Sunday, February 12, 2012
...you must include all the ingredients.
I just attempted the basic biscuits from Paleo Comfort Foods and when I cut one in half and bit into it, I was disapppointed by the texture and flavor. Then, I realized I hadn't put in the dash of salt or the baking powder.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Dinner tonight was fabulous.
I made a salad of romaine and spinach with lots of cherry (grape?) tomatoes, chicken, bacon, and dressing made from the last of the homemade mayonnaise (the recipe for which is at the end of this post).
Something occurred to me while I was sending this picture from my blackberry. Something about paleo type diets and conventional ones that made me really, really wonder...
...after weeks, months, or years of fat free food...
...dry, pathetic salad after dry, pathetic salad...
...or worse, salads coated in fat-free, sugar-free chemical cocktails...
...so many dinners composed of two pitiful bites of skinless chicken next to steamed broccoli and plain brown rice...
...I must beg the question of all the dieters who still insist on 1500 calories of beans, wheat bread, and carrot sticks every day (not that I'm hating on carrot sticks)...
...when the paleo diet comes in and says, "Yes, children of the earth, you may have bacon..."
WHY ISN'T EVERYONE JUMPING ON THIS?!?!?!?!?!?!
End rant. Hypotheses on the general insane tendency to cling to misery instead of basking in the light of BACON are welcome in the comments.
Also, I had my first organic chemistry test today and, as I expected, missing acid-base reactions was bad. I still think I did okay.
Second-to-finally, you must watch this fabulous video of one father's response to his daughter's Facebook rebellion. I love this man: www.litefm.com/cc-common/mainheadli
Finally, my recipe for mayonnaise, homemade from scratch and free of weird oils, preservatives, and stuff that shouldn't be in food.
I think we should ask why, when commercially prepared mayonnaise already contains all the usual mayonnaise ingredients (oil, eggs, egg yolks, vinegar), why must they add more stuff to make it act more like itself? You don't need thickeners or flavor enhancers in mayonnaise. If we needed to add synthetic chemicals to our food to make it edible, we would have died as soon as we came down from the trees.
So, mayo. Be forewarned that this takes a bit of time even with a blender (brilliant idea courtesy of JSPEED4), so don't wait do this when you have five minutes before you need to be at a party with the crab dip, k?
1 egg (the whole egg)
2 T lemon juice/vinegar
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 cup light olive oil or any oil or combination of oils that isn't vegetable, corn, canola, or soybean oil
BRING EVERYTHING TO ROOM TEMPERATURE.
Plop the egg into your blender. Yes, the whole egg. Add the mustard powder and the lemon juice/vinegar. I say lemon/vinegar because when I made the first batch with lemon juice, it didn't have the tangy flavor I associate with mayonnaise. So if you want a really creamy but not very acidic mayo, go for all lemon juice. If you want more acidity, try some combination of lemon juice and vinegar. Some recipes ask for apple cider vinegar, but plain ol' white vinegar works fine.
If you can take out the center of the blender lid, do so now.
Start the blender.
Whip the egg/acid combination until it turns bright, happy yellow and gets a little frothy.
Here's the part that takes a while: add one teaspoon of oil to the running blender. Then another. Then another. Wait to make sure it whips up well before adding the next spoonful. Keep up this painfully slow process until about 1/4 of the oil is added and your mayo is emulsifying. It might seem thin, that's okay.
Now you get to add the oil a little faster, but not by much. Keeping the blender going, add the oil in a very small, steady stream. Sometime between now and the end of the oil the magic happens and the thin, sad looking almost-mayo becomes rich, creamy mayo. DO NOT DUMP THE OIL IN ALL AT ONCE OR YOU WILL DESTROY ALL YOUR EFFORT UP TO THIS POINT.
Congratulations, you now have mayonnaise.
Depending on how you feel about food expiration, you can give this mayonnaise a life expectancy of one week, OR you can check the date on your eggs and use THAT date as the expiry. My mayonnaise didn't last a whole week since I used it for salads and dressings and sauces, so this was a non-issue for me.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Actually, it's most likely sugar induced.
It's That Time of the Lunar Cycle, and I decided chocolate was in order. Ghiradelli 72% Dark. Its not Green&Black's Organic, but still. I acquired chocolate and consumed it.
I can't get no satisfaction, it seems.
I'm coming to find that I THINK I want chocolate, but I don't, really.
I need to write myself a manifesto on chocolate and why I don't really want it, because when I finally get it, it doesn't actually satisfy anything unless it's in the form of chocolate ice cream, and even then it packs a major headache punch. I then rationalize not wanting chocolate anymore and then once enough time goes by, I do this again.
A manifesto or a shock collar.
I'm not going to lie. It kind of sucks to go a whole month without any sugar/sweeteners and then realize that your most-loved indulgence is not awesome anymore. It was really cool to think about how much I missed my chocolate and how noble I would be if I only treated myself once in a while and successfully avoided it the other 90% of the time. This kind of feels like punishment, to me. I feel slightly sick, my head feels funny, I know the sugar high texted its friend the huge, deep zit to come hang out too and I'm about to go make tea in an effort to cancel it out with concentrated healthy stuff.
This totally blows. I guess I should be happy about rising above the worldly desire for chocolate... kind of like attaining a sort of enlightenment (haha... weight loss pun...) but I'm mostly just feeling like crap and I have to admit that, unless I make Daniel my food policeman and have him remind me of how much chocolate actually sucks, I'll probably repeat this experience.
I think I'll go for the shock collar.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
So you all know (if you've read a few blogs of mine) that I have a great college friend who is a raw vegan. She's beautiful, vibrant, and healthy and we completely disagree as far as food and food politics (veganism is the answer versus sustainable omnivory; abolishment of factory farming versus reforming it, you get the idea). Anyway, the fiancee and I went to Raw Vegan Dinner Night at her and her boyfriend's place and had a delightful mexican meal finished with chocolate pie and "ice cream" and after a bit of thought I realized that, but for the absence of animals, the raw vegan cuisine we enjoyed was 100% Paleo. No grains or legumes because they must be cooked. No dairy because it comes from a cow.
Well, I was just checking around for some recipes because I'm not a college student with a thousand constructive things to do besides search Internet recipes, and I found these brownies:
Being a sucker for all things chocolatey, you KNOW I'm bookmarking this bad boy.
So how do I justify searching a raw vegan recipe database when by all accounts I'm as anti-vegan and pro-meat as it is possible to get?
I feel like, as pilgrims searching for the ultimate nutritional wisdom, we pigeonhole ourselves whenever we accept any nutritional dogma as truth. Suddenly we restrict ourselves to seeking out food and literature that has already been classified as low-fat, or low-carb, or Paleo, or vegetarian, et cetera. This is especially true with diets that challenge conventional wisdom. In that respect, I think that raw veganism and Paleo/Ancestral/primal diets are sisters and comrades in the marginalized crusade against the Standard American Diet, and as often as we bash raw vegans for dehydrating everything and not eating animals and the raw vegans bash us for cooking vegetables and eating cows, we could do well to take the best from each other even when we agree to disagree.
What do I like about raw veganism?
They skip the grains and legumes because they have to be cooked in order to get any nutrition from them.
They skip the dairy, which in many paleo circles is considered inflammatory and unnecessary.
There is a lot of high-fat cooking with plenty of coconut oil, avocadoes, and NUTS.
They do awesome things with VitaMix blenders, and who doesn't love a VitaMix?
It's all about eating close to nature.
So what's the difference?
In a nutshell, bacon. Bacon sums up all the differences between raw vegans and ancestral dieters.
One must cook bacon (emphasis on "raw").
One must acquire bacon from an animal.
Bacon is comprised of meat and animal fat.
So there you go. I have ranted a bit and found you a raw brownie recipe that is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and requires no cooking. IF that isn't justification enough, well, four-letter-words.
Sunday, February 05, 2012
I have achieved the unthinkable.
In one afternoon, I succeeded in creating homemade mayonnaise, baba ghanoush (correctly seasoned, this time) and flax "crackers" with which to consume the baba ghanoush.
What's that, you say? Pics or it didn't happen, you say? Very well:
Mayonnaise in its purest form is just about paleo perfect. Provided that it is made with lemon juice or a gluten-free vinegar (which is most vinegars that I've ever used) and a healthy oil (NOT canola, soybean, corn, or vegetable oil), it's brilliant in its simplicity. Its impossible to find a mayonnaise in a chain grocery that isn't made with at least one of those oils, usually soybean oil. Even the purportedly healthier olive oil mayo is still full of soybean oil and at least three preservatives. Anything made with an egg today shouldn't last until 2013, kids.
I made my mayo in my blender. I've tried it with a processor, but it just didn't seem to "grab" the emulsion with its horizontal blades and I ended up with a really thin egg-and-oil soup. Not mayo. This time I put my acid (lemon juice), ground mustard, and egg in the blender, whirled it until it turned that bright, happy yellow color, and then I disassembled the lid of my blender to open up the hole in the middle so I could pour the oil in through the top. THIS MUST BE DONE RIDICULOUSLY SLOWLY OR YOU WILL SCREW IT UP. I did get splatters of partially emulsified mayo on my glasses, hands, and counter, but after about half the oil made it into the blender it shifted from thin and liquid to thick and creamy. By the time it was done, the motor on the blender was just about hot enough to start cooking the egg. My blender is such that you can pop off the bottom and take the blade out for super cleaning, so I just let the metal bits cool and opened the bottom of the blender for easy dispensing into the tupperware container.
Moral of the story: find a homemade mayonnaise recipe you trust and make it in the blender. Try searching any paleo recipe site or blog for interesting oil combinations.
My baba ghanoush:
I've tried making this twice out of Paleo Comfort Foods (which incidentally has a mayonnaise recipe in it, too). The first time, I didn't understand the necessity of limiting tahini in such a recipe. It's seriously an acquired taste, and I think I could eat it straight only if I were Israeli or Indian or something, and tahini was a cultural staple. It has a flavor all its own, and it can quickly overpower other flavors if you aren't careful. The second time, I oversalted the finished product. Plain and simple. From now on, measuring spoons + salt = happy Kristina.
THIS TIME I measured everything carefully and used a recipe out of my stepmother's Maximized Living book (it's a nutritional plan endorsed by some doctors that is pretty well based on ancestral diet principles, except that it doesn't really talk about limiting legumes or dairy unless you're on the "advanced plan," which is a reflection of the Whole30 cure for inflammation. Maximized Living endorses stevia and xylitol as sweeteners.) This recipe differed from the one in Paleo Comfort foods in that it used cilantro and cayenne pepper. It's everything baba ghanoush should be.
My final cooking project tonight was flax crackers, also out of Maximized Living. I took 1 c. flax meal, blended it with 1.5 t. garlic powder, a few teaspoons of my favorite dried herbs, and 0.5 t. salt, and added 0.5 c. water to make it doughy. I rolled it onto parchment to one-eighth inch thickness and baked it at 400 until it dried out (almost 20 minutes) and it looked like this:
Then, once it cooled, I broke it into pieces. Some of the edges were nice and crispy, but other parts were soft and about the consistency of pita bread. I ate those pieces first with my baba ghanoush! My only concern is the super high fiber content of the flax seeds. Flax meal is touted as a great supplement for anyone experiencing a digestive halt, and baba ghanoush is basically an eggplant smoothie. This may portend a fibrous catastrophe, so for the sake of politeness I ask that you please do as I have done and limit yourselves to perhaps seven 1.5 inch pieces of cracker/bread or else you will likely earn a ticket on the Digestive Express Train.
I am pretty darn excited about this. Ketchup is next on my list of things to make from scratch, and I think barbecue sauce will follow from that. However, I have biology homework, biology lab homework, an organic prelab and postlab, reading to do for organic, Roman literature, and Aristotle, and three quizzes/tests to prepare for.
At least my studies are now fueled by eggplant dip and flax crackers!
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