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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