Nom Nom Paleo

Pressure Cooker Crispy Potatoes

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"But…but…but…potatoes aren’t Paleo!"

(7/18/14 UPDATE: White potatoes are now Whole30 approved!)

Once again, with feeling: It all depends on what you mean when you say “Paleo.” There is, after all, no such thing as one definitive Paleo diet. Potatoes may not have been available to cavemen, but I really don’t care. Historical re-enactment ain’t my cup of tea. (Besides, it’s not like our prehistoric ancestors snacked on dark chocolate bars, either.)

My personal template for Paleo eating focuses on nutrient-packed whole foods that don’t hurt me. For me, potatoes fall into that category. After checking out Bill and Hayley’s post on the Paleosity of potatoes, listening to the safe starch debate, and soaking in Mat Lalonde’s talk about nutrient density at the 2012 Ancestral Health Symposium (during which Mat pointed out that peeled potatoes are actually more nutrient dense than sweet potatoes, save for the beta-carotene in the latter), I’ve decided that an occasional portion of peeled potatoes are a-OK on my plate. Your circumstances may be different; for instance, if you’re on a super-low-carb protocol at the moment, you’re probably not looking to down a bowl of spuds.

Blah, blah, blah, science, science, science, blah, blah, blah.

With that pesky business out of the way, let me show you how to use a pressure cooker to make spuds with crispy exteriors and fluffy interiors in no time flat.

Ready?

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Here’s what to gather to make a side dish fit for four folks:

  • 1 pound fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform 1 - 1½ inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee or favorite animal fat
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup minced Italian parsley
  • ½ medium lemon

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Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

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[UPDATED May 18, 2012: This ain’t a new recipe (it’s from over a year ago), but it continues to be popular and the old photos were all kinds of horrible, so I updated this post with new pics. Enjoy (again!)]

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Broiled prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears are a quick and delicious app that’s perfect for any Paleo party. The prosciutto crisps up like bacon while the sweet asparagus in the middle gets soft and tender. When you drizzle aged balsamic vinegar on the roasted spears, you end up with a dish that satisfies your sweet, salty, and sour cravings. Plus you get veggies and meat all in one morsel that you can just pop in your mouth with your hands.

Here’s what to assemble to make enough spears to feed 10 hungry adults:

  • 3 bunches of asparagus, stems trimmed 2 inches from the bottom
  • 2 four-ounce packages of prosciutto di parma
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Avocado oil or fat of choice (update 4/22/13: I use 2 tablespoons melted ghee)
  • Aged balsamic vinegar

Here’s what you do:

Preheat the broiler to high (with the rack 6 inches from the heating element) and assemble the ingredients.

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Divide the asparagus evenly onto two large baking trays…

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…drizzle some avocado oil over the spears, and season with salt and pepper.

Don’t go crazy with the salt because the prosciutto is plenty salty.

Cut each slice of prosciutto into 3 thin strips and wrap one strip around each asparagus spear. 

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Pop a tray under the broiler for ~5-8 minutes (tossing the spears at the halfway point) or until the prosciutto crisps up and the asparagus is tender. Repeat the process with the second tray.

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Plate the spears when they’re finished and drizzle on some aged balsamic vinegar.

Yes, my friends — it’s that easy.

Video: Veggies 4 Ways

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Wanna see how quick and easy it is to throw together four of my favorite vegetable sides? Watch the video below to see how I made roasted kabocha squash, garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes,” pressure cooker braised greens, and stir-fried kale and bacon — all in just one hour. I did this after working a 10-hour graveyard shift, so I don’t want to hear any complaints about not having the time or energy to make veggies!

And if you can’t get the catchy music out of your head, blame Ryan of The Cave Kids, who created the soundtrack to this video with lightning speed!

Roasted Portobello Mushrooms (Easiest Version)

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I love the meatiness of roasted Portobello mushrooms but sometimes I just don’t have the time or inclination to marinate them before roasting them in the oven. Luckily, there’s a quick and dirty method that does the trick. 

Once these ‘shrooms are roasted, I slice them up and drizzle on my favorite vinegar or spritz on some lemon or lime juice. Voila!  Easy and tasty side dish! Alternatively, you can use the caps as “bread” for Paleo sandwiches since they come out nice and flat.

Follow the jump for the pics and steps!

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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.