Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pomegranate October Summer Salad

Yes, that is right. I live in Texas. It is indeed an October Summer Salad. This is a nice, simple, refreshing thing to sprinkle atop salads or have as a snack on its own. I usually use crumbled Coconut Butter (which hardens pleasantly when chilled) but this time I felt moved to try sheeps milk feta.

1 Pomegranate, Peeled
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/8 cup cocoa nibs
1/8 cup crumbled feta/chilled coconut butter

Chill, stir, and chill again before eating. Also good with chipped mint and orange-zest.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Not food. YET.

Ikea Colander by CaptainShen

Ikea Colander, a photo by CaptainShen on Flickr.
I saw these colanders at Ikea and immediately imagined them as planters. I figured they were lightweight, strong, and inexpensive, as well as having proper drainage already in place.

1. Buy colanders.
2. Lay down three coffee filters, overlapping, or coir, cut to fit. (Like in my wine-crate planter)
3. Wet filters and fit down, sticking to the edges.
4. Fill with soil. I laid down soil in layers, misting between each layer, because my soil was pretty dry and I didn't want to mess with mixing it with water. Lazy.
5. Stir seeds together with seed-starting mix. This helps distribute and .. well.. start the seeds.
6. Sprinkle seeds mixture over soil in an even layer.
7. sift over another half inch of soil, water, and PAU!

Will update when these become food....!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dad's Egg Frisbees

My father is a genius. I say this because I believe it, and because he alone has given me faith that human determination and ingenuity can win against laziness and the not-yet-known. My father has never looked at a project, object, or goal, and thought "I can't," but always "I wonder how I can." And he doesn't rely on others to figure out how he can, either-- he just sets to dissasembling and angle-cutting, welding and soldering, sanding and painting, or whatever else he deems the activity require. He opens the hood, he listens, and he figures things out. He never sat down and studied how to fix a car, how to build a wall, raise a barn, or turn a propane tank into a smoker (true story), he just simply never believed he couldn't.

I talk to my dad about everything. I talk to my dad about frisbee, machinery, dogs, philosophy, marketing, art, thunderstorms, cutting glass bottles, changing serpentine belts, the smell of wood. I confide in my dad more than most people do their best friend. All of that being said, it is usually my mother with whom I talk about food. Mom and I talk about food a LOT, all of the time, and have a good time with it as well. When Dad and I talk about food, it is usually of the following list: brisket, guacamole, dark chocolate, guacamole, brisket, guacamole, brisket, or dark chocolate.

However, wanting a light meal and having a pound of ground bison that needed using (which is usually not something I feel is very 'light' feeling, rather filling and hearty), I was suddenly struck with the urge to call my father and ask if HE had any ideas.

He told me that the other day he thought up the following:

Dad's Egg Frisbees
Large sliced rings of onion or bell-pepper
Ground Meat, browned with Salt and Pepper
Egg, whisked

After browning meat, place rings of onion or bell pepper into an oiled skillet. Fill up with crumbled meats, pour egg in, and let set. Flip. Done.

These little delights were exactly what I wanted-- something fun, different, and light. They were tasty-- I mashed up a bit of tarragon, onion, and garlic with coconut oil and placed that in the bottom before putting the meat in. The egg mixture that leaked out was easy to lift out with chopsticks and didn't hinder the final product at all. I ate with a little dollop of dijon mustard, beside a shredded salad, and it was perfect!

Thanks dad-- I love you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Flickr Upgrade

I have many updates, but they are all on hold until my my Flickr account can be upgraded! Just lettin' you guys know I'm still out there.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Blueberry Walnut Salad With Lemon Vanilla Vinaigrette

Blueberry Walnut Salad by CaptainShen
Blueberry Walnut Salad, a photo by CaptainShen on Flickr.
This salad struck me whilst strolling through the produce section at work, eyeing some blueberries. Well, not literally struck me-- though I wouldn't be too bothered by being pummelled with a box of delightful food (as long as it were intact, edible, and I was conscious enough to eat it). I splurged on my favorite soft goat cheese, Capricho Di Cabra, a few days prior, and I imagined the two together, married with the deep, earthen flavor of walnuts. From there came some kind of salad recipe.

Blueberry Walnut Salad
Soft Goat Cheese / Mild Blue
Meaty, smoky lardons.
Chopped hardboiled egg
Lemon-Vanilla Vinaigrette
Lemon Juice
White Balsamic Vinegar
Good Olive Oil
Vanilla Extract*
Sea Salt
A bit of mayonnaise
Water to taste

*I actually used the 'vanilla salt' that I picked up at the night markets in Cairns, QLD, AU.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cantaloupe and Capsicum Dressing

Today is a big concert at the farmhouse that the land-owner is hosting, with a couple of Texas country artists. A few weeks ago, she and some mutual friends were up at my house having lunch, and brought a cantaloupe along. I don't usually buy melon-- but I do like it. I tossed the cantaloup, balled, with some of my chopped pineapple-mint and some Black Lava Salt that I brought back from Hawaii, and that was it. Simple and quick. Everyone loved it, though, and requested that I make it again for the big concert cookout barbeque--...thing.

As I scoop-plopped each sphere into the bowl with a damp plop, I pondered the juice pooling at the bottom of the little valleys in the melon skin. I had a smidge of cantelope left on the rind, and quickly shaved it off and put it into a bowl with the juice. I added a few things, pureed, and suddenly-- magically-- a wonderful dressing emerged. It could be thicker (more cantalope and bell pepper for body) as a dip-- as I tried it on broccoli and was amazed. It would also be good as the base of a cold, hearty vegetable salad-- cold broccoli florets with chopped macadamia, for instance. Recipe (sort of) as follows:

Cantaloupe and Capsicum Dressing
1/4 C Cantelope
1/4 C Red Pepper, chopped
3 TB Olive Oil
1 tsp Lime Juice
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar*
Many Mint Leaves (I used Pineapple-Mint)
Dash Salt
Dash Cayenne
Puree, add solids or liquids as desired to thicken or thin.

*it'd be great with all (3 tsp or 1 TB or so) lime instead of vinegar, but I ran out of lime.

Mint Melon
Salted Cantaloupe and Mint

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Smoky Tea Roast

This post shall also known as: Lessons from a world-travelling farmhouse-dweller. It shall seek to inform you of not-enough in too-little-words, and finish with a grand pile of shredded beef. 

I'll give you a tiny bullet-list of things that I have learned in the past few months, before getting 
onto the lovely recipe. 

  •  Melbourne's weather is as crazy as DFW's
  •  New Zealand has a thing against delightful beef jerky
  •  Take notes and take pictures
  •  ALWAYS zip up your camera bag. Do NOT EVER leave your camera in an unzipped bag OR outside of a bag. EVER. 
  •  Mulch. 
  •  I feel better with very little carbohydrate. 
  •  Just plant things. Sometimes you can have an entire farm and the best place ends up being your front flower-bed. 
  •  Presents are fun
  •  People will listen to anything the TV says
  •  Don't forget about yourself.

OK, so, philosophy lesson over? Discussion may continue after class. Uh, after post. Post-post. Comment. 

Smoky Tea Roast by CaptainShen
Smoky Tea Roast, a photo by CaptainShen on Flickr.
ONTO THE BEEF: I just got a little bit of grass-fed rump-roast with no clue about what I'd like to do with it. I've been developing tea-based recipes (as I'd like to lead a class in Fairview on this subject!) and decided I'd try one out, measurements and all. Lapsang Souchong is a black tea that is dried over burning pine-needles, giving it a robust, complex, smoky flavor. Typically a cup that I'd drink in the wintertime, the possibilities are endless and evergreen when it comes to recipe incorporation. Braising in it, marinating chicken, creating sauces-- all ideas that I encourage you to experiment with.

Being roast and having hot weather, I figured either the slow-cooker or the pressure-cooker would be my options, and when I got home from work I certainly didn't approve of the 'slow' part of the former. Out came my pressure-cooker, and then transcended the following:

Smoky Tea Roast

(Set One)
10 grams lapsang souchong (?? Approx 1/4 cup) (brewed into 1 - 2 cups)
1 tsp pink salt
2 tsp powdered ginger
2 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 TB coconut shoyu
(Set Two)
1 lb rump roast
Sprinkling of Hawaiian Black Salt/Alaea
dusting of garlic granules
1 thinly sliced onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
Whisk together first set of ingredients.
Sautee onion and garlic until onion is carmelized in the bottom of a pressure cooker, push to the side. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides and add liquid from above. Pressure cook on high pressure for 40 minutes and let naturally cool.

I served this with Mark Sisson's Creamy Basil Pesto Coleslaw, from his Quick and Easy book, but replaced the walnuts with sesame seed and half of the cabbage with shredded mustard-greens. I shredded the meat on top, and the flavor really surprised me with its complexity-- carmelesqe, almost chocolatey in nature, deep and robust. Ah!

Auwe... Ono... BROKE DA MOUT...

Stay tuned for more Tea Recipes, and as always, happy eating.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

...And an Organic Farm

One of the many changes that I had mentioned in the previous post is the fact that I have moved to an Organic Farm. I had decided to post this later, but seeing as it snuck its way into the HTML address, I thought I'd go ahead with it. I'm in a sweet little house with a sun-room for my art, helping the owners of the property with farm-chores and gearing up for the vegetable season. I'm 15 or 20 minutes from work, having ousted the hour commute from my life. I have a little gym inside the guest-room, with a benchpress, and a place where I can leave my freeweights and kettlebells. I have thousands of acres of core-of-engineer-land to run. I can listen to the forest, its just out the back, past the horses.

There are goats: Yitzy and Yaya, India and Arie. Yitzy hurt her foot the other day. There is a chicken-yard and we get 7-10 eggs a day. There are horses, a pony, two pigs and six dogs.

So here it is: One new adventure, in which I will try my hand at growing things and will be so much more connected to the earth and the sun. I will be the best farm-hand I can be-- and I will become stronger and happier. Here we go, right?

COMING UP SOON: Ode 003, and a new Product Pick

Chocolate, Tea, and Your Personal Grocery-Store Bodyguard (you can call me Betty)*

So, my friends, since we have last talked, many changes have seeped into my life like watercolors and told me that some things are going to be different. All for the better, but definitely different.

I had mentioned quite a while back that one of my goals was to be more forthcoming with who I am and what my life is, and I believe that this is a very good time. I am Shaleah, the Tea, Chocolate, and Hosewares Specialist at Whole Foods in Fairview, Texas. While I believe that mentioning your workplace specifically can be a touchy subject, I have decided that with the amount of Primal/Paleo people that I have helped at work, I would be good to do so.

I'd also like to welcome you all to my blog! There are a lot of guests from the local boxes-- CrossFit FX TX, CrossFit 380, and West Plano CrossFit.

Being the store's resident cave-chick, I have kind of an awesome opportunity. I have worked with the company for a while, coming from the Parkway store in Arlington, TX before this one, in which I was on the grocery team. I have read nearly every label in the store, and an generally quite used to what is 'safe' for our beliefs**. I would love to become your resource. Depending on what your views are-- ie: how strict, your allergies, what you love, what you hate-- I can help you find exactly what you want and what you do not. No cheese? Raw cheese, goat cheese, sheep cheese? No sugar? Pure stone-ground Mexican chocolate with only three ingredients (cough, Taza)? Chicken stock without yeast extract? Tomato sauce without sugar? Unsweetened almond milk? Macadamia-nut ''hummus''? Roasted red peppers without canola oil? It can be a dangerous and dodgy world to traverse! I'm even considering building very specific paleo-safe shopping lists that someone in a hurry can come grab or download without having to read every label.

Okay, okay-- this is not an advertisement here. I'm not here with any sort of ill-intent, nor am I a salesmen. But working where I do, I am in a position to be there for ya. Its just me extending a strong hand and telling you-- look here, you have a buddy. You have a buddy who knows stuff about stuff and you have a buddy who comes bearing chocolate and tea. I mean, if you're into that kind of thing.

Come see me at the coffee bar and we'll see what we can do!

*( first person to get the reference in the title gets a free high-five.)
** (That being said, I take pride in being able to help everyone who needs help. I can help a vegan find a chai without honey, I can help a mom find a nut allergen-free granola, I can help some guy find an interesting new beer, and I can tell someone all about our Waxahachie Local Honey.)