Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hot Dogs in Soup

This meal is so simple it doesn't really need a recipe, but it's worth mentioning in case you never thought of it! The only paleo "canned" soup I know of is True Primal's Grass-Fed Beef & Vegetable soup, which actually comes in pouches (even more convenient for backpacking!). See my review of their soup here. If you don't mind compromising, then there are other ideas on my post Paleo-Friendly(ish) Canned Soup Round-Up

For the hot dogs, Applegate Farms has a wide variety of organic, grass-fed beef hot dogs, as well as chicken and turkey. I don't know about all of them, but the kind I usually get, the "Great Organic Beef Hot Dog" is fully cooked already, so all it needs is a little heat.

One can of your favorite soup
2-4 grass-fed hot dogs

Open the can of soup and pour it into a pot.
Slice up the hot dogs and add to the soup.
Heat and eat.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Smoked Salmon Coconut Curry

I carry coconut oil in an 8-oz round, wide-mouth Nalgene bottle. Since coconut oil turns solid at moderate temperatures, I just chip out a little bit with my knife and dump it in my pot. They also make 1-, 2-, 4-, 16-, and 32-oz wide-mouth bottles if you want to bring more or less with you. 

 Cooking on the crash pad at a rest stop...car camping is the best.
Serves 1
1/2 a large onion
1/2 a large green pepper
coconut oil
1 small 5-oz can organic coconut milk
1 - 2 TB curry paste
smoked salmon (or canned salmon)

Chop the onion and green pepper and saute in coconut oil. Once the veggies are soft and the onions are turning translucent, add the whole can of coconut milk, the curry paste, and the smoked salmon. Continue to heat while stirring to combine the coconut milk and curry paste, and breaking up the smoked salmon into flakes.

Bacon with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Onions

This meal is simple but very filling. 
Serves 1

3 strips thick-cut, pasture-raised bacon (or more)
1 small Ziploc of baby spinach
1/2 an onion, chopped
3 large mushrooms (such as crimini), sliced (optional)
sea salt & pepper

Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces (I do this before I go on trip and store it in a baggie).
Saute bacon in a small backpacking pot until it starts to give off some fat.
Add the onions and mushrooms and saute until the bacon is cooked and the veggies are soft.
Add the spinach and put the lid on. Let it sit on the fire for a few more minutes to let the spinach wilt.
Remove from heat and stir in spinach.
Season with sea salt and pepper if desired.

Zucchini Chips

As many zucchinis or other summer squash as you want
Olive oil
Sea salt

Slice the zucchini or squash into 1/8 - 1/4-inch slices (the thinner the better).
Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. I use about 1/2 tablespoon per medium-size zucchini. Toss with your hands until all the slices are thoroughly coated with oil.
Lay out on mesh dehydrator trays, leaving a little room between slices. Using a salt shaker, sprinkle each slice individually on one side with a little salt (don't go overboard here, because they shrink down and can become quite salty).
Dehydrate for 2 hours at 145 F, turning once half-way through. Dry until they become leathery and pliable.

Sprinkle with any kind of seasoning you want. Basil, oregano, smoked paprika...anything that sounds good!

Salmon Jerky

1/2 cup gluten-free tamari
1/2 cup water
1 TB minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp hot sauce

1 lb. uncooked skinless boneless salmon fillets

Put all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Slice the fish about 1/4-inch thick. Add to the marinade and stir to mix.
Marinate for 15 minutes or longer.
Oil the mesh dehydrator trays and lay the slices out on them.
Dehydrate for 4 hours at 145 F, flipping the slices once half-way through.
When completely cool, store in Ziploc bags in the fridge or freezer.

*We tried storing this outside of the fridge for a month and it grew mold. It will be fine for the length of your trip, but for extended storage time, use the fridge or freezer.

Maple Salmon Jerky
I've really been enjoying the maple flavor in the Maple-Sage Beef Jerky that I've been making so much lately, I decided to try it out with salmon. The marinade is different than the beef marinade; I traded balsamic vinegar for the apple cider vinegar and left out the sage.

2 TB coconut aminos
2 TB maple syrup
2 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB water
1 clove garlic, minced or run through a garlic press
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 lb. uncooked skinless boneless salmon fillets

Put all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Slice salmon 1/4-inch thick. Add to marinade and stir with hands to mix well, making sure all pieces are coated well with the marinade.

Grass-Fed Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is one of those foods that just hits the spot when you're working hard and need a quick boost of energy. It's also super dense and you can put it in your pocket when you start hiking for a quick snack later. I have honed my jerky-making technique over the years, and it would be my pleasure to pass on what I know to you.

  • First, and maybe most importantly, marinate for 48 hours if possible! I have found that it really infuses the flavor of the marinade a lot better, and makes for a softer jerky, too. 
  • Second, don't cut the strips too thin (unless you like crispy jerky). About a solid quarter inch makes a good strip. 
  • Third, find a good source of cheap, 100% grass-fed meat if you can. There was a place in Utah I used to get perfect London Broils from for about $5.99 a pound, and I was sad when I moved away, but then I found a similar deal in Eugene! If you live in Eugene, hit up Bartel's Farm retail store off of Bertelsen Rd. 
  • Fourth, if you have little slabs of fat on your piece of meat, trim them off, but still throw them in the marinade, and dehydrate them. They won't keep well, so don't store them with the rest of your jerky, but eat them quickly (especially delicious warm from the dehydrator!). 

My two favorite recipes:

Maple Sage Jerky

Low-Carb Whole30 Compliant Jerky

Simple Jerky

This jerky seems really boring, but properly salted it is actually very good and almost a little too addictive! The key is a lot of high quality sea salt. The first time I tried it I didn't salt it enough and it basically just tasted like dried meat. The next time I put so much on that I thought I was over salting it, and it turned out perfect! I don't know how to quantify the amount because I didn't measure it, so you might have to do some experimenting on your own. This is the easiest, fastest method, and requires no marination time, and also is diet-friendly for almost all elimination diets because it's just meat, salt, and pepper. 

1 lb. very lean round steak or London Broil (100% grass-fed)
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Cut out all visible fat (you can save it for use elsewhere).
Slice the meat into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
Lay the strips on the dehydrator trays.
Liberally salt and pepper the strips, then flip them all the salt and pepper the other side.
Dry in the dehydrator for about 6 hours at 155 degrees (F). Check them after 6 hours, and if still moist and raw-seeming in the center, add an hour or two at a time until they're dried.
When cool, store in Ziploc bags in the refrigerator or freezer* until your trip.

Spicy Jerky

1 lb. very lean round steak or London Broil (100% grass-fed)
3 TB gluten-free tamari, or coconut aminos
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp. hot sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB white wine (optional - I like it with, my partner likes it without)

Cut out all visible fat (you can save it for use elsewhere).
Slice the meat into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
Mix the other ingredients together in a large shallow baking dish.
Add the meat strips and stir to coat.
Marinate for 24-48 hours.
Oil the mesh dehydrator trays and lay the strips directly on the trays.
Dehydrate for 6 hours at 155 F. Check them after 6 hours, and if still moist and raw-seeming in the center, add an hour or two at a time until they're dried.
When cool, store in Ziploc bags in the refrigerator or freezer* until your trip.

*Although some jerkys from the store can last long periods of time outside of the fridge, they most likely have some preservative added. We tried storing some of this homemade jerky unrefrigerated for a month and it grew mold. It will be fine for the length of your trip, but any extended storage time should probably be spent in the fridge or freezer. We also like to add silica packets (that I collect and save from my pill bottles) which helps keep moisture down.

Maple-Sage Jerky in the making.
Here are some links to other ones that sound great, although I haven't personally tried any of them yet:

Paleo-Friendly Beef Jerky on Brian's Backpacking Blog
Beef Jerky on The Food Lover's Kitchen
A Really Tasty Beef Jerky on Jen's Gone Paleo

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Trail Mixes

Trail mixes are always a great thing to have on hand just to take the edge off your hunger in between meals. I prefer to soak and dry the nuts I use in my mix to make them more digestible. To do this, put the nuts in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Let them sit overnight, then put them in the dehydrator on a low setting for about 5 hours, or until they're completely dry when you bite into one. Here is a list of paleo trail mix ideas:
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Raisins
  • Dried blueberries
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Raw cacao nibs
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Banana chips

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are really fun to roast and are great because you can get creative with it and add whatever spices you want. I’ve done cinnamon and sea salt before which was delicious, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with other blends.

One pumpkin 
Sea salt
Olive oil, pasture butter or ghee

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all the seeds and guts. Put them in a colander. Pick out all the orange guts, leaving just the seeds behind. Rinse well. Allow the seeds to drain for half an hour or so, then spread in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 300 F to dry out the seeds. Check a couple times and stir so they don't burn. Remove them from the oven, toss with a couple tablespoons olive oil, or melted butter or ghee and whatever spices you want. Return to the greased cookie sheet and spread evenly again. Bake another 20 minutes until they are crisp and golden. Again, check every once in a while, and stir so they don’t burn.

Seasoning Ideas:
  • Sea salt
  • Cinnamon & sea salt
  • Cayenne pepper, thyme, sea salt & pepper
  • Garam masala
  • Chili powder & sea salt
  • Smoked or sweet paprika
  • Garlic salt or garlic powder
  • Cinnamon, allspice, ginger & sea salt
  • Paprika, curry powder, cayenne pepper & sea salt

Greek Moussaka

This recipe is pretty time consuming, but really delicious and has a lot of vegetables in it, which I always miss when I'm on the trail.  

1-2 large eggplants, sliced in ¼ inch rounds
1 bunch kale, chewy lower stems cut off
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
1 pound ground lamb
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
3 eggs
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
olive oil for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste

Salt the eggplant to draw out moisture and prevent slices from soaking up a lot of oil. Put in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, let sit 20-30 minutes until moisture appears on surface. Rinse thoroughly and blot dry.

Pan-fry eggplant in a skillet over medium high heat, turning until both sides are lightly browned.
(Try brushing with olive oil first, then roasting in oven…so you can do more at once)

Boil the kale for 3 minutes.
Puree kale with tomatoes and ½ cup of water.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat and add onion and garlic.
Sauté a few minutes then add meat, cinnamon and allspice. Stir, so the meat browns evenly.
After 5 minutes, add dill and tomato mixture.
Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
As the meat cooks, whisk together eggs, yogurt, and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 350.
In a lightly-oiled baking dish, place a thin layer of eggplant then cover with the meat. Layer the remaining eggplant on top, then the yogurt. Top with additional grated cheese if desired.
Bake 45 minutes, or until the top is set and golden brown. 

Let sit 20 minutes, then spread on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 150 F for 8-12 hours. Check several times throughout the process to break up clumps and turn over.

Michael's Chili

My brother came up with this chili recipe years ago, and I think he may have forgotten about it, but I use it all the time. It was originally made with kidney and pinto beans, but I just substituted the same amount of ground beef for the beans and it turns out great!

bacon grease or olive oil
1 onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 15-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
2-3 lb. 100% grass-fed ground beef, elk, or bison
1 TB chili powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sea salt

Heat bacon grease or olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Once hot, saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and saute a couple more minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add meat, stirring to break up clumps, and browning all over. The meat doesn't need to be fully cooked at this point. Add the water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours.

Let cool about 20 minutes, then spread on dehydrator trays covered in parchment paper and dehydrate 8-12 hours at 150 F, checking several times during this process to break up clumps and turn over. More dehydrating directions found here.

Dark Chocolate Bars

I love chocolate. And I know I'm not alone. Chocolate bars are one of the most satisfying and convenient desserts on the trail. While writing this post I realized I could go on about chocolate bars for a long time, so these are just a few of my favorite.
  • Green & Black's 85% Dark Chocolate - My favorite that I’ve found so far. It’s organic, fair trade, and doesn’t use soy lecithin as an emulsifier. Even still, it’s very smooth and just the right amount of sweet (at least for me!).
  • Theo's 85% Ultimate Dark Chocolate - I'm from Seattle, so of course I have to rep the local business! Also organic, fair trade and soy-free!
  • Theo's 70% Rich Dark Chocolate - If 85% is too much for you. Still organic, fair trade and soy-free.
  • Theo's 70% Orange Dark Chocolate - I really love orange and chocolate together, and Theo uses orange oil instead of "natural" or "artificial" orange flavor.
  • Salazon Chocolate Company's Organic Dark Chocolate with Natural Sea Salt - Chocolate and sea salt is my favorite combination, and this company specializes in exactly that. They have 4 different bars, all with large flakes of sea salt that they harvest from the South Atlantic. They also use 100% organic, Rainforest Alliance-certified cacao beans. They do use soy lecithin, though.