Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 3/25/11

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I knew I was going to have a great night at work because my Work Husband (not to be confused with my actual husband) brought me a present…

Yep, it’s a pound of grass fed beef suet! Nothing makes this cavegirl smile like a block of frozen fat.

For my first meal at work, I ate some “emergency protein” (seasoned grass fed ground beef with collards and bacon) over a bed of nuked frozen green beans.

A couple hours later I snacked on coconut flakes and macadamia nuts. The mac nuts and coconut kept me full until I left work so I didn’t eat the dinner I packed.

I was hungry when I got home so Little-O helped me make a frittata with “emergency protein” (seasoned ground beef and chard) for hubs and I to share.

Since I still had the munchies, I also ate a crap load of coconut flakes.

Before going to bed, I filled and preheated my SousVide Supreme to 130 F so it would be ready to reheat a precooked flank steak when I woke up.

At 5:30 p.m., I stumbled out of bed and started making dinner. I dunked my flank steak into the water oven to bring back up to 130 F and then I started cooking my vegetable side dishes. I made some gravy, carrot and parsnip puree

…and stir-fried collard greens and bacon.

Then, I took out the flank steak and zapped it with my kitchen torch.

…Here’s my dinner plate:

After dinner, I did the WOD I missed this morning. Post workout, I ate half a baked sweet potato and some leftover pork pot roast.

Then, it was off to work. Again. Just five more nights to go until vacay!

Paleo Eats: 2/26/11

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I’m barely at the halfway mark of my workweek and I’m dragging a bit. Yes, it’s probably due to the fact that I went to a class at CrossFit Palo Alto  after my nightshift instead of catching some zzzz’s. A long, intense WOD combined with bright sunlight shining in my eyes (decreased melatonin) on the drive home is not conducive to good sleep. Whatever. I had a great time in class and I’ll do it do again.

On night three of work, I ate the same chow as I did the night before. It pays off to have lots of leftovers!

My first meal of the night was a box of leftover grass fed T-bone steak, winter squash puree, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon

…followed a few hours later with a snack of leftover mini frittata muffins

…and capped off with my “dinner” of Chili Con Carne seasoned grass fed ground beef, cauliflower fried rice, and roasted asparagus.

On my way home from work, I picked up my weekly veggie CSA box.

For once I was glad the contents were skimpy because my fridge was already stuffed with veggies from my Mariquita Farms “mystery box” and from going to the store earlier in the week.

At home, I opened up a couple packages from Amazon and was happy to find a bunch ‘o fats…

…but mad to discover that I’d mistakenly ordered a big ass box of finely shredded coconut instead of coconut flakes.

Argh. Serves me right for groggily (and recklessly) ordering stuff online in the middle of the night. That was good reminder that I needed to go to sleep right away. But before I hit the hay, I seasoned a small pork shoulder roast with Chili Con Carne seasoning, salt, and pepper and stored it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge to roast off later in the week.

When I woke up at 5:30 p.m., I felt well-rested and refreshed. Although I’ve been working graveyard shift for almost a decade, it still takes me a few days to get back into the groove of things.

I was too tired in the morning to defrost any meat so I sent my hubby to Calafia to pick up a rotisserie chicken…

…while I roasted a tray of carrots and celery root

…and stir-fried collard greens with bacon and shallots.

I know I’ve been making this dish a lot but the combination of greens, bacon, shallots, and vinegar is too tasty to try something different.

Here’s my plate:

(BTW, a frail Steve Jobs was snapped by National Enquirer photogs a couple weeks ago exiting Calafia Cafe.)

After dinner, I helped put the kids to bed and then I practiced some power cleans in the garage My form is really ugly but I’m working on it, ‘kay? When the clock struck 9:20 p.m.,  I got my crap together and went to work.

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.

Fridge Staple: Trader Joe’s Southern Greens Blend

Trader Joe’s ready-to-cook bags of Southern Greens Blend are a handy staple to stock in your fridge. I love me some hearty dark green leafy vegetables, but it can be a pain to remove all the stems and wash and chop the leaves prior to cooking them. And I’m all about shortcuts in the kitchen!

Tonight, I dumped two bags of the ready-to-cook greens into a pot of salted boiling water and let them simmer, covered, for ~5 minutes. Then, I drained and rinsed the greens and squeezed out as much liquid as possible. (Yes, it’s crossed my mind that I’m boiling out all the nutrients, but the fine folks at Cook’s Illustrated insist this is the best way to cook tough greens).

Normally, I’d throw in some bacon or ham, but since they’re off limits while on the Whole30 program (which ends TOMORROW!), I slowly caramelized a thinly sliced onion in melted lard before adding the blanched greens. 

The result? A super-easy and delicious accompaniment to a big plate of pig!

Greens, Eggs, and Ham (Version 2.0)

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Since I had about a cup of leftover sautéed collard greens and ham, I decided to make a scramble with it for lunch this morning.  I was going to be more ambitious and make stuffed egg omelets with it, but I was just too damn lazy.  You guys sensing a trend here?

For the scramble, I beat together 5 eggs and some Kosher salt and pepper and poured them into my cast iron skillet with melted butter.  Then, I added the filling (which I had nuked in the microwave earlier) and scrambled everything around on medium high heat until it was cooked through.

Fitbomb and I were really famished so I also heated up some sweet basil and parmesan chicken meatballs in my dependable toaster oven.

Our lunch was on the table in about 10 minutes:

Greens, Eggs, and Ham

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Dr. Seuss would be damn proud.  Dinner was on the table in 30 minutes and afterwards, there was only one skillet to wash.  

Earlier in the day, I followed the recipe in Cooks Illustrated’s The Best Vegetable Recipes for shallow blanched collard greens.  That way they’d be ready to sauté off when I got home.   Also, I thinly sliced up a whole onion and trimmed and halved a ½ pound of Brussels sprouts.  I put all my prepped veggies in the fridge and went out to Costco.  Remember? I love me some Costco.

After my Costco run, I wanted dinner ASAP.  As soon as I came home, I preheated my toaster oven to 400 F; tossed my prepared sprouts with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper; and put the sprouts in the oven. 

Then, I took out my cast iron skillet and sautéed the sliced onions in some lard. 

While the onions softened, I sliced up a few slices of leftover baked ham 

 

and diced my blanched collard greens.

Once the onions were translucent, I added three cloves of minced garlic and mixed that around for ~30 seconds. I added the chopped ham and stirred that around to give it a little color.  Then, I added the chopped blanched collard greens and ¼ cup of low sodium chicken broth.  After mixing everything in the skillet, I covered it for 2 minutes to warm everything. I tasted the greens and swine for seasoning and added a splash of sherry vinegar.

 

I removed the Brussels sprouts from the toaster oven (it took around 20 minutes) and drizzled them with aged balsamic vinegar.  Then, I quickly rinsed my skillet, added some butter and fried up a couple of eggs for Fitbomb and myself. 

I like me some greens, eggs, and ham.

How To Cook Collards That Are Tasty AND Pretty

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Normally, collards need to be cooked a long ass time before they taste good.  But, by then, they take on a really unappetizing khaki color.  You can’t just sauté them in some fat because they normally scorch before they soften enough.  According to the nerds (in a good way) at Cooks Illustrated, the best way to cook collards (and any assertive greens) is to shallow blanch them before sautéing them. 

Wrassle up:

1 ½ teaspoons of Kosher salt

2 pounds of assertive greens, such as kale, collards, mustard, or turnip greens; stemmed, washed in several changes of water, and coarsely chopped.

 

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a deep pot.  Add the salt and greens and stir until wilted.  Cover and cook until the greens are just tender (~7 minutes). 

 

Drain in a colander.  Rinse the pot with cold water to cool and then refill with cold water.  Pour the greens into the cold water to stop the cooking process.

Gather a handful of greens, lift out of water, and squeeze dry.  (Try using a ricer, you can squeeze out a ton of water.)

Roughly cut up the drained greens and sauté with your favorite fat, aromatics, and swine parts.  All you gotta do, is add ¼ cup of chicken broth, cover for 2 minutes and you’re done!  Collards cooked this way aren’t overly bitter — perfectly tender, bright green, and delicious.