Paleo Eats: 11/25/12

Pin It

Still kicking yourself for veering off course over the Turkey Day weekend? Don’t fret. Just brush those pie crumbs off your shirt and get right back on the Paleo straight-and-narrow. After all, tomorrow is another day, right?

We had a lovely holiday weekend. (Thanks for asking.) On Thanksgiving, my sis drove up for the day and presented us with my brother-in-law’s incredible home-smoked turkey thighs, and we all gorged ourselves silly at my in-laws’. This year, almost all of the dishes were Paleo-friendly(!). My mother-in-law even made a point of declaring that the turkey au jus was “soy-and flour-free” — a pretty big deal in a Chinese household. And on Saturday, we celebrated my in-laws’ birthdays. Both are turning 70 this month. Mazel tov!

When I got up this morning, I heated up a smoked turkey thigh and some leftover vegetables for breakfast.

Man oh man, my brother-in-law’s turkey is goo-oood.

After breakfast, I finally had a chance to open up some packages that have been piling up next to our front door. I’m incredibly grateful for the terrific gifts I’ve received, like a sample of Choffy from Heather, one of my readers. I can’t wait to break out my French press and brew myself some chocolate. Yep, you read that right. Chocolate.

I also received a personalized WODbook from the fine folks at Sport Journals, who offered to design a custom cover using my Deadlift Girl image. I can’t wait to take it to the gym and start documenting my workouts.

As if these items weren’t cool enough, I also finally unpacked my kombucha continuous brewing system that I recently ordered from the Kombucha Kamp booth at the Weston A. Price Conference. Big-O and I were impatient to start brewing our first batch of kombucha, so we spent a good chunk of the morning glued to a series of online videos about how to assemble the kit. 

Big-O watched EVERY video, even the ones that describe steps we won’t get to for another week, like flavoring your finished ‘booch.

But unlike his big brother, Lil-O hates kombucha. As soon as he learned that the brewing system isn’t made of Legos, he wandered off in search of a ninja costume, Iron Man mask, and a pirate hat. (Because Pirate Superhero Ninjas > Pirates > Superheroes > Ninjas > Kombucha.) 

I’m no craft queen like Martha Stewart, so I appreciated (and relied heavily on) the videos’ simple step-by-step instructions. I followed ‘em all to a “T,” except the part about sending positive vibes and expressing my hopes and dreams to my kombucha. So if this batch doesn’t turn out, I’ll know why.

Okay — truth be told, I may have also scalded my scobys with too-hot tea. Whoops.

Guess I’ll find out in a week if everything’s okay. 

After setting up my ‘booch brewing system, I was famished for lunch. Luckily, I had leftover braised pork shoulder in the fridge. I tucked some in a Pure Wrap and doused it with homemade sriracha sauce.

Can you tell how happy I am to have sriracha back in my life?

Post-lunch, I went for a hike with my pals, though we probably gabbed more than we exercised as we ambled up and down the Stanford foothills.

By the time I came home, I had a little time before dinner to tinker with a new recipe: Paleo Walnut Prawns.

This has been one of my favorite dishes since I was a wee lass. My family would always order walnut prawns when celebrating a birthday or anniversary at a Chinese restaurant, and I could never resist the crunchy shrimp and candied nuts — all slathered in a sweet, creamy sauce. Unfortunately, it was also totally anti-Paleo. The walnut prawns you get in restaurants are loaded with corn starch, sugar, high-omega-6 mayonnaise, and condensed milk — and then fried in super-bad-for-you oils. 

The version I’m working on isn’t sugar-free (the sauce has a touch of honey)…

…but the batter’s grain-free…

…and the prawns are fried in coconut oil.

Plus, the whole dish takes only 15 minutes to make…

…and the “candied” walnuts add a touch of sweetness and crunch without too much guilt.

After comparing this recipe to the walnut prawns we sampled Saturday night at my in-laws’ birthday feast in Chinatown, I’m declaring this one a winner. I’m not usually one to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty sure I’ve managed to create a healthier, tastier alternative.

(Before you start asking: I’m still tinkering with the recipe, so it’ll remain under wraps for now!)

By the time dinner rolled around, I was a little tired of cooking, and didn’t want to make anything too complicated. I tossed some baby bok choy in the pressure cooker with some garlic, bone broth, and Red Boat Fish Sauce

…fried burgers formed with 4505 Meats' famous grind…

…and baked portobello mushroom “buns.”

My burger looked somewhat naked…

…until I squirted on some sriracha and piled on my buddy’s homemade kraut.

I already need to make a new batch of sriracha. I know: First world Paleo problems.

Eating Out Paleo: Steak Out (Mountain View, CA)

Pin It

Do you know how hard it is to find a burger joint down on the Peninsula that serves local, 100% grass fed beef? Steak Out, a casual burger and steak joint located on Castro Street, the main drag in Mountain View, finally fills that void.

Ambience here is totally lacking — it’s a no frills beer garden where you order your grub and grog at the counter. After you find a seat on the large outdoor patio or at the few tables inside, your food is brought to you.

Fitbomb and I wandered here for lunch today and got a couple of bun-less burgers to eat al fresco.

I ordered the Jammin’ burger ($9.50) + extra patty ($4.00) and it came with house-made sweet bacon jam (yes, it has sugar in it), gruyere cheese, tomato, and pickles…

…and Fitbomb ordered a Roswell ($9.50) + an additional patty ($4.00) which came with bacon, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, and red onions. He asked for the BBQ sauce on the side.

Nope, there ain’t no lettuce on the burgers but you can add it on for $0.50. The beef was juicy, well-seasoned, and cooked the way we ordered it (medium-rare). We both enjoyed our meal but we wish they offered more add-ons. I would’ve loved to add avocado to my burger but it’s not an option — even though it comes standard on their turkey burger.

Some people may think paying $13.50 for a double-burger is kinda steep but quality beef ain’t cheap. We’ll definitely be back!

Paleo Eats: 10/2/11

Pin It

I only cooked breakfast today but I still ate relatively clean despite attending a kiddie birthday party and getting dinner at a fast food joint. 

For breakfast, I baked a frittata with leftover emergency protein, baked sweet potato fries, and sauteed peppers. I split it in half with my hubby and garnished each slice with a cascade of heirloom tomatoes.

After breakfast, we ventured to the park where Big-O rode his two-wheeler and I scrambled up play structures with Lil-O. Fitbomb and I took turns sprinting after Big-O on his bike and we synthesized a lot of vitamin D. Fun times.

Before lunch, we drove to Walnut Creek to celebrate the fifth birthday of N, the son of our dear friends E & J. We were excited to spend the day with our buddies because our reunions are so far in between. While everyone else noshed on pizza at the party, hubby and I stealthily gulped down his and hers grass fed PaleoKits.

We concluded our day with a quick and casual dinner at The Habit.

Originally from Santa Barbara, The Habit is a chain that specializes in “Charburgers” and salads.

It reminded me of an upscale In-N-Out because you’re allowed to customize your burger.

Since I’m a big pain in the ass, I ordered a couple lettuce-wrapped double charburgers without grilled onions or mayonnaise and added avocado and bacon. 

Pretty tasty and each burger cost less than $6!

All in all, I had a WONDERFUL Sunday. I hope you all had a great weekend as well!

Eating Out Paleo: 4505 Meats (San Francisco, CA)

Pin It

Without a doubt, I’m a HUGE fan of Ryan Farr and his meat magic. Remember? I called him the Jedi Master for all things meat and I regularly treat our family to his seasonal meat CSA packages.

However, up until today, I’d never tried one of his famous cheeseburgers. (I heard that audible gasp. Shut it.) 

He’d recently tweeted that the 4505 meat stand makes “Paleo-style” burgers so I vowed to get myself up to the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market to try one.

But when I stepped up to order my sandwich, I saw a sign that said “no substitutions or alterations.” Whaaaa?

“Um, I know your sign says no substitutions, but can I get two double burgers with no bun and an extra egg?”

“Of course you can!” The friendly server turned and called out to one of the grill masters: “Two double burgers, extra egg, no bun please.”

One of the guys behind the grill yelled back, “Two burgers…PALEO-STYLE?”

My heart leapt!

“Nope, she wants cheese on them.”

“WAIT! No no no — I don’t! I want ‘em PALEO-style! I just didn’t want to be a pain in the ass and ask for more changes!”

The server smiled. “No problem! We’re very Paleo-friendly here. Kent, the cook back there, eats Paleo and gets very excited when someone orders Paleo-style burgers.”

Kent, I love you.

The burger was fantastic, with perfectly seasoned patties, a thick slice of ripe heirloom tomato, and nice, runny egg yolks.

When I went back to tell Ryan and Kent how much I loved my Paleo burger, they joked that Ryan is actually “Bi-Paleo.” (And if you’re scratching your head, you’re clearly not from San Francisco.)

Lunch at the 4505 Meats stand was one of the highlights of my summer FO SHO.

p.s. Don’t forget to pick up a few bags of their amazingly delicious chicharrones as an eff-off treat. Yes, I’m aware that they’re fried in rice bran oil and seasoned with sugar, but I don’t care. At all.

Eating Out Paleo: The Patty Shack (Redwood City, CA)

Pin It

I love me some tasty burgers so I was super excited to hear about the recent opening of The Patty Shack in my neck of the woods. The pedigree behind this unassuming, family-friendly joint is pretty impressive: it’s managed by Adam Torres of the insanely popular Sancho’s Taqueria and the guy in charge of the kitchen is Chef Gary Shelley, formerly of Alexander’s Steakhouse.

The menu lists a bunch of delicious burger combinations and the usual side dishes (e.g fries and onion rings) BUT there’s also a bunch of cool veggie sides (e.g. roasted Brussels Sprouts!) AND a handful of interesting salads to round out your meal. Plus, you can totally customize your burger (e.g. No bun! Extra patty! Extra avocado!)

The burgers aren’t grass-finished but it’s hard to find a joint down on the peninsula that:

  1. serves 100% grass fed beef or
  2. grills a palatable burger, grass fed or not.

For our inaugural meal, Fitbomb and I both ordered bun-less Midnight Burgers (1/3 patty topped with bacon, fried egg, and cheddar) with sliced avocado ($1.00 extra)…

…and our table split a roasted beet salad (butter lettuce, herb roasted beets, shallots, champagne vinegar, and goat cheese)…

…roasted Brussels sprouts (with crispy shallots and tossed with raison and bacon vinaigrette)…

…and steamed asparagus (with a lemon vinaigrette).

 

What’s my verdict?

Thumbs up!

The burger was juicy and well-seasoned (despite being well-done) and the sides were tasty. I was especially fond of the savory, sweet, bacon-y roasted spouts. I’m sure the place is still ironing out some kinks but so far so good. We’ll be returning soon! 

Paleo Eats: 8/14/11

Pin It

Hello, hello!

For my meals at work tonight, I packed foods that could be scarfed down cold at my desk.

My first container was filled with leftover fried Padron peppers, deli roast beef, sauerkraut, olives, baby carrots, and jicama.

I also polished off a couple spoonfuls of coconut butter.

As a mid-shift snack, I ate a package of chipotle SeaSnax roasted seaweed. The spiciness of these crispy treats really creeps up on you – I like it!

Things got pretty hectic at work so I didn’t end up eating the last meal I packed for work. Instead, I came home and fried a couple scrambled eggs and a chicken apple sausage and ate my breakfast-for-dinner with a chopped tomato.

Then, it was time to pick up another half hog from the Full of Life Farm at the Mountain View Farmers’ Market. Woo hoo! Has it really been less than 5 months since we picked up our first hundred pounds of swine?

Besides our pork treasure trove…

…I also stocked up on grass fed ground beef, tomatoes, greens, stone fruit, and berries. 

I stored all my Paleo goodies in the fridge and freezer and stumbled to bed.

When I woke up in the evening, we jetted down the 101 to Redwood City to grab some burgers and veggies at The Patty Shack with Lawyerhands, Oldskoolboarder, and their adorable kids.

The Double O’s LOVE hanging with D & I…

…but Lil-O is TOTALLY head-over-heels, puppy-dog crushing on I. 

  

I’ll be so psyched when she’s my daughter-in-law! That village matchmaker sure knows her stuff…

After stuffing my belly with a bun-less juicy Midnight Burger and greens…

…we came home and put the boys to bed.

 I finally removed the oxtails from the SousVide Supreme (after 72 hours) and dunked them in an ice bath. 

Then, I practiced some assisted pistols and rowed 1K on our erg in the garage. Shoot. How can rowing kick my booty so hard?

After I packed my food and stored the oxtails in fridge, I drove to work. Only three more nights of work!

Sous Vide Lamb Burgers

Pin It

I’ve been trying to branch out and soak new proteins in my SousVide Supreme. Today, I experimented with making lamb burgers in my water oven. Why? Well, my go-to guy for all things sous vide, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats’ Food Lab, has some compelling reasons why you should sous vide your burgers. What really sold me was his drool-worthy description of sous vide burgers:

We’re talking burgers that oozed juices for nearly a minute after biting into them. Burgers that were thick, juicy, and perfectly medium rare from edge to edge with crisp brown crusts. We’re talking nearly perfect burgers here.

Sheeeit! I want to eat one!

Here’s what I gathered to make four ¼-pound lamb burgers:

  • 1 pound of ground lamb
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Tabil seasoning

Here’s how I made them:

I preheated my SousVide Supreme to 137 F (J. Kenji suggests 130 F for medium rare, 140 F for medium) and generously seasoned the ground lamb with salt and pepper. Then, I added the Tabil seasoning and gently mixed the meat to distribute the seasoning.

I divided the meat into 4 patties…

…and then froze them for two hours so my sucky-ass FoodSaver wouldn’t squash the patties too much when it was time to vacuum seal them.

After the patties solidified, I vacuum sealed them, two per bag.

I dunked them in the SousVide Supreme for about 2 hours (you can keep them submerged for 45 minutes up to 12 hours). Then, I took the patties out and dried them with paper towels.

After arranging the patties on a baking rack on top of a foil-lined tray, I busted out my kitchen torch.

According to Douglas Baldwin, you should aim your torch 4-6 inches away from your target and make small circular motions with your flame until you get a nice even char. I think I just like setting things on fire.

Voila!

The burgers were pretty tasty, but not quite “perfect” because I like them closer to medium rare. Looks like I now have an excuse to try this again!

Next time, I’m gonna use a temp closer to 130 F and char the bleep out of them.

Paleo Eats: 2/17/11

Pin It

I slept like a log last night so I felt ready to tackle the day as a full time mommy when I woke up. For breakfast, I made myself a frittata with three eggs, nuked frozen broccoli, diced shallots, prosciutto, a dollop of cream-top yogurt, and Fines Herbes seasoning.

After spending an hour jumping on a trampoline with Lil-O at his gym class, we went to Costco and stocked up on essentials. Since the Mountain View Costco is across the street from an In-N-Out burger, the kids and I made a pitstop here for lunch. I ordered a protein-style triple meat burger — hold the spread — with mustard and a whole-grilled onion slice.

Can you believe this baby only cost me $3.80?

We returned home and I put Lil-O down for his afternoon nap. While the little guy slept, Big-O helped me make dinner. I’m always amazed at how enthusiastic he is about helping out in the kitchen. I love that about him.

With Big-O as my sous chef, we made a big pot of curried cream of broccoli soup

braised cabbage

…and sous vide rack of lamb seasoned with Sunny Paris, salt, and pepper.

While I was prepping this food, I was gobbling up macadamia nuts and coconut flakes with abandon. I gotta stop this habit.

I didn’t have to much to do to get dinner on the table — just about everything was already finished. As a result, I had the luxury of watching an episode of Scooby-Doo with the kids before making an additional side of lancinato kale sautéed with bacon and shallots

…and searing off the rack of lamb in some lard.

Here’s my dinner plate:

I also had a bowl of curried cream of broccoli soup (it’s dairy-free!) and a 1/2 cup serving of coconut milk for dessert. Not a bad way to end the day!

Day 29 of Whole30 Eats

I’m back to working nights again, so this post will be short and sweet.

For breakfast, I slurped down a bowl of leftover cream of tomato soup topped with sous vide chicken breast. Then, I ate handfuls of coconut flakes because I was possessed by aliens and had no free will. Really.

My parents, Lil-O, and I gobbled down lunch at The Counter — I ordered a 1/3 lb burger in a bowl, complete with lettuce, a fried egg, avocado, roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers.

At dinner time, I reheated the slow roasted pork shoulder I made on Sunday. To accompany the swine, I roasted carrots and celery root, sauteed two bags of Trader Joe’s Southern Greens Blend with caramelized onions in some melted lard, and microwaved the leftover artichoke hearts and pearl onions from the night before.

Then, I packed my meals for work and I tiptoed out the front door so as not to disturb everyone already tucked into bed.