Saturday, March 31, 2012

Video: The Problem of Too Many Commitments

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed overcommitment in projects. The question was:

How can I manage my projects better? Too often, I'm overwhelmed by the sheer volume of projects on my agenda. Because I'm overcommitted, I'll miss important deadlines or allow some projects to be delayed into oblivion. Other times, my work is rushed and sloppy. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I become paralyzed, and then I don't get any work done. What can I do to manage my various work and home projects better, so that I keep making progress on what really matters to me?
My answer, in brief:
If you tend to take on more projects than you can manage well, then you need to work on being more realistic and more selective. Otherwise, you're just making false promises.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends via social media, forums, and e-mail! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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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 a link to The Objectivist Roundup. 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!

Also, in my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on statutory rape laws, outing anti-gay politicians as gay, potential employers demanding facebook logins, enjoying fantasy and theology literature, and more. As always, it's on Sunday, 1 April 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

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

  • Question 1: Statutory Rape Laws: Are statutory rape laws proper? Statutory rape laws criminalize seemingly consensual sex when at least one party is below the age of consent, but sexually mature, e.g. when an 18 year old has sex with a 15 year old. Are such laws proper? Should the over-age person be convicted if he or she didn't know (or couldn't reasonably know) that the under-age person was under-age? What if the under-age person lied about his or her age? What, if anything, should happen legally when both parties are under-age, e.g. when two 15 year olds have sex?

  • Question 2: Outing Anti-Gay Politicians as Gay: Is it wrong to "out" a hypocritical anti-gay public figure who is secretly gay? Some conservative politicians have taken strongly anti-gay positions, but are secretly gay themselves. If one learns of this, is it wrong for gay activists to publicly "out" them? What if they don't take engage in public hypocrisy, but are just quietly "in the closet"? Should activists respect their privacy in that case?

  • Question 3: Potential Employers Demanding Facebook Logins: Should employers ask applicants for their Facebook logins and passwords? More employers are asking job applicants for their Facebook logins and passwords as part of a background check. (See http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_20218922/privacy-red-flag-raised-more-job-applicants-asked ) Of course, applicants can decline, in which case they might not be considered for the job. Should employers be asking for this information? Is it proper to want to check on the online activities of potential employees? Is that an invasion of privacy? How should someone respond if asked by a potential employer?

  • Question 4: Enjoying Fantasy and Theology Literature: Is an interest in fantasy and theology literature proper? I'm fascinated with fantasy as a literary genre. I find it easier to get excited about a fantastic story rather than about a realistic one, and I'm also really interested in fantasy with a certain sophistication: the extremely well-constructed world of Tolkien in Lord of the Rings, for example, or the mythological background of vampire stories and so on. Along the same line, I am also fascinated with theology. For example, I found it extremely interesting to read Paradise Lost, and to read up on the many theological questions it raises and answers. Is such an interest proper – or am I indulging in some kind of evasion or escapism from reality? Does it matter that I want to become a writer and so find much inspiration for potential own stories this way?
After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

If you can't attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as audio-only podcasts by subscribing to our RSS Feeds. You can also listen to full episodes or just selected questions from any past episode in the Webcast Archive, including questions on paleo, nutrition, and health. Finally, don't forget to submit and vote on the questions that you'd most like me to answer from the ongoing Question Queue.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

The Paleo Rodeo #104

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:
Cavechic presents Pemmican, can posted at Paleo for Christians, saying, "What is the best, long term storage food that offers the most nutrients and can actually heal your body when eaten exclusively? Pemmican, can!"

John A. Heatherly presents As Requested: Diet and Fitness Links posted at The Blog of Author John A. Heatherly, saying, "One stop shop for diet/exercise links!"

Paul Jaminet presents Red Wheat and White Rice, Oh My! posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "I look at two recent studies from the Harvard School of Public Health, one decrying red meat and the other white rice."

Joe Lindley presents Dr. Eric Westman and Other Obesity Experts Support the Low Carb High Fat Diet posted at Craving Sugar, saying, "The video interview in this article was conducted by Andreas Eenfeldt, MD, a longstanding LCHF advocate. He was speaking with Eric C. Westman, MD, and President Elect of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity. With these doctors, you don’t hear much of the “low fat” speak you find on TV or from government agencies. Instead, you hear that they’ve been following the positive clinical results with carbohydrate restriction approaches for 15 years, and especially within the last few years have, by and large, adopted LCHF (and Paleo by inference) as a fundamental approach in controlling weight and improving health. WHAT A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!!"

Ruth presents How to Read Food Packaging posted at Ruth's Real Food, saying, "There are lots of messages on food packages. What info should you look it? What's can you ignore? What is downright misleading? Here's a link to the first of a series of 4 posts."

Angel Ayala & Meghan Little presents Paleo Banana Souffle posted at Paleo Banana Souffle, saying, "This recipe for Paleo Banana Souffle is a perfectly light, sweet and fluffy dessert. We love to make this when we have leftover bananas that we need to use! Try this recipe and more at www.paleoeffect.com! "

Mark presents Time for Phase 3: Fitness and Muscle-Building (Here come the carbs!) posted at Low Carb Learning, saying, "With the fat mostly gone and difficulty in sustaining a weightlifting routine due to a lack of energy both during and post-workout, it's time to take a fresh look and move into a new phase..."

Jedha presents Can I Eat Dairy On The Paleo Diet? posted at Paleo Weight Loss Coach, saying, "Answering a frequently asked question from a weight loss perspective."

Nell Stephenson presents Too Many Carrots? posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson, saying, "Can you really eat too much of a good Paleo thing, like carrots?"

Neely Quinn presents A Warning About Intermittent Fasting posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "There’s a lot of talk about intermittent fasting (IF) these days in the Paleo community, but before you go jumping on the intermittent fasting express train, there are some things you should know."

Kelly Fitzsimmons presents Primal Diet 101 posted at Weight Loss Ninja, saying, "This article describes the basics of the primal diet for those who are new to the paleo lifestyle."

Tony Federico presents A Sea of Vortices posted at Fitness In An Evolutionary Direction, saying, "What NASA's "Perpetual Ocean", Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night, and Your Fingertips Share in Common."

Health Freak Eddy presents Expensive Paleo Myth posted at Health Freak Revolution, saying, "The debate on how expensive paleo is has been a long one. But times are hard, and here is a unique perspective from someone who combines frugal living concepts with paleo living. (Guest post)"

Paleo Parents presents Your Non-Cooperative Spouse posted at Paleo Parents, saying, "Is your spouse not supporting your efforts? The Paleo Parents reveal a super secret tactic to get him on board! Talk to him about the benefits of increased testosterone in females. That is, tell him about how paleo will increase sex drive."

Tara Grant presents Primalgirl Opens Up: Hidradenitis Suppurativa Part 1 posted at Primalgirl Opens Up: Hidradenitis Suppurativa Part 2, saying, "Through self-experimentation, I have put a nasty condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa into remission, when doctors told me I couldn't. Learn more about this autoimmune condition and how it affects the millions of people living with it at www.primalgirl.com Please spread the word. Thanks!"

Ana J presents Change... posted at Whole Life Diets, saying, "The importance of making slow, gradual lifestyle changes."

Cavechic presents Six tips on how to tell people about the paleo diet posted at Paleo for Christians, saying, "Talking to people about the paleo diet can be tricky. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the often hostile waters of enlightenment. "

Melissa Fritcher presents Some Perspective on my Journey posted at Less of Mimi, saying, "Getting wrapped up in the minutia of a weight-loss journey can lead to frustrations and failure, whereas, refocusing on a larger time frame can often give a different perspective on the accomplishments during that time. "

Melissa Joulwan presents I Love My Body posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "I train hard and eat clean, but I still don't have the body I want. This post comes clean about habits, vanity, belly fat, and the relentlessness required to keep fighting the good fight."

Fatisfied presents Sauerkraut... Tacos... posted at Free Your Fat, saying, "A hint to a long and robust life, fermented affirmations, and serving it up family-style. "

Peggy Emch presents The New Paleo Kids Book, Paleo Kids Music, plus 2 Paleo and Obesity Infographics posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "We received our copy of Eat Like a Dinosaur in the mail and made one of many yummy recipes. We've also been listening to the new kid's music called the Cave Kids. On the same post I've posted a couple of interesting infographics - one on obesity and the other a Paleo how-to."

Beth Mazur presents Weight loss: It’s all about compliance posted at Weight Maven, saying, "I <3 Stephan Guyenet, but I don't think a low-reward diet will be any more successful for longer-term weight loss than either a low-fat or low-carb diet."

Chris Tamme presents Grass Fed Cow Awaits posted at Primal Roar, saying, "I share my love for grass fed beef and more importantly organ meats."

Robin presents Hunting and Gathering the Wild Coconut posted at Everymom2Ironmom, saying, "While coconut is a staple of the Paleo diet, most of us get it from a can or bag on the grocer's shelf. A trip to the tropics gave us the ability to forage for some wild coconuts, and enjoy them in the best way possible: freshly cracked!"

Julie & Charles Mayfield presents Our Food-Fessional posted at Paleo Comfort Foods, saying, "Emotions and food. This blog post is all about the two, and our recent goings on with those. "

Suz Crawt presents 24 Mistakes People Make on a Paleo Diet posted at The Paleo Network, saying, "The most common mistakes people make with a Paleo lifestyle"

Suz Crawt presents Announcing the First Australian Paleo Weekend! posted at The Paleo Network, saying, "Finally, Paleo comes to Australia!"

David Rourke presents Experiments with one subject posted at Paleodyssey, saying, "Lots of paleo folks discuss "n =1" self-experiments, but don't realize there is a comprehensive methodology in the scientific literature for doing this."

Brittney Beckham presents Crock-Pot Smoked Beef Brisket posted at Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle, saying, "This is a post about a most delicious recipe that I found on a blog and cooked! The recipe and photos are included! You will not regret trying out this one!!"

Julia Campbell presents corned beef brisket (hash) posted at the crankin' kitchen, saying, "how to corn your own beef, then make a glorious hash."

J. Stanton presents The Paleo Diet For Australopithecines posted at gnolls.org, saying, "In which we find that, contrary to the vegetarian propaganda, the "paleolithic diet" is at least 3.4 million years old -- predating the Paleolithic by nearly a million years! (Part IV of a multi-part series on the evolution of human intelligence.)"
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: Kombucha

By Diana Hsieh

Kombucha Day 1

The Modern Paleo Question of the Week is:
Do you drink kombucha? Do you make your own? What's your favorite flavor?
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.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

corned beef brisket (hash)

By Julie

You know, I'd felt kinda bad about how untimely this and my last post were in relation to St. Patrick's Day, but really, corned beef hash is not just for March 17th. Corned beef, perhaps. Add hash? That's much less holiday specific because it's really freaking good and corned beef and cabbage is good, but not "I'd order this for brunch any day" good. I'd considered smoking the corned beef, but my god I'd had this hunk of meat hanging over me for a week and I wasn't about to slave over it for another day.
So, I have a new job that I'll be starting this coming Monday. I wish I could detail all of the absurdities of my old one. I mean, I've mentioned one event. That is a pretty good summation. I suppose I should have created a secret online identity when I started this blog. Then I could tell you all about the nepotism, lying, unfairness, lying, two-facedness, cowardliness, nepotism, and, oh, just some other ridiculum that went on. But I'll be respectful, because I received so much respect there! Let's just leave it at, when I announced that I was taking another job, the approximately 90 second conversation ended with the boss saying in a not-wishing-you-luck-at-all kind of way, "Well, good luck to you, then." No, no, no, good fucking luck to YOU and your failing business! Love, Julie.
Oooookkkayy. Corned beef, you say? Right. Um, can I gloat and say this was the best corned beef I've ever had? Like the most tender, perfectly salty and melty corned beef? And considering that it only took up a giant portion of my fridge for a week and hampered my blog post ideas and plans for an equal amount of time, it was totally worth it, right? It didn't really need to take up that much room in my fridge, I suppose. I could have found a more economically sized pot to store the measly 2 1/2 pounds of beef that I corned instead of my giant dutch oven. Oh, but then I wouldn't have had as much room to boil potatoes. Yum. They are so wonderful.
I didn't make cabbage. Didn't feel like it. I knew that I was going the hash route, and I feel like if you take normal corned beef, cabbage, and root vegetables, then just chop it up and pan fry it and top it with eggs then it's not really hash, it's just corned beef and cabbage chopped up and pan fried. I dunno, I mean, I suppose it would have been good. I just did a real simple potatoes, corned beef, onions, and oh yes... beef cracklin's. Oh man, so good. They get a little lost in the mix, but you can make extra to eat first. Brunch appetizer.
pickling spice mix
makes about 1/2 cup

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon ground mace (or sub nutmeg if you must)
1 true cinnamon stick (Ceylon cinnamon, not cassia), crumbled
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

Heat a small dry pan over medium heat. Add peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds and toast until fragrant. Once they start popping, they're done. Be careful not to burn - keep an eye on the mustard seeds. Dump the seeds on a cutting board and crack them with the side of a big knife. Combine with the rest of the spices.
corned beef
adapted from Michael Ruhlman


8 cups water (1/2 gallon)
3/4 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 - 2 1/2 pounds beef brisket (don't trim the fat!)
2 potatoes

1. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine water and salt and stir until salt is dissolved. Add the garlic, pickling spice, and brisket. Place a small bowl or something else heavy to weigh the brisket down to keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 1 week.

2. Remove brisket from the brine and rinse well. Wash the pot and return the meat to it. Cover with water, add 2 tablespoons of remaining pickling spice, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to keep it at a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. In the last half hour or so, add your whole potatoes to the pot. Turn up the heat a bit to return to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

You can of course eat the meat and potatoes now, or you can proceed onto the hash portion of our program:
hash

1/4 cup finely diced fat from corned beef
1 red onion, diced
2 cups corned beef, diced
2 potatoes from corned beef boil, diced
6 eggs

1. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat and add the beef fat. Cook until light brown and getting crisp, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the red onion and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 - 7 minutes.

3. Turn up the heat to medium high and add in the potato and corned beef and kind of mash down to an even level. Let crisp up for about 4 minutes, then flip in sections to crisp the other side. Do this a few times, because you're bound to miss some spots when flipping.

4. If you want to be fancy and poach an egg, this is how: heat some salted water up in a saucepan over high heat until the little bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Lower heat to ensure it doesn't get to a proper boil. Crack your egg into a little bowl. Stir the water in the saucepan into a little whirlpool, then drop the egg into the center. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a little plate. Drain excess water off before placing on top of the hash. Cut into and bask in the glory of runny egg yolk.
PS, I don't know why the coloring on my photo composites gets messed up when I upload them to Wordpress - i.e. the brisket looks hot pink in the one I have in this post. Anyone have any idea what's going on? So weird.

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

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hitler Versus CrossFit

By Diana Hsieh

Heh. Hitler is not a fan of CrossFit:



More seriously, here's a segment of Robb Wolf's podcast from 2011 on some common problems with CrossFit, as done by CrossFitHQ:



As happy as I am with my switch from CrossFit to SuperSlow, my year of periodic Olympic lifts at CrossFit enabled me to repeatedly pop a heavy box of food to the top of the fridge at SnowCon 2012. It's all about that explosive power from the hips!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

braised lamb shoulder blade chops + parsnip potato mash

By Julie

I supposed I could blame my lack of gusto for producing this post in a timely fashion for St. Patrick's Day on the glorious bout of 70+ degree weather we've been having. Burgers and guacamole and grilled veggies have been more on my mind than root vegetables and braises more suitable for brisk 40s-50s spring-ish weather. So maybe just bookmark this for next year's celebration. Oh wait, and the corned beef recipe I have coming up too. Dammit. Maybe you'll just have to pretend you're Irish just a little bit longer. Keep that Erin Go Braughless shirt out for another go around.
I took care of a dog. I have a nascent interest in possibly wanting to want a dog. I thought maybe babysitting one for a day would help me want to want one more. I think I really just want a dog to be a cat that I can take with me on a run and go backpacking with. Or, what I want is a mountain lion that wants to bite me less. Even though I'm pretty convinced all dogs want to bite me just as much as a mountain lion. I think my muscles didn't relax all day of dogbabysitting. Gotta prepare yourself for that inevitable chomp. Why hasn't anyone worked on breeding a cat that loves you like a dog, is as big as a dog, and that likes to obey you like a dog? But that still looks like a cat (because duh, they're way cuter), purrs like a cat, doesn't wag its tail like an idiot, and does all those cut little rubby things that cats do? Bleh. Maybe it's just like babies - like they're alright and pretty cute and stuff, but you don't ever like someone else's baby like you'd like your own. So what I need to do is get a little puppy and then next thing I'll know is that I have a big dog and that I love it because I've hardly noticed it transitioning from a lovable cat-sized creature to a big horrible, slobbery, biting, terrifying monster.
On April 11th, 2012, I will become a juror. I can't even tell you how excited I am for this. I'm going to be the best juror. And probably the meanest. Or the nicest, depending, I guess. I'm not going to care much about some drug charge. But WATCH OUT if you're some disgusting rapist or you broke into somebody's house or a whole bunch of other things YOU'LL BE GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY. So sorry about your troubled childhood. So, so sorry you were bullied in school. Oh, and terribly sorry that your family didn't have enough money to buy you Super Nintendo when you were 8. GUILTY.
And I would also like to commit to jail the drunken revelers on St. Patrick's Day. I hate them. And these are the people that I'm going to be sitting on a jury with. God help America. But if you're a good person, and not a waste of space that hoots and hollers at me out of your car window at 1 in the afternoon while decked out in green beads and those glittery green leprechaun hats and most certainly should not be driving, you can enjoy a regional celebration by making this lovely little Irish meal. I don't even remember or really care, I guess, what St. Patrick's Day is about. Kinda like Oktoberfest. Whatever, I just like excuses to make regionally and seasonally appropriate food. I also had grand plans of making a bunch of Jewish food for Purim, even though I have no clue what that is. I still have Passover coming up, so that's a possibility. I have this Moosewood cookbook that has grand feasts for all sorts of ethnic celebrations and I have it in my head that one year I'll follow it through a full calendar year. I'd change some of it up a bit - basically adding in meat to make most of them more authentic, unless it's some Buddhist celebration which I bet is in there. I could also host a dinner party for each one. This is sounding exciting.
But back to this recipe. If you can't find lamb shoulder blade chops, you can substitute another cut that benefits from a braise - like a shank. The shoulder blade chop is boney and connective tissue-y, hence really needing a braise. The original recipe called for straining the braising liquid and discarding the vegetable solids. Overall, the original recipe was very fussy. I've made it much more simple, and thus more rustic, which I generally appreciate more. This is easily scalable - I only made two chops since I found them on super sale and they were the reason I made this recipe. But you can of course make more and just scale the vegetables accordingly. The vegetable ratio is also something you can play with, depending on what you like. Same goes with the mash. If you want it a little sweeter, use more parsnips.

lamb shoulder chops
adapted from Cathal Armstrong, serves 6

6 lamb shoulder chops, trimmed of excess fat if desired
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-4 tablespoons olive oil/bacon fat
cloves from 2 heads of garlic, pressed or minced
5 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
8 sprigs fresh thyme, or 4 teaspoons dried
3 dried bay leaves
3-4 cups lamb or beef stock, just enough to cover the lamb

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron pan over high heat. Generously season lamb with salt and pepper and place in the pan, working in batches and adding oil each time. Brown for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to your roasting pan or Pyrex.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the roasting pan. Tightly cover with foil and place in the oven. Roast for 2 1/2 hours.

4. Remove the lamb from the roasting pan and cover with the foil. Place the roasting pan on a burner on high heat (or span two if you're using a large roasting pan) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced and thick. You could also transfer the liquid and veggies to a sauce pan and boil in that. Adjust and seasonings and remove the herbs (of course, don't bother if you used dried thyme).

parsnip potato mash
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
3 medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
2 green onions, divided, thinly sliced
sea salt
2 tablespoons salted grass-fed butter (obviously I mean Kerrygold...)
2 tablespoons parsley leaves, finely chopped

1. Place potatoes, parsnips, garlic, and 1 green onion in a saucepan and cover by 1 inch with cold salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to keep it at a light boil for about 25 minutes, or until tender.

2. Drain the veggies, reserving the liquid. Add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup reserved liquid and mash, adding more liquid to make it creamier if you want. Add in butter and mash around more to mix. Stir in the parsley and top with the second green onion.

Serve the lamb with a big spoonful of the vegetables and braising liquid. And of course a big lump of the mashies.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

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 a link to The Objectivist Roundup. 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.

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

Also, in my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on unfriendly disputes in online communities, overcommittment in projects, statutory rape laws, talking about selfishness, and more. As always, it's on Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

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

  • Question 1: Unfriendly Disputes in Online Communities: Why are disputes so belligerent in online communities? I've noticed that people get into very loud and heated disputes online, whereas that doesn't seem to happen in local communities. Disputes in local communities tend to be less frequent, less belligerent, and last for a shorter time – even when some people end up hating each other and refusing to have anything to do with each other in the end. Why is that? Also, why do people who are closest with each other (whether close friends, dating, or married) seem to agree more on hot-button issues? Are people more willing to reject a stranger's arguments than those of a friend? Is that an error?

  • Question 2: Overcommittment in Projects: How can I manage my projects better? Too often, I'm overwhelmed by the sheer volume of projects on my agenda. Because I'm overcommitted, I'll miss important deadlines or allow some projects to be delayed into oblivion. Other times, my work is rushed and sloppy. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I become paralyzed, and then I don't get any work done. What can I do to manage my various work and home projects better, so that I keep making progress on what really matters to me?

  • Question 3: Statutory Rape Laws: Are statutory rape laws proper? Statutory rape laws criminalize seemingly consensual sex when at least one party is below the age of consent, but sexually mature, e.g. when an 18 year old has sex with a 15 year old. Are such laws proper? Should the over-age person be convicted if he or she didn't know (or couldn't reasonably know) that the under-age person was under-age? What if the under-age person lied about his or her age? What, if anything, should happen legally when both parties are under-age, e.g. when two 15 year olds have sex?

  • Question 4: Talking About Selfishness: Should I use the term "selfish" in conversation without explanation? According to Ayn Rand, selfishness means acting for your own long-range life and happiness, and that's moral and proper. Yet most people think that selfishness means brutalizing other people, lying and cheating to satisfy your desires, or at least acting like an insensitive jerk. Should I avoid using the term unless I can explain what I mean by it? And how can I best explain its proper meaning?
After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

If you can't attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as audio-only podcasts by subscribing to our RSS Feeds. You can also listen to full episodes or just selected questions from any past episode in the Webcast Archive, including questions on paleo, nutrition, and health. Finally, don't forget to submit and vote on the questions that you'd most like me to answer from the ongoing Question Queue.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

The Paleo Rodeo #103

By Diana Hsieh

We're BAAAAACK! 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:
Diana Hsieh presents Two Cookbooks: Well Fed and The Healthy Gluten-Free Life posted at NoodleFood, saying, "Here's my quick review of the new paleo cookbook Well Fed and the paleo-ish cookbook The Healthy Gluten-Free Life."

Kelly Fitzsimmons presents Paleo Lunch Recipes - Dining in Stone Age Style posted at Weight Loss Ninja, saying, "This article give some Paleo-styled lunch ideas for people on the go!"

Jennifer Hunt presents 7 MovNat Lessons from an Uncoordinated Stay-at-Home Mom posted at Vibrant. Sexy. Strong., saying, "How MovNat changed my paradigm about fitness, motherhood, and body image."

Ruth presents Rethinking Antiperspirant posted at Ruth's Real Food, saying, "Antiperpirants have evolved from a means to an end (stopping us from smelling) to an end in itself. But are the chemicals potentially harmful, and is antiperspirant a necessity for everyone every day?"

Health Freak Eddy presents The Myth of a Varied Diet posted at Health Freak Revolution, saying, "Is this some conventional wisdom that got passed you? How varied does your diet need to be?"

Fatisfied presents Mini Exertions posted at Free Your Fat, saying, "... quick and quirky, easy to recover from yet effective at maintaining and improving lean body mass, strength, and coordination"

Peggy Emch presents How to Make Collagen Rich Bone Broth posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "Bone broth is amazing! It's a shame that Americans have taken to throwing out the bones (and collagen rich skin) and dully feasting on the dry ol' chicken breast. Maybe, just maybe that's why cellulite, wrinkles, and stretch marks plague the majority of American women these days. Well, it's a bit more complicated than that, but the lack of collagen in the diet certainly plays a role. Check out my super simple recipe for health and beauty. It takes me under 10 minutes to prepare."

Kerri presents mexican slaw posted at the functional foodie, saying, "With all this nice weather we've been having in the Northeast, why not try this summery salad? Top it with grilled chicken, steak tips or just serve it straight up!"

Paleo Parents presents Release the beast: Eat Like a Dinosaur is officially released! posted at Paleo Parents, saying, "Our new book, Eat Like a Dinosaur has been officially released! If you're trying to convert your children to a paleo lifestyle, or even just trying to get them to be excited about healthier foods, we have written the book for you! Check out a preview and read the reviews!"

Angie presents Honey Carrot Muffins posted at Angie's Suburban Oasis, saying, "Looking for a way to get more veggies into your treats? Try these Honey Carrot muffins! Although I used carrot puree, you could use sweet potato, butternut squash, applesauce or many other fruit/veggie combos to achieve the same yummy results."

The Cavegirls presents Roasted Broccoli and Onions with Bacon posted at Northwest Cavegirls, saying, "OMGosh this dish, be it lunch, brunch or a side to accompany meat is delicious. We are HUGE fans of broccoli in our house SO with the added plus of bacon, which makes everything better right?!... it HAS to be a recipe for SUCCESS!"

Beth Mazur presents Robb Wolf on Kruse and divisiveness posted at Weight Maven, saying, "Robb's call for respect and decorum in the paleosphere pre-dates the apparent love-fest at PaleoFX, but it may be worth repeating."

Meghan Little & Angel Torres presents Corned Beef & Cabbage posted at Corned Beef & Cabbage, saying, "Our Corned Beef and Cabbage isn't just for St. Patrick's Day! We love the flavor, but the sweetest part is that this recipe is really very simple! Just soak and simmer for a delicious meal! Try this and more at www.paleoeffect.com!"

Marisa Behan presents Eat Like A Dinosaur Book Review posted at Primal Pearls.

Mark presents What I Eat posted at lowcarblearning.com, saying, "If keeping a food journal or pre-planned menus work for you, then go for it. But, for me, I never did that. I guess I approached weight loss a little less organized than some but, in my opinion, more realistic for the long-term. Here are the key things I've done to lose the ~65 pounds and maintain that loss successfully (so far, without any major effort)..."

Jedha presents Meal Planning Ideas posted at Paleo Diet Blog, saying, "I lead you through the process I use every week to plan my paleo diet meals."

Nell Stephenson presents Completely Paleo? Or...Mostly? posted at Paleoista Lifestyle Blog, saying, "Can you be partly Paleo?"

Riki Shore presents Asian Beef Braise posted at Three Squares, saying, "Cinnamon, star anise and Szechwan peppercorns spice up an easy braised. Using the slow cooker, it's a perfect weeknight meal."

Neely Quinn presents Let's All Stop Freaking Out About Carbs posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "The recent craze about ultra low carb Paleo being optimal has gotten out of hand."

Nancy Atwell presents Weekly Update #1: Am I Training for Maintenance or Relapse? posted at Eating Modern Foods with an Ancestral View, saying, "I am taking a break from my usual weight-loss mode in order to practice maintenance, otherwise known as "real life.""

Patty presents Strilaeff posted at Corned Beef - Paleo Style, saying, "I broke all the rules with this St. Patrick's Day meal, but who cares because corned beef isn't very Irish to start with, and apparently, neither was St. Patrick. "

Joe Lindley presents Confronting the Crisis in Nutrition posted at Craving Sugar, saying, "A significant conference occurred last week in which a session was conducted on the Crisis in Nutrition. The conference, conducted by the Office of Research Integrity in Washington DC, was held March 15th, 2012 and included presentations from 3 representatives from our low carb/paleo community. In these presentations, our representatives, under the leadership of Richard David Feinman, PhD, SUNY Downstate University of NY, directly confronting the government on what we see as a Crisis in Nutrition."
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: Spices

By Diana Hsieh

Spice House 2

The Modern Paleo Question of the Week is:
What are your most and least favorite spices?
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.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chocolate Review: Green & Black's 34% Milk Toffee

By Benjamin Skipper

I picked up Green & Black's milk chocolate with toffee while I was out buying a smorgasbord of chocolate one day, and was attracted to it since toffee is one of my developing confectionery interests. In its most simple form it is but sugar, butter, and salt, so it's quite nearly a Paleo treat. That a toffee variety is carried by such as good brand as G&B's only tempts me more.

While still a solidly delicious milk chocolate, it misses its aim. The butter flavor of the toffee comes off as way too sweet and not at all salty enough, though the luscious caramel overtones with nutty attributes make up for it, finishing on a very sugary note without being unpleasantly intense. I was entertained by the nearly taffy-like texture of the bar as it bent and pulled before breaking apart, and in the mouth is has that delightful fatty texture and viscous melt known of good milk chocolates, with a touch of crispness from the toffee. It smells slightly pungent, but not offensively so, and has dominating traits of milk, nuts, and caramel. I don't know why I kept sensing nuts, but I did. Aesthetically the bar has a light, kind of pinkish brown with a healthy glow, the inner gradient hiding bits of butter colored jewels.

The chocolate itself was perfect, but it overwhelms the toffee it carries, not to neglect the toffee itself isn't that good. I could recommend this as a great milk chocolate with a nice crisp to it, but not for its toffee. Also, note that glucose syrup that is used in the toffee is wheat derived, so it may possibly not be gluten-free.

Given a choice I'd still stick with Endangered Species' 72% Coexist toffee pieces as my toffee-chocolate of choice. The chocolate may be lesser in amount, but it's potent enough to hold its own in the complex of flavors, and the thickness of the toffee chunks delivers fully on the butter and salt traits that you'd crave.

I thoroughly enjoyed this G&B's treat, but it's more of a plain milk chocolate given the strength of its cocoa. If you want your milk chocolate to have some crisp texture to it then go for it, but for plain milk chocolate or chocolate toffee I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Two Book Reviews: Kids and Paleo

By Diana Hsieh

Not too long ago, I received two books aimed at paleo kids and their parents to review. (Disclosure mandated by the turds at the FTC: These books were given to me for free as review copies.)

Alas, I disliked Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship. However, I loved Eat Like a Dinosaur. Let me explain why.

Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship by Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo

As you've probably gathered from the name, this book is a children's story on eating paleo. I wanted to like it, but I don't think that it does much to explain to kids what's good about eating paleo or bad about eating the Standard American Diet. Also, I didn't find the story compelling in itself: too much came across as propaganda, and I didn't like that.

The two basic claims of the book about paleo are (1) that industrial food production is scarybad and farm-produced foods are goodygood and (2) that eating paleo makes you feel better, mentally and physically.

I strongly disagree with the first claim against industrial foods, and frankly, that's not what paleo is (or should be) about. Farms can and do produce unhealthy SAD foods, and factories can produce healthy paleo foods. Similarly, "processed" foods are not inherently bad, as some people seem to think. All fermented foods -- like kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut -- are "processed" foods. Anything cooked is "processed." That some food is processed -- or even processed in large batches under strict conditions (i.e. industrially) -- reveals little about its nutritional value. Instead, what matters is the original quality of the ingredients, and then whether the processing enhances or degrades the nutritional value of the food.

While I'm not a fan of many foods sold in America today, the fact is that industrial production is huge benefit to everyone, particularly in terms of safety and cost. Every paleo-eater depends on the industrial food system in order to eat paleo. As much as I want to see changes -- including the end of all government meddling -- that doesn't justify condemning industry. I'll just vote with my wallet.

The second major argument for paleo in the book is that eating paleo makes you feel better, mentally and physically. I agree with that, but again, the book was mostly just asserting that, rather than allowing it to emerge from the story. So it seemed like propaganda.

If you're a paleo-eating parent, I'd recommend reading how Kelly Elmore and her daughter eat, as described in this post: My Paleo Kid. And if you have any problems or challenges, ask on the PaleoParents e-mail list.

Personally, I'd not be willing to read a child this book, purely due to to its explicit anti-industry message and seeming propagandizing.

Addendum: I'm a person with strong opinions and a blunt style, and I like that about me.  However, I tend to err in the direction of "bull in a china shop," and that can be misunderstood by more gentle people.  Here, I don't want my review to be taken as any kind of personal attack or global criticism of Sarah Fragoso.  I didn't like this book, and I stand by that judgment.  Nonetheless, I respect Sarah Fragoso and her work with Everyday Paleo. I've never met Sarah, but her blog is awesome, and I'm more than happy to recommend it to everyone, particularly parents.  And if you found value in this book -- if it helps you explain paleo to your kids and grandkids -- that's fine by me... and you're welcome to say so in the comments.

Eat Like a Dinosaur by The Paleo Parents

I love this book! It's a kid-friendly paleo cookbook, with over 100 gluten-free, dairy-free, legume-free recipes for kids and adults to enjoy. Every recipe has a good picture, simple instructions, and a handy icon for what kids can do. (Obviously, what kids can do will depend on their age and skills.)

Kids could easily review the recipes to decide what to cook, review and assemble the ingredients, and then do much of the cooking. It would be a great first cookbook for kids to work through, and after much cooking from it, they could easily graduate into regular adult cookbooks.

I loved the cooking that I did as a child. I only wish that I'd done more nuts-and-bolts cooking of meat and vegetables, rather than so much baking and desserts. I'd strongly encourage paleo parents to teach their children to cook... and then let the kids do the cooking!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Video: How an Atheist Should Respond to Offers of Prayers

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed offers of prayers for atheists. The question was:

What should I do when other people offer to pray for me? Sometimes my friends and family members offer to pray for me – whether because I've got some problem in my life or because they know that I'm an atheist. How should I respond?
My answer, in brief:
You should tailor your response to the context, but in most cases, you should be clear, firm, and kind in refusing the prayers of others.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends via social media, forums, and e-mail! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Question of the Week: Low-Carb

By Diana Hsieh

Sweet Potatoes

The Modern Paleo Question of the Week is:
Do you eat low-carb? Why or why not?
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.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Second Birthday, Modern Paleo!

By Diana Hsieh

Happy Second Birthday, Modern Paleo! You launched on March 15, 2010... we've learned tons since then... and you've grown into something pretty awesome!

grateful


My particular thanks to Christian Wernstedt of Vital Objectives for editing the Modern Paleo Blog, as well as to the blog writers for their fabulous slew of posts.

Also, Modern Paleo runs six e-mail lists. They've tended to be a bit quiet, but I've found them to be an excellent resource when I've got a question. So my many thanks to the list managers for making the lists run smoothly. The lists are:
  • PaleoBloggers: PaleoBloggers is an informal private mailing list for bloggers who adhere to and advocate a broadly paleo approach to nutrition, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. Its basic purpose is to facilitate communication about matters of mutual interest -- such as blogworthy links, the paleo carnival, upcoming events, posts of interest, and best blogging practices. Its broader purpose is to help paleo bloggers more effectively advocate and promote the paleo approach.

  • PaleoCooks: PaleoCooks is an informal private mailing list for people who eat a broadly paleo diet to discuss paleo-friendly cookery. Its basic purpose is to facilitate communication about cooking and eating paleo -- such as favorite recipes, better and worse ingredients, good suppliers, useful techniques, and more. Its broader purpose is to help paleo-eaters eat more a healthy, varied, and delicious diet.

  • PaleoFitness: PaleoFitness is an informal private mailing list for people who eat a broadly a broadly paleo diet to discuss paleo-friendly fitness. Its basic purpose is to facilitate communication about fitness from a paleo perspective -- such workout methods, lifting techniques, pre and post workout nutrition, preventing and healing from injuries, enjoyable sports, and more. Its broader purpose is to help paleo-eaters enjoy productive and enjoyable workouts.

  • PaleoParents: PaleoParents is an informal private mailing list for parents and others interested applying a a broadly paleo approach to nutrition, fitness, medicine, and supplementation to kids. Its basic purpose is to facilitate communication about paleo as applied to kids and families -- such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, kid-friendly recipes, dining out, supplementation, kids sports, and more. Its broader purpose is to help paleo parents raise healthy and happy kids.

  • PaleoThyroid: PaleoThyroid is an informal private mailing list for adherents of a broadly paleo diet with diagnosed or suspected thyroid disease. Its basic purpose is to facilitate the sharing of information, resources, and experiences about thyroid problems amongst independent-minded people already eating paleo.

  • SousVide: SousVide is an informal private mailing list for people who cook sous vide, particularly home cooks. Its basic purpose is to facilitate the sharing of information, resources, recipes, and tips related to cooking sous vide. (This list is not limited to paleo-eaters.)
If you've not yet done so, subscribe! Ask a question! Post a thought!

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Two Cookbooks: Well Fed and The Healthy Gluten-Free Life

By Diana Hsieh

I've had a few books in my pile to review for the past few weeks -- okay... maybe a bit longer than that. I'm super-busy right now with SnowCon 2012, so I don't have time to write as much as I'd like, but I thought that posting these two reviews would be better than nothing! (Disclosure mandated by the turds at the FTC: These books were given to me for free as review copies.)

Well Fed by Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan of The Clothes Make The Girl

Well Fed is a fabulous addition my growing collection of paleo cookbooks. Its recipes are "made with zero grains, legumes, soy, sugar, dairy, or alcohol" -- which I think makes it compliant with the strict demands of the Whole 30. (Oh look, I was right! The web page for the book says: "Melissa and Dallas Hartwig of Whole9 wrote the foreword for Well Fed. And even better, they've given all of the Well Fed recipes (except for one dessert) their stamp of approval for happy eating during participation in the Whole30 program.")

Also, it's just beautifully done, with lucious pictures and sassy, easy-to-navigate design. It's chock-full of useful tidbits like prep and cook time, good companion recipes, and more. Its tone is friendly and approachable: you feel like you've got a friend in the kitchen.

Mostly, I'm impressed that the recipes are not standard paleo fare: they're a bit exotic and off-the-beaten path -- and wow, they look amazingly delicious and not difficult to make. Alas, I've not yet had time to make any, but I will soon!

This cookbook would be particularly suitable for two kinds of people, I think: (1) anyone who has been cooking paleo for a while and wants some variety and adventure and (2) a foodie interested in eating paleo. It's not that others won't enjoy it -- far from that -- but this cookbook is definitely a must-have for the paleo foodie.

You can buy a PDF of this book for $14.99 or buy a softcover from Amazon. (If you buy the softcover, you get a coupon for the PDF for just $1.)

The Healthy Gluten-Free Life by Tammy Credicott

For me, this cookbook isn't a great fit. Lots of its recipes use foods that I avoid, particularly gluten-free flours and sweeteners. Moreover, I'm just not interested in smoking candy cigarettes: I really enjoy full-blown paleo foods, and I don't feel any need to make pancakes, muffins, and other baked goods. That's mostly a problem in the breakfasts and desserts; the entrées and sides look far more appealing to me.

However, I imagine that some parents might find the recipes in this book really helpful when cooking for a family without a well-tuned paleo palate. Also, the recipes are not merely gluten-free: they're also dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free. If you have an egg allergy or intolerance, this cookbook might be just what you need!

This cookbook is by the same publisher as Paleo Comfort Foods and Make it Paleo. So it's quite beautiful, with huge mouth-watering pictures. Alas, the cookbook lacks a proper table of contents, which is a huge negative. I'd love the author to post a table of contents to the web, as Paleo Comfort Foods did.

I have two other books that I'd like to review... but first, I need to find the time to read them! They are:

If you've read them, feel free to post your thoughts on them in the comments.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

carne asada brava + cumin caramelized onions

By Julie

Things I really, really, really want for my kitchen but can't seem to get it together to get: a mandoline and an old-fashioned citrus juicer. Not a new age-y juicer for carrots and greens and like 18 apples per tall glass of raw food cleansing juice...those things are ridiculous. It's not that squeezing a half of a lime is hard, it's that I'm OBSESSED with getting every.last.bit.of.juice. out of the damn thing. So I squeeze and I scrape and I moosh around until I'm convinced that there isn't a single drop left. I just think a citrus juicer might do a speedier job and be just as thorough. Then again... would a new age-y juicer do the best job?!? Doesn't matter. I can't back down on my initial position now.
The night before, I made basically the same thing as this, except without the marinade, and using hanger steak. I really wish I'd saved that steak for this blog post. It's a more interesting cut, and more typical for carne asada. I rode my bike to the grocery store the next morning, hoping I'd find some, but no luck - it's not usually there anyway. An on-sale strip steak did just fine. Speaking of that grocery store, the past week they had avocados on sale for 3 for $1. I got so many. I think I had like 20 at one point. Or 21, which I guess is more likely. I would think up excuses to go there just to be like "oh, well I'm here, I might as well get some more avocados!..." I made guacamole with I think like 5 or 6 of them for dinner and it was gone by the next afternoon. Mostly singlehandedly. That's a lot of avocados to eat in the span of less than a day. I impress myself sometimes. And again, woulda been nice to have that citrus juicer.
You know what else I can eat a lot of? (This is embarrassing, I think every post I write talks about how much of x I can eat.) Caramelized onions. I can't even fathom eating an entire onion raw... but slow cook it down to a mushy sweet state and one onion's worth looks like child's play. I once ate probably a whole head of roasted garlic. It was a nightmare for like the next two days. BAD IDEA. Simply amazing, the smells I produced. Wow, gross.
These cuminy caramelized onions are particularly good. They're not overtly Mexican, until you couple them with the serrano pepper laced steak where they act as a really nice earthy sweet counterbalance to the spicy marinade. I also kind of like how this is a nice late-winter dish in that the onions seem nice and cold weathery, and the grilled steak is, well hopefully grilled outside. Oh wait, is your weather not 70 degrees? Oh, I'm sorry! (I shouldn't gloat too much, it's supposed to plummet again in a couple days.) But really, how wonderful. That's why I grilled. I would have been an idiot if I hadn't. And even if it's not nice enough to grill outside, grilling inside still keeps this feeling like it's a glimpse into the weather future.
carne asada brava
(not really) adapted from Rick Bayless

You can use whatever cut of grill-able beef you want. Like I said, a thin cut is the usual - hanger, skirt, flank, or flap. If you're feeling less, uh, brava, then you can lower the number of serranos, or you can seed a couple, or use two serranos and an anaheim or something. This marinade provides enough for more than the one lousy steak I made.

4 serrano peppers, stemmed
6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
bone-in New York strip steak

1. In a dry skillet over medium high heat, toast the peppers and garlic, turning occasionally. Remove the peppers after about 10 minutes, when most of their skin is blackened and blistered. Remove the garlic after another 5 minutes or so, when it's got nice blackened patches.

2. Remove the skin from the garlic and put in a food processor, along with the peppers, fat, lime juice, and salt. Purée until smooth, then add to a bowl or ziplock bag along with the steak. Marinate for at least one hour.

3. When you're ready to grill the steak, remove from the fridge and let stand for about 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to high heat.

4. Grill the steak for about 4 minutes per side, then hold with tongs to crisp up that fat along the edges. If you're using a thin cut steak, obviously cook less time.
cumin caramelized onions

2 tablespoons bacon fat
2 large yellow onions, cut in half lengthwise then thinly sliced crosswise
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Heat fat in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and stir occasionally for about 45 minutes to an hour. You also may want to turn down the heat to low about halfway through if you're noticing that the onions are getting a little unevenly dark.

2. When the onions are sufficiently dark brown and caramelized, add in the garlic, cumin, and salt. Stir around for several minutes.

Serve the steak with a big helping of the onions and top with cilantro. Some sort of salsa would be wonderful, as would my addictive favorite...griddled queso fresco. Don't try it, you'll eat so much cheese.
Bonus cat pictures:

This is the Little Peeper. She's my favorite. She sleeps on my chest and pokes me with her paw to get me to roll over if I'm sleeping on my side.
This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Paleo Rodeo: Down But Not Out

By Diana Hsieh

As you might have noticed, I didn't post a Paleo Rodeo last Friday, and I won't be able to post one this Friday. Basically, the service that I use to compile the Rodeo is not just broken, but completely down.

But never fear... come hell or high water, the Rodeo will be back on March 23rd!

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chicken thighs with balsamic sautéed fennel and oranges

By Julie

I felt lazy. Everything about this recipe is lazy. And, I feel okay about that. I think I deserve to write about something that neither takes a lot of time, nor looks particularly glamourous. I mean, look at the rest of my posts - faaaaancyyyy! Heh. Whatever. I wanted to incorporate fennel, oranges, green olives, and balsamic vinegar into one recipe. And since I've done a fennel salad with oranges, I couldn't do basically the same thing again. I considered braising fennel in orange juice, but I didn't feel like squeezing oranges (and no I won't use carton orange juice unless it's a negligible part of the recipe). I couldn't be bothered having some components cooked and others not - like sautéing the fennel and then topping it with membrane-less orange segments. I guess the only thing left to do was make a one pan meal.
Balsamic vinegar reductions are real high up there on my list of favorite things. Roasted winter squash with it drizzled on top is awesome. I tried to think for like 2 minutes for a better word than drizzled. It's so G. It's like a Special K diet bar in Chocolate Drizzle flavor. Steak is pretty perfect with salt and pepper, and pretty more perfect with balsamic reduction on top. But, you know, a glaze will do the trick too. You don't have quite the control, but it's the lazy man's way to make a reduction - or you can call it a glaze. That sounds way fancier. Just dump some vinegar in the pan along with whatever fish, meat, veggie, stir it around for some minutes and you're done. No extra saucepan necessary.
It's Restaurant Week here in Denver. The impossibly priced, but still dangerously expensive, two week long "week" of some wonderful restaurants offering too many courses for the price of like one and half courses and making me poor and fat. Unfortunately, I don't like driving downtown. And the public transportation is iffy here. And it's not the most pleasant walking-a-couple-miles-to-downtown weather. So all I want to do is stick around our wonderful little neighborhood, in which I've been to every single restaurant worth going to. First world problem, I suppose. I like the First World. So I'll just (make Joe) spend too much money on going out to restaurants that we've been to before, getting wine, an appetizer that I don't need to eat, an entrée, and a dessert that I definitely don't need. Oh wait, and some places have even more courses than that. And for those restaurants downtown that I still haven't tried, I'll just wait to go to them when its summer and they offer a groupon. I'm a business's worst kind of customer.
Okay anyway, so what this recipe is, is pan-fried chicken thighs, oven-finished and set aside. Then, a simple sauté of thinly sliced fennel and unpeeled orange slices with some balsamic vinegar added to the chicken juices to create a sweet, rich reduced pan sauce. Then you plop it all on the same plate, add in some green olives, squeeze those oranges slices over everything and that's my lazy blog post recipe. Generally, my simple weeknight meals aren't quite so cohesive. They're either just really simple meat and vegetables with like salt and pepper for spices. It's nice to have simple meals that kind of veer toward moderately fancy, but that take none of the time of a moderately fancy meal.

chicken thighs with balsamic sautéed fennel and oranges
adapted from Martha Stewart, serves 4

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (I just used 3, because whatever)
coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil or bacon fat
1 fennel bulb, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise, fronds reserved and coarsely chopped (if you've got them - a lot of grocery stores chop them all off before you can get to them)
1 orange, sliced into 8 wedges
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat chicken with salt and pepper. Heat your fat in a cast iron or oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Place the chicken in skin side down. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crispy. Flip chicken over and put finish in the oven for about 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs.

2. Transfer chicken to a plate, pour off (and save, duh) all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat. Place the pan on a burner over medium heat. Add in the remaining ingredients and cook for about 7 minutes, until the fennel is just soft and the balsamic vinegar is thick and has nicely coated everything. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, though if you gave the chicken a nice coating, you probably won't need to.

Serve the chicken on top of the fennel, squeezing the orange slices to release more of the juice. Serve some green olives alongside and top it all with the reserved fennel fronds.
This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!


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