Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 6/12/11 (First Day In Kauai)

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Traveling with kids is never a bowl of cherries – especially if the little ones are dragged out of bed at 5:20 a.m. Luckily, my kiddos are becoming better travelers — provided we zombify them with iPads or iPhones.

So what did I eat today?

Pickings were slim at Mineta San Jose International Airport, but I picked up a chef salad before boarding the plane. While en route to Kauai, I chowed on a grass fed Paleo Kit, the chef salad…

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…some strawberries, and assorted nuts.

I love, love, love flying Alaska airlines to Kauai! The flight attendants were super-nice, the price for a direct flight was reasonable, and they passed out complimentary Mauna Loa macadamia nuts as a snack! My mom was stoked that they gave out free Mai Tais, too…

After we arrived in Kauai, we stopped by Costco on our way to our rental house. I love Costco but I REALLY love Costco in Hawaii. Why? Because you can stock up on the same great Paleo goodies available at home AND plenty of unique local items, too – for a lot less money than any where else on the island! Plus, they carry tons and tons of macadamia nuts. I went a little nuts (pun!) and ended up filling TWO shopping carts with meat and veggies.

When we got home, we loaded all our cold items into the fridge…

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…and I ate some garlic shrimp poke and limu poke (Pro Tip: skip the limu poke).

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I also shoveled some mac nuts and coconut flakes into my mouth before we returned to the airport to pick up my sister.

We spent the rest of the day soaking in the pool, so we wanted to throw together something quick and hearty for dinner. We reheated the chicken and pork lau lau we bought at Costco…

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microwaved some steamed green beans with butter, salt, pepper, and lemon juice…

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…and my sis created a delicious salad (shaved asparagus, greens, local tomatoes, and a simple homemade vinaigrette).

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Here’s my dinner plate:

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The chicken lau lau was good, but the pork lau lau was really tasty — it was definitely the bigger crowd-pleaser.

After dinner, I baked some Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes

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…because Fitbomb and I were planning on hitting Kauai CrossFit in the morning, and we needed some starchy post-workout carbs at the ready.

Can you believe all my eats in Kauai today were courtesy of Costco? Awesome.

Paleo Eats: 5/26/11

Here’s a quick recap of my day of eats and cooking:

Breakfast: I scarfed down a slice of leftover frittata (ham and frozen broccoli) that I topped with guacamole and Primavera salsa. I ate this while I played Candyland with Lil-O. “See, honey? Gramma Nut and King Kandy are metabolically deranged because they eat too much sugar.”

Mid-morning snack: I nursed a big-ass thermos of Phil’z coffee (Jacobs Wonderbar with heavy cream). So damn good.

Lunch: I ate a simpler version of Asian almond chicken salad that I made with leftover roast chicken, cukes, carrots, and red leaf lettuce.

Dinner: I made some sous vide crispy chicken thighs, roasted curried cauliflower, and sauteed spinach and cremini mushrooms.

I’m also defrosting our Full of Life Farm pork belly in the fridge. So many possibilities…

Cheater Crispy Sous Vide Duck Confit Legs

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Hey R, here’s a different way to heat up those Costco-purchased Grimaud Farms duck confit seasoned legs that’s super easy and the results are astounding.

I used to heat them up in the oven per the instructions of the package (stick in 400 F oven with skin side up for 15 minutes) but I was always disappointed with the flabby skin and the dried out texture of the meat. Since these babies come vacuum-sealed and are probably prepared sous vide originally, I’ve always wanted to reheat them in the water oven and then sear the legs off on the stove to crisp up the skin.

I opted to cook them this way tonight and they turned out PERFECTLY! My one minor gripe is the skin’s never intact on the legs so it’s a crapshoot how much crispy skin you get. That being said, I will NEVER make my own duck confit — I’ll just pretend I did.

Here’s what I did to feed 2.5 people:

I filled and heated the SousVide Supreme to 140 F and grabbed a package of Grimaud Farms duck confit seasoned legs from the fridge. 

Although the legs come vacuum-sealed already, I opted to reseal them in a Foodsaver bag since I don’t know if the original plastic container can be heated. 

I dunked the legs in the water oven for about 45 minutes and took the legs out…

…and patted them dry. 

I melted 2 tablespoons of duck fat in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and seared the legs skin side-down for about 2 minutes…

…flipped them over, and browned the other side for about a minute. There’s lots of splatter so cover up with an apron.

Voila! 

French bistro quality, super-crisp skinned and tender duck legs at home!

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. 

Party Food: How to Sneak in Paleo Options at a Kinder Party

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Today we had a gaggle of hyper kids and their parents over to celebrate our older son’s birthday.  I knew that the kids were gonna eat pizza and fruit but I wanted to offer the adults something more sophisticated and stealthily Paleo-friendly.  Earlier in the week, I sous vided some flank steak seasoned with Spice Hound’s fajita and taco seasoning (130 F for 36 hours) and chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper (140 F for 2 hours) and I planned on serving them along with some Cobb salad fixings.  

When I woke up, I preheated the oven to 400 F to bake two pounds of bacon and roast 1.5 pounds of mushrooms tossed in a few tablespoons of the resulting bacon grease.

Here’s the tray of ‘shrooms pre-roasting: 

After roasting in a 400 F oven for 25-30 minutes:

Then, I sliced some hard-boiled eggs, and washed and chopped some ripe avocados, Persian cucumbers, and grape tomatoes.  I also crumbled up some Point Reyes original blue cheese and Laura Chenel Chef’s Chevre so our guest could pick one to sprinkle on their salads.  Most people love one and hate the other (or hate both). I’m a goat cheese fan myself ‘cause blue cheese smells raunchy. 

When the bacon cooled, I used my kitchen shears to cut the strips up.  I also put some pre-washed organic greens in two large bowls. Did I mention that I bought all this food from Costco?

For nibbles before the main event, I put out some Smokehouse almonds, two cheese platters, and an Italian salumi platter (all from Costco as well).

After surveying our spread, I realized that we already had a ton of meat/protein so I only reheated the flank steak (130 F for 30 minutes) in the SousVide Supreme.  Fitbomb seared the two steaks on our gas grill outside and I sliced them up.

Here’s our make-your-own Cobb salad bar:

And here’s my lunch:

Truth be told, I found the flank steak a little mushy for my taste but everyone else loved that it was so tender. Hey, if my guests are happy, I’m happy!

More Costco Finds: November 2010

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Remember how much I love Costco?  Here are my latest finds this month:

Wild Alaskan Pacific Cod fillets:

All individually vacuum sealed!  Guess what I’m gonna be throwing in the SousVide Supreme later this week?

Peeled Christopher Ranch Garlic Cloves:

Yes, this is a huge ass bag but it was les than $5.  Now, I’ll up the garlic quota in all my recipes until the bag runs out.  I think there will be some chicken with 40 cloves of garlic in my immediate future…

Niman Ranch mustard and herb seasoned butterflied lamb leg:

This is already cooking in my SousVide Supreme at 130 F for 24 hours…

First snack of the night.  Mac nuts and dried coconut.  I love this combination.  I’m always sneaking handfuls of this stuff pre-work, pre-work out, post-work out, when I wake up, when I walk by the pantry…you get the idea.
Good thing we stock up on the macadamia nuts at Costco.  Or maybe that’s a bad thing, because we polish off a huge can every week…

First snack of the night.  Mac nuts and dried coconut.  I love this combination.  I’m always sneaking handfuls of this stuff pre-work, pre-work out, post-work out, when I wake up, when I walk by the pantry…you get the idea.

Good thing we stock up on the macadamia nuts at Costco.  Or maybe that’s a bad thing, because we polish off a huge can every week…

Confession: I Am A Costco Addict

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I feel very confessional today. 

I love Costco.  Maybe even a little more than I love my family.  Did I type that out loud?  Seriously, I go to Costco at least once a week and always come home with all sorts of awesome things — and not just stuff that come in 400-pack boxes. 

Here are some things I picked up yesterday:

 

Gluten-free, free-range, super easy-peasy, and pretty tasty.  I threw one pack in the freezer and will use the other pack throughout the week.  I packed a few meatballs with some leftover braised cabbage and brought it to work.

  

 Ito-en makes my favorite bottled Japanese tea and I love having these bags around to make green tea on the fly.

I eat tons of guacamole so I’m happy this comes in a three pack. 

 

Our Costco stocks some top-shelf cookbooks along with the crap.  I spied signed copies of Michael Chiarello’s new Bottega cookbook but it was next to Sandra Lee’s latest cookbook.  I guess you have to take the good with the shitty.  Come holiday season, they bring out the really fancy cookbooks like Alinea, The French Laundry Cookbook, etc.  I hope they stock Modernist Cuisine when it comes out…

Other products I regularly pick up at Costco:

  • Grimaud Farms duck confit
  • Large bag of Haas avocados (on the Clean Fifteen so I’m okay with them being conventionally grown)
  • Large bag of bell peppers (yes, I know it’s on the Dirty Dozen list but sometimes I can’t help myself – especially when I want to roast off a bunch of them)
  • Amylu Sweet Carmelized Onion Chicken Burgers
  • Rosie Fully Cooked Organic Free Range Chicken Strips

*UPDATE 7/11: I don’t buy the chicken meatballs, chicken burgers, or free range chicken strips anymore because there’s sugar and/or bad oils in ‘em.

    Plus, you can return almost anything (save some electronics) at anytime with no box or receipt — even years later.  I’m sold.

    Another quick lunch. Pan-fried Amylu Sweet Carmelized Onion Chicken burger, roasted bell peppers with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, and delicata squash. The delicata squash was split, drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, then nuked cut side down in a glass bowl (tightly covered with plastic wrap) for 3-5 minutes (until soft). When the burger was done, I quickly seared the squash in the same cast iron skillet.

    Another quick lunch. Pan-fried Amylu Sweet Carmelized Onion Chicken burger, roasted bell peppers with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, and delicata squash. The delicata squash was split, drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, then nuked cut side down in a glass bowl (tightly covered with plastic wrap) for 3-5 minutes (until soft). When the burger was done, I quickly seared the squash in the same cast iron skillet.