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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Sweet Potato Hash (with Fried Eggs!)

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What’s better than sweet potato hash?

Sweet potato hash with fried eggs!

If you’ve got a food processor, this sweet and savory plate o’ carbs can be in your craw in 10 minutes. With a few simple mods, you can transform this side dish into a fast, complete meal: top it with a couple of fried eggs for breakfast or mix in some cooked meat (or bacon!) for a hearty supper. Feel free to adjust the seasonings — just make it already.

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the hash:

  • 1 large garnet yam (I use the term yam and sweet potato interchangeably)
  • 1 big pinch of kosher salt
  • Several turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • A few shakes of garlic powder
  • A couple of dashes of onion powder
  • A sprinkle of dried herbs (I used Penzeys Parisien Bonnes Herbes)
  • 2 tablespoons fat of choice (I used lard)
  • Aleppo pepper (optional)
For the eggs:
  • 4 large eggs (2 per serving)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Aleppo pepper (optional)

Grab a yam or seven, depending on how many folks you’ll be feeding.

Peel and cut the yam lengthwise so the slices fit in the feeding tube of your food processor.

Attach the julienne slicer blade to the machine and shred the yams.

You can grate the yams by hand but the risk of maiming yourself goes up exponentially.

Transfer the shredded yams to a large bowl and toss with salt, pepper, garlic and  onion powders, and dried herbs.

You can definitely substitute fresh alliums and herbs if you’ve got them. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning.

Heat the fat in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the seasoned sweet potatoes/yams.

Toss everything in the fat and stir-fry for a minute. Then, pop on a lid for a few more minutes while the yams cook. 
The hash is ready when there’s some crunchy brown bits and texture is soft and tender.
You can plate it up with a dash of Aleppo pepper and gobble up the hash by itself…
…or you can split the hash into two servings and top each dish with a couple of sunny-side-up eggs. The addition of the eggs brings a wonderful richness to the hash, making this a full and well-rounded dish with plenty o’ fat and protein to go with the carbs.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a 8-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter foams, crack two eggs into a bowl and pour ‘em gently into the hot pan.
Season the eggs with salt and pepper, and cover with a lid for 2-3 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks.
Once they’re done, carefully slide them out of the skillet and on top of a mound of hash. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle some more Aleppo pepper on top.
Done and done!

Sautéed Red Cabbage with Onions, Garlic, and Anchovy

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I cracked open a tin of anchovies packed in olive oil a few days ago and all week I’ve been slipping a fillet here and there in all my veggie side dishes. Anchovies impart an indescribable salty, umami base to any dish and they’re not fishy at all.  Try them!  If you hate it, you’ll only be out a couple bucks.

Since Fitbomb and I were going to eat some 4505 Meats chicken beer brats that had been languishing in our freezer since our World Series party, I thought it only fitting to sauté some cabbage to go with them.

What to assemble:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter (or ghee, coconut oil, etc.)
  • ½ a medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

What to do:

Melt butter over medium heat in large skillet.  Throw in the sliced onions and sauté until translucent.  Add the minced garlic and anchovy fillets and mix to break up the anchovies. 

Then, add the cabbage and stir to distribute everything. 

Cover with a lid and lower heat to medium low and cook until softened to your liking.  Once the cabbage is cooked to your specifications, add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Here’s our final dinner of brats and cabbage:

Super easy and tasty!  Now I have lots of leftover cabbage for packed lunches…

Roasted Portobello Mushroom Packets with Garlic, Shallots, and Balsamic Vinegar

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I love mushrooms!  They add that indescribable umami flavor to everything and Portobello ones add meaty heft as well.  I’ve described how I normally roast them in foil packets in a previous post but tonight, I made a variation where I added a garlic, shallot, and balsamic vinaigrette puree to the packets before I roasted them.

Here’s what to gather up to serve 4-5 people:

  • 5 large Portobello mushrooms, tops wiped clean and stems and gills removed
  • 2 medium shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 10-15 cloves of garlic, pre-peeled (go buy it at Costco!)
  • Macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, lard, or ghee
  • Balsamic Vinegar (I use Trader Joe’s Gold Quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 5 large pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil (your mushrooms can burn if you use regular aluminum foil)

Here’s what you do:

 

Preheat oven to 400 F and coarsely chop the shallots and trim the ends of the garlic:

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Throw the shallots and garlic into a mini-prep food processor or finely mince by hand, Mr. Yan Can Cook. 

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Add your choice of fat and vinegar to the minced alliums in a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar.  Season the vinaigrette mixture with a good sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 

Place each Portobello mushroom on a piece of foil, stem side up.  Lightly coat each ‘shroom with extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Put a dollop of vinaigrette into each mushroom, spreading until the cap is filled.

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Tightly seal each mushroom packet and place on a baking tray.  Stick the tray in the oven and roast for ~25 minutes.

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Remove mushroom from packets (watch out for steam!) and slice up.

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Spicy Sautéed Mushrooms with Anchovy

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This is another great recipe from the folks at Cook’s Illustrated.  I refer to their books and website more than any others whenever I’m cooking something for the first time because I know I’ll always get great results from their recipes.  I’m not super anal-retentive in the kitchen so it’s great that they are!  In this recipe, I subbed out olive oil with more butter and increased the amount of garlic.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 3 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 medium anchovy fillets
  • 1 pound cremini or white mushrooms, cut into halves if small, quarters if large

What to do:

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the butter melts and the foam subsides, add the pepper flakes, garlic, and anchovies and cook, breaking up the anchovy fillets, with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is fragrant (~1 minute)

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Season with salt to taste and serve immediately.

Yummy, spicy, and umami-y.  Now I gotta find another recipe to use up the rest of the anchovies in my can…

Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes and Onions

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What do you do when the green beans you bought are a little too long in the tooth and tough?  Slow-braise them until they’re tender in a tomato-based broth!  What do you do if you’re out of Rao’s marinara sauce (I normally make a 1:1 ratio of Rao’s:chicken broth braising liquid)?  You can make your own!

I adapted this recipe from Deborah Madison’s Green Beans Simmered with Tomato in her cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.   

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pound of trimmed, older green beans cut into uniform 2-inch pieces
  • 14 ounce can of Muir Glen diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1-2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Here’s what you do:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once the butter melts and the foam subsides, throw in the onions and some salt and sauté until translucent. 

Add the minced garlic, green beans, tomatoes, and enough broth to cover everything.   Increase the heat to high until the broth comes to a boil.   Then, cover the skillet with a lid and reduce the heat to low to produce a constant simmer.

Let the beans simmer for 5-10 minutes (or as long as it takes) to get tender. Remove lid and simmer to reduce liquid for ~5 minutes.  Check for seasoning and plate it up.

Greens, Eggs, and Ham

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Dr. Seuss would be damn proud.  Dinner was on the table in 30 minutes and afterwards, there was only one skillet to wash.  

Earlier in the day, I followed the recipe in Cooks Illustrated’s The Best Vegetable Recipes for shallow blanched collard greens.  That way they’d be ready to sauté off when I got home.   Also, I thinly sliced up a whole onion and trimmed and halved a ½ pound of Brussels sprouts.  I put all my prepped veggies in the fridge and went out to Costco.  Remember? I love me some Costco.

After my Costco run, I wanted dinner ASAP.  As soon as I came home, I preheated my toaster oven to 400 F; tossed my prepared sprouts with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper; and put the sprouts in the oven. 

Then, I took out my cast iron skillet and sautéed the sliced onions in some lard. 

While the onions softened, I sliced up a few slices of leftover baked ham 

 

and diced my blanched collard greens.

Once the onions were translucent, I added three cloves of minced garlic and mixed that around for ~30 seconds. I added the chopped ham and stirred that around to give it a little color.  Then, I added the chopped blanched collard greens and ¼ cup of low sodium chicken broth.  After mixing everything in the skillet, I covered it for 2 minutes to warm everything. I tasted the greens and swine for seasoning and added a splash of sherry vinegar.

 

I removed the Brussels sprouts from the toaster oven (it took around 20 minutes) and drizzled them with aged balsamic vinegar.  Then, I quickly rinsed my skillet, added some butter and fried up a couple of eggs for Fitbomb and myself. 

I like me some greens, eggs, and ham.

Happy Turkey Day!

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We’re heading over to the in-laws this evening to celebrate Turkey Day.  While the younger rugrat napped, I quickly threw together some garlic caulilflower “mashed potatoes”

…and roasted broccoli and bacon. 

There will be a plethora of meats (albeit all factory farm-raised) and now I know I’ll have some Paleo-approved veggies to go with the tasty animal parts.

Happy Turkey Day!  

Baked Yams/Sweet Potatoes

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The folks at Cooks Illustrated write in their ever-so-modestly titled tome The Best Vegetable Recipes that the best way to bake sweet potatoes/yams is to lightly coat them in vegetable oil, pierce ‘em multiple times with a knife, and stick them in a 400°F oven for 45 minutes to an hour. 

When I baked some tonight, I coated my tubers with melted coconut oil instead of vegetable oil before popping them in my oven.

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Voila!  Perfect baked sweet potatoes — creamy flesh and dry, crispy skin. Not too shabby for 5 minutes of hands-on time.  Don’t wrap your tubers in foil before you bake them, people!

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Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).