Tuesday Mar 25, 2008

Steak Fried Rice

Steak Fried Rice

Fried Rice is probably at the top of everyones list when it comes to favorite Chinese food items.  The problem with it in most cases is that it's really unhealthy.  Here's another healthier spin on a classic.  It's also a great way to use up leftovers.


  • 4 Oz Cooked Lean Steak, cubed.
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 Teaspoon of Fish Sauce (substitute Soy Sauce if needed)


  • Cook Egg whites in a non-stick pan, breaking up with a wooden spoon
  • Add steak, rice, and fish sauce.  Mix together and bring up to temperature
  • Add frozen peas and cook for additional minute or so.

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: 525
    • Protein: 50g
    • Carbs: 44g
      • Dietary Fiber: 5.4g
    • Fat: 16g
Note:  This is one serving for me.  Depending on your nutritional requirements, you might make this two servings.

Wednesday Mar 05, 2008

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is a low carb/healthier adaptation of a Tyler Florence recipe.  You'll want to make sure that you make the Roasted Salsa Verde that I adapted as well. 


  • Assortment of Peppers
    •     1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
    •     1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
    •     2 Jalapenos, chopped
    •     2 Serranos, chopped
    •     2 Anahiem Chiles, chopped
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 8 Chicken Breasts, baked and then shredded
  • 4 cups of Roasted Salsa Verde
  • 2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Cook up some peppers and onions until the onions are translucent.

Spicy Peppers and Onions

Shred the chicken breasts.  I find it's best to let them cool and just go at it with your hands.

Shredded Chicken

Mix the chicken with the peppers/onion mixture.  Add two cups of the salsa and mix together.

Mixin' it up

In a glass baking dish, spread about  1 cup of the salsa on the bottom then pack in the mixture.  Top with another cup of salsa.

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Cover with two cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. 

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Into the a 350F degree oven for about 20 minutes or until cheese starts to brown

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Let rest for about 15 minutes. 

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Serve with sour cream and additional salsa.  Enjoy!


My Favorite Omelette

Crab and Swiss Omelette

Crab and Swiss omelette with roasted tomatillo salsa.  Nom, nom, nom, nom.

Saturday Mar 01, 2008

Low Carb Philly Cheese Steaks

I wish the photo turned out half as good as the meal.  Yum.

Low Carb Philly Cheese Steak

Wednesday Feb 27, 2008


Healthy Huevos Rancheros

Tuesday Feb 26, 2008

Salsa del dos hermanas


Tonight was burger night.  As I sliced up some tomatoes for the burgers, I noticed that I had quite a few tomatoes that needed to be used in rather quick fashion.  What a better opportunity then this to get the girls in the kitchen with me?  Well 2 out of 5 ain't bad.  At least when it comes to kitchen help!

  • 6 Tomatoes, diced (I used Roma)
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 Anahiem Chiles, deviened and seeded, diced
  • 2 Jalapeno's, deviened and seeded, diced
  • 1 TBSP Olive oil
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 2 - 3 TBSP Chili Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 - 5 cups of water

In a frying pan with olive oil, get the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and onions to a really soft state.  Add the salt, lime juice, and chili powder.  Add 1/2 cup of water at a time and keep cooking it down.  Add more spices and water as required.  I probably used about four cups of water.  The more you cook it down the more the flavors will marry and the better your salsa will be.  Take your time, have a glass or two of wine and enjoy the aromas and experience.

Action shots of my girls in the kitchen

Sister Salsa

Sister Salsa

Sister Salsa

Sister Salsa

Sister Salsa

 Watch for a body building recipe for Huevos Rancheros tomorrow...er..Mañana!

Monday Feb 25, 2008

Not exactly /.

Little chance of a technical hack like me being slash dotted.  But I'm excited to say a culinary hack like me got slash fooded!


Out of all my creations I've blogged or have put up on Flickr, figures it would be the unhealthiest thing I've made.  But I'm honored nonetheless!

Saturday Feb 23, 2008

Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

The secret to a good breakfast burrito is making sure you grill the tortilla. 

Thursday Feb 21, 2008

How to Make Heaven: Part I

Marinating Ahi

Are you ready for the best seared tuna of your life?  Well, get ready.  Get a hold of some sashimi grade ahi and follow along won't you?


  • 1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce (Naturally brewed dark if possible) 
  • 1/4 Cup of Honey
  • 1 Tbsp of minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp of Wasabi powder
  • 1 Tsp of Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Red Pepper Mix)

Whisk that all together.  Reserve about 1/4 of marinade for dipping sauce then plop your ahi into the rest.  I've got about 1.5 pounds of fish here.  Turn over every few hours for good coverage.

I'm doing this overnight, part II (i.e. searing) tomorrow.  You'll need sesame seeds, scallions and a hot pan to play along.

Sunday Feb 17, 2008

How to top a burger

Caramelized Sweet Onions

Tuesday Feb 12, 2008

Beef and Vegetables with a Spicy Red Curry Sauce

I lost track of time today, perhaps all the hub-bub over the VirtualBox acquisition.  It was about 4:45 PM and I realized I hadn't planned on anything for dinner.  Panic sets in.  A quick peek in the fridge showed little signs of hope, the pantry didn't help much either.  Freezer time.  Two pounds of 4% fat ground round, good deal but frozen solid.  Into a sink full of hot water to start thawing.  Spices looked interesting and I had that can of light coconut milk that has been staring at me since I bought it.  I could never recall why I bought it, but there it was.  And I had curry powder, two kinds actually.  Your traditional curry and a red curry paste.  OK, I can turn this into something good.  But I needed to work fast, we eat like old people around these parts.  Dinner at 5:30 PM is getting on the late side.  I'm going to have to work with multiple pans.  Stand back.


  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, Julienned
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Julienned
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced

Start sautéing the veggies in a bit of olive oil.  Keep your eye on them, don't let them get over done.  Cook until the onions are just translucent.


  • 2 Pounds of ground beef or cubed chicken breasts
Brown up 2 pounds of ground beef.  Drain off any fat once finished cooking.


  • 1 14 Oz can of coconut milk (I used the lower fat "light" version)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Red Curry Paste (found on the Asian Aisle)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce (found on the Asian Aisle)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • 1 Tablespoon of curry powder (found on the Asian Aisle)

In a medium sauce pan combine all the ingredients.  Whisk together to ensure the aren't any clumps, bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until the veggies and meat are finished.


Dump the meat on top of the veggies and pour the sauce over the meat.  Serve over some brown rice.

Take that Rachel Ray!  30 Minute Meal?  No, but remember my meat was frozen solid.  45 minutes, including photography and twitter.  It turned out so good, I'm dreaming of tomorrows lunch of leftovers.

Saturday Jan 26, 2008

Killer Pico

DSC_0230 DSC_0217

In a few of my last cooking blog entries, I featured some fresh pico de gallo on the dishes.  It's one of my favorite toppings for chicken, eggs, tacos, well pretty much anything.  It's super simple to make and the flavor is out of this world.  If you buy pico or salsa from the store, stop!  You're wasting money and doing your taste buds a huge disservice.

Pico de Gallo

  • 8 Roma Tomatoes, diced (cleaned and deseeded)
  • 1 Red Onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped (or 2 Tbsp of pre-chopped)
  • 1 Jalapeno, diced (remove veins and seeds for less heat)
  • 1 Serrano, sliced
  • 1 bunch of Cilantro, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp of Kosher/Coarse Salt
  • 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
Once you've prepped all of the above ingredients, put in a large bowl and toss to ensure good coverage of the olive oil, salt, and lime juice.  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to allow all the flavors to marry.  This will keep well refrigerated for about 3 to 4 days, if it lasts that long.

Friday Jan 25, 2008

Mixed Plate


Ever since I made the Chinese Beef Rolls, I've been trying to perfect the marinade.  I think I've not only discovered the perfect marinade (for my palate), but also the perfect cut of beef to use it on.  The following has become one of my favorite meals and really reminds of the type of food you'd find at a little place between Lahina and Ka'annapali called the Aloha Mixed Plate.

First let's cover the cut of beef, it's called flap meat or flap steak.  Not an appetizing name, but trust me it's seriously good.  Best way I can describe it is a cross between a flank steak and a rib-eye.  It's becoming a pretty popular cut of meat in the gourmet circles, but you've really got to like your beef on the rare side as it doesn't stand up well beyond medium rare.  Sometimes this beef is labeled or has a sticker on it that denotes it's great for Carne Asada, which is is, but don't mistake it for the pre-seasoned Carne Asada packages.  You just want the plain flap meat.  In our area both Albertsons and Costco carry flap meat.  Note that some people will say skirt steak is the same thing, it's not.  Although both skirt and flank steak will work if you can't find flap steak.  On with the show.

The Steak 

Marinade (enough for at least 4-6 pounds of meat):

Note:  I've included links to the products I use.  You should be able to find these things at most grocery stores.

1 cup of soy sauce (Any kind)
1 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Chili Garlic paste (more or less for hotter/milder) 
2 tablespoons of minced/crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of minced/crushed ginger
1/4 cup of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

Hoisin Sauce

Throw everything except the hoisin sauce into a 1 gallon ziplock back and mix well.  Break apart brown sugar clumps, garlic and ginger.

Once well blended, put your meat in the bag, zip and toss around for good coverage.

Marinade in the refrigerator for a few hours min, up to 24 for best results.  Each time you walk in the kitchen, flip the bag around for better coverage.

Get your grill nice and hot (at least 500F)

Grill steak to liking.  Flap meat is best served on the rare side and doesn't stand up well beyond medium rare.  I do about 3-4 minutes per side.

Once you flip the steaks (only flip once) brush grilled side with hoisin sauce and let finish cooking.  I cook these with lid up as I don't want the oven effect cooking the meat anymore than the direct heat does.

Remove from grill, cut and serve.  I've found that flap meat does not benefit from resting like a flank steak does, so feel free to go right at it.  If using flank, let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.

The Sides

This is where I confess that I really don't measure much when cooking, so I'm guessing on the measurements below.  I guess that's why I'm not much of a baker.

Healthier Fried Rice


  • 6 cups of cooked Brown Rice
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup of frozen green peas
  • 1 green onion, chopped up including white part
  • 2 egg whites and one whole egg, whipped together in a bowl (like you are going to make scrambled eggs)
  • 2 packs of Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 (2?) Tbsp of Fish Sauce
  • Garlic Salt
  • Onion powder

Heat up pan and add oil.

Add shredded carrot, green onions to oil.  Shake on garlic salt and onion powder, not a lot but not a tiny bit either.  I'd guess a teaspoon of each maybe?

Sauté those up for a few minutes.  Add fish sauce (it's kind of stinky but doesn't taste the way it smells) and soy sauce

Pour egg mixture and cook let the eggs set almost like a omelet, then break apart with your spatula.

Add cooked brown rice and mix everything together

Add 1 cup of frozen peas (they'll cook/thaw in no time) and keep tossing the rice

Add the splenda, and finish tossing.  Taste before serving, add more soy or salt, or whatever you think is missing.

Thai Spicy Coleslaw

Why do I call this Thai Spicy Slaw?  Probably because I tried to duplicate the flavor of some Thai Spicy Mayo I had.  But I like the tang of fat free miracle whip and wanted to try to make my own spicy version.

  • 2 lbs of a finely shreddred Cabbage ( or roughly 3 bags of the preshredded variety)
  • 1 cup of fat free Miracle whip
  • 2 teaspoons of ground red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of canned diced Jalapenos (I used these because they are mushy and mix better than fresh)
  • 1 Tsp of juice from the canned jalapenos 
  • 1/4 cup Natural Rice Vinegar (Seasoned means it has sugar added, natural does not)
  • 2 packets of Splenda

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, except for cabbage.  Experiment with adding a little of this or a little of that to suit your palate.  When you have it to your liking, pour over the shredded cabbage and toss well to coat.

Thursday Jan 24, 2008

Breakfast Tacos

Some food porn for a stormy Thursday morning. 


Wednesday Jan 23, 2008


What to do with some left over taco meat and fresh homemade pico de gallo?  A taco omelet of course!


Tuesday Jan 01, 2008

Holiday Poke Cake

I'd never seen nor heard of a "poke" cake until I was reading my favorite fitness blog.  I even twittered that I thought it looked nasty, but my wife said it looked good and so did all the girls.  I happened to be down the cake and jello aisle and thought hell why not.  I'll make it for Christmas. 

Well after Christmas breakfast, I was so bloated I couldn't even stand the thought of more food.  It's a long story, but the 12 days before Christmas I did "The 12 Days of Tuna".   Tuna for every meal.  Five to six times a day.  A lot of tuna.  Don't bother leaving comments about mercury poising, last time I checked I'm not pregnant, nursing, or a child. (No, that last point is not debatable)  It's a classic body builder diet that has been used to reset metabolisms, "cut", and for some to drop weight.  I did it for the reset effect (I also ate plenty of brown rice and broccoli) and it worked, but I've gotten off track.  We are talking about bad food here, really bad food.

I made the poke cake for a New Years Day treat.  It was so well received that there are only two slices left (the top picture) and all the girls want it for their birthday cakes.  Of course they want different colors and flavors and there's even talk about a tower version where we make a rainbow.  If like me, you wondered why it's called a poke cake, it's because you poke holes in the cake and pour jello over the cake and the jello seeps into the holes that you poked.  Go figure.  Recipe here.

Of course, I had my helpers as usual.


And for the record, I did not have even a crumb.

Sunday Dec 23, 2007

Perfect Shrimp Cocktail

What's the secret to making perfect shrimp?  It's all in the brine.  If you don't brine your shrimp, you are really missing out.   Here's how to make high end shrimp, on par with Shrimp Cocktail that you'd find at a fine steakhouse.

I like to use U12 Shrimp (That's 12 to a pound).  To me they are the perfect size when using as a main course.  To do this right, your shrimp should still be in the shell, but should be cleaned and deveined.  This is enough brine for two pounds of U12 shrimp

First we need to make the brine.  It's really simple, here's what you need:

  • 2 cups of hot tap water
  • 1/2 cup of table sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coarse/kosher salt
  • 2 cups of ice

Put hot water into a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt.  And by dissolve I mean the water is clear and you can't see the sugar and salt any more.  If it's cloudy, keep stirring.

Once dissolved, add the ice to cool down the brine.  We do this because we don't want to cook the shrimp in the brine.


Once the brine has cooled, add your shrimp.  Make sure all the shrimp get submerged in the brine.  Let the shrimp sit in the brine for 30 minutes, no longer.


With about 10 minutes left, turn your broiler on (500 F direct heat from top) AND put a cookie sheet or broiling tray in the oven.  We want this tray to be HOT!

Once the 30 minutes are up, remove the shrimp from the brine and dump out the brine.  Rinse and dry bowl.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl and (optionally) a liberal amount of Old Bay Seasoning.  Note though that using Old Bay will give the shrimp a slightly "dirty" look.


Mix together, then add the shrimp to the bowl.  Toss the shrimp around to get a good coating.


Remove the hot tray from the broiler and put the shrimp on the tray.  The shrimp will sizzle as they touch the hot tray. 


Broil for four minutes.


Flip shrimp over and Broil for another 3 minutes.

Looking fantastic!


Remove from oven.

Put shrimp on a plate, cover, and refrigerate until cool.   Although it's perfectly acceptable to eat them hot off the tray.  :)

When cool, remove the shells leaving the tail on and serve with or without cocktail sauce.  They really don't need any sauce though, especially if you used the Old Bay.



Note: if any of the shrimp fall apart or are mushy when removing the shells, throw them away.  They are old.  Find a new place to buy your shrimp.


Tuesday Dec 18, 2007

Super S'Mores!

My girls and I kicked the homemade marshmallows up a notch and made some Super S'Mores!  Got this idea from Two Fat Al's while doing a vanity search on my marshmallow post.

First we made a fresh graham cracker crust.  We pre-baked this like you would for a key lime or lemon meringue pie.


Then we prepared the homemade marshmallows.  Only difference is we added a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract to it.  We spread the marshmallow mixture into dish with the now cooled crust.

Let the marshmallows set for a while, about an hour.  Now we need to melt some chocolate, 2 bags of milk chocolate chips.  I guess my trusty double boiler got the boot when we got some new pots and pans a couple of years ago.  I improvised, and yes that reads Daddy's Cereal Bowl.

Once melted, we spread the chocolate over the semi-set marshmallows.


Cross section shot.  This is gonna be good!


And to top it off, some crumbled graham crackers!


Since I won't be partaking in these, I haven't put too much thought in how to get them out of the pan once the chocolate sets.  Hmmmm.... 

Update:  Wasn't that hard to get them out of the pan.  Scored the chocolate first, then cut slowly with a sharp knife.  I should have baked the crust at a higher temp as it "mostly" held together, but the girls said it was awesome.

Thursday Dec 13, 2007

Roasted Salsa Verde


This has got to be one of the best salsas I've ever tasted.  Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe, you'll find that this goes well on almost anything.  From tortilla chips to chicken, eggs, and fish, everything is better with this awesome salsa.  This makes a large batch of salsa, if you'd like a smaller amount, simply divide the ingredients by two. Be warned though, you'll wish you made the larger batch.


  • 1 lb Tomatillos, husked
  • 2 large Sweet Onions (Maui, Walla Walla, whatever) - plain yellow onions will do as well
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 Jalapenos (deveined and seeded)
  • 2 Serrano Chiles
  • 2 Anaheim peppers (deveined and seeded)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves (about the head of one large bunch)
  • 2 limes, juiced


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Spray a glass baking dish or cookie sheet (with sides) with a cooking spray (i.e. Pam)
  3. Slice up your Tomatillos, Onions, Peppers, Chiles and Garlic and place on tray
    • Tip: If you want this salsa to have a huge kick to it, don't devein or deseed the peppers and chiles.
  4. Cook for about 20 minutes
  5. Straight from the oven, put the roasted tomatillos, onions, peppers, chiles and garlic including the juices from cooking into a food processor  (or a large blender)
  6. Add Cilantro, Cumin, Salt, and Lime juice
  7. Blend everything together.  The smoother you like your salsa, the longer you should blend it for.  If you want it "chunky" then use your pulse setting.

Enjoy!  Next time I make this, I'm going to do the roasting on the grill for even more flavor.


Sunday Dec 09, 2007

Homemade Marshmallows

I watched Tyler Florence make his Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows the other day and thought I had to try to make them.  I'm glad I did because they were really fun to make! 

I'm normally not a "baker", not that this really qualifies as baking unless disolving sugar over low heat counts.  I didn't have my camera available during the making of them, so I'll share with you the fun part, the eating.  I've provided my changed recipe below including my notes.  Really the only changes I made was to use 3 egg whites (the eggs on the Food Network always look huge to me) and 3 Tbsp of gelatin, which equals 4 of the packets which is the complete one ounce box (I measured it out to be sure).

Cami with the finished product.  She was my helper.

 They cut up nicely.  My wife said I made them too big.  Right.

The verdict:


  • 1  1 ounce box (four packets) of Knox Gelatin
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 16 oz bag (2 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting pan and marshmallows
  • Butter, for greasing pan

Most importantly, you'll need a good mixer like a KitchenAid.  It's probably doable with a hand held mixer, but that would be a workout!

 In a medium sized saucepan soak the gelatin in the cold water. After the gelatin has softened, approximately 10 minutes, add the regular sugar and then gently dissolve over low heat, approximately 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. (Yes, let it cool )

In a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks and then fold in the sifted confectioners' sugar.  This means you stop the blender and use a spatula and keep folding the sugar into it.  It will take a little while and the end result will almost be taffy like.  And yes, you need to sift it otherwise you'll get big clumps.

While the mixer is on low, slowly pour in the cooled gelatin mixture. Increase the speed and beat until white and thick. The volume should double in size and should form between soft and firm peaks.  This took a lot longer than I thought, about 10 minutes or so on the KitchenAid's highest setting.  Probably because I didn't let the gelatin/sugar mixture cool down enough. 

Line an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with high sides with foil, grease slightly with butter, and coat with confectioners' sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture in and top with more sifted confectioners' sugar. Leave out overnight or for at least 3 hours to set. The marshmallow should be light and spongy when set.

Cut into squares and plop into a mug of hot chocolate (or better yet, straight into your mouth!)


My name is Craig Bender aka ThinGuy. I'm a Principal Software Developer for Oracle's Virtual Desktop Engineering group.

I architect and evangelize the use of Oracle's Desktop technology including Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop, and Oracle VDI.


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