Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
7 Oct

Grokfeast in New York City

On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness. Vote for your favorite on October 8.

Eating Paleo in NYC, New York City’s paleo meetup group, decided that having an awesome feast with a chance to win a cow was a great idea. We gathered on a warm September Sunday in a lush meadow in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Everyone brought something delicious and primal to feast on, but before we ate we played outside.

Most of us were dressed appropriately with Vibrams or simply bare feet! Having our feet free made it easier to play a competitive game of Frisbee.

There were plenty of spare branches left over from the freak tornado the week before. Branches are the perfect primal exercise equipment: free, abundant, and versatile. A simple branch can be used for squats, balancing, and even throwing.

Attempts to gather food from the meadow were unsuccessful. We found some acorns and debated eating them, but when we realized they were full of acrid tannic acid, we decided to juggle them instead.

Don’t worry, our fights weren’t over our delicious food, since we had plenty. It was just martial arts practice.

After much combat valor, it was time to feast.

First we feasted on several delicious salads. Melissa made a duck confit salad with maple-pecans, local Hudson valley blue chevre, crunchy Bartlett pears, and crisped Mangalitsa lardo on top of arugula. Rob made a California-style salad of mixed baby greens, spinach, broccoli sprouts, walnuts, raisins, tangy lemon-infused olive oil, and 25 year aged balsamic vinegar. We topped that with smoked duck breast.

KC’s hearty Waldorf salad was rich with roasted turkey, seasonal fruits, walnuts, and celery seasoned with flax and walnut oil. Laura brought a colorful fruit salad made of refreshing summer melon and berries drizzled with coconut and cinnamon. It was nice to eat a lot of salads that were full of healthy greens AND plenty of fat. Too many restaurant salads are anemic wilted iceberg lettuce topped with low-fat skinless boneless chicken breast.

Michael contributed a deliciously creamy sweet potato and coconut milk pudding. Andrew brought some autumnal roasted fall yams, onions, and peppers from the Farmers’ Market. Don carried over several jars of bright-red homemade cinnamon apple sauce. For dessert we had some roasted cacao nibs.

After dinner we got into the cave spirit with a fashion show. KC had the winning costume inspired by Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. and made from a discarded cat bed. The only animal harmed for her costume is her now bed-less cat.

Melissa wore a Prana Leopard skin dress. Seeing that the rest of the tribe was wearing normal clothes, KC generously distributed her faux furs.

Suddenly, the girls realized that our branch might be useful for carrying off prey…

No cavemen or cavewomen were harmed in the making of this picnic…incidentally, cavemen-on-a-branch are an excellent way to build upper-body strength.

Surprisingly, we weren’t kicked out of the park. When the sun set we decided to be civilized and have a pot of tea and some wine.

The Feast

Turkey Waldorf Salad Surprise

  • 1 large turkey breast
  • 3 Fuji apples
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 c walnuts
  • 1-2 c grapes
  • 2 T flaxseed oil
  • 2 T walnut oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 c raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates (pick one or mixup)
  • 1/2 c seasonal surprise fruit (fresh cherries, black figs, anything interesting and unexpected)

Brush turkey breast with flaxseed oil, and roast or grill. I find roasting makes the turkey more moist, but then it can become mushy once its mixed in with the salad. For this recipe, if the turkey is a little dried out, its actually better.

Chop turkey, apples, celery, walnuts, grapes and surprise fruit. Its time consuming, but I usually slice everying to be about 1/4 – 1/2 inch cubes.

Toss everything together with walnut oil and whatever is left from flaxseed oil you didn’t need for cooking the turkey. Squeeze the lemon juice from half a lemon. Add a bit of salt and pepper if you prefer savory, or cinnamon if you prefer a sweeter taste.

This makes a very easy and portable lunch. You can chop everything up while watching your favorite sports team blow it again, spoon it all into 4-5 containers and voila! Your team may have lost but you now have lunch for the week.
Also can be modified based on what you have, what you like, how badly you overcooked the turkey, etc. If it seems dry, chop up more grapes. I find green grapes best because they’re longer and I can chop them into six or eight pieces, and this seems to get more juice into the mix.

Pear and Duck Confit Salad

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 3.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 confit duck leg
  • 2 firm-ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears
  • A strip of bacon or lardo sliced up
  • 2 cups mixed greens, such as frisée or argula
  • 1 ounces crumbled blue cheese

Heat some lard or coconut oil up in a cast iron skillet. Saute the pecans with a dash of maple syrup until browned. Set aside in a mixing bowl and add shredded duck confit and lardo/bacon to the pan. Sear until brown and add to bowl with pecans. Slice pear into small matchstick pieces and add to bowl.

For dressing mix together vinegar and mustard. Slowly add olive oil while whisking.

Toss greens with meat and nut mixture, add bowl of meats/nuts/fruit, top with cheese, then add dressing before serving.

Sweet Potato Pudding

  • 2 Med yams, bake and mash up
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp of cardamon

Mix together with hand mixer. Serve hot or cold.

Autumnal Applesauce

Detailed instructions can be found on Don’s website: Paleo Food

Fabulous Fruit Fantasy

2 cups sliced cantaloupe
2 cups sliced watermelon
2 cups sliced honey dew melon
2 cups rasberries
1 cup blueberries
.5 cup walnuts
.5 cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Wash fruit ingredients and combine in large bowl.  Mix together.  Add walnuts, coconut, and cinnamon in amounts desired.  Other nuts or toppings can be used as well.  Mix well, serve chilled, enjoy!

The Tribe

Back: Andrew, Don, KC, Rob, Melissa, Laura

Front: Alex, Michael

Visit Melissa McEwen’s excellent Primal blog: Hunt.Gather.Love.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Great branch fitness and play. I liked that you including the hung man carry.

    christie wrote on October 7th, 2010
  2. That poor bedless cat… :-P

    Fatkid wrote on October 7th, 2010
  3. I never had any desire to visit New York until I started reading Melissa’s And John Durant’s blogs. Reading about the goings on of Eating Paleo in NYC made me sad to be on the west coast. ;)

    Larry wrote on October 7th, 2010
  4. primal fashion show! sexah!

    noah216 wrote on October 7th, 2010
  5. I’m definitely inspired to find paleo/primal groups in my area now. It seems like such an obvious way to find cool people who are into a lot of the same things – why didn’t I think of it before!?

    Anyone know of any good groups in the San Francisco Bay area? Particularly on the peninsula?

    Kris wrote on October 8th, 2010
  6. My daughter used to live near Prospect Park which is huge as I remember.

    Sounds like you all had a great time. Loved the couture cat bed outfit. The story was fun to read as well.

    Sharon wrote on October 8th, 2010
  7. Too much fun, love it.

    Mark wrote on October 8th, 2010
  8. I’m so sad I missed this! Great job, EP in NYC :)

    Maria wrote on October 8th, 2010
  9. Great job!

    Ryan wrote on October 8th, 2010
  10. Very nice, great looking dishes

    Robert wrote on October 8th, 2010
  11. Looks like you guys had an absolute blast! Very fun crowd, no? :D

    Funkadelic Flash wrote on October 8th, 2010
  12. can’t wait to make my own sweet potato pudding! I agree, poor kitty. but who didn’t ever want to be Rachel in a cave-girl outfit?

    Peggy wrote on October 8th, 2010
    • Rachel?? oops, I meant Raquel… sigh

      Peggy wrote on October 8th, 2010
  13. Wow! Awesome recipes. I keep reading about duck confit everywhere. I must make some.

    Ryan wrote on October 8th, 2010
  14. Does anyone know how to vote?

    Sarah wrote on October 8th, 2010
  15. Oh man, where do I vote!?!?

    Emerson wrote on October 8th, 2010
  16. Love the branch workout!

    Cindy Hanna wrote on October 8th, 2010
  17. Great job New Yorkers!

    Lars1000 wrote on October 8th, 2010
    • Come out here,Melissa, and be my personal chef! (You bring all those yummy ingredients.)
      G/Ma A.

      Annette Sherman wrote on October 8th, 2010
  18. Thanks for sharing the pics! Those girls look real hungry carrying the man on the stick. He’s in big trouble.

    John wrote on October 9th, 2010

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