Recipes

Ripped Recipe: Tonight’s Dinner – Braised Baby Back Ribs Over Mashed Kabocha and Merguez Sausage in Lettuce Wraps with Yogurt Sauce

I fainted after eating this.

I fainted after eating this.

Ribs

Ingredients
3 lbs baby back ribs (I get extra thick from my butcher)
Several Tbsp rub of your preference (this time, I bought a pre-made rub)
1 cup white wine or red wine or unsalted chicken stock
a few cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp white vinegar

1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp barbecue sauce

Preparation
Rub ribs with… rub. Refrigerate for a couple of hour wrapped in foil. Use one large sheet so that it completely encloses the ribs with the seam at the top. You’ll want to be able to tightly seal the ends once it’s in the oven.

Preheat oven to 225 F.

Mix liquid, garlic, onion, honey, sugar, Worcestershire, vinegar in bowl and warm in microwave for a handful of seconds to increase viscosity of honey.

Remove ribs from fridge and add about 2/3 liquid to foil pouch. Make sure pouch holds liquid inside. Reseal, put on baking sheet and into oven for around 2.5 hrs.

Toward the end of cooking time, pour remaining braising liquid into small pan. Add ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, mix and reduce to lightly syrupy consistency.

Remove ribs from oven, brush with reduction, place under broiler for 6-10 mins or however long it takes to get the caramelization you want on the ribs. Cut up and suffocate these with your stomach.

Ribs awaiting glaze in background; glaze and steaming kabocha in fore.

Ribs awaiting glaze in background; glaze and steaming kabocha in fore.

Mashed Kabocha Squash

Peel and cut a kabocha squash into approximately 1″ cubes. You can either steam them for 12-15 minutes until tender or roast at 425 F for 35-40 mins. Kabocha (more than any other squash IMO) takes on an amazing flavor during a nice roasting.

When finished cooking, place squash in large bowl. Add a few pats butter (I like organic cultured butter), some grated Romano, salt, pepper, milk or stock. Maybe some cinnamon. Smash with fork or potato masher. Load plate and place drippy ribs on top if you haven’t eaten them all before sitting at the table.

Merguez with Yogurt Sauce

This makes 30 sausages. I don’t know if it’s truly Merguez (probably not), but the flavor profile is similar.

Holy Merguez, beefman! My vision is closing in!

Holy Merguez, beefman! My vision is closing in!

Ingredients
3 lbs 90/10 ground chuck (I actually use a mix of 90 and 85)
1/2 large sweet onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 Tbsp fresh mint, minced
3-4 Tbsp dried parsley
4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp Ras El Hanout
3 Tbsp zatar (of which I ran out, so I substituted it with the following, which approximates the flavor: 4 tsp ground thyme; 2 Tbsp tahini; 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice)
1 tsp cinnamon

Preparation
In a bowl, mix everything listed above and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Roll beef mixture into balls, then elongate into sausage shape. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with glaze recipe below. Into oven for around 20 mins or until cooked through.

For glaze:
1/2 cup red wine
2 tsp honey
a few Tbsp unsalted chicken stock
pinch kosher salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cumin

Mix all of the above and warm for a few seconds in microwave to decrease viscosity of honey.

For yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup full fat plain Greek yogurt
juice 1/2 lemon
1-2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp honey
a few leaves minced mint
1/2 tsp garlic powder
scant 1 tsp cumin
scant 1 tsp ground thyme
scant 1 tsp Ras el Hanout
shake cinnamon
2 pinches kosher salt

Mix all of the above and refrigerate for a little while.

To serve, wrap sausage in lettuce leaf (bib or romaine is nice). Spoon on some yogurt sauce and kill it with your teeth. Heck, I even smashed some steamed cinnamon kabocha in there for extra drama.

Ripped Recipe: Millennium Oat Royale

This is more a concept than a recipe. I effing love oats. The only carb-heavy things I eat are 1) rice, 2) potatoes and 3) oats. I’m gonna do my damnedest to blow your mind with oats right now.

I only use the 1-minute kind. You can figure out how to make the oat recipes below on your own, or comment with questions if interested.

Savory

Oats with tomato sauce and sausage! YEAH!

Oats with garlic brown butter and raisins! YES!

Oats with grated Romano, rosemary and sliced grapes! BOOM!

Oats with tahini, sesame oil, smoked hot paprika and pureed eggplant! WHAAAAAT!!!!?

Curried oats with ground lamb, cherry tomatoes and dried apricots! DON’T FAINT!

Oats with coconut oil, orange zest, milk and mint! I CAN HEAR YOUR HEART POUNDING THROUGH THE INTERWEB!

Oats with sardines, zucchini, fish sauce, sriracha and basil! I SWEAR IT’S AWESOME!

Like mac and cheese?! Screw that. Oats and cheese! DAMN SKIPPY!

Sweet

Oats with honey, wine and prunes! HOLY COW!

Oats with chocolate casein, coconut manna and frozen berries! AWESOME!

Oats with smashed ripe banana, cinnamon and peanut butter! BAM!

Oats with melted dark chocolate, kosher salt and cayenne pepper! OBVIOUSLY!

Vanilla ice cream over warm (thick) oats with nutmeg! SIMPLE!

The list goes on and on and on.

Ripped Recipe: Lemon Mint Ricecream and a rant against fructose and high-density ice cream

As the name implies, Lemon Mint Ricecream can be a calorie bomb

I deploy ricecream strategically for one or a combination of the two following reasons: 1) I’m totally burned out i.e. I’ve depleted most muscle and liver glycogen walking 20,000 steps while fasted or after having put in a particularly grueling lifting session, or 2) I’m mentally burned out and need a soul massage.

Ingredients
Cooked rice (with a little salt), cooled to room temp (whatever type and however much you want)
Vanilla ice cream
Juice of a quarter lemon
Chiffonade of several mint leaves
Cinnamon to taste

Preparation
Put rice in bowl. Mix with mint and lemon juice. Put vanilla ice cream on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Maybe let ice cream melt a little. Maybe mix ice cream and rice. Eat like a freaking wild animal then drink red wine then go right to bed.

Ice cream density is the devil

First, let me say that Ben and Jerry’s makes me angry. There’s no reason ice cream should be that rich. If you take a look at the weight of one serving (1/2 cup) of a “simple” Ben and Jerry’s flavor, like chocolate or vanilla, you’ll notice that it’s approximately 100 grams. Compare that to a less rich ice cream like Turkey Hill chocolate or vanilla, and you’ll see that the same 1/2 cup serving weighs around 60 grams. That means it’s less dense. Ok, fine, but that also translates into Turkey Hill containing about 60% the fat and 50% the sugar of the same volume of Ben and Jerry’s. Sure, you could eat only a quarter cup of B and J’s, but why the heck would a human want so little ice cream? I don’t know. This gets me all nice and hot for my next item, a rant against fructose.

Fructose is toxic

In my opinion fructose should be classified as a toxin and only be permitted to be used by a skilled practitioner who is well in tune with his or her body. Agave syrup should be banned outright, for it is 70% fructose, higher in fructose than any other substance other than pure fructose. You can hate me for despising agave syrup; I’m at peace with it. Based on my own research, I believe that fructose is so fantastically bad for the body for so many reasons. Yeah, sure it doesn’t elicit much of an insulin response (which is totally ironic), but for me, its number one offense is that the form of glycogen into which it’s converted by the liver cannot be stored in muscle which should be our primary carbohydrate storage tank (most people — at least Americans — eat way too much food, carry too little muscle, and don’t deplete their glycogen stores regularly enough for this mechanism to be effective, so they store most excess energy as fat). But I digress. I was saying that the form of glycogen into which fructose is converted can only be stored in the liver, which holds less glycogen than all the muscle in the body. As soon as the liver’s full of glycogen, which for the average, non-fasting, less active person it almost always is, that fructose is converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. Ever heard of high circulating triglycerides and how bad that is? Fructose, not saturated fat or cholesterol is one of the major contributors to the condition precisely because of way it is metabolized.

If I eat something with sugar (sucrose, which is half fructose by weight) in it, I make damn certain I’ve done everything I can to deplete my glycogen stores. That statement is a bit of a straw man; since I fast 21 hours every day and walk or lift or a combination of the two during my fast, it’s never an issue. This is yet another reason why fasting regularly for an extended period can be so incredibly powerful.

Ripped Recipe: Sauteed Butternut Squash and Cauliflower with Garlic, Mint, Lemon and Pecans

Butternut squash is awesome for sauteing.

Butternut squash is awesome for sauteing.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • juice of 1/2 to 3/4 of a lemon
  • large handful mint leaves, chiffonaded
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup pecans, coarse chopped
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • half cup or so unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp EV olive oil or coconut oil or butter or lard or (more specifically) bacon fat. Each creates slightly different flavor profile.
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat fat in large skillet. Add squash and saute for a few minutes until it takes on some color.
  2. Remove squash, add cauliflower and saute until it takes on a little color too.
  3. Remove cauliflower. Add pecans and toast lightly. Add garlic with a little extra oil and saute until just turning golden.
  4. Add squash back to pan with a little stock. Salt/ pepper, cover and steam for a couple of minutes. Then add cauliflower and a little more stock, salt/ pepper re-cover and continue to steam until everything is tender to your liking.
  5. Add mint and lemon juice, more salt/ pepper if necessary. Turn off heat, toss. Eat.

My Favorite Packaged Foods For Getting Ripped

The majority of my diet is comprised of fresh food, but there are certain packaged foods I just have to have. This post’s title is misleading; there’s no packaged food that can make a person ripped or fat (in my opinion). There are, however, foods that address cravings and that are deeply satisfying. For me, that’s really important because it supports a healthy mind and makes staying ripped easy. Without further ado:

Red wine

Cliche, I know, but there’s nothing I enjoy drinking more than a Rioja or Petit Shiraz. I’m no wine snob, and am remotely far from being an expert, but I know when I like a wine and when I don’t.

Is this a single serve?

Is this a single serve?

100% dark chocolate

Yes, that’s 100%. I have some sort of animal attraction to jarringly bitter, earthy flavors. I usually have to go to the baking aisle of a higher-end grocery store to find the good stuff because the darkest bar I’ve ever found in the “normal” chocolate section is Guittard Nocturne, which is 91% and tastes like candy to me. I’ve found Dagoba 100% to be pretty good, but more on the acidic side. Scharffen Berger 99% (yeah, I’m not sure why they didn’t go the extra percent on that one) is also very nice with a little more cherry note to it, but less acidity than Dagoba. But my absolute favorite 100% bar that totally¬†blows away everything else I’ve tried is SunSpire’s organic 100. I came upon it in the Whole Foods baking aisle (a place where I can’t do any real shopping because it’s just too stupidly expensive). It’s so perfectly balanced and smooth that I had to look back at the package the first time I tasted it because the qualities it possesses are so unusual in a 100% bar.

I am shocked and awed by this 100% dark SunSpire bar.

I am shocked and awed by this 100% dark SunSpire bar.

Here's a nice Rioja with 15 grams of Scharffen Berger 99% dark chocolate.

Here’s a nice Rioja with 15 grams of Scharffen Berger 99% dark chocolate.

 

Lesser Evil ChiaPop Popcorn

I’m not suggesting that I find popcorn to be deeply satisfying, but it certainly has its moments for me. The best tasting and lowest calorie popcorn I’ve ever had is made by a company called Lesser Evil. They offer some fantastic flavors like coconut oil and Himalayan pink salt, movie theater butter, cracked black pepper and sea salt, and cheddar. I like to dump a few cups of this into my huge salad bowl after I’ve finished the salad and toss. It picks up some of the left over dressing, making it even more awesome.

Awesome for getting ripped.

Awesome for getting ripped.

 

Magnum ice cream bars

There’s something to be said for artisanal, small batch, hand-crafted ice cream. And there’s also something to be said for Magnum ice cream bars that are mass-produced by the international conglomerate Unilever. They are SO freaking excellently great. My favorite is the Infinity Chocolate, which is dark chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate swirls covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with dark chocolate covered cocoa nibs. But the classic (vanilla inside, dark chocolate out) and mint (mint inside, dark chocolate out sprinkled with dark chocolate covered caramelized sugar crunchies) are damn good too.

Magnum ice cream bars. 3 boxes = 1 serving (no).

Magnum ice cream bars. 3 boxes = 1 serving (no).

Ripped Recipe: Watermelon or Fruit Punch BCAA Citrus-Mintade Ginger Fizz

A few fresh ingredients take BCAAs in a new direction.

A few fresh ingredients take BCAAs in a new direction.

This recipe is a departure from my standard of not including chemicals in my food; it’s a necessary evil though. Because I fast for what’s recently turned into 21 hours per day, I require some form of nutrition that favors maintainance of an anabolic state while remaining as close to fasted as possible. For this reason, I take BCAAs (branch chain amino acids). They’re completely synthetic and contain artificial flavors and Sucralose. I take anywhere from zero to 30 grams per day. Because they’re unnatural and expensive, I wouldn’t recommend BCAAs to anyone unless they’re lifting heavy in a fasted state and want to maintain a near-fast for several hours after lifting. They’re totally unnecessary otherwise. I’ve already written more than I like to for a recipe post.

Now doesn't this look refreshing? Non-fasters might enjoy as well.

Now doesn’t this look refreshing? Non-fasters might enjoy as well.

Ingredients
1-2 scoops watermelon or fruit punch BCAA powder (I prefer Modern BCAA +)
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
flavored seltzer of your choice (I prefer Polar brand)
several leaves fresh mint
1-2 thin slices of fresh ginger

Preparation
Add lemon juice, lime juice, mint leaves, and ginger to small vessel and muddle well with the back of a spoon. More muddled = more fresh flavor.

Add BCAA powder to 1-2 oz water in bottle or shaker and shake hard until dissolved.

Combine citrus-mint-ginger solution with BCAA solution over ice in large glass, add flavored seltzer to desired dilution and stir gently.

Ripped Recipe: Caramelized Cauliflower in Lemon-Garlic Brown Butter with Rosemary and Pecorino

Enough said.

Enough said.

No further description warranted.

Ingredients
900g cauliflower cut into florets (1 large head)
1 Tbsp butter (I prefer organic cultured butter)
1 Tbsp bacon fat (or another of butter)
juice of 3/4 to 1 lemon
3 large cloves garlic, sliced very thin
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp dried sweet basil
1/4 cup + a little grated pecorino romano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp butter in large pan and cook until just golden brown.
  2. Turn flame to high. Add cauliflower and allow to brown, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan once soft enough for your liking.
  3. Add bacon fat or other Tbsp butter to pan. [Bacon fat tastes much better to me. And it’s just as good for you as butter. Do some googling if you don’t believe.] Heat it up. Add garlic, rosemary and basil and saut√© until garlic slices just begin to take on a light brown hue. Add red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 20-30 seconds.
  4. Add lemon juice immediately followed by cauliflower and cheese. Mix well and remove from heat. Spoon into bowls and top with a little grated cheese and more red pepper. Eat.

Ripped Recipe: Ripped Mint Hot Cocoa

Super simple, tasty and proteiny.

Super simple, tasty and proteiny.

This one is so simple. I felt like a genius for a minute after creating it.

Ingredients
3/4 scoop chocolate casein powder
1 peppermint tea bag
10 oz boiling water

Preparation
Mix casein with a couple of oz warm tap water. Mix it well so there are no clumps. Slowly add boiling water while stirring rapidly. Steep mint tea bag in mixture for 3-5 mins depending on how strong you want it. Drink.

Ripped Recipe: Cabbage Leaves Stuffed with Beef, Pork, Plum, Apple, Walnut, Vegetable and Mint Topped with Sweet and Savory Tomato Coconut Sauce

Look good? This dish combines North African,  Greek, Italian and Polish flavors.

Look good? This dish combines North African, Greek, Italian and Polish flavors.

I was standing in the grocery staring off into space trying to figure out what big thing to cook for dinner this week. I looked down and realized that I was literally standing over it. A giant head of green cabbage. That’s all I needed to get the creative juices flowing.

Some of the ingredients used in this tasty dish.

Some of the ingredients used in this tasty dish.

An unlikely trio.

An unlikely trio.

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef (90/10, organic grass fed preferably)
1.5 lb ground pork (ground local by butcher, preferably)
2 large heads green cabbage
650g eggplant, diced (1 large)
500-600g zucchini, diced (2 large)
250g carrots, diced (6 medium, I use organic)
350g sweet onion, diced (1 large)
250g portabella mushroom, diced (2 large, I use organic)
200g red bell pepper (1 large, I use organic)
300g black plums, diced (2 large)
200g granny smith apple, diced (2 small or 1 large)
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
3 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 large can (28oz) ground tomatoes (I use organic)
1 small can (13oz) lite coconut milk
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup mint leaves, chopped
3/4 cup or so grated hi quality strong romano cheese
juice of 1 lime
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp dried sweet basil
2 tsp smoked hot paprika
2 tsp regular paprika
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp garlic powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
salt and fresh pepper

Get your veggies straight.

Get your produce straight.

Preparation

  1. Chop base off cabbage(s) and remove core to around 2″ up (cut a pyramid around core to remove). Boil until soft and the leaves can be easily pulled off. Yeah, boiling kills the vitamins, but this ain’t about the cabbage.
  2. While cabbage is boiling, pour a little coconut oil and start the onion cooking until light brown then add garlic. Once garlic is light brown, add eggplant, cooking on high, stirring frequently. Once eggplant is about half its original volume, add mushrooms and continue cooking. When mushrooms are about half volume, add zucchini. The idea is to get a good deal of water out of the vegetables.
  3. When zucchini is around half its original volume, add plums and apples. Cook for a few minutes, then add beef and pork.
  4. Lightly cook beef and pork with the vegetables that were already in the pot for another 4-5 minutes. This is to reduce cooking time in the oven. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  5. Add carrots, bell pepper, walnuts, chopped mint, cinnamon, both paprikas, lime juice, garlic powder, more salt and pepper and mix well. Turn off heat.
  6. Cook rice in 3 cups of stock. It should still be chewy once all liquid has been absorbed. Add it to the meat and veg mixture; it will finish cooking in it later.
  7. you might want to cook a little of the mix in the microwave for a minute to taste test and adjust if necessary.
  8. For sauce, combine coconut milk, ground tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, white vinegar and basil. Heat until it comes to a simmer. Add arrowroot slurry (arrowroot mixed well with a little warm water). Turn off heat and mix well.
  9. Wrap meat/ veg/ rice mixture in cabbage leaves. Shave center veins of leaves so they’re not so thick.
  10. Place stuffed cabbage leaves in baking dish, cover liberally with sauce, top with grated Romano. Cover with foil.
  11. Bake at 375 for 30, then uncover and let go for another 20. Let cool for 5 mins or so. Eat.
We ain't messin around.   This is many meals for a family of three.

We ain’t messin around. This is many meals for a family of three.

Ripped Recipe: Garlicked Red Cabbage with Bacon and Raisins over Steamed Kabocha Squash

This is good. Very good. Sometimes I feel like eating a mountain of vegetables, and this is one way I do it.

You can basically eat 2 lbs of this and not break 500 calories.

You can basically eat 2 lbs of this and not break 500 calories.

Ingredients
1/2 large head red cabbage, sliced into 2-3 inch strips
1/2 Kabocha squash
4 slices bacon (I like uncured organic)
1/4 cup or so raisins
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp high quality garlic powder
1/2 shallot, diced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I like unfiltered organic)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Preparation

  1. Cut kabocha squash in half. Gut. Peel. Cut into cubes. Put on to steam. It’s done when fork tender, maybe 15 mins or so.
  2. As squash is steaming, in a large pan cook bacon crispy. Set aside on paper towel once cooked. Reserve fat from pan in small vessel.
  3. Turn flame to high. Add shallots and garlic. Add a teaspoon or so of bacon fat. Cook until the garlic takes on a light golden hue.
  4. Add cabbage and raisins. Salt liberally to draw water out of cabbage. Cook over high heat for another minute and stir. Lower heat, add garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, fresh pepper to taste, and cover.
  5. Cook until cabbage is tender. Normally 15 mins or so.
  6. Coarse chop bacon, sprinkle half into cabbage and stir.
  7. Place kabocha in bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with cabbage. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top.
This is very special. Eat it.

This is very special. Eat it.