Food for dudes

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There seem to be a few trains of thought on what is considered food for dudes or dude food. Some say it combines the passion of extreme sports and cooking to produce over-the-top, testosterone-fueled dishes. Many involve bacon wrapping, alcohol soaking, deep frying and artery clogging.

Others describe dude food as a movement to educate men about how to cook simple, healthy and delicious meals as part of a good lifestyle.

Then there are the fans of The Big Lebowski featuring Jeff Bridges as the Dude, who created a Facebook page to lobby Ben and Jerry’s to create a Dude Food ice cream flavour made from White Russian flavoured ice cream with chocolate malt (bowling) balls.

The only common ground seems to be that dude food involves bold tastes.

My idea of dude food is a fusion of these ideas. It involves creating healthy, full flavoured dishes that appeal to meat and potato eating men who want to improve their diets but still enjoy the foods they love.

We all know that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada, especially among men. Lifestyle choices, such as diet, have a huge impact on prevention of heart disease.

However, sometimes it is hard to sacrifice our favourite food and make good choices. The trick is to make smart choices such as:

  • Choosing leaner cuts of meat.
  • Watching your portion sizes.
  • Choosing healthy fats.
  • Reducing salt intake.
  • Eating more fruits and veggies.
  • Eating more whole grains 
and legumes.

It is about small changes and focusing on maximizing the flavours you love. One easy change is to use a little of an ingredient to flavour a dish.

For example, rather then wrapping everything in bacon, use a little bacon to flavour the dish.

Another idea is low sodium or baked rather than fried tortilla chips. The flavour comes from the salsa dip, which is most likely heart healthy. You could also bake your own using fresh tortillas.

One more idea comes from the dude in my life, my husband, who is not a big vegetable eater.

However, he does like them grilled or roasted so that is how we most often prepare them.

Whether you cook for a dude or are a dude, these recipes are aimed at keeping your heart healthy without sacrificing flavour or too much protein.

The following recipes meet the Heart and Stroke Association guidelines for heart healthy eating. They all have less then 10 grams of fat and 500 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Herbed pork chops on mustard sauce

Pork chops:

  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves 4 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. dried pepper flakes 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 6 boneless pork chops trimmed of fat (4 oz.) 125 g each
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL

Mustard Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream 75 mL
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 60 mL
  • 3 tbsp. skim milk 45 mL
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
  • 3/4 tsp. dried tarragon leaves 4 mL
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper 5mL

In small bowl, combine thyme, garlic powder, pepper flakes and salt. Brush both sides of pork chops with oil. Sprinkle thyme mixture evenly over both sides and press down with fingertips to adhere.

Heat large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops four minutes on each side or until barely pink in centre. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, whisk together sour cream, mustard, milk, oil and tarragon. Place over low heat until warmed, about three minutes. Do not bring to a boil. Spoon equal amounts of mustard sauce on each of six dinner plates. Place pork chops on top of sauce and sprinkle with black pepper.

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Yield: six servings. Serving size: one pork chop and 2 tbsp. (30 mL) mustard sauce. – Source: www.canolainfo.org.

Hoisin whiskey glazed meatballs

  • 8 oz. ground turkey 250 g
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking oats 75 mL
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green onion (green and white parts) 75 mL
  • 1 medium jalapeno chili pepper,
 finely chopped (with seeds)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper 1 mL
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL

Glaze:

  • 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. Canadian whiskey 30 mL
  • 2 tsp. packed brown sugar 10 mL
  • substitute blend

In medium bowl, combine turkey, oats, green onion, chili pepper, egg whites, pepper and one tablespoon (15 mL) of oil and shape into 24 small meatballs (about one tbsp./15 mL each).

Heat one tablespoon (15 mL) oil in large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook meatballs six minutes or until no longer pink in centre, turning frequently.

In small bowl, stir together hoisin sauce, bourbon and sugar substitute.

Pour hoisin mixture over meatballs in skillet and cook 15 seconds, stirring gently until well coated. Serve with wooden picks.

Yield: six servings. Serving size: four meatballs.

Cook’s note: For better control, use two utensils, such as a fork and a spoon, to turn the meatballs easily. – Source: www.canolainfo.org.

Beef tenderloin with balsamic coffee sauce

  • 3/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper 4 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks (5 oz. about 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick 140 g each
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 oz. sliced portobello mushrooms 170 g
  • 3/4 cup strong coffee 175 mL
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 60 mL

Preheat oven to 200 F (400 C).

In small bowl, combine black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) salt. Sprinkle both sides of steaks with spice mixture, pressing down with fingertips to adhere. Set aside. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Heat one tablespoon (15 mL) oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook steaks four minutes, turn and cook four minutes longer or until desired doneness. Place steaks on separate plate and place in oven to keep warm.

Heat remaining one tablespoon (15 mL) oil to pan residue in skillet, cook shallots 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and cook three minutes or until tender, stirring frequently, using two utensils as you would with stir fry. Spoon equal amounts over beef and return to oven to keep warm.

To skillet, add coffee, vinegar and remaining 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, continue to boil about four minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup (60 mL). Spoon over all and top with additional coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.

Yield: Four servings. Serving size: 3½ oz./105 g beef, 1/3 cup (75 mL) mushroom mixture and 1 tbsp. (60 mL) sauce. – Source: www.canolainfo.org.

Black bean avocado salsa with home-baked tortilla chips

Chips:

  • 6 soft six-inch corn tortillas 15 cm
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL

Salsa:

  • 1/2 ripe medium avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium tomatillo, papery skin removed, rinsed and diced
  • 1 large jalapeno chili pepper, finely chopped (seeded, if desired)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 75 mL
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion 60 mL
  • 1/2 can 15 oz. no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained 426 mL
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lime juice 20 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar 20 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

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Stack tortillas and cut into eight equal triangles (48 wedges total). Put triangles in single layer on two baking sheets. Drizzle triangles with oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and black pepper. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until chips are light brown and beginning to crisp. Remove from oven, place baking sheets on cooling racks, sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) salt and cool completely.

As chips cool, they will become crisper. Store in airtight container up to 24 hours for peak flavor and texture.

Meanwhile, combine avocado, tomatillo, jalapeno, cilantro, red onion, black beans, oil, lime juice, vinegar and salt in medium bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.

Yield: six servings. Serving size: 1/3 cup (75 mL) salsa, eight chips.

Cook’s note: The leftover black beans may be stored in an airtight container in the freezer up to one month. – Source: www.canolainfo.org.

Deep, dark and stout chili

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef 750 g
  • (or 1 lb./extra lean ground beef 500 g
  • and 15 oz.can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 426 mL
  • 2 cups diced green bell peppers 500 mL
  • 1 cup diced red onion 250 mL
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz./412 mL each) no-salt-added
 stewed tomatoes
  • 1 bottle (12 oz./341 mL) dark stout beer
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder 45 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin 20 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. smoked paprika (optional) 20 mL
  • 1 tbsp. sodium-free beef bouillon granules 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL

Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 125 mL
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 125 mL
  • 1 medium lime, cut into six wedges

Heat one tablespoon (15 mL) oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, brown beef, about four minutes per batch, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat remaining one tablespoon (15 mL) oil and cook bell peppers and onions four minutes or until onions are soft, stirring frequently. Stir into cooked beef. Add stewed tomatoes, beer, chili powder, cumin, paprika and bouillon. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in salt.

Serve chili with choice of toppings placed in three small bowls.

Yield: eight servings. Serving size: 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) chili. Source: www.canolainfo.org.

Cook’s note: Like most chili recipes, the flavours improve if the chili is served the next day. This dish freezes well.

Fall-apart beer brisket

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 lb. trimmed beef brisket 750 g
  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion (about 1 large onion) 375 mL
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic 10 mL
  • 1 12 oz. bottle dark stout beer 341 mL
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves 7 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves 5 mL
  • 3 tbsp. steak sauce 45 mL
  • 3 tbsp. no-salt-added tomato paste 45 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 6 multigrain bread slices

Heat one tablespoon (15 mL) of oil in large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown beef three minutes on each side. Place beef in slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Heat remaining one tablespoon (15 mL) oil, cook onions four minutes or until beginning to brown, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and cook 15 seconds.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in garlic, beer, vinegar, oregano, thyme, steak sauce and tomato paste. Stir until well blended and pour over beef in slow cooker, making sure beef is covered with liquid.

Cover and cook on low setting for six hours. Remove beef and place on cutting board. Stir salt into slow cooker mixture. Thinly slice beef. It will shred as you slice. Return beef to slow cooker and stir. Cover and let stand 15 minutes to absorb flavours.

To serve, place strainer in large bowl, strain beef mixture, shaking off excess liquid and place in serving bowl. Serve juices alongside. Place equal amounts of shredded beef on warmed multigrain bread slices as open-faced sandwiches. Spoon desired amount of liquid over each.

Yield: six servings. Serving size: 1/2 cup (125 mL) beef, 1/3 cup (75 mL) sauce. Source: www.canolainfo.org.

Cook’s notes: Buy beef brisket that weighs almost two pounds before trimming because there is fat to discard. If a sliced brisket is preferred over the shredded variety, cook about 30 minutes less than recommended above.

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Dorothy Sandercock is a home economist in the agrifood trade and former greenhouse grower from Lloydminster, Sask. She writes a blog at http://prairiekitchencompanion.blogspot.ca. Contact: food@producer.com.