Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reducto ad delicious!

Recently, I came into the possession of two cases of pure mango juice - 12 tetra packs of one liter in each case, 24 liters of mango juice in total.  That's a lot of mango juice.

In addition to drinking it, I decided to try using it in sauces, via the reduction method.  In case you don't know, that's pretty much exactly what it sounds like - you reduce the liquid by simmering, which drives off the water and concentrates the flavours (and the sugars).  When you've reduced it by 3/4 or so, and you cool it, you're left with a thick, concentrated juice (think concentrated orange juice in the freezer at the grocery store - same idea).

On its own, this makes a great glaze for chicken or fish.

Something else you can do with it is add some hot sauce just before you're done reducing it (I added two or three dashes each of a habanero-based sauce and some Louisiana-style cayenne-based sauce).  It ends up being a great sauce for stir-fry; it starts out sweet and ends with just a bit of a burn.

Again - this concentrates the sugars in the juice, so if you're concentrating on the low-carb aspect of paleo, this isn't the best idea.  However, it won't give you any more sugar than was already present in the juice, so as an occasional treat (and to help convince your friends who aren't sure about this whole "caveman diet" thing), it's not bad at all..

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pulled pork (sort of)

One of the finer things in life (in my opinion, anyway) is pulled pork - particularly in a tortilla.  This recipe, sadly, isn't quite the same, but it will do in a pinch.


  • 1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, in 2 inch / 5 cm cubes
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cloves (whole)
  • 1 Tbsp pickling spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
And for the "sauce":

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp orange zest (zesty!)
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (minus the seeds and stem, of course)
  • 1 stick (or stalk, if you prefer) of celery, again finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • more salt and pepper, to taste
  • a dash of hot sauce (or more if you like it SPICY!)
  1. Throw everything in the first list of ingredients into a big pot (well, not TOO big).  Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer everything until the pork is tender, about an hour.
  2. Remove the pork, allow to cool, and shred using two forks.
  3. Now you have a choice.  You could do any of the following:
    1. Combine the second list of ingredients above in a bowl, and serve with the pork.
    2. Remove the chunky bits (especially the cloves and bay leaf) from the pot, and reduce the liquid until it's a nice thick sauce (optionally thickening it further with something like arrowroot), and then mix back with the pork.
    3. Find a low-carb barbecue sauce (like the ones that Walden Farms makes, although that's not really an endorsement - they still don't pay me), or make your own, and mix that with the pork.
  4. Now comes the hard part - how to serve it?  I'd prefer it on tortillas, but, you know.  Wheat.  Evil.  Enough said.  However, it's been suggested that you could serve this on large lettuce leaves, such as Boston lettuce (also sometimes called Bibb lettuce).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Well, I don't know where in the world you might be when you read this, but here and now it's Thanksgiving in Canada.  Recently, at a family gathering, we discovered something:  I'm the only person in my family who likes pumpkin pie!  Now, most pumpkin pies come with a flour-based crust, and lots of sugar in the pie filling, but not this one...

  • 1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling, just pure pumpkin)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3/4 cup spoonable stevia (or equivalent of your favourite sweetener)
  • 2 tsp "pumpkin pie seasoning" (I used 1-1/2 tsp today, and I think it could use a bit more)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 dropper full of liquid stevia (or to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray six 3-inch aluminum tart pans with non-stick spray (I use an olive oil-based one), and place them on a baking sheet.
  3. Combine the first five ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth (and roughly the consistency of pancake batter).
  4. Fill the tart pans evenly with the pumpkin mixture.
  5. Bake in the oven about 30 minutes.
  6. Let them cool for a while on the counter, then put them in the fridge overnight (or at least 30 minutes).
  7. When ready to serve, whip the whipping cream with the liquid stevia until it forms peaks, then put a dollop on top of each tart.
  8. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I'd previously used an almond-crust pizza (as seen here) whenever I started craving pizza, but I recently tried this variation instead, and I'm hooked.  Of course, it's mostly meat, so it's VERY filling.  Oh, one warning - this will make a mess of a cookie sheet, which will be hard (but not impossible) to clean.  I recommend a good soaking.  I don't think you can grease the cookie sheet, but I will try that for next time.


  • 2 pounds ground beef (or mix it up - ground pork, chicken, etc.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the weird stuff in the cardboard tube is okay for this)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • tomato paste OR tomato/pizza sauce
  • pizza toppings (I went with plain old thin-sliced pepperoni)
  • cheese for top (I used a four-cheese pre-grated store blend)

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine the Parmesan, herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl (do this first because it's easier when your hands aren't covered in raw meat).
  3. Combine the ground meat and the eggs by hand until well-mixed.
  4. Add the combined herbs/cheese/etc to the meat and egg mixture (if you add before the meat and egg are well-mixed, the egg just causes the herbs to clump up).
  5. Pound it flat onto a baking sheet, as thin as possible (it will shrink back up during cooking).
  6. Bake the meat "base" in the oven for 10 minutes, remove, and crank the oven up to "Broil".
  7. Drain the excess grease and water that's come out of the meat base while it cooked.
  8. Add your tomato paste or sauce (tomato paste, while my preferred pizza sauce for the intense taste, is admittedly hard to spread here).
  9. Add the toppings and cheese.
  10. Broil for about 5 minutes (keep an eye on it!) until it looks pizza-ish (i.e. top cheese is melted and browned).
  11. Let cool for a couple of minutes, and dig in!.
Additional:  If you substitute a package of taco seasoning for the spices, use salsa in place of the tomato sauce, and cover with a cheddar-jack cheese blend, you get something different, but awesome!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Links of interest

A couple of links of interest tonight...

First up, an interesting article in the New York Times says that, based on studies of the Hadza people of Tanzania, tribal cultures don't burn substantially more calories a day than "modern" people.  Even though hunters from the tribe may cover 15 to 20 miles a day searching for prey, their overall caloric burn rate per day was identical to typical adults in the United States and Europe.  So how come you never see a fat tribesman?  Well, like the article says, "if we want to end obesity, we need to focus on our diet and reduce the number of calories we eat, particularly the sugars our primate brains have evolved to love. We’re getting fat because we eat too much, not because we’re sedentary. Physical activity is very important for maintaining physical and mental health, but we aren't going to Jazzercise our way out of the obesity epidemic."

Not so sure about "reduce the number of calories we eat" - there are plenty of studies that say that all calories are not created equal.  Additionally, it would have been nice to see them go that extra mile and acknowledge that the 300 or so grams of carb that the average person eats a day pretty much all ends up as sugar in the blood, even if it doesn't start out that way.  Still, the study is interesting - another brick in the paleo wall, as it were.

Second, there's a yummy-looking recipe over at the blog of Tom Naughton (the guy who made the movie Fat Head) - zucchini stuffed with sausage, with cheese and salsa (scroll down to see it).  Personally, I'll leave out the mushrooms (not a fan of fungi), and I'd also like to try it with tomato sauce instead of salsa.  Still, if you've made the mistake of planting zucchini in your garden this year, it's something to do with the inevitable excess - you can only make ratatouille so many times, right?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Product review - Walden Farms sauces

Have you seen these "Walden Farms" products?  They have websites for Canada and the United States.  They sell "no calorie, no carb, no gluten" sauces, syrups, dressings, and so on.  What they really are, are water with thickeners and flavours and various chemicals, and therefore they're really not paleo per se.  However, if you're just starting out on paleo (or you're a low-carber rather than full-on paleo), they might be worth a look.

We've tried several of their salad dressings, including creamy bacon (decent), Thousand Island (a bit runny, but otherwise okay), balsamic vinaigrette (stick with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, if you ask me), and Caesar salad (okay at first, but the taste gets strange after a while if you're eating a big salad).

We've also tried several other products, including their chocolate syrup (on homemade ice cream), which we found disappointing.  The "ketchup" isn't bad, and makes a nice break from using tomato paste (our usual condiment on burger patties, along with good mustard).  The mayonnaise was okay, but I think I prefer my homemade variety.  Finally, we've tried two of their dips, the bacon dip (nice and thick and bacon-y) and blue cheese (I was disappointed, but Mrs. Caveman liked it).

Other products they have (but that we haven't tried) include jams and jellies, barbecue sauce, and a "peanut spread".

So, long story short, I find their products to be uneven in terms of how much I like them, but they might be worth a look if you are looking at "normal" foods longingly while gnawing on your chunk of meat.  In Toronto, we generally find their products at the Low-Carb Grocery (as mentioned here previously) as well as at our local Valu-Mart grocery store.  Both the Canadian and US websites (as linked above) have "store locator" links so, if you're interested, you can find their products near you..

Notice:  I have not received any compensation or consideration for this post from the manufacturer of this product, or from any other third-party.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bacon makes it better!

Just a quick tip today for you wanna-be chef-types out there.

Generally, I prepare meat either by frying it in a pan (using either olive oil or bacon fat to prevent sticking) or roasting. The latter method is about the only viable method for larger cuts, like the pork roast I had last night.

Personally, whenever I roast meat (pork or turkey anyway) I take an additional step to make sure the meat is moist without basting - after seasoning my roast but before I put it into the oven, I lay several strips of bacon across the top. As things heat up, some of the fat melts out of the bacon and bastes the meat below, ensuring it doesn't end up dry. And, as a bonus, I get a bacon snack before the meal is ready! (I generally pull the bacon off before the meat is done to allow some browning where the bacon had been - otherwise you end up with "tan lines" on the meat, which any dinner guests might question. Maybe 15-20 minutes for a small pork roast, 30-45 minutes for a decent-sized turkey.)

Bacon. Is there anything it can't do?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mashed carrots, anyone?

Carrots are a pretty good all-around side dish, but my usual methods of preparing them (steaming or baking) tend to get monotonous after a while. Try this one instead.

  • carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (as appropriate for the number of people you're feeding)
  • butter (as appropriate for the amount of carrots you've got - be conservative, it's easier to add more than take away)
  • milk (as for butter)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cumin to taste (optional)
  1. Peel and cut up your carrots, if you haven't already
  2. Boil them until they're very tender
  3. Drain them and combine with the rest of the ingredients
  4. Process in a food processor or mash up "real good"
It's not rocket science, but it will make "something different" as a side. You could also try adding other things (like honey or dill), or substitute orange juice for the milk. Warning - I haven't actually tried that, but I think it might be good... Orange-dill carrot mash?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An unsolicited, if qualified, product endorsement

Disclaimer: I do not receive any compensation from the company below, nor have I received any free samples or any other consideration from them or from any other agency for this statement.

Now that the legal stuff is out of the way, have you tried Quest protein bars? I'm liking them a lot. There are two different product streams on their website, "99.95% natural" (sweetened with sucralose) and "100% natural" (sweetened with stevia). Unfortunately, my suppliers here in Cave-ville haven't managed to get any of the 100% natural bars in, so I guess I'll have to put up with that 0.05% for a while.

So what's in them? Well, the bar that I just ate (peanut butter and jelly flavour, from their 99.95% natural line) lists the following, in order, as its ingredients: protein blend (why protein isolate, milk protein isolate), isomalto-oligosaccharides, peanut butter, almonds, water, peanuts, natural flavors, sea salt, lo han guo, and sucralose. Other flavours, such as the Chocolate Brownie bar I'm saving for afternoon's snack, don't have peanuts in them.

The nutritional information lists 10g fat, 20g protein, and 21g carbs, of which 17g is listed as dietary fibre. So, with 4g "net carbs" (as the Atkins people say), depending on your particular interpretation of "paleo", these might be worth a look. Of course, if you're following the no-dairy paleo, then the whey and milk proteins would be problematic, and if you're following Mark Sisson's Primal Diet (which says you should be eating less than 100g of all carbs, including fibre), these would be a large chunk of your daily carb. But, I like the fact that there's no soy in them (not even soy lecithin, which is used in a thickener in just about everything), that there's also no aspartame in them, and that the health food store closest to my office generally has most of the "99.95% natural" line in stock. I've already started bugging them to get the "100% natural" line in as well.

They're also available at the Low-Carb Grocery (up in Markham, Ontario, as well as online), which I should also post a review of at some point. (In fact, I thought I already had, but I'm not seeing it in my posts list...)

Friday, January 13, 2012

These look delicious!

Found in random wandering on YouTube - I haven't tried them yet, but they look like a paleo "granola" bar, and with all the nuts in them they're bound to be good and filling!