Nom Nom Paleo

Pressure Cooker Crispy Potatoes

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"But…but…but…potatoes aren’t Paleo!"

(7/18/14 UPDATE: White potatoes are now Whole30 approved!)

Once again, with feeling: It all depends on what you mean when you say “Paleo.” There is, after all, no such thing as one definitive Paleo diet. Potatoes may not have been available to cavemen, but I really don’t care. Historical re-enactment ain’t my cup of tea. (Besides, it’s not like our prehistoric ancestors snacked on dark chocolate bars, either.)

My personal template for Paleo eating focuses on nutrient-packed whole foods that don’t hurt me. For me, potatoes fall into that category. After checking out Bill and Hayley’s post on the Paleosity of potatoes, listening to the safe starch debate, and soaking in Mat Lalonde’s talk about nutrient density at the 2012 Ancestral Health Symposium (during which Mat pointed out that peeled potatoes are actually more nutrient dense than sweet potatoes, save for the beta-carotene in the latter), I’ve decided that an occasional portion of peeled potatoes are a-OK on my plate. Your circumstances may be different; for instance, if you’re on a super-low-carb protocol at the moment, you’re probably not looking to down a bowl of spuds.

Blah, blah, blah, science, science, science, blah, blah, blah.

With that pesky business out of the way, let me show you how to use a pressure cooker to make spuds with crispy exteriors and fluffy interiors in no time flat.

Ready?

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Here’s what to gather to make a side dish fit for four folks:

  • 1 pound fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform 1 - 1½ inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee or favorite animal fat
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup minced Italian parsley
  • ½ medium lemon

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Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods + The Recipe for Meat Loaf Muffins!

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Who’s got two thumbs and loves quick and easy comfort foods?

This tired mother!

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Although my dear hubby is off to New York on a business trip and I’m smack dab in the middle of another week of night shifts, there’s no excuse not to cook. I’m not saying it’s easy; as I’ve said before, I’m terrible at meal planning. But luckily, I’ve got a new weapon in my kitchen arsenal that helps procrastinators like me get nourishing, flavorful, real-food meals on the table with a minimum of fuss or muss: Julie and Charles Mayfield’s new cookbook, Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods!

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

After an early review copy of the Mayfields’ cookbook showed up in my mailbox, I immediately whipped out a bunch of sticky-notes and began bookmarking my favorite recipes. But can you blame me?

Since starting this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really wonderful people from the Interwebs, but Julie and Charles are two of my absolute favorites. Henry and I instantly bonded with this warm and gracious couple back at the inaugural Ancestral Health Symposium over our shared love of good food and belly laughs. Since then, every time we’ve seen Jules and Charles—whether it’s in L.A., Austin, Boston, or their home base in Atlanta—we’ve had more fun than a barrel of monkeys. And now, there’s a third Mayfield to enjoy!

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s not just that the Mayfields are a lovely family—they’re also foodies of the first order. Longtime readers know that the kiddos and I had a great time cooking through their first cookbook, the wildly popular Paleo Comfort Foods, and their fried chicken remains one of our favorite recipes.

Remember the first time I made their chicken? (I can’t believe it’s been TWO YEARS since we shot this video. Where does the time go?)

What I love about Jules’ and Charles’ follow-up is that its pages are crammed with similarly rib-sticking recipes—but all of ‘em can be prepared from start to finish in a flash.

In the past week alone, I’ve made multiple batches of the Mayfields’ easy and delicious Meat Loaf Muffins (recipe below). This is hearty, portable fare at its simplest, and it’s fantastic for both dinner and as a packed lunch.

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In fact, every time we finished eating a batch of Meat Loaf Muffins, Big-O demanded that I make more of ‘em because he liked munching on ‘em at school.

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Whole30 Day 2: Paleo Mayonnaise

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We’re just two days into January, so let’s make sure the rest of your month stays as tasty as possible with one of the best Whole30-friendly flavor boosters around: Paleo Mayonnaise!

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Unlike the store-bought gunk, Paleo Mayo isn’t made with canola oil or soybean oil — which, as my previous post made clear, are eeeevil. (Read the labels; even most varieties of “olive oil” mayo on supermarket shelves are primarily vegetable-oil-based.) There is one organic mayonnaise made with healthy oils that comes highly recommended by my pal Liz. The bad news?  It’s almost always sold out and not Whole30-compliant ‘cause it contains evaporated cane juice (i.e. sugar).

I guess you’ve got no choice: Roll up your sleeves and whip up your own!

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Porkitos! (a.k.a. Crispy Prosciutto Chips)

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I prefer prosciutto chips to bacon bits because they cook evenly and there aren’t any unappetizing flabby parts. These “Porkitos” also add a terrific salty crunch to creamy soups, salads, and purées. Or you can just stuff your face with them.

'Cause really — who doesn’t like crispy, porky chips?

Here’s what to gather to make a tray of crunchy Porkitos (feeds 1-2 people):

  • 3 ounces of thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma (Try to get freshly-sliced prosciutto from the deli counter and make sure they cut it paper thin.)

Here’s how to make ‘em:

Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper…

…and place the prosciutto in a single layer on top. Don’t overcrowd the swine or it won’t crisp properly.

Once the oven is ready, place the the tray in the oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your prosciutto slices) or until crunchy. Watch your chips like a hawk to make sure they don’t burn. Burnt chips make Nom Nom wanna smash things.

Transfer the chips to a wire rack to cool.

They’ll actually get crunchier as they cool, so it’s better to err on the side of under-baking them. Look — like stained glass (only swine-ier)!

With Brussels sprouts chips, kale chips, mushroom chips (recipe available on my iPad app), and now PORKITOS, who needs boring old potato chips?