Eat Well (Rather Than Talk About It)

Just some of the meals I've either cooked or had in restaurants recently, including the last few days up here in Arnold.

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That is all. Busy arranging vacations for happy people, presently. And, lafing at the expense of Dr. Eades in comments.

Food Blogging Clarification; Oscar Lafs; and Another Pork & Fruit Meal

So after my revelation and ink, it appears some people are confused, since I took pics of baguettes and posted them to a bog.

My intent was not a shift in values, but in focus.

What I won't do:

  1. Blog about "anti-nutrients" in a Cordainian context
  2. Blog about "toxins" in a Cordainian context
  3. Blog about cholesterol
  4. Blog about glycolysis
  5. Blog about ketones
  6. Blog about ridiculous extremes, vegan or low carb

What I might do:

  1. Blog about the food I like and make myself, with pics (take it or leave it, don't care either way)
  2. Blog about nice food at competent restaurants
  3. Blog about things I consider still important like vitamin D (living indoors, and/or at the wrong latitude), vitamin K2 (we don't eat nose to tail)
  4. Blog about prebiotics and probiotics; not as a focus, but as an aside
  5. Blog about "anti-nutrients" and "toxins" in a human, non-Cordainian context

Are we clear?

~~~

Bea turned on The Oscars pre-laf-laf around 1 PM, I think. Here's the deal. If you look at it as a comedy show, it's actually quite good—in a Spinal Tap as serious drama sort of way. I did get her lafing a good deal about some of the over-the-top pretense that can only exist in Hollywood.

This year, we probably saw fewer of the best pic, best actor, and best actress (the only important ones, if "important" isn't too reaching) films of any recent year in memory. Last year, my sole desire over the affair was to see Matthew McConaughey get best actor for the amazing Dallas Buyer's Club. Check!

This year, I wasn't really interested in best picture and while Birdman was just-OK for me, and I like Michael Keaton, I really don't care much for Hollywood films about how much it sucks to be a success in Hollywood. Go. Fuck. Yourselves. ...As one fat-rolodex pundit put it in the lead up, "Hollywood loves a movie about itself."

...My interest this year was over 2 actors and 2 actresses (I did not see The Imitation Game, so Benedict Cumberbatch might have replaced one of those). Eddie Radmayne in The Theory of Everything, but thought Steve Carell edged him out in Foxcatchers. Reese Witherspoon in Wild, but thought Jennifer Aniston edged her out in Cake (not even nominated). The common thread I absolutely love is that two comedians really showed what they're made of as professional actors. Still can't get over Steve Carell...

~~~

For dinner, I happened to have some center cut pork chops, so got to thinking. Ever since I first did carnitas and persimmons way back in 2008, I just think pork and fruit is a wonderful thing. I've done a bunch of variations since.

Last night was courtesy of Emeril Lagasse: Pork Chops Stewed with Apples and Prunes, with Mashed Sweet Potatoes. A few variations. No fresh rosemary, so dry, and be careful (cut it in half). Fuji apple instead of Golden Delicious. White wine instead of cognac, half & half instead of cream. Also, my 4 chops were not 1 1/2 inches, so I basically did stuff 1/2 to 2/3 recipe. Also, big one: russet potatoes, not sweet potatoes. Sweets would have been a big misstep in my view, as I'll explain after the pics. Click on 'em for the higher res.

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Beatrice will tell you that I'm my own most vicious critic. When I'm disappointed in the slightest thing, I might just leave it after a few bites. Life is too short. It's not to say it's not good or decent, but in the process of the whole process, one can build up certain expectations and for me, when not met or exceeded when it's your own hand, leave it and live to cook another day.

This one blew me away. I don't think that in my life I have ever done a dish with such a complex profile of sweet, savory, and salty. And that leads me to the mash. What really put this dish over the top was the russet mash, with just a bit of butter, bit of H&H, but very careful salt, up until the point where you taste the salt, but it's not "salty." If you know what I mean.

Additionally, when the sauce was reduced, I tasted and the sweet was a bit dominating. Just a few twists from the Himalayan pink salt mill, and it brought the sweet under better control and razed the savory immensely.

...I'm going to do this basic thing again, but next time I'm going to do as a braise in the oven at 175 until the pork is fork tender. This was my only disappointment. Pork was a bit dry (but in this case, you slice thin and dredge).

Onward.

Classic French Baguette Sandwiches

 Here are the rules:

  1. Simple. Less is more.
  2. Always a fresh crunchy baguette.
  3. Always unsalted butter, never mayonnaise.
  4. Pâté, quality charcuterie (sliced when you buy), or French-syle ham (e.g., Jambon de Paris) which is cooked, not smoked or cured.
  5. Cornichon (Gherkin) often, but not always.
  6. Moutarde rarely, but sometimes.
  7. They aren't for every day, or even necessarily every week.

Here's the ones I've made over about the last six months.

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Rather than do it all the time, do it sometimes and always make it excellent.

I’ve Been So Very Very Very Busy I Only Cook Fish

It's really been tough.

Iv'e been so very very very busy with things I like to do more than I like to do other things, I've gotten to where cooking anything but fish is a real pain in the ass. Forget about Sous Vide, because this is done before you even get the water oven filled with water and brought up to temperature.

Here's an example from last night, 30 minutes from start to finish—but that's only because we were really clamoring for stinky pee and the asparagus takes the longest. And also, I had been very very very busy writing a blog post about being very very very busy, then going shopping for scallops, then walking the dogs, trip to the hot tub and the unheated swimming pool, greeting Beatrice when she got home, etc. Then, after eating, we both got very very very busy watching some stuff on the DVR.

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How you do it in about 30 minutes:

  1. Oven to 400
  2. Toss asparagus in good EVOO and salt liberally
  3. Cook on a cookie sheet in the 400 oven for 20 minutes, go 2-5 more if you need
  4. Soon as it's in, make a tarter sauce quick. Apart from stock, it's got the juice of a whole mandarine orange, fine ground pepper, lots of dry dill, and a tiny bit of crushed jalapeño.
  5. Soon as that's done, get two fry pans, add butter and olive oil, bring to medium to melt and heat
  6. Soon as the asparagus comes out, hit one fry pan to high and set your oven to broil (hi) and move a rack to second position from top.
  7. Soon as the oil begins to smoke, toss your salmon in skin side down and season the top liberally with salt & pepper (make sure the other pan doesn't overheat)
  8. After a minute or so, pop the whole pan under the broiler and set a 4-minute timer
  9. Turn the other fry pan to high and when it starts smoking in a minute, put scallops in an season with salt and pepper (one side only)
  10. After exactly 1 minute, 30 seconds, flip the scallops for exactly another 1 minute, 30 seconds
  11. Take 'em off, get them to the plate immediately, take the salmon out and plate immediately, dress with asparagus and garnish with tartar.

It's to die for. So simple, very inexpensive, so quick and if you do that asparagus right, you'll have crispy flowers and sweet stalks. Letting it cool while you finish everything else makes it kinda like a vegetable and salad all in one.

Mom Cooked Me Rouladen For Birthday

I don't know how many times since I was a kid. Very many, and it's my favorite dish my mom makes. I was too anxious to eat Saturday night to take pics, so this was Superbowl dinner, leftovers for Bea & I (still up here in the cabin). I like to reheat covered, in the oven at 200 for about an hour.

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With mashed potatoes and red cabbage

Red cabbage is basically German sweet & sour.

The other sour bit in the dish is the gherkin pickle in the middle.

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Here's a bit of history and development of the dish.

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.

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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).

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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.
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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.

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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."

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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.
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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.

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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.

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The way to get "bone broth." Put a bone in your damn dish!
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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.

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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.