Cooking for a Caveman

by mimivanderhaven.com on 07/01/2011 - 01:26 pm

Category: Food

By Nikki Greco

7/1/11

No, I’m not throwing brontosaurus steaks on the fire and serving them to Fred Flintstone, but I have been cooking for a caveman this week.  My husband, Nick, is trying out the “Paleo Diet” also known as the “Caveman Diet.”  Not being a nutritionist, I won’t get into it too much, but basically it is a diet that focuses on the food humans ate during their hunter-gatherer days.  Nick is eating lots of meat and veggies and can also have fruit and nuts in moderation.  He is not eating grains, dairy, beans, or sugar (or sweetener) and any sort of processed foods are frowned upon.  I have to admit, when he told me he was starting this diet I was a little apprehensive, but so far it is going well, and all I can say is, “Thank goodness for my Fresh Fork groceries!”  Having a refrigerator full of healthy food really made this easier.

We got 1 package of chicken bratwursts, 1 bunch of garlic scapes, 1 ½ pounds of tomatoes, 1 bunch of green onions, 1 bunch spinach, some zucchini and yellow squash, some corn chips, and a small tub of brie cheese.  Plus, when he picked up our bag, Nick also got a couple dozen eggs, which they have available as an “add-on” every week. 

We cooked mostly grilled meat and veggies for a few days with a few salads, but by Wednesday I was tired of grill marks.  So, I dug into the produce drawer for inspiration and pulled out a bunch of garlic scapes.  For those of you who remember my last experience with garlic scapes, you understand why I was a little nervous to try them again, but I felt up to the challenge.  I found out that the most typical way to use garlic scapes is to make a pesto out of them and I thought that would be delicious rubbed on a pork loin.  The only problem was pesto generally has cheese in it and Nick can’t have cheese, so I ended up experimenting again.  I also didn’t have pine nuts (another typical pesto ingredient) so I substituted a handful of the raw nut mix I had on hand.  I threw everything into the food processor, said a quick prayer and whirled away.  What came out was a very flavorful bright green sauce that really complemented my roasted pork loin.  Yay, success at last!  I think this pesto would also be great on pasta or redskin potatoes.  I served the pesto pork with roasted cauliflower and the zucchini and squash from my bag, which I tossed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and roasted as well.

The big struggle that Nick has had with this diet so far is coming up with some sort of quick “grab n’ go” breakfast for his busy weekday mornings and the solution came to us from his sister, Mallory, who is a cavewoman.  She gave us a recipe for egg “muffins” that are a little like a cheese-free frittata cooked in muffin tins.  They keep for a few days and can be microwaved quickly.  We made two batches this week.  We used the spinach from my basket and bacon for the first batch and the natural chicken bratwurst and some bell pepper for the second.  Using such good ingredients is really important when your food only has a few things in it.  The spinach was much more flavorful that the frozen, chopped stuff I typically add into my dishes and the chicken sausage was just plain yummy.  I started out the week sticking to my oatmeal routine, but once tasting the egg muffins, I have been eating those too… admittedly, they would be better with cheese, but for a quick healthy breakfast they are perfect.  Hmm, maybe I am going to have to look into this Paleo thing… after I eat the Brie cheese from this week’s bag that is.

 

Here is my recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic scapes
  • ½ cup of raw nuts (mine was a blend of almonds, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts)
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Directions

Roughly chop garlic scapes.  Put garlic scapes and nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times to break them up a bit.  Add half of your olive oil and blend.  Stream in the rest of the oil while processor is running until the pesto is to your desired consistency.  Taste and add salt.

To make Garlic Scape Pesto Pork Loin; rub a pork tenderloin generously with the pesto and bake at 350° until it reaches an internal temperature of 155° and then let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing.  It only took half of my pesto to cover the pork I had.  I used a foil lined cookie sheet that I rubbed with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking.  My pork loin was just over a pound and it took 50 minutes to bake.

 

Here is the original recipe for Egg Muffins from Mallory’s Paleo Blog from her March 1, 2011 post.

Ingredients

  • 1 package spicy chicken sausage (organic, no nitrates or nitrites)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 10 eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°

Heat sausage, onions and peppers on the stove until they start to caramelize and the sausage heats through.

Mix eggs well in a separate bowl.  Coat the muffin pan with olive oil.  Spoon sausage mixture into muffin cups, filling almost halfway. Add arugula if desired.  Fill the tins the rest of the way with the eggs. 

Bake for 30 min. Enjoy!

We adapted this recipe to use what we had on hand.  For the Spinach and Bacon Muffins we used half a package of center cut bacon cut into small strips and then browned until crispy.  Remove the bacon from the pan and drain most of the fast.  Then put your spinach (1 bunch, washed and dried) into the pan and stir and toss until it is wilted.  If there is a lot of liquid released from the spinach you should gently squeeze it out a bit before putting it into the muffin cups.  Divide the bacon and spinach and top with egg mixture.  For the Sausage and Pepper Muffins we stuck mostly to the original recipe, but used half of an onion and a whole pepper and didn’t use any arugula.  I also ran out of eggs before I ran out of filling, so I just beat up a few more eggs until all of my muffin tins were filled.  It took 13 eggs to make 12 egg muffins.  I seasoned my eggs with salt and pepper while beating them.

To contact Nikki Greco email nikki@mimivanderhaven.com.  For more information on Fresh Fork Market visit www.freshforkmarket.com.