Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beautiful Primal Workout on Saturday

Over the weekend Better Half and I went to a medieval food symposium. It was tucked away in the woods, so I got to get my nature-love on. On Saturday morning, we got in some great outside/exercise time. We walked around, ran around, threw snowballs, and stalked through the woods as quietly as possible. Later, we went on a little hike. Divine!

Running as a fun thing to do is completely novel to me. Even as a kid, I didn't run around much. I was no good at games, so I spent my time doing activities that involved sitting. Lots of sitting. Since losing weight and becoming more active, I've discovered that running is actually a lot of fun. So on Saturday when I came to a big open clearing, I ran around. I was wearing medieval garb at the time, making it extra silly, but it was seriously awesome.

I wish I lived closer to woods. I need more places to play.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The most delicious thing... EVER.

I really, really, REALLY like to make pie. My identity is so completely wrapped up in pie that I named my medieval alter-ego after pie (see my other "blogge" for more on my medieval alter ego). I do not want to give up making pie, and I don't plan to, so as previously promised I have continued my quest to make bacon-pies. Tonight's experiment with the medium was extraordinarily successful:

Sagey Apple-Onion Pie with Bacon Lattice Top

The recipe was dead simple, and the result was unbelievably delicious:

Core and chop 3 apples (I chopped them into approximately 3/4" cubes) and put into a 9" square baking dish. Helpful hint: apple dishes are tastiest with a mix of apple varieties. I had a few to use up from the produce box, so I used a granny smith, a braeburn, and... something yellow with no tag. Chop an onion coarsely and a few sage leaves finely and add to the apples. Mix with hands. Cut 8 strips of bacon in half lengthwise, and weave into a lattice on top of the filling. (Weaving a lattice top is not as hard as it seems -- start in the middle and work out.) Bake at 400°F for 35-45 minutes, until bacon reaches desired crispness.

This would be more fitting in the fall; it would make a great stuffing alternative, I think.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Extra-Lemony Homemade Mayonnaise with Healthy Oils

1 pasture egg yolk
1/2 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, or less)
1/2 teaspoon honey (or more, or less)

Put the yolk, salt, honey, and lemon juice into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Mix briefly. With the mixer on high, add the oils (I measured them both into a Pyrex container and poured from the spout) a few drops at a time until it starts to look lighter. Switch to a steady but very small stream of oil until you've used all of the oil and you have miraculously ended up with mayonnaise!

I tried to make stick blender mayonnaise and failed. I'm going to stick with using the Kitchen Aid as long as I'm using the expensive oils (which make failure scary).


Nettles ready for the dehydrator

I forgot to post about the nettles! They are epic! I was able to pick lots, I only got stung a little, and they were at the absolute perfect stage.

I blanched some to serve tonight with pasture butter as a side dish for our (scary stuff free) corned beef, and as promised I'm going to dry the rest for tea and trekking.

Does fate have other plans for me?

Better Half and I went out to dinner last night at everyone's favorite big chain / wishes it were upscale but falls short / pseudo-Chinese restaurant for a date. I decided not to sweat it too much but pick the best options I possibly could -- avoiding grains, skipping dessert, and ordering an extra vegetable side dish. I know there were ingredients I don't want in the things I ate, nothing was organic or locally sourced, blah blah blah, but I'm going to let it slide. This journey is going to take time and I'm taking it one step at a time. Right now I'm at changing what I buy at home, going out less frequently, making the best possible choices I can when I do go out, and giving myself one total cheat meal per week (which was on Friday night, when epic fries were eaten).

At the end of the meal, I opened my fortune cookie (although I didn't actually eat it) and the fortune inside was:

"Be good to yourself. Dessert three times per week is OK."

WHAT? WHAT? I laughed so hard. 1) Way to contradict yourself, fortune cookie. Eating crap food is not being good to myself. 2) Way to try to sell more dessert, PF Chang's, you classy bastards. 3) SCREW YOU, FORTUNE COOKIE! I have made a commitment to living better and you undermine me like that? Damn, that's harsh!

Better Half's fortune was that she will get an unexpected inheritance this year, which is basically like saying "Someone you love will die." We decided to write off whole business of listening to cookies.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Better Half and I are taking the dog to the park this morning, and she doesn't know it yet but while we're there I'm going to try to harvest some nettles. Long sleeve shirt, gloves, bag, scissors... this foraging adventure requires gear!

I'm going to cook some as a side dish with our corned beef brisket tonight and dry some as rations for my primitive trek this summer.

Ah yes, the primitive trek: the greatest plan ever conceived! So Viking Food Guy and I are totally going to do a "Viking trek" this August, where we wear historical clothes, eat historical food, and use historical gear on a magical backpacking adventure! What could be more primal???? Even my Iron Age style shoes are basically barefoot shoes: a thin layer of leather between me and the earth. I of course do not do Viking, so I will be Celtic trekking. (Hmm, can I find a source on woad online?) Anyway, how this relates to food is that I've been doing a lot of dehydrating in preparation. I made some oatcakes before taking the plunge into primal, and I dried one to see how long it would keep. Last fall I made salted beef, which I will most likely make again as it seems to lend itself to cooking more than my standard jerky. My mom gave me a bunch of dried food from her garden for Christmas, including carrots and cabbage strips. I've dried turnips (and it turns out that dried turnips are pretty good!), too. Nettles are very nutritious and delicious and people dry them for tea all the time, so I think they would make for great trekking provisions.

We're also planning to fish and forage on our adventure. Seriously, this is going to be the most fun thing EVER. Our respective spouses are coming with us to keep us from dying in the woods and to photodocument the trip.