March 31, 2011

Goat's Butter and a Quick Frittata

This is the best butter I have ever tasted:
 It is St. Helen's Goat's Butter from Yorkshire England.  I buy mine from Wegman's in Maryland.  It is a bit pricey at $7.99 a roll, but well worth it.  It is not a raw product, nor is the farm completely organic, but this butter tastes wonderful.  I literally cut off pieces from time to time and eat them as is - who needs bread!  The butter is silky, slightly sweet and salty, with a crisp aftertaste.  

I had to work later than usual tonight, so a quick frittata was the ticket to a tasty dinner.  Eight local eggs (including a few from my own hens), some muenster and parmesan cheeses, salami, a bit of chimichurri sauce, a 
few tomatoes, and a hefty handful of baby red kale (supplied by Everyday Local) and a frittata was born.

Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl with a small bit of water.  Put copious amounts of butter (see first paragraph) into a large frying pan.  Pour in the eggs, let cook about halfway.  Top with whatever combination of cheese, meat, tomatoes, and sauce you like.  Add several handfuls of greens.  Place under the broiler until cheese melts and egg sets.  Done.  Before and after broiling below.  Enjoy!

P.S.  Are you a Food Renegade?

March 24, 2011

Chicken Pot "Pie"

There are some memories from pre-paleo days that bring back a pang of longing for a certain taste, mouth feel, or smell that cannot be duplicated.  When I was little, my mother would occasionally buy those little chicken pot pies. Mostly doughy crust with a filling of tiny bits of chicken, some onions, peas, carrots, and gravy were (and still are) junk food in a frozen box, but they were good.  They would arrive hot and bubbly out of the oven and you would burn your mouth on the underside of the crust that touched the hot gravy.  It became hard to find a good pot pie after a while.  Manufacturers began using cheaper pieces of chicken and vegetables became hard to find in the gloppy gravy.  

All of this leads to my mostly paleo discovery of a way to get the taste of pot pie without the carb and grain-laden crust and gravy.  First, I peeled and boiled in water two very large turnips with about 1/2 of an onion and 3-4 peeled cloves of garlic.  As that was simmering, I removed the meat from 4 chicken breasts that I had oven-baked the night before.  I placed the chicken chunks in a shallow pan, added about a 1/4 bag of frozen peas and about 2 cups of chicken broth.  Add plenty of salt and pepper.  I heated that to boiling and made an arrowroot slurry, added it to the broth, and a gravy was born.  By that time, the turnips were done. I mashed the onion, turnip, and garlic with a potato masher and about 3 tbsps of butter and some salt.
The dark stuff on the side is cranberry sauce.  Definitely non-paleo if you are avoiding any sugar. It is a can of jellied cranberry sauce mixed with a pint of real cranberries.  It is very tart and the sugar content is "watered down" considerably by diluting the jell with the cranberries.  

If you are orthodox paleo, substitute carrots or even pearl onions for the peas and leave out the cranberry sauce or make your own from scratch using cranberries and maybe some orange to sweeten.

March 16, 2011

Weekly Menu Two

A lot of these selections for the Weekly Menu 2 from the Great Minds of Paleo came from recipes or suggestions from their websites. I'll place this as a pdf in the Menus section as well, but here it is for your viewing pleasure below.  I'll probably do one more of these to post on the Menu page. That should give me (and you) a good base for planning paleo/primal menus.

Primal Menu - Week Two

Monday: (Sisson) Egg casserole or frittata (eggs, veggies, sausage, salsa). Green tea.
Tuesday: (Wolf) Broccoli bacon basil scramble (eggs, broccoli, bacon, basil).  Espresso.
Wednesday: (Gedgaudas) Sausage, stirfry with vegetables.
Thursday: (DeVany), Eggs, bacon, fried tomatoes..
Friday: (Cordain) Omelet with spinach and mushrooms.
Saturday: (Taubes) Bacon or sausage, eggs, low carb veg.
Sunday:  Any breakfast paleo/primal recipe.

Monday: (Sisson) Primal salad - mixed greens, onions, jicama, red peppers, tomatoes, chicken, sesame seeds, walnuts, olive oil.
Tuesday: (Wolf) Steamed veggies and shrimp fried in coconut oil.
Wednesday: (Gedgaudas) Thai salad with spicy dressing (cabbage, chicken, bell pepper, carrot, green onions, fresh mushrooms, macadamia nuts, cilantro, red wine vinegar, olive or sesame oil, wheat-free tamari or soy, lime juice, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, jalapeno.
Thursday: (DeVany) Tuna, green leafy vegetable, cherries.
Friday: (Cordain) Salmon caesar salad (cooked salmon, olive oil, romaine, red onion, garlic, crushed mustard seed, lemon juice, black pepper).
Saturday: (Taubes) Chicken or tuna with salad, bacon, chopped eggs, dressing.
Sunday:  Any lunch paleo/primal recipe.

Monday: (Sisson) Wild salmon, asparagus and zucchini with butter, glass of red wine.
Tuesday: (Wolf) Chicken and chard (chicken, swiss chard, chicken stock, olive oil).
Wednesday: (Gedgaudas) Beef stew (beef, tomato, mushrooms, onion, pepper, olive oil, butter, garlic, salt, basil).
Thursday: (DeVany) Pork chops, spinach with almonds, pear.
Friday: (Cordain) Paleo chicken in a pot (2-3 lb chicken, olive oil, carrots, celery, onions, water, sage, rosemary, bay leaf).
Saturday: (Taubes) Any meat with 1 cup salad or cooked greens, 1/2 cup of other vegetables.
Sunday:  Any dinner paleo/primal recipe.

March 12, 2011

A Weekly Paleo/Primal Menu from the Great Minds of Paleo

I have a quite a collection of paleo/primal books now.  Each author has his/her own take on the subject. Mark Sisson (The Primal Blueprint) promotes a sensible primal lifestyle with occasional uses of the 80/20 rule - have an infrequent non-primal moment, but then get back to primal eating - plenty of well-sourced, good fats and proteins, plenty of low starch vegetables, less than 100 carbs for weight-loss.  Loren Cordain (The Paleo Diet) is a bit fat-phobic, but still promotes a higher protein, low carb route.  Robb Wolf (The Paleo Solution) runs down the middle of the road, with high protein, low carb, moderate fats.  Nora Gedgaudas (Primal Body-Primal Mind) addresses the effects of carbs on the brain, and promotes a lower protein, higher fat, low carb diet.  Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories) says our bodies work better on a low carb diet based on real food proteins and fats.  Art DeVany (The New Evolution Diet) includes more fruit, very lean protein, and, of course, lower carbs.  (All interpretations are my own.)

All of these authors have done their homework and are experts in the science behind their claims.  The proportions of the fat and protein set aside, all agree that excessive carbohydrates are the culprit behind all of today's "lifestyle" diseases - diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer's disease.  Our bodies are meant to operate efficiently on proteins and fats from animals that have also eaten what their bodies are meant to operate on.  Our bodies are not evolutionarily designed to eat excessive amounts of carbohydrates based on grains, sugar, and fructose.

I decided to make a weekly menu from each of the sources listed above.  As you can see, they are very similar in their recommendations.  I thought this might help me plan more for the week, since deviation from primal/paleo eating for me tends to occur when I have to grab something quick or I forget to defrost the meat for dinner.  This is not a menu written in stone.  Life happens and substitutions can certainly be made.  I didn't include chocolate or paleo substitutions in this menu.  I might in later versions, but I decided I wanted a bit of a pure version this time around.  I'll post a pdf version on the Menu page, but here is Week One:

Monday: (Sisson) Omelet - eggs, cream, 1 slice swiss, 1/2 avocado, salsa.  Coffee or tea.
Tuesday: (Wolf) Poached eggs, almonds, small piece fruit or berries.
Wednesday: (Gedgaudas) Sausage, stirfry with vegetables.
Thursday: (DeVany) Omelet, bacon, fruit, coffee or tea.
Friday: (Cordain) Poached eggs, diced apples, shredded carrots, raisins, coffee or tea.
Saturday: (Taubes) Bacon or sausage, eggs, low carb veg.
Sunday:  Any breakfast paleo/primal recipe.
Monday: (Sisson) Tuna lettuce wrap:  3 lettuce leaves, 1 can tuna, sliced red pepper, tomato, 1/2 avocado, mayo., clementine.
Tuesday: (Wolf) Chicken fajita salad: olive oil, 1/8 cup onions, chicken, cumin, oregano, peppers, lettuce, 1 tomato, 1/2 avocado.
Wednesday: (Gedgaudas) Tuna salad, lettuce, small amount of sliced fruit.
Thursday: (DeVany) Salad of broccoli or cabbage, onions, artichoke hearts, shrimp, 1/2 avocado, olive oil and vinegar.
Friday: (Cordain) Almond chicken salad: chicken, lettuce, red cabbage, almond, dates, olive oil,  1 tbsp. orange juice.
Saturday: (Taubes) Chicken or tuna with salad, bacon, chopped eggs, dressing.
Sunday:  Any lunch paleo/primal recipe.
Monday: (Sisson) Beef stir fry:  4 oz beef, 2 tbsps olive oil, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, bamboo shoots, sesame seeds.
Tuesday: (Wolf) Grilled salmon, roasted green beans, side salad.
Wednesday: (Gedgaudas) Burgers, any green vegetable sauteed with butter and sprinkled with nuts.
Thursday: (DeVany) Pork ribs, asparagus, salad, handful of nuts.
Friday: (Cordain) Tomato and avocado, turkey breast, steamed broccoli, blueberries, raisins, almonds.
Saturday: (Taubes) Any meat with 1 cup salad or cooked greens, 1/2 cup of other vegetables.
Sunday:  Any dinner paleo/primal recipe.

March 03, 2011

Great Minds Think Alike

I checked out my Facebook page tonight and saw a post by Richard Nikoley at Free The Animal.  To my surprise, I found a post on pork and sauerkraut  - the exact same thing I had planned to write about on my blog this week.  I took the picture several days ago, but didn't get around to writing the post until tonight.  I hope Richard doesn't think I'm copying his menu.  It's just a coincidence, but a funny one.  I sometimes think that paleo/primal minds think alike as I often see similar posts for food choices in the same week across the blogosphere.  Maybe it is a quirk in the weather or a food that has recently come to market.  I don't know why  Richard and I had the same thought this week, but I had a quart of recently purchased fermented sauerkraut on hand as well as some pastured pork in the freezer and some locally grown potatoes so this is what I came up with:
Easy dinner:  Layer sauerkraut on the bottom of a roasting pan, lay pork chops on top, add peeled potatoes chunks along the sides (omit if you don't eat potatoes), and layer some more sauerkraut on top.  Bake in the oven until the chops are done and the potatoes are cooked through.  The fat from the chops nicely flavors the kraut and kraut juices flavor the potatoes - a win-win situation.