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.

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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.

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Simple enough
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Closer
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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.
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Do Not Forget The Cherry Tomatoes. Co-Star of the Dish.

Plate it up.

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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.

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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.

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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?

The Incredible Edible Tigernut

Having touched on the Tigernut previously, I thought it time for a complete review to encompass not only the aspects of its evolutionary roots in the human diet and impressive nutrition—both macro and micro—but also practical applications in our everyday lives. On that note, I have some interesting Tigernut food and drink experiences to share with you.

The Roots of the Root

One thing that always seemed a bit mysterious to me in the general human evolutionary narrative is how, nutritionally, our hominin ancestors were able to evolve to such extremes (ref: expensive tissue hypothesis and Kleiber's law). Briefly, as the story goes, millions of years ago, our ape ancestors with their small brains and gigantic guts climbed down from the trees where they spent most of their time eating (since leaves aren't nutritionally dense) and were able to acquire the nutritional density to eventually grow large brains and correspondingly small guts by scavenging stuff left over from predator kills, such as marrow and brain.

But how to get from A to B, without some intermediate step? What if, for example, there was a plant that could deliver this nutritional density, and far from being hit & miss like finding predator leftovers, it was as plentiful as invasive weeds and as easy to harvest as pulling them from soft, moist soil?

Tigernuts (Cyperus esculentus)

Earlier this year, new research was published that stemmed from research on the eating patterns of baboons. In a nutshell, a mystery was solved as to why isotope analysis suggested that "Nutcracker Man" (Paranthropus boisei) consumed a vast amount of grass (C4 plant sources). Why it was mysterious is that here, you have a larger-brained, smaller-gutted hominin eating essentially a diet similar to the leaves in trees; so where was the nutritional density coming from to grow and support this big brain with its important energy requirements? It wasn't the grass, but the tubers in the soil, the roots.

Ancient human ancestor 'Nutcracker Man' lived on tiger nuts

Previous research using stable isotope analyses suggests the diet of these homimins was largely comprised of C4 plants like grasses and sedges. However, a debate has raged over whether such high-fibre foods could ever be of sufficiently high quality for a large-brained, medium-sized hominin.

Dr Macho's study finds that baboons today eat large quantities of C4 tiger nuts, and this food would have contained sufficiently high amounts of minerals and vitamins, and the fatty acids that would have been particularly important for the hominin brain. [...]

Tiger nuts, which are rich in starches, are highly abrasive in an unheated state. Dr Macho suggests that hominins' teeth suffered abrasion and wear and tear due to these starches. The study finds that baboons' teeth have similar marks, giving clues about their pattern of consumption. In order to digest the tiger nuts and allow the enzymes in the saliva to break down the starches, the hominins would need to chew the tiger nuts for a long time. All this chewing put considerable strain on the jaws and teeth, which explains why 'Nutcracker Man' had such a distinctive cranial anatomy.

I suspect that the abrasion observed on teeth is because 1) it was a staple food being consumed in great quantity, and 2) likely not always washed or rinsed and so abrasion was partially from soil (probiotics). Plus, if you soak the unpeeled ones as I do, for 24-48 hours, they take on a soft but snappy water chestnut texture.

But here's the real evolutionary kicker for me, in addition to the nutrition, which we'll cover next.

The Oxford study calculates a hominin could extract sufficient nutrients from a tiger nut-based diet – i.e. around 10,000 kilojoules or 2,000 calories a day, or 80% of their required daily calorie intake – in two and half to three hours. This fits comfortably within the foraging time of five to six hours per day typical for a large-bodied primate. [emphasis added]

Consider that an average male gorilla eats 50 pounds of leafy and stalky plant matter per day. Scale that to your own weight, then figure how much time it would take you. So, the question arrises to me:

Are H. sapiens big brains and small guts an evolutionary product of high density nutrition, or free time?

What happens when you have more discretionary time? Or, perhaps more poignantly: what happens when members of a society have more free time? You could describe lots of things but creativity rather encompasses all, and is not the human story one of creativity? Freed from having to literally spend all waking hours pursuing and eating food, we're unique; the consequences are manifest all around us.

So, in a primitive hominin setting, we're talking about free time that changes social structures: ushers in collaboration in foraging, tool development and use, and enhances various division of labor dynamics including the trapping and hunting of animals—all kinds of those things that contribute to a growth in intelligence and brain size. Don't forget that we're talking time scales in the millions of years.

So, I don't think it's any longer an easy answer of: we scavenged predator kills for marrow and brain, and grew big brains. I think it means that starch is also an inexorable piece of that evolution. It's perhaps not the only answer, but it's decidedly a big piece of the puzzle for anyone looking honestly.

The Root Nutrition

The most glaring aspect of the overall nutrition is its macronutrient partitioning. First, let's look at mammalian breast milk in general, a rule of thumb I always think is smart to keep in mind:

  • 50 - 60% fat
  • 25 - 40% carbohydrate
  • 5 - 20% protein

Tigernuts:

  • 51% fat
  • 42% carbohydrate
  • 7% protein

Human breast milk:

  • 51% fat
  • 39% carbohydrate
  • 6% protein

Perhaps these Tigernuts were misnamed, and ought to have been called Tigermilk?

Moving onto micronutrients, all the detailed charts are in this previous post, but in summary:

  • Of 18 core micronutrients, Tigernuts (a tuber) outweigh potatoes in 16 of them (Vit C the only thing potatoes have more of) and in one, neither have any (B12).
  • Compared with red meat, Tigernuts outweigh beef in 10 of them, are less in 5, and in 2 (Vitamin A, B12) have none. Vitamin D is listed as "trace" in beef, but that's as good as none.

So, Tigernuts are more nutritious—in 56% of nutrients—over red meat (beef liver is a different story—Tigernuts being more nutritious in only 22% of nutrients). I remind you, folks: we're talking about a plant here, a starchy tuber: more nutritious in vitamins and minerals than red meat generally. And, did I mention? It's a starchy tuber. Moreover, it's more reliable and far easier to harvest than just about anything you can hunt or fish.

The Root of Eating and Drinking These Tubers

I've recently come across a new purveyor of Tigernuts. They graciously sponsored this post and sent me their products.

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Currently, the available product lineup is Organic Raw Tigernuts, Organic Tigernut FlourOrganic Cold-pressed Tigernut Oil, and Horchata de chuffa, made from Tigernuts. In terms of the Horchata, it's currently only available in NYC area Whole Foods. I got all the flavors, via a shipped cold pack; and in response to my admonishment after tasting, they are working on making that option available to anyone, via their own website.

Let me tell you: both Beatrice and I loved the Unsweetened the best, more than Original that's lightly sweetened (with non-gmo organic California medjool dates). We also loved the Chai. But my personal favorite was the Coffee. Perhaps the most delicious and lite iced coffee I've ever had.

One issue in terms of a marketable horchata product is that there's sediment. This is resistant starch—behaves exactly the same way as if you'd dumped a tsp of potato starch into it. Once it settles, it settles pretty firmly. The company is weighing where to go with that: "clean" it up for the consumer, or tout the benefits. I've advised them to get rooted now, as it is, then later make a sterile version for the other 90% of pampered America.

In terms of RS content, here's the go-to source for you geeks. Basically, an RS profile similar to maize, perhaps about half of raw potato by weight. However, this is a good thing because as a raw food, more readily digestible starch for energy is better. Or, to put it another way, you'll get a lot more resistant starch from raw tigernuts than you will from anything else that's cooked and cooled I'm aware of.

Or, you could make your own. If you get hooked, they'll get you a 27.5 lbs Bag. You can really knock yourself out.

horchata
Horchata de chufa

I followed a standard recipe (Google it, pick your fav) but with a serious twist. I added no nothing. I just did the Tigernuts and water (no sugar). I had an interesting result.

Previously, I had experimented with soaking them. I don't want peeled ones, but I'm interested in ways where you can soak the whole ones and get various results. So, I did. Up to 48 hours. It was at the end of that last soak where I serendipitously decided to make horchata. Here's the deal: recipes call for 8-12 hour soakings. This was two days. Folks who soak legumes are well familiar with the bubbles that form on the surface of the water after a day or so. Fermentation. Those are bacteria farts.

I had tons of this with these Tigernuts. Bubbles all over.

What did I get, once I discarded the soaking liquid, rinsed, ground, added fresh water and strained? Something resembling kefir. And it got better with age. When I finished the batch, I tasted and noted not too much sweet, but a slight hint of sour. I put that bottle in the fridge for a whole day before touching it and when I popped it, it popped big. Fermentation. It continued to pop each time I opened it. Carbon dioxide, no doubt.

...I once made a batch of kefir that was so powerful, it self carbonated and had a slight fiz to it. Now I'm wondering if I can naturally carbonate Tigernuts by perhaps using the soaking liquid, perhaps adding just a bit of sugar. Suggestions welcome.

That said, the next batch I do will be with the standard 12-hr soak, just to see if anyone can make it in the standard way, get the standard result.

...Now, folks who've followed me for a long time know my adversity to nut flours. I used them early on in my Paleo journey, but then realized that they are very high in omega-6 fats, a polyunsaturated fat that oxidizes easily—not to mention the balance that ought exist between pro-infalamatory n-6, and anti-inflammatory n-3. Nuts, except for macadamia (ref: Fat Bread), are extraordinarily high in n-6, while being low in n-3. Nuts ought be eaten whole, in my view, not concentrated into flours.

Except for Tigetnut flour! It's actually one of the first documented flours. Egyptians used it to make bread.

@OurTrueRoots has just released their Organic Tigernut Flour to market. I got a preview. Given all the "Paleo" brownies in the universe, I decided to make a somewhat closer version. I've never baked a brownie or cookie in my 53 years, so, I just Googled a standard, highly rated brownie recipe and did 3 things different:

  • Half the sugar called for
  • Substitute all wheat flour for Tigernut flour
  • Chopped up half a bar of 80% cacao dark chocolate and added to the batter
brownie
Zero difference

They were still too sweet for me, making my next excursion a sugar-free one. Tigernuts are naturally quite sweet, so this should really focus the minds of some of you "Paleo" bakers out there. That said, they were...brownies. I seriously doubt there would be a statistical significance in a blind-taste-test against standard, wheat flour brownies.

I will make a prediction: within a year, nobody will be using nut flours for baked "Paleo Treats." They'll be using this—a tuber flour and I'll be a little less outraged. Incidentally, the flour is raw. The tigernuts are sun dried and ground up. That's it.

There's one additional product that might interest you, Organic Cold-pressed Tigernut Oil.

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Tigernut Oil

To my mind, this is going to be their biggest hit, after the flour. The fat profile is roughly similar to olive oil, without the Italian Mafia fraud. Everyone ought resolve to never purchase another ounce of Italian "olive" oil. I don't. I buy Greek (and it's superior on every level anyway).

But this is quite a different thing, not better or worse. I only cook with animal fats, coconut and palm oils, owing to the paucity of PUFA. Olive and now, Tigernut oil, get used raw.

And on that score, this one really makes the grade. I have tested it with a little vinegar on lettuce, and a water cracker dipped in it. High marks on both. It's difficult to say much more, simply because oil is such an ubiquitous commodity. I'd simply say that you'll want to be having this in your kitchen tool bag, along with the Greek EVOO.

You can see more cooking applications here, with pictures: breaded liver, trout, and an emulsification with the oil.

This post had been brought to you by Our True Roots. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I got into writing it.

What is this MYSTERIOUS gluten free flour I’m using?

 All will be revealed Tuesday morning. I'll give you a few hints:

  • It's NOT a nut flour
  • It's NOT a legume flour
  • It IS naturally sweet

As an "official tester," I've used it in baking and most recently, breading for both liver and a trout dish.

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Calf Liver Wok Fried in Bacon Drippings and Coconut Oil
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With Potatoes and Onions
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Pan Fried Trout (coconut oil)

Bonus surprise: the asparagus was oven roasted in a new MYSTERY oil as well.

I must say, that was hands down the best liver I've ever made. In fact, I'm doing it again tonight.

All (and much more) will be revealed on Tuesday morning.

Update: Did the whole liver, onions and potatoes deal again, but with lots more of Juka's Red Palm Oil (100% Organic & Natural From Africa) in the wok.

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MYSTERY OIL For the Salad, emulsified with coconut vinegar and apple cider vinegar (salt & pepper seasoning)
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Beef Liver, Onions, Potatoes, Bacon Bit Garnish
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My Plate. Dijon Mustard For The Liver (learned that in France)

Update: The Post is Up.

Over Easy Omelet?

Yep. Indeed.

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Omelet with a warm, runny yolk

Take three eggs, separate the yolk from one, beat the other two plus the white. Make an omelet. When it's ready to fold, gently place your yolk in and just as gently, fold it over.

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Along with a little cheese on hand

So there you go.

Apple Cider Pork Chops Sous Vide

Last time I did double-cut, bone in pork chops sous vide it was the Jack Daniel's recipe fron chef James Briscione. This time, this one.

First step is big meat.

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Double cut, bone-in from Niman Ranch

The recipe is pretty easy

INGREDIENTS

For the pork chops:

  • 4 extra thick pork chops
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 2 apples, peeled and sliced

For the sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) hard apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole grain mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat SousVide Supreme to desired serving temperature 131F/55C.
  2. Lightly salt and pepper the pork chops and seal each individually in cooking pouches along with 2 thyme sprigs and 1 tbsp butter.
  3. Cook at 131F/55C for 12 hours.
  4. Remove the sous vide pork chops from their pouches, reserving the liquid. Quickly sear the pork chops on both sides in a pan over high heat, or on a grill. While the chops are searing finish the sauce.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of butter and the apples to a pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Cook the apples until the juices begin to brown and the apples are beginning to soften.
  7. Add the garlic, sugar, apple cider, cider vinegar, mustard and half of the reserved liquid to the apple mixture. Simmer.
  8. Spoon the sauce over the seared chops and serve.
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All dressed up with someplace to go

I didn't have time to go 12 hours, and I've had great luck with 140F, so that's what I did, for 8 hours. The other thing I did was to use all of the juice from the pouches.

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With mashed potatoes

It was excellent, and especially because pork goes really well with fruit. Sous vide is just so easy to do and I've yet to not have a good experience. I wrote this on Facebook the afternoon I made this.

Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven. The tradeoff with cooking sous vide is that, unlike some stew or crock slow cook dish, you smell nothing throughout the day. It's sealed in vacuum, submerged in water held to a precise temperature. You can't undercook if you go the minimum time. You can't overcook no matter if you have it 48 hours in (best for a brisket).

I have 4, pound and a half bone-in, double cut pork chops nearing 4 hour soak, 4 to go. I watched them cut it for me. I chose the "tenderloin" end, with the T-Bone-esque lean and tender idea in mind.

The Sous Vide method literally transforms proteins into various textures that can, at times, be like meat pudding you can eat with a spoon. We've done that with chicken. Salmon, too, is amazing.

Or, imagine a rare filet that's still rare because it never got more than a half degree over a rare internal temperature, but over time, proteins broke down into curious textures that are foreign to our pallet, accustomed only to fried, grilled or baked meat?

I still only grill ribeyes. The sous vide method is amazing, but I don't like my ribeyes as I like my filets, sushi, or seared ahi. Or, pork chops. Mike Eades told me when invited up to SF to share an SV lunch with him and Tim Ferriss for the kickoff with Heston Blumenthal, "I set out on this to find the perfect pork chop." Oh, my doG, what a success. I've had many guests that can get almost uncomfortably sexual in their relating of experience over eating a damn pork chop.

The point is, I smell nothing during the cooking.

I like to think all that "stink" is still in the meat.

~~~

Looks like the SVS has come down in price from that initial point of about $500 when it was released. Also, there's the Sous Vide Supreme Demi now. Or, for about $80 and a crock pot, you can do the poor man's version: Dorkfood Sous-Vide Temperature Controller (DSV).

The French “Smash” Sandwich

Back when I lived in Toulon, France in the early 90's I discovered a curious sort of sandwich popular in the southern region—always made-to-order in small, charming sidewalk stands. They call it sandwich américain. It's not only one kind, but rather a style, of which there are lots of variations.

My favorite was a ground beef patty on a baguette, SMASHED with shredded gruyère in your basic panini maker. Then, you open it back up, slather in the mayonnaise, and add the pomme frites (french fries). Other variations include using sausages, or not having cheese; using moutarde, or having various produce—just like a typical burger here. And, of course, it's not typically smashed when it has produce.

First you'll want to get your fries going. Twice fried, of course. Those are done in a mix of coconut oil and bacon drippings.

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Pomme Frites

Don't even bother unless you have access to something resembling a true French baguette. Here in San Jose and the Bay Area, Acme Bread Company is about the most authentic I've found, and both Whole Foods and Lunardi's carry it. Sweet, of course, not sourdough.

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Une Baguette

A convenient way to cook the patty is to just use the panini maker. It's done as soon as you see the first sign of drippings.

I added a bit of cheddar I had on hand to the gruyère in this case. 

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Time to smash it.

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Smash Sandwich

Then pull it back open, add the mayo and your fries. Note: it's often smashed with the fries as well as the cheese, but this is likely because the fries aren't hot right out of the fryer as were mine.

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C'est complètement fou, non?

Back in those days, at 30ya, I could easy down a whole one often, and I never added an ounce to my frame. Today, something like this is a rare treat, and I split it with Bea.

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Not Paleo Approved!

Sure, I can see being criticized for even putting stuff like this out there but you know what? You're going to have your indulgences now and then anyway. I'd rather you go get a quality loaf of bread, source some quality ingredients, fry whatever needs frying in good oils, and make it an overall better option than a fast food burger.

Next food post will be about Sous Vide pork chops; but after that, I'll show you a few other great options for a good baguette from Acme Bread Company.

Simple Infrared Grilled Chicken With Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Stock Reduction

Before I explain the meal and in particular, how I grilled it from raw, on high, without torching it, just a bit of blog admin.

The other day I explained that I had decided to revive the Free the Animal Facebook Page. That's gone well and I'm generally limiting posts to the general evolutionary diet, fitness, health realm. At the request of a reader, I've also created a separate page to serve as an outlet for my, uh, unbounded energy: The Daily Fucktard. Take a look and follow along if you like. A good amount of stuff I post is from fans who alert me to stupid shit. As you might imagine, endless supply. I'm having fun with it.

Here's the story of my Char-Broil TRU Infrared Urban Gas Grill. A few years back I purchased one of these and was very happy with it. I basically cook everything on high, because you can't get a flame up, but you can get some flame that quickly dissipates.

But there was a design flaw. The surface was pretty impossible to clean, and what was worse was that is was in about a dozen pieces and if they came apart, nightmare.

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Yuck
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From 30 total pieces to four

The top section for each half was 14 pieces of stainless steel, assembled via tabs & slots. Recently I was at one of the box stores and saw that they had redesigned it. Replaced those 14 pieces with a single cast iron grill surface and in addition, redesigned the single-piece lower section with larger holes and corrugation—in order to channel away the melted fat to reduce flame ups.

So I went online and found that they had the parts as a retrofit, so basically a new grill that works better than ever. Highly recommended.

Here's one of the reasons why. I'm sure that everyone has had the experience of BBQd chicken that's burnt to a crisp on the outside; cold, pink, raw and crunchy on the inside. So for years, the conventional way was to bake the chicken first for the dual-purpose of getting the inside cooked, as well as melting away some of the fat so as to reduce flame up.

So Friday I did a flex test. Cooked completely raw chicken on high the whole time.

Made some mashed potatoes too, and reduced 1/2 gallon of Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock to this much, for 4 servings:

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Deep chicken gravy

Do use the unsalted. If you don't, that much of a reduction will make it quite salty.

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Money shot - click for the larger hi-res version

Our friend Julie brought a nice salad with cheese and pecans, dressed with a home made honey dijon.

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She also brought dessert, which was fresh watermelon, cubed and tossed in salt and lime juice.

Last night I fired up the Sous Vide Supreme. I'll show you what went down with that soon.