Basics of Calories

You may be asking yourself?

“Why in the blue tarnation is this here?”

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My first attempt at chicken a la kiev, i could have used a plate of this on the bench

Well stretch, you see before the last gift from the family sent me to the street fresh and full of nerve damage I was a cook off and on for ten years. Some would even describe it as a career and getting some basic information is important because if you don’t know the basics then you don’t know jack.

When splitting calories there are a few different kinds to go over and this is per gram. The gram is simply the most popular unit of measurement. On the nutritional facts when it says “12g protein” well the g stands for gram.

Carbs get you four calories per gram. Protein gets you four as well. Alcohol gets seven. Fat gets you nine calories per gram. There are some rules because not all grams are created equal. Alcohol does not stay in the body very long topping the list of things to be burnt up. Protein is another thing that tries to use itself up with what isn’t being tossed out. Protein also helps build muscle often strenuous bouts of exercise giving it something else that the other grams do not have

The little caveat with protein being is if it is complete or incomplete. A good rule of thumb is that protein from animal meat is always going to be completer while anything plant based will be incomplete proteins but will often have more vitamins and minerals usually making it important to get your calories from a variety of resources.

Just to keep weight while you are homeless you will need to to eat more then you would ever think because the amount of things you are needing that energy for. Those who are already watching what they eat will have to open up on a bit. Keeping weight will be as hard as can be especially if you are carrying a pack and you need to go with some items that help. All this boils down into a lot to juggle and then you have to deal with how you can get supplies. Food banks are going to give you a bit of everything but the question will be if you can carry it. If you get food stamps the you have more options and a smaller budget when needed to work with money.

In short if you can carry food and plan fairly rudimentary you should not starve. There is no reason for people in most urban centers to starve and for the most part it is not that much more difficult in suburbs or small towns all of that is based on your ability to think ahead. This is the single biggest problem because when picking calories is you need to at least have a rough idea what you are eating. Honestly if you are homeless it will be very rare that you will be in a surplus so unless that is the case. This is rare so unless you don’t move at all, grab some calories when you can because you don’t to run a deficit long enough then what will happen is this.

First, your body will start burning all regular fuel then when you are empty it dips in to the reserves on your fats. This will keep you going but after a while what will happen is your body will start to go from fat to protein. Particularly your muscle fibers, as your body cannot hold on to protein it will withdraw it from where your body has the most accessible protein. This will make you begin to get weaker as time goes on.

When you are deficient in a nutrient for a period you also invite things like beriberi (what I have) scurvy, and more. Any long term deficiency can really destroy your body as well doing your best to stay on top of it will keep your time on the streets a little healthier.

If you are already deficient then take a day at the library and do some research. Be aware what works and what tastes good may be different. Because even if you are not on the street and are just doing some fine time enjoying the wilderness knowing how your body works will save you pain in the long run.

Enjoy your peanut butter and stay strong

Meal Sniping and Freeganism

This is odd to see to those unaware but let me say this. A lot of food that would be perfectly fine is thrown away and if people really need food after everything else if they want to take the risk and maybe swallow a bit of their pride. What this will also go over is another group of people that may be part of the homeless or not and that is the freegan movement.

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A burger like this would have been great when I was homeless, it was my entry in the better burger contest. 

Freegans come from the words free and vegan and not only stay away from animal products as well as any products that may have been made using sweatshop labor or other circumstance. This group takes that a belief by recognizing that the market driven by a set of morals they find reprehensible. Some may find this bizarre but to them it is the best way to go and as long as it does not hurt them it could very well be just something those outside their vision just may not understand or agree with. In short if you do not like them do not make yourself into a horror story of theirs.

Now, it is not the best way to get food doing this, but when the cards are down it will get you enough calories to get by, maybe while it is still a couple days out for a food bank possibility or of your food stamps kicking in, or of a paycheck. Fast food is has plenty with the small nibbles that people take often being the only part that would be wrong with it.

Granted, I have not done a whole lot of this, but I do know people that did so I am bringing it more from those who I talked to as well as the small parts to add to this article.

Now when you decide to go the timing and place will be important, as you do not want someone to come up behind you pouring a half drained drink over what you just darted your arm in to the can to get easier version of this would be to as they have just buss the table. Separate trash and consumables and just plain trash. If you do this in a fast food area you may have better luck to begin with, but it can be done any place large portions of hot food are being served to customers. When this is done in food cart areas there is more then decent chance that someone will be fishing through the trash eventually.

One reason depending on what state you are in is the bottle deposit. That is a fee based on the container of soda or beer that can be reimbursed by either returning the container to specialty marked facilities or back to the stores, depending on law. Short version on this is you can either get a dime, or a nickel for every container that counts within those areas and if possible is a way to get some funds quickly.

Back to the whole meal sniping if you are just in a fast food area, they sell soda in cups and often no deposit, but that is a factor to help you decide where to go if you need to. From what I have seen you can go longer collecting more food at a good food cart location but it comes with more people digging.

In fast food you need to buy something to often stay there but you can take your time and get used to it and maybe get a refill or two it because it doesn’t have to be a rush when you eat .Pick up something for later and soon feel like you have enough.

Sometimes areas won’t have dumpsters to single areas often behind a simple gate that could be simple enough to get into provided there are no watchful eyes. This kind of works into freeganism because supermarkets will often wont have people watching and especially at night. When checking dumpsters of some other areas there has been a growing step taken by some including some pizza places that before tossing the food out that it would be sprayed or drenched in bleach making the thing unfit for human consumption.

In short as with anything there are risks and rewards so if you need to I hope this helps and if you want more information on the freegan movement link will be below. Get hungry, get full and stay strong.

What is a Freegan?

Risque Whiskey or Risky Whisky

So I recently wanted to get some more writing experience, help my efforts trying to network in that industry. Their was an open position for a website called The Whiskey Wash. They have not answered back after multiple attempts at contact which is fine open positions got to have a lot of people applying for it one would figure maybe I just don’t cut it. I hate to have it happen, but one can move on.

Except something caught my attention. I’m a fan of whiskey and on the web site itself their were two spellings of the word. One with the “E”and one without which I thought were strange. Normally that would dictate that someone would have majorly screwed up. It is rare though for something like a specialty site to do that so I did some research.

For anyone who reads this blog they will find I spell it w-h-i-s-k-e-y. This is the spelling found on many American and all Irish and since my whiskey experiences stem from the Jack Daniels and Jameson brands over my two and a half decades on this planet, and that would be why it seemed strange to me. W-h-i-s-k-y is the spelling used by Canada, Japan, and Scotland. If there are any other countries then I am sorry I just do not know which one you use, no insult meant.

Some people actually get legitimately angry about it like the inclusion of a single “E” can throw all their good memories they ever had with it in to the river. Going so far to insult those who use the spelling in reference to the wrong original country. Now with writing some people will only look at it and go..

“Huh, they got multiple spellings here, they can’t know about what they are writing about.”

Nope, there is a reason although it is slightly strange to see two different spellings on the same website over and again.

As a Rough draft grows and morph in to different projects it is always nice to see what needs to be done to finish it up. Right now the dates have to go, basic grammar and spelling checks because I was too sleep deprived to hammer the fine details. Lengthening and pictures of course. Still same rules as apply with these excerpts as the last set. They are all first draft and we have along way to go on them.

 

 

July 2nd – American Cuisine

American cuisine is more then the few chefs on television all the time. In fact even thinking they are representing American cuisine is like saying the trail blazers are great foot ball players only because they play a pro sport. Many may even see it as a joke on words like jumbo shrimps or common sense. Exploring my home country’s cuisine can maybe get a better view of your own home whether its another part of America or another country altogether.

Some of the basic points of this part of the book will be learning how ingredients made their way to each section of land. Distinguishing how the food was grown, sold, or brought in speaks to the way things were back in the era where such foods were new as well as how they were valued. For many of the older recipes certain things had to be done so that the food would be able to hold longer with less effort. Back in older eras such as the wild west or the pioneer rush eating food was a had to do action and not so much as something to be fussed over much. Flashy sauces and more costly ingredients making their way in to the dishes of the era were more found in the establishments popular in larger cities. Moving to the more rural areas such things may only be made rarely or bought in to save time while celebrating.

Respecting these people who in the untamed times of each section could make simple food taste so good should be revered as nowadays we may face different problems such as the loss of flavor and the increase of artificial chemicals. Time was not so liberally implanted as it took time for the families of the past to pickle and preserve everything they could while thinking up the recipes to get the most bang for their buck.

We all need to try and make the best food we can so we can live the best lives we can. This does not take an over abundance of food though which is something we must learn within our borders.

Excerpt – Life, Love and Cooking

Here is something from one of the book projects I currently have in the starting round of editing. Something for every day of the year going over kitchen wisdom, recipes, tips, tricks and my own experiences working in various kitchens.

January 5th– Ratios vs. recipes (quick pie crust)

Things do not need to be difficult to be good. Some times I will crack a cook book to find a recipe with too many ingredients, and many of which serving no purpose to the final dish. Pie crust is an ingredient that is a great example of this. Dozens of possible combinations between fats, flours, and flavorings may make things confusing. You will need a pastry cutter for this. Otherwise a pie crust is always within a three step countdown. Ratios you will find to be much more useful then complicated recipes. I will try to give ratios whenever possible in the future.

So three parts all purpose flour with two parts fat either shortening or butter and one part ice cold water. Pinch some salt in with the flour and give it a light stir with the hand. So which fat do you use? Shortening would be useful if you’re new to the crust game for the simple fact that it will not melt as easily so you have more time. Butter will bring better flavor and richer texture just realize that you will need to chill the butter even freezing it may be suggested. If you want to go halvsies on the fats I have found that will give you the best of both worlds.

Put your fat in the flour and using your pastry knife cut the fat in to the flour. This will take some time if you’re not used to it that’s ok. Now how much you cut it to depends on what you are using it for if you need a flaky crust such as the top cover to a double crust pie then you want to cut the fat to the size of frozen peas. Cutting to rice size fat granules will create a mealy crust. Reason for this is that when you roll the dough the fat flattens and the larger size lends itself to creating layers while the mealy crust will be structurally sound. Next add the water do so slowly stopping at the last tenth before kneading together if it seems a little dry then continue with the last tenth until amalgamated. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge to chill before rolling out to whatever you need.

3 parts all purpose flour 2 parts cold fat 1 part ice cold water 1/8 tsp salt for 8 oz of dough.

Chili Mac – Home Cooking

So after thinking about some thing I decided to get back in the kitchen to make some meals so I don’t eat the same thing 18 times in a row when writing, drawing or learning some stuff on Alison (free education website). A nice little stretch of macaroni and actually a nice dish overall. If you like cheese on top of your chili this will actually turn a couple meals in to about a week’s worth. Here is what you will need for a large pot of Chili Mac.

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Ingredients

6 C Dry Macaroni
3 Cans of Chili
1/2 Lb Cheddar, Shredded
1/3 C Grated Parmesan Romano
1 pt or 2 C Heavy Cream
1/2 stick Butter
Chopped Green Onions to Garnish.

Makes 6-8 servings

Just to let you know my cream is frozen. So first we start with the macaroni. Boil that up.

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After its cooked you can drain the noodles to begin working on the cheese sauce make sure the cheddar is shredded. If you have the boxed mac and cheese just make it as you see fit. On low heat you want your butter, cream, and cheeses until everything becomes one. Push the heat higher and the sauce may curdle.

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After everything has been melted and the sauce been tasted and seasoned here is where you have the option to add some green onion. I add some to mine to give a little bit more color to the whole affair. It is not needed however.

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After your sauce is simmering heat your chili up in another sauce pan or in the microwave whichever is easier just until it all becomes more fluid. Put your noodles back in the sauce, add your chili making sure the chili and noodles have a nice meet and greet of flavors in the pot.

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After all that is done. finish with your garnishes and serve or in my case freeze and eat as you see fit. Add some hot sauce if you like to give it a little more heat.

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I had a little cheddar left over so that was used as a garnish as well. In any case its a mild dish without being boring and it holds long enough that I will have been eating it while working on my other projects.

Fried Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce

For this dish it is suggested that you have some cooked rice to pair it with. For this you will need the following ingredients.
Serves 5-7 with rice

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Flour for dusting and Oil for frying
A block of Extra Firm Tofu (16 oz)
1/4 C Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 C Soy Sauce
1/4 C Rice Wine Vinegar
Shredded sushi seaweed for garnish

Pour your oil in the narrowest pot you have as to save on the amount of oil needed put it on medium heat. It will take a couple moments to get to frying temperature. Next put a cup of flour in a wide bowl, and set aside. Press your tofu lightly with a paper towel so it will remove as much of the moisture as possible before cutting in to cubes at an inch squared. After cutting, check the oil by pinching a small amount of flour in to the oil if you get a fair reaction that looks just like a soup on a low simmer then you can begin. Dredge them in the flower in batches before dropping them in to the oil you don’t want to do it all at once because that will drop the temperature of the oil and for most stove top burners you will not be able to hold temp without splitting them in to at least two batches. I did mine in four batches total, but I wasn’t in a hurry. Let them fry until golden brown or a light manilla color for those who know their around an office better.

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The bubbles don’t have to be big you just want to make sure that when they come out they can drain. rinse and repeat with all batches until all the tofu is drying off. For the teriyaki sauce take a small pot and put your sugar, vinegar and soy in it before bringing it up to a simmer making sure to stir until the sugar has been dissolved and let simmer for a couple minutes until all the flavors meld together or about three or four minutes.

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I got a little impatient and cranked up to high which you can do if you want to watch it for a minute or two. You do not want the sugar to burn or else you will need to try again. After your tofu has dried appropriately you can use your sauce to dip into or pour over depending on how you like your sauces to be done. Some people are picky, no judging here.

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I got my tofu placed on cooked white rice and seaweed around it and from here I just poured the sauce over the top and dug in. The picture didn’t come so clear as I had hoped but its tofu blocks on rice. So I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you liked what you saw give some of my other dishes a chance their in the cooking category on my blog.

Have a good day everyone, oh and before I forget starting in December their will hopefully be more posts I am getting a little bit more comfortable doing this as well as the youtube videos if you watch those link is to the side. I am going to try to up my game to do two a week I feel like it can be done. Wish me luck.

Game Day Quesadillas

I am more of a sunny day or in the Oregonian case the rainy day sports fan. However, one must have some game day grub that is easy to eat so let’s go with a good quesadilla. I make quesadillas full size with two tortillas each so a full one can get you eight pieces of a good size. In these pictures I am using an eight inch tortilla here.

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Ingredients:

2 tortillas per quesadilla
2 pieces of bacon or 1/4 C of refried beans
2 slices golden cheddar
2 T chopped green onions

The secret comes in the cooking we will be doing this in pan and it take close to five minutes on medium heat. Cooking it in pan is closest to the flattop stove that most restaurants. You want to have your bottom layer with the cheese in their first so that everything melts together. Doing it this way also allows the tortilla to crisp up a little before cutting in to it and that means less on you when your team is fighting for the win.

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Flip it over when it looks like this.

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Finish it up.

For the bean and cheese quesadilla I like adding some green onion to it to give it just a little more aroma. Make sure to spread it as evenly as possible without having an O.C.D panic attack.

When your food is done cut it up and use the green onions to garnish. It adds just a little bit of aroma to the overall dish and aroma is the one sense that can make you hungry better then your taste buds. Cut in to eight pieces like a pizza or four if you know some of the hungrier guys are coming around. For twelve inch tortillas you want to go to three basic slices of golden cheddar. If you don’t get the sliced stuff then you want about 1/3 C shredded or diced small.

A little bit of ketchup or your favorite salsa on the side and this makes a good snack to watch a game, play a game, even make a game of your trying to be or already are an indie developer.

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Now when your cooking for yourself you’re not going to be so finicky in the exact placement of garnishes. That will be for another blog post. Have a good one.

Chili tofu

Now with this you can put it over rice or noodles. I still wasn’t sick of ramen so I used dry pack ramen noodles. The chili tofu is hot though so if you can’t stand the heat find a substitute. Cooked vegetables work well or even just a touch of soy after the tofu is browned in pan. For the chili tofu you will need the following.

Tofu

A 16 oz package of tofu – Extra firm – tofu normally they come in 16 oz portions so no worries about over shooting and if you don’t want to make a full batch just replace the water in the tofu container before putting your remainder portion and that should give you about a week of time to play with it.

2 t of vegetable oil to help lubricate a wide shallow pan for the tofu

2 T chopped garlic

1/4 C sweet chili sauce or (1/8 C water, 1/8 C sugar, 3 T red chili flake)

1/4 C ketchup or (1/2 C tomato paste, 1/2 C white wine vinegar, and reduce to half)

Your seasonings of choice in my case.

Set your pan up and place on medium high heat. Oiled and ready we then move to the tofu and for this you will need a plate and a couple extra paper towels to make it easier on yourself. Open the package and drain it before setting it on the plate and pressing the paper towels lightly in to it. What this does is help remove some of the excess water so it will be easier for you to saute without breaking in to chunks.

What if it breaks in to chunks anyway? Use less sauce smaller pieces will not need so much to represent the same heat level. Other then that no changes so go for it. Next take your knife of choice and chop it up first in to planks before going in to cubes.

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Behold cut tofu. Now after chopping your tofu up toss it in the pan.

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You should get some sizzle as you drop it in so after that if you have to fuss with it you can set up your sauce to be poured in later. It will take some time to get a nice even browning or you can be like me.

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After about ten minutes let it flip and toss in your garlic. If you want it to be more browned what you do not want to do is try to scrape it from the bottom of the pan within the first few minute you will have more of a chance of the tofu cubes breaking if that happens. After the garlic gets some browning time you want to add your sauce.

What if I let the garlic cook to long or everything seems dry in the pan?

Great question, now with tofu because it is so porous their will always be some absorption and the garlic will help with that so if you need a little more liquid  as soon as your going dry you can add a couple drops of oil to finish your browning. Or if you say my ingredients I also had a lemon and an orange. They were on sale and I don’t get a lot of fruit so you can add the juice of a couple citrus.

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I like mine a little hotter then normal so this is with an extra teaspoon of chili powder with the citrus juice to produce that red color. As soon as you finish this if you let things cook until they stick the pan still the juice will help bring those particles back up to add some flavor to your sauce. Add your mix of sweet chili sauce and ketchup to the pan and let it reduce a little making sure to get all the flavors together to properly introduce each other.

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Ketchup has been used in dishes like this for many years, and old fans of Iron chef will remember the Chen ken min had a delicious prawns in chili sauce recipe that worked with ketchup as a base. If you don’t feel comfortable though you can pull back on it or make a quick version from the ratio I put up.

So after your sauce is ready its thick, full bodied, and delicious you need to have something to serve it with. For things like this I gotta go with the incredible edible egg. High in protein and adds just the right match to spicier things over rice or noodles in my opinion.

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Lightly fried egg and spicy tofu over noodles. Enjoy, if you like anything I have been up to comment and if you know someone that could enjoy one of these please show them the way to my little corner of the internet.Oh and before I forget you can actually catch me at the twitter thing call me old fashioned if you like but I am at oneguyportland on the twittery thing. Have a good one everybody.

Apple onion salad with garlic mustard dressing

This is a nice dish that will work well with the pork dish for next week. If you are vegetarian no fear this works just as well as a light potluck dish. For two servings you will need the following.

Salad: One green apple, half a white or yellow onion, salt and black pepper to taste, one lemon to juice. In this picture the orange and lemon are already zested because I used the zest for making my own bath salts. Like put in the bath and make everything smell nice as you relax and mine is all natural. Salt, teas, extracts, zests, etc. So ya mine are already zested if you have a moment you can use the zest as a garnish on top.

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Dressing: A tablespoon mustard paired with one of honey or two tablespoons honey mustard, one teaspoon chopped garlic, a pinch of cocoa powder.

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So core your apple chop it in to quarters before slicing and toss it in a pan on low heat. Next you want to take your half onion and slice it up julienne style making sure to do it a little thicker then normal julienne. tossing it in the pan we will mix it together and let the flavors meet each other as the onion begins to sweeten. Sweating on medium low with a touch of butter or oil of your choice if you do not have a non stick pan.

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Mix up your dressing as everything is sweating just mixing it all up before tossing a portion in to toss with the reminder of the dressing on the side to taste.