Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hot Links: Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Check this out!

Soooo I was thinking about this person's recipe, and I think I will try it, but not bread the peppers, because, well, I can't eat bread! :)

The cheese in the filling is not strict Paleo, but if you take these to a party and don't eat them all yourself, I think you'll be fine. Moderation, right?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I love tea. If you know me at all, you know this!

I wanted to let people know that Teavana will be unveiling a lot of new teas on October 15.

I personally love Teavana's blends, and regularly come away getting the 1 lb discount without even trying!!

I also really love that their yerba mate is unsmoked. Probably the most prevalent brand of yerba mate outside of Teavana I've seen is by Guayaki, and I have never seen an unsmoked mate from them that is in loose leaf form (it is sold in teabags).

Hey, as long as you don't fill your cup with sugar or milk, then tea is just as calorie-free as black coffee! (But it is good to be mindful of the caffeine you consume).

Un-Paleo: Pumpkin Curry Cupcakes

I attended a Canadian Thanksgiving potluck party this past Sunday (for those who care about Such Things, Canadian Thanksgiving was officially October 12). I took a side of baked acorn squash, cooked down slightly in butter, spiced apple cider, and some pumpkin pie spice, to which I had added a finely chopped apple.

I also took some cupcakes. Pumpkin Curry Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache, to be exact.

I give all credit for the recipe to Vanilla Garlic, a great food blog I've thoroughly enjoyed following for a while now. Here's his post and recipe for this bit of cupcake goodness. The only thing I changed was that I added a dash more curry to my recipe, and made a larger portion of chocolate ganache (using an entire Pound Plus of dark chocolate from Trader Joe's).

Full Disclosure: I did NOT eat any of these cupcakes. I saved four from the batch and took them to the gym on Monday, since a friend of mine wanted some. Since she didn't show up, I distributed them at work. Temptation Problem Averted! To also help me not eat them all, I individually wrapped the cupcakes that I took to the gym / work in wax paper + foil. I currently have the extra ganache, but I am going to use it to make truffles and distribute those, or at least be able to eat them a lot more slowly and not feel icky because I scarfed a cup of chocolate ganache all at once. Besides, dark chocolate sans cream, butter, and extra sugar is a lot more healthy. ;)

Here's my batter:

Mmm BUTTER...nom nom nom....

Here's the chocolate ganache, once I had mixed in the cream, sugar / milk combo, and butter. It is "resting"...

Lazy Ganache, never had to work for anything.

Here is the final result: 16 large cupcakes with chocolate ganache atop them, and about 3-4 cups extra ganache.

A great recipe, perfect for fall!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


My original plan today was to grill some meat this morning. As I was preparing to preheat my gas grill, I received a call from a person whose bike I was interested in buying off Craigslist, so instead of cooking, I hightailed it out of my house to meet them.

The bike was a bust, but I was wonderfully exposed to the fall weather. Glad I had brought a wool hat and fingerless gloves, in addition to dressing in a thermal shirt, t-shirt, and vest, I wandered about in the sunny, brisk morning.

After arriving back home this afternoon, I flipped on PBS, and watched someone cooking a pot of chili. He used two varieties of canned beans - red kidneys and refried beans.

I recalled that I had not only some ground beef that needed cooking, but I also possessed a can of black beans and a can of refried beans in my cupboard. Canned Gold!

I threw my ground beef (grass-finished, thankyouverymuch) into my cute yellow Dutch oven, to brown and sizzle away while I prepared other ingredients.

I opened the cans of beans, and retrieved several items out of my spice cabinet:

After the meat was almost completely cooked, I added the two cans of beans to the pot, as well as kosher salt, molasses, a good squirt of tomato paste, half of a leftover beer, and a couple of tablespoons' worth of Mole Ole! seasoning that I had freshly ground in my blade coffee grinder.

I also added several crushed cloves of garlic...

... and a whole small onion, chopped.

Then I set it to a low simmer:

I left it a little too long, ,because there was a layer of burned-on beans at the bottom when I went to retrieve the chili off the stove, but it smells amazing and I am looking forward to a few bowls of hearty warming chili!

NOTE: No, this is Not Paleo; according to the tenets of the Paleo diet, beans are not an encouraged food (not to mention the beer!) There's also not a ton of vegetables in this, so you definitely want to augment it to balance out your food choices. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Autumnal Soup

I thought I'd walk through how I make a soup, especially one as healthful and tasty as this one!

I was working from home yesterday, and Seattle has briskly turned from warm summery days to overcast, drizzle, and cool. Perfect soup weather!

I had bought a smoked ham hock from the lovely ranchers at Skagit River Ranch, who sell at my local farmer's market. I threw that in my 6 qt enameled cast-iron dutch oven (aka heavy pot), and covered it with water to begin simmering while I got to work.

When I make a giant soup, I usually start by emptying out my refrigerator of suitable produce, as evidenced below.

Yes, that is a LOT of vegetables, all from my CSA box over the last couple of weeks.

I got to work, and started cutting up stuff. Kale, chard, and beet greens were first up. Below is a picture showing them stuffing the pot, along with a small amount of "already open" onion, garlic, shallot, and a mild pepper I had hanging around.

I had to add more water, some salt, pepper, garlic Tabasco sauce, and a splash of white wine, and I covered the pot to continue simmering.

Below you can see my rock. I use it to smash things open, usually garlic or shallots. It's just a granite river rock I picked up in the mountains one day, but you can find such things at kitchen stores, too. I grew up with a rock. My mom still has it. I think she found it outdoors, too. It has worn even smoother from decades of use whacking at things. My favorite rock is still my mom's.

See the carnage to the right of the butternut squash? That was a small part of food waste that went into my building's food waste bin. In fact, I filled up a paper grocery bag with odds and ends of food waste! It is amazing and delightful to me that I can divert all that waste into Seattle's giant compost piles, and it will get reused as mulch and compost for city parks.

Ah... I added a few blue potatoes (from the CSA of course). You can see that the giant mass of kale and chard has cooked down considerably. I bet I used at least a couple of pounds' worth of vegetables. You can see the ham hock peeking through the pot, too. I added some more water before covering again.

After the potatoes pierced easily with a fork, I dumped in a final bowl of corn kernels (off two cobs), and baby bok choi. I turned off the heat and covered the pot for a few minutes. These two items cook extremely quickly, and I did not want to lose the sweetness of the raw corn.

Finally... here is my serving! Hearty and delightful. I promise, you won't even miss the grains. (Yes, there are two ears' worth of corn in here, but they are spread out over several bowls' worth of soup. This is more of an exercise in me cleaning out my fridge than anything else, and that small amount of fresh corn shouldn't cause stomach distress in most people).