Beef Kefta

kefta with grilled veggies and cauliflower rice

What is kefta, anyways? Delicious, that’s what.

Kefta is Middle Eastern street food: essentially they are seasoned, grilled meatballs. The most recognizable kefta is made with ground lamb or a mixture of beef & lamb; seasoning varies depending on the region and the cook, but generally includes onions, garlic, turmeric, harissa, cumin, and cinnamon. The meat mixture is sometimes wrapped around a boiled egg and then broiled or grilled, and it can also be simmered in a rich, savory sauce and served with rice. In parts of India, kefta is often comprised of ground prawns, fish, or goat meat, bananas, spices and cabbage – a combination I am eager to try one of these days!

Beef Kefta

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
Method:
  1. Preheat the broiler or grill on high heat.
  2. If using wooden skewers, set them in water to soak; they should be wet enough to use by the time the meat is ready to skewer.
  3. Put all ingredients, minus the meat, in a food processor and pulse briefly. Add the meat and pulse again until combined. Alternatively, you can grate the onion, mince the garlic and herbs, and then combine with the other ingredients and mix together thoroughly. I personally like to use my hands for this process.
  4. Divide the mixture into sixteen 1oz balls (if you don’t have a scale, 1oz = 2 tablespoons). Mold each ball around a skewer, pressing the meat gently yet firmly into a cylindrical shape. I find using the palm of my hand works better than just using fingers for this step.
  5. Either grill or broil the kefta skewers for 3-5 minutes on each side, until browned.
  6. Serve with veggies and cauliflower rice.

forming the mixture into balls

ready to skewer

grilling time!

delicious paleo dinner

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Homemade Chicken Stock

Oh the unsung glories of homemade chicken stock! 

When I was in culinary school, one of my absolute favorite classes was Saucier. Soups, sauces, and stocks! All day long, for three weeks, we talked and touched chicken, beef & veal bones, demi glaces, mother sauces, consumme and chowder. Learning the finer art of preparing all of these and more boiled down to (pun intended) one essential ingredient: a good stock. Here in our primal-eating cave, I use chicken stock as a base for soups, sauces, in braises, stews, and also as a healthy beverage or snack.

But why make your own stock when you can go out and buy a can or carton? Why not save yourself some time, trouble & effort? Well, other than it really doesn’t take that much time at all (I make mine in my CrockPot these days), it makes excellent use of the leftover bones from Sunday’s roast bird, homemade bone broths are superior in taste, texture, and nutritional value. Rather than re-writing the wheel, let me send you over to one of my favorite blogs, Nourished Kitchen. There you will find a brief, comprehensive article on the benefits of making your own bone broth. You will also find a very good how-to at Naturally Knocked Up, complete with step-by-step photos (which is wonderful, because I don’t have any shots of the process myself.) And just because I think it’s a great article, complete with great recipes, follow this link to Sally Fallon’s article on why Broth is Beautiful.

beautiful broth

Homemade Chicken Stock a la CrockPot

Ingredients:

  • chicken bones (the carcass of one roasting hen, or the equivalent in legs, thighs, and backbone – the joints are especially good for this sort of thing!) *Note: for a true bone stock, all meat should be removed from the bones. Meat adds depth of flavor, and an increase in nutritional value; technically speaking, however, the liquid then becomes a broth.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted cloves)
  • 4 carrots, in chunks
  • 2 celery stalks (no leaves!), in chunks
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider is best)
  • a few sprigs of herbs (my favorites are thyme, rosemary, or marjoram)
Method:
  1. Place all the ingredients in the CrockPot.
  2. Cover with cold water.
  3. Cover with lid, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for at least eight hours, as long as 1 day, removing the scum as it forms on top.
  4. Strain, and pour into jars.
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until use.
Enjoy the Benefits!

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes?

Save the carb-induced coma and bloating that quickly follows consumption, they are by far one of the greatest and tastiest of breakfast creations. (Waffles being another – oh and biscuits, how could I forget my Granny’s biscuits & gravy?!)

Soft and fragrant, pancakes are versatile and so quick & easy to make from scratch, there really is no need to buy a boxed mix.

When we chose to change our eating habits to a more grain-free, Primal diet, the Hubby was despondent at the possibility of never having his favorite breakfast treat ever again (and I wasn’t exactly thrilled, either). Thank Heaven for coconut flour! The initial inspiration for my coconut pancakes came from Nourishing Days, a wonderful source for whole food recipes and traditional preservation techniques. Here is the link to her recipe. What follows below is my own creation.

coconut pancakes

Banana Nut Coconut Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs (free range preferred)
  • 1 cup plain coconut milk (pastured, if available)
  • 1 very ripe banana (I usually keep some in the freezer just for pancakes. Once thawed, they are incredibly mushy, nearly liquid, and mix into the batter beautifully.)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans, or almonds… any nut you prefer.)
  • optional: 1/4 blueberries
Method:
  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Combine all the ingredients, save the nuts and berries, in a blender and mis until combined. An immersion blender also works well, as does a good ole fashioned whisk!
  3. Mix in any nuts & berries by hand. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to thicken.
  4. Grease the skillet with butter or coconut oil.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup or 2 oz ladle, spoon the batter onto the cooking surface, one scoop per pancake.
  6. Cook each pancake approximately  2-3 minutes per side, until the batter bubbles and the bubbles pop. (If you don’t wait until the bubbles pop, you will end up with a mess!)
  7. Top with butter, nut butter, or a little honey or maple syrup.
Happy Cooking!

Primal Power Smoothie

I love smoothies! Well, not the typical, run-of-the-mill sort full of sugary juice and frozen yogurt… Even back before I really knew the truth about sugars, I avoided dessert-posing-as-health-food in favor of fruit & veggie based concoctions. They still weren’t very healthy, at least not by Primal standards – or even those of Weston A. Price (whose dietary guidelines we followed before we went Primal). Now that I’ve been educated & enlightened, I pack as much protein and fat into the blender as is humanly possible. The results are what I call the Primal Power Smoothie – because it imbibes the consumer with loads of primal energy! This smoothie is by & large one of my favorite snacks; I double it to turn it into a meal.

frozen raspberry goodness

Primal Power Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 raw pastured egg yolk
  • 1 cup of berries, fresh or frozen (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries…)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter or coconut oil
  • ice (if using fresh berries)
  • optional: frozen banana, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, handful of spinach…
Method:
  1. Place everything in the blender. I find it helps if the berries and ice are near the blades, and coconut milk poured down over top.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a glass, or drink it from the blender, and ENJOY!