Herbs

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.

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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.

Hearty Lamb Stew w/Cream, Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes

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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

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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).

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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.

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A Taste of Provence

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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:

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

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Salad of tuna and celery sprinkled w/olive oil and balsamic vinegar:
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Salad w/grilled squid:

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

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Salmon mousse w/cream:

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

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Chicken w/vegetables and a chive cream sauce:

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

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… and the obligatory glass of rosé wine.

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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?

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Scrambled Eggs w/Arctic Wild Chives

2013-08-08 11.29.35… or Allium sibirica, “siberian onion”; larger and milder than regular chives. We picked these right outside our rental cottage in Honningsvåg, Norway! The eggs were whisked up with ham, cheese, chopped cherry tomatoes, black pepper and a generous load of these chives. I used them as I would scallions.

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Garden Update: Crops Coming On

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Time for an update on my newbie botanical project! Trying to keep track of everything I’ve learned this year proves a challenge. I document some things and trust my memory with others, but … I’ll probably have to make some of the same mistakes again. And that’s ok. I have a lifetime for that.

And boy is this fun! Feelin’ dat dirt on my fingers, like there’s sum connection to mother earth, a greater meaning to it all, yo? No? I’m a huge fan of geometry and the slightly ordered chaos, so I’ve arranged my kitchen garden as a double hexagon – by way of digging down planks of appropriate length and at proper distance so I can reach out from both sides. The plants are somewhat arbitrarily placed in the resulting lanes, but as long as there is some framework it’s easy to maintain. Works like that with most things, really. And of course it looks good.

Earlier this year:

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Vegetables

I’ve exclusively chosen to grow what I would later like to eat. I always keep that in mind when caring for my veggies. Here are some of them:

2013-07-30 15.00.21Fennel.

 

2013-07-30 15.00.28Arugula.

 

2013-07-30 15.01.56Pumpkin. Hoping for a big one.

 

2013-07-30 15.05.03Strawberry.

 

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2013-07-30 15.00.36Spaghetti squash. I have never eaten it, and can’t wait till they’re ripe. I shall make ALL the pasta sauces!

 

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Kale.

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Carrot.

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More salads: baby leaf, spinach and arugula.

 

2013-07-05 12.27.10Tomatoes. Not cultivated by me.

Herbs

My herbs are mostly perennial. I just love to bring a basket and scissors to collect some thyme, mint and oregano for the stew!

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2013-07-30 15.02.33Peppermint.

 

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Nasturtium Love ❤

Ever since I saw The Hobbit I wanted to recreate a Shire garden. The flowers most notable were nasturtiums and hollyhocks. I ordered several strains of nasturtiums, and they’re doing well! Their flowers are edible too, and give a salad or dessert a beautiful finishing touch. Not exactly Bag End yet – but we’ll get there, we’ll get there.

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Garden Update: Summer Salad

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Lo and behold; the fruit of my labors! A salad made (almost) entirely out of things either partially or wholly cared for by yours truly. Ah yeah. This is what life’s all about now, isn’t it? Here’s is what I threw in:

  • assorted big leaf salad
  • assorted baby leaf salad
  • arugula
  • spinach
  • tomatoes
  • eggs
  • herbs: oregano, thyme, basil, chives, parsley, lovage, mint (four kinds; why would I wanna seem one-sided?)
  • edible flowers for garnish

… ok, I don’t have an egg tree. But they are locally farmed, how about that?

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