Strangely didn’t miss pasta much after I omitted grains from my diet. But I certainly missed pasta sauce. A hot creamy carbonara or bold bolognese, topped with some pesto and grated parmesan cheese? Mmm … So I thought “well I guess that’s part of the price, I’ll just have to go without.” Not that I kept myself on a tight leash; I “slipped” whenever I wanted to – and those dried pieces of wheat dough formed into various shapes were a disappointment every time. Grey and dull, in need of too much salt, stealing flavor from the sauce … and of course the discomfort after (stomach and headache), the typical gluten hangover.
I heard talk around the web that there’s this vegetable called “spaghetti squash” which apparently has a fibrous interior that when heated can be separated into long strands and eaten as regular spaghetti. Sounded a little pulpy and watery to me, but of course interesting enough to give it a go. Not much of a chance to find something as exotic as this in Norway where I live, but I kept my eyes open. It became clear that to obtain one I had to grow it myself. And finally, during a trip to Madeira I found a packet of seeds in one of the island’s famous flower markets.
Guess what? It. was. perfect. The strands about the thickness of spaghetti, pretty easy to separate without breaking, starch-rich and slightly crunchy; with a gentle, sweet, pumpkin-like flavor. Look! Isn’t this the coolest thing?
There are several ways to cook them: oven baked, boiled, microwaved, crock pot / slow cooker … I have as yet only done microwave and it’s so easy. I’ve landed on cutting the vegetable in half “equatorially” (not lengthwise like the photo above – you will get longer strands this way, see for yourself if you try both) and running the halves on high for 10 minutes. The cut section will get a little dry, but I don’t mind so much. If you want a more even result you can microwave it whole, but unless you wanna spend some time cleaning up a squash explosion, remember to cut several holes in the shell first for the steam.
See this article on about.com for more information on how to cook spaghetti squash.
Pesto and meatballs:
Fall is upon us, and winter is coming. Therefore we need something warming and filling. Whenever my sister pays me a visit we always end up in the kitchen cooking something delicious – check the fridge inventory and maybe do some shopping, and then it’s so spontaneous, we make it up as we go along, checking out several recipes for inspiration. This is our latest creation: a lamb stew filled with nourishing vegetables and broth with lots of pepper for warmth; ideal for a chilly night under the blanket with the latest Netflix series.
This was enough for three hungry people with some leftovers for breakfast. Speaking of which: DFB (dinner for breakfast) FTW!
- 500 – 900g lamb meat – we used shoulder with bones which worked perfectly. Sooo tender …
- 4 onions
- 3 – 4 handfuls of mushroom, preferably wild
- 1/2 garlic
- 2 leeks
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
- 1/3 litre heavy cream – you can also use coconut milk
- a dash of white wine, if you have
- chopped seasonal herbs – we used rosemary, thyme and lovage
- salt and pepper to taste
We started chopping the lamb meat into good sized bits (I like them a bit large) and added to a casserole with just enough water to cover. We let it boil ferociously for about half an hour with lovage and thyme to get the meat as tender as possible and to get the most out of the bones and marrow. This gave a rich broth. Meanwhile we browned/softened the onions, mushrooms, rosemary and garlic in butter. The longer you cook the onions, the thicker your stew. The lamb was added and the lamb casserole deglazed with white wine. Add chopped leek and heavy cream and let boil for 10 – 15 min. Add chopped asparagus and let simmer some more until the asparagus has softened. We sautéed the sweet potatoes in another skillet and added to the stew toward the end to better control its texture. Season generously with pepper, and some salt to taste.
Enjoy! Hope y’all will have an adventurous and colorful fall; and don’t forget to breathe in all that clear, fresh air! The way it looks now, fall is getting to be my new favorite season.
I sometimes browse DeviantArt and the realization hits me fresh in the face every time: There is so much good art on the internet.
What a magnificent tool to present, express and develop your talent in a way that was never possible before. You can promote yourself commercially, too. Freelance has never been easier. Work from anywhere, anytime. Offer your illustration services for a price, with quite a few examples for demonstration. No applications, no credentials; just plain old demonstration. Get paid in bitcoin. If you are good and make sure to be visible; pretty soon the jobs will come raining down on you. And it’s so … free. No publishing or paper costs (unless by choice, of course).
Just look at these direwolves! Just like I imagine them. Their gazes are so intense and their pelts gorgeous. All in some undefined cold desolation – beyond the Wall, perhaps – with “Mormont’s Torch” lighting their way. Ahh.
Artwork: http://jessyr.deviantart.com/art/The-Direwolves-of-Westeros-327679135. By user Jessy Ross.
My intent is only display – hope this is sufficient
My morning cup of coffee with grassfed butter in Amsterdam. This is such a luxury as there is not one single brand of grassfed butter in Norway (where I was born and still temporarily live). I guess I could find a way to mail order a box of Kerrygold, but places like amazon don’t ship edibles to Norway, and the customs system is a bureaucratic mess of high taxes … *le sigh*. Time to get out … anyway, I’m in Amsterdam for the bitcoin convention this weekend. Never heard of bitcoin? Ok, let me give you a quick introduction!
Bitcoin allows you to pay with your smartphone instantly, with a few seconds delay, to anywhere on the globe completely without transaction fees. It is safer, faster and cheaper than anything like PayPal, Visa or Mastercard. Visa and Mastercard weren’t designed for the internet. Bitcoin is. Its security is based on cryptography rather than a third party like a bank or credit card company. Let’s not go into the detail, but you had to leave the fastest existing computer working practically eternally to guess the astoundingly large numbers protecting bitcoin.
If desired, bitcoin is anonymous. Bitcoin will make it possible to donate to charity so that 100% of the money will go to those who need it – because the donations happen without all the third parties who always need their share. Crowdfunding will be super easy. Sending money to loved ones in a distant country will be instant and free. WordPress (this web hosting service) actually accepts bitcoin as subscription payment. See bitcoin.org for more information (and a cool introduction video).
So back to the butter: it is both with unbearable delight and frustrated despair that I consume this golden, caffeinated brew. Imagine living in a dark cellar for most of your life – you know there is something called “the sun” up there, and that it is beautiful; yet you’ve never seen it. Then you’re let out for a few hours into dashing sunlight, but knowing it is only for a short time you appreciate it bittersweetly. That’s how I feel eating grassfed butter. See you guys!
Look what I made! This is just a little taste though – there’s more comin’! In here are: spaghetti squash, carrot, fennel, arugula, strawberries and onion (and some nettles also picked in the garden).
I’m saving the exhilaration of my virgin trip with spaghetti squash for later, but today’s gathering resulted in a skillet of damped nettles, fennel (grass & bulb), onion, carrotgrass, arugula with butter, pepper, Himalaya salt and local olive oil from Provence. Served with salmon and baked potatoes, sweet potatoes and onion.
French cuisine always had a special place in my heart. No, it’s not all about baguettes – it’s much, much more. Ingredients are mostly local: fish from the Mediterranean Sea; tomatoes, squash and salad from local farms; olive oil from centuries old mills; local wine and cheese; high quality meat etc. I love the fact that they don’t seem to save the good stuff in restaurants – whenever you get a salad, even just a couple of leaves next to the main course, it’s always sprinkled with a homemade vinaigrette. France is actually quite paleo friendly as long as you refrain from eating all the bread they keep throwing at you during restaurant visits. And the croissants. And the pain-au-chocolats. And the crêpes. But yes yes; very paleo friendly.
Here are some of the highlights from my very recent (in fact I am still there) gastronomic tour of southern France. Bon appétit!
Roasted, locally farmed chicken w/ratatouille:
Selection of grilled mediterranean seafood w/salad and mashed potatoes w/olive oil:
Salad w/grilled squid:
Omelet w/bacon and emmetal cheese, salad and a beautifully viscous vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil:
Salmon mousse w/cream:
Lamb w/herbs, mushrooms, vegetables and carrot purée:
Chicken w/vegetables and a chive cream sauce:
Salad of cured duck, fried duck, foie gras and roasted potatoes:
… and the obligatory glass of rosé wine.
I use Trip Advisor and instantly find the best restaurants nearby. I have been in the area before: see this delicious recipe for quail in raspberry vinegar that I made as a participant of a five day cooking school the last time I was in France.
Not paleo, but just I want to show you our breakfast table at the guest house. Isn’t it cozy?