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 Chicken Cacciatore

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Today, I present another winner from Slow Cooker Revolution. I love that the cooking geeks at America’s Test Kitchen are super OCD about testing and retesting their recipes so I don’t have to tweak them too much at home. 

They list some great, eye-opening tips for cooking chicken in the slow cooker:

  1. Cook chicken ONLY 4-6 hours on LOW.
  2. Choose meaty thighs for flavor.
  3. Trim the fat and remove skin so your braising liquid doesn’t become an oil slick.
  4. Position a whole chicken breast side down (and cook a whole chicken on LOW for ONLY 4-6 hours).
  5. Brown only when necessary for flavor.

Unfortunately, a TON of the recipes in the book are totally grain or legume heavy. For example, all recipes that use ground beef incorporate a panade, bread mixed with milk, to help keep the meat moist.

The chicken cacciatore recipe, similar to the one for Korean short ribs, is pretty simple and the results were yummy. The only Paleo substitution I made was to omit the tapioca so the resulting sauce is a little thin. This dish reheats beautifully and I know ‘cause I cooked it in the slow cooker a couple days ago and served it tonight for dinner.

Here’s what I assembled to serve 6 hungry adults: 

  • 2 onions, minced in my food processor
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (I like the stuff that comes in a tube)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1/2 ounce of dried mixed wild mushrooms, rinsed and minced (use all dried porcini mushrooms if you have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 pounds of boneless and skinless chicken thighs (the original recipe called for 12 skinless, bone-on thighs)
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil

Here’s how I made it:

I dumped the onions, tomato paste, butter, garlic, oregano, wild mushrooms, and red pepper flakes in a microwave safe bowl…

…and nuked everything on high for ~5 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the onions were softened.

I put the cooked aromatics in the slow cooker and stirred in the cremini, tomatoes, broth, and wine.

I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and nestled them into the slow cooker and mixed everything well.

Then, I put on the lid and cooked the dish for  4-6 hours on low.

When the dish was finished, I transfered everything to a Corningware container and stored it in the fridge.

When I was ready to reheat the chicken cacciatore, I removed all the hardened fat on top, and dumped the contents in a medium sized pot. I reheated it over medium-high until it reached a boil and then I lowered the heat to simmer the stew for around 10-15 minutes. Before I served it, I topped the dish with some basil chiffonade.

I used to hate making chicken in a slow cooker but now I know it’s because I always overcooked it. See? You do learn something new everyday.

Cheesy Egg Muffins

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In my attempts to raise little cave kids, I’ve been making a ton of savory grain-free muffins lately. This morning, Little-O requested cheesy egg muffins but “no meat or vegetables because I don’t like them.” Le sigh.

Since I knew egg muffins with no fillings would probably collapse upon themselves, I searched the interwebs for cheesy egg muffin recipes with some heft. I found a really tasty looking recipe on Cheeseslave for bacon, egg, & cheese muffins with coconut flour. Since my little bugger requested no meat, I modified the recipe a little by omitting the bacon(!), subbing in Greek yogurt for the bacon grease (I know it’s not EVEN the same), adding an extra egg, and decreasing the oven temperature a little. My version turned out pretty good and they LOOKED like muffins, too. So much so that Little-O actually ate one!

Here’s what I assembled to make 6 muffins:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of full fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made them:

I preheated the oven to 375 F.

I put the eggs, yogurt, and a dash of salt into a medium sized bowl and whisked it all until blended.

I added the coconut flour and baking powder and mixed the batter until it was smooth.

Lastly, I put in the cheese and some freshly ground pepper and stirred that together.

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I divvied up the batter into paper cupcake liners that I’d painted with melted coconut oil. What a pain in the ass. I ordered some silicone baking cups on Amazon as soon as I finished so I never have to grease cupcake liners again!

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I popped the tray in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway though the cooking time. (The tops of the muffins should spring back when you poke them with your finger.)

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I took the muffins out and let them cool on a cooking rack for about 10 minutes.

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Pretty tasty. Big O complained that they were drier than the mini frittata muffins but I liked that these are more muffin-y. You can’t get the carb addict out of the girl…

Sous Vide Pork Ribs

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Dang, these ribs were easy to make.

Here what I gathered:

Here’s how I made them:

I dried the two racks with paper towels and liberally seasoned them with salt, pepper, and chili con carne seasoning.

I vacuum sealed them…

…and marinated them in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, I filled the SousVide Supreme and set the temperature to 175F. When the water was hot, I dropped in the two packets of ribs and let them cook for 9 hours (Douglas Baldwin says that you should leave them in for 8-12 hours).

In the evening, I removed the ribs from the plastic bags and dried them with paper towels.

Then, my hubby threw the racks on his hot grill and seared them for a couple minutes on each side.

I used kitchen shears to separate the ribs.

The ribs were falling off the bone tender and very tasty. However, they were a tad under-salted so you should be pretty heavy-handed with the salt when you initially season it.

I didn’t make a sticky sweet barbecue sauce to go with the ribs (or even a vinegar based one) because, frankly, my dears, I was too lazy. Plus, all the barbecue sauce recipes I found were filled with sugar and I’m not sure how to Paleo-ize them without being disappointed. And let me reiterate — I’m too lazy.

Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth

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I rarely make homemade broth because I’m so lazy that I’d rather just crack open a can. However, I’ll admit that making beef broth using your slow cooker is really easy and requires almost no hands-on time at all. 

You can easily substitute pork or chicken bones in place of beef and the results are all good.  If you befriend your local butcher, he may even give you a big bag of bones for pennies.

Here’s what I assembled to make about 4 quarts of beef bone broth:

  • 2 carrots, chopped medium
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped medium
  • 1 medium onion, chopped medium
  • 7 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3.5 lb of beef bones (from Full of Life Farm)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • water 

Here’s how to make it:

Dump the vegetables in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker…

…drop in the beef bones…

…tuck in the bay leaves, sprinkle on a wee bit of salt, drizzle the vinegar on the bones…

…and add enough water to cover everything.

Program the slow cooker to cook on low for 8-10 hours.

When it’s ready, pour the broth through a strainer, and discard the solids.

You can ladle out some to drink now, or…

…store the liquid in a large CorningWare or glass container for later.

The bones I used were pretty fatty so it made the broth taste unappealingly greasy. I stuck the broth in the fridge overnight and scraped off the top layer of solidified fat.

The broth underneath looks like beef Jell-O…

The broth will keep in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for several months.

When you’re ready for a steaming cup of the stuff, just scoop the meaty Jell-O into a microwave-safe mug and nuke for a minute.

Voila — perfection!

(Want an even faster way to make bone broth? Check out the recipe for my Quick Pressure Cooker Bone Broth — it’s also in my iPad® cookbook app!)

Garbage Soup

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I’m hesitant to even write a “recipe” for garbage soup because it changes every time I make it.

In a nutshell, I look in my crisper to find veggies that are past their prime and simmer them with some broth, sauteed alliums, and canned tomatoes until they’re nice and tender. That’s it.

The combinations are endless but I always try to throw in:

  • carrots and other root vegetables
  • onions, leeks, or shallots sauteed until translucent in some sort of fat
  • a 14-ounce can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • chopped greens (spinach, chard, cabbage, kale, etc.)
  • canned or homemade broth

If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll throw in:

  • a ham hock
  • parmesan rind
  • couple bay leaves
  • fresh herbs

Here’s a typical example of how I make garbage soup:

I chopped up some leeks, green garlic, turnips, carrots…

…half a cabbage…

…and drained a can of fire-roasted canned tomatoes.

I had recently made some beef bone broth so I took it out of the fridge. Normally, I just use the organic chicken stock from Costco.

I melted a couple tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large soup pot and sauteed the green garlic and leeks until soft.

I tossed in the carrots, turnips…

…and tomatoes with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

I poured in the broth…

…added the cabbage…

…and turned up the heat to high so the soup would come to a boil.

Once the soup was boiling, I turned down the heat to low and simmered it (partially covered) for about 30 minutes or until all the vegetables were nice and soft. I adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper and then ladled up some bowls.

Once you’ve made a batch of garbage soup, you can doctor it by adding leftover meats or pan-fried sausage. It’s a great way to clear out your fridge for more veggies!

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!

Wilted Radicchio with Shallots

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Alice Waters is worshipped here in the Bay Area, and I’ll readily admit that I’ve guzzled her locally-brewed, organic, artisanal Kool-Aid myself. Whenever I get an unusual vegetable in my CSA box, I always refer to my copy of Chez Panisse Vegetables to figure out what to do with it. Although her book has no pictures and most of its recipes include no specific measurements, it’s one of my favorites because it pushes me to develop my own cooking instincts and to experiment in the kitchen.

I referred to her book again this evening when I needed a recipe for the beautiful head of Castelfranco radicchio that came in my Mariquita Farm Mystery Box.

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This vegetable is part of the chicory family, so I followed Waters’ simple recipe for wilted escarole with some small modifications. Here’s her succinct recipe, quoted verbatim from the book:

Wash and trim escarole. Cut the leaves into wide strips. Saute in olive oil, covered, until wilted and bright green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add a splash of vinegar, and serve.

Really. That’s all it says.

Here’s what I gathered to make this recipe:

  • 1 head of Castelfranco radicchio (or escarole), roughly chopped into strips
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of Kerrygold unsalted butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (you can substitute with your favorite vinegar but I like the sweetness of balsamic to balance out the bitterness of the radicchio)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I melted the butter over medium heat and tossed in my sliced shallots. I sauteed the shallots until they were softened and lightly browned.

Then, I tossed in my chopped radicchio along with some salt and pepper to taste. Yes, I’m being vague — but learning to season properly is a skill everyone needs to perfect. Taste, taste, and taste some more while you’re cooking.

I didn’t need to cover my pan because the radicchio wilted pretty quickly.

After the greens were wilted, I splashed on the vinegar and adjusted the seasoning with additional salt and pepper.

Ta dah!

Please note that chicories (e.g. endives, escarole, and radicchio) are naturally a little bitter. Maybe that’s why I like ‘em, because their taste matches my personality!

Curried Beef, Broccoli Slaw, & Mushroom Frittata Muffins

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It’s no secret that I love frittatas. They’re even better in mini form ‘cause you can serve them as finger food at a party or store them in the fridge for a quick snack or breakfast on the go. I threw this recipe together this morning for the inaugural CrossFit Palo Alto Whole9 Nutrition Guide Orientation. Luckily, they turned out okay or I would’ve had egg on my face. (Ha!)

Mini frittata muffins can be made with whatever you have lying around, just like regular sized frittatas. Just fill up the muffin tins with filling and you can estimate the amount of eggs you need to make the batter with this ratio: for every two muffins, you need one egg in the batter (e.g. 12 muffins = 6 eggs). If you don’t want your mini frittatas to be too moist (i.e. soggy), add a few tablespoons of coconut flour. (For 15 muffins, I’ll put in 3 level tablespoons of coconut flour).

Here’s what I assembled to make 36 muffins:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag of broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 pound of grass fed ground beef
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of curry powder 
  • coconut oil spray
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 20 large eggs
  • 5-6 tablespoons of coconut flour (optional, see note above)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made them:

I preheated the oven to 375 F and I started chopping and slicing my veggies.

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I heated up the coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the pan was hot, I threw in the onions with some salt and pepper and sauteed them until they were soft and translucent.

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Next, I added the mushrooms (with some more S&P) and cooked them until the liquid had evaporated.

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I tossed in the ground beef and cooked it until it was no longer pink. I seasoned the meat mixture with the curry powder and added more salt and pepper to taste. Then, I added the bag of broccoli slaw…

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…and stirred that around until the slaw was softened.

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In the meantime, I had my two boys help me put cupcake liners in my cupcake tins.

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Once the liners were in the tins, I sprayed them with coconut oil spray. If you coat the liners with oil, the muffins won’t stick as much to the paper. (Or you can skip this part and use silicone baking cups.)

Next, I divided the filling into each muffin liner.

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I cracked the eggs into a large bowl and whisked in the coconut milk and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper.

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I know this might sound gross, but I tasted the raw egg mixture to make sure there was enough seasoning. Yes, CrossFit Palo Alto members, I risked salmonella poisoning for you guys.

I ladled the egg mixture into the muffin tins, making sure the liquid only reached 3/4 of the way to the top. The muffins puff up during cooking so you don’t want to fill them to the brim.

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I popped the trays into the oven for 15 minutes and then I rotated the trays and baked them for 6 additional minutes. You know the muffins are done when they rise up to the top and they are springy to the touch when you pat the surface. I let the muffins sit in the pan for a few minutes and then I cooled them on a wire rack.

These muffins can be served warm, room temperature, or cold right out of the fridge. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but frittatas really are awesome.

[UPDATED: I’ve since made these frittatas using silicone baking cups, and it’s a GAME-CHANGER — I’m not going back to paper cupcake liners!]

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!