Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How can I say NO?

I'm a mother of two, which means most of my daily actions involve fulfilling the needs of those who I have created.  One of my children is extremely picky due to food sensitivities of autism.  As a foodie and someone who loves to cook, that's difficult for me to deal with at times.  Life blessed me with a second child who loves food just as much as I do and often has cravings.  HOW CAN I SAY NO when the fruit of my loins asks for a Manwich?  If she's asking for it, that means there's a positive emotional connection with that food.  And honestly, I want her to look back at her childhood and remember amazing meals that her mom used to make.  And when she asks me about it, I'll hopefully have a recipe book already made for her to use when cooking for her own family.  But enough about my musings of a perfect future . . . . HOW AM I GOING TO FEED HER A MANWICH?  It's loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other NON-PALEO ingredients.  After much musing, I plan to try a paleo version of a sloppy joe that the internet has kindly provided.  I'll definitely report back on my success/failure later.

This was the second meal requested in the same week.  The first request was for "Soft Meat".  That's what my adorable 9-year old calls Asian Beef Short Ribs.  I'd previously used a recipe from a friend that called for soy sauce, brown sugar and corn starch.  I don't blame my little one for loving that recipe so much.  I made them in a crock pot and the whole house would smell delicious all day.  So when she asked when I'd make "Soft Meat" again, I asked myself HOW CAN I SAY NO?  Not only does that meal mean something to her, it reflects the friendship I had with another person.  Emotional food connections mean a lot to me, obviously.  So off to the internet I went, hoping that someone had replicated the salty, sweetness of the recipe I had.

Luckily Paleo Spirit had done this feat.  I am so glad I found her blog.  I'm sure you'll see me replicating MANY more of her recipes on my blog (as I was writing this blog, I was distracted and inspired to make her Paleo Shortbread Teabag cookies).  I altered a few ingredients and I changed some of the prep and cooking to suit my needs.  To see the recipe in its original form, please visit the link to the Paleo Spirit website.

Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs (Paleo)


  • 5 lbs beef short ribs (ideally from grass-fed/finished cows)
  • 1 teaspoon fat/oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 hot pepper (I used serrano)
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger root, peeled (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (make sure it is gluten-free)

  • 10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms 
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 3-4 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper

  1. Season the beef ribs lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large, oven-proof pan on medium-high heat and spread a thin layer of fat/oil to keep the ribs from sticking.
  3. Sear the ribs for about 1-2 minutes on the meaty sides. You will probably have to do this in batches. Remove to a platter and cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Sauté the chopped onion for about 10 minutes in the same pan you used to sear the ribs.
  5. Mince the garlic, ginger and pepper (or use a food processor as I did) and add to the pan with the onions, cooking while stirring for about one minute.
  6. Place the beef ribs in a crock pot and add the stock, water, coconut aminos, and vinegar. Make sure the ribs are just covered in the liquid.  Cook on low for 6 hours
  7. Remove the short ribs to a separate platter and cover them with foil to keep warm. 
  8. Allow the sauce to cool somewhat and strain it through a mesh sieve. I like to use a spoon to press the juices out of the solids. Dispose of the solids. (You might want to skim some of the fat off the sauce at this point, especially if you are using conventional beef.) THIS PROCESS WAS MADE SUPER EASY BY USING MY PAMPERED CHEF GRAVY SEPARATOR.  I highly suggest purchasing this or something similar.  All I did was pour the crockpot contents through the top sieve and the fat separated out nicely.  
  9. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce to about 1 1/2 cups. It will be very rich. 
  10. Add the shiitake mushrooms and juice of one orange and continue simmering until mushrooms are softened – 5-10 minutes. 
  11. Pour sauce over short rib.  Serve the ribs warm, with the mushrooms and garnished with orange zest and sliced scallions. 
I served myself this as a salad, with the meat shredded and the sauce used as a dressing.  

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