Monday, December 17, 2012

Meatballs

I just thought of bringing meatballs on trail the other day and I don't know why I didn't think of it before! It's genius: they're small, compact, energy dense and able to withstand a little bit of a beating in a food bag. Also, they're so versatile you can essentially create any taste you wish: Italian, Greek, Thai, you name it, there's probably a meat ball for it. And if all that's not enough, they're usually pretty easy to make; just throw everything into a bowl, mix it up, and make it into balls. A lot of traditional meatball recipes call for breadcrumbs which can either be replaced with ground flaxmeal (like Bob's Red Mill), coconut flour or almond flour, or just omitted altogether (although depending on the recipe, they might not stick together very well). Some of these recipes call for sauces too, in which case it might be more convenient to just make the meatball and not deal with the sauce.

These are the only meatball recipes I've tried so far, and they're both incredible:

Yummy Greek Meatballs - These are some of the most delicious meatballs I've ever had!
Merguez Meatballs - Merguez is a spiced lamb or lamb/beef sausage from North African cuisine, the inspiration for these meatballs.

These are meatballs I've never made before but am really excited to make and test on trail!:

Easy Peasy Paleo Meatballs - This recipes looks very simple and delicious! A basic meatball recipe.
Bourbon & Cider Glazed Turkey Meatballs
Curry Meatballs
Lion's Head Meatballs - Another curry variation.
Breakfast Bacon & Maple Meatballs
Spiced Pork Meatballs
Spunky Coconut's Baked Chicken Meatballs - Nothing coconut about them...just the name.
Bacon Meatballs
Crockpot Sweet Asian Meatballs
Sundried Tomato Meatballs
Czech Meatballs - Pork meatballs with caraway
Italian Meatballs


Friday, December 14, 2012

Nut & Seed Crackers

Last night I tested out three and a half different types of nut and seed crackers and was pleasantly surprised by all of them. My two favorites are the Crunchy Primal Crackers from Mark's Daily Apple and the Rosemary & Sea Salt Flaxseed Crackers from I Breathe...I'm Hungry... 

Today I took some with me when my dad and I did a spectacular snowshoe hike to Kendall Peak Lakes at Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. I ate them with some chorizo, goat milk cheese, parmesan cheese and baby carrots. It was a really satisfying lunch and a great re-energizer after a long hike to the lakes. We only found one of the lakes and it was covered with snow, but the views were incredible! Surrounded on all sides by snow-frosted mountains and hillsides coated with half a foot of fresh powder.



The key to all of these recipes is to roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, getting it AS THIN AS YOU CAN. It really does make a difference. If you roll them too thick they turn out soft and cakey instead of crisp and crunchy. The Crunchy Primal Crackers and the Sunflower Sesame Crackers still taste good even when a little thick, but the Flax Seed Rosemary Crackers definitely benefit from the thinness. 

One: Crunchy Primal Crackers - I think these are even better than real crackers. They have a really nice olive oil and sea salt taste and the dill adds great additional flavor. You can also do a lot of variations on these crackers. Add a half cup of parmesan cheese if you do dairy. Other additions could be onion or garlic powder, sesame seeds, basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme...

Two: Rosemary & Sea Salt Flaxseed Crackers - The dough for these gets really sticky and kind of messy to deal with. Try and get them SUPER thin...like wafer thin. Also, she suggests on her website that if you want them extra crispy, turn off your oven when you're done, let it cool down a little bit, and return the crackers on the cookie sheets for another hour to let them dry out more. I recommend doing this. Also, next time I make them I think I might add a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, inspired by the Crunchy Primal Crackers. 

Three: Sunflower Sesame Crackers - I could kind of take these or leave these. I added a little salt to the dough in the food processor as well as sprinkling some on top because I thought they would be too bland without. That worked for me, but I still didn't like them as much as the first two. 

Three and a half: Cinnamon Sunflower Sesame Crackers Add a tablespoon of cinnamon to the Sunflower Sesame dough and blend in the food processor. I think I like the original version better, but it is a nice variation.

If you don't have the time to make crackers, White Lion Baking Co. makes paleo crackers from almond flour. They have four flavors: Cheddar & Sea Salt, Chili-Herb, Onion & Dill, and Rosemary & Thyme. With the exception of the Cheddar & Sea Salt, all the crackers are made with grass-fed ghee (the Cheddar & Sea Salt are made with grass-fed butter) so they should still be ok for anyone not eating dairy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TR's Jambalaya

I got this recipe from a fellow field staff of mine who is gluten-intolerant. We like working together because we can trade recipes and I always appreciate the nights he cooks because I don't usually have to make something different than the rest of the staff. This is a simple meal but it relies heavily on fresh vegetables. This isn't a problem for us during work because we get food drops, but if you're looking to keep weight down, you can probably do a similarly delicious meal using dehydrated vegetables that you rehydrate. The spice packet is gluten free, but it does have soy in it. 

1 packet Simply Organic Jambalaya Spice Mix
1/2 cup of water

1-2 TB of your choice of fat
1 cup of chopped veggies (onion, broccoli, red or green pepper, etc.)
1/4 cup of chorizo, chopped
1/4 cup of pepperoni stick, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced

Dissolve the spice packet in the 1/2 cup of water and set aside.
Saute the chopped veggies and meats in whatever fat you choose to use (I usually use coconut oil) until tender.
Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two.
Pour in the liquid spice mix and cook for a few more minutes, allowing the meat and vegetables to absorb the flavors, and to evaporate a little bit of the water so it makes a thicker sauce.