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Archive for the ‘cow’ Category

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.

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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.

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Mofongo with ropa vieja

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

One of my coworkers just got back from a vacation in Puerto Rico and raved about a dish she had there called mofongo. She described it as a garlicky mashed plantain mound with whatever meat you wanted. I adore plantains–they were my favorite carb even before going paleo–ahead of bread, potatoes, rice, you name it. So I googled for a recipe. Turns out it’s pretty simple–fried then mashed slices of green plantain mixed with ground up pork rinds and minced raw garlic. It’s usually topped with some sort of stew. I HAD to make this.

I’ll start with the stew, because it takes the longest to make. I altered a version of the crockpot ropa vieja recipe from PaleOMG. First, remove the bones, if any, from your chuck roast, and save them for stock. Salt and pepper both sides of your roast and brown it on both sides in your pressure cooker.

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Remove the meat and add your peppers, onion, and spices–I added minced garlic here instead of inserting the garlic into the roast.

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When your vegetables soften, add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, along with some sliced pimento-stuffed olives (I don’t have the aversion to them that PaleOMG does, and they are really, really good in this dish) and the bay leaves. Put the meat back in, submerging it as much as possible, and cook on high pressure for an hour, allowing the steam to release naturally before opening the lid. Alternatively, you can do it in a crockpot, as PaleOMG suggests, or covered on the stovetop in a Dutch oven on a low simmer until the meat pulls apart easily.

When the meat is almost done, start the mofongo. Peel four green plantains. This is easier said than done–you’ll likely have to score the peels with a knife to remove them. Slice each plantain into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal and soak the slices in a bowl of salted water for 15 minutes. Drain them and dry them before frying.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with a layer of either olive or coconut oil, using medium heat. Add the plantains in batches and fry for five minutes per side. They should be golden but not brown. Put each batch in a large mixing bowl when it’s done.

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While the plantains are frying, grind up pork rinds or chicharrones in a food processor. You’ll want a cup of crumbs–just keep adding more until you get what you need. I think about 2-3 ounces will do it. Add the crumbs to the plantains.

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Using a potato masher or a food processor, mash together the plantains and pork rind crumbs. Add some olive oil if necessary. Mix in 4 cloves of minced raw garlic. Using your hands, mash the mixture into balls.

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Shred the meat from your stew into small chunks or strands and ladle it over the mofongo, making sure to get plenty of veggies and liquid.

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This was ridiculously good. All the flavors go together perfectly. If you want, you might want to try garnishing it with some sliced avocado, but it’s not at all necessary. It’s dense and filling–a little goes a long way. I doubled the recipe and it made enough for two dinners, a Preschooler plate, and eight good-sized lunch portions. And sorry, Coworker, but I’m not sharing!

Pressure cooker pot roast with carrot and parsnip gravy

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Husband just spent five days on a business trip, and likely did a lot of things to wreck his gut. I texted him as he was heading home to ask what he’d like for dinner, and he asked for something with bone broth. Being a good wife who is well aware of the health benefits of bone broth, I obliged.

You’ll begin this one by browning all sides of a seasoned (I used smoked sea salt and pepper) 2.5 pound roast of some sort. Mine was a heel of round, but this would work fine, possibly even better, with a chuck roast of some sort. You’ll want to brown it for about five minutes per side, in a tablespoon or so of coconut oil, olive oil, or bacon grease.

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While it’s browning, peel and coarsely chop a large onion and five small parsnips. When the roast is browned, remove it from the cooker and set it aside in a bowl or on a cutting board. Add the onion and parsnips to the cooker, along with a few handfuls of baby carrots, three cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and some more salt and pepper. Cook them for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften.

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Add two cups of bone broth and a teaspoon of coconut aminos, and return the roast to the pan, submerging it as much as possible. Put the lid of the pressure cooker on and cook at high pressure for an hour. Allow the pressure to go down naturally.

When you can open the cooker, remove the meat and set it aside. Use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables and broth into a smooth purée.

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If it’s not thick enough, boil it to reduce. I boiled it for about fifteen minutes while I was making some roasted asparagus. When the gravy is thick enough for you, reduce the heat to low and return the meat until it’s warmed back up. Serve the gravy over the meat. This one would be good with mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice. I just served it in a bowl with a side of roasted asparagus and roasted garlic aioli for dipping.

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Pressure Cooker Chili

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

This recipe is great for make-ahead lunches. I like to make a big batch on Sunday–it gets me and Husband to Thursday before we need to think about lunch again. It’s also perfect if you just bought a bunch of grass-fed beef and need to get it out of your freezer.

Start with 1.5-2 pounds of stew meat. I cut up a bone-in chuck roast and saved the bones in my freezer bag of stock bones. Brown them in a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in your pressure cooker, sprinkling them with salt and pepper as soon as you put them in. You’ll want to do this in batches; if you crowd the pan you won’t get a nice browned crust on the meat.

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Remove the meat when it’s browned and set it aside. Add a chopped large onion to the pan and cook until it’s soft, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of minced garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in three cups of beef stock and boil until it’s reduced by half. Stir in two pounds of raw ground beef–it will break up and start to brown in the stock as you stir.

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Add four tablespoons of chili powder. I don’t mean generic stuff labeled “Chili Powder,” I mean ground, powdered chili peppers, particularly a kind that has the name of the type of chili on the label. I used Guajillo, but Ancho or even Chipotle would work. You can knock this down to three tablespoons if you don’t like spicy chili. Toss in a heaping tablespoon of cumin, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of salt, and several healthy grinds of black pepper, then add a large (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (I used Muir Glen), and 3/4 cup of salsa verde. Put the browned meat back in the pot. Bring your pressure cooker up to high pressure (15 psi) and cook for an hour, then let the pressure reduce naturally before removing the lid.

This will make six healthy-sized bowls. Serve with sliced avocado for a nice Whole-30 meal.

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If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can do all this in a Dutch oven. After you put the meat back in, put a lid on it and simmer, stirring occasionally, for three hours.

Middle-Eastern Meatballs with Saffron Cauliflower Rice

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I just got back from an awesome vacation in Seattle. I spent five days walking at least three miles every day, and ruining that by eating piles and piles of the best seafood in the world. One of my walks involved the obligatory trip to the Pike Place Market, where I stumbled into a spice store, and bought (among many other things) a small bottle of saffron salt. My brain spun a bit as I imagined what I’d do with it, and I came up with an adaptation of a recipe I used to make when I did not eat Paleo.

For the meatballs, first heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven. While your pan is heating up, in a small bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of almond flour with a tablespoon of cumin, a teaspoon of turmeric, a half-teaspoon of cayenne, a teaspoon of salt, two thirds of a cup of finely minced onion, and 8 cloves of garlic. In a larger bowl, mix that spice mixture with two pounds of ground beef, ground lamb, or a mixture. Roll into small meatballs (you should get 25-30 of them) and brown on all sides in the olive oil. You’ll probably need to do this in batches.

When the meatballs are browned, put them all back into the pan and add two 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce and a cup of water. Stir, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes.

While the meatballs are browning, you’ll want to get started on the rice. For this, you’ll want two heads of cauliflower. Remove the stem and core, and shred the florets with either a box grater or the grater attachment to your food processor. Heat two tablespoons of coconut oil in a large frying pan. While your oil is heating, heat up a cup of chicken stock until it’s boiling (I use the microwave so as not to dirty yet another dish) and add 1/4 tsp of crushed saffron threads to it. Let that sit for five minutes, while you fry the grated cauliflower in the coconut oil. After five minutes, add the saffron-infused broth and a half-teaspoon of turmeric (that’s how you get the nice yellow color). Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10-20 minutes, stirring frequently. When the liquid is almost all absorbed, salt to taste. I used that saffron salt here, but you can use regular salt if that’s all you have.

This recipe is more filling than it looks! I got four meatballs, thinking I’d get seconds, and I didn’t need them at all.

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Coconut Meatballs

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

I’ll admit, I did not have particularly high hopes for this recipe. I had absolutely no plans for dinner tonight. I got home and started scrounging around the freezer for something that would thaw quickly. I settled on some ground beef. Since I made burgers last night, I wanted to do something a bit more interesting, but I didn’t have much time to work with. I found a recipe for coconut meatballs and decided to modify it a bit to please a Toddler palate. Next time I won’t bother–she only ate maybe three-quarters of one. But it turned out so yummy and satisfying that I had to share it. I apologize for only taking one picture.

Start by getting a cup of coconut milk. Take four tablespoons of it and put it in a large bowl. To the four tablespoons of coconut milk, add a pound of ground beef, two cloves of crushed garlic, a small minced onion, and an egg. Then add three or four large pinches of Kosher salt (about 3/4 to 1 teaspoon), several grinds of black pepper, a splash of fish sauce, and a heaping teaspoon of red curry paste. Blend all that together until all the ingredients are uniformly distributed.

In a skillet, heat three tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Make meatballs that are about ping-pong to golf ball size, and put them in the pan. Cook them on one side for 5 minutes, then flip them and go for another five. If they’re still a bit undercooked, you can start to roll them around the pan a bit just to cook them all the way through. You may need to do this in two batches. Once they’re done, take them out of the pan and put them in a bowl to the side.

When all the meatballs are cooked, take what remains of the cup of coconut milk and pour it into the pan. Scrape up all the yummy browned bits until your coconut milk starts to get a rich brown gravy consistency. Lower the heat and put the meatballs back in, tossing them in the gravy until they’re heated through. Serve with the gravy on top.

coconut meatballs

Spiced Ground Beef with Cauliflower Zucchini Puree

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Lately, I’ve been perusing the recipe forum over at Mark’s Daily Apple. One of the posters there runs an awesome blog based on Paleo versions of classic Middle Eastern dishes. I kid you not, it seems like every other post is a dish that I absolutely love the non-Paleo version of, so it was only a matter of time before I made one. Tonight was the night to try my first one out.

I moved last August, away from a neighborhood that had a ton of restaurants within walking distance. One of the restaurants I frequented, pre-Paleo, was called Aladdin’s. They served a dish of spiced, browned ground beef on top of hummus, with pine nuts and diced tomatoes. When I saw Paleo Middle Eastern’s version, I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure how the cauliflower and zucchini would work to approximate hummus. I also wasn’t sure what 7 spice was–I had to Google it. Turns out it’s an equal mixture blend of cinnamon, allspice, peppercorns, nutmeg, fenugreek, cloves, and ground ginger. Amazingly enough, I had all spices on hand, so I toasted up everything but the ground ginger, tossed it in the coffee grinder, and added the ginger to the ground spices.

Homemade 7-spice made, I worked on the “hummus” puree. I had two large zucchini on hand, so that’s what I used. I must have had small lemons, because the three I had left only netted me a quarter-cup of juice–I had to run out and get more. I split the difference and used 3/4 cup of tahini. I also used a bag of frozen cauliflower, and since I used frozen, I ended up not adding the 1/2 cup water to the mix. Nobody’s going to be fooled into thinking that this is hummus, but it’s delicious nonetheless. Toddler, who is utterly repulsed by vegetables and by cauliflower especially, went insane for this. She kept begging for it while I was cooking the beef, and probably ate a quarter-cup of it before we even got to the table. And at the table, she ate it with a spoon and completely ignored the beef–generally the opposite of how dinner usually goes down at our house. This alone is enough for me to recommend this recipe.

The beef is awesome too. Nicely spiced and stirred while browning into a fine mince, it’s a perfect accompaniment to the puree. This made me feel like I was at Aladdin’s again. If you are not nightshade-sensitive, garnish it with a few pieces of seeded, diced Roma tomato. A drizzle of olive oil would also be a nice touch.

License to Grill

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Here’s three quick and easy recipes for grilling season, only one I’ll have pictures for.

First thing is two marinades, one for chicken breasts and one for flank steak. Both of these things are very grill-friendly, and they taste great cold, which is perfect for a lunch salad. If you’re going to fire up the grill for steaks or chops, I suggest throwing these on the coals as well, and you’ll have lunch meat for the week.

Chicken one is ridiculously easy. Put your chicken breasts (about a pound to a pound and a half’s worth) in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Pour in a half-cup each of lemon juice and soy sauce. Add 3-4 spoonfuls of jarred minced garlic (you just want the flavor, not the texture, so the jarred stuff is great in marinades) and about the same of grated ginger. Grind in about 15 grinds worth of black pepper, then close the bag, squeezing out as much air as you can. The best way to do this is to close the bag about halfway, and then fold the top half of the back back over the bottom half, so the liquid stays in the bottom but the air goes out the opening. Then close it the rest of the way, shake it up so all the garlic and ginger and pepper mixes into the marinade, and put it in the fridge. 30 minutes to 8 hours later, take it out and grill it.

Flank steak is a bit more complicated, but still delicious. You’ll want another gallon Ziploc bag, and about a 1.5 lb flank steak. Put the flank steak in the bag. Since the marinade has a lot of ingredients, I like to do this one in a separate small mixing bowl and pour it in after it’s all made. Start with a half-cup of olive oil, a third-cup of soy sauce, and a quarter cup of red wine vinegar. Squeeze in the juice of a small lemon, or half of a large one. Add two or three spoonfuls of that jarred garlic, 1-2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and another 15 or so grinds of black pepper. Whisk it until the oil is well-incorporated, then pour it into the baggie and seal it up. This one takes about 4-8 hours in the fridge to marinate–you’ll want to turn it over halfway through.

The third recipe is for keftas. For two to three pounds of ground beef or lamb, you’ll want to start with two large handfuls of flat parsley leaves–no stems. You can also add the tops of 2 green onions, or some mint if you’re using lamb. You can also use a little bit of minced garlic, some sumac, or whatever other Middle-Eastern spices you want. I prefer to keep these relatively simple. Mine just have the parsley, green onions, and about a teaspoon of dried sumac. For a good idea of the total amount of herbs to use, this is a full-sized salad spinner in this picture.

kefta herbs

Finely mince your herbs (I use the food processor) and then mix them in with your meat. Add at least a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper as well.

To make the keftas, you’ll want to get a palmful of the meat mixture and make a long, narrow tube. Think the approximate size and length of a toilet paper roll.

rolled keftas

Once they’re all rolled, they’re ready to grill. You can put them on skewers, but it’s not necessary if you’re careful turning them.

While they’re grilling, make your tahini sauce. Pour half a cup of tahini into a small mixing bowl. Add about 3 cloves of fresh crushed garlic and two pinches of kosher salt. Whisk in two tablespoons of olive oil and a quarter-cup of lemon juice. If it’s too thick, add warm water a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Serve your keftas with a green salad, kalamata olives, some seedless cucumber, feta cheese if you’re into dairy, and the tahini sauce.

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Pho King Awesome

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Husband and I are huge fans of pho, a Vietnamese soup made of oxtail broth flavored with star anise and cinnamon. Normally it comes with a huge pile of very non-Primal rice noodles, but honestly, it’s just as good without. In restaurants, I tend to order it with no rice noodles and extra bean sprouts. I’ve only made it at home once, in my pre-Primal days.

A few days ago, Husband alerted me to a blog post from Latest In Paleo that had a recipe for pho. I followed the recipe precisely, except I replaced their spinach garnish with the more traditional bean sprouts (they’re sprouts, not beans, so they’re okay), and I’d also suggest adding a lime wedge and perhaps a squirt or two of Sriracha. What this recipe gets you is a broth so rich with collagen that it’s a solid mass of gelatin in the fridge, and even when hot appears to jiggle a bit. The mouthfeel is amazing, the meat falls apart (I even had a few bones get soft) but still retains flavor, and the seasoning in the broth is subtle but powerful.

Plus, it’s pretty.
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