Tag: cooking tips

How to Grill Everything – the Ultimate Guide

June looms. Summer is almost upon us. The sun’s out, people are starting to gather and mingle, the big box stores are stocking charcoal again, and those chicken drumsticks, that tri tip, that lamb leg, and that salmon filet behind the butcher counter are looking good. You feel the pull of the grill. It calls to you. You need to respond—but how to do it?

Not everyone is a grill master. With baking and traditional recipes, you can follow along just by reading. Oven temperatures and controlled gas ranges make cooking indoors fairly predictable. But outside, out on the grill, things get a little wild.

Grilling is more art than science. It’s about feeling the meat, sensing the heat, intuiting what’s happening beneath and above the grill. The wind, the coals, the flame, the air flow, the ambient temperature all affect and determine the quality of the finished product. It’s all too much to plug into a spreadsheet and figure out down to the millisecond. There are no guarantees. So while I’m going to give you the best methods I’ve learned over the years, don’t take this as settled science. You’re going to have to experiment for yourself.

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How to Buy and Cook the Perfect Steak

Crisp and caramelized on the outside, but never burnt. A first bite that melts in your mouth as the savory, perfectly seasoned flavor of beef hits your palate. The rich, smoky aroma of animal fat dripping onto an open fire.

That, my friends, is a perfect steak. You don’t have to make reservations at an expensive steakhouse to reach this sort of steak nirvana. It can be yours any night of week in your own kitchen by following a few simple and painless steps.

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How to Use Egg Yolks as an Alternative Thickener

Every chef has a few tricks up their sleeve. Whether it be unexpected ingredient combinations to curious kitchen gadgets, these tiny hacks can make or break your at-home recipes. If you follow a dairy-free or gluten-free diet, creating the perfect consistency without a butter-flour roux in recipes can be challenging to even the most studied cooks. One method to keep in your back pocket is using egg yolks to thicken sauces and soups, and to turn leftover pan liquid into a dreamy flavor infusion.

Once you get the hang of it, using egg yolks as a thickening agent is a relatively simple way to create a deep, rich flavor and texture, plus a little punch of protein. This process requires some finesse: undercooking just makes things messy, and overcooking could lead to an unwanted version of scrambled eggs.

That said, there’s no need to be intimidated. Eggs are cheap enough to experiment with until you get into the swing.

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13 Holiday Side Dishes (That Aren’t Potatoes)

While there’s nothing particularly wrong with potatoes (in fact, we happen to love this recipe for scalloped potatoes), not everyone in the Primal—let alone keto—camp wants to serve potatoes at the holiday. They’re a technically Primal choice, but they’re decidedly high in carbs and not as high in nutrients as other options. Primal and Primal-keto eating shouldn’t be about deprivation—just thoughtful decision-making on what’s a good choice for you when it comes to holiday eating. Today we’ve got 13 delicious side dish recipes that stay true to the richness and flavors of traditional holiday cooking. Which ones will you be serving?

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Basic Cooking Skills for Rookies

It’s easy to ignore your lack of rudimentary cooking skills when you order pizza or get takeout every night. When people switch to Primal or keto diets, they usually find themselves spending considerably more time in the kitchen. On the plus side, they’re better able to control ingredient quality and the macronutrient breakdown of their meals. For better or worse, this also forces them to confront their lack of culinary prowess. Preparing two or three homemade meals per day can be daunting if you’re accustomed to mostly grabbing prepackaged or restaurant fare. As with any other skill, though, you learn by starting with the basics, practicing often, and building proficiency as you go. Your meals don’t have to be elaborate, your technique perfect, or your dishes artistic. They just have to taste good. Today I’m going to nominate some skills and dishes that I think every beginner should learn. Chime in in the comments and let me know what else you would put on the list. Where to Start First, some basics: Start by following other people’s recipes. Don’t try to wing it if you don’t know what you’re doing. Find one or two cookbooks or blogs you like, and work your way through them. To learn your way around a kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen books are tried and true. My favorite book for artful yet practical kitchen inspo is Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Get good knives and keep them sharp. Watch some YouTube videos to learn basic knife skills. Everyone should know how to chop an onion. Start there. Season your food, for goodness sake. I have a theory that most people who think they are bad cooks are mostly just boring cooks. (That, and they overcook their meat, but we’ll get to that.) Salt is your friend. You should have a decently stocked spice rack. Tell me in the comments what spices you use most. Mine are cumin and turmeric. Just go for it! As with anything else, you get better by doing it. Stick to simple recipes at first, then get more adventurous as you become more confident. Chicken I firmly believe that everyone should know how to roast a whole chicken. A fragrant, golden chicken feels like true kitchen mastery, yet it’s so simple. Ina Garten taught me (not personally, but you get it), or start with this Perfect Roasted Chicken recipe. When you roast a whole chicken, you end up with a carcass. This is great news because you should also know how to make your own bone broth. It doesn’t matter whether you use the stovetop, slow cooker, or pressure cooker method. Either way, it couldn’t be easier to stock your freezer (no pun intended) with jars of homemade bone broth. Then you always have some on hand to make soups, stew, chili, or just to drink. When it comes to making chicken breasts or thighs, I usually opt for thighs because they are more forgiving. Breasts have a tendency … Continue reading “Basic Cooking Skills for Rookies”

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How to Render Beef Tallow

I almost never hear of people cooking with beef tallow, even in Primal circles. I hear about lard, duck fat, ghee, butter, olive oil, and avocado oil, but rarely tallow. Hey, those are all great, delicious fats, and they deserve their prestige, but I like sticking up for the little guy. I like an underdog. In this case, of course, the little guy comes courtesy of a big cloven-hoofed ungulate.

Another reason to try tallow: those of you experimenting with the carnivore diet will want to mix up your cooking fats here and there. Each one has a different nutritional profile.

Here’s how to do it.

 

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How to Make Pemmican

If you’ve ever had a meat or jerky bar made of finely chopped dried meat and perhaps berries, you may be familiar with pemmican. Pemmican consists of lean, dried meat – usually beef nowadays, but bison, deer, and elk were common back in the day) which is crushed to a powder and mixed with an equal amount of hot, rendered fat, usually beef tallow. Sometimes crushed, dried berries are added as well. For long periods of time, people can subsist entirely on pemmican, drawing on the fat for energy and the protein for strength, and glucose, when needed.

Vihljamur Stefansson, eminent anthropologist and arctic explorer, went on three expeditions into the Alaskan tundra during the first quarter of the 20th century. His discoveries – including the “blond” Inuit and previously uncharted Arctic lands – brought him renown on the world stage. People were fascinated by his approach to travel and exploration, the way he thrust himself fully into the native Inuit cultures he encountered. Stefansson studied their language, adopted their ways, and ate the same food they ate. In fact, it was the diet of the Inuit – fish, marine mammals, and other animals, with almost no vegetables or carbohydrates – that most intrigued him. He noted that, though their diet would be considered nutritionally bereft by most “experts” (hey, nothing’s changed in a hundred years!), the Inuit seemed to be in excellent health, with strong teeth, bones, and muscles. He was particularly interested pemmican.

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Whole30® Recipe Roundup

Eating well means different things to different people, but I think we can agree that it should always taste good. The recipes that follow happen to be aligned with Whole30® eating guidelines—but more importantly, they’re all meals and snacks I would eat anytime. If you’re planning your first Whole30 or you’re new to the Primal or keto styles of eating, the recipes below offer a variety of easy, flavorful options for you and your family. No sacrifices necessary.

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7 Easy Primal Holiday Appetizers

A Primal buffet is no ordinary buffet. Primal types are used to real food after all, and we don’t shy away from the rich, meaty and decadent. We expect flavor. We expect satisfying fare—even when it’s in the form of “small bites.” Whether you’re hosting the party or contributing to someone else’s spread, we’ve got seven tasty and filling recipes that will appeal to any taste out there. Bonus: they’re all three ingredients, which means less fuss and more fun for you.

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The Definitive Guide to Tea

Tea can mean a lot of different plants. There’s maté, the bitter South American shrub steeped in boiling water to extract the caffeine-like compounds contained within. There’s rooibos, the “red tea” made from a polyphenol-rich bush native to South Africa. There’s coca, the South American plant also used to make cocaine. There are the unnamed wild bitter root and herb teas used by the Maasai, the evergreen tip teas used by American natives to obtain vitamin C, the nettleleaf teas used across Europe.

For today’s post, I’m focusing on the actual tea plant—Camellia sinensis. All of the classic teas come from the same basic plant; the differences lie in how they’re processed after harvest. Most tea undergoes controlled oxidation to develop flavor and different bioactive compounds. The more oxidized, the darker the tea. The less oxidized, the lighter.

I’m also going to focus on the health benefits of tea, rather than get into the nitty gritty of tea grading, the endless bespoke varieties, the optimum temperature—tea expert stuff. I enjoy tea, but I’m not a connoisseur. I can tell you about the health effects, and I imagine that’s what most of you are here for anyway.

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