Category Archives: Root Vegetable

Indian Night after a Long, Dry Spell

I haven’t been making much Indian since going mostly Primal.  I think it has something to do with not having the rice and naan to go with the curries.  It’s not as though I’ve cut it out completely but it’s definitely not been in my diet as much as it was at one time.

I really enjoy making Indian.  I have accumulated a lot of the spices that are common in Indian and scoff at the “optional” entries in recipes because, 1) I have those ingredients and have a slight superiority complex come out, and 2) I can’t imagine the recipe without them because after having used them I feel like the recipe just wouldn’t be the same without them.  Curry leaves are one of those ingredients that I just can’t imagine going without when listed in a recipe.

I was going through my cookbooks this morning trying to find an Indian recipe for some goat stew meat that I had defrosted.  In addition to a crockpot recipe for the goat, I came across 2 other recipes that I had marked as wanting to try and had all of the spices on hand.  It was a great day to tinker in the kitchen given that we’ve been pretty much snowed in and it’s still too cold to go out and enjoy the outdoors.  At least in my opinion.

The two recipes are adaptations of Chicken in Cardamom Cream Sauce in “Complete Indian Cooking” by Meena Pathak to go with Sweet Potato Chaat in “American Masala” by Suvir Saran.  I felt that the sweet potato recipe would be a great accompaniment/primal substitute for basmati rice.  And I was right!  Both dishes are delish, pair well together and I didn’t even miss the rice.

One note on spices: if you can or have the time, I would recommend freshly grinding the coriander.  It’s an easy spice to grind, the little globes just simply crush in on themselves.  The difference between store bought and freshly ground coriander is significant.  And this can make your dish that much more stellar!

I prepped my Chaat root vegetables and started roasting them when I started the Chicken Cardamom recipe.

CHICKEN IN CARDAMOM CREAM SAUCE

Serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp freshly ground coriander
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 12 oz boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″ to 1″ cubes
  • 200 ml cream
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
  • salt

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom pods and bay leaves.  Turn heat to medium and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until they begin to crackle, approximately 10 minutes.

Add the ground coriander and canned tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the diced chicken and fry, stirring continuously for 5 minutes.

Add the single cream, ground cardamom, fenugreek leaves and garam masala.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add coconut sugar and salt to taste.  Serve alongside Chaat Roasted Vegetables.

Chaat Spiced Roasted Vegetables

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  • 3 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp roasted cumin seeds, ground
  • 2 Tbsp Chaat masala
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1 lime

Toast cumin seeds in a small cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat.  They are done when they are lightly brown and smell fragrant.  Let cool before grinding.

Prep the vegetables, adding others if you see fit.  Beets might be a good option.  Place vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

Mix the dry spices together in a small mixing bowl.

Drizzle olive oil over vegetables.  Stir vegetables so that they are evenly coated.  Sprinkle some of the spice mixture over vegetables.  Turn vegetables to spread the seasoning evenly on the vegetables.  Do not feel that you have to use all of the spice, I kept some back to use for later.

Line a sheet pan with tin foil or parchment paper.  Spread your vegetables evenly over the sheet pan.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Stir vegetables and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and lightly brown.  Remove from the oven and squeeze 1/2 to 1 full lime over the vegetables depending on your flavor preference.

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Primal Eating

Back in July, my friend Jenny came home from a work function where she had run into a co-worker that she hadn’t seen in a while.  The co-worker had lost weight and Jenny asked her how she had done it.  The co-worker referred Jenny to the website Mark’s Daily Apple.

Jenny told me and a few other girlfriends about the site. I immediately checked it out and liked what I found. The idea is to live “primally”, emulating our long ago ancestors through diet and exercise.

I got serious about primal eating at the beginning of August when I got back from Sayulita, Mexico. I cut out all grains, most starches and legumes, and as much sugar as I could. I noticed a dramatic effect in my feelings of satiety, energy and well being. I simply felt content.  And I wasn’t so bloated.

I am still eating a primal diet consisting of lots of organic greens and vegetables, grass fed meats from local producers and berries for my fruit. I cook with bacon fat, coconut oil and a little bit of olive oil.

In transitioning to this lifestyle, I have had great adventures in learning to cook differently so that I am not consuming the grains and starches that I was habitually consuming through breads, crackers, potatoes and beans.

One such recipe is shepherd’s pie. It’s a dish that I tend to make every fall when there is a bounty of game meat that I receive from hunting friends. That and the amazing fall harvest produce that is available at the farmer’s market and from my garden.

The top of the shepherd’s pie is generally made with potatoes and the “gravy” for the filling made with flour. Well, that needed to be changed. This recipe is based loosely on one that was posted on Mark’s Daily Apple by Cherie Randall.  You may notice that the topping is very similar to my cauliflower parsnip gratin in my post “What’s for Dinner? 11/8/2009”.  It is Cherie’s post that got me rolling on the gratin creation.  Thanks Cherie!

 SHALON’S ROOT VEGETABLE SHEPHERD’S PIE

Serves 6 – 8

Topping:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-3 tablespoons cream (optional)
  • salt & pepper taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided into 1 tbsp each
  • 1 beet, peeled and cubed into ¼ “ cubes
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1” lengths, the fatter lengths then quartered
  • 2-3 carrots, cut into 1” lengths, the fatter lengths then quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground grass-fed beef, bison, goat, antelope, etc.
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour
  • 3/4 cup beef, veggie or chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Break the cauliflower into chunky pieces and steam until just tender, approximately 10-12 minutes.

While cauliflower is steaming, heat butter in small saucepan over medium low heat.  Add garlic to the butter and keep on low heat, infusing the butter with the garlic flavor.  Don’t get the butter too hot or it will burn the garlic.  Let the garlic and butter mixture sit on low heat for approx 4-5 minutes, swirling the mixture on occasion.

Put the cauliflower in the food processor with the garlic butter and grated parmesan and process until smooth. At this point, you may want to add cream to give it a smoother consistency.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Heat 1 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add beet cubes and toss to coat with the butter.  Cook beets, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned and just fork tender.  Place beets into a medium bowl and return pan to heat.  Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter and add the parsnips and carrots.  Toss to coat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and just fork tender.  Add to the beets.  (It’ll take about 15 minutes to cook each the beets and the carrots/parsnips.  Don’t turn the heat up too high otherwise you’ll brown the veggies before they are done on the inside.) (Don’t over cook the veggies either, you want them just fork tender because they’ll continue cooking in the pie mixture as well and “finish”).

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté several minutes until soft. Add beef and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to break up the meat so it browns evenly. Add beet/parsnip/carrot mixture and cook another five minutes.

Stir in the almond flour. Add broth and herbs and reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from skillet and put into a medium glass or metal casserole dish. Spread the cauliflower over the top.

Scatter 2 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces on top of the cauliflower. Bake 30-35 minutes until top is browned in places and pie mixture is steaming hot.