Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 12/16/12

Pin It

Ugh. It’s been a week, and I’m still under the weather. I guess it’s a good thing I took vacation this week, but this wasn’t exactly how I was hoping to spend it.

On the plus side, being housebound means I’ve had plenty of time to tinker in the kitchen — and sip on cup after cup of homemade bone broth.

image

Frankly, after stuffing myself silly at our friends’ incredible Hanukkah dinner on Saturday night, I was inspired to get cooking once again.

We kick-started our Sunday with uova in purgatorio — eggs and sausage baked in a spicy tomato sauce.

image

Even though my wall oven is (finally!) back in working order, I gotta say my countertop toaster oven sure comes in handy for baking off a set of mini-cocottes filled with saucy eggs and meat.

image

I’ve been working on this recipe on-and-off for the past few months now, and I think I’ve finally landed on the right formula. (I know — it’s just eggs — but once in a blue moon, the perfectionist in me rears her ugly head.)

image

Lil-O had a birthday party to attend, so at lunchtime, I grabbed a can of Vital Choice’s Wild Red Alaskan sockeye salmon and a PaleoKit

image

…and a little cup of my home-brewed kombucha. This one’s flavored with cherries, and it’s one of my favorites:

image

After hanging out with a bunch of preschoolers for a couple of hours, I was ready for more playtime in the kitchen. These recipes are still in development, so I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag just yet, but here’s a peek at what I worked on.

First, a honey-lemon sauce:

image

image

image

And then, something to dip into the sauce…like chicken nuggets!

image

image

image

image

image

Guess what we had for dinner?

image

And before you freak out — no, we didn’t go an entire day without vegetables.

Paleo Eats: 9/13/12

Pin It

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.

Quick Pressure Cooker Bone Broth

Pin It

image

There’s nothing I like more than a nice steaming mug of bone broth to get me through the cold winter months. It warms me from the inside out and it’s so good for you: check out why in these great posts by Mark’s Daily Apple and Balanced Bites.

I have a recipe for simmering bone broth in the slow cooker and my mom routinely makes a pot on the stove but sometimes I just want a bowl RIGHT NOW. If you haven’t guessed, patience ain’t one of my strong suits.

Enter the pressure cooker

According to foodie scientist, Harold McGee:

A pressure cooker is a special pot that seals tightly and traps hot steam to build the pressure and temperature.

In other words, stocks and stews that normally take hours to cook are finished in just 1/3 the time in a pressure cooker. I don’t use my pressure cooker for everything but I do love stewing braised veggies and meaty bone broths in it. Why? Because these dishes just turn out better and faster. It’s quite remarkable how pressure cooking can transform meaty, collagen-filled cuts like oxtail and cross shanks into fork tender cuts in less than an hour. 

(Although the new generation of pressure cookers are safer than the old ones, please read your instruction manual carefully and check out these helpful tips from Mr. McGee. You do need to babysit the pot and you can’t wing it.)

I’ve got great pressure cooker recipes for Welsh Beef Stew and Phở that I share in my iPad cooking app, but here’s a simple recipe for a flavorful bone broth that’ll be ready in less than an hour. And, yes, it does gel in the fridge. Just throw in a few chicken feet or joint bones and your broth will be all jiggly.

Here’s what to gather to make 8 cups of broth:

  • 2 medium leeks, cleaned and cut in half crosswise (I buy the pre-trimmed ones from Trader Joes’s)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into three pieces
  • 2.5 pounds of assorted bones (I use a mixture of chicken and pork bones from the freezer or cross shanks and oxtails)
  • 8 cups of water (enough to cover the bones but not more than 2/3rd the capacity of the pressure cooker)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Red Boat fish sauce (much better than salt, IMHO)

Here’s how to make the broth:

Dump the veggies in the pressure cooker (make sure it’s at least 6-quarts)…

image

…toss in your bones (frozen is fine)…

image

..cover with water (make sure you don’t fill more than 2/3rds capacity!)…

image

…add vinegar…

image

..and fish sauce.

image

Lock on the lid and turn the dial to high pressure. Place the pot on a burner set on high heat. Once the indicator pops up showing that the contents of the pot have reached high pressure, immediately decrease the temperature to the lowest possible setting to maintain high pressure (low is normally adequate).

image

Set the timer for 30 minutes (I let it go for 50 minutes if I’m cooking meaty shanks or oxtails).

When the timer dings, turn off the burner and remove the pot from the heat. Let the pressure release naturally (10-15 minutes). 

Remove the lid…

image

..skim of the scum (if you desire)…

image

..and strain the broth.

image

I don’t parboil the bones to decrease the scum because I’m lazy. Plus, there really isn’t that much left after you strain it.

image

Faster and more flavorful than other methods. Really.

image

(Don’t have a pressure cooker? Then check out my Slow Cooker Bone Broth recipe!)