Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 4/15/11

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Yay! It’s finally Friday!

For breakfast, I ate some leftover garbage frittata and roasted curried cauliflower.

Then, I headed over to CrossFit Palo Alto and had a kickass time at the women’s class. For my post-workout meal, I ate half a sous vide chicken breast with some baked sweet potatoes.

At lunchtime, we picked up takeout from Lahmacun Pizzeria – Mediterranean Grill and brought it to my parents’ house. I ordered the mixed grill plate (chicken, lamb, and adana kebabs) and asked for extra salad in place of the rice.

It’s a generous serving of meats – too bad they overcooked everything and the salad was wilty. Blargh.

After lunch, I tucked Lil-O into bed and I started preparing some sous vide chicken thighs for tomorrow’s dinner (we’re having folks over again). I deboned the thighs, seasoned them with Sunny Paris seasoning, salt, and pepper, and vacuum sealed the chicken with a pat of butter per thigh.

I dunked them into the SousVide Supreme (set at 150 F) for a couple hours.

Since I had a bunch of leftover chicken thigh bones, I decided to make some bone broth. I threw the chicken bones along with a chopped onion, sliced carrot, bay leaf, and some smoked pork neck bones into a pot…

…and filled with enough water to cover the contents.

I added a generous pinch of salt and simmered the broth for a couple hours.

For an afternoon snack, I ate a can of sardines and some sauerkraut.

I thought this would keep my mind off of macadamia nuts and coconut flakes — but I was wrong. I cracked out on nuts and flakes all afternoon.

At dinnertime, my plan was to make grain-free breakfast burritos with duck egg “tortillas” and yesterday’s emergency protein as the filling. Unfortunately, the duck egg crepes stuck to my cast iron skillet and were too damn rubbery so I had to abort my plans. I’ve tried duck eggs a variety of ways…

…and I’m thisclose to declaring that I HATE them. The texture and flavor are icky. I’m gonna make these burritos again but I’ll use chicken eggs and a non-stick skillet next time.

My plan B dinner was a bowl of leftover braised red cabbage and emergency protein topped with a big dollop of homemade guacamole.

I made this tasty guacamole by following Michael Ruhlman’s recipe. Go visit his site — it’s a treasure trove of food knowledge. You’ll learn a ton about cooking and there’s lots of beautiful food photography shot by his talented wife, Donna. Heck, the man co-authors cookbooks with Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert ALONG with writing his own definitive cooking tomes. Respect.

Here’s my dinner bowl:

After dinner, I strained my bone broth and stored it in the fridge.

I’m thinking of using it to make a soup with greens and Italian sausage sometime soon.

Time to get some sleep! 

Quick Lamb Burgers Topped With Fried Egg and Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms and Onions

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There’s nothing I like more than waking up in the evening to the delicious aroma of seared meat. (For all you newbies, I’m not sleeping away the day because I’m lazy or depressed — I’m a shift worker.) Today was my lucky day: not only did my hubby entertain the kids all day, he also made dinner! I’m telling you, when someone else makes dinner, the food takes on a mysterious, MSG-like, flavor-enhancing quality.

What was on the menu? Butter-lettuce wrapped grass fed New Zealand lamb burgers topped with a fried egg, homemade guacamole, sautéed mushrooms and onions — with roasted carrot fries on the side. As an added bonus, dinner was on the table in around 30 minutes, which was just enough time for me to do a quick metcon workout (lots and lots of burpees!) while the kids caught an episode of Scooby Doo on the boob tube.

Here’s what the husband assembled for dinner:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 frozen grass fed lamb patties
  • 1 large avocado
  • ½ pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 leaves of butter lettuce (I like using Live Gourmet brand with the roots attached. The heads stay fresher longer and are grown pesticide-free)
  • Handful of shredded carrots (optional garnish)
  • 5 or 6 carrots
  • Coconut oil and/or avocado oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper

Here’s how he made the burgers:

Earlier in the day, the boys hit Whole Foods and stocked up on Atkins Ranch New Zealand frozen lamb patties (which happened to be on sale — $4.99 for each package of two patties).

When they returned from the store, Mr. Mom put a two-pack in the fridge to defrost and put the rest in the freezer. If you forget to defrost them, you can take the patties straight from the freezer and use the defrost function on the microwave to thaw them. (But be careful defrosting meat in the microwave because if you’re not watching it like a hawk, you’ll end up cooking part of it.)

About an hour before he started making dinner, he took the patties out of the fridge and seasoned them liberally with salt and pepper.

Per Thomas Keller, you should always bring your meat up to cool room temperature before cooking to get the best results. But don’t be dumb and leave it at room temp for half a day or your meat’ll become a veritable petri dish of badness.

At around 5:00 p.m., hubs prepped his veggies and popped a tray of carrot “French fries” tossed with avocado oil, salt, and pepper into the toaster oven (400 F for about 25 minutes).

Then, he made some guacamole by simply smashing up the avocado with some salt and pepper. Personally, I like to add a squirt of lemon or lime juice but I swear I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth!

Next, hubby heated a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and sautéed the onions until they were translucent. He added the sliced shiitake mushrooms along with some salt and pepper and sautéed everything until all the liquid had evaporated.

At the end, he tossed in the minced garlic and stirred the veggies around for about 30 more seconds. If you toss the garlic in earlier, you’ll burn it — and burnt garlic adds a yucky metallic taste to everything.

Once the mushrooms and onions were finished, he rinsed and dried out the skillet, added another dollop of coconut oil and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil was shimmering, he added the lamb patties to the pan.

He seared them for about 4 minutes on each side and checked that the internal temperature was ~ 145 F with our handy-dandy meat thermometer.

Finally, he rinsed the skillet again before frying a couple of eggs in some melted coconut oil.

He plated the burgers over the butter lettuce and topped ‘em with sliced tomato, fried egg, shredded carrots, guacamole, and sautéed mushrooms and onions. By this time, the roasted carrot fries were finished…

…so we sat down and scarfed down dinner.

Bun-less burgers can be pretty messy to eat, so I ate mine with a fork and knife since I’m a cavegirl with good manners. My husband, however, didn’t seem to mind the meat juices running down his hands and forearms as he devoured his burger.

These Paleo lamb burgers were fan-effing-tastic. Cavemen, make this meal for that special someone in your life and I promise that the 30 minutes you spend will be repaid in sex. Er, I mean spades.

Dining Out Paleo: Chipotle Mexican Grill

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I’ll admit it. I’m a huge food snob. I’ll only eat out at a place once I’ve thoroughly done my research and know the food is supposed to be delicious. I’ve been a food tourist and made pilgrimages across the country and abroad for the sole purpose of visiting restaurants (e.g. Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Alinea in Chicago, Per Se in NYC, Cibreo in Florence, and back when I was flirting with vegetarianism, Kodaiji Ikkyu-an in Kyoto). Eff the landmarks and historical sites — I just want good grub.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t need trendy or fancy. The restaurants can be hole-in-the-wall places where I can only communicate with the server by pointing at other diner’s dishes. Frankly, I don’t even care if the place is unsanitary. If it tastes good going down, I don’t care if it comes out painfully a few hours later. Really. Just ask Fitbomb. I’ve hauled his butt all over the globe for good eats.

I like restaurants that are run by passionate food lovers because you know that they put their heart and soul into whatever they’re serving you. You know, like Chef Primo from the movie Big Night or Chef Remy from Ratatouille. (Yes, I haven’t watched too many movies since I hatched my kids.) I just don’t believe you get that kind of passion at a chain restaurant, so I avoid them like the plague. Sure, chains provide a consistent minimum standard of mediocrity; the food won’t totally suck, but you won’t be wowed by anything at Macaroni Grill or Applebee’s.

Well, stop the presses because this afternoon, I ate lunch at a chain. A FAST food chain, no less.

A little backstory…

Lunch today was going to be a bit more problematic. We were headed to Fitbomb’s cousin’s birthday luncheon and we knew we’d be served a dizzying array of dim sum dishes. Fitbomb’s family LOVES eating dim sum.

I HATE dim sum. Besides, the stuff certainly ain’t Whole30 compliant. To make sure I didn’t starve, I ate a can of sardines at home and I packed emergency packs of coconut flakes and macadamia nuts. At the party, everyone kept nagging me to go get food, but I just pretended to be busy feeding my kids. I finally had to flat-out lie and say that I ate when they weren’t looking. Fitbomb was even sneakier and spread a few stray pieces of food on his plate and pretended he ate a full plate. I’m just glad that we were able to escape early because we had a mandatory preschool open house to attend.

After we left the party, we were still hungry after eating our pre-packed nuts and flakes. We were in a bind ‘cause we didn’t have time to go home to eat. To top it off, the food scene in in this particular corner of the East Bar is abysmal. Then, I remembered that Paleo guru Robb Wolf recommends eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill so I told Fitbomb to aim our Paleomobile in the direction of one. I think he thought I was punking him but I was HONGRY.

As we stood in line, we took out our iPhones and studied John Durant’s post on what good and proper cavemen order at Chipotle. We both ordered salads topped with carnitas, extra guacamole, and two kinds of salsa. No beans, por favor.

Can you see the skepticism in my face? I was just reciting the mantra, “Food is fuel. Food is fuel. Food is fuel…”

The verdict? Drum roll, please…

Not bad. It’s pretty good for fast food. I’ve definitely had much better (and cheaper) Mexican at authentic taquerias near our house, but in a pinch, I’d eat here. Since I’m on the Whole30, I like the transparency of the ingredients on the Chipotle website. That being said, almost everything (except for carnitas!) is cooked in soybean oil, so if you want to go 100% Paleo, stick with the carnitas. The guacamole’s pretty awesome, though. Next time I find myself in a Chipotle, I’m doubling up on the guac.

Bacon & Guacamole Sammies
Don’t these bacon and guacamole sammies look good? Fitbomb noshed on them while I slept…

The ingredients:
4 strips of thick-cut pastured bacon
Guacamole
It’s ridiculously easy to cook bacon in the microwave oven. (Clean-up is simple, too.) Just wrap a few slices between some sheets of paper towel, stick it all on a microwave-safe plate, and nuke away. I set my microwave at 70% power and zapped the bacon for about two-and-a-half minutes. If you find that your bacon’s not yet crisp, just nuke it a bit longer.  (If you don’t use a microwave, use this method to bake your bacon in the oven.)

The filling for these “sandwiches”? Chunky homemade guacamole.  If you’re pressed for time, simply mash up the flesh of half an avocado, and cut up the other half into half-inch cubes. Then mix both halves together in a bowl to get a nice blend of chunky ‘n creamy. Flavor it with a squirt or two of lime juice and a generous pinch of Kosher salt.
Done and done!

Bacon & Guacamole Sammies

Don’t these bacon and guacamole sammies look good? Fitbomb noshed on them while I slept…

image

The ingredients:

  • 4 strips of thick-cut pastured bacon
  • Guacamole

It’s ridiculously easy to cook bacon in the microwave oven. (Clean-up is simple, too.) Just wrap a few slices between some sheets of paper towel, stick it all on a microwave-safe plate, and nuke away. I set my microwave at 70% power and zapped the bacon for about two-and-a-half minutes. If you find that your bacon’s not yet crisp, just nuke it a bit longer.  (If you don’t use a microwave, use this method to bake your bacon in the oven.)

image

The filling for these “sandwiches”? Chunky homemade guacamole.  If you’re pressed for time, simply mash up the flesh of half an avocado, and cut up the other half into half-inch cubes. Then mix both halves together in a bowl to get a nice blend of chunky ‘n creamy. Flavor it with a squirt or two of lime juice and a generous pinch of Kosher salt.

Done and done!

A Better Fish For Breakfast

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After yesterday morning’s tilapia disaster, I wanted to redeem myself with a better fish choice.  But I needed to eat ASAP.  Luckily, our pantry is filled with a bunch of different brands of canned sardines.  I picked this one:

I cracked it open and served it alongside some chopped cherry tomatoes and a dollop of Wholly Guacamole.

Yes, it’s an ugly looking breakfast but fast, tasty, and healthy.