Monday, August 29, 2011

Chocolate Review: Vosges' 62% Bacon

By Benjamin Skipper

[Check out my new website, Capital Bean. I'll be doing my chocolate reviews there from now on.]

It's taken a while to get to this, but prompted by a request poised near my recent chocolate restocking spree, I did not fail to pick up Vosges' 62% dark chocolate with bacon and smoked salt at my local Whole Foods. I had been procrastinating on it for some time given the whopping price tag of $6.99 for a single 3 ounce bar, but this time around I justified the expense. It's quite an odd combination, this bacon and chocolate, but the producer makes quite a convincing case as to why it works given the story of her breakfast bacon crossing with the pancake syrup on the cardboard sleeve.

IMG_0025


Given the photography session prior to the tasting, quite some anticipation was built up in the process. It smells very smoky and has a pungency similar to some kind of barbecue sauce, the smells all getting along just fine with the aroma of sweet chocolate. In breaking it apart I was surprised at how soft the bar felt for something of 62% darkness, pulling apart instead of snapping, and then read on the back that the cocoa solids are rated at a 48% minimum, which means the balance may favor the cocoa butter. Once I finally did get to eating it I was treated with a very sharp sense of sweet, almost milky chocolate that has been salted just to my liking. It doesn't taste very smoky or have much of what you'd consider a bacon-ey flavor, but it is notably meaty, and bacon is the first thing that comes to mind when eating. I'm salivating a little bit as I write this and feel regret that the bar is now gone.

Display


The flavors mesh together perfectly, each attribute very dominant and distinct, in no danger of being drowned out by another. Given the confectioner's story as to how she came up with this concoction, I can't help but wonder why she didn't include maple, as I think it would be a wonderful compliment, completing the experience. Throughout my eating I kept thinking of and craving pancakes soaked with maple syrup, so she certainly set the atmosphere with her breakfast story.

My only qualm, of course, is with the price. This chocolate is the stuff of cravings, and yet how often could you budget for one? As a connoisseur I have to argue that it's worth it nonetheless, and am definitely adding it to my list of favorite chocolates. If you find it and have a little extra spending money, don't miss out.


More photos and commentary at Flickr
Producer: Vosges
Product page at Vosges' website
Buy at Amazon

Read more...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ayn Rand's Playboy Interview: Religion

By Diana Hsieh

A while back, I was regularly posting segments from Ayn Rand's 1964 Playboy interview as part of Modern Paleo's Saturday blogging on Objectivism. Then I got busy, but I thought I should resume, so here's a bit on religion:

PLAYBOY: You have said you are opposed to faith. Do you believe in God?

RAND: Certainly not.

PLAYBOY: You've been quoted as saying "The cross is the symbol of torture, of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal. I prefer the dollar sign." Do you truly feel that two thousand years of Christianity can be summed up with the word "torture"?

RAND: To begin with, I never said that. It's not my style. Neither literarily nor intellectually. I don't say I prefer the dollar sign -- that is cheap nonsense, and please leave this in your copy. I don't know the origin of that particular quote, but the meaning of the dollar sign is made clear in Atlas Shrugged. It is the symbol, clearly explained in the story, of free trade and, therefore, of a free mind. A free mind and a free economy are corollaries. One can't exist without the other. The dollar sign, as the symbol of the currency of a free country, is the symbol of the free mind. More than that, as to the historical origin of the dollar sign, although it has never been proved, one very likely hypothesis is that it stands for the initials of the United States. So much for the dollar sign.

Now you want me to speak about the cross. What is correct is that I do regard the cross as the symbol of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal. Isn't that what it does mean? Christ, in terms of the Christian philosophy, is the human ideal. He personifies that which men should strive to emulate. Yet, according to the Christian mythology, he died on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the nonideal people. In other words, a man of perfect virtue was sacrificed for men who are vicious and who are expected or supposed to accept that sacrifice. If I were a Christian, nothing could make me more indignant than that: the notion of sacrificing the ideal to the non-ideal, or virtue to vice. And it is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used. That is torture.

PLAYBOY: Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?

RAND: Qua religion, no -- in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man's life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy. And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very -- how should I say it? -- dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith.

PLAYBOY: Then you would say that if you had to choose between the symbol of the cross and the symbol of the dollar, you would choose the dollar?

RAND: I wouldn't accept such a choice. Put it another way: If I had to choose between faith and reason, I wouldn't consider the choice even conceivable. As a human being, one chooses reason.

Read more...

Hsieh in AT: "Thank You, Steve Jobs"

By Paul Hsieh

The 8/25/2011 American Thinker published my short piece: "Thank You, Steve Jobs".

He became wealthy offering value for value. In the end, we and his customers (and his employees and the people who wrote iPad apps, etc.) all won. This is why free market capitalism is a wonderful, moral system.

On a related note, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a nice interview with former BB&T CEO John Allison on how the government caused the financial crisis and why capitalism is the only moral economic system:

Read more...

Objectivist Tidbits

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. Erosophia 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 Validity of Introversion and Extroversion: Are "introversion" and "extroversion" valid as psychological types? Sometimes people classify themselves and others as "introverts" and "extroverts." What does that mean? Is the distinction valid and useful? Why or why not?
  • Question 2: Circumcision and Religious Freedom: Should circumcision be banned? Residents of San Francisco were supposed to vote on a ballot measure that would have banned circumcision, except in cases of medical necessity. (It was stuck from the ballot by a judge due to conflicts with state law.) Since circumcision is an millennia-old religious rite for Jews and regarded as essential to their covenant with God, would a ban on circumcision violate the principle of freedom of religion?
  • Question 3: Lobbying as a Career: Can lobbying be a proper career choice? Lobbying involves asking for various kind of favors from the government. Is that a profession that someone who values free markets should avoid like the plague?
  • Question 4: Working for a Statist Company: Is it immoral to work for a company that uses government to eliminate or hamper the competition? For example, if a company has brought antitrust lawsuits against its competitors, should you refuse to work for them?
After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

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.

In last Sunday's Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed two questions on maintaining friendships despite philosophic disagreements.

The first question was:
How can I maintain my integrity in friendships with people of opposite philosophic views? I struggle to keep good relations with family and friends who support our current political system in which some people are helped at the expense of others, which I regard as slavery. They support ObamaCare, EPA restrictions, and welfare programs. Through years of caring discussions, I realize that they do not hold the individual as sacred but instead focus on what's best for "the group." At this point, I often feel more pain than pleasure being with them, even though we have many other values in common, yet I hate to cut them off. How can I maintain good relationships with them -- or should I stop trying?
Here's the 9-minute video, now posted to YouTube:



The second question was:
Should I terminate friendships with people who steal music and other intellectual property from the internet? I don't know a single person who doesn't steal something off the internet. I used to do this myself, but stopped when I realized it was wrong and why. Normally, I would cut off contact with anyone who violates rights, because that's worse than just holding wrong ideas, but the activity is so prevalent now that doing so would end my social life. Even now, my clear moral position strains my friendships. So what should I do?
Here's the 7-minute video, now posted to YouTube:

Read more...

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #075

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 of the Rodeo 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 5 Tips to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Food Every Year posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "Use one of these tips and master it. Then master another one. Doing so will, in fact, save you hundreds of dollars on food every year!"

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Comfort Noodles posted at theclothesmakethegirl, saying, "A hug in a bowl. Sometimes you just need some (zucchini) noodles."

Ryan presents Make Your Own Coconut Butter! posted at The Urban Cave - Chicago, saying, "Make your own coconut butter - it's just too easy not to, and cheaper too!"

Bree presents Homemade Vanilla Extract posted at primalbree.

Kris presents How much sugar per day for weight loss and optimal health posted at Kris Health Blog, saying, "An article about how much sugar per day for weight loss and optimal health. I believe that sugar is one of the primary causes of obesity and poor health."

Ruth Almon presents Why Members of Remote Tribes Make the Best Food Scientists posted at Ruth's Real Food, saying, "What information can we trust: Observations of isolated communities that are free from disease, or cutting edge experimental research?"

Laurie Donaldson presents Pretty Strong for a Girl posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Some thoughts on strength training..."

Nell Stephenson presents Eat Fruit? DON'T Eat Fruit? It's ALL About the Timing & the Glycemic Load! posted at TrainWithNellie.

Primal Kitchen's Family Grokumentarian presents Planning Way Ahead for Fun Paleo, Primal, and Crossfit Christmas Gift Ideas posted at Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary, saying, "The paleo-leaning gifts that I'm planning to give this year will require either a significant chunk of time to create, or a significant amount of money to buy a quality product - so planning ahead is even more crucial than usual. Thankfully, my brainstorming has kicked off with a flurry of inspiration!"

Julie Sullivan Mayfield presents Win LE CREUSET (and get a guacamole recipe too!)! posted at Paleo Comfort Foods, saying, "Lots of excitement on a Monday - the winner of Paleonola, a guacamole recipe, and announcing our next LE CREUSET giveaway!"

Tony Federico presents Viljhalmur Stefansson and the Foodways of the Arctic - Part II posted at FED - Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "Learn about a groundbreaking experiment that took place almost 100 years ago testing the healthfulness of an all-meat diet. If you are even remotely interested in Paleo/Primal eating, you can't miss this!"

Angie presents Paleo/primal Cupcakes and Muffins posted at Angie's Suburban Oasis, saying, "I was looking for something with more protein and fruit or veggies to put in my kids' lunchboxes. These muffins made from almond meal, coconut four and fruit or veggie puree fit the bill!"

Peggy Emch presents Pregnancy Cravings and Irregular Periods posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "The response to this post has been amazing. If you're a woman with menstrual issues, going Primal for the sake of your irregular periods, the comments on this post will both inspire, support, and inform you."

Dr. John presents Paleolithic Nutrition: Diet in the Neolithic posted at Paleoterran, saying, "New series exploring the paleolithic diet and its impact on health in our modern world."

Chris Tamme presents Just Tell Me What to Eat posted at Primal Roar.

Stacy Toth presents Packing a Paleo Lunch is Easier Than You Think posted at Paleo Parents, saying, "Examples of ways to pack a Paleo lunch for your kids just in time for back to school."

Meghan Little presents Taco Salad | Paleo Salads posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This Taco Salad is a great new addition! Its fast and delicious...goes great with our Paleo Flan and a nice "Margarita"!"

Megh presents Mystery Meat Monday: Lardo posted at Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle, saying, "My new delectable discovery in the world of cured meats."

Megh presents Grains Are Famine Food posted at Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle, saying, "Some musings on the place of grains in the human diet."

Diana Hsieh presents Paleo as a School of Thought posted at NoodleFood, saying, "Some disagreements are to be expected among "paleo" advocates, since "paleo" is an evolving school of thought, not a particular diet set in stone."

Lauren presents The best gazpacho I've ever had posted at Raspberry & Coconut, saying, "The trick to making a proper gazpacho instead of a bowl of salsa is to roast the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. This really mellows the garlic and cuts the acidity of the tomatoes, and the addition of sherry vinegar makes it “pop.”"

Paul Jaminet presents Carbohydrates and the Thyroid posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "Prompted by a critical blog post from Anthony Colpo, I wrote an extended consideration of how dietary carbs interact with the thyroid."

Robin presents Countdown to Ironman: Week 45: The Paleo Ironman posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "Serious endurance training requires a ton of glycogen replacement. Eating Paleo, it's difficult to get a lot of carbs. Here I wrestle with my plans to train for an Ironman on a paleo diet."

Rodney Flores presents Primal Introduction posted at Primal Effect, saying, "Hey Gang, I moved recently and I'm working on getting the new kitchen set up for filming. Just did a new shoot last night and posted a pic on facebook of the dish. Here is a brief intro about me and the website. Would love to hear from you as to what kind of recipes you would like to see. Like my Primal Effect facebook page and let me know. Rodney"

Yael Grauer presents Preserving Summer Herbs and Spices posted at Yael Writes, saying, "It's time to start thinking about winter! Preserve your favorite summer herbs and spices through herbal vinegars, herb cubes or just through freezing or drying."

Patty Strilaeff presents Finally, what to do with a pig's head. posted at following my nose....

Joe Berne presents Still Fat? posted at Karate Conditioning, saying, "Sometimes... gasp... we eat paleo, yet are STILL FAT!What should we do? Follow the link and see..."

Josephine Svendblad presents Bacon Wrapped Scallops posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "Scallops cooked right ROCK!"

Havard presents How to run barefoot posted at Courageous Mind, saying, "Barefoot running is very healthy but requires some getting used to. This post covers some basics on how to run barefoot."

Robin S. presents Recipe Dump Pt I: Breakfast posted at Confessions of a Paleolithic Drama Queen, saying, "A recipe extravaganza and a revamped Recipes page! 6 new breakfast recipes makes 50 total."

Ian M. presents Brussels Sprouts even a 3 year old will eat (and will impress your significant other) posted at Happy Food Happy Family, saying, "Brussels Sprouts are a great veggie to add to your tool, or should I say, alternative lunch box. What is most shocking is my three year old eats them without being asked! Browning the veggie in butter gives it a little sweeter taste while still keeping it from being soggy."
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!

Read more...

Question of the Week: Travel

By Diana Hsieh

#432 Turkish Airlines Food

This week's "Paleo Question of the Week" is:
How do you eat when you travel? Do you bring your own food? If so, what do you like to pack?
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 question of the week, please e-mail me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

Read more...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chocolate Review: World Market's 99% Cacao

By Benjamin Skipper

One of the greatest pleasures about my relocation has been the discovery of a close by Cost Plus World Market, which has an incredibly interesting array of food items from all over the world. They even have a great selection of various chocolates, including their own line. When I saw the 99% cacao variety I wanted it immediately, as I've been wanting to try a 99% chocolate for a very long time now. I've always been on the search for Lindt's 99% variety, but it's been impossible to find so far, so World Market has made me very excited. I couldn't wait to get it in my tasting queue.

It's a good question why one would stop at 99% cacao and not just go full out 100%, but the sliver of sweetness is enough to round off the bitterness and perhaps create a better texture by preventing crystallization. Baking bars, largely, are not manufactured with the intention for them to be eaten pure that way, even though people do, so they're usually very hard and dry texturally, making 99% bars a better choice given different manufacturing practices, such as a greater ratio of fat to solids for a better melt.

For World Market, the bitterness dominates almost the entirety of the flavor profile and has a fruity finish, though nothing I'd consider similar to currants as stated in the tasting notes. The currants do exist subtly within the aroma, however, along with a mild theme of chocolate. Its mouthfeel is okay since it is somewhat lumpy, but it still is pleasurably soft and slow melting.

The aesthetics kind of perplex me. What are they going for with the packaging? It's unoffensive and alright to the eyes, but it makes me perceive it as something that would sit on a warehouse shelf, especially since the product number is listed right on the front. The bar itself satisfies but merely the basics of desirable aesthetics, having a healthy shine and strong snap, and on each square division the World Market brand is printed in a straight-lined font. For what it's worth, it all seems acceptable.

This was a let-down to be honest, as I had quite hyped up in my mind what a 99% bar would taste like. World Market's isn't very complex at all, and the bitterness is slightly unpleasant. Nonetheless, the mouthfeel is definitely much better than that of actual baking chocolate, and its bitterness is a quality I'd still like to pair with a nut butter. Best of all, it's very affordable, clocking in at $1.99 at my store. It's not impressive, but would probably taste great with other things, such as fruit, so I offer my recommendation for this being a good chocolate to pair with other things, but recommend looking elsewhere if you want something to eat on its own.

Read more...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

gazpacho

By Julie

I'm pretty much on a diet of chopped vegetable dishes. Every meal I've eaten in the past two weeks has either consisted solely of a) potato salad, b) green bean salad with basil, sautéed radishes, and hunks of mozzarella, c) citrusy coleslaw, or a hearty helping of one of those next to some protein that I was mostly eating just to stave off devouring a giant bowlful of one of those salads. Now that tomatoes are starting to come in? Oh boy. Watch out. Is it possible to eat all of your daily calories from tomatoes? Can I try? No? Okay, I'll throw in some grilled corn on the cob slathered with homemade lime mayonnaise and queso añejo. And some peaches and cherries. That's fine. God I love summer.


Gazpacho is a little difficult for me. On the one hand, it's probably one of the best soups you can eat. On the other hand, it seems a little shameful to purée fresh, ripe, local (expensive) heirloom tomatoes. Maybe that's because I don't have any of my own in a garden in my back yard. I kind of feel that they're like precious gems and to adulterate them with anything more than some coarse sea salt and a basil leaf is to somehow cheapen them. But I freaked out a little when I realized that our 18 days of above 90 degree weather had finally broken and I hadn't made gazpacho. Gazpacho is for 97 degree days. But hey, it just so happens that it's pretty damn good at 83 degrees too.

Since there's not much to gazpacho, you must use good tomatoes. Don't put off this recipe until the winter or something. Go out and splurge on some beautiful tomatoes. And if you have them in your garden, you are lucky and please send some to me. And as with most traditional and iconic recipes, there are a hundred versions, all hotly contested as being the one perfect version I'm sure. I don't have too many strong opinions on what vegetables should or not should be included in gazpacho and what the levels of vinegar and oil should be. I do strongly feel, though, that using tomato juice is a no no. I mean, you're trying to celebrate gorgeous summer tomatoes. Why would you mix them with bottled tomato juice? Gah. But if you want to leave out the cucumber and red pepper, or add in some parsley, go for it. Topping gazpacho with a hard boiled egg is also extremely acceptable.

gazpacho

2.5 lbs heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, seeded (cut in half width-wise then in quarters length-wise and seeds cut off) and chopped
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded, deveined, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1. Mix together the vegetables in a large bowl.

2. In a blender, purée garlic, salt, olive oil, and vinegar. Scoop about half of the vegetable mixture into the blender. Blend until smooth, in batches if necessary.

3. Pour blended veggies back into the bowl of chopped vegetables and mix.

That's it. That's my gazpacho. It's wonderful. You can certainly chill it if you need some extra cooling off, but I think room temperature allows the flavors to be their best. Unless you're in that weird heat dome. Then it might be best chilled. Some garnishes you could use if you haven't already started to dig in, are finely chopped cucumbers and red peppers, parsley, toasted almonds, and crumbled/chopped hard boiled egg.

Seriously gardeners, send me your tomatoes. I hear that you have wayyy too many to eat. Pretty sure.

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

Read more...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Paleo as a School of Thought

By Diana Hsieh

On occasion, I've noticed some consternation in the paleosphere about what constitutes a truly "paleo" approach to diet. Undoubtedly, I've got my own share of pet peeves. I'm annoyed when paleo advocates disparage saturated fat, recommend canola oil, or insist on lean meats. I don't like that many people equate paleo with low-carb, as if potatoes are on par with wheat. I regard talk against "processed" or "industrial" foods as seriously misguided, since foods are not rendered more or less healthy by mere processing or mass production per se. I'm not concerned with whether cavemen ate some particular food or not.

However, I try not to get too fussed over my disagreements with other paleo eaters and advocates. That's because, in my view, paleo is a school of thought based on early science. Let me explain what that means and why that matters.

First, "paleo" is a nutritional school of thought, not a single dietary regimen.

The major advocates of paleo nutrition offer definite recommendations on diet, based on their own experiences and their understanding of the science. We see particular diets from Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, etc. Similarly, various paleo bloggers and eaters have their own ideas about better and worse diets.

The idea of "eating paleo" should not be equated with any one of these diets. Rather, it's an abstraction based on the core of similarity between them. What is that core of similarity? I identified it pretty well at the top of Modern Paleo's Principles, I think. It says:

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.
That's not the particular diet of Modern Paleo. That's what advocates of a paleo diet agree on and advocate, first and foremost. People who disagree with that -- as do low-carbers or Weston A. Price followers -- just aren't paleo. Of course, they might be friendly and interesting to us paleo-eaters! But they're not paleo.

Basically, "paleo" is like a school of thought in philosophy which encompasses the work of many philosophers (like positivism or existentialism) rather than the ideas of just one philosopher (like Objectivism or Platonism). It's a useful grouping of ideas, because it identifies real and important commonalities, even though its borders may not be clearly defined... yet.

As a result, we should not expect perfect agreement between the various paleo-advocates. We will disagree, perhaps vehemently at times. But absent some departure from that core of similarity, all sides will be just as much "paleo" as ever.

Second, "paleo" is based on a growing body of scientific literature, not dogma.

The science of nutrition is in its infancy, and we have much to learn about it. Over the next few decades, we can expect to learn a whole heck of a lot. Do I expect to learn that corn dogs fried in soybean oil are the epitome of health? No, I expect the basic framework of paleo to remain intact. That's not just because of already-established science, but also because the evolutionary approach to nutrition is correct and useful. Still, I expect all kinds of interesting and useful discoveries -- and people's views will change as a result, just as Cordain changed his views on saturated fat and canola oil over the last few years.

If some paleo folks advocate views that aren't warranted by the scientific evidence, others should speak up in disagreement, pointing out the flaws in their stance. We don't need to feign solidarity: we need to get the facts right! If people are honest, they'll correct themselves with time. If not, then they'll be increasingly ignored -- and justly so. Basically, I expect the truth to win out in the paleo community, because most people care more about the facts than about "their side" of some dispute.

So when someone in the paleo community advocates something that seems wacky, consider whether it has any merit -- and if not, then explain your disagreement. But don't worry that we're all going to hell in a handbasket over these kinds of disagreements. They're something we should expect, and they'll sort themselves out with time.

Happily, that seems to be the standard approach -- or at least, that's exactly what I saw at the Ancestral Health Symposium in the debates about carbohydrates. Hopefully, that will continue for all the other debates on the horizon -- about supplements, fitness, fats, dairy, and so on.

Personally, I try to read a wide variety of sources, perform some n=1 tests on myself, and report the results, in the hopes that they'll be useful to others. If that puts me at odds with some paleo luminaries, as happens sometimes, so be it. We'll figure it out eventually!

Read more...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Video: Immigration Policy in a Free Society

By Diana Hsieh

In last Sunday's Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed the proper immigration policy of a free society. Here's the 21-minute video, now posted to YouTube:



I created videos for the other three questions from the webcast too. They are:

Read more...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ayn Rand on Dictatorship and Aristotle on Tyranny

By Diana Hsieh

In her 1964 Playboy interview, Ayn Rand identifies the four core qualities of a dictatorship as follows.

PLAYBOY: What is the dividing line, by your definition, between a mixed economy and a dictatorship?

RAND: A dictatorship has four characteristics: one-party rule, executions without trial for political offenses, expropriation or nationalization of private property, and censorship. Above all, this last. So long as men can speak and write freely, so long as there is no censorship, they still have a chance to reform their society or to put it on a better road. When censorship is imposed, that is the sign that men should go on strike intellectually, by which I mean, should not cooperate with the social system in any way whatever.
In Book 5, Chapter 11 of his Politics, Aristotle discusses the means by which the worst kind of tyrant maintains his power. Aristotle's comments delve into the psychology of tyranny, as opposed to its outer forms. On reading them again, I'm amazed to see how well his observations apply to modern tyrannies. (I've added extra paragraph breaks to make the text more readable.)
There are firstly the prescriptions mentioned some distance back, for the preservation of a tyranny, in so far as this is possible; viz., that the tyrant should lop off those who are too high; he must put to death men of spirit; he must not allow common meals, clubs, education, and the like; he must be upon his guard against anything which is likely to inspire either courage or confidence among his subjects; he must prohibit literary assemblies or other meetings for discussion, and he must take every means to prevent people from knowing one another (for acquaintance begets mutual confidence). Further, he must compel all persons staying in the city to appear in public and live at his gates; then he will know what they are doing: if they are always kept under, they will learn to be humble. In short, he should practice these and the like Persian and barbaric arts, which all have the same object.

A tyrant should also endeavor to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies, like the 'female detectives' at Syracuse, and the eavesdroppers whom Hiero was in the habit of sending to any place of resort or meeting; for the fear of informers prevents people from speaking their minds, and if they do, they are more easily found out.

Another art of the tyrant is to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables, and the rich with one another. Also he should impoverish his subjects; he thus provides against the maintenance of a guard by the citizen and the people, having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring. The Pyramids of Egypt afford an example of this policy; also the offerings of the family of Cypselus, and the building of the temple of Olympian Zeus by the Peisistratidae, and the great Polycratean monuments at Samos; all these works were alike intended to occupy the people and keep them poor.

Another practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes, after the manner of Dionysius at Syracuse, who contrived that within five years his subjects should bring into the treasury their whole property. The tyrant is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader. And whereas the power of a king is preserved by his friends, the characteristic of a tyrant is to distrust his friends, because he knows that all men want to overthrow him, and they above all have the power.

... the tyrant also has those who associate with him in a humble spirit, which is a work of flattery. Hence tyrants are always fond of bad men, because they love to be flattered, but no man who has the spirit of a freeman in him will lower himself by flattery; good men love others, or at any rate do not flatter them. Moreover, the bad are useful for bad purposes; 'nail knocks out nail,' as the proverb says. It is characteristic of a tyrant to dislike every one who has dignity or independence; he wants to be alone in his glory, but any one who claims a like dignity or asserts his independence encroaches upon his prerogative, and is hated by him as an enemy to his power. Another mark of a tyrant is that he likes foreigners better than citizens, and lives with them and invites them to his table; for the one are enemies, but the others enter into no rivalry with him.

Such are the notes of the tyrant and the arts by which he preserves his power; there is no wickedness too great for him. All that we have said may be summed up under three heads, which answer to the three aims of the tyrant. These are, (1) the humiliation of his subjects; he knows that a mean-spirited man will not conspire against anybody; (2) the creation of mistrust among them; for a tyrant is not overthrown until men begin to have confidence in one another; and this is the reason why tyrants are at war with the good; they are under the idea that their power is endangered by them, not only because they would not be ruled despotically but also because they are loyal to one another, and to other men, and do not inform against one another or against other men; (3) the tyrant desires that his subjects shall be incapable of action, for no one attempts what is impossible, and they will not attempt to overthrow a tyranny, if they are powerless.

Under these three heads the whole policy of a tyrant may be summed up, and to one or other of them all his ideas may be referred: (1) he sows distrust among his subjects; (2) he takes away their power; (3) he humbles them.
How much of these qualities do we see in America today? More than I'd like -- particularly in light of the ever-increasing meddling by the government with almost every facet of our lives. (Yes, that includes our food supply and our health!) Still, we have quite a ways to go before we're faced with the prospect of dictatorship. So what must we do to protect freedom in America? Talk, while we still can! Here's Ayn Rand again:
PLAYBOY: Short of such a strike [of refusing to "cooperate with the social system in any way whatever"] , what do you believe ought to be done to bring about the societal changes you deem desirable?

RAND: It is ideas that determine social trends, that create or destroy social systems. Therefore, the right ideas, the right philosophy, should be advocated and spread. The disasters of the modern world, including the destruction of capitalism, were caused by the altruist-collectivist philosophy. It is altruism that men should reject.

PLAYBOY: And how would you define altruism?

RAND: It is a moral system which holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the sole justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, value and virtue. This is the moral base of collectivism, of all dictatorships. In order to seek freedom and capitalism, men need a nonmystical, nonaltruistic, rational code of ethics -- a morality which holds that man is not a sacrificial animal, that he has the right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others, nor others to himself. In other words, what is desperately needed today is the ethics of Objectivism.
Ayn Rand's essay on the foundations of her ethics is The Objectivist Ethics. That and other essays on her ethics can be found in The Virtue of Selfishness.

I just can't resist quoting this last segment:
PLAYBOY: Do you believe that Objectivism as a philosophy will eventually sweep the world?

RAND: Nobody can answer a question of that kind. Men have free will. There is no guarantee that they will choose to be rational, at any one time or in any one generation. Nor is it necessary for a philosophy to "sweep the world." If you ask the question in a somewhat different form, if you say, do I think that Objectivism will be the philosophy of the future, I would say yes, but with this qualification: If men turn to reason, if they are not destroyed by dictatorship and precipitated into another Dark Ages, if men remain free long enough to have time to think, then Objectivism is the philosophy they will accept.

PLAYBOY: Why?

RAND: In any historical period when men were free, it has always been the most rational philosophy that won. It is from this perspective that I would say, yes, Objectivism will win. But there is no guarantee, no predetermined necessity about it.

PLAYBOY: You are sharply critical of the world as you see it today, and your books offer radical proposals for changing not merely the shape of society, but the very way in which most men work, think and love. Are you optimistic about man's future?

RAND: Yes, I am optimistic. Collectivism, as an intellectual power and a moral ideal, is dead. But freedom and individualism, and their political expression, capitalism, have not yet been discovered. I think men will have time to discover them. It is significant that the dying collectivist philosophy of today has produced nothing but a cult of depravity, impotence and despair. Look at modern art and literature with their image of man as a helpless, mindless creature doomed to failure, frustration and destruction. This may be the collectivists' psychological confession, but it is not an image of man. If it were, we would never have risen from the cave. But we did. Look around you and look at history. You will see the achievements of man's mind. You will see man's unlimited potentiality for greatness, and the faculty that makes it possible. You will see that man is not a helpless monster by nature, but he becomes one when he discards that faculty: his mind. And if you ask me, what is greatness? -- I will answer, it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self esteem.

Read more...

Objectivist Links

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.

Parenting Is... 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: Moral Standards for Public Figures: Should public figures be held to higher moral standards? Public figures -- like actors, politicians, and athletes -- are often lambasted in the media for committing commonplace wrongs like dishonesty and hypocrisy. Is that fair? If Michele Obama is an outspoken opponent of childhood obesity and lists the things my children and I shouldn't eat, is she a hypocrite for indulging in her Shake Shack? Should I not value Tiger Woods as a professional golfer with exceptional talent because he screwed around on his wife?
  • Question 2: Friendships with People of Opposite Philosophy: How can I maintain my integrity in friendships with people of opposite philosophic views? I struggle to keep good relations with family and friends who support our current political system in which some people are helped at the expense of others, which I regard as slavery. They support ObamaCare, EPA restrictions, and welfare programs. Through years of caring discussions, I realize that they do not hold the individual as sacred but instead focus on what's best for "the group." At this point, I often feel more pain than pleasure being with them, even though we have many other values in common, yet I hate to cut them off. How can I maintain good relationships with them -- or should I stop trying?
  • Question 3: Friendships with Intellect Property Thieves: Should I terminate friendships with people who steal music and other intellectual property from the internet? I don't know a single person who doesn't steal something off the internet. I used to do this myself, but stopped when I realized it was wrong and why. Normally, I would cut off contact with anyone who violates rights, because that's worse than just holding wrong ideas, but the activity is so prevalent now that doing so would end my social life. Even now, my clear moral position strains my friendships. So what should I do?
  • Question 4: Joining Professional Groups: Is it proper to join non-mandatory professional groups? Many professional organizations provide great benefits to their members, such as educational opportunities, professional conferences, networking, journal subscriptions, insurance, and product discounts. However, many also engage in lobbying of government officials on issues both related to the profession's direct interests and on issues only loosely associated (i.e. funding for political candidates). While some of this lobbying can be viewed as professional self-defense in an immorally regulated industry, where does one draw the line? Is there a point where joining professional associations is providing sanction to activities you believe are wrong?
After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

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.

Read more...

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #074

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:
Diane Sanfilippo presents Post-Ancestral Health Symposium 2011 Thoughts posted at Balanced Bites | Holistic & Paleo Nutrition Coaching & Seminars, saying, "Ancestral Health Symposium 2011 Review - a blogger & educator's perspective."

Peggy Emch presents Parasites in Raw Seafood posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "People are afraid of raw seafood because of the potential of deadly pathogens. But how common are they anyway? Is the problem exaggerated by the media? People have been eating raw sea food since the beginning of time. Should we really stop now? Could it be that our terrible diet more responsible for illness?"

mark owen-ward presents Go Paleo in the UK with New Habit posted at new habit.

Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Scharffen Berger 62% Mocha posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "Sharffen Berger! What a neat name. Here I attack another favored combo: coffee chocolate. Now how's this for breakfast?

Also, this will be the last time I'll be doing a chocolate review at this site."

Ruth Almon presents Good Morning Chemical Soup - Part 1 posted at Ruth's Real Food.

Erin Pavlina presents 5 Life Lessons I Learned From Hiking posted at Erin Pavlina - Spiritual Wisdom for Conscious People, saying, "I went hiking (for the first time in years!) this past weekend with some friends in the beautiful Mount Charleston area of Nevada. I realized as I was trudging through the forested area that the entire hike was a metaphor for life. Here are five lessons I learned from hiking."

Tony Federico presents 2011 FED Family Reunion: Full Disclosure Food and Activity Log posted at FED - Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "I documented my attempt at following a Primal Diet and Exercise Plan while visiting Wisconsin for a family reunion. Recipes and before and after weight-in's included!"

Dr. John presents Progression to Paleo: Evolution versus Revolution posted at Paleoterran, saying, "Nutritionist Leslie Why Reap posts her first entry: Progression to Paleo: Revolution versus Evolution"

Kris presents How to beat junk food addiction posted at Kris Health Blog, saying, "A complete guide on how to beat junk food addiction. If you think you might be addicted to fast food, sugar or wheat, and find yourself overeating."

Todd Dosenberry presents Why Are We Obsessed With Bacon? posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "Why are we obsessed with bacon? I ask this question in the blog post and want to find out from YOU!"

Ruth Almon presents It's Not Genetics, Folks posted at Ruth's Real Food, saying, "We keep hearing about genetic causes of disease of civilization but how does that figure with skyrocketing disease rates? (Answer: it doesn't)"

Adam Farrah presents My Personal Journey to Paleo... posted at PracticalPaleolithic.com, saying, "A blog post about how I personally came to Paleo and created a new life..."

Meghan Little presents Paleo Biscuits posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "These Paleo Biscuits are fluffy and delicious. They go perfectly with breakfast (with our sausage gravy!) or for dinner. Try this recipe and more at www.paleoeffect.com!"

Amy Kubal presents Big 'Fat' Blog Post 3 posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "The 3rd and final installment of the 'Big Fat Blog Post' series. Enjoy!"

Nell Stephenson presents MY PALEO Version of An "Iced Blended" posted at TrainWithNellie.

Ross England presents Diet Challenge posted at Think Twice, saying, "I detail my plans to improve my diet by injecting a little score-keeping and competition"

Megh presents Mystery Meat Monday: Kangaroo posted at Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle.

Megh presents Wearing a Funny Hat posted at Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle, saying, "I've heard about EMF and RF sensitivity for a while now, but it's one of those things that you think people who wear aluminum foil hats worry about. Not rational, normal people."

Rafael presents How to increase your metabolic flexibility posted at Optimal Health Source, saying, "If you have your metabolic flexibility impaired find how you can regain it!!!"

Peter Ballerstedt presents The Big Picture posted at Grass Based Health.

Chris Tamme presents Why we get fat? posted at Primal Roar.

Paul Jaminet presents About the Food Plate posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "We've drafted a Perfect Health Diet food plate and solicited reader comments; here I respond."

Meghan Little / Angel Torres presents Creamy Paleo Coleslaw posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "What I love the most about being Paleo is that you feel great everyday with every Paleo meal. This one here is for the books, add a skirt steak and you are good to go."

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Book Club: Primal Body, Primal Mind posted at theclothesmakethegirl, saying, "I'm hosting an online book club to read Nora Gedgaudas's "Primal Body, Primal Mind." We'll have three discussions (every 100 pages or so) throughout August and September. We've got a good size group reading together... join us!"

Peggy Emch presents Sex, Drugs, and Over-exercising: The Quest for Endorphins posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "Depression is a curable condition. Increasing endorphins is one important piece to the puzzle."

Rodney Flores presents The Paleo Diet and Primal Effect posted at Primal Effect.

J. Stanton presents When Satiety Fails: Why Are We Hungry? Part IV posted at GNOLLS.ORG, saying, "This very important article explains how nutrient deficiencies can cause hunger and weight gain, how defects in mitochondrial energy metabolism can cause hunger and weight gain -- and how our dietary choices make these problems worse."

Lauren presents Quick n fluffy 48 calorie gelatin-based chocolate shake posted at Raspberry & Coconut, saying, "Craving a chocolate shake but don't have any gelatin prepared in advance? I've perfected the art of "quick setting" gelatin in a dairy-free shake using ice and a blender!"

Julianne Taylor presents Ancestral Health Symposium: lots of useful links posted at Julianne's Paleo & Zone Nutrition Blog, saying, "The Ancestral Health symposium had around 50 speakers and 16 poster presentations. I have compiled links for each person - the video of their presentation, slide show, blog and website links, article and book publications."

Kara presents Save Your Bacon Grease! posted at The Primal Home.

Havard presents Steak tartare posted at Courageous Mind, saying, "Of all the paleo meals I have eaten, nothing comes close in 'primalness' to steak Tartare. Give the FDA a double middle-finger salute by eating raw meat AND raw eggs."

Julie presents Meals 4 the Week, Paleo Style posted at Paleo Comfort Foods, saying, "It's amazing how much easier it is to stay on the paleo path if you're prepared, have a plan, and are efficient with your time! Enjoy this week's meal plan (along with recipes)!"
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!

Read more...

Question of the Week: Bacon

By Diana Hsieh

Bacon.jpg

This week's "Paleo Question of the Week" is:
What's your favorite brand of bacon? What's your favorite way to cook it?
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 question of the week, please e-mail me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

Read more...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

potato salad with green beans and herbs

By Julie

I love potatoes. I would happily eat them at every meal. Much like my affinity for eggs, softly scrambled in lots of butter. My absolute favorite way to eat them is oven fries (well, french fries, but I really do try to steer clear). And not low fat oven fries. Joe's the oven fry master and loads up the oil in the baking pans and they get so crispy and wonderful. But this recipe isn't oven fries. It's potato salad. Another wonderful potato concoction. You really can't go wrong. Homemade mayonnaise, crisp vegetables, mushy potatoes (but not too too mushy), and and ooh some salty cheese? Yes please!



Back in Brookline, Mass., Joe and I would go on picnics a lot at Larz Anderson Park. Definitely one of my favorite places ever. When the air temperature was stifling and you could chomp on the humidity, we would go to the top of this hill, where the Anderson estate "Weld" used to be before it got torn down mid-century, and be the highest thing around and get some wonderful breeze. Plus, there's a lovely view of downtown Boston. Below are some pictures of that perfect park. You can see some of the architectural remnants that are scattered throughout where the estate was. We haven't really done the picnic thing here in Denver. It's one of my goals for this summer (lofty, I know). I think this potato salad will find a place in our grocery bag picnic basket.

I was rather ravenous when I made this potato salad the other day. In my haste to shovel food in my mouth, I forgot to slice up radishes to go in the salad. DON'T YOU DO THAT. They're great in this. And since you can get a big bunch of local radishes for like 50¢, even more reason to put them in. And if you're feeling chop-happy, put some other vegetables in too. Bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber. I've also made potato salad halfsies with sweet potatoes, and that's real good.

Homemade mayonnaise again, you say? Yup, and it's time you get good at making it. I wish that I had more on hand, but it goes so fast. Which is kind of gross thinking about how much oil I can consume when in mayo form. 1 whole cup? No proooobbbb! Yeah, maybe it's better that I don't always have a jar of it.

potato salad with green beans and herbs

4 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup dill, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2-3 cups green beans, ends trimmed and snapped into 1 inch pieces
ricotta salata

mayonnaise
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
3/4 cup light olive oil

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 20 - 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the mayonnaise. Whisk the egg yolk, salt, mustard powder, and vinegar/lemon juice together. Drip by drip, add the oil until the mixture is thickening. Then you may drizzle the oil in a steady, thin stream, whisking the whole time until all of it is incorporated. You can hand whisk or use a hand held blender with a whisk attachment. I like the hand whisk.

3. Chop up the veggies (minus the green beans) and herbs and add to a big bowl.

4. When the potatoes are done, drain and add to the big bowl. In that same pot, add some more salted water and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for just a couple minutes, until bright green. Drain and run some cold water over them to stop them from cooking. Add to the bowl.

5. Toss the veggies, herbs, potatoes, and green beans and let the mixture cool a bit. Add mayo to your liking and salt and pepper to taste.

Top your potato salad with some shaved ricotta salata. Or a lot. I usually take the headline picture for each blog post and then add a whole bunch more helpings, cheese, or butter. I at least like to make it look like I'm very moderate and sensible with my meals. But I'm not.

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

Read more...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

shrimp and bay scallop ceviche

By Julie

So. Hot. Melting. Cats can't move. Cats panting (cute). Energy sapped. Kitchen an oven without oven being on. No possible way I'm cooking. Ceviche!


I wasn't going to do Jell-O no bake or anything. Or whatever the heck that is. This was my first time making ceviche. It had been one of those recipes that kept getting pushed aside for something else. It's really simple and has lots of possibilities. I started basic and no complaints at all. Ceviche's pretty ingenious, actually. I like scientific food mysteries. Like mayonnaise. Or lime juice cooking fish.

I learned a few things about ceviche when I was trying to find a recipe I wanted to use, and then when I actually made it. First, I don't know why so many recipes say to blanch the seafood. I understand that it takes a shorter amount of time to make, but why don't you just pan fry some fish and top it with a citrusy salsa? Second, if you want to eat ceviche for dinner the same day you make it, you should probably either allow more time for the fish to marinate than most stated 30 minutes - 2 hours, or you should cut the seafood into smaller pieces. Especially shrimp. Our shrimp did not seem to want to cook. Third, marinating for longer than 3 hours does not make shrimp or bay scallops tough and gross. It was just as delicious for leftovers. Fourth, you should make sure you leave a lime wedge or two to add to some beer (yes I like to drink beer out of tiny glasses because I sometimes get tired of drinking a whole one).

I also served this dish with some chopped mango and avocados. Plantain chips or homemade potato chips would be wonderful for scooping. But if it's 100 degrees like it is here and frying root vegetables sounds heinous, then the mango and avocado will be perfect. Denver is finishing up its (way too brief) monsoon season. We had almost 2 weeks straight of thunderstorms starting in the afternoon and continuing through the evening. It was AWESOME. The days would get still get hot, but would reliably cool off once the storms rolled in. And not only were the storms helpful with moisture and cooling, but they were so fun! So much great lightning and super loud thunder. Ugh, but now it's back to good old oven-house times.


shrimp and bay scallop ceviche
adapted from The Summer Shack Cookbook by Jasper White

12 ounces to 1 pound of bay scallops, fresh or frozen (thawed)
12 ounces to 1 pound of 31/40 count shrimp, fresh or frozen (thawed), peeled, cut in half width-wise
2 navel oranges
juice of 6 limes
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place scallops and shrimp in a large, nonreactive bowl.

2. Peel one orange and remove segments. Peel away the membranes of each segment and set aside. Break or cut the segments in 2 or 3 pieces and add to the bowl. Squeeze the membranes into the bowl to extract any juice and discard. Cut the second orange in half and squeeze juice into bowl.

3. Add the lime juice, scallions, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Press some plastic wrap flush against the surface of the ceviche to make sure the fish is submerged. Refrigerate for about 4-5 hours, tossing the fish a few times. If your shrimp looks like it's still raw, then marinate for longer.

Serve the ceviche in a bowl with generous helpings of the marinade, or Tiger's Milk (that name, ew) and top with mango, avocado, and extra cilantro if you want.

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

Read more...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ny strip + garlic scape and dill compound butter

By Julie

Joe and I went to our favorite nearby liquor store to pick up something for the July 4th weekend and came back with a super bonus. The owner shoved some vegetables from Grant Family Farms CSA in our hands as we were leaving because he'd gotten a bunch of extra boxes dropped off and couldn't possibly use all of the veggies. How cool is that? Get some beer, get some local vegetables. In the box were kale, mesclun greens, spinach, eggs (YESSS), scallions, dill, and garlic scapes. I'd never seen garlic scapes at my grocery store (it's not the most produce-diverse grocery store, though it is very cheap so god bless it for that) and I was super excited to try them out. Since we had already been set on cooking these NY strip steaks, I thought it'd be fun to make an herb-y butter. Butter on steak is just about the best thing there is, and herbed butter is even better.


We made this dinner the night before hiking Mount Bierstadt. Gotta fuel up pre-hike! I also ate some leftovers the morning of, too... It was a lovely hike, despite our late start. When hiking up high in the mountains you have to make sure that you start super early, otherwise you run into weather problems. Thunderstorms happen like clockwork around late morning/early afternoon and the last thing you want is to get caught in a nasty storm so high up and exposed. But despite knowing all of this, we still decided to sleep in a little bit - it was luxurious. I had originally thought to try and hike over to Sawtooth and then back down to the trailhead a different way, but we decided against it both because of weather concerns and because my stinkin' legs were so tired from my workout the day before. D'oh. But boy was it wonderful to be up in the mountains. I might love the smells the most. And the wildflowers. And the views. And the pikas. And eating trail food. EVERYTHING. And running down the mountain. And not being able to move the next day because running down several thousand feet is hard.

If it's not too hot out, you have to make sure to splurge on a nice NY strip to grill. I have a wonderful too-hot weather recipe coming up next, but it's essential to do the fancy steak at some point. I got mine on super sale for like $8/lb. off. There are lots in my freezer. A steak like this doesn't even need butter; salt and pepper are perfect. But if you've got garlic scapes and dill just given to you, well then you're basically given no choice but to mix them into some softened, salted, pastured butter. Drool.

For the butter, you're welcome to change it up however you want using whatever fresh herbs you might have around. Basil would be divine, rosemary, oregano... You could roast some garlic (but do you really want to use your oven for that long and heat up your kitchen?) or go ballsy and use a small clove of smashed raw garlic. I served this steak with a nice salad with a simple oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic dressing. It's nice to have a little crisp, cool counterpoint to the rich, warm steak. You could do a chopped cucumber salad with red onions and a yogurt dressing.

garlic scape and dill compound butter

2 garlic scapes, minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1/3 cup salted butter, softened

In a small bowl, mix herbs into butter. Adjust the herb to butter ratio as you see fit. With any extra butter, you can place it in some parchment paper and form it into a usable, sliceable/spreadable shape. Refrigerate it for another use.

ny strip steak

2 1 1/2" NY strip steaks
coarse sea salt
freshly ground pepper

1. Pat steaks dry with a paper towel and sprinkle a little salt on both sides. Put back in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours.

2. Remove about an hour before you're ready to eat and let the steaks come to room temperature. Pat them dry again with a paper towel. Sprinkle a little more sea salt on, as well as a generous amount of pepper - press the steak to make sure both adhere.

3. Preheat your grill to high. Sear the steaks for about 3-4 minutes per side.

4. Lower heat to low and continue to cook steaks for about 3-4 minutes per side. This will be about a medium-rare steak.

5. Place steaks on a cutting board and DON'T TOUCH THEM for 10 minutes. It sucks, but do it. Have some beer. After the steaks have rested, you can slice into them, against the grain. Season with additional sea salt and pepper if desired.

Serve this steak with a big dollop of butter and a nice, crisp salad on the side. Perfect!

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

Read more...

Monday, August 15, 2011

moroccan pork skewers + grilled eggplant and leeks

By Julie

Phew. I hate and love being busy. I can't even remember what happened the last couple weeks. It's a big blur of "oh crap it's 11:30pm, I only completed 2 out of 9 to-dos, and I NEED 8 HOURS OF SLEEP TO FUNCTION". But I haven't been eating frozen meals or anything. In fact, I have quite the queue of recipes to post. I can't give up eating at least a couple fun new meals each week, even if I feel pressed for time. And besides, I pretty much only buy what's on sale, and since that changes from week to week, it's just begging for me to try out different stuff.


I found this easy recipe in my favorite little tapas cookbook. I got it years ago on clearance at Marshalls. I was skeptical, but for $2 or whatever, who cares. But it's great! Everything I've made from it has been super good. Plus, they have recipes for all sorts of meat parts. Oh, that reminds me! I got a 1960s cookbook at a used bookstore. It was published by the magazine Sunset and its theme is recipes of the world. But the reason I bought it? Because it's from the 1960s and the ingredients reflect that. Pretty excited to make something from it.

About to this tapas recipe. The pork gets marinated overnight in a lemony spiced Moroccan marinade. You don't have to make skewers, a pork chop or other cut would benefit just as much from the marinade. The recipe calls for ras el hanout spice mix. I promise I didn't post this recipe because of this, but you can get some of that spice mix from my online store - and you should! There are also tons of versions online that you can look up and make your own. The grilled veggies are lovely. Eggplant is one of my favorite veggies and leeks on the grill, much like scallions, are really good. That is to say, grilled leeks are really good if they're small or baby leeks. I didn't have much of a choice at my grocery store - they had probably the fattest leeks I'd ever seen! Consequently, mine were a little on the chewy side.

For the vegetables, you could also chop the eggplants and leeks up and use a grill basket to cook them. Then top them with the herbs and oil. Might not be as visually pretty, but that doesn't really matter necessarily.

moroccan pork skewers

1 pound of lean, boneless pork (I used pork sirloin cutlets, boneless loin chops are another option), cut into 3/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, juiced and peel zested
2 garlic cloves, crushed or pressed
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix
salt and pepper

1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the pork chunks and marinate overnight, or for about 8 hours. Stir the pork around a few times.

2. Preheat your grill to high heat. Thread the pork on greased metal skewers (or wooden ones that have been soaked in water for about 20-30 minutes) and cook about 10 minutes, turning a few times and basting with the remaining marinade.

grilled eggplant and leeks

1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch pieces
3 baby leeks, halved or quartered lengthwise, depending on thickness, rinsed well
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
fresh lemon juice

Mix oil, vinegar, garlic, herbs, and mustard in a small dish. Brush over eggplant and leeks. Place on grill and grill until there are nice char marks and the eggplant is cooked and soft all the way through. Remove and squeeze lemon juice all over. Top with more parsley.

Enjoy this summery dinner! Hopefully I'll get my to-dos in order and be able to post more regularly.

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

Read more...

Back to TOP