beet & apple faux-slaw

A spark of ingenuity hit me last week while we were cooking up some beef tongue tacos (don’t hate – lengua is delicious). We just started receiving our winter CSA share from Horse and Buggy Produce and in an effort to use up as much as we could, I came up with this concoction!

This beet and apple faux-slaw goes perfectly on top of tacos, as a side to a bigger entree, or as a quick snack!

You’ll need..

  • 2 medium-sized beets, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1/4 green apple – its sour taste lends well to the other ingredients but I’m sure other apples would be fine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp sumac* optional
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free Tamari sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
*I found this spice at Whole Foods and it’s delicious but it may be hard to find in other stores. If you find it, great! If not, no worries!

Start with a sauce pan on medium-low heat and drizzle the olive oil on top. Julienne the beets and apples in the meantime. I would suggest cutting the apples first — beets tend to get red juice all over the place and make your kitchen look like a murder scene. Lovely.

Once you’ve got your matchstick pieces, place the beets into the pan and stir. Do not add the apples. While the beets are lightly cooking, mix the tamari and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season the beets with dried lemon peel, sumac, and salt & pepper (keeping in mind that tamari is also salty).

Once the beets have softened up a bit turn the heat off, add the liquid mixture, and let cool (if you’re in a hurry, go ahead and pop it into the fridge). Add in the apple pieces and stir away. The apples will absorb the red coloring from the beets and give you a super colorful dish. Devour!

I topped the lettuce-wrapped tacos with slices of avocado, the faux-slaw, and some chopped spicy almonds.

Grass-fed beef tongue from Wolf Creek Farm

September 5, Day 248

This past Labor Day, despite the rain, we ventured out to Madison County to partake in the Meet Yer Eats Farm Tour. Meeting the people who grow my food means a lot to me, considering I’m putting a lot of trust (um, and my health) in their hands. Since Virginia is not a small state, there was no way I’d be able to visit all the farms I regularly purchase produce from but we were able to make it to two: Wolf Creek Farm and Brightwood Vineyard and Farm.

I was thoroughly impressed by the tour given by John Whiteside of Wolf Creek Farm. He spoke about every aspect of the failing American food culture and was honest about the dangers of not paying attention to where your food comes from. After the tour, I felt like I had learned more from him in those two hours than I had in many classes during college. That says something. (It also says something about college courses. I can’t recall a single thing from Molecular Cell Biology — I’m looking at you, Professor Wormington.) I’ve gotten to know John and Mihye this year as I frequent their stand at the Farmer’s Market every week. They’re kind and humble people who can strike up a conversation with anyone and have plenty of advice about cooking (the beef kidney sitting in my freezer right now is a testament to that). Being able to see the open pastures where the cattle live was a great thing for me to witness. I know that the beef I consume has been treated well and humanely – they’ve had good lives.

Brightwood Vineyard and Farm was up next on our tour. I venture to their stand on Saturdays and taste some of their homemade jellies and jam. As soon as we parked, it kind of felt like home. Comfortable, unhurried, patient. In an odd way, it reminded me of my grandparents’ farm in Guatemala. The animal tour was great – got to see lots of chickens, donkeys, sheep, ducks, goats, and some vegetables afterwards. We sampled the jellies and wine and bought one of each since we’re suckers for good food (who isn’t?). By the end of the tour, the rain got the better of us and we headed home shortly thereafter (not before stopping by Rev Soup for some late lunch).

Slowly but surely, I’ve been taking baby steps towards being more appreciative of my own food. I recently bought herbs to grow at home and I bought a mushroom growing kit (which my inner 5 year old could not pass up). In the coming years, I want to grow my own vegetables at the very least. It’s funny but I think I can taste the difference between produce that’s been cared for and produce from a factory (perfect-looking but flavorless). I consider myself really lucky that I have access to plenty of local, beyond-organic food here in Virginia; I wish more people were aware of how easy it is to get (and make!) good food.

August 25, Day 237

Just wanted to share some of my experiments from today.

1) Homemade soup! Used homemade beef stock from here, added mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and let it boil & simmer for a while. Didn’t really know what I was doing but it tasted awesome! A decent little treat in the afternoon.



2) Beef kidney! Ok, people already think I’m weird enough as it is but I *heart* eating offal. My mom would buy and cook organs when I was a kid so I’m used to the odd flavors and textures, it’s quite comforting actually. We made a quick stir-fry with some miso (also from Wolf Creek Farm) and boy, that added a lot of flavor! I’m gonna admit that it was more successful than the first time we cooked beef tongue.

Day 186 – 7.5.2011

Having just finished reading The Vegetarian Myth, I’ve been inspired to make use of more local and sustainable foods. I feel it’s a responsibility everyone should take if access is readily available. Living in Central Virginia really does allow me to be more involved in the food that I consume. That’s why I loved going berry picking at a local, organic farm and making my own jam without using chemicals and ingredients that aren’t natural. Along similar lines, I’ve also gotten around to using about 6lbs of beef bones that I received in a cowshare we received last fall from Wolf Creek Farm. The bones have been sitting in my freezer just waiting to be used. It seemed like due time that I make some beef stock out of them! I let them simmer in my pot (they didn’t fit into our crockpot) for approximately 16hrs to really get all that I could out of them . I woke up to my house smelling like beef and it was glorious. After straining and separating everything, I ended up with massive bones (which will go to a friend’s lovable dog), about two quarts of beef stock (soup time!) and some awesome tallow that I’ve already started using in some sautées.

The book itself has its flaws in that it’s heavily biased and a bit bitchy, but rightfully so. Having a such a deep passion for food (hey, who doesn’t love to eat?) I want to be more educated and conscious about what I’m fueling my body with and the consequences of how those foods were obtained. Next on my list is Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which I’ve heard great things about.


Not gonna lie, these kinda look like dinosaur bones. They’re really fun to play with – I pretended I was a paleontologist. Sometimes, I act like a four year old and I’m okay with that :P Mmm, sweet separation! The tallow also gave me an excuse to finally use those glass jars I’ve been saving for no apparent reason!

Days 174 – 178, 6.23.2011-6.27.2011

Phew! It’s been a busy week! I completed my Whole30 (reflections to come!), we painted our revamped our apartment with Chris’ parents, met up with my parents in Northern VA, had a great weekend, and now back to normal life! Let’s review, shall we?

6.23.2011 – With Chris’ parents in town and arriving late at night, we gave them our bedroom for the duration of their visit. The aerobed is actually quite comfy! Not the most creative picture but sometimes you lack inspiration.

6.24.2011 – While the family was slaving away painting and renovating our apartment, I spent the day at work and then helped make a home-cooked dinner – BBQ ribs, grilled kale (which caught on fire), and a brussels sprout medley. I hadn’t had ribs in so long, mmmmm ribs. I felt like a true cavewoman.

6.25.2011 – I would be meeting up with my parents and godparents who were visiting from Guatemala in Northern VA. My parents and I took them to see the Great Falls Park rapids, where the Potomac River flows through and what used to be a canal for transportation. In the evening, we went to go to see the Spirit of Atlanta, the drum and bugle corp that Chris teaches, perform in Arlington, VA with Chris’ parents. After the show, Chris and I went to get some fantastic homemade soft-serve ice cream and a chocolate espresso tart. I hadn’t had much dairy since coming off the Whole30 and I found out that yes, I’m lactose-intolerant, but man, that ice cream was WORTH IT. Also, I wouldn’t see Chris for three weeks so a major cheat was fine by me!

6.26.2011 – My godparents were heading out of Chinatown in DC for New York so we spent the latter part of the morning being tourists and walking around DC. We didn’t see as much as we wanted because parking was such an ordeal but we got some great weather and even better company. My dad is cheesy (and mildly embarrassing) for wearing a “USA” shirt while in DC.


6.27.2011 – I’ve realized that I want to maintain most of the habits I formed during the Whole30 but not so strict so I don’t go insane. One thing I’ve introduced into my diet is ghee – ultra-clarified butter. I used it for the first time for some beef liver from Wolf Creek Farm and oh-my-goodness, the smell was intoxicating. Think of the best butter you’ve ever had and then amplify it. Yeah, it’s awesome. I sautéed a small yellow squash, mushroom and tomato hash with some broiled kale (set the smoke alarm off! oops!) and that yummy liver. Mmmmm.



Days 135 – 156

What I’ve been up to since returning from Guatemala:

  • I started the Whole30 Nutrition Challenge on May 23rd (still going strong!)
  • CrossFit 2-3x a week
  • Work, work, work
  • Editing photos from Guatemala
  • Redecorating the apartment
  • Work, work, work
  • Sleep
This is just to update all my photos. As a side note, you’ll notice that there are some days missing – I’m going to admit that I slacked off and didn’t take any pictures on some days. I’ve accepted that I failed on those days and have forgiven myself. Onwards!
We gathered a crew of friends to help us in our first steps in decluttering our place! Our friends are awesome (Thank you Kyle, Michael, Ben and Mehtab!) and our apartment is awesome.
Sometimes, this is what you get when you live with a boy.
Typical breakfast (maybe dinner?) in our household.
We discovered something awesome – beef bacon! Kinda tastes like really good jerky when overcooked (my fault) but still delicious, I can’t wait to include back into my diet.
A great BBQ at a friend’s house included some perfectly grilled meat to satisfy our palettes.
He might kill me for including this picture but I like it. These are a series of photos taken of Chris’ band members for promotional posters. You should check them out – they’re pretty freakin’ awesome (
Day 1 of the Whole30! For dinner: grass-fed beef heart from Wolf Creek Farm!
 Apparently, I like food.Something I’ve yet to try at CrossFit – tire flips! Not that I’d succeed because they’re bigger and heavier than I am but who knows.
Back to the ol’ routine of the Saturday morning Charlottesville City Farmer’s Market. So many strawberries! I didn’t get any because they’re a bit too sweet for my taste (and therefore, go bad before I get to use them) but their colors are so enticing!
On days where the humidity isn’t stifling, I have breakfast outside on our back patio. It gives me the opportunity to savor my meal without the distraction of my laptop or the television. I also noticed that I feel way more centered when I’m not rushing around like a maniac in the mornings.
Where all the magic happens – my cupboard. Today (June 5th) I ventured to our local Whole Foods where they held a 50% off everything sale (they’re moving to a new location) and now my cupboard is even more stocked up. Now I don’t have an excuse for not cooking well.
A happy little accident occurred  – I was following a recipe from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook for an Almond Coconut dressing and added too much almond butter (is there such a thing?) and got a thicker, creamier sauce than anticipated! It’s got some tanginess from lemon juice and some added fresh basil so it goes incredibly well with fish.
While walking around the Farmer’s Market yesterday, I was tempting into buying some flowers to spruce up the apartment but I had to talk myself out of it – I know that I’m terrible at taking care of plants (although that orchid is still blooming..)
While I can’t enjoy a Sunday Brunch out because of the Whole30, I treated myself to a fabulous brunch this morning after a quick workout at a local park: local pastured farm egg scramble, prosciutto (no worries, the only ingredients were: pork, salt, pepper), and local swiss chard and sun-dried tomato sautée. Seriously, this was awesome – I impressed myself.

Day 113

On Saturday, we ventured to the City Market for the last time before our trip. We stopped by Wolf Creek Farm’s stand to say hello and meet them. (Hi Wolf Creek Farm!) They’re unbelievably nice people. They actually know about my blog and offered us some homemade Beef Bulgogi and veggies (similar to kimchi). Seriously, this stuff was amazing. The combination of the sweet and savory beef with the spiciness of the kimchi was like a party in my mouth. I’m assuming that this traditionally goes with rice but since we don’t eat grains, we served it on top of a bed of spinach. Yummy yum yum.

Day 100

Something I’ve been experimenting with lately has been offal. I got some tasty Beef heart parts at the Farmer’s Market last weekend from Wolf Creek Farm and used 1/3lb yesterday. In thin slices, throw the beef heart into a pan with olive oil and your seasoning of choice. Five to ten minutes and you’re done! Also, tonight I cooked some beef liver – a bit too tough because I cooked it too long but still pretty good!

ps! Day 100! Here’s to the next 265!

Day 82

Inspired by the crappy weather and the fact that we had to use up a lot of ingredients from our fridge (we’re going to Philly tomorrow!), I wanted to make good use of some left over Wolf Creek Farm ground beef. Behold, lettuce burgers with bacon, egg, goat cheese, and cherry tomatoes. And yes, they were as good as they look!