It was 7:10 a.m., and I was the last one in the house to roll out of bed. For those of you whose living quarters don’t explode with the sounds of small children at the crack of dawn, this is considered late.

To prepare for the women’s class at CrossFit Palo Alto, I threw a tray of yams in the oven so I could chow on one post-workout…

…and for my pre-workout grub, I grabbed a handful of deli roast beef…

…and rolled it up in a Pure Wrap with some kimchee.

After surviving a slew of pull-ups, double-unders and kettlebell swings, I ran a bunch of errands and met up with my parents for lunch.

At lunchtime, we went out to Calafia where I inhaled a wakame salad…

…and steak tacos.

Calafia’s a decent lunch spot. It isn’t my favorite place to eat in Palo Alto, but the menu is clearly labelled with gluten-free options and the ingredients are well-sourced.

When I came home in the afternoon, I cubed and seasoned a boneless grass fed beef neck roast to make Oven-Braised Mexican Beef. Where the heck did I get a neck roast, you ask?  It was part of the beefy loot I brought home from the butchering class I took at 4505 Meats a while back. Ryan’s instructions were to cook it like a chuck roast – low and slow.

I didn’t have any broth on hand, so I tossed in some leftover frozen gravy. Kitchen MacGyver!

I added the neck cubes to the pot and brought the contents to a simmer…

…before popping it in the oven for three hours.

To accompany the meat, I broiled zucchini slices that I slicked with melted ghee.

Once they were tender and charred, I tossed on some fresh basil…

…cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and fleur de sel.

I also whipped up a bowl of guacamole. Confession: I didn’t have enough fresh cubed avocado on hand, so I mixed it together with some store-bought guacamole. Very Sandra Lee of me, no? (Fear not – you won’t find a grotesque Kwanzaa Cake here anytime soon.)

I plated the braised neck…

…and washed some lettuce for the taco shells.

Since I enjoy performing experiments on live humans, I invited some buddies over to dine on my first attempt at roasting a neck.

After a slow braise in the oven, the neck roast came out moist, tender, and flavorful.

Neck. It’s what’s for dinner.

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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