Thursday, October 20, 2011

Some hearthealthywholegrains!

Even pre-paleo, I was never a big oatmeal person, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about Jack Kronk's recipe on Paleohacks. I do think that properly prepared grains can be a harmless "once in awhile" treat, and a vehicle for real food ingredients.  So, I got some oats from the store and soaked them with water and goat kefir; I didn't have any buckwheat flour but wasn't too worried about it.  Dad was confused as he saw me rinsing the oats last night ("those look like grains"); I assured him not to worry, that I was just experimenting.  I was low on blueberries, so of course, I figured I better just make em with pumpkin instead!  After soaking and rinsing the oats, I mixed together 3 eggs, 1/2 can of pumpkin, 1/4 cup of honey, and a tablespoon of trusty pumpkin pie spice, and stirred this into the oats.  Then I added the half stick of melted butter and stuck the dish in the oven.  Turned out great, and it didn't cause me any stomach upset, woo-hoo!  This oatmeal is even better when you look at Jack's avatar while you're eating it.  Thanks Jack, for the awesome recipe and awesome torso! :D

Added some coconut milk, and sprinkled
with a little cinnamon & coconut sugar, nomz!

So what else is going on?  Well, on Sunday I'm doing my first MovNat workshop at Rock Creek Park in D.C., and I'm really looking forward to it!  I'm so relieved my neck has gotten better (it seemed like it never would) and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day.  Next weekend I'll be attending a Whole9 Foundations of Nutrition Workshop in Bowie; it was supposed to be this past August, but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Irene.  I got a lot of good tidbits out of the Whole9 virtual workshop I participated in last spring; I'm really stoked about a whole Saturday!  In addition to all that, I'll be moving AGAIN next week, whew!  More busy times ahead, but I'll be sure to write about the fun stuff (i.e. the non-moving stuff) as soon as I can.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Primal PSL

That pumpkin spice is so hot right now (yes, that's a Mugatu reference).  I haven't been able to tolerate caffeine lately, so I haven't been having my usual Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice K-Cups and have been obsessively looking for a substitute (because I'll be damned if I'm going to Starbucks every day).  After some poking around on the interwebs, I made a decaf Pumpkin Spice Latte last night; this creamer mixture is enough for roughly three servings.  No, I didn't steam the milk or use espresso; lets call it a Ghetto PSL.

2/3 cup coconut milk (or grassfed heavy cream like I used this time)
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 TBS pumpkin puree
1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe vessel, microwave for 45 seconds- 1 minute, and stir to dissolve coconut sugar.  Then just pour some into your favorite coffee (or black tea!) and try to forget about the fact that summer is over!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adventures in babysitting and grocery shopping

Times have been hectic indeed!  There's been a move, a new job position, a little more drinking and a little less cooking than is ideal.  I recently spend most of a weekend babysitting my little niece; I'm not a kid person, so it was interesting.  I was curious to see how she would like being a paleobabby for the weekend (Paleohacks joke!), and the experiment went well!  I told her I was making bacon for breakfast and she seemed cool with that; she even got impatient while it was cooking and said "where's my bacon?!"  Needless to say, I was delighted; she had bacon & bananas for breakfast and loved it.  Then we went to the county fair to look at the animals and I forgot to give her lunch :/  Didn't I say I'm not a kid person?  Let's just call it intermittent fasting!  She seemed fine though, and after naptime I gave her some rotisserie chicken and a little white rice for dinner.  I didn't accomplish getting any veggies in her that day, but she ate an impressive amount of chicken, and no cookies, crackers, or prepackaged baby meals.

The next week I spent a day in Baltimore with my parents and I found a great dinner place on it's called Waterstone Bar & Grill and it was an absolute gem.  I'd gotten a $25 gift certificate for $2, so dinner for the three of us was under $40.  Mom got a bison burger, and dad & I both got the Hairiki Village dish: 2 lamb chops, fried calamari (yes, there was gluten), grilled yellow squash, and a side of cucumber, tomato, feta salad.  I'd go back in a heartbeat, and my mom was even impressed (no small feat).

I've also recently had the opportunity to try out Elevation Burger.  A location was recently opened at the National Harbor (about an hour and a half from my home) and I was excited to check them out after learning about them from some paleo forums.  Their beef is grassfed, they will wrap your burger in lettuce, and they cook their fries in olive oil (also, said fries are enough for two people to share)!  Pretty cool!  I was really pleased with my meal and will definitely be back next time I'm in the area. 

I also had a rare opportunity to go to Whole Foods last weekend (yes, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are a special treat for me).  While I absolutely believe Whole Foods doesn't have to be expensive and there are great deals to be had, I'm a little ashamed to admit I spent over $100 on two bags of groceries :(  There were some fancy things (a pastured chicken, grassfed beef, wine, etc.) but I also stocked up on my Kerrygold (which costs a lot more in my town for some reason) and got some good yogurt because I'm doing some experiments with lacto-fermenting, and apparently the regular store yogurt isn't very effective in the probiotic department (I read that on the internet, so I'm not 100% sure, but why mess around with fermenting mayo?)  I also got a container of sheep yogurt for shits & giggles, and a bottle of goat kefir because I want to see what all the fuss is about.  I'll definitely be doing some smoothies with the kefir, and will probably try drinking some with honey and some spices.

So that's what I've been up to; more recipes are coming soon!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Petite Medallions with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

A few months ago, I got second place in a Chowstalker contest, and I've been patiently waiting for the weather to cool off so I could redeem my U.S. Wellness Meats gift certificate.  Last week I knew it was time.  I was going to be economical and just get a bunch of ground beef, but then my BFF said "get some steaks!"  And so I did.  I got a hanger steak (because I can't find that cut locally), teres major (because it sounds fancy and I'd never heard of it), some lamb ribs, bison stew meat, and some pet burger for my sweet cat, Lala.

I started with the teres major.  This cut comes from the shoulder and is similar to tenderloin; the site said "if sliced into medallions, they are appropriately named petite tender medallions."  Sounds good to me!  There's a lot of cream in this recipe; I've been watching my dairy intake lately (doing so makes it even easier to maintain my weight), so this isn't something I would have all the time.  Coconut cream can often be substituted but it does have some natural sweetness, and I didn't want to experiment with my fancy steak.

1.3 lbs teres major or tenderloin
Clarifed butter for the pan
Salt & pepper

1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TBS butter
2 tsp arrowroot
Herbs of choice- I used a little dried thyme, will try tarragon next time!
Salt & pepper

1lb frozen cauliflower
1/4 cup heavy cream
More butter!
More salt & pepper

Leave the meat out at room temp for 30 minutes or so before cooking.  Trim silver skin, slice into 2" medallions, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and preheat oven to 300.  Heat a couple tablespoons of clarified butter to medium-high, and place medallions in the pan. Cook a little over a minute on both sides until they get some brown on the top and bottom, then transfer the meat to a baking dish and put in the oven.  While all this is going on, try to multi-task and prepare the frozen cauliflower per the instructions for the stovetop.  When it's done, drain the water, cover, and set it back  on the stove to keep warm.

Once the meat is in the oven, add a couple more tablespoons of butter to the hot pan, and add the mushrooms.  Saute until they start to brown, then add the 1/2 cup of heavy cream, arrowroot, and dried herbs.  Once the sauce is bubbly and thickened to your liking, see if it needs any salt & pepper, and set it aside.  Almost there!  Next, add 1/4 cup of cream to the cauliflower and puree to a mashed potato-ish consistency.  Add butter, salt & pepper to taste, remove your meat from the oven (it should've been in there about 7 minutes and should be about medium), and serve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall is back with a vengeance, and so am I!

It's that special time of year kids!  The leaves are starting to change, you're using a little less sunroof & a little more seat warmer; there's no time like the present to roast a chicken!  I've always been pretty skilled in the kitchen but didn't get the hang of roast chicken until pretty recently; for something that's supposed to be simple, it can be hella hard to get it right.

I wish I could remember the site I learned this from a few months back so I could give them credit for saving me from any more chicken-fails.  The secret is to let the bird come to room-ish temperature before putting it in the oven.  The first time I tried it, it was like magic; it was the best chicken I'd ever made, and maybe the best homemade chicken I'd ever had (yeah, sorry mom!)

Without further brouhaha, here's my first Official Fall Dinner:

1 Chicken- 5.5 lbs, hopefully the bug-eating pastured variety
1 lemon, quartered
1 large fennel bulb, cut into large chunks
1 red onion cut into large chunks like your fennel
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" slices
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
The obligatory handful of peeled garlic cloves
2 TBS butter, softened
A few TBS light olive oil, melted butter, whatever you want to drizzle everything with

-Remove chicken from its packaging, rinse, pat dry, and set on a plate with some paper towels.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit out for 4-5 hours.
-Heat oven to 425.
-Rub chicken with softened butter (or olive oil if you're not doing butter), sprinkle pretty liberally with salt & pepper, and a little dried thyme (I would've added rosemary but couldn't find it).
-Place chicken in a BIG roasting dish breast-down (this keeps the breast moist), stuff lemon wedges into the cavity, and put in the oven
-After 30 minutes, remove pan from the oven, arrange fennel, onion, and carrots around the chicken, and drizzle with some fat of choice.
-After 45 more minutes, flip the chicken on its back so the breast can crisp up, and add the brussels sprouts & garlic, stir veggies together.
-In about 30 more minutes, everything should be done (if you poke around the leg and breast, clear juices should run out.)  Pull the pan from the oven and let the chicken rest 20 minutes before serving.