So before this whole paleo-ish flirtation, we went to a team potluck and signed up to bring a dessert. The morning of the potluck, I had asked Andrew to make French toast. Growing up, my family never made French toast at home, and it’s not a second-nature thing for me to make quickly, but Andrew’s did and he’s good at making it quickly. So he obliged and whipped up French toast with strawberries and bananas, scrambled eggs, and bacon. I probably could have called it a day there and gone straight back to bed happy as can be, but there was this potluck we had planned…
It was kind of gray and dreary out, and I wasn’t really motivated to go to the store. I was supposed to make the lemon chess pie from Phoo’d, but then I looked at the leftover bread from the French toast and it begged to be made into bread pudding. So after using my favorite comprehensive cookbook (aka Google), I found this Pioneer Woman recipe. As usual, I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients on hand, but I like to look at recipes, figure out what’s actually necessary to make the most basic version, then customize based on what I have on hand. I had 2/3 of a Semifreddis Sweet Batard loaf on hand, one of those wider, shorter loaves that’s probably about a foot long. This was perfect to fill a 9 inch pie dish. I didn’t have any whiskey to make the sauce (and I’ve had inconsistent experience making these sweet dessert sauces), and was worried the bread pudding wouldn’t have enough sweet flavor, so I scrounge around and came up with a half-full jar of Nutella. I didn’t take any pictures because I was afraid this wouldn’t work out, but it turned out beautifully and was eaten so quickly I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of the dish. Oh well…you’ll just have to make it yourself and take a picture for me. Here’s the recipe:
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 to 4 cups rustic bread (I used 2/3 of a foot-long Sweet Batard loaf)
1/2 jar Nutella (you could use more, I ran out)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Slice bread into 3/4 inch thick slices.
- Make little Nutella sandwiches with the slices by spreading Nutella thickly on one slice, then putting another slice against it.
- Cut the sandwiches into 1 inch cubes.
- Beat together eggs, butter, vanilla, and milk. Note: Beat the melted, slightly cooled butter into the eggs. If you’re an idiot like me and dump the warm butter straight into what is likely cold milk, you will end up with butter lumps. Because science, duh. Add sugar and mix until sugar is dissolved.
- Pack the bread cubes into a nine-inch baking dish, keeping the crust facing up around the edges. Mix up the interior of the dish, with some pieces crust up and some crust down. Pour the liquid over the bread. If you have any chocolate chips or pieces, sprinkle some over the top. Bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
I baked mine for 55 minutes, then brought it to a potluck and reheated it in the oven for 15 minutes. Worked out perfectly.
I came across a recipe I really wanted to try on nomnompaleo, the Slow Cooker Korean Shortribs. Let me just be very clear - this recipe is amazing. It’s easy, and it makes your house smell so damn good you’ll want to drown yourself in the smell. Make it. I’m going to include my variation here because I don’t have a slow cooker and had to make a few modifications.
I tend to read comments obsessively because I never quite have the right ingredients on hand, and the comments will usually yield several workable substitutions. They served me very well this time.
I went to the fancy grocery store near me, where they had sold out of all their bone-in short ribs. When using a “wet” cooking method, like slow cooking or braising, use a bone-in meat if possible - the liquid pulls the marrow out of the bones and helps make a wonderfully flavorful sauce. There’s some mythbusting that confirms that bone-in makes a difference for wet cooking methods, but little difference in grilling. They did, however, have heart-shaped center cut medallions (which I did not buy, but they were funny) and OXTAIL.
Oxtail is the primary meat used in a lot of Asian soups, including pho broth. I know it can be delicious from other people cooking it, but I’d never made it myself. I was totally intrigued. Turns out it’s cheaper than English-style short ribs, and more consistently tender. I’m pretty much sold on it.
I halved the Nom Nom Paleo recipe and used about 3.5 pounds of oxtail (saving the bones to make broth, first attempt ever - post on that to follow later). I forgot to halve the sauce and made the entire batch, which was fine since I used oven braising instead of slow cooking and I think more evaporates in the oven.
I’m not totally paleo yet, especially since I still have half-bottles of soy sauce and whatnot to use up, and I don’t have gluten allergies. I used soy sauce instead of coconut aminos - definitely should have used less soy sauce, since it is stronger tasting than coconut aminos. 1/3 cup probably would have been fine.
I also used apple cider vinegar instead of coconut vinegar, and left off the cilantro completely because I was lazy.
For cooking this in the oven, I used a Dutch oven pot at 275 degrees for 6 hours. I broiled them on both sides (in the Dutch oven, because who wants to clean another baking sheet) before pouring in the sauce. Even if you cook less meat, you probably don’t want to lower the cooking time, since it takes a while for the meat to break down (is that the right term?) and become tender. It turned out perfectly. 6 hours, 275 degrees, 3.5 pounds of oxtail. Remember that. I did check on it a couple of times to make sure there was enough liquid, but I didn’t need to add anything extra.
Here’s Andrew scooping it out of the Dutch oven:
For an appetizer and side, I made the eggplant “ricotta” stacks and mashed garlic cauliflower, also from the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook and didn’t change a thing. They were both amazing, very easy, and pretty to look at. I sort of love the macadamia nut ricotta. It doesn’t taste like cheese, per se, but it’s sort of salty and I love the flavor of macadamia nut, so I’ll take any excuse to eat it.
Go forth, friendbeasts. Make these super easy dishes and let your mouth be happy.
The manfriend and I have been thinking about dropping a few pounds. We want to be faster runners, and it’s hard to run fast with extra weight.
We are both very active and we try to think about what we eat, but on nights when we’re both tired from work and working out (it’s hard to do both), we pick up fresh pasta down the street and thaw out some spaghetti sauce I make and freeze in giant batches and stuff our faces with delicious, delicious pasta. Or…we just do it because it’s delicious. It’s hard with all the influx of information coming in to figure out what the “right” decision means for your diet.
We’re both lactose intolerant but have tried to eat enough cheese and butter to sort of develop a tolerance for some harder cheeses or a pat of butter here and there. I also just keep a giant handful of lactose pills in my backpack all the time because I looooove cheeeeeeese sooooo much. We really just shouldn’t eat the stuff but again…so delicious.
Anyways, enter the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook. Manfriend got this for me for Christmas because he thought I would like the name and the cartoons. Totally right. The guy also made me a bouquet of bacon roses for Valentine’s Day, so I think he gets me.
I mostly started cooking out of it because the recipes were really easy…and then the paleo-ish guidelines started seeming like a direction we could stick to for eating better and losing a little weight. One of my friends, Maddy, said today “but it freaks me out to eat THAT much meat”. Maybe I just ate a lot of meat to begin with, but I’ve found that I’m not buying and consuming much more meat, if at all. I’m really replacing most of the bread, noodles, and rice I ate with vegetables and fruits. We really stuck to easy-to-saute leafy greens before - now more interesting plants are starting to creep into our diet, like eggplant and artichoke.
Anyways, this is really like day 3 or 4 of this little experiment, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m already feeling less crappy because I haven’t had dairy in a few days…
Best boyfriend ever. Handmade bacon bouquet.
Sounds like: Ellie Goulding, Rihanna, Florence & The Machine, Jessie Ware | What’s so good? Listen to a curated playlist crafted from this song.
Karl the Fog returns to blanket the Bay Area, and this song is so fitting.
I accidentally told my boyfriend I wanted to eat his catbird. :-/
Baked some iPhone cookies to trick cops into pulling me over, then I just take a bite and ask if cookies are against the law.
2014 new years resolution
Did you know biscuits and gravy was so easy to make?! I’m glad I didn’t know this earlier, actually, otherwise…well the hips don’t lie.
Lately, I’ve been buying the uncased housemade sausage by the pound at schmanier grocery stores. I’ll use half for sausage, white wine, garlic, and tomato pasta (cook sausage, throw all other stuff in, and simmer), then freeze the other half for lazy weekend breakfasts.
I didn’t make the biscuits in this recipe and made half the amount of sausage gravy, which was a generous serving for two. My go-to biscuit recipe is just 1.5 cups heavy cream and 2 cups self-rising flour. I’ve never had the patience to roll out biscuits, so I just make them as drop biscuits (scoop out a spoonful, dump on ungreased baking sheet, continue). You can also use Bisquik and milk.
Sometimes, if I’m just making a couple, I’ll just make them in a covered pan on the stove, camping style.
I love biscuits. And gravy. A lot.