Roasted Chestnuts

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I love chowing on warm, smoky, brain-shaped nuggets in the wintertime. There’s something so comforting about the smell of roasted chestnuts — don’t you agree? 

We used to roast chestnuts in the oven but they’re a pain to peel. However, if you toss them on a hot grill outside, the nuts roast in about 5 minutes and the crispy charred skins fall right off. I’ll gladly freeze my ass off outside for a few minutes if the reward is a bowl of piping hot roasted chestnuts.

To feed 4-6 snackers, buy two pounds of chestnuts. Use a sharp paring knife to cut an “X” on the flat side of each one…

…and toss them right on the grates of a gas grill set on high.

Constantly flip the chestnuts for about 5 minutes or until they’re charred.

Peel them while they’re still warm and try to save some for the other noshers.

No fuss, no muss!

My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken

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I’ve received many requests for a Paleo-friendly marinade so I went to my sister, the bestest chef I know, and begged her for a recipe.

After lots and lots of pestering (I’m a good whiner with years of practice), she relented and sent me a recipe for her go-to, Thai-inspired, herb-y green marinade. This marinade is PHENOMENAL and can be used on a wide variety of meats or as a tasty condiment. This recipe is idiot-proof.

You HAVE to follow the jump ‘cause you’ll NEED this recipe in your repertoire…

Here’s what I gathered to make enough grilled drumsticks to feed 4-6 people:

  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 1/4 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of  Red Boat fish sauce
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • zest of 1 lime
  • plenty ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of apple juice (or 1 teaspoon of maple syrup if you’re not on a Whole30)
  •  Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds of chicken drumsticks or thighs

Here’s how I made it:

I gathered the ingredients…

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

… and made the marinade by combining the onion, cilantro, basil, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime zest, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, and apple juice into a blender

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and pureed until smooth. 

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I tasted for seasoning and added salt to taste. Since I was using it as a marinade, I was more heavy-handed with the salt than I normally would be if it was used as a sauce.

I placed the chicken in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag…

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and poured the marinade over it.

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I let the chicken marinate overnight (marinate for at least an hour and up to a day).

The next day, I took the chicken out of the fridge an hour before I was ready to grill it. (If you are baking the chicken, roast on a wire rack for ~35-45 minutes at 400 F. Start with skin-side down, and flip skin-side up at the 20 minute mark.)

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The gas grill was set on high and after the chicken was placed on the grates, the temperature was immediately decreased to low.

The chicken was grilled for approximately 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature reached 165 F)… 

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…turning every 5-7 minutes. But be patient: Don’t go and flip the bird (legs, that is) before they naturally release from the grill surface — otherwise, you’ll leave a lot of tasty, crispy, marinated skin stuck on the grates!

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I served the drumsticks with lime wedges.

Try this recipe — you won’t be sorry!

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Grilled Zucchini/Summer Squash

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This simple yet bangin’ recipe is one that I modified from Cook’s Illustrated. The key difference is in the fat — I subbed in virgin red palm oil for extra virgin olive oil.

Thanks for the tip, Bill and Hayley!

Here’s what I gathered to feed 4 people:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of summer squash, trimmed and sliced lengthwise in 1/2” strips
  • 2 tablespoons of virgin red palm oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Handful of basil leaves, cut in chiffonade

Here’s how I made it:

I lay the squash slices on a foil-lined baking sheet and brushed both sides with the palm oil. Then, I seasoned liberally with salt and pepper.

I cooked the squash on the gas grill set on medium heat… 

…for about 8-10 minutes total. (They were flipped once at the 4 minute mark.)

Before serving, I drizzled on the vinegar and sprinkled on the basil.

Now you know what do with that mountain of zucchini you’ll have this summer!

Paleo Eats: 7/10/11

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Today was filled with cooking and entertaining so I’m pooped again. Luckily, I’ve got gobs of yummy leftovers so I can coast for the next few days…

For breakfast, I baked a marinated chicken drumstick in the toaster oven. I was barbecuing this chicken for dinner, so I wanted to double-check on the seasoning before serving it to guests. I’m a good host like that.

Yummy! My big sis never lets me down when I ask her for a recipe!

Afterwards, Big-O and I went to the Mountain View Farmers’ Market and Sigona’s to stock up on veggies and meat. We came home with tons of both.

At lunchtime, R agreed to come over and be a guinea pig to taste a new variation on my mini frittata muffinsprosciutto-wrapped mini frittata muffins! I served everybody a couple muffins along with a green salad.

In the afternoon, I was busy prepping for our Paleo barbecue with our BFFs, S and J. 

Our dinner menu included grilled summer squash with balsamic vinegar and basil…

roasted curried cauliflower

grilled portobello mushroom packets with garlic and lemon

sous vide mini slider burgers (seasoned with Arizona Dreaming seasoning), and my sister’s phenomenal grilled green chicken.

Here’s my dinner plate:

Yep, I made a ton of food, but now I have lots of leftovers. I’m certain I won’t want to cook for a couple days. At least.

Good night!

Grilled Grass Fed Rib Eye Steaks

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Grass fed rib eye steaks cost beaucoup bucks so the last thing you want to do is waste your hard-earned cash by overcooking them. This dish is super-fast and tasty provided you follow these simple rules:

  • Salt your meat ahead of time. A day or two ahead if you remember but a minimum of 30 minutes if you don’t. Per acclaimed SF chef Judy Rodgers, salting early seasons the beef all the way through and it’ll be more moist and tender.

  • Always bring your grass fed steaks up to cool room temperature before cooking. That means taking them out of the fridge 45 minutes to an hour before you cook them.
  • If the steaks are thicker than 1-inch, your best bet is to cook them sous vide and then sear them. Serious Eats has a primer on this method here. No SousVide Supreme? Hack a sous vide contraption yourself!
  • If your steaks are thin (less than 1 inch thick) sear them on a hot greased grill or grill pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side undisturbed. You can snip the edge with a pair or scissors to keep them from curling up. Grass fed steaks are very lean so you gotta eat them rare or medium rare or they’ll taste like leather. You should aim for an internal temperature of 125F (medium rare).

  • If you cook the steaks in a pan or on a grill, you must let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before serving it. This resting time will ensure the steak stays juicy and moist. Don’t believe me? The geeks at Serious Eats proved it in their Food Lab and you can read about it here.

  • Last but not least, don’t expect grass fed rib eye to taste like a well-marbled corn fed rib eye steak. It’ll be tougher but it’s also beefier and delicious (as long as you follow the above rules).