how-to

Eating low carb?  Doing a challenge or making a change to a paleo lifestyle?  Don't let the spaghetti squash intimidate you.  You can master this versatile squash in one of 3 ways!  Instant Pot (my personal fave), Oven and Stovetop.

Eating low carb?  Doing a challenge or making a change to a paleo lifestyle?  Don't let the spaghetti squash intimidate you.  You can master this versatile spaghetti squash 3 ways!  Instant Pot (my personal fave), oven and stovetop.

How amazing is squash?  I mean you can do all sorts of things with them:  mash them, whip them, put them in brownies, cake, coffee (hello pumpkin spice things) or shape them into noodles.  Spaghetti squash already comes in convenient noodle type strands eliminating the need for another kitchen gadget.  But don't worry if you still want a spiralizer we get it, we have one too.

Because the texture is so important, the spaghetti squash can be daunting.  Undercook it and you might as well be wrestling an alligator – those delicious strands are staying firmly attached to the rind.  Overcook it and it is a sloppy mushy mess.  It still tastes okay, but you definitely know its squash and not noodles.

Well never fear: we are here to save the spaghetti squash day by offering three ways to get it cooked to perfection and on your table.

The first way is the original way for me.  I remember my mom growing spaghetti squash in the garden, picking one fresh and bringing it in for dinner.  She always cooked it in the oven.  Not for those of you in a hurry or on an especially hot day, but firing up the oven is a great way to get this squash cooked!

Oven Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Using a large knife cut the spaghetti squash in half.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and inner membrane and discard.
  4. Place the hollowed out spaghetti squash face down on a sheet or pan (with the skin facing up).
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, and remove.  
  6. Allow it to cool slightly before attempting to remove and eat the “spaghetti”.

The Second method is a little faster but requires more knife time.  If you are anything like me, with a million things on the go, it's easy to lose track and overcook spaghetti squash.  It still tastes great a little overcooked, but it is less texturally like pasta.

Stovetop Method

  1. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds and membrane.
  2. Cut halves into 4, so 8 chunks in total.
  3. Put into a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook 15-18 minutes.
  5. Drain well and let cool slightly before removing the “spaghetti” from the rind.

The last method is my favorite way to cook spaghetti squash.  And not just because I passionately love my Instant Pot (I do, really really do).  I don't need to worry about the pot boiling over or burning my squash to a crisp, it's not as fast as the stovetop, but not as slow as the oven.  And is nearly fail-proof.  Like anything you really set your mind to, you can wreck it.  I kid, but really, you hold all the power!  Without any further delay, the star of the show! How to cook spaghetti squash in your Instant Pot.

What is your favorite way to cook Spaghetti squash?  And what kind of sauce do you love? There are a couple here (spaghetti sauce!), and here (puttanesca)!  But we are always looking for ideas!

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash – Instant Pot


  • Author: Holley
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 8 min
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings
  • Cuisine: Vegetable

Description

Eating low carb?  Doing a challenge or making a change to a paleo lifestyle?  Don't let the spaghetti squash intimidate you.  You can master this versatile spaghetti squash 3 ways!


Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash (Or more. It's all up to you.)

Instructions

  1. Using a large knife cut the spaghetti squash in half.
  2. Scoop out the seeds and inner membrane and discard.
  3. Place the hollowed out spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot, however you can make it fit.
  4. Add 1 cup of water, and close the lid.
  5. Cook for 8 minutes on high pressure.
  6. When it beeps, do a QUICK pressure release.
  7. Allow it to cool slightly before attempting to eat the “spaghetti”.

Notes

A fork works best for pulling the squash from the skin.

Eating low carb?  Doing a challenge or making a change to a paleo lifestyle?  Don't let the spaghetti squash intimidate you.  You can master this versatile squash in one of 3 ways!  Instant Pot (my personal fave), Oven and Stovetop.

2018-06-14T13:27:29+00:00

About the Author:

Real food fan. My first love is baking, and it keeps me sane. I am new to the Paleo lifestyle, but already infatuated. Recovering sugar Junkie. Love awkward situations, drunk people and ridiculously high heeled shoes, especially when they coincide. Always looking for my next great story.

Sous Vide for Dummies - How to Sous Vide - Learn about Sous Vide - https://www.theprimaldesire.com/how-to-sous-vide/

 It looks like there's a lot here.  Well, actually I guess there is.  But if you're simply looking for the Sous Vide for Dummies' instructions, skip right down to How to Sous Vide.

Sous Vide for Dummies

_________
  1. What is Sous Vide?
  2. Why Use Sous Vide?
  3. How to Sous Vide
  4. Sous Vide Accessories and Additional Info
  5. Instant Pot ACCU SV800 Sous Vide
  6. Recipes
  7. ACCU SV800 Sous Vide ***GIVEAWAY***

What is Sous Vide?

Sous vide (soo-veed) is a French term that means “under vacuum”.  The cooking technique involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic pouch and cooking it within a water bath.  The water temperature is precisely controlled by the sous vide machinery.

The desired temperature of the food is set in the sous vide unit.  For example, the perfect medium rare steak would measure an internal temperature between 130-140°F.  After a few hours in the sous vide, the steak will be the perfect doneness.  ***Cooking temperatures and approximate minimum cook times can be found online or from other resources (learn how to make perfect eggs here).

So, why is it vacuum sealed?  The air is removed from the bag because air pockets can lead to uneven cooking.  Actual vacuum sealing is not usually necessary, but do remove as much air ass possible.

Sous vide is a cooking technique commonly used in high-quality restaurant kitchens to achieve some perfectly cooked dishes.  This simple technology is now available for home use – for the price of only a couple fancy meals out.

Why Use Sous Vide?

This method of cooking allows for even cooking throughout the food while avoiding moisture loss.  When the steak or other ingredients are finished, you can then sear or grill the outside to get that desired browned outer crispy crust.

Certain types of foods benefit more from sous vide cooking than others.  Things that require a precise temperature to achieve the desired outcome such as steaks, lamb, and other meats with a specific doneness; eggs (no bag required for boiled eggs in shell!); and other foods that are to be cooked in their own juices without losing their nutritional value.

How is cooking with a sous vide different?  Unlike with other forms of high-heat cooking, once the center of the food reaches the set temperature, it does not continue to over-cook.  No need to stop prior to reaching the perfect temperature and letting the meat rest as it continues to cook after being removed from heat, the way that you would while BBQing, etc.

This is also a healthy form of cooking.  For one thing, since it's a low heat cooking method, there is no burning or over charing – no cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)!  Also, with natural flavors, vitamins and juices retained in the vacuum bag, little to no salt is required.  Be sure to use BPA-free plastic or food-grade silicone bags.

How to Sous Vide

This could not be easier …unless you have someone else do it for you.  “Sous Vide for Dummies” really isn't even needed!

_________
  1. Season uncooked food as desired.
  2. Seal food in a sealed bag that the air has been pressed or sucked out of (see below).
  3. Place the bag in a pot (clipped to the side) and fill with enough water to cover the bag (being sure that the water level is between the Min and Max levels for the sous vide).
  4. Set the sous vide immersion circulator to the desired temperature and then for the appropriate amount of time (Google the appropriate time and temperature for the food you are cooking).
  5. Remove from water when finished and, if desired, brown the outsides of the food using a cast iron pan, BBQ, or broiler with high heat (after removing from the bag).

Serve, photograph, share on Instagram, and enjoy!

Sous Vide Accessories & Additional Info

You can totally get away with the basics above, but here are some extra sous vide extras to make things a little easier, or in case you really get into it.

Sous Vide Bags- From zip-lock bags or reusable silicone bags to reusable vacuum bags or a vacuum sealer, here are some options:

Zip-lock bag

Reusable silicone bags

Reusable vacuum bags

Vacuum sealer

Wire Rack- Using a rack at the bottom of the container can help hold the bad so that the water can circulate around the bag and evenly heat the food.

Metal Rack

Water Container- You are free to use a large pot if you have one large enough, or an Instant Pot liner if you have one (although I find that I always want to make potatoes or something in the Instant Pot while I'm cooking the meat in the sous vide.  Truly I should buy a second liner…), but you may want to purchase a water container with more space.  Maybe you need room for more food.  Try this out:

Sous Vide Container

Sous Vide Balls- Why do you want your balls in hot water?  This isn't necessary, per se, but the reason for these little ping-pong-like guys can be used to insulate the water from the air, meaning that you don't waste as much energy.  They also prevent the water from evaporating.

Sous Vide Balls

Instant Pot ACCU SV800 Sous Vide

The Instant Pot ACCU SV800 Sous Vide Immersion Circulator is an affordable sous vide option which does not result in another large piece of kitchen equipment:  you can use it in an existing pot (or Instant Pot liner).

The display and design are attractive, clean and easy use.

Here's one of the best parts:  if used correctly, no cleaning is required!  Just let it air dry after use!

What else, what else… well, you know that we have really enjoyed our Instant Pot pressure cookers, but we are actually big fans of the company itself.  They really stand behind their products and if you ever have ANY problems, they are terrific at looking after their customers.

Recipes

You can expect to see more sous vide recipes from us in the future which you can find here.  For now, I can not emphasize enough how good this lamb recipe is: Paleo Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry.

Paleo Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry - http://wp.me/p4Aygm-2kb

GIVEAWAY

Thank you to everyone who entered.  The contest is now closed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Instant Pot provided us with an ACCU SV800 Sous Vide to review, but all thoughts and opinions are our own.  And I really needed a How to Sous Vide (Sous Vide for Dummies) manual myself, so I thought it would be selfish not to share what I learned.

Instant Pot Accu Sv800 sous vide GIVEAWAY. Learn about how to sous vide and enter to WIN - https://www.theprimaldesire.com/how-to-sous-vide/
Sous Vide for Dummies - How to Sous Vide - Learn about Sous Vide - https://www.theprimaldesire.com/how-to-sous-vide/
Sous Vide for Dummies - How to Sous Vide - Learn about Sous Vide - https://www.theprimaldesire.com/how-to-sous-vide/
Sous Vide giveaway - https://www.theprimaldesire.com/how-to-sous-vide/Sous Vide for Dummies - How to Sous Vide - Learn about Sous Vide - https://www.theprimaldesire.com/how-to-sous-vide/
2018-06-22T13:14:52+00:00

About the Author:

I’m trained as a pharmacist, but my passion lies in changing people’s mental and physical health through amazing food… and laughter. I’ll laugh at my own jokes even if you don’t. I love food. Lust may be a more appropriate word. Prepare to get your Paleo-induced drool-on!

Brewing Tea, the proper way - www.ThePrimalDesire.com

I have been sick.  I got a sinus infection.  I used to get them all the time.  I know, lucky me.  I hadn't suffered one in a while, so I forgot how “awesome” they were.  Because I've been sick I haven't cooked anything all week.  I have spent the last week in bed binge-watching Downton Abbey and eating food other people have been kind enough to make for me.  I have to admit… I adore Downton Abbey.  Adore.  I had a very proper British Granny who lived to be 102.  She was one of my favorite people and helped shape me in a number of ways.  I didn't realize how much influence she had until I had watched a few episodes.  I am an old soul apparently, or I have started my granny days already.  The Abbey life would have been the life for me!!

My Granny believed that children, for the most part, should be seen and not heard.  She ruled her brood of children with an iron apron, but by the time I came around (one of the dozens of great-grandchildren) she had softened up considerably.  She was the reason I get writers cramp writing my full name, why I love to bake, send real mail, garden, and the reason I love brewing tea.

I like English country gardens (not abundant in the show, but they always have these amazing floral displays in the abbey), overflowing with flowers, full blooming roses, lily of the valley, bleeding hearts, mums, asters, lily's, crocuses, irises, and so many more.  It was her who had the patience to explain to my 5-year-old self all the flower names.  My granny used to point out all the different types of flowers and blooms on our daily stroll, often to the mailbox.  That's right, I said “mailbox”, a place we would walk to every day to get real mail; letters, not just flyers and bills.  We risked severe paper cuts and stamp poisoning sending news and thoughts written on real paper.  My great grandmother was my pen pal for years, sending pretty postcards and letters in crowded loopy cursive that only my dad could read.  As long as I wrote her back, the mail would come every few weeks, and it was so darn exciting!  I would skip home from the post office, letter in hand and wait for Dad to translate.   There was no butler to bring me the post on a silver platter, but I received and sent more mail than most kids my age.  After a stroll to the post, it was tea time.

She had tea every afternoon.  Black tea so strong you could stand a spoon up in it.  I looked forward to adding milk and sugar with fine silver teaspoons out of crystal jars onto the fragrant dark liquid.  She would watch closely that you didn't fill your cup with sugar, clearing her throat and raising a brow if your sugar spoon was heaped too high.  The entire process was a party for me: china teacups with saucers, hand painted flowers on the china, and cookies… there was always cookies.  I love cookies.

Brewing Tea, the proper way - www.ThePrimalDesire.com

She explained the process of brewing tea, and if you missed a step, somehow she knew.  She always knew.  Even long dead I know she is “tsk, tsk-ing” me when I pour hot water over a teabag in a tumbler.

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Brewing Tea, the proper way - www.ThePrimalDesire.com

Brewing Tea, The “Proper” Way


  • Author: Holley - www.ThePrimalDesire.com
  • Category: Beverage

Ingredients

  • Tea Cup
  • Tea Pot
  • Tea Spoon
  • Fresh water
  • Kettle
  • Tea – in a bag or loose with a strainer
  • Tea Cozy- or a thick kitchen towel
  • Patience
  • Optional: cream and sugar. Or a more paleo: honey and coconut cream or almond milk.

Instructions

  1. Fill your kettle with fresh water and put on high heat until water comes to a full rolling boil.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water into your teapot and swirl it around a bit. Place your tea cozy or thick towel around your teapot and let it sit while you return your kettle to high heat. Returning your water once again to a rolling boil (unless you are drinking green tea, then you need to stop just short of a boil to avoid cooking the tea leaves).
  3. Pour the water out of your teapot and put your teabag/loose tea into your teapot, and gently pour your boiling water into the teapot.
  4. Cover with tea cozy or thick towel and let steep for 3-5 minutes or to your preference.
  5. Pour into a tea cup, or through a strainer depending on if you have used bags or loose tea. Add sugar if required and stir with your tea spoon.
  6. Grasp tea cup handle and raise your pinky finger high into the air as you sip from the cup.
  7. Optional: If adding cream or milk, put it into the cup before pouring in the tea. Why? I don't know, but that is the rule.

 

2018-03-22T00:51:04+00:00

About the Author:

Real food fan. My first love is baking, and it keeps me sane. I am new to the Paleo lifestyle, but already infatuated. Recovering sugar Junkie. Love awkward situations, drunk people and ridiculously high heeled shoes, especially when they coincide. Always looking for my next great story.

Choosing, Cutting, & Planting Pineapples - www.ThePrimalDesire.com - How to Cut a Pineapple (and Choose & Grow It)

Pineapples: They're amazing.  Don't let that spiky exterior scare you.

How to Choose a Ripe Pineapple

(Holley)  Picking out a pineapple, picking out the right pineapple, can be the toughest part. I didn't know until recently: once picked, pineapples don't continue to mature, (like men? kidding… just kidding…).  As they change color on your counter they are degrading or rotting! The color of the pineapple also has no impact on ripeness.  So when you are in the market, how do you know if that gorgeous fruit “eying” you up is ripe for the eating?  If you are lucky enough to live in a tropical region, buy locally!  Here in the not so tropical, try to buy fruit that comes from a region as close to you as possible.

What do you do after that?

1 – Squeeze that pineapple: it should be firm yet give ever so slightly under your press. I have seen a method where you pluck a leaf from the top palm.  If it releases easily the fruit is ripe. But then what the heck do you do with the torn off leaf? I put it in my pocket for later, I'm always looking for good food photo props (again kidding). If it comes off too easily, it could mean the fruit is rotten. ***The Dole website (and they should probably be experts) says this method is not reliable.

2 – It is a good idea to inspect the leaves, green and fresh looking foliage is important. Handle the fruit, the heavier it is the juicier it will be.

3 – Inspect the pineapple skin, wrinkled, orange-ish-brown, cracks, mold, or brown withering leaves should be avoided, these will indicate the fruit is rotten, and spoiling.

4 – ***The bottom “button” of the pineapple is usually the spot I go to. I look like a crazy person sniffing pineapple bottoms, but it's effective. If it smells sweet like pineapple, we have a winner.  Just watch that the “button” doesn't smell fermented or acrid. Vinegar or wine smell: *waves hand over your face hypnotically* this not the pineapple you are looking for (Star Wars reference, too much of a reach?).

Now you have picked the one, set a date and bought a dress… nope, that's not right…now you have purchased the pineapple and brought it home to meet the family, you are ready to carve it. There are a couple methods:

 

How to Cut a Pineapple

Method 1: Fancy Pineapple Cutter

I love gadgets, so I have this fancy Pineapple Corer. Next, I want a banana slicer; well, someday (you need to check that out). This fancy pineapple corer doesn't look spectacular until you see what it can do. It peels the inside fruit in uniform curls. It does leave more meat inside than I would like, but then you can make fancy patio drinks in the leftover shell. I have also seen the skin used as a serving bowl. Fancy schmancy! The upside, pineapple is a uniform size and shape. It's quick and easy, and you are left with a killer patio drink cup!

    1. Slice the top off where the pineapple starts to flatten out.
    2. Center the tool over the core.
    3. Apply pressure while turning the tool until you hit the bottom of the pineapple, this part can be quite juicy.
    4. Once at the bottom, gently lift upwards; there will be some suction.
    5. Once removed I just un-click the handle and slide the rings over the top area onto a cutting board or into a container (this will vary depending on your fancy tool).
    6. There will be juice left inside the skin, this is delicious! Add some rum and drink while admiring your handy work. That was easy! Yay you!

Method 2: Knife

Most people aren't going to have that great tool, so here's how you do it with a knife:

    1. If you don't have a fancy tool, a plain old knife will do just fine. Make sure it is sharp: you are more likely to cut or injure yourself with a dull knife. A dull anything is never good in my opinion.
    2. Cut the bottom off, straight.
    3. Do the same to the top, you could leave the leaves on and use them as a handle, but I prefer to get them out of the way so I can see where to cut, (or check out the method below for planting your own pineapple palm)
    4. Stand the pineapple up on the cutting board and using a downward motion remove the skin.  I prefer a thin cut to leave as much of the fruit as possible.
    5. Once the main outer area is removed you are left with “eyes” or barbs dotting the fruit.  These are in a diagonal pattern. You can carve them out individually which is painfully time consuming, or you can channel them out in a spiral (see picture).  Look at the creation you have made! It's beautiful (even if it's not, I'm sure it's delicious!).
    6. But we aren't done yet. Look at the center of the fruit, see that circle? That's the core, we need to take that out. It is edible, but tough, fibrous and a little woody.  Again, there are a few ways to take that out, the easiest I find is to quarter the fruit (lengthwise) and simply lop off the pointy part, but you can cut into the core in a “V”.
    7. Now you can spear, slice, freeze, dehydrate, or straight-up eat the fruit. Good job, you have mastered pineapple cutting!

Check out our pineapple recipes.

Pineapple Planting Instructions

(Raj) Pineapple plants are beautiful tropical plants (the picture at the top of the page is a plant that I saw in Thailand) which are very easy to grow.  Eventually, you can even grow the fruit!

Option 1

1.     Firmly grab pineapple crown (the spiky leaves at the top) and twist to remove from the body.

2.     Peel off leaves at the base of the crown.  Peel off enough layers so that some eyes or sprouts are visible (1/3 – 2/3 inches).

3.     You can actually just put this as-is into the damp soil (line the bottom of the planter with about an inch of gravel for drainage), remembering to keep this soil moist, and after a few weeks, it will take root.

Option 2  (1st 2 steps as above)

3.     Cut the cone off of the base of the crown.  Cut enough off so that you can see the eyes around the perimeter of the cut.

4.     Plant this into the damp soil (line the bottom of the planter with about an inch of gravel for drainage), remembering to keep this soil moist over the next few weeks.

Option 3  (1st 2 steps as above)

3.     Cut the cone off of the base of the crown.  Cut enough off so that you can see the eyes around the perimeter of the cut.

4.     In a glass or jar filled with cold water, place the base of the crown so that only the bottom 1/4-1/3 inch is in the water (if too much of the plant is submerged, more will just rot away).  Make sure to add water each day as the water level will drop.  If it starts to stink, change the water, wash off the base, and if the bottom leaves are starting to rot, pull them off.

5.     Allow to sit in water for enough time to sprout from eyes (about 2 weeks).  Periodically replace with fresh water.

6.     Plant this into the damp soil (line the bottom of the planter with about an inch of gravel for drainage), remembering to keep this soil moist over the next few weeks.

Notes:

  • I have used all three methods successfully, though Options 2 & 3 have given me better results.
  • Water weekly.
  • It will take some time for the crown to take root, and in that time the leaves will brown and dry out.  It will look dead.  That's ok.  Right when you're about to give up on it, you'll notice some small new leaves pushing up through the middle.  Give it a little more time to become stable, then cut off the dry dead parts.
  • It is possible to produce a pineapple fruit in time (starting around 12-14 months) given appropriate temperature and enough sun.  I have not attempted to do this, but I have read that in order to do this you will need to fertilize the plant every 3 months.  The good people at Dole have suggested a method of doing this (their planting instructions are different from mine as well).

 

2018-03-23T12:47:34+00:00

About the Author:

I’m trained as a pharmacist, but my passion lies in changing people’s mental and physical health through amazing food… and laughter. I’ll laugh at my own jokes even if you don’t. I love food. Lust may be a more appropriate word. Prepare to get your Paleo-induced drool-on!
How to Cut a Mango - www.ThePrimalDesire.com

Whole, Cheek, Cubed and Seed

If you’ve never cut a mango, why would you know how to, right?  How would you know that there is a large pit in the middle, or what its shape is?  That’s why I thought I’d give you some help.  I remember  the first time I was shown.  Thanks T!

The mango seed is long and flat.

Now then, this is how to cut a mango:

  1. To start, hold the mango on a cutting board, stem down.  You want to cut just next to the widest part of the mango, maybe ¼ inch off-center.  Do the same on the other side of the seed to cut off the other “cheek”.
  2. With each cheek skin-side down, slice length-wise with parallel cuts – careful not to cut through the skin.  Turn and cut perpendicular slices.
  3. If you push the mango skin inside out, the mango cubes are splayed out and you can pop them off the skin with your thumb, knife, or spoon.

Check out our mango recipes.

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Now that you know how to cut a mango, it's time you go use some.  Why not make a Mango Tequila BBQ SauceMango Mint Iced Tea, or Thai Red Curry Clams with Mango.

2018-06-22T13:09:03+00:00

About the Author:

I’m trained as a pharmacist, but my passion lies in changing people’s mental and physical health through amazing food… and laughter. I’ll laugh at my own jokes even if you don’t. I love food. Lust may be a more appropriate word. Prepare to get your Paleo-induced drool-on!

Paleo Thai Red Curry Clams & Mango - www.ThePrimalDesire.com

Thai Red Curry Clams & Mango because fruit is amazing in curries!

As promised:  More about the impact Thailand and Thai cuisine had on me.  And then a fantastic recipe and How-To Tips on cleaning and cooking fresh clams.

My trip to Thailand changed my life in a lot of ways.  If you're familiar with Thailand at all, I spent some time in Chiang Mai at the beginning.  It's a beautiful and spiritual area, with the most amazing Buddhist temples.  It's artistic, laid back, and friendly.  I met a couple fantastic fellow travelers, ate some incredible Thai food (I miss the “street meat”.  The best Pad Thai I've ever had), and the fresh smoothies that I have not been able to recreate.  I was lucky enough to participate in a 2-day silent introduction to Buddhism and meditation.  That sounds funny: the monk spoke to us and we could ask him questions, but we weren't allowed to speak to a longer one.

I also signed up for a Thai cooking class which was phenomenal!  The day started off early and we were taken to a market where they taught us about the different ingredients (like the differences in the dozens of different barrels of rice), let us wander around taking photos, and let us try fried bamboo worms – the first of many insects that I ate while I was there (FYI- they had the texture of cheese puffs and the faint taste of dried shrimp).  From there we went out to the farm where most of the vegetables we ended up cooking with were grown.  I made green curry paste from scratch!  I think we made about 7 dishes as the day progressed.  I highly recommend doing these kinds of classes while traveling!  Whether it's with an organized business like the Thai Farm Cooking School that I went to, or buy a local a bunch of groceries and get the at-home experience.  Now that's a cooking show I would love to host!

The food!  So fresh.  So flavorful!  I loved it.  I was surprised at how fulfilled I was with the local diet.  In fact, one day a buddy invited me for a Western-style breakfast, and I felt like garbage afterward.  I’ve never had problems with food, I was proud of my iron stomach.  But what I realized was that this awful feeling actually was my “normal” back home.  Brick-in-stomach and bloated.  In the month that I was there, that was one of only a handful of Western meals that I’d eaten.  Most of the time I was eating “street-meat”.

I.  Felt.  Great.

So when I came back home I really started analyzing food.  I thought about the Thai diet and what made it so satisfying, healthy, and delicious.  There are a number of aspects to this.  There’s very little gluten or grains in general.  The food is fresh:  This fish was caught today- just pulled it off the boat; this fruit smoothie is made from a coconut that was just cracked open and fruit from that tree behind us…  Wow.  Real food lovers, and 100 Mile diet eaters, and anyone who loves tasty food: eat your heart out!!!  Indigenous plants and fruits.  Mangosteens.  Rambutan.  Jackfruit.  Durian… not so much with the durian (they smell like vomit and have a disgusting texture as well).  Fresh pineapples, bananas, mangos, coconuts.  Oh.  Em.  Gee.

Another aspect of Thai cuisine is the flavor profile: it has everything!  It’s sweet, salty, bitter, sour, spicy, crunchy, and even though there was no cheese, I didn’t crave it every evening!  No cravings at all actually.  There’s an Ayurvedic principle that emphasizes the importance of getting all the tastes in a meal, and how you won’t be left with any cravings the way I was used to being (even after being physically full).

It's interesting how there are so many food sciences and diets and philosophies and guidelines out there, yet it's the old ideas that seem to make the most sense (Ayurveda being a holistic system of natural healing and traditional medicine based out of India over 5,000 years ago, and the Paleolithic era ending around 15,000 years ago).  And doesn't that make sense?  Over the generations of surviving and thriving in the past compared to our present-day state of health.  Something to think about.  No really: think about it.  How many people have never really thought about the food they eat and it's importance?  I don't mean you.  I mean the people who subsist on convenience foods and fast foods.  Surviving on food-like products.

Fun discussions.  Leave some thoughts in the comments.

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Thai Red Curry Clams & Mango


  • Author: Raj - www.ThePrimalDesire.com
  • Yield: 3-6 servings
  • Category: Seafood
  • Cuisine: Thai

Description

Thai curries are so beautiful and tasty. Fresh clams are amazing.


Ingredients

  • 6 lbs fresh clams
  • 2 Tbsp ghee
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tbsp galangal (ginger)(minced)
  • 2 Thai green chilies (diced) *add more if you like it spicy
  • 3 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1.5-2 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 medium stick lemongrass
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups bok choy
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (chopped, 1/2 inch)
  • 2 mangoes (cubed)
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • garnish with limes (cut in half) and fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, melt ghee over medium heat.
  2. Brown garlic, chilies, and galangal until fragrant.
  3. Add curry paste and cook for about 3 minutes, browning the paste.
  4. Stir in chicken broth, coconut milk, lime juice, and fish sauce. Turn temperature down to simmering heat.
  5. Crack lemongrass by striking along the length with the back of a chef's knife.
  6. Add kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass (use like bay leaves- you don't have to eat them).
  7. Simmer cauliflower until close to the desired doneness.
  8. Add bok choy, mangos, bell peppers and clams. Cook until clam shells open (only a few minutes).
  9. Remove from heat, discard clams that did not open and lemongrass. Mix in cilantro.
  10. Serve over riced cauliflower and top with more fresh cilantro and cut limes.
  11. Don't forget a bowl for people to put empty shells and kaffir lime leaves in.

Clam Preparation:

  • Clams should be alive when you cook them, so all uncooked clams should close when you're handling them (they can be open in the water, but will respond when you tap on them).  Any unresponsive clams should be discarded.
  • Clean barnacles and dirt off shells with brush or kitchen scrubber.
  • Keep clams in cool water with ice cubes, completely submerged, and keep dark (for 20 minutes to an hour.  While they soak, they will spit out salt, sand and other particles.  By adding a couple tablespoons of cornmeal or oatmeal to the water you can help the clams de-grit. You can rinse the clams a second time in a fresh bowl of cold water if desired.
  • Clams cook very quickly (as most seafood), and overcooking will cause them to be tough and rubbery.  Clams are cooked when shells open.  Any clams that do not open after cooking should be discarded as they were not alive to start, and could be contaminated with bacteria, etc.

Notes

You're going to want around 1-2 lbs of clams per person.

2018-04-09T11:21:03+00:00

About the Author:

I’m trained as a pharmacist, but my passion lies in changing people’s mental and physical health through amazing food… and laughter. I’ll laugh at my own jokes even if you don’t. I love food. Lust may be a more appropriate word. Prepare to get your Paleo-induced drool-on!
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