Nom Nom Paleo

Whole30 Day 22: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

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“It was a beautiful Belgian day. The smell of waffles and Brussels sprouts filled the summer air…” - Dr. Evil

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As the name suggests, Brussels sprouts hail from Belgium, where these tender buds were cultivated as far back as the 13th century. But sadly, they’re nowhere near as popular as Belgian waffles. A lot of folks just aren’t keen on the mildly bitter bite of these miniature cabbages.

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Obviously, they haven’t tried Brussels sprouts that have been roasted with bacon and drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. The pork and vinegar mellow the bittersweetness of the Brussels sprouts; on a chilly winter night, this hearty dish makes the perfect side.

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Whole30 Day 20: Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs

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It’s Sunday – the perfect time to play around in the kitchen. Like many of you, I try to gather inspiration for dishes throughout the week, taking note of my restaurant meals and bookmarking recipes that pique my interest. Then, at week’s end, I stock up on seasonal, fresh ingredients at the local farmer’s market, and enlist the assistance of little helpers in the kitchen.

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Rather than having to race against the clock to get dinner on the table, I’m able to spend some extra time trying new kitchen techniques and flavor combinations.

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That’s how I first came to make Korean short ribs in the slow cooker. A cookbook recipe for Korean-style spareribs had caught my eye, and I was determined to make a Paleo-friendly version of this meaty, Asian-spiced dish.

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And though I was prepared to spend hours in the kitchen making a pot of fork-tender short ribs, it turned out that this dish required very little in the way of prep. Quick-broiling the ribs before tossing ‘em in the slow cookers helps to deepen the flavor profile — yay, Maillard reaction! — but that’s about as involved as it gets. This is a recipe that really lets your slow cooker show off its talents.

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Make this recipe as a reward to yourself: You’re two-thirds of the way through your January Whole30! Stay strong — only ten days to go, right? What’s been the most challenging part so far, and what’s helped you push through the obstacles?


Looking for more recipe ideas? 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)!

Whole30 Day 19: Prosciutto Wrapped Frittata Muffins

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“Frittata” can mean different things to different people, but they all share the same basic template: Fresh eggs beaten with savory ingredients, and then slowly cooked. From there, though, variation abounds. The classic Italian version may be the best known, but take a quick survey around the world, and you’ll find frittata-like recipes in kitchens everywhere from Thailand and Vietnam to Iran and Spain.

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This humble dish is comfort food at its simplest — and quickest. With farm fresh eggs and a handful of leftovers, you don’t even need to take a trip to the market to fashion a wonderfully complete and satisfying meal.

I’m a frittata fanatic — it makes easy work of breakfast, lunch, or dinner — but there are times when I find myself in need of grab-and-go food. 

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The solution? Prosciutto-Wrapped Mini Frittata Muffins

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Whole30 Day 18: Spicy Cauliflower

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Who doesn’t love cauliflower?

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Okay — I know there are a good number of folks out there who can’t stand cauliflower, but unless you’re allergic or steering clear of goitrogens, you should give it another shot. I agree with the writer who proclaimed that “A life without cauliflower is no life at all.”

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Mediterranean in origin, this brassica is in the same family species of plant as broccoli and cabbage, and is just as versatile. Wanna see?

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Whole30 Day 17: Spicy Pineapple Salsa

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I’m exhausted.

My week of graveyard shifts ended yesterday morning, and after a quick nap, I was back on mommy duty. But instead of settling back into our normal routine, we had to scramble to get our bags packed for Hawaii — something we always leave for the last possible minute. I know: First world problems.

Bright and early this morning, we met up with Sidney, Jory, and Little M at the airport, boarded a flight to Kauai, and…

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…hit the local Costco as soon as we landed. Supplies are of critical importance, folks.

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We lugged everything back to the house, and spent the rest of the afternoon splashing in the pool and soaking in the hot tub until the exhausted kiddos (and their parents) were ready to pass out.

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Having slept just a handful of hours over the past 48 hours, I’m genuinely bushed. So for Day 17, let’s stick with a quick, no-cook recipe that evokes tropical paradise: Spicy Pineapple Salsa.

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The fiery kick of jalapeño perfectly complements the sweetness of the fresh island pineapple. Spend just ten minutes in the kitchen, and you’ll have a bright, crisp salsa that lends sweet, tangy, spicy bursts of flavor to everything.

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Try it. On everything.


Looking for more recipe ideas? 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)!

Whole30 Day 16: Pressure Cooker Indian Curry Lamb Spareribs

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Once upon a time (about 300 years ago), a French mathematician named Denis Papin was living and working in London. Papin was a tinkerer. After putting in long days as an assistant to a physicist, the Frenchman worked on his own inventions — the most enduring of which was something he called a “steam digester”: a cast iron container with a tight-sealing, screw-top lid and a release valve that could be heated over red-hot coals. The purpose of the device? To cook and tenderize food in a flash.

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Papin’s steam digester was a closed environment that was designed to heat water under intense pressure, pushing its boiling point far above the normal 212°F. When the device was heated, the pressure from the steam would raise the internal temperature up to 257°F, forcing the steam — a fantastically efficient heat conductor — through foods, thus shortening the cooking time by as much as two-thirds. What’s more, with all the liquids retained in the pot, the resulting dishes were moist and bursting with concentrated flavors.

Papin was excited about his invention, and unveiled his new “engine for softening bones” before the Royal Society of London — the oldest and most prestigious geek squad known to man. He proudly noted that “the hardest cow-beef may be made as tender and savoury as young and choice meat,” making the steam digester ideal for speedy, cost-effective cooking — as well as for the “making of drinks, chemistry, and dyeing.”  

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But Papin’s steam digester wasn’t quite ready for prime time. It required a specially-built furnace, and despite the addition of a safety valve, pressurized explosions weren’t uncommon. The steam digester never really caught on. Dejected after years of fruitless attempts to turn people onto pressure cooking, Papin never even bothered to patent his invention, and he died penniless in 1712.

This may be three centuries too late, but Denis Papin: I salute you.

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Whole30 Day 14: Tabil Spice Blend Recipe

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It’s Day 14 — you still with me? Now that we’re two weeks into the Whole30®, your palate’s probably craving some variety — and there’s no better way to keep things lively than with fragrant, flavorful spices and blends.

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I love buying spice blends from specialty stores like Penzeys Spices and Spice Hound. Every time I visit my local Penzeys, I get lost in the intoxicating scents of the seasonings on the shelves.

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I know I’m not alone. I mean, people STARTED WARS and DISCOVERED CONTINENTS over spices. They even write love notes to spices.

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Sadly, spice blends aren’t cheap or easily accessible to everyone. You can easily drop a small fortune on little jars of powder — provided you can even find a specialty seller that offers the uniquely tantalizing combinations of spices you’re seeking.

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So what’s the best way to maximize flavor while minimizing cost?

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Whole30 Day 13: Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice

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In Chinese homes, rice is almost always eaten in its steamed form. Shoveled from bowl to mouth, fluffy white rice is a staple food for billions — a fragrant, starchy accompaniment to flavorful dishes of meat and vegetables. But with the quantities of rice that’s steamed in every Chinese house, there’s bound to be leftovers. And what’s the best way to repurpose rice into a quick and satisfying one-wok meal?

That’s right: Fried rice.

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With a red-hot wok and ten minutes, a resourceful cook can whip up a rich, well-seasoned platter of Chinese fried rice tossed with spring onions and ribbons of egg. This humble dish is anything but unassuming in flavor.

But what if you’ve gone grain-free?

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Whole30 Day 11: Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

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Longtime readers know where to find us when we’re not in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ninety-eight percent of the year, Henry and I are crazily juggling a bazillion things at once, but when we need to decompress, we grab the kids and decamp to Hawaii — our home away from home.

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Once or twice a year, we herd the family on a plane to Kauai or Maui, stock up on supplies at a local Costco, and exhale to the sounds of slack-key and ukulele on the radio. Our next trip to Hawaii is just FIVE DAYS AWAY, and I CANNOT WAIT. I love everything about the islands: The people, the pace, the climate, the beaches, the sunsets, the food.

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But foremost among the Hawaiian dishes I crave? Kalua pig.

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That’s right: Slow-roasted porky goodness that’s traditionally cooked in a hole in the ground.

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