Friday, July 29, 2011

Balsamic Marinated Chicken

Ingredients:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp coriander
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts ... I used thighs because they're cheaper)

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except chicken. Place chicken thighs in a tupperware/airtight container, pour about half the marinade over them, then stab each one with a fork a couple times. I'm not sure if this helps, but I did it anyway. Pour the rest of the marinade over them and refrigerate overnight.
Melt some butter or bacon fat in a cast-iron or nonstick pan. Put the chicken thighs in the pan, then pour the rest of the sauce over them, and cook about 10 to 15 minutes, turning once.

There was still some yummy sauce left in the pan after the chicken was cooked, so I cooked some veggies (onions, peppers, squash) in that. Delicious. I made some tzatziki sauce to go with this, and it was awesome. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pistachio "Paleo" Bread

Did she just say "dessert?" Absolutely. How un-primal. Everyone is really good and nice and 100% faithful to the primal diet and doesn't ever even think about eating sweet things. Yeah, keep telling yourselves that. It's not like nuns/monks/priests ever think about having sex ... oh, wait ...

So I took the basic idea/methodology behind the almond/flax bread in the previous post and switched things up a little. I made this bread with pistachios, added a little stevia to sweeten it, and topped it with cherries and whipped cream.




If you don't think this looks delicious, you are not human.
PS -- it is made with pistachios, but during the preparation I burnt them a bit while trying to dry them out after blanching them, so that's why the bread/cake doesn't look very green. It still tasted good (and I'm sure it would be even better without slightly burnt pistachios).


To start off, you'll need to grind up pistachios, effectively making "pistachio meal." Take a bunch of pistachios and shell them. About half a cup of shelled pistachios should give you enough ... I used more than that and had way more pistachio meal than I needed (guess I'll have to make this again... damn, what a shame).

Part 1: Blanching The Pistachios
In a small saucepan, bring about 1 cup of water to a boil. Drop the pistachios in and remove from heat immediately. Let the pistachios sit in the water for about a minute, then drain the water. The pistachio skins should peel off pretty easily now.

Part 2: Drying The Pistachios.
I live in the Northwest, and it's pretty humid here (though not as bad as Michigan!), so I figured I'd dry the pistachios out a bit in the oven before grinding them down. Problem was, I got distracted by funny youtube videos and left them in there a little too long. They'd probably have turned out a lot better if I'd have not left them in there too long. Oh well.

Part 3: Making Pistachio-Meal
Throw them in your food processor and grind 'em up! You'll probably end up with a few small coarse sand-sized fragments, but they don't affect the quality of the final product as long as you get most of them ground up pretty fine.

Part 4: Making Pistachio Cake
Follow the directions for Rivvin's Bread, but use the pistachio meal (duh) and add a bit of stevia. Yeah, stevia. If you're a "paleo purist" who has a problem with stevia, then GTFO.

Top with whatever you want. I used cherries and whipped cream, and it rocked.

ENJOY.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The "Bread" of Life

Well. I have a lot to say, not much of which is paleo-diet related, so I'm going to make a quick food post today because there's been way too many posts that aren't recipes recently. As in, two. Whatever.

I can't take credit for this wonderful, heavenly, ridiculously awesome creation. As a real geologist (wtf?), though, it is a godsend.

The ultimate bread recipe from Rivvin of the Mark's Daily Apple Forum.

At first, I was a little apprehensive -- I was like, bread? In the microwave? No way. But I made it, and it works, and it actually has a taste and texture that resembles that of real bread.

I generally use a mixture of both almond and flax meal, and I've done some variations, including adding rosemary and making it with bacon fat instead of butter (I've never used coconut oil for this; I hate the taste of coconut oil combined with anything involving eggs), and it is good! I can eat sandwiches again! Now, I just need a woman to make me one while playing Call of Duty.


But this food-related post suddenly became really non-food-related, so, back to the bread/sandwich!
Today I took a BLMCT (Bacon Lettuce Mushroom Cheese Tomato) sandwich to work, and it ruled.

Seriously, this bread actually functions like real bread... it doesn't fall apart like 99% of the almond/coconut/flax/etc bread recipes out there ... it stands up to all that and more. I used it as a hamburger bun (and I make ginormous hamburgers). Huh. The fact that "ginormous" is not highlighted is funny, because I'm pretty sure that isn't a word, but Microsoft thinks it is.

This bread is so awesome, I'm going to try it with other types of nut meal (I have a small food processor so I can easily grind my own), and more additions. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Warrior Dash

This race was awesome. Seriously, there are no other words to describe it. Last Saturday I went up to North Bend, Washington, for a 3.5 mile race complete with walls to climb over, mud pits, and of course, jumping over fire. Hell. Yes. And, of course, I'd say it definitely falls within the definition of "primal blueprint fitness" ... yes, it's running, but the random obstacles that are encountered along the way could be analogous to a paleolithic hunter-gatherer having to climb over rocks or trees or something while chasing down his/her next meal, right? I think so.
I made a costume (ridiculous warrior costumes were encouraged at this event) ... basically got the idea from Spartacus (if you haven't watched it, you should, this show is hot. And I mean that literally). I raced in the first wave, at 08:00, which meant I was done around 08:45 (it was only 3.5 miles), which meant: turkey legs and IPA for breakfast. Again, hell yes.

I don't really have anything deep or meaningful to say today, because fun Warrior Weekend aside, I've had a lot on my mind recently -- with both work and personal-life-type stuff, but I'm not going to clutter up a post about jumping over fire and drinking beer and eating turkey legs and being all-around badass with stupid bullshit like that.
More profound post(s) soon to come, along with recipes, and other paleo-related stuff that this blog is supposed to actually be about.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Life Is Awesome

In the last week, I have done the following:
1. Gone snowboarding
2. Rode around the Mount St. Helens Crater in a helicopter.
3. Gone rock-climbing

Yeah. Pretty sure it's gonna be a while before I have a week that can top that.
I have the most kickass job in the world. Even though it's only for a summer, I can confidently say that I'm pretty sure no one I know has a job that can top this. I really don't care if you're getting $25/hr to log cores or some shit like that, I get paid to ride around in a helicopter. WIN. This summer has been all about the transition from being a college kid who (technically) still lives at home (i.e. goes home for holiday breaks, etc) to a young adult who is starting a career and a life. HOLYFUCKSHITSOMEONESLAMTHEBREAKSIMNOTREADYFORTHIS! But it's cool. I'm 23, and I gotta grow up sometime, right?
With all the scariness of this aside, I'm in a great place right now. This job is giving me great and valuable experiences in geology, that I can apply to just about any career I decide to pursue. I kind of left Western with the idea that I'd do the same thing that 99% of people with this degree do: go into the oil and gas industry and make a fortune ripping big holes in the earth. But maybe that isn't going to be it. I have (at least) a semester of grad school to figure this all out, anyway (since many of my graduate classes will be influenced by my intended career path). Options are a nice thing to have.
I'll be honest, I was fairly skeptical of the Northwest when I first moved here, but I was all like "well this is where I'm working for the summer, and it beats the hell out of going to Texas to work for an oil company" so I figured I would just roll with it. But I actually like it here. Never, ever thought that there would be any place in this country (or on this planet, even) that I would enjoy just as much as the West, but Oregon and Washington are pretty cool. I'm not a fan of the humidity, and I'm sure I'd hate the winters, but the fact that I got to snowboard in JULY was pretty awesome.

Me and my fellow USGS intern, Tyler Kent (aka TK), after snowboarding on Mt. Hood

We drove up the night before and slept in the back of my SUV (there really isn't anywhere to camp there). Woke up around 05:00 on Sunday morning and hiked up the climber's trail (adjacent to the ski area) ... well, I hiked, TK skinned up because the lucky bastard has a splitboard, psssh. It's a slog (which I knew, having been up to the summit of Hood last month), but it was kinda nice actually having gotten some sleep the night before. The wind sucked, because when you're carrying a snowboard it acts like a giant sail, but it wasn't like I had anything else to do that morning. We continued above the top of the Palmer lift to about 9500', and enjoyed the ride down. The snow above the ski area was pretty crunchy, and my legs were sore as hell from going to CrossFit the day before, so it was nice to get on the slush of the actual ski area. About 4 hours up, 15 minutes down, haha, but it was worth it.

Ok, on to highlight #2 (chronologically): riding around Mount St. Helens in a helicopter. The USGS has a bunch of monitoring equipment set up to monitor volcano-related hazards (not just eruptions, but also lahars and the like), but due to the remoteness of the sites and the sheer volume of equipment that must be transported, the easiest way to set up this stuff is to fly it in with a helicopter.

Slinging a load out of one of the geophone sites

I was with two other scientists, working on a geophone setup in one of the drainages below the actual mountain. We were out all day, and it was hard work (digging holes, pounding in fenceposts, mixing and pouring concrete, etc), but it was awesome. Fucking awesome. At the end of the day, they took me up and flew around the crater and down one of the canyons. It was amazing; helicopters fly really low so you can get great views of the geologic features.

I don't really have a picture or anything to say about the rock climbing other than that there's a pretty sweet sport climbing crag relatively close to the office where I work that I've gone to with TK a couple times now.

But, to recap:
1. I have a job that I like, it pays decent money, I get to go cool places for field work, and it is giving me great experience for
any career path that I choose.
2. I live relatively close to some nice climbing/mountaineering/snowboarding destinations.
3. For a big city, Portland is pretty cool. It's the first
real big city I have lived in. It was definitely a bit of a culture shock, coming from western Colorado, but I really dig it. There's a great Farmer's Market downtown on Saturdays, and because we're so close to the coast, there's vendors that even sell fish/seafood! Awesome.

In conclusion, my life is awesome.