Thursday, February 24, 2011

The best short ribs I've ever made...

*Find this and many other paleo recipes on Chowstalker!*

Well, it was only my second time.  They were really great though- last time I accidentally bought boneless short ribs (bones make everything so much flavorful), and I braised them in the oven.  This time I used a couple packs I ordered from, supplemented with an extra pack from my local BJ's, and braised them in the crockpot.  The next time I order these, I will be getting a LOT!  Grassfed meat is naturally leaner than the grain-fed stuff you find in the store, but these grassfed short ribs had plenty of fat on them, and the fat of healthy animals is a good thing.  I personally like to eat a higher fat diet these days, because it keeps me full, and it is damn tasty!  I just try to be mindful of the types of fats I'm eating, but not in the same way I used to (i.e., favoring polyunsaturated over saturated fats).  Here's some info on healthy fats; granted these are links to other paleo-type sites, but it's easier to read and make sense of these than something from an academic journal:

-The Definitive Guide to Saturated Fat
-Grass-fed Meats: Health Benefits
-Fats: Which to Eat and Which to Ditch

Oh, and here's that short rib recipe I was talking about!

-5 lbs short ribs
-2 cups red wine (something drinkable)
-1 cup stock or broth
-1 medium onion, roughly chopped
-2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
-1 pack roasting herb blend (rosemary, sage, thyme) wrapped in cheesecloth
-1 big handful whole garlic cloves
-Clarified butter or lard, etc. for browning the ribs
-Salt and pepper

Start by patting the ribs dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add fat to large pan (I used two for expediency) and heat it up pretty high.  When the pan starts smoking a little, add ribs to the pan; leave space between them, or they'll steam!  Brown them well on all sides, and add them to a slow cooker, add wine, stock, veggies, herbs, and garlic.  You could just cook them on low for about 7 hours, but I started mine late, so I cooked them on high for about 3 hours, then stuck the insert in the fridge overnight (let it cool off for an hour or two first, so it doesn't heat up the fridge).  The next day, I scooped the fat off the top (these give off a LOTof fat, so I like to remove the excess so it's not too greasy- save the fat, render any residual water out of it, and use it for cooking some taters, mmmm), and put it back in the crock pot on low for about 4 hours.  Then I strained the liquid through cheesecloth (discarding veggies), and reduced it on the stove for about an hour, and poured it back over the ribs at serving time (kept them in the crock pot on warm while the liquid was cooking).

For sides, I roughly chopped up some sweet potatoes, tossed them in melted clarified butter, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and chinese five spice, then roasted at 425 for about 40 minutes (turn the pieces halfway through).  I also roasted some broccoli florets for about ten minutes (sprinkled them with some olive oil, salt & pepper, and italian seasoning).

So worth the effort!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's a double recipe, all the way!

Confessional time; this weekend, I had two cupcakes at a birthday party, and some bread at Outback.  Aaaand, moving on!  Before the cupcakes, I made my rounds at the ol' food table; there's almost always some good, or at least not so bad stuff there.  I had some baby carrots and cherry tomatoes from the crudité tray, a couple deviled eggs, and made some little rollups from the sandwich tray.  I did take a few digestive enzyme caps; I do find that they really help lessen my symptoms when I have gluten.

We have company at the homestead this week, so I've been cooking up a storm!  Yesterday I made a frittata for breakfast; it's a great way to use up stuff from the fridge, and it's a crowd-pleaser.  Here's what I had on hand:
-8 eggs
-A few TBS heavy cream
-A couple handfuls of baby arugula
-A handful of baby portabellas, sliced
-About 1/4 medium onion
-5 slices of crispy bacon, crumbled (I like to bake it at 350 for about 20 mins)
-A few thin slices of Kerrygold Blarney Castle cheese

Beat together eggs and cream, set aside.  Saute mushrooms and onion in some clarified butter or bacon grease until soft, then add arugala; cook until it wilts.  Then add egg mixture, and stir until eggs are about halfway cooked, then transfer pan to oven, or if like me, you don't have an oven safe pan, scrape it into a pie plate, top with cheese, and bake at 450 for 5 minutes, or until it's set.  It makes 4 heaping helpings.

For dinner, I originally intended to serve short ribs, but I was too late getting them into the crock pot, so this was plan B:

Some italian sausage- I had a pack of chicken pesto sausage from Trader Joe's, and a similar sausage I picked up at Giant- it had no crazy ingredients, and was semi-local to boot (made in Baltimore).
A few small zucchini, sliced pretty thin
1/4 medium sliced onion
A few shakes italian seasoning
Chicken thighs
A handful of garlic cloves

Marinara sauce- I make my own because the ones without sugar and crappy oils are super pricey:
1 big can diced or crushed organic tomatoes
1 small can roasted diced tomatoes
A few TBS extra virgin olive oil
A handful of garlic cloves
1 tsp celtic sea salt
A few shakes of italian seasoning (yes, I'm a lazy measurer; measuring cups are so neolithic anyway)

Start with the sauce; just dump everything into a saucepan and simmer on low heat for at least 45 minutes.  When you're ready to serve, puree CAREFULLY!  I used my Smart Stick.  After starting the sauce, put chicken thighs in a roasting pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and italian seasoning, and haphazardly sprinkle in some whole garlic cloves.  Bake at 425 for about 35-40 minutes (this dinner would be totally fine with just sausage and veggies; I added the baked thighs just to make sure there would be enough to go around).  Brown the sausages over medium heat until cooked through; about 15 minutes.  While the sausages are cooking, saute the zucchni and onion slices in some clarified butter (over medium-high heat) for about 5-7 minutes, depending on your preference of done-ness.  Then just put everything on a plate (don't forget the roasted garlic from the chicken thighs!) and smother in marinara.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coconut Scallops & more Cannibalism...

I haven't collected many interesting tidbits lately to make a whole Link Love post, but I just came across this nifty piece about British folk from almost 15,000 years ago eating each other and making cups out of the skulls!  I wonder if they drank tea out of them...

Now that I've ruined your appetite, check out these scallops!  I got a fantastic deal on some scallops at the grocery store, so I picked up a pack- I think they were mislabeled as bay scallops for $5/lb; couldn't pass that up.  I dipped them in some beaten egg white, and then rolled them in some unsweetened, dried coconut, then pan-fried them in coconut oil, just until they were golden brown on both sides.  I made a sauce with some homemade mayo, some ginger, a splash of tamari, & a little fresh OJ, and served them with some veggies from the freezer, and a side of steak!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coconut Bars / Hand Scrub?! *Repost from old site*

I got this idea from; used mostly the same ingredients, but switched up the ratios because I didn’t want it to be too date-heavyI soaked the almonds overnight- I have read that soaking (“sprouting”) nuts makes them easier to digest.

You might notice this recipe is very fat-heavy and probably has a lot of calories- be not afraid! For one, these bars are quite filling, so I don’t find it difficult to eat them in moderation. Secondly, almond and coconut are so good for you!  Well, almonds are kinda good for you; they do have calcium, magnesium, & some protein, and coconut is believed to be antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, among many other things.

8 organic Medjool dates, pitted
1.5 cups raw soaked almonds
¼ cup +1 TBS melted coconut oil(I like Nutiva brand)
2 TBS honey
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (this will give the bars a little lemony essence; can be left out if you don’t want that)

-Grease a small baking dish (9x9) with 1 tbs coconut oil
-In food processor, combine half of almonds, dates, remaining coconut oil and honey, pulse till it’s pretty smooth (like a chunky almond butter). Scrape into medium mixing bowl. 
-Add coconut flakes and stir with a wooden spoon. When you see this isn’t working too well, get your hands in there and combine everything. This should be pretty moist and the consistency of a stiff cookie dough, and should hold together pretty well if you squeeze a handful of it (it will set up pretty well in the fridge later). If it’s not holding together, stir in a little more melted coconut oil (it gets solid at room temp, to that will help it firm up).
-Dump it into your baking pan, and press down firmly so the mixture is really packed down, then cover with plastic and pop it in the fridge to set up for at least an hour.
-The most important part! Go by your sink, and before you rinse off, give yourself a little hand massage! The almond and coconut will exfoliate your hands, and the fats from the nuts and coconut oil are a great moisturizer. You can even use coconut oil on your skin for everyday use if you feel so inclined (I recently started using a little on my hair as a de-frizzer).
-Once they set, you can cut into bars (3x3 squares seemed pretty easy to handle). Be careful when you lift them out of the pan; they’re a little delicate. These can keep in the fridge for six days according to the original recipe, enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Puppy Bowl 0-Alarm Chili (with kitty halftime show)

Yeah I'm not much of a football fan; I prefer Animal Planet for the big game :)  I figured this was just as good a time as any to try my hand at chili, and it went a little something like this:

1 lb ground bison
1 lb stew beef (I get mine from
1 somewhat large onion, chopped
a handful of garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 big (22oz?) can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 small (14oz?) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 TBS cumin
*if I had any, I would've added a couple tsp of chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
a couple tsp of salt, or to taste
a few TBS clarified butter

Begin by putting some butter in a large pot, and cook the onions, garlic & spices on low-med heat for about 15 minutes, until they get golden brown.  Brown the meats while the onions are cooking- I cut up the stew meat into smaller chunks and browned them briefly over high heat to get some color on them, then add all the meats into the pot.  Then add the tomatoes and herbs, simmer on low for about 2.5 hours, until the stew meat is tender.  I topped mine with some Kerrygold Blarney Castle cheese.  Super easy, and even better the next day!  Sorry, no pic of this one; it looked like chili.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Deviled Eggs, Remastered

Who doesn't love deviled eggs?  They're great for breakfast, a snack, when you want to be the popular girl at the party ("oooh, who brought deviled eggs?!" etc.)  While the paprika-speckled classic ones never get old, it's fun to mix it up a little.  The above picture is Fat Guacamole Devils; just sub some mashed avocado for the mayo & mustard, and throw in some cilantro!  I brought these in for an office Halloween party; they were a little scary-looking (which is why I figured Halloween was a safe time to drop these jokers on the co-workers) but went over pretty well!  A few weeks ago, I made bacon-infused deviled eggs; just used some homemade baconnaise in the mix.  They would be great with some bacon crumbled on top; mine didn't last long enough for me to do that, let alone take a picture of them.  The devilish possibilities are endless!