Dinner

Beef Patties with Garlic and Cilantro

ImageMaking beef patties with ground beef, bacon, garlic, chopped onions, nutmeg, dried basil & rosemary, butter, some eggs, pepper and lots of fresh cilantro. Lots of bacon, too. Oh, I already said that. Served with asparagus, homemade coleslaw, stewed spinach and mustard.

I made these patties quite large and liked it. How long you work the batter makes a lot of difference – I usually take my time and the texture is amazing. Gave them a real fry on both sides before turning down the heat and covering the pan to let them cook without losing much water. Another cool secret to get them real juicy is put some extra water and fat into the batter – I used unsalted butter in this case, you can use coconut oil. This makes the patties a solid meal that will nourish you for days! I didn’t need so much salt because of the bacon, but a little is required, though – they will be best that way.

Image

In Chile where I live now they tell me that most of the chilean beef products are grassfed (i.e., not fed corn or soy, only grass) – so the ground beef I bought today probably is. Gotta dive deeper into that, only reason grassfed could be the default is if chileans have, well, a lot of grass. All the beef I’ve tried so far, be it filet or ground beef; grilled, roasted or boiled, have been delicious.

Paleo Pasta: The Spaghetti Squash

2013-09-09 18.18.39

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.

2013-09-08 15.38.52

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.

2013-10-10 15.52.12

2013-10-10 15.52.07

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.

2013-09-09 18.13.432013-09-09 18.13.492013-09-09 18.18.51I hope this gave some inspiration – here are some delicious examples of what you can make with this genius vegetable.

Spaghetti Carbonara:

2013-09-09 18.35.22

Spaghetti Bolognese:

2013-09-11 23.24.05

Pesto and meatballs:

2013-10-10 00.23.58

Salmon with white wine & cream sauce:
2013-10-08 23.12.39

Hearty Lamb Stew w/Cream, Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes

2013-10-11 23.47.52

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.

 

Garden Update: First Harvest

2013-09-08 15.25.50

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).

2013-09-08 15.33.132013-09-08 15.38.382013-09-08 15.38.522013-09-08 15.38.59

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.

2013-09-08 16.37.042013-09-08 16.49.04

A Taste of Provence

2013-09-02 12.16.30

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:

2013-08-30 14.49.49

Selection of grilled mediterranean seafood w/salad and mashed potatoes w/olive oil:

2013-08-31 22.18.07

Salad of tuna and celery sprinkled w/olive oil and balsamic vinegar:
2013-08-31 14.27.02

Salad w/grilled squid:

2013-08-28 12.57.04

Omelet w/bacon and emmetal cheese, salad and a beautifully viscous vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil:

2013-08-30 14.12.14

Salmon mousse w/cream:

2013-09-01 21.21.21

Lamb w/herbs, mushrooms, vegetables and carrot purée:

2013-09-01 21.46.00

Chicken w/vegetables and a chive cream sauce:

2013-09-01 21.45.49

Salad of cured duck, fried duck, foie gras and roasted potatoes:

2013-09-02 13.25.57

… and the obligatory glass of rosé wine.

2013-08-31 14.28.39

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?

2013-09-01 09.55.39

Biðos: Traditional Lappish Reindeer Soup

IMG_20130804_173356

When you’re on vacation in northern Norway (as I am right now), reindeer meat is an obvious must. It tastes like game and practically is: the animals eat grass during summer and a certain type of white lichen during winter, which they dig up from under the snow. The local stores even sell tiny packs of reindeer meat – salted, smoked and chopped, the perfect paleo snack! Flavors of the wild – of the mountain stretches and rivers, of wild herbs and berries, mushrooms and smoke from the shaman’s tent. 

Lavvu Reinsdyr

The core recipe of this dish is reindeer meat, brown sauce made off the bone broth, and root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, rutabaga …). This had some chopped leek and lingonberries for garnish. We had it at this cozy little mountain inn where they are particularly known for it, along with crowberry juice. 

Crispy “Breaded” Chicken

2013-06-05 22.26.22

When I first discovered paleo, the decision was easy and the transition from my old diet uncommonly painless. I eat what I want, as much as I want, whenever I want – which works because I simply don’t want food with grains anymore. My body doesn’t either. Do I miss certain foods? Yes. Pasta? No. Bread? No. Rice? Um … little bit. But my meat and vegetables make me feel like a king. I do have weaknesses though. They are:

  • potato chips
  • crêpes salées (“salt pancakes”)
  • breaded things

Potato chips: easy. I eat potatoes from time to time, so making my own chips from regular or sweet potatoes with a good quality oil and sea salt works well.

Pancakes: with a bit of practice, also easy. There are plenty of good paleo pancake recipes i circulation, including ingredients like eggs, bananas, almond flour, coconut flour, gelatine etc. I’m still working on a recipe that doesn’t fall apart in the frying pan (sad to say, there is nothing like wheat gluten to bind things together – yet), but the result is always tasty.

UPDATE: After some experimentation, here it is: My best paleo pancake recipe so far!

Breaded things: more of a challenge. Each time I had a schnitzel I kept telling myself: “It’s only a tiny bit, I won’t be sick from such a small amount, surely?” Wrong. I learned that over and over again – and so began my quest to find a suitable alternative. I tried making fish fingers with almond flour and eggs, but wasn’t satisfied. The coating lacked in crispness and taste. Finally the magical ingredient became apparent: pork rinds. My favorite snack.

Crush the pork rinds in a mortar or food processor. Mix up with some almond flour if you like. I added paprika powder for color. Whisk a couple of eggs, roll your chicken chunks in them and then in the pork/almond mixture. Fry on high in coconut oil or bacon fat. I served it with an egg/tuna salad and a sweet & sour orange sauce from paleodietlifestyle.com.

2013-06-05 22.41.11