Nom Nom Paleo

Tabil Seasoned Sautéed Shrimp

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[UPDATED July 1, 2012: This ain’t a new recipe (it’s from over a year ago), but it continues to be popular and the old photos were all kinds of horrible, so I updated this post with new pics. Enjoy (again!)]

Frozen shrimp can be a godsend when you don’t know what to cook for dinner. Tonight when I woke up, I putzed around the kitchen in a daze until I remembered I had a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer. Bingo!

Here’s what to wrangle up to serve 2 people:

  • 1 pound large frozen shrimp (21-25 per pound)
  • 1 tablespoon Tabil seasoning (the recipe is available on my iPad app)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil (or coconut oil), divided
  • handful cherry tomatoes
  • handful fresh basil leaves (optional)

Here’s the process:

Dump the bag of frozen shrimp in a colander and run cold water over them for around 5 minutes or until defrosted.

Peel the shrimp and devein them by cutting a shallow slit down the back and pulling out the icky black intestine.

Toss the drained shrimp with Tabil seasoning, salt, and a tablespoon of macadamia nut oil.

Heat up a large skillet on medium high and add the remaining tablespoon of macadamia nut oil.

When the pan’s hot, sear the shrimp in two batches making sure they aren’t overcrowded…

…about a minute on each side.

Remove the shrimp to a serving platter and toss the cherry tomatoes into the empty pan. Roll the tomatoes in the grease until they’re warmed through and add them to the shrimp.

Chiffonade the basil…

…and sprinkle it on the shrimp and tomatoes.

Didn’t I tell you this dish was simple?

Thai-Inspired Crispy Duck & Arugula Salad

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Remember how much I love Sarah Fragoso? She just posted an awesome recipe for Thai “No Peanut” sauce that anyone with a well-stocked Paleo pantry can throw together in a few minutes. This well-balanced sauce/dressing is downright remarkable –I bet you could drizzle some on an old shoe and it would taste yummy!

Tonight, I threw together a simple yet scrumptious salad with pantry staples and items from my weekly vegetable CSA box. What follows is not a strict recipe but merely a suggestion — please feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand. Most South East Asian saIads combine spicy, tangy, crunchy, savory, and sweet so try to come up with a combination that incorporates all of these components.

Wanna see how I made it? Follow the jump!

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Slow Cooker Thai Yellow Curry With Grass Fed Beef Brisket

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Today’s recipe was the result of a happy accident.

I came home tired and exhausted from a 10-hour night shift and had a WTF am I making for dinner?!?! moment. Luckily, I had some grass fed brisket, veggies, and Aroy-D yellow curry paste on hand to toss into a slow cooker. 

I really like all the Aroy-D curry pastes I’ve tried. Here’s a shot of the Paleo-friendly ingredient list:

I really hoped that something delicious would be awaiting me when I woke up in the evening ‘cause sometimes my desperation dinners don’t pan out…

In this case, the stew turned out really tasty and my hands-on time was only 10 minutes. Woo hoo!

Follow the jump to see how I made it!

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Braised Chicken Legs with Artichokes and Pearl Onions

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I was in the mood to experiment tonight. By early evening, I was exhausted, so rather than planning an elaborate meal, I raided the kitchen and threw together a bunch of stuff I had in my freezer, fridge, and pantry to see if, perchance, an easy and yummy one-pot dish might materialize.

I’m happy to report that an investment of just 15 minutes of hands-on time yielded a savory dish that an entire family can happily scarf down. Well, 3 out of 4 members of the Nom Nom Paleo household enjoyed it. Our three-year-old, Lil-O, is always the sole holdout. “I want eggs,” he says. Every. Single. Night.

Where was I? Right: Ingredients.

I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s and I always read the chain’s wackily illustrated Fearless Flyer so I can strategically plan my next shopping excursion. Some of TJ’s new items are misses, but most are hits. I recently found two things in the freezer section that piqued my interest: frozen artichoke hearts…

…and peeled and prepared pearl onions.

Despite being an anti-processing Paleo freak, I love prepped frozen veggies ‘cause they help accelerate the time my dinner gets to the table. On the one hand, they’re a little pricier, but on the other hand, I can get away with doing less work. And Nom Nom Paleo is all about the lazy.

Here’s what I scrounged up:

  • 2 whole Kosher chicken legs, split into drumsticks and thighs (you can definitely double the amount of chicken)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sigona’s Green Poultry Seasoning (contains thyme, sage, pepper, coriander, marjoram, & parsley)
  • 12 oz bag of Trader Joe’s frozen artichoke hearts
  • 16 oz bag of Trader Joe’s frozen peeled & ready to use pearl onions
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and trimmed
  • 3/4 cup organic chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp Banyuls vinegar

Here’s what I did:

I preheated the oven to 325 F and I assembled all my ingredients.

I didn’t bother defrosting the artichoke hearts or pearl onions because I knew they’d quickly cook in my skillet. (Skeptical? Fine: The real reason I didn’t defrost them is that I was too lazy to add another cooking step. Happy now?)

My favorite chicken cuts for braising are bone-in, skin-on thighs. At my local TJ’s, they carry whole Kosher chicken legs so I just cut them into thighs and drumsticks (cut through the cartilage and not the bone or you’ll eff-up your knife). I seasoned my chicken with green poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Next, I heated 2 tablespoons of avocado oil over medium high heat in a 12-inch, oven-safe, lidded skillet and I seared my chicken parts until they were browned on each side.

After removing the browned chicken to a plate, I threw the frozen pearl onions into the empty skillet and seasoned it with some salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Once the onions were caramelized, I tossed in the frozen artichoke hearts and the garlic cloves (along with more salt and pepper). I sauteed all the vegetables until they were nice and toasty. Then, I nestled in the chicken parts and poured in the chicken broth and vinegar. After bringing it up to a simmer…

…I put on the lid and popped it in the oven for 45 minutes. The results were pretty tasty for the minimum amount of effort I put in.

The artichoke hearts are a wee bit acidic so you can back off on the vinegar or use a sweeter vinegar like balsamic. Also, the amount of chicken legs can definitely be doubled because I had a bunch of leftover chokes and onions that I’ll be pairing up with other proteins in the next few days. 

Quick & Simple Roasted Rack of Lamb

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I’ve never made rack of lamb at home before because it always seemed overly intimidating. And ‘cause I’m lazy.

But when I was at Trader Joe’s this afternoon, the little itty packs of frenched lamb racks looked pretty harmless…and tasty. So on a whim, I bought some. Turns out rack of lamb is easy to make and take no time at all. Plus, if you have a kick-ass meat thermometer, there’s no way you can mess this up.

Here’s what I assembled to feed two people:

  • 1 rack of lamb (~1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon of Dukka seasoning
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Here’s what I did:

Basically, I followed the directions in my Cook’s Illustrated The Best Meat Recipes book for roasting a rack of lamb. Those kitchen nerds haven’t let me down yet!

I preheated my oven to 425 F and placed a foil-lined baking sheet on a rack in the lower middle of my oven.

After seasoning the lamb very generously with salt and pepper, I sprinkled on the Dukka seasoning.

Per my chef sister, you should always try to salt your meats ahead of time (up to 24 hours), but I salted them only 10 minutes prior to searing. Still, the chops tasted great.

I heated 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over high heat in my large cast iron skillet, and when it began smoking, I added the rack of lamb, meat side down. I let the meat sizzle for 4 minutes until a nice crust formed. Then, I flipped the rack over and cooked it for 2 more minutes on the other side.

Next, the rack went into the oven on the preheated baking sheet.

In case you’re wondering, inside those two other foil packets were Portobello mushrooms that I planned to serve as a side dish.

I roasted the lamb for roughly 12-15 minutes, If you want it cooked medium rare, wait ‘til the temperature of the meat reaches 125 degrees; for medium, wait for it to hit 130 degrees. Mine ended up closer to 133 degrees because I kind of forgot to check on my lamb.

After I removed the rack from the oven…

I loosely tented it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Then, I sliced the rack into four pieces (2 ribs per slice) and served it up.

Who knew roasted rack of lamb could go from fridge to table in just 30 minutes?

Curried Ground Pork and Broccoli Slaw Frittata

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I was inspired to make a frittata a tonight after seeing the yummy ones posted on The Paleo Table , Balanced Bites, and Everyday Paleo blogs. Plus, I woke up later than usual tonight, so I needed a dish that I could throw on the table pretty quickly.

For dinner, I like to make really meat-heavy frittatas — kinda like Cha Trung Hap, the steamed egg and pork meatloaf thingy you get when you order rice plate at some Vietnamese places. (Come to think of it, I bet I could make a Paleo version with kelp noodles…)

I decided to make a curry-flavored frittata with ground pork and broccoli slaw since I had those ingredients readily available. I followed the same frittata guidelines that I posted previously with some slight modifications that I’ll detail below. There’s no hard and fast rule for how to make frittatas, so feel free to experiment!  

Here’s what I assembled to serve 4 people:

  •  ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of shredded broccoli slaw
  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ cup of shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

And here’s what I did with all this stuff:

I assembled all the ingredients…

… heated up the coconut oil on medium heat in an 8-inch cast iron skillet (you can use a slightly larger skillet but I like frittatas that slice up thick), and sautéed my onions with a dash of salt until they were softened.

I added the ground pork and garlic…

…and stir fried until the meat was no longer pink.

While the pork and onions were cooking, I whisked my eggs with the coconut milk, curry powder, salt, pepper, and parsley.

I don’t have an exact measurement for the salt and pepper. Just don’t be too heavy-handed ‘cause the filling will be seasoned as well.

Then I added the broccoli slaw and carrots to the pork and onions and sprinkled everything with salt and pepper.

I poured on the egg mixture and cooked the frittata for ~5 minutes to set the bottom.

I tried to cover the frittata but the skillet was filled to the brim.

I put my frittata in my preheated toaster oven set on broil. I would’ve put it in at a lower temperature (350 F) but I didn’t have 20-30 minutes to spare. Around ten minutes later, the edges were browned and puffy. But when I touched the center, it was a little gushy — and when I cut it in half, it was still kinda liquid-y. Darn it! 

So I popped the frittata back under the broiler for another few minutes to firm up the middle. The split down the middle helps speed up the cooking — it’s just not as pretty if you’re planning to serve the frittata whole.

I served the slices with some nuked frozen veggies (which we deemed not photo-worthy) and we dug in.

30 Minute Lunch: Crispy Chicken Thighs, Garlic Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes,” and Sautéed Spinach with Shallots

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Luckily for me, I had four sous vide chicken thighs in my fridge, just waiting to be crisped up. Unfortunately, I was out of veggie sides and I didn’t want to eat another bowl of nuked frozen veggies.

After surveying my crisper, I realized I could make TWO quick veggie sides, garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and sautéed spinach and shallots, AND I could have everything on the table in thirty minutes. Sweet.

First, I cut up an orange cauliflower and steamed the florets with seven sliced cloves of garlic.

While the florets steamed, I crisped the Dukka-seasoned thighs in my cast iron skillet with some macadamia nut oil.

When the thighs were finished…

…I poured out all but a tablespoon or two of grease from the pan and I tossed in a diced shallot. Once they were softened, I put in a pound of prewashed baby spinach and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Lastly, I blitzed my cauliflower and garlic in my food processor with 2 tablespoons of butter until it was smooth.

Here’s my lunch plate:

Yummy.