Monthly Archives: December 2011

Get Yer Greens!

simply beautiful

This is a take on a product offered at my local Farmer’s Market, and I save a boat-load by making my own. It’s packed with nutritious greens and is a convenient way to sneak in some extra veggies while on the go or when the fridge is running low on fresh produce. Honestly, I would never even attempt making this without a Vitamix (or similar high-powered blender) because of the need to blend the bejeezus out of it and liquify the tough bits (stems, stalks, etc); other than that, it couldn’t be simpler.

I make a huge batch and freeze it in ice cube trays.  Pop the cubes out, and store them in the freezer in a ziploc bag. When I want a drink, I  pop a few cubes in a blender bottle and add water. I prefer it on the less sweet side, but you could definitely sweeten it up by adding an apple or banana to the mix.

Ingredients:

One bunch of each*:

  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Dandelion greens
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • 1 apple or banana, optional
  • Water

*Opt for organic when possible. If certain greens are not available, substitute with your choice or double up on something else.

Equipment:

Vitamix (or similar)

Large stock pot

Ladle

Directions:

1. Thoroughly wash all greens. There is no need to trim the stems/stalks.

2. Process the greens in small batches, adding enough water to keep the Vitamix moving. You want the greens to liquefy as much as possible. Pour the processed greens into the stock pot for holding.

before

after

3. If desired, process the banana or apple in the last batch of greens.

4. Stir the mixture thoroughly. It’s honestly going to look like green soup!

5. Portion into ice cube trays. Freeze and then store cubes in ziploc bags. You will likely need to work in batches. Keep greens mixture in refrigerator until the entire batch is frozen.

cubes ready for freezer storage

As I mentioned, I drink this mixed with extra water but it would be delicious added to a smoothie or blended with coconut water. Enjoy!

straight from the Vitamix, combined with H2O

in the shaker bottle at work…add a couple cubes then fill with water…perfect!

Australia vs. US Paleo Challenge #2: Offal-Off

Back in September, @noisecolourlife and I held the very first (very successful) Australia vs. US Paleo Challenge. We quickly made plans to stage another round, and the “mystery ingredient” we decided on was “offal”. And so, the “Offal-Off” was born. With no idea what the other had chosen, we set out to cook up something tasty (and Paleo) using some kind of organs or offal. Wait…

I’ve got a confession to make:

Until recently (with my purchase of veal livers and chicken livers…still waiting in the deep chill of my freezer for the right time to defrost), the idea of buying, let alone eating animals organs just weirded me out. But thanks to smart posts like this one from Balanced Bites and this one from Chris Kresser, I’ve started to warm to the idea of eating organs. For this challenge, I decided to start with something “safe” and so I ordered up a lamb heart from US Wellness Meats (didn’t hurt that it was on sale), a trusted source of grass-fed and ethically-raised meats. So, my little ticker arrived frozen with the rest of my bulk-meat purchase a couple weeks ago, and I set out to decide on a recipe.

From my research (and my biology background), I knew heart could be tough if cooked wrong (after all, its job–like all muscles of the body–is to contract away, day in and out, for a lifetime), so I settled on cubing, marinating and grilling it. Properly trimming the heart was part anatomy lesson, and I was happy to find and cut away the tough connective tissue (valves, blood vessels, etc–take that bicupsid valve!). The flavor was well, like lamb and the meat came out pretty tender. I served the skewers with a side of braised red/green cabbage.

lamb heart skewers with a side of braised cabbage…mmm!

Grilled Lamb Heart Skewers with Ginger-Shallot Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 lamb heart

2 shallots*

1 yellow onion

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tbsp minced ginger

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Trim heart of connective tissue/fat and cut into small cubes.

whole

partially trimmed (not the whitish value tissue in the lower left)

2. Mince  shallots.

3. Place cubed heart, half of the shallots, and ~1 tbsp olive oil into plastic ziploc bag. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator, flipping the bag often.

marinating

4. Prepare bamboo skewers by soaking in water (or find your metal skewers).

5. Chop the onion into large chunks and separate layers for the skewers.

6. Remove heart from refrigerator. Alternate pieces of meat with onion on the skewers. Grill on medium until the meat is cooked through but not overdone (medium-well is how we grilled it).

7. While the meat is grilling, prepare the dressing: Combine the other half of the minced shallots, minced ginger, red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in a small container. Mix well.

ginger-shallot dressing

8. Remove skewers from the grill and drizzle with dressing. Serve extra in a small container for dipping.

finished skewers

*If you do not have shallots, you could use a mixture of minced onion and garlic.