Archive | November, 2013

Smoky Chipotle Chili

25 Nov

chiliiconI love chili, but for my whole life I’d only ever been exposed to chili that’s packed full of beans. When I went paleo, I thought that good chili would have to be relegated to a sometimes food. But then, on a whim, I did a search for recipes for bean-less chili….

…And I discovered that I’ve been doing it wrong my whole damn life.

According to the prestigious historical source of Wikipedia, chili’s ancient origins in the American Southwest began as just spicy meat in a thick sauce. No beans in sight. Beans were probably added later as a cheap way to make the stew stretch further. Somehow, that method became the norm, and chili without beans became reclassified as “Texas-style Chili,” an obscure suborder to the family tree. Once I knew what to look for, recipes started flooding in from across the interwebs. The ones that jumped out at me were the ones that used real stew meat as well as ground meat. I felt like some sort of culinary archaeologist, reverse-engineering the glorious past this food had strayed too far away from.

Anyway, starting with those Texas-style recipes, I soon started fiddling around putting my own spin on things. This recipe uses one of my favorite “secret ingredients:” chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. For those whose experience with chipotles starts and ends with the fast-food logo, basically chipotle chilis are smoked red jalapeno chilis and adobo sauce is a richly flavored sauce that they are often packed with in cans. I’ve been playing around with tossing these things into burgers and other things for a while now, but I really made an evolutionary leap ahead when I came up with the idea of tossing the whole shebang into a food processor and using that as a spicy base for things.

This recipe takes all the wonders of an all-meat, paleo friendly chili, and elevates it with some extra smokiness for a unique kick.

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Entertaining: The Gateway Drug

11 Nov

game_dinner_iconAs I’ve mentioned before, one of the best excuses I have for trying out new paleo recipes is the dinner I serve for my weekly RPG game-group. Not everyone in the group is paleo, but no one complains when I hand them plates loaded with beef stew, chili, bacon-wrapped chicken, or other hearty fare. Currently there are five of us in the group, so I also appreciate the opportunity to practice making larger meals, in preparation for the day when I might someday have a full-on family like a real adult.

But in the last month and a half, I have encountered a slippery slope. See, I am a natural born hostess. When I throw a party, I am constantly running around making sure everyone has drinks and everything they need to have a good time. Hell, when I go to other people’s parties, the first thing I usually do after walking in the door is head straight to the kitchen to see if they need any help. What I’ve realized recently, though, is that these habits are actually just the shadowy tendrils of a deeper desire that is hidden in my heart.

A dark beast that is now finding itself unleashed.

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Butternut Squash Harvest Hash

7 Nov

hashiconThis is a recipe that I’ve developed that is perfect for fall, but honestly I make it year-round. It’s super flexible and versatile. You can play around with all sorts of different ingredients, spices, or even herbs. You can even totally change it’s functionality by simply changing the size of the butternut squash chunks. Larger chunks make it more of a side dish, medium chunks make it more like a stuffing, and small chunks make it more like an actual “hash.”

It’s slightly different everytime I make it, but the recipe I share here today is the gist of the protocol I use. I don’t really give measurements because, honestly, I don’t even know them, and they will always change depending on the size of your squash or your personal taste. So please, go out and have fun with it!

WARNING: Your house WILL smell like you’re baking apple pie, which might leave some of your family disappointed (though hopefully, once they taste it, not for long).

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Bitter Harvest

4 Nov

herbIn general, it seems that the paleo-sphere has a love-hate relationship with supplementation. I mean, we know that our ancestors were able to get all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they needed from their diets and environment, so if we’re careful enough we should be able to do the same, right? Well, while it is true that nutrients found in foods seem to be better-absorbed and more functional than supplements taken in isolation, even us paleo-peeps are fighting a bit of an uphill struggle. We’re not spending as much time outside and getting all the sunlight and dirt that entails, we’re eating animals that often have a nutrient-poor diet to begin with, and even the high-quality, heirloom, organic vegetables we eat are, at the end of the day, products of human invention, artificially selected for decades—if not longer—for things like taste and shelf-life rather than diversity of nutrients.

So in some cases, it seems, some supplementation is merited, but an issue that often gets overlooked in the endless debate of to-supplement-or-not-to-supplement is that the quality of supplements is going to have a major impact on its overall effects and benefits. We know that a calorie is not a calorie, so it stands to reason that one type/brand of supplement might be very different from another.

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