Cooking, Scents and Flavors, Spicy

Primal Recipes: Lazy Beef Stew

I've probably posted some variant of my beef stew before. This was a little different.

At Heartland, we ate this on Sunday night before the concert -- the winds blew in cold, we put two sides up on the pavilion, and we ate hot beef stew and sipped cardamom mead as the downpour started. (Okay, so mead is probably NOT primal-friendly. But OMG cardamom mead!) This is one of my comfort foods like WOW.

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Cooking, Scents and Flavors, Spicy

Grass-fed Bison!

I was delighted to find a rancher selling grass-fed bison meat outside the Kmart here in town. Yay! And apparently they come back every month, and give discounts on bulk orders. So I'll be concentrating on cooking from the freezer this month to make room for more awesome tastiness.

I have steaks, cubed chuck (stew meat), and ground. I'm thinking bison chili con queso needs to happen... with one of the ghost peppers I picked up in Boulder. And curry. Because OMG, can you imagine bison tikka masala?

Still to find: grass-fed beef. Grass-fed dairy (NOT HOLDING MY BREATH ON THAT ONE). CSA (closer than 50 miles).

(Also, I have a paid account again for a little while, to do some cleanup and housekeeping. As an unexpected bonus, I have my icons back! Yay!)
Goal Accomplished, Aquired A Shiny, I RULE!

Primal: Two Week Check-In

About a week ago, I talked about this Paleo Nutrition / Primal Diet thingy I'm doing, my metrics for declaring it a success, and the caveat that then, having only one week's worth of numbers, I didn't feel I had enough data to have a proper hurrah.

Well, I've been doing this for a smidge over two weeks:


My weight has dropped by 7 lbs. My body fat percentage has dropped 1.5%

I feel good. I have a lot of energy in the afternoons, and am nicely tired and sleeping well at night. Fasting twice a week has become effortless, even when I'm hitting the gym and the bellydance studio on a fasting day.

Eating out is not too bad -- in the Midwest, a steak and salad is kinda the default meal anyway. They think I'm a freak for not wanting a mountain of mashed potatoes, and the "salads" are usually of the iceberg-lettuce-with-a-shred-of-carrot variety, but eh, whatever.

I'd say I'm eating well at home, but I've been swamped under bellydance costuming and haven't done a whole lot of awesome cooking. More like "sear meat, steam veg, serve". Don't get me wrong, living on steak and cream is pretty fabulous. I have IDEAS, though. I look forward to getting back from Beltane and having enough time to cook some tasty things. OH! I have a roast I can put in the crock-pot tonight. I should go do that. Whoops. Ciao, darlings!
"Pygmalion and Galatea"


I shamble out of bed, pour a cup of cold coffee, add some cream, and head out to the chair I have claimed as my computer desk.

Sabbath, who had been napping on the couch, stretches and comes over to say hello.

"Good morning!" I say, "How's my handsome Prince of Darkness?"

He purrs softly, puts up with a couple of head scritches, and helps himself to some of the coffee.

Am I still dreaming?
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Forethought, Gift to the World, Fire in the Reed, Pride

Recipe: Fungus, Kale, and Cow Shavings

Well, it IS.

But judging by the reaction we all had to it, it could also be called "Hamburger Help-me-kill-the-others-so-we-can-take-their-portion". At least, it could be if it used hamburger. Which it doesn't.

Okay, so it PROBABLY needs a better name*. Suggestions welcome in the comments.

Fungus, Kale, and Cow Shavings

2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
2 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp chopped ginger
4 tbsp chopped roasted extra-hot green chile (you might use a weaker pepper, or less of it, if you have a sensitive English constitution)
2 lbs chopped mushrooms (sadly, tonight's meal only had one pound, as the other had not just gone bad, but EVIL)
1 bunch chopped kale
1 bunch chopped spinach
1 tsp curry powder (or do what I did, which is just toss in a dash each of cinnamon, cumin, cloves, ground ginger, paprika, and cardamom)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cream and/or coconut milk
8 3-oz frozen shaved beef bricks (think philly cheese steaks)
Seasoned salt to taste

I think chopping all the veg took as much time as the rest of the dish. Heat the ghee in a large skillet on med-high. Add the ginger and garlic and stir until deliciously fragrant. Add the mushrooms and stir until they are a nice brown and most of their water has been released. Add the green chili and kale, and stir. Once the kale has cooked down, add the spinach, curry, salt, and cream. Give a good stir and turn the heat to low. The spinach will cook from the residual heat.

In another skillet, cook the shaved beef in batches, as if making philly sandwiches: sear** on high heat (each side, with seasoned salt) until browned, then stab, smash, and scrumble in the pan just until cooked through. Serve over (or mix into) the veggiestuff.

khryseos says it's excellent with cottage cheese.

* This could be why I'm not a food blogger. This, and the fact that I am the world's worst photographer. OOH! WAIT! I have a macro lens now! Maaaaybe I could be That Food Blogger Who Only Does Close-Ups!

** While normally I favor rare beef, this particular block-o-cow-shavings is engineered to give you maximum surface area for the Maillard reaction. Crank up the vent, crack a window, turn on the fan, and sear that beef not until grey, but until BROWN.
OMG *glee*, Carey

Primal Diet / Paleo Nutrition

Okay, so I thought the primal diet thing was a little kooky. I didn't know much about it, and it seemed like a bland, boring, limited diet (ooh, look, ignorance!).

Then adammaker started posting about it. And anything adammaker is looking at is definitely worth a second look.

So I read the stuff at Kurt G. Harris' blog (thanks to adammaker for the link). It was chillingly logical and well backed-up with chemistry and study, not anecdotes leading to spurious conclusions ("My aunt Martha stopped eating bread and then felt better so bread must be poisonous!") as I'd seen in most of the other anti-grain blogs/books. Food for thought.

I've been doing the South Beach Diet for six months, and have not lost any weight at all.

So I'm doing a 30-day trial of this paleo thing. My two metrics are weight loss (objective) and overall feeling of health (admittedly subjective), on a simple worse-neutral-better scale.

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I've been doing this since Saturday (April 10). So far:

I feel pretty good. Coming off a cold, and I'm only a couple of days in, so no stunning overnight revelations there.

On fasting days, this is how it goes: the first 18 hours are easy. I start to get light, vague munchies about 20 hours in. At 24 hours, I start obsessing about cooking, look up recipes for the next day, and crave CHEESE. Once I get some sleep, and make it to the 36 hour mark, I'm a Zen master: centered and unruffled.

I know full well that a woman checking her weight more often than once a week is like checking the tide level of the sea at 10-second intervals. But I have dropped 2.5 lbs since April 8, before I started the diet change. That's already more change than I've seen in the last 6 months. It could be water weight or random fluctuation. But I'm encouraged, because at least it's in the right direction!!!

So, I might post occasional progress reports and recipes. Like I do. Wish me luck... or better yet, wish me HEALTH! ::grin::
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Content-Free Friday: Boticelli! (Round 2)

(Round One was over on featherynscale's journal. I'm game, if y'all want to keep playing!)

Boticelli is basically a glorified version of 20 questions. In each game, one person (the "answerer") thinks of a famous person or fictional character. They tell everybody else what letter the person's last name begins with. Then, the other players try to earn the right to ask a yes-or-no question by stumping the answerer. They do this by asking the answerer to identify a person they are thinking of whose last name begins with the same letter. If the answerer can correctly identify the person, the player gets nothing. If the answerer gets it wrong, or has no guess, the player can ask one yes or no question, the answer to which will be visible to all players. Players can earn up to 20 questions. If a player uses EITHER an earned yes/no question or a stumper question to correctly guess the person that the answerer is thinking of, they are the winner.

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Other rules: The answerer may not google for the answers to stumper questions. Other players may google for whatever they like. All people referenced in this game must be at least as famous as Boticelli. I don't really know how famous that is, objectively, but that's why the game is called what it is. Also, the answerer may ask for one category of people to not be asked about, if they like (such as "I don't want any questions about classical composers" or "I don't want any questions about UK Prime Ministers"). Players should respect that request. Any number of people may play. Traditionally, the winner of a game would start their own game, but you don't gotta if you don't wanna.

I am thinking of a person whose last name begins with H. I'd rather not be asked about actors whose fame has come solely from television shows after 1997.

Already Revealed:
1. This person is not still alive.
2. This person did not die before 1800.
3. This person did die before 1970.
4. This person is male.
5. This person is not primarily known for a visual art.
6. This person is an author.
7. This person never served in the military.
8. This person is American.

It is Nathaniel Hawthorne, guessed by lilia_blackbear.