Just a quick update on our organic deliveries…
About 2 months ago, we switched our delivery service to Door to Door Organics. They deliver to our neighborhood every Tuesday and bring the box right up to the door. Keeping with the green theme, the delivery person gladly takes back with last weeks empty box, packing material and cold packs. The service has been superb and Door to Door Organics sets themselves apart in many ways. They have an easy online ordering system with a “special diets” section for gluten free and dairy free products). If you are ordering the weekly food boxes you have the option to substitute items that you don’t like of aren’t part of your diet. They have a great product selection including organic, ethical meats (some of my favorites are Black Earth Meats and Gunthorp Farms). Door to Door also has really great customer service. We had an issue when they forgot to pack Rene’s strawberries two weeks in a row, but it just took a quick email to resolve the situation. The second time it happened, they actually sent a driver out to special deliver the strawberries and even comped us an extra carton. Rene without strawberries equals, well, I’ll let you fill in the blank before I get into trouble. The deliveries save me a couple trips to Whole Foods every week and the prices are about the same. If you want to try it out, let us know. We can invite up to 5 people a month and they will get 50% off the price of their first order. Even if you don’t order anything, be sure to check out their site for a ton of recipe ideas. They really do it right and we plan on sticking with them for a long time.
Pizza is the only pre-paleo craving that I have. I was really excited to see the pizza crust recipe in “Against All Grain“, so I couldn’t wait to try it out. The recipe shows a prep time of 10 min and cook time of 20 min. This is perfectly accurate timing if you happen to own a time machine. We invested two solid hours making just two Paleo pizzas. I’m sure things will speed up after some tweaks and getting more practice at the prep. Here are some hints from the first try: 1) The dough comes out pretty sticky, so be ready with extra almond flour. 2) I tried the double parchment paper rolling, but had to resort to using my hands to form the crust. 3) Our crust was about 3/8″ thick and I’d definitely go thinner next time. The recipe calls for 1/4”, so stick to that or thinner. 4) Cook time was at least 20 min per pizza after pre-cookng the crust for 12 min. Just keep an eye on it. After all that prep work you definitely don’t want to burn anything.
Overall, the crust was doughy, but firm enough to pick up and eat like a regular pizza slice. It browned up really nicely on the edges and bottom. It was pretty tasty, too. Our fixins for the first pizza were an olive oil base, pan seared heirloom tomatoes, sautéed banana peppers and sautéed crimini mushrooms. I added a little hot sauce to the final product for some kick. The second pizza, deservedly winning the “most delicious pizza of the night” award, had a homemade pesto base with grilled organic chicken, sautéed red onion, sautéed crimini mushrooms and toasted pine nuts. We had fresh basil for the pesto from our balcony planters, so the pesto sauce was extra fresh and amazing. I have a quick recipe for the pesto if anyone is interested.
Would I try it again? Absolutely. But, I would definitely allot more time and patience for the crust. It doesn’t totally satisfy my pizza craving, but it comes pretty close and it was fun to eat some pizza for a change. The best news is that the old pizza cutter still has a place of honor in depths my kitchen drawer.
Paleo Pizza Pie!
We just got our first shipment of Epic bars and now we have had a chance to try them all. If you haven’t heard about the Epic bars yet, they are a gluten free, soy free, protein bar made from bison, beef or turkey that had a 100% vegetarian diet. Cool concept, but how do they taste? I had some skepticism at first, but the Austin based company really makes the flavors work. The bison bar is complemented by bacon and cranberries, beef is infused with habanero and cherry & turkey rounds out the trio with almond and cranberries. If you love meat, and I most certainly do, these bars are pretty darn good. They are like a meaty, delicious power bar similar to jerky but without the jaw straining workout. Overall, I like them. My dad also likes them. My mom, on the other hand, was pretty turned off by the whole idea. She begrudgingly tried the Turkey Epic Bar and made the face of a 3 yr old trying brussels sprouts for the first time. These will be a hit with some and others are going to get freaked out by the idea of Thanksgiving dinner in a bar form.
Last night we were at Danielle Walker’s book signing for Against All Grain. RxBar had a table set up with samples of their 100% Paleo bars and I got into a good discussion with the owner, Peter Rahal. He was wondering how they made the Epic bars shelf stable. Hmmmm, I never thought of that. Peter had a few ideas of how it could be done, and it sounded like salt is probably the easiest way. Sure enough, Peter was right. Each bar has 220-240mg of sodium per bar. Not the end of the world, but 9-10% of your daily sodium intake. Just something to keep in mind as you are tastily munching away.
So, where do Epic bars fit into the mix? Energy bar? Jerky? They are probably a whole new category and I hope they inspire even more creative Paleo foods in the future.
Delicious, Meaty Bars
Last weekend was unseasonably cold in Chicago. We went to a baseball game Saturday night and I wore a down shell, scarf and closed toe shoes. That’s absolutely ridiculous for the last weekend of July. Sunday was not much better with semi cloudy skies mixed with the city’s infamous wind. My mom was in town, so instead of a walk by the lake, we opted for an indoor activity. We have fun no matter what – weather be damned! Off to Costco and Whole Foods we went. We gathered ingredients for Sunday night dinner and got her stocked up on paleo goodies. Whole Foods – if you’re reading this – Northwest Indiana is craving a store!!
Last week, our friend Jim got us hungry for meatballs. It just so happened that Juli from PaleOMG also posted a meatball recipe called Summer Squash Meatball Casserole. A casserole (on a cold summer’s day!) sounded so good. After grabbing zukes, squash, meat, etc. we headed to the almond butter aisle …1) Chuck must always have a jar of Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter on hand 2) We’d definitely want a paleo treat for dessert after the casserole, so I picked up a simple MaraNatha brand jar to make zucchini brownies. $25 worth of Almond Butter later and we’re ready to checkout. Zoinks.
We cooked up our feast, which also included collard greens (from our organic delivery that week) and baked sweet potato bites. The casserole was really good and heated up nicely the next day in my lunch as well. My mom loved the brownies, as I knew she would – (duh chocolate!) My only recommendation on the brownie recipe is to be sure to squeeze out all the water from the zucchini after you’ve shredded it and before adding to the rest of your ingredients. I also used ‘Enjoy Life’ chocolate chips instead of the dark chocolate chunks it calls for.
Let’s hope for sunshine this weekend, but try out this feast in any kind of weather!