Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm


Garlic Roasted Tomatoes & Sausage with Zucchini “Noodles”

Ahh, September!  Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini — all summer’s heat-lovers ripen in droves.  Gardens and farmers markets burst with produce, and cooks scramble to serve it all.

This dish made its debut on my table in the middle of last week.  I’ve made it twice since.  I can’t resist. 

Garlic Roasted Tomatoes and Sausage with Zucchini “Noodles”

  • 6 medium-to-large garlic cloves, peeled and quartered (adjust quantity to taste, bearing in mind that roasted garlic is much milder than garlic in its raw or sauteed state)
  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly diced
  • 3 cups mixed cherry and pear tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sweet red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 pound pork sausage
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/4  cup fresh basil, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place quartered garlic cloves in 9×13 baking dish and drizzle with 1/8 cup olive oil, stirring to coat.  Put garlic in oven to being roasting while slicing onions, tomatoes, and peppers.  Add sliced vegetables, remaining olive oil, and salt to baking dish.  Stir to coat with oil, then spread in a single layer before returning to oven.  Roast 45 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes.

While tomato mixture roasts, use a vegetable peeler to pare the entire zucchini into wide, flat “noodles.”  With 5 minutes of roasting time left, steam the zucchini in a small amount of water, then drain and keep hot until serving.  Meanwhile, crumble sausage in stovetop skillet and cook over medium heat until done.

Combine sausage and tomato mixture.  Serve over zucchini “noodles” and top with fresh basil.  Makes 2 servings.


Keema & Sweet Potato Omelette

Omelettes again.  Omelettes, omelettes, omelettes. They’re delicious, sure, but they’re such a staple on the paleo breakfast menu that we’ve seen them all. Haven’t we?

Not quite. This Keema & Sweet Potato Omelette is the best I’ve had in recent memory — fluffy, creamy, savory, salty, sweet, and 100% delicious.

Before you can make the breakfast, however, you need to make dinner. (Oh, darn. Two meals for the price of one.) What’s for dinner? Keema, of course! Keema is a simple Indian dish featuring ground lamb and the spice blend known as garam masala.

Here’s how it’s done: Saute together 1 pound ground lamb (beef works too), 1 medium chopped onion, and a couple cloves of garlic. When the meat is nearly done, add 2 Tbs garam masala and 3/4 tsp salt. Saute another minute or so, then add 1/2 cup beef broth and 1/4 cup tomato paste. Stir and simmer until the tomato paste is well incorporated.

Serve your keema with a side of cubed sweet potato roasted in coconut oil with a few red pepper flakes. Be sure to save some for your omelette!


Tea-Berry Paleo Popsicles

Can a person get too old to want a popsicle on a July afternoon?

I surely hope not.

Here’s a lightening-fast recipe (loosely based on the Eades’ Paleolithic Punch from Protein Power LifePlan) that I whipped up over the weekend and have been enjoying ever since. Using herbal tea in place of water adds depth of flavor; adding half-cup of coconut milk to the blend makes for a creamy option.

Feel free to use whatever berries you like. I like tartness in food as much as in personalities, so I used a fair number of cranberries and raspberries along with the blueberries. A cherry-strawberry-blueberry blend would be much sweeter.

Tea-Berry Paleo Popsicles

1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups iced herbal tea (I used Lemon Zinger)

Blend all ingredients together, using as much tea as necessary to make a thick, icy concoction. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze at least 6 hours. Makes 8 popsicles (using standard 1/2-cup molds).

Savory Egg Muffins

Egg muffins: The ultimate in primal breakfast to go! I found this version particularly tasty, but feel free to substitute any variety of meats, vegetables, and seasonings. Leave out the cheese if you prefer; replace it with a couple tablespoons of coconut milk or cream.

If you like them cold, great. Prefer hot? 1 minute in the microwave is perfect for 2 muffins. Serve alone or with a side of fresh berries, greens, or sliced tomato and avocado.

Tip from a friend: Baking these in silicone baking cups (like cupcake papers, only reusable) virtually eliminates clean-up. The silicone cups make the muffins a little smaller, obviously, because they take up room in the muffin tin, but they stick to nothing and make the muffins even easier to eat on the fly.

Savory Egg Muffins

1/3 lb hot Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 Tbs minced jalipeno, with seeds
9 eggs (more or less, depending on size)
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tsp oregano, dried (or 3 Tbs fresh)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook Italian sausage, onion, bell pepper, and jalipeno in a skillet over medium heat until sausage is done and vegetables are al dente. Meanwhile, scramble eggs in a bowl and whisk in the cheese and oregano. Divide sausage mixture among 12 muffin cups, either greased or lined with silicone baking cups. Pour egg and cheese mixture over sausage mixture, filling muffin cups to just over 3/4 capacity. Bake 25 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and centers are set. Enjoy hot and refrigerate extras, covered, for up to a week. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Primal Jambalaya

Fast, rich, and easy. Sounds like a Hollywood starlet, but alas, it’s just a recipe. This primal version of jambalaya (no rice, of course, though you could serve it over cauliflower rice if you wished) makes for a filling, one-dish meal in about 20 minutes.

The recipe makes 2, dinner-sized servings. For a savory breakfast, split it into four servings, each topped with a fried egg or two.

A word of warning: when shopping for Polish sausage, be sure to check the label. Some brands contain an appalling quantity of high fructose corn syrup or other sugars, while others contain little or none.

Primal Jambalaya

2 chicken thighs, cooked and cut into chunks
2 Polish sausage links, sliced into coins
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced (with seeds)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp creole seasoning (plain salt works too)
4 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Brown sausage in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add onion and peppers and saute over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add dry spices and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 20-30 seconds. Add diced tomatoes and chicken, scraping bottom of pan to deglaze, and simmer until chicken is heated through. Serve topped with cilantro, if desired. Serves 2.

Ground Beef and Sweet Potato Curry

Many of us primal eaters are looking for ways to balance our O-6:O-3 ratios and our budgets. Considering that one of the best ways to achieve the former is to consume grass-fed, grass-finished meats, the latter can be difficult! Many of us have to compromise by supplementing our conventional meat intake with quality fish oil, and buying less expensive cuts of grass-fed meat.

Ground beef is an easy and inexpensive favorite, but too much of it can lead to a meal plan that’s, well, less than exotic. This recipe, requested by reader Barb, is one way I’ve managed to jazz it up a bit. Obviously, you can take the basic concept and mix it up any way you like. Use chicken or steak in place of the ground beef. Try different vegetables (carrot and zucchini work well). Heat things up or cool them down. Curry is an astonishingly flexible dish. Enjoy!

Ground Beef and Sweet Potato Curry

1 lb ground beef
1 medium, yellow onion, julienned
1 red or yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 Anaheim pepper (or try a pasilla or a couple jalipenos), julienned
1 Tbs coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
2 Tbs fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 Tbs red curry paste
2 Tbs hot curry powder
2 Tbs mild curry powder
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
1 cup beef broth
1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
Unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped almonds, and minced green onion (optional, for garnish)

Brown ground beef and set aside. Saute onions and peppers in coconut oil until al dente, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and curry paste and powders. Saute another minute, stirring frequently, to toast spices without burning. Add tomatoes, coconut milk, broth, ground beef, and sweet potato and stir to combine. Cover and simmer over low heat until sweet potato is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve topped with coconut flakes, almonds, and green onion if desired. Serves 4.

Coconut Fried Plantains

Here’s an easy, 100% primal dessert I’ve been serving lately as part of my commitment to reintroduce a reasonable quantity of carbohydrate to my diet. (More on that in an upcoming post.) A whole, medium plantain contains about 60 grams of carbs, but just a quarter of a fruit fried up in healthful coconut makes a remarkably satisfying, barely-sweet end to a meal.

The medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides in coconut oil are widely credited with health benefits ranging from enhanced longevity to fat loss to anti-viral impact to the elimination of candida.

Tropical Traditions is a good source of quality coconut oil. Get on their e-mailing list for a steady stream of notifications about excellent deals on their products.

Coconut Fried Plantains

1 medium plantain, peeled and cut lengthwise, then width-wise into quarters
1/2 cup unsweetened, dessicated coconut
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 cup coconut cream
Dash of cinnamon

Melt coconut oil in the bottom of a glass bread pan. Roll each plantain quarter in the oil, then in the dessicated coconut to coat generously. Return plantain quarters to pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until coconut is well toasted. Serve each plantain quarter on a small plate with 1/4 cup coconut cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serves 4.

Strawberry and Avocado Salad with Chile-Lime Dressing

Here’s a simple one — a springy side dish with bright colors, contrasting textures, and interesting flavors. Drizzle the extra dressing over an accompanying piece of grilled chicken.

Strawberry and Avocado Salad with Chile-Lime Dressing


4 cups fresh baby spinach
8 fresh strawberries, quartered

1 avocado, sliced into eighths


1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice

1 tsp honey

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1/8 tsp salt

Combine dressing ingredients in blender and emulsify. Chill dressing. Arrange 2 strawberries and 2 slices avocado atop 1 cup of spinach on each of four plates. Dress salad immediately before serving. Serves 4.

Easter Eats for Non-Primal Peeps

Can it be Easter already?

The last few days at In the Night Farm have featured howling winds and rain mixed with snow, the biting sort of weather that turns the horses like weather vanes, tails against the gusts, backs hunched and heads lowered as if to pray for summer’s haste.

It may not have felt like spring, but indoors, a primal Easter feast was underway. Because we’re running late this year on butchering, I didn’t serve the usual leg of lamb and fancy trimmings. Instead, I took it easy with this simple, Mexican-influenced menu that left plenty of time for socializing with my (non-primal) guests:

Steamed Crudites with Adobo Yogurt Sauce;

Garlic Pulled Pork, a recent cookbook-contest winner from Mark’s Daily Apple;

Bacon Stuffed Anaheim Peppers, since the store didn’t have large jalapenos for my recipe;

Strawberry and Avocado Salad with Chile-Lime Dressing; and,

Coconut Fried Plantains

And wine, of course.

I love creating satisfying, primal meals for non-primal guests. Include plenty of interesting colors, flavors and textures, and most people will never notice the absence of sugar and grain.

Happy Easter to all, and to all a good night! (Did I mention we had wine?)

Slow-Cooked Carne Asada and Bacon Stuffed Jalapenos

Let’s face it: primal eating can be a bit pricey. Back in my flegan days, I filled up on beans and grains from the bulk section — cheap and easy, but sky high in carbohydrate and antinutrients. These days, I keep my eyes open for inexpensive cuts of meat and tasty ways to prepare them.

In my corner of Idaho, we have a large Hispanic population, and carne asada (the unseasoned kind, just thinly sliced, tough beef) is usually available. I picked up a large package the other day and spent a grand total of about 10 minutes preparing this dish. The stuffed jalapenos made a delicious, if somewhat less economical, side.

Slow-Cooked Carne Asada

2 lbs carne asada
1 large, yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (4 oz) cans diced green chiles
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1-2 jalapenos, chopped (seeds included)
2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs oregano
2 Tbs cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in slow cooker with beef on the bottom. (There’s no need to pre-brown the meat.) Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours, until meat is tender and easily shredded with two forks. Serves 6.

Bacon Stuffed Jalapenos

8 large jalapeno peppers
1 (8 oz) package full-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

Halve and seed the jalapenos, and place them in a glass baking dish. Mix together cheeses and bacon. Stuff jalapeno halves with cheese mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until peppers are tender and filling is browned on top.

Note: Want an appetizer for your primal Mexican meal? Sliced jicama makes a great substitute for chips when dipping up guacamole. (And it pleases the low-fat crowd, too, which is handy for parties.)