Why eat more soy??


Andy and I have been eating more soy and other healthy things… it’s been a week and, so far, so good..

We decided we needed to be more healthy — and, that we didn’t need to contribute any more to the environmental problems caused by commercial production of meat.. so, we’re mostly off it..

Andy has been a pretty healthy eater for a while now — he hardly eats anything sweet, although he does cook with plenty of fat and salt.. because, it makes stuff taste good..

A while back we reduced our carbs — no carb wraps instead of bread, for the most part, whole wheat products etc.. I mostly stopped drinking soda at home.. I’ll still drink it on occasion, but I’ve cut it down significantly.

Last week we went grocery shopping as an adventure — and bought organic tofu, silk, the least chemical-filled veggie burgers and other yummy stuff..

We discovered that our meals were just as satisfying and generally quite tasty — I won’t claim that our plan has been perfect — we’ve had a frozen pizza and some microwave popcorn for late night snacks — but, generally we’ve been eating healthy.  We agreed that it was kind of silly to expect a veggie burger to taste exactly like beef — rather, if it gives us the same general satisfaction without the negatives attached to red meat — and, it’s been working.

A few things we’ve learned so far — firm tofu needs to have the liquid squeezed out of it, then it can be marinated and stored for quick food.. I’ve known for a while that I like hardboiled eggs as a snack.. but, I’ve figured out that I like either tuna salad or egg salad with some lettuce on a low-carb wrap as a dinner.. it’s yummy.  We also bought the stuff for Mulligatawny Soup — and miso soup — which has worked well for a quick meal.

And — it’s worked, so far.. I’ve been feeling good — and lost another 3 pounds this week.

This week I bought more tofu, silk, greek yoghurt and a variety of fresh stuff… I’m also making iced tea to drink when coffee isn’t so tempting and ice water is too boring… I bought some black beans so we (Andy..) can try to make black bean burgers.

This week is also Thanksgiving, and I plan to eat a moderate amount of all the yummy stuff Andy’s family will have on the table.. because, this isn’t an absolute thing — instead, I think of it as soy is the default protein.. which works for me.


How to win over my family…

… cook good food — and make me happy.

We’re in Florida for my uncle’s wedding.  He’s now married to a wonderful woman he dated in junior high.  Two of their kids gave toasts that made us laugh and cry.  We had a fantastic time with the other 65 people lucky enough to get an invite to this fabulous weekend — and it’s been just plain fun to be around my family.

Today was “cousins cook” day — declared by my mom and her siblings.. essentially, their kids were assigned to cook dinner for the family.  Talk about pitching right into Andy’s home run zone…

It turned out that Andy and my cousin John were the leaders of cousins cookin’ — and the results were the best family meal we’ve ever had.  Andy did his amazing ribs, some chicken wings and chicken skewers, his fantastic cuban beans and a bread pudding under a sauce I just can’t describe.  My role was to be Andy’s partner… as always, we’re a team. John did many varieties of veggies, planked salmon, deviled eggs and probably more that I’m not recalling off hand.

At one point, most of the younger generation was assembled in the kitchen — Andy was elsewhere and my cousin Em said “all in favor of keeping Andy, raise your hand”… of course, every hand went up.  It was such a sweet way to say that they liked Andy.. and really, who wouldn’t?

At the end of the evening most of my family was gathered on a beautiful wide porch overlooking the Atlantic.  Andy was on the way over to the other rental house and walked out on the porch to get there — my family saw him and burst into applause… and cheers.  They never do that — ever… I’ve literally never seen them applaud a meal before.  This isn’t some wacky Ross tradition — it was simply a recognition of his hard work, skill and talent in putting together a fantastic meal they’d all enjoyed.

So, yea — his initiation into Clan Ross is complete — now, what he doesn’t quite realize is that once  you’re in — getting out requires going into witness protection…




I had a long day today — lots of teaching, meetings and productivity stuff.
The yummo part was that while Andy was waiting (not so patiently) for a package, he decided to cook.
I got a tantalizing text once in a while, in the meeting with my dean, — “Guess what’s for dinner” and “where is the lid for the soup pot” — things a girl likes to hear when she’s in a meeting about course schedules and enrollments.

I came home to the smell of short-ribs cooking low and slow on my stove (yea, the stove works here… weird, huh?).  Mushrooms were sliced thick and waiting to be sauteed in seasame oil, along with some wild rice.  After reducing the yummyness in the pan, it was finished with cream and ladled over the beef and mushrooms… (I’ll fill in the details later.. but the inspiration was this recipe from Pioneer Woman

Amazing — not quite fried goat cheese balls, but danged close.

Cousins Cook!

For my family it should read, “no bad beer”… but it’s close…

We’re having a family event soon — The great thing about my family is that we all generally like one another — weird, huh?  We’re rarely all together, but when we are we have a good time and don’t get on one another’s cases about stuff…

My family shorthand for the generations is as follows — my grandparents generation is called “The Grands” — it includes my 94 year old grandmother and two cherished great aunts (grandpa’s sisters).  “The Sibs” are their children — my aunts and uncles and all the folks in their generation.  “The Cousins” are all of the children and spouses of “The Sibs” — There are 8 kids who are children of the Cousins, and I’m not sure they we have a name for them yet.

This family event is a wedding — and the fun thing is that it’s my uncle getting married to a woman we all adore…. seriously adore.  She’s kind, funny, organized and smart — we’re all funny, smart and usually kind, but not so organized… so, she brings another skill set into our group — which is sort of a necessity for admission into to the clan :).

This particular event has turned into a chance for all of us to be together, in one place, for the first time in a long time.  To celebrate our family-ness, the Cousins are cooking.  We’re staying in a couple of very nice rental homes near the wedding — both with fantastic kitchens. We plan to make the most of them..

To organize this event, we’ve started an e-mail discussion that had some pretty funny moments.  One person admitted to liking Miller Lite (or, perhaps was outed) — this got the response “we’ll have to have some beer education”.  Another person suggested getting parts of a whole hog to cook — my sweet but food-fussy aunt is doing all the shopping — and the image of her dealing with hunks of recently deceased hog made me laugh so hard that I spit coffee…When I suggested cooking what’s fresh and local, the natives reminded me that they really don’t have fresh and local there and begged us to import some “real” tomatoes from the Midwest.

I think that e-mail exchange was a fun way to introduce Andy to parts of the family — and I’m sure by the end of “Cousins cook night”, he’ll see exactly what it means to be a Cousin.

In the end, it looks like we’ll have BBQ ribs, chicken, some wonderful sides and Andy’s grits souffle — the thought of which makes me drool on my keyboard.  We’ll also have fun working together, joking around and maybe even getting some beer education on the deck when it’s all over.

Steak, veggies, yumm… take that Bourdain


Andy posted about a $1900 meal a few days ago… he said that he could cook a wonderful meal for two for under $40… and he did it.

He steamed the broccoli in the microwave with soy sauce..

Roasted the asparagus in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper then dressed it with balsamic vinegar…. (a stinky pee warning has been issued…).

Sauteed the mushrooms with butter, salt, pepper and thyme…

Marinated the gaucho style rib-eye steak in white cooking wine, dijon mustard, fresh rosemary, garlic and olive oil (super, duper yummy!) and grilled it.  We shared this steak… it was plenty!

and arranged it beautifully on good china (for the record, rescued from the high school, it was about to be thrown away…).

A generous estimate of the cost if this dinner has it at about $25 for both of us — well under the $40 challenge Andy gave himself — and it was outstanding.  He even took the photos, all I had to do was unload the dishwasher and eat!

I’m going to add my own position on a $1900 meal for two — it’s just a stupid status symbol thing.  A good meal out in NYC can cost $150 – 200 (about what we paid a few years ago for a wonderful meal).  The other $1700 could go to help a family pay their rent… He could come to my place, pay Andy and I $1900 and we’d make enough to buy a fantastic lens for a worthy photography student (hmmm… know any ? 🙂 ).


Portabello and asparagus sandwich


Lots of olive oil, mayonnaise, smart balance, balsamic vinegar, fresh thyme, portabello mushrooms, sweet onions, camembert cheese, asparagus and tomato basil bread (although, any thick cut, chewy on the inside bread would work great).

Leave the cheese out to get nice and warm…

Have your assistant strip the tiny little leaves off of the fresh thyme.  This will take a philosophy Ph.D. a long time…

Carmalize a whole mess of onions — this takes “about 16 years”….

and the end result looks like this… yummo!

Flash fry the asparagus in Smart Balance with some salt—

Marinate in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Marinate the portabellos in olive oil and a lot of the fresh thyme.  Grill them and add butter, salt and fresh thyme at the end.

Assemble the sandwich with the cheese on the bottom, then the mushrooms and the asparagus on top…. put a thin layer of mayo on the top piece of bread and enjoy!

Fried Catfish!!! YUMMO!

The EFG is at it again… this time, fried catfish with avocado salad and remoulade — an excellent EFG creation… and I got to have it for dinner!

For those of you relatively new to Leftyconcarne, one of the things Andy and I do together is cook… he’s an expert chef — and I call him the EFG (which stands for Evil Food Genius).

I take photos and act as a kitchen assistant… he’s the mastermind, for sure!!

Here are the ingredients for the avocado salad — corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, lemon and red onion.

before mixing — note, the perfect, in season avocados — yummy!

The general idea is to dice up the veggies, dress them with some balsamic vinegar, lime and lemon juice– add a generous dollop of garlic and enjoy — The EFG served the salad in the halves of the avocados — pretty and yummy!

and — the “yummy dipping sauce” — the remoulade:

Combine mayo, tartar sauce (and whatever similar things like sour cream) with diced jalapenos, red onion, garlic, cajun seasoning, creole gumbo seasoning and lemon juice — and, if it needs a boost, some cocktail sauce and lime juice.  Whip together and love, love, love it!

Now – for the main event — the catfish in panko breadcrumbs…

Here’s Andy cutting the fish on a diagonal— note, the blurry hand to indicate lightening fast knife skills…

Note — the paper plates are KEY to the process — being able to throw them away makes it all good…. From left to right you have seasoned flour (salt, creole and cajun seasonings), eggs with Louisiana hot sauce and then panko bread crumbs..

Work from left to right — make sure you don’t get too much flour on the fish or the egg will slide off…

Now — fry the fish in vegetable oil at about 350 —

Set up the counter with a nice layer of newspapers to drain the fish — they tend to wick away the oil nicely and the fish just tastes yummy…. when the fish is hot, hit it with salt…

Then — throw it all on the table and watch it get devoured!!