Eggs


I was out late for something so Meredith made the cauliflower. She used the same seasonings I used on 2016-01-06 though I do not think she followed my method (I think she used less oil and a lower temp). Still, they came out fine. We topped it with a fried egg and Sriracha. Super simple!

Tofu Bahn Mi Stuffed Peppes


Meredith and I made Bahn Mi stuffed peppers.

We started by marinating pressed extra-firm tofu. We marinated with

(This came from some site but it is heavily modified as above)

We baked it at 350 for 40 minuted (tossed half way) and then let it sit and keep cooking in the cooling oven. At the same time (with the oven off) I put in the two halved peppers to cook a little.

This cooked the peppers just enough to not be raw and it slightly overcooked the tofu (though I kind of liked the extra chewy tofu).

We then filled the peppers with the tofu, sliced cucumber, sliced jalapeno, mint, and pickled carrots. The pickled carrots were from Vietnamese Home Cooking (book, local copy). We just followed the recipe as it was. It may be a ton of points in the recipe but you don't drink all (or barely any) of the liquid.

Oh, on mine, I also made a Sriracha mayo with light mayo.

Pickled Carrots (From Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan)

Local Copy (U: guest, P: name of my dog, in lower case)

Huevos Rancheros


We wanted a quick and healthy meal so we made Huevos Rancheros. I did it the normal way except one of the pans was non-stick since we are clearing out our older pans.

I also didn't use butter and instead relied on just pam. Plus, I gave the tortillas extra time to really get a crisp. Finally, and most importantly which helped this version, I was extra careful to keep the toppings on the tortillas. That made it come off cleanly.

Anyway, the toppings were a tiny bit of El Pinto Green Chili sauce (or was it salsa, either way, not our fav) and then Pace. Plus, I also cut up some roasted red pepper. Oh and a lite bit of cheddar.

Good meal option as always!

Ginger and Snow-Pea Stir Fry


Meredith and I made a stir fry largely based on this recipe from A Beautiful Plate (local copy). We had to do it in a regular (though large) pan because we had to use the cast iron for something else.

We followed the recipe pretty closely except that we used canola oil for stir-frying (and a tiny bit of sesame oil for the flavor). We also used some Sriracha and Gochujang instead of the chili garlic paste.

The only other change we made was to pull the first batch of vegetables out before adding the shrimp. And we forgot to add the lime juice until after it was already poured out.

Everything came out really good. I was afraid the pan wasn't hot enough but it came out great. The shrimp also came out perfectly cooked. The flavors were really good. I really liked the ginger being part of the vegetable mix as opposed to just in the sauce.

We also did it over Cauliflower rice.

15-Minute Shrimp, Snow Pea, And Ginger Stir Fry (from A Beautiful Plate)

Local Copy (U: guest. P: name of my dog, all lower case)



We made chili again using Kenji's Recipe (local). We followed the same basic changes as last time (2015-11-02) except we used about 0.85lbs of lean bison (all they had left). I think other than that, we tried to add as little water as possible to the paste. And we skipped the alcohol and sugar at the end.

Therefore, as we noted before, the biggest difference is to do the beef around the time you do the onion and to skip simmering the beans.

It came out really good as we had hoped. Lots of rich flavors and no grittiness. The only thing is, it makes about 4 (large) servings. In order to not be having half a can of beans at each serving, I think we will try to cut that down and then maybe add bulk in some other ways.

Lasagna Soup


We made our now-regular lasagna soup. We again used the low-cal vodka sauce from Delallo first used 2015-10-09.

We also tried to make it even lighter by using

The potatoes worked really well. It saved us a good amount of points, required less processed food, and was just all-together good.

I still wish that we had a good way to make the sauce ourselves. This vodka sauce is really good and low points. I wonder if we could recreate it acceptably?

We also just had roasted eggplant.

2016-05-18 Update: Recipe moved to its own page

Huevos Rancheros


We were hungry and hadn't eaten lunch so we quickly threw together Huevos Rancheros. The only interesting thing we did is use leftover eggplant from the other day instead of beans (also saved calories). Not much else to it.

Saag Paneer (homemade), Lentil Soup, and Cauliflower


We had a family friend visiting with a very restrictive diet but we decided to see what we could do. Here is the full list:

No soy, grains, bananas, coffee, chickpeas, peanuts, peas, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes (sweets are ok), beta-glucan, mastic gum, gum arabic. Plus, [is a] vegetarian (no fish).

Add on that Meredith and I are trying to eat much more healthily and this becomes quite a challenge. We decided on Indian but this was also hard as tomatoes seem to be everywhere!!! I mean, we had to search through tons of recipes for ones that didn't call for them in the first place.

But, we ended up with:


I'll get to the saag panner soon, but first just the paneer. We wanted to make it low fat since otherwise, it is like eating cheese and that is a ton of points. By the way, in the future, we could do tofu in place of paneer and save a ton of calories and ease. But no soy for this meal.

I read a bunch of recipes but went with this "Food for 7 Stages of life" recipe (Local1). I liked that they went through all of the different options for curdling the milk and made it pretty clear that skim was ok.

However, we went with 1% (hence the really low fat but not quite fat free). We made some other changes as we went including:

The thing that really amazed me was low little it made. As you can see in the photos below, it made all of 7.25 ounces out for 1/2 gallon 1% milk (73 oz.). That is insane! You can see how much whey is left too (we saved some for other uses).

Oh, next time, I will use a larger pan. Once the milk started to boil, it made a huge mess!


Dairy Curdled milk Ready to squeeze Trying to get all of the whey out So much leftover whey Improvised (and very heavy) method to press it. Final block and weight Cubed and ready to go

How to make [Organic and Fat Free] Paneer at home? (from Food for 7 Stages of life)
Local Copy (U: guest P: name of my dog, lower case)

Saag Paneer

Again, we really struggled to find a recipe that didn’t call for (and seem to rely on) tomatoes. But eventually went with Vegetarian Times (Local).

We followed the recipe pretty closely except:

It worked out ok. Mostly tasted like sautéed spinach with a strong flavor of ginger and coriander. Essentially, like Indian sautéed spinach but not saag paneer. I think this is one of the recipes that really do benefit from heavy cream, etc. I do not know if I would attempt saag paneer again unless I am willing to use the cream.

Saag Paneer (from Vegetarian Times)
Local Copy (U: guest P: name of my dog, lower case)

Lentil Soup

We again struggled with the tomatoes, but eventually ended up with this recipe (Local) recipe. Actually, this was doubly difficult since we struggled to find vegetable (or vegetarian chicken) broth without tomatoes (see the photo below).

On the soup, we also stayed pretty true to the recipe except that we

We used all of the regular broth and half of the low sodium. It was pretty simple. Maybe a bit mushy but not bad. I think if we made this one again, we would go light on the cardamom. That flavor was a bit too strong.

Broth we found Final Soup

Indian Lentil Soup (Dal Shorva) (from
Local Copy (U: guest P: name of my dog, lower case)

Roasted Cauliflower

We did our regular Curry Roasted Cauliflower Recipe again with the Tandoor Chicken Masala (same as used on 2015-11-11). We made a ton of it. Probably 2.5 heads worth. It was so much that, for the first time, I didn't finish what was left.

Also, I do not know if we didn't need it before or used it and forgot to note it, but we didn't add salt and it was missed. Good otherwise. Nice char and, as usual, lots of flavor

  1. The original site has a good bit of useful pictures. Therefor, I also included a link to the PDF printout on the local page 



Despite having made it two other times in the same week, we again made a Huevos Rancheros(ish) thing. We wanted to use up leftovers so we used the leftover cauliflower plus some spinach. And we used a green chili sauce for the main liquid.

Simple, fast, and effective at using leftovers

[Modified] White Bean Falafel


We were again trying to cool with the same restrictions as 2016-01-22 so we came up with falafels.

I made my regular dough, roughly doubled, but with great norther beans and I made lentil flour (food processor). I used about 2/3 cup of the flour to try to counter the wetter beans. I also did most of the spices only roughly. And, I used some dried parsley instead.

I tried to waffle them but they failed. It stuck too much. Not sure what the root cause was, but it wasn't pretty. So, for the rest, I baked like regular falafel. This worked well. Of course, the bottom got much browner than the top. I wonder if I could sandwich trays to try to cook the top? I will look into that... (You can't really see it in the picture because of how I placed them on the plate but what is up was the bottom of the tray)

We served the with fried eggs and a quick dip made from greek yogurt with za'tar and salt.

Failed Waffles:

Cauliflower with Soy Chorizo


We made a quick meal. Just roasted cauliflower (but for less time) and then we tossed it with soy chorizo, capers (and the liquid) and a little bit of jalapeños. We used a different type of soy chorizo. It tasted about the same as the Trader Joes

Chicken Pot Pie


Note: This was moved into My Recipe Book

Meredith did most of this making our usual Chicken Pot Pie with the same usual changes from 2015-11-09

We had a few without any topping it with the biscuits. I had some on mine and they were undercooked since I did it from frozen.

Again, this is such an easy but also really good meal!

Curry and Buffalo Chicken Salads


Buffalo Salad Curry Salad

Meredith made chicken salads for lunch. It was a buffalo chicken salad and a curry chicken salad. Both were made with rotisserie chicken breast and greek (and maybe regular) yogurt.

This was a long time ago so we do not recall all of the details. But on the buffalo she also used cabbage for bulk.

The Indian one is based on The Cozy Apron (local). We do not recall all of the changes but she (with everything doubled or tripled):

Again, this was a bit ago so we do not remember it all.

Curry Chicken Salad (from The Cozy Apron)
Local Copy (U: guest, P: name of my dog, lower case)