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Question for Ko

I need your expertise on cooking and food preparation. I’m a sick of eating the same ol’ stuff the same way all of the time. Is there a website that can show me how to use herbs and spices to flavor food? I’m fairly lazy when it comes to cooking, plus I’m on a very tight budget. Buying huge amounts of fresh vegetables is not an option, so I’m forced to stick with lean meat, cottage cheese, oatmeal, broccoli, etc. I used to work at Il Fornaio, so I know a little about Italian cooking, but would like to know more about other styles. Any suggestions?

im in the same boat as you, so just bumping this up

Il fornaio, the one in portland? If you could give me something a little more specific (kind of meat, specific style, your dietary needs), I would be happy to help.

No, the Il Fornaio in Denver. I lived there last year, but am back in Canada now. Basically i follow JB’s recommendations for the Don’t Diet diet. I try to eat mostly pro/fat or pro/carb meals. I don’t have access to a grill, just pots and pans, but don’t like cooking with oil too much (once or twice a week is okay). I mostly stick to chicken breast, lean steak, and salmon. Carbs come from oatmeal mostly, and try to eat as many fruits and veggies as i can. Supp with flax oil or Udo’s choice and olive oil on salads for fat intake. Cottage cheese and eggs are also a mainstay of my diet. See what you can do with this…

Do you know how to make and aioli (or basic mayonaise)? This would be a good way to incorporate olive oil into your pro/fat meals. If not I can post again. With an aioli you can introduce different herbs and spices, then use it to make tuna, chicken, or egg salad. It also makes a good sandwich spread.Couple of my favorites are cajun, and chipotle. Just sprinkle the cajun spice in with the aioli. With the chipotle, puree it in a blender then fold it in. One piece of equipment that you should invest in is a grill pan (its called a griswald). Mine is cast iron, and cost me about 20 bucks, and I have also seen many non-stick versions. Its makes a great stove top grill. Here is a shredded beef recipe for tacos, thati s also good just by itself or with eggs. It will also work with chicken and pork.

1lb eye of round (or top round)

1/2 medium onion roughly chopped

salt to taste

2 garlic cloves minced

4 dried passilla chiles, veins and seeds removed, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes.

In a sauce pan, barely cover the meat with water and add the onion and a little salt, then bring to a simmer. Cook the meat till it it is tender, you should be able to easily break it apart with a fork, it should take about 35 minutes. When its done, set it aside to cool in the broth. Remove the meat, and then shred it with a fork, and reserve the broth. In a blender put the broth, garlic, and chiles(these should be drained) and blend till smooth. you can now store these in the fridge. To order, saute your meat in a saute pan with some of the sauce, add more salt if necessary, The mixture should be almost dry when it is done. Let me know if you have amy questions.

You know what would be GREAT ko?


A good, phytochemical rich (garlic, peppers, onions, etc.)tomato sauce that one can make and store in bulk (maybe a week at a time) in the fridge to pour over various foods (esp eggs, meats, etc.)


I’ve looked for a good one, but no luck. This would be an excellent way to get in that all important Lycopene, various phytos and simply make the ole’ “bodybuilder diet” taste better!


As always…thanks!

I second that request Mufasa…ever since you posted a chicken breast recipe awhile back (that included tomato sauce) I have been making them in mass quantities…a sauce like that would be great to put on that chicken!

first of all,what do you spend your money on?redo your budget to include food.second of all have you ever heard of frozen vegetables?they work just fine.nuke em,eat em.and lastly third of all.when nutrition becomes important enough to you(as it should be)you’ll get off your ass,get recipes off the internet(just punch the word recipes into your computer),pick up a good book on bodybuilding mnutrition,theres plenty out there,and dare i say it"experiment with cooking".stop whining and rearrange your priorities ,if you want success with your fitness goals.

Heres a basic tomato sauce:

2lbs tomatoes chopped(fresh or canned) with their juices

3 cloves of garlic chopped (more if you like garlic)

1 stalk celery chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 onion chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbspn each basil, oregano, thyme (dried is fine, if you use fresh increase the amounts by 3)

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil, and heat, then add your carrot, celery, onion and garlic, and saute till he onions are translucent. Next add the rest of your ingredients except the parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and let it cook for 30 minutes. remove from heat, adn let cool. Now if you want you can puree it in a food processor or leave it chunky, its you r choice. If you leave it chunky the season with salt and pepper before cooling.If you puree it, return it to the heat, and season, you may need to reduce it a little to thicken the sauce up.

This is just a basic sauce, and you can add anything you want to it, peppers, redwine, capers, anchovies etc. Play around with it, and enjoy.

First of all, i don’t remember addressing the post “question to nine claws”. What little money that i do have is spent on bills, food, and tuition for school. Second, I asked Ko for his advice on cooking and food prep because he is a rather knowledgable chef. I know I could have researched on web, but I thought I might save myself some time and consult him first. I am in school for sports nutrition, so there’s no need for me to “pick up a bodybuilding nutrition book”. As for whining…i merely posted a legitimate question to someone who is more knowledgable than i. I didn’t post on the forum just so i could read how well i can talk out my ass, which is aparently what you and many others enjoy doing.

He must be a newbie, Huh! I have never seen him on the forum before(nineclaws. Just ignore his dumb ass.

Thanx for the great taco meat recipe! Do you have any recipes for quick and easy salad dressings. I’m trying to find a citrus dressing that you don’t need a blender to make.

Here’s a tip on veggies… get the large frozen bags of veggies instead of the fresh ones. They’re cheaper and just as nutritious. They also cook very easily in the microwave - just throw it in a bowl and nuke it for 4-5 minutes. One thing I love is to cook some french cut green beans this way, and when they’re done I’ll mix the with some slivered almonds and drizzle olive oil on them. Good stuff.

An easy to make and tasty dressing without a blender? How about this: 1/3 cup olive oil, half a lemon juice (freshly squeezed - you have a squeezer right? or whatever you call it), crush a clove of garlic (easy when you put salt with it) and some 1/2 to 1 tspn of dry crushed mint. Mix it with the all the greens you want, and voila! Easy to make, fast and tasty dressing. :wink:

oops…I meant to say crushed dried mint leaves. My measurements are kindda off…I usually eye it, and keep tasting to find the right flavour. I recommend doing that since every individual is different, and has different tastes!

This is the citrus dressing that I use at work. Its not fast or easy, but it is good, and can be emulsified with a whisk, or not.

Before juicing, take a peeler, and get 2-3 strips of zest from each fruit.

1 c orange juice (all juice should be fresh squeezed)

1/2c grapefruit juice

1/4c lemon juice

1/4 c lime juice

2 slices of ginger(optional)

2 inche piece of lemon grass chopped (optional)

kaffir lime leaf (optional)

fish sauce to taste

S&P to taste

1 tspn honey

oil- you can use olice oil, but it may not stay emulsified, canola/olive blend is a better choice. As a rule the ratio is 3-1, oil to reduction/vinegar/acid, but not always, use your taste buds.

Put all your juice into a sauce pan along with the lemon grass, ginger, kaffir lime leaf and zest, and reduce till it to a syrup, then strain and let cool. Put reduction in bowl (food processor or blender if you have one), and add the honey (this will kill the bitterness, and help stabilize the emulsion).Start whisking, and slowly drizzle your oil into it till you get the desired flavor/consistency. Season with the fish sauce, and S&P. If you want add some FRESH herbs (cilantro, basil, mint or chives would be good) or some chili flakes for a little fire. Kind of a pain, but the end product is really nice.

Hey ko, I’m making your taco meat recipe right now, as a tenderloin of pork/eye of round picadillo-type combination. Smells damn good so far. Thanks!

For everyone else…another nice way to mix up the ordinary baked or grilled chicken is to do a simplified Tandoori recipe, with spices & yoghurt mixed together as a marinade for chicken which is then baked. I like Indian and middle eastern food in general, and it’s really easy to modify curries and stews into low- or controlled-fat recipes.

Dude your making me hungry. :slight_smile:

to laz and ghost face.touched a nerve did i,you martha stewart wannabe’s you.look you post stuff ,you get answers.you don’t like certain answers,uh,too bad.as far as being a newbie,well,here goes.as well as competing in the 70’s and the eighties,i also helped run security for the mr.olympia in 1984 as well as being an expeditor for many other professional shows.oh ,and by the way,my gym was the same one as ferrignos in pumping iron.you remember,the real hardcore place,mentioned in the book “pumping iron”,as golds gym east.oh,and i did all this while going to school and working,just like you.except unlike you, i was able to budget,take the occasional criticism,"COOK"for myself and yes had to put up with whiners like you in the gyms even then.arnold stated once that “you can have whatever you want in life ,if your willing to pay the price for it”.so,have a nice life,much success and i’ll look for you guys on the martha stewart site,cause in case you haven’t noticed this sight is for serious people,who being not afraid of criticism,are here to learn to make the extra effort reqired to succeed in any endeavor.so ,in closing i repeat,if you want to succeed ,you’ll either make the extra effort required or you won’t.

Hey, Ko- great stuff, thanks for all the posts. Maybe this subject deserves its own thread- everybody’s favorite clean recipes, or something like that. One question- what’s the difference between kaffir lime leaves & any old lime leaves? Ok, 2 questions- where does one typically find them? We’ve got some big Asian supermarkets here in Toronto, should I check there? Thanks for the help.