Team Vidas

PALEO POINTER: “Light” Canned Fruit and Grilled Pineapple

In Paleo Pointer, snacks on March 2, 2010 at 4:44 am

Even in California, we have winter.  My husband and I started our Paleo Plus diet during the summer of 2008, and I highly recommend making the conversion to healthier eating habits during the summer.  The fruit and vegetable selection is *so* helpful when you’re dealing with cravings and learning new habits.  Stone fruits helped me with my sugar cravings, tomato salads helped me to eat paleo breakfasts, and fresh avocado helped me deal with missing dairy.  However, as the days grew shorter, and produce started to be out of season, I found myself slipping into old habits.  I still do.

I’ll admit, I’ve never been that into oranges and apples.  I’m really particular about my cooking apples (I’ll use Granny Smiths in a pinch, but honestly, it’s basically McIntosh or nothing with me), And I’ve never been that into apples or oranges.  Solid “winter” fruit is just not my thing.  I like bananas (and find that they help me with starch cravings), but you’ve got to mix it up sometimes.

What I’ve started doing to try and help is purchase more canned fruit during the winter.  The big pitfall to canned fruit is usually the added sugar, but if you look closely at the options, there’s usually a “Light” or “Lite” option.  This will lead you to fruit packed in juice instead of heavy or even light syrup.  It’s a great way to have something on hand to fight that sugar craving.  I try to keep mandarin oranges, peaches, pears and pineapple on hand regularly.  I keep them in the fridge so that they are a bit more refreshing, but occasionally, I’ll grill up the pineapple.

Warm, grilled pineapple is amazing.

Warm, grilled pineapple is amazing.

Grilled pineapple is so easy to make.  Heat up your grill, spray it with some nonstick, and grill for 1 – 2 minutes per side.

I have a cast iron Le Cruset grill pan that I bought about five years ago.  It’s not in the greatest shape, but I also don’t take care of it very well, so I’m cool with it.  It’s a solid item to have, and a must for a Hollywood apartment that isn’t allowed a real grill.  We both had things we wanted when we were looking for a new apartment, and sacrifices were made on both sides.  He lost central air, and I lost the ability to have a grill.  This is the best I can do for now.

Don’t get me wrong, I will always go for a fresh, ripe piece of in season fruit over canned fruit.  However, that’s not always feasible, and this has been a great substitute for us.

Gravy, Italian Style

In Italian on February 27, 2010 at 1:23 am

I’ve always been suspicious of “sauce.”  I became convinced at an early age that “sauces” were meant to cover up inferior ingredients.  I like my brisket dry, I like my steak simply seared, and I never order anything covered in gravy.  Well, meat gravy.  I was (and am) a picky eater.

Converting our diet to being more paleo friendly has caused me to give sauces another chance.  I know that my food isn’t made from inferior ingredients.  However, it’s important to mix things up to keep from turning to sugars and dairy out of boredom.  A fresh tomato sauce packs a lot of inexpensive and healthy flavor into a dish.  This simple sauce is one that my husband and I learned to make on our honeymoon.  It’s easy to make, freezes well and is absolutely delicious.

ITALIAN GRAVY (about a half hour of preparation work and active cooking, and two hours of barely active cooking):

  • (2) large (35oz-ish) cans of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 head of peeled garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 c of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c of dry red or white wine
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves

Smash and/or finely chop the garlic.  Even if you’re smashing the garlic (I use the flat end of a meat tenderizer), I still run my knife through it a few times.  Heat a large (I use an 8 quart All Clad stock pot) pan over medium-high heat.  You don’t want the pan screaming hot, as olive oil has a low smoke point and we’re looking for a soft golden color on the garlic, not a crispy brown.  You’re cooking the garlic, not frying garlic chips.  Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil.  Give it a minute or so to heat up, and then add the garlic to the pan.

Keep an eye on the garlic.  You want to stir it a few times a minute to make sure that it’s evenly distributed.  I don’t know about you, but nothing in my “built in 1974” apartment is perfectly level.  My stove leans a little to the right.  So I personally need to make sure that everything cooks evenly.  I counter this as much as I can by using solid cookware (see the PALEO POINTER below).

Once the garlic is golden (not golden brown, just golden), add the remaining ingredients.  If you’re looking for this to be a PALEO PLUS type meal, here’s where I’d add 1 T of salt and a 1/2 tsp of sugar.

Bring the sauce back up to a boil, reduce the heat and cover to simmer.  You’ll simmer this for about two hours, stirring like maybe every fifteen minutes or so.  After about an hour, start breaking up the tomatoes with your wooden spatula (yeah, I use a wooden spatula and not a wooden spoon…I like having a solid edge to use).  You want the tomato sauce to be a little chunky, but definitely a sauce and not a big pan of cooked whole tomatoes.

Go ahead and use that within five days for…well.  Whatever you’d use tomato sauce for, I guess.  You can figure it out.  I believe in you.  Alternately, it’ll keep for about three months in the freezer.

Va bene!

PALEO POINTER:  COOKWARE

Seriously, just invest in some.  It’ll last you forever.  I have built a solid collection of All Clad, and I have no doubt that it’s all going to last me for the rest of my life.  I’m not particularly careful about cleaning or storage (I don’t think I’m a good fit for copper cookware as a result), and this stuff can really stand up to some abuse.  My initial set of All Clad is nearly ten years old and performs like new.  I like gear that can move from the stovetop to the oven to the fridge, and this all qualifies.  You can also find deals online if you’re internet savvy (and if you’re not, it’s time to start getting there).

Yes, it’s expensive.  I agree.  Oh so worth it, though.  You’ll be happier, your food will cook the way you want it to, and once you get this pan situation out of the way, it’ll be taken care of for the rest of your life (barring civil issues and natural disasters).