Lent is here…

…so what to eat?  I still haven’t found a great place to buy seafood, so this weekend I loaded up on some frozen stuff at Trader Joe’s so I don’t get hungry and crabby.  Like I was on Friday.  At least I had some fresh eggs on hand…and some organic potatoes.  Put them together and you get an awesome Spanish Tortilla!  Even the kids enjoyed this.  I served it with beets – I roasted the roots, sautéed the greens, and then dressed it all in a sherry vinaigrette.  Sherry vinegar has been my absolute favorite for making vinaigrette lately, I love the way it tastes.  I also add some Dijon-style mustard and some garlic, if I feel like chopping it up. 

Newsflash: My husband, who usually shuns white potatoes, has actually requested this dish again this Friday.  Yum!

 

 

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Braised Short Ribs

One of my favorite sources for recipes is Bon Appetit magazine.  I found this recipe in the October 2011 edition, and switched the flour for potato starch and grassfed beef ribs purchased from US Wellness.   I served this with the rutabagas from the veggie basket, boiled and then pureed with cream and butter and arugula dressed in a sherry vinaigrette.  It’s sufficient to say that dinner tonight was full of YUM.  Really, when I eat the grassfed beef – it tastes beefier than the stuff I get at the supermarket – more like the food I ate as a kid. 

Roasted Broccoli with Green Garlic

Both main ingredients were included in our basket this week.  I admit the first week we received the green garlic I thought it was a funny colored scallion and sliced that baby up and sprinkled in into our salad.  It was…pungent. 

Anyway, I was looking up recipes for the romanesco cauliflower I also received and they suggested roasting that vegetable, so I decided to do the same with the broccoli.  Here’s how I did it:

Broccoli, cut into florets

olive oil

crushed red pepper

salt

pepper

minced green garlic

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  For an easy cleanup, line a baking pan with foil.  Grease with olive oil and place broccoli on the pan.  Season with red pepper, salt and black pepper.  Drizzle some more olive oil over the broccoli.
  • Cook broccoli in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.  Open the oven carefully, and give the pan a shake to loosen the broccoli from the pan.  If the broccoli looks like it is cooking very  quickly, reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Check the broccoli again and sprinkle the minced garlic over the broccoli.  Stir, and return to the oven for a minute or two. 

 

 

Crock Pot Pork

For years, I have shunned the crock pot.  I know it’s a wonderful, modern convenience and it helps many working parents put together a hot, nutritious meal while they are busy, but to me the food always tasted bland and had a mushy texture.  I have lived crock pot free for five years, but then I saw the most amazing invention – a crock pot with a metal insert so you can sear the meat before you cook it all day.  That’s it!  That is all I needed to desire a handy countertop oven.  Luckily, my husband had a good day at the blackjack tables in Vegas last fall and hit the outlet mall in Primm to purchase a Breville crock pot with a nonstick insert.  Score!  So far I usually cook pork roasts in this appliance.  Here is a generic recipe, with a couple of twists:

1 – 2 Pork Shoulder Roasts

2 T coconut oil

Several cloves garlic

1 c water

  • Sear the pork roasts on both sides; add garlic cloves at this time as well
  • Add water, salt and pepper and cook all day
  • Remove roasts from crock pot to cutting board; allow to cool and shred with forks

I do two variations of this roast.  The first is kind of a kalua-style roast with 2-3 T wheat-free tamari sauce and some liquid smoke; the second one I substitute citrus juice for the water, and add the zest of the fruit when it has been shredded.  If you take the second variation and fry it up in the pan until it’s crispy it is just divine, kind of like carnitas!  I think some pickled onions from this recipe would be very refreshing with the crispy-fried pork as well. 

Whatever you do, be sure to make enough of this for leftovers.  It’s one of my go-to recipes for busy weeks because you always have tasty protein in the fridge that you can build the rest of the meal around.

A Crazy Weeks’ Worth of Eating

No need to call the Paleo Police.  I am still here, just busy hauling the kids to their activities and cooking healthy, nourishing meals for the five of us! 

The other week I had things under control cooking-wise.  I am struggling to get back to that balanced feeling, instead of feeling a little behind in everything I do.  I have actually planned the meals for this week.  I hate having the same meat two nights in a row, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.  Here’s what I have planned so far:

Monday: Crock pot pulled pork with braised cabbage and sautéed chard

Tuesday: Pork fried cauliflower rice: here’s a recipe that includes kim chee, which I just so happen to have in my fridge!

Wednesday: Primal Moussaka

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Crack Chicken

Saturday: Steak night!!!

I have to figure out an easy Sunday recipe.  I usually work out on Sundays and it leaves me a hungry, crabby, tired mess!  I am very fortunate my family tolerates me that day of the week…

Stir Fried Greens

To go along with the previous post, here is a recipe I threw together one night a couple of months ago.  My husband loved it!  Kitchen tip: when you bring ginger home from the market, use a table spoon to peel it and pop the root in the freezer.  That way it is ready for use at a moment’s notice.

1 head bok choy or similar vegetable

1 T coconut oil

1/2 t sesame oil

1 clove garlic

pinch red chili flakes

1 T tamari sauce

Grated ginger

  • Place pan over medium high heat.  Add oils, garlic, and chili flakes.
  • Add chopped greens and stir, cooking until slightly softened.
  • Add tamari and grate ginger with a microplane over the greens.  Continue to cook until desired tenderness is achieved.

 

 

Wahls and Sisson: A Match Made in Primal Heaven!

Mark Sisson was the gateway drug to my primal conversion a little less than two years ago, so it’s fitting that he is building on the inspirational video of Dr. Terry Wahls I posted last month.  Primal and paleo lifestyles aren’t all about heavy cream and butter – while they can be a welcome addition to your lifestyle if you can tolerate them, the primary focus of the foods eaten should be meat and vegetables.  If you are able to consume her recommended 9 cups per day, you probably won’t be very hungry anyway.

Mark Sisson does a great job of expanding on the reasons you should be eating these great foods, and gives helpful hints on how to go about it.  Last week he featured leafy greens; this week it’s sulphur.  Just about every meat-based recipe I cook these days starts with a chopped onion.  What I found out today is that if I let it sit on the cutting board for about 10 minutes, the active components of these vegetables are able to better withstand heat.

Cake! And Ice Cream!

My apologies for not posting much this week – it has been a busy one as we celebrated Cavebaby’s first birthday on Friday!  So what did I make for the Cavebaby to celebrate his special day?  For dinner he had Chocolate Chili and sweet potatoes, and of course cake and ice cream for dessert!  While I know that cake and ice cream are not even close to primal/paleo eating, for birthdays and special occasions I have no problem making and consuming these treats with a clean conscience.  The key is to pick a sweetener you feel comfortable consuming, and use less.  I think it also helped that I had spent the previous 30 days consuming no sweeteners whatsoever, so even a little bit tasted fantastic.

I used an Ina Garten recipe for the ice cream because it didn’t call for eggs.  Eggs are like gold around this place – especially when we get pastured ones, which was all I had in the fridge, and I was going to use four of those babies in the cake.  So here is how I made the ice cream:

2 c heavy cream

1/8 – 1/4 c sugar

pinch salt

1/2 t vanilla

  • Heat all ingredients until sugar dissolves
  • Chill mixture overnight
  • Run mixture through ice cream maker until frozen

How easy is that?!

Now for the cake: I used a recipe my mom has been making for at least the last 20 years or so.  We were fortunate to live in Germany, along the French border in those days, and got to eat so much delicious food!  It definitely made an impact on my cooking style.  This is a flourless chocolate cake, and its texture is rich and a little fudge-y.  A small slice goes a long way.  The ingredients and directions for this cake can be found here.  I used about 6 ounces of chocolate though – 72% Valrhona from Trader Joe’s.  I also used half the sugar the recipe called for – about 1/4 c. 

Filling and frosting – because the rich cake wasn’t enough I had to gild the lily a little bit.  I decided I was going to try to split the cake in half, spread some filling in the middle, and enrobe the entire thing in ganache.  The filling I used was whipped ganache, recipe found here.  Since it was a filling, I halved the recipe, then further halved the added sugar.  It was yum! 

For the frosting, I melted 2 more bars of Valhrona 72% in the microwave and then added heavy cream – about 1/2 – 3/4 c – until the texture was pour-able.  I also added a tablespoon of sugar to sweeten it a bit.  After cooling the filled cake in the fridge for about 2 hours, I poured the warm ganache over the top and spread it around gently with a spoon.  It was a beautiful cake, and the taste was out of this world!

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy:

That’s a lot of meatballs!

Last week I made 6 lbs of meatballs.  I love meatballs – they are such versatile little protein packages.  They are easy to make in bulk, easy to freeze and reheat, and you can make many different styles of dinner just from one meatball recipe.  Here is how I make mine:

3 lbs ground beef

3 lbs ground pork

1 onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 t salt

1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

1 t coriander

1 t chili spice

1/2 t cumin

pepper

4 eggs

  • Place the meat in a very large bowl
  • Place all other ingredients in a food processor and blend
  • Pour over meat; mix with hands and form into balls
  • Bake in 350 degree oven until done

Since there aren’t any breadcrumbs in these meatballs, they will be a little tough at first, so I cook them a second time.  I place them in Albondigas Soup, Curry sauce, a middle-eastern inspired sauce, or tomato sauce and let them cook for at least another hour.  That way they are nice and tender and even the Cavebaby can easily navigate them.