Thursday, June 28, 2012

Paleo Eats Out in Atlanta

Most of the time I am really commited to eating my meals at home so that I am in charge of the ingredients, but sometimes this cavegirl needs a break. I am here to tell you that it isn't that hard to eat a mostly paleo meal out, as long as you put your brain to it. So in this post, I'll share some of my recent eats out in Atlanta and a few tips and tricks I use when eating out.

First of all, I always try to research the menu before I venture out. If you can look at the menu ahead of time, you can decide what you are going to have before you set foot in the door. It helps me to have a paleo plan ready so that I am not tempted by all of the grain and sugar filled distractions on the menu. I use the Urbanspoon App on my phone quite often to find restaurants, and a Google search is always the all-knowing fallback. I have even typed in "paleo eats in (insert city)" and wound up with great results.

Mot recently that same Google search led me to Farmburger in Atlanta. I grew up in Atlanta and I also went to culinary school there, but I have since moved away, and I always enjoy a trip back. Farmburger is a new restaurant with a location in Decatur and in Buckhead that offers grassfed beef and local produce. It is a casual place where you place you order at a counter, and you can customize your burger with any number of gourmet toppings. In particular, a few toppings popped out at me: fried local eggs, porkbelly and ROASTED BONE MARROW. Can you say paleo heaven?

Both me and my man opted to build our perfect paleo burger on top of a salad made with local greens, squash, radishes and onions and tossed in the mustard seed vinaigrette. We topped our delicous grassfed beef patties with a fried local egg, porkbelly and tomato, and we also added a roasted bone marrow to our plate. YUM! We will be back! What a great date for this cave-couple!

The next morning we decided to go for a late breakfast at The Flying Biscuit. I love this place despite the fact that their claim to fame is a grain-filled "gutbuster" because they have awesome scrambles. My man ordered the special scramble of the day which had chicken, peppers, onions and spinach with fruit on the side and an order of turkey bacon. I opted for the veggie scramble with mushrooms, peppers, onions and spinach with fruit on the side with an order of chicken sausage. When the food arrived, we ignored all onlookers and split everything down the middle, enjoying the best of both worlds. As a sidenote, our server was great and paid attention to our special orders and did not bring us the complimentary biscuits as we requested. Both me and my man work in the restaurant industry and we appreciated his excellent tableside manner and attentiveness.... wish I could remember his name to give him a shout-out.

I am traveling across the country next week to Portand, so make sure to check back for some more paleo eats out! I am so excited to share with you the restaurants I have researched!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Favorite Roasted Tomatoes

This dish is so simple, I hesitate to even call it a recipe. But it is AMAZING. I swear, you have never tasted a better tomato.

First step: Buy lots of tomatoes. Use any kind you like: roma, heirloom, grape, cherry, canned San Marzano – doesn’t matter. Splurge on organic if possible, but if not, just wash with regular tap water like Mark Sisson recently suggested.

Second Step: Lay tomatoes in a glass baking dish. Quarter larger tomatoes, but you can leave small grape or cherry tomatoes whole. Dot the top with a healthy fat

The fat you use is flexible. Grassfed butter is delicious and highly nutritious, and I like to use a big hunk from my grassfed butter from Happy Cow  that I buy at the All Local Farmers Market. If you don’t do dairy, like my little bro who is allergic, use virgin coconut oil or lard.

Third Step: Season. At the bare minimum use sea salt and fresh ground pepper. If you are feeling fancy, add a few other spices to your tastes. Right now I like a blend of paprika, dried thyme, dried oregano, granulated garlic, and a generous amount of my favorite Italian seasoning grinder. This time I also used a special Rosemary Sea Salt that I picked up from the farmer’s market as well. By the way, I don't measure... more utensils to wash! Just sprinkle evenly. 

Fourth Step: Roast low and slow for 4 hours at 300 F. Toss the tomatoes around a few times during cooking to encourage even caramelization. You definitely want the tops to blacken…they are not burnt though… that’s flavor baby!

 I make this recipe weekly in bulk, and then I use it in as many dishes as I want as an incredibly rich ingredient. I store them in a recycled jar in the fridge. You will likely see them referenced often!

Friday, January 13, 2012

So here it is, my first post. I think I have said, "that would be a great topic for a food blog!" about a billion times in my head, and so its time to put it in print. Instead of telling you a big long history about me, that would really just serve as my own cathartic rundown of my wandering life, I'll just tell you bits and pieces along the way in between yummy recipes... and I am going to start with a lowly chicken wing recipe. I made the rub originally for Thanksgiving, which was my first attempt at a gluten free and refined sugar free holiday. The rub was absolutely delicious on the turkey, but if possible, it is even better on organic, free range chicken wings.
          I learned how to make rubs when I was doing my internship for culinary school at a southwestern fine-dining restaurant in Atlanta, called NAVA. They used to roast about 25 chickens a day in convection ovens, completely covered in their house rub. The house rub had at least 15 spices, herbs, and chiles.... and brown sugar. In fact, it quite a lot of brown sugar. The chickens were DELICIOUS. We would shred the chickens and use them in any recipe that required cooked chicken... tamales, salad, rellenos, nachos, whatever... But each ingredient had to be prepped before it went into the vitamix to completely combine into a true house rub. The chilies and the spices were first toasted and ground, developing their oils and deepening their flavor. Now, while I may have spent a great deal of time of that rub, this one was VERY simple to put together with all the contents of my spice cabinet. I have some pretty great ones, and they make all the difference. I especially like the Roasted spice line that McCormick has introduced. And I am NOT just saying that to be a brand pusher -- they really are very good and much easier than toasting and grinding spices ALL the time. I do it on occasion, but these are great for adding tons of flavor very quickly to a weeknight meal. I also added coconut sugar, instead of brown sugar, and less in comparison to the rub I learned at NAVA, but enough to lend a touch of sweetness without a shock to my blood sugar! You won't need all of this for one batch of chicken wings, but just put it in a pretty little jar in your spice cabinet for next time. :)

Katy's House Rub

1 Tablespoon each of:
Organic Granulated Garlic
Mexican Hot Chili Powder
Smoked Paprika
Sea Salt ( I  used a pink flaked Sea Salt)
Poultry Seasoning (I used a poultry herb grinder from Fresh Market
Roasted Ground Cumin
Roasted Ground Coriander
Coconut Sugar (you may add 2 Tablespoons if you prefer)

2 Teaspoons each of:
Roasted Saigon Ground Cinnamon
Fresh Ground Pepper

You can rub this on ANY meat. Steaks, ribs, chicken, fish, doesn't matter... its absolutely delicious. But for these chicken wings, I dusted them all over with an even light coating of the rub, and roasted them in my oven at 450 for about 30 minutes, turning a few times during cooking until they are slightly charring on the ends...this is the caramelization your taste buds will thank you for!
Yes, all the chicken skin on the wings IS a little indulgent, however this is a much better choice compared to ANY wing you will find in a restaurant that is fried in canola oil, could be coated with FLOUR, butter (or worse margarine), and a sauce with tons of sugar, artificial sodium, MSG, ect ect ect.... And that's exactly what I mean with this whole "honestly delicious" blog. It will be mostly paleo, a little hcg, a little gluten-free, a little dairy-free, but completely gut busting grain, toxic refined sugar, and JUNK free. HONEST ingredients, with none of the dishonest, non-food, chemical flavor enhancers that lead to obesity, autism, depression, and so much more. I was a good chef before, but the real test is if I can make it just as delicious without all the "cheats" of conventional cooking. I'm up to the challenge if you are up to follow me and taste test along the way! Of course, I am always up for feedback! 


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