Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 4/19/11

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Only one more day of vacation…Argh!

This morning I fried up a scramble with leftover emergency protein and served it with leftover sautéed broccoli and shiitake mushrooms.

After my class at CrossFit Palo Alto, I came home and chowed on some Fox Point seasoned sous vide chicken breast and a baked yam.

Post-workout meals have made me a much nicer mommy.

Before we picked up Big-O from school, I seasoned (Tabil seasoning, salt, and pepper) and vacuum-sealed six pork chops from my ½ hog. I plopped them in the SousVide Supreme set at 134 F for two hours.

I iced the cooked swine since I’ll be serving it during my work week.

For lunch, I formed some mini grass fed beef burgers (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and coconut aminos)…

…and fried them up for my boys and me.

I ate mine with some lettuce and shredded carrot, leftover winter squash puree, and sautéed broccoli and shiitake mushrooms.

Yes, my lunch looks like another wacky Vegas buffet plate.

My afternoon snack consisted of mini burgers and a sliced bell pepper:

Oncology appointment + T-ball practice = late start making dinner. Not a problem with my trusty SousVide Supreme!

When I got home at 6:15, I immediately dunked 4 FROZEN pre-cooked sous vide chicken thighs into the water oven (set at 140 F) and set to work making the sides. I roasted a delicata squash seasoned with Sunny Paris seasoning in the toaster oven and I nuked a dish of sugar snap peas with butter, salt, pepper, and Sunny Paris seasoning.

I took the thighs out of the water after about 30 minutes and I fried them up in some coconut oil.

Here’s my dinner plate:

Instead of making a fried egg for picky Little-O, I decided to follow Sarah Fragoso’s advice in her new book and serve him what the rest of the family was having (albeit on a Star Wars plastic plate). Although he did protest initially, I stayed cool as a cucumber (per Sarah’s advice) and he ended up eating some chicken and snap peas!

Hallelujah!

Paleo Eats: 4/16/11

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I totally agree with the peppy boys of Erasure — I love Saturdays. When I’m off work, it’s fun spending a leisurely day with my boys and noshing on good eats.

I was disappointed with my thwarted attempts at making a breakfast burrito for dinner last night so I made myself one this morning.

It was really yummy topped with homemade guacamole and Primavera roasted tomato salsa with chipotle. If you live in the San Francisco bay area, you should really seek out this salsa – it makes EVERYTHING taste better!

After breakfast, I picked up my vegetable CSA box from Full Belly Farm

…and then we went to an Easter egg hunt at Big-O’s kung fu studio.

For lunch, we stopped by Mayfield Bakery and Café. Fitbomb and I shared a plate of soft scrambled eggs with roasted spring vegetables and asparagus nage…

…Mayfield chicken salad with Bloomsdale spinach and bacon lardons…

…and a side of bacon.

Although the chow was tasty today, Mayfield is not on our regular brunch rotation because the food and service can be totally hit or miss. We can’t wait over 30 minutes for our food when we’ve got ticking time bombs in tow.

After lunch, I started preparing dinner since we were hosting old friends for supper. To make sure I wouldn’t be too frazzled when the guests arrived, I made a lot of dishes that could be reheated later or served at room temperature.

Wanna see?

I whipped up a batch of garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes

…and roasted a slew of veggies: a tray of zucchini slices, baby artichokes

baby carrots

…and portobello mushrooms.

Big-O eagerly assisted me in my kitchen adventures by drizzling on avocado oil and seasoning the veggies with salt and pepper.

When my roasted veggie platter was finished…

…I fried the sous vide chicken thighs that I had prepared yesterday…

…nuked the garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes

… and broiled a tray of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears.

Here’s our dinner spread… 

…and my dinner plate:

As a reward for slaving in the kitchen, I treated myself to 1/3 of a bar of Guittard Nocturne 91% cacao. Oh, how I’ve missed you, dark chocolate!

Day 9 of Whole30 Eats

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What did I eat today? I know all of you are waiting with bated breath…

For breakfast, I made myself a quick spinach frittata with 3 eggs and a handful of spinach (right out of the freezer). Three eggs is the perfect amount for my 8-inch cast iron skillet when I wanna stick it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes to cook it through.

I topped it with some salsa and a glob of guacamole and chowed down.

For lunch, I nuked a box of leftover (no longer) crispy sous vide chicken thighs, winter squash puree, and frozen broccoli.

Sous vide meats reheat beautifully in the microwave. Although the skin gets a little soggy, the chicken was still juicy – even breast meat!

In the afternoon, I snacked on some macadamia nuts and coconut flakes (surprise, surprise).

For dinner, I made Dorie Greenspan’s chicken-in-the-pot, garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes” (with a purple head), and a quarter of a baked Japanese yam.

Yummy. I’m very excited to eat these leftovers tomorrow…

Late Night Eats: 1/4/11

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My final night of late night eats for the week:

At 10:30 p.m., I snacked on a small container of coconut butter. This stuff is goooooooooood.

“Lunch” at 2:00 a.m. consisted of leftover (no longer crispy) sous vide chicken thigh, winter squash puree, and nuked frozen veggies.

At 4:30 a.m., I ate some macadamia nuts and coconut flakes as my second snack of the night.

My last meal at work was at 7:00 a.m. when I ate leftover stir fried kelp noodles with ground pork and Dukka-seasoned roasted cauliflower.

I’ll be flipping back to dayshift today so I take a nap from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; eat a small snack in the afternoon; enjoy dinner with the family; and try my best to sleep through the night. I’m gonna be a cranky mofo today (and probably tomorrow).

Sous Vide Crispy Chicken Thighs: The Whole30 Version

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Butter is out this month. Sigh.

Tonight’s dinner was a bunch of my go-to dishes reformulated to fit the Whole30 program / CrossFit Love Paleo Challenge. Specifically, I removed butter from the dish and switched it out with “approved” fat.

Here’s what was on the menu: Crispy sous vide chicken thighs, roasted broccoli (sans bacon), and winter squash puree:

Here are some of the modifications I made to make this meal Whole30 compliant:

When I vacuum sealed the thighs, I wasn’t sure whether to include a dollop of alternative fat so I decided to go without any additional fat just to see how they’d turn out. Did I do this in the name of science or laziness?

Don’t answer that.

I cooked the thighs in my SousVide Supreme yesterday night (150 F for 2 hours) so all I had to do this evening was crisp up the skin.

I fried them in 2 tablespoons of macadamia nut oil and discovered that I shoulda included some sort of fat in the bag because the skin stuck to my WELL-seasoned cast iron skillet and I had to forcibly scrape them off with a metal spatula.

Some pieces were okay…

…but other pieces were plain ugly. Tasty, but ugly.

Next time, I’ll include some lard or butter (post Whole30).

For my winter squash puree, I subbed out the butter with some coconut oil and it was delicious!

I don’t always like using coconut oil because the coconut flavor can be too overpowering but it works really well in the puree.

Lastly, I roasted some broccoli with some macadamia nut oil, salt, and pepper.

To finish it off, I drizzled on some aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

I was initially annoyed that I had to modify my recipes with Whole30 approved ingredients but it dragged me out of my cooking rut and I created some tasty variations.

30 Minute Lunch: Crispy Chicken Thighs, Garlic Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes,” and Sautéed Spinach with Shallots

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Luckily for me, I had four sous vide chicken thighs in my fridge, just waiting to be crisped up. Unfortunately, I was out of veggie sides and I didn’t want to eat another bowl of nuked frozen veggies.

After surveying my crisper, I realized I could make TWO quick veggie sides, garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and sautéed spinach and shallots, AND I could have everything on the table in thirty minutes. Sweet.

First, I cut up an orange cauliflower and steamed the florets with seven sliced cloves of garlic.

While the florets steamed, I crisped the Dukka-seasoned thighs in my cast iron skillet with some macadamia nut oil.

When the thighs were finished…

…I poured out all but a tablespoon or two of grease from the pan and I tossed in a diced shallot. Once they were softened, I put in a pound of prewashed baby spinach and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Lastly, I blitzed my cauliflower and garlic in my food processor with 2 tablespoons of butter until it was smooth.

Here’s my lunch plate:

Yummy.

Sous Vide Crispy Chicken Thighs (Again) and Veggies for Lunch

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To show off the awesomeness of my SousVide Supreme, I made crispy sous vide chicken thighs (again) for lunch today.

Okay, deboning chicken thighs isn’t that hard (and DIY is a lot cheaper than the boneless, skin-on thighs for sale at the Japanese market). I just used a sharp pair of kitchen shears to cut out the thighbones. And, I had my chef sister help me debone half, er, two-thirds, of them with me.

I seasoned the thighs with salt and pepper (on the meat side)…

…and vacuum-sealed four thighs per bag with a pat of butter on each thigh.

I placed three packets (12 thighs total) into my SousVide Supreme set at 150 F and let them cook for 1.5 hours. I removed the packets and dunked them in an ice bath for 20 minutes. Then, I placed two packets (8 thighs) in between two baking sheets and weighed them down with my Le Creuset Dutch oven (my heaviest pot). The last packet was put in the fridge for later consumption. Yay!

For my veggie sides, I placed two packets of winter squash puree straight from the freezer into my SousVide Supreme, and I nuked leftover braised cabbage and roasted broccoli and bacon.

I removed the flattened thighs from the platic bags, dried them off, and seasoned them on both sides with Dukka and salted the skin side. I heated my cast iron skillet to medium high with 2 tablespoons of macadamia nut oil. Then, I seared the thighs, skin side down for 7 minutes undisturbed…

…and then 2 minutes on the meat side.

There’s quite a bit of splatter, especially after the chicken fat renders so where an apron! I gotta get myself a splatter guard.

While the thighs were frying, I removed the winter squash puree packets from the SousVide Supreme. I cut the packets; squeezed the contents into a bowl; added 2 tablespoons of butter, salt, and pepper; and mixed everything together.  

Here’s my lunch plate:

Crispy chicken thighs..

…and pork chops are my favorite items to cook sous vide, no doubt.

Sous Vide Crispy Chicken Thighs

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About a month ago, I posted videos of Michael Voltaggio’s recipe for sous vide crispy chicken thighs but tonight was the first time I actually made them. Man, his recipe is awesome. I’m competent in the kitchen but this recipe (and the SousVide Supreme) will make you look like a phenomenal cook. The only hands-on stuff I had to do was season the thighs, vacuum seal them with a pat of butter, dump them in the water bath, and brown them. I seasoned the thighs differently from how Mr. Voltaggio did but I followed his technique and that’s the part that will make you look like you have mad skillz.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 6 skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Your favorite seasoning
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, ghee, or duck fat
  • 2 tablespoons of lard

I started with my store-bought, skin-on, boneless thighs.  Hey, if you guys have great knife skills debone the thighs yourself.  I don’t have the skills or the time or the inclination. Sorry.

[Update on 5/30/12: I have since honed my deboning skills and I routinely use bone-in and skin-on thighs. I save the bones for quick pressure cooker bone broth.]

I patted the thighs dry and then I seasoned the flesh side with salt and pepper and some seasoning (I used garlic powder and dried thyme).

 Then, I vacuum sealed each thigh with a pat of butter.

I dunked all six thighs in my SousVide Supreme set at 150 F and I left them in there for 1.5 hours. When I took them out of the bath, I dunked two thighs in an ice bath (to cook off later in the week) and I stuck the other four thighs in between two baking sheets with my cast iron skillets on top for around 30 minutes.

I removed the flattened thighs from the plastic bags and dried them thoroughly.

I heated 2 tablespoons of lard over medium heat (not high) and when the lard started smoking, I added two thighs, skin side down.  I left them undisturbed for 5 minutes and then I flipped them over and fried them for an additional minute. 

Then, I removed the chicken thighs and placed them on a wire rack…

…before sprinkling some fleur de sel over the crisped skin.

You can serve the chicken thighs with your veggie sides of choice

These thighs are awesome.  Super crispy skin and juicy, tender, flavorful meat. It takes so little time and tastes so good!  Definitely a dish I’d serve company because you can sous vide it ahead of time and just crisp up the skin when it’s time to nosh. I can’t wait to fry up my remaining two thighs in the fridge…