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Mexican, Caribbean, South American style stew. By adding broth you could make this a soup.

Ingredients:Squash stew

  • Winter squash cubed. I used butternut.
  • Chopped onions. I used red.
  • EVOO, lard or other fat.
  • Meat cubed. I used bison. Pork would be good.
  • Chipotle in adobo sauce and chilies, however much you dare. Or chipotle powder. Use smoked paprika for a milder dish.
  • Chopped up tomatoes.
  • Pinto beans, drained (optional). I used 1/2 can of Eden Foods traditionally soaked ones.
  • Dash of oregano (to taste).
  • Dash of cumin (to taste).
  • Salt (optional).
  • Pepper (optional).
  • Whatever else sounds good. Maybe greens.

Directions

  1. Steam or microwave squash until slightly tender.
  2. Lightly fry onions and meat in fat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and cook for a while.
  4. Adjust seasonings.

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Tex-Mex

Enchiladas, tamales, tacos, refried beans, rice, all swimming in lard and American cheese. Despised by foodies, some upper class Mexicans, CW (conventional wisdom) health food types and followers of paleo alike. Childhood comfort food for me (although I guess I should say Cal-Mex, since I grew up in Southern California. Some dishes such as burritos are Cal-Mex not Tex-Mex, to be way too technical.) (See also my chili recipe.)

Snobby b*tch Diana Kennedy wrote “Far too many people outside Mexico still think of them [Mexican foods] as an overly large platter of mixed messes, smothered with a shrill tomato sauce, sour cream, and grated yellow cheese preceded by a dish of mouth-searing sauce and greasy deep-fried chips.” The Cuisines of Mexico

OK, it is not Mexican. Got it. It has a very long tradition of its own going back to American Indian food and some of the earliest Spanish settlers. Tex-Mex uses lots of cumin, a wonderful spice that is not often used in Mexican cooking. Settlers from the Canary Islands brought it in 1731. (Technically, it was used some before that, but the Canary Islanders used much more than the previous Spanish settlers.) The heavy use of cumin is one of the things that Mexican food elitists despise about Tex-Mex. Also, to some members of the upper classes, things like refried beans and corn tortillas are peasant food. Food similar to Tex-Mex is eaten by poor Mexicans.

CW health food nuts are appalled by the lard and American cheese, of course. Pfft! Lard is good for you. Pastured sharp cheddar cheese is better and better for you. True.

So how is Tex-Mex in terms of primal? That depends. Let’s go¬† through some of the dishes and ingredients.

Refried beans – See my bean post. Somewhat high in carbs. Need to be soaked as was done traditionally. Should be made with lard, not some health food oil like canola. I do eat beans several times a week although they are marginal under Primal. In my opinion, beans are good food.

Spanish rice (White rice with tomatoes, herbs and spices) – See my rice post. Not evil. I do eat white rice at home about once a week. And if I went to a Japanese restaurant, I sure would have sushi. But with so many other options, why use up your carb allowance on it at a Mexican restaurant?

Flour tortillas – Poison. Avoid. Sorry.

Burritos – Eat the filling if you want or put it in a lettuce wrap. But the filling is usually mostly refried beans.

Corn tortillas, tacos, enchiladas – Mark would say to avoid because of the corn, or eat the filling of the tacos. I eat several corn tortillas a week. I make enchiladas when I get motivated. The corn used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking is processed with lime to make it digestible (nixtamalization). Just one of the things I won’t give up. But if you want tacos without tortillas, the easy answer is to put the filling in a lettuce wrap. Instead of enchiladas, make enchilada casserole without the tortillas. Lots of recipes online.

Tamales. Not Primal because of the corn. I have them once in a while. At a restaurant, I might have one for a treat.

Salsa – Fresh salsa is fine. Make at home or check the ingredients. Making salsa is so easy. Combine ingredients such as chopped up tomatoes, chilies, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, lime juice and whatever else you think would be good. If you go out to eat, order a different appetizer, if you want one, and tell the waiter/waitress to not bring chips and salsa. They are soooo addictive!

Cheese – Pastured, raw milk cheese is fine if you can do dairy. At a restaurant, I eat and enjoy whatever cheese they use.

Sour cream – Use real, whole milk sour cream if you can handle dairy. (Or trendy Greek yogurt if that’s your trip.) At restaurants, I eat it.

Guacamole – Pile it on.

Fajita meat – Now we are talking primal!

If I go out for Mexican food, which in my area (California) usually involves the option of classic Tex-Mex dishes or Mexican ones, I usually order carnitas fajitas, maybe “hold the beans, rice and tortillas.” If I decide to have one of these three, it would be either tortillas OR beans. But I feel very satisfied with the pork, guacamole, salsa and sour cream. At home, I would have a couple of corn tortillas.

Hungry for Tex-Mex? I recommend The Tex-Mex Cookbook, Robb Walsh. Yes, the book has recipes for the worst sort of Velveeta cheese Tex-Mex. But lots more! Want a recipe for cooking a cow’s head? Now that’s primal! (Personally, I’ll pass.) Also lots of recipes for salsa, chili, fajitas and other stuff that is, or could be, primal.

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Chili

Revised 2/7/11

Classic Texas chili has beef, peppers, cumin, maybe a few other spices, and water. It does not have tomatoes or beans. I do add onions, vinegar and tomatoes, and sometimes beans, but mostly I think most anything you add beyond the basics amounts to gilding the lily.

Ingredients:

Ground or diced up beef or bison. (How much? Depends how much chili you want.)

Diced onion – Maybe one

Garlic – Up to you how much

Smokey paprika – a lot

Chipotle powder – Depends on what you can handle. Maybe a few dashes. Can adjust at the end.

Cumin – optional.

Balsamic vinegar – a lot.

Chopped up tomato(es) (or a can of diced tomatoes.)

One can of tomato paste

Water

Directions:

Smash garlic. Let sit.

Brown the beef. Remove from pot (optional).

Brown the onions. Add back the beef.

Chop up garlic and add.

Add tomatoes and whatever spices you are using.

Add a lot of vinegar.

Add water (or chicken stock) to cover. Cover, cook on low for an hour. Ideally longer.

Mix in tomato paste.

Cook a while longer.

Adjust spices.

Eat.

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