Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to the U.S. Bento: Primal Kid Lunch

Israel was phenomenal. What more can I say? How can I sum up 10 life changing days in a digestible bite prefacing a post about lunch? I don't plan on using up the details; I will soon be writing a short book about it. Journal, sort of. I'll talk about food there once I'm done wrangling the gigs and gigs of photos which I returned with. But for now, an odd tale.

Upon returning to work, I felt a little bit snacky all through the day and was hit with, right before I went home, a very strange craving. Bologna. Nevermind that my high-school nickname was Brak; this is a very odd craving for me. Luckily, I work in a place that has Applegate Bologna readily available, which, for better or for worse, is something that I would deem as 'safe.' Perhaps not optimal nutrition delivery vessels, but safe.

So, I returned home with a few slices and am having them with lunch today. This lunch would be a perfect kid lunch, with all of its little pickupable bits and classic lunchy tastes. It'd be complete with a tin robot lunch box. Inside the meaty little slices I put some lemony homemade mayo* and dijon mustard, roasted red peppers and sliced onion, a bit of butter lettuce and some fat avocado.

More finger-foods as sides were baby carrots and cherry tomatoes with one single orphaned cucumber coin. Olives and sugar-snaps would be good too-- but I'm giddy as a child with this lunch in my future!

*made with olive oil from Texas Olive Ranch-- more to come on them :).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Baseline Fridge and a Meal Plan...

As I mentioned, I'm trying to empty the fridge in prep for my leaving, and have little things to use up. Avocado, cream cheese, mayonnaise (I've evolved the recipe since that post), Gruyere, blue cheese, and bell peppers, cabbage, eggplants... Ok, so to make sure I'm not hungry and don't have leftovers, I've got a to plan out how to use it all up at just the right time. Additionally, having two slices of Non-Bread left, I decided that I could make one mean pimento cheese. Today's lunch will be a real pimento cheese sandwich (though, with the hardboiled eggs I added, its more of a cheesy-kine egg-salad...) and dinner will be cabbage stir-fry with Salmon. Cabbage stir-fry used up odds and ends (like onions, celery, cocktail sausages chopped, more bell pepper) and I made lomi-lomi Salmon with the other part of this piece of salmon-- therefore using up more onion, avocado, tomato, and romaine. I'll grill some eggplant (I had planned on making eggplants lasagna, but seriously, heating up the kitchen? Nah) and a few salads later I should be set. Except for this brick of cream cheese.

So, this all got me pondering... when coming home to an empty fridge, what would I hope to find? What will I jump to get at the grocery store? I imagine the following would do quite nicely:
1 pound ground grass-fed beef
Some Fish
A skosh of bacon
1 dozen eggs
1 salad-spinner full of spinach
Raw Salad Veggies
Cruciferous Veggies (My favorite vegetables are of this family. To be cooked!)
A small amount of good cheese
Berries (Blue??)
Maranatha Sunflower-Seed Butter (...addiction???)
Homemade Mayo
Twinlabs Cod Liver Oil

Non-fridge things that need replenishing include:
Red Wine Vinegar and White Wine Vinegar
Unsweetened chocolate <3
Coconut Butter/Manna

I have my butter frozen and I'll be putting my kombucha, nuts, and oils in the fridge while I'm gone (to be removed when I return).

So, its empty for now.

All that is left are pickled things, film, condiments, and a few bites for the next couple days.

My salad spinner is empty. Sweating Eggplants and the little bundles on the bottom are for today. There are two eggs and a half of a giant heirloom tomato. Pickles, pickles, and pickles.

What would you put in your fridge, starting fresh?

(Refraining From) Primal Outreach

When you find something you believe in, strongly, you tend to want to share it. It is very hard not to do, but usually silence and self-control is of great importance in avoiding coming across as 'preachy' or 'extremist.' I stay quiet most all of the time, but it is hard-- very hard-- to watch people that you desperately love partaking in things that you know to be harmful. I would be so happy to see how (or 'if,' if you'd like to play that way) my closest friends and family thrived in eating real, unprocessed foods and taking time to rest and play. There are some people who I know would be on board (my beloved Denton family) if they tried it, and would have a blast. In fact, being veggie-growin' Vibram wearin' earth lovers, they are only a short hop away. I'd love to find that my amazing father's youthfulness was able to express itself if he reacted well to avoiding starches and sugars! He's the smartest man with the youngest soul that I know, and I believe he'd love to play much harder. I'd love for my best friend, in all her light-heartedness and beauty, would read about Kelly Korg in the book I leant her. I want to say: I have nothing to gain from this, I get no throwbacks or secret commission. I just believe that it is right, and I want you to thrive! I'd love for my strong, gorgeous younger sister to discover the efficiency of primal eating, as she works out and plays harder and better than anyone I know. If only, if only, if only.

Airplane Food

Airplanes are tricky beasts. First of all, something that large and made of metal just shouldn't be able to fly. Its beautiful, but I suspect it is more magic than science. Ahem.

Secondly, airplane food sucks really bad. To be fair enough to the airline I'm using, I've never flown Swiss Air, and I'll withhold judgement until I have--- they were even accommodating on the phone. But usually, especially with domestic flights, "meals" are bags of crackers with bags of pretzels with boxes of cookies.

So, the quest for travel food begins. Not just things you can bring with you camping, but things you can bring with you in close quarters, and things with severe restrictions on size and type. So, my rules for Airplane Foods will be:
1. Shelf Stable.
2. Non-liquid and Portable.
3. Non-Offensive.
1: These things should be shelf stable at least to a degree. It should last up to a day or two, safely, without refrigeration. I don't want to have an ice pack or worry if I crash in a hotel room and leave something in my bag. 2: Of course, dainty and crushable things (like kale-chips) would just turn to dust and saucy, soupy, and salady things would just be a pain. Also, there are 2oz liquid restrictions on the plane, which cuts out some people's beloved smoothies (which I'm not big on anyhow). And last but not least, number 3: Non-offensive. By this I mean odor, sound, and sight-- what you wouldn't want to eat while touching elbows with someone on a plane. If you live in an arrogant, self-serving vein of people, you'll scoff at this. However, I believe that something that sets us primals away from other people is the general (this is both assumptive and observant of me) observation in my eyes that we are a more considerate, self-content bunch than many other people from many other lifestyles. Especially other ''special-diets.'' I'll break no specific bones about it, but for sake of argument lets agree that we're simply less ''in-your face'' about how we eat. Anyhow, rule 3 cuts out things like anchovies, whole dried sardines, carrots, ice, etc. They're too loud or visually bibzzare or smelly. These change once you leave the plane (thankfully)

So the way that I'll do this is to list the foods, and then list the rules that they possibly skirt-- ie: I'll include carrots, but list '3' because they're loud. You can cast them aside as you desire!

Notes or Drawbacks
On the cusp of:
Hard Cheese

Nuts & Seeds Caloric, High Omega-6

Hard Salami (and Summer Sausage) 1
Hard-boiled egg

1 (3?)
Dried Meat

Dried Fish

Dried Fruit or Veg

Coconut Flakes

Radish Chips (and other Root Chips)

Kale Chips


Primal Crackers Caloric, High Omega-6

Nut Butters Portable packets.

Olives Esp dry, like beldi!

Veggies and Fruits

Tinned fish


*3 Not that kale chips are offensive, but they're really freaking ''health-foody.'' I have no bones about that, but I imagine Pvt. McNormal running home and telling everyone about that hippie he sat next to on the plane eating Kale-Chips dipped in Coconut-butter... Hahaha!

This all being said, I'm simply pondering travel. I'm thinking with a primal-muffin from mom and some nut-crackers, my trail mix, couple radish chips and some Unikaas Reserve, I'll be more than prepared. It may be less-than ideal food for every-day consumption-- but you're about to travel and your airplane food certainly should not be your biggest concern!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Using Up: The makings of an all-American BBQ dinner.

BBQ Dinner
I'm preparing to leave the country. I'm Israel bound! I'll be gone for a while-- just about 15 days. Its a little bit interesting, to think of being away for that long-- simply leaving your things behind can be uncomfortable, or at least mildly thought-provoking. I'm eating perishables out of the fridge. I'm getting someone to water all of my plants and beloved succulents, but I plan on turning off the A/C the entire time. In Texas heat, things begin to happen. Frightening things.

Any-how, I'd like to run out of fridge food at the exact time that I leave, having no leftovers and no shortage at all. I'm doing pretty well, but this takes a large slice of creativity and a fair amount of meal-planning.

Here is what I had, among other things, to work with:
1 Egg Per day, exactly
Leftover canned tomato sauce
Lots of onions, red bell peppers, and a big round zuccinni from market
Heaps of cut Jicama from Jeff
1 black radish
A whole lot of celery
A wee bit of homemade mayonnaise
"Black and White" Vinegar (Blackberry and White Vinegar) from Texas Olive Ranch
Homemade beef bone stock, a few ounces
Maille Mustard (I want to use it up, it has sugar.)
1/2 smoked sweet potato
A few TB leftover devilled-egg filling from a BBQ

So, the culinary shadow-puppets formed a obvious, beautiful possibility: A true BBQ dinner. I made BBQ sauce, and it was STELLAR. Best primal BBQ sauce ever!

I made a single devilled egg, and STILL had too much yolk-stuff, so I decided to use that in a 'root salad,' in which I steamed a bunch of zucchini and radish with garlic cloves, then combined them with mustard, dill, spices, onions (lots), and the smoked sweet potato and chopped jicama and celery! AAAAh, simply put, chilling this bowl in the fridge was a true test of will-power. I didn't add any mayonnaise*, but used up the last of a bottle of white wine vinegar and olive oil to give it moisture. Silky, moist, fork-tender brisket from dad's smoker, topped with tangy and glossy-smooth bbq sauce? Yes. Flanked by a cold root salad? Of course. All cozied up beside two perfect little devilled eggs? Oh, man, my Texas is showing. And all that was left to have was a big stein of iced tea. Happy summer, ya'll.

*The rest of my homemade mayo will star in part of this week's planned meal number #3.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BBQ Sauce

Sometimes, you just want to rock some good bbq sauce. This is best served hot and spooned over brisket, but its good for cold brisket, too.

Tomato Sauce (smooth) 6 oz
Beef Stock 6 oz
Blackberry Vinegar 2 TB
Garlic Powder ½ TB
Cocoa Powder 1 TB
Pimenton 1 tsp
Chipotle Powder ½ tsp
Clove Powder ½ tsp
Sea Salt to taste

I use a really smooth, liquidy tomato sauce, like Muir Glen.

This sauce is tangy, and reduced, the sweetness comes out--- to the point where it can get too sweet. The blackberry vinegar that I use is Texas Olive Ranch's Black and White Vinegar, but I'm sure any balsamic would work. Even red-wine might work here, but I'd also add Apple Cider Vinegar.

Combine liquids in saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk in dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
Let simmer for a long time until thickened..

A Smoker's Harvest

My family does food quite well. We don't all do food in the same way, but we do it very, very well. One point of pride which we hold in high regard would be my father's building and manning of a smoker from an old propane tank. We didn't light the smoker at dinner time or evey weekend or for even for the occasional football game. No, no, the greater scope of life would've been intimidated by this. Flooded by such intense glory that it would've thrown off the balance of things. Entire populations of creatures would drop to dangerously low levels. No-- this was once an experience for once a year or sometimes once every two. The smoker, when lit, would have a minimum of three days of support from someone who was home. The smoker would be loaded full of dozens and dozens of cuts of meat and whole poultry, while the smoke-free oven that he'd put on the end would be utilized for all other meals. Meats rubbed with my father's own spice rub would come bubbling and encrusted with black (the best part) from the vast abdomen of this great beast and straight onto the slicing board to melt its tender flesh into our souls (yes, souls!).

That is how the smoker went.

A small sampling of the resulting treasures!
Smoker Credit: Dad                   Photo Credit: Mom
Recent years, however, have left the parents busy and the smoker lie in a period of primordial hibernation in their backyard. Its dormant state was unassuming and humble. However, my father rousted the dragon. I drove down to them a grass-fed brisket, market-made pork bratwurst (I'm not usually a fan, but SMOKED is different), a pork butt, and sweet potatoes. In addition to that, they send back those things, a whole chicken, and a rack of ribs.

Life is good. :)