Friday, August 17, 2012

Cook big, eat small

It is hard to cook Eight Bites for one or two people. The stores simply don’t sell products in small volumes. You have to buy pork chops in a family pack, chicken breasts-6 per package, or 2 pound bags of carrots. It is very hard to shop when you are cooking small bites and have limited storage space in the freezer.  But sometimes it is really necessary to cook big and then eat little. Just because these recipes make a fair amount of food, it is however not necessary to overeat. The remaining food can be put in the fridge for leftovers or frozen in good storage containers for later use.
Each recipe here is designed to be eaten at the time you cook it, and then suggestions for leftovers are discussed. Since proteins are important to the WLS eater the three main recipes are meat recipes. The first is lamb shoulder chops, cooked in a braising liquid of garlic wine, and stock. It cooks low and slow in the oven for about 3 hours at 300 degrees. The second is an interesting Asian-flavored ground turkey meatballs in a sweet, sour and spicy sauce. And the third dish is a pork shoulder roast.

Braised lamb with garlic wine
This dish uses the relatively inexpensive lamb shoulder chops. Buy them and freeze them when they are inexpensive.
6-8 lamb shoulder chops
2 large onions, slices
6 cloves of garlic chopped fine
2 carrots, sliced
2 roasted red peppers (peeled. seeded and chopped)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup Garlic wine (Put 10 cloves of garlic into a bottle of a reasonably priced red wine, recork and allow to sit for 1 month). I sometimes take a half gallon of Burgandy and add 20 cloves of garlic then reseal it and put it under the sink.
Saute onions, garlic, carrots and peppers in olive oil in a heavy oven proof pan until they are wilted and nicely browned. Dredge the chops in a seasoned flour and saute in a small amount of vegetable oil to brown. Place the chops on top of the vegetables. Add 1 cup of the garlic wine, two cups of beef or chicken stock and then water to bring the fluid up to the meat, but do not cover the meat with the braising liquid. Cover the pan well with foil to seal and place in a 300 degree oven for three hours.
Remove the chops and keep them warm, then bring the pan juices to a boil on top of the stove and cook the braising liquid down by half or more. Serve the meat with scalloped potatoes and some of the sauce.
Leftovers: These lamb chops are very tender and when removed from the bone and heated in a saucepan  can be served over wide noodles and sprinkled with chopped green onions. Or make the meat into a hash with potatoes for a terrific breakfast.

Asian spicy meatballs
These meatballs are relatively soft and easily digestible for the WLS eater. They are relatively low in fat and can be seasoned to a very spicy level or toned downed using the red chili sauce and cayenne.  Serve the first night with steamed rice. Two or three of these meatballs is the perfect size to meet you Eight Bites needs.
For the meatballs
1 pound ground turkey
4 cloves garlic
½ baked sweet potato
2 inch grated fresh ginger
½ cup sweet red chili sauce
2-3 Tablespoons sriracha sauce Add to taste, it’s hot
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon salt
Several good grinds of black pepper
¾ cup fine cracker crumbs
1 egg
1 roasted red pepper (seeded and chopped fine
Place all the ingredients for the meatballs into a food processor with a steel blade.
Process until meat mixture is relatively smooth.
Make into 24 small meat balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the meat balls in a seasoned flour mixture, shake off excess.
Saute until brown in vegetable oil.
Place in a large baking dish, and pour sauce over the meatballs
Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes or until meatballs are done.
For the sauce
1 small can of crushed pineapple
Rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Sweet red pepper sauce (found in most grocery stores in the Asian food section)
1 cup of water or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
½ Cup sugar
½ Cup catsup
Mix the pineapple, catsup, sugar, and stock together. Bring to a boil. Add chili sauce and vinegar to create the sweet, sour and hot flavor you want. Start with ½ cup of the vinegar and pepper sauce then taste and add more as desired. Cook for five minutes to thicken. Pour over meatballs.
Leftovers: These little spicy meatballs make a great sandwich when warmed and placed on a toasted hamburger bun. Put some of the sauce over the meatballs. Or cook some noodles and serve the meatball over the noodles.

Crisp Roast Pork
This luscious garlicky roast pork works especially well with the less expensive shoulder roast, and it gives you a nice crispy skin. Some cooks like to remove the skin and cook it separately, but I like the mix of textures that you get when you roast the pork with the skin on. The fat layer under the skin continually bastes the meat as it roasts.
2 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
2 tbsp. dried oregano
1⁄4 tsp. cayenne
12 cloves garlic
Kosher salt, to taste
1 bone-in skin-on pork picnic shoulder (about 8 lbs.)
1 cup fresh orange juice
1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
Toast cumin and peppercorns in a skillet over medium heat, 2–3 minutes. Transfer to a small food processor along with oregano, cayenne, garlic, and 1 tbsp. salt; process to a paste. Cut about twenty-five 1 1⁄2"-wide slits in the pork about 1" deep. Rub garlic paste all over pork, pressing it into slits. Transfer pork to a roasting pan. Whisk together orange juice, lime juice, oil, and 2 tbsp. salt in a bowl; pour over pork. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 18–24 hours.
Remove pork from refrigerator 2 hours before you are ready to roast, to allow it to come to room temperature. Heat oven to 325°. Roast, basting every 30 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of pork registers 160°, about 3 hours total. (Add 1 cup water to pan when liquid evaporates; cover loosely with foil if skin gets too dark.) Let rest for 15 minutes, then carve and serve.
Leftovers: Roast pork is one of the most useful of meats for creating a great dinner and then some amazing leftovers. Chop the pork into small cubes and mix with salsa and heat. Place in a toasted tortilla for a terrific lunch. Chop up some roasted potatoes and place in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil. Saute until the potatoes start to crisp and add some coarsely chopped roast pork, serve with some steamed vegetables for dinner.
As I stated in the beginning of this entry, it is difficult to cook small amounts of food to satisfy the nutritional demands of the WLS eater. These recipes make a fairly large amount of food, but using inexpensive cuts and cooking for prolonged periods you can get a wonderful initial meal and then several days of leftovers. I often cook two or more of these dishes at the same time, because I don’t really like to eat leftovers from the previous day. I eat one of the dishes and then over the next few days can vary the meals using a variety of meats. Just remember that you need to eat Eight Bites at these meals. Never think that if you don’t eat more you are wasting food. One of the down sides to the WLS is that as our digestive system changes, and we can eat more. It is important to remember why you had the surgery in the first place. Mangia but respect where you have come from.