Home In Disarray

June 27, 2013

Let There Be Turkey!

Let There Be Turkey!
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I’m trying to get room in our freezers cleared out.  In doing so, I have come across some things that have been in there for longer than I care to hypothesize.  I have also come across some good “finds.”  Like the $5 turkey I bought last thanksgiving with the intention of feeding it to the dogs, but then realized how much the dogs glare at me when I make them eat turkey.

malamutes eating turkey breasts

So the only reasonable option was to come up with a way to eat it.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you this, but Craig is exceptionally picky.  He gets away with it because he is a super smeller, and as a result has the best palate I’ve ever come across.  He can taste vague off-flavors in things that I cannot detect.  He can usually pick out in individual ingredients in sauces and whatnot, and then at the very least point me in the right direction in terms of what it’s missing. So he has an amazing palate and is picky.  It’s a tough one keeping him fed, but I always enjoy a challenge.  One of the things he’s not a fan of is: leftover meat.  Another thing: turkey.  And turkeys are pretty huge, so if I were to cook a turkey, there would definitely be leftovers.  Plus, most roast turkey leftovers recipes involve bread, flour, or mashed potatoes… all things we’re trying to cut out or limit from our diets.  So I did what any sane cheap person would do… defrosted that bad boy, removed the skin, cut most of the meat off the bones, and got to grinding it up with my handy-dandy meat grinder attachment.  It was messy.  And disgusting.  I got turkey juice all over the counter (thank god for my food-industry sanitizer).  I have 3x gallon ziploc baggies in the freezer with hacked up pieces of the carcass in them waiting to go to work with me tomorrow for my coworker to make stock (Craig also isn’t a fan of turkey stock).  But get this – after all was said and done, I probably committed 1.5-2 hours to this endeavor, in terms of getting everything out, breaking down the turkey, removing the skin, cutting up the meat into manageable pieces, grinding it, mixing the light and dark meat, weighing & packing it into foodsaver baggies, washing all of the stuff, and sanitizing the counter.  And you know how much ground turkey I got out of that?  6.5lbs.  That’s it.  At least I have that hulking monster out of my freezer.  Now to throw out the crab shells that I saved last summer with the intention of making crab stock.

What’s the plan for the turkey?  I separated it out into 3x 1.5lb bags, and 1x 2lb bag.  The upcoming menu includes:
Chipotle dijon turkey meatballs with roast carrots and cauliflower
Curry turkey burgers (on lettuce) with guacamole and avocado-oil mayonnaise
Kale, sun dried tomato, artichoke, and turkey sliders with feta & sauteed broccoli
Buffalo turkey meatballs (or sliders maybe?) with a franks red-hot sauce and homemade bleu cheese dressing, plus roasted broccoli

Posted in: Cooking, Food, Paleo
June 25, 2013

Paleo: Cottage (Shepherds) Pie

Cottage Pie - paleo
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Cottage pie is the beef version of shepherd’s pie. It’s easy enough to throw together.  This is an almost-paleo version of it, however I had to use flour as a thickener instead of arrowroot, as I used the last of mine up last night and my amazon box hasn’t arrived yet.  I just finished eating a mason jar of leftovers for lunch at work today.  It was SO satisfying, and honestly, with so much other stuff going on, you ACTUALLY couldn’t tell that the cauliflower wasn’t mashed potatoes unless you really focused on it.  None of this “I swear you can’t tell we took all of the oil out of these brownies and subbed in applesauce” shit.

Ingredients:
Cauliflower Puree:
1 large head Cauliflower
1/4-1/2 cup chicken stock or water or whatever
3T butter (if you’re lactose free, use ghee or coconut oil or bacon grease)
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Filling:
1T bacon grease
1.3lbs 85% ground beef (grass fed preferably)
4 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup large walla walla onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup kale, ripped apart, tough parts removed
4 T tomato paste
1/4 cup arrowroot, tapioca starch, or other paleo-friendly thickener
10oz or so dry red wine
1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
2T worcestershire sauce
1T fish sauce (red boat brand is the most paleo-friendly)
pinch red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste

For the Cauliflower Puree:
*Boil Cauliflower until it yields easily to a fork. Pour into strainer and let drain/steam.
*After it’s drained fairly well, put cauliflower in food processor and pulse then run(you may need to add a little chicken stock to loosen things up a bit) until a smoothish puree forms. I discovered the “dough” setting on my processor works nicely for this as it varies the speed a little.
*While you’re running the cauliflower in the processor, melt your butter and use a garlic press to crush out your garlic into the butter (over low heat) in a nonstick pan (I used a saucepan). When the garlic begins getting fragrant, dump in the cauliflower mixture and stir thoroughly. Taste and season accordingly. Cook on low to help steam off extra moisture.

For the Filling:
*Melt your bacon grease in a skillet, then brown your beef.  Once it starts breaking apart and cooking down, add your mushrooms, and saute until moisture cooks down.
*Add your chopped onion, carrot, and celery and cook on medium low until they begin to soften.
*Add tomato paste and stir, cooking til it starts getting fragrant.
*Sprinkle in flour (alternately, mix up your arrowroot slurry but do not add to pan yet)
*Stir in wine and stock, plus worcestershire and fish sauce, as well as red pepper flakes. Add arrowroot slurry(if using) and stir to combine.
*Simmer to reduce liquid down.  Taste, season, taste again.  Repeat as necessary.
*Add kale and stir in, it will wilt quickly.

paleo cottage pie

For Assembly:
*Transfer beef mixture to large pie plate ( or 2 small pie plates), and spread cauliflower puree on top.
*Smooth out, but leave some hills and valleys – these will be the crispy spots
*Sprinkle very finely shredded parmesan cheese on top to help aid browning and flavor if desired(I grated about 2T worth with my microplane) – this is not strict paleo, but works for lacto-paleo
*Put in 350 degree oven for half an hour, then turn on broiler to brown top, checking every minute.
*Remove and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Sorry the photo isn’t very appetizing.  It’s difficult to make goopy mushy stuff without much color variance look sexy.  Plus I was a lot more interested in eating it than fucking around with my camera and props at 6:30.

paleo cottage pie

Nutrition information:
Per 1/8 recipe
Calories: 332
Carbohydrates: 21
Fiber: 5
Fat: 19
Protein: 21

Posted in: Clean Eating, Cooking, Food, Paleo
June 21, 2013

Paleo: Thai Chicken Curry (soup)

Thai chicken curry soup
By
Once again I used some of my experimental coconut milk that turned out on the light side of light…. This would be much richer, thicker, and robust if it was made with full-fat coconut milk.
Paleo Red Thai Chicken Coconut Curry

Ingredients:
2 packs of vac sealed boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
2 cans of light(or full fat!) coconut milk
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
2 heaping tablespoons thai red curry paste (green or yellow would also work fine here… adjust up or down depending on how much you like spice)
3 huge crimini mushrooms (or 4-6 small crimini or button or whatever)
2 peeled and coarsely chopped carrots
2 very small zucchini or yellow summer squash
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch asparagus, tough parts removed, spears cut into thirds
1 cup kale (I have this coming out my ears), shredded or chopped – large stems removed
Juice of 1 lime

*Chop your chicken up into 1″ sized chunks, brown in large saucepan or dutch oven in about a tablespoon of coconut oil
*Once chicken has begun browning (it doesn’t need to be cooked), mix in your curry paste and dump in your coconut milk. Simmer to reduce.
*While chicken is cooking, slice up your mushrooms and get them cooking in a tablespoon of coconut oil. When they begin browning, add your chopped up carrots and cook over medium low heat til carrots start softening around edges.
*Add zucchini in and let it start browning. Once the zucchini has begun browning, add your bell pepper and sautee til it just begins softening.
*Remove veggies from pan, add last tablespoon of coconut oil, and saute asparagus until just tender.
*Add huge veggie medley to coconut milk chicken mixture and simmer.
*Add Kale, stir, and turn off heat
*Squeeze lime into curry
*Plate up, top with 1/4 of asparagus, and 1/4 avocado if desired. Enjoy.

We put this on top about 2/3 cup of riced and sauteed cauliflower.  It was fine.  Probably just as good without and less effort.  I wouldn’t bother.

Nutrition information reflects light coconut milk… please use full fat. It would have been so much better with regular.

Nutrition info per serving (1/4 of recipe)
Calories: 465
Carbs: 21
Fiber: 5
Fat: 23
Protein: 46

Posted in: Clean Eating, Cooking, Food, Paleo
June 20, 2013

Paleo: Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Paleo:  Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream
By

This would be pretty easy to make vegan by swapping out the honey for granulated sugar… or maple syrup, or agave syrup, or brown rice syrup, or splenda, or stevia, or whatever it is you like to sweeten things with.

I’m not giving this a glowing review, but it’s ice cream! I used experimental homemade coconut milk that ended up being a little closer to “light” coconut milk than standard. The nutritional info reflects light, but the recipe reflects a can of “standard” coconut milk.

Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream


Ingredients:
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons raw honey
1.5-2 cups frozen strawberries, melted and muddled, chopped, or crushed.


*Put coconut milk and oil in glass or metal mixing bowl over small pot of simmering water (a double boiler)
*In smallish bowl, whisk egg yolks and honey until they become a lemony yellow color
*When coconut milk mixture has become pretty hot, add 1/2 cup or so to egg yolks by whisking as it’s poured in. This is called “tempering” the eggs and prevents the yolks from scrambling when heated. Add another 1/2 cup or so of the coconut mixture to eggs, whisk again, and add egg yolk mixture back in to the coconut milk mixture.
*Heat to 160 over double boiler, then remove, whisk in strawberries, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool til about room temp. Then refrigerate until cold (I usually do this overnight)
*Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze for 20-30 minutes, or until it seems like it’s not freezing any more. (I got my ice cream maker for $1 at a garage sale, and the one I had before and then lost in a move I got for under $5 at Goodwill… It’s kind of a pain because it’s manual, but for how infrequently I use it, not worth the cost or storage space involved in an electric one)
*Either separate mixture into servings, or put into quart container and stick in freezer to harden.

This will probably be a bit harder than a standard dairy ice cream. I separated mine into 8x 1/2c servings so I’m not tempted to eat more. It tastes like… well… coconut milk, strawberries, and honey. Strange.

Nutritional Breakdown (per 1/8 of recipe):
Calories: 123
Carbs: 14
Fiber: 2
Fat: 8
Protein: 1


Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream


Posted in: Cooking, Food, Paleo
June 20, 2013

Paleo: Bratwurst with caramelized onions, mushrooms & kale atop cauliflower puree.

Bratwurst with cauliflower puree
By

I lost a lot of weight doing low extreme low carb eating, but always felt guilty about all of the processed shit I was eating, like fake sugars and salad dressings.  I prefer to eat “real” things, so Craig and I are both making an effort to eat more “paleo” – that is, cutting out grains and legumes, and most other processed sugars, etc… Additionally, I’m trying to limit carb intake to between 80 and 100 g net carbs.  That should result in slower than VLC weight loss, but definitely more sustainable – especially because one or two slip-ups won’t fuck me out of ketosis for a couple days.  Regardless, the idea for this dish was my riff on a mash-up between something I found on SheCooksHeCleans and TheDomesticMan.


Ingredients:
Cauliflower Puree:
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped roughly
  • 3 T butter (if you’re strict paleo, you could use coconut oil)
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt, to taste

Caramelized onions, mushrooms & kale:

  • 1 smallish yellow onion
  • 1-2 cups sliced crimini or whatever type of mushrooms
  • 1 cup or large handful torn up kale leaves(no tough parts or stems)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt

Bratwursts:

  • 5 bratwursts
  • 1/2 glass cheap white wine

Sauce:

  • 1-2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c chicken or beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or other grain and corn-free thickener)

Instructions:

  • Boil Cauliflower until it yields easily to a fork. Pour into strainer and let drain/steam.
  • Put olive oil in pan and start browning mushrooms, stirring every few minutes. When mushrooms have started browning, add sliced up onion, when that begins wilting, toss kale in, stir a few times, and turn off heat.
  • Start cooking sausages in a little olive oil. When they’ve browned on one side, flip over and add white wine. Cover and cook through.
  • Meanwhile, put cauliflower in food processor and pulse then run(you may need to add a little chicken stock to loosen things up a bit) until a smoothish puree forms.
  • While you’re running the cauliflower in the processor, melt your butter and use a garlic press to crush out your garlic into the butter (over low heat) in a nonstick pan (I used a saucepan). When the garlic begins getting fragrant, dump in the cauliflower mixture and stir thoroughly. Taste and season accordingly. Cook on low to help steam off extra moisture.
  • When the sausage is cooked through, remove to a plate and whisk in mustard. Mix arrowroot with stock, then add slurry to wine/sausage/mustard mixture. Continue whisking until mixture thickens, then remove from heat.
  • Now you’re ready to assemble!  Put 1/5 of each component onto plate/bowl, and enjoy.


Nutritional breakdown per serving (1/5):
Calories: 552
Carbs: 17
Fiber: 6
Fat: 44
Protein: 22

Posted in: Clean Eating, Cooking, Food, Paleo
June 12, 2013

Father’s Day Menu Plan

Father’s Day Menu Plan
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– OR – “Oh SHIT!  I didn’t make reservations in time!”

I was hoping to take our dads out to breakfast or lunch for fathers day.  We usually go to a beer festival for fathers day, but they moved the location way further from our house, and it seems like too much a production, so we settled for having a meal together instead.  I’ve been cooking a lot of food from scratch lately… like pretty much every meal we’ve been eating, and I’m feeling a little burnt out on the whole creativity spectrum of things as I’ve made a concerted effort to be trying lots of new dishes.  So I was hoping that we could just go out, sit down, decide what we each wanted, enjoy each other’s company, eat, then give the restaurant some money and be left with a clean kitchen and a slightly lighter wallet.  But I procrastinated, and now we can’t get reservations at the few restaurants that we’d like to go to.

So now I’m cooking lunch on father’s day.  And everyone in the family has widely varying likes and dislikes in the realm of food.  And I’m a people pleaser.  So I have made the meal needlessly complex.

I want to make this grilled flank steak with roasted jalapeno chimichurri sauce.  I’ve been dying to make this since I found the recipe, but that much steak is a lot for 2 people.  So decided that we will enjoy it on Sunday.  But my father in law doesn’t like garlic much, and LOVES spicy things.  So I’m making a second chimichurri sauce that’s light on garlic and has habaneros instead of jalapenos.  And my mother in law doesn’t like beef unless it’s cooked until it’s grey and every last bit of moisture is gone from it.  So I’m making her chicken breasts, which she also likes super dry, but it bothers me less to destroy a $3 piece of meat over a $20 one.

Photo from Serious Eats

And I was going to make a panzanella, but my in laws will be bringing “stuffed breads,” the recipes for which came from the old neighborhood in New Jersey, they’ll be pizza bread and hot dog bread.  So no need for any additional bread as a side.

Instead, now i’m making a zucchini ribbon salad, with (you guessed it) zucchini ribbons, carrot ribbons, yellow squash ribbons, probably some of the snow peas from the garden, and whatever we happen to find at the farmers market on Saturday.

For dessert, we have some greek yogurt to use up, so I’m going to try my hand at Smitten Kitchen’s Yogurt Panna Cotta, but instead of honey and nuts, I’ll top it with honey and fresh blueberries.  Because I want fruit in my dessert.

Photo from Smitten Kitchen, link above

And for drinks?  Stout, of course.  That’s what the dads like.  And the kids.  I also have some coffee cold brewing as we speak, and I think I’ll throw together a quick batch of white sangria with some rhubarb simple syrup (recipe coming later).

rhubarb simple syrup

So to recap:
Grilled Flank Steak
Grilled Chicken Breast
Roasted Jalapeno Chimichurri
Habanero Chimichurri
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Yogurt Panna Cotta w/ Honey & Blueberries
Cold-brewed coffee
White sangria

I’m not bothering with appetizers this time.  It’s lunch.

Posted in: Cooking, Food
June 11, 2013

Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves
By

I’ve been accumulating piles of things that bother me for a while now…. This is more of an ongoing list than anything else, but it’s gotten long enough that I figured it’s probably time to post it, and start over 

Word signs – When people put words/phrases all over their house. Your “Live, Laugh, Love” art is not original, and do you really need that in your house to be reminded to do so, or does it truly make you happy?  To me, it looks silly and generic.  It says “I didn’t know what to put here, and since I have no creativity or vision at all, I bought this pile of shit from Marshalls so my house looks exactly like every other mid 00’s tract house inside AND outside.


The “family” stick people stickers on the back of cars.  If you have more than 3 children, I’m probably judging you. If you family is zombies, it’s still not funny. I see a PT Cruiser on my commute with a vinyl grumpy cat cutout that says “Grumpy cat hates your stick family.”  I have tried multiple times to get clear photos to no avail.  If I can find a sweet deal, I want to get one woman, and like 20 cats and put them on my back window.

I actually took this photo… I walk by this house every now and again when I’m out with the dogs.  It amazes me every time.


People that mumble things multiple times.  When I ask you a third time what you said, please make an effort to say it a little more clearly.  I’m uncomfortable asking you to repeat yourself multiple times but I’m also unable to proceed with the conversation until I understand what you said so I can reply without looking like an asshole.  It’s called common courtesy.


When you act surprised that I got out of the car I was sitting in to let you know that I noticed that you slammed your car door into mine.  Either you’re so oblivious to the world that you didn’t notice the door that you heftily swung open coming to an immediate halt upon hitting my paint, or you did and you’re lying about something that both you and I noticed… which doesn’t get you anything and serves to make you look like an imbecile or a total douche.  Neat.


When you come ask me for help with a phone/computer problem, then proceed to speak over me supposing what it might be while I try to give you a few ideas/ask you questions to get a better understanding of the issue.


Your Pinterest pins that link to nothing more than a hastily uploaded photo (not a blog or website) or a google image search. I could see if it’s just a picture of a blue room (which is still annoying because I obviously want to know WHAT COLOR blue it is!), but the most annoying ones are for stuff like baked goods that require recipes or something like “DIY Black Bean and Twine Coasters” which obviously necessitates some level of instruction.

Is it that difficult to remember the sex of the animal you’re dealing with?  Generally dogs and cats have gender-specific names.  Even if they don’t, use your brain.  It becomes instantly obvious that you are so self-involved that you cannot devote even the smallest amount of brain power to remembering whether the dog you are talking about is a boy or a girl.

Red Velvet Cake.  Lightly cocoa flavored buttermilk cake with a gallon of red dye?  Why not just have a lightly cocoa flavored cake that doesn’t turn your mouth, plate, and poop red?  I’m sure anyone would be happy to make you a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.  I abhor how many people seem entranced by something as stupid as artificial red dye.  Red Velvet Cake is nothing more than the Blue Raspberry Slurpee of the pastry world.

Posted in: Misc