If fermented foods are missing from your diet, you should really consider adding them. Fermentation is a means that humans have been using to preserve foods since time immemoriam, and we’re finding out that fermented foods are great for your gut. There are numerous benefits to having a healthy gut, from performance to your mental health. If you’re like me and you’re obsessed with spicy things, then fermenting your own hot sauce is a good way to add a probiotic kick to your meals.
This recipe is one I used recently. The keys to making it good are to make sure your jar is sanitized before filling it, so bad bacteria don’t have a chance to grow. You also want to make sure the peppers are completely submerged so mold doesn’t grow at the top.
If you have a batch of pickled vegetables already, you can use a tablespoon or so of the liquid from that batch in this one. That way, the microbes from the first batch will grow in this one.
Lacto-Fermented Garlic and Jalapeno Sauce
- .5 pounds of jalapeno peppers, sliced into strips
- 1 garlic bulb, peeled and smashed
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 1 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- Starter culture
- To make the brine, bring water, salt, sugar, vinegar and optional ingredients (except for the starter liquid) to a boil until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool down
- In a mason jar, pack in sliced jalapeno peppers and smashed garlic cloves. You can crowd the jar, but make sure there is enough room at top so the peppers can be completely submerged in pickling fluid
- When the brine has cooled to room temperature, pour the brine over the peppers and make sure they are completely submerged
- If using, add a starter culture
- Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth. Allow to ferment on the counter for at least 2 days and as long as you want (I let it ferment for 14 days)
- Remove peppers from the brine, reserving the brine, and proccess in a food processor until it reaches your desired chunkiness
- While in the food processor, add the brine to peppers until it reaches your desired consistency. The more brine you add, the more liquidy it will become
Pork loin is an underrated cut of meat. It is lean, but when cooked properly it can be a succulent piece of meat. I cook this one in a cast iron skillet after marinading for 24 hours. A nice sear gives it more flavor and a nice textural contrast. Then I slice it thinly and eat it throughout the week. The key is not to overcook it; when it overcooks, it becomes dry and chewy.
Cast Iron Pork Loin
- 2 pounds pork loin
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of 4 lemons
- Olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic minced
- Meat roasted herb blend, about 1/2 cup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, herbs, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk vigorously while adding oil until the marinade has enough volume to completely cover the pork.
Add pork and marinade to a freezer bag, pressing all air out of the bag, and refridgerate overnight.
Preheat over to 400 degrees and pre-heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Remove pork from marinade and add to cast iron skillet. Discard the remaining marinade.
Sear the pork on all sides until it develops a brown crust. Put the cast iron skillet in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes per pound of pork. Check the temperature periodically; the pork is done when it reaches 140 degrees at the center.
Remove the pork from the cast iron skillet and cover with foil for 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve.
Stew is a great way to make something nutritious, packed with protein, vegetables, and good carbs, and have plenty of leftovers. It even tastes better with some time in the refridgerator. The secret to nailing this recipe is to sear the beef; it gives the beef a nice texture (crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside) and deglazing the Dutch oven gives the veggies a nice, deep flavor. Here’s a simple stew recipe that is easy to whip together.
- 2.5# beef stew meat
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 4 shallots, roughly chopped
- 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 4 carrots, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 8 oz baby red potatoes, quartered
- 10 oz frozen peas
- 1 bay leaf
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup red wine
- 12 oz tomato paste
- Season stew meat with salt and pepper and let rest until room temperature, about 30 minutes
- In a large Dutch oven, heat avocado oil and olive oil to high
- Sear the stew meat over high heat until brown on all sides. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Set stew meat aside.
- Lower heat and add more oil to the Dutch oven
- Add crushed red pepper, garlic, onion, shallots, celery, and carrots to the Dutch oven and sweat them over medium, low heat until onions are translucent. While doing this, use a straight, wooden spatula to stir the vegetables and deglaze the Dutch oven, being sure to mix any of the brown bits stuck to the Dutch oven into the vegetables
- Add wine and make sure the Dutch oven is fully deglazed. Bring heat back up to high
- Stir in the tomato paste until it is fully dissolved
- Add stew meat, bay leaf and beef broth, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the potatoes and peas and return to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer until reduced, about two hours. Adjust salt and pepper to taste
Beets are good for you, especially if you lift. In addition to vitamins and minerals, they lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, and boost stamina. They also boost nitric oxide and improve muscle performance. This smoothie is a good way to get them; it also gives you some citrus and sea salt for vitamin C and electrolytes, which you’ll need if you are sweating a lot.
For the oranges, I like to mix 1 ruby and 1 Florida orange, but feel free to experiment.
- 1 whole beet, peeled and roughly chopped
- Beet greens from 1 beet
- 2 oranges, juiced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Sea salt, to taste
- Ice water, to taste
Add ingredients to a blender and blend until you reach the desired consistency.
This is the first post where I will share recipes that I use in my cooking. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am keeping it fairly low carb with carbs around my workouts, and I am generally keeping it paleo (though my theory on paleo might differ from others, which I’ll save for a later blog).
This recipe for chili is great. It is easy to prep, tastes good, and can be portioned out to eat as a quick snack or meal throughout the week. It’s filled with things that are good for you:
- Grass fed beef is loaded with protein, healthy fats, and Vitamin E
- A healthy amount of garlic and onions contains oodles of antioxidants
- Jalapenos and dried chiles are loaded with vitamins, capsaicin (which helps fight inflammation), boost immunity, help control fat, and basically everything else good in the world
- Tomatoes, which improve heart health and bone health
- Homemade bone broth, which helps your joints and comes packed with vitamins and minerals
- Mushrooms, which improve your immune system while lowering estrogen
- Lastly, the bacon and beef give you some cholesterol, which is actually good for you and is highly anabolic
It is spicy, but not too spicy. It is a good way to hide vegetables or things you might not otherwise want to eat. Case in point; the mushrooms are perfect for someone like me, who doesn’t like the texture of mushrooms, but wants to get them in somehow. You will want to pick a mushroom with a meaty flavor, so it enhances the flavor of the dish.
It is easy to modify: add offal if you’d like, or use a different kind of meat, or adjust the amount of chili powder you want to use. This is a dish that is prime for experimentation.
It is great on top of a starchy carb or on its own.
- 1 tblspoon olive oil
- 1 large chopped onion
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 jalapenos, seeds removed and diced
- 16 oz diced tomatoes
- 2# grass fed ground beef
- 4 oz mushrooms
- 4 oz uncured bacon, cubed
- 2 cups homemade chicken broth
- 2 tblspoons chili powder
- 1 tblspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp chipolte powder
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Rinse and dry mushrooms and then chop them finely in a food processor. Set aside.
- In a dutch oven over medium heat, add oil and bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy, then remove the bacon
- Saute the onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the dutch oven and saute in the olive oil/bacon fat mixture until cooked through. As you saute, use the edge of your spoon to scrape up any brown bits that may have stuck to the dutch oven
- Add the ground beef to the pan and toss to combine with the onion, garlic, and mushroom mixture. Break the meat up with your spoon so it evenly browns throughout the dutch oven
- Once browned, toss in the reserved bacon, chili powder, ancho chili powder, chipolte powder, sea salt and pepper. Mix the seasonings in using your spoon so the meat is evenly seasoned throughout
- Stir in tomatoes and chicken broth
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for at least 1.5 hours, uncovered. Stir occasionally, being sure to scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the dutch oven
Let me know what you think.