Highbrow Cook Off! Everyone’s a Winner

1 Apr

There has been an ongoing discussion in our group on how to make ancestral eating, or paleo-ish diets accessible to as many people as possible.  Often a paleo way of eating can sound overwhelming, complicated, time-consuming, and (unnecessarily) complex from just a brief scan of the palsosphere.  We are here to say, “Nuts to that.”  We do tend to pride ourselves on being the hilarious and stunningly attractive voice of reason and moderation in the world of paleo blogging.  It is not necessary to have black truffles and quail eggs on hand, or a half a cow in your freezer to eat  heathy diet.  It’s not necessary to spend your paycheck at Whole Foods.  It’s not even necessary to eat meat.

And, since we all like our food and a dose of healthy competition, here is our first installment of Highbrow Cook Off.  We hope that this will become a monthly feature, and that you all will join in.  For our first contest In Which Everyone Wins we came up with the following ground rules:

  • only use the ingredients outlined
  • use of pre-approved pantry items is unlimited
  • only use minimal processing, and minimal kitchen equipment, as outlined
  • keep track of how much you spend on the ingredients
  • will not use more than 3 kitchen gadgets/utensils, and nothing powered except the oven or stove top

PANTRY ITEMS:

  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • tallow
  • lard
  • ghee
  • stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs, fresh and dried and spices limit to three total

(3) VEGGIES:

  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion

(1) PROTEIN: Eggs!

(1) STARCH: Tubah of your choice.

Following are six submissions to our first ever Highbrow Cook Off!  It’s a long post, but you will be happy to reach the end, for one reason or another.

Ready, set, Allez Cuisine!

Russ, from The Domestic Man came up with this lovely loaded baked potato. This took a Herculean effort on his part since he thinks onions are gross.

“Loaded” Sweet Potato
Serves 1

Utensils:
1 knife
1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized piece of tinfoil

Hardware:
1 pot or dutch oven
1 egg pan
1 oven

Pantry items:
4 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp chicken stock
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

Herbs/spices:
1/2 tsp fresh dill, chopped finely
a sprinkle of dried red chili pepper flakes

Veggies:
2 stalks of kale, chopped coarsely
2 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small onion or 1 shallot, chopped finely

Protein:
2 eggs

Starch:
1 large sweet potato

Total cost: About $2.00 USD

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potato and poke with holes using knife. Add the sweet potato to the oven, place a piece of tin foil underneath to catch drippings. Bake for 50 minutes or until soft to the touch.

After the potato has baked for 25 minutes, add 2 tbsp of the ghee to the pot/dutch oven and warm on medium heat. Add the onion/shallot and sauté for 3 minutes, until aromatic. Turn the heat down to med/low, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, and continue to sauté for another 6-8 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened and most of the liquid has cooked out of them. Add the kale, chicken stock, and chili pepper flakes and cover. Turn the heat down to low and cook for five minutes.

After five minutes, remove the cover and return the heat to med/low and allow the stock to mostly evaporate. Stir with wooden spoon every minute or so. While that’s happening, fry the two eggs with the remaining ghee and flip them halfway through. Before flipping, sprinkle them with the fresh dill. Cook to desired doneness (over medium is probably best for this dish – solid whites but runny yolk).

Remove the sweet potato and cut in half lengthwise. Place the eggs on top of the potato and pour the remaining ghee on top. Top with the kale/mushrooms/onion monstrosity.

The next submission is from Chop Your Shit Meredith.  “Now nobody can be fearful of submitting something. Look at this mess! I call it Paleo Deep Dish.”

Utensils: Grater, Knife, Spatula, and yes a whisk – – sorry one too many

Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Fresh grated garlic

Pantry: Coconut oil, Chicken Foot Stock

Total cost: $3.75 (eggs were free and potatoes were so cheap bought in bulk)

Chop your shit. Peel, then grate potato. Put cast iron skillet with a dollop of coconut oil in oven at 400 to heat it up. Put chopped kale, mushrooms and onion and stock with a little salt and pepper in a tightly covered skillet for like, I dunno, 7 minutes. After that, uncover and turn to high until all the juiciness is gone.

Squeeze out extra liquid from potato or blot dry on towel (I didn’t do this but should have) and combine with grated garlic and beaten eggs. Take out cast iron skillet from oven and spread half the potato egg mixture down, salt pepper. Put back in oven for a few minutes. Take out and spread Kale mixture on top and shove back in oven for a few. Take back out and spread the rest of egg potato mix on top, put back in oven for few. In the end hit it with the broiler.

I overdid the cooking thing here. In the future I will just make a goddamn frittata out of the same ingredients. Cheap, #paleo and prolly tasty (I am IFing so I won’t know until later today).

Next up is Amanda with Eggs Baked in Kale with Chipotle Hash and Sage Butter. Obviously some of us need better cameras. 

  • 2# sweet potatoes
  • 2# onions
  • 1/2 bunch chopped kale
  • 4 c mushrooms
  • 6 Tbs butter or ghee
  •  4 Tbs EVOO
  • 4 eggs
  • chipotle mecco powder
  • fresh sage
  • chicken foot stock
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS: Put about  4 Tbs of ghee in pan with about 10 leaves of fresh sage. Cook on low for about 5 minutes, or until sage becomes crispy. set aside. Open a bottle of wine and pour a drink.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Slice two large yellow onions, or about 2#. Add 2 Tbs EVOO to the pan. Add onions and sea salt and cook on medium-low for about half an hour or until the onions are cooked down and caramelized. Pour another glass of wine.

While the onions cook, chop two large sweet potatoes into 1/2″ pieces and toss with EVOO, salt, pepper and 1 tsp of chipotle mecco. When onions are done, toss together with sweets and spread on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and put in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until browned.

While the hash is baking, wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel (don’t rinse! wet mushrooms dont brown!) I used a mix of white mushrooms and portobello that I had on hand. Heat 2 Tbs EVOO in the pan on medium-high, and add the mushrooms, about 4 cups sliced. Add salt and cook, stirring occasionally while you finish the bottle of wine. Mushrooms will release their water, then begin to brown. About 5 minutes to dance around the kitchen.

When mushrooms are browned, stir in 2 minced garlic cloves until fragrant, then add 2 Tbs chicken stock and about 4 cups of chopped fresh kale, or half a bunch. Whatever. Pour more wine. When the kale begins to wilt, stir in 4 Tbs of butter or ghee and cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Dig out four little wells and crack an egg into each. Turn heat to low, cover and let the eggs cook until the whites are set but the yolks are runny.

About now, your glass should be empty. Pour the last of the wine and remove the hash from the oven. Plate the hash, two eggs in kale, and drizzle half of the sage butter over everything on the plate. Whatever crispy buttery sage you didn’t eat while waiting for the onions to caramelize, add as garnish.

Serves 4 at about $3 per person

Utensils used: one big saute pan, one silicone spoonula that I love, chefs knife, oven and stove top.

Almost there, kids!

Next up is JuBa from The Paleo Republic and some Motherfucking Eggs Bennie!

  • Pantry Items: Ghee, Stock, Salt Pepper
  • Herbs/Aromatics: Lemon, Jalapeno
  • Mushroom: Portobello + Shiitake
  • Kale
  • Onion: Scallion
  • Eggs
  • Japanese Sweet Potato

Sauce: 1c stock reduced to 1/2c and then add one chopped and one sliced Shiitake mushroom, lemon juice, pepper, scallion. Simmer until flavours meld, heat off, stir in 1 tsp ghee.

Eggs: Poached soft in simmering water, flipping hot water over the top until cooked

Japanese Sweet Potato: Already roasted, roughly smashed up by hand, for nice jagged edges to crisp up, half of one large and put under the broiler until crispy

Kale: Sautéed in ghee until slightly softened, seasoned with salt/pepper

Portobellos: Lightly rubbed with ghee on both sides, season with salt, broil for 10 minutes gill side up, 10 minutes gill side down

Plate: Portobellos, kale, eggs, sauce, sliced jalapeño, lemon zest

Grand total: 5.62 on the plate

And now for our UK contingent.  Read these recipes in your head as if Mary Poppins were narrating them.

Carly obviously wins for the best copyrighting.  “Ok, this piece of shit dish is called, potato, mushroom and kale omelette fail. Or unintentionally scrambled omelette. I don’t have the time or ingredients to do it again, so I’m just posting this embarrassment anyways. Better something than nothing.” How can you not love this woman?  But I think we can go with Travis’ suggestion, “Rustic Scramble with Heirloom Kale and Taters”

  • 1 onion
  • 4 mushrooms
  • handful of kale
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper

“Wow! That seems like a lot of ingredients for one omelette!” I hear you cry. Well you would be right. UNLESS it was for a SCRAMBLED omelette. Yup, that’s right. Now if you want to make a bog standard omelet, you know, one of those stupid boring ones that stay as one piece (so 2011) then you should probably halve all the ingredients except the eggs. HOWEVER, if you are happy with THAT monstrosity on your plate, that honestly did taste nice, don’t adjust.

Chop up your onion, mushrooms and cook in the butter with the kale and the spices on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile peel your potato(es) and chop them into small cubes and boil for about 10 minutes (or until soft).

Once potatoes are soft, drain them and add to the frying pan with your vegetables, fry for a further couple of minutes. Whisk your eggs and pour them into your pan with the potatoes and veg and cook for about 7/8 minutes untill omelette has set.

Then attempt to flip. Panic as you realise you have WAY too many ingredients to make a viable omelette and attempt to scrape the remains off the bottom of the pan to salvage something. TADA!!

Utensils used – Sharp knife, fork, spatula

Pans used – Saucepan, frying pan

Our last entry is from Matthew, who blogs at the Honey Guide.  

Matthew went with his (my) new favorite thing, colcannon.  Colcannon is an Irish version of mashed potatoes with kale and green onions.  It typically also includes loads of butter and cream, but that can easily be left out.  Sautéed mushrooms and onions, and two eggs fried until the whites are cooked but the yolks are runny.  Yum!

Total cost of ingredients was about £1.30

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 handful of chopped kale
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 button mushrooms
  • 2 large potatoes

Pantry items:

  • 1 tablespoon of beef dripping
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Utensils:

  • Sharp vegetable knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Vegetable peeler

Hardware:

  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan.

Cooking

Potatoes and kale:

  • Peel and chop up the potatoes into small pieces and place in the saucepan.
  • Cover the potatoes with water and boil on a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes add the chopped kale to the potatoes for the last 5 minutes of boiling.
  • Drain off the water, add the butter and salt and mash together with the spoon.

Onions and mushrooms:

  • Heat the frying pan on a medium heat with the beef dripping.
  • Peel and finely slice the onion and add to the frying pan.
  • Wash and chop the mushrooms into quarters and add to the frying pan.
  • Add pepper to the pan and fry for about 15 minutes stirring with the spoon.

 

Let us know if you have any other creative ideas for making a simple, cheap, and yummy paleo meal with our core ingredients, and stay tuned for next month’s challenge!

11 Responses to “Highbrow Cook Off! Everyone’s a Winner”

  1. Meredith April 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Some of those dishes actually look edible! Some said paleo without bacon was not possible. HA!

  2. mem April 1, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    I’m such a pushover. It makes me happy just reading this blogpost. Yes, good, healthy paleo eating is for ALL. No elitist marginalizing “we are so damn special” crap, YES! Thank all of you great, grounded, sharing Moms and Dads and REAL PEOPLE.

  3. zenkamal April 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    That JuBa is quite a chef, as are all of you!

  4. Russ Crandall (thedomesticman.com) April 1, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    I am flattered to be featured alongside so many ridiculously creative submissions! Cheers guys! I will be making colcannon soon.

  5. Julie April 17, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    Woah, this is so amazing! I can’t believe it, I feel like I should be giving Miss America style waves! Thank you Zenkamal.. I’m over the moon, all of these are awesome.

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