Friday, December 31, 2010

Ultra-Creamy Mashed Potatoes

This recipe for mashed potatoes is to die for. Really, if you eat them every day you'd have heart failure from all the butter fat. But of the special meal where rich wonderful food is required this is what you want. Note that Yukon Gold potatoes are use because they have a low starch content (its part of the ultra-creamy secret.)
  • 4 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 tablespoon pieces (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • table salt
  1. Skin the potatoes. Usually I leave the skins on for both smash and mashed potatoes but this time remove the peal (its part of the ultra-creamy secret.)
  2. Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch slices to facilitate quick even cooking. Place in a colander and rinse under cold running water of a minute turning with hands (removing starch is part of the ultra-creamy secret.)
  3. Place the rinsed potatoes into a dutch oven and cover with 1 inch of water. Add a tablespoon of table salt. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat but continue the boiling until done, fork tender (25 - 20 minutes.)
  4. While potatoes are cooking, melt the butter into the cream in a sauce pan over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Once melted keep it warm but don't keep cooking it. (This is the creamy part of the ultra-creamy secret.)
  5. Potatoes cooked, drain in a colander then put the potatoes back into the dutch oven on the stove. Cook on low for a couple of minutes to evaporate all the remaining water (removing water is part of the ultra-creamy secret.)
  6. Run the dried potatoes through a food mill (or potato ricer). This breaks down the potato without whipping in air or releasing starch (part of the ultra-creamy secret.)
  7. Gently fold in the cream mixture and salt with a spatula until the liquid is fully incorporated into the potatoes. (Gentle is part of the ultra-creamy secret.)
  8. Serve with a spoon (no butter, no gravy, no cheese, no leftovers.)
This recipe came from the folks at ATK.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Killing iPhone apps

In order to resolve the iPhone Audible app issues one has to completely close the app to be sure it’s still not running on the back end with an error.
  1. Double click on the home button, this will bring up the multitask screen, the audible icon should be listed.
  2. Press and hold the audible icon. This will give the option to end the task.
  3. A minus sign will appear on the screen and you need to tap that.
  4. Once this is done, restart your Audible App, and it should now operate properly.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mindless Eating, Not

The Scientific American podcasts feature the research of Dr. Brian Wansink on eating (see my Thanksgiving blog post). I've borrowed a copy of his book Mindless Eating and obtained the audio book as well. After reading the book for general knowledge I wanted to capture the tips Dr. Wansink suggests that I think I will find useful at some point. What follows is my interpretation of the ideas included in the book.
  • Don't be the first person who starts eating.
  • Wait until everyone is at the table before picking up you silverware.
  • Slow down, pace yourself with the slowest eater at the table.
  • Avoid large plates, use smaller plates.
  • Serve yourself in the kitchen and eat in another room.
  • Holiday meals require multiple serving. Take very small portions and go back (so host knows you really like the food.)
  • Don't eat out of the container the food came in. Serve what you want and put the rest away.
  • Stop eating before everyone else has stopped. I.e., don't be the last one stuffing their face.
  • Two or three types of food at a time when grazing at a party. The more variety you preceive the more you will eat.
  • Fancy names make food taste better.
  • Higher prices make food taste better.
  • Artful presentation make food seem more expensive and fancy thus it tastes better.
  • Loud noise/music dulls the taste.
  • "The best diet is the one you don't know you're on."
  • Don't eat while working. Stop to eat mindfully.
  • Play video games that occupy your hands (so you can't eat and play).
  • Get you snack before sitting down to watch TV. Avoid eating out of can in front of TV.
  • The more deprived you feel the bigger the reactive whiplash.
  • Don't eat if you don't feel hungry.
  • Stop eating when you don't feel hungry any more.
  • It is likely that you should stop eating before you actually don't feel hungry any more.
  • Decide what and how much you are going to eat before serving yourself (not during meal).
  • Serve yourself. Don't measure love by amount people serve you.
  • Serve yourself smaller amount and go back for seconds and thirds.
  • Keep the bones and empty bottles on the table so you can see how much you consumed.
  • Use clean wine glasses for the next round, see how many glasses you have had.
  • Serve 20% less food. It is OK to get up to get the remaining 10% is you like later.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable servings to compensate for 20% reduction is meat/carbs.
  • Candy/nut bowls out of reach, must get up to grab some.
  • Serve a portion of nuts and put the can away. Then go eat the serving consciously.
  • Throw away the junk you don't want to eat. No law says you have to digest it.
  • Chopsticks may slow you down compared to the ease of shovelling with a fork.
  • If buy large/bulk goods repackage into reasonable containers.
  • Seal potato chip bags with tape to discourage mindlessly eating just one more.
  • Snack from a clean plate (not package, or standing up).
  • Junk food must be on the grocery list specifically, not a spontaneous selection.
  • Tempting foods stored outside your daily traffic pattern.
  • Ask waiter to remove beard basket after you get what you want.
  • Ask waiter not to refill drink.
  • Pile the used plates at the all-you-can-eat buffet in front of you, ask busboy to leave them on the table.
  • Large portions at restaurant, ask for take home container and fill it with the leftovers before eating.
  • Want dessert, share it with someone. The first three bites are the best.
  • Restaurant; appetizer, alcohol, drink, desert: select two and skip the others.
  • Restaurant; order two appetizers instead of a meal. Emmh, hot wings.
  • Tell guests how hard you worked preparing this special dish.
  • 15 minutes on atmosphere will significantly improve the dinner party.
  • Print menus for your dinner party. Use the fancy names with colorful adjective.
  • Program yourself for healthy(er) comfort food. E.g., pizza and ice cream instead of champagne, caviar and chocolates.
  • Refuse to deprive yourself. If you really want it, have it.
  • Snack by serving size. Serve a serving only, don't leave extra around for snacking.
  • Half-plate Rule: 1/2 plate vegetables and fruit, other 1/2 is carbs and protein.
  • You can still find junk food in a "health" restaurant. (Goodness by association.)
  • Super size for super thighs. Order the small size fries and be wise.
  • Order the small size. Ask for a refill or order another french fry is you still need it after eating the original order.
  • The more effort it takes to get food the less likely we will make the effort. (Get out of the car and walk in to order fast food from a person.)
  • Negative Mindlessness = Overeating
  • Mindfulness = Reengineering
  • Positive Mindlessness = Better Eating
  • Use 'food trade-offs' to include indulgent foods. E. g.,"I can have ice cream if I get my cardio up to 185 for five minutes.' or "I can have chips and salsa because I eat my apple today."
  • Don't commit to big changes/sacrifices, just do the new/health habits that you can easily/mindlessly do.
  • Create a 'Mindless Margin Checklist'.
  • Review your Mindless Margin Checklist daily.
  • The Power of Three. Design 3 easy/doable changes you can do mindlessly. Nike.