Kitchen Experiment #15 – Pickled Eggs

This was over 3 months in the making. I stumbled across the notion of making an old fashioned pickled egg – I had heard that these ued to be a staple in bars in the early part of the last century, which somehow conjured up romantic images of simpler times.

It’s got to be good.

THE EXPERIMENT: As is usual, I threw caution to the wind and decided that:

  • I like pickles
  • I like eggs

Why not combine them both?

I had a jar of Calussen pickles that was almost finished. Only 2 pickles, but a lot of the brine the pickles float in. So I boiled up some hard boiled eggs, peeled them, tossed them in, and into the fridge they went.

This was January 15th.

Fast forward to April 15 – three months later. Except for an attempt by my wife to throw them away, they remained untouched in the back of the fridge. 

Out they came, and with the anticipation that comes from seeing the result of a 3 month experiment, I cracked the top, took out an egg and took a bite.

THE VERDICT: Bleech! The white of the egg had become hard, losing the texture that I didn’t know how much I liked until I bit into this thing. The process had also increased the flaky texture of the yolk, which also was an accentuation of a characteristic of a hard-boiled egg I don’t like.

Lastly, there was a hint of sweet to the thing that did not go well at all with the egg flavor.

I had created a culinary Frankenstein.

Into the trash they went. I knew not to bother giving them to the dog – she’s too smart.

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Crazy Uncle Larry

Do you think of yourself as a crackpot, dear reader?

The survey that I put up 2 weeks ago shows that a lot of you have been on low carb for a while – and you’ve lost weight doing it. And part of the reason you visit the site is to hang out with other folks who are doing some sort of low carb diet.

I’ve been maintaining this blog for about a year now, and had little clue why people would read my drivel (I’m not including Megamas – the Hemingway of Low Carb – in this characterization). From the survey it seems that many of you enjoy the camaraderie – that there are other souls out there that understand.

What that must mean is that you’re not getting a lot of support from those around you. When you tear in to a greasy burger, but ask for it without the bun, you get that look, usually reserved for that crazy uncle Larry that you have to invite to Thanksgiving because he’s family.

Every family has a crazy uncle Larry

When you get that look, you have become crazy uncle Larry. You are the family crackpot.

Let’s face it: the conventional message to anyone who thinks about nutrition and health is that a low fat diet is the way to go, and fat, especially the modern bugaboo of saturated fat, will cause you to swell up like a liferaft and cause your arteries to clog up like a bathroom sink with a hairball.

Try to tell them that there is no direct proof that dietary cholesterol leads to serum cholesterol, and you’re uncle Larry.

This leads me to another thought: are we low carb adherents here because we are naturally contrarians, or have we become contrarians because of low carb? It’s the chicken/egg problem: some of us might have been attracted to low carb precisely because most people think it’s crazy.

And here’s yet another thought: one study I recently read mentioned that a ketogenic diet made people a lot more grumpy than a non-ketogenic low carb diet. Might going on a low carb diet cause a personality change? Especially for those of us who tough it out and stick to a low carb diet long-term – does it change us in mind as well as in body?

As crackpots go, we low carbers aren’t in the same league as this fellow who thinks cutting a hole in his skull has made him smarter, but we do stand out in a crowd, especially if we are at an event where food is being served – then it’s hard to hide.

Here’s some questions to ask yourself to see if you’ve become uncle Larry:

  1. When I meet new people I usually mention that I live a low carb lifestyle.
  2. When I see someone eating donuts or cake, I make a comment about blood sugar, insulin, or the production of tryglycerides.
  3. Some of the things I cook scare family members.
  4. I tend to correct people when they talk about saturated fat being bad for them.
  5. I annoy servers at resturants by asking them obscure questions about how my food is prepared.
  6. When asked to bring food to a gathering, it’s always low carb.
  7. I always mention that the food I brought is low carb.
  8. I try to convince people on low fat diets that they are wasting their time and ruining their health.
  9. I feel guilty eating an orange.
  10. I tend to use the word Splenda a lot.
  11. I think everybody else is nuts – I’m the one who has the facts straight. 

If you answered ‘yes’ to at least 3 questions, you are compared to uncle Larry.

If you answered ‘yes’ to 4 to 7 questions, you are uncle Larry.

If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 7 questions, you scare uncle Larry.

Mental Detox Week

 The idea is simple: take your TV, your DVD player, your video iPod, your XBOX 360, your laptop, your PSP, and say goodbye to them all for seven days. Simple, but not at all easy. Like millions of others before you, you’ll be shocked at just how difficult – yet also how life-changing – a week spent unplugged can really be.

You can read more about this here. Long story short, I’m going to give it a try and give up as much of the ‘connectedness’ that infuses my life as possible for a week. It will all be there a week from now, so I won’t miss much.

For those of you who most definitely will NOT be participating, I would imagine that Megamas will probably have something for you in the week ahead.

For me, I’m posting this and putting Low Carb Confidential to bed until next Monday. It’s a nice day – I think I’ll get outside with the kids.

See ya.

Beef Stroganoff with Cabbage Noodles

As a kid, my family was not a beef stroganoff family. I don’t think my Mom ever made the stuff. I’d certainly heard the name, but had no idea what it was.

A while back I came across a recipe for beef stroganoff that used cabbage as ‘noodles’, which I thought interesting. I finally got around to trying it this past weekend. Of course, I can’t follow a recipe to save my life, so here’s what I did:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  •  yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup pasta sauce
  • 2 tbsp ‘Better Than Bullion’ bullion
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • small head of cabbage
  • sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

I fried the onions in a little olive oil until tender, then threw in the meat, bullion, garlic, and pasta sauce. I then added enough water to cover the meat, then let simmer for an hour until most of the water was gone.

While that cooked, I sliced the cabbage into thin egg-noodle-like strips and boiled that for at least a half hour in water with some salt and about a half-cup of cream. This was said to reduce the cabbage flavor a bit.

When both were done, I put some of the cabbage on a plate, covered with some of the meat, and put a healthy dollop of sour cream on top of both.

I thought the result was pretty yum. It’s been lunch for the week, and if I can eat something more than two days in a row and still enjoy it, it’s a keeper.

 

The Drinking Man’s Diet

Oh, I’m on the Drinking Man’s Diet,
It came from a book I was loaned.
It’s really terrific and quite scientific
And I’m half stoned.

For breakfast some cornflakes and vodka,
But cornflakes have carbohydrate;
So I don’t eat those fattening cornflakes,
I eat the vodka straight.

The lyrics are from Allan Sherman. For those of us not exposed to this fellow, he was a writer and singer of novelty songs, and the original voice of The Cat in The Cat In The Hat cartoon. He would like to harpoon the current topics of his day (in the 60s), and something that had some media currency at the time was a book: The Drinking Man’s Diet.

It was the 60s, man. It was a less careful time. I was brought home as an infant held by my mother in the front seat of a car with a metal dashboard – not strapped in a car seat in the back with more fasteners and belts than a jet pilot. There were no seat belts, either. The playground of my elementary school was not cushioned in 12 inches of wood chips, but was hard-packed dirt. The playground had a wooden gate that you could get on and swing in a circle – great for falling off of, or smacking some other kid full in the face with a big can of wooden-gate whoop-ass. The swings were also wooden, and great for whacking kids in the side of the head – either unintentionally or otherwise.

For grown-ups, it was even more carefree – or careless, depending on how you look at it. Everybody smoked, or at least it seemed like it, and drinking too much was more of a joke than anything else – cops would stop you as you wove across three lanes and tell you paternally to go home and sleep it off. Near my home was a department store that had a bar attached to it – it was essentially the Drinking Department. I imagine the thinking was: when the family wants to go to a store, Dad will want to come to this one so he can get hammered while Mom buys shoes and maybe some clothes for the kids.

And if he gets stopped by the police on the way home? We’ll he was going to go home to sleep it off anyway, so he and the cop would be in agreement.

It was a time of less rules, I suppose – and if there were more needless traffic deaths than was necessary, it was just a consequence of the American Way of Life – amen.

Only in this sort of time could a book like The Drinking Man’s Diet gain popularity. In a time where most of us believe it is not only right, but somehow just, to banish smokers to stand outside their office and smoke in weather that we would not allow our pets out in, there would be no market for such a politically incorrect little book.

Drink, drink, everyone drink;
It’s not as bad as we used to think.
With every Manhattan your stomach will flatten,
So drink, drink, drink.

The book did well – it sold 2.4 MILLION copies – and the man who wrote it, Robert Cameron, was still kicking at 93, and trim as well, when he reissued the book in 2004. See this article in Forbes. Here’s a sample menu – if this is what he’d been eating (and drinking) since 1964, God bless his soul:

Breakfast

1/4 cantaloupe or 4 ounces of tomato juice (5 carbs)
Ham or bacon, 2 slices (0
carbs)
Egg, fried, boiled or poached (trace
carbs)
Coffee or tea (0
carbs)

Lunch

Dry martini or whiskey and soda, if desired (trace carbs)
Broiled fish or steak or roast chicken (0
carbs)
2 glasses dry wine, if you wish (trace
carbs)
Green beans or asparagus (1
carbs)
Lettuce and tomato salad with French or Roquefort dressing (4
carbs)
Coffee or tea (0
carbs)

Dinner

Martinis or highballs, if you desire (trace carbs)
Hors d’oeuvres of 2 stalks of celery stuffed with pâté (5
carbs)
Shrimp cocktail (4
carbs)
Beef, pork, lamb, veal chicken or turkey (0
carbs)
Green beans, 1 cup, brussels sprouts, 1/2 cup, or cauliflower, 1 cup (6
carbs)
2 glasses dry wine (trace
carbs)
1/2 avocado with French dressing (8
carbs)
Cheese: Roquefort, Camembert, Swiss or cheddar (trace
carbs)
Coffee or tea (0
carbs)
Brandy (trace
carbs)

Total grams of carbohydrate: 33

(Note that he refrains from alcohol for breakfast – you have to admire his willpower to make it all the way to noon without a drink.)

As this was published in 1964, this was before Dr. Atkins, so it could be concluded that this was the first popular low carb diet of the modern era – not Atkins.

Maybe it’s been forgotten because it’s just too out there.

Would I lose weight on this diet? I bet not. I think it would end up like the last stanza in Allan Sherman’s song:

Drink (hic!), drink (hic!),
booze everywhere (hic!);
Pass that decanter of bourbon there.
I’m fatter than ever,
but here’s what’s so clever:I don’t care!