Primal Cravings

620x447xpromo.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kCWuGgwAjVHi All,

I haven’t ever really had the desire to plug a product before, but I must say I am completely blown away by this cook book.

It may not be too obvious from this blog, but Josh and I both endeavor to eat “Paleo” for our general diets.  We have both done a lot of research, and through our own circumstantial evidence, believe it is the best diet choice for our bodies.  During our research, I stumbled upon Health-Bent, a blog with easy-to-make and tasty paleo recipes, many of which I have enjoyed at home and shared with friends with great success.  Due to my fandom of this blog, I was really excited when I found out that the writers would be releasing a cook book.

“Primal Cravings” is everything I hoped it would be, and more.  The recipes are in the spirit of the health-Bent blog – tasty, comforting, and filling.  And every single recipe I have tried so far has come out perfect.  But where I came to the conclusion that this book is a must-own for any paleo enthusiast (or even just anyone who feels adventurous in the kitchen) is their bread recipe.  This isn’t like any other paleo “bread” recipe I have tried – it actually satisfies my deadly cravings for carba-licious, sleep-inducing, tummy wrecking sandwich bread without all of the ill side effects. It might just be a break through in my (and especially Josh’s) Paleo “career” and I couldn’t be more excited.

I have also tried the seafood pot pie (amazing) and their home-made sausage recipes (yum!) so far, and tonight I will be making the Baracoa pot roast (so excited).  If you have a few bucks kicking around, this cook book is definitely worth owning.

Pick it up here:

Amazon

Primal Blueprint

And here’s a sample recipe from the book:

Gluten Free Cheese Crackers

Seriously, check it out. Do it. Now!

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Fried Pickles

Whoa whoa whoa slow it on down…fried pickles?

Yes.

Josh and I had the pleasure of visiting the Memphis Taproom recently, which has a variety of tasty bar food offerings, including the fried pickles that mended my relationship with the vinegar-y little cucumbers that have haunted my taste buds for my entire life.

I have always love pickled things: beets, green beans, carrots, olives, etc.  But actual pickles have evaded my love for as long as I can remember.  That is, until the chef at Memphis Taproom decided to beer batter those little green guys and serve them up with horseradish dipping sauce.  My taste buds sang at the final union of pickles and satisfaction.

Recently Josh and I hosted a group of men for an ultra-manly ultra-geeky night of Dungeons and Dragons, and I was faced with the task of feeding them.  These fried beauties immediately came to mind (who else could I ever make these for?)  I thought at first that I would have to figure this out on my own, but a quick google search yielded possibly the best link of my life:

The Memphis Taproom Recipe for Fried Pickles

Beer-Battered Pickles
Peanut oil, for frying (I used a mix of peanut and canola since our peanut oil was woefully low)
1 cup all-purpose flour (plus a little extra for dusting the pickles)
1 tablespoon  sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Cayenne Pepper (MTR said to only use a pinch, but I didn’t buy their bluff and used much more to achieve the flavor profile of the pickles from the restaurant)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cracked black pepper
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 cup beer (MTR uses Lion’s Head, I used Dreamweaver)
kosher dill pickle spears

First, add the proper amount of oil to a deep sauce pan and set your heat to medium-high (or if you are so blessed, crank up your fryer).  If you start the oil before anything else, it will be hot when you are ready to start.  Next, mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and beer before combining the wet and dry together.  Pat dry a selection of spears, dust with flour, and dip the spears into the batter and coat well. Once you are sure the oil is hot (with a thermometer handy, it should be around 375 degrees) start adding the spears.  Be sure not to over-crowd the oil.  Let the spears fry on one side until they are golden brown, then flip and repeat. Once both sides are golden brown, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

The result is a huge platter of delicious little beauties for you and your friends to enjoy (to the chagrin of your waistline).  The recipe is officially supposed to yield 5 spears, but I got a lot more.  What a perfect snack (and it’s even a good introduction to the world of frying, as this is a pretty easy project in the kitchen).

Thank you chef Kimball of Memphis Taproom for sharing this with the world.  I am a little happier knowing that people are still willing to share their secrets.

Broccoli Soufflee: Drawing Inspiration from IKEA

Ikea Salmon

Anyone who knows Josh and I knows how much we love IKEA.  It’s pretty great for young people on a budget (although you can definitely do better than IKEA if you give a little time to search for seating options)–but the best part often enough is the food.  Like just about everything at IKEA, it is simple, pretty well made, and a great value.  I used to ALWAYS get the meatballs, but recently I discovered that the salmon entrée is really quite delicious as well.

Last night I decided to make salmon for dinner, and I was searching my brain for a side-dish idea (that wasn’t just boiled baby carrots) when I remembered the IKEA salmon, which is served with tasty little broccoli soufflees.  I immediately set out to re-create these little guys, and this is what I came up with:

INGREDIENTS

2 large crowns of broccoli, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1 c. grated high-quality cheddar cheese (preferably from Vermont ;-] )
salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  (I have noticed that 350 works for pretty much everything that I cook/bake–but I am not at all scientific about my adventures in the kitchen)
2.  Add the chopped broccoli, a bit of salt, and about 1/2 cup of water to a pot. Cover,  and heat to medium on the stove top. It is very important that you cover this because we are steaming the broccoli.
3.  After about 5 minutes, add in the onion and stir a bit to make sure nothing is sticking. (I used a non-stick sauce pan, which worked wonderfully)
4.  While the veggies are steaming, mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  I used my GIANT measuring cup, because it has a pouring spout that will make it easier to deposit the tasty mix into their baking receptacles.
5.  When the broccoli is soft (but NOT squishy or overcooked–it should still be bright green) drain the veggies thoroughly and add to the batter.  Mix to combine
6.  Deposit into a lightly greased muffin pan.  This recipe made about 8 soufflees for me
7. Place in the oven until the soufflees are firm to the touch.  If you stick a form into them and it comes out clean, they are done.
These adorable little “broccoli muffins” as Josh called them are super tasty (especially with a small dollop of sour cream on top)–and this recipe is un-surprisingly MUCH more flavorful than the IKEA version thanks to the fresh ingredients and high-quality cheese.  And the best part is that this recipe does not need any specialized ingredients or equipment, nor is it expensive to make.  And if broccoli isn’t your thing, try it with corn, spinach, or shredded carrots.