Nom Nom Paleo

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

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I’m eating my way through Hong Kong this week with Henry and the boys—you can follow our adventures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!—but Chinese food isn’t the only fare on my mind. This morning, I found myself dreaming about the bowl of roasted, buttery Brussels sprouts and smoky bacon that we made last week for Thanksgiving.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s been three years since I first posted this dead-simple recipe, and it’s become one of the most popular on this blog. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why; after all, Brussels sprouts aren’t exactly everyone’s favorite vegetable. Personally, when I was a kid, I couldn’t stand ’em.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It wasn’t until adulthood that I discovered that the mild, nutty bitterness of these bulbous sprouts blends beautifully with smoky pork. It was the warm Brussels sprouts salad with bacon and eggs at the now-long-gone Gordon’s House of Fine Eats in San Francisco that first opened my eyes and ultimately inspired the Cavolini Al Forno recipe in my cookbook (which comes out on December 17, 2013!). But with ingredients like Brussels sprouts and bacon, you don’t have to spend much time in the kitchen to produce a flavorful side dish that punches you in the face with flavor.

And today, I’ve decided to update my old post with the new photos I took on Turkey Day. Ready to revisit this classic recipe with me?

Here’s what to gather to make a side dish that feeds 4-6 people:

  • 1½ pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 2-3 tablespoons melted ghee or fat of choice
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 bacon slices, diced
  • Aged balsamic vinegar

Here’s what to do:

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Day 20 of Whole30 Eats

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Another day, another dollar, right? That’s what I keep reminding myself during my workweek.

Tonight, I didn’t get hungry until around 2:00 a.m. (since I had stuffed myself with lamb burger when I woke up). For my “lunch,” I’d packed some sous vide chicken breasts with shredded carrots and nuked frozen broccoli. Since it was kind of bland and low-fat, I ate it with liberal amounts of Primavera salsa and homemade guacamole.

For snack, I ate what I’ve eaten all week: raw veggies, Aubergine dip, coconut flakes, and macadmia nuts.

"Dinner" at work (~7:00 a.m.) was a leftover box of shredded roasted chicken thighs and sautéed kale.

When I returned home, we didn’t have to take our older rugrat to school because of the MLK holiday, but I was a busy bee nonetheless.

Before going to bed, I seasoned and vacuum sealed some Wild King Salmon fillets…

…and I also seasoned (with fajita and taco seasoning, salt, and pepper) and vacuum sealed a grass fed top sirloin steak. The plan was to pop this hunk ‘o meat in the SousVide Supreme after I finished cooking my sous vide salmon.

I stored all my vacuum packed goodies in the fridge, filled my SousVide Supreme with water, and set the temperature to 125 F. Then, I stumbled to my bedroom and got some sleep.

When I woke up at 5:00 p.m., I prepped some veggies (carrots, butternut squash, and onions) for roasting and popped them in the oven (400 F convection roast).

About 25 minutes later, I dumped the salmon fillet packets into my preheated SousVide Supreme and set the timer for 20 minutes.

Then, I washed a bunch of chard and beet greens and sautéed them with thinly sliced shallots in some melted lard.

When the salmon was finished cooking, so were the roasted veggies (~45 minutes total).

 

Here’s my dinner plate:

After I removed the salmon from the SousVide Supreme, I cranked up the heat to 130 F and I plopped in the top sirloin steak I’d vacuum sealed in the morning. I’m going to let the steak bathe in the hot water for 24 hours and then sear it off for dinner tomorrow.

While I practiced some deadlifts in the garage, Fitbomb helped pack my meals for work.

And then I set off into the night. (Sounds more exciting when I put it that way, doesn’t it?)

I was hungry a few hours later (at 10:30 p.m.) so I snacked on the macadamia nuts and a small container of sauerkraut (not the whole jar).

Sounds like a wack snack combination, but that’s what I ate.

Day 18 of Whole30 Eats

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Tonight, the beginning of my work shift wasn’t quite as frenetic as the night before so I was able to snack on a hard-boiled egg at around 1:00 a.m.

I ate my “lunch” at 2:00 a.m. which consisted of leftover beef stew, cauliflower fried “rice,” and nuked green beans. I followed it up with a container of crudités and Aubergine dip.

At 4:00 a.m., I ate my usual snack of macadamia nuts and coconut flakes. I don’t get tired of snacking on these fatty treats!

My last meal at work was a box of leftover sous vide pork chop, roasted kabocha squash, sautéed spinach, and garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes.”

On my way home from work, I picked up my inaugural box of veggies from Full Belly Farms CSA. Here’s my haul for the week:

And here’s my crazy food stylist:

After playing with the rugrats (re-enacting Scooby Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang is a favorite at our house), I popped my supplements, ate a spoonful of coconut butter, and got some shuteye.

When I woke up at 5:00 p.m., I decided to make another variation of David Lebovitz’s fabulous roast chicken and shallots. This time, I changed it up by adding two sprigs of thyme and some sliced green garlic from my CSA box.

It really only takes about 5-10 minutes of preparation time ‘cause you just mix everything together…

…and turn it skin-side up before you pop it in the oven.

While the chicken thighs roasted in the oven, I washed and blanched two bunches of kale…

…and sautéed the leaves with some shallots and lard.

I also roasted some parsnips and carrots tossed with avocado oil, salt, and pepper in my trusty toaster oven (400 F for 25 minutes).

By the time the chicken was done roasting…

…we were all ready to dig in.

Tonight was the first time I didn’t make something different (i.e. non-Paleo) for the kids. The older rugrat ate everything but didn’t like the parsnips or kale. Our younger rugrat staged a hunger strike. Guess he’ll just have to load up on bacon and eggs in the morning!

Roasted Butternut Squash in Lard

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Butternut squash can be a pain in the posterior to cut up.  The secret to chopping it up with ease is to cut off both ends and peel the skin with a sharp vegetable peeler before hacking away at it.

Here’s how I roast my butternut squash:

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  I like to use the convection roast function on my oven because the squash comes out crisper on the outside.

Peel, seed, and chop your squash into uniform pieces and place on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet.

Melt 2-3 tablespoons of lard in the microwave (nuke in 30 second intervals until it liquefies).

Toss the squash with the melted lard, salt, and pepper.

Roast for ~45 minutes, tossing the squash every 15 minutes or so.

Yum!

Roast Your Veggies Doused in Lard!

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I’ve been reading a lot about how it’s bad to use extra virgin olive oil when you’re cooking with high heat (e.g. roasting, grilling, etc.). What a buzz kill. Thankfully, I have good, healthful lard in the fridge!

Tonight, I decided to roast some carrots and delicata squash coated in lard. Doesn’t that just sound totally decadent and unhealthy? A year ago, I would never touch lard with a ten-foot pole, but now I use it all the time. From now on, I’m going to try to use coconut oil, ghee, or lard for all my high-heat cooking.

Cooking with lard isn’t as convenient as pouring olive oil out of a bottle – you gotta melt the stuff, but then it easily seizes up again when it touches your cold veggies or meat.

So here’s what I did: I scooped up a few tablespoons of lard and nuked it in a glass bowl for 20 second intervals until it melted. Make sure you closely monitor it or your microwave will look like someone barfed lard all over it. 

Once the lard melts, use a silicone brush to paint the fat onto your veggies.  It does solidify on contact (especially if your veggies are right out of the ice box) which is kind of annoying. But don’t overcompensate by slathering more on or you’ll end up with a huge oil slick at the bottom of your pan later.

Aren’t these carrots purty?

 

I peeled and cut them before coating them with lard and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Post-roasting (400 F for 40 minutes):

Here’s the delicata squash before I popped it in my toaster oven (400 F for 20-30 minutes). They almost look waxed!

Post-roasting:

I have tons of extra virgin olive oil stock-piled in my pantry from my pre-Paleo days. Now that I’ve sworn off cooking at high temperatures with the stuff, I guess I’m gonna be drizzling it on a lot of my dishes after I’ve plated them!

Roasted Carrots

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If you haven’t noticed, my favorite way to prepare veggies is to roast ‘em off in the oven. I love how roasting concentrates and intensifies flavors. Plus, you don’t really need to babysit the vegetables as they cook in the oven, and — best of all — prep time and clean-up are minimal. Remember? I can be really lazy in the kitchen — especially, at the end of a week working graveyard shifts. 

Here’s how I roasted off some carrots tonight, but feel free to sub in your favorite vegetable:

When I got off work in the morning, I washed and peeled the carrots I’d received from my CSA box on Friday. When I cut up my veggies for roasting, I try to make them uniform and not too small or they’ll burn too quickly. Then, I bagged the prepped carrots in a gallon Ziploc bag and went to bed.

When I got up in the evening, I preheated the oven to 425 F and grabbed some roasted garlic flavored extra virgin olive oil, plain old extra virgin olive oil, Kosher salt, and pepper. (I use a combination of the olive oils because the garlic flavored stuff can be overpowering. It’s not like I need to ward off vampires or anything.) 

*Update (1/17/11): Now I use lard, ghee, or coconut oil to roast veggies — not extra virgin olive oil.

Then, I mixed everything together in the sealed Ziploc bag.

Once seasoned and greased, I dumped the carrots onto a foil-lined baking tray and popped them in the oven.

The carrots take around 30-45 minutes to roast off, but I set my oven timer for 10 minute intervals at the beginning and 5 minute intervals near the end to remind me to rotate the tray and flip the carrots. 

If you wanna get all fancy, you can toss some minced garlic and microplaned ginger to the tray when you take it out of the oven. The residual heat takes the bite out of the ginger and garlic. After I plate the carrots, I like to add a splash of vinegar (e.g. Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar or aged balsamic).

You’ll dig ‘em. I promise.

*Update on 5/16/11: another great variation is to toss the carrots with melted fat, Madras curry powder, salt, and pepper before roasting. When it’s finished, top the carrots with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice. Yummy!

Nuke ‘n Bake Roasted Acorn Squash

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When I woke up tonight, I knew that I wanted to make sous vide salmon (straight from the freezer) and sautéed spinach but I wasn’t sure what my second veggie side would be. I spied the lonely acorn squash that’s been languishing on my counter for over a month, and decided to try to roast it off. However, roasting it the conventional way (400F in the oven) would take about 45 minutes (not including prep time). Eff that. How about nuking the prepared squash and then finishing it off in the oven?

First I preheated my oven to 400 F. Then, I prepped my acorn squash by cutting off both ends, de-seeding it, and peeling the skin with my trusty vegetable peeler (it’s much easier to slice a squash once the skin is off). Then, I diced it up into uniform cubes put it in my CorningWare (which can go directly from microwave to oven to dishwasher)…

 

…and tossed it with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I covered it with a lid and nuked it for 2 minutes x3.  Every couple of minutes, when my microwave dinged, I stirred and checked the squash for softness.

 

Once the squash was tender, I popped it right into the regular oven and let it roast for 15-20 minutes, checking and stirring every 8 minutes or so.

It wasn’t as carmelized as I normally like it, but this method was a lot easier and quicker than doing it the conventional way. I drizzled the finished squash with some aged balsamic when I plated it.

A Little Bit of Fasting

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I normally try to have a 12-hour fast between the time I eat dinner and when I eat breakfast.  I can’t seem to stretch it any more than that because I get too damn hungry. Fitbomb, on the other hand,  has no issues with daily 16-hour fasts.  

Last night, I gorged until around 7:30 p.m. and when I woke up, I wasn’t hungry. Maybe it’s because our kitchen was infested with ants again and ant spray is an amazing appetite supressant.  I went to my kickboxing class and when I came home I still wasn’t hungry.  We went out to lunch after I cleaned myself up and I broke my fast at 11:30 a.m. — woo hoo! A 16-hour fast!  

For lunch, we went to one of our regular spots, Sprout Cafe, and I ordered my usual: Spring salad with added chicken, subbing out the red onions with blanched broccoli.

Then, I ate a handful of macadamia nuts.  When we got home, I ate handfuls of coconut flakes, more mac nuts, some coconut milk, a handful of Paleo trail mix, and a square of dark chocolate (it is Halloween after all).  

While the younger rugrat napped, I seasoned some chicken thighs and pork stew meat with salt and pepper and vacuum sealed them for the SousVide Supreme.  I’m trying to group items that cook at the same temperature so I have more ready to eat meat available.  I put them in the preheated 160 F bath and I’ll pull the thighs out tomorrow morning (minimum of 8-12 hours) and the pork stew meat out at dinner time (24 hours).  I hope they turn out…

After the vacuum packing, I decided to roast off my old vegetables laying around.  I had a single portabello mushroom, about a pound of broccoli, and some small delicata squash.  All can roast at 425 F so I put the broccoli and mushroom in at the same time and followed them up with a tray of sliced delicata squash.  All were seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.  

Since I knew that I’d be hit with a carb-filled minefield at the kiddie Halloween party we were going to at dinnertime, I made myself a plate of leftover sous vide tri-tip (the gift that keeps on giving), roasted broccoli and delicata squash before we set out for the night.

I’m happy to say that I wasn’t even tempted by any of the carb-y stuff at the party.  I never thought it would happen, but I think that my sugar addiction may finally be under control.  Amazing.