Sunday, December 2, 2012

Burgers, Fries, Flan, and Wine-- Sounds Like a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young Tribute Band

To my everlasting shame, I did not take pictures of the meal I am about to describe. No food porn today. Damn. I guess the vivid and slightly arousing descriptions will have to suffice.

We begin with a trip to Sprouts, wherein we find the most delicious selection of freakin'-random meats short of going on an Australian walkabout and hunting your own game in the Outback. Along with the standard yummies of elk, bison, and rabbit, there was also ostrich and kangaroo. Ostrich burgers are absolutely next on my list, since I've joked about them with one of my best friends for years. Kangaroo... eh, I'm not sure yet. I kind of only like eating animals that are ass-ugly, and kangaroos are far too cute... though now that I think about it, they are fairly deadly, so if it was up to me to hunt one, I couldn't guarantee that I would win... I mean, they have razor-sharp claws... and they can balance on their tails and deliver kicks worthy of MMA cage fighting... and they're wicked fast... and who know what they keep is those pouches of theirs... could be knives... or guns... or pepper spray... or nukes... anthrax maybe... but I digress.

Sandwiched right in between the venison steaks and the ground kangaroo were packages of "Wild Feral Boar". Now, have you ever seen a picture of a wild boar? No? Did you watch the first season of "Lost"? Okay then. So you'll know that these pigs are bold, italicized, underlined, 96-point font U-G-L-Y. (Picture provided for the doubtful.)
I rest my case.

The Meal

Bacon and beef-based burgers are meant to be together. (Say that five times fast.) But would pork hold up? Would it be pig overload...?


Bacon burgers are simple-- get ground meat, mix with fine slices of bacon, add flavor like freshly minced onion and garlic, and throw onto a griddle or grill. Saute portobello mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil and be sure to flip them a few times to get them cooked all the way through. Portobello bun, burger on top, done!

No burger is complete without fries. No fries are better than sweet potato fries. And nothing makes fries taste better than the right blend of spices. That's where I got creative. I mixed soy-free canola-based mayonaise with It's Greek To Me, a blend from a company in Colorado called To Market To Market that makes a whole variety of spice blends for dips and spreads. They're all gluten-free and kosher, even though one or two might have beans as part of their mix, or they might be recommended for use with cream cheese instead of mayonaise. Generously coat the sweet potato fries, bake for 30 minutes with a flip at the halfway mark, done!

Onto the coconut flan. If you took Spanish in high school, chances are you also had a taste of some slimy, half-formed "dessert" called flan. I think in order to teach Spanish at a certain level, the teacher must first prove how terrible they are at doing this wonderful dish justice, because I've had flan outside of that first mucous-y experience, and when it's done right, it's like silk.

Flan is essentially eggs, cream, and sugar. Doesn't sound all that Paleo-friendly, does it? Worry not. Here's the best solution I've come across*:

Finished product

  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • optional, though highly encouraged
    • cinnamon
    • nutmeg
    • chocolate
    • honey (on top)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of sugar on a stovetop on low to medium heat to avoid burning, stirring frequently
  3. Pour sugar evenly into 6 oven-safe ramekins, and pour quickly, because this stuff will harden almost instantly once it's off the heat (Side note: I'm going to use this to make my own cough drops for the winter)
  4. In a food processor/blender/bowl, mix the four eggs and keep off to the side
  5. In the same pan with the now rock-hard leftover sugar, combine coconut milk, vanilla, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. This is the best time to add any other flavors except for something like honey or caramel, as they're sugars and will change the consistency of the mixture
  6. Once this mix is at a slow boil, take it off the heat
  7. Get a whisk and slooooooooowly add the eggs to this whole mixture to keep them from cooking
  8. Pour evenly into each of the ramekins, and place all ramekins into a baking dish wide and deep enough to hold them all at once
  9. Add water to the baking dish (not the flan) so that the water is level with the flan (which should not be the top of the ramekins)
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes, let cool, then stick 'em in the fridge to let them solidify

And the final touch? Chocolate red wine. A very sweet red blended with chocolate. Warning: this is not like taking a box of red wine and blending it with Hershey's syrup or chocolate milk. This is a beautiful red with the darkest chocolate taste. I have a tremendous sweet tooth, and it still took me the better part of a half hour to finish one medium glass of this.

My oh my, was I a happy camper after this meal. Odds are, you will be too!

*Flan recipe courtesy of Paleo Effect with some alterations

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