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Highbrow Cook Off II: Electric Boogaloo

6 May

Welcome back to our second of however many Highbrow Cook Offs (not to be confused with Iron Chef™ which is property of the Food Network™).  This month we chose ground meat as the special ingredient, with three veggies of different colors and one optional starch.  You can read about some of the other restrictions in our first Iron Chef Cook Off post here.  We are allowed the use of any three herbs and spices, excluding salt and pepper, and unlimited pantry items that we had previously agreed upon.  I loved how creative and diverse all of the entries were.  Let us know if you make any of our recipes at home and how they turned out, and stay in touch because HBP is opening this shit storm up to the public now.  Next months ingredient will be revealed in a couple of weeks, but here is a hint: hike up your big boots and get your digging gloves out (whatever a digging glove is).  But enough of that! Let us live in the moment, and bask in the glow of some ground up meat! Allez Cuisine!

Russ Crandall from The Domestic Man

Russian Cabbage Rolls (Голубцы)

You’ll Need:
2 lbs ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 head cabbage
1 onion, chopped finely
6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 carrots, shredded (1/2 cup)
1 tsp each salt, pepper, dried dill, prepared mustard
1 14oz can of tomato sauce
8 tbsp butter or ghee
additional 1/2 tsp pepper

Chop the onion finely and set aside. Garlic too. Warm 4 tbsp of the butter or ghee on medium heat for a couple minutes, then add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes, until the onion is aromatic and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, then add the ground beef, salt, pepper, dill, and mustard. Continue to cook until most of the pink has been cooked out of the beef. Add the cooked rice and carrot. Remove from heat and set aside as you work on your cabbage.

Cut out the core of the cabbage. Bring a stockpot half-full of water to a boil on high heat. Drop the cabbage into the boiling water and press it down with the end of a wooden spoon. Hold it there for five minutes, until the cabbage softens. Pull the cabbage out of the water (I used two forks) and let it drain in a colander for a minute, but keep the water boiling. Peel off the leaves. If you get further down the cabbage and the leaves are hard and dry, drop the cabbage into the water for a few more minutes and repeat the process.

Place the cabbage on a cutting board and cut the spine out of it. Put a spoonful of the filling into some cabbage and roll it together. There’s no foolproof way to do this, especially since the cabbage will be in various sizes and thicknesses; just put the filling near one end and roll it up toward the other end. Easy, right? You should be able to make about 18 cabbage rolls.

Place all the rolls in a casserole dish. In the meantime, heat the other 4 tbsp of butter or ghee in a saucepan for a minute or so, then add the tomato sauce and another 1/2 tsp of pepper, stir it together, and reduce the neat to med/low. Simmer the sauce for about five minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spoon the sauce over the cabbage rolls, and bake everything for 45 minutes.

Overall cost (assuming $6/lb for beef): $22 for six servings.

Amanda Kate Donovan

Harina ~ Moroccan Soup

Harina is a well-known Moroccan soup that is typically served to break fast during the Ramadan holy month. There are a million and one ways to make this soup, though traditionally it is made with orzo, vermicelli, lentils, beans and/or chickpeas. I have made some slight modifications to make this flavorful, rich soup paleo and Perfect Health Diet friendly, and so it’s a quick and simple meal for a busy family. This is a great way to use up a bunch of chicken stock, and is the perfect soup to make when you’re sick. Ras-el-hanout is an arabic spice blend that is becoming easier to find. It will vary quite a bit, but generally is a mixture of turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves.

1# ground lamb (or beef, just not pork)
ghee
olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
1T ras-el-hanout
1tsp grated fresh ginger
pinch of cayenne or de arbol chile powder
7c chicken stock
1 large can stewed tomatoes
1c white rice
1/2c cilantro, minced
1/4c parsley, minced

Brown the lamb in 1T each EVOO and ghee in a dutch oven. Add one minced onion and the spices and cook until the onions are translucent. Add about 5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a rolling boil. Turn down to a simmer, and make your rice. I used short grain white rice, cooked in chicken broth and a bit of ghee.

In a small pan, add a tablespoon or two of chicken stock, almost all of the cilantro and parsley (reserving a bit for garnish), and your tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes or so, and add tomato mixture to the soup. Add in the cooked rice and allow to simmer on low until the soup has thickened up a bit and the flavors have blended. Taste for seasoning, and serve with lemon wedges.

Meredith Harbour Yetter ~ Goose Mortadella

I think I have disqualified myself due to the complexity of this frigging recipe, but I had 2 geese in the freezer that had to be addressed before the next hunting season. I followed this recipe from Hank Shaw at Hunter Gardener Angler Cook.

However to fit it to my tastes/ingredient availability I didn’t add any rendered fat, I used pork cheek for the pork fat, so there was a little pork meat in there, but it was about 98% fat, I didn’t use dry milk or sugar at all or instacure 1, For spices I used corinader, dried chipotle powder and black pepper. I did use some salt as well. I also blended some dried wild morels and added them to hopefully replace whatever binding the milk powder is supposed to do.

I counted the morels as a veggie and just slapped the slices of salami onto some grassfed heirloom tomato and cucumbers. Wah-la!

Julie Barnard from Paleo Republic

Polpette di carne e zucchini

1lb ground beef, 80/20
1/2lb Sweet Italian sausage
1/4c finely chopped fresh parsley – hold a pinch back to use with the zucchini
1/4c finely chopped ramps – hold a pinch back to use with the zucchini *note: can substitute scallion, shallot, or chive
A few pinches of salt
Several grinds of pepper
3c tomato sauce, warmed on the stove
3 zucchini, sliced thinly
8×8 baking dish

Oven to 450

Combine ground beef, sausage, parsley, ramps, salt, pepper, and mix by hand until all ingredients are fully combined.

Roll the mixture into round meatballs about 1-1/2” and place into the baking dish. It’s totally cool if they’re touching.

Roast for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and very carefully drain some of the grease that has accumulated in the pan.

Pour the heated sauce over the meatballs and return to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

While the meatballs are finishing in the oven take a mandolin, sharp knife, or vegetable peeler and thinly slice the zucchini into ribbons. You can quickly steam them but the heat from the sauce and meatballs warms the zucchini up nicely I’ve found, so my preference is raw. Toss with the saved pinches of parsley and ramps.

Remove the meatballs from the oven. Plate the zucchini ribbons and top with the meatballs and sauce.

Serves 2-3

Bree Milne from Real Life

Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps

I have been craving Bahn Mi lately.  And I’m usually not one to deny cravings, but the best Bahn Mi that I have ever had was at a small little asian grocery store in Prince Rupert, BC.  And since I don’t live there anymore, and it’s quite a ways out of the way to go for a sandwich, I just haven’t done it.  But – lately I had been thinking that I could do it, I could make a pretty good Bahn Mi if I tried.  So here’s my try – a la Paleo!

Do Chua

  • 1 large carrot cut in matchstick pieces
  • 1 daikon cut in matchstick pieces
  • 2-3 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 cups rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup warm water

Place the daikon and carrots in a colander.  Sprinkle salt all over them and mix with your hands for 2-3 minutes.  Quite a bit of juice should come off the carrots and daikon, and they should become soft.  Rinse them off lightly (or not at all if you like salty food).  Pack them into glass jars.  In a separate container combine the vinegar, warm water and maple syrup (you can use more or less maple syrup depending on your taste for sweet – or omit it completely).  Add the liquid to the veggies.  Seal the jar and put it in the fridge.  I let mine sit for 2 days before I used them and they were great.

Part Two:

  • 1 kg (~2lbs) ground pork + 1 minced/ground pork liver
  • 6 garlic cloves – minced
  • 6 green onions – chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • lard (I used duck fat – cuz that’s how I roll)

Pre heat oven to 350F.  Take your rings off – put all ingredients in a big bowl and combine with your hands.  Then roll into meatballs.  Pan fry on medium heat until goldeny brown all around (about 5 minutes per side).  Place on a  tinfoiled cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

To Assemble:

Ingredients

  • 1 head of lettuce (I used iceberg)
  • Do chua
  • meatballs

Put them all together!  Be a touch careful – the lettuce is a bit finnicky.  And eat!  Enjoy!

Matthew Dalby from The Call of the Honey Guide

Onion, carrot, leek, potato and mackerel

We don’t have a recipe for this one, but I think it’s pretty self explanatory.  And, this is our only fishy entry.  Wallah!

Carly Caller

Cottage Pie

For the Filling

1 knob of butter
1 large onion
3 medium carrots
3 sticks of celery
1 tsp Turmeric
600g of ground beef (mince beef to ma UK homeboyz)
400g of passata (blended tomatoes in a carton)
400g of beef stock
Salt and Pepper

For the Potato MashTopping

5 large potatoes
Butter to taste ( I use nearly half a pack)
Salt and Pepper

Method –

Preheat oven to gas mark 4, (or the equivalent) I keep my oven dish in the oven while preheating. I’m not sure why. Just do it.
Chop finely your onion, carrots and celery
Melt your butter in a large saucepan, fry on a low heat finely chopped veg with the tsp of turmeric, (simply because I put turmeric in to damn near everything, cos I can) for about 10 mintues, or until soft
Add ground beef, turn up heat to meduim, keep mixing the um… mixture, until meat is browned, add your passata and your beef stock, season well and bring to a boil
Once bubbling, turn down heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes until mixture is thick and glossy

Meanwhile, peel and boil your potatoes until soft, not too long though or the potatoes will absorb too much of the water and your topping will just be a layer of slop. Not nice. Once potatoes have boiled, drain and mix in a crapload of butter and salt and black pepper to taste, mash into a nice thick, creamy, buttery, fluffy, mashy goodness. Try not to eat. Yet.

Take your largish dish out the oven, wear oven gloves. It helps, trust me. I use a ceramic dish. I have used glass and that black bakeware stuff I can’t remember the name of, both work fine too. Just use any oven proof dish, in an oven. I digress..

Pour your now reduced, and thicked mince mixture into your oven dish and spoon the mash mixture on top, using a fork to spread the mash. Bake in the oven for about 40-50 mins, or untill browning and crispy. As you can see from my picture, I like mine, almost cremated, but you can keep an eye on yours, and just take it out when you think it looks right. All the lovely butter in the mash will give for a nice crispy topping. Sometimes I’ll even grate chedder cheese (reccommened) on top for the last ten minutes, but I kept this one “clean” for the benefit of the cook off.

Serve with your choice of vegetable. This is of course optional.

Eat.

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!