In the Trenches, Episode 4 by joec3
January 24, 2014, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In the Trenches: Episode 4

By Joe Chiles

The beginnings of something great.

The beginnings of something great.

So, it turns out medical school takes up quite a bit of time.  Personally, even when it comes to cooking for myself lately, it’s been a rather on-and-off relationship.  By the end of last week, I had eaten my way through my entire freezer full of old meals I had frozen down.  It was time to cook again and it was time to cook a lot.  But I had so much to do!  I needed a quick and very productive cooking session.

What to do?  Well, for me, the first problem is the oven.  I only have one, so I can’t use my oven for very many things all at the same time.  Additionally, there’s only one me, which means that prep time also becomes a limiting element.  I need stuff that I can start and then walk away from while I prep something else or get something else done.

This is what I came up with and it was pretty darned good.  I’ll break it down recipe by recipe and tell you how I made them work together at the very end.

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Chicken Stock and Vegetable Rice by joec3
December 4, 2013, 1:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

By Andrew Welleford

Last time we talked about roasting chickens. If you’ve been saving chicken carcasses, then the next logical step is to make chicken stock! Chicken stock is a great thing to have around the kitchen: you can use it to make rice, casseroles, soups, stews, curries, and more! Making stock with leftovers is also economical way to make nutritious and delicious meals at home. Best of all, the process of making stock is low-maintenance. Once the pot is simmering you don’t need to spend any time in the kitchen, leaving you free to focus on other tasks.


CrockPot Stock is about as low-maintenance as it gets.

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Lexington Food Resources by joec3
November 17, 2013, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


See map here.

I put this list together based on my own experience and tastes.  If there’s anything at all I have missed, please add it in the comments.  I hope this is helpful in some way!


Good Foods Market and Café – a local co-op with a decent selection of local and organic vegetables, eggs, meats, and dairy products.  Also on display are a wide variety of foods for folks with dietary restrictions and a relatively impressive array of bulk spices, nuts, flours, and other dry goods. Their café and bakery are both top notch. That said, the prices are high here and those on a strict budget may want to shop elsewhere.

Critchfield Meats – These folks sling some delicious meats, often locally sourced, at what can be an excellent value.  They also offer a wide selection of pre-prepared homestyle foods.

Trader Joe’s – When I don’t have enough time to actually cook, I often find myself in Trader Joe’s.  Decently good frozen food, snack food, occasional cheap produce scores, sweet delicious almond butter, or their Greek yoghurt are all good choices here, but do be warned that choices are limited.  They aren’t really a great place to get meats, but other than that, they’re awesome.  Check the liquor store next door for some truly decent prices on potent potables.

Whole Foods Market and The Fresh Market – These stores have lots of nice produce, meats, and other foods and goods at reasonably more expensive prices.  I generally just stick to Good Foods, but if you’re right around the corner from one, why not try it out?

UK Butcher Shop – A place so underground, literally, that it doesn’t even have a website that I could find.  Only open 1-5pm on Wednesdays and Fridays as of this writing, it’s just a short walk from the ED over to this basement gem.  While selection is limited, they have some excellent sausages, ground beef, and bacon in regular supply.  Sourcing animals from local farms, they sell quality meat at prices that are difficult to beat at the nicer grocery stores.  I highly recommend making the trip.

Nicholasville Rd. Kroger – A regular Kroger.  Not amazing, not horribly depressing, it’s a decent enough one-stop-shop for your groceries.

Euclid Kroger – Smaller, but nice and usually adequate.

Really Freaking Nice Kroger (Beaumont Center) – I called it really freaking nice Kroger because it’s really freaking nice.  It’s a little bit of a drive away, but some folks feel like the expanded selection and some of the higher quality goods are worth the trek.  It might be a good stop for provisions pre-Keeneland.

Marksbury Farms Market – On the road to Danville is this lovely country shop, where you can buy Marksbury Farms meats straight from the producers, along with a large assortment of Kentucky food and produce (when in season).  It’s not necessarily great enough to spark the hour-long round-trip drive on its own, but if you’re headed near there anyway, I highly recommend it.

Late Additions (Courtesy Joshua Riley-Graham) – Yu Yu and Dong Yang Asian Supermarkets, Sahara Meats and Grocery, Richmond Kroger, and Parisa International Market.  I don’t have much experience with any of these, but you can find them on the map linked above.


Lexington Farmers MarketThese folks are everywhere and it now seems that they will stay open through the winter on Saturday mornings at Cheapside Park downtown.  Full disclosure: I still have yet to go to a Farmers Market in Lexington, but if you talk to someone about a “Farmers Market” here in town, chances are you’re talking to them about this group.

Bluegrass Farmers Market  – Once again, I haven’t been to this market at all, but I have driven by before and it looks pretty cool.  It looks like they’ve started a location closer to campus, so I should probably check them out at some point.


UK CSACurious as to why I haven’t been to any of the farmers markets?  Yeah, this is the reason right here.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and generally equates to paying up front for a share of a farm’s produce throughout the growing season.  You give them $400-$600 up front and then you collect 20ish weekly deliveries of produce.  The UK CSA is run by students from the College of Agriculture and is absolutely wonderful.  They take enrollments in the Spring and also offer a pay-per-item FlexShare for those unwilling to fully commit up front.  I HIGHLY recommend you give the UK CSA a shot if you’re here over the summer.

Elmwood Stock Farm and Acres of Harvest – A couple of other local farms offering CSA programs.  Acres of Harvest, notably, had a season that runs through December.

Seedleaf – Seedleaf runs multiple community gardens on the north side of town and scattered around at other sites.  They are constantly running cool programs and you should probably sign up for their email list.  During the summer, they sometimes set up shop at Third Street Stuff to sell their wares.

Local Harvest – Local Harvest is a nationwide website where you can find loads of information on food resources near you.  I can lose hours on this site, so just be warned.

First, You Bake a Chicken by joec3
November 11, 2013, 2:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
From Flickr user adashofsass

From Flickr user adashofsass

First, You Bake a Chicken
by Andrew Welleford

When it comes to cooking, you have to start somewhere. But where? Whether you’re a novice wanting to learn how to feed yourself well or an old pro returning from an exam-time hiatus, the first step into the kitchen can be the most difficult. Choosing just one meal among the infinite options in world cuisine can leave you paralyzed with indecision. The solution? Start simple. Bake a chicken.

Baking a chicken leaves you with 2-5 servings of meat that goes well with anything. Whole chickens are cheap; I buy mine for $1 a pound. And done right, a roasted chicken looks and tastes amazing.

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Cooking In the Trenches: Episode 3 by joec3
December 4, 2012, 5:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

 Black Forest Ham with Butternut Squash and Chard & Chicken Tikka Masala

We are back again with the fastest, cheapest, healthiest meals I can think of on short notice.  I ended up in Good Foods with no idea what to make for food this week and after some blank stares at meat and produce sections, this is what I did.  All in all, these two meals took me less than 100 minutes to prepare, even sneaking in some photos along the way.  Not bad.  Quick note: I generally cook without sugar or grains, so if you want to slap a brown sugar glaze on the ham or make some rice or naan to go with your chicken tikka masala, that’s on you.  I’ll try to add in some notes along the way that might help.

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Cooking in the Trenches: Episode 2 by joec3
November 9, 2012, 2:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

CrockPot Pulled Pork with Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts

I guarantee you have time for this.  This is one of my favorite meals to make when I have no time, which has been happening quite frequently lately.  Med school, am I right?

I’d like to take a second to talk about making pulled pork using a Boston butt.  It’s a ridiculously cheap piece of pork ($1.79) and it is delicious if you cook it low and slow.  I used a CrockPot, but you don’t have to use one.  If you’ll be home all day you can use your oven, just see here.  You can go crazy on this pork: dry rub, marinade, sauces, you name it.  I haven’t used a dry rub because I honestly find that pork needs very little help in the flavor department.  A little salt and pepper and a little barbeque sauce and I’m in heaven.  Let’s get down to business.

Ingredient List:

  • 4.88lb Boston butt ($1.79/lb = $8.74) (From Critchfield Meats)
  • 1lb Brussels Sprouts ($2.79) (This and below from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2lb Sweet Potatoes ($1.69)
  • 12oz. Asparagus ($3.49) (I recommend getting more of the asparagus)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (~$0.50)
  • Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper.


The night before, or in the morning, cut the yellow onion into large chunks.  Place these in the bottom of the CrockPot and rest the Boston butt, fat side up, on top of the onions.  The fat will drip down over the meat during cooking and keep it moist.  Set it to cook for 10 hours on low, drop the mic and walk out the door.  It should look like this:

You come back home after a long day and you don’t feel much like cooking.  That’s cool, you don’t have much cooking to do.  Wrap your sweet potatoes in foil and throw them in the oven at 350F.  Walk away again.

Come back forty-five minutes later and start prepping the sprouts.  Cut the bottom off each sprout, then cut it in half from top to bottom.  Remove the outer leaves that will be falling off and discard.  Put some oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Pull the sweet potatoes out of the oven and put them on a safe surface to cool down a bit (I like to use the sink).  Cut the tough bottom ends off your bunch of asparagus, then slice the remaining stalks into thirds.  If you do the whole bundle at the same time, this will go very quickly.  Throw the green veggies into the pan and saute.

While the veggies are sauteing, carefully remove the Boston butt from the CrockPot.  Carefully because this is a mass of very warm pork.  Remove the fat from the top and the shoulder bone from the middle of the roast.  Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the sprouts and asparagus, they’ll need to be tossed regularly.  Your pork should look like this:

Discard the onions, they’re kind of gross at this point.  The meat should be falling apart, it’s just your job to help it.  Take your forks and stab both into a piece of meat.  Pull them in opposite directions and you should see the muscle fibers pulling apart.  Repeat this process again and again and again until there are no big chunks left.  You just made pulled pork!  High fives all around.  It should look a little something like this:

Your Brussels sprouts and asparagus should be just about done.  The sprouts will be browned slightly and moderately tender while still retaining some of their crunch.  The asparagus should be dark green and should smell wonderful.  Put everything together on a plate with some salt, pepper and barbeque sauce and feast your eyes:

The Numbers:

  • Active Time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 11 hours
  • Clean-Up Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Servings:6 large meals (though they could use some more veggies)
  • Cost Per Serving: $2.87

In summary, this is a really speedy meal that’s also healthy and delicious.  Enjoy!  I’ll see you again soon.

Cooking In the Trenches: Episode 1 by joec3
September 22, 2012, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I love food.  I love to talk about food.  I love to talk about the food I make.  Sometimes folks respond to talking about cooking by saying, “I’d love to cook, but I just don’t have the time.”  I think folks overestimate the amount of time it takes to cook, so this series is dedicated to showing that you do have the time to cook and you can make cheap, tasty, and healthy dishes quickly.

Week 1: Chili for Lunch, Roasted Chicken with Baked Beets and Sauteed String Beans for Dinner

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