indian lamb shanks

12 Feb

paleo indian lamb shankGuess what. I’m doing newyearnewyou. I’m afraid to search my blog history ’cause I can only assume I’ve done it every year of this damn thing. And it’s just so cliché but then again, I do love celebrating dumb holidays. And Januarys are kinda like perverse, not-so-fun holidays in which I embark on an umpteenth Whole30 (+ raw milk, shut up I told you it’s my umpteenth) and alienate myself from my friends because who wants to hang out with a water-drinking, bunless burger-ordering wet blanket. Not me. But fuck you friends, ’cause I don’t wanna hang out with your over-exuberant, blathering drunk faces either! Yes I do. I’m sorry. Please invite me somewhere. It’s February now, I’m considering being fun. Or, closer to fun than other, more normal friends you might have.
chiles indian homemade chile chili powderSo the new-to-me car idea came to a head. Mostly because I couldn’t stand bothering with my poor, rusted out Suby anymore. It doesn’t like starting much. I guess that was the main issue, ’cause that kinda sucks. Then two tires went flat within a couple days of each other. It was sweet. But am I lazy? Am I undeserving of a car? Dammit. Let me be lazy in one area of my life, please. I can’t even sit still for a movie. Have to do a chore. Gotta make tea. Then stir some food that’s inevitably on the stove. Then make more tea. And oh wait, now I have to pee. Hold please. But a car? I forget it exists as soon as I get out and shut the door. Which isn’t helpful when you desperately need to go to a mechanic but are only in the car when you’re rushing to work. Which reminds me, I need to get my bike fixed. Blaahhhhhhh help meeee. So yeah, bought an old Volkswagen. Golf TDI. It’s nice. It’s got the dopiest headlights; I swore I’d never ever get this car because of them. Goddammit.
indian ghee clarified butter lamb shanks pastured grassfed I don’t know what this dish is. I got started looking at rogan josh recipes. But it’s not rogan josh, or least I didn’t do any research to confirm or deny that statement, so I’m just sticking with it. Plus, generic blog post titles are seemingly my forte now. For the chiles in this I used ancho and these other strange little ones I had. Obviously, your chile choice has a big impact on flavor. Maybe spending thousands of dollars in cash on a car that has the dopiest headlights has made me give less of shit what kinds of chiles you use. Maybe it’s that I was running myself ragged on a Sunday making this after spending the best part of the beautiful sunny day stuck inside at some stodgy luncheon for gardeners whom I’m sure I would have hated if I was to even have bothered talking to anyone besides Maria. I guess the world will never know. In any case, make this with what you’ve got, or if you can find Kashmiri chiles, use those. Or use those smooth chiles that I’m drawing a complete blank on the name of and oh man am I getting tired right now and don’t want to look it up. It’ll all be good. Just don’t use all chipotles. Barf.
fennel cumin cinnamon cardamom indian rogan josh spice mix As for the spices in this recipe – I always like to use whole seeds, as I’m sure you know by now. But sometimes you just find yourself in a world of suck and don’t happen to have green cardamom pods lying around and the thought of going to the grocery store makes you want to cry. Don’t be a dummy, just use ground. Don’t have ground spices? Well then don’t be a dummy, just go to the grocery store. I’m sorry if this recipe is a pain in your ass. You could be lazy and use all ground spices, buy ghee, not brown the meat…you’ll be dead to me, but then again I’m weary of myself just writing out the steps to this damn thing.

indian lamb shanks
6 dried chiles
black cardamom pods
(green cardamom pods…I used ground)
fennel seeds
cumin seeds
a real cinnamon stick
saffron (optional, I know it’s mucho expensivo)
a large onion
4-6 lamb shanks

1. Heat a large dry skillet over medium low heat. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and rip them into large pieces so they’ll lie mostly flat in the pan. Flip them around frequently, making sure they don’t burn. You want them to toast a bit and mostly to dry out. Once they are very fragrant and crispy maybe like 10 minutes, grind them in a spice grinder and set aside.

2. Keep that same dry skillet over medium low heat, maybe turning it down a bit since the pan will keep getting hotter. Smash 5 black cardamom pods (and 8 of those green ones if you are smarter than me) with the back of a chef’s knife. Measure out 2 teaspoons fennel seeds and 2 teaspoons cumin seeds. Add the crushed pods and the seeds and crumble 1 stick of cinnamon into the pan. Stir around everything frequently until very fragrant, several minutes. Grind these spices in a spice grinder and add to a small bowl.

3. Add a tablespoon and a half of the chile powder, 1 teaspoon of asafoetida, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom (if you are as smart as me), and a teaspoon of saffron to the bowl of the ground spices and mix.

4. Make ghee…I sorry. You might just want to buy some, but to make it – heat butter over medium heat till boiling, then reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for like 8 – 10 minutes, till it’s golden. Then strain it with cheesecloth or skim the milk solids off the top. Sweet, done.

5. Chop the onion, mince about a tablespoon of peeled ginger, and mince 6 garlic cloves. Set aside.

6. Heat a few tablespoons of ghee over high heat in an oven proof pot. Add the lamb shanks in batches to brown, several minutes per side. Salt and pepper them. Put to the side when they’re browned.

7. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the chopped veggies. Sauté until nicely browned. Add 2 cups of water or broth, the spice mix, and salt and pepper. Stir to mix, then add back the lamb shanks. Add additional water to mostly cover the shanks.

8. Preheat the oven to 225. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then put in the oven for 5 – 6 hours.

Holy crap. Okay. Well, to finish it off, put the pot back on the stovetop and boil to reduce the sauce. Garnish with cilantro. Goodnighty.


3 Dec

pastured lard …which is precisely what I am right now. A big, fat tub of lard. Actually, butter. Full of buttermash (mashed potatoes with so much butter, er, strike that, reverse it) and buttery pumpkin pie crust. Oh god it was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever eaten. And now, here I am, in the throes of the dreaded holidays. Ugh, what a lady I just sounded like. Excuse me while I snack on my red velvet Yoplait 100 calorie snack cup.
pastured pork fat I really have been meaning to post about lard for a while. I remember the first time I made years ago it seemed to be one of those nebulous if-your-grandma-didn’t-teach-you-you’re-screwed kind of activities. Like seasoning cast iron pans. Every dumb blog out there had a different way of making it with all these hard and fast rules with no reasoning or explanation behind them. It’s really kinda stupid…it’s just getting fat rendered from fat. Ha, wtf. I don’t know how to say that. Fat from fat. Yeah. Okay. But you’ve all done it. You’ve all made bacon. The only thing with lard is that you don’t probably want to render it as quickly as you do bacon fat. You can, but if you want white, not super porky-flavored lard, then do it slow.
pastured pork fat

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the other thing i do

26 Nov

broccoliWell, there are a few others, but this here lil garden is one of my favs. And really, it’s not little. It’s huge. Sometimes a bit unmanageable. But I’ve got like my best bud who helps immeasurably: Maria. She’s like 75 and I love her. She teaches me swear words en español. And she’s kind of a hippie, so after her calling me pinche cabrona or the like, we’ll talk about whacky herbal supplements and alkaline water (the latter of which I’m wholly unconvinced and the former I’m just generally unconvinced.)
mariaThe past week was kinda rough on the plants. It poured a bunch, I’m not sure I saw the sun at all, and then suddenly Sunday was tens of degrees warmer and 100% sunnier. Everything was kinda sad. But I took pics anyway, you know, procrastination and such. You get the idea. Lots of vegetables. Gardening in San Antonio is pretty magical. You can do it year-round and it’s actually the hardest in the summer, in opposite fashion of everywhere else I’ve lived. And I dunno, I still had a ton of shit in the summer. Grocery store? Pff. Old hat.
swiss chard celery and garlicIf you’re wondering why I’m blathering about my garden and not posting about some culturally appropriated recipe (oh, I’m so offensive) it’s because I am currently in Boston and last weekend was spent in cleaning-out-the-fridge mode. I did make a roasted chile salsa (CULTURAL APPROPRIATION) but yo b, I grew all the damn peppers, and I also made calabacitas (woooo, baby). But sorry, they were all done at night. So no pics. The roasted chile salsa is fucking spicy. Success.
garlicOh, do you want to know what I’m growing right now? Okay. Broccoli, (white, orange, and purple) cauliflower, (red, white, purple, and orange) carrots, two kinds of kale, (red, green, and baby) cabbage, brussels sprouts, rainbow swiss chard, (heirloom, daikon, and uh, normal) radishes, (chiogga, red, and golden) beets, (red, yellow, and pearl) onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, snap peas, green beans, black-eyed peas, arugula, bibb lettuce, (poblano, serrano, jalapeño, sweet and hot banana, and bell) chiles, celery…ugh I don’t even know. And this is just the fall/winter stuff. We just pulled the okra and watermelon and squash plants and other summery things. So.much.shit. It’s the best.
sweet potatoes Yeah okay, bye. It’s time for me to go prep for Thanksgiving. Then eat and drink too much for pre-Thanksgiving dinner dinner. I think Samantha and I gain 15 pounds whenever we hang out. How did I live here once?


17 Nov

beef lenguaShort days are the bane of my existence. I feel like I get fucking anxiety when the sun starts to set. And when I try to make lengua and cook it for 6 hours and I can’t manage to get it done before it’s dark so I can take pictures, then everything doubly feels like the worst. Dramatic much? Shut up. I’ve got like one month till the days start to get longer. I’ll make it. Pretty sure. At least I have the world’s best heater in my apartment. Probably illegal. A little metal box of fire.
pastured beef tongue pastured beef tongueI wanted to smoke this tongue. I told you, I need a little house to rent with a little yard that is just right for a smoker. You’re welcome to come hang out in my mythical backyard and smoke some meat with me, maybe. I hate most everyone. But needless to say, I made this the way I normally make it, which is nothing to be so sad at. But man, everything else is making me sad. Except the prospective name of my soon to happen Christmas party. Samantha is a genius. Or we just have the same stupid sense of humor. But she almost made me choke on my tea. Which isn’t too unusual when I’m messaging with her. Choking on or spitting out food or liquids is pretty much normal. My computer’s gross.
bone brothboiled slow cooked tongue There’s a place in San Antonio that my boss took me to (after making me sweat by being a damn Mexican jerk and not telling me the name for like 3 angst-ridden months) that’s a tortilla factory that also sells barbacoa and lengua. That’s it. They must have vats of cows’ heads that they then shred the meat for one option and shred the tongue for the other. I love San Antonio. I once made a cow’s head. It was glorious. The tongue inside his head was glorious. Here is just a tongue. We can dream together of the next time I can make the whole head, tongue intact.
slow cooked beef tongue lengua skinned beef tongueOnce again, I plead with you to use a good broth. Look at all the damn bones I used. Beef back ribs and pork spareribs. My apartment always smells, as do my clothes and probably my hair. Oops.


cow’s tongue
bone broth (I don’t care what kind of bones)
1 onion
head of garlic
4 bay leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the tongue in an ovenproof pot and mostly cover with broth. It’s okay if it’s not fully covered, plus it’ll kinda float anyway, so don’t get mad at it.

2. Cover and bring to a boil on the stovetop.

3. Meanwhile, cut the onion in half and peel and smash all of the garlic cloves. Add these to the pot. Add in about a tablespoon of salt (assuming your broth isn’t salty).

4. Put the covered pot in the oven and cook for about 6 hours.

5. Remove the tongue from the broth and when it’s cool enough to not burn the crap out of your hand, peel the skin off. It’ll come right off.

6. Shred the tongue with a fork and then if you want, crisp it in a pan. I usually just shred off what I’m going to eat and leave the rest of the tongue intact. Crispy tongue is my favorite, but you certainly can just pile it in a tortilla. Salt it.

Tortillas, pickled onions, cilantro, salsa, radishes, avocado…um yes.

Maybe I need a new cat. A kitten. That’ll cure my ills, don’t you think?

thai-esque spareribs

9 Nov

thai paleo spareribsI no longer feel comfortable calling something this generic Thai, after having made several recipes out of Ricker’s Pok Pok. I just kinda feel like a dumb wife saying “oooh honey, I made Thai food tonight”, when all the dumb wife did was use ginger powder, soy sauce, and green onions. Not that that is this recipe, but you know. But considering my week, these are great.
thai marinade ingredientsI don’t really want to rehash, as I have way too many times in my head, but I got in a car-bike accident. Me on the bike. All I can think about is all the things I could have done differently, but I can’t let myself do that. I can’t even think about how lucky I am to have just bruises and scrapes and bumps and probably a concussion. It makes my heart pound and chest get all tight. Suffice it to say, I gotta be better about wearing my dumb helmet. And I gotta not bike like I drive, which I shouldn’t drive like to begin with. It was the driver’s fault, but ultimately I really only take away from the event that I won’t ever win against a car. Fuck.
pasture pork spareribs

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pretty good chicken soup

2 Nov

paleo chicken soup caldoI’m really putting out some winners here, huh. Back with a vengeance! No, no, give this soup a chance. It’s not ginger-scented or full of a million root vegetables, but it’s damn good. Pretty pretty prettyyyyy pretty good. And if you look at the picture and think to yourself “why didn’t she strain the soup and get a nice lovely clear broth?”, then know that you’re dead to me. And know that I bought myself a nice strainer in the aftermath of feeling a little contrite that I was so contrary to myself about not straining it. An epic inward struggle.
bone chicken broth paleoCan someone find me a house to live in? I also need someone to find me a car to buy. And while I’m at it, please purchase me some more underwear and socks. That one dresser drawer is pitiful. I’m pitiful. My throat is all dry and scratchy and I woke up in the middle of the night the other night with it all but completely closed up. It’s been a real blast the last few nights! I’m attempting chamomile tea and honey and lemon. Say your prayers that I may make it through to another day to the almightly Jesus above us thou art in heavenly father of the lord and savior, amen. But no, really, I do want to find a little house to rent. One that will motivate me to step it up in life and maybe shop for new underwear and socks. Ugh. Just the worst.

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sweet potato fries

19 Oct

paleo sweet potato friesYeah. Hey. Bleh.

All sorts of bullcrap happened this past year. Let’s just let it come out naturally over the course of the next several many posts. Like, oh, look at the pictures – that kitchen looks different, doesn’t it? Interesting! Uh huh.

organic farmers market texas sweet potato

Also, this recipe is a total joke. Basically, I needed to get myself to post again and in true Julie fashion, my one idea I had for a simple ease-back-into post got thwarted in a last minute effort to obtain the ingredient that actually isn’t all that simple to find and required a special trip to the farmer’s market where the damn rancher didn’t even have it. But posting again has been weighing on me for such a long time and I thought, well, fine. I’ll just use whatever the hell and make a stupid post just so I can get back into the swing of it. So here we are. Sweet potato fries. Like you haven’t ever fucking made stupid sweet potato fries. And it’s not like I even have some sort of secret way of making them that makes them like the kind you get in a restaurant. They’re probably identical to every attempt you’ve ever made. And you’re going to stop reading this blog because why the hell would you bother reading about sweet potato fries and oh wait, you don’t read this anyway because I haven’t posted in like a year.
paleo primal sweet potato texas

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calabaza en tacha

4 Nov

calabaza en tacha I just don’t know why I made this. I hadn’t had sugar all month (Halloween included!) and now I’m WholeWhateverNumberofDaysUntilThanksgiving-ing (I started after making this, don’t you worry). Someone please remove it from my house. I didn’t even do a single thing for El Día de los Muertos, which is the holiday that made me decide to make this candied pumpkin, so I have no reason to have made it. Yeah, candied, sugary, syrupy pumpkin. Starring the world’s driest (and most absorbent?!) pumpkin that was prob sitting in some storehouse all winter and summer just waiting for some sucker like me to purchase it. I knew it felt a little light for its size… and the other one I bought feels even lighter. Fine, all the better to absorb any (clarified) butter I put on it after I roast it. Because, no I’m not going to make pumpkin pie with shortbread crust with it, like I really, really, realllllyyyyy want to. Except I’d use rice flour because it makes the shortbread all kinda grainy and I LOVE it. Okay, I’m done. No more sweets.
sugar pumpkin halved sugar pumpkin

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27 Oct

paleo thai larb laarb laabLarb. Doesn’t sound so great in English. I considered titling this “laab” instead, since I’ve seen it like that before and laab just sounds so delightfully ethnic. And don’t you just feel sooo worldly and good about yourself when you eat delightfully ethnic food from oh-aren’t-they-quaint Southeast Asian cultures? It’s almost like being a do-gooder. Larb, on the other hand, sounds like an off-brand lard product, dusty cans of which line the shelves of shitty Tex-Mex restaurant kitchens. It’s not. It’s just a rather wonderfully seasoned herb-y pork-y salad that you’ve probably gotten a dozen times before and it’s all old hat. Yeah yeah, but it’s just so fun to make. So easy and I still am impressed every time I make it, or whatever variation on it. I like being impressed.
grinding toasted rice powder mortar pestle measuring toasting sticky rice I have two furry fleabags in the house. I just knew they’d get fleas. One of them escapes periodically and couldn’t be out for more than like 30 minutes before he comes back crying and flinging himself at the door. Not even 30 minutes most times. And it’s like two times per week maybe. Crap! They do go outside on the second story balcony but, but that can’t be possible for them to get fleas up there, right?! I don’t want to give them medicine wahhhh. I might try flea combing every day for a week or something and see if that helps, along with vacuuming a lot. Blast. Anyone want to come visit?? Hi!!
sliced shallots Continue reading

hot sauce

15 Oct

paleo hot sauceHey. Hi. Let’s kiss and make up, okay? Great. I just got back from visiting Denver and let me tell you if I was feeling depressed before, I most certainly still do. Woe is me, I know. I don’t want to complain, but goddammit it’s true. Let me wallow and let me think only of the cons and let me dwell on the negatives and allow me to think only of short term goals. I’m real good at that stuff sometimes. Like listening to Disintegration on repeat until any semblance of a positive life force has completely oozed out of my body, leaving me the saddest sack imaginable. That’s my jam, baby.
chiles de árbolchopped red bell pepper Continue reading

sesame summer squash salad

15 Aug

paleo sesame squash summer saladTired of summer squash? Too bad, time to eat more. Can’t say I’m tired of it, because I don’t have any  in my garden (yet). But if I did, this salad would be a perfect way to plow through those ceaselessly proliferating plants. Or you could not pick them, let them get gigantic, then leave them on your patio table, hoping that they’ll turn into dried out ornamental gourds. I’ve def done that a few times.
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tomato and onion salad with curried okra chips

2 Aug

paleo tomato onion salad okra chips Things are starting to fall into place here, I suppose. After I found out our landlord doesn’t want me planting anything in the front of the house, which is the south side, I looked at a few community gardens nearby. I picked one that seems decent, though there’s always worry that neighborhood brats will steal or ruin veggies from the garden. It’s the best option I have, since the landlord seems to prefer to keep the front yard devoid of anything other than weedy ground crawl and unartfully curved metal edging that edges out the weedy ground crawl in favor of debris strewn dirt. So I’m going to start planting for the fall this week, which is exciting! I’ve already got fall (yes fall) tomatoes planted in pots in a patch of sunlight in the back yard. I guess other than that I don’t have much else in my life in place, actually. I signed up for a month at Joe’s Gym. I just don’t know what to do about a stupid Crossfit gym. So in the meantime I’m just going to meathead body building gym, getting major weird stares while I try do my old gym’s workouts. Even my cats are in a funk. They kind of just sleep all day, which is what I want to do. I have to snap out! Have to be productive! My funk is sucking at my productivity and my will to be productive. What a terrible cycle.
local texas okra paleo sliced okra Continue reading

walnut pork butter

29 Jul

paleo walnut pork butter I’m in a new-location-malaise. I know, poor pitiful me, what a hard life I have, but it’s true. I feel like a lump, a real sad sack. I think a need a routine and some friends. Thinking about my friends reminded me of this draft I had saved and not yet published, which was inspired by a fun dinner out I had back in Denver. One friend got a vegetarian 3-course meal, and two of the courses had butters of sorts accompanying. A delicious, slightly sweet pecan butter, an onion butter that I didn’t get enough of a taste of to figure out what they did, and…some other butter. Give me a break, I had gone out with other friends before, so I don’t remember too well all the butter details. But what I do know is, is that I had a bunch of walnuts in the freezer and a lot of confit pork bits leftover from making lard. Those little bits are great added to pan-fried potatoes and great, it turns out, puréed with walnuts, onion, and salt.
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fermented carrot pickles

7 Jul

paleo fermented carrot picklesHey. I’m here in Texas. And really all I’ve done is unpack, organize, and hand wash every freaking piece of wool clothing for indeterminately long storage. But I have this kind of brain blockage that prevents me from completing large, important tasks in favor of nagging smaller tasks. Then, the longer I don’t do whatever important task in question, the more I don’t want to think about how long it’s been and I try to not think about it. Take for example, not working on this blog and instead figuring out the best way to organize and store all of my holiday decorations. Or how I didn’t post this here recipe for a month and half because I was too busy getting ready to go to Texas and too busy seeing every friend possible. I had already taken the pictures, I was already completely checked out at my job, you’d think I would have been able to do it, but I just kept pretending like it wasn’t as long as it really had been. Brain blockage. So here’s a recap of my life.
bag of organic carrotsMy landlords in Denver were being real pains in the ass about wanting to show the house as soon as I told them we were moving. First, they wanted to show it all day. They were just going to be there 8 – 6. And they said they were going to do the showings on the weekend “so as to accommodate [my] usage during the month.” What does that mean??? How is it nice to have them there on the weekends? So, I said well it’d be pretty great if you could do the showings when I’m not there, thanks. Then they asked if I could lock my cats in a fucking closet for “10 or so hours” while they would be there showing the place. I didn’t reply to the email for a day because I needed to calm down. I’m so excited I never have to hear from Kathy and Randy Fischer ever again! Did I mention that Randy is a state representative here in Colorado? Rated worst for business by The Denver Business Journal. Thanks, bud. Also, his wife is on drugs, pretty sure. Teamocil probably. But yeah, they liked my garden and my compost pile, so that’s good. Didn’t have to haul off two truck loads of soil and months worth of rotting vegetable and yard matter.
cutting carrots for pickles weighing salt for pickle brine Continue reading

coconut-braised pork shoulder

23 Apr

paleo coconut braised malaysian pork It’s done. We’re off to San Antonio. I can’t really believe it. I’m…I’m going to be a Texan. An upstate New Yorker, a Massachusettsan, a Coloradan, a Texan. Right now I’m excited about Joe having a really awesome job that will let me work more on my own crap, perpetual summer, a never ending growing season, throwing a quarter of our shit away when we pack, having a house that I can clean every surface of before moving our stuff in. So that leaves the stuff I’m not so excited about: leaving the mountains right when I am just dying to go backpacking, driving with two yowling, frothing-at-the-mouth cats, packing, loading, driving, driving, unpacking, perpetual summer, leaving a really cool burgeoning food and beer scene, leaving my new gym, leaving my wonderful friends. It’s going to be really sad. What kind of people am I going to meet there? What do they like to do?
malaysian rendang ingredients mortar and pestle malaysian Continue reading

root vegetable chicken soup

9 Apr

paleo root vegetable chicken soup Someone’s got to eat the end of the root vegetables. Or heck, maybe you’ve just gotten some out of the ground that have been growing over the winter. You’re my hero. Here’s your answer, nonetheless, a silky, salty, garlicky chicken soup full of big hunks of soft, starchy root vegetables.
fresh parsley onion home made chicken broth Now that it’s getting warmer out I’m starting to regret my decision to get bangs. The other day was like 62 and they felt like a a sheet of plastic on my face. Sweaty plastic. I’m not sure headbands will work so well for the mid day workouts I like to do during my work days, lest I look like I have a drawbridge on my forehead. And please, I’m not washing my hair in the middle of the day. Who do you think I am?
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celery root salad

4 Apr

paleo celery root saladI’m completely smitten with old cookbooks and reenactment cookbooks…well, historical cookbooks, because they’re often not reenactments so much as modern interpretations on historical recipes. I only wish they were reenactment ones; maybe just explained a little more thoroughly than old ones. I have this one interpreted historical cookbook from the City Tavern, which almost makes me cry because I want all of the recipes so badly to be exactly what olde timey Philadelphians would have eaten at that restaurant so that I can taste something exactly the same. But there are some recipes in the book that aren’t too modernized. It’s refreshing at least to see lard used as the fat of choice in some recipes. This celery root salad is one simple little dish that I’ve been eyeing for a while from that book. There are a fair amount of vegetable recipes in it that are prepared nice and heavily. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good, crisp summer salad, but I’m not going to say I don’t really love fat-laden vegetables. I should have been born in Minnesota, I guess.
city tavernceleriac celery root mandolinejulienned celeriac celery rootCeleriac is one of my absolute favorite roots. To eat. Some how or other, though, I’ve avoided it raw. Mashed, boiled, roasted, but not raw. Come to think of it, I’ve also never had raw beets I don’t think. I asked for a mandoline for Christmas and this was the first time I used it to julienne something. Pretty sweet. I’m sorry if you don’t have one and you have to julienne the root by hand. No, I’m not, because I’ve had to julienne everything by hand before this. You can do it. You’ll be a better person for it. You could also use a box grater, though the result won’t be as elegant, but whatever. I’m not really elegant, either.
squeeze lemon Continue reading

cilantro-lime fish cakes

27 Mar

paleo potato fish cakesI feel like salt cod is haunting me. I think it started with my blogger friend Mark’s post on salt cod that I mentioned back when I last posted about cod. Then in New York, I ate salt cod croquettes at Casa Mono. Even the Whole Foods we went to had salt cod in a bulk bin. Well, I’m sorry to announce that no, this recipe doesn’t utilize salt cod. It’s like my own recipe is jeering at and taunting me. I’ll just go hang out at Start posting there instead. Watch, they probably even wax on about bacalao there, too. User grandma_knitter64 is all about making her own salt cod and making the best salt cod croquettes, ’cause that’s just so here and now, ya know. Well screw you guys, I’m making plain old fish cakes with fresh cod and some mashed taters (and some lime zest and cilantro because, heck, I’m not in New England anymore).
russet potatoes steaming fishThere are about as many types of fish cake recipes out there as there are stupid blogs like mine with posts on them. I’m not sure I’m comfortable saying mine’s definitive in any way – either for me or in the world of fish cakes, but it’s pretty great. It’s crispy on the outside and super soft and fluffy on the inside with flecks of just crunchy enough red onion. Lime zest and cilantro make them kind of addicting and squeezing fresh lime juice on top before you eat them is just what I needed to get through yes, another snow storm. Accompanied by kale and cabbage slaw, it’s all a pretty great antidote.
boiled potatoes to mash Continue reading

pork neck bones with sauerkraut

14 Mar

paleo pork neck bones and sauerkrautMy trip to New York City nearly killed me with a flake of puff pastry. I hadn’t even had puff pastry in so stinking long and then I like breathed in a litte flake and it flapped over my trachea. Like a vacuum seal. It was the worst. I’d like to say my life flashed before my eyes, but instead I just kept thinking how much I just wanted to be able to freaking breathe. My memory is terrible anyway. Well, I probably have that little pastry flake still in my lungs, because I breathed again. Wait, in a month or something I’ll get some sort of lung rot from the putrified puff pastry residing in there. At least I got to have a wonderful time and was able to eat some pretty great food. And Samantha found a glorious wedding dress.
colorado pork shareSlow-cooked collagen is glorious in its melting rubber texture. That’s the best description I could come up with. I wish toothsome was the right word. If I could redefine toothsome, it’d be to mean the texture of slow-cooked collagen. It’s kinda like melty halloumi. But without the squeakiness. Kind of. I don’t know. It’s good though. And a spine, just like oxtail, has amble amounts of it.
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birthday food

27 Feb

I almost titled this post “Birthday Eats”. I hate “eats”. Not as much as “noms” – nothing can be worse than that – but who am I kidding. A single person should speak of “eats”. Only companies. I still love you Serious Eats.

You know what? I have no recipe because I didn’t want to come up with a recipe to make. I ended up cooking everything for my birthday party and that was enough, thank you. So instead you get to read about things I ate for my birthday (week). You probably should just become friends with me on Yelp, which seems a much more suitable place to hear what I have to say about restaurants, but oh well.

While I really love fancy tacos, I feel like fancy taco places are kind of like the equivalent of how people caught on to how wonderful lobster meat was and instead of being relegated to the lower classes, it all of sudden became $40/lb. Not that I’m all anti-bourgeoisie, I guess it just bothers me that there a lot of people that would never have gotten tacos from that bright yellow-painted, fluorescent-lighted taco place in the sketchy strip mall, and then are all now showing up in their slouchy hats, mustard yellow scarfs, and thick-rimmed glasses and asking about my political affiliation before letting me sit in their soon-to-be-vacant bar seats. Believe me, people, I knew yours from across the room.

Regardless, I enjoy better atmospheres than those strip mall taco places can offer and I enjoy some creativity with traditional food and the (hopefully) better quality meats, like the place I went with friends on Friday, Pinche Tacos. Braised pork belly taco (where the belly wasn’t as succulently fatty as it should be, but more on the spongy side), lengua, asada, and carnitas. Their tongue is cooked really well and oh how novel, the carnitas were crispy! I don’t know why most carnitas I’ve gotten are more stewed than fried.

So Sunday night, for the end of birthday week, we trudged through the snow to the opening night of Old Major, just a few blocks away. Focusing on heritage pork and sustainably-raised seafood, I’ve been excited to see this place finally open. I’m pretty alright with another farm to table kind of restaurant, especially when they even churn their own butter, like I overheard a server saying to another table. Hopefully it’s not just from shitty ultra-pasteurized cream, but perhaps I’ll bring up that snarky question next time I’m there… our waiter didn’t laugh when I tried to make a joke about their mustard seed emulsion. “Oh nice, I always emulsify my mustard seeds.” “Yes, it’s really delicious.” “…”

Despite some cardboard personalities (or perhaps mostly nervous that they’d forget anything and get fired on their first night), the whole experience was great and the food was wonderful. Nothing incredibly novel, but then I’m not really that excited by novelty. This is “elevated farmhouse cuisine” and I’d be pretty okay living in a farmhouse that has food anything like this. They butcher their own hogs, make charcuterie, and yeah apparently churn some butter. There wasn’t much evidence of nose-to-tail eating on their current menu, but maybe they’re using some of the off parts to make broths. Or are stockpiling in the freezer for the next menu iteration. Frozen pork stomach.

Old Major Denver menu

We got the pork cheeks, cassoulet, and cioppino. So it was a good birthday week. Tacos, tacos, pork, and fish. And some snowboarding in lots of fresh snow. But I’m so old.

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