Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Because, really, isn't everything better wrapped in bacon?

These scallops were accessorized with some stir-fried yellow and green squash and carrots, and some pan-fried plantain coins.


Friday, July 30, 2010

The Versatile Sister Slaw

Hie thee to for the Sister Slaw recipe. (Note: I have made it with and without the maple syrup and noticed no difference, ergo I forego the syrup.)

I first discovered this about a month ago while searching for a dressing to go with kale - something that up to that point I had never prepared. Now kale is part of my rotation regularly since the Sister Slaw dressing complements it so well. The original recipe writer is correct - if you give this salad a couple of good massages by hand, the dressing will distribute better and soften the kale more efficiently.

I have made it many different ways; you don't need to always have the cabbages or specific combination of veggies it mentions. I just usually cut up the kale and add whatever heartier salad-y fresh veggies I have with the dressing (good examples: cabbage, carrots, onions, peppers, cucumbers, etc.). I love the "make-ahead" convenience of it, and I really love it with a generous dose of leftover roast chicken included. It lasts in the fridge for a couple of days without wilting. Perfect fast lunch!

I call this "Dinosaur Chicken Salad" because the original recipe called for dinosaur kale, even though my local supermarket carries only curly kale. I call it "Dinosaur Chicken Salad" and make my three-year-old say, "Rawr!" like a T-Rex when we eat it. (Figuring a little extra fun can't hurt in the game to encourage veggie consumption.)

Hoping she learns to drop the rawring and keep the kale-eating by the time she goes to college.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

First Ever Meatloaf

I've never made meatloaf. I'm not exactly sure what it's supposed to taste like.
I suppose this was an advantage?

I made the meatloaf recipe from Mark's Daily Apple in my mini loaf pans (one recipe made three miniloafs for me), then finished it with leftover vodka sauce, cheese, and fresh basil. Not bad, but it's still a little bit of a meat bricklet. I'm guessing I could find tastier applications for ground beef, but this is sure one of the most hands-off recipes out there.

Note to self: must start searching out ground beef recipes for variety.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Berries and Coffee Cream

Oh yum.

This is probably my favorite primal dessert - and ridiculously easy. The hint of coffee flavor in the cream makes the cream itself and the berries both taste sweeter by contrast.

Berries and Coffee Cream
Serves 4


1 cup heavy cream (will make two cups whipped cream)
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (I use decaf Mount Hagen organic freeze dried coffee)
4 cups berries of your choice

Wash and (for strawberries) quarter berries into serving bowls. In separate bowl, place cream and instant coffee. Allow the instant coffee to wet just a bit, then whip at high speed until soft peaks form. (Note: In above pic, you can tell that I like my whipped cream somewhere between soft peaks and butter.) Spoon over berries.

Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. Thanks for supporting Primal Kitchen at no additional cost to you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chevre Scrambled Eggs

A bit lighter, fluffier, more savory than your standard scrambled eggs.

4-5 eggs
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons crumbled chevre (goat cheese)

Melt butter most of the way in a pan on medium-high heat. Scramble eggs in a bowl, then pour into the pan. Add crumbled chevre, then gently stir and scrape pan bottom with a soft spatula for 3-4 minutes. When done, eggs will look just a bit more moist and fluffy than the usual scrambled eggs, so be on the lookout lest you overcook.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Menu Plan

Breakfast - Fried eggs, coffee
Lunch - Hamburger, tomato avocado salad, blueberries (on sale at Giant this week!)
Dinner - Baked chicken thighs and Brussels sprouts

Breakfast - Cottage cheese, strawberries (also on sale at Giant this week!)
Lunch - Stir-fry scallops (on sale at Giant!), squash, and broccoli
Dinner - Scrambled eggs, bacon, fried plantains

Breakfast - Blueberry yoghurt smoothies
Lunch - Guacamole, carrots, sliced cheese, sliced apples
Dinner - Company - roasted whole chickens (on sale at Giant!), baked ginger carrots, salad

Breakfast - Omelets
Lunch - Leftover chicken, salads
Dinner - Chocolate raspberry smoothies, loaded salads

Breakfast - Cottage cheese, berries
Lunch - Banana almond butter smoothies
Dinner - Bacon and veggie quiche

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Korean Pork Ribs

I gave the Korean Ribs recipe from Mark's Daily Apple a try last weekend.

As many of the commenters on the MDA post had done, I decided to make the sauce and then pour it over the ribs in the crock pot.

Lessons learned:

1. Straining out the blackberry seeds, as one MDA reader had suggested, was a brilliant plan. The very few seeds that made it in kind of psyched me out because my brain confused them for tiny bones while chewing on a rib. Next time, I may buy straight-up blackberry juice (no other juices/sweeteners added) to save time, effort, and also punch up the tart flavor. That said, doing it with juice may render it a "special occasion" dish as it could be slightly carbier.

2. The crock pot version of these was very tender and mild - and the company served declared them tasty. I'm guessing that if they had been grilled per the recipe, they'd have had a tangier, thicker sauce.

Next to try on my ribs recipe hopper - Son of Grok's rumored-to-be-fabulous primal BBQ sauce.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Veggies You Can Bake With Chicken

We make chicken a lot. Probably 2-3 meals per week minimum. While frying or simmering it in a pan is delicious, I find it also labor-intensive, which isn't ideal when it's the witching hour and my 3-year-old and 7-month-old are vying for my attention. That's why my chicken is almost always roasted or baked.

Not being one to waste oven energy (it does, after all, cost about $0.50/hour to run your oven), I almost always throw a veggie in with or next to the chicken. If it's with the chicken, I get the added bonus of the chicken's sauce also flavoring the veggies. After baking, all I usually do is add a salad and the meal is complete.

Fresh pieces of chicken cooks in about 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Fully frozen chicken pieces can take up to an hour and a half in the oven, depending on the cut. A whole fresh chicken will roast at 350 for a couple of hours, give or take. Here are some primal veggies that you can throw in with your chicken to kill (har) two birds with one stone.

Making fresh chicken - oven to be on 45-60 minutes:
  • Brussels sprouts (make sure to marinate or drizzle very well so that leaves don't completely wither while crisping)
  • Carrots/baby carrots
  • Chunks of sweet potato, cubed about 1/2" around (add cinnamon!)
  • Cauliflower, drizzled with coconut oil and garam masala (or just curry)
  • Asparagus (for the last 15-20 minutes, in a pan of its own)
  • Plantains (add butter and cinnamon!) - just bake them a little longer since there's less heat, or take the chicken out and broil the plantains to golden brown
  • Turnips - see turnip seasoning suggestions here, I want to try it!
Making frozen chicken - oven to be on closer to 90 minutes:
  • Whole sweet potatoes, small to medium, wrapped in foil in a pan of their own
  • Squashes of all kinds (you could blend with coconut milk or cream and spices after the slow bake for a tasty side soup)
  • Beets (I haven't tried this yet, but I should give it a shot soon!)
Here's a sample meal. The sauce knocked my socks off, and I hope it does for you, too!

1-2 lbs. chicken (I used chicken thigh fillets here)
Brussels sprouts (I had about 2 cups here)
1/4 cup orange juice (or citrus juice of choice)
1/4 cup avocado oil (or oil of choice)
1/2 cup tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Lay the chicken pieces and the brussels sprouts together in a large baking dish. Drizzle just enough OJ to moisten the chicken and veggies (no need to dump it in - just use your intuition and use as little as possible since this is a high-fructose proposition).

Drizzle avocado oil generously over all, and follow this with the tamari.

Bake uncovered at 400 F for about 45 minutes, turning chicken pieces and brussels sprouts once or twice during the time in the oven - this ensures that the delicious sauce gets all over your victuals.

And - of course - feel free to accessorize with a fresh salad.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eggplant Lasagna

OK, so some of you may read this recipe and say, "But that's more like eggplant parm!" I dubbed it lasagna because this way I didn't bread or fry the eggplant, and there's really no parmesan involved, technically. Also, the eggplant serves more as a vector for the cheese and sauce rather than a fried item unto itself, so it really is more like lasagna pasta.

Pre-Step: Get yourself a no-sugar tomato sauce. (I have a few primal / paleo recommendations outlined here.) The difference is significant as most no-sugar sauces have around 6 g. sugar in a half cup, whereas sauces with sugar (or evaporated cane juice, or corn syrup, etc.) can have much more more per half cup. I liked the relatively simple ingredient list and carb content of Gia Russa vodka sauce - which I found at my local Super Wal-Mart. (And I just like vodka sauce to begin with, because it has heavy cream and cheeses in it. Mmmmm.) If you have low carb brands that you like, feel free to post a comment and recommend!

OK, so here we go:

Eggplant Lasanga

Serves 3-4


2 cups tomato sauce of your choice
1 cup organic mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 block Kerrygold Dubliner cheese (1.75 oz.), sliced into long, thin slices about 1" by 4"
1/2 large-ish eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/16" slices.
1/2 stick butter
garlic powder
fresh basil (for garnish)


Salt your eggplant slices and place in a colander over a bowl for 30 minutes. This allows the eggplant slices to "weep" some of the bitter juices. (No kidding!)

Rinse off eggplant slices and coat with just a bit of pepper and garlic powder. Line one layer deep in a cookie sheet and drizzle 1 stick melted butter over the slices. Broil on high (550 on my oven) for 4 minutes. Remove eggplant slices from oven and set oven on 400 F.

Stack the broiled eggplant slices two-high in a baking dish, with a slices of Kerrygold Dubliner between each slice. Cover with a thin layer of your tomato sauce*, and then a generous sprinkling of the mozzarella. Bake 15 minutes at 400. If you like your cheese brown and bubbly, do an additional 2 minutes of broiling.

Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Added notes based on later executions of this recipe
(pronounced by my nonprimal brother as terrific): 
  • You could also add a bit of ground beef or turkey to the sauce if you'd like the dish to be meatier.
  • For an especially fancy touch, add a thin slice of buffalo mozzarella AND a spoonful of cottage cheese or ricotta between slices - and top with freshly sliced parmesan.
  • Slice your eggplant slices into serving-sized squares, and stack'em 3 high instead of 2 high. This way, when it comes out of the oven bubbling with cheesy goodness, you don't have to fuss with slicing through layers of cooked eggplant.
  • Garnish with dried oregano and dried basil in the absence of fresh herbs.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fast Fish Lunch

I picked up some thawed tilapia fillets for a quick lunch. Tilapia is a great fish for those who are relatively new to seafood (*cough*me*cough*) because it has a very mild flavor, and is also a low-mercury fish as it is vegetarian. It is also pretty inexpensive in the fish realm, ranging around $0.50/fillet. A final bonus: it fries up fast. As in, 2-3 minutes on each side on medium-high heat should do it.

Fried Tilapia for One

2 tilapia fillets
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
3 tablespoons coconut oil (alternative sub: rendered bacon fat!)
shake onion powder
shake ginger powder

Place all but tilapia in a pan on medium-high heat. Once the coconut oil has melted and you have mixed the ingredients in the pan, add the tiliapia and fry 2-3 minutes per side, until fish is white and flaky throughout. Garnish with cubed avocado.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu Plan

Breakfast - Fried eggs, milk
Lunch - Eggplant lasagna with meat sauce, kale salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Dinner - Baked chicken thighs, steamed asparagus, blueberries

Breakfast - Mushroom scallion chevre omelette
Lunch - Banana almond butter smoothies (these are thick and very filling!)
Dinner - Meatballs with tomato sauce, spinach salads, blueberries

Breakfast - Fresh cherries and cottage cheese
Lunch - Fat guacamole devils, blueberries
Dinner - Curried chicken thighs in a coconut cream sauce, steamed brocolli

Breakfast - Blackberry smoothies
Lunch - Salads: Leftover devilled eggs, baby spinach, sliced tomatoes, vinaigrette
Dinner - Ham and spinach quiche, fruit and nut crumble

Breakfast - Leftover quiche, milk
Lunch - Apples with almond butter, sliced cheese
Dinner - Burrito bols (ground beef, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, romaine lettuce)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Turkey Veggie Soup

I love a good soup. You might say where Mark Sisson revels in his "Big-Ass Salads", I do so equally in a large bowl of soup brimming with veggies, protein, and of course, the addition of good fats and seasonings. (I think this is because I tend to prefer colder weather - 60 degrees is about my favorite temp.)

So, nothing - not even the summer weather - keeps me from occasionally making a veggie soup. Chop up a bunch of onions and veggies, sautee in seasonings, simmer, add fresh herbs and cooked protein. Boom! OK - it may not be precisely that easy, but it is almost that easy.

Turkey Veggie Soup

1-3 cups pieces protein (see Step 1 for notes)
2 cups onions, any variety
2 cloves or more of fresh garlic
2 tablespoons oil of choice
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 carton (blasphemy in primal/paleo world, I know!) of broth of choice; I generally prefer organic low sodium chicken broth
4 cups fresh veggies, chopped
Fresh herbs, if desired

1. Cook some protein, or have some leftover protein ready. Options: ground beef or turkey, pieces of leftover roasted chicken, etc.

2. Chop up about 2 cups of onions. (You don't have to add onions, but I'm an onion lover and consider them to be the base of any good broth.) You can use leeks, scallions, shallots, traditional white onions, whatever! You can also mix and match, depending on your onion prefs.

3. Chop up some garlic. A couple of cloves or more.

4. Add the onions, garlic, and a couple of tablespoons of the oil of your choice to a stock pot. Turn on high and sautee a few minutes.

5. Add a conservative drizzle of blackstrap molasses. This helps get the process of carmelizing the onions going and gives the broth some dimension. Stir frequently for another couple of minutes.

6. Add a carton of your broth of choice and a bunch of other chopped up vegetables - about 4 cups' worth. Below you'll see zucchini, carrots, button mushrooms, and portabella mushrooms. Simmer for 20 minutes or so.

7. If you have a fresh herb to add, now is the time to add it (if you do it sooner you may run the risk of overcooking and missing the peak flavor). I threw a few big sprigs of fresh rosemary on top and let simmer for just a few minutes longer. This is also the time to add your protein so that it warms but does not overcook.

The rosemary makes for a cute little garnish if you're serving this to company.

But of course, then I just take it off and nom nom nom.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kitchen Wishing

My kitchen is a pretty standard operation. I have some duplicates of a couple of appliances due to gifts, but all in all, nothing fancy. I don't even have one of those KitchenAid mixer stands with the dough hook attachment that some folks seemed to think were part and parcel of a newlywed registry. All that said, I'm starting to get a mental list going of some items I'd like to add to my primal kitchen. (No word yet on what I'm going to do with my massive, pretty much now retired rice cooker.)
Of course the prices on the cast iron are astronomically high, but reportedly they are heirloom quality - lasting well beyond 20-30 years or more.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kerrygold Dubliner

Sweet curds and whey, I have found a new love in my life. It's Kerrygold Dubliner cheese! Go figure, I found it at my local Super Wal-Mart. I later found out that it also goes for about $5/lb. at Costco (and the whiskey cheddar Kerrygold cheese goes for $7/lb.) - about half the price that it is anywhere else. It just makes my tastebuds sing - somewhere between cheddar, parmesan, and aged gouda. Would be really excellent with a sweet German white wine. Here's the nutritional info, straight from the Kerrygold site:

For 100 g. Dubliner
Protein 26 g
Carbohydrate 0.2 g
Fat 32 g

And pinch me now, it's grass fed!! I now know that it is imperative that I seek out some Kerrygold butter as well.

Antioxidant "Salad"

The huge, ripe blueberries this time of year taste like candy to me. Oh man, and knowing that in just a few weeks they won't be so abundant and so cheap? Makes me want to enjoy them all the more.

Toss half of a cup of blueberries with:

Drizzle macadamia oil
1 tbsp. (or more, to taste) balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. cacao nibs
2 tbsp. chopped macadamia nuts

Mix oil, vinaigrette, and cocoa powder until smooth. Toss with blueberries until berries are coated, then top with cacao nibs and chopped macadamia nuts.

Somewhere between dessert and salad, but hitting sweet, plus salty, plus tangy, plus crunchy, plus juicy, plus antioxidants up to my eyeballs.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Do Love A Bit of Gorgonzola my omelettes, that is!

1. Saute 2-3 tablespoons chopped onions in butter in the omelette pan. Set aside in a bowl along with 1 handful fresh baby spinach (stems removed) and 3 tablespoons gorgonzola.

2. Beat eggs with a fork (I used 6 since my daughter was hounding me to share.). Pour in omelette pan.

3. Sprinkle onions, gorgonzola, and fresh baby spinach on top of cooking eggs.

4. Flip as necessary. Note: I stink at flipping omelettes. That is why mine looks more like an egg cruller. I welcome omelette flipping tutorials.

5. Eat with gusto! (Or whomever else is your dining companion, if Gusto's not free to join you for breakfast.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Menu Ideas for NonPrimal Overnight Company

Mark Sisson once addressed a reader who wrote asking what to do with nonprimal family who would be visiting for an entire week. The gyst of the reader's question was how to plan menus, which is to say:
  • All primal, all the time?
  • Primal plus starchier nonpaleo supplemented items?
Sisson's take was that the reader should strive to make an appetizing menu as close to all-primal as possible - in this way no compromises, yet the guests would still feel satisfied without having to face a selection of more obscure grains and pseudocereals as sides. My additional thought would be that it might be important to offer a few carbs so as not to throw your guests into low-carb flu on their vacation! (I realize some people have no effects, but for the times I've done it, carb withdrawal has been...well...let's use the word uncharitable.)

With this in mind, I started daydreaming to develop what could look like a varied primal 5-day menu plan for nonprimal overnight guests. Note that this plan does not take into account any allergies that the nonprimal family may have. Note also that it is my fantasy plan in which I do not have a nursing, teething baby and a three-year-old to manage in the midst of hosting a week's worth of overnight company. :)

Day 1:
Breakfast - Fruit salad, plain organic whole milk yoghurt, honey available for drizzling
Lunch - Broiled salmon (~20 minutes in the oven or toaster oven), big-ass salads with veggies, macadamia nuts and macadamia oil dressing
Dinner - Roasted chickens, sweet potatoes, asparagus (The bonus is that you could prepare this whole meal in the oven!), berries and whipped cream

Day 2:
Breakfast - Old, Old World Waffles, via Son of Grok, with butter, whipped cream, and stovetop warmed blueberries to top
Lunch - Grilled steaks, fried plantains, leftover fruit salad, side salads
Dinner - Roast pork loin with sage, carrots, and onions in the crock pot (make double so that there's enough pork to shred for tomorrow's lunch), homemade dark chocolate almond butter cups for dessert

Day 3:
Breakfast - Fried eggs, bacon
Lunch - "Burrito Bol" style salads, with shredded leftover pork loin (seasoned spicy), whole organic sour cream, shredded rBGH-free cheese, diced tomatoes, guacamole, etc.
Dinner - Wedding soup with meatballs, wilted spinach, and sliced carmelized onions, fruit and nut crumble

Day 4:
Breakfast: Almond butter/banana smoothies (dairy cream or coconut milk optional), Bare Fruit organic Fuji apple chips with organic cream cheese + cinnamon
Lunch: A picnic! Scotch eggs, fresh apples and pears, veggie crudites (baby carrots, snow peas, etc.), aged hardened Gouda, wine of choice
Dinner: Grilled shrimp, grilled pineapple, stir-fry, almond macaroons

Day 5:
Breakfast: Quiche, whole milk, fresh fruit
Lunch: Caprese salad, marinated and broiled rosemary eggplant and mushrooms
Dinner: Butter chicken in a silky sauce, side salads, dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries

Any suggestions/links for other company-friendly primal recipes?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Venturing into Omega-3s

I've never been a big fish person, but I'm really trying lately to broaden my horizons with seafood in my menu planning and cooking. Despite the seafood counter at my grocery store always seeming strangely exotic (hey, I'm a daughter of the Midwest, what can I say?), I've been visiting it a lot more often and making friends with the employees there. I'm learning a lot via helpful websites (,, etc.) on how to prepare the fish (scallops, crab legs, etc.), too. God bless the Internet. ('Cause otherwise I'd be relying modest cookbook collection?)

To wit: This past Sunday's grilled salmon (seen below marinating).
Pretty tasty (though I would still take steak over fish almost any day).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Preconceived Notions

I made my three-year-old daughter a little lunch recently: apple slices with some almond butter, baby carrots, a bit of cheese, some macadamia nuts.

Then I set about my lunch: a "big-ass" salad of leftover roasted chicken and fresh veggies. Grokette watched as I stacked my bowl high. Baby spinach, a vinaigrette, macadamia nuts, diced sugar snap peas, cut steamed asparagus, avocado, and the chicken pieces.



"Can I have a salad?"

Lesson learned: I shouldn't have preconceived notions about what my daughter will or will not eat. Dumb as it is, I think on some subconscious level I was operating on a pretense that she wouldn't eat a salad in favor of what I had prepared.

But - I do think that it helps for her to believe that I'm getting something different, ergo better (the grass is greener theory). So from now on, I'll try to make her a minimeal to munch on while she watches my lunch come together, and share with her at her request.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Menu Plan

I am really excited to try a new eggplant recipe I just received via email from a friend who is also eating to manage insulin. You fry up slices of eggplant French Toast style. Just for fun, I think I'll try some leftover portabello mushrooms this way, too, while I'm at it. Yum!

Breakfast - Fried eggs, milk, strawberries
Lunch - Leftover salmon from Sunday, spinach salad with tahini dressing, fruit salad
Dinner - Crispy Nut and Herb Fried Chicken with avocado, mixed greens salad, blueberries

Breakfast - Banana custards (made the night before), topped with blueberries and walnuts
Lunch - Eggplant slices and portabello slices French Toast style, strawberries, cheese
Dinner - Scrambled eggs, bacon, baked brussels sprouts

Breakfast - Whole milk yoghurt, blueberries
Lunch - Curried egg salad in cabbage leaves, peaches
Dinner - Chicken breasts with Korean Short Ribs sauce in the slow cooker, shredded cabbage and carrot salad with sesame tahini vinaigrette, basil, and cilantro

Breakfast - Veggie omelettes, milk
Lunch - Banana almond butter smoothies, sliced peaches
Dinner - "Kitchen Sink" salads - with whatever is around and/or leftover!

Breakfast - Cottage cheese, fruit
Lunch - Turkey veggie soup
Dinner - Roasted chickens, salads

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rosemary Parmesan Portabellos

This meal could be done in your toaster oven, if you have one.

Rosemary Parmesan Portabellos
Serves 1 hungry person.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Get yourself 2-4 tablespoons butter, and place it in a little microwavable dish, along with:
1 shake garlic powder
1 tbsp. freshly snipped rosemary (dried works fine, too)
2 cranks ground black pepper
salt, to taste

Microwave this sucker until the butter is melted.

Wash and cut the stems off two large portabello mushroom caps. Place them underside up in a shallow dish.

Drizzle the buttery mixture over the underside of the mushrooms. Bake for 45 minutes at 400, or until tender. Take the mushrooms out of the oven, and add a generous sprinkling of parmesan. Broil for 3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and browning.

Hm. Well, they ain't much to look at, but they sure were tasty enough to blog about!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hello, Lover


This is my recent Amazon splurge. Macadamia oil is supposed to be excellent as a dressing base. I was daydreaming about what to do with it - even had some wild notions like mixing it with a bit of cocoa powder and cacao nibs, and dressing a bowl full of quartered strawberries with it.

And macadamia nuts? Practically my favorite snack. Weirdly enough, they cost significantly less per ounce when you buy them in pieces - as in for baking. Fine by me. I'll sprinkle some on my salad with a bit of gorgonzola and some kumatos and call it a day. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Yes, eggs are an awesome staple to start your day. But say you're looking for something a little more fancy-pants. Indulgent, without being indulgent, you know what I mean? Enter the custard. I love making custard as a night-before project that has my breakfast ready-to-eat, no cooking, the next morning!

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

First, find a large rectangular pan and fill it with about an inch of water. This is the classic "water bath" method that is used in cheesecake recipes to enable an even baking throughout the custard.

Next, place some smallish Pyrex dishes (or other ramekin-type dishes) in the water bath. No need for them all to be the same size. You can see here that I used three small ones, a medium one, and three clean baby food jars. Why the baby food jars, you ask? I'm experimenting with them as a way to send custard with my three-year-old to preschool in the fall, when I'll be packing her lunch three days each week. (They turned out perfectly baked in these jars, by the way! I poured the excess off the full ones into the big Pyrex dish so that there would be about 1/2 inch to expand during the baking.)

OK. So you have your water bath pan, filled with your little custard dishes. Get yourself a nice, easy, primal custard recipe. You can experiment with it after you're used to the process. I like the Son of Grok banana "Caveman Custard" recipe. In my head, I call it "1-2-3 custard" because it requires one can of coconut milk, two bananas, and three eggs (along with a dash of cinnamon). Whip up your custard batter, and pour it into your ramekins. (I did nearly-full baby food jars, and about 1/2 inch deep in the larger dishes.)

Stick it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes at 350. Take them out of the oven, but don't remove them from the water bath. The more gradual the cooling process, the prettier your custards - that is, the less likely they are to crack on top. Once the water bath is completely cool, put the custards in the fridge to cool and set some more overnight.

Oh, and remember the part about experimenting? Now that you've done your basic custard recipe, shake things up.

Add a drizzle of walnut oil to the custard batter for some added fat, and a deliciously nutty taste. (Just don't do it all the time, though, since walnut oil is omega-6 heavy. Maybe make the custard with Omega-3 eggs to offset?)

Mmmmm, walnut oil in a pretty tin.

Other variations: You can soft cook some rhubarb and very ripe cherries (must be ripe to offset the rhubarb's tart), and then temper your eggs with them before adding the eggs and a stick of butter. (No coconut milk this time.) This results in a very Yoplait Whips! type texture.

While you're experimenting, add nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, etc. to your liking as well.

Oh, and let's talk toppings. In the morning, I top my chilled custards.

See my humble banana custard? (And yes, even with gradual cooling, there's a little crack. So sue me. This is another good reason to talk toppings - because they hide cracks!)

Add some fresh blueberries, a small handful of cacao nibs, and a few walnuts. Now we're talking indulgent breakfasts.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Movie Theater Snacks

This week my girls and I met up with a dear friend and her 3-year-old son - both of whom we don't get to see entirely enough! We went to see a free showing of a kids' movie at a local theater. Of course, I immediately realized that this would involve sitting in a sea of candy, popcorn, sugary soda, etc. Not wanting to be a complete Scrooge and force my daughter so sit through all that munching with nothing of her own, I strategized in advance and came with a bag of trail mix in my diaper bag. (As if there was a remote possibility of movie theater concessions having Primal snacks!) In it was:
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Freeze-dried bananas (Brothers brand)
  • Dried organic apples (Just Tomatos brand)
  • Dried organic raspberries (Just Tomatos brand)
I know that Mark Sisson says to watch out for the sugar content of dried fruits, so this was truly what I'd consider to be a "special outing" snack. Besides, it was just too addictively good for me to make often. :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Menu Plan

Whee - we have a lot of leftovers from Sunday to use up!

Breakfast - Whole milk yoghurt, blueberries
Lunch - Leftover fried plantains mixed with creamy Mexican squash and tomatoes, and leftover grilled pineapple
Dinner - Shredded leftover chicken on spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette, roasted asparagus

Breakfast - Bacon asparagus crustless quiche (made the night before), sliced kumatos
Lunch - Salad with walnuts, cubed papaya, and lime ginger vinaigrette
Dinner - Butter and garlic broiled tuna steaks, salads with sesame vinaigrette, watermelon

Breakfast - Fried eggs, cream/milk
Lunch - Apples with almond butter, organic string cheese, fresh snow peas
Dinner - Crab legs (my first try at cooking these!) with lemon butter dipping sauce, salads with walnut vinaigrette

Breakfast - Mango banana custards with whipped cream
Lunch - Roast beef (no nitrates, etc.) wrapped around avocado with a bit of horseradish, roasted curry cauliflower
Dinner - Oven-roasted chickens, salads, blueberry smoothies

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth Treats

Happy Fourth of July!

We had many treats (click pic above to enlarge) when my inlaws and my folks joined us for lunch. Slightly carbier than my normal fare, but part and parcel of indulging with family around on a holiday. Since my folks are on a low-fat low-calorie diet, and my in-laws are Weight Watchers, I tried to make sure that not everything was drenched in butter or coconut oil.

Among our treats:

Grilled Skewered Shrimp - Courtesy of my parents and inlaws
This one's easy: For each 3 lbs. of fresh shrimp, melt 2 sticks of butter (organic if you can). Add a dash of garlic powder, a couple of cranks of fresh black pepper, and a small drizzle of honey (yes, honey, because it's a special occasion!). Skewer shrimp, and grill over a piece of foil, turning constantly, until butter mix blackens just a bit. Serve immediately.

Tossed "Big-Ass" Salad
Ours had cherry tomatoes, kumatos, mushrooms, pitted Kalamata olives, avocado, olive oil, a bit of shredded mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar.

Mexican Veggies with Creamy Cumin-Tomato Sauce
Blend a few cloves of garlic, one white onion, and two tomatoes in a mini-chopper. Melt some butter or chicken fat in the bottom of a skillet, and add the chopped tomato mix to this to simmer. Then add: 2 tomatoes, cubed, 1 box mushrooms, quartered, and two yellow squash. Add 1 tablespoon of cumin. Simmer 1 hour or more. Just before serving, add 3/4 cup heavy organic cream, and stir through.

Sauteed Peppers and Onions with Ginger, Lime Juice, Coconut Oil
Blend 1"x1" chunk fresh ginger, 4 cloves of garlic, and the juice from one lime. Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a skillet on medium-high, and add the chopped mix to this. Toss in 3 bell peppers and one onion, sliced, and sautee for 5 minutes.

Fruit Salad - Courtesy of my inlaws
Cut up a bunch of fruit. Eat. :)

Fried Plantains
Slice three plantains into long french-fry-type slivers. Fry in butter at medium-high heat until golden brown and just darker around the edges.

I later added the fried plantains to the creamy Mexican veggies for a leftovers meal. YUM. I will be replicating in an official capacity.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fast Breakfast

This morning I weighed a pound less than yesterday! I'm not really shooting for a pound's loss every day - probably too fast for my liking. But, I will always take weight loss over weight gain, provided that it's fat (and not muscle) that I'm losing.

Yesterday and today I had the most decadent breakfast: four fried eggs (runny yolks, rock on!), and an 8 oz. cup that was half-milk, half-cream. I shake a little nutmeg on top of the drink, and it's like sipping an eggnog milkshake.

This breakfast at 7:30 kept me going without snacks until 12:30 p.m. yesterday. Some of you may say, "So what?" but for me, that's practically a first stab at intermittent fasting. ;)

You see, before primal eating, my blood sugar had me feeling crazy-hungry all. the. time. I call it stabby-hungry, too, because you had better watch out if you were going to get in the way of me and my breakfast. I'd wake up in the morning feeling like I'd been hit by a bus, and ravenous. After a carby breakfast, I'd be snacking throughout the morning - Fiber One bars were like crack cocaine to me, because they just activated some sort of om nom nom switch, and hey, they have fiber, so they were good for me, right? (Wrong: turns out their 10 g of sugar per bar was making my blood sugar go berserk.)

But now, fueled by fat and protein, I feel sated, for hours at a time. Quite the revolutionary state of being for me. Maybe some day I'll get in the zone of intermittent fasting for real - as in skipping 1, 2, or 3 meals without feeling any blood sugar crashes. But for now, I'll take the not-feeling-compelled-to-eat all morning - and the weight loss, too, thank you very much.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Paradigm Shift

Think you don't like Brussels sprouts? Think again.

It may simply be the case that you just don't like Brussels sprouts that haven't been slow roasted in bacon fat until they are slightly crispy on the outside, and mild, buttery, and yielding in the middle.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ghee, Chicken Fat, and New Veggies

I learned how to make ghee recently! Also: rendered chicken fat and rendered bacon fat. Surprisingly easier than I thought they would be - though I'd like to track down some good cheesecloth so that I'm not using paper towels every time. I want to include roasting a chicken in my weekly menu rotation, more or less, so that I have some cooking fats to work with almost every day of the week. Turns out: ghee-braised brussels sprouts were way tastier than the brussels sprouts of my childhood memory. And eggs fried in butter? Unbelievably good.

Other veggies that I've prepared for us for the first time recently:

Fried plantains
Kale (along with the Red Cabbage, in Sister Slaw, a recipe I've already made twice)
Red Cabbage

Also new to our kitchen:

Walnut oil, drizzled on salad (yum!!)
Almond butter
Wild Sockeye Alaskan Salmon

I think that we can tolerate a little more of this 'deprivation'. :)
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