Bacon, Egg and…Kale

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I’ve always been a fan of the classic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.  Growing up I enjoyed them every way possible: on biscuits, bagels, hard rolls, English muffins, and toast.  I loved them with extra crispy bacon, fried eggs over medium, and a slice of sharp cheddar melted over top, just starting to brown and caramelize on the edges.  I don’t know many people who don’t love a good bacon, egg, and cheese.  After radically changing the way I eat over the past year I can honestly say that I don’t miss them- in sandwich form that is. What I ultimately discovered is that the toasted bread on the outside is the least important part.

With just a single pan, a few quality ingredients, and less time than it takes to run to the closest deli, you can make a decadent version of this classic American sandwich by replacing bread with kale.  No, I am not joking…

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Enjoying Chocolate Guilt-free

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A trio of single-origin chocolate bars- courtesy of Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco

I have always been a fan of dark chocolate. Even before I adopted my current lifestyle I always preferred dark to milk chocolate. In foodie speak, eating milk chocolate is like liberally dumping cream and sugar in a French-pressed cup of coffee, diluting a 30 year-aged scotch with ice, or smothering a wagyu ribeye in A1 steak sauce (*gasp*). It masks the incredible flavors that cacao is capable of producing. Just like wine or tea, cacao beans can produce a huge variety of flavors depending on their growing environment and processing after the harvest.

Good dark chocolate consists of roasted cacao beans and organic sugar- that’s it. The best quality bars contain very small amounts of high quality sugar that is selected specifically selected to complement the characteristics of the beans. For the most part, the highest quality chocolate (and most nutritious) has a cacao percentage of 70% or higher.

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Capello’s Gluten-free, Grain-free Pasta

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After following a Primal/Paleo lifestyle for the past seven months I can honestly say that I never feel deprived whatsoever.  I believe that the most delicious ingredients can hold their own without the addition of highly refined grain products such as bread and pasta, which are nutritionally void at best and potentially quite toxic to a large number of people.  As a foodie, I am however against extreme restriction and all for the occasional indulgence.  One of my previous go-to comfort foods was a nice bowl of pasta, usually carbonara or bolognese and topped liberally with some high quality parmigiano reggiano cheese.  Upon developing a severely adverse reaction to gluten, this meal seemed like it would be out of the question indefinitely.  Sure you can improvise with spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or a store-bought gluten-free pasta, but it just isn’t quite the same.  I could never replicate the perfectly al dente quality that “real” pasta offers.  That’s when I stumbled across Capello’s Gluten-free, Grain-free Pasta.  It is an absolute game changer, and in my opinion tastes better than traditional pasta ever could.

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Rethinking Scrambled Eggs

Buttery scrambled eggs with fresh chives

Buttery scrambled eggs with fresh chives

Scrambled eggs are often the first thing a person learns to cook.  It is about as simple as it gets: crack the eggs, beat them, and throw them on some heat and stir.  Pretty hard to screw up right?  Not exactly.  The average home cook usually produces some pretty mediocre eggs, and your average restaurant serving breakfast doesn’t do a whole lot better.  It turns out that while scrambled eggs are indeed simple and quick, putting a little more care and thought in to it yields exponentially better results.  Eggs also form an incredible blank canvas upon which you can implement virtually any flavor combination imaginable.  Furthermore, they are an incredibly healthy choice for breakfast with a nice dose of healthy fats and protein to jump start your metabolism and keep you satiated for the whole morning.  And don’t be afraid of the yolks!  Despite the popular belief that egg yolks are unhealthy, this is far from the truth.

Now let’s make some eggs…

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Burger Night With An Argentine Twist

Grass-fed burger topped with chimichurri and served with yuca fries.

Grass-fed burger topped with chimichurri and served with yuca fries.

I’m a huge fan of a nice burger, especially during the summer.  I tend to grill one up for dinner at least once or twice per week.  Despite the popular belief that burgers are unhealthy American fare, this is far from the truth.  A burger can serve as a blank canvas to showcase the flavors of any type of cuisine and provided that you are using high quality meat, vegetables and condiments, it can pack quite the health punch as well.

The following recipe is inspired by the flavors of Buenos Aires, Argentina- where I happen to be moving to in a few weeks!  Although I have yet to visit Argentina, I am well aware of the abundance of grass-fed beef, which is often served alongside chimichurri– an incredibly flavorful sauce, bursting with fresh garlic, parsley and oregano.  Thinking about my future in Buenos Aires, I was inspired to take a stab at showcasing these intoxicating flavors.  I thought I’d throw in some yuca fries in as well, paying my respects to this starchy root vegetable that is a staple in Latin American cuisine.  

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Tea: Nature’s Ultimate Superfood

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Tea is by far one of the most amazing and misunderstood drinks on the planet.  It shocks me every time I meet someone with an incredible palate and passion for food, but whose perception of tea is confined to a bag you find inside a paper wrapper.  The nuances of tea can challenge any food this world has to offer, and the health benefits are unmatched.

What is tea?  Good place to start.  Tea is simply the beverage that results from infusing the leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis and camellia assamica) in water.  The way in which the leaves are prepared after harvesting determines the variety of tea.  In order of least to most processed (heated; i.e. steamed, pan fired), tea is classified as: white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh.  Herbal tea are separate since they are not derived from the tea plant, but rather herbs, spices and berries.

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Introduction to Primal Gastronomy

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My name is Manny, I am 22 years old, and I am fascinated by details.  If something interests me I always strive to learn more and I enjoy communicating what I have learned to others.  While my passion for food has been with me for about ten years or so, the last couple of years I have taken this interest to a whole different level.  I have had the extreme fortune to be able to spend the past few years living and studying in Washington, D.C. and experiencing it’s incredible food culture.  This, combined with my fascination to health and nutrition have combined in an interesting way: I am highly selective about what I put into my body, but I seek out and thoroughly enjoy every nuance these foods have to offer.  What I have discovered is that the healthiest foods this world has to offer are also the most enjoyable.

A gastronomist is one who unites theory and practice in the study of gastronomy, which pertains to food and culture.  Primal means either “original” or “most important”.  In this case it is both: the “primal” way of eating looks to our ancestors’ evolutionary history in search of the most nutritious foods.  As a primal gastronomist, I seek to show how the most nutritious foods from an evolutionary perspective are also the most delicious and culturally relevant ones.