Eat Evolved


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Archive for July, 2012

Spanish Meatballs

Friday, July 20th, 2012

We’re getting our half-cow tomorrow. This morning, the only thing left from our last one was one poor lone pound of hamburger. I had to use it, but one pound is tough to do much with. Thankfully, I also have a bunch of ground pastured pork, so I figured I’d do something that combined both of them. I also had a bunch of leftover roasted garlic mayo from yesterday’s BLT adventure. I thought back to my love of albóndigas from tapas restaurants, and an idea was born.

First, I mixed a large handful of fresh parsley and a leftover slice of that bread from Against All Grain in the food processor. Warning–this makes more of a paste than it does soft breadcrumbs, but it worked, so I don’t care. Mix the resulting paste with a pound each of ground beef and ground pork. Add a teaspoon or so of saffron salt (or a teaspoon of sea salt mixed with 1/4 teaspoon of crushed saffron threads) and a tablespoon and a half of minced garlic and blend again.

Heat three tablespoons or so of olive oil in a Dutch oven. While the pan is heating, roll your meatballs. I ended up making 27, so you should get anywhere from 24-30 of them. Fry the meatballs in the olive oil, browning on all sides. You’ll likely have to do this in two batches.

While the second batch is browning, finely mince a small onion. When the second batch of meatballs is done, put them aside with the first batch. Fry up the minced onion in the fat left in the pan. Try to scrape up any browned bits from the meatballs. After about 3-4 minutes, add another tablespoon of minced garlic and sauté for another minute.

At this point, if you wish, add 2-3 tablespoons of red wine. Scrape up any remaining browned bits and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute. Add a tablespoon of smoked paprika and a half-teaspoon of salt and cook for another minute. Stir in a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. Add cayenne to taste. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. Serve with a side of garlic mayo. These would also be good over cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower.



Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Tonight, since Husband returned from a business trip late last night, I rewarded him by making BLTs. It’s the perfect time of year for them–tomatoes are in season! A good BLT is one of the things I miss the most about eating bread.

Well, thanks to Against All Grain and their lovely cashew-butter based sandwich bread, I don’t have to miss it anymore. This stuff is pretty calorie dense, so I won’t make it frequently, but for a special treat, it’s lovely. I sliced the loaf in half and then lengthwise to get slices that were shaped more like traditional bread, then griddled them in the pan I used to make the bacon, after I poured out all the grease. I think next time I’ll put in just a teaspoon of honey, if any, but that’s the only change I’d make. With crispy bacon, fresh tomatoes, salad greens, and homemade roasted garlic mayonnaise, it was a great summer meal.


Cod with Bacon Sauce

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

During the description of this recipe, I will tell you how I screwed it up. I’m not perfect; some of my experiments are failures that range from minor to epic. This one was minor. This cod is not as good as it could be. I’ll tell you what I did wrong, and hopefully give you a couple of ways to avoid my pitfall.

I had a frozen package of cod that was 26 ounces. The recipe I was using as a base to kick this off called for 16-20 ounces. If you just have a pound of cod, fry up 4 strips of bacon to start. If you have more, like I did, fry up 6. Get them nice and crispy, then drain them on paper towels and set them aside.

Here’s where I went wrong. The original recipe said to dredge the cod in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I figured coconut flour would work best in this application. I was totally wrong; it just got soggy. No crisp at all. Thankfully, everything else tastes so good that this wasn’t too big of a deal. So either skip that step completely and just cook the cod in the bacon grease with a tablespoon of ghee added for 2-3 minutes per side, or until it flakes easily with a fork, or dredge in almond flour instead of coconut.

When the fish is done, remove it from the pan and keep it warm. Remove the grease and wipe the pan clean. Return it to the heat and melt four tablespoons of ghee. Thinly slice an entire bunch of green onions, the green and white parts, and cook the white parts in the ghee for two minutes, then add the green parts and cook for another 2-3 minutes. While that’s cooking, crumble the reserved bacon. When the green onions are done, add the crumbled bacon, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and a tablespoon and a half of capers. Whisk it a few times to combine, then serve it on top of the cod.

This was actually really yummy. I just wish I hadn’t used coconut flour.


Sausage and Crawfish Jambalaya

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

The saga of cleaning out the fridge before the cow is ready (on the 18th, yikes!) continues. This weekend, among other things, I thawed out a pound of crawfish. There are exactly three things that should be made when one has a pound of crawfish, and all of them are Cajun. Today, I decided to make a version of jambalaya, using cauliflower rice. Tomorrow, it might be étouffée (Paleo Comfort Foods has a great version), or maybe gumbo.

The first thing you’ll want is a pound of pre-cooked andouille sausage. Wellshire makes a good brand with minimal fillers. If you don’t like spicy, you can sub some cubed chicken breast–just make sure to cook it in some fat, as you’ll need it later. For the sausage, you can simply slice and fry. Use a big pot, because this is a two-pot meal and it’ll all end up in this one eventually.

When the sausage slices are brown, add one diced onion, one diced green pepper, and two large stalks of celery, also diced. There should be enough rendered grease from the sausage to cook them in. If not, add some fat of choice. When the veggies have softened, add some garlic (four or five cloves, minced) and cook for another minute or so. Then add a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, a 6-ounce can of tomato paste, three cups of chicken stock, a tablespoon of Creole seasoning, two teaspoons of chili powder, a few pinches of salt, a half-teaspoon of dried thyme, and cayenne and black pepper to taste. Let this simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat up a tablespoon or two of oil. In that, sweat a small minced onion, a diced green pepper, and a minced shallot. When they are soft and the onion and shallot are starting to turn golden, add a head of grated cauliflower. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. Stir in a tablespoon of Creole seasoning. If your seasoning is salt-free, add salt to taste.

By this point, hopefully your jambalaya is done. Add a pound of crawfish tails to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower rice and serve.


Sous vide flank steak with dairy-free creamed spinach

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

So I finished my Whole30, if you can call it finished seeing as I haven’t gone back to my old ways. I’ve lost 8 pounds, an inch off my waist and an inch and a half off my hips, and gained a great deal of energy and a much better attitude. I don’t even miss dairy all that much, especially when I can find great substitutes like I did tonight.

But I’ll begin with the flank steak, and tell you a little story about the girl with no freezer space. We’re getting half a grassfed cow again next week–something that generally fills up our chest freezer at least halfway. But then on Monday, I noticed that my favorite pastured pork provider actually had availability for the first time in ages. I ordered some skin, chops (best chops on Earth), ground pork, and spare ribs. And I might have gotten a little carried away. I have a freezer that’s…pretty full. And it has to be decidedly less full in a week and a half. Eep. When I put the pork in, I took out some other stuff–a chicken, some sausages I got from my organic grocery delivery service, and a flank steak.

Sous vide is a great way of cooking lean meats like flank steak. For this one, you’ll need some sort of immersion cooker–there are ways to hack a cooler into a decent sous vide machine, but that’s for shorter times than this will require. You’ll want either a Sous Vide Supreme or the less expensive Sous Vide Magic which turns crock pots or rice cookers into sous vide cookers. I asked for the Magic last Christmas, but got the Supreme Demi, because Husband is just that awesome.

To make the flank steak, rub it with a bit of the green stuff or some salt and pepper, put it in a vacuum-sealed bag, and put it in your sous vide at 131 degrees. You can even put it in fully frozen if you want–I did. That temperature gets you medium-rare. If you want rare, try about 127. If you want it more cooked than medium-rare, you’re nuts and should probably just go be a vegan or something. 24 hours later (mine was more like 27, and it would probably still be good up to 48 hours later), take it out, pat it dry, and either sear it on very high heat for a minute per side or take your kitchen torch to the outside of it. When the outside is seared to your liking, slice it thinly against the grain. It ends up with an awesome texture–mine had some gristle in it that I was worried would make it too chewy, but it just pulled right apart, and the gristle was all gelatin.

For the creamed spinach, I used the raw cashew “cream” sauce base from Against All Grain, replacing the basil with dried parsley and ignoring the rest of the (admittedly delicious-looking) recipe. Whiz your soaked cashews and reserved soaking water in the food processor. It’ll look runny, but it eventually sets up. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice and whiz it again until it’s smooth. Add a little bit of it to some sautéed baby spinach and stir until it’s warmed through. You may also want to add some extra salt. The rest of the sauce will keep in the fridge for a few days. I plan on tossing it with some broccoli tomorrow.

Doesn’t that look awesome? I can attest that it was. I don’t miss the dairy in the least.