Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No Fava Beans, But There is Chianti!

How I used to hate the smell of liver being cooked, especially if it was beef liver. The only type I could tolerate was chicken and it had to be liver pâté. It was always masked with the flavors of seasonings and fresh garlic. Later in my adulthood, I acquired a taste for chicken liver only. For me, I used to love breading and frying them up, but now that I am grain-free and gluten-free, I just sauté them as is. You can use the oil of your choice, like olive oil or even coconut oil. There's a bit of controversy cooking with olive oil due to the burn of the oil creating carcinogens, but it's what I prefer over coconut oil. I usually start off by cutting a whole onion in ringlets. I fry them up in a separate pan with fresh parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon and white wine while I fry the liver in another pan.

1. Helps prevent anemia (Vitamin B12 – 352%)

Chicken liver can supply the body with over three times the daily needed value of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient which supports the production of red blood cells and helps prevent pernicious anemia.

2. Promotes good eyesight (Vitamin A -288%)

Many people probably didn’t know that it is brimming with vitamin A in the form of retinol, alpha and beta-carotene including lycopene. At 14378 IU, it’s a very powerful supporter for healthy vision.

3. Helps promote fertility (Folate – 140%)

If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, chicken liver is good for you. With its 560 mcg of folate, it helps promote fertility as well as prevent neural tube defects for the developing baby.

4. Promotes healthy tissues (Riboflavin -136%)

Soreness around the lips, mouth, and tongue and cracking and/or peeling of the skin at the corners of the mouth and around the nose indicates a lack of riboflavin in the body. Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B1 is essential for normal reproduction, growth, repair and development of body tissues including the skin. Chicken liver is loaded with 2.3 mg of riboflavin.

5. Keeps thyroid healthy (Selenium – 126%)

It is also brimming with selenium, a mineral which supports iodine to keep the thyroid gland in top shape.

6. Helps the body fight stress (Pantothenic Acid – 83%)

With its rich pantothenic acid, it helps the body combat stress by supporting the adrenal glands.

7. Keeps immune system healthy (Iron – 72%)

In addition to its role in preventing anemia, iron also keeps the immune system in top condition and chicken liver is an excellent source of this essential mineral.

8. Helps prevent pellagra (Niacin – 70%)

Lack of niacin supply in the body will show in the form of pellagra, a disease with symptoms that include delusions, diarrhea, inflamed mucous membranes and scaly skin sores. Chicken and tuna are some of the highest sources of niacin.

9. Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails (Protein – 52%)

One of the many health benefits of protein is keeping the skin, muscles, hair and nails in top condition and chicken liver is another excellent source of this very important nutrient.

10. Helps keep teeth and bones healthy (Phosphorous – 42%)

It is also good for the teeth, gums and bones through its rich phosphorous content as calcium cannot build teeth and bones without the aid of this mineral.

Fry up your liver with a little seasonings and fresh parsley with a bit of salt and pepper. As soon as your liver is done to perfection (you can even cook them medium rare if you'd like), then place them in a big dish. After your onions are nice and 'almost' burnt, pour the entire pan of the sautéed deliciousness right on top of the liver, and voila, you have an incredible liver dish that is best served with....wait for it....wait for it..................chianti. If I have left overs, this goes SO good with scrambled eggs in the morning. And remember ladies, liver is so incredibly healthy for you, providing all the vitamin B, folate, iron, vitamin A, riboflavin and fights stress and also keeps your immune system healthy. It also helps a great deal with PMS. While you're enjoying this dish, I'm sure your spouse will be delighted!

Bon appétit!

For Deb's main blog, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com and join her on Twitter Facebook for updated recipes and articles!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rockin' the Homestyle Ribs

Mom always makes ribs the right way --- ribs with their own homemade ingredients and not from a jar. She puts a rub on them with a little mustard and honey and then she adds a touch of cranberry juice to it. She broils them for a bit and then we'll head out and bring the rack out to the grill to finish it off. In the winter, Mom also takes already cut ribs and let them marinate in a meat sauce for hours. By the time it got onto your plate, it would fall off the bone. So what I'm doing is a bit similar to marinating them for hours. Since winter's approaching, we're not going to be using the BBQ grill anytime soon. I decided to use my crockpot for this recipe.

Dry rub: 
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Brown sugar
  • After the dry rub, apply mustard and drizzle honey on them bad boys.
The most important thing in my opinion is the rub itself. It's not only about sprinkling seasonings onto your ribs, it's all about dry rub penetrating the meat. I usually let them sit on the counter with the dry rub for at least 30 minutes to absorb.

Prepare the crockpot with your veggies & preferred liquids.
Preparing the crockpot is easy peasy! All you have to do with my recipe is chop up a half an onion, one green bell pepper, throw some shredded carrots in there and add a shot glass of apple cider vinegar, a shot glass of cranberry juice (thanks Mom) and a shot glass of orange juice. I don't add water since there is liquid in it already. Throw the ribs in, set it on low for eight hours and be on your way. The reason why I love adding so many veggies to this dish is because it turns into a little 'sauce' for your ribs. I personally like mine dry -- even though they're moist and tender, but I'm not a sauce kinda' gal. All of the preparations took no more than 20 minutes. You can even add celery in there if you want or make up your own concoction like I did. I made broccoli rabe for a side, you can make whatever suits you. This will definitely be a regular dish in our household from now on. This went great with a deep, dry cabernet. I want to say drink this with red wine only. It compliments the flavors so wonderfully.

Bon appétit!

For Deb's main blog, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com and join her on Twitter Facebook for updated recipes and articles!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Delicious Turkey Taco Salad, Olé!

My favorite chef! 
When I was growing up at home, Mom would occasionally make tacos for an easy and quick dinner. She used ground beef, but she also used the packaged seasonings. Hey, it was good to us and fun to eat. As I grew older, I started to hate tacos for some reason. I could eat Mexican food, but it had to be authentic or from a nice restaurant where I can order something besides ground beef and packaged seasonings. Another reason why I don't particularly care for tacos is that I don't like overcooked ground beef. It never tasted right to me. One day while watching a cooking show, someone was using turkey meat instead of ground beef. I decided to try it. Let me just say that turkey meat not only tastes 100 times better in a spicy Mexican concoction, it actually is much more juicier. Don't get the ultra lean white meat -- has to be dark meat. The only thing I NEVER substitute is bacon. Bacon has to be bacon. Turkeys doesn't "make" bacon. End of story. Eat the real deal uncured and with no nitrates. Delicious. Ok, I sidetracked a bit.

The most important thing in my recipe is sautéing my veggies in a large pan.

Every vegetable is organic or straight from a local farm.
  • Chop the veggies which include: elephant garlic, fresh parsley, cilantro, 1/2 onion, 4 tomatoes diced, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper & 2 small jalapeńos
  • Turn your stovetop on high
  • Drizzle the pan with olive oil 
  • Add seasonings into the pan like salt, pepper, hot pepper and garlic powder
  • Throw your goodies into the pan and let it sizzle up -- stir it around 
  • Squeeze a wedge of lime into the mix
  • Add a shot glass of white wine
  • When you see your veggies starting to sauté really nicely, throw in two packages of your raw turkey meat. 
  • Add chili powder, paprika, parmesan cheese, more hot pepper, lots of tabasco sauce, ground pepper, and continue to stir your goods
  • Cook on a high setting (depending on how vicious your stove is) until you see your meat get that 'crumbly' look to it so you know it's definitely cooked. 
Those are yellow tomatoes which are less acidy & sweeter.
The one good thing about turkey meat being sautéed like this is that it never dries out.  When it's finally done, I suggest scooping it out with a big spoon, capturing some of that delicious juice, but not so much to make it mushy and soupy. Put it in a big bowl and cover to keep the heat in. Let it marinate a touch. While it marinates, make a big salad (anyway you prefer) so you have some beautiful greens and tomatoes to compliment your dish. I would have added avocado into this meal, but mine were way too ripe for my liking -- but it goes perfect with this meal. Even though I don't do dairy, I always have to have my sour cream handy. I also get a shredded triple Mexican cheese mix for anyone else who's eating with me along with their soft taco tortillas which I steer clear from because I'm on Paleo. This is paired nicely with a Chardonnay or a Syrah. My suggestion is Clos du Bois. It's fairly priced and one of my favorites.

Bon appétit & olé!

For Deb's main blog, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com and join her on Twitter & Facebook for updated recipes and articles!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What About Alcohol on Paleo?

Today's not so much about recipes, but it's about alcohol consumption while being on Paleo. The concept of Paleo is to steer away from grains, wheat and starches. This includes the biggest culprit of diabetes and heart disease: sugar. While sugar is bad, some types of sugars are okay in moderation, such as fruit and wine. On Paleo, we're told to limit our consumption of both fruit and wine because they both contain moderate amounts of sugar -- some more than others. But I always wondered, what types of alcohol were okay to drink? While doing some research, I discovered that many websites suggest that red wine is the absolute best to drink while being on Paleo due to its antioxidants and benefits for the heart. It also does not contain any wheat, grains or starches, unlike beer and even vodka. I'm a big fan of vodka so this was tough for me, but there is a vodka that is okay to drink. Ciroc is made from frozen grapes, not potatoes, rice or other starchy substances. They do have gluten-free beer out there that's eh, okay. I quit beer altogether though. Not worth it. And let's face it, being on Paleo alone and stopping refined sugars, wheat and grains including meat that's 'beefed' up with antibiotics is a good start in my book. The antibiotics to "beef" up the cows are the antibiotics that beef us up too! It also makes us resistant to antibiotics in the future when we're sick and really need it. Did I sidetrack? Oh yes I did.

So my point of this post is, eat, drink and be merry...in moderation.

For Deb's main blog, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com and join her on Twitter Facebook for updated recipes and articles!