Nom Nom Paleo

Pizzeria Delfina’s Spicy Cauliflower

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I miss Pizzeria Delfina something fierce. Once upon a time, our carb-addicted family visited the joint once a month, gorging on pizzas and inventive, lusty veggie accompaniments — but it’s been over a year-and-a-half since we last broke bread there. Now that we’re Paleo, I’m not sure if/when we’ll be back.

One of my favorite side dishes at Delfina was their spicy cauliflower appetizer — the florets were fried until golden and crunchy on the outside and tossed with pepper flakes, garlic, capers, and bread crumbs.

I found the original recipe online and made this dish tonight with a few tweaks to make it Paleo-friendly. The dish was just how I remembered — toasty, tender, spicy, and piquant.

Here’s what I gathered to feed four people:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)

Here’s how I made it:

I grabbed a head of cauliflower…

…and trimmed around the core to release the florets.

I heated the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and when it was shimmering, I dropped in the cauliflower along with a generous sprinkle of salt. 

(Make sure the cauliflower isn’t overcrowded — fry in two batches if you must!)

While the cauliflower browned in the skillet, I sliced the garlic, measured the capers…

…and chopped the parsley.

I kept flipping the florets to make sure they were brown all over (8-10 minutes total). 

Once the cauliflower was toasty, I tossed the capers, parsley, and garlic in the pan and stir-fried everything until the garlic was browned. As a final step, I threw in the Aleppo pepper and adjusted the seasoning with additional salt.

See? Cauliflower is so damn versatile!

Roasted Portobello Mushroom Packets with Lemon and Garlic

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I really respect food bloggers who come up with their own recipes. I rarely create my own recipes because I’m just too lazy and busy to perfect an original dish before posting it on this blog. That’s why I love the folks at Cook’s Illustrated because they do all the testing and retesting for me. As a result, their recipes are normally fail-proof on my first attempt.

I cobbled together a respectable roasted portobello mushroom recipe a while back but this recipe from The Best Vegetable Recipes cookbook kicks ass. You do need to allow time to marinate the caps but it’s totally worth it. The original recipe calls for grilling the mushroom packets but I just stuck them in a hot oven. This is a fantastic dish for entertaining because you can make it ahead and serve it at room temperature.

Here’s what I gathered to serve 4 people (as part of a roasted vegetable platter):

  • ½ cup avocado oil (the original recipe uses extra virgin olive oil)
  • 3 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 6 medium cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of Fines Herbes seasoning
  • 3 large portobello mushrooms, gills and stems removed, caps wiped clean (there’s enough marinade for 4 large caps or 5 medium caps)

Here’s how I made them:

I preheated the oven to 400 F and I prepared the mushroom caps.

I’m a big fan of removing the gills because your ‘shrooms won’t look all muddy when they’re finished.

I mixed up the marinade by combining the avocado oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and salt in a large Ziploc gallon bag.

I added the mushrooms to the marinade and let them sit for an hour.

When the time was up, I removed the caps from the marinade and wrapped each one in a large piece of foil…

…and placed them on a foil-lined baking tray.

I placed the tray in the oven for 25 minutes and when they were finished, I let the caps rest in the foil packets for 10-15 minutes.

(If you decide to cook these packets on the grill, place them seam side up on a medium hot flame for 10-12 minutes.)

I sliced up the mushrooms and used the reserved juices as a sauce.

These roasted ‘shrooms are delicious and tasty!

Stir-Fried Shiitake and Broccoli Slaw

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I went to the farmers’market this morning and bought some organic shiitake mushrooms from my favorite mushroom vendor, Far West Fungi.  The mushrooms are always super high quality, mostly organic, and keep for 1-2 weeks if I keep them in a paper bag in my fridge (on the shelf, not the crisper).  After rummaging through my fridge for old produce (I got a shitload of new produce this morning at the market), I decided to make a shiitake and broccoli slaw stir-fry.

Here’s what I assembled:

  •  2 tablespoons of Kerry Gold unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 -2 anchovy fillets, packed in olive oil
  • ¾ lb shiitake mushrooms, quartered and stemmed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 package of broccoli slaw

 Here’s what I did:

I prepped the chopped shallots…

…the mushrooms…

…and grabbed the broccoli slaw from the fridge.

I heated the butter in my large cast iron skillet over medium high. 

Once the butter had melted, I added the shallots and sautéed until translucent.  Then, I added the garlic cloves and anchovies and mixed that around for ~30 seconds. 

I added the mushrooms to the skillet and seasoned everything with some salt and pepper.

After the liquid in the pan had evaporated and the mushrooms were browned in spots…

 

…I added the broccoli slaw and some fish sauce and apple cider vinegar to taste (around 1 tablespoon each).

Easy and yummy!

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

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Tonight, I start my week of graveyard shifts again. Harrumph. On days when I switch back to being nocturnal, I sleep my regular 8 hours the night before, get up and run errands during the day, and then take a 2-3 hour nap in the late afternoon before getting up to make dinner. 

Since I had a big-ass bag of pre-peeled garlic cloves in the fridge, I decided to make Ina Garten’s recipe for chicken with forty cloves of garlic for dinner (well, technically, it’s breakfast for me).  The only modifications I made: Using pre-peeled garlic (why wouldn’t you?) and leaving out the flour that Garten uses as a sauce-thickening agent. I don’t think Cognac is Paleo but I used it anyway.

Assemble:

  • 40 cloves of pre-peeled garlic
  • 2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths (I used 6 thighs and 6 drumsticks)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (it’s easier than plucking and chopping the leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, sauté the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don’t want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium.

When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to sauté all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Plop the chicken on a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Here’s what I assembled (yes, that’s a bottle of Two Buck Chuck):

The chicken browning in the Dutch oven:

All the legs and thighs piled up post-browning:

Browning the cloves of garlic in the rendered fat:

Simmering the cloves in wine and Cognac:

Simmering the sauce after the chicken has been removed:

Finished!

Next up: Some easy side dishes.

Baked sweet potatoes from my toaster oven:

and nuked organic green beans:

My dinner/breakfast plate:

Easy Paleo Frittata

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You can essentially turn any leftover meat into a frittata.  All you do is dice up the meat, chop up some veggies (frozen veggies are perfect), sauté them in an oven-safe skillet, add some eggs and dairy/coconut milk, and pop it all in the oven until it sets.  You can add herbs, sautéed onion, minced garlic, whatever! You can decide how fancy you wanna be. 

Easy Paleo Frittata by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Here’s just one example of how you can throw together a simple frittata.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
  • 1 cup emergency protein (whatever cooked meat you have on hand)
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli (or any leftover or frozen veggies)
  • 4 large pastured eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

First, preheat the toaster oven to 350°F and heat the coconut oil in an 8-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Then, add whatever protein you have on hand (here, I used some leftover spicy lamb merguez sausage and onions) to the skillet and stir-fry until heated through.

Easy Paleo Frittata by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Meanwhile, place the frozen broccoli in a medium microwave-safe bowl, cover it with a wet paper towel and nuke it until it’s thawed. Use a pair of kitchen shears or a knife to cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.

Easy Paleo Frittata by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Add the broccoli to the ingredients in the pan and mix to cook thoroughly.

Easy Paleo Frittata by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, and add the coconut milk, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

Easy Paleo Frittata by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the bottom of the frittata is set.

Easy Paleo Frittata by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Place the skillet in the oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, and then crank the heat up to broil for another 2 minutes or until the frittata puffs up and is cooked all the way through.

Easy Paleo Frittata by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Carefully transfer the frittata to a plate, slice, and serve.

Easy Paleo Frittata by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The frittata is delicious cold so it’s perfect for leftovers!


Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my New York Times bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).