Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Krabby Patties

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[UPDATED March 30, 2012: I originally posted this recipe over a year ago, but I’ve finally gotten around to fixing the pics and fine-tuning the steps. Enjoy!]

Just like Paleo mayonnaise, there are lots of great Paleo-friendly recipes out in the blogosphere for crab cakes. In particular, The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate has a really awesome one as does Mark’s Daily Apple. Why am I adding another one to the mix? Well, variety is the spice of life and I’m on a mission to Paleo-ize a bunch of recipes in my favorite cookbooks.

Today, I decided to see if I could successfully adapt the crab cake recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Cookbook. The original recipe uses both breadcrumbs and flour (which are verboten) so I subbed in some coconut flour instead. Also, I didn’t have any fresh herbs or Old Bay seasoning so I just used a dash of  Penzeys Sunny Paris seasoning.  The end results were fantastic. Now I know why Plankton is always trying to steal the recipe for Krabby patties.

Ingredients (Feeds 4):

  • 1 pound canned pasteurized super lump crabmeat
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut flour, plus more for dusting the cakes (~1/4 cup)
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Sunny Paris seasoning
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup Paleo mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Whip up a fresh batch of Paleo mayonnaise if you don’t have some already…

…and reserve 1/4 cup.

Place a pound of fresh or drained canned crab meat in a large bowl.

(Handy tip: keep a couple of cans of crab meat in the fridge because they’re a steal at Costco and have a long shelf life. It’s great emergency food when you have no other protein available.)

Add coconut flour, scallions, Sunny Paris seasoning…

…egg…

…mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.

Gently mix with a rubber spatula to combine the ingredients.

Line a platter with parchment paper…

…and divide the crab mixture into eight portions.

Form each one into a flat cake…

…and place them on the parchment-lined dish.

Refrigerate the cakes for 30 minutes to firm up.

Once the cakes are chilled, heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering…

Fill a shallow dish with coconut flour…

…and dredge each cake lightly with coconut flour.

Make sure you pat off the excess flour or the cakes will be too dry.

Fry the cakes in two batches…

…for about three minutes on each side.

Remove the finished cakes to a wire rack so they don’t get soggy.

Serve the Paleo Krabby Patties on a tangy slaw with some lemon wedges.

Slow Cooker Korean Grass Fed Short Ribs

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Inspired by a recipe in Slow Cooker Revolution from the editors at America’s Test Kitchen, I’ve made this Korean-style dish several times—and every time, it’s been easy-peasy and tasty. I simplified and Paleoized the recipe by subbing out the soy sauce with coconut aminos, the rice wine vinegar with coconut vinegar, and leaving out the tapioca. What’s cool about this recipe is that you don’t need to sear off any of the meat or carmelize any aromatics –- it’s pretty much a dump-it-in-and-forget-about-it kind of dish. That being said, when I do have the time I will char the short ribs under the broiler before throwing them in the slow cooker.

You may want to make this dish ahead of time and store it in your fridge because the short ribs release a ton of fat into the gravy, which you can easily remove when the chilled fat hardens.

Here’s what to gather to make enough tasty meat to feed 4-6 hungry adults:

  • 6 pounds of bone-in English-style grass-fed short ribs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium pear or Asian pear, peeled, cored, and chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 hunk of ginger, about the size of your thumb, cut into two pieces
  • 2 teaspoons of Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
  • 1 cup organic chicken broth
  • Small handful of roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Here’s how top make it:

Preheat your broiler with the rack 6 inches from the heating element. Season the ribs liberally with salt and pepper…

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…and lay the ribs, bone-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Whenever I season raw meat, I set aside a small ramekin with salt and ground pepper that I use only for the raw stuff. Cross contamination can lead to some bad crap. Literally.

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Broil the ribs for 5 minutes and then flip them over and broil for another 5 minutes.

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Stack the ribs in a single layer in the slow cooker. I lay them on their side to cram them all in the pot.

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Toss the pear, coconut aminos, garlic, scallions, ginger, fish sauce, and vinegar in a blender and puree until smooth.

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Pour the sauce evenly over the ribs…

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…and add the chicken broth to the pot.

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Cover with the lid, set the slow cooker on low, and let the ribs stew for 9-11 hours.

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When it’s time to serve the ribs, remove the meat from the slow cooker and place them on a serving platter.

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Let the braising liquid settle for 5 minutes and then ladle off the fat if you wish. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and pour a cup of sauce over the ribs.

Sprinkle on the chopped cilantro and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

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Super tender and very tasty. The simmer sauce is subtly sweet and the coconut aminos, while not as bold-tasting as soy sauce, lend a good umami flavor to the dish.

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder Roast

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So. Damn. Easy.

The hardest part of this recipe is to remember to defrost and season your roast a couple days in advance. When you’re ready to eat it, just pop the pork and some chopped aromatics in your slow cooker and your dinner cooks while you’re at work (or while you’re sleeping).

Here’s what I assembled to feed 4 hungry adults:

  • 2.5 pound tied boneless pork shoulder roast (I wish I had a bigger one but I got this size in my CSA box)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Chili Con Carne Seasoning (or your favorite dry rub)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 1/2” slices

Here’s what I did:

I dried off the pork roast with some paper towels and seasoned it liberally with salt, pepper, and the spice blend. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with the seasoning.

I placed the roast in a gallon sized Ziploc bag, squeezed out all air, and stuck it in the fridge. The roast should marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

A couple days later, I threw some chopped carrots and onions into my slow cooker and tossed them with salt and pepper.

I placed the roast (and collected juices) on top of the vegetables, covered it with a lid, and cooked the pork on low for 8-10 hours.

When the roast was finished cooking, I preheated my broiler. I placed the roast on a greased wire rack on a lined baking sheet and put it under the broiler (~ 6 inches from the heating element) and browned it for about 2 minutes on each side.

I cut the binding on the roast plated the carrots, onions, and gravy. I put the roast on top of the veggies and used two forks to shred the meat.

Yummy. My only regret is I didn’t have a larger roast because I barely had any leftovers!

Crispy Braised Duck Legs

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Want a great, make-ahead, easy-peasy duck leg recipe where the meat is meltingly tender yet the skin is crispy? Make this recipe and thank me later.

For this dish, I modified Molly Steven’s recipe for Duck Ragu with Pasta in her fantastic cookbook, All About Braising. In her version, she braises the duck in a tomato-wine sauce, shreds the meat, and tosses the meaty sauce with pasta. In my version, I braise the duck, store the dish in the fridge for a couple days, and then roast the whole legs in the oven so the skin crisps up on top. Super easy to prepare ahead AND delicious.

Here’s what I assembled to serve 4:

  • 6 duck legs
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped into 1/2” dice
  • 2 carrots, sliced in 1/2” rounds
  • 1 celery stalk ,cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Here’s how I made the dish:

I assembled the ingredients…

…took out the duck legs from the fridge…

…and used my kitchen shears to trim the duck of as much fat as possible without cutting into the skin or the meat. I also cut off any loose flaps of skin but made sure the top of the leg was all covered with skin. Next, I seasoned the duck with salt and pepper on both sides.

I preheated the oven to 325 F.

Then, I browned the legs in a single layer in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. As soon as the pot was hot, I placed the legs skin side down on the ungreased surface and seared for 7 minutes. I flipped them over and fried for 3-4 more minutes or until nicely browned on both sides.  I transferred the legs to another dish and repeated the process until all the legs were finished.

I poured out the drippings into a storage container that I stored in the fridge for other uses. Mmmm… duck fat!

I added 1 tablespoon of avocado oil to the pan and tossed in the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme sprigs with some salt and pepper. I sauted the vegetables for 7-8 minutes or until they were softened. I turned down the heat to medium so the veggies wouldn’t burn.

I added white wine/vermouth and simmered the sauce for 6 minutes or until the liquid was reduced by half. Then I added the chicken broth and simmered that until it was reduced by half. My last step was to add the can of tomatoes (including the juices) and simmered everything for 2-3 minutes to meld the flavors.

Once the sauce was done, I placed the duck legs on top, skin-side up and tucked in the bay leaves.

I added a piece of parchment paper and pressed it down until it almost touched the duck. I put on the cover and popped the pot in the oven for two hours.

When the legs were finished braising, I transferred the dish to a storage/baking dish and put it in the fridge. I made sure the sauce was on the bottom and the duck legs were on top, skin-side up. You can store the braised duck in the fridge for a couple days.

When I was ready to serve the duck, I preheated my oven to 400 F on convection roast and I stuck the dish on the middle rack and let it bake for 25 minutes.

The skin gets nice and crispy and the meat is really tender and delicious. Yummy!

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).

Super Easy Tandoori Chicken

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Man, oh man, this chicken dish is easy and delicious! Provided you have some Penzeys Tandoori seasoning on hand…

You do need to plan ahead a little bit because the chicken has to marinate for at least 4 hours, but the actual hands-on time is pretty minimal. In fact, this dish can be thrown together in about 10 minutes before you head off to work and it will be ready to bake when you get home. (Or, if you’re a night shift worker like me, you can throw it together in the morning before going to bed and it will be ready to go when you wake up.) I followed the tandoori chicken recipe on Penzeys Spices website with a few modifications and my results were quite remarkable.

Here’s what to assemble:

  • 4 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt (or substitute full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Penzeys tandoori seasoning
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice

Here’s what to do:

Grab your thighs and trim off any excess blobs of fat. Season the chicken parts evenly with kosher salt and stick ‘em in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt and the tandoori seasoning.

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Pour in the lemon juice and mix well to combine.

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Sometimes little hands are better at this step.

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Once the marinade is ready…

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…spoon it over the salted chicken…

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…and work it into the poultry with your hands. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 4 to 8 hours to marinate.

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When you’re ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 375°F on convection roast setting (or 400°F in a non-convection oven).

Place a wire rack on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Grease the rack with a paper towel dipped in melted coconut oil.

Arrange the chicken on the rack skin-side down…

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….and pop the tray in the oven for about 40 minutes…

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…flipping the pieces skin-side up at the halfway mark.

The chicken’s done when there’s yummy charred bits all over and the juices run clear when stabbed with a skewer.

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This dish was super-duper easy, moist, and delicious to boot. Get your keisters to a Penzeys ASAP!

Sous Vide Grass Fed Brisket

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I’ve had really spotty results sous viding grass fed beef so I’m always nervous about the outcome. Grass fed beef ain’t cheap so it kills me to have to “experiment” to find the perfect time and temperature. After an exhaustive search of the Internet, I think I hit on the correct time and cooking temperature for grass fed beef brisket. Chef-extraordinaire Thomas Keller recommends 147 F for 48 hours, so that’s how I made my brisket. And you know what? The results were pretty great.

Here’s how I did it:

I filled and heated my SousVide Supreme to 147 F. Next, I seasoned a 2.5-pound beef brisket with salt, pepper, and Fajita and Taco seasoning and vacuum-sealed it.

I dunked the packet in my water oven for 48 hours.

When it was done cooking, I removed the brisket and placed it in an ice bath for an hour.

I was going to reheat the brisket in a few days so I stored the packet in my fridge after the meat was uniformly chilled.

I reheated the brisket today by plopping it in my SousVide Supreme set at 140 F for about 30 minutes. Then, I heated 2 tablespoons of lard in a large cast iron skillet and seared all sides (about 2 minutes each side)…

…before slicing it up.

The meat was tender and delicious. Yes, I’d prefer that the big blob of fat on the corner was more rendered but that’s my only complaint. When I make this again, I’m definitely sticking with 147 F for 48 hours. Why mess with a good thing?

Rogan Josh (Lamb Stew)

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I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Indian food. I used to trek all over the Bay Area just to taste a great masala dosa or special thali. Although I still love the complex and intense flavors of Indian food, it’s hard for me to resist the grains and legumes when I see them on the menu. Now that I’m comfortably settled on the Paleo bandwagon, my Indian eats have been few and far between. That’s why I was so excited to find Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for Paleo Rogan Josh. Rogan Josh is a spicy and aromatic lamb stew that would be uber hard to make if it weren’t for the magic of Penzeys Rogan Josh seasoning. I whipped some up this morning, with some minor tweaks, and it was super easy and delicious.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 1 pound of lamb stew meat, cut into 1.5 inch chunks
  • 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Penzeys Rogan Josh seasoning
  • ½ cup of coconut milk
  • ½ cup of water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I assembled and chopped my ingredients and preheated my oven to 300 F.

I don’t know about you, but despite what the label says, this doesn’t look like ground lamb to me…

I heated the coconut oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and tossed the lamb with salt and pepper. Once the pot was hot, I seared my lamb chunks in a single layer for about 4 minutes undisturbed on each side.

I removed the browned lamb to a separate plate and added the carrots and onions to the empty pot. When the onions were translucent…

…I threw in the mushrooms along with a dash of salt and pepper.

After the liquid had cooked off, I tossed in the garlic and stirred everything around until fragrant (around 30 seconds). Next, I added lamb back in along with the Rogan Josh seasoning, making sure it was well distributed.

Then, I poured in the coconut milk and water.

The liquid level was about ¾ the way up the meat and veggies. I covered my pot and stuck it in my oven for until the meat was nice and tender (about 1.5 to 2 hours). (I like to braise my stews in the oven ‘cause the temperature is constant, the flavors get concentrated, and you don’t have to babysit it).

Wow! This dish is awesome! Next time, I’m gonna double the amount of meat because the pot only yielded about three servings. Also, the spice blend packs some heat, so back off on the seasoning if you can’t take it.

Thanks for the great recipe, Melicious!

Overnight Oven-Braised Shredded Pork Tacos

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This dish takes a little pre-planning because the meat marinates for a day or so and then you braise it in the oven for approximately 8 hours. Slowly braising a big ass pork butt in your oven overnight will make your house smell like pork heaven in the morning — provided that you don’t burn down your house. But this dish is so tasty and easy, it’s worth that small risk.

Here’s what to assemble:

Here’s what to do:

A couple days before you plan to serve this dish, you need to liberally season your pork butt with your favorite pork rub, Kosher salt, and pepper. Don’t be afraid to be heavy-handed with the seasonings or your pork will be bland.

Once it’s seasoned, place it in a Ziploc bag (with all the air forced out) or vacuum seal it and let the roast marinate for at least 24 hour and up to 72 hours.

On the day you’re roasting the pork, preheat the oven to 250 F. Toss the chopped onions and bacon with some salt and pepper in the bottom of a large Dutch oven.

Take the roast out of the bag…

…and put it on top of the onions.

Place the lid on the Dutch oven and pop it in the oven for around 8 hours or when the meat is super tender. Now is a good time to get some shut eye.

When you wake up in the morning, the roast should be finished. Don’t be surprised to find a lot of liquid in the bottom of your pot.

Remove the roast from the pot and place on a wire rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet. Place the roast under the broiler for around 5-10 minutes to get some color and flip it and broil the other side for 5-10 minutes.

Shred the meat with two forks and set aside.

Remove the onions and bacon from the pot liquor and bring it to a boil. Add the apple juice and simmer for 5-10 minutes to reduce slightly. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper. The sauce will be really cloudy and fatty so strain it and place it in a fat separator. 

I know that fat is flavor but if you’re serving this dish to squeamish guests, you’ll probably want to skim off the fat ‘cause it’ll congeal pretty quickly as the dish sits. It will look like someone poured candle wax all over pork and no one wants to eat that.

Pour the strained sauce over the shredded pork and nuke the covered dish in the microwave for a couple minutes to heat through. Serve on lettuce leaves…

…and your guests can top their “tacos” with their favorite condiments (e.g. salsa and/or guacamole.