Monday, June 24, 2013

We are MOVING!

    So I have been quiet for at least a week, maybe longer. There is a really good reason for that: we are moving to Virginia Beach! We officially only have only 4 more sleeps in Danville. I cannot tell you how excited I am! Ok, well maybe I can, and I'm going to try to tell you all the reasons I am excited.

     Last week we ventured to our new town to explore and apartment hunt. We looked at A TON of apartments. We looked at some in Chesapeake first, and then at my urging we looked in the Virginia Beach area. Why did I want to live in Virginia Beach? Weeeellll.... the Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are in Virginia Beach. The BEACH is in Virginia Beach. AND there is a farmer's market in VB that is open 6 days a week. At the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, there is a grocer called Virginia Garden Organic Grocery and they are speaking my language. They carry only locally sourced organic produce and pastured/grassfed protein, INCLUDING protein from Polyface Farms. Jackpot. The grocery store website even says that they have lists of the ingredients used in the feed of the proteins they offer that we can read before we buy anything. How awesome! There are also a number of other farmer's markets throughout Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake, so if I wanted, I could hop from market to market all day long on Saturdays to my heart's content. I AM SO DARN EXCITED!

      We don't normally eat a lot of meals out, but since we were traveling we did eat out a fair amount, and the Tidewater area doesn't disappoint. Two restaurants we liked so much that we went back twice to each one.

      One night we ventured down to a neighborhood called Ghent in the downtown Norfolk area. And then we went back again the very next night. The restaurant was a VERY cool "gastropub" called The Public House. They had me at DUCK FAT FRIES. (Yes, some paleo peeps eat white potatoes on occasion. #saveithaters) They also featured many items on their menu containing locally sourced ingredients, and they also had several items on their menu that featured Duroc humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free pork. Yes, it's technically not pastured, but it is a good step up! In particular we had the Pork Belly Confit with butternut squash puree and sauteed broccoli. Delicious. It was supposed to come with a buttermilk biscuit, but we just asked them to leave it off, and they had no problem obliging. Of course when you eat out and you are paleo, you KNOW that nothing is guaranteed to be perfect, but it is nice to have good options! They also had awesome looking salads and burgers ( that we could order bunless). We will definitely go back.

    The second place that we went back to twice was a breakfast spot called the Egg Bistro in Chesapeake. It was a great breakfast place with lots of mostly-paleo-friendly items. A particular highlight was a side dish of grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon and topped with hollandaise. Again, I'm not saying this place was all organic with pastured eggs or anything, but they had better offerings than a chain that will go un-named that puts freaking pancake batter in their omelets. Feel what I'm touching? The place was super busy on the weekday mornings that we went, and rumored to be packed with a line out the door on weekends. We will definitely take our mom's when they come to visit!

     I also noticed that Virginia Beach is VERY gluten-free friendly. Many restaurants pride themselves on sourcing their ingredients locally and organically. We also tried a Mediterranean restaurant in Virginia Beach that had a LARGE gluten free menu and also boasted using organic olive oil for cooking. We ordered paleo (well, we did eat a bit of white rice, but that is the ONE grain that we will eat on occasion because it is less irritating than most), but the waitress did bring out some complementary jalapeno hummus for us to try. It was served with cucumbers rather than pita (probably because she noticed that we were ordering off the gluten free section) and I was a dummy and ate some because it was free, and she asked if everything was ok when she noticed we weren't eating it. That was a poor choice on my part. Ian however didn't touch it, and looked down his nose at me for eating it. You know how sometimes you say to yourself, "Hey, it's gluten free! How bad could it be?" Well, I learned my lesson. My tummy hurt later. Hello Katy, chickpeas are NOT paleo for a good reason. Lesson learned. I will go back and try it out again, while refraining from those damn chickpeas to see if I do better (which I suspect I will) and then I will review the restaurant more fully because I think it is a great paleo option... if you remember that you don't eat legumes for a reason. Again, lesson learned and a good reminder of what doesn't work for me.

     I am also currently researching Crossfit boxes in the area. I need to bite the bullet and just start. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared, but I NEED to be working out, and I agree with what Crossfit is doing for people. Most people start with Crossfit and then become paleo. Well, I'm doing it backwards, but I need to do something to start getting leaner. The wedding is a little over 6 months away, and I need to fit into the dress that I bought, and look fabulous for all those pictures. My arms need work. I hate having pictures made, and I need to develop some more confidence in that area. Hopefully doing crazy WODs will help with that, and as a bonus, I might make some paleo friends!

     Lastly, I took a peak on Paleo Physician's Network and found an ACTUAL MD that is within a reasonable driving distance. I'm excited about that possibility as well.

    I can't wait to get settled into our new digs, twenty minutes from the ocean, and I can't wait to explore more of the city. I also can't wait to get back to developing new recipes for you guys, learning more about photography and food styling, and blogging on a regular basis, but for now, I gotta finish packing and then unpacking. Have a great week and I'll see you back here on the other side!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Paleo Dutch Baby with Star Anise Cherry Compote



I'm sure by now you know that I love Instagram. Well, I do, and I'm not ashamed, and I'll tell you why. I love that in the gluten-free and paleo community there are lots of food instagramers. I know that there are some people that get annoyed with people who take pictures of everything they eat, and to each their own, I suppose. If you are one of those people, I suggest you don't follow me, because my pics are primarily of food. But if you are here, I'm guessing you don't mind pictures of food, and you appreciate that food can be works of art. I'm inspired by paleo food instagramers because they not only give me ideas for what to eat, but they also give me ideas for how to food-style the dishes I create. I'm still learning, but instagram also gives me the opportunity to practice, and as it is with any endeavor, practice makes perfect. Well, at least practice makes progress. And that leads me to today's recipe.

I follow this lovely photographer, Erin Kortum, who's Instagram username is ekortum . She is a professional photographer in Southern California, and she is also a crossfitter and paleo eater. Go check out her website where she blogs paleo recipes, and also different aspects about her life through her beautiful photography. A few days ago, she instagramed a few GORGEOUS pictures of a Paleo Dutch Baby that she served with a fresh Strawberry Mango Sauce. A "Dutch Baby" is really just an egg-heavy pancake that is baked in the oven. I immediately "liked' her pictures and asked for a recipe. She replied back and said that she just kind of threw it together, but gave me an approximate recipe, which I proceeded to make the next morning. It was very tasty, and since I didn't have any strawberries or mangoes, I made a quick cherry sauce flavored with Star Anise and cinnamon. I made it again this morning, and adjusted the recipe with a few tweaks, including separating the eggs and whipping the whites, hoping for a fluffier end result without having to add any baking soda. The pancake didn't rise as much while it was in the oven, but it was fluffier when served, and also had a delicious crunchy and buttery crust. I hope you enjoy this, and I also hope you go follow Erin on Instagram and check out her beautiful site.

Paleo Dutch Baby

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons of desired Paleo Fat ( I used 1 Tbsp of Lard, 1 Tbsp of Grass Fed Butter, and 1 Tbsp of Coconut Oil)
4 eggs, separated (preferably pastured eggs)
2 Tablespoons of Organic Maple Syrup
1/2 cup of Coconut Milk ( I used one that is unsweetened, canned, and BPA free)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tablespoons of Coconut Flour
3 Tablespoons of Arrowroot Starch
1 Tablespoon of melted Grass Fed Butter

Directions:
    • Preheat your oven to 425. Add your 3 tablespoons of desired fat to a cast iron skillet (8-10 inches will work just fine) and place it in the oven while it's preheating to heat up the skillet, and also to melt the fat.
    • Whisk together the egg yolks, maple syrup, coconut milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
    • Sift together the coconut flour and arrowroot starch, and add to your wet ingredients.
    • Mix in the melted butter and pinch of salt, and set aside to thicken while you whip your egg whites.
    • Whip your reserved egg whites with either a stand mixer or hand mixer until soft peaks form. 
    • Now you are going to fold in the egg whites to the rest of the batter. I always take a large spoonful of the whipped egg whites and mix it in to the batter first. Yes, this spoonful will deflate, but you are sacrificing this spoonful to make the batter just a bit lighter and easier to fold in the rest of the egg whites. After you've mixed in your 'sacrificial' spoonful, slowly fold in the rest of the whites with a rubber spatula, trying your best to not over mix and deflate the egg whites. 
    • By this time your oven should have preheated. Remove the hot cast iron skillet (wearing an oven mitt of course!) and pour the batter into the hot melted fat.
    • Bake for 20-22 minutes, and in the mean time, make your cherry compote. 
    Star Anise Cherry Compote

    Ingredients:

    2 cups of fresh cherries, pitted
    1 tablespoon of Maple Sugar
    1 tablespoon of dark, raw honey**
    2 Star Anise Pods
    1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
    1/8 cup of purified water
    1 pat of grassfed butter (optional, this just makes the sauce a bit richer)

    ** Recently I bought some Winter Wildflower raw honey at a farmer's market in Orlando. It has a VERY dark color, and earthy flavor that is similar to molasses. If you can't find this kind of honey, substitute with 2 teaspoons of regular honey and 1 teaspoon of molasses to achieve a similar flavor profile. **

    Directions:
    • Combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan (I used my newest 4 1/4 QT Le Creuset Soup Pot in Casis - thanks mom for the great birthday present!) and simmer over medium high heat. 
    • Use a potato masher occasionally to mash up the cherries and release their juices.
    • Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the Dutch baby is ready. Make sure to remove the Star Anise pods before serving. Any leftovers can be stored in a mason jars for up to a week. 
    This sauce was delicious on my oven pancake, but would also be wonderful on regular paleo pancakes, waffles, or biscuits. I bet it would be absolutely wonderful on the Paleo Homestyle Biscuits made with Lard in the new book "Beyond Bacon." In case you didn't know, its just about to be released and you can pre-order it now on Amazon. Check out my full review of it here.

    Also, Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there, including mine. A year ago today, my then boyfriend went over to my parents house (unbeknownst to me) and asked my dad if he could marry me. My wonderful dad said yes, and has treated Ian like a son ever since, and I am truly grateful. I'm also pretty fortunate to be gaining another awesome dad by marriage. I love you both, and I hope you have a wonderful day, even though I can't be with you. You are both such kind, generous, and smart men, and Ian and I are both very lucky to have you on our team. :)









     

    Saturday, June 15, 2013

    Garlicky Tuscan Kale with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms



    This is one of my new favorite side dishes. I'm not a big fan of spinach, so I try to eat other dark leafy greens to take advantage of the nutrition benefits they offer. Kale is a particularly good source of fiber, Vitamin A,Vitamin K, Vitamin C, manganese, and calcium. When eaten with a good source of fat, like lard from pastured pork, the vitamins and minerals can be more easily absorbed into your body and put to good use. Specifically, lard from pastured pork contains high levels of Vitamin D, which is necessary to absorb and use the calcium in the kale!



    Ingredients:

    1/2 a bag of Trader Joe's Organic Tuscan Kale
    1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
    1 cup of sliced baby bella mushrooms
    2 Tablespoons of Lard, divided
    1 teaspoon of Organic Granulated Garlic
    Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

    Directions:
    • Melt 1 tablespoon of lard over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. 
    • Add the onions and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
    • Saute the onions and mushrooms for 10-15 minutes until softened and slightly browned. 
    • Add the other tablespoon of lard, kale, and garlic powder, and continue to saute until the kale is wilted, about 3-5 minutes. The kale may pop in the pan, and it will sound scary, but it's ok... just keep going and watch your forearms. ;)
    • Re-season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. 
    Don't want to use lard? Well, ok. I give you permission. You could also use grassfed butter/ghee, coconut oil, or other paleo friendly fat. Whole Foods also sells DUCK FAT (known to chef's as "liquid gold"), which, by the way is also an incredibly tasty, paleo fat that would be delicious in this dish. Bacon grease would work wonderfully as well. Just so you know, all veggies taste great with a little pork fat.

    I love to eat dark leafy greens with Wild Caught Salmon, like this lunch I had pictured below, but it would also be lovely with pastured pork or grass fed steak.


    Friday, June 14, 2013

    Beyond Bacon Review



    Get ready, this is going to be a long one, because I just have a LOT to tell you. 

    So do you remember a while back when I blogged a recipe for Salted Almond Freezer Fudge? That little quick recipe was inspired by a preview I saw of the Paleo Parent’s new upcoming book, Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog. In that blog post, I said, “I want that book like a fat kid wants cake… and I used to be a fat kid, and I always want cake.” Guess what? Stacy read my post, and contacted me and asked me if I would like to review their book on my blog! I couldn’t believe it!
    So I waited….and waited… and waited….and then one rainy day my Instagram feed started being flooded with other bloggers pictures of their review copies of Beyond Bacon. For a tiny second, I thought just maybe that other, more important bloggers had been chosen to review it instead of me (and let’s be honest, I wouldn’t blame them) but THEN MY DOORBELL RANG! My fiancé answered to the door, and tried to fool me into thinking that it was a package for him…. But lo and behold, the Paleo Parents SENT ME A COPY! As Stacy would say, “PRAISE THE LARD!” 



    My love affair with pork started when I was living in Columbia, SC. Me and my fiancé had just started eating Paleo, and we also started going to our local farmer’s market and buying pastured pork from the lovely people at Caw Caw Creek. All I knew was that Mark Sisson told me that it was not only ok for me to eat pastured pork, and lard rendered from their fat,but it was GOOD FOR ME, and so being the good southern girl that I am, I just dove right in. We have bought an obscene amount of pork from these people since then.  So much so, that one time we were in line at their booth, and the person in front of us asked the farmer, “What do you recommend?” He said, “You should ask them.” (He was pointing to us!) The farmer and his crew quickly found out that we weren’t afraid to try anything they suggested. We had conversed about how I saved the bones to make stock, and he then proceeded to GIVE us some trotters (pig’s feet!) and told us to add them to our stock pot to make our broth rich and full of collagen. We have been buying them ever since.  



    Since Stacy and Matt so graciously sent me a copy of their book, I have been trying to give it the best review I could. In anticipation of the book’s arrival, I stocked my freezer with pork and fatback so that I could be ready to hit the ground running! The first recipes I made were the Bacon Pumpkin Pancakes and Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage. I made them for dinner (brinner! You know, breakfast for dinner?) and even though the recipe says it serves 4-6, me and my fiancé stuffed ourselves. After we get married, we really need to start having kids soon so we stop devouring everything! We did have a LITTLE leftover for breakfast the next morning, and decided to make our own breakfast sandwiches by adding a scrambled egg. Ian’s exact words were, “Suck on that mcgriddle!” (not a great pic, but I was more interested in stuffing my face than food styling!)



    What caught my eye about the recipe for the pancakes, was that there was a way to make the recipe nut free by using sunbutter (sunflower seed butter). I was excited to use that variation because I have been trying to cut back on almonds.  (There is nothing wrong with almonds, I just tend to overdo it, and I think too many almonds aggravates my gut) The pancake recipe is actually on their blog, so go check it out! It will tide you over until the whole book is available.While the pancakes were delicious, and a special treat, I know I will make the Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage over and over. I don’t have a sausage stuffer (YET- it's going on the registry for our wedding), so I just made them into patties. They were more flavorful than any store-bought sausage, and really easy to make.  I will definitely make them for company and holiday breakfasts!



    The next night, I decided to make the Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and the Mashed Cauliflower with Lard. They have a recipe for how to make your own Kielbasa in the book, but I had actually just bought some from Caw Caw Creek last Saturday, and I had no idea what to do with them. This recipe was SO VERY EASY, and took ten minutes to prep and throw in the pot. I also made the Mashed Cauliflower from the “Veggies and Sides” section of the book, as was suggested to go along with the Kielbasa. As I noted on instagram, I have NEVER successfully made a mashed cauliflower recipe that I enjoyed as much, or more than mashed potatoes. This recipe was SINFULLY good. Ian licked his plate clean, and then proceeded to lick the food processor clean as well, despite my warnings that the blade from my food processor is wicked sharp. His response was, “Don’t care. You should have made more cauliflower.” 



    The other bonus for the mashed cauliflower recipe is that it didn’t contain any dairy or butter at all. Instead of butter, the recipe adds lard to make this side creamy and lusciously porky. I always love to find paleo recipes that are truly dairy free, because I can serve them to my brother, Chandler, who is completely allergic to milk (like, trip to the hospital allergic, NOT just lactose intolerant). Chandler isn’t paleo yet, but I really think that once he is out of college and settled down, he might come over to the dark side…. Especially if I serve him mashed cauliflower with lard! 

    Which brings me to the next recipe I reviewed -  Lard. I already had some in my fridge, but I used the last of it to make that awesome Mashed Cauliflower, so I took a slab of uncured fresh fatback from my freezer, and stuck it in the fridge so I could render some the next morning. I have rendered lard many times before, but Matt and Stacy’s method is way superior to mine, and I will be using it from now on. My lard has never been this snowy white! 



    To get the full scoop on how to render your own luscious lard, go pre-order their book! Did I mention that if you pre-order it, you will be guaranteed the lowest price? Also, I heard that their first book, Eat Like a Dinosaur, sold out the first day it was released, so if you want your copy, make sure you go pre-order it! 



    Why is their method of rendering lard superior to mine? Well, all I am going to say is that it leaves you with the opportunity to make Lardons, another awesome recipe from their book. Per the suggestion in the book, we used our fresh, crispy bits of fat to top a salad for lunch! Better than bacon bits by far!



    Of course, with my freshly rendered lard calling my name, I had to make to make their Caramel Praline Lard Fudge, which, by the way is also dairy free. Did I mention everything in the book is dairy free? How awesome! I didn’t think it was possible to make fudge without cream or butter! Again, another incredibly sinful and delicious recipe from the King and Queen of all things pork. After you have pre-ordered the book, and it arrives, drive recklessly to the store to get the ingredients for this recipe. Ok, don't do that, just drive safely obeying all the traffic laws, but don't dawdle! It’s been a long time since I’ve had fudge, and it was well worth the wait. 



    I recently made stock from Caw Caw Creek trotters, and Ian has been pestering me to use it, so I made the Egg Drop Soup recipe for breakfast. Also delicious, super easy, and sure to be a regular staple in our house, especially when I start popping out paleo babies. The Paleo Parents say that this is one of their kids’ favorite recipes. 

    So, is it clear to you by now that this is my new favorite cookbook? Let me just say that I have a LOT of cookbooks, especially for a gal under 30 with a limited income. In addition to the wonderful recipes in this book, I really appreciate the sections in this book that go into detail about the art of raising pastured pork, and how it can benefit your health. Sections of this book truly read like a novel, and in fact, I spent an hour reading those sections aloud to my fiancé. The photographs and graphics are some of the most beautiful works of art I have ever seen in print. Matt and Stacy have truly honored the pig and their love and respect for the animal shows in every page. I respect this book as a classically trained chef and fellow lover of pastured pork. 



    On another note, this book teaches you how to order a whole hog, something I have been longing to do for quite some time. Ian just got a new job in Virginia Beach, and so we will be moving. This new job comes with many opportunities for us both, but one thing we are excited about is the chance to buy a whole hog. It may even be our wedding present to each other. I look forward to cooking our way through this book and visiting the farms and butchers featured in Beyond Bacon as well. 

    Ian also wants to thank the Paleo Parents for sending me this book.... he has been a happy boy the last few days! The hardest part of recipe testing was keeping him out of the dishes long enough for me to snap a picture! He also notes that if any other foodbloggers out there want his personal opinion of their book, and a thorough review, he would be happy to lend my services. How kind of him, right? Now if you will excuse me, I need to get back to my kitchen, my freezer full of pastured pork, and my new favorite book. 

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Tuna and Avocado Salad





             Lots of people I know keep asking me for a simple recipe, that doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, and takes five minutes. Well, to be perfectly honest, most of my cooking isn’t really like that. I build flavor, and sometimes flavor takes time and many ingredients, and usually those dishes are reserved for dinner. I do tend to make quick things for lunch, however, and this is something I make all the time. I hesitate to even call it a recipe, because it is THAT simple and straightforward. It’s full of healthy protein and healthy fats, and goes great with raw veggies, for added nutrition.

    Ingredients:

    1 can of Tuna (preferably wild caught, I buy this brand in bulk at Costco)
    1 Avocado, diced
    2 tablespoons of finely diced red onions
    Juice of half a lime or lemon
    1 Tablespoon of really good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste


    • Pop your can of tuna open, and drain off the water. Flake the tuna apart with a fork and toss it in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix lightly with the fork, and eat!

           My favorite way to eat this tuna salad is with organic baby carrots (also found at Costco), but you could use this recipe to complete a salad with mixed greens, or you could roll these up into lettuce wraps with sliced peppers, shredded carrots, radishes or whatever raw veggies you like. 

    Need to know how to dice an avocado? Check this post out.
    Need to know how to choose a nice, ripe avocado? Check out this post.
    Need to know how to dice an onion? Check out this post. 

      See? I can do simple! I promise!

    Sunday, June 9, 2013

    City Roots Quick Pickles




           
         When I visit my parents in Columbia, SC, I can’t resist a trip to the Soda City Market held on the 1500 block of Main Street right in downtown Columbia. It holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. When I first began getting interested in eating Paleo I was living in Columbia, and I knew that I wanted to start buying pastured pork, poultry, and beef, and that I also wanted to buy in season, locally grown veggies and fruits. I had been working at a few farm to table restaurants in town, and I knew that these products existed close to me because they were featured on menus, but I didn’t really know where I could personally buy them. I asked some of my fellow employees, and they all pointed me to the All Locals Farmers market, which was located at the time at 701 Whaley Street. I nervously asked my then boyfriend, Ian, if he would get up early on Saturday morning and venture to the market. We bought pastured pork from Caw Caw Creek, pastured eggs, lamb, beef, and poultry from Wil- Moore Farms, heirloom tomatoes, organic green onions, and organic microgreens from City Roots farm. I discovered that not only was Ian willing to go with me every Saturday, but he looked forward to our date with relish. I knew even then that we would be together forever.  After each visit, we would come home and cook breakfast with farm fresh eggs, veggies, and pork, and we would enjoy delicious dishes all week long. We actually have chosen to get married at the beautiful event facility at 701 Whaley because not only is it drop-dead gorgeous, but it was our weekly date place. We also hope to serve a City Roots Salad at our wedding from the highly recommended Spotted Salamander Catering. (Note to self: schedule that tasting and book her!)



          Eventually, the market outgrew the space on Whaley Street, and moved and morphed into the Soda City Market held on an entire block of Main Street. There are musicians that play live music, wonderful smells that waft through the streets, and most importantly, it is a mecca for real food junkies like me. I’m not going to lie -- we always spend the most of our money on the pastured heirloom pork from the wonderful people at Caw Caw Creek, but I LOVE to buy the beautiful produce from City Roots Farm. If I still lived in Columbia, I would have signed up for their CSA by now. This past week, I bought their signature Zesty Salad Mix, which is a delightful mix of all of their Microgreens and edible flowers! I also bought the beautiful rainbow carrots, and one of their garden cucumbers. I loved how it was curly! The farmer told me that they cut those up fresh on the farm while they are working, and toss them with vinegar for a quick pickle snack. Since the farmer himself told me that he eats them that way, that’s exactly what I did with my cute little cucumber. I also added a few of the beautiful carrots to the jar, because I have LOVED pickled carrots ever since my grandfather taught me how to pickle veggies when I was a child. 



    Ingredients:

    1 cucumber, sliced (buy local and/or organic if you can)
    5 small rainbow carrots, sliced (or 1 large organic carrot)
    5 Tablespoons of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
    1 teaspoon of raw, local honey (optional)
    1 teaspoon of organic pickling spice
    ¼ teaspoon of Sea Salt

    *Mix all the ingredients together chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Store in a mason jar until you are ready to serve them. These will be crispy, crunchy, and tangy. 


    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Paleo Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce



    **UPDATE: If you have found my blog through Paleo Grubs, welcome! This is an older post from my first blog. If you like this recipe, and would like to see more of the yummy things I'm cooking these days (and some MUCH improved food photography) please check out my new blog at freerangekaty.com ! Hope to see you there!



    So you may have picked up on the fact that I am truly a girl raised in the south. I was born in Birmingham, AL and lived there until I was ten, and my family moved to Atlanta, GA. A little after I graduated Culinary School from Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, I moved with my family to Columbia, SC. Sufficed to say, I have eaten my fair share of barbecue and I appreciate all different types of sauces and styles.
                    In Alabama and Georgia, most of the sauce is a sweet, tomato based red sauce. In some parts of Alabama you can get Alabama “White” BBQ sauce that is served primarily on smoked chicken, and is made from a base of – get this--- MAYONNAISE. Some people may be barfing at this idea, but I have tried it, and its delicious. In fact, if you are ever in Homewood, AL go to SAW’s BBQ and order the mixed platter, and do yourself a favor and pay for the extra serving of White Sauce to go on your chicken. You’ll thank me. My fiancé and I were introduced to that awesome spot from a few of our friends (Adam,Tiffany, Jackson, and Evelyn) who went to Samford University, and just raved about the Alabama White Sauce. Someday I need to try and make that sauce with Paleo Mayo!

                    When most people refer to Carolina BBQ, they think of a thin, vinegar based sauce that is more native of North Carolina. But in Columbia, they do things a little differently. When you live in Columbia, if someone says they are going to the Carolina game, they mean the Gamecocks, NOT the Tarheels. When they say they love Carolina BBQ sauce, they mean MUSTARD based sauce, not vinegar. Before I even moved to Columbia, I was introduced to Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, and at first, I wouldn’t even try it. I didn’t think that it looked very appetizing, and I didn’t have a thing for mustard at the time. I tried a little at the end of the meal, after I had eaten my BBQ sauce-less, and was shocked to discover that it was DELICIOUS. “You chose…POORLY!”
                    I love Carolina Gold sauce now, and it may actually be my favorite over the sweet red sauce I grew up on. Now that I’m paleo, I had to come up with my own recipe free of the typical white and brown sugar that are traditionally used to sweeten it. This is actually a very simple sauce to make, and doesn’t require a large amount of time on the stove, nor does it contain any tomatoes, for those who abstain from tomatoes for digestive reasons. When I made the sauce for the first time, my fiancé (a Columbia native) cried with joy, “I now declare this a staple in our household! You must always have this in the fridge!” Oh boy…. What did I get myself into? Anyway, I agree, it’s delicious, and you should try it immediately.

    Ingredients:
    4 strips of nitrite free bacon, diced (preferably humanely raised and sugar free if you can find it)
    ½ a red onion, diced
    2 – 9 oz. containers of Annie’s Organic Yellow Mustard, or approximately 2 cups of another organic, sugar free, gluten free YELLOW mustard (it must be YELLOW! Not DIJON or BROWN or any other mustard. IT. MUST. BE. YELLOW)
    ¾ cup of good honey (preferably raw and local)
    1 tablespoon of granulated garlic
    1 Tablespoon of paparika
    ¾ cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    •   Sauté the diced onions and bacon in a heavy bottom pot for 15 minutes until the bacon is cooked and the onions are nice and soft. I used a Le Creuset for easy cleanup. 
    •   Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes until all the flavors have married. 
    •   Store in glass mason jars, and serve on just about anything.
       
         Yup, it’s delicious. I highly recommend you make some as soon as possible. Can it be made without bacon? Sure, but why would you? It might be good, but not nearly as good as the bacon version. Also, here is a little tip: it can be difficult to get all the mustard out of the plastic containers, so pour some of the apple cider vinegar into the mostly-emptied mustard bottles, reseal them, and shake them up. The vinegar is going to go in the sauce anyway, and this way you get all of the mustard. Waste not, want not! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

    **Don't forget to check out my new blog, freerangekaty.com
     
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