Skip to main content

Scenes from Our Weekend: Deliciously Un-Styled

By September 27, 2011BBQ, Food, Local Food, Paleo, Weekend


Ever have a delicious meal you hesitate to put on your blog because it’s not “pretty”? Or one that was almost too easy but just so good you had to share anyway? Our barbecue this weekend yielded a plate that exceeded both of the aforementioned qualifiers, and I couldn’t help but share.


Our meal started as so many do. A hodgepodge of leftovers and random ingredients we’re trying to clear from the fridge ahead of our trip out of town to Kansas City this weekend and a anticipated stop at Trader Joe’s. We don’t have one, it’s like going to Disney World.



I chopped two randomly discovered sweet potatoes into wedges and started playing with some ideas. I plucked a sweet onion from the back of the pantry and diced into a bowl with the sweet potato along with 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander, 2 teaspoons sweet paprika and 2 teaspoons chili powder. I also added some fresh cilantro and lime juice.


Meanwhile, Neil prepped his beloved bunch of asparagus (I’m pretty sure we’re eating a trees worth a week now) with olive oil, garlic salt and sweet paprika. We wrapped everything in foil and placed our dinner packets in a circle around the edges of the grill. In retrospect, we should have placed the sweet potatoes right on the grill, but I was worried they’d fall through the slats. We also got some…


Tiger Tails! After having them for the first time this summer, we’ve been completely obsessed, and have gotten many of our friends hooked as well. They were not leftover, but I believe them ever being so is an impossibility.


While Neil was out manning the grill, I got a wild hair and convinced him to char a pepper we had leftover from dinner the previous night. I sliced it up and threw it in the food processor with some cannellinis:


Convinced that I was onto something, I added 1/4 cup basil, 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (it might have been more, I’m an addict), a minced garlic clove, olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Although it wasn’t particularly pretty (green, but not green enough if you know what I mean), but it tasted great! Lightly sweet and fresh with a little kick. I poured it into our little crock warmer and let it warm for about 20 minutes or so until the rest of our meal was off the grill. Then we threw everything on a plate and well, it looked pretty random.


An above shot. Random isn’t it?


The tiger tail with spicy mustard and peppers sauce I made. Told you, green, but not green enough…


Beautiful asparagus with speckled hints of the paprika that we love so much.


And my sweet potatoes. Again, wish I had put them directly on the grill, but they still turned out great, just not as charred as I originally pictured. I think a lot of people think of them purely as sweet and something you make sweeter or more decadent, however coupled with onions, they become more savory, which I love.

So there you have it, our deliciously un-styled-not-very-attractive-but-still-delicious meal from this weekend. We had fun bumming around in the kitchen and we used up a lot of the random ingredients we had leftover from last week. I call that a win!

Have you ever had a meal like this, or is there one you enjoy frequently that just doesn’t photo well? We’d love to hear about it!


  • I like to think I’m the master of ugly food. I take photos of nearly all my dinners but the only ones I bother to put on the blog are the baked goods – they’re just prettier to look at! People probably think I live on donuts and cookies. I would like to be better at throwing a bunch of things together and ending up with something delicious, but I’m not quite that confident in the kitchen yet. Maybe one day!

    Also, I am totally craving asparagus now. Must find some immediately!

    • Jessica says:

      I think too, and you’ve probably seen this as well, pretty baked goods garner more traffic and comments than healthy, minimalist food and veggies. So far my ugly food post isn’t doing so bad 🙂

  • Claire says:

    ugly? this is gorgeous. anyone true eating enthusiast knows it’s not how it looks, it’s how it tastes. only snobs care how it looks.

    • Jessica says:

      It tasted amazing, so it was a success 🙂 Not everything can be food magazine worthy, I sometimes would rather just eat than photo.

  • casacaudill says:

    Since changing our diet this is what most of our meals look like. We eat a lot of sausage and asparagus at casacaudill these days. I’m scared for autumn and winter when the asparagus disappears from shelves. I guess we could try frozen but ugh. I’m curious about the sweet potatoes. I know most people on primal/paleo diets cut out carbs entirely, but I’ve found a few who promote eating sweet potatoes. How are you finding the experience? I’m thinking of maybe adding them back in to the rotation.

    • Jessica says:

      We started Paleo initially with the understanding that sweet potatoes were off limits (I was crushed). Then like a lot of Paleo-ians, we came across Crossfit, and started doing it 4-5 days a week. Neil was getting headaches, and the trainer (also Paleo) said that he ate sweet potatoes after workouts, as did a lot of people on Paleo while also doing Crossfit. I can’t speak for Neil (I’m sure he’ll answer), but I know post-workout it helps me bounce back.

      Our trainer did say to limit them to around the times you workout (Neil will probably speak more to this.)

    • Neil says:

      Here is a good Q/A about sweet potatoes.

      In the end if your goal is to really crack down and shed some fat, you probably should limit sweet potatoes to just after workout, or none at all. However, they are much better for your diet than your typical starch potato. Hopefully this helps!

      Q: Are baked sweet potatoes allowed? I thought not!

      A: Yes, sweet potatoes are allowed, specially in the post-workout period if you are an athlete. Sweet potatoes are different from potatoes in that they do not contain several harmful substances such as saponins and lectins, which may increase your intestinal permeability (if consumed regularly) and rev-up your immune system. But on the other hand, sweet potatoes are high glycemic index foods and should be restricted if you are struggling with overweight, at least until your body weight normalizes.