Raw Beet and Carrot Salad

Spring is here! Finally! This winter has been cold, wet, and dreary. Normally, I would consider it a delightfully wonderful winter if you’re a native Northwesterner. But, after months and months and months of hardly seeing the sun here in Seattle, I’m ready for a change in the season. This Raw Beet and Carrot Salad is a wonderful spring detox food… or just a food to support bile flow.

 

Beets provide anti-inflammatory, detox, and antioxidant support. They are also high in minerals and vitamins. Their greens are a wonderful food, too! We like to saute them in pasture-raised ghee and sprinkle truffle sea salt on top prior to serving. For clients with liver and gallbladder issues, beets are usually one of the first foods I ask them to introduce as they help promote healthy bile flow. This salad is a wonderful introductory to the world of beets! As a beginning amount, I usually recommend a forkful per meal and slowly increase from there.

Raw Beet and Carrot Salad

  • 2 Organic Raw Beets, peeled and shredded
  • 2 Organic Carrots, scrubbed and shredded
  • Juice of an Organic Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, toss the shredded beets and carrots. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice and olive oil together. Season with sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat the salad. Make a few hours ahead of time and let sit in the fridge in order for flavors to marinade.

Two Meat Chili

So before I tell you what meat is in here, let me just preface this with a disclaimer: Organ meats are really really good for you! And beef heart is no exception. Especially when it’s organic and pasture-raised. (That preface didn’t last long.)

A few months ago, my local food buying club had a buy on a whole cow. There were various cuts and it was first come, first serve. Ironically, no one wanted the ox tail, the heart or the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Okay. I didn’t want the latter, either. But for $10, now was a good a time as any to buy a beef heart. So I did. And it sat in my freezer until I was tired of looking at it this past week.

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Beef heart gets a bad rap for being a “gamey” chunk of meat. (For those of you who are gagging over this, it’s a muscle. And it’s the hardest working muscle in the body and it needs gobs of nutrients to work, making it nutrient-dense and really good for you. So… Think of it that way.)

This chili wasn’t gamey at all. It’s rich, the spices compliment each other and the beef heart is the most tender piece of meat you may ever put in your mouth. I cut the pieces up into stew meat sized bites. To the untrained observer – aka your family, they’ll have no idea.

Preparing it is a bit of a trick, you want to cut away the connective tissue (it’s tough), the valves and tendons (no one wants to chew on something that much) and the fat (it’s a hard, grisly fat that doesn’t cook well). Then, just cut it up like I would stew meat. Voila! No one knew… Until I told them. (And I did because I like to see the look on their faces. I’m mean like that.)

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Two Meat Chili

  • 3 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 medium Organic Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Organic Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Jicama, peeled and diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 lbs Ground Pasture-Raised Organic Pork
  • 1 Pasture-Raised Organic Beef Heart, trimmed and cut up like small pieces of stew meat
  • 1-28 oz can Organic BPA-free Crushed Tomatoes
  • ½ cup Filtered Water
  • 1 tbsp Chilli Powder
  • 2 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Organic Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Cayenne
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt or salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  1. In a stock pot over medium heat with 1 tbsp coconut oil, brown beef and ground pork.
  2. In a separate skillet over medium heat, saute jicama in 2 tbsp coconut oil until slightly translucent.
  3. When beef is lightly browned, add onion, garlic and spices. Continue to cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add jicama (after about 6-8 minutes) to the beef, pork and onion mixture. Stir to incorporate.
  5. Add tomatoes and water.
  6. Simmer until done, about 1 hour.
  7. Serve with your favorite raw milk aged cheddar or Crème fraîche.

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Paleo Egg Roll Filling… Minus the Roll.

I made the not-so-bright decision to pull two pounds of ground pork out of the freezer.

Not one, but two.

Apparently I was over-zealous with how much I thought I could eat this week.

Or maybe how much I like homemade Italian sausage. Which is a lot.

But, seriously. I have my limits.

Perusing my fridge, I realized that I had a head of cabbage that had been hanging out in the back for…. longer than I care to admit. Cabbage doesn’t ever really go bad so I peeled off the leaves that had started rusting and voila! Inspiration was born. (I also had to steal two carrots from my roommate – but she got dinner out of the deal… and I still owe her two carrots.)

Below is the result of my said inspiration. It’s hearty, filling and 21 Day Sugar Detox-friendly.

You know that filling from egg rolls? Yea. It tastes like that. Minus the greasy fried egg roll bit. (Who likes soggy fried food anyway? mmm.. French fries in duck fat… okay. I do.) But let’s bring it back to egg rolls. I hated the roll and only ate them so I could have the filling and maybe the dipping sauce. But this recipe is so tasty that it doesn’t need the dipping sauce. So this is the best thing ever. 

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  • 1 lb organic, pasture-raised ground pork
  • ½ head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 organic carrot, shredded
  • ½ cup organic daikon radish, julienne cut
  • ¼ cup organic green onion, diced
  • 2 tsp fresh organic minced ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice 
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 3 ½ tbsp coconut aminos
  • ½ tsp (or more) dried red chili flakes
  1. Over medium heat, cook the pork until no longer pink along with the ginger, spices, salt and coconut aminos.
  2. Add the cabbage and carrots and cook for three minutes more, stirring often to make sure the cabbage cooks.
  3. Add the daikon radish and continue to cook until radish is slightly cooked and cabbage is cooked but still tender. (It shouldn’t be bright green – if it is, keep cooking.)
  4. Serve on a bed of lettuce or put it in a bowl and eat it. Or if you feel like being all fancy, fill Belgian endive cups with it. This would also taste good on cauliflower rice. Or just grab a fork and throw manners to the wind and eat out of your skillet.

What. Don’t judge me. 

Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots

I know I’ve been focused on fermenting lately but the bacteria that natural ferments provide are such an important part of the diet.

Here’s why: In a healthy gut, up to 5 pounds (yes – you read that right, 5 pounds) of healthy bacteria should be living symbiotically with our body. That’s crazy! Fermented foods aid in that symbiosis by providing the gut with new waves of bacteria as old ones die off.

Vitamin K2, a vitamin that is totally and completely underrated but rocks my socks, is found in ferments. Dr. Weston Price identified it during his research days as “The X Factor” (not to be confused with the television show). He posited that there was some factor in these indigenous foods that was allowing for good calcium absorption and assimilation that resulted in healthy teeth, bones and tissues. Science, unfortunately, had not caught up with him and only recently have they discovered what he was talking about. Natural foods FTW! (I’ve talked a little bit about this in my butter post.)

So these carrots. They are my favorite. So much so that sometimes I eat too many of them. If that’s even possible! ha! They’re gingery and tangy and full of delightful goodness. On a warm summer day, pulling one of these bad boys out of the fridge is just so refreshing. They’re also super super easy. And super quick to put on. And super cheap. All three are a super win in my book. (I’ll stop with the “super” superlatives, don’t worry! – hehe. See what I did there?)

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Beet Kvass

I’m sure by know you’ve noticed that I’ve been on a fermenting kick… it’ll end. I promise.

… Maybe.

Truth is, having a healthy gut is going to let you absorb the nutrients you’re taking in so much better. I can give you recipes that are “this”-free or “that”-free but if you haven’t given your gut time to heal, given it the nutrients that the body needs to facilitate healing and have repopulated it with healthful bacteria, all of that is for naught. So my latest ferment: Beet Kvass. Sounds tasty, doesn’t it? (Kidding.) It’s definitely an acquired taste and the first few times you make it, you probably won’t like it. But stick with it! Your taste buds will be adjusting and usually people come around.

Kvass is salty and picks up the earthiness of the beets. Historically, it was an Eastern European tonic and was more or less the Windex of that area. (Three points for you if you recognize that movie reference.)It’s weird to think that they have carts in Eastern Europe selling this stuff. But, unlike our fried and greasy food carts or 7-11s selling food laden with high-fructose corn syrup and other nasty additives, this stuff is super healthy.

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(Kvass Wagon from a photo on Wild Fermentation)

According to “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon (which, btw, I highly suggest adding to your library), kvass is

“valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are loaded with nutrients. One glass morning and night is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”

Traditionally, kvass was not made with beets, but with stale sourdough rye bread. I personally am more than happy with the beets. In an article from  The Weston A. Price Foundation,

Folk medicine values beets and beet kvass for their liver cleansing properties and beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe. Anecdotal reports indicate that beet kvass is an excellent therapy for chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, allergies and digestive problems.

So here’s the recipe, inspired by “Nourishing Traditions” – enjoy!

Beet Kvass

  • 2 quarts filtered water
  • 2 tsp sea salt, non-iodized and no anti-caking agents (add an addt’l 2 tsp if you do not have sauerkraut juice)
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut juice
  • 3-4 organic beets, gently scrubbed with peel on, and cut into ½” cubes  (any color beet will work and avoid finely chopping or grating the beets, which can lead to very rapid fermentation and alcohol production)
  • Place beets, sauerkraut juice and salt in a half gallon glass container (2 quarts).
  • Add filtered water to fill the container to just below an inch from the top and stir well and cover securely.
  • Keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.
  • When most of the liquid has been consumed, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature another two days. The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first.
  • After the second brew, discard the beets and start again. You may, however, reserve some of the liquid and use this as your starter instead of the whey.

Fermented Red Potatoes… Pt 2

A few days ago, I posted this bad boy. And a few of you messaged me to find out what I was talking about with the white stuff at the bottom. So, I took a picture of it the other day and here it is.

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Mmmm… Sludge.

This stuff at the bottom is the starch and toxins that have been pulled out of the potatoes. Pretty gross, huh? There was even more when I dumped the potatoes into the colander to be rinsed out, but you get the drift.

In case some of you were wondering what I do with the potatoes once I’m done fermenting them: For this last batch, I roasted those puppies with olive oil, fresh rosemary and Pink Himalayan salt with truffles (from Trader Joe’s). 30 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. They were fantastic! (And once again, my roommates were lamenting that the house smelled like a restaurant. Sorry, ladies.)

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

Adobo Sweet Potato Fries

I had you at sweet potato, didn’t I? If there is one vegetable that I can binge on, and really, there are many, it would be a sweet potato. I mean, seriously. They’re glorious. I’ve been on a sweet and spicy kick lately and have been craving chocolate with cayenne peppers or sweet and spicy chicken (I really need to paleo-ize that) or… you get my drift.

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Just a quick note: Sweet Potatoes aren’t part of the Dirty Dozen. In fact, they’re really low on the pesticide scale so you don’t have to buy organic. (And the Environmental Working Group, link above, has a great app you can download on your smartphone to help you remember!) They are not a GMO product so feel free to save a few dollars and buy conventional on this one.

Also, I make my own adobo seasoning blend and use it in just about everything. I’ll make it in large batches and store it in a pint sized mason jar with the ingredients and measurements written on the lid. The recipe for the adobo seasoning is below.

Enjoy!

Adobo Sweet Potato Fries

  • 5 small Sweet Potatoes, scrubbed and de-eyed, sliced into thin strips (no more than 1/2” x 1/2”)
  • 2-3 tbsp Adobo Seasoning (see below for seasoning mix)
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place a sheet of parchment paper onto a jellyroll pan.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato strips, coconut oil and 2 tbsp adobo seasoning until well coated.
  3. Lay out in a single layer on the prepared pan and toss with the remaining adobo seasoning – or as much as you see fit.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, remove pan from oven and toss, and bake for another 10 minutes or until desired.

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Adobo Seasoning

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp chili powder

Mix together and store in a sealed container (I use a mini mason jar or a clean and empty spice jar).

Tomato-Free “Tomato” Marinara

I told my fiance that I was making tomato marinara for dinner. His first reaction was that I wasn’t allowed to have tomatoes (they’re a nightshade and are off the list) and then he began reminding me that I was trying to get better (he’s been very very supportive during all of this – I’m one lucky lady).

I told him that it wasn’t tomatoes… it was beets and pumpkin puree.

I think I heard a pin drop.

He might have thought he’d seen a pig fly outside.

And then he shrugged his shoulders and said, “You’re a good cook, I trust you.” Did I mention that I was a lucky lady? He’s willing to take culinary leaps of faith right alongside me.

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Much to my surprise… and I think even more his, it tasted like marinara sauce.

Just LIKE marinara sauce.

And it looked like marinara sauce that had been slow-cooked for hours on end.

I was so excited! Combine this with my gluten-free dairy-free spaetzl (recipe for that coming soon) and my life just might be complete. Or pretty close to being complete. A sprinkling of nutritional yeast would, in fact, make it complete.

Just one note, the onion, which reads finely chopped, needs to be finely chopped. Otherwise you’ll get fuchsia onions like I did during my first attempt. Also, I added a splash of plum balsamic vinegar (you can find it at your local vinegar and oil specialty store – I highly suggest picking up some vinegars you like as store-bought salad dressings are off the foods list) and a splash or two of white wine vinegar to brighten things up a bit. It’s a marinara – play around with it!

Enjoy!

“Nomato” Tomato Marinara

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (8-ounce) can beets, drained, juices reserved (oven-roasted, pureed beets are fine, too)
  • 1 (14-15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ½-¼ cup gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 24 grinds fresh black pepper
  • ¼-⅓ cup chopped fresh basil, or ¼ cup dried basil
  • a good “palmful” of dried thyme and oregano
  • 1 tbsp honey (maybe a little more, maybe a little less)
  1. Saute onions and garlic over medium heat in a dutch oven until onions are translucent in a medium dutch oven or large skillet.
  2. Add balsamic vinegar and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, puree the beets. Add beets and pumpkin to the dutch oven and stir until there isn’t a kaleidoscope of color. (You’ll see what I mean when you make it.)
  4. Add the stock and stir. Add the spices and stir. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Check the balance of the spices and adjust as necessary.

I dare your family, friends, and picky eaters to tell the difference!

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