April 27, 2010

Sesame Tuna and Spinach Sauteed in Ghee

I bought two nice wild yellowfin tuna steaks at the store the other day. I don't like tuna as much as I LOVE salmon, but it is my second favorite fish.  Yellowfin is a slightly better bet than bluefin both in mercury content and sustainability, but it's a bit of a luxury for us, so we don't indulge in it much.  I also had some very fresh organic spinach from the same store.  It is nice to see that even the mainstream grocery stores are carrying more and more fresh produce and wild fish.  

I heated some ghee in the frying pan, lightly coated the tuna with some sesame seeds, and placed it in the pan.  I like my tuna rare just in the middle, so you have to watch closely to make sure it doesn't overcook and turn into tough shoe leather.   It turned out perfect for me with just a thin line of red in the middle.  I removed the tuna from the pan and let it rest on a plate while I made the spinach.  That was easy - just add the leaves to the ghee and dropped sesame seeds in the pan, let it sizzle and steam, and voila, a delicious side dish. I topped the tuna with a little guacamole.   Had a little fruit for dessert.  Nice.

April 25, 2010


My husband is not primal.  I wish he was  - it would make it easier to cook and avoid having non-primal foods in the house, but he is not and so we compromise.  When I grocery shop, I buy some things that are non-primal for him to eat and some even contain gluten.  :(    Some of the items he eats that I do not, include cookies, peanut butter, yogurt, milk (at least I usually buy raw), bread, and the occasional frozen pizza.  That's about it for processed foods in our house.  

Tonight, he wanted the pizza, so I popped that in the oven and made my own pizza version.  And so the birth of the egg-izza.  It's kind of related to the meatzza of paleo fame.  Some of the ingredients may not be strictly primal for some.  I eat cheese and some meats that are not strictly primal. It was delicious.  So much so that I ate it all up and did not take a picture.  I'll make it again and get one, but here is the recipe at least:

1 egg
pizza sauce (you can make your own with tomatoes, oregano, garlic, etc)
spinach leaves
mozzarella (I prefer the fresh kind)
provolone cheese
basil leaves
salami, pepperoni, whatever meat you like

Put a pat of butter in a frying pan.  Beat the egg and spread a thin layer in the pan (thin is better than thick). Let it cook until almost done.  Turn the heat down low.  Layer with provolone cheese, then spinach leaves, then pizza sauce, then mozzarella, then salami, then basil leaves.  With heat on low, cover with lid to help the top melt or place under a broiler for a few minutes.  Done.  It's good - actually better than pizza in my opinion and very quick.  Enjoy! 

April 18, 2010


Jerky is so easy to make and very convenient for a quick lunch snack (along with kale chips).  I took about a 1 1/2 pound piece of grass-fed round steak and marinated it overnight in some Braggs vinegar, wheat-free tamari sauce, and a little pepper.  This morning I sliced it thin (about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick), placed the strips in the dehydrator, and let it whir at the highest temp (160) until nice and dry (about 4 hours).  I now have a nice pile of jerky for the week.  I keep mine refrigerated because I don't inundate it with salt and preservatives like the store-bought kind. The taste is far better though.  In the past, I have added flakes of hot pepper or cayenne for a little spice.

April 17, 2010

Kale Chips and Dog Heaven Marrow Bone Soup

No one but me around today, so I could fix what I wanted for myself, without the pressure of wondering who would or wouldn't like what I made.  OK, so there is really no pressure, because I am the chief cook and bottlewasher around here and if they don't like what I make, the refrigerator is always open, but I do try to be considerate of the tastes of my family.  

I've read several blog posts recently about kale chips.  Everyone here likes kale but I wasn't sure how it would taste dried into chip-like consistency.  I also read a post on marksdailyapple.com this past week about marrow bones, so today was a good day to try out both.  I had a bunch of kale in the refrigerator that needed to be used and I have many lovely soup bones from our side of grass-fed beef in the freezer, so I fired up the dehydrator and grabbed a large bone and got cooking.

Kale chips are easy!  I washed the bunch well to remove the inevitable sand.  Then, I just stripped off the heavy stems, placed the leaves in a bowl, sprinkled with some olive oil and Bragg's vinegar (just enough to barely coat) and sprinkled with salt. (I think some pepper would be good, too).  I mixed these well, placed the kale leaves in the dehydrator, and plugged it in.  It took about 2 hours to dry - very quick for a dehydrator. I couldn't believe how good these were!  They are like potato chips - salty and savory.   The kale taste is sweeter than the cooked vegetable, they stay bright green, and the dried leaves shatter in your mouth into tiny crunchy pieces.  I think I ate half the bunch right away.  I placed the rest in a plastic baggie for lunches later this week.  Here they are (yes, this is after drying):
Next on the agenda was a good beef soup made from the marrow bone.  The recipe is on the recipe page (4/17/10).  The secret to the soup is to let the marrow soup bone simmer slowly in a broth made with celery, onion, garlic, and herbs until the meat falls off the bone and the marrow melts into the soup.  The soup becomes almost creamy and tastes superb.  You can add what vegetables you choose.  I just retained a few of the carrots and onions, pulled the meat off the bone, added a little salt, and stirred it all together.  You know the sign of a good soup?  When the dog won't sit still all day because he smells the beefy goodness coming from the pot and knows that eventually he will get some of the scraps.  Dog heaven.

Right after this picture, I picked the bowl up and knocked half of it onto the table.  The Netflix envelope got a little taste.  Sorry, Netflix people.

April 08, 2010

Variation on a Theme

I seem to have a lot of recipes for leftover stir-fry type dishes on this blog.  That's okay.  It's a great way to use up leftover meat and combine lots of interesting flavors in one pan (always a bonus on a workday evening).  Last night, we had an amazing giant grass-fed sirloin steak done to medium rare perfection on the grill.  A bit of Amish chow-chow on the side and my husband and I had a meal.  The steak was so huge that we had at least half of it leftover.  It became the incentive for tonight's stir-fry.  I tend to start with a meat idea and then see whatever vegetables are available - in this case, savoy cabbage, baby bok choy, sundried tomatoes, water chestnuts, and some kimchi.  Why not?

Here's a picture along with some of the earliest daffodils, jonquils, and bleeding heart ever seen in this area.  Recipe is on the recipe page.
Yesterday, I tried making some maki roll for lunch.  I'll never make a sushi chef, but it was fun and extremely easy to make and made a nice light lunch:
It's my rendition of Philadelphia Roll without the rice - smoked salmon, cream cheese, a sheet of nori, and cucumber, all lovingly displayed on a paper plate.  Hey, we're casual around here!

April 07, 2010

Primal Food in Lancaster, PA

One of the challenges of eating out is finding restaurants that use food sources and practices that are consistent with the primal way of eating. A few restaurants use grass-fed beef or use foods with the vague "organic" label, but very few present the whole package - locally sourced, properly raised, and properly prepared.  My daughter and I ate at such a restaurant last night in Lancaster, PA.  Lancaster County is better known for its Amish community, but locals know that Lancaster City has a great selection of shops, restaurants, and boutiques that give the city a unique artsy feel.  One of those restaurants is John J. Jeffries, located in the Lancaster Arts Hotel.  The Hotel is a treasure in its own right featuring the works of local artists in its 63 rooms built in an old tobacco warehouse.  It's a popular spot to stay for parents of nearby Franklin & Marshall College students and is within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and the college.  John J. Jeffries was a local tobacco inspector in 1890, whose name was found on an inspection stamp among the floor beams during renovations.  Parking is easy and if the weather is nice, there is a lovely terrace behind the restaurant.

Their philosophy as stated on their website: John J. Jeffries website

"We've designed our menu based on local, seasonal, sustainable and organic agriculture and delicious recipes. Please join us and taste the difference of local farm-to-table sustainable cuisine in one of Lancaster's best fine dining retaurants.
As the Chefs and Owners of John J Jeffries, we believe you will find our passion for supporting local businesses and preserving the land we live on, to be contagiously obvious in how we run our restaurant.
All of our meats are raised locally, confinement-free on fresh green grass pastures. No hormones, antibiotics, steroids or forced-fertilization occurs.
Our produce is local organic or chemical free. We use local grass fed cream, butter and eggs.
We also provide sustainable seafood and support sustainable fisheries and their communities. By doing so, we are encouraging a shift in consumer demand away from overexploited fisheries and unhealthy fish farming practices.
Our water for drinking and cooking is filtered through an in-house carbon and reverse osmosis system.
Our coffee is organic fair trade and locally roasted in small batches.
At John J. Jeffries we also believe in sustainability for all the good folks that work with us. Medical insurance is provided to all of our full-time staff, and a family meal is prepared for all staff daily."
Very little tweaking needs to be done to get a primal or gluten-free meal here. The menu is fairly simple, featuring small plates, large plates, and desserts. There is an extensive wine and drink list and a large selection of artisanal beers. Some of my choices were not 100% primal, but I certainly could have made them that way.  The staff was extraordinarily helpful in making sure we got what we wanted.

I started my meal with Pork Belly Love - a small square of crispy pork belly from local correctly-raised Tamworth pigs, atop a small amount of apple compote dressed with local maple syrup.  Where else can you order pork belly in a restaurant?  The original version comes with french toast which I asked the kitchen to hold.  I could have skipped the compote as well, but it was not overly sweet and you could eat as much or as little as you wanted.  Delicious!  My daughter ordered Farmer Livengood's Fried Potatoes.  She's not totally primal (more gluten-free).  Tiny fingerlings cut in half, fried in what tasted like fresh peanut oil with an Aioli Herb mayonnaise.  Worth the starch expenditure.  She ordered a ginger martini and I ordered a cosmos - both were quite potent.

For the main course, she ordered the Pan Roasted Pork Loin.  It came with risotto, which I would have skipped, but the loin itself was huge!  She said it was unbelievably good and took half of it home to her college apartment.  I had the Pan Roasted Salmon with a spinach, oyster and beech mushroom, and beurre blanc reduction sauce.  Again a generous portion (part of which also went home with daughter).  We wanted to save some room for dessert, so held back on eating the entire portions.

We topped the meal off with coffee and dessert.  I got a black tea creme brulee (yeah, sue me) and she got the ice cream sampler minus cookie.  The chili chocolate ice cream was delicious with a nice bite of hotness after the first creamy bite.  The coffee is fair trade, organic, and french-pressed.  We sat on the very nice terrace on an unseasonably warm April night.  The entire experience was a delight.  

For those looking for more primal selections, there are raw beef carpaccio and tartares, fresh local greens salads, grass-fed and pastured-raised meats of all kinds.  The waitstaff is eager to please and pass on requests to the chefs.  You could easily go 100% primal here.  Individually, the plates are inexpensive.  We went all out and ordered just about every course we could, so our bill was a bit on the expensive side, but well worth every penny. We will definitely return and if you are ever in Lancaster, PA this is well-worth the side trip to find.  Wish I had taken pictures of the meal but there are plenty on the website link above.  Here is a list from the website of their local sources.  I think it is well worth repeating it here.  Go to the JJJ website for links.

Organic Heirloom Produce, Killer Tomatoes

Cressbrook Farm: Larry Herr, Lancaster PA
Grass Fed Beef

Galen Glen Winery
Notable PA Organic Wines

Keswick Creamery
Delicious Organic Cheeses

Organic Acres: Gordonville PA and Central Market
An organic cooperative of 35 Amish and Mennonite Farmers in Lancaster County
Organic Free Range Brown Eggs, Grass Fed Organic Dairy, Organic Free Range Chicken, Local Cheese

Natural by Nature: West Grove PA
Organic Grass Fed Butter

Friendly Farms: Aaron Stolzfus, Lancaster PA
Organic Pond Raised Ducks

Davie Stolzfus: Lititz PA
Organic Pond Raised Ducks

Livengood’s Farm: Lancaster PA
Organic Produce

Jamison Farm: Latrobe PA
Slow rise bread with Organic Flours

College Coffee Roasters:
Mountville PA
Organic Fair Trade Coffee

Space To Grow: Lancaster PA
An Urban Garden Center
Pemberly Tea Shop: Lancaster PA
Organic Fair Trade Tea

C&L Bison Farm: Crist Fisher, Quarryville PA
Grass Fed Bison

Meadow Run Farm: Lititz PA
Pastured Black Tamworth Hogs

Green Meadow Farm: Gap PA
Minimum Impact Farming
Produce, Microgreens, Herbs

Paradise Organics: Paradise PA
Raw Artisan Cheeses

Highland Farm: Coatesville PA
Raw Sheep’s Milk Cheese

Pinnacle Ridge Winery: Kutztown PA
Promotes social, environmental and financial sustainability in Lancaster and York Counties

Buy Fresh Buy Local PA
A National Initiative by FoodRoutes Network to Promote Locally Grown Foods

GreenLine Paper Company: York PA
Office Supplies and Paper

Brogue Hydroponics: Brogue PA
Naturally Grown Lettuces, Herbs
and Garnishes