Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Yummy Chicken (or turkey) Stock

You hear about the benefits of chicken stock, both nutritional and culinary, almost everywhere you look. I tried for years to make it part of my arsenal but I had some kind of mental block and never succeeded in making a stock that I thought tasted any good at all. I would try to hide it in things so I couldn't taste it. I was very happy to finally figure out how the heck to make good tasting stock, so I will share it with you!


1 whole chicken OR 2 whole turkey legs (thighs + drumsticks)
2-3 chicken feet, scored, optional
any extra leftover bones you have kicking around, optional
1 carrot, cut into 1-in chunks
2 stalks of celery, cut into 1-in chunks
1 onion, quartered
handful of fresh parsley
10-15 peppercorns

Put the chicken or turkey in a stockpot and cover with water. Bring up to a simmer and then discard the now scummy water. Cover the bird with water again and this time add in all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam/scum that rises to the top. Lower to a bare bubble and cook for 2 hours. You don't want the stock boiling because it will make the meat very tough, so make sure it really is a bare bubble. After 2 hours, fish the chicken or turkey out of the pot and pull all the meat off the bones and save it for later. Return the bones/cartilage/skin/etc to the pot and cook for another 2 hours. Strain, bottle, and refrigerate. If you're lucky it will turn to jello in the fridge!


The key to this, I think, is the initial discarding of the water and cooking the meat with the bones for the first bit so that the stock gets a much meatier, nicer flavor. If you cook the meat too long though it won't taste very good, so that's why you take it out halfway through and then continue cooking the bones to get some more goodness out of them. I've also found this particular blend of veggies to be pretty yummy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

slow roasted pork shoulder

I keep meaning to get back to regular posting, but 4-month old babies keep you surprisingly busy. ;) There's not much time for cooking, much less writing blog posts! Luckily this pork shoulder has minimal hands-on time and will feed a small army. You prep it the night before you want to eat and just stick it in the oven the next morning.


serves: lots

8-10 lb pork shoulder
3 small onions or 1 large onion, sliced
2 oranges, peel left on, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T fennel seeds
salt and pepper

Place the onions and oranges on the bottom of a roasting pan. Score the fat side of the pork in a diamond pattern and place it on top of the onions/oranges. Rub the garlic and fennel into the pork and season with salt and pepper. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge. The next day, uncover and roast at 275 degrees for 7-8 hours.


The pork will be almost meltingly tender and the fat nice and crispy. You can serve it right away with the juices from the pan. Leftovers firm up in the fridge and are great browned in a skillet with a little lard. Put it in lettuce wraps with pickled hot peppers and olives. Or you can add some cumin when reheating and use the meat for taco salad along with your favorite toppings. Leftovers are also great in hash. It's very versatile!



*recipe from Wegman's*

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

what I've been eating

I'm not ready to start posting recipes yet, but I thought it would be fun to have another installment of "what I've been eating." In the last week I've had...

Roasted chestnuts - this is the only time of year I ever see fresh chestnuts in the store, so I got about half a pound to try them out. I liked them best fresh from the oven, but cold is ok. They definitely have a unique flavor and texture.

Fresh pomegranate - this is the time of year for fresh pomegranates, too, and I find popping the seeds out of the membranes oddly satisfying. Not an activity to do while you're wearing a white shirt though, which I learned the stupid way.

Turkey stock - I finally FINALLY figured out how to make good tasting chicken or turkey stock. Ugh, took me long enough. This will get a recipe post by itself at some point. The batch I made this week was made with turkey legs and it turned to gel in the fridge. I get a kick out of that every damn time.

Hash - I made the turkey stock and had a bunch of leftover meat I picked off the bones, so I made some kind of hash using turkey meat for lunch almost every day. My favorite one was purple potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, garlic, turkey thigh meat, and cubed country style pate (storebought) that I cooked in butter.

Chicken Normandy - I got the recipe from Simply Recipes. Basically chicken cooked with loads of apples, onions, and heavy cream. Absolutely delicious.

The leftover sauce made its way into a hash the next day, along with some bacon.

Pork with sauerkraut mashed potatoes - this was a recipe from The New German Cookbook. Pork tenderloin poached in my homemade turkey stock and white wine, along with potatoes mashed with wine-spiked sauerkraut, bacon, and caramelized onions. The potato stuff was great and the pork was very tender, although I wish it had been fattier.

Braised beef shank - basically one of my old recipes, although I have since added some tweaks for maximum deliciousness. The major thing is to take the cooking liquid and boil it down until it's reduced by about half and then thicken it up with a little arrowroot to make it like gravy. Then mix the shredded beef/marrow back into it. Also you can do it in a crockpot on low for 8 hours. We had it with lemony sweet potatoes (recipe from Nourishing Traditions, containing loads of butter, lemon, and egg yolks) and buttered green beans.


I've also had too much birthday cake and German gingerbread, but we shan't speak of these things...

Friday, December 17, 2010

paleo reboot

So, um, hey guys. It's been awhile. What may have happened in the intervening year, you ask? Well, several things. I moved and had a baby, for starters. I also completely abandoned paleo for multiple reasons, including morning sickness, stress, and burnout on food in general. I really wasn't doing well on paleo near the end of it (around the time I wrote the shrimpy new year post back in Jan 2010) and the time off this past year has given me space to sit back and think about why it wasn't working for me and how I think I can improve it.

In short, I was "faileo" dieting. It had become about what I was excluding instead of what I was including and after 4 years of that my health was suffering. I've made myself a list of things that I think will vastly improve my version of the paleo diet, which I'll share with y'all partly in hopes it may help others and partly for my own reference. A lot of the old recipes on this site are probably more faileo than paleo, but I'm gonna leave them all up anyway in case someone finds them useful/tasty/whatever. So here are the guidelines for my new and improved ancient diet (har har):

1. Eat less meat. Shocking. My old recipes you'll see call for around 1/2 lb per person, and I've since found that this is WAY too much protein for me. I feel way better when I slash that in half.
2. Make the meat I eat fattier. Less chicken breast + olive oil, more fatty beef roasts.
3. Make a concerted effort to eat offal, including bones.
4. Make a concerted effort to eat seafood, including shellfish, roe, and seaweed.
5. Eat at least some meat/seafood raw.
6. Choose animal fats over plant fats whenever possible. I may keep butter around...even though it's dairy I think it's a better option than olive oil, which I previously used by the bucketful.
7. Eat more carbs, choosing tubers and squashes over fruit.
8. Severely limit nuts/seeds.
9. Add in herbal infusions like the nettle infusion that I posted about a million years ago and never kept up with. Tons of nutrients in that stuff.
10. Add in some fermented foods.
11. No "paleo" baked goods.

So I'll be back in January with recipes and pictures just like before. Anything in particular that people would like to see?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A very shrimpy new year

Hello little blog, how have you been? I've been busy moving and visiting family over the holidays, but now I'm ready to get back to updating you. In fact, my only resolution this year is actually to blog more often! So let's get to it.

I found a nice looking bag of frozen, unpeeled shrimp at my new grocery store (since moving I've swapped a Whole Foods for a Wegman's) and decided what the heck - I don't do a lot of seafood, but I always feel like I should, and shrimp seem a rather unthreatening place to start. I know shrimp overcook pretty easily, so I wanted to make something where I could just drop them in in the last few minutes. My standby curry seemed a good place to start, both for the ease of cooking and for the fact that the strong curryness would hide the seafoody shrimpyness. Yes I'm a wimp.

Curry is one of my favorite go-to meals when I don't really feel like cooking. All it requires you to have on hand are a can of coconut milk, a jar of curry paste, whatever random assortment of veggies you have languishing about, and some kind of meat. The basic instruction is: brown onions in coconut oil, add in all the other ingredients, simmer 20 minutes.

GO-TO CURRY shrimpy style
serves 3 maybe

The culprits today:
copious amounts of coconut oil
half a large onion
2 tiny sweet potatoes
1 stalk of celery
a can of coconut milk
a small jar of green curry paste
1/2 cup frozen peas
huge handful of baby spinach
1 lb shrimp

I heated the coconut oil in a big skillet and set the onions, sweet potatoes and celery to browning. Then I added the curry paste and let it fry for a minute until it got fragrant, followed by the can of coconut milk, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Then I stirred in the peas and spinach until the spinach started to wilt, followed by the shrimp. Watched it like a hawk and removed it from the heat just when the shrimp turned pink. Done! Served it with lemon wedges to spruce it up a little bit.

To be very strictly paleo you wouldn't want to use the peas or possibly the sweet potatoes, but like I said - just add whatever veggies you have in the house and it'll be fine. My curry is different every single time I make it! If I'm using a different, longer-cooking meat such as chicken, I usually add in at the same time I add the coconut milk.

Since the shrimp I bought needed to be peeled, I was left with a big pile of shrimp shells. I decided to try making some shrimp stock. I have no idea how this tastes yet, and frankly I'm a little leery of it (eww seafood!), but I'm determined to find some way to eat it this week.

I read a few recipes online and amalgamated them to this:


shells and tails from 1 lb of shrimp
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 a big carrot, chopped
a few sprigs of parsley
1 small lemon, sliced
1 bay leaf
5 whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp sea salt
water to cover

I combined everything in a smallish pot and brought it to a boil. Skimmed the foam, reduced the heat, and let it simmer for an hour.

Now I have this:

And no idea what to do with it! Please don't say seafood soup, I can't think of anything more horrifying.

In the meantime, maybe I'll start cooking some stuff out of my shiny new cookbooks.

The Whole Beast - Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson and The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearlessly-Eatsitall. I can't wait! Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Sorry I've been MIA again. Lots of stuff has been going on here - colds/flu, the holidays, and a somewhat unexpected move. We've known we were going to be moving for a little while, but we thought it wouldn't be until January - well things got pushed up and now we're moving next week! So it's been pretty busy around here.

I'm looking forward to getting back to recipe posting once we move. We're upgrading from a tiny little apartment to a nice sized house, so I'll have a bigger kitchen and a grill. I'm pretty excited. :) The only problem will be trying to figure out where to shop now that I won't have a Whole Foods down the street from me anymore!

I hope everyone has a very happy holiday season and eats lots of yummy food. Just so I don't leave you empty handed, here are some holiday recipes I've bookmarked lately to try out once we get unpacked into the new place:

coconut flour orange cake
Italian chestnut cake (replace milk with a paleo alternative)
walnut cranberry crackers (replace agave with a less fructose-y sugar)

Also I think my parents have been talking about roasting a goose or two for Christmas, so hopefully I can get them to save the fat for me! I can just imagine all the yummy things I could do with a jar of goose fat.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Apple glazed turkey breast

I've been loving the fall food lately, if you can't tell. :) I think fall definitely has my favorite foods and favorite flavors! The glaze, or sauce, in this recipe really makes otherwise dry turkey breast very moist and delicious.

serves 2

2 turkey breast cutlets, 4-6 oz each
1/4 cup apple juice (or the juice of 1 medium/large apple)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 T fresh tarragon, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp of arrowroot powder, optional

Make the sauce by whisking the apple juice, chicken stock, garlic, tarragon and ginger together in a small bowl.

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat until good and hot. Add enough olive oil that your meat won't stick (I used about 1T in my cast iron). Salt and pepper the turkey cutlets and sear 2 minutes on each side, then remove to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the sauce to the pan. Stir to loosen any bits from the bottom, and when the sauce comes to a boil add the turkey cutlets back to the pan. Cook for a few more minutes until the turkey is done through and the sauce has boiled down. If the sauce has boiled down too far, add a little more chicken stock. To tighten up a loose sauce, dissolve the arrowroot powder in 1T cold water, whisk into the sauce and simmer until thickened.

recipe inspired by Low Carb High Flavor Recipes Made Easy by Fiona Carns


Along with the turkey, we had some steamed broccoli that I just lightly salted and then drizzled with a little cold pressed macadamia nut oil. We also had pumpkin mashed potatoes, which I made by mashing together a mixture of 1/2 white potato and 1/2 pumpkin and then adding salt, chicken stock, a little fresh grated ginger and a little extra virgin olive oil (woulda been better with butter, but it was still good!). If potatoes aren't for you, you could use cauliflower instead.