Beef Patties with Garlic and Cilantro

ImageMaking beef patties with ground beef, bacon, garlic, chopped onions, nutmeg, dried basil & rosemary, butter, some eggs, pepper and lots of fresh cilantro. Lots of bacon, too. Oh, I already said that. Served with asparagus, homemade coleslaw, stewed spinach and mustard.

I made these patties quite large and liked it. How long you work the batter makes a lot of difference – I usually take my time and the texture is amazing. Gave them a real fry on both sides before turning down the heat and covering the pan to let them cook without losing much water. Another cool secret to get them real juicy is put some extra water and fat into the batter – I used unsalted butter in this case, you can use coconut oil. This makes the patties a solid meal that will nourish you for days! I didn’t need so much salt because of the bacon, but a little is required, though – they will be best that way.

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In Chile where I live now they tell me that most of the chilean beef products are grassfed (i.e., not fed corn or soy, only grass) – so the ground beef I bought today probably is. Gotta dive deeper into that, only reason grassfed could be the default is if chileans have, well, a lot of grass. All the beef I’ve tried so far, be it filet or ground beef; grilled, roasted or boiled, have been delicious.

Paleo Pancakes

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These grain-free pancakes are plain magical. I slowly started giving up hope to find a simple pancake recipe with something as good as (or better than) wheat gluten to make the batter stick together. This one has two ingredients, banana and egg, and will hold together surprisingly well during cooking. And the banana makes the pancakes taste so good!

Gives 5 thin pancakes of 12 – 13 cm in diameter. You’ll need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs (if the banana is large I use 3 eggs)
  • 1 – 1 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • a little water (optional, to make a more runny mixture)
  • pinch of vanilla (optional)

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Mix all ingredients well with a hand mixer or in a blender. You want the batter really smooth, not chunky (holds better that way). I like to make them a bit salty (love salt – sweet contrasts!). Fry the pancakes as usual, on medium heat. In my experience these paleo pancakes take a little longer to cook than wheat pancakes. It’s well worth the wait.

SAMSUNG CSCThere are a couple useful hacks to consider:

#1: Your equipment. An old, un-even frying pan will not yield good results! The batter sticks more easily than with regular pancakes. You’ll need: a) A good quality pan with a smooth surface b) A brand new, cheap one (cause they’re always good when new).

#2: Finding good bananas. Bananas aren’t bananas it seems – most have this rough texture in the mouth, a strange sort of friction of your tongue against your gums … you know what I mean, right? Right. Well, I thought all bananas were like this, but I tried some fair-trade bananas that were so smooth and delicious and completely frictionless. They also work better in the batter for some reason. My perception is still clouded as to what is the pattern behind all this - is it the production method, size, ripeness (though I don’t think so, they were smooth but not sickeningly sweet like overripe bananas) or simply the variety?

Good thing I live in Chile now! A lot closer to banana sources (as opposed to Norway). I will brave unknown terrain, I will walk through fire and I will find an answer to this mystery. And make an update to this post.

Serve with some fresh homemade strawberry jam (strawberries + hand mixer + pinch of stevia, leave it chunky), bacon or your second favorite pancake spread after bacon.

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By the way, I’m thinking of changing the subtitle of this site to something along the lines of: “Living the Primal Life in Chile”. What do you think? Too cheesy? That’s pretty much the case though!

Take care :)

Photo Archives: Making Beef Jerky

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I’m gonna start posting some photos from my archives in the time to come. For 3 – 4 years I’ve been taking photos of (almost!) literally every meal I had – be it home made or restaurant meals. This is a habit I’ve come to be grateful for, as I can easily go through my old photos whenever I need some inspiration. Also there are sooo many meals I’ve been pleased with but would have totally forgotten. Seeing the photos again sparks old neural paths and the recipe often comes back instantly.

I won’t always post the recipe in this series (as I don’t remember which measures I used and often never used measures in the first place), but I’ll usually include a description. If I care to. I apologize on beforehand for the photo quality, I used to take pictures only with my phone –  but you know how the absolute perfectionist never achieves anything. I have shiny new camera now, a Samsung NX300. Recommended if you want the best quality but isn’t really that much of a technical camera person!

So here goes: Beef jerky is the perfect paleo snack! I only did this once, and there are things I will probably do differently next time. Like getting a better oven, for instance. And work with the texture. The jerky became a little too dry and hard, but they tasted delicious! I flavored them with a spice mix of my own recipe, including salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, some dried herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley …) etc., finely ground for easy appliance.

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The method is simply to cut your beef (lean beef works best, and grassfed gives a result rich in flavor) in thin slices of 1/2 cm or so, season with your spice mix or simply salt and pepper and bake in the oven for several hours at the lowest temperature. I think I let them stay overnight. If you have a dehydrator that would be even better – I don’t. Yet.

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I will definitely make this again in the future, maybe we’re looking at a more refined recipe once I’ve done sufficient experimentation. See you soon! :)

Paleo Pasta: The Spaghetti Squash

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Strangely didn’t miss pasta much after I omitted grains from my diet. But I certainly missed pasta sauce. A hot creamy carbonara or bold bolognese, topped with some pesto and grated parmesan cheese?  Mmm … So I thought “well I guess that’s part of the price, I’ll just have to go without.” Not that I kept myself on a tight leash; I “slipped” whenever I wanted to – and those dried pieces of wheat dough formed into various shapes were a disappointment every time. Grey and dull, in need of too much salt, stealing flavor from the sauce … and of course the discomfort after (stomach and headache), the typical gluten hangover.

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I heard talk around the web that there’s this vegetable called “spaghetti squash” which apparently has a fibrous interior that when heated can be separated into long strands and eaten as regular spaghetti. Sounded a little pulpy and watery to me, but of course interesting enough to give it a go. Not much of a chance to find something as exotic as this  in Norway where I live, but I kept my eyes open. It became clear that to obtain one I had to grow it myself. And finally, during a trip to Madeira I found a packet of seeds in one of the island’s famous flower markets.

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Guess what? It. was. perfect. The strands about the thickness of spaghetti, pretty easy to separate without breaking, starch-rich and slightly crunchy; with a gentle, sweet, pumpkin-like flavor. Look! Isn’t this the coolest thing?

There are several ways to cook them: oven baked, boiled, microwaved, crock pot / slow cooker … I have as yet only done microwave and it’s so easy. I’ve landed on cutting the vegetable in half “equatorially” (not lengthwise like the photo above – you will get longer strands this way, see for yourself if you try both) and running the halves on high for 10 minutes. The cut section will get a little dry, but I don’t mind so much. If you want a more even result you can microwave it whole, but unless you wanna spend some time cleaning up a squash explosion, remember to cut several holes in the shell first for the steam.

See this article on about.com for more information on how to cook spaghetti squash.

2013-09-09 18.13.432013-09-09 18.13.492013-09-09 18.18.51I hope this gave some inspiration – here are some delicious examples of what you can make with this genius vegetable.

Spaghetti Carbonara:

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Spaghetti Bolognese:

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Pesto and meatballs:

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Salmon with white wine & cream sauce:
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Hearty Lamb Stew w/Cream, Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes

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Fall is upon us, and winter is coming. Therefore we need something warming and filling. Whenever my sister pays me a visit we always end up in the kitchen cooking something delicious – check the fridge inventory and maybe do some shopping, and then it’s so spontaneous, we make it up as we go along, checking out several recipes for inspiration. This is our latest creation: a lamb stew filled with nourishing vegetables and broth with lots of pepper for warmth; ideal for a chilly night under the blanket with the latest Netflix series. 

This was enough for three hungry people with some leftovers for breakfast. Speaking of which: DFB (dinner for breakfast) FTW!

  • 500 – 900g lamb meat – we used shoulder with bones which worked perfectly. Sooo tender …
  • 4 onions
  • 3 – 4 handfuls of mushroom, preferably wild
  • 1/2 garlic
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 litre heavy cream – you can also use coconut milk
  • a dash of white wine, if you have
  • chopped seasonal herbs – we used rosemary, thyme and lovage
  • salt and pepper to taste

We started chopping the lamb meat into good sized bits (I like them a bit large) and added to a casserole with just enough water to cover. We let it boil ferociously for about half an hour with lovage and thyme to get the meat as tender as possible and to get the most out of the bones and marrow. This gave a rich broth. Meanwhile we browned/softened the onions, mushrooms, rosemary and garlic in butter. The longer you cook the onions, the thicker your stew. The lamb was added and the lamb casserole deglazed with white wine. Add chopped leek and heavy cream and let boil for 10 – 15 min. Add chopped asparagus and let simmer some more until the asparagus has softened. We sautéed the sweet potatoes in another skillet and added to the stew toward the end to better control its texture. Season generously with pepper, and some salt to taste. 

Enjoy! Hope y’all will have an adventurous and colorful fall; and don’t forget to breathe in all that clear, fresh air! The way it looks now, fall is getting to be my new favorite season.

 

Beautiful Stark Direwolves

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I sometimes browse DeviantArt and the realization hits me fresh in the face every time: There is so much good art on the internet.

What a magnificent tool to present, express and develop your talent in a way that was never possible before. You can promote yourself commercially, too. Freelance has never been easier. Work from anywhere, anytime. Offer your illustration services for a price, with quite a few examples for demonstration. No applications, no credentials; just plain old demonstration. Get paid in bitcoin. If you are good and make sure to be visible; pretty soon the jobs will come raining down on you. And it’s so … free. No publishing or paper costs (unless by choice, of course). 

Just look at these direwolves! Just like I imagine them. Their gazes are so intense and their pelts gorgeous. All in some undefined cold desolation – beyond the Wall, perhaps – with “Mormont’s Torch” lighting their way. Ahh.

Artwork: http://jessyr.deviantart.com/art/The-Direwolves-of-Westeros-327679135. By user Jessy Ross.

My intent is only display – hope this is sufficient :)