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Fermented Red Potatoes

Potatoes. They are my guilty pleasure in life. I love love love good French fries. I love skillet potatoes. I love the roasted potatoes you get with breakfast at Mother’s Bistro in downtown Portland. And kettle chips? Forget it. I’m a goner – and so is that bag. Unfortunately, they don’t love me and usually make me (and my sister) ill. My mom was doing some research a while back to find out why her two favorite daughters became ill after eating potatoes. And here’s what she found.

According to the American Cancer Society,

Acrylamide has probably always been present in some foods, but this wasn’t known until Swedish scientists first found it in certain foods in 2002.

I can’t blame GM foods for this one, fair enough.

Acrylamide does not appear to be in raw foods themselves. It is formed when certain starchy foods are cooked at temperatures above about 250° F. Cooking methods such as frying, baking, broiling, or roasting are more likely to produce acrylamide, while boiling, steaming, and microwaving appear less likely to do so. Cooking at high temperatures causes a chemical reaction between certain sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) in the food, which causes acrylamide to form. Longer cooking times and cooking at higher temperatures can increase the amount of acrylamide in foods further.

This isn’t something that only affects a small population and I’m the unhappy recipient, it apparently reaches everyone but only a small population really really have a reaction. Example A runs this blog. And then upon reading further, my mother found out that fermenting the potatoes, or soaking them in salt water for three days, seriously reduced if not all together eliminated the occurrence of acrylamide. Thus making them safer and easier to digest. Crazy, right?

On another note, this is something that my ancestors in Ireland would have done (shameless Irish heritage plug: Éirinn go Brách!) – they would have soaked their potatoes overnight in a salt water brine, not knowing the science behind the why (that wasn’t discovered until 2002), but knowing that it reduced bloating, gas, general GI discomfort and any other allergic reaction that acrylamide causes.

I bet at this point you’re wondering what is going on behind the scenes, at the small organism level, right? Or is that just my science nerd brain at work? (Btw, great science fair ideas here) You’re growing your own bacterial colony. Gross, right? It’s called wild fermentation and it’s fabulous. Over the course of the next few days, the bacteria that occurs naturally on the potatoes (so don’t scrub too hard or use antibacterial soap), will go to town eating the starch and turning it into other stuff that our body can use more readily. They’re basically starting our digestive processes before we even eat it. Again, ew. But it works. And this is what generations did before we were on this earth. Anyway, the bacteria – the saltwater brine keeps out mold and the bad bacteria and yeasts. We only want the good guys in there.

Okay, that’s a lot of science and history. (If you want more science and history, feel free to email me under contact.)

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Here’s how it’s done:

Fermented Red Potatoes

  • Organic red potatoes, cleaned and quartered
  • Sea Salt (no iodine – I like this salt)
  • A quart of water, that has sat out for at least 30 minutes (this allows the trace minerals to evaporate out)
  • A canning jar (such as this one but I buy them cheaper at Ikea or you can use a standard half-liter canning mason jar with a clean lid)
  • A scale that measures little itty bitty amounts. I like this one.
  1. In a glass measuring bowl or something where you can measure out a quart of water, do so. Pour the water in and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Scrub the taters. Cut off any eyes, the stem part and any part that just looks funky. Chances are it is funky. And no one likes funky.
  3. Toss the spuds in the CLEAN jar (that’s right, you need to wash it and sanitize it – but do not use anti-bacterial soap, instead send it through the dishwasher for a cycle).
  4. Measure out 33 grams salt. Yes, that’s 33 grams. One more time: 33 grams. You’ll have to adjust your scale to zero out for whatever bowl you have sitting on top. But, again, 33 grams.
  5. Once the water has been sitting out for 30 minutes, toss the salt in and stir until dissolved. Add to the canning jar with the ‘tots. Seal the lid, place a dunker (I use river rocks that I found, scrubbed and sent through the dishwasher to ensure all dirt was gone) and let it sit. For three whole days. So, if you want potatoes for brunch on Sunday (because I live in Portland and brunch is the best meal of the week), you need to put them on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Get it? If you don’t have three days, it’s okay. Even overnight will help out a lot. But three days rids the spuds of every single bad thing.
  6. Place it in a cool place… or on your kitchen counter – they look pretty.
  7. When you’re done, and this is important, place the potatoes in a colander and rinse thoroughly. You’ve pulled the starches and any other toxins that they have in them. They have got to go. Also, you’ll notice a “sludge” at the bottom – this is the starch that’s been pulled from them. Ew, right?
  8. After they’re rinsed, they’re good to go – you can cook them any way you would cook regular potatoes. Pretty fancy, eh? I personally like to roast mine with bacon fat (mmm – bacon) and kosher salt and pepper until they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Enjoy!

Not sure what to do with them once you’re done? Or if you even did them right? Check out Fermented Red Potatoes… Pt 2

Sometimes…

Every once in a while your best made plans are foiled with long days at the office, the achey flu, ear infections (do adults even get those?!?) and the flu again. Because once isn’t enough. Thankfully, my immune system kicked in for most of it, minus the ear stuff. I had to pay a nice visit to ye olde doctor. Oh and CrossFit. But that’s just pure and divine torture. And I love it. And Christmas gifts. YEY for homemade gifts! Boo for taking me away from cooking.

Any who, I have a ton of pics to edit and lots of new recipes but I need to catch up on ya know, sleep, life, bills and my health. Cheers until then!

Agave is Far Worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup | Health Impact News

Agave is Far Worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup | Health Impact News

Banana Nut Coconut Porridge

I might be the last person on this planet who wasn’t traumatized as a child with oatmeal. Trust me, my mother, like all mothers, valiantly tried. But I still love it. Now, when I say I love it, we’re not talking Quaker Oats oatmeal – that stuff… well, I’m pretty sure you can use it like superglue. We’re talking real, Irish oats (imported from Ireland, of course). There is nothing better – maybe it’s my Irish ancestry coming through. And until a few years ago, they were a staple in my life. Now… not so much, except for a “cheat” day. Or a day when I’m feeling like my system might not reject them.

So fast forward to today. And I got my early morning run in. (yey me!) It was dark. It was foggy. It was damp. It was really really cold. And when I got back, all I wanted was a stick to your ribs with warmth goodness that only oatmeal can give. I’m on the Whole30 challenge so my options were… well, cheat days aren’t allowed right now. Luckily, there’s this fabulousness that I make from time to time. The texture is similar and the flavor is amazing – as in, it tastes like Banana Nut Crunch. Minus the chemical crap storm. No joke. I hope you enjoy it! (Oh. And it’s vegan – for all of my vegan readers.)

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A note: I make my own pecan flour from pecan pieces – I place them in a dedicated coffee grinder that is only used for nuts and blend until I’m happy with the texture. This morning, it was more of a pecan butter. Whoops.

Banana Nut Coconut Porridge

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened, unsulfured shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup pecan flour
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • ½-¾ cup unsweeted coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • dash of grated nutmeg
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, mix all ingredients and let simmer until thick and creamy, stirring often.
  2. Let cool for a minute but serve hot.

Accidental Paleo Teriyaki Chicken

Ever have one of those nights where you set out to make something and end up with something completely different?

Yea. Those nights. Welcome to my world.

I had some time to kill yesterday and stopped by Bob’s Red Mill to see which spice I didn’t already have and possibly couldn’t live without. Now. I’m not usually one to buy blends. I typically like to make my own – I can control the extras they put in a lot better that way. But I was curious about the Chinese Five Spice – so I bought a small amount of it and figured I’d doctor something up later… with the chicken that I pulled out of the freezer that morning and put in the fridge and that didn’t defrost. Whoops.

After that comedy of errors, I finally managed to defrost it (cold water baths are my friend) and dinner was made (although I was trying to make a different dish altogether) and I’m so very happy for my “mistake!” So, here’s Day 4 of my Whole30 Challenge dinner. Enjoy!

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Paleo Teriyaki Chicken

  • 8 organic Chicken Thighs, trimmed
  • ½ Onion, diced
  • 1 ½ tsp Clarified Chicken Fat (or evoo)
  • Organic Broccolini
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Aminos (can be purchased at a local Whole Foods)
  • ¼ cup organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (evoo)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Blend
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh grated Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
  1. In a skillet, over medium heat, heat chicken fat and add diced onions. Saute until translucent.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the aminos, evoo, garlic, spice blend, ginger and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
  3. Spread out onions so they evenly coat the pan and lay the chicken thighs on top. Pour the marinade over top and cover with a lid.
  4. Let the chicken steam until done, only turning once to ensure even coating of the marinade.
  5. About two minutes before serving, place the broccolini on top and put the lid back on. (This will steam blanch the broccolini.)
  6. Serve hot and spoon the juices on top when serving. Leftovers can be in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Paleo Breakfast Strata

I used to love stratas. Nothing beat stale bread, lots of butter, sauteed veggies, some kind of sweet meat and lots of eggs. Unfortunately, they didn’t like me so much. Fast forward to today. And I haven’t had a true strata in over two years. GASP!? I know. This week was looking to be busy (if only I knew HOW busy – a last minute trip to Seattle was tossed in the mix) and I needed a quick and easy breakfast that still fell within the Whole30 challenge I’m doing with a bunch of people at my gym. Cue this wonderful mistake.

I have a bunch of flax meal – I’m pretty sure my roommate wonders what it’s all for. But, I’m trying to use it up so I can make my own fresh meal (the Omega 3’s are even more potent in the fresh-made stuff). And really. I love Omega 3’s and this is a whole lot cheaper than buying salmon (which is on the menu for next week anyway). So, if you’re looking at a busy week ahead and only have time to blanch a few veggies for your breakfast and that’s about it, think about making this.

Enjoy!

p.s. A better picture is coming, I promise. I was trying to get out the house and all I had time for was my iPhone.

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Paleo Breakfast Strata

  • 12 organic, free-range eggs, beaten
  • 5 strips organic, grass-fed non-sugar cured beef bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small organic zucchini, diced
  • 1 heirloom organic tomato, diced (omit if SCD)
  • 3 leaves organic swiss chard, diced (omit if SCD)
  • 1 organic yellow bell pepper, diced (omit if SCD)
  • 1 cup flax meal
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat an 8"x8" pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium skillet and over medium heat, cook bacon until done. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
  3. Add onions to bacon fat and cook until almost translucent. Add garlic and saute for a minute or two longer.
  4. Meanwhile, chop veggies and toss in a large bowl. Add onions, garlic and bacon (and remaining fat) when done. Stir until everything is incorporated.
  5. Mix in spices and flax meal. Stir. Mix in eggs. Let sit for a few minutes (this gives the flax meal a chance to “activate”) and stir again.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a knife cut yields no runny egg in the middle.
  7. Serve hot with roasted delicata squash and blanched asparagus or cut into pre-portioned sizes and place in containers for the week. Re-heat in the oven, using an oven-safe container. 

Halibut Fillet with Italian Veggies

Today marks the first day of the Whole30 Challenge. I’m super excited – eating paleo isn’t all that difficult for me… but I’ve been cheating and have been less compliant with the whole sugar thing (sugar is a toxin to the body). A 30 day detox is going to be wonderful!

To mark day 1, here’s something I made a few days back and am eating today for leftovers. It’s delicious. I love fish. I love halibut. I love Italian (organic) veggies. I love combing the two. My mouth is a veritable explosion of delicious goodness right now… but maybe that’s the side of homemade sauerkraut talking… errr – effervescenting. So here ya go! Day 1’s breakfast. (I turned it into a hash this morning and served it over a bed of arugula – it’s a bit different than how I served it up a few nights back.)

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Halibut Fillet with Italian Veggies and Arugula

  • 1 wild-caught halibut fillet, about ¾#
  • 3 small, organic, non-GMO zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pint organic, non-GMO grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh organic basil, minced
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onion, zucchini, and garlic and saute until soft. Stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Toss until evenly distributed.
  4. In an oven-safe dish (I used my cast iron skillet), lay out the halibut. Spoon the veggies over the top of the halibut and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the halibut is flakey.
  5. Serve hot, with veggies over-top.

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New Format and a Simple Paleo Egg Skillet Breakfast

Finally! I think I found a format that I like… err… love! What do you think? 🙂 I have some more work to do on it so please excuse the messiness but it’s a bit more convenient than it was before and the features are SO much better! Hooray for a print function! And a “Serves” and “Time” function!

Okay. Enough with that. Let’s get down to the good stuff. I haven’t been creating new recipes much lately – I’ve been busy training for a few races and went to the beach with my family. Where we did this:

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And I did this: 

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And my dad and I went kayaking for an afternoon: 

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And we caught this guy (he was delicious by the way): 

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So you could say that cooking hasn’t been high on my priority list… unless it’s steaming crab. In which case, that’s first on my priority list. I have been making, however, a delicious egg scramble in the morning. It’s not very complex (as in my 10 year old sister does stuff like this all the time) and isn’t all that original but the bouquet of aromas and the colors just make me happy… especially when it’s summer and the tomatoes are amazing and sweet and so bountiful. Also, it only takes 5 minutes to make, especially if you saute your garlic and onions at the beginning of the week and cook your bacon once a week, too.  So here you go. 

Simple Egg Scramble

  • 2 organic, free-range eggs, beaten
  • ¼ onion, diced,
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 strips, organic, nitrate-free and gluten-free bacon, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups organic baby spinach
  • 1 organic roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet and remove once cooked. Keep grease in the pan.
  2. Saute the onions in the bacon grease until translucent, add garlic and continue to saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add spinach and tomatoes and cook until wilted. 
  4. Add eggs and fold until eggs are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Superfood Smoothie

Sounds… amazing. Doesn’t it? This is my favorite post-workout drink and might be my favorite pre-race healthy carb-loading beverage… at least the day or two before the race. Speaking of races, I have a 10k tomorrow at the Coast. Now, I live an hour and a half away from where the race will be and, thankfully, packet pick-up is at 8:30. But that still means that I’m up and out the door at the crack of dawn. I’m totally going to be stopping by Dutch Bros to pick up my decaf coconut milk honey latte (the poor baristas) and hoping it doesn’t affect my performance.

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But back to the race. It’s a 10k. Not too bad. When I signed up for it, it was before my detox and I had no idea how much that was going to affect my body – basically it annihilated any and all energy and strength I had. So when I realized that the trail run (pretty innocent, I’ve done plenty of those) was actually a half trail/half sand run, I almost cried. Here’s hoping that my arches and calves can keep up with me. I might have to slow my time a bit to get over the dunes but I will finish… hopefully in under an hour. Really, though. I am pumped. I love running at the Coast, especially in the morning. The air is fresh and crisp and super oxygenated. I can go for miles and miles and miles and not tire. It’s one time where my joints fatigue before my muscles or lungs. So, here’s praying for a bit of rain overnight to harden the dry sand and no breeze to fight. Let’s do this thing. Oh, and I guess you need the recipe, too. 🙂

 

Superfood Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Green Superfood 
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder (I use this one because it contains no dairy or soy or gluten)
  • 1 tbsp Beef Gelatin (I use Great Lakes Gelatin
  • ¼ cup Ground Flax Seeds
  • 2 cups packed Organic Spinach
  • 5 Frozen Organic Strawberries (for sweetness)
  • ½ banana (for sweetness)
  • ¾ – 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Enjoy!