Pan-Fried Oysters with Homemade Tartar Sauce

I know not everyone likes oysters. I, however, am not one of those people. Oysters are one of my favorite foods, raw or cooked! This is the time of year for cooked oysters, so I went to one of the local fishmongers for a few.

Since i happened to have everything I needed to make homemade Tartar sauce, I decided to try it! I used some of my homemade mayonnaise because it has a shorter shelf life than store bought mayo, and I want to make the best uses of it!

It turned out pretty good! It’s important to make it first, so you can put it in the refrigerator for some time to thicken up.

Now for the oysters! This is a paleo recipe, as is the tartar sauce. Even the Slap Ya Mama seasoning is paleo! I rinsed the oysters and patted them dry. Then I dredged them in egg and into the coconut flour and spice mixture.

I used plenty of avocado oil to fry them in, and tried to to let them touch. These oysters were very small ones, and I was able to get a bunch into this large pan.

Oh my. They were wonderful! I had them with some baby arugula, which was perfect! These fried oysters were such a treat! They’re inexpensive, but make you feel like you’re eating something rare and special. Deeeelicious!

Run to Stay Warm 2022

Today was a fun day outside. Every year there is a Run to Stay Warm race. You can do a 5k, 10k, or a half marathon. Proceeds go toward helping people pay their electricity bills, specifically people who are in financial hardship at risk of having their electricity shut off.

I showed up early… waaaay too early. I learned that this is not like a biking event – you can’t just go when you want. They have start times that they stick to! I’ve been to a couple of biking events like that, but they’re usually a bit looser. After all, it’s not officially timed, like this even was.

The sun was rising, but at 7:45am, it was a brisk 22 degrees. COLD. I watched them set up the start/finish line and get things ready. I waited for nearly two hours, so this was a lesson for me: Read the emails thoroughly.

This is part of a newer development in Eugene. I like it!

After a long, cold wait, we were off! We crossed over the Willamette River a couple of times.

Here’s a closer picture of the stacked rocks. In the summer, there are tons of these. When the river starts to rise, however, it’s like a giant etch-a-sketch that just got shaken.

In the land of Prefontaine, there are tons of biking and running paths. This is part of a bike path I used to ride on a lot, when I didn’t work 12-hour shifts.

Hello Autzen Stadium!

I’ve never been in a race with pacers before. That is so interesting that they know exactly how fast they run, and consistently! When I run, I just try to survive.

This is part of Alton Baker Park.

I don’t know why this made me chuckle, but it did.

More of Alton Baker. The ducks and geese like to frequent this area. I had a fair amount of goose poop on the bottom of my shoes at the end.

Not much farther…

The bottom of that bridge. I guess that’s obvious.

At the finish line! My friend Carol was cheering me on (she finished earlier) and rooting for me!

We finished! I actually walked, but I’m hoping to run/jog an event at some point. Carol had a fantastic run!

While I enjoy hiking a bit more, I think, I wouldn’t mind doing more of these. Especially the ones that have a good purpose. It was great to see so many people joining in for good health and a great cause.

Egg Salad Sandwich (Paleo/Keto/Delicious)

Has this blog turned into a food blog? Maybe… temporarily…

First: I MADE MAYONNAISE! I’ve tried it before, have failed miserably and wasted eggs and oil. This time was different. This time I followed the very easy instructions in The Primal Gourmet Cookbook. Voila! Mayo! Not only that, but it is delicious!

I think I’m more excited about making mayonnaise than I am a bunch of other things. Seriously, buy this book.

Look at that creamy thing! I’m so proud. Before, I’ve tried to drizzle the oil in whilst whisking very quickly. Using my handheld Cuisinart blender made a huuuuuge difference. This was made with avocado oil (much better taste than EVOO for mayo) and an egg, and then a pinch of salt.

Today I was hankering for a simple egg salad sandwich. I got my new, homemade, fancy-ass, delicious mayonnaise and some other ingredients.

I used Base Culture keto bread that is also paleo. It’s great and toasts well on the skillet. I toasted it in browned butter (drool). In the egg mixture, I wanted to keep it extra simple, so I only added scallions and the mayo with my eggs. We usually use good quality eggs, and the yolks are absolutely orange.

Lastly, I topped it with some baby arugula. I’m a big fan of arugula: so much flavor in a bit of lettuce!

I ate them open-faced because there was just too much egg mixture to put the bread together. The bread slices aren’t huge, either. But I have zero problems with eating the sandwich undone! This was a huge win for me with the mayonnaise. I know I’m harping on it a lot, but if you’ve ever tried to make it before and failed… you know how ugly the failure can be. It’s disgusting. This, however, was so easy; a child could have done it. Ergo, I can do it!

Beef Stroganoff in Acorn Squash

I have made beef stroganoff many times, and I’m not sure I’ve ever followed a recipe. It’s a little different each time, and always delicious. How can you go wrong with meat, mushrooms, and cream? Well… I suppose things can go very wrong. But not with beef stroganoff!

Going for the healthier option, I got some very pretty acorn squashes. Don’t they look like orange flowers? It’s always strange to me that squash typically doesn’t smell great. It’s not as bad as cauliflower or broccoli, but it still smells funny before it’s cooked. After I spooned out the guts, I tossed them into the oven to bake.

I went for some tender flank steak for this one. I really like flank steak for tacos – just cut into thin slices and flash fry: deeeeelicious and tender!

Still thinking about my health, I opted to put a ton of mushrooms in. The mushrooms would definitely outnumber the steak, but I love mushrooms.

Sautéing some onions first, I waited until they were a bit cooked through before adding some minced garlic.

After the onions and garlic were fragrant, I turned up the heat and added the steak.

Meanwhile, I made a little beef broth for a savory flavor addition.

I put in all the mushrooms (there was a ton) and then added the broth.

Oh my, that smells good!

Finally, I added some cream. Paleo people can add coconut cream here, but I prefer half-and-half for this dish. I let it all simmer together for several minutes and then put it all together.

The acorn squash makes a wonderful little bowl! It was just perfect for the chilly days we’ve been having.

You can also cube the acorn squash (I peeled it because the peel can get quite hard after baking) and put the stroganoff over the top. Either way is delicious! I got my protein and my veggies, and a full belly. Happy.

Turkish Eggs, Post-Workout

I feel the need to warn you: The end of this post contains very pretty food.

I love eating pretty, colorful food! It seems like it just tastes better. This is an unusual recipe, at least where I’m from. I tried it several years ago and was happy to go for it again. I got the recipe from The Primal Gourmet Cookbook, although it was in a different cookbook the first time I tried it. This one uses a dairy alternative; however, I used Greek yogurt and regular butter. I put the yogurt in a bowl to warm to room temperature and added a bit of diced garlic. Mixy, mixy!

You have to poach eggs, and I read poaching eggs is easier if you put vinegar in the water. I have four kinds of vinegar, and not one of them are regular vinegar. One is champagne vinegar for when I make blue cheese dressing, one is rice vinegar, we have red wine vinegar, and so on. Apple cider vinegar seemed like the best choice.

Using butter instead of ghee (I’m just not a huge fan of the taste of ghee), I started it melting in the pot with the aleppo pepper. While aleppo peppers are more traditional in Turkey and the Mediterranean, I had to hunt around Market of Choice to find it.

I cannot show you the picture of the poached eggs. I just can’t.

Seriously.

I am just awful at poaching eggs. The first one was… okay. It was not pretty, but I could work with it. The second one was a disaster. The yolk broke and the egg kind of disintegrated in the pot. I ended up making a third one because the second was really not edible. I used a silicone pouch to help with the third and last egg.

Okay. Are you ready for straight up BEAUTY IN A BOWL??

Planting the eggs on the room temperature, garlicy yogurt, I poured the peppery butter over the top. I then garnished it with freshly cut dill. Oh, my!

The hardest part of this entire thing was the mindful eating at the end. I didn’t look at my phone, I didn’t watch the television. I sat and ate, slowly. I thought about the textures and flavors, and I savored the yolk. I tried to give my body time to recognize when I should stop eating. I didn’t finish all of the yogurt and butter, and I feel good about that.

When I make this next, I might try cayenne pepper – something a little spicier. I do love some spicy food! This was very good, and just a fantastic change of pace for my breakfast.

A Tribute to Sue Grafton & Kinsey Millhone (plus some ramblings)

Sue Grafton is one of my favorite writers. She died in 2017, but not before writing what is known as the “alphabet mysteries. It started with “A is for Alibi,” and went to “Y is for Yesterday,” coming out the year she died. I read somewhere her family says the letter z doesn’t exist in their alphabet. *Wiping away a tear*

In the books, her protagonist is named Kinsey Millhone. She’s a private detective who is stubborn, independent, solitary, and other admirable qualities. The books are short and easy reads, something I enjoy from time to time.

Kinsey goes to a bar in one of the books (well, probably in all of them) where she is fed a sandwich that sounded like heaven. Grilled bread, fried salami, pepper jack cheese, and topped with a fried egg. Every time I read about it, my mouth salivated. So, I decided to make it.

I don’t think I chose the right bread. I got brioche, but next time I’ll probably get a nice sourdough. The rest was pretty easy. The Tillamook pepper jack was thick and perfect, and only took one slice. (This is a blend of two different sandwiches, one for me and one for my sweetheart.)

I overcooked the egg by just a little and came dangerously close to burning the brioche. What is wrong with me?!? Oh, and next time I’ll use just a bit more salami.

The sandwiches were finally done. I was tempted to grill some onions or put mayonnaise or something fancy on it. Luckily, I kept it how Kinsey had described it (as much as I could), and it was w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l.

I could have used a little runnier yolk and different bread, but this sandwich is just good. Healthy? No. Tasty as it can be? Absolutely.

I don’t know about you, but here in Oregon the weather cooled off quickly. It was like we went from summer to winter without stopping to pass go. Strangely, as the weather is colder, I feel myself wanting to go hiking again. I thought I would only want to do that in the summer, but I think my summer got busy and it was hot. Either way, I find myself thinking of hikes I have yet to do.

Unfortunately for me (and also fortunately), I’ve accepted a job in a different department that is full-time. I will soon have a lot less time off. Boooooo. I’ll be able to afford new hiking shoes if I want them though, so that’s nice. I might just have to pick the “premium” hikes instead of… well, all of them.

Back to food. This blog has been much about trying to get healthier and much about food. Some of the food is healthy, some is just damn good. I’ve been struggling a lot with my diet. I’ve tried many kinds of diets: restriction, keto, paleo, primal, intermittent fasting, low carb, etc. I’ve not had any good news on the scale or in non-scale victories.

Recently, a couple of friends who I go to Orange Theory with started talking about trying to lose weight and the difficulties that go with that. We agreed to be a support system for each other and to track our food, etc. We’re not doing the same diets or keeping the same restrictions, etc., but we are going to check in weekly and say if we’ve lost/gained/stayed the same weight, or if we have non-scale victories. We’ll talk about struggles and how to master them.

In my journey, I’ve decided to go back to more of a primal way of eating (similar to paleo and Whole30). I feel the best when I eat those foods – mentally and physically. Readers, prepare yourselves. I’m going to be documenting a lot of those meals, because they’re fun! They’re usually different from the “standard” foods, and I love being creative with my food.

My husband and I are still doing the international dinners twice a month, which will most likely NOT be primal/paleo/Whole30, but it will definitely be enjoyable. I hope to post food stuff as well as activities (hiking, etc.). TTFN!

Galinhada: A Traditional Dish From Brazil

It was time to make another international dish in our household! This time, a friend, Faythe, chose Brazil for us. After a little research, galinhada became an obvious YES!

One of the steps was to put the saffron threads in hot water to let them dissolve and make saffron water. I’ve never done that before, but I’m certainly willing to do it!

The recipe called for five threads, but I don’t know if I will EVER use five measly threads of saffron for an entire dinner! I used a few more.

I put plenty of cumin on both sides of the chicken, plus salt and pepper.

While the chicken came to room temperature (for even cooking, I read), I diced a bell pepper and white onion into small pieces.

I seared the chicken, starting with skin side. It was already smelling amazing!

I took the chicken out and put the veggies in, sautéing until the onion was translucent. I added some garlic…

And then finally put the rice in for a few minutes.

I was only supposed to add one bay leaf, but they were old. I should really buy new ones… I also added the saffron water and a bit of tomato paste. I really like the tomato paste that comes in a squeeze tube. Every time I use the cans, I feel so wasteful!

Finally, I added chicken broth and put the seared chicken on top to boil.

On goes the lid and we wait.

Oh, there was a half cup of wine that I added when I added the rice! Diced tomatoes came in last, adding some nice color.

This is not a small pan, friends. I mean, how big of pans do people have?!?

When it was done, it was very comforting and good. The best part was the chicken, however. So tasty! To be honest, if I make this again, I’ll make the rice a little differently. Shockingly, we couldn’t taste the saffron! But, that’s easily remedied next time. It was still good!

Here are some interesting things that I read about Brazil: Prisoners in Brazil get four days off their sentence for every book they read. Sex change surgeries are free under their public health system. Their capital, Rio de Janeiro, was actually Portugal’s capital for a while… You know, Portugal in Europe. How crazy is that!?

It was fun making this dish, and I look forward to the next one!

Beshbarmak: Kazakhstan‘s National Dish

When my husband and I pick the two dishes we want for our international dinners, he picks one and I pick the other. (Usually, I get inspiration from friends and/or family.) This month, my husband thought about it for a moment, then said, “Kazakhstan!” almost triumphantly. The first thing I thought was, “Fine with me, buddy, I’m not the picky eater!” My sweetheart isn’t a terribly picky eater, but maybe a little. So yes, I was surprised at his choice.

I began researching traditional dishes from Kazakhstan and found things like fermented camel’s milk and dehydrated, (very) salty cheese balls. Luckily, I was making a dinner and not a side dish, and I chose beshbarmak. This is THE national Kazakhstan dish, by the way. If you google it, you’ll find that it means “five fingers,” because it was often eaten with the hand, and choice cuts of meat were given to honored guests, the oldest man, a woman getting married, etc.

I cut a very large onion and saved about a third of it to the side for a non-traditional reason…

The rest went into a beef broth to be simmered later.

Beshbarmak is usually made with horse meat which is banned in many U.S. states and pretty taboo everywhere else. You can also make this with mutton, so I got a nice lamb roast. (Ka-ching!! It was surprisingly expensive!) I forgot to take a picture of the roast as I seared it and after it cooked in the Instant Pot. I am VERY disappointed in myself.

They make this with large, square noodles, so I got lasagna noodles (fresh, baby!) and cut them into large squares. Probably too large. I would definitely make them a little smaller next time, but it was fun.

I prepped a green onion and some chives…

I cooked a couple of potatoes with the lamb and my husband sliced the lamb after it rested. The noodles go onto the plate first, then they usually put a horse sausage down… which I replaced with another sliced, dried meat. Then we put the lamb on top.

The last thing to go on was the broth and cooked onion, green onion, and chives. It was nice!

If you only want to see that traditional bit, don’t read any farther.

I mean it! Stop reading!

Okay, this is on you.

The dish was nice, but a bit… bland. No offense to Kazakhstan, I’m sure I didn’t make it as well as it should have been made! So, I took the onions that I held back and caramelized them. Then I made a nice onion gravy.

I’m getting pretty good at making gravy! I was pleased.

We both tried the traditional beshbarmak, and then we both added the onions and gravy. Yes, it was bastardized and Americanized. But taaaaasty! This was a very interesting dish to make, and I enjoyed it!