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Posts Tagged ‘excalibur’

Walk through any supermarket today and the widest aisle always seems to be the one full of snack food – potato chips, popcorn, pretzels … you name it is all there.  Packaging is shiny and eye-catching words like “organic” and “all natural” seem to be popping up all over the place, but this still does not make the food any more non primal then before.  If you were asked to describe the taste of potato chips and why you like them so much, you would probably say it’s the salty flavour or crispness that you enjoy and not really the potato itself.  If you think about it, if you were to sit down with a bag of cooked unseasoned sliced potatoes would you eat the entire bag?  Probably not.  

For me, primal eating also means taking the foods we love and either modifying the ingredients to make it primal or finding another food that provides an excellent substitute.  Kale is the perfect example of this and has become one of my new favourite veggies.  Kale is an anti-inflammatory that is loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, making it one of the most nutritious members of the Brassica (cabbage) family.  When it comes to cooking, Kale is extremely vestile and can be eaten raw in salads, steamed, added to soups, stews or stir-frys or my favourite, dried to create crispy little popcorn or chip like snacks that have impressed all my non-primal friends. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of Green or Purple Kale, washed and dried
  • ~ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper to taste
  • sprinkle of sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Remove tough stem section from kale leaves
  2. Tear leaves into larger sections – you’ll want these as big as possible as the kale shrinks considerably when dried
  3. Place torn kale in bowl, drizzle with olive oil, cayenne pepper and salt
  4. Toss well until combined
  5. Lay kale on mesh dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 135 degrees for 2-3 hours or until crispy

Oven Method:  Kale can also be dried in the oven by placing kale on a parchment lined baking sheet and baking at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Keep your eye on the kale to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Not a fan of spicy foods, try tossing the kale with olive oil, lemon juice and 2 freshly minced garlic cloves before dehydrating or just keep it simple with some olive oil, salt & pepper.

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I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a bit of a kitchen nerd.  I read cookbooks like novels, have cupboards full of dishes and cooking appliances and even own a chef’s uniform – yes I’m serious!    But, about 10 months ago I made my best purchase yet … my Excalibur Dehydrator!  I can’t say enough good things about it and my friends will attest to me bragging about my 15 square feet of drying space!    The purchase was in large part due to my need to find a way to pack healthy non-perishable paleo snacks for overnight work trips and to help me stay fueled during my various outdoor pursuits.  Having also lived in Ontario up until recently, it was also a great way for me to savor the summer berry harvest all year-round.    The great thing is that pretty much any fresh food item can be dehydrated, giving you clean, natural and portable healthy foods free of preservatives.  This is especially true when it comes to Beef Jerky. 

All of my jerky recipes start with about 2 kg of very lean beef.  It is important that you use a lean cut of meat, trimmed of any excess fat as it is the fat that can make the jerky go rancid if stored for a long period of time.  Lean meat is also great on the wallet as the leaner cuts also tend to be the cheaper ones.  I’ve had great success with flank steak, sirloin tip or inside round, each having a slightly different texture when dried.  Lately, I’ve been using an Inside Round Roast (aka Pot Roast) as it is a bit more tender then the others, marinades well and slices easily.  

Ingredients:

  • Lean Beef, trimmed of fat and sliced against the grain 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tbsp Old Fashioned Grainy Dijon mustard – I like the Maille brand
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • freshly ground salt & pepper

Let’s get Drying:

  1. In large bowl, mix together mustard and maple syrup.  Season with salt & pepper
  2. Add sliced beef to marinade and toss to coat
  3. Cover and marinade in refrigerator overnight
  4. Lay beef out in single layer on mesh dehydrator trays
  5. Dehydrate at 160 degrees for about 8-10 hours – total time will depend on meat thickness
  6. The beef is done when you take a piece and bend it in half and it cracks but does not break apart
  7. Beef can be stored in air tight container in cool dry place or refrigerator for a couple of months – but I”ll be surprised if it lasts you that long!   

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