Skirt Steak Stir Fry Featuring Persimmon

I discovered a new fruit the other day.

The persimmon ( Diospyros sp.) is alleged to taste like apricot; I find it similar but not identical.  And I like it better.  Much better, so much that I am now plotting to buy my own tree or two, raising them myself; read the end of this post for more info.

The type I bought was an Asian persimmon (Fuyu) being sold at Whole Foods.  This is the most available commercially.  It looked like a somewhat-off tomato.  I picked up a couple and decided what to do with them…

recipe, persimmon, stir fry, skirt steak, gluten-free, mushroom, bok choy

Cookin’ with Persimmon (and a few other things.)

I had some skirt steak, which is a type of beef that lends itself to stir fries (as well as fajitas, of course), and I needed to cook it.  Hopping around my fridge, I discovered the other ingredients that went into my tasty stir fry.  This is one of those dishes best to be inventive with – what’s on hand?  I’m writing this one up, because I’m glad I added the persimmon.  (I tasted a small piece raw, too – very good that way as well, although the sign at Whole Wallet said that if not quite ripe, they can be astringent.  I think my purchases were ripe.)

recipe, persimmon, stir fry, skirt steak, gluten-free, mushroom, bok choy

Prep station

At my farmers’ market, I found bok choy, and bought a bunch of a purple-leafed baby bok choy.  I’m sure there’s a more proper name for the purple leafed variety, but it wasn’t labelled at the farm stand.  If someone knows, I’d appreciate the information.  (The photo isn’t any good, so you’ll find it at the end of this post.)  In any case, if you are looking for ideas, any baby bok choy or similar leafy brassica can be used.

persimmon stir fry condiments-

Prep Time:
Cook Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Rest Time: not much
Serves:  2

Skirt Steak, Persimmon, Bok Choy, Mushroom and Scallion Stir Fry

  • 6-8 ounces skirt steak, sliced
  • 1 persimmon, stem removed, diced
  • Baby bok choy, chopped – separate the stems from the leaves since you will add them into the stir fry separately.
  • 3 button mushrooms, or preferably, more.  Chopped.
  • 1 green scallion, chopped – separate the thick white area from the flat greens since you will add them into the stir fry separately.
  • 1.5 tablespoon GF teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon GF low sodium soy sauce (or sub in GF low sodium  “dumpling sauce”)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.  (I really really like Trader Joe’s, grown in California.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, white or black
  • 1/3 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • About a tablespoon of avocado oil (or other healthy high temp cooking oil).

Prep all of the above, and set your skillet on the range or cooktop at medium high.

When a drop of water makes the oil sizzle, add the mushrooms and the whites of the scallion.  Allow the mushroom to cook to softness, about three minutes.  Stir gently.

Add the stems of the bok choy.   If you like your meat more well done, add your meat now.  Or wait two or three more minutes.  Stir.

And then, if you are like me and like to see a little pink, add that meat at this later point.  Stir.

Add all the condiments and seasonings immediately after the meat, and continue stirring gently.  Watch the meat to see that it gets to your preferred level of done-ness.

When you are about ready, top with the rest of the bok choy, and the green part of the scallion, and stir another minute or two, until the green leafy bits of bok choy slightly wilt.

Remove from heat and serve it up!

This would be great served up with a side of white yam noodles (heated in broth).  If you are eating grains, rice noodles are a speedy option, too.

recipe, persimmon, stir fry, skirt steak, gluten-free, mushroom, bok choy

What is the specific name for that baby bok choy on the left? Inquiring minds wanna know! Sorry about the lighting here.  Oh, and that fruit up there at 11 o’clock?  That’s the persimmon.

Afterthoughts on Persimmon:  I am so enamored of the persimmon that I am now planning on growing one or two persimmon trees next year.  I’ve investigated the Internet, and apparently there are three overall types of persimmon tree:  the native American persimmon (hardy from zones 4 to 9, requiring both male and female trees to bear fruit), the Japanese/Asian persimmon (Fuyu or Hachiya varieties, one tree only required), which can’t stand freezes, and a “Magic Fountain” weeping persimmon (hardy from zones 5-9, and self-fertile).  I am leaning towards this new-fangled weeping persimmon, to plant as a fruit-bearing accent piece in my front yard – because, well, weeping… and because I won’t need to drag it into a greenhouse with the citrus trees, as with the Japanese varieties.  Although I’ll also consider adding a couple of the regular American persimmon trees to my back yard.

And the second persimmon I bought?  I am planning to put it in a salad, much like one would a tomato.


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Squid Stuffed With Seafood (and Some Veggies)

I like food challenges, as long as they’re not of the ilk of “Combine Ritz crackers with Marshmallow Fluff and hazelnuts, and show us your dish”, which is what a lot of Chopped seems to be.  Indeed, I like to make sure house guests get foods they’re not allergic to, have religious predilections against, or just simply hate.  It can be a balancing act, with a variety of foods available so no one is displeased, if I’m entertaining a large number — but I find this enjoyable to provide for.  (My own predilection is to keep the junk food [and the stuff any of our grandparents would never have recognized] out, and still make a great meal.)

I’ve joined a group known as Fish Friday Foodies, and they challenge people to monthly seafood meals.  Alas, I’ve been too busy the last several months to participate, but this latest challenge (for November) appealed to me.  Stuffed Seafood is the theme.  See them here at:

Turns out you can stuff the fish, or use the fish to stuff something else.  Or, in my case, I’m going to stuff seafood with seafood.

stuffed squid, recipe, gluten-free, crab meat, scallops, mushroom, sweet potato, apple, Paleo

Stuffed, and served!

My local Stew Leonard’s had squid in their seafood case, whole squid (but cleaned), and those enticing squid tubes that cry out to be stuffed.  Indeed, I’ve done a stuffed squid once before, please do drop in and visit!  You’ll get some squid anatomy lessons there as well…

I could have done something different, but this store doesn’t feature large squid tubes on a regular basis, so… I’m doin’ it!  And no, this recipe won’t remotely taste the same as the other one.

stuffed squid, recipe, gluten-free, crab meat, scallops, mushroom, sweet potato, apple, Paleo

After stuffing three tubes/squid bodies, plenty to go!

Prep time: Mostly during the sweet potato roasting time – about 20 minutes.
Cook time: Sweet potato for 45 minutes, pan fry for about 5 minutes, stuffed squid 35 minutes.
Rest time: Not necessary.
Serves:  Two squid per person.

Squid Stuffed With Crabmeat, Scallops, Squid, Sweet Potato, Apple, Mushroom

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • Cooking oil, perhaps a tablespoon.  (I used bacon fat here)
  • 6-8 squid tubes, about 4-7 inches in length
  • squid tentacles.  
  • 2 large button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 large sea scallops, sliced into chunks
  • ounces of lump crabmeat
  • 1 apple, cored and diced.  Skin may be kept on.
  • 2 scallions/green onions, diced.   Slice the white parts thinner than the green parts, and keep separate.  
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • A teaspoon of cooking oil (grapeseed or avocado work nicely).

Clean the sweet potato, but you can leave the thin parts of skin on, if you wish.

Slice the sweet potato for quicker roasting, and coat with your choice of a cooking fat or oil.  Wrap in aluminum foil and place in another pan to contain any drips.

Roast the potato at 425 F (218 C) for about 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Mash with a fork, and set aside.

Re-set the oven to 375 F (190 C) and continue prepping.

In a skillet with a little oil, cook the scallion whites and the mushrooms until the mushrooms are soft.

Clean the squid as needed… see my earlier blog post, Stuffed Squid with Onions, Mushrooms, Spinach, Baked with Tomato Sauce, for tips and techniques.  Chop up the tentacles (they only gave me two sets of tentacles) and the squid “fins”.

In a bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, tentacles, fins, mushrooms, scallops, apple, scallions and spices.  Mix with a large spoon or with your hands.  Add in the lump crab meat towards the end of mixing, so you don’t break up the lumps.

Stuff the squid tubes, using a small spoon and fingers.  Make sure the stuffing goes to the end of the tube.  Don’t overstuff…  squid will shrink upon cooking.  However, none of these stuffing ingredients will expand, so don’t worry too much.

Place on lightly-oiled baking pan, lightly oiling (paper towel is useful) the tubes themselves all around.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Plan on two per person, especially if the squid bodies / tubes start as 6-7 inches.  Perhaps serve with a fruit salad or a tossed leafy green salad with vinaigrette.
  • If the squid are small, consider serving them as appetizers for company.  (Or, for yourselves!)
  • Leftover stuffing?  I added some of this plus Provolone cheese to my omelet the next morning!
Posted in Appetizers, Cooking, Seafood | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Kale, Apple, Pear, Onion, Brussels Sprouts, Squash Casserole

Vegan and Gluten-Free.

I apologize for the lack of a photo of the finished meal – just haven’t been myself lately.  Too many things on my plate, and I’m not talking supper.

kale, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, casserole

Home grown Russian kale prior to harvest.

This was prepared for a potluck this past weekend.  It turned out really good, and it was all eaten, so I wanted to post the recipe anyway.  But let’s say many casserole photos don’t come out stunning to begin with, so I beg your forbearance this time!

The kale, apple and pear are all cooked together at the same time (steamed) while the rest of the ingredients (minus the peach balsamic) are roasted together at the same time.  Then, everything is layered and combined into a casserole dish.

kale, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, casserole, onion, Brussels sprouts, squash

The roasted portion of this dish… Prior to the oil and actual roasting…

Instead of peach balsamic, consider other stone-fruit balsamics, if that’s what you have to hand.  Or just a balsamic reduction.

kale, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, casserole, balsamic vinegar

The peach balsamic vinegar, a brand picked up at one of the local farmers’ markets

The kale, by the way, was home grown Russian kale.   This type is not as bitter as some are.  I will assuredly grow this variety again next year!  It is awesome no matter how huge the leaves get.  (A little extra steaming time is nothing in the scale of things.)

Prep time: About 20 minutes.
Cook time: 50 minutes for the roasting, 25 for the steaming (I ran them concurrent so 50 total).
Rest time: Not needed, but fine.
Serves:  A decent sized group at a potluck, I think we were 16.
Leftovers:  Re-heats nicely, oven or microwave.

Kale, Apple, Pear, Onion, Brussels Sprouts, Squash Casserole

The Roasting Part:

  • 1 large onion, sliced in slivers
  • a good 20 or so Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
  • 2 baby delicata squash, or one small delicata, or a small amount of winter squash, your choice.  For delicata, slice off ends, cut lengthwise twice, remove seeds.  Other squash may require skin removal.  
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme.  (Fresh would be best, but I didn’t have.)
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground white pepper (black is fine, too).  
  • 1.5 tablespoons avocado olive oil.  (You can use other choices, including olive oil.)

Pre-heat oven to 425 F (218 C). Lay out all the veggies in a pan, one layer if possible.  Sprinkle with the herbs and spices.  (Photo shown on this page elsewhere).  Drizzle the oil over.  Using your hands to mix, coat the veggies with the oil and seasonings.  Cover tightly with close-on metal foil.

Oh, NOTE:  Things will roast better if you pat them dry after any rinsing!

Toss into your oven for 50 minutes.

Remove, set aside, still covered.

The Steaming Part:  (for which I did all the prep during the beginning of the roasting part.

  • 1 large bunch of kale (lotsa leaves).  I wish I’d thought to weigh…  You want a lot; it will cook down.  Rinse, remove any thick stems, and coarsely cut into edible sizes.  Kitchen scissors are faster than knives for me.
  • 2 apples.  Core, and roughly dice.  (You don’t need to skin them.)
  • 2 Bosc pears.  Core, and roughly dice.  (You don’t need to skin them.)

Get your steamer ready with water, and add the kale and fruit.  I put a layer of kale on the bottom, then some fruit, more kale, the rest of the fruit, then the rest of the kale.  Didn’t want the fruit to seep through the steamer holes.

Bring to a boil, and reduce to a good simmer, and start counting 25 minutes.  If you are using a younger, more delicate kale, you can stop simmering sooner than that.  Test leaf texture starting about 15 minutes in such a case.

The Combo Part: 

Into a casserole dish, start by layering in your kale/fruit concoction, followed by a layer of the roasted component.  (And do chop up your squash into mouth sized pieces as indicated.)  Continue on, but before the final layer, drizzle in over the surface:

  • Peach Balsamic Vinegar (or other stone-fruit Balsamic, or a Balsamic reduction), about 1.5 tablespoons

Add the final layer or two as available.

Bringing to a Pot Luck:

This was pretty much room temperature when I arrived — putting in the oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes at 400F (205C), and then serving on an electric hot plate works fine.  Re-heading in a microwave-safe dish, that’s also an option (obviously to take less time).

Since there was nothing to bring back home with me, I figured I’d better jolly well write this one up!  Apparently, someone liked it!

PS: Where I can, from now on I will be including metric measurements in with Fahrenheit and so forth.

Come join us at Fiesta Friday!  Fiesta Friday is co-hosted this week by Judi @ and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas and Spoons




Posted in Cooking, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Yes, I am referring to the rolls make with the rice paper.  The rice paper itself is labeled “rice spring roll wrappers”.  But recently I ordered Vietnamese spring rolls out at a restaurant… and got served skinny greasy rolls with a heavy wheat crust, with not much room inside for anything tasty.

Eh.  Somewhere I’d read that summer rolls contained only uncooked ingredients, and the spring rolls have some cooked components.  So, now I ask.  Rice paper?? Or not??

Vietnamese summer rolls, shrimp, pork belly, appetizer, recipe

Vietnamese spring (summer?) rolls, two varieties.

I first attempted these about three years ago – they tasted great but I could not for the life of me begin to assemble them. I tried again for my herbal aficionado friends this past September, and after the first two attempts at rolling them, the rest came out ranging from serviceable to good. Unfortunately, I didn’t think I had time for the camera. Soooo…. I made them again last night, although the overall ingredients the September venture were better than last night.

Not doing my standard write-up here…

September’s list o’ ingredients:  

  • Crispy lettuce, Romaine or other head.  No, I didn’t use iceberg, but it’s a possibility.
  • Rhode Island Red shrimp.  OR thinly sliced pork belly, pastured and local.  See below.
  • White yam noodles in the shape of spaghetti.  (Pasta Zero is one brand).  Rinse and bring to a boil in a sauce pan, about 2 minutes.  Drain, allow to cool, pat dry.
  • slivered English cucumber segments.  If you use regular cukes from the supermarket, they’ll have more seeds – you can remove those.  I always peel ANY waxy cuke completely for any culinary purpose.
  • Greens from green onions/scallions, chopped about 1.5-2 inches in length.
  • Mung bean sprouts, you can quickly blanch them if desired.
  • Watercress, chopped, sprigs and all.
  • Cilantro and Mint, chopped.

Wednesday (October’s) list o’ ingredients:

  • Leaf lettuce.  It is a bit more limp, but it was a case of use or dispose…  Opt for crispy!
  • Gulf shrimp, I only bought enough for the photography, and at least it is not factory farmed somewhere.  Rhode Island Reds are out of season now.  OR thinly sliced pork belly, pastured and local. See below.
  • White yam noodles in the shape of spaghetti.  (Pasta Zero is one brand)  Rinse and bring to a boil in a sauce pan, about 2 minutes.  Drain, allow to cool, pat dry.
  • Mung bean sprouts, you can blanch them if desired.
  • Thin sliced shiitake mushrooms.  Pan fry or boil, cool down and pat dry.
  • Cilantro, chopped.

Oh, if you have the time to find / drive to, add Thai basil to the cilantro and/or mint.

The word, basically, you have a lot of options in this dish.  AND if you want to make this dish vegetarian, I’d suggest thinly sliced water chestnuts for the crunch, instead of the pork or the shrimp.  And perhaps extra mushrooms, maybe enoki or such!

I am not posting times for this recipe.  I’m not fast.  When you get used to making these, you’ll laugh at my snail-speeds.  Anyhow, here is a series of how to roll up the pork rolls

Pork belly Vietnamese Summer Rolls: 

I recommend pork belly from a local pastured farming source, as this is somewhat fatty, and fat retains unwanted chemical additives.  Pork belly is traditional.  You can also use any thin sliced bits of pork that you wish.  (Pork belly is usually found in groceries smoked into “bacon”.  This is simply the same stuff, not smoked or seasoned.)

Boil the thin slices of pork for ten minutes.  Remove, pat dry, and then pan fry for another 3-5 minutes on medium high heat without additional oil (if this a fatty section, like the pork belly).  Removing all water (patting dry) is your friend. Watch and flip.  Don’t burn, but brown.  Allow to cool.

If you are making shiitake or anything else that needs some cooking, do so now, and allow to cool.  Pat anything dry from oil or from water… stays better in the rice wrap, and keeps the lettuce and such crisp.

Here are the steps for rolling.  I admit back in September I did an initial right to left roll at first, not really ergonomic for me.  I found the best way was to roll from me towards the “north” as it were.  Anyhow, sit down with all your ingredients and make yourself comfortable.  Have a bowl of water nearby, wider than the diameter of your rice rolls.  They say warm, but it worked just as well when it dropped to room temperature.  Maybe a little slower, but that fits my rolling speed…

I love my portable bamboo cutting board!

The Pork Roll:  

recipe, pork belly, Vietnamese summer roll,

One at a time, get your rice roll soft. DO NOT WET MORE THAN ONE rice wrapper AT A TIME. I put the pork and associated herbs at the far side. Lettuce, and everything else close to me. Not elegant here, but it worked.

Vietnamese summer roll, recipe, pork belly,  gluten free

Start rolling from you, to “northwards”. Keep in mind you consider east and west. I leave the “meat” and the herbs (cilantro, mint, Thai basil???) at the far rolling end.

recipe, gluten free, pork, gluten free, Vietnamese summer rolls,

Flap in the wings (“east” and “west”). Continue rolling northwards.


Gluten free, recipe, pork belly, Vietnamese summer roll

Ta-DA! Success! A fantastic morsel of food.

Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls:

That was the pork.  NOW, here are a few shots for rolling up the shrimp.  If you can’t find the perfect variety (Red Rhode Island shrimp, also found off the coast of the Carolinas…) I did obtain a 1/3 pound of wild caught Gulf shrimp simply to create this post.  I’m not really crazy about Gulf shrimp these days, but I really wanted to have something available for people making the traditional summer rolls, and shrimp is very often included… AND, better than farmed shrimp.  For Rhode Island reds, add to boiling water, and cook NO MORE THAN one minute, remove and drain and rinse under COLD tap water.  For Gulf shrimp, a minute and a half is fine.  The larger they are, more leeway.

I peel and slice the shrimp bilaterally down their center, removing the vein, and if they are of a large size, I cut them in half for use in these rolls.  Allow to chill.

The Shrimp Roll:

Recipe, shrimp, Vietnamese summer roll

Lay it all out on the line. I put everything but the shrimp and herbs (cilantro, and perhaps mint and/or Thai basil) into the foreground.

Vietnamese summer roll, shrimp, rice, gluten free, recipe

Begin rolling away from you. Then, fold in the edge flaps, as shown here.

vietnamese summer roll, recipe, shrimp, gluten-free

Finalize, and plate with shrimp up.

You can put just about anything you want into these rolls; I prefer to focus on foods that one can find in Indochina.

Vegetarian/Vegan Option:  

In the above, either the pork or the shrimp are the focal elements – I can see using thin-sliced water chestnuts, but for a splash of color, how about baby corn, sliced thin, and arranged so that the kernels face out?  Or, perhaps, for more vibrancy, some red bell pepper slivers?

Dipping sauces:  

I didn’t include this time; I had used two parts “Chinese dumpling sauce” to one part rice vinegar to a good splash of sesame oil.  An authentic dipping sauce is peanut butter with hoisin sauce and some water, with optional red pepper flakes.  I had forgotten to bring hoisin sauce up to my new home…  Less traditionally, but I’m very fond of it, is Nuoc Cham dipping sauce, and I will provide the recipe for that, shortly.   In a week or two.   At any rate, it is my ultimately favorite dipping sauce for any type of rice-based roll.

These rolls are good the day of making.  I don’t recommend saving them for future dates.  They will hold in the fridge for a few hours.   If you are bringing them somewhere, I’d put parchment paper between layers.  They are best eaten with fingers.

This fun item is being shared at Fiesta Friday.  Co-hosts this week are  Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Sandhya @ Indfused





Posted in Appetizers, Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, Meats, Seafood | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Steamed Kale and Pan-Fried Pork Chops

I love using my new induction range in my new kitchen!  I was going to share this meal with my general contractor Saturday at lunch, but he’d come in early and left before I got there, to go attend a wedding he’d forgotten he and his wife had committed to.  Oh well… his loss!

recipe, kale, pork chop, Paleo, Whole 30

My serving of kale and pork chop

The kale was going to be the focus of this recipe, since I grew it myself.  I planted four plants, but the soil is so lush where they are that it looks for all the world at a distance that there were at least 8, maybe ten, kale plants.  My general contractor does love most if not all members of the brassica family; unlike some folk who regard kale as punishment, he does not.    My goal in making this dish was 1) to use kale… and 2) to prepare something quick and nutritious for both of us that we’d both like.  (He’s diabetic, and the closest “restaurants” for quick lunch turnaround don’t exactly have the healthiest foods.  It all seems to be burgers, fries, chili, pizza, and sugary baked goods…  Minus vegetables.)

Kale, recipe

Prepping kale – for large kale, as opposed to “baby” kale, removing that tough center vein is usually helpful. (You can always save the veins with other vegetable scraps for veggie stock.)

I can’t recollect the variety of kale with absolute certainty, but the reddish stem points to Red Russian Kale (sometimes known as Red Winter Kale).  Even though the leaves are large, and they take longer to cook than baby kale, it’s been noted by visitors to my new homestead that this is a milder kale for the leaf size than many.  (Yes, I’ve been feeding kale to several and all!!)

Leeks, turnips, recipe

Prepping leeks. You can always sub in onion, just chop finer. And, where’s the turnip? Alas, the problem with owning two homes is that the turnips got forgotten back in CT, but I dearly wanted their crunch!

The pork came from a Connecticut free-range farm, and is so much tastier and healthier and better for any locale than those factory farmed swill-generating places. These chops were about 3/4 inches thick — much less, and they tend to run dry too quickly, and they are bone-in, which adds more flavor and also makes them more forgiving to cooking vagaries.  Thinking about seasonings led me to consider nutmeg, which goes well with pork.  Tarragon would go with both, and so… it was.

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook time:  about 10 minutes for the chops (depends on thickness and your range), about 15 minutes for the kale/leeks.
Rest time:  5 minutes.
Serves:  Two.
Leftover friendly?  Yes, but I’d re-heat the pork chop in the microwave, to encourage it not to dry out.

Quick and Easy Steamed Kale and Pan-Fried Pork Chops 

  • Two quality pork chops, bone in.
  • 3-4 large leaves of kale or equivalent.  Ie, lots of smaller leaves.
  • 2 or 3 ounces of leek, 1/4 inch slices of a white or light green section.  (Clean!!).  Sub in onion instead:  chop finer.
  • 2 small salad turnips, de-rooted, cleaned and diced into quarter inch cubes.
  • Avocado oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil, for the pan.  (High heat tolerant healthy oils.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
  • 2 heaping teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste.  

For the Kale:  Kale, leeks, salad turnips, dried tarragon.  Prep all ingredients.

Simmer a vegetable steamer, and add the listed items for the kale, excepting the tarragon to the strainer side of the steamer.

Allow to steam for 15 minutes.  As noted, other varieties or ages of kale may take less (or more!) time.  My length of time allows for a bit of texture to remain, although it is indeed easy to eat.

Plate and add some tarragon and perhaps ground pepper for additional flavor.  (I have also made this by adding a pat of butter when plating.)

For the pork chops:  Pork chops, oil, nutmeg, tarragon, salt and pepper. 

Pat the pork chops dry.  This will help brown them, watery chops will just steam instead.  Season with the seasonings on both sides.

Put a skillet on medium high heat on your range, and allow the pan to get hot.  Add a small drizzle of your high heat cooking oil.  Your goal isn’t to smoke the oil, but to get the pan hot so that when you place your chops down, they won’t stick to the pan.  Plus, this will also assist the browning.

Add the chops, and flip after about 3 minutes,   (You’ll probably want a splatter guard.)

Flip again after another three.

Lower heat to medium, and allow to cook, flipping once again as needed.  Note that every range top is different.

Remove, rest, plate.  Add some more tarragon on top.

Serve and enjoy.

This the kale growing outside my house:


Kale growing outdoors.  All Hail Kale!  It loves that soil!


Kale size compared to my rather long hand. *Hand Selfie*


Partying over at Fiesta Friday, once again.
This week’s co-hosts are Suzanne and Ginger.


Posted in Cooking, Garden | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Clams in the Raw – a Note for Ease of Opening These

I’ve been busy – yes, my arm is much better now, and I can cook efficiently again.  I can even eat like a polite member of society (no putting my face about four inches from the plate any more, or figuring out how to handle a fork with the left hand, British style)! I do have a couple recipes I made recently and I want to do them once more (with photos this time) to share.

Finishing up the new house continues onward.  I keep being told I’ll get that Certificate of Occupancy any day now, but I’m not holding my breath.   I’ve been packing, and buying stuff I never realized I needed to buy, and doing such and so forth.  Nearly all my books have been sorted through, and at least ten bags got donated to the local library sale, or to a farmer’s market cookbook swap, or thrown into the recycle bin (old computer books… no one  wants those!)  I still have plenty of books, though.

raw clams, technique, Paleo

Raw clams with lemon, on a bed of lettuce.

The following, though, is my Dad’s method of preparing raw clams, without having to worry about cutting oneself with a sharp knife.   As such, it’s not really a recipe.  I do plan to see if this can be replicated with oysters, which are a whole ‘nother level of magnitude to open safely!

Easy Opening Raw Clams:  

  • Buy clams as fresh as possible, from a reputable dealer.  They should not have been previously frozen (we don’t see them in the shell in the supermarket that way, at least here in New England).
  • Put the clams in your freezer, un-opened.  Make sure all clams are tightly closed – at this point it means they are still alive and healthy.  Of course, they don’t survive being frozen!
  • Leave them there at least four days; I’ve noticed that this technique does not work so well on day 2 or day 3.
  • Pull them out and allow to thaw.  Maybe half a day in the fridge.
  • When ready to serve, prepare dipping sauces if any, or slice some lemon wedges.  Or, both.  Ideally I like having several options:  Lemon or lime slices, a mignonette  (the link leads to mine), a bottle of your favorite hot pepper sauce, perhaps a little horseradish – either alone or in with ketchup as a cocktail sauce.  Since most of my condiments have moved up north, and since I am currently avoiding nightshades for a putative autoimmune situation, I opted for just the lemon.  (Yes, there’s a pre-existing bottle of hot sauce in the photo, but I didn’t use it.)
  • Just use a regular place-setting flatware knife to open these guys up.  Easy peasy and no stress.
  • As long as you eat them within a couple of months of freezing, I’ve never found any taste quality degradation.  Mind you, I haven’t run a side-by-side experiment yet.
  • Serve on a bed of lettuce, or alternatively, on a bed of crushed ice.  I don’t have crushed ice here (or ice of any sort for that matter, as my ice cube trays moved north already), so lettuce it is!  I’d love to find a set of those little oyster forks and use those, but.
  • At any rate, if you are serving as an appetizer for company at a sit down dinner, I recommend opening the clams before serving, and using a paring knife to separate the bottom of the clam from the shell.  It is perfectly respectable to serve the hot sauce in its original bottle, and pass it around the table.  More casual… let your guests open up their own clams!
Raw clams, Paleo, technique

While I am currently avoiding nightshade-containing foods, the hot sauce begged to be in the photo.

Thank you, Dad, for helping me carry on your shellfish (NOT selfish!!!) tradition!  At the moment, I don’t know anyone else who does this, so if you do so already, please comment here!

Further Info:  I bought two sizes of clam ~ littleneck and cherrystone.  The cherrystones are larger.  There’s an even bigger size, the chowder clam.  They are all the same species, Mercenaria mercenaria.   They are sometimes commonly referred to as quahogs, or sometimes just the chowder clams are known as quahogs.

Come celebrate at the link party at Fiesta Friday,
with your marvelous co-hosts Zeba and Jhuls.


Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

Avocado and Guinea Fowl Breakfast Egg Boats

I get my guinea fowl eggs from the Bethel Farmers’ Market, Connecticut.  Think of them as small chicken eggs, they really don’t taste any different than chicken eggs at least from this same vendor.  They’re just a bit smaller than “small” chicken eggs.  But, they have uses.

Avocado egg baked recipe

Guinea fowl eggs are small. As noted, they taste just like regular chicken eggs, at least from the same source.

One could say they are good for “portion control”, if you plan on frying up a couple (although I tend to fry up three at a time if I’m using these eggs).  If you are of the opinion that eggs are unhealthy but you still want some, this might be the way to go if you stick to just two — I’ll reserve my right to disagree, as the yolks are where the nutrition is, and unless you have a severe cholesterol problem, limiting yolks isn’t going to do much since your body makes most of your cholesterol anyway, and seems to route around the external sources to make up for what you aren’t eating.  (I am willing to accept the notion that some people’s body chemistries differ from mine and from many other folks…  but I note when I moved to a more Paleo diet, my overall cholesterol remained the same, while my triglycerides tanked and the LDL / HDL ratio improved vastly.  You are your own personal body – check these things out for YOURSELF wisely.

I will note if you are involved in baking breads, sweets and the like… all those recipes call for large (chicken) eggs, so don’t be subbing in guinea eggs.  Measurements need to be more precise there.

recipe avocado egg boat paleo

Ready to eat. The optional turmeric in this dish turns darker upon cooking.

Okay, avocado boats with eggs:  I used Haas avocados, though I did want to use the somewhat larger Florida avos.  My supermarket didn’t have any this day.  The guinea fowl egg won’t quite fit into the hole vacated by the seed, but it is pretty close.  Either eliminate a little egg white, or eliminate a smallish portion of avo (spoon, a little scoop,  take a pre-breakfast YUM).

Prep Time:  2-5 minutes.
Cook time:  approx 35 minutes, depending on preferred yolk done-ness.
Rest time:  Nada.
Serves:  One or two.  Depends on any sides.
Leftovers:  Not recommended.

Avocado Egg Boats with Guinea Fowl Eggs

  • 1 avocado, sliced in half, seed pit discarded.  
  • 2 small eggs, guinea fowl or small chicken eggs.
  • optional ground pepper, to taste, just a sprinkle.
  • optional ground turmeric, to taste, just a sprinkle.
  • Anything else you like to add.  I’ve done thin cheese slices in the past.  Cumin and/or fresh oregano would be cool.  It’s your playground!  I do tend to save any salting for the table.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Place both avo halves on the baking pan.  If one half or another flops a bit so that the egg you add will roll out, use a knife to slice off a bit undersides, to make the undersurface flat.

I’d drop the egg from the shelled egg into a small bowl off to the side.  This way, when you put the egg into the avo, you can help assure that the yolk does not need to be truly hard cooked (unless you’d rather it that way, which is good, too).  You’d put the yolk in first, then the egg white material.  But this is up to you, obviously.

Add your toppings.  I used turmeric and pepper for their health bennies, and because I find they have complementary flavors for my taste buds in this dish.

Bake for at least 30 minutes at 350 F.  Check the whites.  If still clear, cook longer.  Ovens and the sizes of avocados vary.  (The yolks in an egg are protected from bacteria by the whites.  Besides.  Um.)  I’ve found that between 35 and 45 minutes here in my own kitchen will yield fully cooked whites with a creamy to a full-cooked yolk.  And that the avocado tastes exactly the same… a tad softer but yes, warmer … than the original pre-cooked avocado.

recipe avocado egg boat paleo turmeric

I’m ready to put breakfast in my oven. Anticipation!!!

Avocados:  High in soluble fiber, certain proteins, and healthy unsaturated fats.  I love them in smoothies, because they don’t add unneeded sugars.  (I am a big fan of avocado oil, too… High heat, and you can get avo oil for very reasonable at both BJ’s and Costco, and it has no interfering flavor.  I have dumped canola oil for avocado oil.)

Eggs:  High in healthy proteins.  It turns out that egg allergies tend to be towards the egg WHITE portion of eggs, something about the albumin.  Do blood profiling tests when you can to see how you respond.  Buy local eggs where those mama hens ate real food.  This won’t solve the albumin issue should you have one, but otherwise there will be a better nutrient profile.

Love to have you hang out at the link party at Fiesta Friday. 

Your hosts this week are  Zeba and Jhuls.



Posted in Commentary, Cooking, Nutrition, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments