Monday, October 11, 2010

Seasame grass fed beef and broccoli

Lame pan shot of an amazingly easy dish

The idea for this dish is basically make some version of beef and broccoli that is amazingly simple and tastes amazing, without the MSG that so many of you all love. Simply dice an onion and saute it in coconut oil, ground ginger, crushed red pepper, 1T of fish sauce, salt and pepper. Add a little toasted sesame oil and cook onions for five or so minutes. Add a pound of grass fed ground beef and cook until almost done.

Now, take a head of broccoli and I want you to cut it in this manner: holding from the thick stem with the crown down on a cutting board, take a chef's knife and while slicing away from you, slowly rotate the stalk around as the florets fall off. You should notice that they fall away cleanly and easily, leaving you with the majority of the stalk left. Depending on how much broccoli you want to eat, you can either dice the stalk and saute it, or toss it. I tossed it this time.

So add the broccoli and cover. Steam for about three minutes. Salt and pepper this bad boy, and dust with sesame seeds. It should be pretty good.

Notes: One thing should stand out to a beginning or non-paleo cook: we don't serve this with soy sauce at all, but if you follow this recipe exactly, you would never notice. Every time I add a little Fish Sauce to anything while sauting initially it is to get the perception of fermentation in my final dish (which is what soy kinda tastes like, since it is actually fermented soy, much like fish sauce is fermented fish), while cooking off the over powering fish taste and smell. Its really common in my cooking and I would say, very misunderstood and certainly under utilized on other paleo blogs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

(Pasta-less) Primavera

Spring vegetables in fall

Super interesting dish.

I conceptualized this dish by spinning off my favorite pasta dish that has a ton of veggies in it. My favorite pasta dish had butter, snow peas, lemons, cauliflower, shrimp, carrots, onions, parmasean cheese, salt, pepper, pasta and more! The taste is really fresh, and the butter-lemon combo is amazing. So here was the challenge: I only have almost one chicken breast (which was baked with Italian seasoning), two horse carrots, a head of broccoli, and a can of organic tomato sauce. I actually had pasta in the cupboard but couldn't bring myself to make it.

The key, in my mind, to make this dish successful would be to somehow get the background flavors correct, and then try to match forward flavors of course. So the background flavors are actually what cook out of, or into, the veggies. See if you can follow me: onions, once cooked, have very little flavor when not completely caramelized yet they are in virtually every dish. Why? Because they form the complex background taste we demand of almost every dish. Also, I know that the dish I normally makes steams the veggies in chicken broth; that would mean I need the background flavor of celery, even though its no where to be seen on any recipe. Also, I need to do something to compensate for the lack of hard, pungent Italian cheese. Get it? Match flavor profiles/ perceptions, match the reception of the dish, regardless of what you actually have.

McDonald's does this too, but they use chemicals.

Okay, so using extra light olive oil instead of butter (remember, extra light olive oil adds a rich taste which almost exactly matches the response you would get from cooking with butter) saute dehydrated onions, salt, pepper, ground mustard, celery salt, and, if you can believe this, plain old white vinegar. Saute this down a little. Add 2oz of water and simmer the chopped head of broccoli and the two sliced carrots uncovered for a couple minutes. Once the water is cooked off almost entirely, add a can of tomato sauce, simmer and reseason. Slice the small amount of chicken that you have (I had to add more vinegar and readjust the oil here to make those flavors stand out (which is the lemon-butter flavor)) and add it to the pot. Season, heat then eat.

What was really critical was the mustard and vinegar addition to cover the lemon and cheese missing. It was really a cool discovery, and a really cool dish.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pineapple Pork Stir Fry

This is something amazing

To make this, what you want to do is basically take your understanding of Thai flavors and turn it into an amazing pineapple dream dish. The pork I used is simple pork shoulder cut into bite sized pieces removing a lot but not all of the fat, because, lets face it, there is a lot of fat in pork shoulder. You want to cook it in coconut oil with ground ginger, ground lemon grass, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper until almost cooked through. Add 1T of fish sauce to this. It will smell like shit, but it will cook off and you wont even notice it. Trust me. This comprehensive flavor combination will give is a slight citrus flavor (from the ginger and the lemon grass) with a little fermented back while bringing out the flavor of the pork meat, and the pork fat. And its kinda spicy, but not too spicy, which is nice. We are going to add some thinly sliced serranos later on, so be aware.

And be afraid.

Meanwhile, you want to cook more coconut oil in a separate 5 quart pan, with more salt, pepper, and ground ginger. Once those flavors combine, add a head a chopped broccoli and 2oz of water and steam briefly (about 5 minutes on very low heat). Once the pork is almost cooked, take the juice of a 20oz can of pineapple chunks and pour it over the pork for it to stew in. Take a few chunks and throw them in too. Then, add the majority of the pineapple chunks to the broccoli. Continue to simmer uncovered while doing the next steps.

Take two serrano peppers and very thinly slice them. With a minute left of cooking (you'll know when this is when the pineapple juice becomes something like pineapple syrup) and add the peppers. Finish the minute out.

Plate the broccoli and pineapple. Scoop pork and sauce over it. Garnish with cilantro and squeeze lime over it.

This dish is a dream if you do it right.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Balsamic Braised Ham with Italian Vegetables

A lot of people ask me when you typically run out of Paleo ideas?

This is paleo recipe number 200. It turns out that ideas dry up in the 150's someplace.

So I have the big trip to Arizona in a few days and I needed to make sure my ducks were in a row, I was therefore, fairly brief with my cooking exploits tonight. That being said, I had some ingredients on hand and a willing guinea pig in my room mate before I actually had to post this award winning ham dish.

Here is the scenario: I bought a 2 pound ham, which I thought I would be eating for breakfast, but quickly realized that I was running out of time. Also, I had purchased both summer squash and tomatoes that needed to be devoured before Friday night (which I have to spend at my Father's house before the trip). I would have thought that these ingredients were a lame simple flavor combination that we know will work, but is it amazing? Here's how to make it great.

The idea behind this dish is to find an Italian flavored substitute for those who might crave pasta. Pasta is fairly flavorless, and more of a carrier of sauce than a signature taste. Therefore, if we use something almost equally flavorless that can be cooked al dente and that can carry a similar amount of sauce as pasta, it should be a perfect substitute. This can be accomplished by any number of vegetables, but I had summer squash.

So, to cook squash al dente, you need all portions of a cut up squash to cook to the same firmness, at the same time. This can never be accomplished by trying to Julianne long strips of squash. Rather, and for the same reason frozen squash only comes thickly sliced, we have to thickly slice this squash to make it al dente. 3/8" thick slices work perfectly.

To cook the veggies you need to sauté the classic 5 Italian seasons together with a little garlic. The classic five are: oregano (pungent), sage (pungent), basil (minty), thyme (minty), and rosemary (floral). Use a good amount of olive oil, like 1/4 cup for 5 squashes, and heat the herbs with garlic on very low heat for a while. Then, sauté the squash, covered, for ten plus minutes. Stir five or six times. And when you are ready to combine with the ham, turn off the heat and add three thickly diced tomatoes. Stir for a few minutes unheated.

Meanwhile, cut about a half pound of ham into bite sized pieces. Put 2T of extra virgin olive oil in a pan a sauté with a minced garlic clove and 1t of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, and 2T of balsamic vinegar. This one step is the big deviation from anything I have ever done. I never emulsify balsamic in boiling olive oil. I will now start doing it all the time, it was amazing. Add the ham and oil-braise until seared (ham is already cooked). Stir in veggies and serve with excess olive oil.


PS I put shaved Parmesan on this and it was even better.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Evolution 2 Point Oh

Trouble meets California

Roasted Pineapple Salsa

This is the roasted part

There is a new taco stand on the pier near my house and they only serve one thing, guess what? Tacos. Anyway, I ventured over there on a lunch break and it was almost a complete failure of a work time lunch break: slow, virtually no To-go packing, zero organization, zero completion on correct orders, they charge for onions and cilantro, etc. That being said, their inane business plan actually turns out tasty, though misplaced/ mis-plated food. One of the things they sold was a roasted pineapple salsa (I know, selling salsa? Fail). Their's was bizarre to me since I figured it would be roasted pieces of pineapple that were cut up and served with cilantro and peppers. I was totally wrong, but it was an enjoyable embarrassment which led to this recreation. Its good, enjoy!

Roasted Pineapple Salsa
Take about 2p of organic heirloom tomatoes and broil them on high 6" away from heating element for 20 minutes, or until they look like the picture above. A better plan is to actually BBQ them. Anyway, blend those tomatoes with 6 Serrano peppers, a whole yellow onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 2t of salt, 1t of pepper, and just about 2T of white vinegar. Add all the chunks of a 20+ oz can of diced pineapples and a little juice. Blend until smooth enough to pass through a squirt bottle.

A spicy sweet salsa

This will be good on anything salty, especially pork.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Chicken in Every Pot #3

High approval rating

Though I have never made this before, I was just trying to rip off as many classical flavor combinations as I could to pull this chicken off for a party. I was surprised by how simple it is, and how much people really liked eating it. It only has a few ingredients, but the cooking methodology was complicated and very time consuming.

I would call this the:

Lemon-less Asparagus Stewed Chicken

I took a few organic carrots (which I only mention since they were small, and if you are using normal Globo store carrots, less than one would work) and very finely minced them with the tops of a head of celery. The tops are the parts that you would not normally serve on a party platter, its the weird section with leaves above the stalk. Add a finely sliced shallot to this and sauté.

Dismember a chicken, season well, and slowly render the excess fat from the chicken in the pot with the veggies. I also cooked the neck in this part of the recipe since I was making something up for the first time, and planning on taking it to a party where I told people to expect good chicken. I used the neck as a taste tester. Cook some fresh sage in here too, maybe a hand full. Oh yeah, I'll write something up on rendering here soon for Faith.

For this chicken, I actually fried the pieces with the excess fat still in the pan to save time, and then through the excess fat away later. After cooking all the pieces of chicken for four minutes per side, I added fresh carrots, onion, and celery, cut very small in similar fashion to what you get in concentrated canned Campbell's soup, so small. I cooked those breifly with like 6 bay leaves and a little celery salt. Cook this for five minutes and adjust seasoning so that it tastes perfectly right now.

Now, add about 2-3c of chardoney and simmer for 1/2 an hour, or until you are happy with the taste (should be semi sweat with no alcohol taste). Add 28oz of diced orgamic canned tomatoes. Stew for 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning again until it tastes perfect, until you serve it, this will be the last time you can season easily.

After this step, I planted the chicken into the wine/tomato broth. I cut up a bunch of asparagus, put it in a bag, and I threw like 3T of capers into the pot before covering it up and driving it to the party. Once there, I added about three cups of water to the pot and simmered for 45 minute. Add the asparagus 7 minutes before serving and season to perfection.

Serve every piece individually and with substantial broth.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Chicken in Every Pot #2

This Thai version was a cinnamon dream

As I gain confidence in this method of cooking, the dishes are becoming more elaborate and more complex in methodology. I'm sure this one was more complicated than most people would want to attempt, but it was so good that I ate the whole thing in one night. It was absolutely amazing.

Step one is to prep your fat for frying the chicken initially. I took a small amount of spicy extra light olive oil and sauted a fairly large minced shallot with the excess fat that I saved from dismembering the chicken into 12 pieces. I cooked the skin pieces until the fat was rendered off. To that fat I added celery salt and lots of black pepper. I took the skins out and through them away.

Step two is to fry the chicken for four minutes per side and then save fat. Step three is the most important: make a pasty roux type thing out of that fat using Thai flavors. Mince up two serranos, 3" of fresh ginger, 3 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon and a small amount of ground cloves, 2T fish sauce, juice of two limes, 1t of ground ginger (the fresh wasn't enough), and of course salt and pepper. Once that tastes the way you want it, add 4c of Brandon's Paleo Broth, and bring to a boil.

Step four is to slow cook the chicken. Submerge the chicken and simmer for about an hour, rotating as needed. Add two more serranos and some coarse cut green onions with 5 minutes left. Garnish with cilantro and lime, and serve with juice. It is amazing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seven Ingredient Fajitas

Seven ingredient paleo fajitas

Fajitas, as tasty as they are, are almost only meat, onions, and peppers. Sure my recipe has those, but it is amazing with only, like, 6 more things, two of which are salt and pepper and therefore do not count.

Using extra light olive oil, a huge pinch of oregano, and another huge pinch of cumin powder, cook an onion, sliced in half and then thinly into half rings, a minced habanero pepper, and two similarly cut red bell peppers until almost finished. Place in bowl.

I then cooked rare a thinly sliced (which I sliced myself) grass fed cow's shoulder, known as a Clod Roast in the remnant of the onion/bell pepper juice and it was after prepping those amazing veggies. Season and garnish with cilantro. I used an avocado and tapatio to finish this off. It is so easy, and so amazing. Try it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Chicken in Every Pot #1

More satisfying than a one term president

I'm trying to make a new deal with myself: be healthier, try harder, be responsible and reap the rewards. And I used to live four miles away from where Herbert Hoover was born. I realize he wasn't the New Deal president, but whatever.

But seriously, these chicken are remarkably tasty and very easy to make, as they require virtually no exact timing or measurements. [Aside: these are all vaguely similar to Pollo Alla Cacciatora]. To make this version of my pot chicken (*bites knuckles*) I dismembered a chicken into 12 pieces (2 wings with winglet removed, 2 legs, 2 thighs, the back cut in two, and 2 breasts cut into four pieces) and fried them for four minutes a side in olive oil and dehydrated onions, then drained it.

Then, in the juice left over, I added 2t celery salt, 30 grinds from the pepper mill, a diced onion, two huge pinches of dried rosemary and one huge pinch of dried basil. Add a minced habanero pepper. Add 10oz oz mushrooms, sliced. Add lemon juice and white vinegar (both very sort of inexact squeezes and pours). *Important* Adjust seasoning right now until it tastes perfect. Add a 28oz can of petite diced tomatoes. Simmer and re-season. Add chicken back to pot, covering all pieces. Cover with steam hole open and allow to simmer off as much liquid as possible in an hour. The meat should fall off the bone.

Vince and I can't get enough of this stuff.

Now where is that car in my garage?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rory's Blended Chicken

Ecto Cooler marinade

This is a classic of mine, refined and adapted. The story behind it is that when I was living in Iowa City with my brother Dustan, we went to the store with Rory (Dustan's friend) and he said he would buy dinner, if only I would cook something amazing. He got a habanero/ cilantro/ lemon/ garlic Rory's Special Chicken, consisting of only thighs, bone in and skinless (my personal favorite chicken piece). After a few iterations of this dish I had to start calling it Rory's Famous Chicken, as its number of followers grew. But since I was cutting it all by hand before, and it never looked anything like this, I have adapted the name: Rory's Blended Chicken. Pre-Presented to the world: Rory's Blended Chicken.

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 habaneros
  • 3 serranos
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • lots of olive oil, as required (good luck)
  • white vinegar, as required (also)
  • Salt
Dismember two chickens and marinate over night in two bags. Barbecue over coals. Serve raw dog: meat only, it needs nothing else. (Notice: no lemon?)

Will we miss the lemon? Let's see what happens. My taster said that the up front taste is amazing and the back end heat is too hot. Let's see what happens when we cook it...

Clash Events - Four of 'em

Should I tape my hands? WWRDD?

WOD #1
"The Laundromat"

For time:
35 Box Jumps (Males - 24", Females - 20")
Pull-ups (Males - 25 CTB Pull-ups, Females - 25 Pull-ups)
20 Ground-to-Overheads (Males - 95lbs, Females - 65lbs)
15 Forward Rolls
20 Ground-to-Overheads (Males - 95lbs, Females - 65lbs)
Pull-ups (Males - 25 CTB Pull-ups, Females - 25 Pull-ups)
35 Box Jumps (Males - 24", Females - 20")

WOD #2
"The Triple Crown"

Athlete has 8 minutes to establish a 7-Rep Max Front Squat

* If the athlete gets the weight locked out overhead after their 7th Rep (no thrusters), 20lbs/15lbs will be added to that score for men/women respectively.

**If the bar drops to the ground at any point, the athlete must find a way by him or herself (either by stripping off the weight or by cleaning the bar) to get it back onto the racks if they wish to go for another attempt.

Rest 2 Minutes (walk to start of Part B)

In 5 Minutes:
Run 600m, then
AMRAP Burpees

*Athlete will be scored by how many burpees they complete within the time frame.

**Burpees will be done with a lateral jump over a parallette.

Rest 4 minutes (get set up for Part C)

In 90 Seconds:
(RAMMAP) Row As Many Meters As Possible

* Athletes may use whatever damper setting/footpad setting as desired.

Score all events individually. 1 point for 1st, 3 for 2nd, 5 for 3rd, 6 for 4th, 7 for 5th.

Low score wins.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If I Was Programming The Clash 2010

The Clash 2009 Final Event, Men's Heat

If I were programming The Clash 2010, my WODs would be:

WOD #1
One arm KB hang squat snatch (1.5p/1p)
Power Cleans (95#/65#)
C2B Pull Ups

WOD #2
5 Burpee Bar Up-and-overs (like the wall burpees at the Games, but over pull up bars)
3 Rounds
10 Dead Lift (295#/195#)
30 Unbroken WBs to 11'
200m run
5 Burpee Bar Up-and-overs

Thoughts? Strategy? Estimated winning times? I'm going to try these some day.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Red Snapper Ceviche (There should be some food talk...)

This is easy, FIY

Red Snapper Ceviche
A1. Acid Poach Red Snapper for Flavor
3.5p Red Sanpper diced
8 limes juiced
2 lemons juiced
1 huge pinch of shredded red onion
Lots of salt
Pepper TT
(Cover and rest 4+ hours)

A2. Make Ceviche
Drain A1
Add over 1.75 shredded red onion
1.25p diced heir loom tomatoes
7-8 diced magic pepper
1 bunch of minced cilantro
10+ limes, juiced
2+ lemons, juiced
Salt and Pepper TT
Rest 30 minutes

Orange Paprika Guacamole (Part 4 of 4 Amazing Shit for You to Put on Ceviche)

It looks normal, but it blows people away

Orange Paprika Guacamole (Amazing)
3 perfectly ripe avocados
5 mini heirloom tomatoes, diced
1/32 bunch of cilantro, finely minced
1t ground paprika
1 big pinch of shredded red onion
2 serranos, diced
The juice of 1 orange

Stir that shit up. Try to minimize the number seeds in the end product.

This simple guac stomps peoples taste buds. Most people hit up Tapatio; paprika bitches, paprika.

Ruben's Tweaked Salsa (Part 3 of 4 Toppings for Ceviche)

Left most red one that looks like earlier posts

Ruben's Tweaked Salsa
1/2 Portion of my now famous Ruben's salsa
1/4 of a large yellow onion

Here is the thing: in a stand-up showdown with Ruben's Salsa, my recipe won the taste competition, but I personally lost the 'match the salsa' competition. Our intern, upon hearing of the massive missive, said something like 'onions are watery.' and I was like, 'You're right.' So add the onion, right? Its good, but I can't tell the difference; but that's what the competition taught us, right?

Chipotle White Sauce (Part 2 of 4 Salsas for Ceviche)

To the right this time, not really white

Chipotle White Sauce (Jury's Out)
You know that funky sauce they have at some fish taco stands? This is like that.

3.5oz canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Juice of 2 limes pressed
Salt and pepper to taste
16oz Sour Cream

Blend the peppers and everything except sour cream first. Then slowly blend sour cream in. Use a squeeze bottle with a large hole since the skins have trouble when blended at slower speeds.

I thought it was too creamy, but chicks were digging it for some reason. My jury was out, but the verdict is in: Guilty of being delicious. Success.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mango Pineapple Salsa (Part 1 of 4 Sauces for Ceviche)

Its the one in the middle this time

Mango Pineapple Salsa (Amazing)
3/2 of sweet sweet mango flesh
3/2c of canned pineapple with juice
1/4 red onion
4 serranos
1/16 bunch of cilantro
Salt TT

Blend the fruit, peppers and onions and shit smooth. Slow your blender and add the cilantro so it stays visible. The serranos turn it green, so if you want yellow salsa, just don't blend the green stuff. Actually, you dont need to blend this at all, but it just works amazingly well for serving ceviche with 4 different salsas.

This is a work breakfast dish. I liked this salsa the most, but there were people that liked all of the them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thai Green Bean and Pork Red Curry

I thought to myself: you have green beans, you have pork...

What is fun about this dish: no trips to the grocery. I've got some inflammation, so I'm going for the anti-inflammatory foods when I can. If you avid readers remember, green beans are highly anti-inflammatory. The basics of any red curry are easy (red curry + coconut milk), making anything stand out through those two flavors is fairly ridiculous, you have to chose something bold, and then use a lot of it. Here is what I tried.

Okay so here is what we need:
  • 1p green beans, snipped
  • 1p quartered cremini mushrooms
  • 1 thinly sliced onion, halved
  • 1 minced magic hot pepper (something at the farmers market that said: CAUTION HOT HOT HOT)
  • 3p sliced pork loin (Into thin strips)
  • 2 limes *bold*
  • 1T ground ginger *bold*
  • 3-5T coconut oil?
  • 3T dried basil *bold*
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2t celery salt
  • 2T fish sauce
  • 1/2t dried thyme
You need a massive pan to cook this much food, so be aware ahead of time. Pre-cook the snipped green beans in a cup of water and 1t of celery salt for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Save in a bowl.

Sauté the quartered mushrooms in some coconut oil (which is called oil, but is more like congealed wax in a jar that needs to be slowly scraped out and not refrigerated (somehow)) with salt and pepper. Add the thinly slice onion when nearly tender. Finish cook the mushrooms and drain if necessary.

So then use some more coconut oil to meld together the ginger, 1T of the basil leaves, magic hot pepper, and pepper. Once heated, raise heat a little and throw in the pork. Then, zest both limes until they look like little soccer balls. Add can of red curry paste. Add two cups of Paleo Broth (2c water, 1t celery salt, 1/2t thyme, 3 bay leaves, boiled briefly). Boil. Add green beans, mushrooms, and onions. Re-boil. Add fish sauce and stir. Add remaining basil. Add coconut milk. Heat until satisfied with consistency. Squeeze the juice of both limes, saving a little for when you dish it out.


PS -

"I've never tasted anything like this. It's awesome" - V. Wainwright
"You've never had Thai curry before?" - B. Brooks

It took us 1.425 days to eat the 6+ pounds of food in this dish (dinners and breakfasts only)