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Minimalist Eating: Salmon

I thought I didn’t like salmon. I’ve tried it a few times when friends or relatives prepared it… Let’s just say I wasn’t too impressed. I figured it was just the fish because the folks who prepared it were very good cooks.

Imagine my surprise when my wife came home the other day and said she’d picked some up at the store. Skip to last night and we were all in the mood for a decent dinner but I wanted to cook outside rather than needlessly heating up the house (it’s HOT outside as it is) so we were grillin’ baby.

Quick Google search to learn how to grill salmon and we’re rolling… If you’re a minimalist eater, try this:

Brush on olive oil, both sides. Lightly season (we used a Tuscany blend), salt and pepper. That’s it. Now, I want to pause here. I am a huge fan of squeezing a fresh lemon on fish… Not in this case. We were 4 for 4, the salmon was better without the lemon.

Oil the grill surface: drizzle olive oil on a folded (2″x2″ square) paper towel and, with a pair of tongs, rub the oil on the grate.

Place the slab skin down on the grill (medium high) for 10-15 minutes (do not flip or move – watch your hot spots, try to avoid the hottest spot or put the thickest part of the filet over it).

10-15 minutes on medium-high heat and the fish will flake easily – it’s done, serve immediately. Drizzle lemon over the top if you wish

We also had a salad and my famous grilled asparagus (again, minimalist:  Olive oil, garlic, grill then douse with lemon juice (be liberal with the lemon juice, it’s better with a lot – the recipe is here.).

Just so we’re clear, the proper order to cook this out is asparagus first.  When it’s done, transfer to a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 210 degrees (F) to keep warm, then cook the Salmon.  We all agreed (a rarity) that the minimalist salmon was the best we’d had.  Sometimes your just better off letting the food taste good all on its own.

I Am Stronger Than I Thought I Am

Now, if you’re an English teacher reading that title, you’re more than likely shaking your head, lamenting the intelligence of the fit class.

If you’re in the fit class, you know darn good and well what that means.

I fought this reality just yesterday when my buddies English Pete and Aaron ran 10 miles but I cut my run to 8. Turning back early made perfect sense at the time… I wasn’t fully prepared or fueled to run yesterday but I figured I could gut out nine. When I got to Pete’s they were talking about doing eleven. If you know my friends, that means twelve or a half – I simply didn’t think had it in me to gut that out without the proper preparation.  Throw in the ridiculously cold temperature and wind that we ran in and it made even more sense.

Imagine my surprise after I turned around early, to find that not only could I finish but I could do so with plenty left in the tank.  The reality, of course, is that with wind chills at just four degrees (F), making certain that I could finish running far outweighed a desire to push it.  The ramifications involved in bonking yesterday were huge.  Heading out with the wind I knew I would be sweating a bit.  19 degrees is cold, but it’s not that cold.  However, heading back into the wind the temp drops from 19 to 4 degrees.  Walking for too far would have been dangerous.

Imagine my surprise when the Pete and Aaron came running around the corner just 17 minutes after I finished – they only went 10.  I could have done that.

Without getting too deep into the self-criticism weeds, I’m a lot stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for and yesterday proved that point.  I’m not into self-flagellation so I won’t be dwelling too deeply on this, in fact all things considered I’m quite certain that I did the right thing.  The occasion does need to be filed for future reference though.

The point is that I think many of us fitties are prone to believing we can’t run or ride as fast, or that we can’t make it as far, as we really can.  This isn’t a good or a bad thing, just food for thought.  I would have written this post yesterday after I finished but I was just too cold to type.

New Recipe – Hot Ham & Pineapple Sammich

My brother-in-law used to work at a certain sub shop – so he knew how they make one of their most famous subs…and he passed the secret on to us – now I’m going to share it with you.

Here’s the list of ingredients, but don’t go by their description of how to cook it (it’s all wrong).

Put your cut up ham and some butter in a large frying pan.  Fry up the ham, allowing it to brown up a bit.  Then add your pineapple and a goodly bit of the juice (we use fresh pineapple rather than the canned stuff).  Allow that to simmer and the pineapple juice to cook down (this step is the key to an awesome sub).  Then top it with your favorite cheese (we use colby-jack) and allow that to melt…  Then scoop onto a sub bun.

I like to dash the bun with a little bit of mayo and some Big John’s Steak-n-Onion red sauce.  There’s nothing better after a day on the bike than a couple of these bad boys.

If you don’t have a local Big John’s and can’t find the sauce, I found this recipe (though I can’t vouch for its veracity).

Venison Tacos

Mrs. BgddyJim came up with with a real keeper of a recipe for dinner last night…and simple as it gets.

Venison Tacos

For this particular evening we used back straps. Yum.


Venison steaks or back strap filets
Olive oil
Taco seasoning

Mix a few caps full of olive oil and the taco seasoning in a container. Drop in the steaks, cover and shake to coat (see photo).

Cook steaks a few minutes per side to no more than medium on a cast iron skillet.

Slice and serve in soft tortilla shells with shredded cheese, salsa and lettuce.

They take about 10 minutes to prep and 10 more to cook, and they’re unbelievable.



Now I’m Really Confused (not really, it’s just a catch line)…

On May 9th in a normal “keep your hands off of my meat” rant I wrote the following, “Of course, I’ve gotta wonder, why put faith in the study in the first place?  Whatever they come up with, they’ll reverse it in two years anyway”.

Allow me to explain myself.  Once you understand how and why studies are performed, and the real reason behind them, they become a little less shock-worthy.  Scientists, and in particular University professors, have to get published in order to maintain their status and in many cases their tenure, in the scientific community.  Quite often the only way to get noticed is to wander off the reservation with a wild claim that “x” is really, really bad for you.  They bend the scientific process to get a desired result and thereby get published.  Politicians then attach themselves to this research and craft new laws to limit the freedom of the people who they are sworn to represent, based on these studies, all the while patting themselves on the back for looking out for the people they’re harassing.

Michael Bloomberg of New York (perhaps we should begin referring to him as Mikael) recently launched such wars on trans fats, soda pop and salt.  In fact, he even went so far as to compare SALT to asbestos when he said, ”

“If we know there’s asbestos in a school room what do you expect us to do?”  Bloomberg shot back at reporters questioning his new initiative. “Say it’s not  our business? I don’t think so. The same thing is true with food and smoking and  a lot of things.

“Salt and asbestos, clearly both are bad for you,” Bloomberg continued.  “Modern medicine thinks you shouldn’t be smoking if you want to live longer.  Modern medicine thinks you shouldn’t be eating salt, or sodium.”

In my post that I linked above, I also wrote, “I’m so tired of being told that anything I do, including breathing for God’s sake, will kill me, give me cancer, or both”…  The attack on salt would fall under this category, especially now that it’s coming out that the science behind all of the low-salt BS is faulty.  In fact, Italian researchers ran a series of trials, “all of which reported that, among patients with heart failure, reducing salt consumption increased the risk of death”.  Those trials were followed by studies, “suggesting that reducing sodium to anything like what [US] government policy refers to as a “safe upper limit” is likely to do more harm than good”.

Now here’s where this gets fun for me, I’ve never been a salt loving kind of guy – unless we’re talking about my Large McDonald’s french fries, in that case, hit ’em hard!  I don’t salt my scrambled eggs or my burgers or steaks (I do salt venison before it hits the cast iron skillet though).  I don’t add salt to my salad, my poultry, or pretty much anything else (meaning I don’t physically shake much salt on anything after prep, unless we’re talking about Chicken Noodle Soup).  I bought into the whole low-salt dealio…  Until last summer when I really started increasing my mileage, and thusly the amount that I would sweat in a week.  In the first three weeks of 75+ mile intensity I found that my sweat stopped tasting salty.  It was quite bland as a matter of fact.  It took a couple of days for this to register and had I not been paying attention, I could have really run into some grave trouble.  Since then I’ve taken to Gatorade to replenish that which I’ve lost and I stopped, altogether, worrying about salt consumption.  Now, even though I’m up to 130-150 miles a week I haven’t had that problem since.

The main point I was getting at couldn’t be more important:  Don’t put your health in the hands of Nanny State Politicians – They have an incredible amount of power, should they choose to misuse it (and they usually do), and they don’t know any better than any normal average Joe; their ass from a hole in the ground.

Now, let’s apply this lesson throughout our entire society and what do we know?  Everybody wants to fight something.  Those who can, do it with their fists – those who can’t use their fists use their politician.  From the anti-war movement, to hippies, to militant vegetarians, to class action lawyers…and they do it for one reason only:  To make you do what they want.  There is no difference between “Don’t eat salt or I’ll kick the s#!t out of you” and “Don’t use salt to prepare your food or I’ll take $1,000 per plate from your wallet”.  None.

UPDATE:  In the comments section, Idiotprufs brought up an interesting point – Mayor Bloomberg, in the same week as the soda size restriction had to make it acceptable for certain amounts of pot to be exposed to view, because he’s got his police officers searching anyone they pull over (where is that pesky Constitution when you need it, and why isn’t New York under investigation by the Feds for violating it?)…  It turns out, so many people carry dope in their pants pocket that they couldn’t handle the innundation to the court system.  Nice.  So now you can get caught with an ounce of illegal weed in your pants, but not a 20 oz bottle of Coke.  You know, that just about makes sense.

A question for your Federal Senator or Representative:  Is anyone responsible for New York’s stop and frisk policy under investigation for violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, barring Searches and Seizures?


From Bigdaddy’s Grill: Chicken Alfredo

Mrs. BgddyJim and I have gone through several incarnations of Fettuchini Alfredo with chicken in the last ten or so years, till we’ve finally come close to perfecting it.

My version comes with a caveat – I don’t make the sauce from scratch.  I let Paul Newman do it for me.  For the chicken, my girls don’t exactly appreciate grilled chicken like my wife and I do so I had to come up with a way to grill chicken that would keep it from looking, well, grilled. I simply wrap the chicken in aluminum foil, add in a little olive oil and some Italian seasoning (thanks Emiril) and a couple pinches of salt and drop it on the grill.  This goes on the grill a couple of minutes before the uncovered chicken…

For the regular grilled chicken, I like something with a little kick so I use two seasonings:  McCormick’s Montreal Chicken and Weber’s Kickin’ Chicken.  Be careful with the seasoning – too much and it overpowers the chicken (and the fettuchini alfredo):

For cooking time, I’m I good grill chef but I’m not so good at the “instructions” part – I go by look and feel rather than a set time.  The best I can offer is is 5 minutes a side and then a few more minutes to make sure it’s good ‘n done (oh, and the thick part of the chicken breast goes on the hottest part of the grill).


The Weber’s Kickin’ Chicken really does pack a punch – if you don’t like spicy, stick with just the Montreal Chicken.

This is one of my favorite dinners.

Public Opinion; Purposely Mislead to Run Amok…

What’s the difference between venison burger, ground by my own hand, with meat from a deer I shot, and the ground beef labeled “pink slime”?  I must confess before I answer this, that I fell into the trap myself – I bought the whole “pink slim” thing before I bothered reading up on it.  Oops.

Answer:  Nothing, other than the fact that the ground beef was treated by an anti-microbial disinfectant so I have a lesser chance of becoming ill by eating the ground beef.

When processing a deer, you use the good meat for steaks – the rest, the stuff that you have to work around the fat for, goes into the grinder for venison burger – along with a good bit of fat so it cooks well (I don’t mix mine with sausage – it’s all deer)…  Ground venison “burger” is the “salvage product” that can’t be cut up into steaks, but still has value as ground burger.

Now, here’s the best part for me:  I don’t give a crap about the ridiculous ramblings of the “peace through war with complaints based on half-truths” crowd, so my normal ground chuck has plummeted in price while lean ground beef has gone through the roof.  Gimme more CHUCK!

BUT there’s a down side:  “The hunt for a substitute has also has fueled a boom in U.S. imports, benefiting beef exporters in Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay, where cattle are grass-fed and tend to be less fat than their U.S. counterparts”.

We’re sending jobs over seas over this lunacy…  Which is actually pretty much par for the course.

Doh!  The market always finds a way.

By the way – in the original photo that ABC used to “illustrate” “Pink Slime” laced Ground Beef, you know the one that’s become so popular…  What type of meat was used in the photo?

Hint:  It is most definitely not beef.  That means “not cow”.

It gets better:

“Finding enough of a key ingredient – beef trimmings with relatively little fat – to make hamburger more appealing to a critical public has become difficult, say processors.

Here’s why: Each beef carcass produces, on average, 100 pounds (45 kg) or more of trimmings, analysts said. These trimmings are used to make ground beef.

But not all trimmings are the same. In U.S.-raised cattle, much of these trimmings have a 50-50 fat-to-meat ratio. Such fattier trimmings are then mixed with other, leaner cuts in order to balance out the fat and create a hamburger that satisfies the American palette.

In the past, much of the beef processing industry relied on importing leaner beef trimmings, known as the 90s in industry parlance, from Australia and elsewhere”.  [Just like I wrote earlier]…

Now anybody who knows anything about actually grilling burger knows that the really lean beef is hard to grill because it dries out when cooked past medium – the ground chuck can be cooked a lot more vigorously, retaining a decent flavor, thus reducing the chance of e-coli and other harmful bacteria surviving beyond the grill…

So, what does the complaint boil down t0 – really?  The objection is over using the meat that clings to fat in processing burger meat…  If you really read into this, it’s not even about the process of treating it with the antimicrobial because the fat that is now coming from overseas would have to go through the same process to be fit for human consumption.  The process has been used in the US for more than 40 years!  In fact, and this is the awesome part – the two whistle-blowers that started this don’t object to the process one bit – they just don’t like the fact that there are “connective tissues” mixed in with the meat…  Guess what’s in my venison burgers?  You guessed it.  You can’t make this up.

UPDATE:  And one other thing, all those yahoos who complain about waste – “we waste this, you waste that, blah, blah, blah”…  There’s a company innovative enoughto do something with that which used to be wasted for no good reason, and now they’re demonized for it…  SHEESH!

I’m So Tired…

Gluten is a favorite target lately, at one time it was coffee, then it was MSG, then we couldn’t microwave or freeze food in plastic containers because doing so would transfer something into the food that isn’t even found in the plastic in the first place. A while ago whole wheat was the answer to flour, now I guess it’s bad again. Not too long ago, juice made from a rare fruit was the answer to eliminating free-radicals because that juice contained the highest amount of free-radical eliminating antioxidants – more than any other food! Unfortunately they worked their way around coffee in the way they wrote out their language on the bottle because coffee contains 10 times the antioxidants at 1/30th the cost per serving. Vegetarians are still trying to convince us that not only is meat bad for human consumption, but that we actually were not designed to eat meat in the first place – an idea so profoundly ludicrous one struggles to beat back the dumb with something other than “oh shut up, and keep your hands off of my meat”.

First there was saccharin, that was bad, then it wasn’t. Then it was sugar! Then, shock of shocks, it wasn’t so bad after all… Now it’s heart poison or something. Butter, it was good, now it’s not, now it is, now it isn’t, now it is again.

Let’s look at the reality behind organic food, just for a hot minute, without the hype… Or better yet, milk! Now there’s a fun topic right there!  First milk was good – hell it’s even veggie (but not vegan) somehow – then it was bad, then it was good, then it was bad unless it was cut with 50% water and called “Fat Free” (and still the same damned price), then the vitamin D milk was good again, now I think it’s bad once again but 2% is OK…  In between, Soy Milk took off.  Now it’s really, really bad, but Almond Milk is OK.  Also whole, unpasteurized milk is all the rage and people are pissed that the government is shutting down the market…  C’mon folks, the reason they pasteurize it in the first place is to kill bacteria!  You think pink slime in your ground beef is bad, one false move with that milk, say it sits one day too long, and you’ve got some bacterial infection that only a smorgasbord of penicillin will fix!  Then you’ll be griping that the government didn’t do enough to keep those evil milk sellers from selling their evil milk in the first place!

Peanut Oil is bad, that much we know – or maybe it isn’t now, but we know that vegetable oil is definitely bad, or was that good?  But we know for sure that Olive Oil is good, as long as you don’t actually cook with it (which is it’s only f@cking use anyway) in which case it causes cancer or something – instead we should use Coconut Oil, because we know for sure (at least today we do) that it’s really, really good.

White bread was the best thing since whit…er, uh…  Sliced white bread used to be the cat’s meow, then it was paste in your gut, now it’s really not so bad again as far as I heard – so what the hell is it?

I’m so tired of being told that anything I do, including breathing for God’s sake, will kill me, give me cancer, or both…

Of course, I’ve gotta wonder, why put faith in the study in the first place?  Whatever they come up with, they’ll reverse it in two years anyway.

My Wife’s First Foray Into Quinoa

My wife made our first ever dish with quinoa in it! Humorously enough as we laughed about it at the table, she said i would now be in with the “in-crowd” in the blogosphere. Now before all do you veggie people go and get all excited… Well actually the stew was mostly vegetables, with the exception of the deer meat – but I promise, that was as free range as you get right up until I shot it, tagged it and prepped it for transport.

I’ve asked Mrs. BgddyJim to write up the recipe because it was absolutely fantastic! I’ll share it as soon as she has a moment to get it to me.

Ahh, The Diet

I was ribbed a little bit the other day for my choice of dining establishment after a bonk of spectacular proportions on my club ride Tuesday.

I ate Burger King, and I loved it.

Now I could spin this into a need to fuel quickly after my bonk and pushing through it… As cold as I was, I really was in trouble and I wasn’t about to run home and make a tuna sandwich or four. I could go there, but I’d be lying to shut a friend up for daring to question my diet. That is politics – the art of shutting someone up who makes a damn good point because you don’t want to face the reality that it is a damn good point – OR, as is my case, I don’t care if it was a bad choice but I want to “win” the discussion, save face and avoid telling the truth at the same time.

The truth is I eat what I like, unapologetically and without remorse. I like Burger King, and not just their delectable, flame broiled, juicy, wonderful burgers, I like their onion rings and original chicken sandwiches too (with BBQ Sauce, ooohhhh yeah!). These are dalliances though, certainly not the norm and the reality is that my vitals are very good, cholesterol in the 160’s, low bad, high good, blood pressure, resting heart rate, they’re all awesome – so the question really is why wouldn’t I enjoy a Whopper every now and again?

The reality is controversial, but funny.

You’ve got fitness people who go all the way, who eat a healthy meal every time they eat.  You’ve even got the beans and tree bark crowd – God only knows how they enjoy tofu so damned much, that stuff is nasty.  I’m not either of those, and I don’t see the need to change.  I quit enough crap in my life, I’m not about to worry about downing a Whopper with a smile every once in a while.  Last I checked my vitals were on the good side of awesome, and I was only half as active as I am now the last time they were checked.

I am a realist, and Burger King, Fudruckers, and a whole slew of others make a real good burger, and I’m really going to eat them.  I’m not going to do it often, but I certainly am not going to apologize or feel the least bit “guilty” in doing so – oh, and I eat KFC a couple of times a year too – now that’s some tasty chicken!

The point here, of course, is the manner and frequency in which we eat things that make the health food crowd cringe.  Am I going to die appreciably earlier because I enjoy a Whopper every now and again?  Of course not.  How about a donut the twice a year I partake in them?  Nope.  This only becomes a problem when I overdo it – when I eat every other meal at a fast food joint or when I try to count the pickles and iceburg lettuce on a Whopper as my salad for the day (don’t laugh, I’d be willing to bet there’s more than a few people out there who would argue that position).

The reality is that for every Morgan Spurlock, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are quite ok having fast food every now and again…and anyone who understands the basis behind Supersize Me, knows that if one eats 5,000 calories of the healthiest food on the planet a day and doesn’t exercise, one will get fat and become unhealthy – it’s the whole GM exploding gas tank myth redone with food:  Let’s see, if you hit a truck from the side with a gas cap that is intentionally too small so that fuel will spray everywhere when it’s hit and then strap an open flame to the truck, will the end result be a fireball…  No s#!t Spurlock.

Now, was the ribbing serious?  Of course not, it was presented in a funny, tongue in cheek way that was humorous, and this post should be taken in the exact same context.  If one cannot control their intake of tasty food, then one should absolutely stick with the untasty salads and whatnot.  The trick to eating healthy has as much to do with knowing when to push yourself away from the table as does watching what you eat.

Now where did my Oreos go?