Saturday, September 10, 2011

Workout of the day - Sat 9/10

I love living in southern cal.  Wednesday and Thursday were hot (for our standards), Friday we had a marine layer until noon-ish with a steady, cool ocean breeze and this morning I woke up to a thunderstorm with big raindrops falling from a rosy lit sky.

My knee therapy continues and after an incredible session yesterday I am very sore this morning.  Today's workout's goal is to get the range of motion back into my other muscles, start building some stamina and not overdue it.  You can add a burpees, mountain climbers, squats or jumps into the routine however I can't since my knee cannot physically do them (and have you ever tried one legged burpees?).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Paleo tomato pasta sauce with grass fed meat balls

Anyone living in southern cal knows its been hot the last couple of days.  Normally I wouldn't cook in the kitchen with 90 degree weather outside but with time constraints tonight I had to come up with something quick and easy.  

Tonights dish we served with rice pasta.  My knee therapy has gotten more intense and the extra bump in carbs makes a difference in the way my body feels during the recovery.  Plus I'm rediscovering the joys of push ups, dips and abdominal exercises so overall my body needs a little more zip.

3 cans of roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 leek (or onion I just didn't have one)
2 lbs grass fed ground beef (90/10% works better than 80/20%)
3 garlic cloves
1 cup of red wine (Doon Buggy!)
Parmesan cheese
Oregano or Italian seasoning
Salt n Pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional but would add a nice bite to this dish)

1. Heat pot over medium high heat.  I like to cook this in my stock pot as it doesn't splatter as much on my white stove and countertop.  Once pot is hot (does water dance when dropped on the bottom) gently add 1/2 cup of olive oil.  The oil will get hot quickly so be careful.  Then pour in the three cans of roasted tomatoes.  I keep the lid partially covering the pot when doing this so it doesn't splatter on me.  No need to stir the pot (unless you really want to).

2.  Prep three garlic cloves.  No need to chop up.  Normally I would chop an onion but the only onion like item in my fridge were three leeks.  Leeks are a great substitute for an onion in this dish.  If you have never cooked with them before, just barely cut off the root end, cut off the leaves area (where it gets dark green) and slice open like the pic below.

3.  The leek needs to be run under water and peel apart each layer to ensure all the dirt is removed.  Chop up and add the leeks, garlic, handful of mushrooms, salt, pepper, 1 cup of red wine and oregano to the sauce.  Still no need to stir as the tomatoes will boil it in.

 4. Grate about 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese into a bowl.  Add some salt, pepper and oregano.   Then the 2lbs of ground beef (or veal, chicken, turkey etc).

 5. Using your hands mix the ingredients together.  Twist, knead, turn, mold until you are confident the flavors are evenly mixed.

6.  Now go ahead and mix the sauce.  It is still over medium high heat.

7.  Roll the mixed meat into meatballs and gently place into sauce.  The meatballs will be about 3/4 covered and thats OK.

8.  In about 10 minutes gently move the meatballs around so the tops get under the sauce.  Cook another 5 minutes and serve.

I forgot to take a picture of the adults plates before we chopped up the meatballs and mixed everything here is the 3 year olds's plate, plastic fork included.

The only thing I would change in tonight's meal is gone with a leaner beef.  The 80/20 blend would work great with something (mmmm crusty bread) to soak it up.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Take two - coffee/wine braised sirloin

So the London Broil braised meal was good...just seemed like a long time to cook and wasn't quite right.  So I ventured into the trusty cookbook and discovered "London Broil" is a generic name for a number of different cuts of meat.  Don't believe me, google it.  London Broil is probably a better steak to marinate and then cook versus trying to make tender through slow cooking.

So here is my take two attempt.

First the final product picture (brussels sprouts and chunks of smoked gouda).

1/3 bottle of red wine (fresh & easy's new Napa Doon Buggy 9.99 bottle)
4 cups of coffee (fresh & easy's donut shop blend)
3 tablespoons of butter
1 chopped onion chopped
3 garlic cloves smashed and diced up
2-3 lbs of top sirloin (Whole foods grass fed)
Sea Salt
1 piece of dark chocolate per serving

1. Take beef out of fridge and coat with sea salt and pepper.  I cover it in wax paper and let it sit on the counter for an hour prior to cooking.  Don't just grind the seasoning onto the meat, use your hands and grind it into the meat.

2. Melt butter in pot over medium high heat.

 3. Prepare garlic and onions while the butter melts.  If you notice there is now coffee in the pot...I had to brew a new batch after we drank the morning pot.

4. Add the beef to the hot pot and butter gently (I splattered butter all over my arm and hand by being in a hurry today).  Sear the outside of the meat.  Takes about three minutes.

5. Remove the meat from the pot.  Add the onions and garlic and cook over high heat for about a minute.  For anyone new to cooking, do you see the scratches in the cooked food in the bottom of the pot?  This is where a bunch of flavor is hiding.  Your goal is to scrape this cooked food off the bottom of the pot and into the liquid you add to the pot.  So slowly add the wine and coffee to the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot to incorporate the flavor into the meal over a high heat.

 6. Place the meat back into the liquid.  Cover and adjust the heat to a simmer.  Cooke about 2.5-3 hours.

7.  Once the meat is tender enough to fall apart, remove from liquid.  Since we don't eat gluten I boil down the liquid about 2/3rds to make a thicker, more flavorful broth.

8.  To finish off I transfer a serving (about 1/2 lb) into a separate pot with enough broth to keep moist.  Over heat I then add a single chunk of dark chocolate which melts into the broth and meat.  The chocolate gives it a richer flavor but isn't necessary.  Once I perfect egg free gnocchi I will mix this meat and broth with the gnocchi and brussels sprouts.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Coffee Vino braising sauce - London Broil

Our coffee pot always has a cup or two left in it.  Not sure why we brew more than we need...guess we are waiting for that day when we don't have time to wait for another cup to brew, water to boil for the french press or to insert the plastic K cup and push on.

This week we officially joined the grass fed meat society.  The meat smelled better raw, the flavor was intense and even the left over fat looked healthier.

During the rush to make our meat purchases Monday, the three year old was on the verge of a melt down,  I asked the butcher for a london broil while I was looking at the short rib.  London Broils have their place in my kitchen, usually after a long time marinating and cooked over hot coals.  So when I realized my mistake this afternoon while digging through my almost empty fridge looking for the short rib I had no choice but to cook up the london broil.

This is not a quick meal.  Plan at least three hours.  Maybe save it for a rainy, wet, cool day when you need the stove to put off some heat and a food cooking smell good odor.  Tip of the day - wear an apron if you do not want to ruin your clothes.


2-3 Lb London Broil
Sea Salt
Fresh Pepper
Grease (I use bacon)
2 Tsp chili powder
1 Tsp Oregano
1/2 onion chopped into larger chunks
1 cup of coffee
1 cup of red wine (maybe more to cover meat while braising)

1. Arrange all your ingredients.  To avoid touching the salt and pepper grinders after touching the meat I grind enough salt/pepper into a small bowl and then season from this bowl.  Its easier to wash a bowl than the grinders.

2. Season the meat with sea salt and pepper.  Don't just drop/grind it on.  Massage it into the meat.

3.  Heat up the pan over a medium to high heat, add about a table spoon of grease (mmm bacon grease) and gently drop the meat into the hot pan.  After about three minutes flip over and cook for about three minutes.

 4. Remove steak from pan and gently poor in the wine and coffee along with the chili powder and oregano.  While still maintaining a high heat scrape the brown flavors off the bottom of the pan.  If you are using a non stick do not use a pair of tongs to scrape...I'm using 50+ year old Revere ware my grand mother gave me for college.

5.  Once the liquid heats up and the bottom of the pan feels smooth, add the steak back into the pan along with the onions.  There should be enough liquid to cover, or almost cover, the meat.  Don't have your three year old add the onions first cause the steak will sit too high (like this picture).

 6.  Cover the pan (forgot to get a picture) and turn the heat down low.  You want the liquid to slowly simmer.  Set the timer for 3 hours.  Check back to make sure the liquid hasn't boiled off.

7.  Around hour three check the meat's tenderness.  In our case we started eating it before I could photograph.  Check out the color difference from start to finish.

8. The pan juices will make a great gravy if you eat flour.  Since we are gluten free I cranked up the heat and reduced the remaining volume in half.  I should have tried to make gravy with almond flour.

 9.  I shredded the meat over sauteed cabbage and drizzled in the pan's gravy.