Thursday, June 23, 2011

Super Salivatingly Succulent Ribs, Sasquatch Style

Ribs...mmm... I love them! I get mouth watery just thinking about them. Nothing says delicious like juicy, melty, sliding off the bone, succulent ribs.

I ended up finding a gorgeous rack of local grass-fed beef spare ribs (a little over 4lbs).
I use the oven most often for cooking ribs. I like them in the crock pot too, and they're probably best cooked on the grill or smoker, but for the best combination of easy and delicious I tend to go with the oven.
Tip: never boil your ribs, yes it can make them tender, but it removes all of the flavor! You'll be eating bland meat and just tasting whatever sauce you slather them with, ugh.

Get a big glass pyrex type baking dish, and grease the bottom lightly with coconut oil (or suitable substitute).
Rinse off ribs, pat them dry with a paper towel, then set in the dish. Some people remove the membrane on the bottom of the ribs, I always leave it on, I like the texture, and it helps hold things together. If you're going to remove it though, go ahead and do so now. Using a spoon to slide under it after you get the edge started will probably make it easier. Then make up a dry rub consisting of coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, paprika, chipotle, salt, and pepper. You can also use mesquite seasoning, and salt to make it simpler. Then rub the ribs all over with the rub mix. Cover the dish with tin foil, and set in the fridge for a few hours.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250F, insert dish of ribs covered with foil, and cook for 4 hours. You can also cook them at 300F for about 3 hours. After the allotted time, remove the foil with something other than your hand (be careful, its hot and very hot steam will probably come out), turn on the broiler and broil for just a minute (watch them and be very careful not to let them burn). Another option is to finish them on the grill. If you're using a barbecue sauce, spread it on before broiling, this will firm up the sauce on them.
after removing foil and applying a little sauce on part of them to try

You could try the barbecue sauce in the Primal Blueprint Cookbook (which is a great cookbook btw), or another paleo barbecue sauce like the one here from Son of Grok that seems to be pretty popular. I made an experimental mustard based barbecue sauce (here in SC mustard based is how BBQ sauce is done, haha) to try on part of the ribs, as you can see in the pictures. I also tried a little coconut cream concentrate on a couple of bites too just for the heck of it, heh heh, couldn't help myself. I think I actually liked them best without anything else on them, the dry rub and the natural flavor of the ribs was pretty spot on fantastic. They were actually so freakin good I ate 3/4ths of them, Sasquatch appetite :)
out of the oven, that lone rib at the top is because the dish wasn't long enough

Pork Osso Buco (sort of)

I ran across an Osso Buco cut of local pastured pork the other day at the store, which is basically a pork shank, it was a good price so I picked it up. Osso Buco means marrow bone in Italian, and "Osso Buco" recipes are traditionally made with veal shanks. I decided to whip up something similar to osso buco with what I had laying around.

4-qt pressure cooker
I busted out the handy pressure cooker for this one. Most recipes call for braising in the oven, a crock pot would work too. The pressure cooker saves a lot of time though.

I also got some pork neck cuts (they were super cheap) from the same place when I got the osso buco shank, I figured I'd cook them in with it too. I put them all in a bowl, and dredged in coconut flour (note: dipping the meat in mixed up raw egg before dredging would probably have made the flour stick better when cooking it).

Chopped up a few carrots, a couple stalks of celery, and half an onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic.

I then heated up the pressure cooker, greasing the bottom with some lamb tallow I had. Then browned the meat on medium high heat, tossing in the onions about half way through. After meat was browned I tossed in the rest of the veggies, and poured in probably about 1/4 cup of marsala cooking wine. Then I put in about a cup of homemade stock I had a few made a few days before. After everything was in the pot I sprinkled in some parsley, rosemary, black pepper, a little cloves, a couple of bay leaves, and squirted in a little lemon juice.  Next I stuck on the lid, locked it in place, and when the pressure valve popped up I turned the heat down lower, just enough to keep the pressure steady.

After cooking for 45 mins, I took the pressure cooker off the burner and let it cool down using the "natural release method", which is just letting it sit till it cools enough that the valve releases on its own.
after cooking was finished

final result
I served it in a bowl, with some broccoli I had steamed while it cooked, and salted to taste. End result: melt in your mouth, tender, and tasty.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Look at the Bones!

What time is it? Bone Stock Time!

Making bone stock:
I had a bag full of some bones and what not left over in the freezer from a lamb I got a while back (I always ask for any extra fat and marrow bones from the processor). Some of the bones were full of marrow, some had a bit of fat, meat scrap, tendon/ligament attached too. I also made a pork shoulder roast the other night that had some bones in it that I saved. I recommend saving bones from meats you cook, you can put them in the freezer until you save enough if need be.

There's a bunch of really good stuff that comes out in bone stock, proline (precursor for collagen), glutamine (has been shown to benefit the gut lining), glycine (an important player in the central nervous system, among other things), collagen/gelatin (shown to be benefit people with ulcers), lots of minerals, etc., generally a bunch of good stuff. It's also super freakin tasty. You really can't beat the flavor (and nutrition) of homemade stock.

I got out my handy crock pot. Put in all the bones, some I had to break and smash a little with a hammer to get them to fit in. Filled up with cool water and a little vinegar, which helps leech out good minerals and stuff from the bones. For the vinegar I would normally use apple cider vinegar, but was out, so I used coconut vinegar. It really doesn't matter what kind you use, but depending on how much you put in, can change the flavor some. It's usually recommended to use anywhere from a couple tablespoons to a half cup or so of vinegar, I probably put in abouta 1/4 cup as a guess (I very rarely measure things when cooking, haha)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Do some stuff you love

This is a friendly reminder that you're going to die.
Yup, it's true, we all are, accept it, get comfortable with it, let it motivate you. Only when you accept death, can you truly live life. I'm not trying to get all morbid or philosophical on you :). I just want to remind you to enjoy life and do some stuff you love.
Diane Sanfillipo had a good  blog post today about what to do with your life over at her site Balanced Bites. Take that advice to heart, get your hedgehog on, find what you're passionate about and go for it. Don't waste your time slodging through life doing things you don't care about all the time. Don't be afraid to make your life what you want it to be. Enjoy it the best you can, while you can. You owe it to yourself. Take some time to have fun, spend time with people important to you, relax, do things you love and are passionate about. No regrets.

Paleo controversy in the media

I usually don't pay attention to a lot of health articles in the media, but a lot of people have been talking about the recent U.S.News article ranking diets where they ranked paleo last. It was pretty horribly done, but here's a great rebuttal by Cordain, Bastos, and Villalba. It's worth reading even just to see all the evidence from actual scientific trials testing a paleo diet.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What I eat

I get asked what I eat and how much I spend on food. I buy almost all of my meat locally from farmers, pastured/grass-fed beef, lamb, and goat, pastured pork, and pastured/free-range eggs. I'll go in on a share of a cow, or get a whole smaller animal like a lamb sometimes, and buy individual cuts fairly often as well. I eat a fair bit of organ meats, usually a couple times a week. I get them mostly from the farms I get my goat and beef from They're typically cheaper than the rest of the meats, really tasty, and super nutrient dense. Lately I've been buying a ton of ground beef because it's cheap and so good. I get canned fish from the grocery store, and stock up when it's on sale. I mostly get wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and some sardines(usually packed in water) and kipper snacks (smoked herring) as well. Trident Seafoods has good cheap wild-caught Alaskan salmon in BPA free cans under the Royal brand (Royal Pink, Royal Red), I mostly get the pink because it's a good bit cheaper, but the red/sockeye is definitely tastier. I buy some frozen or fresh seafood like fish and octopus from time to time as well. I get most of my veggies from local farmers markets when they're in season. Sometimes I'll buy some frozen and fresh veggies from the grocery store here and there when they're on sale. There are some things I can't find locally like Japanese sweet potatoes that I get from Whole Foods. I typically order my coconut oil, coconut cream concentrate, palm oil, etc. from Tropical Traditions online. I'd guess on average I probably spend around $50-$60 a week on food, and I eat a lot, and eat well :)
Bottom half of my freezer. Ground beef and pork cuts on top, packs or organ meats and some beef suet on the bottom
Most of the time I probably eat just two bigger meals a day, sometimes I'll add in another smaller snack/meal. That's just how it works out with my appetite and schedule. After a workout I'll usually (but not always) eat a meal including something with a little more carbohydrate like sweet potato, squash, root veggies, etc. A lot of my meals are some type of meat and a vegetable or two cooked and seasoned with some herbs/spices. Every now and then I'll take a little more time and make something more involved, but the bulk of my meals are pretty quick and easy.

A lot of my meals look like this. Sauteed a big chopped zucchini in palm oil, seasoned with some veggie pepper and a few spices. Tossed in some ground beef. Simple, easy, quick, delicious.