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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Epic Burger Night, Paleo Style

It was time, we realized yesterday, time to have Paleo Burger Night. In preparation, we gathered pastured bacon and bacon ends, pastured cream cheese, grass-fed beef, jalapeños and avocado, mushrooms, and onions, the ingredients for Son of Grok's BBQ sauce, and proceeded to cook enough food for a small to moderately sized party.

Things started off innocently enough, with grilled Jalapeño Poppers:

Paleo Pepper Poppers
(Makes 16)

-8 fresh jalapeños

-4 - 6 oz cream cheese

-16 strip of bacon

Cut the jalapeños in half and clean out the seeds. Fill with 1-3 tsp cream cheese, then wrap in bacon and skewer with a toothpick to keep the bacon in place. Grill until the bacon is crispy. (Well, we grilled, but you could easily broil them in an oven.)

After the poppers. we moved onto the burgers--more accurately, we made sliders.

Slider Patties
(Makes about 16)

-2 lbs ground beef
-1 egg
-1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
-A few dashes each of...
-Worcestershire sauce
-Seasoning Salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then get in there and knead the meat with your hands until well mixed. Shape into balls, then flatten into small patties--ours were about 3" across raw. Grill (or pan fry, bake, etc) to taste. Very delicious and juicy.

At the start, we crafted some burgers with an eye for aesthetics--perhaps a little overboard on the aesthetics...

Above: Cream cheese, avocado and pan-fried bacon ends on a spinach salad.

Below: Cream cheese, cucumber, avocado and bacon on a bacon salad--smart. Nick doesn't mess around with spinach on Burger Night.

But then we got eager....

Above: SoG's BBQ sauce, mushrooms & onions sauteed in bacon grease, topped with bacon.

And then we got gluttonous, sloppy, and out-of-control....

Above: Half a slider with almond butter, cream cheese, avocado, and bacon, garnished with ghost chili hot sauce.

We also made baked sweet potatoes, but the burgers were way too distracting--we never got to them.

Okay, so seriously. Would anyone really miss having a bun amidst all this crazy burger and bacon action? Honestly, I think buns would have slowed us down, trammeled our creativity, and stifled our bacon-sprinkled dreams.

Paleo burger night, FTW.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Adventures With Hash Browns

I've been working on sweet potato hash browns lately, via two methods: 1) (pictured above, topped with chorizo) sweet potato + egg, and 2) sweet potato only. I think 2) is tastier, but 1) sticks together better, and thus is more picturesque.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns: v1
(Serves 2)

-1 sweet potato, grated (I did this with a cheese grater)

-1 egg

-1-2 tbsp of pastured butter, bacon/chorizo grease, or coconut oil

-Salt and pepper to garnish

Place shredded sweet potato between two paper towels and squeeze out as much moisture as you can, repeat as necessary (I went through 2 or 3 sets of paper towels before I got bored). Place in a bowl, and mix with egg. Heat your grease of choice over medium heat. When pan is hot, add half the potato/egg mix to the pan, and flatten with a spatula, spreading it out as evenly and thinly as possible in the pan. Keep pressing it down with the spatula as you cook. Cook on this side until browned/until its easy to flip (around 2 - 4 minutes), then cook the other side, again around 2 - 4 minutes.

Pretty tasty, but i don't find that the hash browns get very crispy, and the egg messes with the texture, as well as the grease-absorption capacity (which I think is very important, especially if you're eating grass-fed meat--don't be wasting that tasty, tasty grease).

So v2:

Sweet Potoato Hash-browns: v2

-1 sweet potato, grated

-1 - 2 tbsp of grease of choice

-Salt and pepper to garnish

Same instructions as above, just cook until the outside gets crispy, but I won't give you any false hopes about this sticking together when you flip it. Clumps of it will adhere, but it doesn't look all Waffle House picture-perfect. However, without the egg, the hash browns are a lot crispier, and they will do a much better job of soaking up the grease of any meat you top it with--I recommend fresh chorizo.

If anyone has a method of doing this that nails both the taste and the aesthetics, I'm all ears.


(Are a disproportionately high number of these posts devoted to breakfast?)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3 Meat 5 Alarm Chili

Mmm, chili. If you prefer yours a little more mild, just leave out the cayenne.

3 Meat 5 Alarm Chili

-1 lb bacon ends (or regular bacon), sliced

-1 lb ground pork

-1 lb ground beef

-1 onion, chopped

-3 cloves (or 1.5 tsp) garlic, diced

-2 or 3 hot peppers (I used serrano), chopped

-2 sweet potatoes, diced

-2 bay leaves

-1/4 c chili powder

-1 tbsp oregano

-2 tsp black pepper

-2 tsp salt (or to taste)

-2 tsp cayenne pepper

-1 tsp cinnamon or allspice (or both--that's what I did)

-1 tsp cumin

-1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

-1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

-1 8 oz can El Pato jalapeño salsa

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy (or to taste). Add pork and beef, cook until browned. Add onion, garlic, peppers, and sweet potato, and mix thoroughly. Add all seasonings, and mix thoroughly. Finally, add the crushed and diced tomatoes and the El Pato, mix thoroughly, reduce heat to medium-low/low, cover and simmer for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 or 3 to really let those flavors simmer.

And if you really want to spice things up (as we, of course, did), garnish with some Blair's Death Sauce (I really like Original Death and After Death). Or a different (and clearly inferior) hot sauce.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sausage and Broccoli Scramble

Simple and tasty breakfast, and massively filling.

Sausage and Broccoli Scramble

-2 tbsp coconut oil

-2-3 tbsp beef or chicken broth

-1/2 - 3/4 c broccoli florets, finely chopped

-1/2 - 3/4 sausage

-2 eggs

-Salt & pepper to taste

Melt the oil over medium heat, add beef broth. Add broccoli and cook for about 2 minutes. Add sausage and cook until browned. Add eggs, salt, and pepper, and scramble thoroughly.

Preferably served with a cup of hot, black coffee.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Bacon Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yesterday, Nick and I had a little fun at our local hippy grocery, Native Roots, and came back with 20+ pounds of grass-fed lamb, pork (BACON), chicken and beef between the two of us, as well as some pastured butter, which I didn't even know was available here, and had never tried before...a travesty.


Buttery Bacon and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

-1 acorn squash

-2 tbsp pastured butter (or coconut oil)

-2-3 oz bacon ends (or thick-cut bacon), chopped

-1/4 - 1/2 c mushrooms, chopped

-1 shallot (or 2-3 tbsp onion), thinly sliced

-Ground pepper and cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cover the bottom of a casserol dish or shallow baking pan with about 1/4" water. Half an acorn squash lengthwise, across stem. Clean out innards/seeds. Spread exposed surfaces with butter, and place cut side up in the baking dish. Bake for about 1 hour, removing briefly at 30 min to re-butter the exposed surfaces with the melted butter that has pooled up in the squash.

When there's about 15-20 minutes of baking time left on the squash, add bacon to a large, cold pan, and cook over medium heat until it begins to brown. Add shallots and mushrooms, and saute until mushrooms are soft and shallots are translucent. Stir frequently to prevent the shallots from burning.

Plate the squash and load up with the stuffing. I really like this as a breakfast, but with a little veggie side, it would satisfy me at lunch or dinner as well.

Happy morning.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Young Coconuts.

Another lovely find at the Asian market: young coconuts. I thought it was going to be tougher to open, but it wasn't too bad.

Place the coconut on a largish cutting board, or some other large surface to catch all the mess. Take a chef's knife, and peel the soft exterior away from the top of the coconut until a circle (about 3-4" in diameter--bigger than pictured, I had to widen that opening in order to get the meat out) of the hard core is exposed. About 2-3 inches down, hit the core with knife at about a 45 degree angle repeatedly until it cracks. Then use the knife to pry up the top of the shell. Pour the coconut water into a bowl and set aside. Then, with a spoon or a rubber spatula, peel the meat out and place in another bowl/container.

The meat is a lot softer than that of mature coconuts--almost jelly-like. And the water is a lot more flavorful. Delicious, and very filling.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Paleo Spaghetti & Moroccan Lamb Meat Balls

With reckless abandon, we mixed Italian presentation, Moroccan flavors, and paleo elements for tonight's "spaghetti" night. I tried out a new recipe for lamb meatballs and a special accompanying red sauce, and I must say, it was pretty amazing. I may never be able to eat another kind of meatball again (just kiddin). They were so good that the spaghetti squash--which in general, I love--seemed redundant.

Spaghetti Squash with Lamb Meatballs
(Serves 2-3)

For the meatballs:

-1 lb ground lamb

-1/4 c paleo ketchup (I used this recipe, plus 1/4 c dextrose and 1 tsp salt--I think you could also successfully just use a heaping 1/8 c of tomato puree if you don't have the ketchup, and want to minimize prep.)

-1 egg

-The following spices (bear with me--it's a lot, but it's worth it)...
-1.5 tsp ground coriander
-1.5 tsp ground cumin
-1.5 tsp garlic powder

-1/2 tsp curry powder (I used red)
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp oregano
-1/2 tsp thyme

-1/4 tsp ground mustard
-1/4 tsp paprika
-1/4 tsp allspice
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp chili powder

-1/8 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly mix together the egg, ketchup, and spices in a bowl. Add the lamb meat, and knead with your hands until it's well-blended, but be sure not to overwork the meat. Form meat into 1.5" balls (should make about 16), and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then set aside to cool.

For spaghetti squash:

There are a couple of ways to do this, but the easiest way I've found is this:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Take a whole spaghetti squash, and make 5 or 6 slits around the circumference (this is important--if you don't do this, the squash will explode). Place on a cookie sheet or in a casserole dish, and bake for 1 hour. 30 minutes in, turn the squash to ensure even cooking.

When done, cut the squash lengthwise. Clean out the seeds and stringy fibers and discard. Then take a fork and pull the squash meat toward the center. It should come out easily, and look like spaghetti. Place the "noodles" into a bowl and set aside.

For the sauce:

While the spaghetti squash is baking, prep the sauce.

-2 tbsp coconut oil and/or fat (I used the residual lamb fat from the meatballs--there was a bunch that oozed out onto the pan--plus about 1 tbsp of coconut oil)

-1/2 c onion, minced

-1 tbsp garlic, minced

-1 tbsp shallots, minced

-2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 tsp cinnamon)

-1 tbsp ground cumin

-1 tbsp ground coriander

-1 28oz can tomato puree

-1 cup chicken stock

-Salt and pepper to taste

-1 tbsp mint (preferably fresh and finely chopped)

-1 tbsp Italian parsley (again, preferably fresh)

Over medium heat, sautee the onion in the oil/fat until translucent. Add garlic, shallots, cinnamon sticks, cumin and coriander, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent browning. Add tomato puree, and bring to a boil. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper, mint and parsley, and stir well. Cover, and let simmer for at least 10 minutes, or until squash is ready to be plated.


If these aren't the best meatballs you've ever had, I'll eat my hat. Or, I'll happily eat your superior meatballs.


New BBQ Sauce Recipe

I'm not going to say that this recipe is "better" than Son of Grok's, which I used previously in the pulled pork post, because that recipe stands alone. It isn't a traditional BBQ taste, it's just a stand alone awesome sauce. However, I did manage to create a more traditional tasting paleo BBQ sauce, and it too, in my humble opinion, is awesome sauce.

It must be awesome. Just look: it glows.

Spicy Paleo BBQ Sauce

-1 c paleo ketchup (I used this recipe, plus 1/4 c dextrose and 1 tsp salt)

-4 tsp Dijon mustard

-4 tsp apple cider vinegar

-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

-2 tsp liquid smoke

-2 tbsp dextrose

-1 tsp cayenne pepper (or less, depending on your taste)

-1/2 tsp mustard powder

-1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix everything well. I imagine that doing this over low heat would allow for some nice flavor infusion, but I mixed it cold and it tasted pretty darn good.

If you're super carb phobic, feel free to omit the dextrose and see how it turns out (if anyone does, I'd be super psyched to hear how it turns out!)--I'm sure it would still be pretty good. But I think a little bit of sweetness really makes a good BBQ sauce.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs

Needed a quick breakfast/brunch/lunch today before heading off to entertain some prospective students, so splicing bacon and eggs with a salad seemed conceptually appealing. I just warmed up some leftover steamed kale from last night, but using fresh would be even better, of course.

Bacon, Egg & Kale Salad

-1/3 - 1/2 of a bunch of fresh kale, washed and chopped

-1/2 onion, sliced

-sea salt & pepper to taste

-2 strips bacon, cut in half

-4 quail eggs (yet another find from the Asian market)

Layer the sliced onion in the bottom of a steaming basket, then cover with fresh kale. Bring a little bit of water to a boil, and steam the veggies until the onions are translucent, around 15 minutes. (CITE: Thanks to Evan for the prep suggestion--worked out great.)

Meanwhile, fry up the bacon to desired level of crispiness. When kale is done, toss it with the onions, and place in a bowl. Top with the bacon strips.

Finally, fry the quail eggs in the bacon grease (they are small, so they cook fast--I think it took about 1 - 1.5 minutes total), and top the salad.

Quail eggs are adorable.

Happy brunch.


P.S. The steamed kale/onion is a great side dish by itself. I had that with chicken the other night, and it was great.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Duck Hearts and Cassava

So after an excursion to the awesome, Wal-Mart sized asian market in Oklahoma City, I returned home with tons of loot (including a giant case of coconut milk), and decided to be a little adventurous, and have a dinner of duck hearts and cassava root. I have to be honest--I'm not completely sold on the texture of hearts (I prefer kidney, and will probably try this recipe with kidney in the near future), but the taste was pretty good. So if you know you like heart, this one's a winner.

Duck Hearts, Asparagus and Baked Cassava Fries

For the cassava:

-1 cassava root, peeled, cut into 3 or 4 chunks, and boiled for 8-10 minutes

-3-4 tbsp olive oil

-1/2 tsp...

-cayenne pepper
-chili powder
-garlic powder
-black pepper
-salt (or to taste)

For the duck hearts:

-12-24 duck hearts

-4-5 tablespoons flour for dusting

-1 teaspoon cayenne powder

-Salt to taste

-2 teaspoons dry mustard

-2 tablespoons duck fat or butter

-1 tablespoon minced garlic

-1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

-2 tablespoons chicken broth

-2 tablespoons minced parsley

For the asparagus:



Preheat oven to 350 F. After it has cooled, cut the boiled cassava into approximately 1/2" slices, and put into a bowl. Add oil and seasonings, and toss until evenly and thoroughly covered. Spread on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes, until they are crispy/golden brown.

For the duck hearts, I used this recipe: but replaced the wheat flour with plantain flour, the grated onion with garlic, and the duck fat/butter with olive oil (unfortunately, I didn't have any duck fat). For the sake of timing, I would have the duck hearts prepped and floured before you put the cassava in the oven.

After the cassava starts baking, snap the tough ends off the asparagus, and place in a steamer basket, then set aside. Bring some water to a boil in a medium pot, then place the asparagus on top and steam for 6-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, start pan frying the hearts, as per the recipe linked above. The timing should put the fries, asparagus, and hearts finishing at approximately the same time.

I recommend sprinkling a bit of sea salt/pepper onto the asparagus once it's plated.

It was definitely a B+ meal, and worth the adventure. The cassava "fries" were delicious, and asparagus is never bad. The hearts were well-seasoned/cooked, but the texture just isn't my favorite. Again, though, I'm pretty sure kidney would be delicious in this recipe.