Friday, September 17, 2010


Early this week we made soup. Lots of soup. Soup is easy, and you can use almost any veggie in it. We still have some for lunch today.

This one started with chicken stock. We added summer squash, zucchini, wax beans, tomatoes, roasted red and green bell peppers, ground beef, and hot sausage (the meats were browned separately.) It came out pretty good once we added enough salt and spices. Would have been better with onion, but we didn't have any.

Roasted peppers: this is pretty much the only way we do bell peppers now. It takes off the skin, which often gets bitter if you cook with bell peppers.
Cut them in half, leave the seeds and stem, and put cut-side-down on a pan. Put under the broiler until skin is blackened. Cover with tinfoil for 10 minutes or so. Then, peel off skin and take out seeds and stem. They're cooked at this point, so add them to your dish when it's almost done. Easy and tasty!

Tonight, since our veggie soup will be gone, we're going to make cream of mushroom soup. That's one we love, and we haven't made it for a while. Like our tomato soup, this one is much better than Campbell's version - there's no MSG, for one thing. I don't think I've posted our recipe yet, so here it is:

4 cups heavy cream
1.5 cups chicken stock
8 oz. each baby bellas, shitakes, and those round white ones (or whatever mushrooms you like)
1 large yellow onion
1.5 tablespoons butter
Pork cubes, if you want them
Salt & pepper to taste
Marsala wine to taste

Saute diced mushroom in butter in your pot. They'll start to sweat, and you'll find they make a lot of liquid; add diced onion and the chicken stock, and let it all reduce for a while.

Add cream. If desired, add pork pieces (brown them first; if desired, deglaze the pan and add that to your pot, too. I use marsala wine to deglaze.)
Add some marsala wine. Add salt and pepper. (Like the tomato soup, it'll be more salt than you expect.) Let it all simmer and reduce until it's the thickness you like; if you added pork, make sure that's cooked. Stir fairly often. Cream doesn't burn easily, but it does boil over.

It's super-tasty, and pretty filling due to all that cream. I recommend eating it slowly - it's pretty easy to eat too much and feel overfull. If you can, try to find organic cream, and definitely use heavy cream rather than half-and-half so you don't have to reduce it as long. Unfortunately I haven't found a brand of organic heavy cream in any of our local grocery stores. Just not in demand, I guess. Maybe I'll try Trader Joe's tonight.

Friday, September 10, 2010


We've been almost drowning in veggies this week, having been away from home until Tuesday evening. So last night, since neither of us really wanted to cook much, we decided to throw a bunch of stuff together and see what happened.

Well, what happened is pretty tasty, so I thought I'd share.

We made two dishes. Last Saturday, instead of eggs, our farm offered us 2 lbs of grass-fed, grass-finished ground beef, which we gladly accepted. We cooked that up in a pan and added just a few things: halved yellow cherry tomatoes, some Chinese 5-spice powder, and a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt. It's a little bland, but once you add some salt and pepper or a little Frank's, it's really good.

The other one is veggies. We diced a kohlrabi and started sauteeing that; added two small eggplants, and then diced up a few small bell peppers to add. Tossed in some garlic, ginger, a little Worcestershire, and a very small amount of soy sauce. Tastes pretty awesome, and the kholrabi overpowers the eggplant pretty well, which is good because I'm not a giant fan of eggplant and we've had a lot of it recently.

Then we also made a dessert. Orange juice, yogurt, honey, and some lemon juice to soak peach slices in. Came out awesome. I'm excited to have more tonight, too, because right now it's freezing and should make a pretty good almost ice cream.

This morning we scrambled a few eggs to add to our veggie mix, and I'm eating some of that right now. Yum! Will make these again.

Going to the gym tonight...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pizza! (Almost.)

We made two different paleo pizzas the other night.

One was a meatza, with a hamburger crust. Essentially, you make a flat meatloaf (just hamburger, egg, and spices please, no breadcrumbs) and cook that for a while, then drain before adding your sauce, cheese, and toppings and cooking again. It came out absolutely delicious. We didn't have any sauce on hand, and didn't feel like making any, so we went for simple and layered on slices of heirloom tomatoes topped with cheese, bacon, and hot peppers. It came out better this time than last time; we used Girl Gone Primal's suggestion of a stick blender to mix the crust, and it certainly helps the texture.

For the other pizza we tried a cauliflower crust. It mostly failed, unfortunately. Tasted fine - not too much cauliflower flavor - but I think I over-steamed the cauliflower, underestimated the amount of cheese and egg needed, and then undercooked the crust before adding the toppings. It just came out soggy. We'll have to try it again, though; I think we can do better.

And then, yesterday, we made tuna salad for dinner, and chicken salad to have for lunch today. Those are good ways to eat a head of lettuce, since they make pretty awesome sandwich wraps; plus, we just had a lot of random veggies to eat still. The salads were made with our homemade olive-oil mayo/mustard sauce, and we added diced hot peppers, jingle bell peppers (tiny sweet bell-pepperish things), tomatillos, and steamed eggplant. I really like tomatillos by the way. Never really had them before, but they have a nice citrus flavor.

Now all we have left to cook from last week's CSA pickup is green beans! Well, and fennel, of course. What do you do with fennel? We actually didn't get cucumbers last week; it'd be nice to have another week free of them. We'll find out tomorrow. Eggplant might be my new nemesis, though. There was too much to add to our two salads, and we have a tupperware full of diced, steamed eggplant. Not sure what to do with it yet. Ideas?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Eye experiment!

It's 2 pm, and I've just taken off my glasses. In order to read my computer screen, I have to be no more than 16 inches away (without squinting.) I'd like to see if that distance changes by the end of the day. Of course, leaning forward all the time won't be good for my back, so if it looks like it helps I'm going to see about getting a pair of glasses that's about half-strength, and try using those for a while.

In other news, we made liver and onions again last night, with enough left for lunch today. Elk liver this time instead of buffalo. I definitely cooked it better, it's not dry, but I still have some learning to do when it comes to cooking this particular organ. By the way, there really is a difference in flavor between the elk and the buffalo, although they look exactly the same.

And further news, we've finally discovered how much our cats are supposed to be eating. This comes at a very good time, since one of our cats (Syntax) seems to be always hungry, yet is more than a pound overweight. We were pretty close. but he now gets very few breakfast kibbles. Hopefully he starts losing some of that weight soon. The vet called him fat at his last checkup a few months ago; he's gained a pound since then...

Also confession time! I've been going off-diet a little too much lately. Pizza one night because we were lazy. Crackers another night with (eww, can't believe I ate this) a soybean oil based 'cheese snack spread' among other, more paleo-friendly dips. A cake tasting to get our wedding cake all set up (the grain-free chocolate monstrosity is really tasty though, and paleo except for the inordinate amount of sugar that must be in there.) A few spoonfuls of Rich's Ramen last night because it smelled really good. Gah. Well, I think I can start doing better again; all I have to do is remind myself how I felt the day after the pizza. Really, not kidding. It hurt.

We finally picked up more almond flour though, so maybe I can start making my own crackers again. That would help a lot.

Ok, a quick question: we have corn coming out of our ears. Each week we've been getting a dozen ears of corn from our CSA. Some of it we've given away, but a lot we just cut off the cob and put in ziplocs and freeze. We have 3 gallon bags full of the stuff now. What on earth can we do with it? Is there any way to cook it/process it so it's a little healthier? I don't know, but I'm going to have to come up with something soon.

*It's now 8 pm. Based on my extremely inaccurate measuring methods, I can sit an inch further from my computer screen and still read what's there. I wonder how I can measure it better... just using a 12 inch ruler for a 17 inch distance and guessing on an equivalent level of fuzziness is far from conclusive. Perhaps I can load up an eye chart tomorrow.