Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Being Paleo During an Economic Disaster

By Benjamin Skipper

We might be experiencing an economic calm at the moment, but if politicians keep pursuing the course we're on then undoubtedly another crisis will arise, this one perhaps amounting to a full-blown collapse. Of course, we don't have to go this way, and maybe there's still a slight chance we could stop it before it happens, but the crisis is so probable we might as well consider it a certainty and start preparing. Among the possibilities could be food and electricity shortages, chains of businesses folding, violence, and more.

Yes, it's a depressing subject to think about, but we should talk about it. I hypothesize that America is in the process of questioning the ideas that led us up to this point, and there is evidence a better future could be beyond the horizon within most of our lifetimes, so let's contemplate how to most comfortably endure the bad times in the short-term, okay? Namely, why it's important to remain on the Paleo diet during the crisis and some tips on how to do so practically.

While Paleo is gaining popularity steadily, it's still controversial and not accepted in mainstream nutrition, so it will be of question whether it's practical to maintain such standards, but I think it's obvious that it ought to be adhered to regardless. People may gasp at how much beef and broccoli costs in the supermarket and tout how much cheaper noodles and chips are, but truly it's the other way around when one considers the whole context beyond what a price tag says.

For one, calorie for calorie you're getting more for your money when you buy nutritious food than when you buy junk, not to forget that you're also buying a more dense set of calories. Someone may content themselves with boiled noodles for a single meal, but how long will that keep them full? Will they be able to make it to their next meal without snacking? And how many meals will they need? Steak, eggs, and bacon may seem extravagant in one sitting, but surely it's possible to make that one's only meal of the day, unless you're physically active, and avoid being tempted to snack or think constantly about food. Of all the posts I've seen on how to do Paleo on a budget, I've almost always seen the appetite aspect neglected, that Paleo adherents can comfortably eat less while still feeling good and healthy. I myself only eat 1-2 full meals a day and find it entirely unnecessary to snack, though do so sometimes out of gluttony.

Aside from getting more calories per bite and remaining full longer, what's the ultimate effect of those calories? How will it affect your entire set of abilities to perform? A person living off a primarily carbohydrate source of nutrition is likely to be hungry often and consistently, have nutritional deficiencies that affect his mental well-being, have lower energy, be more susceptible to sicknesses, less able to direct his mental processes, and more, all of which will lower the overall quality of his life. Those on Paleo will be able to better maintain well-being on this dietary regiment, everywhere from being more resilient (no need for cold medicine), mentally focused, energetic, and so on. Not only does the calorie density practically pay for itself, so will Paleo foods also be better in increasing the value of your whole life, while people on the Standard American Diet might need to spend more time and money taking medicine and visiting the doctor, if they have access during a crisis.

Paleo foods, for most, may not be able to be bought in as great a variety per shopping trip as SAD foods, but whatever you do get will contribute so much more wealth to your life than you spent in currency. Most significantly, SAD foods can actually increase your spending through the deleterious effects they produce, so don't be tempted to abandon Paleo during the crisis with the thought that you might save more money that way. Besides, how could anyone really switch back? People may suffer from decreased energy and cravings when first transitioning to Paleo, but I imagine the side-effects are much worse when trying to go back the other way. I'd probably vomit like crazy and get the flu instantly.

Now, how can things be done practically during the worst-case scenario? For the most part, this advice is concentrated on stockpiling before the bad things happen, so it's mostly towards guiding your efforts while you're trying to prepare beforehand. Stock your pantry early.

1.) Buy lots of canned/preserved meats, dried fruit, chocolate, nuts, and anything that can keep a long time: This should be able to keep your carnivore side satisfied during the meanwhile, and to supplement it you should keep lots of foods that don't need refrigeration and keep for ideally long times, like beef jerky and dark chocolate. My stance on canned veggies is unformed, however, because while meat might be nutritious enough to withstand the canning process, I'm skeptical as to how valuable canned vegetables and fruits are, particularly after perusing Weston A. Price's book, so I'd suggest pursuing them in other preserved formed, like pickles.

Don't be afraid to check out dollar stores. I've been surprised to find conventional brand names like Bumble Bee in such places, so you're probably going to get the best deal on canned salmon and mackerel in those places.

2.) Ditch shampoo, bathing soap, and toothpaste: These are mostly aesthetic tools that can be done without, especially if you're on Paleo. Richard Nikoley is famous for his no soap and shampoo experiment. I've practice it myself, so while I don't repudiate soap and shampoo for health reasons I forgo them since I've found my skin and hair to be much better without them. My scalp, for instance, used to be constantly dry when shampooing, and now without the stuff it consistently feels great, and my hair has a nice feel to it with no odor. Your results may vary depending on your genetics, however, so I can only verify that it works for myself; no one even knows I maintain this practice it's so effective. On toothpaste, my teeth remain cleaner and whiter than ever without them, which makes me think that diet is the primary in dental health, not brushing. Just how absorbent are your teeth, after all? It's not like the toothpaste penetrates the cores of your teeth every brushing session. With a good diet, you're maintaining your dental health starting from the inside of your teeth on out. I brush with water and use floss picks for comfort and aesthetic reasons, and have no breath problems. Even just a bare swig of water seems to be sufficient for cleansing my mouth of a cheese I just ate. (And I'm eating chocolate often, too.)

Don't forgo soap altogether, though, as I specifically noted bathing soap. It's still important to use it for hygienic reasons, so keep washing your hands. I buy soap specifically for that purpose, which is especially important since I work in the restaurant industry. As for deodorant, each individual will have to judge for himself his needs. Without it I have body odor very mildly, so I use Tom's of Maine, mainly because it doesn't sting or burn while I wear it like conventional brands do. A deodorant stone might suit some, but I've had limited success with it.

3.) Buy the cheapest toilet paper possible: Perhaps a slightly off putting subject, but digestive issues are still relevant to the health considerations here. My digestion has improved incredibly since going Paleo. I eliminate less often and very cleanly, so the cheapest toilet paper suffices for me.

4.) Stock up on supplements that keep, or seek out foods dense in the nutrients you're trying to get more of: Supplements are another thing that could possibly be a part of a shortage, so stock up on whatever can sit in the pantry, which excludes some things like fish oil, and for the rest search out preserved foods that are especially high in the nutrients you want. I only take magnesium regularly, so for my purposes I'll probably stock up on mineral rich foods like mackerel and nuts, or else preserve some things on my own like dried kale. It's questionable how much violence could factor into a crisis scenario given the political spectrum of the U.S. and the varying local cultures that result from state to state, so I might stock up on vitamin D as well if it gets too risky to walk outside for sunshine.

5.) Drink only water: Maybe a given, but still worth mentioning. I thought I'd miss soda and other flavored drinks when I went Paleo, but to my surprise it has gotten to the point that water is the only thing I can even desire. I'm fond of raw milk and young coconut juice too, but can live without them. Most liquids, to my understanding, don't offer anything significant that food can't, so you're better off forgoing stocking any sort of beverage during your pantry packing. Whether to buy bottled water, however, will vary from individual to individual. If you have a well that can be tapped even in electrical outages, then don't worry about it. City water users will want to buy some kind of good filter and have bottled backup for power outages. You know what I mean.

6.) Wear footwear less often: Outside of dietary considerations, but still relevant to a Paleo lifestyle. In addition to saving on food, one could stretch a clothing budget by wearing shoes less often, thus subjecting them to less wear and tear. The majority of my walks are barefoot, and having done it so often I've developed quite a skin on my soles. If you're careful to avoid pokey things and debris, the most uncomfortable thing about transitioning to barefoot walking is the mild friction burn that results, but it goes away once your skin toughens. Be careful not to scuffle, as that could stretch your skin and create blisters.

* * * * *

It's not only possible to remain Paleo during a crisis, but also very practical and important. Nobody really knows what's going to happen to the economy at this point, but it's better to be prepared than not, even if nothing happens. (Best case scenario: Things get better and you have a closest full of chocolate.) Whatever the case, your health is supremely important, so you shouldn't neglect it at a time when medical care could be limited, prohibitively expensive, or even not available at all.

In addition, it's also supremely important that in whatever scenario comes true that the causes are understood and spoken out against. The people responsible for whatever bad things happen will naturally be moved to evade their responsibility given how psychologically damaging it would be for them to recognize the suffering they've caused, so we must always speak up in order to call for a better future lest we risk living in a crisis economy for the rest of our life. I'm optimistic that things will turn out better, but not automatically or in the short-term. We've got to work in order to make any positive potential come true.

These are my thoughts on remaining healthy during economic disaster. What are yours? Do you have any suggestions to add to mine?

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Real Cream

By Diana Hsieh

In mid-May, I sent the following letter to "Darigold," the manufacturer of the cream that's now sold in our local Costco stores.

Hi,

I used to routinely buy the half gallons of "Country Classic" whipping cream from my local Costco stores in south Denver. It was only pasteurized, not homogenized, and didn't contain any additives. It was just cream -- and wow, it was stellar. It was the closest thing to raw cream (which I used to get) that I'd ever found. I liked it so much that I'd rather go without than buy ordinary cream from the grocery store. I wasn't alone: visitors often remarked that my cream tasted so much better than anything they'd ever bought.

However, now that Darigold has bought Country Classic, that fantastic product is gone. Costco only sells your Darigold cream, but that's the same barely tolerable product that's sold in regular grocery stores. I'm just not interested in that, and I won't buy it. I want the old Country Classic!

So please please please... bring it back! You had a great product!

-- Diana Hsieh
Modern Paleo : http://www.modernpaleo.com
I sent the same basic letter to Costco. Alas, I didn't get much in reply, but perhaps a few more letters from other unhappy customers would make a difference! If you're such a customer, then you can write Darigold here and write Costco here.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Objectivist Roundup & Rationally Selfish Webcast

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post some fresh links related to Objectivism from around the web for anyone interested in learning more about the philosophy.

The Objectivist Roundup is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome, including posts on food and health.

Try Reason! hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing the latest and best from Objectivist bloggers, go take a look!

My own Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast.

Here are the questions that I'll answer this week:

  • Question 1: The Rights of the Severely Retarded: What rights do severely mentally disabled people have? If someone is mentally disabled to the extent that he or she will never be able to be rational and/or live independently, does that person have rights? Who should be financially responsible for the care of such people?
  • Question 2: The Morality of Risky Sports: Are risky sports immoral? Some people engage in highly risky sports, such as freestyle skiing or snowboarding, mountain climbing in extreme conditions, surfing huge waves, skydiving, free (non-scuba) diving, super-technical mountain biking, and so on. Since life is the standard of value, is it wrong to risk your life (or limbs) in such pursuits? Should a person take pleasure in risks for its own sake? What is the value of such sports, if any?
  • Question 3: Francisco's Slap of Dagny: Was Francisco justified in slapping Dagny? In their teenage years, when Dagny asked Francisco whether she should try to get D's in order to gain popularity in school, Francisco slapped her. I understand what he meant by the "unspeakable" thing that she said. But couldn't have he talked it over with her instead of slapping her -- and shouldn't he have done so? Why does he use physical violence -- and why does Dagny not just accept but relish in it?
  • Question 4: The "Rape" Scene in The Fountainhead: Should a man ever act in real life as Howard Roark did in his first sexual encounter with Dominique? In your April 24th webcast, you said that a person should not act as Howard Roark did in the "rape" scene in The Fountainhead, implying it would be immoral. Could you explain why? Is the problem that you cannot know for certain what the woman wants? I've slept with a few women and only once have I ever been 100% certain that she wanted it that way and so I took it without any real permission and I was right. She even told me later she wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I understand it is very dangerous to say to guys, "Hey, its okay to do this!" because most people are idiots, but wouldn't there be rare real-life cases in which a man would be right to act like Roark did?
  • Question 5: Accepting Unauthorized Discounts: Is it moral to accept discounts for products and services when the person giving you the discount isn't a manager or owner of the business? Is it moral for a person to accept "nice face" discounts? I've had people (mostly women) tell me that they've received discounts or better service for being nice, dressing in low-cut shirts or short skirts, being cheerful or otherwise friendly to store clerks or employees (usually of the opposite sex). Is it moral to offer or accept such discounts?
  • Question 6: From Objectivist Answers: Buying Votes: Should it be legal in a free society to buy votes? It doesn't seem that the practice would violate anyone's rights, so shouldn't it be legal for a person who wants to hold office to pay willing voters to cast their vote for him?
If you're unable to attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #062

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Julianne Taylor presents Bone Marrow Transplants and the life saving effect of omega 3 posted at Julianne's Paleo & Zone Nutrition Blog, saying, "About 6 years ago my brother was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and had to have a bone morrow transplant from an unrelated donor. I discovered a study that showed Omega 3 was very powerful in reducing Graft Versus Host Disease, a potentially fatal reaction to a BMT."

Rafael presents Are genes responsible for modern diseases? posted at Optimal Health Source.

Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: World Market's 99% Cacao posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "I've been wanting to try a 99% chocolate for a long time now. I wish I had some nut butter to dip it in while tasting."

Diana Hsieh presents On Buying a Quarter Cow posted at NoodleFood, saying, "Thinking of buying a quarter cow? Here's my nuts-and-bolts advice on storage and price."

Meghan Little presents Shrimp and Bacon Salad posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "Our Shrimp and Bacon Salad is an entree to itself. Its warm and light, perfect for summer get-togethers! Try this and many more recipes at www.paleoeffect.com."

Rafael presents Increasing exercise at work posted at Optimal Health Source.

Nell Stephenson presents Paleo Doesn't Have To Be Cavie... posted at TrainWithNellie.

Angelo Coppola presents Latest in Paleo Episode 17: The Diet of No-Diet posted at Latest in Paleo, saying, "Join special guest Richard Nikoley and myself on a fun ride through some real-food news. Richard's POV is not to be missed. There's also a "Moment of Paleo" and an "After the Bell" segment featuring Bruce Lee."

Travis Schefcik presents The Paleo Diet posted at Uncommon Wellness.

Bree presents The Why Series: Why no buns, hunz? posted at primalbree, saying, "The first post in my new series: The Why Series. Hope everyone enjoys!"

Kris presents Is Coffee bad for you, or is it good? posted at Kris Health Blog, saying, "An article answering the question is coffee bad for you. The results are mixed, some studies say that it is good while others show slightly harmful effects"

Todd Dosenberry presents Does Wendys Serve Any Ideal Food? posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "Fast food is never ideal. But, sometimes its the only option. Its good to know what places are best to eat at and what to order when you decide to enter. Wendy's is a solid choice if you know how to order. Learn how in this blog post!"

David Csonka presents Three Things You Should Limit or Exclude From Your Diet posted at Naturally Engineered.

NJ Paleo Girl presents My story so far... posted at Erin, saying, "YAY for an Organic, Grass-Fed, Happy Paleo Pregnancy! I’m ready…"

NJ Paleo Girl presents Are Carbs the New Cocaine? posted at NJ Paleo Girl, saying, "Today I'm talking about one of the most addictive substances out there... you constantly crave it, you just can't get enough... all you think about is your next fix... It starts with the letter C... I'm not talking about Cocaine, I'm talking about CARBOHYDRATES!"

Peggy Emch presents A Dirty Kid is a Happy Kid! Why Everyone Should Play in the Dirt posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "Our world is increasingly sterilized and our immune health suffers from it. Letting kids get dirty makes them stronger and helps them fight illness."

Julia Campbell presents herbed top sirloin with sautéed radishes posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "This is a great spring dish of wonderful herb crusted top sirloin steak with buttery sautéed radishes and leeks."

DebB presents Avoid Hidden Sugars posted at Increase Metabolism & Live Healthy, saying, "Many "health" foods have hidden sugars. You would be surprised!"

Laurie Donaldson presents Primal Grill posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Primal grilling..."

Adam Farrah presents Health, Fitness, Paleo and CrossFit - A Long-Term View posted at PracticalPaleolithic.com, saying, "A video blog about the results one might expect when starting a Paleo diet and CrossFit program and some thoughts on taking a longer-term view on health and fitness."

Lindsey presents Shrimp Tomato Pasta posted at Enjoying Healthy Foods, saying, "All I can say is that this dish was amazing!!!!"

Dr. John presents Joseph finally quit grains to lower his bad cholesterol posted at Paleoterran, saying, "You thought fat was the primary culprit in increasing the really bad cholesterol?"

Logan Marshall presents 21 Quick Actions You Can Take Today to Revolutionize Your Health posted at Wild Movement.

Paul Jaminet presents Iodine and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Part I posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "In part 1 of a 2-part series, guest blogger Mario Iwakura looks at a controversial issue: the place of high-dose iodine in autoimmune hypothyroidism. Mario explains why iodine is sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, and in part 2 gives his tips for recovery from Hashimoto's."

Dustin Sharp presents A Week of Paleo Food posted at Paleo Vélo, saying, "Visualizing one week's worth of Paleo groceries."

Meghan Little / Angel Torres presents Fajitas posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "Make it Cinco de Mayo every month with this amazing and simple Paleo Fajita Recipe from your friends at PaleoEffect.com"

Robin presents Curing Allergies With Free Range Eggs posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "The benefits of eating clean and local never cease to amaze me: How I used my free-ranging chickens to cure a pollen allergy"

Ray Sylvester presents A Tale of Two Top-Fives posted at chowza, saying, "I share my top five reasons for wishing I lived in the Paleo era... and the top five why I'm glad I don't."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! This blog carnival has plenty of room to grow! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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Question of the Week: Starting Paleo

By Diana Hsieh

Terrible hangover

This week's "Paleo Question of the Week" was submitted to Google Moderator by me:
What inspired you to begin eating paleo? Did you have some health problem that you wanted to fix?
We want to hear your answer in the comments! You're also welcome to post a comment or question on any other paleo-related topic.

If you'd like to submit a question for an upcoming week or vote on questions submitted by others, go check out the Google Moderator session. (We're running a bit low on questions, so please submit any that you think might be interesting!)

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

fennel and zucchini soup

By Julie

The perfect rainy spring day lunch, starring the sorriest fennel bulb in existence. I had planned on using the bulb for some days but just couldn't get my act together. Those days included failed blog recipes, meal after meal of leftovers, a sudden burst of food inspiration that ended up in a crabby 10pm dinner, and all without figuring how to work in the fennel bulb I'd bought. I had bought some zucchini at one point to make this soup, but then that aforementioned burst of inspiration came to me and I decided to make a Spanish tortilla with them. The end result was beyond delicious, but it wasn't exactly a tortilla. There's a definite difference between a Spanish tortilla and a frittata. The main difference being that a frittata you just bake. A tortilla you have to flip. I used a pan that was a bit too small for the amount of ingredients I used. I didn't think it would ever set in order to flip it. At that point I just said screw it and chucked it in the oven. I WILL post a tortilla recipe one day. I'll get it. I guess I don't mind trying again and again (I do get to eat it, after all), just so long as I don't start at 8pm. In any case, I needed to make this soup to use my fennel.


This soup is an in between soup - not a heavy winter stew and not a chilled summer vegetable soup. It's creamy, but light. Barely any seasoning lets the flavors of the vegetables come through and it's served with lightly sautéed grape tomatoes and the fronds from the fennel bulb. Like I said, my fennel bulb's future was quickly becoming dismal, and the fronds were getting pretty wilted, but I managed to salvage enough for the garnish. I think this soup would go well with a simple grilled fish. I had had a big breakfast (read, the remainder of the tortilla) and this soup hit the spot for lunch on a grey and rainy day. Rainy days are a fun change from Denver's almost relentless sun (I'm sure a lot of people would hate me for saying that).

So fennel is the main feature in this soup. It's the vegetable with the most interesting flavor. As far as the zucchini goes, you could sub in some yellow crookneck or other summer squash. Leeks would also work well in place of the onion. You could also add in chopped, cooked bacon to the tomato mixture. Bacon is a pretty wonderful soup (everything?) topper. If you don't have fennel seeds, anise would work well too. Cumin seeds would work, also, but it would be a stronger, deeper flavored soup.

fennel and zucchini soup
adapted from Bon Appetit, serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped, fronds chopped and reserved
3 small zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cups chicken broth
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add fennel, zucchini, onion, and fennel seeds. Sauté until fennel is translucent, about 7 minutes.

2. Add broth to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Puree soup with either an immersion blender or in a regular blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. My broth was salty enough that I didn't need any additional salt.

4. While soup is cooking, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes and sauté until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds. Season with salt and pepper. Serve soup with tomato mixture on top.

Enjoy this yummy soup on a dreary spring day!

This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

oaxacan yellow mole

By Julie

I've been pining to make a proper, working in the kitchen all day kind of mole for a long, long time now. But it's just so damn daunting! It'd be one thing if yeah, the ingredient list is as long as my arm at 10 point font, but you just put it all in a blender and away you go. But no, there are also enough steps to make you cross-eyed. Yellow mole is a simpler mole. Coupled with the fact that this is adapted from my always go-to Rick Bayless's Everyday Mexican, it's also a totally doable and delicious mole.


Despite the simplicity of ingredients, I still somehow managed to get thwarted at the grocery store. I feel like this always happens to me. Sometimes it's my fault and I forget to put something on my list. Other times it's the stupid $30/pound pine nuts (which, when I went to Whole Foods later in the week, were like $33/pound there - each grocery store kept getting more and more expensive!). This time, the store just didn't have a trace of an ingredient. The original recipe called for chayote squash. I see it every time I go to the store and have thought to buy it a dozen times. This time I put it on the list and was going to use it in this recipe! But it seemed to have vanished. Its little spot in between the summer squash and eggplant was just filled in with more summer squash and more eggplant. Gah. I used sweet potatoes instead, and I thought they were good.

Another ingredient switch I did was to use cilantro as a topper, rather than the traditional hoja santa leaves. I'm sure I could have found those at one of the Latin markets around me (and probably that blasted chayote), but I wasn't too concerned. That may be because I've never had it and don't know what I'm missing. But since cilantro was listed as an acceptable substitute, I just went with that. I love cilantro. If you can't find tomatillos, you can use 1/2 a 14.5 ounce can of regular tomatoes - fire roasted would be best. Traditionally, this mole sauce is thickened with masa harina. Since the recipe only called for 1 tablespoon of it (though I saw others that called for way more), I didn't feel at all bad leaving it out.

The mole sauce here could be used with a bunch of different vegetables and meats. I'd love to try it with seafood. It would be great with any seasonally appropriate vegetables, so you can switch it up as the year goes on. Also, feel free to adjust the amount of each spice after the chicken is cooked through.

oaxacan yellow mole
adapted from Rick Bayless, serves 6

4 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
4 cups chicken broth, divided
6 tomatillos, husked, washed, and quartered
1/2 small white onion, cut into 4 pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 teaspoon each of ground cumin, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and (optional) saffron
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 tablespoons lard, bacon grease, or olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 ounces green beans, tops and tails broken off and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes or 2 large chayotes, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 zucchini, cut at a diagonal while rotating the zucchini 1/4 turns (it's called Rangiri - so fancy!)
salt
coarsely chopped cilantro or fresh hoja santa leaves, torn into 1-inch pieces

1. In a small, dry pan, toast the chile pieces for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. It's hard to see brown spots of them, since they're so dark, so just be careful not to burn.

2. Add chiles to a blender along with tomatillos, onion, garlic, spices, oregano and 1 cup of the chicken broth. Blend until as smooth as possible.

3. In a large heavy pot, heat the fat or oil over medium-high heat. Holding a medium-mesh strainer over the pot, pour in the chile mixture. With the back of a spoon, press the mixture through the strainer until as little liquid as possible is left . Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick like tomato paste, about 7 minutes.

4. Add the remaining 3 cups broth into the chile mixture. Stir until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens slightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the chicken, green beans, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer gently, stirring regularly, for about 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the sweet potatoes are tender. Adjust salt and spices to your taste.

5. Serve and top cilantro or hoja santa.

This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Paleo for kids

By Kate Yoak

After reading about the dangers of protein to kids at the PerfectHealthDiet, I understood why I have been struggling in feeding my kids meat. I was already coming to the conclusion that there need to be a variety of vegetables on the tables for kids to choose from in order to have a happy and peaceful family meal. Now I understand why.

In brief, breast milk is composed of 7% of protein. Increasing protein to even as much as 9% in formula leads to problems. Cordain recommends limiting protein to no more than 20-25% of caloric intake for pregnant women.

So how much is exactly right for kids? There isn't enough evidence to suggest a specific number, but it is clear that they should not eat any more than they are willing and happy to do. This means, no brow-beating them into finishing their meat or clearing their plate. Presented with healthy options, they should naturally gravitate toward a good balance. This means, plenty of dishes to choose from at every meal and lots of choices among different types of calories: protein, fat, carbohydrates.

Truthfully, it's not so hard to do. I often start meals with a veggie dip appetizer: A ranch dip with carrots, cauliflower, celery. (While I normally buy the ranch dip at the store, having run out I was delighted with this incredibly easy home-made ranch alternative. If made for kids, wait to add garlic & onion powder, adding a little at a time to taste. Otherwise it's deliciously spicy for adult palate, but I had to quadruple the recipe to get it back to tolerable for kids!)

I often slice tomatoes and bell peppers to serve on the side of any meal. They are our family favorites!

A cup of tomato soup or home-made beef/chicken stock garnished with bacon bits & cheese is a very popular option.

Salads are time-consuming, but these easy veggifiers create a splendid-looking table and guarantee that they won't leave hungry. In the meantime I am also increasing the amount of fat present in all of our meals, using the tips I worked out earlier for myself.

Finally, I am beginning to experiment with super-energy deserts.

In a food processor, mix heavy cream or coconut milk with any frozen fruit or berry and you have instant ice cream. The whole family can work together to prepare - then to enjoy. I like adding shredded coconut to mine, but the texture is too much for the kids. For them, melted dark chocolate does so much more! Making ice cream right on the dinner table with a food processor is a fun after-dinner activity and eating it right after is a tasty bonus.

I blog about Paleo at CaveKitchen.com. For more ideas on paleo kids as well as a list of paleo parent resources, please visit my Paleo Kids page.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

On Buying a Quarter Cow

By Diana Hsieh

I've bought two 1/4 cows from Colorado's Best Beef. On occasion, I get asked about the amount of freezer space required for that, and since I just looked it up, I thought I'd blog it.

Here's the chest freezer that I have: GE 7.0 cu. ft. Chest Freezer (FCM7SUWW). On the outside, the freezer is 22 in deep, 37 inches wide, and 33 inches high. It fits easily in a corner of our laundry room. It's not frost-free, because that creates freezer-burn. It builds up ice very slowly, however, so that's not a hassle. It has 7 cubic feet of interior space. The whole 1/4 cow fits in that, with a tiny bit of room to spare. In the pictures below, the main space on the left is completely filled with the new 1/4 cow, while the small compartment on the left contains some other meats.



And here's a closer photo of the meat, meat, and more more meat.



As you might imagine, eating all that beef takes a little while, particularly with just the two of us. But I've never noticed any degradation from meat stored in the chest freezer. Our first quarter cow took us about 18 months to eat, and we'll be done with our current cow soon, in about 12 months total. I love having so much beef available at home -- and I've really gained in my cooking skills by cooking cuts that I'd never even heard of before. Plus, the taste of the beef is like that of Whole Foods, if not better.

Finally, each quarter cow costs us within a few dollars of $800. That's $3.60 per pound of hanging weight or $5.25 per pound of delivered cuts. Given the quality of the beef -- and the stellar mix of ordinary and fancy cuts -- that's a great price.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Objectivist Roundup & Rationally Selfish Webcast

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post some fresh links related to Objectivism from around the web for anyone interested in learning more about the philosophy.

Objectivism is Ayn Rand's philosophy of this-worldly reason, egoism, and capitalism. Ayn Rand is best known as the author of the epic novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. As she explained:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. ("About the Author," Atlas Shrugged)
So where can you find some fresh readings from an Objectivist perspective on the web?

The Objectivist Roundup is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome, including posts on food and health.

The Playful Spirit hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing the latest and best from Objectivist bloggers, go take a look!

My own Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast. Here are the questions that I'll answer this week:
  • Question 1: Subpoenas in a Free Society: Why are subpeonas justified but not compulsory juries? In your May 15th webcast, you contrasted your position on jury duty with that of Dr. Peikoff's, saying that jury duty constituted the initiation of force. My understanding is that Ayn Rand's position was that subpoenas and the jury selection process was entirely consistent with justice, as Peikoff mentions in this podcast. Juries are selected using subpoenas. How would you reconcile being for subpoenas but against jury duty? And, does this also mean that you disagree with Ayn Rand's view of justice?
  • Question 2: Office Romances: What advice do you have about dating coworkers? A romantic interest, who is a sort of coworker of mine, is concerned about the effect on her reputation (she's new), as well as conflicts of interest, should we decide to date. If this is the reason she gave for declining a date, does it make sense to ask again after a period of friendship and to suggest we keep our relationship secret? On the other hand, it might be hard to maintain such a secret.
  • Question 3: The Morality of Lending Books: Is it moral to lend a book to a friend? Given the intellectual property issues regarding downloading music, movies etc... would lending a book, say Atlas Shrugged, to a friend or relative be considered a violation of the rights of the intellectual property holder?
  • Question 4: Developing Expertise in the Objectivist Ethics: How do I become an expert on the Objectivist ethics? I want a complete understanding. I want to be able to prove it to myself and others. How do I get there most effectively? Can you recommend any material other than the most popular books out there?
  • Question 5: My Personal Art Recommendations: Can you give some art recommendations? Specifically, what would say would be your two or three favorites in the following categories, and why? (1) fiction/literature, (2) paintings/sculpture, (3) music, and (4) movies/television.
  • Question 6: From Objectivist Answers: Wealth and Responsibility: Doesn't greater wealth entail greater responsibility? If you have amassed a great fortune, don't you also have to shoulder a greater responsibility to society and your fellow man than others? After all, success in business doesn't occur in a vacuum: it always depends on the community to some extent. People like Michael Bloomberg or George Lucas know that they would not be where they are today without some pretty significant assistance from others. So shouldn't they assume more responsibility for their fellow man than others?
If you're unable to attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

For in-depth commentary on culture and politics from an Objectivist perspective, I heartily recommend perusing The Objective Standard, a quarterly journal. Check out its current issue and past issues for articles on individual rights and law, philosophy, science and technology, business and economics, foreign policy and war, and more. Each issue offers one article for free, and I'd definitely recommend a subscription.

For regular commentary on free market medicine -- and the perils of government controls and welfare -- visit Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM). Check out its blog, We Stand FIRM and its extensive array of published articles.

For more commentary on the politics of medicine from an Objectivist perspective, check out Americans for Free Choice in Medicine , The Lucidicus Project, and The Black Ribbon Project.

For discussions of parenting by Objectivists, visit the joint blog and podcast of Modern Paleo contributors Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore: Cultivating the Virtues. You can also find them on my OGrownups @ OList.com e-mail list.

Finally, Ayn Rand Institute offers some unique resources on Objectivism. It hosts some free essays by Ayn Rand, such as The Objectivist Ethics and Man's Rights, as well as a huge library of recordings of Ayn Rand. You can also find commentary on current events by Objectivist intellectuals.

That should keep you busy!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #061

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Todd Dosenberry presents 3 Must Have Kitchen Gadgets posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "Do you have what it takes to be an exuberant primal/paleo chef? It becomes a lot easier when you have essential kitchen gadgets. In this post I discuss 3 of my favorites!"

Julia Campbell presents wilted spinach salad with tuna and bacon posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "A warm bacon dressing with spinach and tuna (and hunks of bacon, too, of course!)"

Logan Marshall presents The 13 Coolest Health Blogs on the Internet posted at Wild Movement.

Lindsey presents Chicken and Carrot Soup posted at Enjoying Healthy Foods, saying, "My sweet 3 year old has Mono and Strep. Food is not his friend because his throat is so sore. Here is what I made him and he loved it and said it felt good on his throat."

Tim Huntley presents June Fitness Challenge – Win a Signed Copy of Everyday Paleo posted at Soil to Sustenance, saying, "Participate in a June fitness challenge, and you might win a signed copy of Everyday Paleo."

Amy Kubal presents What's In A (Food Product) Name?? posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "Sometimes you just have to laugh!"

Dustin Sharp presents It Sucks to Run Out of Butter posted at Paleo Vélo.

Beth Mazur presents About 'emotional' eating posted at Weight Maven, saying, "here's my response to a recent post by Dr. Briffa on 'emotional' eating. My take is that addressing physiology first may be a good strategy for what appears to be psychology."

Laurie Donaldson presents Porch Pictures posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Is relaxing primal? I think so."

Zac Sky presents Paleo Diet - 30 Day Review posted at Zac Sky . com, saying, "I started the Paleo diet simply as a test and the experience has been so positive that it now feels unnatural to be doing anything else. I'm converted."

Primal Kitchen's Family Grokumentarian presents Healthy Food Methods with Toddlers and Preschoolers: Avoiding Food Waste While Honoring Satiety Signals posted at Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary, saying, "While every day I find myself ironing out kinks in the meal serving process, my experiences to this point have lead me to a few methods that I use in my approach to mealtimes and snacktimes with my toddler and preschooler."

Kate Yoak presents An update: paleo pregnancy posted at Cave Kitchen, saying, "Bad news on my pregnancy - an update. In the meantime, a list of paleo pregnancy thoughts, including weight gain, morning sickness, prenatal vitamins."

J. Stanton presents The Civilized Savage and the Uncivilized Civilization posted at GNOLLS.ORG, saying, "What is "human nature", anyway? Are we really just a bunch of monkeys, and does civilization change that?"

Kris presents How to lose appetite for food posted at Kris Health Blog, saying, "Tired of the same old nonsense about eating high fiber to lose appetite? Enter and find some effective methods on how to lose appetite for food"

Meghan Little presents Chocolate Cocoa Cake posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This Paleo Chocolate Cake is to die for! It is fluffy and spongy and easy to make. Check out www.paleoeffect.com for the recipe and a fantastic Chocolate Frosting to go with it!"

Megh presents Raw Salmon (Ceviche) posted at Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle, saying, "All the raw goodness of salmon, and yummy too!"

Tony Federico presents Caveman Cuisine: Coconut Muesli posted at FED - Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "Cold cereal makes is Paleo comeback!"

Dr. John presents The Idea of an Ecovillage posted at Paleoterran, saying, "Guest post from John Michael at an organic farm in Ecuador."

David Csonka presents Sleep Deprived? Consider Fasting or Low Carb Meals posted at Naturally Engineered.

Angie presents Pork Shoulder with Spinach and Onions posted at Angie's Suburban Oasis, saying, "I came across the yumminess that is the pork shoulder and made this dish to complement the fattiness of the meat. Give it a try!"

Benjamin Skipper presents My Sensory Enrichment Experiment posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "Having trouble concentrating, or finding that being in the same environment all the time leads to discontent? Try a sensory enrichment experiment to improve your mental well-being."

NJ Paleo Girl presents Are these well-disguised fast foods sabotaging your weight loss? posted at NJ Paleo Girl, saying, "A short list of “fast foods” parading as “slow foods”…Could one (or more) be to blame for your tight pants? Avoid these and have a healthier and skinnier summer"

NJ Paleo Girl presents Hello world! posted at Erin, saying, "I hope you'll all join me on my journey to becoming a Paleo Mom!"

Nell Stephenson presents Nonna's Meatballs... Paleo-ized! posted at TrainWithNellie.

Kerri Heffel presents gluten and dairy free pizza crust posted at the functional foodie, saying, "The coconut flour in this recipe is masked by herbs and garlic. A must try!"

Paul Jaminet presents An Osteoarthritis Recovery Story posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "Jacqueline, one of our readers, has been recovering from osteoarthritis using our diet. This is her story."

Pepper Ruper presents What's on the web? Pepper's paleo archive: 120 relevant and awesome posts posted at Paleo Pepper, saying, "The beginnings of my best efforts to compile introductory, useful, interesting, and comprehensive posts on a wide span of nutrition and paleo related issues."

Lindsey presents It's CSA time!!!! posted at Enjoying Healthy Foods, saying, "Midwest CSA has begun! I am excited for the upcoming year of delicious local produce! Recipe, too!"

Frank Hagan presents Low Carb Age: Never Too Late posted at Low Carb Age, saying, "Is it ever too late to adopt a low carb / primal lifestyle? Because of biological changes as we age, the over-50 set may not have the same dramatic weight loss benefits. But a focus on improving health makes a low carb / paleo lifestyle important at any age."

Adam Farrah presents Yoga Benefits for Adrenal Fatigue and Depression... posted at PracticalPaleolithic.com, saying, "Video blog post talking about Adrenal Fatigue, depression and anxiety and the usefulness of yoga and meditation as possible therapies."

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Mediterranean Tuna Salad posted at theclothesmakethegirl, saying, "Takes about 2 minutes to make and tastes like sunshine."

Meghan Little / Angel Torres presents Savory Sweet Potato Hash Browns posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This one is one for the books. A great start for the day with a great and savory healthy Paleo Effect breakfast recipe."

Ute presents Getting your family (your children!!) on board posted at Such Lovely Freckles.

Samantha presents Could there be a connection between Paleo and Autism? posted at RAWR..

Joe Berne presents You are NOT a Pap Smear: The Fallacy of "Normal" posted at Karate Conditioning, saying, "In case you were wondering, how to tell that you are not, in fact, a Pap smear."

Pepper Ruper presents PCOS and acne update posted at Paleo Pepper, saying, "Details of my journey with eating primally and troubleshooting women's health"

Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Equal Exchange 67% Mint with Peppermint Pieces posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "Mint is an awesome herb, my favorite. How does Equal Exchange's mint chocolate fare, and does it best its competition?"
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! This blog carnival has plenty of room to grow! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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Chocolate Review: Endangered Species' 72% Coexist Toffee Pieces

By Benjamin Skipper

This chocolate review will actually be the first to defy my usual practices by being one of a chocolate covered confection rather than a bar. It's never been against my rules or desires to try out any non-bar form of chocolate, I just never tried it before. With what limited offers are available I'm not sure how often I'll be able to trek into this different territory, but I hope to do it often. For the first in this new type of review I'm eating Endangered Species' 72% Coexist toffee pieces, which is what I stated I would do in my dissatisfied review for Endangered Species' 72% toffee bar. I know I'm not yet ready to engage in my official chocolate restocking, but I couldn't help but pick up a package while I was originally up in Texas for perform my stage.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the first of my chocolates that have bloomed, so I cannot give my best thoughts on its appearance since I don't remember much what they looked like when I first pulled them out. My memory indicates that the chocolate coating was smooth and nearly without imperfection, and while the shine was null it did have the pretty appearance of being dusted with sugar. Distinct from the bloom, each piece bears the shape of a square with rounded edges and is roughly the size of what you'd expect boxed chocolate to be.

It's absolutely better than its bar counterpart. The ratio favors the toffee about 1.5:1 or 2:1, and that makes its flavor so much stronger. I thought its thickness would make its texture like that of taffy, but to my surprise it was just like a very crispy brittle with a smooth melting chocolate, which upon biting treated me to the aroma of milky chocolate and flavor notes of sweet cocoa, nuts, butter, salt, and caramel, with a hazelnut finish on the breath. Here the toffee is fully experienced, whereas in the bar it's only suggested. The chocolate coating is thick enough to hold its own in the flavor profile quite competently.

My only complaint is with the packaging. I like the goody-bag shaped pouch, but it doesn't have the same interesting reading you get with bars of Endangered Species, and like a greedy child I'd like to see bigger offerings so as to make sharing a more comfortable option. As it stands now the Coexist line has 3 ounces of confection per package, the same amount of chocolate you get in a bar. I'd like to see about 4.5 ounce options, to have a little fuller bag and something worth eating with another.

But regardless, this is still very much a satisfying confectionery. This is my second exposure to toffee, and given its simple ingredients (nuts, butter, sugar), I'd like to try other varieties as part of exploring other paleo-friendly confections. This Coexist variety definitely trumps its partner bar, and I'll absolutely be trying out the others in the line. I recommend this treat.

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Question of the Week & Open Thread #061

By Diana Hsieh

Orange Pills and Medicine Bottle

This week's "Paleo Question of the Week" was submitted to Google Moderator by chowstalker:
Do you still see your medical doctor on a regular basis? And do you take medications or has paleo eliminated the need for them?
We want to hear your answer in the comments! You're also welcome to post a comment or question on any other paleo-related topic.

If you'd like to submit a question for an upcoming week or vote on questions submitted by others, go check out the Google Moderator session. (We're running a bit low on questions, so please submit any that you think might be interesting!)

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chocolate Review: Dagoba's 68% Lemon Ginger

By Benjamin Skipper

Oddly enough, my chocolate tasting has been one to introduce me to things that I've never tried before. Why not begin a trial of it embedded in chocolate? That's how I learned I like coffee, and it was also my first serious exposure to ginger as a spice, which I've now come to appreciate for its slightly tangy heat. Dagoba's 68% cacao lemon ginger was an obvious temptation then. Lemon has quite an intensity that can make the tongue tingle from the burn of its sourness, so it seems to be a perfect pairing for the heat of ginger.

To my disappointment, however, it did not work out that way. The profile is predominantly milky with a plain sweetened chocolate attribute to it (the sugar note isn't separate), and the ginger is almost entirely unnoticeable except for the grainy crispiness it adds to the texture. The lemon may or may not be there -- my tongue felt like it wanted to experience the tang of the fruit, but the anticipation just never turned into the actual sensation. What a letdown. I suspect it's because the ginger is crystallized and the lemon flavoring isn't that of a lemon oil, the latter of which I really hoped for for the sake of potency.

The mouthfeel is rather average too, with soft bites and a decent melt. The ginger pieces add a new dimension, but nothing interesting considering how fine they are. The only realm of this bar that has complexity and richness is the aroma: dried spices, flowers, heat, a faint lemon peel, and smoke.

I was really hoping for a lot of punch from this, but only got a hum-drum experience. Ginger is quite good, particularly from the chocolate that gave me my first serious impression (which I'll review later), but my tastings up to this date seem to indicate that ginger may be just as taken for granted as vanilla is.They both have great potential, which is unfortunately neglected at large. I don't recommend this variety.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ridiculous burgers

By Julie

...or Meat Lovers' burgers. But that sounds too Pizza Hut or something. But I suppose they are kind of Pizza Hutty. They're chock full of salty, dried meats, garlic, and parsley and they're totally awesome. I even topped them with freshly roasted tomatoes and put them on a bed of arugula so they're just that much more like pizza. I didn't even think about it's pizza-ness at the time. I was probably too excited at the thought of eating such a conventionally decadent and taboo meal. Pepperoni, bacon, prosciutto, and ground beef. All in the same delicious burger. I do want to encourage you to get quality meats though. Most of the processed meats you'll find in the grocery store are pretty nasty. If you can, get some uncured, nitrate and nitrite-free stuff. I think most places are carrying stuff like that now, even if you don't have a Whole Foods-type store near you.


You know that burgers are my go-to simple weeknight (or lazy weekend) meal. But I still get a little bored with them sometimes. Enter Rachael Ray. She's real unapologetic about liking burgers; each month she features a different, fancy burger recipe in her magazine and she has a whole section on her site just for various burger recipes. I've tried some of them, but I still revert to the usual most times. But I decided to give the latest one a whirl, because it sounded so darn good. And it was.

I'd like to take these burgers to an even more ridiculous level. There's a burger at a bar near us that they call The Stupid Burger. It's a whole pound of beef topped with onion rings, BBQ sauce, bacon, cheese, a fried egg, and chili cheese fries. I don't want to go quite down that path, but I think this burger could be elevated by adding a fried egg, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and maybe some extra bacon on top to boot. I did make it pretty extra great by putting leftover truffled mayo on it. I am a big, big fan of mayo on burgers. But whatever you choose to put on top, make sure you do indeed try these ridiculous burgers!

ridiculous burgers
adapted from Rachael Ray, serves 4

2 tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
salt and pepper
6 ounces bacon, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1/4 pound prosciutto
1/8 pound pepperoni or spicy salami
1/4 cup parsley leaves and thin stems, minced
2 garlic cloves, smashed or pressed
pepper
arugula

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the tomatoes in a baking dish, preferably in a single layer. My large Pyrex dishes were in the dishwasher and didn't want to hand wash them, so I used a smaller one and had some layered tomato slices. It's okay. Drizzle with olive oil, coarse salt, and pepper. Roast for about 30 - 40 minutes until they're shriveled and slightly browned.

2. In a medium sized skillet, cook the bacon until slightly browned. Add to a large bowl, let cool slightly.

3. Either with a food processor or by hand, finely chop the prosciutto and pepperoni.

4. Add the beef, garlic, chopped meats, parsley, garlic, and pepper to the large bowl.

5. If grilling, preheat your grill on medium high heat. Make four patties, thinner at the center than at the edges for even cooking. Grill or cook in a hot cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes total for medium. Serve on a big handful of arugula and top with some slices of roasted tomatoes. And perhaps some red onion, avocado... you know the drill.
Oh, and mayo.

This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

easy chicken salad with truffle mayo

By Julie

Still riding my high horse from Easter Sunday, where I no-problem whipped up a delicious mayonnaise for our deviled eggs, I was itching for a reason to make more mayo. This chicken salad recipe is really more of a starting off point than a full-fledged recipe. I used an already-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. They're a great way to save time when you're pressed for it. On Wednesdays, Whole Foods has a sale on their chickens, so if I'm going to buy a prepared meal, it's a good option to do it then. Usually I'll make just a side of vegetables to go along with the chicken, but it was fun making this salad.


I know truffled things are kind of 2008, but I'm still super into them. It's probably one of my most favorite flavors. Truffle oil is the poor man's way to have a glimpse at that wonderful flavor. Not that truffle oils are all that cheap. Some are pretty darn expensive. I've never bought one of those, so I don't know how it compares to the least expensive ones. But this mayo was really good, so whatever. I'll try not to think about how much better it would be if I had gotten a higher end oil.

The veggies you use in the chicken salad are really up to you. I think celery is a must, and I also really like fruit. Apple, like I used, or grapes are great. You should also definitely have an onion-y component, whether red, white, or yellow onion, shallot, or scallions. I also added green pepper, since I had it in the fridge, but any bell pepper would be great. Halved cherry or grape tomatoes, too.

So I've determined to totally scrap any sort of electric component to making mayonnaise or aioli. Hand whisking is the way to go. It's less messy, easier to control, and just generally more olde tymey. Yeah, you'll need to shake your arm out a couple times, but tough. I didn't use all truffle oil in this. Not just because it's pricey, but because it's olive oil-based and straight olive oil mayo is too olive-y. So do halvsies with a mild oil of your choice. You can do light olive oil, safflower, a nut oil, etc.

truffle mayonnaise

1 egg yolk (preferably room temperature, but not too big a deal)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small garlic clove, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup truffle infused oil
1/2 cup mild flavored oil

In a large bowl, whisk yolk, mustard, salt, garlic, and lemon juice. Add one to two drops of oil and whisk. Continue to add just a drop or two to the bowl, whisking in between, until mixture begins to thicken. At this point, you can add the oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking at the same time until all oil is incorporated and mixture is thick and fluffy.

chicken salad

1 rotisserie chicken
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1/2 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
pepper to taste
mayo to taste

Strip chicken carcass of all meat, pulling it off in bite sized chunks. Put in a large bowl, and add remaining ingredients. Place another large bowl on top and shake to mix. Add more mayo if desired. Adjust seasonings.

So yummy and easy! Plus, you'll have leftover mayo to add to all sorts of stuff.

This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hsieh PJM OpEd: Massachusetts: The Canary in the Coal Mine for ObamaCare

By Paul Hsieh

PajamasMedia recently published my latest OpEd, Massachusetts: The Canary in the Coal Mine for ObamaCare.

My theme is that the ongoing failure of the "universal health care" plan in Massachusetts serves as a clear warning to the rest of America.

Here is the opening:

Five years ago, Massachusetts adopted its "universal health care" plan, which served as the template for President Obama's subsequent national health care legislation. However, Massachusetts' problems of rising health costs and worsening access foreshadow similar problems for the rest of America — as well as how to avoid them.

The Massachusetts Medical Society recently reported that the state law has resulted in "longer patient wait times [and] continued difficult access to primary care physicians." The average wait time in Massachusetts to see an internal medicine physician is now 48 days — double the national average. Over half of primary care practices are no longer accepting new patients. Fewer physicians are accepting the state-run Commonwealth Care and Commonwealth Choice insurance plans. So although Massachusetts politicians frequently boast that they have increased "coverage," many patients cannot find doctors to provide them with actual medical care.

Meanwhile health costs continue to skyrocket out of control, both for the state government and for privately insured patients...
(Read the full text of Massachusetts: The Canary in the Coal Mine for ObamaCare.)

Mitt Romney recently gave a major speech in which he attempted to proclaim his opposition to ObamaCare while still defending his health care policy record as governor of Massachusetts.

I'm glad PajamasMedia has given me this opportunity to highlight the ongoing problems in that state. Romney appears to be trying to have it both ways here -- claiming that it might be ok for states to impose mandatory insurance, but not the federal government. For more, see his own recent OpEd in USA Today.

It would be one thing if he repudiated the principles of his failed state plan and acknowledged that it was a mistake. But the fact that he can't (or won't) do so is an ominous sign.

As the Wall Street Journal recently noted, he may as well be "Obama's Running Mate".

I'm also glad I could highlight Jared Rhoads' recent post, "How long until the Physician Mandate?", Diana's video on "Cookie Cutter Medicine", and Milton Wolf's OpEd, "My Cousin Barack Obama and Our ObamaCare Family Feud".

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