I haven’t really been the best about posting lately. But I found this new application that allows me to verbally dictate from my phone whatever I want to include in a post so hopefully I’ll be able to get more content out there now.
Anyway this dish was really delicious. I started with really nice thick maybe two inch thick cod fillets at Whole Foods. I’ve then preceded to lightly dust them in some rice flour, salt, and pepper and then I seared them off in some clarified butter which give them a really nice color and caramelization.
After that I prepared the cauliflower mash which is quite simple. I took about 10 ounces of trimmed cauliflower florets and stesmed them for 10 minutes. After that I added a little bit of heavy cream some butter, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste, then mashed it up to the desired consistency.
I really like finishing things with micro greens these days. I feel like it adds a really interesting, colorful dimension and you get a little bit of the essence too. In this case I used baby baby basil microgreens which added a bit of that floral, kind of lemony essence to this dish.
I had made some cilantro mayo the previous day that actually paired quite nicely with this and it’s quite easy to make. Start off with one egg yolk and a pinch of salt with about a teaspoon of a good quality mustard in a mixing bowl. Whisk that together and slowly start adding canola or olive oil. Continue adding oil and whisking at the same time until it starts to emulsify and get your desired thickness.
After you’ve already mixed the ingredients together and it’s starting to look like mayonnaise then add your flavorings. In this case I added some chopped up cilantro and a little bit of jalapeno which ended up being really tasty. Cheers.
I sold my Sous Vide Supreme this past weekend. I just wasn’t using it. I guess it was a phase for me.
Between my Big Green Egg, Crockpot, and careful meat selection, I haven’t had the need to fundamentally transform any foods underwater in quite some time. It was fun, but by now, not really necessary.
Sure, some stuff you can only get via sous vide…Things like medium rare short ribs and chuck, easy duck confit, and super fluffy potatoes. But I don’t eat that stuff all that often. What do I use every day though? Knives.
So I decided to roll the SVS into a couple custom made knives from my friend PKB. He does amazing work. I’ll post some pics when they’re done, and will have some interesting stuff to post as fall sets in and I finally start using my oven again.
Cheers to the next chapter.
2 words. HUGE. FLAVORS. I made the mistake of going to the market the day before restocking and the pickings were slim. I saw, amidst the barren wasteland, a box of baby artichokes. Why the hell not? I had never worked with them before but I presumed they were to be treated similarly to their larger cousins, and I started thinking of things to do with them.
After last night’s steaktastic monster salad, and the fact that I knew artichoke and lemon was a solid profile, I decided on a lighter protein, and opted for the dependably versatile (and cheap!) bluefish. Last time I wrapped it in bacon, which was awesome, but I thought it might be a bit much for this application. So, once again, I went lighter, and used the prosciutto San Danielle, which I find a little less salty and intense than bacon or Parma.
I started by trimming the baby artichokes down to almost the heart and slicing them in half. Then, in a bowl, I dressed them with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, then grilled them for a few minutes to develop their flavor a bit.
I set them aside, then melted 2tbs butter and olive oil each in a pan and sauteed minced garlic, crushed red pepper, green olives, and capers. When they were fragrant and lightly toasted, I deglazed with about a cup and a half of white wine. After that reduced by about half, I added the artichokes to the pan, turned the heat to low, and got to prepping the fish. The artichokes need about 20 minutes to get tender.
The fish was the easy part. I dusted the fillets with lemon pepper then wrapped them in a a layer of prosciutto all the way round. Those got pan-grilled for 4 minutes per side, until a fork inserted for 8 seconds came out warm to the lips.
I plated the artichokes with a generous amount of their cooking liquid, then added the fish, and finally some super fresh balsamic-dressed mache for color, texture, sweetness, and to cut it a bit.
The end result was off the charts, albeit a little salty (less prosciutto next time?). Give it a shot when you want a paleo meal that is at once light and intensely flavorful. Cheers!
Air dried in the fridge for 48 hours, bagged with salt & pepper, cooked at 132F for 5 hours. Finished 45 seconds per side on a 600 degree Green Egg. Tender, beautiful, perfect.
The resulting meal: Mache salad with lime vinaigrette, avocado, slow cooked bacon nibs, grilled red onions, cherry tomatoes, sharp cheddar, and of course the steak, which was fork-tender.
H and I have been slowly reintroducing dairy back into our diet, and it’s actually going pretty well. So, I decided to just go all out and make a cheesy meaty monstrosity to test the limits. But, we’re still avoiding gluten and grains, so I had to get crafty with the”noodles”.
A common technique is to use zuccini or eggplant for noodles, and if you salt the slices, compress them between a couple big dishes (to draw out moisture), and then fry them, you can get something that will almost hold its shape. Almost. They are still mostly water by weight, and will get mushy. This is why eggplant is usually breaded and fried. I wanted a noodle that would hold its shape, so I came up with a prosciutto-reinforced egg noodle concept.
The idea was simple – create a thin egg sheet, devoid of moisture, and reinforce it with thin slices of prosciutto to keep it from falling apart. I frankly was not expecting this to work so I regretfully didn’t take pictures along the way, but – it worked!
I used 2 well beaten eggs per “sheet”. In a large (10″+) nonstick griddle over medium heat (you must use nonstick because the sheet is both very thin and cooked for a long time) I sprayed a light mist of oil and then poured in the 2 eggs. You must tilt the pan to get the egg to spread before it cooks, and then quickly layer in some paper thin prosciutto. You don’t need to cover it all with prosciutto – think more like 50% surface area coverage.
After a couple minutes when the egg is very well cooked through, flip it. It should be totally stable already. From here, continue cooking, and, if possible, use a bacon press to squeeze out any remaining moisture from the egg sheet. Continue flipping and compressing until the sheet is golden brown on both sides and no longer steams moisture when compressed. This takes about 5-10 minutes total per sheet.
The result should be a thin sheet of egg that easily drapes down over a spatula with no hint of ripping. If it falls apart, it was not thin enough, cooked long enough, or compressed enough.
I made 3 of these sheets, then assembled the lasagna in a square baking dish. You can use whatever ingredients you fancy with these noodles. For this one, I used mozzarella, ricotta, sausage, pork tenderloin, basil, and marinara sauce. 375 for 30 minutes yields what you see above.
The noodles are not the same as pasta, but they do the same job. They absolutely retain their shape and texture – so much so that most people would presume they were eating eggplant parmigiana if you didn’t tip them off. Except this is gluten free, insanely low carb, and just as delicious. Try it and enjoy a less guilt-laden Italian indulgence!
This is a really simple, pure expression of pork. I ordered some front and rear quarters and shoulders from pastured free roaming pigs raised at Slankers in Texas, and today prepared the rear quarter for some friends. Read the description of their pork on the site – apparently wild pigs from the area will sometimes just join up with their free roaming herds. Nice.
Anyway, the idea was simple. How does one showcase such a treasure without obfuscating the core experience? My approach was to cook is slowly and delicately with only the simplest of accoutrements.
I rubbed it the night before with equal parts salt, pepper, and brown sugar. In the morning I shook it off and wrapped it in aluminum foil, then stuck it in the Green Egg at 275 for 4 hours. I had just a couple chunks of mesquite in with the charcoal – I didn’t want the smoke to take over.
After 4 hours, I poured about 1/2c of olive oil mixed with 4 cloves of minced garlic, juice of 1 lemon, and a dash of salt over the roast and re-closed the aluminum foil and continued cooking.
An hour later, we have what you see above. The meat is falling off the bone tender and the lemon and garlic still have some of their brightness left, but have mellowed over the course of that hour to compliment the meat nicely. Wild pigs taste noticeably different than their commercially raised peers. It’s actually more like red meat – heartier and a bigger mouth-feel, coupled with a bit less, but more flavorful fat.
The guests arrive in a couple hours, and I can’t wait to get their take on it – especially in combination with the sous vide shoulder that I’m also serving. More on that later.
Grass-fed short rib smoked for 6 hours at 225 over cherry & maple. Dry rub: ancho, chipotle, black pepper, salt. Smoky & spicy!
First, a quote from my lovely companion H: “The best part is it doesn’t even taste paleo – it taste like m***f**ing mashed potatoes!” I love her.
Yes, this was long overdue, and impossibly comforting. So comforting in fact that you wouldn’t believe how healthy it is. With grassfed beef, pastured heritage pork shoulder, and loads of vegetables, I just might be making this weekly. FULL POST
Tonight was a very special night – our first foray into steaks from the half cow we bought. I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous. Grassfed meat is leaner than its grain and hormone laden peers, and as we all know, marbling is what makes a great steak. I had heard that you needed to cook grassfed mean at a lower temperature, or flip it constantly, or perform some other type of occult sorcery to make it shine.
Well, I was too stubborn, lazy, arrogant, or all 3 to bother with all that mess, so I grilled these in the manner I am accustomed to, for 2 minutes per side, on the Big Green Egg, with a few chunks of cherry wood for flavor. I topped them with some mushrooms sauteed in duckfat with garlic and sesame seeds, finished with balsamic.
Let the picture serve as evidence. This was almost as tender and every bit as delicious as any commercial ribeye I have ever had, but this was healthier, cheaper, and more sustainable. In fact, I’d say that the fat on this steak was better than any I have ever had. It tasted kind of like clarified butter.
We’ll see how things shape up with leaner cuts, but for now, my old tricks are still working, and this was a great opener for the long season of beef to come.
Good thing we have 2 freezers. This is only 1/3 of the meat!
Chances are, you’ve heard of the health benefits of pastured (grass-fed) beef versus commercial, grain-fed meat by now. If not, then in a nutshell, beef from steers fed grass their entire lives has an omega 3:6 ratio similar to salmon. It also has way more CLA, more nutrients, and is almost assuredly prefaced by a more humane lifestyle for the animal. For more info, check Mark’s Daily Apple.
Anyhow, you have also probably inferred that the price of such superior meat would be higher, and in fact you would be correct. Grass-fed steaks at Whole foods are in excess of $20/lb. Even grass-fed ground beef at Trader Joes is $6/lb. Ouch. It became clear that to pursue this lifestyle would require some cost reduction strategy.
Bulk is usually the way to go for these types of operations. I buy coconut water 4 cases at a time when it goes on sale at Amazon Warehouse Deals, and so I started looking around for where I could buy a LOT of grass-fed beef at a time. I had heard of people buying whole and part cows before, but it always seemed to outrageous and inaccessible that I never considered it. Well, folks, it’s not. It’s really quite easy, and I’m going to walk you through the entire process.
Here are some facts up front. Some animals are grass-fed, but “grain finished” to fatten them up for slaughter. You want grass-fed, grass finished. You can buy cows by the quarter (100lbs) half (200lbs) or whole (400lbs). These are rough numbers for yield after processing. You usually pay for the weight of the cow before processing.
Anyway, first, I looked for a local farm, because who wants to pay hundreds of dollars in shipping? Mark’s Daily Apple and Eat Wild both have state-by-state listings of farms that have pastured animals. As you may have guessed, a lot of these farms are small operations, and their websites, if they even have one, are usually not e-commerce ready. Be prepared to pick up the phone or email.
I found Fox Hill Farm in Ancramdale NY, about 3 hours away from us, and sent Larry a quick inquiry about buying a lot of beef. He promptly sent me back an email detailing all the costs of various options, the lifestyle and conditions the animals enjoy, and how the whole process works. I decided to go with the half cow because you get a bit of all the cuts instead of just the front or rears.
Once that was decided on, it was onto the fun part. Larry had me call up the processor and tell him exactly how I wanted the animal cut. I got to choose what was ground, how thick steaks were, that I wanted all the offal and suet, what to slice thin for sandwich meat and what to leave as roasts. I had full control because, after all, I did own that entire half animal. I also opted for and recommend vac-pacs instead of butcher paper because a. it lasts for up to 3 years frozen, and b. you can see the meat.
The whole process took about 3 weeks. 2 weeks to hang and age the carcass, then 1 week to cut it up, package, and arrange to drive and pick it up. Larry met me and I loaded over 200lbs of beef into my car. It was awesome.
So back the initial intent of this plan – cost. Well, the total price per-lb of meat was around $7. Half of that was ground beef and half was steak, and that weight isn’t including the offal or suet. The ground beef costs the same as it does at Whole Foods, but the steaks are cheaper by a factor of 3 or more. Plus, its truly local, humane, and I got to choose all the butchering. Not bad.
If you’re serious about meat and health, this is something you should definitely look into. It’s easier than you think. A quarter cow would probably be slightly more per lb, and a whole cow a little less. Go in on it with some friends, coworkers, or fly solo. It’s a true food lovers experience.
Stay tuned for a LOT of beef posts.