Osso Bucco Lamb, or How I Learned to Braise

Stemple Ranch; I hope the lambs have get life style

Stemple Ranch; I hope the lambs have get life style

At the last Coracao Staff meeting I publicly embrace my desire to become a chef. Daniel lent me a copy of the 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferris. For a lark I am doing the 8 week cooking challenge.

Steve O + Bourdain   - 1/2 coolness = Ferriss

Steve O + Bourdain – 1/2 coolness = Ferriss

Challenge: Two meals with friends per week prepared by me

Stakes: Failure by next Staff meeting (August 1st) means two weeks of Crossfit Probation, sorry Grassroots.

Recipe #1: Osso Bucco Braised Shanks on a Veggie Bed.

Procured some gear I did not have, I.E. A cast iron lid for my lodge 12″ skillet (over due purchase really), some less valuable olive oil, canned tomatoes (first can I have used in a while), and of course ethical shanks from the Local Butcher. Already a $40 meal…sorry wallet.

Mr. Ferris’s aim is simplicity. My friend cancelled on me; here are the ingredients for a one man version:

bocco

– 1 lamb shank
– 8 0z. whole tomatoes
– white wine to half cover the lamb shanks (I subbed veggie stock)
– bed of carrots (and i added one sweet potato)
– 3 finger pinch garlic powder or 2 cloves pressed
– 2 TBS EVOO
– salt + pepper to taste

Did the prep work, carrots and a sweet potato scrubbed chopped rough, and bedding the cast iron.

prep

Added shank, tomatoes, garlic, EVOO, salt, and pepper.

finish

Stuck it in the oven for 2 hours at 350 degrees.

In the interim got some stock brewing, and finished of some ferment experiments.

Grundru Tibetan Greens, Stock, Pickled Nopal Cactus Pedal

Grundru Tibetan Greens, Stock, Pickled Nopal Cactus Pedal

Pulled it from the oven finished with some Lemon zest, some more pepper, and a bit of the really good EVOO with the peppery bite.

cooked

Verdict: It was pretty alright (a good pairing for an episode of Game of Thrones) but I am glad I saved a shank. The idea was to get comfy with braising… so mission accomplished. I would go less time as the veggies were a little soggy. Next time I am going to try a simple mirepoix and some rosemary. I think that might take it all the way to bomb.


A Meat by Any Other Name, or Taco Tuesday

taco_bell_meat

In the wake of pink slimegate 2012, Missy Schaaphok, nutritionist and product manager for Taco Bell (that is an oxymoron), wants the chain to place an emphasis on nutrition, not meatiness. Enter the “FRESCO POWER MENU.”

taco-bell-fresco-power-menu-600px

Here is a link to Missy Schaaphok video recipe guide to an anchovi veggie wrap… did not make the power menu; what a shocker.

I despise disguise, and that is what the new power menu is up to. While the options are calorically cut the quality remains… well, c’mon it is still Taco Bell. Perhaps the saddest member of the Yum! Brand Family of Fast Food/Slow Death.

Thus we have reached the inspiration for my Paleo style breakfast, a fresher fattier version of a Fresco Power selection.

The Taco Salad

The Taco Salad

The hardest part of this breakfast was the tortilla recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple. Basisally a really thin frittata.

EDITS: Lemon instead of lime, Chicken stock instead of water

EDITS: Lemon instead of lime, Chicken stock instead of water

The recipe recommends 4 small torts.

fryingtortilla

I went for one large. The cohesion level did not approve… the flip was a flop.
But the little resulting crunchy chips were nice perk of flipping failure.

tort_cjips

Next is was time for a quick Guacamole. My Guac has three ingredients.

guac_ing

A good Chilli Paste is a great instant Guac hack and Cultured’s ferments are flavor bombs.

This may seem a little too picturesque but Tim really is a stand up  modern farmer

This may seem a little too picturesque but Tim really is a stand up modern farmer

For my Power Protein Filling I fried up one Riverdog Banger with some garnet yam in the ol’ cast iron. Got some stem stock going in the mean time.

stem_stock

Time to assemble. Guacamole, roasted yam and sausage, shredded romaine, and some of the sauerkraut I jarred (still working on salsa bar spicy carrots).

taco_salad

Review: This was one tasty pile. Next time I would go with the recommended tiny tortillas for easy of flipping. I would add a two-finger salt pinch and, god forbid, a splash of honey for a twang of sweet and a nicer brown.

Edits: Used a lemon instead of a lime and chicken stock instead of water

Edits: Used a lemon instead of a lime and chicken stock instead of water

All and all though not a tough taco salad for a relaxed 4th meal.

Fourth-Meal

Crunchy.
Spicy.
Meltly.
Grilled.
All of the above.


You can not Taste Health, but you can Share it

Sprout Avo Salad with pickled beets, liver pate, and raw vegan walnut jerky

My journey as an eater in one meal: Salad with sprouts, avo, home pickled beets, liver pate, and raw vegan walnut jerky

I read a post from Cultured Pickle Shop’s blog that made me re-examine why I love preparing, providing, and eating good food.

A customer of theirs had this to say about his pickle purchase. “I don’t eat this because I enjoy it, I eat it because it’s good for me. It’s not ice cream.”

Raw, sugar free and Vegan, but not a pickle

Raw, sugar free, but yes… not a pickle

I get wrapped up in the healthfulness of food, but I never consume anything purely for health. Quite the opposite.

Raw Vegan Girl Scout Samoa

Raw Vegan Girl Scout Samoa

My meals are consistently delicious.

Tahini Butter "Paleo Bread"

Tahini Butter “Paleo Bread

Each time I create a meal, I am driven to play with flavor and form.

I share the chocolate I help create, I share my home ferments liberally, and I am still a lonely foodie.

chilling with our Chocolate at the Coracao Farmers Market Booth

chilling with our Chocolate at the Coracao Farmers Market Booth

After all that sharing I go home and eat a delicious dinner for one. It is organic, pastured, grainless, glutenless, and devoid of processed foods, but it is also devoid of company. I fear foods outside my own creation and control… sigh*

Joy is best shared.

Dilly Beets, Kombucha, Pickles, and Root Kraut

Dilly Beets, Kombucha, Pickles, and Root Kraut

Here is one lonely foodies fresh effort. A recipe for pickle beets. After two weeks, the flavor the brine alone left me breathless.

Dilly Beets

What you need:
– A Couple of clean 16 once jars (Kerr of=r Ball perhaps?)
– A Knife
– A Cutting Board
– A Mixing Bowl or pot for Brine
– Ya’ Mitts

Ingredients:
– Two soft ball sized beets or the equivalent in smaller beets
– Brine (Ratio: little under 1/4 cup sea salt to 4 cups water)
– 2 Cloves Garlic for each jar
– Dill (fresh of dried), one tablespoon for each jar
– Caraway Seeds, Mustard seed, grape leave, what ever herb or spice you like in whatever amount seems appropriate. Experiment, enjoy the experiment

Beet no Pictured... I ate 'em

Beet no Pictured… I ate ’em

Steps:

1) To make a Brine by dissolving sea salt in room temp water, 4 cups brine should be enough to this project.
2) Peel beets, Matchstick chop into one centimetre wide sticks
3) Put 2 cloves (or more if it do ya) in the bottom of the jar along with dill, coriander, and what ever other spices you would like your dilly beets to absorb.
4) Pour in brine until beet are submerged
5) Place a smaller jar lid or clean stone on top to keep the beets submerged, Lid them and let them sit in a shady corner or cabinet for 1-4 weeks
6) Check every few days, if any mold is the top do not fret, just scrape it off. After 1-4 weeks depending on heat and your own flavor prefferance, throw them in the fridge to cease the fermentation.

I have stripped this recipe to its bare bones. Really you only need three things, water, sea salt, and good local beets.

Standard Kerr Jars a Tried, Cheap, and True

Standard Kerr Jars a Tried, Cheap, and True

Well… four things. You need to enjoy food, you need to love flavor enough to attempt to cultivate your own, flavors to share with those you love. because when the ingredients are good and the intention is pure, the result is always more than edible.

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients….I just hate health food.”
-Julia Childs

O Julia

O Julia


Safe Way to Shop Safeway

99cent_pop
When I find myself holding a food or foodish type item, wondering “Is this thing heathful… or just edible?,” I mentally refer to this map courtesy of Summer Tomato.

howtofindrealfoodatthesupermarket

I don’t agree with everything Summer Tomato recommends. I think food logs increase food anxiety in a ratio disproportionate with there helpfulness. I have tried calorie tracking, when you are eating whole food with out labels it is a headache. I am not going invest in a kitchen scale just yet. When eating foods without posted calories, calories appear to become less important (provided one is not washing down there macadamia nuts with almond butter or lard thrice per week).

This was tougher in Thailand last year, went more with senses

This was tougher in Thailand last year, went more with senses

I do like this mental map. With it in mind it is easy to navigate to a snack fit for human consumption.


Clean Eating Crossfit Competitor? Lessons from a First Timer

tournament_fuel

So last Sunday I participated in the Rookie (your kidding) Rumble 2 crossfit competition, reppin’ Grassroots Crossfit. Three WODs worth of weight I could move with a bulldozer 3 months ago


I am the skinny guy with the blue shorts in the upper right

WOD #1 “Firecracker”
21-15-9 of:
Squat Cleans 75/55lbs
Kettlebell Swings 53/35lbs (if you drop it, it is a 5 burpee penalty)
Paralette Lateral jumps 16/12inch
8 minute CAP

WOD #2 “Independence”
75m Run
75m Farmers Carry 25/45lbs
Load your bar with the plates from the farmers carry
50 Deadlifts 135/95lbs
30 Hand Release Plyo Push ups
Unload your bar
Farmers Carry 75m
Sprint back 75m
10 minute CAP

WOD #3 “Stars & Stripes”
AMRAP
3 minutes- Hang dumbbell snatch 50/35lbs
2 minutes- Sit to stands (cannot use hands)
1 minute- Kettlebell Sotts Press 25/15lbs

rumble2

Monday well, Ow (Actually aside from a slightly sore back I feel alright)

Having no experience with comp day eating I was stressing food/fuel for this event. I brought what I assumed a boat load and guess what, I ate it all save a few dates. Normally I short my self so when packing food and it was a close call

Here is a brake down of my menu and some reasons why it worked out.

1) Cashew Butter = Quick creamy fat, dense on energy but not on my gut

2) Zahidi Dates = Tasty carbohydrate candy to be popped in the mouth in moments of glycogen doubt. I choose zahidi dates because they are smaller, less gooey, and more snackable.

prosciutto-wrapped-mini-frittata-muffins-L-xpX8vs

3) The Meal = Two turkey breast wrapped fritata muffins loosely based on this Nom Nom Paleo Recipe, home fermented kraut, and roasted sweet tater fries… again glycogen. Ate the whole of it after WOD 1, felt very nourished.

4) Giant Green Drink = I was terrified of this green behemoth. 6 Tb Warrior Food (ROAR!), 6 Tb almond butter, 6 dates, 1 Tb of raisins, cacao nibs (for some crunch), cayenne, spirulina/chorella, cinnamon, a thumb of ginger, and some kale n’ collard leaves. A 3x version of my post workout drink, One third drunk before WOD 1 and the rest downed after WOD 2. Result, felt pretty great and had good go power for the final heat. Ridiculous days call for ridiculous green drinks I suppose. No complaints, it tasted like an almond butter milkshake.

The handsome man across from me at the Berkeley Saturday Farmers Market

The handsome man across from me at the Berkeley Saturday Farmers Market

5) Jerky = Provide by The Fifth Quarter Charcutrie, Grass-fed dried beef. most of this was a victory snack for the drive home.

What Did I Learn.

1) Heavy weight? break it in to sets and stick to ’em. Helped me with for pace, peace, and posture

2) I am a foodie. I liked having at least on meal to enjoy, rather than a bag of snack (a.k.a ingredients)

3) Sugars really are key to returning to human homoeostasis after ample exertion, but no need to down donuts, couple of dates I was back on my feet.

4) I drank so much water

5) Bring MORE food then you think you could eat, better to go home with a surplus than have to turn to free samples of Muscle Milk or others foolish foodish substances.

Taking these lessons to the next one for sure, along with a few deadlift shin scars.

Later days

Good luck out there, Time for an epic dinner.


Friday Food News Feast

Fast news on slow foods. GO!

1) Battle 16 Continues

Marion Nestle was present while the New York City Department of Health (DOH) tried on last time to save the 16 oz. New York soda cap initiative. The out look is grim.

As one judge stated, ““Do you need a PhD in public health to know that sugary drinks aren’t good for you?”

Well, you don’t need a High School Diploma not to know that smoking a cigarette after downing a Big Gulp is a bad idea too. It is almost like this stuff is addictive or something. Hey! maybe we should create a Marlboro Big Puff.

giant_cigarette

Just don’t flick them off your New York pent house balcony.

The American Beverage Association says there is no president for this type of legislation, well DOH offers this list.

My favorite example

My favorite example

2) Females Farm more Frequently

Women operated farms have darn near tripled over the past three decades, from 5% in 1978 to 14% by 2007… and they are mostly the tiny type. Farmer’s markets are helping to bring back the small farm tradition and many working women are slinging berries and beets on the side.

Kashiwase, where My chocolate employer Coracao gets their almonds

Kashiwase, Coracao’s hearts get their almonds

While we are on the topic of Clean eating women….

3) Primal is Unisex

The Paleo diet has a lot of redeemable qualities, but its media prescribed masculine persona was not one of them. Straight up inaccurate as the above article demo’s.

“There’s a core group of Paleo women who are blogging, landing lucrative cookbook deals, and amassing tens of thousands of Twitter followers.” Writes Grubstreet.

The Paleo Diet catches ALOT of flack from academia who confuse it with an irrational effort of city dwellers to eat like the missing link.

paleo-diet-half-baked_3

Scientific American associate editor Ferris Jabr writes. “It’s not clear. Just how far back were our ancestors eating grains and dairy? What we can say for certain is that in the Paleolithic, the human diet varied immensely by geography, season and opportunity.”

Here is how this diet is can be helpful:
– It shies away from processed foods, a stresses low sugar
– Raises awareness about factory farming
– Brings folks to the farmers market
– Discourages calorie counting, over exercise, and constant weighing (The Biggest Loser Model)

This should be illegal, lets analzye its science for a change.

And it ain’t all about meat. A good friend of mine is half way through her vegetarian paleo Whole 30. She seems to be eating like more of a queen then a cave girl. I look forward to her return to dark chocolate though.

A Meatless Meso Meal

A Meatless Meso Meal… is that pumpkin pie?!

I’m gonna try to get that paleo pie recipe, post it next week.


Wednesday Five: Foods to Be Less Feared

scary-food_420

Here are some founds that give some some anxiety, paired with some evidence to render fears unfounded.

1) Coffee

Coffee, Best Served Steam Punk

Coffee, Best Served Steam Punk

Another study ties moderate coffee consumption to longevity and heart. Read up or just take my word for it and diminish caffeinated guilt

2) Salt

The merits of salt consumption lay on a bell curve. For years we have been told that to much is hard on the heart, very true. But no one seems to mention to little, which can be just as detrimental. Unless one is are consuming a good deal of processed foods, no need to stress salt. Medium consumptionn is healthiest and most fall right in range

AKA: Light in flavor saddly

AKA: Light in flavor saddly

So don’t go taking the shaker off the table before taking the the soup cans out of the cupboard. Read labels on soup and packaged snacks, even organic brands pack in the sodium. Better yet, cook with whole unprocessed foods and salt liberally.

3) Potatoes

Taters are a lot like chocolate. Its not the cacao that is unhealthy, it is all the shmarmy swag that cheap chocolate makers throw in with it. A baked potato is an awesome dinner option, straight up balls of minerals (doubly true for sweet potatoes). Just don’t deep fried them in vegetable oil or drowned them in cheap sour cream and factory farmed bacon bits…. chives are fine I guess.

Screenshot from 2013-06-12 20:44:50

In the words of Sam Wise Gamgi, “Boil ’em mash ’em, Stick ’em in a stew.”

4) Saturated Fats: Cocoghee for You and Me

Every whole food is super in some respect, coconut fats included. Many saturated fats are not the monster the 1980 medical science community made it out to be. Coconut meat is high in healthy saturated fat, and is great for removing annoying sticker gunk. has a low glycemic index for it’s subtle sweetness. Butter, milk, meat, water, or oil, go to town on this on the mighty coco.

Note: Opt for unrefined coco oil

Now that saturated fat has become a lesser beast, maybe its time to dabble in some ancient Ayurvedic lactose free dairy. Ghee is butterfat, rendered down and stricken of all lactose and dairy proteins. It is rich in fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E, and K, and its pure fat and as such the perfect vessel for absorption.

Liquid Gold Baby

Liquid Gold Baby

5) Kombucha

Saffron Bucha SCOOBY

Saffron Bucha SCOBY

Most agree that kombucha is quite a refreshing probiotic option, brands seem to be proliferating as fast as SCOBY’s (Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast(. Still many are intimidated to try their own home brew. Fear Not! It is easy tasty fun.