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Shhhh … Listen! Do You Hear the Sound of Sous Vide?

Roast Beef

Roast Beef

No. You can’t hear the sound of sous vide because it’s silent. And powerful. And will transform the way you cook … especially proteins. Never again will you worry about what temperature is right for chicken, beef, pork or seafood. There’s no carry over cooking, so the temperature you prefer for your steak, for example, is guaranteed to be rare, medium rare, or even medium well if that’s the way you like it.

What’s this all about anyway? If you aren’t familiar with sous vide, I’ve had several weeks to use mine and it is a revelation. I’ll take you through the process using the humble chuck roast to produce two different dishes. The cut of meat is the same. The time and temperature varies between roast beef (a fraction of the cost of a rib roast) and a typical pot roast braised on the stovetop or in the oven (think luxurious and fabulous flavor).

Many months ago, the cool folks at ChefSteps.com announced a crowdfunding campaign to support their sous vide cooker, Joule. The video on the Joule link is super. As an early adopter, there was a deep discount on the unit and like many such projects getting off the ground, there were some considerable delays past the anticipated ship date. No matter. It’s part of the adventure of helping great products launch. Now you can order Joule here and here.

It used to be that sous vide was a strictly restaurant technique. The equipment was massively expensive and a rig costs in the plus $1,000 range. But sous vide (which is French for under vacuum) was actually invented for home cooks to make their dishes reliably delicious. It didn’t take off as a home appliance largely due to the high cost. But restaurant chefs love it because a steak can be sitting happily in medium-rare 130 degree F water, waiting for a patron to order it and the chef to sear and sauce it at the last minute. Faster service, exact degree of doneness and satisfaction all around.

Like many electronic devices from cell phones to smart TVs, early incarnations of inventions are massively expensive, but if you wait it out, the price plummets. Even a year ago, top-rated sous vide cookers like the Anova were $300. Now on Amazon.com, the price is around $150 and during Amazon Prime Day, it was $99! So the technology is at the point that it is practical for a cook whose kitchen is well-equipped. Makes a great present!

I have to give a shout out to Nomiku as well. This dynamic duo couple—chef and physics dude—toured the country teaching tekkies how to build a DIY sous vide cooker after the chef was dazzled by the ones in her professional kitchens. After time they decided to engineer a cooker that didn’t need a blueprint to construct. And their cookbook, is a gorgeous collection of restaurant-worthy dishes you can make even if you don’t have a degree from a cooking school.

This is the set-up you use for whatever brand of sous vide cooker you have:

Joule Sous Vide Set-up

Joule Sous Vide Set-up

A deep pot to submerge your cooker and your food.

While vacuum sealing your ingredients is ideal, you can also use a ZipLock freezer bag (but not the kind with a slider). The ZipLock freezer bag is safe to use with food in this application, and strong enough for the normal cooking times. If your roast is going to cook for more than 12 hours (I have a pastrami cooking away for 48 hours) then you really should use the vacuum sealer bags. I had a Food Saver on the shelf that I really didn’t use for its intended purpose (freezing food) but I use it now at least every other day. But you can simply add your ingredients to the sous vide bag, lower it into the water and secure the top to the side of the pot with clips, as shown in this video. I’ve made several versions of chuck roast over the last few weeks. The one below was not seared, and I didn’t remove the fat deposits. Not searing the roast didn’t markedly change the flavor, but the chunks of fat were unsightly, so I take them out now when I made roast beef. Because of the higher temperature for a pot roast, it isn’t as noticeable, so I don’t bother with the trimming.

 

Chuck Roast in Sous Vide Bag

Chuck Roast in Sous Vide Bag

For long cooking times, I found these ping pong balls on Amazon which cover the water surface and minimize evaporation. You could use aluminum foil over the top, too.

Sous Vide Joule with "cover"

Sous Vide Joule with “cover”

Once the roast is seasoned and bagged, choose your temperature. I set the sous vide for 135 degrees F for the roast beef and cooked it sous vide for 48 hours, and for the pot roast I used 160 degrees F. and 24 hours. I seared the pot roast in a skillet as well prior to sealing it up. The roast beef was company worthy and is rib roast quality at a fraction of the price. The pot roast was succulent and tender with loads of juice for gravy.

Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast

Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast

To accompany the roast, I’ve got a salad that was instantly dubbed Klaatu Burrata Nikto by Harris and Linds. #scifinerds I started out using the traditional caprese salad ingredients, but found the textures too similar. Over time I’ve added various items. Right now I like thinly shaved fennel, sliced green olives, cucumber as well as tomatoes. For lunch and this photo I also added some thin-sliced ham. Burrata is a mozzarella shell with creamy, soft stracciatella inside. Stracciatella used in this sense is a riff on traditional Italian ice creams or soup. Currently it’s Harris’s hands-down favorite salad. He prefers lettuce-free salads, I’ve recently discovered. While this recipe is not paleo, it is primal, so if you’re down with dairy, it’s all good.

Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad

Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad

The playlist features this year’s Grammy nominees and as usual, Louisiana is well represented. Enjoy!

Roast Beef
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Sous Vide Chuck Roast Two Ways
Sous Vide Chuck Roast Two Ways
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Servings Prep Time
8servings 10 minutes
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8servings 10 minutes
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For the roast beef
  1. Remove the large fat deposits from the roast. You'll have to cut into the roast here and there to do this, but don't cut pieces from the roast. You could leave the fat in, but the presentation at serving isn't as nice. Using twine, pack the meat into a roast shape and tie at intervals to maintain the shape. Continue to the searing.
For either roast
  1. For either roast, heat the oil or ghee in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the seasoned roast and brown on all sides 3-4 minutes per side.
For the roast beef
  1. Fill a large stock pot 2/3 full and submerge sous vide cooker as directed by your cooker's directions. Set cooker temperature to 130 F for medium rare or 140 for medium. You can also set the temperature for higher or lower for your preferred doneness. Cook for 48 hours, checking periodically to be sure the water level hasn't decreased. Add water as necessary to maintain level. The temperature will quickly return to the temperature you've set.Joule Sous Vide Set-up
  2. Add roast to sous vide bag and seal or lower opened bag into the pot with the sous vide bag open. Secure top of bag with clips to the side of the pot to keep water from getting into the bag. Sealed bag can just be lowered into the water.
For the pot roast
  1. After searing the roast, lower heat to medium and add chopped onion. Sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add broth and wine and cook for 5 minutes, scraping up browned drippings. Add roast and onions to sous vide bag and seal or lower opened bag into the pot with the sous vide bag open. Secure top of bag with clips to the side of the pot to keep water from getting into the bag. Sealed bag can just be lowered into the water.
  2. Fill a large stock pot 2/3 full and submerge sous vide cooker as directed by your cooker's directions. Set cooker temperature to 160 F. Cook for 24 hours, checking periodically to be sure the water level hasn't decreased. Add water as necessary to maintain level. The temperature will quickly return to the temperature you've set.Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast
For either roast
  1. Remove roast from the sous vide bag, carefully retaining the juices. Pat the roast dry. If desired, heat 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and sear roast on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove to cutting board and cover with aluminum foil.
  2. Make gravy by adding juices to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce the juices for 2-5 minutes, taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve, slicing the roast against the grain. Pass the gravy separately.
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad This embellished variation on a caprese salad is a melange creamy, crisp, juicy textures and flavors. It may not make the earth stand still, but it sure is good.
Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad This embellished variation on a caprese salad is a melange creamy, crisp, juicy textures and flavors. It may not make the earth stand still, but it sure is good.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Ingredients
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Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Distribute vegetables and ham evenly among 4 servings dishes. Nestle burrata half on top of vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
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Blackberry Ice Cream

Harris’s garden is bursting with early summer fruits and vegetables. It’s so amazing to wander around the yard and into the greenhouse and “make groceries” as they say around here. I found tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and Harris froze quarts of blackberries, dewberries and other berries that I used for this week’s menu. The ice cream is paleo and I’m serving it at the Whole Foods demo next week along with my recipe for Chocolate Almond Cake, also paleo, but without the sea foam frosting. Cake and ice cream is natural pair and icing would be too much of a good thing.

Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream

Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream

I found the Bloody Mary Steak Salad on Food52.com. As soon as I read the ingredients, I knew it was a winner. The recipe was created by Ali Slagle. She said to thank her later, and I did. I changed up the recipe a bit by adding olive oil to the dressing, cucumber and avocado. What a nice break from a lettuce-heavy salad.

Bloody Mary ingredients: the base for a vibrant salad.

Bloody Mary ingredients: the base for a vibrant salad.

The rich, delicious steak married perfectly with the raw, salty, creamy and crunchy vegetable elements. And the dressing has all the punch of a Bloody Mary … which would be a great accompaniment, if you’re so inclined.

"Steak" your claim to a fabulous summer meal.

“Steak” your claim to a fabulous summer meal.

This salad is versatile. Chicken would be amazing, as well as cooked shrimp.

Cooked shrimp is a seafood alternative to the steak.

Cooked shrimp is a seafood alternative to the steak.

New tunes for a summer day. Hope you enjoy.

"Steak" your claim to a fabulous summer meal.
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Bloody Mary Steak Salad
Adapted from Ali Slagle's recipe on Food52.com, this Bloody Mary Steak Salad is as delicious as it is versatile.
Bloody Mary Steak Salad
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Adapted from Ali Slagle's recipe on Food52.com, this Bloody Mary Steak Salad is as delicious as it is versatile.
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
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Instructions
  1. In a small bowl add the vinegars, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, celery salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Whisk in olive oil.
  2. Slice the steak into bite-sized pieces (after resting from grill). Drizzle with dressing and toss, coating well.
  3. On a large platter add the remaining ingredients. Add the sliced steak. Toss, adding more dressing as desired. Serve immediately.
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Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
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Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
Use any type of berry for this Blackberry Ice Cream. Cooking the purée changes the taste from fresh and bright to rich and smooth.
Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
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Use any type of berry for this Blackberry Ice Cream. Cooking the purée changes the taste from fresh and bright to rich and smooth.
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Instructions
  1. Mash the berries well or purée in food processor. Strain through a mesh sieve placed over a bowl, and using a plastic scraper press as much pulp as possible through the sieve. Scrape the underside of the sieve occasionally to remove the purée to the bowl. Set aside.
  2. Use the purée as is or place in a small sauce pan and bring to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid is syrupy and thick, 10-12 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl add coconut cream and coconut milk (don't refrigerate either of these prior to using, the cream gets very hard). Add the blackberry purée and remaining ingredients. Taste for sweetness, adding more honey to taste if desired. Refrigerate until cold.
  4. Place blackberry mixture in ice cream machine. Process according to machine directions. Place in lidded container and freeze.
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Steak Diane

Steak Diane with Mashed Peas and Braised Carrots

Steak Diane with Mashed Peas and Braised Carrots

It’s been a wild, crazy six weeks. On April Fool’s Day, Harris woke up needing to go to the hospital. He was in the middle of a heart attack. That’s what 30+ years of smoking will do. What could have been a terrifying experience, turned out to be surreal in the extreme. An hour and half after we arrived, Harris had passed through the crisis. The wonderful people at Opelousas General Hospital were simply the best. And by ten that morning, we were able to see Harris in the ICU. At the next visiting time at three, he actually looked like he’d been sunbathing all morning. His color was so dramatically improved. Of course there were monitors and a blood pressure cuff, an IV for medication, but he was so much better for the two stents … much better. One artery was completely blocked, the other 80% and there’s still a third that has to be taken care of next week. That will be an overnighter, but without the emergency aspect.

The smoking’s over. And Harris is really committed to paleo. He always liked the meals I prepared for him, and he ate well at home. Out at lunch, restaurant dining, and random snacking and soda drinking was a different deal. And when we went to our new MD, the tale was told in black and white … or should I say in green, yellow and red. My lipid numbers (and not just the usual four that most docs test for) were in the green range, Harris’s were mostly yellow and red. It was a dramatic difference.

We’re all good though. I’m so very thankful.

I tried something new with this post. Instead of preparing the meal during the day and being left with re-heatables or lunch that was supper worthy, I decided to take a chance and prepare our dinner, photographing the resulting dishes. And that’s what I did last night. Lighting has been the bane of my photographic existence, and I think I finally came up with a workable solution. Which even means photos as I’m preparing a meal. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops (pun intended).

We often have pan-seared steak, and it needs a sauce or salsa or relish in my view. A charcoal-fired rib eye is ideal on its own, and Harris has his own blend of oak and pecan wood to add smoky flavor to a nice steak. I like the idea of Steak Diane, but many versions don’t quite make the mark for me. My version is very similar, but I think it hit all the right notes.

For veg I thought peas and carrots would be nice. Some paleo peeps avoid peas and green beans, but my feeling is that if you can eat it raw or barely cooked, it’s fine. Our future son-in-law is British and I’ve long wanted to do my own take on mushy peas. With this side, you’ll have a creamy mash, and colorful greens.

Mashed Peas

Mashed Peas

And what is more natural with peas than carrots? These are gently oven braised in broth with a bit of butter and honey … so good! And they’re so tender, you can add back their lovely green tops by inserting parsley stems in the tops of the carrots. This menu is great for steak night Saturday or an impromptu dinner party.

Braised Carrots

Braised Carrots

For music, the menu lent itself to the French for some reason, so voilà! Bon appétit!

 

Steak Diane with Mashed Peas and Braised Carrots
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Steak Diane
The classic Steak Diane with its sophisticated flavors comes together in minutes for a feast of beefy proportions.
Steak Diane
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The classic Steak Diane with its sophisticated flavors comes together in minutes for a feast of beefy proportions.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Trim the outside layer of fat from the steaks. With a meat pounder or heavy skillet, gently flatten the steaks to a 1/3-inch thickness. Season liberally with salt, pepper and cayenne.
  2. Heat heavy cast iron or other skillet over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. (Turn on the vent.) Add tallow to skillet. Carefully add steaks and sear for 2 minutes. Flip and sear an additional 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove steaks to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
  3. Add brandy, if using, to skillet, and with a long match or butane lighter with a long stem, ignite the brandy. Allow the alcohol to burn off. Turn the burner on to medium heat. Add the grated shallots and stir, 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  4. When broth has reduced a bit, about 5 minutes, swirl in the butter until just melted and add the Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat to medium. Add chives, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Return steaks to the skillet, warming them in the sauce until desired doneness is reached. Serve.
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Mashed Peas
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Mashed Peas
Fresh, creamy and bright: Mashed Peas are a side dish with a difference. Flavored with shallots and the fresh herb of your choice, they're downright delicious!
Mashed Peas
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Fresh, creamy and bright: Mashed Peas are a side dish with a difference. Flavored with shallots and the fresh herb of your choice, they're downright delicious!
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Add peas and shallots to saucepan and add 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir, cooking only until peas are warmed through, but still bright green.
  2. Drain the liquid from the pan and add peas and shallots to blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and purée until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Return mixture to saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary. Serve.
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Braised Carrots
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Braised Carrots
As lovely cooked as they were fresh in the bunch: braised, tender and sweet carrots.
Braised Carrots
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As lovely cooked as they were fresh in the bunch: braised, tender and sweet carrots.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4serving 5minutes 30minutes
Servings Prep Time
4serving 5minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
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Servings: serving
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In an oven proof, 12-inch skillet, arrange carrots in a single layer. Add broth, honey, butter and seasonings. Heat skillet over medium heat until broth is warmed and butter is melted.
  2. Cover skillet and place in oven. Roast for 30 minutes or until very tender, but not browned. Check liquid after 20 minutes and add a bit more broth or water if the skillet is dry.
  3. With a small paring knife, make a slit at the top of the carrot. Insert parsley sprig if desired.
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Green Chile Chili and Spicy Strawberry Dessert Salsa

Green Chile Chili

Green Chile Chili

To all our dear friends and family in the cold Northeast: we do not envy your bone-chilling cold this Valentine’s Day. I hope my Green Chile Chili menu will warm you up and tickle your tastebuds in the days to come. A bit of spice and heat in food is always welcome in the winter. Bright chiles and even out-of-season strawberries give the promise of warmer weather on the way.

Harris’s brother-in-law, Nathan, went deer hunting a while back and has at least 100 pounds of venison in the freezer. He shared his bounty with us, and today’s chili recipe was inspired by his gift. But you certainly don’t have to use deer meat. Beef chuck is delicious, too. I wanted a variation on the usual bowl of red and thought that several types of green chile would be a nice change. I added some tomatillos for an additional green component and braised it in a slow oven for tender, tender meat and mellow pepper flavors with a hit of heat that won’t knock your head off. Then I garnished it with cilantro and sliced raw jalapeños for crunch and a fresh, herbal note and topped it with creamy avocado.

Green Chile Chiles and Tomatillos

Green Chile Chiles and Tomatillos

Green Chiles and Tomatillos for Roasting

Green Chiles and Tomatillos for Roasting

For dessert, I made a strawberry salsa and paired with yummy paleo cookies I found on glutenfreebaking.com.  I added some minced jalapeño for a little unexpected punchiness—it was so good with the bright, crunchy, sweet salsa. Use the cookies to scoop up the fruit for a paleo take on savory chips and salsa.

Spicy Strawberry Salsa

Spicy Strawberry Salsa

For tunes I picked some of my favorite love songs. I’m so grateful to be married to a man I adore, and wish everyone could have a joyous Valentine’s Day. I know this holiday can be bittersweet for some, and down right sad for others. That’s the thing about holidays. Love comes in a variety of ways. I sincerely hope that however you view this day, you will cherish those who love you and those you love in return.

Green Chile Chili
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Green Chile Chili
This Green Chile Chili is a change from the usual bowl of red. You can use venison or beef and whatever green chiles are available in your market. A long, slow, easy braise in the oven will guarantee tender meat and this is a chili that won't blow your head off with heat—though you can spice it up to your tastebuds' content. Garnish with fresh jalapeños, cilantro and creamy avocado for a winter meal that will warm your heart and your tummy!
Green Chile Chili
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This Green Chile Chili is a change from the usual bowl of red. You can use venison or beef and whatever green chiles are available in your market. A long, slow, easy braise in the oven will guarantee tender meat and this is a chili that won't blow your head off with heat—though you can spice it up to your tastebuds' content. Garnish with fresh jalapeños, cilantro and creamy avocado for a winter meal that will warm your heart and your tummy!
Servings
8servings
Servings
8servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Raise oven rack to about 6 inches from the broiler element. Set the temperature to broil. Oil a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tbsp lard or oil. Remove the stem ends of the poblano and Anaheim peppers. Cut the peppers along one side and press open to flatten. Remove ribs and seeds. Lay the peppers skin-side up on the baking sheet. Remove the papery covering from the tomatillos and add to the baking sheet. Broil until skins are blackened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove vegetables to large zip top freezer bag or a paper bag. Allow the vegetables to steam. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees F.. When cool enough to handle, rub the blacked skins from the pepper and chop them along with the tomatillos. Set aside.Green Chiles and Tomatillos for Roasting
  2. Add 1 tbsp lard or oil to the rimmed baking sheet. Distribute beef or venison in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  3. In a Dutch oven, melt remain oil over medium heat, add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Do not brown. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, coriander and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add browned meat and any accumulated juices, peppers, tomatillos, broth and Rotel tomatoes. Place covered Dutch oven in the oven and braise for 3 hours. Taste for seasoning, adding cayenne if you like.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, jalapeño and avocado.
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Spicy Strawberry Dessert Salsa
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Spicy Strawberry Salsa
Sweet, crunchy, fresh and delicious, this spicy strawberry dessert salsa is a winner. Pair it with paleo sugar cookies for a dessert version of chips and salsa. This Mexican appetizer staple will end your meal with a festive note!
Spicy Strawberry Salsa
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Sweet, crunchy, fresh and delicious, this spicy strawberry dessert salsa is a winner. Pair it with paleo sugar cookies for a dessert version of chips and salsa. This Mexican appetizer staple will end your meal with a festive note!
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Mix together and serve with paleo sugar cookies (link below).
Recipe Notes

Here's the sugar cookies recipe: glutenfreebaking.com

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Lemon Butter Steak and Mashed Faux-tatoes

Last week Harris was teaching in Houston. Because it’s a location he can drive to, I often go along for the ride. It used to be that these trips were an every-five-weeks occurrence, but lately Harris’s trips have been an airplane’s ride or two away: Bogota, Edmonton, San Antonio. Most people would look forward to travel or the idea of it, especially for work, but truly it’s not that much fun. For the most part he flies into a city the day before a class, teaches all day, tries to find something decent to eat that’s close by and fairly quick and leaves at the end of the week never having seen or done anything the city has to offer.

You have to get to used a bed that’s not yours, sounds in a hotel (like people congregating around the pool below your window carrying on a loud conversation), and not being able to do the things at home that need doing and that you just enjoy. When I get to travel with Harris, at least I feel that I can make things a little more pleasant for him. When these trips happened constantly (the driving ones) we pretty much always stayed at hotel with a kitchenette: fridge, two burners, and a motley assortment of kitchen ware and dishes. I’d shop for the week, pack a large cooler for the four-hour drive and bring all the stuff I needed that I knew wouldn’t be in the room: olive oil, seasonings, knives, a couple of pots or pans. I was stranded for the week and didn’t have a vehicle, so I had to bring everything. Thank goodness for decent wifi!

We’d eat out one time during the week, and I’d cook the rest of the nights. Road food can be hard on your system, plus in Houston the traffic is so awful a 15-minute trip takes 45 minutes during the long evening rush hour. This time, Harris was staying in a part of Houston (near the Galleria) where he could walk to class and I had our vehicle. And there was a Whole Foods less than five minutes away. I decided to wing it and take nothing (which was a huge relief for Harris because dragging all that stuff around is a pain). I’d thought about eating out every night at the many paleo-friendly restaurants in the area, but I could tell Harris wasn’t into it and decided to see what I could come up with. We stayed at a Residence Inn—with a kitchenette. And I got a new macro lens for my camera and wanted to experiment with it. Despite not having my usual arsenal of gear, I was able to make several homey meals and even invited Harris’s boss over one night.

The first night we just picked up Whole Foods prepared items like this barbecue brisket and collards:

 

Barbecue Brisket and Collards

Barbecue Brisket and Collards

The night Randy dined with us I made spaghetti and meatballs (with grassfed beef) and rice pasta:

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

And another night I made chicken with mushrooms and broccoli and Whole Foods had sweet potato “noodles” that didn’t retain their shape after I bashed and stirred them, but they were good anyway. I’d already cut into the chicken when I remembered to get the camera:

Chicken and Mushrooms

Chicken and Mushrooms

One night we did try to go to a Vietnamese restaurant that had rave reviews, but the traffic was so bad we ditched the idea. We wound up at a neighborhood Asian place that was less than stellar. Ah well.

We were nearby the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Harris finished up mid-morning on Friday. So we decided to actually do something fun! We spent about three hours in the museum and it was like taking a sip from a fire hose. What an amazing place!! From the butterfly house to the 50-plus full-sized dinosaur bones to the Native American exhibit to the Egyptian display, it was phenomenal. You could spend three full days here and not repeat anything. I took a few photos:

Museum Flower Houston

Flower, Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Fossil, Houston Museum of Natural Science

Fossil, Houston Museum of Natural Science

So recipes? Do we have recipes? We do!

Lemon Butter Steak Ingredients

Lemon Butter Steak Ingredients

Mashed Faux-tatoes Ingredients

Mashed Faux-tatoes Ingredients

I was looking back at a Tumblr blog I started a few years ago and saw a recipe that earned me $500 in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine contest. I changed it up and bit and added another recipe from back in the day: Mashed Faux-tatoes. Made from a purée of the paleo-standby cauliflower, it’s ramped up with the addition of carrots and turnips. Three veg, a bit of carb, but not too much and a nice creamy side for the steak. You can use any cut of steak you like, and the lemon really punches up the flavor. Add a green vegetable if you want. Fire up Spotify, dance around the stove and let the merriment begin!

Lemon Butter Steak and Mashed Faux-tatoes

Lemon Butter Steak and Mashed Faux-tatoes

Lemon Butter Steak and Mashed Faux-tatoes
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Lemon Butter Steak
Pan-cooked Lemon Butter Steak (any cut) marries beautifully with lemon and lemongrass. The butter adds a quick sauce that enriches any vegetable.
Lemon Butter Steak
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Pan-cooked Lemon Butter Steak (any cut) marries beautifully with lemon and lemongrass. The butter adds a quick sauce that enriches any vegetable.
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Place steak in a shallow dish. Add cilantro, half of the olive oil, the lemongrass, lemon zest and juice, garlic or shallot, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, and the red pepper. Turn steak to coat. Cover; chill 30 minutes to 1-½ hours.Lemon Butter Steak Ingredients
  2. Make the Lemon Butter and set aside. In a 12-inch skillet or grill pan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Remove steak from marinade, pat dry with paper towels; discard marinade. Cook steak 7-8 minutes and flip to the other side, cook an additional 7-8 minutes or to desired doneness. For best result check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer: 125 for medium rare, 130 for medium. Remove from pan, cover; let rest 10 minutes.
  3. Thinly slice against the grain and top with Lemon Butter.
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Mashed Faux-tatoes
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Mashed Faux-tatoes
Mashed Faux-tatoes stand up to gravy or any other way you’d use mashed potatoes. It’s a rich, creamy, mild side dish that's a nice change from just plain cauliflower.
Mashed Faux-tatoes
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Mashed Faux-tatoes stand up to gravy or any other way you’d use mashed potatoes. It’s a rich, creamy, mild side dish that's a nice change from just plain cauliflower.
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except cream cheese to medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain liquid from vegetables and reserve liquid. Add vegetables back to saucepan or to food processor. Add the cream cheese, if desired. Use a stick blender or potato masher if using saucepan method or pulse in food processor, combining vegetables to desired consistency. It can be as chunky or smooth as you like. Add reserved cooking liquid if needed to thin.Mashed Faux-tatoes Ingredients
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