Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Sous Vide Sirloin


The original plan was to do something of a Meredith meal with some sous-vide steak too but we ended up not being very hungry so we just had the steak.

We went with a sirlion. Our favorite of sous-vide steaks was the tenderloin, our least favorite was the Delmonico. This one seemed pretty lean and was also a good price.

I cut the piece in two and did it at 136°F for about 1.5 hours.

It was pretty good. The problem was it needed salt. I forgot it until the steak was already in the bag. I tried to add some salt but since it was in the bag, only some got salted. Those were the better parts. I do not know the pros and cons of salting before or after cooking, but either way, it could have used more.

Green Chile Chorizo Huevos Rancheros


I wanted to make everyone breakfast but we didn't really have any meat so I ran out and got some pork chorizo (about the same calories as soy, much less than beef???) I sautéed that and then made my regular huevos rancheros with 505 Green Chile Sauce.

Lite Baked Potato Salad


Meredith and I made lite baked potato salad for an Independence Day Party. We basically played it by ear, but tried to boil the potatoes roughly based on Serious Eats. That is, add some vinegar and salt (and sugar but we skipped it) to the water (cold) and bring up the heat with the potatoes.

We used a mixture of low-fat sour cream and fat-free greek yogurt for the base. We mixed in Penzey's Ranch Powder, bacos (or some other non-meat bacon bits), part-skim cheddar, and scallions. Also two fresno peppers for some heat.

It worked out pretty well. It was lighter than a lot of other options and was pretty easy to make

Salad with Salmon (Sous-Vide)


We tried to make salmon from frozen with Sous-Vide at 130°F. I didn't know this could really happen but it got super overcooked. I guess with salmon, we have to be more careful. It got super white and kind of gross.

We scraped off the skin and tried to flake it to make a salad. We put some mozzarella balls, some romesco sauce and some croutons made with really old bread.

The salmon was pretty dead and overcooked but overall, it really was a fine meal. We'll just be better about the salmon next time.

Tofu and Broccoli Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing


We made Tofu and Broccoli Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing from this The Kitchn Recipe (Local). We followed the general gist of it but made some changes to the dressing.

To cut down on the calories and fat in the dressing, we used half peanut butter (1/4 cup) and 1/4 cup of PB2, the powdered peanut butter. I was a bit weary since I know that you usually do a 2:1 PB2:water ratio but this was certainly still peanut buttery enough. You could even go a little higher and still save a ton of calories. We also did it in the Vitamix.

For the tofu, we just chopped up the Trader Joes "Super Firm" tofu which is really easy and very good. I think we figured about 9 points plus total for the whole thing.

Eggplant Poached Eggs


Not the prettiest meal, but we made a very quick meal of Trader Joes Grecian Style Eggplant and poached eggs. Just put the eggs in the stuff on a hot pan and served it over bread. It was very easy, very quick, and pretty good. The eggplant stuff is not exactly healthy (lots of oil) but we don't use too much of it.

I also made myself a very quick salad of tofu and roasted red pepper (also both from Trader Joes...) in some green mix. Not much to the salad either.

Additional Photos

Cooking the tofu for my side salad Side Salad

Breakfast Omelets / Scramble


The original intent was omelets but after two of them failed, I made the last one (pictured) a scramble.

I sautéed mushrooms, onions, and peppers in a bit of oil. When ready, I added the eggs and scrambled them. Also served with some oven-baked, center-cut, bacon.

Not too much to it, but made a nice and easy meal.



Pretty standard Huevos without much in the way of toppings. Mine had some honey-roasted turkey but the others didn't.

My mom was visiting and she can't stand runny eggs so I scrambled hers and just put it on top. Other than that, it was just the 505 Roasted Green Chile1

  1. They apparently make a distinction between just the green chile condiment and a sauce. This was the condiment version. Mostly just the chile with a few other things 

Green Chile Shrimp and Grits


Shrimp and Grits is usually a dinner in the south, but I made it for breakfast.

The package of grits said something like a 3:1 water:grits ratio and something like 5 minutes. That was a bit fishy so I more closely followed 2012-10-29 with a 4:1 ratio and about 15-20 minutes.

I did my usual creamy trick and used almost entirely almond milk in place of the water. I added two packets of frozen Green Chile to the grits. I started with one but it wasn't looking particularly green and it was getting dry. The second packet seemed to do the trick. Maybe a bit too hot but not bad. In addition, I threw in some salt, pepper, and some grated parm cheese. I forgot butter.

I just steamed the shrimp right from frozen. I didn't really have any good idea of timing so I just watched it.

Overall, it was pretty good. Shrimp was maybe a bit strange for breakfast but it worked.

Rolled Oatmeal


I made oatmeal for my mom. I do not remember the exact proportions, but I followed some recipe. And I just used almond milk in place of water. As it was almost done, I added some raisins and almonds. Other than that, I just added some (too much) salt. Actually, I could have gone a lot lower on the salt.

It was ok. Not really sure what else I did. And I didn't eat much of it. Most of it was for my mom.

Snow Pea Stir Fry


We again made the stir-fry from 2016-01-18. Same basic recipe. We followed it pretty closely except again, we did it in batches of ginger, vegetales, and then the shrimp. I think I overcooked the snow-peas, but they weren't too bad. And we made a about double the amount of snow peas.

We didn't do any kind of "rice" since we did extra vegetables.

Cuban Black Beans, Pickled Avocado, and Fajitas


We made a a ton of cuban black beans using the same idea as that time, but we used the pressure cooker. We based it on the pressure cooker using the guide from Fast Cooking (Local). We also aimed to adjust the times by 20% as suggested by HipPressureCooking (also on that local page).

The pressure cooking times are usually from when it starts to sizzle. And we let it naturally release. We split it into batches and the first batch was a bit overcooked (the natural release took like 15 or more minutes).

On the second batch, the seal must not have been as good since we heard the steam coming out for almost the entire time. And we timed it for less time. This worked a bit well, though neither were too bad.

The flavor of the beans after just the first stage was already really good. Then it got even better with the additional steps at the end. They came out really good!

We also made Avocado Pickles from The Kitchn (Local). Meredith followed the recipe really closely. One of the avocados was more firm than the other but both worked fine. The jalapeños were also very hot but it all worked well.

We also just made onions and peppers with some butter and salt. Not much to that either.

This was actually a pretty involved meal. We did the prep the night before, but it wasn't too bad. Maybe the kind of thing we could prep on the weekend.

Also, since we made 2 pounds, we have a ton of beans for other meals.

For all local recipes, U: guest, P: name of my dog, lower case

Getting the water ready Beans ready. A bit mushy but very good

Grilled Veggies, Tofu, Halloumi, and others


We finally got a grill and put it together. We had some friends over to break it in. We also decided to go with a vegetarian meal (just for kicks).

There were lots of food that required various levels of prep. We went with a mix of easy and hard.


Kabocha Squash

Nothing much too it. We just used salt and pepper on them. They were grilled for about 10-15 minutes on each side. As you can see, some got a bit burned, but they all came out okay. Actually, this was surprisingly not dry like most squash is usually. It may have been the grill or the 2 hours (ish) they sat with the salt and pepper. That may have had to do with it too

On the grill Flipped Over. Some got a bit overcooked

Other Vegetables


We just cut them put them in a pouch with a bit of salt, pepper, and oil. I cooked them for a long while but not really long enough. They could have been more caramelized a bit better. Next time, I will use some butter too and then I will also let it go for a good bit longer. Get some real caramelization on them.


Just salt and pepper. We went easy with these


This was the one marinade we really did by our selves. We used the miso-marinated carpaccio recipe. We followed the base marinade pretty closely except that we added a tablespoon of gochujang. We've done Sriracha before, but I figured that given that this was a miso-based marinade, we should use something else super fermented. It worked out well. A bit spicy. We did forget the rest of the recipe including the pistachios, but it still worked out well.

This also marinated for a few hours


Veggies on the grill Cooking

Main Meal


We've used this a few times before (see 2015-08-01,2016-05-16). We marinated it in Franks Red Hot. Pretty simple but it also worked well. As you can see in the photos, I burned it a bit. They were kind of dry, but still good. I should be careful next time and use a lower heat. It is still kind of crazy that they don't melt!


Another easy prep. We used the Trader Joes "Super Firm Organic Tofu". We cut it into medium-sized slices and marinated it with Soyaki Sauce. Again, marinated for a few hours and then grilled. I really like working with this tofu. Anything else would need to be pressed for a long time but this stuff just works fine. It also came out pretty good. Maybe a bit dry, but still pretty good.


The bread was the Trader Joes sour-dough rolls



We made a pretty simple dessert Meredith found on Serious Eats (Local). There wasn't much to it and we forgot to buy the peanut butter chips. But the rest was pretty easy and it was good. We had to use some a toothpick to hold some it together. It was a bit messy as a lot of it fell over on the grill. Lots of chocolate and marshmallows on the plates1.

I thought they were pretty good. Maybe a bit strange having the warm banana but I did like it. Ours was certainly not as pretty looking as the ones in the original recipe.

Grilled Banana Boats With Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and Marshmallows (from Serious Eats)
Local Copy -- U: guest, P: name of my dog

  1. They carbonized nicely and came off easily after I blasted the heat at the end. 

Grilled Pesto Chicken and Caprese


We again used the grill but went on the easy side. We bought the Trader Joe's Genovese Pesto Chicken:

Sure, this was a bit cheating, but it was also a nice compromise between time and prep work. We followed rough the Weber suggested timings and did about 5-6 minutes per side over direct medium heat. (Meredith wouldn't let me use the meat thermometer so we went by feel. Haven't gotten sick yet!... yet...)

We actually didn't love the sauce. It was too lemony and tangy. I do like the idea, but we will try a different one next time. It was easy though.

Meredith also made caprese salad. We used fresh tomatoes and also some she made into "tomato confit". They had been getting super old and shrived but tasted fine. She halved them, added some salt, (maybe pepper), some fresh oregano1 plus olive oul. She baked it for around 2.5-3 hours at 270°F. They were more like oven dried tomatoes, though they were already pretty dry.

For the caprese, she mixed that plus mini mozzarella balls, salt, pepper, some balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Finally, she topped it with some (garden) basil and more oregano.

  1. We think it is oregano. It may be marjoram 

Grilled Salmon Burgers and Cauliflower


We made grilled salmon burgers. There wasn't much to them except that I used too high of a heat and didn't get the inside cooked enough so I had to put it back on a bit longer. I also did onions in aluminum foil and this time for long enough (though a bit too hot) to caramelize it.

The bigger deal was the curry roasted cauliflower. I tossed it with olive oil, curry powder and salt. I then tried to do it in the grill basket as you can see in the photos below. I took the pieces that fell through the basket and also tried to do them in aluminum foil.

The basket worked ok. It meant I couldn't close the grill all the way which was a bit annoying. It also meant I had to take it off the grill in order to do the cauliflower. They were hard to cook well and it was hard to cook them all evenly. I may look into other ways in the future.

On the grill Flipped over

Jerk Chicken Tacos (Sous Vide + Grilled)


Meredith and I were having a friend over so ee decided to again try to replicate Torchy's Brushfile Taco (see 2016-04-07 but decided to use a different jerk chicken recipe (and method)

We decided to go (mostly) with the Serious Eats FoodLab (Local 1) recipe. Kenji, in typical fashion, goes overboard. We just used his original marinade.

I did make a few small changes to the marinade:

The marinade was really good. I was eating some of it with a spoon! I think we could try to thicken this (though it may then not be enough volume to blend) and make it into a sauce. Either way, we would certainly use the marinade again!

I marinated the chicken for 3 days (very long). I then followed 2016-06-28 and did the chicken at 145°F. I did it for about 2 hours with the chicken still in the marinade in the bags.

I then grilled it at the highest temp for 1 minute per side as the sear step.

Flavor wise, I like it a lot. I would certainly scale up using this recipe. Method wise, I was a bit torn. I love sous-vide but finishing on the grill was kind of a waste. It stuck some (since we intentionally not leaving it on long enough to cook) and there wasn't much benefit. Plus, it took a lot of time and propane to grill it. On the plus side, I could do it all at once, I didn't have to heat up the house, and I didn't set off smoke alarms.

I think next time, I will either sous-vide or grill, but not both. If I sous-vide, I will either just shred it or I will sear it and slice it.

Or, I will just grill it. Then you get the (appropriate for the meal) char, etc. And I may consider keeping the skin on, but we'll see.

Also, with the sous-vide, the chicken was almost too moist. It just didn't quite feel right for this. Kind of strange I guess.

Anyway, we just assembled with fat-free greek yogurt, chicken, marinade2,mango, Torchy's Diablo sauce, and cilantro. (I forgot to take a photo of mine. We used my friend's photo but we assembled hers differently and without Diablo sauce so it is missing in the above photo)

Additional Photos

Chicken after being grilled (some stuck) Grilling the tortillas Sliced up

  1. U: guest, P: name of my dog, all lower case 

  2. Another advantage of sous-vide is that the marinade cooks too so you can recover it (plus extra liquid) and it is safe 

Smore Quesadilla


Not much to this, but I decided to try to make a smore Quesadilla. All I did was heat the tortillas and then put on some marshmallow and chocolate. The marshmallow kind of expanded and made a mess. But for the 5 minutes it took to make this, it was pretty good.

Thai Basil with Beef


We made Thai Basil with Beef from the Shutterbean Recipe (Local 1). We followed the general idea for the beef (didn't do the slaw) and also added snow-peans and chopped bell pepper. Also, one semi-major change in how we cooked it was that I stir-fried it. This meant that beef cooked in about 2 minutes rather than the 10 or so and everything else just happened faster. Also, we used 2/3 of a pound of beef since we only planned 2 servings.

Since we didn't do the slaw, we just added the dressing at the very end with the heat off. The idea being that it would mix more easily. And then we still topped it with extra thai basil and scallions (we also added some scallions to the stir-fry)

We both thought it was pretty good. However, it was super lacking in spice! Next time, we will do a bunch of thai chili peppers instead of a jalapeno. I thought the sauce was good but maybe could have been a bit more pungent (read: a bit more fish sauce). It was hard enough to get Meredith to make the sauce with the specified amount, let alone add more!

  1. U: guest, P: name of my dog, lower case 

Yakitori Night


We had yakitori night. We had eaten a big lunch so we decided to go light for this meal (though certainly not really easy).

Teriyaki Sauce

We used the Serious Eats Teriyaki Sauce recipe (Local) along with the suggestion from the mushroom recipe (see below but also copied on the local sauce page).

It was really easy to make. Just combine the ingredients and let it simmer. We did add some scallion, ginger, and garlic which seemed to work well.

The sauce itself came out flavorful but super sweet. It kind of makes sense for grilling where you get the caramelization, but I think we could still get that and cut it down.

So, next time, use 1/4-1/3 cups of brown sugar instead of the 1/2 it calls for.

We actually added some extra soy to try to cut down the sweetness a bit. Also, it made a ton extra so we'll use it at some point in the future.

Quail Eggs

We followed the same recipe for quail eggs as 2016-04-20. As we noted then, we let it boil for a bit longer for 3 minutes. The hardest part of this recipe is trying to peel the little eggs. Meredith was able to do it better than I was. The eggs were pretty good. Could probably have used an additional day of marinating to infuse more.

We used the grill for them, but oiled the grates so they wouldn't stick. Also, we put some green onion on the skewers both for ascetics and flavor.

Also, Meredith actually made the sesame seed and salt thing to go along with it. That was very good and we used it for the peppers too!

Before turning in the marinade:


Again following Serious Eats' lead, we made shishito. (No local copy since I really didn't do much).

We used the grilling basket for them which kind of worked. I do not like that you can't close the lid or that they don't all get to touch the grates, but it did make this easier. We just used salt (not enough) and then glazed it (or tried to) at the end with the teriyaki. These peppers were small and not as good. We haven't had much luck with them in Albuquerque.

Mushroom and Bacon Yakitori

We followed the Serious Eats Recipe (Local) recipe for the mushrooms. We used Whole Foods house-smoked Green Chile Bacon. I think we grilled ours a bit too hot and/or too long since it was a bit charred. I also do not know why our sauce didn't stick as much (should it have been thicker)?

But I do think the mushrooms did a good job absorbing a lot of the flavors from the bacon. Also, the grill did smoke a good bit as the fat dripped off but I think that adds to the flavor.

King mushrooms Skewered and ready On the grill

Fattoush with Grilled Chicken


Meredith made Fattoush for lunches using the linked recipe. She followed the recipe pretty much except no mint or parsly.

I grilled up a bunch of chicken tenders to cut up and go in as well. I just topped them with salt and za'atar. After grilling it, I chopped it up but it wasn't a ton of meat so we also added a can of chick-peas to it as well.

For the bread, we used Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Middle Eastern Flatbread. We toasted it in the morning and then put it in for lunch. It actually didn't end up too soggy so that worked well.

Grilling the chicken Cooked and ready to cut

Grilled Falafel with Grilled Tomatoes


Experimentation with the grill continues. I tried using falafel dough I had frozen a while ago. I was a bit hesitant since the dough was super, super wet. That is probably from freezing it. Fresh may work differently.

Anyway, I actually tried two different things. I tried right on the plates and also on non-stick aluminum foil. You can see the clear difference in the photos below. For both, I did it on medium-high. The first side was not on long enough and the second was a bit too long.

On the grill, after the first flip Finished and off the grill

Then I grilled the tomatoes. I had already pammed them and added salt. I grilled them on high/medium-high for about 2-3 minutes per side. At the same time, I heated the flat bread.

Meanwhile, Meredith made her regular tzatziki.

Grilling the tomatoes Flat bread got nice lines from the grill Everything together

Grilled Buffalo Halloumi Tacos and Other Stuff


Grilling continues! We marinated some halloumi in Franks Red Hot for an hour or so and then grilled it. I used a more gentle heat than last time. I also coasted it with some more Franks Red Hot while grilling.

We also grilled eggplant and some other stuff. There is seitan there (which I ate while grilling...oops...) and we also tried to make a grilled lettuce salad. That worked ok. Not the most amazing thing, but it helped bulk up the meal. We probably should have made a few more slices of cheese.

We made tacos with the cheese and the eggplant. Again, nothing special, but the cheese was really good.

All on the grill Grilled Lettuce Everything after being off the grill Nutritional Info for the cheese

Grilled Chicken Sausage with Caprese Salad and Veggies


Simple grilled meal! We had purchased a thing of chicken sausage. They are already cooked so all I really had to do was reheat them. At the same time, we sliced up zucchini and grilled that with some leftover Teriyaki sauce.

Meredith also made a caprese salad with burrata. I liked it a lot with burrata even though it was messy. It had a creamier texture.

Everything was served on a bed of arugula.

Grilled Salmon, Teriyaki Grilled Brussel Sprouts, and Eggplant


We grilled salmon and a bunch of other stuff. The salmon wasn't a big deal. We just put some Indian spices (from Manav's Mom) on the salmon and grilled it on high for a minute on the non-skin side then 5 on the skin. That is what we do when we sear it but it was probably a bit too long.

The real thing for this meal was the brussel sprouts. I put them on a metal skewer and then read some suggestions on how to cook it. Turns out that most thing suggest microwaving it for a little bit before skewering it. Well, I already skewered it and was stubborn so I decided to just steam it. I did about 10 minutes (though the lid was open a bit since the skewers were too long). Anyway, after they were on the skewer, I grilled them around medium to medium-high and I kept coating them in teriyaki from the other day.

At the same time, I was grilling the eggplant. I tried to not overcook them, but as you can see in the pictures, I still went a bit too long.

Overall, everything was good. The salmon was a bit overcooked, but the brussel sprouts were good. I would try it again but hopefully with more homogeneously sized ones so I can cook it better. And again, the eggplant should have cooked a little less hot (and maybe a little less salt).

Getting the Brussel Sprouts ready Everything on the grill

Meredith (style) Meal


A Meredith meal! Not really much food since we had snacked earlier in the day.

We had:

I don't really remember what else. It was a little bit ago.

Jerk Chicken Tacos and Grilled Artichokes


We made jerk chicken tacos. Actually, we made about 4+ pounds of chicken froze 4 servings.

We used the same recipe as last time with about the same changes. Except this time we went heavy on the peppers. We used 8 peppers and only took out the seeds of some. It was HOT!

I marinated all of it for about 2 hours (there was more than enough sauce for all of the chicken). Then I grilled it on medium / medium-high. Actually, I ran out of propane right around the time I put it on, so I had to pull it off, change the tank, pre-heat, and then I grilled it. I was actually pretty sure I over-cooked it based on the temperatures, but it was super moist. I guess the marinate/brine did the trick!

The chicken was really good. I am very happy with the recipe and the results.

I also made grilled artichokes mostly following this Simply Recipes] (Local 1) version. They were smaller ones so we made a bunch. I also did not do anything wit the stems. But I basically followed it otherwise. They were pretty good. I probably didn't get too much "meat" off the them and I barely used the dipping sauce (leftover tzatziki) but I liked the flavor.

This was also just an intense meal since, besides grilling extra chicken, I grilled food for other meals this week. But it was worth it and I was really happy with it.

Additional Photos

All of the chicken in the grill. It was getting dark Cooked and resting All servings Just the Artichokes Just the tacos

2016-08-08 Update

We had frozen a good bit of the chicken. We reheated it in a pan with a little of water to keep it from drying out. It worked out pretty well. Maybe a bit more dry and chewy than when fresh, but still pretty good (and spicy). Also it was super easy to make and cook. If we have mango around, it is a great quick meal.

  1. U: guest, P: name of my dog, all lower case