Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chicken-beef curry and salmon

Two awesome paleo dinners the past few nights. One was significantly easier to make, but both were tasty.

Put salmon fillets on top of a light bed of chopped leaf fennel on parchment paper
Mix more chopped fennel and cream cheese, slather on top of fillets
Spread a little cream cheese on the parchment paper around the salmon
Fold the parchment paper to form a pocket around the fish
Push the air out, and use the cream cheese on the paper to seal up the packet
Bake packet (on a pan!) at 375 for 10 minutes per inch of fish thickness

Large dice whatever veggies you have on hand (we had summer squash and green beans)
Cut chicken and beef into bite-size cubes
Put the cream from a can of coconut milk into a hot pan, reserving the coconut water
Put the beef in the pan to start cooking. Turn down the heat to medium-low
Start sauteing the veggies in another pan with coconut oil
Add curry paste/powder to both pans
Once the beef is browned on all sides, add the chicken
Remember to stir both pans occasionally!
If you also have bell peppers on hand, roast them and then dice them. Since they're already cooked from roasting they can wait until the end to be added.
When the chicken is browned on all sides, add the beef, chicken, and sauce to the veggies (or vice versa, depending on which of your pans is bigger.)
Use the coconut water you reserved to deglaze the pan you emptied. Scrape up any tasty bits of browned meats/veggies. Add more curry and some heavy cream. Let it simmer for a while to thicken; meanwhile, any liquid in the other pan will continue to thicken, too.
When thickened to taste, add in the sauce and roasted peppers. Done!

Tonight we're going to attempt eggplant parmesan. We'll see how it goes. We may need to add chicken.

By the way, what shoes will you be wearing this winter? I like my flip-flops and Vibrams for the flexibility they allow, but my feet get cold pretty easily. I may see about a pair of vivo barefoots or runamoks, and I was wondering what others intend to wear.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Well, we found a few cucumber recipes to try. We had a lot of cucumbers; about a dozen, not even including a couple we cooked up earlier last week.

Recipe 1: Fried Cucumbers
Instead of bread crumbs, we used the 'breading' from Girl Gone Primal's chicken fingers recipe. It mostly worked, and they were tasty with a little sriracha sauce on top, but I'm not sure we'll make them again; they got soggy pretty quickly, and after that the texture was a little off-putting. We didn't even finish the ones we made, which is too bad because that was the last of my almond flour; time to get more almonds to grind up.

Recipe 2: Cucumbers in Cream Sauce
We'll probably make this one again. The onion cuts the coolness of the cucumbers pretty well. We'll use quite a bit less salt, though; the salt in this batch is a little overpowering. Still, it's tasty, and it's not just cucumber.

Recipe 3: Spicy Cucumbers
We'll make this one again too. We had a few substitutions, though; sesame oil instead of corn oil, and dried chipotle peppers due to lack of finding any dried chili peppers. I ended up adding some red pepper flakes too. It's pretty good, with a nice burn (that's easily cut by the cucumbers in cream mentioned above) which we both enjoy, and the extra cooking oil was used to make some awesome chicken. We'll halve the sugar next time though, I think a little is needed but certainly not that much. I may try using honey instead.

Well, as of Friday, all the cucumbers we had in the house were at least part of a dish of some sort. We had quite a bit left over from recipes 2 and 3, and we've got a lot of pickles, but for a little while, our house was free of unadulterated cucumbers.

Of course on Saturday we picked up more from the CSA. Six more, in fact; two big salad cucumbers, and four smaller pickling cucumbers. So yesterday was cooking time again.

We made more pickles. Now we have two pints of crinkle-cut sweet pickles in the works, and a pint of fennel-mustard spear pickles. Hopefully they all come out well! I've never tried fennel pickles, but we got fennel from the CSA so we thought we'd try it. We also made 2 pints of veggie salsa with all our tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, and onion, and then we made a pint of peach salsa with all the peaches we got this week. Both came out pretty tasty. I'm going to have to work on some good cracker recipes so I can enjoy all the salsa. Maybe sweet potato chips would be good with the peach.

We also opened the first jar of pickles last night! I don't think I'd call them dill, but they're definitely pickles, and I like them. It's good that pickles taste so different from plain cucumbers; we're still eating both of the cucumber dishes we made last week. But, once again, and for longer this time, the house is cucumber-free.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tomato Soup!

Wow. Just wow. Homemade tomato soup = totally awesome. Seriously, awesome.

Mostly fill a medium saucepan with diced fresh tomatoes. We used 8.
Dice and add half an onion and a couple garlic cloves.
Put in a cup of chicken stock.
If you're like us and you like spicy, add half a habanero.
Let it simmer for at least 20 minutes, longer if it's liquidy.
Blend it well. Squish it through a medium-mesh strainer.
Stir in a cup of heavy cream and a couple tablespoons of butter.
Add salt and pepper to taste. (It'll be more salt than you think.)

Serve with wild rice (preferably in the soup.) And maybe a little cream cheese for garnish. (I think sour cream might be better, but we didn't have any.) I also think it would be good with crispy sausage bits in it.

So yeah. Homemade tomato soup, much better than Campbell's MSG-flavored variety. That's all for today. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Basket of veggies

Wow, I guess it's been a while. So much for weekly! Where to start? Well, there was a 'Sauces' cooking class, with more yummy recipes to make. We've gone to the gym a few times. We got another couple veggies baskets; the one shown is this past Saturday's. We had to take a picture this time just because of how much there was! In there you can see a lot of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, a pattypan squash, butter beans (in the bag), blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, rainbow chard, a canteloupe, bell peppers, round cucumbers (the three little whitish round things), and a kohlrabi (the spiky thing on the left. Apparently it's like a turnip, and it tastes like broccoli stems.) Whew! I'm a little surprised we got in all into our fridge. By the way, I know they all look small in that picture, but I assure, those are normal-sized ears of corn, and the tomatoes and cucumbers are quite large. By the way, if anyone has any ideas for cucumbers that doesn't include a salad, I would love to hear it!

We did a fondue dinner last night that helped us eat some of that stuff. We used some of our homemade veggie stock along with a few spices as a cooking medium, which was pretty good, although we didn't add enough salt. We chopped up one of the tomatoes, a bell pepper, half a summer squash and half the kohlrabi for cooking, along with some beef and chicken; we had a few sauces to go with it, including mustard, a couple bbq sauces, a habanero cheese dip, and a cucumber tzatziki sauce that came out pretty good (and used a cucumber! yay!) Turns out it was a lot of food, and at the end of the meal we dumped the rest of the chopped up items into the cooking stock and called it a 'soup' which we had for lunch today.

Today I got to experiment with the rest of the kohlrabi, and made kohlrabi and summer squash au gratin with the rest of the habanero cheese. That worked pretty well too, except for the amount of liquid; you really do need heavy cream instead of half-and-half, but I can't find organic heavy cream at any of the grocery stores we go to. The half-and-half at least comes organic, without the carageenan and other crap. We had fun making deviled eggs last week, too. That's a lot of egg, by the way, since we started with two yolk's worth of homemade mayo and just added more and more eggs after that.

Oh my god, I am so sick of salad. We've had salads of some sort or another in our fridge for the past two months! It's an easy way to use veggies, especially the leafy ones, but a girl's gotta have a limit somewhere. We've made the cucumber-tomato-mint salad for three weeks in a row, and it's tasty stuff, but I'm so tired of it. We're going to try to make tomato soup tomorrow as an alternative tomato meal; I'm betting it'll be good, and it looks fairly easy to make. We have some wild rice we've been saving that will go well with it, too.

In other news, I think that 100-day challenge is over, for now. I've had quite a few non-paleo items the past couple weeks, and not really for any special occasion; on top of that, I've lost track of those. But that's ok. Maybe I'll try again when I'm not so busy with other things, and it's not like I've gone back to the SAD (standard american diet.) It's been a few munchkins on one hand, butter beans on the other, and green bean casserole on the gripping hand; then there's the corn. As you can see we got a dozen ears this week; we got a dozen last week, too, and a dozen the week before that. Right now we're cutting it all of the cob and freezing it in Ziplocs - we have a gallon and a half of frozen corn in the freezer. Who knows what I'm going to do with that stuff. I don't really want to eat it. I found a fun post on Mark's Daily Apple that might have some ideas, though.

So yeah. Any squash or cucumber ideas, please please please let me know. Oh! We did make pickles! We have a big jar of cucumber spears slowly pickling away in a nice dill brine; I really hope they come out well. We'll probably do a lot more of that, cuz I like pickles, and they keep well. I think we'll need more jars. We made more pickled eggs, too. I love those. And now made with farm-fresh eggs from the farm's "all-natural bug control!" But even with the pickles, right now we have 5 very large cucumbers in the fridge, along with a big summer squash, a bigger zucchini, and the ufo-shaped pattypan. I really didn't expect to be drowning in veggies, but it seems we are... can you pickle corn?