Nom Nom Paleo

Hawaiian Fire-Spiced Mushrooms

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Even though I’m on vacay, I care enough about you, dear reader, to post a new recipe. Okay – this recipe is super simple and involves my favorite go-to cooking technique (roasting) but why mess with a good thing?

I’m seriously crushing on the spice blends and salts from Aloha Spice Company. Most are Paleo-friendly and/or organic and the flavor combinations are spot-on. Pele’s Fire Hawaiian is a smoky and spicy salt blend that perfectly seasoned these roasted, meaty, umami-laden ‘shrooms.

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Keep reading for the recipe…

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Super Porktastic Bacon-Topped Spinach and Mushroom Meatloaf

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I was inspired to make this bacon-topped, veggie-laden meatloaf after watching this video on Chow.com. I wasn’t brought up on bad meatloaf as a child, so I don’t have an aversion to it like some folks. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a college student, I used to routinely hit up all the local diners to seek out the best meatloaf sandwiches.

I’ll be the first to admit that not all of my kitchen experiments turn out tasty, but tonight’s pork-y loaf was definitely a winner. Don’t believe me? My six-year old declared that he was rating it “FIVE stars!” AND he polished off his plate. (This doesn’t always happen; often, he butters me up with a compliment but then doesn’t eat the meal at all. It’s sweet, yet infuriating.)

The original recipe looks delicious, but I decided to veer away from it — not only to make it Paleo-friendly, but also to simplify the steps. In place of the milk and fresh breadcrumbs, I threw in coconut cream, coconut flour, and minced mushrooms. And since I’m too lazy to steam, drain, and chop fresh spinach, I replaced the fresh spinach with chopped frozen spinach. Also, after the recommended baking time, the bacon on top was still kind of limp, so I briefly stuck the meatloaf under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. Who wants soggy bacon? Not this gal!

Here’s what I gathered to feed 4-6 hungry adults:

  • 1 pound frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1/2 pound Cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup small-dice celery (from about 2 medium stalks)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 pound ground pork (the original recipe calls for 1 ¼ pounds of pork, veal, or beef but I only had 1 pound of ground pork defrosted)
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3-5 bacon slices
  • Tomato sauce, warmed, for serving (optional)

Here’s how I made it:

I preheated the oven to 350 F with the rack placed in the middle. I dumped a packet of frozen spinach into a Corningware container

…covered it with a lid and nuked it on high for ~4 minutes to defrost it. Then, I dumped the spinach in a colander and pressed out all the liquid.

I heated the butter over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet and tossed in the chopped onions and mushrooms along with some salt and pepper to taste.

I sautéed them until the liquid had evaporated and the onions were softened.

Next, I blended the coconut cream, parsley, and celery until a puree was formed.

In this case, the $29 immersion blender trumped the expensive Vitamix; the small volume didn’t blend properly in my fancy blender.

I placed the pork in a large bowl, followed by the chopped spinach, coconut flour, garlic, measured salt and pepper, and nutmeg.

Then, I added the coconut cream puree, beaten eggs, onions, and ‘shrooms.

I used my hands to gently combine all the ingredients.

I tested if the seasoning was right by frying up a tiny meatloaf patty.

Then, I transferred the mixture to an ungreased 9 x 5 loaf pan…

…and layered the bacon on top.

(You can store the uncooked loaf in the fridge for up to a day and then bake it at your convenience).

My loaf pan is kind of leaky, so I put it on a lined baking sheet before sticking it in the oven. I baked the meatloaf for 70 minutes, rotating it at the halfway point. Then, I broiled it for 3 minutes to crisp up the bacon.

There’s quite a bit of grease that pools in the pan so I poured it off and I let the loaf rest for 20 minutes before slicing into it.

I served the meatloaf slices with a generous ladle of Rao’s marinara sauce, but they also taste great without it.

Man, this meatloaf was super-moist, delicious, and chock-full of veggies! Coconut haters: Don’t worry - you can’t taste any coconut at all.

I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!

Paleo Eats: 2/28/11

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More Paleo eats coming your way…

My first meal at work was a can o’ sardines.

I gotta say this brand isn’t my favorite. Maybe I happened upon a bad can but the texture was mushy and there was an off-taste to it. The little fishies didn’t taste spoiled but, then again, botulism spores are tasteless. If you don’t see a post tomorrow, you’ll know it’s ‘cause I’m paralyzed and not because I’m lazy.

For snack, I ate a couple of mini frittata muffins

…and some curried cream of broccoli soup with sous vide chicken breast.

Then, I ate a handful of macadamia nuts and coconut flakes. I didn’t eat a final meal at work because, surprisingly, I was still full.

When I got home, I portioned…

…skinned…

…seasoned (with Sunny Paris seasoning, salt, pepper, and frozen cubes of extra virgin olive oil), and vacuum-sealed the wild King salmon fillets I bought yesterday at the farmers’ market. I put the prepared packets on ice in the fridge and preheated the SousVide Supreme to 130 F.

By this time, I was pretty hungry so  I made myself a small chicken salad (with leftover rotisserie chicken and homemade Paleo mayonnaise) over a bed of greens, shredded carrots, and roasted red bell peppers.

After I scarfed down my salad, I went to bed.

When I woke up at 5:30 p.m., I plopped the salmon fillets into my water oven and made a tray of roasted curried cauliflower

…sauteed a  bunch of assorted mushrooms (white buttons, shiitake, and trumpet mushrooms from Far West Fungi stand) with minced garlic, Sunny Paris seasoning, a splash of dry vermouth, salt, and pepper…

…and broiled two bunches of avocado oil coated asparagus spears (~6 minutes total cooking time).

Here’s my dinner plate:

With a little pre-planning and the utilization of different heat sources (e.g. SousVide Supreme, oven, and stove), this dinner was on the table in about 45 minutes.

Then, I went to hospital for my second to last night of work. I can’t wait until Wednesday morning!

Stir Fried Napa Cabbage with Mushrooms and Bacon

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To celebrate Chinese New Year, I finished off my hunk of Fatted Calf slab bacon by making a Napa cabbage stir fry with diced bacon, thinly sliced onions and cremini mushrooms. Doesn’t sound like a Chinese dish to you? Tough. Gung Hay Fat Choy, buddy.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • Small head of napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup diced bacon
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chicken broth

Here’s what I did:

I assembled the ingredients…

…heated a large cast iron skillet to medium and threw in the bacon.

The piece of bacon I had was pretty meaty and I sliced it pretty thick, so it was more like sautéing ham matchsticks as opposed to crisping thin slices of bacon.

Then, I added the onions (with some salt and pepper) and cooked them until they were translucent.

Once the onions were softened, I added the sliced mushrooms (with some salt and pepper) and sautéed them until the moisture had cooked off.

I put in the Napa cabbage…

…and splashed in some chicken broth.

I placed a lid on the skillet and lowered the heat to medium low. I simmered the dish for about 5-10 minutes until the cabbage softened to my preferred tenderness. I did a final taste for seasoning and adjusted with salt and pepper.

Easy and tasty. In the future, I’ll scoop out the bacon before adding the onions and mushrooms because the fatty part gets kind of rubbery. Because the bacon I used was more like ham, it wasn’t a problem. If I were using thin bacon, I’d definitely fish out the bacon and sprinkle the crispy pork bits on top after I finished the dish.

Sautéed Spinach with Bacon, Bacon Grease, Shallots, & Mushrooms

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Hello bacon, my old friend, I’ve come to eat you once again…

(Go ahead: Sing along with me to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence. You know you want to.)

Now that I’m done with the Whole30 program, I’m free to add some bacon-y goodness to our dinner. And it just so happens that I found a recipe on Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food website for sautéed spinach and bacon that looked easy and tasty (my two prerequisites for any weekday dish). After surveying the contents of my crisper, I decided to modify the recipe a little by adding some sliced shallots and cremini mushrooms. I also opted to bake my bacon instead of frying it in the pan because I’m less likely to burn the bacon when I bake it. Bonus: I can also collect the delectable bacon grease in the tray!

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 1 pound organic baby spinach
  • 12 ounces of cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 slices of uncured bacon, baked and crumbled
  • Bacon grease (reserved from baking the bacon slices)
  • 2 teaspoons Banyuls vinegar (I just found out that wine vinegar is not technically Whole30 — oops! Don’t tell anyone.)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I gathered up my ingredients…

…and heated the bacon grease in my trusty cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the pan was hot, I sautéed the sliced shallots with some salt and pepper…

…until they were translucent and softened.

Next, I added the mushrooms and cooked ‘em until they developed some brown bits and the liquid evaporated.

I tossed in the spinach in batches…

…adding more as it wilted. I seasoned the dish with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Then, I plated the dish and sprinkled the bacon bits on top.

This dish totally hit the spot with a 1-2 punch of bacon grease and crispy bacon bits! Oh bacon, how I’ve missed you!