Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Falafel (with experimentation)


(Forgot to take a final picture)

We decided to make falafel for a super bowl party but also wanted to experiment. I tried to place another tray on top (with the non-stick foil) to brown both sides. However, as you can see from the picture, they basically just spread. And it was essentially steamed. So this didn't work.

But I let them cook until they were sufficiently done and it came out ok.

Meredith made a large batch of tzatziki. We served it (for a party) with cut up pita bread.

Kohlrabi Stir Fry


We had bought kohlrabi and some type of bok choi for another recipe, but a lot of things had gone bad and we just weren't in the mood. So we made a stir fry with them instead. We did it a la broccoli beef. I diced the kohlrabi and started that stir-frying. I then prepped the sauce and Meredith chopped the bok choi. I added the bok choi along with the ginger and garlic and let it fully cook. Meanwhile, I separately sautéed tofu (with salt), then combined it all.

Really simple and good as usual. Not much to it either.

Lettuce Wraps


Meredith and I threw together Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps for lunch. But we also tried to make it healthier. First of all, we used rotisserie chicken. But instead of some of the noodles, we used cabbage which worked pefectly well. We also made a smaller portion but forgot to reduce the sauce so it was saucier than usual.

Still, it came out really good. It is such an easy sauce (3 simple ingredients) and it works out to pretty few calories; especially when you use cabbage as filler. To be done again for lunch.

Beet Pickled Eggs


I made beet pickled eggs using my Dad's recipe from last time. I followed the recipe pretty closely with the only real change being that I split the extra stuff as top and bottom and I used only 8 eggs. I used my regular method for "boiled" eggs. One egg actually broke but then I remembered that I made hard boiled eggs before and took an extra from there.

After about a week (made on 2016-01-31) they got a great color and some good flavor. I wonder if I can reuse the brine for another batch even if it won't have all of the onions. Or, maybe I will add another can and half an onion with the same brine. (to be continued)

Additional Photos

Set up Eggs on top Finished. Great color Bisected

2016-02-21 Update

After I finished all of the original eggs, I added more hard boiled eggs to the "brine". I had also already eaten probably half of the beets and some of the onions.

Still, after a week, the new batch looked pretty good. It was a bit less intensely colored and slightly less flavorful, but I would do this again. Maybe try to leave more of the beats until after the second batch. Or, maybe add another can (even though that would throw off the amounts1)

Picture of a second-batch egg:

  1. I guess I could halve the recipe and just keep growing it. Maybe.... 

Ginger and Snow Pea Stir Fry


We made the same stir-fry as 2016-01-18. We followed the recipe pretty closely except again taking out the vegetables before doing the shrimp.

It was still pretty good though not as much as the first time but it was still pretty healthy and easy. We again used cauliflower rice.

Beef Jerky: "No Idea" and an attempt at New Mexican Red


I made beef jerky again. I was a bit more time constrained. I made the marinades, let them sit to meld flavors for a little bit and then I marinated the meat for about an hour (out of the fridge).

No Idea

I think I may have come to a stable recipe. It is basically like the one from last time but less juniper and I replaced the water with extra apple cider vinegar.

It started around 4:30 and I took it out around 8:40 after drying it at 145°F.

Combine all but the beef and heat just enough to dissolve the sugar. Let flavors meld for 10+ minutes and marindate with the beef for an hour to a day.

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

New Mexican Red (attempt 1)

I wanted to try to make something New Mexican so I went with red chile. The plan was to do it with close to normal amounts of liquid and blend it but the vitamix needed more liquid to grab everything. I think I ended up with about 1/2 a cup which made for a very wet jerky. I had to let it dry for about an hour more than the other one. I also did this one with the sticks instead of strips but I think from now on, I will just use the strips. I got some of the ingredients from red chile sauce recipes.

Flavor wise, it has a little kick and was overall ok. It could probably use some work on the flavors and more heat.

Toast the whole chili pods about half way, then cut off the stem and let the seeds stay in the pot. Finish roasting and add the water and turn off the heat (the water will likely boil right away). Let steep for ~5 min.

Remove the peppers but reserve the water. Combine all other ingredients but the beef in the blender. Add the minimal amount of water possible to the blender to get it going, starting with the pepper water (with the seeds removed). I needed about a 1/2 cup total. Use as little as possible.

Valentines' Day Dinner: Sous-Vide Tenderloin, Winter Caprese, and Asparagus


The plan for this meal was to be surf and turf, but the lobster tails were, unknown to us, frozen. Thankfully, I had prepped cauliflower fritters for the next day and we decided to make them for tonight (though we ate them after)

Anyway, we had sous-vide beef tenderloin (same cut as filet mignon). We had some at the Santa Fe Foodie Classic. I knew I had done it before so I figured we'd dit it again.

Sous-Vide Tenderloin

I was a bit nervous since Meredith really doesn't like steak and this cut was very expensive (especially since it was from Whole Foods).

I used the same method as the first time (2015-03-27). I used my STC-1000 based temperature controller with the crock-pot. The controller is more a thermostat so it's either one or off (and there was no cooling method).

I followed the Serious Eats (LOCAL) guidance and did it with 131°F aiming to be around medium-rare and medium. Actually, I had to use celcius so I did 55°C (<==> exactly 131°F). I set it with a 0.3°C (the minimum) with the heat on the high setting. Again, there was no cooling so I watched the temps and it seemed to go between 54.7°C (130.46°F) to 55.5°C (131.9°F).

I couldn't find the vacuum sealer bags so I just used heavy-duty freezer bags and I submersed them in the water to get rid of all of the air. I was also able to weigh them down with the meat at the bottom of the bag so they staid in the water (see the set up).

I prepped it with some salt and pepper (before I read in the Serious Eats article that you shouldn't do that). I started it around 5:30 and let it go for about 2.5 hours.

They really came out extremely tender and flavorful. It was great since it is so easy to overcook this cut of meat, yet this was cooked through perfectly!

In the water bath with the mason jar to hold down the temp probe and pin the bags Tucked in to keep the heat in Out of the bath They look pretty gross at first Searing on very high heat Perfectly cooked to medium-rare You can also see how thick this cut was but also how evenly cooked it was

Other Stuff

The asparagus was just cooked at 425 for 5-8 minutes or so (while searing the steak) with pepper and smoked salt.

I prepped the cauliflower fritters before for tomorrow but decided to make it tonight. Actually, we really didn't need it but we ate some (and took the rest for lunch)

The caprese came from this Whole Foods recipe (local copy). Actually, we just used it for inspiration. We roasted the potatoes, used mozzarella, and then topped it with sage and balsamic. It was actually pretty...ok. The mozzarella, or at least this mozzarella, had very little flavor. I would try something like this again but with better cheese.

Winter Caprese Cauliflower Fritters (eaten after eveything else)

Sweet Potato Winter Caprese Salad (from Whole Foods)
Local Copy (U:guest, P: name of my dog, all lower case)

Scallops and Lobster Tail


We had planned sea scallops anyway, but after the lobster tail was frozen last night so we made that tonight.

We seared the scallops for about 2 minutes per side (with a bit of butter). We also grilled the butterflied lobster tails for about 10 minutes then topped it with green sauce and butter mix.

Not much to the meal, but it was quite fancy...especially for a Monday night. Also very easy though.

Lobster being grilled Flipped over Scallops seared

Rutabagas Bravas and Turkey Cutlets


Meredith is out of town and I had been wanting to make something with rutabagas for a while so I went with this idea. I had done patatas bravas with rutabagas before on 2013-11-05 so I did the same thing, again using my regular sauce (but made spicy). Pretty straight forward. I did the rutabagas for 45 min at 425. It was tossed with some salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and some smoked salt. Actually, the smoked salt kind-of opened on me and poured in but I was able to get most of it out.

I read somewhere about baking turkey cutlets and they suggested an oven at 425 and doing so on a wire rack (probably because they are fake frying). I was already using that temperature so I went with it. I topped them with smoked paprika and McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning like I did on 2016-01-06 (except this time in the oven). Even with just 15 minutes, they were a bit over cooked.

Still, this was a very light and tasty. Not too much work either.

Balsamic Stir Fry and Kabocha Squash


Meredith is still on a trip so I made a dinner she wouldn't care too much about. I made balsamic stir fry with about 3 medium heads of broccolli, a quarter head of cabbage, and a red pepper. I used about 7 ounces of rotisserie chicken.

I also roasted (400°F 30 minutes, flipped hald way) and planned to eat half. Well, as you could imagine, that was still too much food. I ended up saving even more.

So, it was a very good meal. Maybe not the most amazing thing, but certainly good. And tons of food at relatively low points!

Beef Jerky: Pepperoni and "No Idea"


I again made another batch of beef jerky. I decided that, in general, I will do a batch of No Idea and then something new. This way, I know I have something good on deck.

No Ideas

Sadly, this time, the No Idea wasn't as good. I struggled with extruding it and I think the apple cider overpowered. I think it is because I used a higher-quality one that packed a lot more flavor. Maybe it was unfiltered. It wasn't bad, but not the best either.

I let this go for about 5 hours. It came out pretty dry and brittle. I read somewhere that this may be due to more water <==> more brittle but I do not know if that is true.

I did move it it's own recipe page here. See that page for a note about the amount of vinegar.


The pepperoni jerky was based on Off the Cutting Board (LOCAL). I made a few changes besides halving it but rather than note the changes, below is what I actually did. I let this go for about 5 hours and 40 minutes but, unlike the No Idea, this was a better texture

Grind the fennel and mustard with the crushed red pepper. Grind as much as possible. Combine all ingredients including just enough water to help it hodl together. Heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds to help dissolve the sugar.

Let the flavors meld for about 15 minutes then mix the beef and marinate for 1 hour to a day.

Thoughts and Next Time

The end result certainly tasted like pepperoni. There was no doubt about it. But, the amount of liquid smoke was too much making it taste like the fake stuff my dad used to buy. Cut liquid smoke to 1/4-1/2 tsp next time

Also, the fennelw as a bit over-powering. Not too bad and Meredith would still eat it. But, cut fennel to 1 tsp next time

Huevos Rancheros with Chicken


I made our regular Huevos Rancheros with the last of the remaining rotisserie chicken. I mixed the chicken with black beans and used a mixture of salsas. I also threw a tiny bit of tofu on top since I was trying to use it up and I topped it with gouda.

It was spicy but also pretty good. The shell came out extra crispy but I really liked it.

Lasagna Soup and Jackfruit Stuff


We made Lighter Lasagna Soup again with Vodka sauce noted on 2015-10-09. We added an extra pepper and skipped all forms of a starch. We also only used 1/2 lbs of chicken sausage.

The soup came out pretty good as usual. Maybe a bit thin this time. But still good. And so easy! We also finished up the mozzarella was bought for Valentines' Day.

In addition, we tried out this new "meat" dish made with jackfruit and pictured below. We just heated it and served it taco style. I could kind of see the utility of Jackfruit-as-a-meat but the sauce was really pretty awful. I guess I would try their other flavors but with extreme trepidation

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

Thai Beef Salad


Meredith and I made the regular Thai Beef Salad doing the usual extra tsp (total 1 tbsp) of fish sauce. Unlike the last few times, we skipped the Thai chili peppers and we also just happened to forget the cilantro.

The steak was also about 1/2 lbs (much less than called for) of (I think) Top Round1 that we marinated earlier that morning and then did on the grill pan.

Nothing too special but still a pretty good and easy meal. Not to mention, super low in points.

  1. I think it was labeled London Broil but that can be a catch all. Either way, it was a lean cut. 

Korean Tacos


I made us Korean Tacos. I did it just like I did back in 2015-09-09. I used the regular Beef Bulgogi recipe except I added a tablespoon of Gochujang to the marinade.

Actually, I let it marinate for a really long time. I did it since Sunday, so 4 days. There wasn't much beef so I also did a block of tofu as you can see from the photos below.

Other than the beef, I used the same pickled onions as I did the first time (they were pickled so hopefully they were safe) and I made the same curtido (again, without carrots) as before.

I heated the tortilla and spread a tiny bit of Gochujang on the bottom which was just enough to get the flavor without being overpowering.

The beef was a bit too undercooked but other than that, it was really good. The flavor was all of the way through and they were really good. I think they only thing they could have needed was a bit of cheese or something.

curtido beef and the tofu after marinating for 4 days Beef and tofu being grilled (though not long enough)

Lunches: Lentil Salad and Broccoli Soup


This was a lunch meal we planned and packed a few times this week. We made this Smitten Kitchen recipe (local). We followed it pretty closely except we used onions instead of shallots.

It came out pretty good. Very briny pretty flavorful. It wasn't very good by the last day, but for the most part, it was pretty good. It was actually a good bit more work than expected....

We also made the regular Roasted Broccoli Soup with just 3 oz of cheese. As usual, this came out really good, low in points, and pretty easy. It was super blended from the Vitamix but still good.

Green chile Shepherd's Pie


Meredith and I wanted to make a good meal that was also low in points so we decided on green chile shepherd's pie.

We followed the basic idea as we did on 2015-03-17. We made it green chile both by adding some hot green chiles (frozen) and spices.

The beef mixture was about a pound of ground beef, an onion, about 1/2-3/4 cup of both frozen peas and frozen corn, and then also green chile. We spiced it with salt, cumin, chipotle powder, garlic powder, and minced dried onion. The beef came out really spicy but I think that is from the chipotle powder though it may have been the green chile.

Meredith made the potatoes with 3 red-bliss potatoes and half a head of (intentionally green) cauliflower. We boiled the potatoes and steam the cauliflower. We used roasted garlic, salt, garlic powder, more green chile, and non-fat greek yogurt.

We baked it at 350°F for 25 minutes.

It worked very well. Lots of flavor and pretty easy. Also, I estimate about 1- points for the vegetables (Assuming 1 cup each just in case) plus 15 for the beef and another 10-15 for the potatoes. That is about 8-9 for each quarter.

Beef mixture Making the "potatoes" Side view Before going in the oven

Orange Chicken with Broccoli


Meredith and I made orange chicken but used broccoli instead of doing it on top of cauliflower rice.

I stir fried the broccoli first and then took it out and did the chicken (which I also tossed in some corn starch). I added it all together and let it boil down a lot.

Meredith did the sauce and basically followed the recipe except the recipe calls for 3 Tbsp of honey which is 12 smart points so we had to cut it down. We did it with 1 Tbsp of honey and 2 Splenda packets (which is equal to 1.5 Tbsp sugar). Full changes listed below