Whole Grain Teff Polenta

The other day I touched on the ancient Ethiopian, gluten-free grain called teff. Decent nutritionally, too—since it's the smallest grain and hence, a higher proportion of the nutritional germ part to the rest of it.

I could only find the flour locally, so I ordered some from Bob. It's weird stuff. The grains are the size of a . Yea, the size of a period. Period. And when you're boiling it, it's like a colloidal solution until it soaks up the liquid.

Bob's also has a polenta recipe that I followed exactly. Here's another, quite different. Here's how mine came out, along with some roasted chicken and a simple chicken stock reduction. Yea, should have some greens but none on hand at the time.

IMG 2898
Click to enlarge

It's quite tasty although, a bit too "herby" for my taste. Tim Steele said that cold, it tastes like leftover meatloaf and I can see that. My wife loved it and went for a second helping.

I think my preference would be to make it like you make grits, with just some butter, salt & pepper, so I'll try that. Its consistency was exactly like grits prior to letting it cool. But first up, I'm going to make a porridge this morning and I think a bit of real maple syrup I keep on hand will be the ticket, especially if I dry roast the grains in the saucepan a few minutes prior to introducing the water.

Hopefully, you checked out the massive, 2-months-in-the-works post on the vast distinction health-wise between refined sugar and unrefined. Turns out that just like honey, maple syrup has a real nutritional profile. Less vitamins than honey, more minerals—plus various and sundry 'nols'. I'd still use sparingly (though I'm taking in several tablespoons of raw honey daily, now), but nothing to be afraid of. It's a whole food.

On a final note, nothing to write home about in terms of resistant starch. Tim has the full text of that paper and RS comes to about 6-10% of carbohydrate, depending on teff varietal. Not sure whether that's in a raw, cooked, or retrograded state. Doesn't really matter, since in that portion above, it's about 30g of carbohydrate which in the best of worlds, would put it at a rather insignificant 3g of RS, if that. But there's plenty of other goof reasons to enjoy it. It settled in my stomach perfectly. Had that been made of wheat I'd have been assured of nuclear heartburn.

Ina Garten’s Warm French Lentils

I watch quite a bit of Food Network when I don't really want to search for anything to watch, so it's whatever comes up. One of the shows I tend to like best is Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa, at least when she prepares simple rustic cuisine.

So the other day, I saw her make a warm French lentil salad and had to give it a go myself. It's super easy. Most curious about it is boiling the lentils with a whole peeled onion stabbed with cloves and a turnip cut in half (which are both discarded after cooking).

IMG 2830
click to enlarge

A few key things to emphasize in terms of the preparation.

  1. Brining the lentils to a boil and immediately turning down to a light simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes, yielded perfect al dente lentils, ideal for a salad dish.
  2. Yes, only 3 minutes for the carrots and leek, then another minute with the garlic (I used 4 cloves). Remove and let sit in the same pan until the lentils are done.
  3. Soon as the lentils are done, drain and add them to the veggies, then stir in the dressing while it's still hot.
  4. If you taste it immediately it's going to taste salty. Patience. After it settles, it'll be perfect.
IMG 2886
Click to enlarge

I found salmon to be a nice pairing, and you don't even need to start it until the lentils are done and resting. Preheat your oven to 425. Pan fry the salmon on medium high, skin side down for 3 minutes. Then season with salt & pepper and drizzle some EVOO, and put the pan in the oven for 6 minutes.

Bon appétit!

Potato Soup Recipe; Cycling High Protein and High Carb

I have a post I'm drafting that's about blood work I just had done that I find interesting. Still waiting for some of the results, so I'll put this up in the meantime.

You saw what I was eating in Mexico recently (here and here). Reasonably carbby. Then we went to Vegas for a couple of days, and it was more LC, high protein.

IMG 2758
Enormous Prime Rib

I had this two nights in a row at Primarily Prime Rib, perfect medium rare pink. In this case, I opted for their demi-glace, which was quite good, though different. Second time, the standard "au jus."

IMG 2805
Big Ribeye

This was at CV Steak in the Carson Valley Casino, Gardnerville, NV. Since I was in high protein mode, I ate only half of that dressed half of the tater. Bea didn't eat any of her giant potato, so the 1 3/4 potatoes went home with us where, the next evening I used them and two other taters to make soup in under 30 minutes, entering my low protein, high-carb mode.

Quick Potato Soup

  • As many potatoes as you want, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 slice of bacon per potato
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion per potato, chopped (substitute or mix leeks or shallots, as desired)
  • 1/2 clove fresh garlic per potato, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley per potato
  • 1/4 cup whole milk per potato
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Chop your bacon and fry it to a "medium sweat." You're not looking for bacon bits. Remove with a slotted spoon to your pot.
  2. Add your potatoes, onions, and garlic.
  3. Cover (just barely) and bring to a boil.
  4. When soft, mash the whole thing up.
  5. Add milk, dried parsley, reduce to desired soupy consistency, salt and pepper to taste.
IMG 2806
 

You can, of course, use cream or H&H, but I'm preferring whole foods these days and plus, I like to keep the fat lower during my high carb excursions.

Here's a typical breakfast, no meat. Sometimes it's potatoes, sometimes beans.

IMG 2809
 

Eggs scrambled in a little butter, boiled and cooled potatoes, then lightly fried. Slice of rye toast with a single pat of butter (not WAPF tooth mark levels), small glass of orange juice.

I'll show you my new lipid panel from a few months of cycling things like this, later tonight or tomorrow.

What Childhood Image Does the Word “Beans” Conjure?

For my wife, of Mexican descent, it's solidly pinto beans. We make them a lot around here. Had them for breakfast with an o/e egg and bowl of fruit both Saturday and Sunday.

But when I was a kid, I knew nothing of pinto beans. Chili was chili. There was baked beans, but like chili, not very often.

Nope, for me, "BEANS" meant we were having navy beans with ham in it. I didn't much care for it as a kid. When mom said "BEANS," it was always a disappointment. Not sure why. Perhaps it was just the least favorite; or more likely, that a single dish was the meal in itself. ...And hell, even breakfast had eggs, bacon, toast, and jam.

Yesterday, I made it for the first time. As you might imagine, these days and ages afford perhaps more of the ham than 4 growing boys got on a single plate in the early 70s.

The "recipe" is ridiculously simple:

  • Navy beans
  • Ham
  • Onion

Here's how I did it.

  • 2 pounds navy beans
  • 1 smoked pork shank (about 1 pound, w bone)
  • 1 pound ham steak, trimmed of fat
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock

I didn't soak the beans (sometimes I do; I do both). Rinsed and into the crockpot with the shank, ham steak, onion, quart of Kitchen Basics UnSalted Chicken Stock, and water to cover the shank. Took about 5 hours on high for the shank meat to melt off the bone, then I let it sit there on high for another hour, uncovered, so some of the liquid would reduce off, thicken a bit, and concentrate flavor.

I needed to add zero salt. I say again, never add salt to a dish where liquid will reduce, until you're done. Sometimes, it might not need any—most commonly with cured or smoked pork in the mix.

IMG 2718
The way to get "bone broth." Put a bone in your damn dish!
IMG 2719
No salt or fat added, but I do like finely ground pepper.

If there's any recipe or dish I post you might be inclined to try, do this one, exactly as outlined. Sit down when you eat because your knees might buckle from flavor intensity and pure mouth-feel satisfaction.

Someone recently asked me in comments what I think in terms of weight loss. We've been doing rice, beans and potatoes as staples around here recently. I have leftovers for days on that one above. Of all three, I think beans hold the best promise in terms of satiation leading to eating less, while getting very decent nutrition. I had that bowl at 7m last night and it's 9am next morning. I am only just beginning to feel the first tinges of hunger, and it'll be another bowl of that, reheated.

What If You Ruin A Vegan Potato Salad With Chicken Stock?

Well first of all, I'm floored. ...No, it's not about Lyle McDonald's revelation today over living a double life as a porn producer.

Nope, I'm talking about yesterday's post: What If You Modified Dr. McDougall’s Program To "Starch-Based Paleo?" I was prepared to duck for cover; but as it turns out, the comments are not that at all. Rather, I see a combination of folks who've already adopted something similar, along with folks asking some of the same questions that plague me.

For instance: is added fat in any way Paleo or Primal? No, it's not. Rendering and isolating fats is solidly a neolithic/agriculture/pastoralist thing. Can we be honest with ourselves? Is a huge part of the backlash over Paleo over the last half decade well deserved—with its images of bacon in pounds, and swimming pools of added fat? On the other hand, I'm no big vegan fanboy. Just ask DurianRider: Live Debate: The Animal (That’s Me) vs. Durianrider (Raw Fruit Vegan Harley Johnstone).

Over the ensuing years, it has nagged at me that I think they're just both very wrong, but for different reasons. The vegans are just wrong because they're fucktarded about basic anthropology and simply dismiss mountains of science that we've been omnivores for a very fucking long time—and gorillas get more animal product than vegan humans (via insects). It was the Tiger Nuts, however, that made me realize that Paleo, as currently peddled, is just as fucktardedly wrong. Different reasons.

And so, I'm at the point where I desire to see if there's a possible synthesis between the two. Real Food veganism has profound elements of paleo, and they rightly put paleo in short pants over some things (like added fats). And bacon is just not Paleo in any stretch of the imagination, nor are virtually any of the snacks and treats from the flashy money whores out there. Nor are any of the similarly fucktarded "Paleo" websites devoted to baking shit.

So, in some respects, the Real Food vegans are more Paleo than faux Paleo. But, just as for the low carbers, no animal is as fucktardedly baked into the cake as is the fuclktardism of no-or-low carbs.

Pissed off, yet? If not, then here. Let me help some more.

IMG 2704
THREE TABLESPOONS TO PISS OFF VEGANS!

...After yesterday's post, I got into in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-pound mode. I'm curious. I actually have never done anything but a relatively high meat/fat diet. It was more "balanced" when I was growing up—vegetables and starches were always part of every meal. Meat was always treasured but as I retro-spect, so were so many of the veggie or starch preparations. I have my mom's cookbook and it's loaded with vegetable preparations across the board.

So I'm just going to do an experiment where fruits and starches make up the foundation, augmented with all that leafy shit, plus an egg every now and then, and meat/seafood measured in ounces.

What happens? I don't know. What I do know is that I'm not afraid of the result in any slight manner. I embrace the 'what it is, is.' Do you? What really stops you from taking any action out of your comfort zone? Is it fear on various levels, or is it something rational?

Here's the vegan foundation of that dish:

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon creole or other whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • 1/16 teaspoon hickory smoked salt or other smoked salt
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions or chopped red onions

What I did was:

  1. Used apple cider vinegar (no diff)
  2. Used 3 tablespoons of EVIL CHICKEN BROTH (in place of veg broth), from leftover chicken soup with an apple in it (completely ruined it as inedible for vegans)
  3. Used Maille Dijon mustard (no diff)
  4. Used finely ground back pepper (no diff)
  5. Used 1/8 teaspoon of smoked paprika in place of the smoked salt (no diff)
  6. Added 1/3 cup of thinly sliced celery (no diff)
  7. Used both green onions and paper-thin sliced yellow onions (no diff)

So, see how adding chicken stock ruined it for vegans? Fucktarded? Of course.

See how it's potatoes, ruining it for physiologically insulin resistant VLCers and diabetics, convinced that their pancreas and metabolism must remain a couch potato in fear of a spike—analogous to a rapid heart beat when climbing stairs after a year of playing Call of Duty? Fucktarded? Of course.

Later, I'm going to piss off vegans and LC/Paleos even more. I have a half dozen chicken thighs in the fridge. I'm going to broil them, no added fat. Then, I'm going to eat exactly one of them (2-3 oz of actual meat, I guess) with about a half plate of that potato salad.

So, it pisses off the vegans twice, and the Paleos, twice or more:

  1. Vegans are vegans. So, the dish is ruined because of the chicken stock. Plus, there's the thigh of a face on my plate and it's poison.
  2. Paleos are paleos (and VLC are VLC). So, the dish is ruined because it has starchy white potatoes and not cauliflower purée. Furthermore, its calorie and fat content have not been boosted by exponential factors by adding olive oil, butter, mayo, coconut oil, or any and all. Moreover, it's not 4-6 chicken thighs, all sautéed in some cooking fat, reduced to a sauce on top, sprinkled in bacon bits.

OK, I didn't even start writing this post until I tasted the dish. Never had a fat free potato salad before. I hope there's enough left for Beatrice and the chicken thighs.... Now I'm thinking about a million ways I can fuck with this recipe.

Chicken Soup With Apple

Yes, apple.

IMG 2701
Click for higher resolution

I make all my chicken soup with leftover rotisserie chicken caracas, with skin & bone. In this case, there were two of them. I do different variations—Paper Thin Chicken Soup (with paper thin onion and lemon, including the rind) is one of my favorites.

So, two of them, a quart of Kitchen Basics UnSalted Chicken Stock, augment with water as necessary. Bring to a boil, simmer covered for an hour or so. Let cool. Strain and painstakingly get all the bits of chicken meat—even the bits between the vertebrae.

Add whatever stuff, simmer for another 30 minutes or, until your added stuff reaches the doneness you prefer (I like veggies a bit firm).

In this case, there was 3 cloves of garlic, one bay leaf, a big handful of those little carrots, about half an onion, and a whole apple. Yep, an apple.

I only season at the end, and this is why I use unsalted stock. When liquids reduce, you can be too salty real easy. In this case, 1 TBS and then 1 TSP of salt brought it up nice. I just did a light dusting of pepper, actually wish I hadn't.

Quick Bolognese Sauce

There's a million variations and the classic calls for a mirepoix, but what if you don't want to bother with all the chopping, the longer prep, etc? What if it's 7:15 and you want to be eating by 8?

Here's your plan, then.

  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I use lean in sauces; 80/10 is for burgers)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • 1/8 TSP cayenne pepper
  • Red wine, about a cup or so (I had an open bottle of inexpensive port, so I cut it 50/50 with water
  • 1 large (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small can of chopped black olives
  • 1/4 TSP nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 TBS salt and 1 TSP pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for serving

Drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, heat on medium, add your ground beef and sauté for a few minutes—just until the pink is gone. Deglaze with half your wine and add the garlic, oregano, and cayenne.

Sauté for a few more minutes, then add the tomatoes, paste, olives, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover, bring to a simmer on medium heat; then uncover, add the rest of the wine and simmer for about 10 minutes. If bubbles splatter, add water as necessary (1/4-1/2 cup) to thin it a bit.

IMG 2695
 

Once the simmer is done, get your pasta of choice on the boil (I used gluten free, corn & rice-based spaghetti) and finish off the sauce with the basil and  cream. Let it continue to simmer on medium low as your pasta is boiling.

Bolognese
Bolognese

It's very much worth it. Give a try. 

My Idea of Chicken For a Football Game

You take leftover rotisserie chickens from you local market, from the fridge. No, I can't really bring myself to lie and give you faux shit over how they're labelled; so long as they taste good.

Indeed it was the case they taste awesome, and you can enhance. I sourced from two caracas.

Just punch them, break them up, spread on Juka's Red Palm Oil (100% Organic & Natural From Africa), accept no substitutes, and pop it in a high broiler for about 10, along with cherry tomatoes and at least a bulb of peeled garlic.

IMG 2689
Simple enough
IMG 2690
Closer
IMG 2691
Closest

The garlic wasn't yet done at about 8-10. I picked off everything else and gave them all another 2-3.

You really need to begin experimenting with Red Palm Oil.

The worst that can happen is you'll laf at all the coconut oil fucktards* who think they know something. They don't. They're just regurgitators. You need to come to my blog to get any sense of pioneer.

*Coconut oil is fine and I use it. My problem is with perennial followers.

15-Minute Broiled Salmon With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Rice & Bean Salad

Well, you'll need to have made your Rice & Bean Salad previously, but this demonstrates its versatility as a side dish right from the fridge.

So, get salmon filets, obviously. Get your hands on a frying pan big enough for them. Set your oven rack on the second position from the top (about 6" from the element) and put it preheating at the 'HI!' setting. The following contemplates two 6-8 oz. filets. Adjust as necessary, using your brain.

  1. Drizze some olive oil in your pan just like you see chefs do on TEEVEE.
  2. Add a goodly amount of butter and put it to medium heat on the stovetop. Whatever size pan you're using, the melted fats ought be at about 1/4".
  3. Crush and chop a clove or two of fresh garlic, then scoop it into the pan.
  4. Once the garlic is light brown and toasty, add a splash of white wine and the juice of about a half to a whole lemon or lime. Then a splash (about a TBS) of either soy sauce or Worcestershire (I used the latter this time). It's the difference between a more Asian salty/tangy/sweet vs. mildly savory.
  5. Let these liquids bubble off the moisture, then take it off the heat. Foregoing should take about 5 minutes.
  6. Plop down the filets and baste them with your mixture. Lightly dust with salt, pepper and fresh or dried dill (very easy on the salt—or none—if you've gone with the soy sauce option). Scatter a handful of whole cherry tomatoes in the pan.
  7. Pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Then slide it out and set each filet to one side. Lightly baste. 2 Minutes. Repeat for the other side of the filets. Another 2 minutes. 9 minutes total.
  8. In the last couple of minutes, nuke your rice & bean salad for about 30 seconds, just enough to take the chill off and soften the cheese chunks.
IMG 2685
Do Not Forget The Cherry Tomatoes. Co-Star of the Dish.

Plate it up.

IMG 2687
Eat.

So there you have it. The above literally took 15 minutes from start to finish. But I work fast. It may take you 20.

Cold Rice and Bean Salad

I arrived back to San Jose yesterday afternoon, after a week away giving Beatrice time off from attending to two very spoiled and ornery rat terriers (she spoiled them; see how charitable I am IRL?).

Checked email when I got back and a blog reader, Brian, had a link for me: Rice and Bean Resistant Starch Salad; a post at Food Renegade by  Shannon Stonger (wouldn't it be cool if she was 'Shannon Stronger' or, 'Shannon Stoner'?).

I looked around. Bea had a pot of pinto beans in the fridge, and the rice cooker was on the countertop, with a full load from the night before. Hmmm, beans & rice dish? I'm in. After a quick surveillance of what else there was on hand, I set off to the market.

All I needed was two large heirloom tomatoes (I got a big red and a big yellow) a big [h]ass avocado, and a block of cheddar cheese. It calls for Mexican oregano, but I had Greek, which is the closest. Substitute a little lime juice for some of the vinegar and you'll approximate that lemon verbena thingy (I googled it on my iPhone 6, in the store).

See her full recipe here.

My variations:

  1. the rice was Ben's Parboiled. Doubt it makes any difference. It's just starch.
  2. went with 2 tsp of sea salt instead of 1 1/4.
  3. 1/2 tsp cayenne instead of 1/4.
  4. for the vinegar, used juice of a whole lime, 1 TBS coconut vinegar, and 2 TBS ACV.
  5. recipe calls for black beans or whatever your preference. I had pintos, but bought a can of black at the market which when drained, was 1 1/2 cup of the 3 cups called for. So, half pinto, half black.

The recipe doesn't specify, but you want to drain the beans of their liquid. Ought be obvious, but you never know. Some people do beans more like soup, so you want to start off the same.

My only thing I'd do different next time is to go with less onion. Recipe calls for a medium, the two I had were large and I picked the smallest one. Bit more chunky raw onion than I'd have preferred. Beatrice, on the other hand, loved it more than I. Definitely go with doubling the cayenne if you at all like a little kick. Even still, it's a small kick.

IMG 2682
Yea, it's a lot

So, there you have a week's worth of starchy, side-dish substrate for your proteins for lunch and dinner, for two people; and it's as cheap as sewer water.

IMG 2684
Yin Yang. Grace and Evil.

...I really loved the idea of a whole avocado for the dressing substrate (as opposed to mayonnaise, which I hate to make). Word of caution: if you go with the 2 tsp salt as I did, the dressing will be very salty. Remember, it's to dress a lot of stuff. You'll not need to add any more salt.

Potential future variations: Olives? How about fresh cilantro, either as garnish or in the dish itself?