What’s For Dinner? – Champion’s Salad

SmokedPorkChopsAndSalad

Breakfast Of Champions!

I read an article some years ago from the deep archives of News History. It was a conclusion by a nutrition panel that Wheaties were such a poor source of nutrition that you were just as likely to have a “well balanced breakfast” by eating the box. My guess is that finding this article would be near impossible, but it was so amusing to me at the time that I likely will never forget it! Despite that article, Wheaties has persisted calling their food the “breakfast of champions.” So, in honor of that article, I think we should call this meal the Champion’s Salad!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb Pork Chops
  • 1 large Avocado
  • Wild Arugula
  • 2 large Carrots
  • 1 Lime
  • 2 tablespoons Flaxseed (can be milled, if you don’t have whole)

Serves 2
Prep and Cook time: About 30 minutes

Put the pork in a pan with some coconut oil and heat on medium low, covered. I love pork – it’s one of the most highly nutrient dense foods available, and delicious to boot! One of the things that I like the most about pork is that pigs are intelligent enough to let their farmers know when they want something – they’re an incredibly intelligent food animal, and make it much easier to keep them well fed and healthy! Of course, you still have to buy from high quality farms, where the farmers actually pay attention to the Pig’s needs!!

You can season the pork however you like. I used cumin, turmeric, and pepper this time, and it came out great! I am really enjoying my use of turmeric – it gives an “earthy” flavor to a dish. You’ll want to flip the chops from time to time. My pan is not large enough to hold the full 1 lb of Pork Chops, so I add just a bit of water to the pan to boil off and keep the air inside the pan (I cook these covered) hotter. Also, I rotate the chops regularly, to see to it that all the chops have regular access to the heated surface.

While the pork is cooking, chop up the vegetables and prepare the dish. I usually like to mix my salads, but for some reason I decided to keep this one all separated out as you see in the picture. The avocado is served on the side of the salad, the arugula is not mixed in with the carrots. There’s no particular rhyme or reason, but I think that changing up the way you eat your food, from time to time, can heighten the experience of your meal. And I definitely like my meal experience to be heightened!

The only “order” I would advise: squeeze the lemon over the carrots and arugula before adding the flaxseed. I have noticed that the flaxseed likes to suck up the lime or lemon juice when you add it. Not that this is a bad thing, but in this case I was using the lime as a dressing, and it will taste better if it’s allowed to run down in to the arugula, rather than being absorbed by the flaxseed.

Serving:

Serve the pork piping hot! I know that normally goes without saying, but in this case, it’s worth mentioning. Chopping and slicing up the salad portion will take about 10 minutes – but cooking the pork will take at least 30, so you’ll be waiting on the pork. As you can see in the picture, I served the whole dish without mixing the ingredients. It’s still a salad, more or less, but it’s not mixed. So you’ll get to taste each ingredient by itself. I really enjoyed the individual flavors of the ingredients of the salad.

Book Keeping: I’m not sure if you all saw my Book Keeping post yesterday, where I shared all of the exciting goings-on happening in the Urban Paleo Chef world these days. If not, take a quick peek – I am very excited about what’s happening (sneak peek: A couple guest posts, a “contributor” invitation for a 90-day program, and a couple recipes to appear in a real cookbook!) – so when you have a few minutes, check out the Book Keeping post!

And as always: Enjoy!

Meat-Lover’s Salad

MeatLoversSalad

I have a good friend who eats meat only grudgingly. I have never gotten a full explanation from her as to why she doesn’t like it – but some people are satisfied with the answer “I just don’t like it.” Which is ok. She begrudgingly cedes that there is no better source for Vitamin B complex, and Iron, and continues to keep the minimum weekly recommended dosage for red meat by the FDA (I think it’s 4-6 oz per week) in her diet. But most of the time, she sits right at the minimum. It’s an interesting thing to experience for me. We will go out to lunch, and she will almost always order a chicken or fish dish. She appreciates that I love my meat, but it’s just not the same for her. And I can see it – she truly doesn’t enjoy meat the same way that I do. It’s proof, I suppose, that everyone is different. I, however, love meat. And so today’s feature is the Meat Lover’s Salad. You thought the Pizza industry had a strangle-hold on meat lovers? Well, think again!

As a note: you may want a left-overs container handy – you’ll have leftover beef and pork after cooking. You should only use about 1/2 lb total meat per salad dish. I wrote the recipe for 1 lb of each because that’s how I cooked them – but I put the rest in a leftovers container and saved it for another meal!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb Ground Grass-Fed Beef (use your favorite seasonings)
  • 1 lb Pork Chops (best if smoked, or at least stewed)
  • Salad Greens (I used a spring mix)
  • Fresh Cilantro, about 1/4 bunch
  • Fresh Basil, about 3 large sprigs
  • 1 medium Apple
  • 1 large Avocado
  • 2 medium Carrots
  • 1/2 stalk Leeks
  • 8 Prunes (non-sorbate prunes!)
  • 8 Crimini Mushrooms (aka Baby Bella)
  • 2 tablespoons Flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Aioli

Serves 2
Cook and Prep time: about 30 minutes

In separate pans, start to heat up the ground beef and pork. Ideally you’ll have some smoked pork from your last smoking session over the weekend sitting around waiting for you to do something with it (like that ever happens with good smoked meat!). So plunder your stash of great recently smoked meat, and pull out some freshly smoked pork chops! Back to the cooking… If you’re using 90% lean, or 93% lean (that’s the highest I’ve seen) ground beef, you’ll have to add some coconut oil to help with the cooking. Otherwise, the ground beef should have enough internal “juices” to cook itself. Cook this, and the pork if you’re not just re-heating it, on medium-low, covered. You’ll want to stir occasionally to keep it mostly broken up, although some clumping is actually idea.

Since you’re only going to use about half of the beef and pork, make sure that you have a leftover container handy for when the meat is done cooking. I usually serve the leftovers container first, throwing the meat directly in to the refrigerator to cool off as quickly as possible. I find that the meat retains it’s flavor longer if it cools off more quickly – perhaps it’s more sanitary too. Either way, you should be serving about 1/2 lb of meat in each salad dish, or less depending on your personal preferences; but not a full pound. I just wrote the recipe for 1 lb of each because that’s how much I had of each meat as I was cooking it up.

While the beef and pork are cooking, chop up all the salad ingredients. This is the simple part. Put the mixed greens in a bowl, chop the cilantro and basil up just a bit and add those. Chop up the apple, avocado and crimini mushrooms and add them all to the bowl. Then chop and add the carrots and leeks. When chopping the leeks, I like to cut them down the middle, then lay them flat and slice them – this way, like an onion, they fall apart in your food. Across the top, sprinkle the flaxseed. Finally, chop the prunes up and add them to the top. Prunes are the perfect fruit for this dish. The flavor of prunes meshes beautifully with the apple, and they are both sweet and rich, so they will add their sweetness to the dish while still being complimentary to the meat that will be the feature.

MeatLoversSalad2

Serving:

As the beef and pork are nearing completion (about 15-20 minutes of slow cooking), add the Aioli to the salad and mix. It’s a great meal to serve warm, like the Hot & Cold Salads, although in this dish, only the meat was cooked. As soon as the meat is done, add it directly to the salad and mix thoroughly. You’re only going to use about 1/2 pound of each of the beef and pork, the rest will go in your leftovers container. You want to mix quickly, because the meat is hot, so mixing will dissipate the heat without discoloring any of the salad greens.

And Enjoy!

For more “What’s For Dinner?” and more recently “What’s For Breakfast?” posts, keep tuned for UPC original recipes, and fully planned meals! If you have any questions or requests, comments or suggestions, please post them up in the comments board!

Weekend Pot Roast

Pork Shoulder with Stir Fried Veggies and Salad

When I went shopping for my food this week on Tuesday night (I do most of my shopping on Tuesday nights), a really good looking Pot Roast caught my eye. It’s a Pork Loin Roast, and for whatever reason, I was hit by a craving for a roast this weekend. I’m setting it up to marinate tonight, and I’m going to share with you all how I’m going to do it, so that you can too! Using my crock pot (or other slow-cooker) is one of my favorite ways to put together a full meal, ready to serve many hours in advance. I often put together a meal in the morning, set it on low, and leave it all day so that it will be ready for dinner when my wife and I get home from work. I also love to do slow-cooked soups, stews, and sauces for dipping, or just thick sauces for eating. And right in line with the mode of the season: roasts are definitely winter comfort food!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 large roast (beef or pork, this recipe works on either)
  • A crock pot, or other slow-cooker
  • 1 cup rum (use a good rum; cheap stuff still tastes cheap when you cook with it!)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cloves coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 inch peeled coarsely chopped ginger
  • 1 inch peeled sliced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • salt/pepper
  • Vegetables:
  • 3 large carrots, sliced long
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced long
  • 4 small sweet potatoes

Marinate first. Find a container (or use the crock-pot, if you don’t have another container) and put the meat in with the rum and 1 cup of water, as well as the rosemary, italian seasoning, salt and pepper (if you use salt and pepper; I’ll only be using pepper). Put the container in the fridge and let it sit. Turn it over once tonight before going to bed (if your container is not water tight, you’ll have to turn the meat over inside it), and again tomorrow morning. This makes sure that the roast has had even access to the marinade.

Several hours before dinner, put the meat in the slow-cooker and start cooking. At this point, you should add the other 2 cups of water. After adding the water, carefully place the sliced ginger on top of the roast, getting fairly even coverage. And finally, add the coconut oil on top of the sliced ginger in little chunks; it will melt and run all over the meat as it heats up. This is going to come out great! Turn the roast at least once during it’s cook time, or every 2 hours, on average.

You should already be familiar with your slow-cooker, and should know how long it will take to do a roast. For me, I will be cooking this on low for about 6 hours, since that’s how long it takes for the roast to go from “cooked” to “melt in your mouth”. So if I plan on eating at 6:00 pm, I’ll be putting this roast in at noon. If you’re not already familiar with your slow cooker, follow these instructions: Give yourself a minimum of 6 hours. Put the roast in and turn it on to high. Check every 30 minutes, and once the water inside is boiling, turn it down to low. Continue to check every 30 minutes. If it stops boiling, turn it back up to high. Continue this process until it has cooked for approximately 6 hours, or more.

1 hour before dinner, add the sweet potatoes to the pot. This is important. It takes a while for potatoes to cook, and even longer for them to share their flavor. So make sure to give it at least an hour, if not 90 minutes in the crock. Rest assured: you won’t overcook the sweet potatoes.

30 minutes before dinner, add the carrots. And 15 minutes before dinner, add the zucchini. Now, there are a lot of other vegetables which will work great in a roast like this. You could use boiler onions, and cook them the entire time with the roast. They will come out GREAT; they’ll be like an onion version of the roast! You could also add leeks, fennel, celery, olives, parsnips, and many more. The only thing you should be careful of is this: how long does it take each vegetable to cook when being steamed? As a rule, double that cook-time for the amount of time to be in the roast. We want these vegetables to both pick up flavor from the roast, and share their flavor with the roast and potatoes, which takes time.

Serving:

This is such a simple meal. It takes minimal preparation (though that preparation is stretched out over a long period of time), and comes out amazing. Also, there is no real serving order, since it’s all coming from the same place! And finally: Enjoy!!

If you like this, share some of your roast stories in the comments section! Any slow-cooker story will be appreciated and enjoyed!

Herb Roasted Pork Shoulder, Olive Oil Tossed Stir Fry Veggies, and UPC Twisted Greens

PorkShoulder_StirFriedVeggies_TwistedSalad-Plated

So how many of you tried this last night? Well, I certainly did, and it came out amazing!! I have to admit, though, that I had to do some thinking on my feet, which I am going to tell you about here in this post. It’s natural, and normal, for a chef to need to be able to think on their feet. How many times have you been planning on making one thing, but then run out of a key ingredient (or drop it on the floor…)? I do it all the time! Err… Run out of the ingredients, that is. One morning I was making breakfast for myself, my wife, and some house guests, and they were begging and pleading for bacon, even though we didn’t have any. Rather than jumping in the car and heading to the grocery store, I made my own. Here’s how I did it, in case any of you think you would like to try it: I grabbed some cooked ham which we did have, and cut it to approximately bacon sized strips. I threw that in a pan with some coconut oil, and used bacon salt as a flavoring. It came out great! And that was thinking on my feet. Well, last night’s meal, and the instructions that I included, required me to do some thinking on my feet. And to ensure that you don’t have to do that the next time you go looking for this meal: I am going to make certain that the actual Recipe post has the updated instructions.

Herb Roasted Pork Shoulder:PorkShoulder_StirFriedVeggies_TwistedSalad

Wow, this was delicious! I don’t know what size cut of meat you used, but mine was about a 5.5 pound, bone-in cut of meat. It was quite large, and the 60 minutes of cooking I instructed was not nearly enough. In fact, another 30 minutes still wasn’t enough. The pieces you see in the plate above are both end pieces, which were sufficiently cooked to serve me and my wife. But if I had had guests, I would have been in trouble! It turned out that it needed 2 full hours of roasting before it was ready, which I know because I kept it going while we were eating the end pieces. Now, that was roasting uncovered, so it could have been quicker if I had left it covered. If, on the other hand, I had cut the pieces in half, and laid them side by side, so that it was 3 inches thick, or so, instead of 6 inches, it would have been just right in 60 minutes!

Olive Oil Tossed Toasted Vegetables:StirFriedVeggies

These were delicious! I decided, at the last minute, to add parsnips to the mix, because I love parsnips. The flavor was incredible! I made 2 errors in my instructions last night. First, I cooked this for a solid 10 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly. The 2 minutes I recommended last night were not nearly enough. Also, it turned out that the carrots cooked more slowly than any other vegetable in the dish. I would guess that this is mostly due to the young age of the carrots, but whatever the reason, I ended up taking everything out of the pan, and putting the carrots back in for a good 5 more minutes, after everything else was finished. So in my Recipe post for this (and yes, I will post a recipe for the toasted veggies as a side dish) I will recommend that the carrots be put in first, alone, for 3-5 minutes, and then add everything else for another 10.

UPC Twisted Greens:UPCTwistedGreens

Well, this came out just right, following the directions exactly. So I have nothing to add here. If you want to make this again, but add to it, or change the flavor, here are some additional ingredients which would not take away from the food: Parsnips, Cilantro leaves, fresh Rosemary (not dried!). I know you see me using parsnips a lot, right? Well, there are two good reasons for that. First, I really like them. They’re a great root vegetable, with a really unique flavor which goes with almost everything. Raw, they can spice up a salad adding both color and flavor. Cooked, they can be sweet, like a sweet potato, or they can add a sharp flavor to a dish, like celery and cilantro. They’re great! Also, they’re currently in season. As for cilantro leaves and rosemary: they would both enhance the flavor of the dish, and neither would detract from it. They’re great ingredients for the right dish, and this is one of those.

I hope you loved it! For more meal ideas, check back every day for my daily Urban Paleo Chef’s What’s For Dinner?

What’s For Dinner?

Herb Roasted Pork Shoulder, Olive Oil Tossed Toasted Vegetables, UPC Twisted GreensPorkShoulder_StirFriedVeggies_TwistedSalad

Dinner tonight was inspired by the picture to the right. As I’ve stated in my What’s For Dinner page, I will be building a database of both “What’s For Dinner” and Recipes. And when I have hundreds of recipes, and hundreds of What’s For Dinner posts (ahh, I’m enjoying that little dream of the future) I will still draw my inspiration, from time to time, from recipes and photos I see in other places. And like today, I will share those inspiring bits and pieces with you when they happen.

Note: I’ve updated the post with my own pictures of the actual meal.

Herb Roasted Pork Shoulder:

What you’ll need:

  • Pork Shoulder, boneless, skin on
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 1 Inch Ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Rosemary, chopped (fresh if possible)
  • 1 Sage, chopped (fresh if possible)
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Start dinner preparation with the pork, since it takes longer to cook. Pre-heat the oven to 400. In a roasting pan, sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and some ground black pepper, then lay down a few pieces of the sliced garlic and sliced ginger in the middle of the pan. Place the pork shoulder in the roasting pan, skin down, on top of the salt, pepper, garlic and ginger. Do not add any liquids – the pork will take care of that for you! On top, sprinkle another pinch of sea salt, pepper, and the spices: sage and rosemary. Then carefully lay the remaining ginger and garlic on top of the pork shoulder, so that while the meat is roasting, the flavor will be free to sink in to the meat.

Cook for approximately 1 hour, total. The first 35 minutes with the skin down, and then flip for the last 25 minutes with the skin up, giving it a chance to get crispy.

Olive Oil Tossed Toasted Vegetables:StirFriedVeggies

What you’ll need:

  • Your 3 favorite Stir-Fry Vegetables; I suggest Young Carrots (NOT Baby Carrots), Zucchini, Red Pepper
  • Garlic and Ginger, chopped
  • Rosemary and Sage
  • Whole Black Olives, crushed

Start this as soon as you flip the pork shoulder. Put some coconut oil in a frying pan, and heat the pan on medium heat. The pan should be hot when you add the vegetables. Now slice the vegetables, garlic, and ginger. I suggest using long slices of the carrots and zucchini, like in the photo to the right, so that they are similar length to the red pepper. The garlic and ginger should be chopped so fairly fine bits. As soon as the vegetables, garlic, and ginger are ready, add them to the frying pan and fry them on high heat for about 2 minutes. Stir constantly; you want these to be “toasted” but not cooked through, and definitely not burned. Once the vegetables start to have some toasting marks on them, little brown spots from the heat, turn the heat off, but leave the pan on the burner. Add the spices, mix thoroughly, and leave this to cool. Now take out the black olives and drain them. Put them on a cutting board, and with your thumb, crush each one so that in breaks in to halves or quarters. Add these to the pan and mix again.

Urban Paleo Chef (UPC) Twisted Greens:UPCTwistedGreens

What you’ll need:

  • Salad mix, your favorite (for this flavor, I prefer Arugula)
  • Celery
  • Button Mushrooms
  • Lime
  • Olive Oil

In a salad bowl, add all ingredients and mix. This side salad is quite simple, and quite tasty. It will compliment the “Greek” ground beef very well. This is similar to a full salad meal recipe I make called the “Twisted Salad”, but as a side salad, I will use fewer ingredients, and will tone back the flavors a bit so that it’s not too primary in it’s flavoring. That said, if you want to scale up the flavor a bit, feel free to add any of the following optional ingredients: Parsnips (chopped), Cilantro, Ginger. Again, the flavor of this side salad should be supporting, not primary for this meal, so use the strong flavor ingredients sparingly.

Serving:PorkShoulder_StirFriedVeggies_TwistedSalad-Plated

Put the greens on the plate first. Next add the toasted vegetables, drizzling just a tiny bit of olive oil over the top as you serve. Last, slice the pork shoulder for serving, and serve with the skin on. The skin should be toasted, and should peel off the pork easily, letting it be sliced off as desired, on the plate. And enjoy!

Look out for my Urban Paleo Chef meal suggestions in my “What’s For Dinner” posts daily!