Eat Evolved


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Archive for the ‘pig’ 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.


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.


Chorizo and sweet potato breakfast casserole

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

One of my major difficulties in sticking with the Whole30 in the past was breakfast. I’ve always had the thought that breakfast should include cheese of some sort. Going dairy-free for breakfast is harder than any other meal. Eggs and cheese is a perfect combination. What a sad life it is without them.

Turns out I just wasn’t creative enough. This time, I was prepared. I spent a couple of weeks before I started poring through all of my favorite paleo recipe sites, putting every recipe that sounded remotely good into Pinterest so I could access them later. One that I found that sounded good was Everyday Paleo’s Southwestern Frittata. And really, the only way I could improve upon it was to make it more southwestern, by replacing the ground beef with homemade chorizo.

To make the chorizo, put two pounds of ground pork into a bowl. Add a tablespoon and a half of smoked sea salt; a tablespoon of ancho chile powder; a half-tablespoon each of paprika, chipotle chile powder, and minced garlic; and a half-teaspoon each of dried oregano, ground coriander, black pepper, and cumin. Mix it thoroughly with your hands. Add a tablespoon and a half of red wine vinegar, mix with your hands again until the meat is a uniform texture, and refrigerate for an hour.

While your chorizo is chilling, chop your jalapeños and onions, and shred your peeled sweet potatoes. Grease your baking dish with bacon grease. For the record, I doubled the recipe and it fit perfectly in a 13×9-inch casserole dish. I just had to bake it a bit longer.

Other than replacing the ground beef with chorizo, I followed the Everyday Paleo recipe exactly. And I cannot wait to have some of it tomorrow morning.


Pan-seared pork chops with mushrooms and Dijon cream sauce over caramelized cabbage “noodles”

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I’ve been gone a while. A good portion of that while involved gutting my kitchen and basically doing a first-floor remodel. The good news is that now I have a bitchin’ kitchen (I bet somewhere there’s a blog with that title–if not, I should totally change this one) and can start posting here again. And my pictures no longer all look orange!

I just got my bimonthly delivery from Green Bean Delivery, which contained, among other things, four lovely boneless pork chops, a head of cabbage, and a bag of white button mushrooms. I also just bought a half-gallon of lovely heavy cream from the grassfed cows at Snowville Creamery. Gears started spinning in my head, and I whipped together one of my better whip-together meals in quite some time.

Here’s what you’ll need.

4 boneless pork chops, 1″ thick
Salt and pepper
Fat of choice for cooking (I used a mixture of grassfed butter and olive oil)
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp minced garlic or 2 tbsp minced shallots
1/4 cup cognac
2/3 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
3 tbsp Dijon mustard (I used half regular Dijon and half seeded Dijon)
1 head cabbage, thinly sliced
Bacon grease for cooking

For the cabbage, very thinly slice a head of cabbage.

Sliced cabbage

Heat bacon grease over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the cabbage and salt to taste. Cook the cabbage, stirring frequently, until it wilts and begins to brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Caramelized cabbage

Salt and pepper both sides of your pork chops. Sear them over medium-high heat for five minutes per side, using your fat of choice.

pork chops

When they’re done, remove them to a plate. Throw in your mushrooms and cook them until they release their liquid. Add the garlic or shallots and cook for another couple of minutes, until the mushroom liquid begins to evaporate.


Add the cognac and cook down until all the liquid is almost evaporated. Lower the heat, stir in the cream, and bring it to a simmer. Whisk in the mustard. Add the pork chops to warm them back up.

chops in sauce

Serve over the cabbage noodles.

pork and noodles

pork and noodles 2

Paleo Father’s Day Brunch

Sunday, June 19th, 2011


Clockwise from top: Celery root “hash browns,” crabcake eggs Benedict, and sausage gravy and biscuits.

This was a really fabulous brunch–had it at 10 AM and was really not very hungry even when dinner rolled around.

The hash browns were amazing. I’ve really missed breakfast potatoes since I made the switch to a Primal diet, and these were amazingly good. The celery root shredded right up in the food processor, and they cooked into a wonderful soft texture that I’ve never really managed to pull off with actual potatoes. Cook them a bit longer than the recipe calls for–I gave them an extra five minutes per side and still didn’t get them as crispy as I could have. Otherwise, they’re dead easy–shredded celery root, salt, and pepper, fried in whatever oil you prefer–I used ghee. My mother-in-law couldn’t tell that they weren’t potatoes.

The sausage gravy and biscuits I made from this Robb Wolf recipe. About the only thing I did differently was omit the fennel in the gravy, used tapioca flour instead of arrowroot powder, and beat the egg whites into soft peaks for the biscuits (I shouldn’t have bothered–it took so much stirring to incorporate all the coconut flour that it deflated them completely). I’ll keep searching for a better biscuit recipe. The gravy was really good, though–couldn’t tell that it was dairy-free at all!

I’ve made crab cakes on here before–they’re one of those things that I make a little differently every time. The standard is crabmeat + egg + almond flour + green onions + Old Bay + salt and pepper. Sometimes I use a little bit of diced celery or celery seed. I fried them in olive oil for about 5 minutes per side, and then put them in the oven at 200 degrees on a cookie sheet to keep warm along with the hash browns while I made the rest of the meal. To make the Benedict, I made hollandaise sauce using my stick blender. Put 3 room temperature egg yolks in the beaker, and top with the rest of the ingredients. Put the barely-melted butter in last, let it settle for about 15 seconds, then whiz it with the stick blender until it’s smooth. You can do this in a regular blender or food processor too, but I prefer the stick blender version. You’ll want this to be the last thing you do for the meal, because if it cools off too much it’s really not very good, and it can’t be reheated. To plate it up, top a crab cake with a poached or fried egg, then pour the hollandaise over it.

The world’s best pork chops

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

First off, I would be remiss if I didn’t give major props to my source for pork chops, Caw Caw Creek. Emile raises wonderful piggies, and one of my favorite things is a juicy, tender, well-marbled pork chop from one of them. His bacon and sausages and Boston butts are also top notch (and you’ve never had wonderful until you’ve made cracklins from the skin that he leaves on those butts), but the pork chops are divine. Take one of those, well-prepared, and it’s better than almost any steak you can get. I used to love just slathering them in the Green Stuff and grilling them, until I found a perfect recipe for pan-searing.

You’ll want two large center cut chops, at least an inch thick. I have also done this with Emile’s regular bone-in chops, but those are thicker so you’ll have to extend the cooking time a bit. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over high heat. Yeah, high. You’ll have to be careful that the butter and olive oil don’t smoke, but if they do it’s not the end of the world. Salt and pepper your chops. Use a lot of salt on this one–I’ve been known to use three quarters of a teaspoon on one large chop, but I love my salt. Put the chops in the skillet, and sear for two minutes. Flip, and sear for two minutes more. Turn down the heat to medium and cook for four more minutes, then flip and cook another five. Remove them from the pan and put them on a plate.

While the pork is cooking, mince two shallots and a clove of garlic. When the chops are done, remove all but a tablespoon of the fat remaining in the pan. If it got too browned, just remove it all and start over with a half-tablespoon each of olive oil and butter. Add the shallot and cook for two minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Then pour in a quarter-cup of dry vermouth. Scrape up all those lovely golden brown bits that were left behind from the pork. Add a half-cup of chicken stock and the juices that have accumulated in the pork plate, increase the heat, and reduce it to a thin syrup. Lower the heat to medium again and whisk in a couple of tablespoons of cold butter. When the butter has melted, pour the sauce over the pork.

This is an ugly picture, because a) the side is leftover cabbage, b) my peach kitchen, and c) half the pork chop is gone because we hacked off some bits to serve to Toddler. But just look at the color on those chops. And that sauce? I dare you to go without licking your plate like some sort of uncivilized heathen.
pork chops

Brazilian Meatloaf and Braised Endive

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

I’m a quarter Brazilian.  My maternal grandfather came here from Brazil as an adult.  He was a radiologist, and moved to Huntington, West Virginia, at a time when they couldn’t actually get many American doctors because nobody wanted to live in Huntington, West Virginia.  His family would visit him occasionally, and as a child I would love it when my great-aunt Zita and great-uncle Elias would come to visit, because Zita was one hell of a cook.  One of the things she made that everyone loved was Brazilian Meatloaf.  That’s what she called it, anyway.  I’m pretty sure there’s not a damn thing Brazilian about it other than the chef.

Anyway, I never had a recipe, but it was pretty well-tuned to the Standard American Diet.  Hell, she topped it with crushed-up Cornflakes.  But it was good, and I decided a while ago that I would try to make a Primal version of it, because other than the breadcrumbs and the Cornflakes, it was a pretty perfect Primal meal.  I managed to do a pretty good job of it, if I do say so myself.

The first thing you need is the Green Stuff.

The Green Stuff is my great-aunt Zita’s signature condiment.  It’s awesome as a meat rub, especially on steaks or nice thick pork chops, but it’s also good as an all-purpose seasoning.  You need a food processor to make it, and the recipe makes a ton (a little goes a long way) but it also lasts about forever.  I’ve had this jar for almost two years now (it’s the third of three jars I made) and it’s still going strong.

To make it, you’ll need:

3 large onions
1 head of garlic
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of chives

Put all that into a food processor and blend it until it’s relatively well-pureed.  Pour it into a bowl, and then add Kosher salt until it’s more or less the consistency of wet sand–it’ll be about 2-3 cups of salt total.  Put it in jars and store it in the fridge.

Okay, back to the meatloaf.  You’ll need two pounds of a meat blend. While the best flavor comes from an equal mixture of beef, pork, and veal (and that’s what I used in this one), I’ve done it with a pound of beef and a pound of pork and it’s been fine.  Put that in a bowl and mix it well with an egg and a teaspoon or so of the green stuff.

Notice that the meat and egg mixture is kind of slimy and clumpy.  You need a binder.  In the Standard American Diet, that binder is bread crumbs.  But see what’s in the background of the Green Stuff picture?  Almond flour!  That stuff can get expensive, so if you don’t want to use it, I’d suggest skipping the egg entirely and just using the meat blend.  But I think the texture is better if you use a bit of filler, and just like the Green Stuff, a little bit of almond flour goes a long way.

See?  You don’t need much at all.  Blend it together with your hands, until you can make a ball with it and it holds its own shape.

Take half of that ball and line the bottom of a loaf pan with it.  You’ll want to press it up the sides a bit to make a small tunnel.  A meat culvert, if you will.  A meat ditch.  A meat valley.  This sounds dirty.  I’ll just show you the picture.

The meat crevasse does not show up well in that picture.  I use an iPhone 4 as my camera, and my kitchen is annoyingly peach, so I apologize for the picture quality.  Anyhoo, this is where the fun begins.  First, you need some sliced ham.  Try to get good quality ham, cured with minimal sugar.  I asked for the least sweet ham that they had, and it turned out well.  Take about six ham slices and line your meat gorge with it.

Next, slice up some cheese.  Zita’s original used cheap block mozzarella.  I try to be good about the cheese I use, so I got some raw Jack cheese from Whole Foods and used it.  I wasn’t precise, but this is about 3/4 cup of cheese.  Put it on top of the ham.  You can skip this step if you don’t do dairy, but man, it’s one good step.

Now here’s where things get CRAZY.  Add three peeled (duh) hard-boiled eggs.

Take the other half of your meat ball, and use it to seal all that goodness into the middle of the meatloaf.  You’ll want to take your finger and run it around the outside of the loaf to make sure to seal it up well, otherwise all that cheese will leak out while it’s cooking.  I guarantee you no matter how well you seal it up, some will still ooze out, but you still have to try to seal it up, otherwise it’s total chaos.  At the end, it’ll look something like this.

Remember those cornflakes I mentioned?  Well, we can’t use those, but what we CAN use is slivered almonds!  I forgot to take a picture of that, so you’ll just have to wait and see the finished product.  Put your almond-topped meat mountain into an oven that you’ve conveniently preheated to 350 degrees.  It’ll be done in an hour.

Meanwhile, you need a side dish.  I got some Belgian Endives at Trader Joe’s, so I decided to make braised endive.  To feed two hungry adults and one vegetable-reluctant toddler, you’ll need six heads of endive. Trim the bottoms and split them in half.

In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-low heat, melt enough butter to cover the bottom with a thin layer.  Sorry I can’t be more specific than that, but I rarely measure my cooking fats.  Instead, I’ll just take pictures.  Obviously you can use coconut oil if you’re not into dairy.

Add your endive to the pan, cut side down.  Sprinkle it with salt and about a tablespoon of lemon juice.  Pour one-third of a cup of water or chicken stock down the side of the pan.

At this point, turn the heat down to low, put on the lid, and wait 25 minutes.  What you see when you return and remove the lid will be something like this.

Your endive should be wilted and soft and in a small pool of water.  Increase the heat to medium-high and watch as the liquid begins to evaporate.  After it evaporates, let the endive brown a bit and then flip them.  It’ll be about 3-4 minutes after all the liquid is gone.

Eventually you’ll notice everything start to brown, including your pan.  That’s when it’s pretty much done.

If you’ve timed it right, this should be ready right about when the meatloaf is done.  Take your meatloaf out of the oven and remove it from the pan to a cutting board.

Doesn’t that look awesome?  Plate it up with the endive and serve.  This should be enough for two adults and one toddler, with leftovers for one of the adults to have for lunch the next morning. Husband tells me that next time, I should make two.