Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 9/13/12

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My week of graveyard shifts didn’t end ‘til yesterday morning, but I was back in Mommy Mode just a few hours later. I’ve practiced the weekly nocturnal/diurnal flip for over a decade, so I’ve got it down to a science. Like clockwork, I passed out early last night and got enough shuteye to resurrect me from my zombie-like existence. It was imperative that I fully recharged my batteries; Henry's been slammed with early work meetings, so I knew the a.m. kid-herding was my solo responsibility.

Miraculously, I managed to dress, feed, and pack a lunch for Big-O before hustling him off to school. With Lil-O happily munching on a plate of eggs, I finally had sufficient breathing room to fix myself a proper breakfast.

I rooted around in the fridge and freezer before pulling out the ingredients for a frittata: eggs, frozen spinach, leftover sautéed mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and a splash of coconut milk.

I seasoned the batter with a few dashes of Red Boat Fish Sauce — my go-to seasoning for eggs these days. (Who am I kidding? I flavor everything with that bottled umami.) I started the frittata on the stove, and finished it off under the broiler in my countertop toaster oven.

frittata is an under-appreciated gem that never fails to brighten my day. Just like Ken Jeong.

A few hours later, I pillaged the fridge again in search of lunch. My mission was to clear out as much space as possible ‘cause I knew my weekly veggie CSA delivery was arriving in the afternoon. 

Soon, my kitchen counter was piled high with a mishmash of ingredients. When in doubt, I start with alliums, so I grabbed half an onion and thinly sliced it…

…before softening it in a hot skillet with a spoonful of coconut oil.

Next, I added a large handful of baby dino kale and a requisite sprinkle of Red Boat Fish Sauce.

I rounded out my lunch plate with some chicken apple sausage and a pile of Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi.

"Random," you say? I prefer to call it "global fusion." Food always tastes better with fancy names.

I’d made breakfast and lunch with just one skillet, so I figured I’d do the same with dinner. I spied a ready-to-cook top round roast in my defrost bowl, so I prepped it for a quick stir-fry by slicing it thinly and against the grain. 

As you may remember, I haven’t been a big fan of top and bottom round roasts. No matter what technique I’ve used — sous vide, slow roasting in the oven, you name it — I ended up with tough, dry meat.

But then I met Lynne Curry, the author of Pure Beef (one of my favorite resources for cooking meat!) and undisputed master of preparing grass fed beef. I peppered her with questions about the best ways to cook different cuts of cow, and shared with her my dislike of top round. Lynne’s advice: Always prepare it using a quick, high-heat method — like stir fry.

While the beef slices bathed in a simple marinade, I browned onions and mushrooms in my trusty skillet.

Next, I added broccoli and a bit of homemade bone broth.

As the florets softened, I made a pile of carrot ribbons with my julienne peeler.

Once the veggies were ready, I removed them from the pan and threw in the marinated beef.

Once they got a quick sear, I tossed in the vegetables and seasoning.

Emergency protein is always the way to go when you’re short on time and ideas.

I ate the stir-fry with half a baked yam, and as a chaser, I served steaming bowls of bone broth to ward away evil viruses. My guys are feeling much better, but hot broth ought to speed up their recovery.

And me? I ain’t got time for a cold.

Blogaversary Week One Contest Winners!

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We randomly selected five winners from our pool of 267 entrants to each win a 500mL bottle of pure liquid umami — Red Boat Fish Sauce!

Put your hands together for:

  • LISA CORRALES!
  • MARGOT FOSTER!
  • MARISELA BADILLO!
  • KELLI MELOCIK!
  • JOAN BLAIR!

Winners: I’ll send each of you an email to get your mailing addresses.

And to all you losers out there: Don’t cry! Wipe away those tears and boogers! Another super-duper giveaway is coming up on Tuesday!

Paleo Eats: 10/5/11

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Instead of focusing on the negative (e.g. resuming my nightshift workweek tonight), I’m gonna show you some items that made me grin ear to ear when I received them in the mail.

In the morning, the postman delivered a big parcel of our shirts (use coupon code: GOLDENFALL from now until 10/11/11/ to save $10 on orders over $50 that include a long-sleeve shirt)…

…and a few complimentary bottles of Red Boat fish sauce!

I can’t wait to try this bottle of chef’s grade 50N!

Don’t be jealous! I’ll be sharing some 40 N bottles with you guys very soon.

For breakfast, I baked a frittata with shallots, spinach, mushrooms, and San Marzano tomatoes.

I split it with my hubby and topped each half with sliced avocado.

For lunch, I fried another 4505 Meats Portuguese linguica and ate it with a simple tomato and lettuce salad.

After I picked up Big-O from school, we came home and I took a short nap.

I woke up at 5:00 p.m. and started making dinner in a hurry. The clock was ticking because I was motoring to my food writing class BEFORE heading in to the hospital.

Luckily, my mom had dunked a couple packets of pre-cooked goat loin chops into the SousVide Supreme earlier, so I just had to torch them and make some veggies.

I pureed a batch of carrot & parsnip puree with my stick blender

…and stir-fried spigarello and bacon.

Here’s what I intended to eat for dinner…

…but I was running late for my class. I packed my meal to go, downed a strong cup of espresso, and drove to school.

For three hours I listened with rapt attention to Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes lecture about how to blog like a pro. Dude, she bought a new house with her earnings! She’s so my Yoda.

Sous Vide Umami Slider Burgers

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I love me some sous vide Turkish slider burgers but sometimes I need some variety in my burger seasoning. Ever since I bought my first bottle of Red Boat fish sauce, I’ve been splashing it on almost every dish I’ve made. My chef sis recently tipped me off about a great recipe on White on Rice Couple’s food blog for the Ultimate Umami burger. Guess what’s the secret ingredient? Ding! Ding! Ding! Fish sauce!

When I made these sliders today, I modified the recipe a little bit by adding some sautéed onions, and swapping out the sugar for a little applesauce. The resulting mini burgers were really moist and tasty. I swear there’s no fishiness, just yumminess.

Recipe after the jump!

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Paleo Eats: 5/9/11

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Let’s take a peek at what I packed for my meals at work today…

My first meal of the day was a big ass salad made with leftover slow cooker roast chicken, baked bacon bits, avocado, shredded carrots, sliced cucumber, and mixed greens.

It’s been a while since I’ve brought a salad to work and I’ve forgotten how convenient (i.e. no reheating necessary) and tasty they are.

As a mid-shift snack, I ate an apple cinnamon cookie

These sure are tasty!

My last meal of the day was a box of leftover meats from Mediterranean Wraps, a small container of labneh, and nuked frozen broccoli. It was definitely not worth a picture — ugly and mediocre. 

When I got home from work, Big-O chose the winners of the Red Boat fish sauce giveaway and  I marinated some chicken thighs for dinner before hitting the sack.

I used Andrea Nguyen’s recipe but I subbed in macadamia nut oil for canola oil and 1 teaspoon of coconut nectar for the sugar. Don’t ask me if coconut nectar is Paleo because I don’t know the answer.

At 5:00 p.m., I woke up and stumbled into the kitchen to make dinner.

I baked the chicken thighs in the oven at 400 F for 40 minutes…

…and I whipped up a dipping sauce by juicing a lime (nuke for 15 seconds before and adding salt, pepper, and a few drops of Red Boat fish sauce

I also whipped up a crab and asparagus frittata with green garlic…

…by following the same basic steps in my Easy Paleo Frittata recipe.

Lastly, I stir-fried some broccoli slaw, cremini mushrooms, asparagus, and green garlic (seasoned with coconut aminos, Red Boat fish sauce, and chicken broth).

Here’s my dinner plate:

Andrea’s marinade is pretty tasty but I’m waiting for my big sis to give me her go-to grilling marinade recipe. It’s green, fish sauce-based, and super tasty. When she does, I promise I’ll share.

After dinner, I only had a few minutes to spare for exercise so I did the same number of burpees as my age. Yep, I did 25 burpees before going to work.

Only two more nights to sludge through before I’m off!

Drumroll, Please…

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Wanna know who won the first ever Nom Nom Paleo giveaway contest? The two lucky winners are gonna receive a free bottle of the super premium, chef-grade 40° N Red Boat fish sauce — the best fish sauce I’ve ever tasted.

What? You don’t care ‘cause you didn’t enter the contest? Not a problem ‘cause EVERYONE wins with a special deal from the good folks at Red Boat fish sauce.

Is your interest piqued now?

You can take a peek at the winners and the special deal after the jump…

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Slow Cooker Lemongrass and Coconut Chicken Drumsticks

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Since I had leftover lemongrass from making Bo Kho and I always have coconut milk in the pantry, I decided to make a slow cooker chicken drumstick dish with these ingredients. After scouring my Asian cookbooks and the interwebs, I came across this recipe for Roasted Lemongrass Chicken. I Paleo-ized the recipe, added some five-spice powder, and threw the ingredients in the slow cooker instead of the oven. Super easy and delicious!

The recipe and step-by-step photos, after the jump!

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Bo Kho (Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew)

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Vietnamese is, hands-down, one of my favorite cuisines. I love how most dishes combine salty, sweet, sour, and umami. Plus, my favorite items have contrasting temperatures and textures which makes it feel like I’m hosting a party in my mouth.

Unfortunately, I rarely eat Vietnamese food nowadays because there’s sugar in most dishes, it’s grain-heavy (e.g. pho, banh mi, bun, etc.), and almost all fish sauces contain sugar and/or hydrolyzed wheat protein. However, all that’s gonna change now that I’ve gotten my hands on a bottle of Red Boat Fish Sauce.

For the past week, I’ve been poring over my neglected copy of Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, looking for yummy recipes to Paleo-ize. Andrea’s book is phenomenal as are her blogs –- she’s an expert in all matters pertaining to Vietnamese cuisine and Asian dumplings. The first recipe I tackled was Bò Kho (beef stewed with tomato, star anise, and lemongrass) and, boy, was it yummy!

My recipe deviates from Andrea’s in some key ways: I made a number of key ingredient substitutions, and placed the stew in the oven to finish braising (as opposed to cooking it on the stovetop). I love braising stews in the oven ‘cause the temperature stays constant. You don’t have to babysit them!

Here’s what I gathered to feed 6-8 people:

  • 2½ pounds grass fed beef brisket, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 1 large stalk lemongrass, trimmed of loose leaves, cut into 3-inch lengths, and bruised with a heavy object (e.g. ramekin, broad side of kitchen knife, you get the idea)
  • 3 tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 2½ tablespoons peeled and microplaned fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons ghee 
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Here’s how I made it:

I preheated the oven to 300°F and gathered and prepped my ingredients.

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I tossed the beef, lemongrass, fish sauce, curry powder, ginger, applesauce, and bay leaf into a large bowl…

…and mixed everything well.

I let the meat marinate for about 30 minutes.

I heated the ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and seared the beef in batches until they were nice and browned all over. (Yes, I will try this soon with the no-sear method to see how it turns out).

I placed the seared beef on a new plate…

…and reserved the lemon grass and bay leaf from the marinade.

I lowered the heat to medium-low and tossed in the onions and cooked them until they were softened.

Then, I tossed in the tomatoes and salt to taste and stirred to combine. I put on the lid and simmered the sauce for 12-14 minutes until a paste formed.

Once the paste formed, I added in the beef, lemongrass, bay leaf, and star anise.

I raised the heat to medium and stirred everything on and off for 5 minutes.

 Next, I added the water and the carrots to the pot, raised the heat to high, and brought the stew up to a boil. 

I covered the Dutch oven with the lid and placed it in the oven for about 2½ hours or until the brisket was really tender.

At this point, I defatted the stew and transferred it to a storage container to chill in the fridge for a couple days.

When I reheated the stew, I dumped it in a pot and brought it back up to a simmer. I tasted for seasoning and then plated the stew after removing the lemon grass, bay leaf, and star anise.

I topped the stew with some freshly chopped cilantro.

Voila!

Man, this was a delicious stew – all thanks to Red Boat fish sauce and Andrea Nguyen!

Red Boat Fish Sauce Giveaway!

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Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Especially if the prize is a bottle of Paleo-friendly, all-natural, first press, “extra virgin” Red Boat fish sauce. This stuff is truly remarkable – it’s liquid umami in a bottle! Plus, it’s not easy to get your hands on (yet!). For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s currently available only at one store in SF’s Excelsior District.

Dear readers, there are two ways you can win a bottle of this fish-tastic awesomeness. All you have to do is:  

  1. "Like" my Facebook fan page and post on my wall a comment with your favorite way to use fish sauce, AND/OR
  2. Follow me on Twitter (@nomnompaleo) and tweet me your favorite use of fish sauce.

There’ll be two winners — one picked from Facebook AND one from Twitter — so you can double your chances of winning by both liking and following me.

Oh, and to receive a prize, you must have a U.S. mailing address. I’m no xenophobe — it’s just too expensive to mail the stuff abroad. International peeps, if you win, you can always send it to one of your pals in the U.S. 

I know, I know — I’m asking a lot of you. Frankly, even I couldn’t tell you my favorite use for Red Boat fish sauce ‘cause I think it makes EVERYTHING taste better: stir-fries, braises, roasted veggies, you name it! But put on your thinking caps and dazzle me all the same.

To be eligible, you need to comment or tweet by Sunday night, 5/8, at midnight PST. I’ll do a random drawing from the Twitterati and a separate one for Facebook fans and announce the two winners at the beginning of next week. Good luck!

Paleo Pantry Find: Red Boat Fish Sauce

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The secret weapon in my Paleo pantry: Red Boat fish sauce

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My chef sister tipped me off about this awesome product after she read about it in the LA Times and on one of her favorite food blogs. I’d been looking for a Paleo-friendly fish sauce for ages, and this one is perfect.

Unlike other brands of fish sauce, Red Boat fish sauce is bottled directly on Phu Quoc Island—where the BEST fish sauce is made. It’s minimally processed (first press and “extra virgin”) and made with just two ingredients: fresh caught wild black anchovies and sea salt.

Even though Red Boat is pretty pricey, you only need a few drops of fish sauce to add a punch of umami to any dish. I’m gonna be dashing some of this sauce on EVERYTHING!

Buy it here on Amazon right now!


Looking for recipes and resources? Head on over to my Recipe Index or my Resources page. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).