Tri-Tip, Sauce, Sweet Potato and Primal Cheescake

My cousin, Adam, has been following my Paleo ways for some time and occasionally comments on this blog. His wife, 'Z', does too, and this weekend they were visiting us up at our cabin where we cooked up various storms. At one point, Z was remarking how just a year ago, she couldn't imagine not having her cereals for breakfast and then being ravenously hungry by 10 a.m. Now, she usually doesn't even eat until lunch and it's meat, salad, nuts…things like that. Of course, her chubby co-workers think she's a lean nutcase. Here's Adam & Z at work last night.


Here's Adam slicing up my low & slow tri-tip.


Now, back up to a few years back, Adam & I playing corn toss on a camping trip.


He wasn't what you'd call "fat" by any means, but you can certainly see — especially by the face — how terrifically he's leaned out. The paleo / Primal / Evolutionary / Animal life way works for everyone, every time, to deliver lean bodies, health, and vitality.

So, here's dinner.


The sauce is coconut milk, beef bullion, a bit of red wine and a bunch of crushed blueberries. On the side was mashed sweet potato with a cheese melt, and here's what they did with the skins.


Fried on medium low heat in lots of butter, then as soon as they come out, lightly sprinkled with cinnamon. Unbelievable.

Finally, desert was a great cheesecake. Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of the plated version with sliced strawberries on top.


While I don't have the complete recipe (yet — and maybe Adam can put it in the comments), the crust is hazelnut meal, coconut flour and butter. The filling is cream cheese, pureed strawberries, and eggs (I think). No sweetener, and it was quite good without.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. minneapolis J on March 29, 2009 at 12:44

    wow, looks quite amazing. that's what you call feel good eating. your cousin looks quite young Richard. and look at you in that picture with your cousin. you look quite different now. What do the weight scales way for you now days Richard?

  2. Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later on March 29, 2009 at 12:54

    Would it be churlish to point out that creamed cheese is not primal? I have have attempted primal cheesecake myself before, and being a purist, eschewed anything dairy. Unfortunately, this left creamed coconut as the main option for the creaminess, so the result was rather heavy and over-cocunutty. Maybe I should accept that if I want cheesecake, cheese must be involved….

  3. Adam Harmer on March 29, 2009 at 14:00

    Good looking stuff Richard! I noticed Dr. Davis' new post about the home testing kits. Will their home lipid test kit give me everything I would need to analyze my results as you've posted recently? Just sent my Grassroots kit in as well, looking forward to seeing the results!

  4. Arnoud Lobbezoo on March 29, 2009 at 14:59

    Does anybody have a primal cheesecake recipe using Mascarpone cheese (made from pure heavy cream)?

  5. Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2009 at 12:52

    I haven't weighed in about a week but will tomorrow after my workout. I have been bouncing between 183 and 186 for a couple of months. I think things are about to break loose, however.

  6. Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2009 at 13:31

    Nah, not at all churlish. You go right ahead.

    And, yea, I know. How about kinda-primal-ish? Like I always say: 95% (overall) is pretty damn good. I used to eat quite a bit of cheese, and did the raw milk thing for a while. Now my total dairy intake is really damn low, so I don't mind something like this from time to time.

  7. Dr Dan on March 30, 2009 at 00:51

    He has definitely thinned out!

  8. Adam Cilonis on March 30, 2009 at 08:58

    We had a great time this weekend Rick and Bea! Thanks so much for having us up. The tri-tip was ridiculously good-the blueberry sauce was the "icing on the cake", so to speak.

    Here's the detail on the "Semi Primal Cheese Pie"

    Crust: 1 cup hazelnut meal, 1/2 cup coconut flour, 3/4 cube of butter and 2 heaping tbs of coconut oil. Mix meal and flour and then add melted butter and oil. Compact neatly into pie pan and bake for 7 minutes at 350.

    Filling: base is 2 packs of cream cheese, 2 eggs, lil bit of heavy cream depending on what flavoring you use. When I use pumpkin I use less cream because it gets too watery.

    Variations: Strawberries, cut into small pieces and simmer to reduce water content and concentrate the flavor, blend or puree after cooking.

    Pumpkin, I use the canned and add pumpkin spice and nutmeg, amount based on flavor of pumpkin you would like.

    Blueberries, a "magic bullet" them and they are ready to add.

    When using fruit variations: Add of the fruit "sauce" 1/3 to the cream cheese mixture (mix well), 1/3 to the cake after it is in the crust and artfully swirl and save 1/3 for a topping(my favorite part!).

    Adding whole raw fruit is a nice touch too.

    Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes…you know it's done with the center is as firm as the edge. Cool and serve cold with sauce and fresh fruit.

  9. Adam Cilonis on March 30, 2009 at 09:02

    Thanks Dan. I was nearly at high school weight (18 years out)-6'4" – 198 a month ago and now I am up about 5 pounds…all muscle though! I am finally lifting heavy things 🙂

  10. Adam Cilonis on March 30, 2009 at 09:08

    I totally agree. I wanted something that was a traditional dessert but was made from natural ingredients (or as close as possible). I first made it with Splenda but have since moved away from artificial sweeteners. Also, I have recently added coconut flour. The crust is the crowning jewel. You can do so much with it!!! I am going to be looking into a primal apple pie very soon!

  11. Adam Cilonis on March 30, 2009 at 09:09

    Rick, what are you referring to with the "break loose comment?

  12. golooraam on March 30, 2009 at 12:40

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your cooking tips and pictures… I made a thai curry for lunch yesterday, basically steak with a can of organic coconut milk, a little red curry paste, with a little sweet bell pepper and cherry tomatoes at the end with a squeeze of lime/fish sauce. Pretty good – next time I will try and track down a little lemongrass.

    Had a question for you, are you noticing a ‘dose response’ with your coconut milk consumption? I swear, yesterday, I drank the whole darn can of coconut milk, and did it a few days last week and I finally got to the last hole in my belt… That’s like 720 calories of coconut?

    The day I didn’t have any coconut and just had zero carbs, the scale didn’t go down as much the next day. I am pretty confused as I thought the whole thing about coconut boosting metabolism was kind of a scam – but now I am not so sure.

    For dinner today, I will mix a little ginger dressing with coconut milk for my ‘steak sauce’, sautéed cauliflower with turmeric in lard, then for ‘dessert’, the rest of the can of coconut milk with a little raw cacao and organic cinnamon… it’s actually quite a nice dessert.

  13. Will on March 30, 2009 at 12:40

    Peter's mascarpone recipe got me on a short-lived quest to replicate cheescake. This stuff is really rich; my wife and I experimented with this for a few months, and now neither one of us can stand to even look at cheesecake 🙂



  14. Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2009 at 06:27

    Near as I can tell from reading that, it would be a standard lipid panel, i.e., calc'ed LDL. He indicated that lipoproteins are not yet available but will be within a few years. I take that to mean directly measured particle counts and size.

  15. Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2009 at 06:28

    I don't, but that's an interesting idea.

  16. Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2009 at 09:17

    I think I'm about to go into another fat-loss round, down under 180. I should have a post up today about it.

  17. Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2009 at 12:59

    Yea, I just don't know about the "boost," either. But I do know that seemingly no matter how much coconut milk and oil I put into my diet, I'm not gaining any weight, other than the 3lb+/- normal fluctuation.

  18. Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2009 at 13:04

    I had forgotten about that post. Wowzers! I could see maybe eating a 1/2" slice per day. Not the fat or bit of sugar that would get me, but just the whole richness of the thing.

  19. Model Dana Michelle on April 1, 2009 at 21:46

    Hey Adam,
    You noted 2 "packs" of cream cheese – what size are the packs – since cream cheese comes in several different sizes – I assume 8 oz but you know what they say when you assume….lol? Thanks M;)

  20. Model Dana Michelle on April 1, 2009 at 21:50

    I would just substitute the Mascarpone for the cream cheese in the recipe given, if you check below it is shown. I love mascarpone much better than cream cheese & I will definitely be doing this. To me, cream cheese is just far too heavy! I like the lightness & flavor of mascarpone!

    M 😉

  21. Richard Nikoley on April 2, 2009 at 10:06

    In case Adam doesn't see this, I believe they were the standard block size, 1 pound?

  22. Murray on April 3, 2009 at 09:14

    Some more thoughts on the primal-ness of cheese:

  23. Richard Nikoley on April 3, 2009 at 10:16

    Yep, I'm pretty much in that camp now. I have it from time-to-time, and usually not in large quantity.

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