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-   -   How do you cook <food>? (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3054)

Patrick Donnelly 09-20-2008 09:45 AM

How do you cook <food>?
So, now that I'm in college, I have a bit more control over what I eat. There's still my dining hall meal plan, but me eating from that costs about $20 per day, and won't last the entire semester, so I've got to supplement with groceries from the local Shoppers. Giant and Safeway are right next to each other, in the same direction as Safeway, but twice as far away, so they're an option too but not preferred. There's a place called My Organic Market about 2.5 miles away in the opposite direction - I hear they're like Trader Joes (closest is 5.5mi), so they may be worth checking out at least once.

My cooking experience is limited (mostly grilling meat, boiling veggies), so I'm looking for advice on the following:

Sweet Potatoes: I've only had them boiled, which I liked, never had them baked. I can't find any consensus on the time/heat it takes to bake or boil (obviously boiling is 212 degrees). Any tips on spices too?

Avocados: I've had a few plain and raw now, and they were pretty good. I'm happy with them that way, but always looking for more options. Shopper has them 10 for $10 this week, so I'm about to grab a bundle. Most of the recipes I've seen are simply putting it on top of a salad (avocado cumcuber salad, avocado mushroom salad, avocado tossed ceaser, etc.), which really isn't much of a recipe.

Beef Hearts: Something that just caught my eye last time I was in Shoppers... No experience with them.

Beef Liver: Again.

Any other strange cuts of meat: I'm willing to give them a shot.

Duck Fat: I recall seeing this mentioned in a few recipes on this site. What's it for?

Tahini (spelling?): Same thing.

The following tools are at my disposal:
- George Foreman Grill (about 8x8 inches)
- 10 inch skillet (deep, with a glass lid)
- spatula
- cutting board
- knife
- minifridge with microfreezer
- oven (for the whole dorm hall, but I don't think it gets any use)
- normal fridge and freezer (for the whole dorm hall - I wouldn't leave anything easily edible in the fridge part, but I don't think anyone would take a hunk of raw meat if I left it sitting in the freezer)
- microwave (one in the my floor's lounge, and in the dorm all kitchen)

I'm really tempted to bring my Cuisinart to make up some nut butters, but that thing would be a pain to clean up without a dishwasher, and I don't have anywhere to buy nuts from anyway.

Also, are there any P-Menus with particularly good recipes in them?

Thanks in advance,

Frank Needham 09-20-2008 01:59 PM

If it were me living in a dorm I'd be looking for the most simple and effective ways to get in the Pro/CHO/Fat. Buy stuff that doesn't need lots of prep. Use your imagination, that is basically what cooking is all about. For example, how hard is it to buy and eat raw fish? Yesterday I did just that, took two ahi tuna steaks to work with some wasabi and chowed down on them at lunch. Buy cooked chickens from Walmart etc, etc. Also, living on campus is terrible (just look at the conditions you describe), consider getting some like-minded mates and share a place.

Jaime Steele 09-20-2008 02:10 PM


A few quick ones as I have a littl ebaby to put ot bed. I'll send you more tomoro:

Sweet potato - baked in the oven in coconut oil - 20 mins at about 190 - cut them nice and thin and put them on a baking tray (not on top of each other).
Boil and puree with hand blender with a load of butter and some salt and pepper - really good too. You can add nutmeg too. Some people were saying about microwaving them - haven't tried it but i guess for a big one try cooking on high for 8 mins after spiking it with a fork. if it's not cooked go a bit more.

Avocado - look at guacamole - avocado, garlic, lime juice, small bit of tomato, salt pepper, sour cream - awesome. I love to eat them raw too tho, or chopped up in a salad.

Duck fat - good for cooking in, goose fat is good too. Olive oil also great and I love using the coconut oil - get some of that - you can cook everything in it and it gives a diff flavour.

If you are going to cook organ meats get a pressure cooker if it's viable but you will need a stove. Liver you can fry but I think heart needs longer cooking times as it is a tougher meat. For ease I buy in bulk grassfed beef, in steaks, pieces and minced, freeze and defrost as I need. Same with chicken. Also there is nothing wrong with frozen veggies and berries - that way you use what you need and don't have any wastage.

Tahini is sesame seed paste - loads of uses. Keep making you nut butters they are great. Get some bags of nuts too they last for ages.

A good tip is cook double or triple and then keep some for the next day, then you don't have to repeat the task of cooking it all.

In my day as a student days all those years ago it was bags of pasta and rice and cans of tuna and spend our money on beer! Good for you tho - I wish I knew all this cool stuff back then.

Good luck with the college and remember to bag a few hotties! I'm so jealous!

I'm sure Jay will chip in with some more.....

Gittit Shwartz 09-20-2008 03:01 PM

Tahini is my field!

Traditional tahini sauce (dressing for salad and grilled meat):
Mix 1 part tahini with 1 part lemon juice and cold water combined, and salt to taste. At first as you mix it it will oddly seem to start getting thicker. Keep mixing until it smooths out.
Even better: put the above ingredients in a blender with a clove of garlic, parsley, cilantro and mint.

Salty tahini spread:
Mix tahini with wheat-free tamari to taste, spread on celery. Takes care of a lot of cravings.

Halva - sweet tahini spread:
Mix tahini with a small amount of honey. Mix with ground flax seeds, roll into balls and refrigerate for "candy".

Siniyya - arguably the queen of all Middle Eastern dishes:
1 lb. ground beef or lamb
Bahrat seasoning OR mix 2 parts cinnamon to 1 part nutmeg and 1 part ground cloves
Chopped parsley and onion
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 to 2/3 cup lemony, salty tahini sauce (see recipe #1)
Handful of pine nuts

Mix the meat with spices. Oil small pan and pack the meat on the bottom about 3/4 inch thick. Bake about 20 minutes, till the meat is browned. Pour tahini sauce all over the meat, sprinkle pine nuts, and bake another 10-15 minutes, till the sauce on top is a little brown and flaky.


Jaime Steele 09-20-2008 07:33 PM

Also canned wild salmon and boiled eggs kept in your fridge will also be useful. Sometimes I like to mix salmon, mayo, avocado, cheese and cooked brocolli together in a bowl and eat it for a quick meal.

Patrick Donnelly 09-21-2008 08:00 AM

Yesterday I had a Foreman-grilled chicken breast (just salt/pepper seasoning) and boiled sweet potatoes with honey (I think I boiled them too soft). It was awesome. Not only are sweet potatoes awesome to begin with, but the water from the potatoes and the juices from the chicken mixed together on the plate, giving the chicken a slight honey taste too. The only seasoning on the potatoes was a bit of salt in the water as they boiled.


Originally Posted by Frank Needham (Post 39190)
If it were me living in a dorm I'd be looking for the most simple and effective ways to get in the Pro/CHO/Fat. Buy stuff that doesn't need lots of prep.

Simple stuff? Bah, I did that the entire time I was at home! Tuna, an apple, and some almonds, calling it a meal. It's easy, but no fun.

There's a good chance I'll end up looking for a room College Park sometime this summer. Not only is housing getting full on campus, but there's a good amount of money to be saved from doing it. I could probably get a room for a year for some $7500, and then another $3000 for food for the year. UMD charges $5500 for dorm housing for the two semesters and another $3500 for food to eat during those two semesters (which isn't enough to cover the whole semester, and makes it a bit of a hassle to avoid grain). Then there's $12,000 coming off the tuition, beginning Junior year. Lastly, I could also do without hearing the drunken imbeciles screaming outside my dorm at 2AM. Thank goodness for earplugs.

Re: Jaime
I had completely forgotten about coconut milk/oil. I'll have to look into that next time I visit Shopper's. Loads of good possibilities there.

Looking for beef heart suggestions, I've seen methods of boiling that take 2-3 hours, and methods of stirfrying that take 2-3 minutes (for very finely chopped pieces). I'll pick up a package on my next grocery trip, some onion and peppers too.

I've been using the "cook in bulk so you don't have to later" trick for a long time now. Previously, I'd even grill a week's worth of meat in advance, which probably wasn't the best thing to do, since the stuff would be a bit flavorless and old by days 5-7, but it worked. Now I can only do about 2-3 days at a time, which is fine by me.

Canned salmon is okay, but I can only handle the stuff when mixed in scrambled eggs. Otherwise, the smell, the taste, and just the looks of it are too strong.


Originally Posted by Jaime
In my day as a student days all those years ago it was bags of pasta and rice and cans of tuna and spend our money on beer! Good for you tho - I wish I knew all this cool stuff back then.

Good luck with the college and remember to bag a few hotties! I'm so jealous!

Tuna? That's been replaced by Celeste pizzas. I can attribute all of the equipment I own right now to staying away from blowing my time and money on whiskey, weed, and women all throughout high school. I'm still staying off the whiskey and the weed, but if I can find a nice girl who has some decency, I would be very happy. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be many of them around; the guys don't seem to mind.

Re: Gittit
That last one does sound good. I'll take a look for the tahini next time I'm around. Does it need refrigeration?

Ari Kestler 09-21-2008 08:47 AM

I've been to the MOM you describe...it is kinda like trader joes, but it's expensive. I'm not sure what the closest TJs is to you, there is one in rockville and maybe one in columbia.

If you are living in a dorm and have a tiny fridge, like others have mentioned, gonna have to keep it easy

protein: hard boiled eggs, canned fish, eat meat whenever possible
carbs: fruit, try and find some veggies at every meal
fat: nuts, olive oil, avocado

Yeah it may be boring, but as far as your living conditions go it's the easiest thing.

Do you work out at the UMD gym?

Frank Needham 09-21-2008 12:15 PM

Obviously our ideas of simple are not the same. By "simple", I mean using using high quality food and seasonings in the most efficient way possible. When I used the word "tuna" what I actually ate was sashimi grade with Japanese wasabi. Oh well, I tried.

Kris Reeves 09-21-2008 03:05 PM

The meal plan may be expensive, but can't you also eat as much as you want? I.E. - Sneak in tupperware and use it to stock your dorm fridge with stuff?

I'm thinking...fresh spinach and hard boiled eggs, etc. from the salad bar....and burger meat and/or sliced roasted turkey and roast beef when they do the carving stations?

I didn't go to UMD (but I did go to college in DC and currently live/work in the DC metro area)...but I think it's possible...and if I had that choice now...trust me...I would definitely get my $20/day out of it!!!! Considering it costs $11-13 dollars to grab a decent salad out fur lunch anywhere around DC....$20 a day isn't so bad.

How many meals/visits a day is your plan?

Gittit Shwartz 09-21-2008 03:17 PM


Originally Posted by Patrick Donnelly (Post 39211)
Re: Gittit
That last one does sound good. I'll take a look for the tahini next time I'm around. Does it need refrigeration?

Siniyya is awesome and will give you superpowers. Tahini doesn't need refrigeration. Hmmm... I don't know what brands you have there. Look for 100% sesame (sometimes they pre-mix it with water and seasonings) but if you have a choice don't get "whole kernel sesame butter" - the hulls make it bitter.

I edited the recipe above btw - you'll only need 1/2 to 2/3 cup prepared sauce for 1 lb. meat.

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