Cooking with scraps

So after turning a pound of almonds into almond milk, I had almost a pound of almond pulp. What to do, what to do? I wasn’t gonna throw it away, not with the price of almonds!

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Thankfully Elana offers a solution: turn them into crackers! I mixed some of the pulp with flaxseed meal, thyme and salt, and some grapeseed oil to add consistency, and pressed it!

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It’s round because that’s the shape of my roommate’s dehydrator. A day later at 105F I ended up with these beauties:

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And I haven’t even used a quarter of the pulp I have. Boy I’m gonna have so many crackers!

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Tagliarini

When it is payday I decide to give me a small treat, usually in the form of a kitchen gadget that I feel I’ll be using a lot. In this case it was a julienne peeler that I got at McGuckin’s. Now, why didn’t I wait to order it from Amazon? I wanted some noodles!

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Said noodles ended up looking more like zucchini tagliarini, which is still pasta. I stir fried it with some mushrooms and lots of condiments, including cumin, salt, pepper and oregano. And doused it with coconut aminos.

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Next time I’ll try and make my own marinara sauce. Or maybe buy one that has no preservative’s, no soy, no chemicals… It’ll be an interesting trip to Whole Foods that one.

Burning down da house

What’s a guy to do when he doesn’t find the right ingredients to cook? Burn the ones he did have!!!!!

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Well, not really. I wanted to do Grilled Berber Liver, but I needed suet for that, and between a debacle about the pronunciation of the word and phone calls to all the grocer stores in Boulder I ended up with… nothing, since apparently none of them carries suet. Not even Lucky’s, and they are supposed to carry this kind of stuff. So I revisited my books to find another recipe and found this pan seared liver. Now, caveat: this recipe has alcohol, vermouth and whiskey, which might drag it away from the puritan Paleo (or Whole30). However, since it is burned away I decided to stick with it.

20120904-165100.jpgFirst step is to brine the liver for at least thirty minutes, to extract most of the blood. You want to do this because you don’t want the blood clotting when you sear it. Or maybe you do, I don’t know.

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While that happens is a good moment to slice some onions and some mushrooms.

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First step is to sear the liver: in a really hot skillet you put enough coconut or avocado or grapeseed oil (high smoking points) and when it’s really hot, you put the filleted liver, one or two fillets at the time (you don’t want to crowd the pan) for a minute or two each side, right now we are not cooking, just searing.

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In the same skillet with more oil we brown the onions and the mushrooms, until soft. Then we add the meat again.

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We cook for a bit, and then we add the whiskey and the vermouth, half a cup each. First the vermouth, and we let it simmer; then the whiskey and we set it on fire.

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After all the alcohol is burned out (no more fire in the pan) I thickened the sauce with some crème fraîche.
This recipe is from Georgia Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter, a deliciously written adventure through Hunting America, and cooking the game you’ve hunted. The original recipe called for Deer Liver, I used lamb (what I had in hand).

Broccoli salad and homemade mayo

While I usually get bacon once or twice a month, I mostly do it in order to use it with my eggs, or beef burgundy, or cabbage soup, or stuff like that. However, every once in a while I’m in the mood for some baked bacon.
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I just stick it in the oven at 250F (where the hell is the degree sign in the iPad keyboard?) for a couple hours, until it is crispy enough. But as you can see on the left, that means I get delicious, awesome bacon fat. Now, bacon is one of the most problematic foods in the Paleo Diet. While it is generally accepted that is good (animal fat, animal protein, amazing flavor), it is also really easy to buy bacon that comes from pork that was not properly fed (i.e. factory pork) so it will usually be laden with chemicals and other nas stuff. I admit I buy mine at a Whole Foods, but I get the cheapest so I don’t know how good it is. I hope at some point I can afford to buy more from Cure Farms, where I also buy sausage.

Back on topic: what to do with the drippings? Mayo!
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Again from Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint Cookbook, a mayo recipe with fat (he suggests anything from Olive Oil -not extra virgin, too strong- to avocado oil, coconut oil and of course, bacon), an acid (vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice), paprika, salt (very little of both) and an egg. If you get your eggs from a reliable source you would not have to worry about pasteurizing. To be honest, I did not know you could pasteurize eggs before reading the book.
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In order to make the mayo, you mix all the ingredients but the fat, and then add this in a really slow manner while whisking. I use a handheld mixer (seriously, just using it for this justified it for me, even though I did get it with a hefty discount) because you only have to keep a button pressed and you can focus on the most important task at hand: adding the fat really slowly. I mean Really slowly.

I use the mayo in a broccoli salad (from the same book) which consists in broccoli, nuts (I used almonds though), dried fruit (apple rings, leftovers from a gaming night) and a dressing made of mayo, honey and vinegar to taste. I use all of the mayo I got because It’s been so long I’ve made sandwiches I no longer have use for the mayo. I should do some tuna salad or chicken salad.
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The bacon? Ah, right. I save it for random eating. I also crumbled some and put it in the salad. It’s just that awesome, Bacon does go with everything.
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Link of the day goes again to Markk Sisson’s cookbook.
http://primalblueprint.com/products/The-Primal-Blueprint-Cookbook.html