Category Archives: rosemary

Gyros

My friend Brittany over at B-ing paleo fabulous and I had a friendly little cook off for a going away party. Two of our friends are moving to Georgia to open up their own crossfit gym and they had a surprise going away party. Brian had said he wanted gyros. I thought it would be fun to bring these to surprise them and see our two takes on the gyro, Brittany agreed.

These are my gyros that I brought to the party. Brittany’s gyros are here on her site. We got to the party late so I didn’t get to try hers but they looked really good. She went with the authentic lamb meat. I used a combination of beef and pork. She did a pulled meat and I tried to go with ground meat on a rotisserie.

Brian was of course very diplomatic and said they were both great. So we may never know who won. It was; however, fun, challenging, and delicious. I think we might have to pair up again to try something else exciting Brittany makes such good food that she’s a good motivator.

Gyros

2.5 lbs of beef

.5 lbs of pork jowl (pretty much bacon)

1 onion finely processed and drained

1 tbsp of fresh thyme

1tbsp of fresh rosemary

1 tbsp of parsley

1 tsp of marjoram

1 tsp of red pepper

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

7 cloves of garlic

juice of one lemon

Tzaziki Sauce

1 can of coconut milk

¼ red onion

1 tbsp fresh mint

4 garlic cloves

juice of one lemon

To me authentic gyros are the kind that are ground and cooked over an open rotisserie. Then when you want some you shave off some meat and add fresh veggies, feta, and tzaziki sauce. So that is what I tried to do here. After some research into how to achieve this method I set forth. I blended all the ingredients until it was a paste.

Then I tightly wrapped the meat in plastic wrap.

It was kind of like twisting a candy wrapper to get it tight.

Then I placed a heavy cook book on top of that.

The point of all this is to make a tight compact loaf that you can then skewer and rotisserie. I refrigerated my meat loaf over night to let the flavors meld and to squish the daylights out of it. The next morning I skewered the meat and placed it in my rotisserie.

T had very pessimistic views about the meat staying on the skewer. I had my fingers crossed. I mean it worked for Alton Brown! But, T was correct. It fell off after a few minutes of cooking.

So I left it on the tray and let it cook for 1.5 hours at 350 until cooked through.

When it was done I sliced it thin. Traditionally you’d eat this with pita bread. I went with romaine lettuce to keep it primal.

To assemble you take a leaf of romaine, some slices of meat, red onion sliced thin, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta crumbles (omit if you are paleo), and the tzaziki sauce (traditionally a yogurt based dressing but again, I wanted to keep it as paleo as possible). Here is Brian enjoying his second gyro of the day. I was really happy with the final product. I think it had all the flavors that I was looking for in a gyro. Next time I might try to just cook it in a loaf pan.

Brian and Sabrina we will miss you and wish you the best of luck in Savannah!


Sausage, Meatballs, and Red Sauce

I got to visit my grandparents for Christmas this year. My grandma is Italian. Needless to say my pants do not fit now. My grandma makes wonderful Italian food. When we showed up there was a big pot of sausages and meatballs simmering on the stove. They’d been cooking all day. It was so good I think I ate half of it. This is my paleo version of it. This recipe is not quick and requires a lot of hands on time. You could take a short cut and use premade sauce or meatballs, but then you’d be cheating yourself on the taste.

Meatballs

3 lbs of ground beef (2 was 90/10 and 1 was 93/7 if you like more or less fat adjust accordingly)

3 eggs

2 tbsp of fresh Italian seasoning (I found this in a squeeze tube next to the fresh herbs)

2 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp salt

1tsp black pepper

 

Mix meat and seasonings until combined.

Roll out meatballs. I like a larger meatball so this made 22 for me.

In a large stock pot brown all the meatballs in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. I used 10 store made (gluten free) sausages and cut them in half and browned them too. The meat is just browned not cooked through.

I had to freeze about 6 balls and 5 slices of sausage because they wouldn’t fit!

Place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on warm. I wasn’t trying to cook them just keep them from cooling off.

Red Sauce

3 lbs of fresh tomatoes diced

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 onion minced

½ cup of red wine

2 tbsp of fresh Italian seasoning

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 small can of tomato paste

That right there is the beginning of delicious!

In the same pot you browed your meats add about 2 tbsp of olive oil and the onions. Cook on medium high for two minutes. At this point there should be lots of bits stuck to the bottom of your pot. Add the wine in carefully and begin to scrape the bottom of the pot. If you have enamel pots like this one please use a wooden spoon to scrape so you don’t ruin the enamel. Continue to cook until the wine is almost all cooked off.

This will take about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook covered on medium until the tomatoes are cooked down. This takes about an hour.

You’ll know when it is done because it looks like tomato sauce. I removed half of the sauce and blended it smooth. If you prefer a chunkier sauce don’t blend. If you prefer a smoother sauce blend it all. Make sure to remove the center piece in the lid of your blender and cover with a towel. This keeps the sauce from exploding all over the counter. Add the blended sauce in with the unblended sauce, mix in the paste. Add back your meat and any juice that may have cooked out. Cover and cook on low for another two hours.

We ate these just like this. If you like, some spaghetti squash would be good too. Enjoy and feel like you are in your own Italian grandmother’s kitchen.

 


Pot Roast

My local grocery store was running a special deal a few weeks ago. If you bought the enamel cast iron pot you got a roast, salsa, and tortillas for free! I’ve wanted an enamel cast iron for awhile. They are usually really expensive. This is a knock off of the Le Cruset so it was a lot cheaper. This is what I did with the free roast and the pot. I made a post roast. I didn’t write down the recipe because I was busy cleaning and dealing with washing machine repair men. But here are the photos and a general outline of what I did.

Seasoned the roast with garlic powder, kosher salt and fresh black pepper.

Browned the roast in a little fat.

Removed the meat and added two chopped red onions. Cooked them down till starting to get clear.

Added about a cup of dry red wine, a can of chicken stock, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, pinch of thyme, a pinch of mace (spicier version of nutmeg) and the meat.

I cooked this in the oven at 300 for about 2 hours covered. Then added some carrots and yellow bell pepper. then returned it to the oven for another 2 hours but uncovered this time.

Then I made gravy from the juice of the roast and a flour butter roux.

Nothing is more classic than pot roast and gravy. So delicious.


Stephen’s Sausage Fest

Hehehe okay, sorry for the raunchy title. My friend Stephen was lamenting about store bought sausage not being super paleo. I told him that he needs to start making it for himself instead. He came up with the title.

With a meat grinder you can make super tasty sausage that you can feel happy knowing what exactly you are eating. I don’t use casing for my sausage but if you decided to go that route double check the ingredients because a lot of casings are full of food products and strange additives that you might not want to put in your body. Natural animal casing is the best way to go there.

You need to work with frozen meat.

Hot Italian Sausage

1 pork loin diced in inch cubes and frozen

1tbsp 1tsp garlic powder

1tbsp 1tsp Italian seasoning

1tbsp 1tsp red pepper

1tbsp black pepper

1tsbsp kosher salt

2tsp thyme

2tsp rosemary

2tsp oregano

3tbsp bacon fat

Cut your loin into smaller chunks ~1 inch cubes. Freeze the chunks and the meat grinder unit. What will happen is the pork fat, when warm, junks up the grinding plates and you are stuck scraping them every few minutes. It’s a huge pain and almost not worth it. If everything is frozen you bypass this problem. I grind it once on the large setting. Then I mix all the remaining ingredients in to the meat with a fork. You want to try and not warm it up too much. If it’s totally unfrozen just put it on a cookie sheet and set it in the freezer for a few minutes while you enjoy some tasty sangria and the fine company.  Then regrind the meat with the seasonings. I use the same size grinding plate so it’s not so fine.

That’s it. You now have tasty sausage you can use to stuff vegetables or eat for breakfast. Always make a test patty to make sure the seasoning is what you want. The adding of fat is important to keep it moist. If you have a fatty cut of meat you don’t necessarily have to add fat. Again, a test patty is key in trouble shooting your delicious sausage.

I made patties the next morning. I browned them in a pan then finished cooking them in the oven with some brussel sprouts for breakfast. It was super tasty!


Rosemary Garlic marinade

This is just a quick marinade you can use for chicken or pork (or fish if you are so inclined). I used chicken legs and grilled it up.

Rosemary Garlic Marinade

2 sprigs of rosemary

5 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar

Meat of choice

Marinate for a few hours. Don’t marinate this over night because of the vinegar.  Grill your meat.

Eat with a salad. It’s that easy.

These are my rosemary bushes and the dogs.

The bushes are two years old now, have survived quite a few hard freezes, and two long hot dry summers. (We are in a drought right now). They started as tiny plants and are huge now. I cut sprigs off of it whenever I have guests or want to cook with it. If you live in Texas you might want to consider planting rosemary. It’s really hardy and not easily killed (which is what I need because I kill everything).


Home at last with pot roast

The Leets family decided to take a trip to our home town. We drove over 3000 miles with two dogs. It was a great trip. We got to see family and friends, some of whom we haven’t seen in years. We ate so much food, that I think we could fast for a month and still not get hungry. I’m only kidding of course. I had every intention of blogging about our food ventures while we were gone. The thing about hanging out with people you haven’t seen in years is you are so wrapped up in their company that you forget to take pictures. Like all good vacations it had to end. T and I were very happy to be home when we finally got back.

This meal is a simple meal that has comfort written all over it. The ingredients are simple and the herbs were fresh from my back yard. I have a hedge of rosemary bushes. Yes, bushes of rosemary. This plant is so hearty that is thrives in our hot summers and has survived several freezes. If you think you can’t grow plants, try rosemary. It tastes yummy too.

Simple Pot Roast

1 beef pot roast

6-10 cloves of peeled garlic

3 sprigs of rosemary

1/2 can of beef broth

1 sliced onion

3 sliced carrots

1 chopped sweet potato

2 tbsp coconut oil

salt and pepper

Heat a large dutch oven to high heat. While the pan heats up season both sides of your roast generously with salt and pepper.

Peel your garlic. When the pan is very hot add oil. Sear the roast on both sides, approximately 1-2 minutes. You want a nice browning so that you have that great full flavor when your meat is done.

Turn the stove off and add stock, garlic, and rosemary. Try and tuck two of the sprigs down on the sides of the meat.

Cover the roast and put in the oven on low heat. Cook meat for 2 hours. Chop vegetables and add them to your pot.

Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, we left it in for another 4 hours because we went to the movies. The roast is done when you can pull it apart with a fork. 3 hours would be sufficient cooking time.  We added the sweet potato at the same time as the carrots and it ended up very soft. I suggest you leave it out until the last 20 minutes of cooking so it stays a little more firm. This was a perfect comfort meal after days of driving and eating on the road.

This is a perfect meal for a busy day because there are very few ingredients and you can practically ignore it until you’re hungry. That’s what we did.


Garlic Rosemary Marinade

I made this marinade last weekend for some chicken breasts that we cut up and put on pasta (shhh I know we had a cheat meal). I tweaked it a little bit to make some chicken quarters for dinner later in the week. If you are grilling this weekend try this recipe. It takes a little more time because you have to roast your garlic first. It is definitely worth it. I roasted about 4 heads of garlic so I have a few leftover in the fridge. To roast the garlic you just drizzle with olive oil then wrap it in foil and bake at 350 until soft.

Garlic Rosemary Marinade

6tbsp white balsamic vinegar (I’m sure there is a better measurement for this but I had doubled the recipe I made the first time)

12 tbsp olive oil

2 heads of roast garlic

4-5 tbsp rosemary (fresh if you have it)

5 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp coriander

Blend up in a food processor or blender. Pour over chicken or pork. (I’m not a fish eater but it might be good on that too) marinate for 2 hours or overnight. Grill your meat and baste it with leftover marinade while cooking. Remember that it had raw meat in it so don’t baste in the last 2 minutes of cooking just in case. I kind of cooked it too hot on the grill so I had to finish it off in the oven. Oops, don’t do that.

I also cooked some amazing green beans with yellow bell peppers.

I sautéed them in coconut oil until just tender, then tossed in diced green onion and some chopped fresh basil. Then I topped the whole thing off with a drizzle of coconut milk.

This was a super tasty and fresh side dish.

Now doesn’t this meal just say backyard BBQ? I think so! Enjoy your holiday weekend and to all my teacher friends, only 3.5 days left!

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