Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Apple and Spinach Pork Roulade Tapas

One of the biggest problems for me being a "Home Chef" is sometimes the creation of new dishes, especially healthy ones. When I was cooking "Full Fat" and "Full Carb" I wasn't concerned with anything but flavor; and I found it easier to create new dishes. Now, my choices are limited but I still enjoy creating new things. 

A roulade can be pretty much anything one likes that is rolled up (traditionally in beef or pork) and filled with your favorite ingredients. You are only limited by your imagination. My take is a "mini" or tapas version, using thin cut loin chops instead of a more traditional pork loin roast.

This is a pretty simple recipe, but is a little bit involved, first preparing the stuffing, and then rolling the roulade, tying them, searing and baking. The result is something that is sure to please everyone in your family, even if they don't like "Healthy" food.


  • 6 Thin cut loin chops, pounded thin
  • 2 medium Gala apples
  • 4-6 cups of fresh spinach ( adjust to your liking) with stems removed using leafs only.
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons of EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons of Reduced fat Feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of reduced fat Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup of beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 "dash" of coarse ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and chop apples into small chunks. In a large pan, heat over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of  your Evoo to the pan, once the oil starts to shimmer, add the apples. let saute for a few minutes and add the sliced mushrooms to the pan. cook 1 minute. Add the spinach to the pan and cover, stirring occasionally to spinach is wilted. Remove stuffing from pan and put into large bowl. Stir in Feta and Parmesan cheeses and set aside.

With a rolling pin "beat" your pork chops even thinner between two pieces of parchment paper of plastic wrap. Take around 1 tablespoon of your stuffing and put on one end of the pork chop and roll up. Tie each pork roll with two pieces of twine,  Assembly all of your pork rolls. Heat the pan you cooked your stuffing in over medium-high heat. add the remaining 1 tablespoon of EVOO. Once heated, put each of the Roulades inb the pan and sear each side to browned. Remove pork from pan and transer to a baking pan. De-glaze saute pan with beef stock and pour over Pork. Cover with foil and put in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and cooking an additional 10 minutes for 20 minutes of cook time. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with any left over stuffing on top...enjoy!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weight Loss Without Being Hungry Part 3

I keep getting many questions, on on DM's or emails regarding my weightloss program. First, a few disclaimers. I am NOT a physical trainer, a dietitian, or sports nutritionist. I am simply a middle aged guy that throughout his life has worked out pretty intensely at several periods of his life.  I am also a really good cook...so right now I keep working on new recipes to bring you!! And best part...This is a NO BRAINER....it is FREE! I am not charging anyone for this info.....FREE....So what do you have to loss but weight???

There is a lot of JUNK information being sold out there everyday, from pre-packaged food, to the last sports supplements being marketed by pro fitness models and bodybuilders. Avoid the scams, the celebrity endorsements. Don't buy into it!! Have you ever read the ingredients of some of those "prepackaged " Nutra what ever companies food??? The stuff comes shipped in boxes that dont need to be in the refrigerator....Hmmm...... a turkey hot dog that will stay in your pantry for months??? SCARY

Most of the claims to nutrition supplements are garage. I know what some of you are going to say...." I read this in a magazine...or I read it on a forum..." and I say GARAGE. Forums can sometimes be the WORSE place for information, either people are passing on rehashed information that is WRONG that they've learned from either a magazine, or "the forum expert" or worse...the forum "expert" is trying to sell his own products that everyone is hyping is the next wonder pill.

There is NO magic pills that will get you in shape. The secret??? Proper food and proper exercise, period. In my last post I have some examples of food to eat. Today I want to post about some "SUPER FOODS". I would encorage everyone that hasn't read my previous article to either scroll down the page, or if you came her from a link go here:

Super Foods:

1. Whole Eggs. Cheap & rich source of Protein: 7g/egg. The yolk contains most nutrients: half the Protein, vitamins A/D/E and cholesterol to naturally increase your testosterone levels. (Good for both men and women!)

Don’t worry about cholesterol in eggs. Dietary cholesterol isn’t bound to blood cholesterol. If you have bad cholesterol, lower your body fat rather than throwing the yolk away.

2. Fish Oil. Reduces inflammation (joints/skin), lowers body fat and increases testosterone levels. You need 9000mg EPA/DHA per day. Since you’ll probably struggle to get that from eating fatty fish, consider a fish oil supplement.

3. Wild Salmon. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids that also gets you 20g Protein per 100g serving. Farm raised salmon is, however, omega-3 deficient: it’s corn/grain fed. Go with wild salmon.

4. Berries. Strong antioxidants that prevent cancer, heart & eye diseases. Any kind works: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries,strawberries, etc. Buy fresh or frozen berries and mix with oatmeal.

5. Yogurt. Contain bacteria that improve your gastrointestinal health. Don’t buy frozen yogurt or yogurt with added sugar and fruits at the bottom. Get plain low fat yogurt. My favorite is Greek style plain zero fat. Eat it with berries & flax seeds.

6. Flax Seeds. Source of fiber, Protein & omega-3. Grind the flax seeds to get the most out of them. Take 1 tbsp with yogurt & berries before going to bed.

7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 70% monounsaturated fats that protect against heart diseases and cancer. Add 1-2 tbsp olive oil to your salads. Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil: it contains more polyphenols and tastes better.

8*. Mixed Nuts. Contain mono- & polyunsaturated fats, proteins, fiber, vitamin E, zinc, potassium, magnesium, etc. Mixed nuts are caloric dense, great if you’re a skinny guy who wants to gain weight.

Anything works: almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, … Peanut Butter also works as long as you buy natural Peanut Butter without added salts/sugars.( My favorite is Smuckers ALL NATURAL )

*Be careful with nuts if one is trying to loss weight...small portions and limit them...I use as a topping on salads at times

9. Red Meat. Protein, vitamin b12, heme iron, zinc, creatine, carnosine and even omega-3 if you eat grass-fed beef. Eat beef from top round or sirloin. Use smaller portions and lean cuts of Beef and pork.

10. Broccoli. High in cancer-fighting phytochemicals and anti-estrogenic indoles. Broccoli is also high in soluble fiber and low calorie, helping fat loss. Eat other cruciferous vegetables for a change: cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, kale, …

11. Spinach. One of the most alkaline foods. Spinach prevents muscle & bone loss, but also cancer and heart diseases because of its high nutrient profile.

12. Turkey. If you don’t believe saturated fat is good for you, try white turkey. The leanest beef has about 4.5g saturated fat/100g, while white turkey has close to 0g (that why it’s so dry). Eat turkey with spinach & quinoa.

13. Quinoa. South American “king of grains”. Quinoa is higher in fiber & Protein than rice or oats, tastes a lot better and is gluten free. Buy the whiter grain, it’s better quality. Eat it post workout with meat & spinach.

14. Oats. Reduces cholesterol, provide you with low-gi carbs for energy, and high in soluble fiber.

15. Tomatoes. High in lycopene, which prevents cancer. The lycopene in tomato paste is 4 times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes.

16. Oranges. Vitamin C to fight diseases, magnesium to lower blood pressure, anti-oxidant beta-carotenes, etc. Quit drinking processed orange juice which often has added sugars. Eat oranges or make your own orange juice.

17. Apples. Pectin in apples helps weight loss by increasing satiety. Apples are also the strongest antioxidiant after cranberries (eat the peels). Unfortunately apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits. Go organic.

18. Carrots. Their huge vitamin A content improves eye-health, especially night vision. Carrots are also rich in fiber, low calorie and taste good, even raw.

19. Water. Your body holds water if you don’t drink enough. Drinking prevents water retention, helps muscle recovery and prevents dehydration from strength training. Get a brita filter and drink 2 cups of water with each meal.

20. Green Tea. Strong antioxidant and natural diuretic. Green tea also speeds up fat loss, prevents cancer and improves blood sugar & circulation. Drink green tea in the morning instead of coffee. Real green tea, not the teabags.
Avoid soy and soy products!!! It has been shown to increase estrogen levels, I know a lot of people looking to "get healthy" increase the amount of soy products they eat, but I say...avoid them!

Which supplements to take??? 

If you have been reading my other post you will see I am believer in eating...eat to get your nutrition, but that being said there are a few products that everyone should take.

  1. Fish Oil. See notes from above
  2. A Good Multivitamin.  My preference is for a liquid, or a powder that dissolves in water to make more available. Most vitamin tablets do not get digested 
  3. A Good Protein. Whey protein or a good blend such as Muscle milks Protein plus. Great for after workouts or in between meal smack
  4. Calcium and Vitamin day. Extremly important for women to prevent bone loss.
  5. Sensoril: reduces the stress hormone Cortisol, it is a patented process of  the ashwagandha root.
  6. Nitric oxide supplement: good pre-workout to increase "pump" in muscles
That is it...not a lot of filler, not a lot of money to waste on everything the gym rats or the experts keep trying to sell you.

Sensoril.... I like to take post workout and also before bed to help me rest and it increase  our body's ability to burn fat more effectively.  I don't make a penny from these guys, but they are the lest expensive place to get vitamins: Swansom Vitamins

Good Luck...and I would LOVE to hear comment from anyone doing my program and the results you are getting!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weight Loss Without Being Hungry Part 2

First, thanks to all of the positive comments that I received, both on this page and on twitter. I really appreciate all of the positive encouragement. If you haven't read that post, make sure to do so here:
Weight loss without being hungry

Hear is a partial list of foods that one can have on both Zero carb and Carb allowed days.


Boneless Chicken breast
Eggs ( no more than two a day )
Egg beaters
Egg whites
Lean Pork ( pork tenderloin is perfect!)
Lean Ground Turkey
Turkey Breast


No sugar added Almond milk (I know ..not dairy, but I use it in my smoothies)
Low Fat cottage cheese
Nonfat Greek style plain yogurt ( I prefer Fage, Voskos or chobani )
Nonfat plain yogurt
Nonfat Kefir


Green beans
Bell Peppers
Bok Choy
Egg Plant
All green leaf vegetables
all varieties of Lettuce

Fruits: (Remember no fruits after 2pm and only two servings a day)

Red Grapes

Good Carbs for carb days:

Brown Rice
Sweet potato (1 small is 1 serving)
Potato (1 small is 1 serving)
Acorn squash
Butternut squash
spaghetti squash
yam (1 small is 1 serving)
Lima beans
Pinto beans
Black beans

Good Fats:

Olive oil
Flaxseed oil
Peanut oil
and  my favorite....Coconut oil

A Note on working out:

In my previous post there was a sample workout program that I use....two things I must make clear...DO NOT OVER TRAIN THE MUSCLES.

Most books on work out programs, fitness are the biggest garage out ... even more so in the bodybuilding community.  They promote these insane work out programs.  done by professional athlete with insane genetics, not the average person. Even my work out is for someone is pretty good shape, that is use to working out....if you have NEVER worked out before...cut the amount of set for each movement in HALF...2 sets per exercise.

Muscles grow during rest and having proper diet...if you over train you will not get results! I also recommend two things 1) A training log 2) and changing your work out every 3-4 weeks.

Without a training log there is no way to mark your progress. You should be striving to either lift more weight, or increase the amount of reps every workout. Once one gets beyond 12 reps that one can do to failure.... increase the weight! By "mixing up ones workouts, one gets muscle confusion and ones works out will not get stagnate. For example, replace flat bench dumbell presses for flat bench press. By doing this, one is constantly pushing the muscles to do new things.

Keep eating, working out and being the healthiest and hottest of your life!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Weight Loss Without Being Hungry

This morning I jumped on the scale...down 28.4 pounds in 30 days.....I know what you are all thinking..."That can't be healthy, you will be losing as much muscle as fat"....WRONG.  I've actual gained 5lbs of lean body mass, so in actuality I've lost 33.4 lbs of fat. Keep in mind, For years I was a serious weightlifter...had a few periods of my life that due to stress, work, marriage problems, etc I just stopped, but under my Fat has always been alot of lean body mass...muscle.

So what is the secret??? I'm about to share it with you. no expensive books to buy, no pre-packaged food, nothing I am trying to sell you. My point is if I can do this ANYONE can do this.I still have many pounds to lose to get to my goals. I'm a Big guy, still. This morning Chest was 51"...I have large arms...21" and waist...well 37.5"....Goal is to get down to around 48" chest...keep my arms around 19"-20" cut, waist at 32...that should put me in a very fit 10% or less body fat.

This diet is carb restricted....not carb free. At the beggining I do recommend very limited carb intake for the first week or so. It also involves working out. If you don't want to workout.....I say...good luck with that. You will never achieve you body goals without working out and I don't care if you are paying some expert, or weightloss clinic lots of money and they are telling you differently, they are wrong, period.

First you need to eat protein...lots and lots of good proteins, it is the way you can keep yourself in a anabolic state without fear of losing muscle while burning fat.  Also this diet is not fat free...you do eat some fats, healthy fats which the body uses as fuel and turns on the switch for your body to start burning fat stores.

Some of my more recent recipes are great examples of what you can eat...it doesn't have to be boring!!

Even if I don't post another dish for weeks...this gives you SEVEN...one different dish a day HEALTHY dinners. When I was young I was a HUGE believer ins supplements...now, I'm just a believer in eating right...the ONLY supplement I take is a Protein smoothie I make after weight training...and I will give the recipe for that.

Here is an example of a typical days food, I alternate between "Carb days" and no carb days:

Carb Day:

Breakfast: 1/2 cup of oatmeal cooked with 1 cup of sugar free almond milk, 2 packs of truvia, 3-4 sliced strawberries.1 scoop of whey protein.
Mid Morning: 4-6oz of 0% fat Greek style strained yogurt, 1/2 cup of strawberries or blueberries, 1 pack of truvia.
Lunch: 4oz of Chicken Breast, or other lean meat ( Pork tenderloin, Fish, etc) Large Salad with  2 Tblspoons low fat salad dressing.1 small potato, sliced with Greek yogurt and dill
Mid Afternoon: 1/2 cup of low cottage cheese, 5-6 strawberries, or 1/2 cup blueberries, or 1 sliced peach
Dinner: 4-6 oz of lean meat ( Chicken, fish or lean pork) can be cooked in 2 tablespoons of good oils ( EVOO, Flax seed, etc) Unlimited amount of green veggies ( Green beans, broccoli, spinach, etc) Large salad with tomato, cucumbers, spouts, etc. Top with low fat salad dressing, or the juice of a lemon, sal pepper and Italian seasoning.
After Dinner snack: 4-6oz of 0% fat Greek style strained yogurt, 1/2 cup of strawberries or blueberries, 1 pack of truvia. 

If you notice, even on Carb days there are no carbs ( with the exception of what is in the yogurt or cottage cheese)  after lunch. Complex carbs for breakfast, and lunch only.

Carb Restricted Day: 

Breakfast: 1 egg with 2 egg white scramble or egg beaters omelet. Can have with Salsa, low/no fat cheese.
Mid Morning: 4-6oz of 0% fat Greek style strained yogurt, 1/2 cup of strawberries or blueberries, 1 pack of truvia.
Lunch: 4oz of Chicken Breast, or other lean meat ( Pork tenderloin, Fish, etc) Large Salad with  2 Tblspoons low fat salad dressing.
Mid Afternoon: 1/2 cup of low cottage cheese, 5-6 strawberries, or 1/2 cup blueberries, or 1 sliced peach
Dinner: 4-6 oz of lean meat ( Chicken, fish or lean pork) can be cooked in 2 tablespoons of good oils ( EVOO, Flax seed, etc) Unlimited amount of green veggies ( Green beans, broccoli, spinach, etc) Large salad with tomato, cucumbers, spouts, etc. Top with low fat salad dressing, or the juice of a lemon, sal pepper and Italian seasoning.
After Dinner snack: 4-6oz of 0% fat Greek style strained yogurt mixed with 2 tablespoons of sugar free jam.

The only real change is in Breakfast and lunch....if you notice...no carbs.There are carbs in the diet with fresh fruit, but no complex carbs.

You MUST drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. I also recommend at least 1 cup of coffee, and 2-3 cups of green tea or black tea throughout the day...this will keep up your energy along with giving you a thermogenic effect.

For your snacks( mid afternoon or after dinner) you can substitute my protein smoothie if done after a work out: (One cup of sugar free almond milk, 4-5 frozen strawberries, 1 scoop of Whey Protein powder, i pack of truvia)

Let me stress, these are just examples of my typical daily food intake.....I do vary my food frequently...and a lot of variety...I AM the Amateur Top Chef after all...LOL! in a seperate post I will give a list of healthy foods to eat...


This is were I'm going to lose you!! But you MUST work out!! How many of you have been in the Military?? I was in the Marine Corp...but one thing all branches of the service have is what????? PT!!! every morning before breakfast what did we do??? "Up in the morning with the rising sun, gonna run all day till the running done"...any of you remember you DI's singing that cadence???

It is important before we  " Break Fast" to get our body to use up our glycogen reserves and be in fat burning mode...and that means PT...Cardio before breakfast.  Have you EVER seen fat soldier right out of boot camp??? Heck no!!! I can tell you...we had lots of fat guys that joined the Corp, but everyone finished boot camp as a lean, green fighting machine!!

Cardio MUST be done daily, even on weight training day. Don't have weights...thats OK, push ups, Squats against wall, Chin ups will all give you the same effect. I recommend starting off with at least 20-30  minutes and building up to 40 minutes of  HIGH INTENSITY Cardio ( treadmill, elliptical, stair climber,  DOUBLE TIME WALKING etc)...have you ever seen a fat sprinter?? during your walks or treadmill...speed it up...Run for short periods of time...20-30 second burst...then back to a "double time" pace.

Weight training:

You don't have to be a "gym rat" or a "Dude Bro" as my daughter calls them. ( why Dude bro???...go to them gym and listen.... Dude....Bro....Dude...Bro...this is what the majority of the conversation.sounds like..something like..." Dude...I just got an excellent pump on my Biceps......replied by " Bro...your biceps are totally jacked!")

For most,  I would say a five day a week split. The Key...DO NOT OVER TRAIN THE MUSCLES. The biggest complain I hear is " I don't want to look like a bodybuilder, or I don't want big muscles" My reply...are you serious??? If looking like a bodybuilder was EASY everyone that goes to the gym would look like Arnold. 

The truth is, it is not easy to look like a bodybuilder!! Years of intense training, STRICT diet, proper supplements and truth be told, proper cycles of anabolic steroids. Yes I said it. Steroids. It is NEARLY impossible to look like a competitive bodybuilder without having a proper understanding and dosing of steroids, period. Can it be done without steroids...yes...but go look up "Natural bodybuilders "and compare them to the men and woman in Flex......no comparison. And for the record, I do NOT support the idea of anyone using Steroids unless one is a professional athlete, under medical supervision and has weighed the cost of taking them. My older brother DIED partial due to his abuse of anabolic steroids.


Flat Bench Press - 8-12 Repsx4
Incline Dumbbell Press - 8 Repsx4
Dumbbell Flys (flat Or Incline) - 8 Repsx4
Dips - 10 Repsx4
Calves - 15 Reps
Abs. leg raises-20 Repsx4
Two mins rest between each set and 3 min rest between each movement.

Holding all movements two seconds at top of movement

Empty stomach morning cardio HI 40 mins

Hold for 2 seconds per rep!! Hold the Flex!!
Lat Pulldowns - 12 Repsx4
Wide Grip Rear Pulldowns - 12 Repsx4
2 min rest between each set and 3 mins between each movement.

Seated Pulley Rows 1 set of 8 no rest and move right into
Single Arm Dumbbell Rows 1 set of 8 each arm
rest 1 min and repeat 5 times.
Abs crunches- 12-20 Repsx4

Wenesday off

empty stomach morning cardio HI 40 mins

Standing Dumbell Press 1 set of 8 no rest move right into
Lateral Raises 1 set of 8 no rest move right into
Dumb bell Upright Rows 1 set of 8
Rest 2 mins and repeat. do this 4 times.
Rest 3 mins.

Seated Bent Over Lateral Raises -10 Repsx4
Shrugs - 15 Repsx4


Bicep Barbell Curls - 8-10 Repsx4
Preacher Dumbell Curl - 8 Reps x4
Standing Dumbbell Curl - 8 Repsx4
Tricep Cable Pushdowns - 12 Reps x4
Dips - 10 Repsx4
Standing Barbell Extensions - 12 Repsx4
Skull Crushers 8 RepsX4
Abs crunches - 12-20 Repsx4

Empty stomach morning cardio HI 40 mins( run)

Squats - 8 Repsx4
Deadlifts 5 Repsx5
Leg Presses - 10 Repsx4
Calf Raises - 15-20 Repsx4
Abs leg raises - 12-20 Repsx4
Sunday off

That's it!! nothing esoteric about it...just hard work!!! Are you ready to take the challenge??? To look the best you ever have in your life??? Join me in getting healthy, in shape and HOT!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shell Fish Ceviche with Roasted Pork Tenderloin

I wanted to create my own healthy version of a "Surf and Turf" meal . Pork Tenderloin is a great healthy alternative to having beef for dinner, and almost is identical to chicken breat for calories and fat.
3 oz. of pork tenderloin will  give 139 calories; 24g protein; 4.1g fat (1.4g saturated, 0.49 polyunsaturated)

My biggest problem with pork is that almost everyone overcooks it making it dry and tasteless.  Trichinosis, the reason most of our parent over cooked pork to death is virtually eliminated in pork, typically an internal temp of 141 degrees is more than enough to kill anything bad.  Thee are a few secrets one can use to make pork extremely tasty and juicy. Brine, don't over cook, and letting your meat rest before slicing.

I never ate ceviche till I moved to Southwest Florida and wow...what I great surprise! Raw fish that has been "cooked" in citrus juice....the beauty of Ceviche is you can be creative! Add the types of fish, seafood you like. Some items like shrimp and some other shellfish should cooked first. I was deeply inspired by Top Chef 's Howie Kleinberg from seasons 3 ceviche.

I hope you enjoy this meal. It is easy to prepare, very healthy, low calories, virtually carb free and simply delicious!

Shell Fish Ceviche


  • 1lb of mussels ( I use farm rasied which don't need to be "debeared")
  • 1 lb of bay scallops ( You can use large scallops and cut, but why?? Bay scallops cost less!)
  • 1 lb of pink shrimp
  • 1/2 lb of white fish ( cod, tilapia..your choice, personally, I'm not a fan of tilapia) cut into small pieces
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 4 lemons juiced
  • 1 large honeybell tangelo* ( see note below)
  • 2 scallions, sliced medium thin, including greens
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, petite diced
  • 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of Old Bay Garlic and herb
  •  5-6 sprigs of cilantro to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
*if you can not find a honeybell tangelo ( they are ONLY in season for a month or so and I believe exclusive to Florida) Use the juice of one medium sweet orange and 1 tangerine)

In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil, salt moderately ( When cooking shellfish, I salt to "Ocean water" )
Cook mussels 3-4 minutes till they open and put in ice bath. In same water, add old bay and add shrimp, cook 1-2 minutes till pink and remove and add to ice water bath. Clean shrimp, remove shells, legs. Remove mussels from shells. In a large glass bowl, add mussels, shrimp,  bay scallops, fish. Salt everything and let stand for a few minutes. Juice all of the citrus, I recommend throwing the citrus in the microwave for 10-15 each to allow maximum juicing. Add citrus juice to seafood, add scallions, onion, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and mango. Pepper to taste. mix all ingredients with hands. all seafood should be completely covered in citrus juice!! If not, try a different bowl, or add more citrus juice ( use in same proportions). Cover bowl in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours, ( You can make this over night, even better!)

Serve in Martini glasses and enjoy!!

Ken's Roasted Pork Tenderloin

  • 1.5-2lb Pork Tenderloin
  • nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • Ken's pork rub * (see note)

*Ken's pork rub: You can make this in large quantities and store in  air tight dry containers.

  • 4 tablespoon of prepared chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of of coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of  dried ground chipotle
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika
Mix all ingredients together, rub on any pork dish for a great flavor!


Spray tenderloin lightly with vegetable oil spray and rub rub pork with my pork rub. Wrapin plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours ( better if you do this the night before and lety set over night)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Over high heat, heat a nonstick sear pan, or other large pan, spray lightly with nonstick oil.  Remove tenderloin from plastic wrap and sear all sides, about 1 minute per side till you can see the sear marks (I use a nonstick grill pan that leaves grill marks). Once meat is seared, put in oven, for 20-22 minutes......DO NOT OVER COOK!!!!!

Remove from oven and wrap tenderloin in foil, alllow to rest for at least 10 minutes ( the foil holds in the heat while it is resting and allows for some additional cooking). Once meat is rested ( this allows the meat to be extremely juicy!) slice and serve!

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    Cod with Shaved Mushrooms and Truffle Oil and Cauliflower Puree

    Good food does not have to be overly complicated, have a arms length of ingredients nor be bad for you. Tonight's dish was very easy to prepare and simply delicious.

    I use a slight...and I mean slight amount of truffle oil to finish the dish. No reason to go overboard with the truffle oil, as it will just give you wasted calories, but more importantly, it will over power every other flavor, If you've never used truffle oil, be careful because it is very easy to over do. Also make sure you purchase a quality product, most truffle oils are garage and contain little to no truffle at all and taste artificial at best.  The oil by Urbani is a good product and can purchased from Amazon.com

    Cod with Shaved Mushrooms and Truffle Oil


    • 1.5 lbs of Cod cut into four pieces ( I used two pieces)
    • 2 large portobello mushrooms, shaved on madoline
    • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
    • Black pepper to taste
    • Kosher salt to taste
    • Pam Organic Olive oil spray
    • Truffle oil to drizzle ( less than 1/4 teaspoon)
    In a large nonstick pan , heat over medium high and lightly coat pan with Pam Olive Oil, heat and add cod that has been salted, peppered and rubbed with the crushed garlic . Cook on each side about 3-4 minutes,. Add mushroom to pan after first side of fish has cooked, you do not wat to over cook these mushrooms as they have been shaved thin and don't take long to cook. Serve with Mushroom on Cod, and lightly drizzle with truffle oil.

    Cauliflower Puree

    Clean and remove stem from one large head of cauliflower, remove flowerettes and place in steamer, heat in steamer about 5 minutes till totally tender. Put cooked cauliflower in food processor with 2 teaspoons of 0% fat strained greek yogurt (I use FAGE) 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 clove of garlic, and black pepper, puree till smooth.

    Greek Chicken With Mushrooms Rockefeller

    In my quest of eating healthier and making tasty food I have been trying multiple takes on classic dishes.I love stuffed mushrooms, but they are typically loaded with butter, fat and lots of other ingredients that are a "no no" for me right now. So this take on Rockefeller is delish and loaded with flavor.

    The Chicken dish is simple and this whole dinner, and the whole dinner from beginning to end took under 30 minutes to prepare. I also served this dish with caramelized cabbage with balsamic ,  and a home made tzatziki sauce.

    Again this is a low fat and almost zero carb dish. I used small amounts of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano on the mushrooms, but that was the only added fat to the whole dish.

    Greek Chicken


    •  Pam no stick olive oil spray
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon  rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon thyme
    • 1 tablespoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon savory
    • 1 teaspoon marjoram
    • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon of lemon pepper
    • 1 lemon ( juiced and zest grated)
    • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces

    In a large skillet preheat a nonstick pan over medium, spray with cooking oil. In a small bowl mike cut chicken, lemon juice, lemon zest, all the herbs, garlic, lemon pepper and salt. Let set several minutes and ad to hot pan, "stir frying" until down, about 5-6 minutes.

    Mushrooms Rockefeller


    • 18 fresh large white mushrooms ( about 1 pound) Stems removed and stems chopped and saved
    • Pam non stick Vegetable oil spray
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 10-ounce pack frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dried
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    • 1 teaspoon of Italian bread crumbs
    • 1 teaspoon of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    • Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings for garnish

    Lightly spray a baking dish with Pam non stick oil and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a non stick saute pan, spray with Pam non stick oil and chopped mushroom stems, onion and garlic to pan. Cook over medium heat and cook to onions are translucent. Add spinach, lemon juice, lemon zest, bread crumbs, and cheese to pan. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Stuff each mushroom cap with mixture, and top with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes till cheese is golden and bubbly.


    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Low Fat Turkey Chili

    I love chili! no ands if or buts about it; chili is one of my favorite dishes. Being on a low fat and restricted carb diet can be pretty tough, but recently I had an amazing turkey chili at Bar Louie and thought I could make something as good at home.

    Make sure to make plenty as I did. Makes a great dinner, and the photos below were how I served it for my lunch. As a side, I made hot and spicy pickled green beans, peppers and onions....recipe to follow for that!

    Ken's Low fat Turkey Chili


    • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 4-5 tablespoons chili powder ( adjust to taste)
    • 2 tablespoons of cumin
    • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 can of tomato paste
    • 1 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 tablespoon sauce
    • 4 pound ground turkey
    • 2 cups of beef broth
    • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans of  fire roasted tomatoes
    • 8 oz of mushrooms, sliced

    In a large Stock pot over medium heat, add the oil, let heat and add onions and garlic to sweat,  around 5 minutes. add in sliced carrots and mushrooms, stir constantly and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add in Ground turkey and stir to break up and let brown. Add in all salt, chili powder, and cumin.  take half a cup of beef broth and puree chipotle and adobo sauce until smooth, add to pot. Add oregano, tomatoes,  tomato paste and remaining beef broth, bring to simmer, and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes.

    Serve with your favorite garnishes.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Warning Non Food Related!

    Ok, now that we have that out of the picture, those who know me well, know that equal to my love of food and cooking is photography. Food photography is very new to me, the first picture of food I ever took was for this blog, so literally its been less than 2 months. 

    My real passion is nature, landscape and cityscape photography....I also seem to have some fetish for doors, as many of my photos throughout the years have been doorways. I primarily shoot in very vivid color(color's pushed beyond what we would normally see with our vision, very saturated, rich and vibrant) or B/W. B/w is my real love, as I started off back in HS shooting only black and white and developing and printing my own photos that way.

    This post is more for myself, but also to share with fans of photography. One of my twitter followers, Christine Riojas has a great blog of very stimulating photos; many haunting, some erotic but always beautiful. Following her blog and photos has inspired me to start a separate blog of just my photograph, so this is merely a "sneak peek" of what is to come. Please Visit my photography blog: The Tao of Photography

    I hope you enjoy them, and feel free to leave comments...negative or positive...the only way I can improve is with feedback! All of these photos shot in Fort Myers

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    P.F Chang "Style" Chicken Lettuce Wraps

    Those who know me; know that I would rather find a small cafe, a family owned place, or some whole in the wall over a national chain, but there are always exceptions. P.F Chang's is one of those. I love them! I typically order the small plates....Chinese tapas if you will! That way I can try a variety of Pf Chang's goodness and is fun to share!

    My daughter turned me on to Changs a few years ago. Alli and her girlfriends would go out there for dinner back in high school when ever they wanted a fun girls night out, and she made me a believer! 80% of my business lunches I do at Changs.

    Chicken lettuce wraps are pretty healthy, but I figured I could tweak them even more and make them with even less carbs and fat. I have seen several recipes for them online, but this is my own.

    P.F Chang "Style" Chicken Lettuce Wraps

    Ingredients for dipping sauce:

    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons  low sugar ketchup
    • 2 tablespoons of water
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon hot water
    • 1 tablespoon hot mustard
    • 1 clove garlic, minced 
    • 1 -2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce ( a hot chili, garlic sauce)
    • 2 small green onions, sliced thinly

    Ingredients for stir-fry sauce:

    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 packets of sun crystals (a 5 calorie blend of stevia and cane sugar)
    • 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
    • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

    Ingredients for chicken:

    • 1 tablespoons garlic infused oil
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
    • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed to 1/2″
    • 1 – 8oz can sliced water chestnuts,chopped
    • 1-  8oz can of bamboo shoots, chopped
    • 1-  83/4 oz can of baby corn, drained
    • 3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
    • 4 green onions, sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
    • 6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce or Boston Butter lettuce

    To make the dipping sauce:

    1. In a small bowl, dissolve sun crystals in cup warm water, then add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, Sriracha sauce and sesame oil. Mix well
    2. Combine 1 teaspoons hot water with hot mustard and garlic and mix in small bow, add to the dipping sauce to taste.

    To make the stir-fry sauce:

    1. Prep the stir fry sauce by mixing soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce,  sun crystals, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.

    To make the chicken stir-fry:

    1. Heat wok over high heat; Mix oils and add to wok . Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chicken and saute until mostly cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. Turn the heat down to medium-high, add garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms,bamboo shoots,  baby corn and the stir-fry sauce.  Stir-fry until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes, and remove to a serving dish.
    3. Serve stir-fry with iceberg lettuce or Boston Butter lettuce and top with dipping sauce.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers and Italian Herbs

    This is another chicken dish that looks fattening, but it is not. Great for low fat and low carb diets. For a side I simple made a simple dish of  zucchini with fire roasted tomatoes, but this dish would be great with pasta!
    Sometimes trying to eat "diet food" or trying to eat healthy can seem boring, but this dish has very little fat  (the cheese totals about 3 grams of fat) and only around 6 carbs

    This dish is so easy to make, almost no prep time and only 20 minutes to cook, dinner and side in under 30 minutes total, a dish you can make any weeknight for your family and feel good about what you are feeding them.

    Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers and Italian Herbs

    • 2 chicken breast, split  (4 pieces from two breast)
    • 1  12 oz jar of Roasted Red Peppers ( I use Vigo)
    • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
    • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
    • 1/2  14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
    • 2 teaspoons of  low fat Parmesan cheese
    • 2 slices, cut in half of low fat provolone cheese (4 pieces) 
    • Salt and Pepper to taste


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees

    In a shallow baking dish arrange chicken pieces, and sprinkle with Italian herbs,  oregano, salt and pepper.
    Remove peppers from jar and tears pieces to cover Chicken...I used about 3/4 of the jar, but use more less based upon your love of peppers :)  Pour half or more of the contexts of the vinegar/ liquid of the pepper jar into the pan and spoon fire roasted tomatoes equal over chicken and bake for 20 minutes.

    Remove from oven and put one slice of the provolone cheese, and sprinkle with parmesan. Turn oven on broil, and return under broiler till cheese is bubbly and turning a golden brown.

    Serve with your favorite vegetables or pasta 

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Healthy Tex-Mex Chicken with Lime, Onion and Cilantro

    I love spicy food, and I really love Mexican food. The truth is, unless one lives in Chicago and visits one of Rick Bayless places, it is very hard to find authentic Mexican cuisine. Most of what us Americans love is "Tex-Mex", Americanized dishes that all of us love. Chili, nachos, fajitas, burritos are all examples of "Tex Mex."

    Recently I started to "diet"...I know, the term scares all of us foodies!! Truth is in my youth, heck even in my early 40's I was a bodybuilder...not a competitive juice head, but a pretty large guy! Worked out ever day, strong as an ox and ate pretty healthy. A few factors in life changed my diet and I made the choice to start making better eating choices. Does this mean I will stop enjoying my gourmet food.... HECK NO...I will make some of my full fat, full blown dishes to eat in moderation on occasion, but I am attempting to cook more healthy. I'm 47 years old and want to feel my best and look my best.

    Tonight's dish is a play on the flavors of Chicken fajitas. I love them, but don't want the carbs right now (I will slowly be adding carbs back into my diet....the key is slowly...seeing what my body needs)

    This is great meal for someone that doesn't want the fat and zero carbs, of course one could serve this with a starch if you are not carb restricted...I simply had steamed green beans with garlic pepper and some sea salt.
    I normally prefer fresh herbs in everything, but with some dishes I do prefer to use "dried" or powdered seasonings.  This dish uses common spices that are most likely in ever kitchen. Enjoy!

    Ken's Healthy Tex-Mex Chicken

    • 2 large chicken breast cut in half (will serve 4) 
    • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
    • 2 teaspons of ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
    • 1 teaspon of  Mrs. Dash® Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 small lime
    • a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
    • 1 medium onion, halved.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix toegther all of the spices and rub them unto both sides of your Chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to marinate and infusion more flavor into the chicken.

    In a non-stick sear grill pan, heart over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once pan has heated, add chicken, cook 2-3 minutes per side, add halved onion to pan.

    Put pan in preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Do not over cook! Chicken should be juicy!

    Serve with cilantro and line juice squeezed over chicken

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Bacon wrapped Dates with Cheese and a Pomegranate Reduction with Chocolate Soup

    Valentines day; even the very name evokes as many mixed emotions as humanly possible. To some that are alone..it may mean a sad day, to others, it is a celebration of a love they share with someone special. I guess I am overly romantic at heart. I like a quite, candle lit dinner at home, wonderful, sexy food, a great bottle of Champagne, some tantalizing desert, some old R&B playing in the background.......

    This desert has two elements, something salty, savory and sweet that you eat with your fingers and a sweet, velvety smooth chocolate that is so decadent that it will put those butterflies back in your stomach! If your partner does not thing this is a romantic..I'm sorry you picked a boring partner! Remember...sounds of joy and "Oh My God.." are sounds you want to hear from the beginning to the end of your perfect valentines date, including the meal.  ( I think I just made this post PG-13!)

    Bacon Wrapped Dates, stuffed with Goat Cheese



    • 4 oz of cream cheese
    • 3 oz of goat cheese
    • 12 pitted dates (preferably Medjool)
    • 6 slices bacon cut into half
    • 6 oz pomegranate juice
    • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
    • 1tablespoon of sugar
    • 12 wooden picks


    Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

    First , in a small saucepan, whisk together pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar and sugar, over medium heat cook down mixture till at least ½ reduced and mixture is thick and syrupy.

    Mix together Cream cheese and goat cheese, transfer mixture onto plastic wrap, and roll into a cigar shaped tube in the plastic wrap; let refrigerator for an hour to make easier to cut. After cheese is chilled, cut into 1”-1 1/2” pieces and stuff into center of each date, then wrap one piece of bacon around each date and secure bacon with a toothpick. Arrange dates, bacon seam down and 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan. 

    Bake 5 minutes, then turn dates over with tongs and bake until bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes additionally. Drain on a paper towel or wire rack. Serve with pomegranate reduction drizzled over top immediately.

    Chocolate Soup



    • 3 1/2 cups of whole milk
    • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 teaspoon of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste (if you have fresh Vanilla bean work too!)
    • 10 oz Ghirardelli 70% Cacao Extra Bittersweet Baking Bar, chopped
    • 2 oz of Crème de cacao
    • 2 oz of Godiva chocolate liqueur
    • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 5 tablespoons cold water


    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla bean paste. Bring the mixture almost to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, let cool for 5 minutes
    Put the pan on low heat, add the chocolate, whisk until the chocolate melts. Combine the cornstarch and water to form a slurry. Add the a slurry little at a time, whisking constantly, until the soup is thick and smooth. Soup is nearly done when the bubbles are gone and the chocolate has thickened, about 5minutes . Add in Crème de Cacao and Godiva chocolate liqueur, whisk and heat an additional 2 minutes
    Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with whipped cream.

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

    This post serves two fold; part of Food is Love Winter Revolt Party and Valentines day. I can not think of a better way to end a nice summer meal than with a cupcake! Imagine having a summer time picnic and these are put out on the picnic table! I think I would head right to these! Visit Food is Love Summer Revolt at this link:  Winter Revolt Party

    Valentines day. No other holiday shows our celebration of love as does that one single day. It is unfortunate that English only has one word for Love,. Agape, Amore...so many words used in other languages to express love..... To me Love is expressed in all the little things we do to show that person just how much we care. I will not go into my definition, but to make something for someone that mean so much to you, from your heart is priceless.
    Bake these for a loved one, if they don't appreciate the love and hard work you put into to them...shame on them...To Cook with Love...how many people can say they have ate food cooked with love?  I cook with love everyday and hope you can all see the love I put into these for you :)

    Peanut Butter Cupcakes

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
    1/4 cup shortening
    3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I use Jiff...my favorite!)
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup of sugar
    1 egg
    1 1/2  teaspoons of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste
    1/2 cup milk
    Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

    In a large bowl, using an electric mixer  fitted with a paddle attachment, set to medium, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugars until smoothly blended about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Mix in the egg. Add the vanilla and beat for 1 minute, or until the batter is smooth. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing just until the flour is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.

    Fill each paper liner with a  1/4 cup of batter, to about 1/3 inch below the top of the liner. Bake just until the tops feel firm and are lightly browned, about 20-22 minutes. Check by inserting tooth pick in center of cupcake, it should come out clean.  Carefully remove cupcakes from pan and cool on wire rack... frost when completely cooled. 

    Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

    1 1/12  cups confectioners’ sugar( add more if needed)
    1 cup creamy peanut butter
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste
    ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    1/3 cup heavy cream

    Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.Put into Pastry bag to frost cupcakes, garnish cupcakes with fresh ground sea salt.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Pulled Pork Carnita Tacos

    One of my blogger friends, Laurie, is doing a winter revolt and what better way to revolt against winter than a plate of fresh carnita tacos. Summer to me is about simple and fresh ingredients, and great, authentic taco's scream summer.  Please follow Laurie's Winter revolt at: http://foodslove.blogspot.com/2011/02/summer-in-kitchen-update.html    

    In  response to Christine Riojas, @BellaCouturista on twitter for a pulled pork recipe (If you watch Top Chef...you will get this!) Here is my simple and fresh Carnitas. For those of you that follow this blog, or follow me on Foodbuzz or twitter, you know that I love to use a pressure cooker. Why you ask? Time. It allows you to cook food with all of the flavors and complexities you would expect in much less time. Carnitas can take hours to cook. Not this recipe, 1-1 1/2 hours max.


    • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (I know, Kosher salt on Pork...sounds odd!)
    • 4 -5 lbs Pork Picnic Cut Shoulder
    • 1 -10.75 oz can of beef consomme
    • 1 cups of beef stock
    • 2 pounds refined lard
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves of garlic crushed
    • 1 tablespoon of cumin
    • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
    • 3 springs of fresh cilantro (more for serving)
    • Crumbled Queso Fresco for serving
    • Shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese for serving
    • Warm tortillas, for serving

    I use a Calphalon Nonstick Sear Grill Pan to sear the meat first. Heat your pan on high heat, add 2-3 tablespoons of lard and sear till completely caramelized on each side.

    In your pressure cooker, heat up lard till melted, then add in beef consomme and beef stock. Add in the Pork Shoulder and sprinkle meat with all of seasonings. add Cilantro and onion to pot. Seal pressure cooker and put on medium high heat till you hear pressure being released, then reduce heat to medium. Cook for 35-45 minutes. remove from heat and relieve pressure. remove pork shoulder ( it should be pretty tender by now)

    Cut meat into large chucks off of bone and return back to pressure cooker. Add additional water if needed and heat on high heat again, returning back down to medium heat. Cook an additional 35-45 minutes.(the pressure cooker should be making very little "noise"....this is not a high heat recipe, the pressure cooker is simply condensing the flavors and reducing cooking time)

    By the time this is done, all the water will have evaporated/steamed from the pot, and what is left at the bottom of the pan is the rendered fat and lard that the meat has been cooking in....meat should be falling apart and caramelized completely.

    Let meat rest , pull apart what has not already fallen part and serve with warm tortillas, cilantro, cheese and onion.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Quick Bolognese Sauce with Polenta Cakes

    I know...it sound like a oxymoron, a quick Bolgnese, but after watching Richard Blais of Top Chef prepare a Bolognese in a pressure cooker and I thought...Hmmm...I've never have done that! I must try this! Bolognese traditionally takes HOURS  to cook,  and one Chef described to me that his sauce cooked between 12-14 hours. I don't know about you; but I don't have that amount of time just to make a sauce!  This is a great way to make Bolognese, and from now on I will only ever use a pressure cooker to make this ...Thank you Chef Blais! 

    You can watch Richard on his CNN segment here, along with his recipe:  http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/02/09/richard-blais-recipes-for-romance/

    For those that have never had or made a Bolognese, words simply can not do it justice. It is so much more than a red sauce with meat; the complexity of flavors are sublime. There are as many recipes for Bolognese as there are Italian grandmothers. My recipe is based upon several different ones I have come across, and modified to my taste.

    The pressure cooker greatly reduced the time needed to develop the complexity of flavors that you would find in a Bolognese Sauce, if you don't own a pressure cooker,try doing this in a slow cooker so that it cooks all day to develops the flavors completely.

    If you haven't noticed, I have a great love of Polenta. Most of use first think "Pasta" when it comes to Italian cuisine, but Polenta is very traditional in Italy's cuisine, and I would encourage all of you to master it...it is easy and a very nice alternative to pasta. Don't get me wrong, I love pasta, but make this for a loved one or a friend and see the smiles and reactions..."Oh My God" are three words that sound almost as good as those three other magical words we all love to hear...

    Ingredients for Bolognese

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 8 slices bacon, minced fine in food processor
    • 1 large onion, minced
    • 3 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1 pound ground veal
    • 8 oz  fresh mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 cup of carrots,julienne cut (around 2 carrots)
    • 1 (29 ounce) can fire roasted or Italian style plum tomatoes
    • 6 ounces tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup Pinot Noir
    • 32 oz  Beef stock (I ONLY use Kitchen Basic stocks, I find them superior in taste to any other)
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1-2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
    • pepper to taste

    Ingredients for Parmigiano-Reggiano Polenta Cakes
    •  32 oz of Chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup of milk
    • 1/2 cup of half and half
    • 4 Tablespoons of  unsalted butter 
    • 1 teaspoon of salt
    • 3/4 cup of fresh grated  Parmigiano-Reggiano
    • 1 3/4 cups of yellow corn meal

    Direction for Bolognese

       1. In a pressure cooker , add oil and  bacon, cook for 2-3 minutes
       2. Add in ground beef and veal and cook till browned, drain off excess fat.
       3. Add in all herbs, seasonings, and broth, simmer for 5 minutes
       4. Add the wine, remaining vegetables, tomatoes and tomato paste, stir. Seal the pressure cooker.
       5. Cook for 20-30 minutes, Release pressure.
       6. Serve over Polenta cakes

    Direction for Polenta
    1. In Large saucepan bring chicken stock to a rolling boil. Add Salt.
    2. Add Milk and half and half
    3. Gradually pour in corn meal
    4. Whisk constantly to avoid clumping, while stirring in butter
    5. Reduce the heat to low and cook until mixture thickens.(10- 15 minutes)
    6. Stir in  Parmigiano-Reggiano
    7. Pour Polenta in a plastic wrap prepared pan (for ease of removal)
    8. Smooth with spatula and place in Refrigerator for 1-2 hours till complete set and cooled (can be made ahead of time)
    9. Cut into rounds and pan fry to light golden brown on each side, 3-4 minutes per side