Lunch: Paleo ‘hot dogs’ - Boxgum Grazing pastured pork and fennel sausages wrapped in cos lettuce leaves, topped with summer plums, red onions and homemade harissa
The sweetness of the plums sort of substitutes for ketchup! Such a light and refreshing meal for a hot summer’s day.
Grocery shopping diary for two
- Vegetables: eggplant, orange capsicum, sweet potato, tomatoe, cucumber, purple carrots, normal carrots, brown onion, red onion.
- Fruit: Kent mango, Keitt mango, avocado, medjool dates.
- Meat: tailor fish, bonito, loligo calamari, wild barramundi fillets.
- Misc: Red Boat fish sauce, organic coffee crystals, grass fed milk (for kefir), organic butter, jasmine rice, blanched Australian almonds, organic raw sugar (for kombucha).
Hmm…after reviewing my purchases I’m a bit worried I haven’t bought enough vegetables.
Brunch - Prasad, Portland OR
Friday Food Review
One thing I was dead keen on when we visited Portland (besides cycling and the Cultured Caveman paleo food truck) was eating at as many raw food places as possible. Portland certainly didn’t disappoint. We managed to get ourselves to Blossoming Lotus (NE PDX), Canteen (SE PDX) and Prasad (CBD).
I’ve always been a fan of raw vegan cuisine because generally it’s 100% paleo and they come up with such innovative substitutions for bread, pasta, crackers, dairy products and desserts. It’s just too bad there are no simply raw (i.e. incorporating animal products too) restaurants out there…or at least that I’ve heard of? A raw sashimi salad would be very nice. Mmm.
Anyway, this is what we had at Prasad:
- Raw EL Dorado salad: spinach & mixed greens, yam rice, walnut taco crumbles, avocado, sun-dried tomato, scallions, cilantro, jalapeno cashew cheese and red chili vinaigrette
- Raw Feisty Tostada: jalapeno cashew cheese, fresh spinach, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions & green chili sauce on pumpkin seed pesto raw crackers, served with a yam rice side salad with garlic tahini sauce
- Stumblebee smoothie: peanut butter, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, coffee, banana - mm SO good, but would have preferred if they hadn’t used a peanut nut butter.
The raw sweet potato (also known as garnet yams in the US) rice blew me away. It was completely neutral in flavour and made a great rice substitute!
Freshly rendered lard and cracklings (from free range pastured pork)
I made lard again, which means I’ve now got a whole bowl of cracklings! Even if you think making lard is troublesome, it would all be worth it for these crunchy, savoury, porky bits. This time I tossed the hot cracklings with spring onions, shichimi, chilli flakes and buttermilk powder. Because it’s so high in delicious delicious fat, a handful of these keeps me going for hours.
Soft boiled egg with fresh black truffle
Our lightning quick visit to Seattle last year was far too short. We really enjoyed its chilled, laid back atmosphere. One of the places we did manage to visit is the famed Pike Place Market. So much throwing of fish! And who would have known there were so many different types of salmon?? And no we didn’t go to the first Starbucks cafe - the line was crazy long. Speaking of coffee, I was kind of surprised how prevalent filter coffee was in America - in Australia coffee from an espresso machine is the norm.
Because we were staying with friends in Seattle, we jumped at the chance to cook dinner for them. By that time we had been travelling, and not cooking, for almost a month. We bought a lot of fresh produce from the Market and got to cook it all, which made me a very happy camper.
One of the places we went to was La Buona Tavola, which specialises in truffles and truffle products, amongst other things. We picked up a little fresh black truffle for a bargain basement price (used it to top soft boiled eggs - photo above), as well as a little jar of truffle salt that I’m still working my way through (my regular brekkie is 2 coddled eggs with La Buona Tavola truffle salt).
Other interesting facts about Seattle:
- Costco is from Seattle! The Costco brand name, ‘Kirkland’ is actually named after the town the first Costco store opened in.
- One of the best chocolate bars I’ve had is from Theo chocolate, which is from Seattle. It’s all organic and fair trade. Great ethical company, great tasting chocolate.
Grocery shopping diary for two
Check out all the Green & Black’s organic fair trade 85% dark chocolate I got on sale :D Should tide be more for quite awhile if the chocopalypse happens. The muesli bars are for DH when he goes mountain biking. /Aims expression of strong disapproval at DH.
Lunch at Chez Panisse, Berkely CA
Friday Food Review
Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse was on our ‘must do’ list when we visited San Francisco last year. It definitely did not disappoint.
There weren’t too many gluten free options but after a discussion with the waitstaff (who were amazing and so dignified) I figured out some dishes that I would be happy with.
What I had (DH was feeling unwell and didn’t eat anything, boo):
- entree: shell bean salad with celery, egg, and bottarga di muggine - I ordered this because I had never tried bottarga even though it is one of the favourites of a close friend. Was a bit disappointed it came crumbled and not in slivers. Nevertheless it was a really tasty salad.
- main: Monterey bay squid grilled in a wood oven, frisée, beans, aioli - I vaguely recall swapping out toast for more salad. The squid was deeeelicious. It was smokey from the chargrilling, perfectly cooked and not at all rubbery.
- dessert: a bowl of Lagier Ranches Bronx grapes - I was tempted to order a ‘normal’ dessert but the audacity of serving only a bowl of fruit with no value add was really appealing. I figured they had to be really good grapes for this simple presentation to be deemed sufficient - and I wasn’t wrong. They had the most exotic fragrance to them. Sort of like peachy muscat grapes. Bonus: it’s 100% paleo!
Another thing I really liked is that there is no tipping at Chez Panisse. Tipping really annoys me on all sorts of levels not least because I believe that restaurants should pay their waitstaff a living wage so that they are not exposed to the whims of the customer. Calculating tips is also something I do not want to do at the end of a pleasant meal.
Raw tomato soup topped with chorizo flavour grass fed beef mince, crispy home-cured pastured heritage breed pork lardo and homegrown basil
Now that it’s edging towards winter in Canberra, I’m feeling quite nostalgic about summer. Raw tomato soups were on high rotation in the NBF household during the dog days of summer when the mercury hit 40 degrees celsius. They are so easy to make and a good way to use up those cheap summer tomatoes.
Raw tomato soup
(Gluten free, raw vegan, paleo)
- 5 medium tomatoes (the best quality you can find, e.g. field tomatoes not hydroponic, vine ripened, etc), roughly chopped
- 5 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped (or 1 tbs tomato paste)
- 1 cup basil leaves, loose packed
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp salt flakes (I use Australian SunSalt Murray River pink salt flakes)
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Throw everything into a high speed blender or kick ass food processor (mine’s a Breville and it has FOUR blades!) and blend till as smooth as you like it.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. If it’s not tasty enough bump up the umami with more sundried tomatoes or tomato paste.
- This is great served with the River Cottage Tupperware Chorizo and crispy lardo.
Grocery shopping for two people
All Whole30 compliant except for the milk (for making kefir) and grass fed jersey cream (the fat content is so high it won’t pour). I think that’s pretty much paleo.
Suppliers: Capital Region Farmers’ Market at EPIC, Belconnen Markets.
Dinner at Nabe, Sunset, San Francisco
Friday Food Review
We stumbled on Nabe through Yelp when we were wandering around after visiting the de Young Museum in San Francisco. I recall the DH wanted to eat burgers at the first decent-looking cafe we came across but I held out because I knew we could find something more interesting in the city. Boy was I glad we held out!
The restaurant has a clean unfussy aesthetic to it. Despite being pretty much a black box with two rows of white and black tables, the warm wooden accents (particularly the wall of wooden boxes that hold sake bottles) keep it from being stark and cold.
Nabe specialises in, well, nabe - stuffed cooked in pots of simmering broth aka Japanese steamboat. This broad category covers both shabu shabu and sukiyaki. Half the fun of eating at a place like this is cooking your food yourself. Nabe uses sleek induction stoves set into the table tops.
The menu features sets with a variety of meats and vegetables that are cooked in a variety of broths, and you can add on extra meat and veggies too. One really nice touch is that Nabe uses all organic and locally-sourced produce, eggs and non-GMO tofu. The meat is from animals raised without antibiotics and hormones.
The dinner menu is slightly more expensive but is worth it because it comes with the Zosui rice finisher (the lunch set comes with just plain rice), which is definitely worth experiencing at least once. Zosui is basically a rice porridge. At the end of the meal the waitstaff make this dish in front of you. Cooked rice is added to the leftover cooking broth, which is then cooked down until it becomes a porridge. Egg is added right at the end to further thicken the porridge, and then then porridge is topped with spring onions and shredded nori seaweed. It was a chilly night when we visited so this hearty comforting dish really hit the spot!
What we had:
- Wagyu beef shabu shabu set in spicy miso broth
- Extra serve of kurobuta pork belly
- Extra serve of kurobuta pork shoulder
Because one set is about the same price as two extra serves of meat, DH and I decided to order one set and then to order extra serves of meat. This way we get less filler more meat (which were all tender and flavourful)! It turned out to be a great strategy because we got to try more types of meat and we couldn’t even finish off the zosui finisher in the end anyway (we took it away and it because a great breakfast the next day).
Another thing I would recommend to make the meal more paleo and less gluteny is to ask the waitstaff to substitute the noodles and tofu that come with the set with more vegetables. You could also choose the dashi stock (check if soy sauce is used) instead of the miso broths (the spicy miso broth was pretty delicious though). You may wish to skip the zosui but I’d consider white rice to be a safe starch, and after a day of running around the Golden Gate Park, we totally deserved that carb reload. This sort of meal would fall within the 80/20 rule I reckon.
Pounding rock salt
I haven’t bought table salt in pretty much ever, way before I went primal/paleo even. Table salt generally has anti-caking agents like aluminium silicate. I have a strong family history of Alzheimer’s so I never ever use aluminium anything if I can help it - no aluminium foil, baking pans, cookware, etc. I’m just not taking the risk, so I usually get rock salt. I grind small quantities of it up every so often for use.
Anyway, that aside, it turns out that table salt is pretty inferior anyway. According to the Weston A Price Foundation, table salt is too pure and, even iodised, is completely lacking in other trace minerals found in more unrefined sea salts like fleur de sel, or the pink Himalayan salt.
I’ll be ordering a kilo of Himalayan rock salt soon from my co-op - I think it will be more nutritious than the white stuff I have now.
For finishing salts, Murray River pink salt flakes will always be my favourite.
I love eating fish!
Top photo: Baby snapper rubbed with lemon pepper seasoning and shallow fried in lard, with a crispy topping of curry leaves, Vietnamese basil, garlic and eschallot.
Bottom photo: Baby barramundi rubbed with fish curry powder and baked with cubes of paneer and tomato, with a topping of fried curry leaves, coriander , spring onions and garlic.
I’ve only recently gotten into eating whole fish. Up until now I’ve been fairly averse to eating whole fish because of a childhood spent eating small and bony fish. I started buying whole fish recently because it is so much cheaper than buying fillets.
To my pleasant surprise, dealing with bones is actually not a huge issue. It can also be a very simple and quick meal (the above dishes are more involved than my average fish dish). All that’s needed is a bit of salt and pepper and a glug of nice olive oil, then bang it into a hot oven for 25 minutes or so depending on how big your fish is.
One more thing to note: fish stocks all over the world are under pressure. Check what type of fish is sustainable in your area - because they are in less demand, you may find that they are cheaper too! I’ve since learned that the farmed baby snapper and baby barramundi I’ve used in the dishes above are not the best choice. I now buy fish like mullet, Australian salmon, bonito and tailor. They are between $4-$8/kg, one of the most sustainable choices and pretty dang delicious to boot.
Grocery shopping haul for two people
Total: about $148.11
DH did the shop this week because I was off trying to sell my excess clothes at a second hand clothes fair (still decluttering…it’s a work in progress). It looks like a bit of a jumble but honestly I’m just glad he took the photo even though I didn’t ask him to because he knew I would have really appreciated it <3
There’s some veggies, meat, fruit, eggs, nuts and a bit of dairy in there.
Suppliers: Capital Region Farmers’ Market, Belconnen Fresh Food Markets.