eating

Lately I’ve been slightly obsessed with making super nourishing foods, mainly soups. Turns out that many soups that are considered miracle meals (often affectionately termed “hangover meals”) – Pho, Attukal Paya, or even a simple chicken soup – basically consist of boiling soup bones for extended periods of time and adding spices as needed. So to add to my growing list of nourishing soups, I present Cow Heel Soup.

Also known as Cow Foot or Bull Foot Soup, Cow Heel Soup is a traditional soup found in the Caribbean (mainly Jamaica, Trinidad, and Tobago). Legend has it that in the 18th century, plantation owners would take the best cuts of cows and leave the workers with the “fifth quarter” – tail, feet, head, and organs – which became quite a challenge for local cooks. Over time the recipe for cow heel soup became popular, and while there are many variations to this dish, I tried to keep my recipe close to the standard, baseline recipe.

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Earlier this week I wrote a guest post for my friends Matt and Stacy (aka Paleo Parents), here is the post for those of you that missed it:

Meet Oliver. He turned four years old last month, and has been eating the Perfect Health Diet version of Paleo (includes white rice and some dairy) since he before he was two. He loves Star Wars, Legos, and anything Disney. He has his ups and downs, but for the most part he’s a pretty adventurous eater, and I thought it would be fun to share what we’ve done to encourage healthy eating behaviors.

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NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Like I had mentioned in my Panang curry paste recipe, Panang (also spelled พะแนง, Penang and Phanaeng) curry is a mild Thai curry that gets its name from the Malaysian island of Penang. It is similar to Thai red curry but is richer and creamier, and typically uses crushed peanuts as a major part of the dish (I personally use cashews). It is often served with beef, pork, chicken or shrimp in Thai restaurants in the United States, although beef is the traditional meat used in this dish. We love to make this curry with all of these meats, but typically we use chicken for its taste and texture.

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I have a confession to make: it’s not often that I invent a recipe out of thin air. Usually I tend to re-create tried-and-true traditional dishes using a wide array of sources. However, with today’s recipe – a roasted pork sirloin – I made the whole thing up, mostly out of necessity. Although there are a lot of recipes out there for how to cook pork sirloin, many of them looked less than great, and there didn’t seem to be a universal approach to cooking this cut of pig.

I chose to tackle this dish for another reason, as well: it’s a fairly affordable cut of pork. That seems like a tragedy – to have an affordable, readily-available selection of meat available but no tasty method of preparation – and I wanted to fill that vacuum. Luckily, US Wellness Meats agreed with me, and let me try out one of their 4-lb. Pork Sirloin Roasts.

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