Monday, May 20, 2013

It pays to get to know your farmer!

A couple of weekends ago I was at my public market and visited one of my local vendors. I typically refer to him as 'The yogurt guy,' as he's the one that I get my wonderful, grass fed, cream-top yogurt (it's the Ithaca Dairy Company yogurt). We got to talking and happened to start discussing offal. That's right... organ meats.  I mentioned that more people should try organ meats and that they taste great, when cooked right. He said that one of his personal favorites was lamb liver. I told him that I'd never tried it before and wasn't sure where I could obtain it. He said that he could bring some for me the next weekend and that it'd be no trouble.

With all of that being said, my recipe for this week involves lamb liver. It doesn't quite have that in your face, "I'm liver!" flavor that beef has. So don't be put off just yet. Take a chance and try it!

Hidden Liver Bolognese

  • 1 lb lamb livers
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • 16 oz sliced mushrooms 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tap dried thyme
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds removed
  • olive oil
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub the meaty sides of the spaghetti squash with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Place them oiled side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large put or dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • Puree/grind up the lamb livers in a food processor or meat grinder. Set aside.
  • Add the ground beef to the pot and and cook until browned. Remove and set aside (leave the rendered beef fat).
  • Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot. Cook until the onions have softened and the mushrooms have released their water. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute.
  • Add the ground up liver and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the cooked ground beef, basil, oregano, thyme, both cans of tomatoes, salt/pepper, red pepper flakes and the splash of vinegar. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10-15 minutes, to let the flavors meld.
  • Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Taste, adjust seasonings.
  • By this time your squash should be done. Take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Flip the squash over so that it's meat side up. Use a fork to shred the "meat" and form it's signature spaghetti-like strands.
  • Put some of the spaghetti squash in a bowl and ladle on some of the sauce.
  • Enjoy!
This recipe may sound intimidating, time-wise and ingredient-wise. I can assure you that it's totally worth it! There's only a slight liver flavor. The ground beef, tomatoes and herbs, help to cover it up.  This turns out to be a hearty meat sauce that pairs perfectly with the sweet, roasty spaghetti squash. Give this recipe a try, it's super tasty!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Not to be discouraged...

So this past weekend was a little bit traumatizing... I went for a run on Friday afternoon. Everything was fine. There was a little rain, but I managed to get Justin to run with me. I was excited because we were going out to dinner at a new restaurant, opened by a friend of ours. It started raining harder on the way there. No big deal. We get out of the car and walk into the place. Just after I walk in the door, I slip and go down hard. My leg went one way and my kneecap went the other. It slid back into place, but still... OWW! Needless to say, I'm officially out of the Buffalo Marathon. Major disappointment!

Despite my somewhat horrific weekend, I won't let my injury keep me from cooking! I still managed to come up with some pretty decent grub:

Mexican Side Pork with Biscuits & Green Beans

  • green beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • lemon
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • coconut oil
  • spritz of water (to steam the beans)
  • Heat coconut oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat.
  • Add the onions and cook until softened and turning brown.
  • Add the green beans and the spritz of water. Cook until the beans are browned and just tender.
  • Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Season with salt/pepper and squeeze on some lemon juice.
  • Enjoy!
I know I only gave the recipe for the green beans. I figured that since it was the "new" item here, I'd feature it. I love green beans! The onions get all caramelized and slightly sweet. The garlic has a little bite and the lemon makes it nice and bright. This is an excellent way to eat your beans!

The side pork recipe can be found here. I just changed up my spice blend to include cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, cinnamon, oregano and cocoa powder. The recipe for the biscuits can be found on the Empowered Sustenance website. I used coconut oil for the lard. These little biscuits are supremely tasty!

For anyone out there that complains about cooking being hard... I was able to do all this, with no help from Justin, on a bum leg! It's easy!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


This morning marked the longest run I've done to date: 2 hours and 45 minutes. I think I did about 18 miles total. All I keep thinking about is how I'm almost there. I just have three more weeks until the Buffalo Marathon. Three weeks, the race and then I'm done. No more marathons... I feel as though the stress of running all those miles, both on my body and my mind, is more than I care to do again. I'm happy that I've come this far and excited for the race itself. There's light at the end of the tunnel!

Anyways, after running all those miles, I wanted something that I haven't had it quite some time: pancakes. I know I posted a while back about some banana/almond butter concoction that didn't really work out so well. I have since found a recipe that's Paleo and works!

Gelatin Coconut Flour Pancakes

I used this recipe, by Lauren Geertsen, of Empowered Sustenance. She has an amazing site and some really wonderful recipes!

  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tbsp grass-fed gelatin
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 heaping tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • ~1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • Coconut oil, for the pan
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. 
  • Whisk together the coconut flour and gelatin (I just used a fork). 
  • Add the eggs and stir until the mix is smooth.
  • Add the coconut oil and stir until combined.
  • Add the coconut milk and stir again.
  • Add the coconut oil to the hot skillet.
  • Spoon out a small amount of the batter into the skillet (I used a couple tablespoons per pancake and ended up with 5 altogether). Cook until the edges are opaque and the center starts to look the same way. Flip and cook for another couple of minutes, or until the underside is golden brown.
  • Serve with some maple syrup or honey or whatever you like!
I will admit that I made this recipe pretty much directly as written by Lauren (please check out her site!) I just added a touch of cinnamon and made a half batch. I'm so excited to finally find a good, Paleo friendly pancake recipe that doesn't call for nut flours and doesn't fall apart! I never thought to use gelatin in a pancake, but it totally works.

Let me just say that these are TASTY! They're not sweet like you might think with a typical pancake. They remind me more of a crepe, with a slight coconut flavor. I topped mine with a little pure maple syrup and served them with some avocado, some leftover collard greens cooked with ham hocks and some wild boar pate. There's a little bit of everything in this breakfast, but it's so worth it just for the pancakes!