Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bacon Cures Many Ills

Today was a horrible day at work.  It was busy.  I got yelled at by patients and coworkers alike. I finally got to lunch 6 hours after my shift started (makes eating proper paleo really difficult when people don't understand that eating every 3-4 hours and WHEN YOU'RE HUNGRY is a normal thing...). I stepped up and fixed a lot of problems with extra care, and no one probably will ever notice, much less care.  I got teary eyed as I sat in my car in the parking garage, not because I was necessarily sad, but because I was so overwhelmed.  Today was an epic FML. In fact, I think I may have said that a few times...

But, I woke up today telling a friend to remember to make today a good day.  And so, I made my time outside of work count. Mostly by cooking, but also by purchasing a few things for a project in the wings.  (More on that if anything comes of it...)

"What did you cook?" you ask.


Bacon-ated Steak with Portabella, Asparagus and Yellow Squash


Here we have everything we need: meat, awesome cutting knife, pecans, asparagus, portabella mushroom, yellow squash, shallots and some fats (duck fat and coconut oil, which I ended up not using). There's only one thing that could make this better, and I'll get to that in a minute.

Again, order of operations being key, I photographed pretty much the whole cooking process this time.  It took me probably 45 minutes from start to finish, but I can eat this meal for probably 2 dinners with how much food it made. So not bad in the grand scheme of time.

Heat up your non-stick or cast iron skillet and throw in : duck fat and shallots and chopped up portabella mushroom. I cut mine in big chunks. Let these babies fry up, and get mellow. I like to throw mushrooms in at the beginning because they get browned and soak up the flavors of other stuff in the pan. Takes about 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Don't burn these guys on high heat if you're in a hurry. This dish is too good to be a jerk to your food.
Then throw in : your sliced up squash and 2 inch pieces of asparagus.  Cover it up! Good life lesson. But mostly to keep the moisture in and steam the newb veggies you just threw in there.  This should also be on medium heat.  Just put the cover on the pan and leave for a few minutes at a time so the sides of the squash have time to brown.
It was at this point, as these veggies were cooking, that I was thinking "Damn, this really could be amazing... But really.  Only one thing could make it better..." and so then we ended up with this:  bacon. 

I put in probably about 3-4 big slices worth of bacon, chopped up into little squares with my nifty red knife that literally cuts through everything (clearly frozen bacon was no match, and thank goodness). Here we have the other pan, all steamed and cooking and mixed together, preparing itself mentally for the amazing baconness that will soon arrive.  In all, cooking this down probably took about 15-20 minutes total, and once it was done, I put it into a casserole dish to hang out til the end. So now, I decided to throw the pecans into the same pan as the bacon.  Because pecans and bacon sound heavenly.  Let those cook down a bit more (I added the pecans half way through cooking the bacon) and then drain. But save that fat, because unlike most ways of eating, paleo actually lets you eat things in bacon fat, duck fat, all kinds of yummy fats. My gram would be so proud.

So now, we come to "Bacon-ated" steak.  I used some bacon fat and bits from the cast iron pan in the same frying pan that cooked the veggies, turned up the heat a bit, and then pretty much just let the steak do its thing. It splutters a lot of grease, so get that cover handy, and a wooden spoon to help keep the cover slightly off kilter and let the moisture escape. We don't want to steam it, but I'd rather keep my stove from looking like BP took over my kitchen. 
I threw on a little bit of "Molasses and Bacon" seasoning from Grill Mates (picked it up at Sam's Club) for good measure.  You can't have too much bacon. And here's the finished product, resting for about 5 minutes so all the juices don't run away.
Last up, put some veggies on that plate, cut that steak, and add something good for dessert, like a handful of raspberries. and voila. You will totally make your neighbor jealous... unless he's vegan and absolutely hammered right now... like my neighbor...

De-freaking-licious. That looks like it came out of a freaking magazine, doesn't it? I've thoroughly impressed myself.

And so, while I'm still working out the mechanics of portions and ratios as suggested in the paleo lifestyle (I Zoned for a good 7 months prior to paleo, and thus have an OCD attention to measuring things out for each meal and serving), I kinda ate until I was full.  And that was a pretty good way to get lost in the joy of cooking and eating after a crappy day at work.

What do you think? I don't claim my dishes to be the result of rocket-science-like-recipe-making, in fact I pretty much use the same order of operations for all of my cooking and just vary the ingredients.  Tried a similar dish? What combination of veggies and spices did you use?

And remember. Bacon makes everything better.  Especially crappy days at work.


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