Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Finds at Nijiya Market (Mountain View, CA)

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I love Japanese grocery stores! A lot of the food is excessively packaged and super processed, but the stores are so damn clean, especially compared to other Asian markets. (Been to a 99 Ranch lately? Yowsers!)

I hadn’t been to Nijiya Market in a while because I no longer need to stock up on mirin, soy products, soba noodles, Japanese curry mix, etc. since going Paleo. But today, I returned to check out Nijiya’s selection of meat and organic produce (which is pretty extensive).

I picked up a few veggies and some packages of organic peeled and cooked chestnuts…

…Rocky free-range chicken thighs, boneless, with skin-on…

…and pork belly!

I love that Nijiya carries unusual cuts of meat that are harder to find at most big-chain American grocery stores. I’m gonna be sous viding the pork belly and thighs, so keep your eyes peeled for a blog post about ‘em later this week.

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…

What’s In My Pantry

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Here are some staples we keep on hand at Chez Nom Nom Paleo:

Coconut Oil: We normally stock up at Whole Paycheck when coconut oil goes on sale.  I used to avoid it like the plague since I was taught that saturated fats = heart attack (yes, I have a nutrition and food science degree from the mid 90’s).  Now, I use this stuff all the time time for stir-frying or high temperature cooking.

Here’s our coconut spray oil, also purchased at Whole Paycheck.  Fitbomb uses it for everything.  I prefer to scoop some coconut oil from the jar.

Our go-to brand of extra virgin olive oil for everyday cooking is the one in the biggest bottle from Trader Joe’s. It’s economical, tasty, and I love the pour spout that comes with it. Call me crazy, but I don’t like sticking my thumb on the bottle opening (á la Jamie Oliver) when I’m drizzling olive oil on stuff.

I use Conzorzio Roasted Garlic Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle on foods post cooking, or on foods I’m not cooking at a super high temp.  The flavor is pretty strong so I don’t put it on things that it’s likely to overpower. Get it at Costco before they decide to take it off the shelves. I just wish these bottles came with spigots!

Since the Paleo gods frown on dairy, we don’t use butter as much as we used to. When we do, we use Kerrygold unsalted butter because it comes from grassfed cows. Plus, you can find it reasonably priced at Trader Joe’s.

When I need a high-smoke-point fat and coconut oil has too distinctive a flavor for my dish, I’ll use ghee.  I’m too lazy to make my own from Kerrygold, so I just buy Purity Farms Organic Ghee. Per their website, it’s made from grassfed, pasture raised cow milk.  This product is carried at Whole Paycheck and other fancy grocery stores.

Okay, vinegar isn’t technically Paleo because it may have some gluten in it but I really like balsamic vinegar and keep a few bottles in my pantry at all times. My favorite cheap balsamic vinegar is Trader Joe’s Gold Quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. I use this stuff all the time to marinate my roasted veggies. See how the label has rubbed off?

Having a fancy, aged, thick balsamic vinegar in the pantry is a must. I just buy whichever one is on sale at Whole Paycheck or at a nicer grocery store. I drizzle the nice stuff to finish my dishes.  A little bit goes a long way. This is the higher-end bottle that’s currently sitting in our pantry:

Since I’ve cut out soy and oyster sauce, we have some San-J Organic Tamari in the pantry when I make Asian food (which is rare).  I don’t use this too often, though, because it’s still made with soy.

The Worchestershire sauce we have in the fridge is The Wizard’s™ Organic Worcestershire Sauce.   This is the stuff Fitbomb uses in his jerky recipe.

Last but not least, is one of my favorite pantry items: Rao’s Marinara Sauce! Honestly, this canned sauce is better than most Italian grandmothers’. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s worth every penny. Anytime I see it on sale, I stock up. Buy it and put it on everything.

Local Spotlight: Sigona’s Farmers Market (Redwood City)

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Since we moved from San Francisco to the ‘burbs, Sigona’s Farmers Market has become my favorite grocery store on the Peninsula, hands down.  Impeccable produce (a mix of local, organic, and conventionally-grown), awesome cheese selection (not Paleo approved, but eff it), Marin Sun Farms grass fed beef, organic and free-range poultry, a myriad of dried fruits and nuts (bulk raw coconut flakes for $2-something/lb!), unique and high quality specialty items, and great customer service — I love this place!

If you buy seasonally, the prices are really reasonable. Definitely join the Preferred Customer club so you’re privy to Sigona’s weekly specials and coupons.  The coupons are for free stuff if you spend over $30, and you don’t need to print them out — just show the clerk the coupon on your mobile phone.  Trust me, it’s very easy to spend more than $30, especially if you buy meat.  When there’s a sale on the grass fed beef, the savings are pretty astonishing.  For example, the grass fed ribeye is just $15.99/lb ($10 cheaper per lb than Pampero Ranch at the Mountain View Farmer’s market) and the grass fed ground beef is cheaper per pound than Costco across the street ($3.99/lb vs. $4.23/lb).  Same thing with Rocky free-range chicken, it’s normally only $0.99/lb.  You’d be crazy not to stock up!

If you are in the area, you should really check out this locally owned, family run grocery store.  I just wish it was closer to my house…

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.