Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A foody day

Not a "foodie" day.  That spelling implies someone who refuses to use McCormick's spices or store-brand chicken broth and believes that the only salt worth using costs no less than eight dollars an ounce.  And... that ain't me.  No, it was a foody day because I spent all afternoon barefoot in the kitchen.  I wish it was Monday so I could use my really great Nomday pun I thought up, but oh well. 

Jason and I feel as if we've been in a food rut lately, eating a lot of the same stuff over and over.  I was getting really, really bored with cooking, and although he never complained, I know Jason was getting bored with my cooking too.  I've still got a lot of cookbooks from before we went Paleo, so I decided to flip through one and see what kind of recipes were acceptable or at least easily adapted.  I shouldn't have been surprised to find several.  Yet more evidence that it is not hard to find good recipes, if you've got even a shred of creativity (and if you're not creative, there's still plenty laid out--all you have to do is find them).

Oh, I also found a bunch of Paleo snack recipes (by Googling "Paleo snack recipes") and decided to try a new one today.  I documented all the fun I had in the kitchen today, and now I shall share.

First up--Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies!  This is not a new recipe for us; Jason found it months ago (here, scroll down a bit) and we've made it several times.  Sometimes we leave out the coconut and use more chocolate chips (usually that happens when we forget that we're out of coconut AGAIN).  Either way, they're delicious.

This is where I will say, if you plan on going Paleo or Primal, get yourself one of these:

Hello, beautiful.

Food processors are SO USEFUL.  We use ours far more often than I thought we would, and I honestly thought we'd use it plenty.  We did learn that it's worth the expense to get a good one, rather than those piddly little 2-cup "food choppers" you can get for thirty bucks at Target.  This thing ain't messing around.  It weighs as much as the dog and runs quieter than the dishwasher.  (I suspect this is because it pulverizes things so quickly the food doesn't have time to bang around and cry for help.)  We also have a food dehydrator, which we don't use quite as frequently, but it's also nice to have, especially when you find flank steak on sale for $5/pound and really want to make some jerky.

Anyway.  Moving on.  I made the cookie dough and spooned it out:

I was working with just a wooden spoon and some rather unwieldy chocolate chunks, so I had trouble getting them all to come out the same size.  So I just dug some dough out of the overachieving cookies and stuck it onto the little runty cookies, so they'd all be about the same.  Sort of like No Child Left Behind, only with baked goods.

And that is as close to a political statement as you'll find here.

Once the cookies were all evenly-matched and indistinguishable from one another, I stuck 'em in the oven and they came out looking like this.


You like that baking sheet?  It's a stoneware one that I borrowed from my sister about a year ago.  I could have sworn I returned it, but I guess not.  Apparently either a) she thought I returned it too or b) she knows I still have it and just hasn't needed it.  Either way, I've been using it for cookies because it does a bang-up job.

You know what is the great thing about this recipe?  The bowl practically cleans itself.

I guess "great" is relative to your opinion on licking the bowl.

Between the coconut oil and the oil from the nuts, there is almost nothing left in the bowl after everything's spooned out.  Also, the dough doesn't stick to the spoon, so it's easy to ball it up and drop it in even, round clumps (if you're not an idiot like me who can't eyeball cookie clumps).

Anyway, while these cookies are not especially sweet, they are far more satisfying than sugary flour-based cookies, thanks to the nuts and healthy fats.  And you still get a chocolate fix, which is basically required.

Next up?  Crackers!  Recipe.  I did not do shrimp, just the crackers, and I ended up using a little over 1/2 cup sesame seeds, rather than the full cup it called for (you can buy 'em in bulk at the Asian market!  But we don't have an Asian market out here in the corn so I just got the little tin at Kroger!  It was only 2 ounces!  So that's what I used!), and I added a little bit of olive oil.  Still worked.

Have you seen that Family Guy episode where they drink a case of ipecac to see who wins the last piece of pie?  Yeeeeeeaaaaah.

I will admit, this did not look promising.  It smelled a little weird and was a pain in the ass to roll out.  But I persevered, seasoning with these guys:

Hello, friends!  Next time I'll glue you on with butter or something.

And it all came out looking like this.

And they taste REALLY good.

So, these guys took me about an hour and a half, between getting all the crap together, educating the cookies, washing the food processor, bravely forging ahead with a questionable recipe and washing the food processor again.  (I'm sorry, Town of Plainfield.  I used a lot of water today.  I mean A LOT of water.)  And then it was time to cook dinner!  All three recipes (burgers, salsa, salad) came out of a regular cookbook (one of the many editions of Better Homes and Gardens, a recent one).  In the end I decided on Greek-seasoned turkey burgers with Greek salsa and warm tomato-and-feta salad over spinach.

As an aside, canned chopped olives look revolting.


Really, really revolting.


Sorry.  Anyway, they taste good, and they go into nomalicious Greek salsa, which looks like this:

Dear Lord in Heaven.  I love food so much.

Wanna see how trashed my kitchen was after my weirdo cooking bender?

Not too trashed at all, really, but I still would like more counter space.  A girl's gotta dream...

Oh hey, you know how people always think salad's not filling?  This is why.


That's an entire 10-ounce package of spinach, wilted down in some butter.  Once that water's cooked out, you realize just how little there is to a bunch of leaves.  And this, my friends, is why a good Paleo salad will always have protein and fat.  If it's just vegetables, you're gonna be hungry again as soon as you take a pee.

We, however, were having PLENTY of protein and fat with our vegetables, in the form of this dinner.

Ohhhhhh my.


That, dearest ones, was a very, very satisfying dinner, and a big step out of the rut we've been in lately.  My stomach is still very, very happy.

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