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.