Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Savory Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Living in Manhattan isn't easy. You work A LOT so that you can afford the crazy sky high rent  and then by the time that and the basics (student loans!) are paid there isn't much left with which to indulge. I'm primarily in charge of grocery shopping and menu planning in our home so this is an area I look to for conservative spending. We eat a LOT of grass-fed ground beef ($6 per lb) as well as some chicken, bacon, canned salmon or maybe a filet of fish to shake things up. If it's clean and cheap it's getting served for dinner. This being the case, we don't get to eat much steak these days. When the Food Emporium was going out of business we stopped by the usually overpriced "gourmet" shop on the Upper West Side to snag a bargain. Happily, everything was discounted including meat so I grabbed up the last of the lamb as well as a pack of beef short ribs. Originally these were intended for a recipe from Well Fed but I got tired of waiting to amass the various ingredients and just went for it!

Now, as tends to be my style, there aren't exact measurements going on. Truth is, I didn't expect this to be a recipe worth sharing so I was just doing a quick cook up before rushing downtown. Honestly, you just don't need exact measurements for most recipes. As I was discussing with Stupid Easy Paleo, baking may be scientific but cooking is ART. It's a creation, unique, subjective to taste and almost entirely without rules (except, you know, don't get food poisoning). So here's what I did, a scoop here and a dash there. Bonus: the ingredient list is everything that you're sure to have in the pantry or fridge! Try it out  the next time you happen upon a sweet meat deal:

You'll be using two dishes for this one. The first is a skillet where the seasoning and browning is accomplished. I used a hefty scoop of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, got it nice and hot, then placed the ribs in, Salt and Pepper the raw sides before their turn in the oily hot tub. This process took about 10 minutes as I gave each of the 6 sides of the ribs a chance to brown. Towards the end of the process I sprinkled on Red Pepper Flakes and dried Thyme leaves. 

Fun Fact: heating herbs and spices helps release their full spectrum of flavor

Next comes the slow cooker. I covered the bottom of the basin with a small sliced Onion as well as a few peeled and cut organic Carrots. Place the short ribs on top of this veggie bed and make sure to pour all of that gorgeous coconut oil and newly rendered fat into the mix as well. Using half of a can of organic Tomato Paste and 1/2 cup Water that have been stirred together, pour it on top of the ribs. Toss in two Bay Leaves and a few Garlic Cloves, I had 6 left so that's what went in to the melange. 
Now for the easiest bit! Set the timer for at least 3 hours to as much as 5 hours and walk away. When you come back all of those herbs will have mixed together to create a heavenly smell in your kitchen, the fat and tomato sauce mix will be dancing together and the ribs will be in a state of thoroughly cooked-ness. At 3.3 hours our ribs were falling off of the bone but the meat was firm yet tender. If you want it to melt away in shreds then leave it be for a few more hours. Personally, we enjoyed being raucous cannibals with the chunks. I'd been liberal with the red pepper flakes so there was a nice warm burn that came at the end of each bite without being super spicy and the defining character of the dish. All of those carrots will be delicious so make sure to eat those up as well. To increase the veggie load these will be great with smashed cauliflower or maybe a sweet potato with some melted ghee. Since J had made some spicy. Eastern seasoned cauliflower we used that as a quick side plus an organic green salad of spinach and kale. Twas YUMMY, easy and a fun mix up from our routine. Let me know how this one works out for you and what modifications you made for your family's dinner. Eat well~*

Ain't she a beauty

Thursday, February 14, 2013

V-Day Quickie

Ok, I have less than an hour to get prettified for my sweet husband who is about to whisk me off for an evening of romance. BUT I just HAVE to share this with you:

                                                 PALEO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

I realize this is already out there 100 fold in the blogosphere but for whatever reason I didn't know about it so maybe you don't either.  If you're dealing with some serious cravings for an indulgent dessert and you're trying to be a goo dlil cave person and not even dip in to dairy then this is it.

No measuring necessary, just eyeball it to your taste and how much you want to scarf down. And this is yummiest when eaten cold.

Take the thick mass of coconut awesomeness from a can of full fat coconut milk (like Thai Kitchen).

Sprinkle in a bit of quality cocoa.

Drizzle a teensy dab of honey and mix it up.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras (in my belly)

Look at all those fatty's!
I am massively susceptible to suggestion. This week combines both the celebratory awesomeness of Fat Tuesday & Valentine's Day. I'm subconsciously being driven mad to overindulge, especially on dessert. AND, because it is the aforementioned Carnival USA-style, I am compelled to believe that I totally deserve to indulge.

Well I don't, but I did.  There was an ice cream incident today that I'm not ready to go in to. Happierly (heck yes, made a new word) I also concocted a super indulgent yet nutritionally acceptable dinner for the sweet hubs.
Seriously, I pulled EVERY form of fatty dairy out of our fridge and used it to make a rice mac n cheese (Munster, Brie, grass-fed Cheddar. Cabot butter and Kerrygold unsalted). Brussels sprouts were sauteed in Hudson Valley duck fat. But the centerpiece of delectable yumminess was Lea Valle's Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets. The recipe was spot on and really easy to execute. We didn't have any Frank's Red Hot on hand but there was a small bottle of Tabasco (going with the Louisiana theme!) that I subbed in and WOO were these babies spicy and on the money for flavor. Plus, ground chicken is really affordable even here in Manhattan.I served a small side of strong blue cheese & artichoke dip as a cooling side and because it just seemed appropriate. J seemed pleased with the line up and we both filled up very quickly on such rich fare. This is definitely not a meal to repeat weekly but we both did agree after licking our plates that we're ready to lighten up. Well, after the 14th of course ;)

Flattened balls of fire

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Case of the Mondays, or better yet: COMBATING THEM

Today I woke up after only 5 hours of sleep looking toward a long shift on a rainy day. I had to do TWO bank runs for the business, work even longer than scheduled and missed my night's free movie screening because I don't have any close friends in town yet that wanted to come along, plus work ran late so I missed the chance to go alone. One would think this could be summed up as a bad day, but it wasn't. I had a good Monday.

Perspective, attitude, optimism. We hear these buzz words over and over. Often we are told that life is how we approach it, not what happens to us. I guess that's true though sometimes it is just damn hard to push through the muck.

Here's what made my day great:

  • I came in to work to find I was going to spend the day with some awesome colleagues
  • Every customer that came in who I managed to connect with was noted as a victory in my mind. I may have been the only one cheering myself on but damn was I proud of myself. 
  • A ridiiiiculously cute puppy came in to the shop and I allowed myself a few minutes to cuddle with him, no apologies
  • All those trips to the bank gave me a chance to breathe some (relatively) fresh air and stretch my legs
  • Extra work meant I earned enough to buy myself a special treat at the market
  • Missing out on the free move screening meant I got to go home to my husband sooner
It doesn't work every time but if we can remind ourselves to keep pushing through then we're almost guaranteed to gain some ground, at least much more than if we just stand there frowning at the challenge.

Friday, February 8, 2013


 early morning flake fest
Well, "Winter Storm Nemo" was threatening to be a behemoth but is shaping up as more of a welcomed excuse to head home early on a Friday. The snow is falling and plentiful in Manhattan but isn't threatening to trap us all in our buildings. As much as I'd love to have all of tomorrow to be cozy with my J, it looks like work will be all systems go.
Blustery winter days seem to entreat a hearty meal. I wholeheartedly offer Mark's Beef Burgundy as an absolutely delicious recipe to try out. it's incredibly rich with delicious chunks of beef in a salty think sauce. It cooks slowly over the course of a few hours, asking only to be tended to a few times throughout the day. Being that many of us are seeking respite from biting winds anyway, what's a few trips in to the kitchen? This is a great one to practice, master and incorporate into your rotation of winter warm-ups.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

40 Days and 40 Writes

I've got this hang up where if I can't do something PERFECTLY then I shy away from it outright. It's a really wanky tick and completely self sabotaging but it seems to be my schtick.It was a recurring excuse when it came to my weight loss based on the premise that I hadn't begun my new diet (whatever it was at the time) on an even date, usually the first of the month. Yes, silliness. And so the same has persisted with my blogging. Indeed I was very busy wedding planning and then getting married and then cutting my hair ;) followed by MOVING to NYC and starting a bold and brand new life with my wonderful husband...all great excuses for getting sidetracked. Yet always, always it has been n my mind that I should be writing. After we began to make our home together Jeffrey told me how much he wanted me to get back to writing. And I have shyer away from it because I didn't know where to start. "I have to talk about our wedding first." A month later, "I need to review this Fall festival fare before I can go into holiday cooking." Well with those ever increasing limitations I seemed to be digging a grave for my blogging desires. So we'll start here and now. It's Lent! I'm promising to write every day. Let's see where this road leads.