Paleo

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.

Paleo Pancakes

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These grain-free pancakes are plain magical. I slowly started giving up hope to find a simple pancake recipe with something as good as (or better than) wheat gluten to make the batter stick together. This one has two ingredients, banana and egg, and will hold together surprisingly well during cooking. And the banana makes the pancakes taste so good!

Gives 5 thin pancakes of 12 – 13 cm in diameter. You’ll need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs (if the banana is large I use 3 eggs)
  • 1 – 1 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • a little water (optional, to make a more runny mixture)
  • pinch of vanilla (optional)

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Mix all ingredients well with a hand mixer or in a blender. You want the batter really smooth, not chunky (holds better that way). I like to make them a bit salty (love salt – sweet contrasts!). Fry the pancakes as usual, on medium heat. In my experience these paleo pancakes take a little longer to cook than wheat pancakes. Well worth the wait.

SAMSUNG CSCThere are a couple useful hacks to consider:

#1: Your equipment. An old, un-even frying pan will not yield good results! The batter sticks more easily than with regular pancakes. You’ll need: a) A good quality pan with a smooth surface b) A brand new, cheap one (cause they’re always good when new).

#2: Finding good bananas. Bananas aren’t bananas it seems – most have this rough texture in the mouth, a strange sort of friction of tongue against gums … you know what I mean, right? Right. Well, I thought all bananas were like this, then I tried some fair-trade bananas that were so smooth and delicious and completely lacking in said friction. They also work better in the batter for some reason. My perception is still clouded as to what is the pattern behind all this – is it the production method, size, ripeness (though I don’t think so, they were smooth but not sickeningly sweet like overripe bananas) or simply the variety?

Good thing I live in Chile now! A lot closer to banana sources (as opposed to Norway). I will brave unknown terrain, I will walk through fire and I will find an answer to this mystery. And make an update to this post.

Serve with some fresh homemade strawberry jam (strawberries + hand mixer + pinch of stevia, leave it chunky), bacon or your second favorite pancake spread after bacon.

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By the way, I’m thinking of changing the subtitle of this site to something along the lines of: “Living the Primal Life in Chile”. What do you think? Too cheesy? That’s pretty much the case though!

Take care 🙂

Photo Archives: Making Beef Jerky

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I’m gonna start posting some photos from my archives in the time to come. For 3 – 4 years I’ve been taking photos of (almost!) literally every meal I had – be it home made or restaurant meals. This is a habit I’ve come to be grateful for, as I can easily go through my old photos whenever I need some inspiration. Also there are sooo many meals I’ve been pleased with but would have totally forgotten. Seeing the photos again sparks old neural paths and the recipe often comes back instantly.

I won’t always post the recipe in this series (as I don’t remember which measures I used and often never used measures in the first place), but I’ll usually include a description. If I care to. I apologize on beforehand for the photo quality, I used to take pictures only with my phone –  but you know how the absolute perfectionist never achieves anything. I have shiny new camera now, a Samsung NX300. Recommended if you want the best quality but isn’t really that much of a technical camera person!

So here goes: Beef jerky is the perfect paleo snack! I only did this once, and there are things I will probably do differently next time. Like getting a better oven, for instance. And work with the texture. The jerky became a little too dry and hard, but they tasted delicious! I flavored them with a spice mix of my own recipe, including salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, some dried herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley …) etc., finely ground for easy appliance.

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The method is simply to cut your beef (lean beef works best, and grassfed gives a result rich in flavor) in thin slices of 1/2 cm or so, season with your spice mix or simply salt and pepper and bake in the oven for several hours at the lowest temperature. I think I let them stay overnight. If you have a dehydrator that would be even better – I don’t. Yet.

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I will definitely make this again in the future, maybe we’re looking at a more refined recipe once I’ve done sufficient experimentation. See you soon! 🙂

Paleo Pasta: The Spaghetti Squash

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Spaghetti Bolognese:

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Pesto and meatballs:

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Salmon with white wine & cream sauce:
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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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Biðos: Traditional Lappish Reindeer Soup

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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. 

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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. 

Paleo Strawberry Ice Cream

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More Bulletproof stuff:

I was on the verge of buying an expensive ice cream maker the other day out of an obsessive need to try Dave Asprey’s “Get Some” ice cream. It is a Bulletproof/paleo ice cream packed with nutrients and good fat – you’ll find the original recipe here. Aaand apparently it makes you, women in particular, want to do some primal lovemaking! This is what Asprey has to say:

“About an hour after eating this special blend of high fat awesomeness, your body gets a signal that says, ‘I am in a land of plenty,’ which translates, in evolution-speak to, ‘It is time to mate. NOW.'”

Anyway I ended up using my brain and found an alternate way of making the ice cream with tools already at my disposal. Granted: I will have an expensive ice cream maker one day. But it is not this day. This day I innovate.

My version makes 1 – 2 servings – for you and your partner! You’ll need a mixer (level: ice cube handling) and a small tall container.

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp butter – grassfed if you have access. I don’t – much to my frustration.
  • 1 tbsp MCT oil
  • 1 – 3 tbsp erythritol – great sugar substitute, by the way. Doesn’t taste artificial at all. You can of course use honey or stevia.
  • pinch of vanilla
  • a little water
  • about 15 frozen strawberries (or other berries – to the left below: blueberry)

Blend all ingredients except strawberries well. The butter takes a while to get creamy. And here’s why you don’t need the ice cream maker: use frozen berries and add them last. This ensures the right consistency. Enjoy at once!

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The result will be thicker than a smoothie but somewhat thinner than ice cream. Like soft serve. Or like if you stopped the ice cream maker two minutes early (close enough). And oh, the creaminess! That’s the thing about paleo “substitutes”, they’re often better than the real thing because they contain so much fat. Fat adds irreplaceable taste and substance to food.

I’m telling ya, if someone used THIS to seduce me in place of a drink, I would be right on the hook! Even before I actually tasted the ice cream, I guess … could this suggest a certain psychological effect to this whole aphrodisiac thing? I mean, the guy who gives this to his girlfriend practically says: “Hey, see how I’m investing? I will give you all the riches and fatty goodness of your dreams.” Who doesn’t want to tap that?

The “Get Some” ice cream was also featured on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, of which I am a fan.