OMG! I Ate BEANS….and, AND…A CORN TORTILLA! Call the Paleo Police

I told you I was going to do it. Well, I left out the part about the corn tortilla, fearing some zealot might try to stop me.

photo 2
Breakfast

Pinto beans, soaked for about 36 hours, a slice of New Zealand grassfed cheddar, a free range egg fried in Kerrygold butter, and a corn tortilla.

Here's my go-to recipe for pinto beans. After the soak (I use a standard small bag of beans), I rinse well, plop them in a large stockpot. I lightly sprinkle the whole surface of the beans with garlic powder, then black pepper, then dried onion flakes, then real bacon bits (I almost only ever use bacon as a small addition to other foods, or on a salad, etc. I don't just eat bacon anymore. Way too "Paleo" for me.). Then I cook it in a quart of Kitchen Basics beef stock and however much water I need to cover the beans enough. With the soak, should cook to soft beans in 1-2 hours. Bring it to a boil, turn down to a light bubbly simmer, uncovered, adding water (or stock if you like) as needed until tender. Reduce to the point you like it. Sometimes I like it more soupy, sometimes thick.

Did you see my post about the 60th wedding anniversary of my parents-in-law?

Sam and Lucia2
He's 84 and she's 80

Yep, 84 and 80, and they look pretty damn good to me. And guess what? They grew up eating Mexican pinto beans every single day of their lives—and plenty of corn tortillas, masa, and Spanish style rice too. They were poor. It was inexpensive and nutritious.

And they still eat all that stuff regularly and beans are a mainstay around the house, along with the other real food they consume.

Gluten Free Tuna Melt

Don't know how long since I've had one. Udi's gluten free white bread, buttered on the outside with Kerrygold unsalted.

IMG 2058
 

Tuna salad is just a standard toss together of tuna, mayo, splat of yellow mustard, chopped onions, pickles and celery—seasoned with a git of garlic powder, salt & pepper.

The cheese is the New Zealand grassfed cheddar from TJ's.

IMG 2059
 

The Cuisinart comes in handy.

IMG 2061
Et voila!
IMG 2062
There you go!

OK, that's the first of the day. All about quantity over quality—today and tomorrow—but it's sure to be a wide variety.

Slow Cooked Pork Roast and a Big Ass Salad

This was the deal for Sunday afternoon football with a couple of guests.

First, I wanted to showcase my gluten free chipped creamed beef on toast, but in a more elegant and refined way, since it's ghetto food. So I did it as an entrée round (BTW, please stop calling the main course the entrée—it's just fucking WRONG, ok?)

IMG 2045
  (click for hi-res)

I considered cutting the Udi's gluten free bread into triangles instead of squares, but I figured that would be pretentious. Didn't want to put too fine a point on it. :)

For the main, I did a pork roast in the slow cooker, low for about 6 hours. My preferred method is too simple, courtesy of my mom going way way back: plop a pork roast in the crockpot, fatty side up, season with a decent amount of salt & pepper, and that's it. No stock, no veggies.

To serve, I simply reduced a quart of Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock by about 3/4, thickened with a tsp of potato starch in a cold slurry at the very end.

IMG 2049
Too Simple

To accompany the pork, I did a Big Ass Salad (Mark Sisson coined the term), with some starchy stuff. But guess what? I rarely buy salad stuff anymore. Two much waste, and it's typically just the two of us. Fortunately, there's a Whole Foods in Los Gatos like 5 minutes away and I trust their salad bar. $8.50 per pound. Usually, I just get the salad and do my own dressing at home. No exception this time; though, while I usually do some version of a vinaigrette, I did a creamy blue cheese with the stick blender for probably no other reason than Sean at PragueStepchild inspired me via a twitter conversation. (Sean: I had some shallots on hand. About 1/2 was perfect.)

IMG 2046
BAS

So Here's The Thing. That salad cost maybe $12 by weight. Now, consider what it might have cost if I had to separately buy each ingredient, and how much of that might go to waste if I didn't happen to desire a salad for a few days.

  • Romain lettuce
  • Spring greens
  • Baby spinach
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Red onion
  • Green onion
  • Radish
  • Celery
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Olives
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sliced almonds
  • Dried cranberries
  • Yellow raisins
  • Red grapes
  • Cherry tomatoes

Any idea what it would cost to do a salad for four, having to get each of those ingredients? $50 minimum, I'd say, and you'd have waste.

So, 2-3 times per week this is what I do. I head over to Whole Foods and construct a BAS. Each one is a little different.

Gluten Free Comfort Food: Chipped Beef on Toast, Sh*t on a Shingle and More in Pictures

The other day I Tweeted:

I am very happy to report that daily carbs in taters, rice, corn tortillas have completely reversed hypo cold hands/feet I've had for years.

Confirmed, because fall is here and for the first time in years, I have nice, toasty hands & feet. What role Resistant Starch plays, I don't know. Probably both regular and resistant starches contribute. And it's not like I'm going crazy, either. I haven't really run numbers but I'm probably usually in the 100-150g per day of carbs, mostly from starches.

One small portion of that is Udi's Gluten Free White Bread—which, incidentally, is predominantly potato and tapioca starch—at a WHOPPING 11g per slice. I don't even bother with other brands and it's not a staple. Bea and I have gone through exactly five 12 oz loaves in 2 months! I previously blogged about trying some of the new gluten free products, here. I should emphasize that I don't really know what it is about wheat that makes me bloated, feeling awful and usually sporting heartburn. I don't know it's the gluten, or some other property of wheat. All I know is that with this product—just like corn tortillas—I feel just fine. Often energized, even.

Here's some of the ways, Comfort Food Edition

Chipped Creamed Beef on Toast. Most of the recipes are essentially the same. Make a roux with butter & gluten free flour, introduce your protein, add your milk, and reduce to creaminess. Add spices & herbs as desired (you will probably find that less is more).

Gonna get flak for this I know it, but for chipped beef, I prefer the product upon which the recipe is based: canned dried beef. Hormel works. Ingredients: Beef, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. But you have to rinse it thoroughly or you'll ruin your dish, so, far less salt at least. Generally, I try to go by the size of an ingredient list and what the first few are. I like short lists. This product is gluten free as well.

All the following photos can be clicked to open the higher resolution versions.

IMG 2038
Chipped, Creamed Beef on Toast

So, basically you're talking mostly potato and tapioca starch, beef, and [whole!] milk. One note though. Gluten free flour does not thicken as well as AP flour, so once I introduce the milk, I sprinkle potato starch (it won't clump, because the milk is still cold) with really aids in getting you a nice creamy sauce, not paste like so many do.

Also, to me, the pinch of cayenne is absolutely essential.

OK, so once you've got this basic roux, milk sauce reduction down, just use different things.

IMG 2023
Sausage SOS

Plop an egg or two on, and it's and it's basically a gluten free "biscuits" and gravy without having to fuss with baking gluten free biscuits. The toast works wonderfully.

IMG 2026
Wild Game Ground Elk SOS

In this case, I sautéed some shallots in the butter first. I also added sage, savory and marjoram a bit at a time, tasting as I went.

IMG 2028
Leftover Elk Gravy on Leftover Pinto Beans, Topped with an Egg

I have been the leftover king, lately, getting tired of tossing stuff.

IMG 2031
The Chicken Version, Over Chicken Stock Rice

For an extra Resistant Starch kick, use parboiled rice that has both higher nutrition, as well as a far greater RS content. Plus, if you cook it in chicken stock rather than water, you're upping the available nutrition even more.

Turning the emphasis to the gluten free bread, how long since you had one of these?

IMG 2041
Egg-in-the-Hole (Beatrice cooked one for both of us this morning.)

The other day I was over picking running an errand, hadn't eaten and it was getting to be 1pm with hunger setting in. Decided on a burger at The Counter.

IMG 2016
2/3 Pound, Medium, Gluten Free Bun

I'd only been there twice before, in the few years it's been around, but I always feel so crap afterward that it's a rare thing. Well, guess what? You could not tell the difference with that bun, except when it's all over. Pass on the fries, so just a gluten free burger, an iced tea, and see how decent you can fee afterwards.

OK, get you some comfort now & then. Not intended to replace roasts and steaks and chops and seafoods and salads, but it's there when you need it.

Sous Vide Chicken Quarters and Mushroom Risotto The Hard Way

I've done a number of sous vide posts, so just hit the tag to see some of them; or, use the search. Quick review: sous vide is a method of cooking whereby, you control temperature precisely—such that you never overcook. In fact, it is impossible unless you get the ideal temperature setting wrong. You can leave something for hours after it's ready, and it will never get over that set temperature externally or internally. The advantage is, you can do very interesting things in terms of changing the properties of proteins in particular. You can transform them to a mouth feel you have never experienced before.

Contrast that with various other cooking techniques where, in order to get the inside cooked, you have to overcook the outside to varying degrees. On the other hand, sous vide will often leave the exterior of something less cooked or finished than you may want to serve, depending upon what you're cooking. Tradeoffs. But, as you'll see, there's an app for that.

I've used Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades' Sous Vide Supreme (SVS) for years since getting to attend their kickoff in San Francisco with Chef Heston Blumenthal and sharing sous vide tapas with Mike and Tim Ferriss. That was pretty cool. I now have personal tips from both Chef Heston Blumenthal and Chef Michael Mina (a different deal in SF) on how to do proper red wine reduction sauces.

I'll never tell.

What my experience has taught me is that sous vide really excels for the less expensive stuff. Yes, I still pretty much prefer ribeyes done on the grill. On the other hand, sous vide is amazing for filets, if you like them rare to medium rare. But pork chops? The SVS is veritably designed to make the absolute best pork chop in the world. Check this out: James Briscione’s Jack Daniels Pork Chops Sous Vide. Wish I'd taken a picture of the pink. I believe every single person à table told me it was the best pork chop they had ever had.

OK, this time it was bone-in chicken quarters and mushroom risotto. You can look up plenty of recipes for risotto and how to do it traditionally. I don't really like to do specific detailed recipes because I want you to feel a little lost and unsure, so you get it yourself. Here's all the fixin's.

IMG 2017
Stage all the stuff 'cause you'll be busy stirring non-stop

Basically, you warm your chicken stock on the side, sauté your sliced shrooms in butter for like only 3 minutes, until they're soft and the liquid has dumped out. Don't keep cooking to reduce the liquid. Set them and the liquid aside. More butter, sauté the shallots, then add the rice and coat and toast for a minute or two.

Then a solid 15-20 minutes of work begins. Just a single ladle of warm chicken stock at a time, on medium to medium high heat, stirring continuously. Once all the stock is absorbed and it's getting "starchy," add another (you are also reducing liquid as you go). I did 1 cup rice to 1 quart chicken stock, so 8 1/2 C ladles. Never. Stop. Stirring. Do not add salt. You are concentrating as you are reducing. Use unsalted stock if you can. Season at the end.

Once the last of the stock has been absorbed with most the the water boiling off (the rest absorbed by the rice, plus the concentrated flavor, you turn off the heat, introduce the shroms with the shroom liquid, and add the parmesan which imparts the creamy texture, along with some fresh chives.

Risotto is NOT paste. It is al dente, but only just barely. This is the point you season.

IMG 2018
Mushroom Risotto

Beatrice loves all the shrooms. I love the taste, not so much the overburden of shroom texture, so next time, I'm going to make a mushroom stock and reduce it, then add only bits and pieces of lightly sautéed shrooms.

As to the chicken, I basically just melted some butter and tossed in lots of fresh garlic, lots of parsley, some soy sauce and some lemon juice. While that "fermented," I brined the chicken for about an hour in salt water (5T salt per quart). I then rinsed and dried the chicken, brushed on the marinade marriage, vacuum sealed them and put them in the "water oven" for 2 hours at 165F, which is minimum for bone-in chicken (I was up against the clock and a hungry wife). Better to go like 4 hours as it will transform the texture of the meat even more.

Once it comes out, there are several ways to crisp the skin (told you there's an app). You can:

  1. Use the grill on high, just 2-3 minutes per side, lid up (inside is fully cooked already).
  2. Use a kitchen torch.
  3. Use the broiler.

Since I had the marinade, I opted for #3, broiler on high, 4-5" down, brushed with it.

IMG 2019
Chicken and Risotto

I can't emphasize enough how different it is—when you see that chicken, taste it, and register the texture. Damn, I wish I'd done a pic but typically, once I cut in and begin eating, camera time is over.

I'll give you a clue, though. You know how legs & thighs are "dark meat?" In sous vide, legs & thighs are pink meat.

Tomorrow, another food post: Comfort Food Edition. You won't believe what I have in store. Twitter and Facebook followers already know.

Get Over the “Paleo Pizza” Habit and Just Make a Really Good Fucking Pizza For a Special Occasion

I'm totally guilty.

I completely fell head over heals for the "Paleo Pizza" craze years back. First, it was cauliflower crust and then, meat as "crust" or, "meatza." Thing is, I haven't made either in years. Why? Pain in the ass for the former and for the latter, just make a meatloaf.

So I ask you: what's better, an indulgence you call "Paleo" every week because you still have "pizza night;" or, getting over pizza night altogether and every now and then, taking in an indulgence in the real thing? Your choice, but for the mature Paleos who've gone through all the ups & downs and the newest things, how about just make a real pizza and enjoy it?

It. Will. Not. Kill. You. Promise. It's about acute vs. chronic, and if you haven't learned to largely control your taste for indulgences yet, then you might consider just giving up and go count calories. That works too.

I pulled my pizza stone out of the cupboard for the first time in over 5 years. Mission: La Reine. That was my favorite, and the little Sicilian restaurant a short walk away from my apartment on the Mediterranean in Toulon, France, back in the early 90's did them in the wood fired oven.

First, let your dough sit out for a while, get up to room temp. I used Trader Joes' Mark 1, Mod A pizza dough. Then, get your oven up to 450F with your stone on the first level above middle.

IMG 1990
All The Ingredients

Pizza dough, owing to the high gluten content, is sticky as hell and sticks to itself even more vociferously. It's like raw rubber, or something. I wanted to avoid using tons of flour to overcome this, plus I don't have flour. So, I use corn meal for the nonstick element on the stone. I'm no pro, so attempting to toss the dough and stretch it out was no-go. So, I salted the hot stone with cornmeal, plopped the dough down and began trying to press it out best I could, slowly pulling my fingers off the stick, because you don't want to break the dough apart at all.

It was hell and I'm thinking, "this is not going to work. There goes Sunday Night Football." And then, I have a fucking brilliant idea. It's been sitting on a 450F stone for 3 minutes now. What happens if I just flip it over? Sure enough. Light crust on the other side, completely non-sticky and I easily spread out the dough to cover the stone.

Then, I added stuff. (All the pics can be clicked for hi-res versions.)

IMG 1991
Stuff

Then, more stuff.

IMG 1992
More Stuff

Now, here's where I go all Sicilian on your asses. What the fuck are those packages of red pepper flakes, or the sprinkle bottles? Do you like them, sprinkled on your pizza? Well, good. Then you're enlightened, but still ignorant; because the true way to impart that lovely red pepper spice is via 100% suitably spiced extra virgin olive oil drizzled on your pizza, and especially the crust, transforming it into the food of Ancient Roman Gods. Basically, Italians take those small fire-hot red peppers, score them with a knife, and insert and pack them into a bottle of EVOO with a spout. Takes at least a week to get up to snuff. Every authentic pizza making Italian restaurant has them. You can take it to your table and call it your own for the evening.

I did a truc.

IMG 1993
Red Pepper Flakes in EVOO

I was astounded at how well it worked. First, I didn't have a bottle of pepper oil as previously described, and even if I did (I used to), it would be over 5 years old. The positioning is important. It's sitting under the heat vent for the oven and in the end, was gloriously spicy hot and very warm as a bonus.

Let's eat.

IMG 1994
Sauce, Ham, Mozzarella, Greek Olives

Beatrice is a "combination" pizza person and I have always scoffed at the idea. I like a pizza that showcases an ingredient or two so you can know if an ingredient or two is very good (and BTW, that was stellar smoked ham). How easy is it to hide crap with 6-8 ingredients? But, I have had a few slices of combo in my life that were very good. Bonus for black olives and crunchy green bell pepper.

As we're watching Sunday Night Football (she's now 6-0, still #1, and still top cummulative scorer by more than 200 points in her fantasy league against all of her sports junkie brothers, brothers in law, and nephews :). She wasn't sure about the pepper oil, so she did one piece with, one without and soon discovered the error of half her ways.

She kept repeating: "this is the best pizza I have ever had in my life." At least 6 times. I'll take it.

Frenched Pork Chops With Resistant Starch Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

What a difference a day makes. I still might not blog much over the next week, but at any rate, got interested in this during a trip to the market yesterday and so made it so.

IMG 1975
Thick, Bone in Pork Chops with a Nice Cut
IMG 1976
Other Side

If you don't do them Sous Vide, then I like a cast iron skillet, on high always, lard as cooking fat. Brown very well on one side (about 3 minutes, flip and then cover to get at the inside).

This time, I reduced an entire quart of Kitchen Basics chicken stock to the equivalent of tablespoons. I then used that to deglaze the skillet, and then added in the juices from the resting. Beyond that, two taters boiled, mashed with a bit of butter and cream and when rested, two very heaping tablespoons of resistant starch by means of unmodified potato starch stirred in.

IMG 1980
Like That
IMG 1977
And That

Typically, a mound of mashed taters like that puts me into a coma. Not this time. Also, note that it took zero added fat in terms of butter or cream in the sauce/gravy as I usually do, and it was great. I also cut way, way back on the amount of either I use for a mashed tater. It's just not needed, not necessary.

Wish I'd have clipped a pic of the inside but you can trust that it was perfect pink medium.

Something about pork chops. An hour after eating them, I always get the most amazing feeling of wellbeing, muscles pumped and swole. Cannibalistic tendencies? After all, pig flesh is about the closest to human of any animal. :)