Summer Cool Down: Corn Gazpacho with Scallops

Happy 4th of July oh thy loyal readership.  Depending on your geographic location you may or may not be experiencing a heat wave, I am personally experiencing the onset of heat exhaustion.  But before I collapse in sea a sea of swamp ass and empty mineral water bottles (to be recycled of course), I was able to transcribe this recipe for those feeling the heat.

You're welcome.

18.07.04-1.jpg

Vegetable Prep

Ingredients:

  • 8 ears of corn; reserve 1 ear for garnish
  • 1/2 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes, about 12
  • 1-2 roasted yellow peppers; peeled
  • 1 cucumber; peeled, seeds removed and 1/4 set aside for garnish
  • parsley; for garnish
  • vegetable stock

Step 1:  Cook Corn

18.07.04-4.jpg

Granted we could do the easiest method of cooking corn; removing the corn husk, silk and pop these suckers in a pot of boiling water.  While adding humidity to my sweat shop conditioned kitchen would be a great way to slim down for the beach later this week, but it isn't ideal for everyday life.  In order to escape the heat I opted to grill the corn:

18.07.04-6.jpg

The inedible silk only goes so far to the base of the corn so peeling back the husk about 3/4 of the way down allows one to rid themselves of what I like to call "corn pubes."  

18.07.04-5.jpg

Once you have given the corn a Brazilian hand wax, redress the corn pulling the husk in reverse order from the previous step and placing them upside down into a tall pot full of water.  This will allow the stalks to gain some moisture back preventing them from burning and letting the corn steam in it's natural abode.   Grilling should take no more than 20 minutes, after 15 check the corn for done-ness and remove from the grill. A great way to add a little smokey flavor is to remove the husk of one or two of the cobs, grilling the bare corn over the grill for a few minutes.

Step 2:  Grill Yellow Pepper

18.07.04-2.jpg

Do not chop the yellow pepper before placing it over a high directly onto the grill.  After the skin begins to blister and char, remove it from the grill and add it to a brown paper bag.  Roll the bag up tight and let stand for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes the skin can easily be removed from the pepper, now you can remove seeds and stem.

Step 3:  Peel and remove seeds of cucumber

Step 4:  Puree everything in a blender

18.07.04-8.jpg

Sou Vide Scallops

Lightly vacuum seal your scallops in a bag and add into a 123°F water bath for 20-30 minutes (depending on the thickness).  Grilling scallops is difficult but not impossible, use a cast iron pan and a very low heat to sear them, warning overcooking scallops is very easy.

18.07.04-9.jpg

Remove from bag and sear using a torch, if a torch isn't available a hot pan with butter works fine.

18.07.04-11.jpg
18.07.04-12.jpg

Add to soup and garnish.  Damn girl you makin' me mad corny...

Urkel_1.gif

Vegan Trials: Curried Lentils

I have a love hate relationship with vegans; I love Tom Brady and hate feeling like a worthless meat eater from all these skinny/healthy people that occupy vegan social media.  Part of me believes there are times avoiding animal products for a short period of time is good for the body & soul.  Some days I pull a vegan-vampire and avoid meat whilst the sun is up, and as the night comes I succumb to the urges of my caveman brain.

As far as I know there are two major types of people that turn plant eater; the animal activist and those who abstain for health regardless of morality.  I can reluctantly side with the person living a leafy lifestyle due to a internal feeling and a pursuit of longevity.  Although even if the plant lifestyle health claims are valid, I can make a strong case living past 100 isn't worth missing out on a 24 ounce Tomahawk Chop. 

That brings us to animal rights activists; I love me some animals and I agree we have a double standard with which animals we eat and the ones we allow onto our beds.  I can say for certain my dog would be dead in five minutes without me, him and the rest of the Border Collies would be extinct without humans.  As an owner of all seven volumes of the Wild Life Fact Files I believe I have the expertise to speak on this issue.  I have heard arguments that our pets are some sort of prisoners, enslaved among treats and toys in our warm/dry shelters.  But in reality they are more like a shitty roommates who don't ever make rent or at worst a squatter who shits in the house, I am looking at you cats. 

I am a proponent of eating wild game over farm raised livestock however I barely can step outside without a set of wireless headphones and a wiFi signal.  I might have to stick to the grocery store until the Apocalypse, only then will l do adequate research and binge YouTube videos on hunting.  Animals are here for us to eat, we are a predator, the top of the food-chain and we eat animals in order to balance the ecosystem.  Not to mention, farming of just vegetables kills numerous species of rodents, birds and insects during the harvesting process alone.  If you're going to live a life with ZERO impact to other species you might as well plan your funeral or start foraging in the woods.  There isn't much at Wholefoods that didn't involve the merciless slaughtering of animals, and for that I am thankful.  Please excuse me while i pour out some of my kombucha for my homies...

18.03.05-32.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1-can coconut milk, measured out to 2 cups
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1-2 tbs ginger, freshly grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium shallot
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp madras curry powder
  • yogurt
  • lime wedges
18.03.05-33.jpg

Grate the ginger, as well as mince the onion and shallot into similar sized pieces.  Slice the garlic like Paulie from Goodfellas and get them so thin it may liquiefy when it hits the pan, but feel free to use a regular knife in lieu of a razor blade.

*I minced the ginger on a early version of this and didn't notice a difference if you want to avoid cleaning another utensil.

18.03.05-34.jpg

Begin by sautéing the chopped vegetables, cook over medium heat in a small saucepan for a total of 5-8 minutes, while your pot is on the stove slide over to the sink and wash the lintels to remove anything left behind during packaging.

18.03.05-35.jpg

Add in the spice blend about halfway through cooking the vegetables.

18.03.05-36.jpg

After adding in the spices leave the onions, shallot and garlic on the stove (stirring often) until its contents have turned translucent.

18.03.05-37.jpg

Add in the whole can of coconut milk and water into the pot.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes, or whatever time the packaging on your lintels direct.

18.03.05-39.jpg
18.03.05-38.jpg

Serve with yogurt and a wedge of lime you fabulous animal savior.

Gluten Free Trials: Cauliflower Pizza

Pizza is arguably the best food on the planet, the old adage is often said that pizza is like sex and even the worst pizza is still good.  In contrast unsolicited sex is to gluten-free pizza in that same analogy, it's not good and should be punishable in a similar fashion if served without consent.  As previously stated I am a hater of the gluten-less wheat products masquerading as regular bakery goods, however cauliflower presented an interesting alternative.  That alternative being a vegetable based pizza crust, a cousin of broccoli that I have forever appreciated for it's take-on-any-flavor attitude.  Whether it's Buffalo sauce or mashed potatoes cauliflower can offer a guilt free version of your cheat day meal.

As a skeptical person I decided to jump into this one with two feet and before producing a single blog I recreated this 4 times before landing on a final product.

18.03.05-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Equipment:

18.03.05-2.jpg

Grate the cauliflower florets down until you hit the stem, and if you want to use absolutely everything grate down the stem on a smaller hole.  If you have a food processor I would recommend using that instead, the downside of the grater is the irregular size if the cauliflower.

18.03.05-18.jpg
18.03.05-19.jpg

Boil grated cauliflower for about 5 minutes, stir often and make sure all the small bits floating to the top are mixed to the bottom.

18.03.05-3.jpg

Line the pasta strainer with cheese cloth to retain the smallest of peices.

18.03.05-4.jpg

Wring out the cheese cloth until the moisture is almost entirely gone, salvage the last cup of liquid in case you need to add back in moisture.

18.03.05-6.jpg

Add two cloves of grated garlic into the dry cauliflower "rice," mix thoroughly and empty into a large bowl.

18.03.05-9.jpg

Add the remaining ingredients in and mix.

18.03.05-10.jpg
18.03.05-11.jpg

After several attempts of placing the dough atop tin foil I realized parchment paper was the only viable liner.  I still used tin foil to line the pan however a trick to keeping the parchment paper down is using a wet wipe before lining the pan with parchment.

18.03.05-12.jpg

Use vegetable oil (or peanut oil used above) to grease the parchment paper.  You will soon realize why more is better.

18.03.05-13.jpg

Spread the "dough" across the parchment paper and press down firmly.  The cauliflower dough is more of a course paste than anything, mash the mixture together in the shape of a pizza or you will have rough chunks all over the joint.

18.03.05-14.jpg
18.03.05-15.jpg

Cook the cauliflower dough at 375 °F for 20-30 minutes, at this point the edges should start to turn brown.  Take the dough out of the over and try to loosen with a spatula to prepare for the flip.  Depending on the size of your pizza dough you might have trouble flipping, fortunately for me I have cat like reflexes.

Continue cooking at 375 °F for another 5-10 minutes and remove from the oven (do not turn off heat).

18.03.05-16.jpg

Add ingredients and place back in the still hot 375 °F oven for another 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese and heat the toppings.

18.03.05-17.jpg

Was it good?  Yes.  Was it as good as regular pizza?  No, however I wouldn't really call this pizza.  This was more like a flatbread mixed with a drunk pile of nachos you made in college that were not actually chips but stale crackers.  God save the gluten free people...

RIP Coconut Oil (2011-2017)

SourceSales of the oil plummeted last year, according to new data from market research firm SPINS, which tracks the health and wellness sector. Coconut oil initially attracted adherents with promises that it boosts immunity and aids in weight loss. But its popularity waned as questions emerged about those claims and the product’s effect on blood cholesterol... Nutritionists and researchers began to question the science behind some of coconut oil’s more extravagant claims — such as the idea that it accelerates weight loss by boosting metabolism. Meanwhile, manufacturers — sensing new demand for alternative oils — ramped up production of avocado oil, algae oil, animal fats and specialty butters... By the time the American Heart Association officially denounced coconut oil in June 2017 — the product has too much saturated fat, AHA said — sales were already beginning to fall, according to SPINS. Over the course of 2017, coconut oil retail sales dropped $52 million, or 24.3 percent.

The origin of food fads has changed over time from a Mad Men style marketing firm, West coast crash diet think-tanks to the basic humans on Instagram (h/t to me for being PC).  However the phenomenon and largely unknown science is how they slowly turn into staples of the American diet.  Edward Bernays the O.G. of public relations and corporate propaganda was the man who convinced Americans that bacon was for breakfast.  Now bacon can be found as part of every meal in the most click-baity recipes on the internet written by simpleton bloggers and bloggettes.  Bernays wrote "the book" on the manipulation of the American mind through advertising and even today his tactics are being used to sway the opinions of the masses. 

Nowadays a single hashtag, meme, GIF or pretty picture can start an avalanche of copycat posts.  Before anyone can blink avocado toast is on your local brunch menu for the small price of $11.  Years ago coconut oil became the darling of the internet; every Tom, Dick & Henrietta was writing why you should be jamming this white paste (gross) in every crevice of your body. 

In honor of the recent findings of the alleged false claims, let us review some of my favorite claims by the coco-nut people:

Heart Health

The obvious starting point had to be the claim that broke the coconuts shell.  Color me shocked that Cheerios never pumped Honey Nut Coconuts (trademark) while I was watching the Price is Right in my 5th year of college.

Hair Care

Rogaine must be doing pretty poorly trying to sell a product for thicker and fuller hair when the market was always looking for matted-down oily hair.  More like ro-loss...

Alzheimer's / Diabetes / AIDs / Cancer

Who would have thunk it, curing the most deadly diseases of the 20th and 21st century wouldn't be done by solving the human genome but merely opening a coconut.

Anti-Aging

I pictured the fountain of youth being full of water, turns out it's slightly more viscous.

Weight-loss & Appetite

After years of trying to reduce fat in my midsection I slowly realized only moving something other than my computer mouse would solve my problems.  That being said, I will give it another few months of rubbing this Coconut oil all over my body before I decide it isn't working.

dancestrong.gif

Chapped Lips

I had 50 words written about how the primary use of this was to lubricate food down some fat asshole's gullet, I soon realized it was the third ingredient in the balm I was applying to my stupid lips.  Damn you irony!

Teeth Whitening

Often referred to as "oil pulling" this process involves sloshing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes.  A quick search will result in consumers being told this removes "toxins" form the gums and teeth.  Apparently all of those "toxins" are making my teeth yellow as fuck and has nothing to do with all the red wine and coffee I am consuming on a daily basis. 

Side note - I think we found the secret ingredient in Kinoki pads.

KinokiPads.jpg

Side note #2 - before Kinoki pads I had no idea I could poop out my feet.