All posts by Niyaz

Week 20, Meal 1: French aromatherapy

Of the three meals on the menu for Week 20, I was most excited for Week 20, Meal 1: Bouillbaisse with crouton and garlicky yogurt rouille.

There’s something about making French food that makes me feel more distinguished as a home cook. Maybe because for many chefs, French cuisine is the starter to learning classic techniques and the fundamental lesson that simple really is better.

That we’ve never much cooked with seafood on the blog (save  for fish and shrimp) or made much broth (except that awesome oxtail broth for the pho), this meal provided a new challenge that I knew would have a big  payoff at the end. Continue reading Week 20, Meal 1: French aromatherapy

Week 20: Two soups and a sangwich

Chef Brian’s been wanting a couple new soup recipes on the blog in recent weeks but the weather has been too warm to really justify it, he said.

But now that the hotter, tail-end of winter has  subsided and spring is  in full swing, there are some lighter spring and summer soups that he thought would be perfect this week. And while we’ve cooked seafood here and there, we’ve yet to have a week where our entire menu comes from the deep blue sea. Here’s what’s on deck, matey:

Week 20, Meal 1: Bouillbaisse with crouton and garlicky yogurt “rouille”

Week 20, Meal 2: Blackened Shrimp Po Boys

Week 20, Meal 3: Andalusian Gazpacho with mixed shellfish

I’m putting this post together at 5 a.m.-ish and I just got super hungry for breakfast, lol. Something with seafood in it …

Continue reading Week 20: Two soups and a sangwich

Compliments to the chef

This has been a good week for Fat Dude On A Diet.

The brutal plateau I’ve been battling seems to be in retreat and the 220s and even the 210s don’t seem too far away on the scale any more. I’ve re-focused my eating  habits and made it a point to walk as much, and decidedly more, than I have so far.

My weight loss journey started out triumphantly, but I’m happy I’ve struggled in my 230s during these last couple of months. I’m reminded that weight loss — even if you’re trying to take a low-impact approach to mine — is a mindful activity that can easily be undone with a few mindless acts.

This week, we’ll also cook our 60th dish.  We’re almost halfway through this project.

I’m always amazed at the creativity and kitchen knowledge Chef Brian has. I’ve eaten in a lot of restaurants, from the fanciest of the fancy to barely-a-hole-in-the-walls, and there’s only a handful of chefs I’ve encountered who know how to create such explosive flavors in the simplest of ways.

I used to eat McDonald’s several times a week, sometimes as a dinner-after-dinner dinner (damn, that’s embarrassing), but because of Brian, I’ve learned that there’s much more to daily eating than having a side of fries with everything. I speak in broad generalizations about the way I used to be, but in all honesty, I didn’t realize how badly I was treating myself until I stopped doing it.

He’s made eating healthy more than roasted chicken and veggies. I look forward to spending time in the kitchen, eager to taste whatever he’s come up with next.

Though we’re both professionals in our fields, the most Brian gets out of  this blog is the gratification that comes from helping me. We’d both like to see bigger things grow from this project, no doubt — and seeing his recipes come to life in the hands of another must be cool too, but really, he does it because he wants to help me and Wifey Nadia get healthy. It’s an incredibly kind thing for someone to do for another person and I he deserves more thanks than I can express for his efforts.

As for the scale: Today I weigh 234.4 lbs. I weighed 236.1 lbs. last week. That’s a one week loss of 1.7 lbs. I started this blog on Nov. 8, 2010 weighing 258 lbs. That’s a total loss of 23.6 lbs.

Week 19, Meal 3: Ja-makin’ me hungry for tacos

I have this habit of trying to feed my co-workers little bites of whatever is on the menu that day just to see how other people like Chef Brian’s food.

They’re usually stoked on whatever is cooking that day, but in the case of Week 19, Meal 3: Jerk chicken meatball taco with cabbage and pineapple salsa, my buddy Josh said he’d never had flavors like these before.

Indeed, it’s not easy to find a place making legit jerk chicken in Orange County — and this was my first encounter with Jerk spice as well — but now that I’ve had a taste, I’m curious enough to seek out the real deal.

For those of you in the Jamaican-less boat Josh and I are in, here’s Fat Dude’s take on Jerk chicken, turned into a meatball and thrown in a taco … mostly cause we can, but also cause tacos are good anytime, with most anything shoved in ’em. Continue reading Week 19, Meal 3: Ja-makin’ me hungry for tacos

Week 19, Meal 2: (Indian) wedding soup

I’ve had this curious case of the sniffles for the last week — a reprisal of the yuckies that sidelined me a few weeks back — and it threw off my kitchen game last week.

The whole time I was cooking Week 19, Meal 2: Indian spiced lamb meatball soup with kaboucha squash, kale and wild rice I ran into problems. I couldn’t smell if the spices had toasted enough or taste if the dish had enough salt.

I planned to package the soup up for the following day, but there was a little miscommunication in the kitchen and we ended up leaving the soup out overnight in our comfortably warm condo.

I wasn’t so keen on trying it the next day as the cold hadn’t subsided (it still isn’t gone) and I wasn’t willing to test the boundaries of food poisoning.

So here goes the soup that never was. Continue reading Week 19, Meal 2: (Indian) wedding soup

Week 19, Meal 1: Pork ‘n’ slaw

If I’m eating pork ‘n’ slaw, it’s usually pulled pork and coleslaw, with a big ol’ hunk of cornbread to sop up the sauce and juice on the bottom of the plate.

For the first time, those words take on another meaning, with Week 19, Meal 1: Vietnamese pork meatball lettuce wrap with carrot and cucumber salad in fish sauce and lime vinaigrette.

I’m not really a fan of lettuce wraps — they’re kinda wimpy IMO — but three of these wraps, made with big ol’ leafs of bibb lettuce and stuffed full of savory, lemon-y pork did the trick.

An added bonus, I didn’t get the sleepies like I usually do after a plate of BBQ. Continue reading Week 19, Meal 1: Pork ‘n’ slaw

Week 19: Meatball mania

Here at Fat Dude, Chef Brian has been in the kitchen coming up with ways to break the plateau. We thought low-carb eating might do the trick, and we already started with with Week 18: No-noodles Italian.

We’re back for more carb-lite adventures — this week doing meatballs three ways: In a lettuce wrap, in a soup and in a taco. Check out the craziness:

Week 19, Meal 1: Vietnamese pork meatball lettuce wrap with carrot and cucumber salad in fish sauce and lime vinaigrette

Week 19, Meal 2: Indian spiced lamb meatball soup with kaboucha squash, kale and wild rice

Week 19, Meal 3: Jerk chicken meatball taco with cabbage and pineapple salsa

Our list is good for two portions of each meal (Note: The soup is four portions). I double the recipes so I always have leftovers for the next day. I do not double the amounts for ingredients in sauces. Continue reading Week 19: Meatball mania

Weight loss rollercoaster

I was nervous that my vacation in Solvang would inflate my weight past the 241 lbs. I carried on my pre-vacation weigh-in, but I stepped on the scale this morning, kept my eyes shut tight, and then reluctantly looked down to find a pleasant number staring back at me.

It’s just a reminder that weight loss is a rollercoaster, both physically and emotionally. There will be good days and bad days. What I’m learning now is that continued success relies on tapering off the bad days by continually fighting toward better eating and exercise habits.

I went to Solvang and ate and ate and (drank and) ate, but the moment I returned, I was dedicated to maintaining my mental calorie count and walking as much as I could.

I feel like the conscious effort paid off this week, and I’m hoping that my revitalized post-vacation diet drive, paired with the low-carb approach Chef Brian is taking will shake up my body enough to get me from the 230s to the 220s by next month.

This Fat Dude’s on the upswing.

As for the scale: Today I weigh 236.1 lbs. I weighed 241.2 two weeks ago, the last week I weighed in before leaving for vacation. That’s a two week loss of 5.1 lbs. I started this blog on Nov. 8, 2010 weighing 258 lbs. That’s a total loss of 21.9 lbs.

Fat Dude does Solvang: A food and wine extravaganza

Back when I was writing for Food Frenzy, my co-blogger/homeboy Jeff traveled to exotic locales including Europe and … er, St. Louis while I sat at home and lived vicariously. I gave up travel each year, mostly for the time and expense  required to go to the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, but that doesn’t really count — it’s more of an endurance test than an oasis of relaxation.

This year, the festival sold out in a record six days, and I was left with a week’s worth of free time to fill. I wound up in a tiny town 30 miles north of Santa  Barbara called Solvang — essentially “Little Denmark” — with Wifey Nadia and friends Matt, Neil and Gina.

I ate (a lot), I drank (too much) … I even fed ostriches (and some emus, too).

Follow the jump to feast your eyes on my travels through a true California gem.

Continue reading Fat Dude does Solvang: A food and wine extravaganza

Week 18, Meal 3: The chicken and the egg

I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg — I just know they both taste great together, especially with a little mound of crispy prosciutto piled on top.

For our finale to No-noodles Italian week, Chef Brian uses his powers of telepathy to read my mind and craft the perfect menu out of everything good in this world.

Here’s Week 18, Meal 3: Baked chicken milanese with arugula, cherry tomatoes, poached egg and crispy prosciutto. Continue reading Week 18, Meal 3: The chicken and the egg

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