Nom Nom Paleo

Roasted Kabocha Squash

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Roasted Kabocha Squash by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m just tickled pink when it’s autumn ‘cause I love me some winter squash, especially kabocha! When cooked, this Japanese pumpkin has the taste and texture of roasted chestnuts. Even uber-picky Lil-O will swipe roasted slices off the communal plate and gobble them down. I normally keep the skin on when I roast them but if you’ve got autoimmune issues, peel them.

Follow the jump for the easy recipe!

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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.

Sous Vide Grass Fed Top Sirloin (And Lots O’ Veggies)

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Tonight I’m lagging because I’m returning to work after having 3 weeks off. Argh!  As a result, for dinner I made lots of veggies and a big sous vide grass fed top sirloin steak so I’d have lots of leftovers to pack for work.

In preparation for my workweek, I started sous viding like a mad woman on Tuesday morning.  I layed out all my proteins on my kitchen counter and seasoned and vacuum sealed them with my Foodsaver.  I try to combine as many meats as possible that cook at the same temp, so I set my SousVide Supreme to 140 F and plopped in 4 seasoned pork chops and 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts.  After they had cooked for 2.5 hours, I took them out and placed them in an ice bath so I could store them in the fridge for later in the week.  I added cold water and turned down the temp to 120 F to cook my frozen wild sockeye salmon for lunch.  After taking out the salmon, I increased the water temp to 130 F and dunked in my grass fed top sirloin steak which I seasoned with Sagemary finishing salt and pepper.

The steak was going to cook in the SousVide Supreme for about 30 hours and I was going to take it out at dinner time on Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, I cooked the world’s best braised cabbage and prepared some cauliflower, garlic, and bacon that I was going to roast off when I woke up. I stored the vege and swine bits in a Ziploc bag in the fridge.

When I awoke, I took out the steak and dropped in two bags of Cascadian farm winter squash puree in the Sous Vide Supreme.  These puree packs float in the water bath so I always weigh them down with a rack.  I tossed some olive oil in my Ziploc filled with cauliflower, bacon, and garlic and seasoned it all with salt and pepper.  After giving the sealed bag a nice shake, I poured it all out on a foil lined baking sheet and baked at 375 F for ~30-35 minutes.  Jaden’s recipe says that it only takes 20 minutes in the oven, but mine definitely took longer.  While the cauliflower was in the oven, I prepped some portobello mushroom packs and popped them in the oven with the cauliflower and let those cook for ~25 minutes.

Then I pulled the winter squash puree out of the SousVide Supreme and stirred in some butter, salt, and pepper.  I took the steak out of its bag, dried it off, and seared it in some lard in my cast iron skillet.  I seared the steak for ~2 minutes per side per the tips on Kamikaze cookery.  Last of all, I microwaved the cabbage and cut up the mushrooms and drizzled the ‘shrooms with my aged balsamic vinegar.

Voila!  All of this was on the table within 1 hour and I have 3 boxes of lunch in the fridge (plus, leftover steak). 

My Last Breakfast At Dinnertime for 3 Weeks

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After working six 10-hour night shifts in a row, I’m normally lagging.  But the one thing that always perks me up on my night is that no matter how shitty the shift goes, I’ll have a whole week off to forget about it.  Tonight I’m extra jazzed because I’ll be off for 21(!) fricking days and that’s all sorts of awesome.

Before coming into to work, I got this on the table in ~45 minutes: Pan-seared sous vide chicken breast with mushroom sour cream sauce, roasted broccoli with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and winter squash puree.

Before going to bed, I filled and pre-heated my SousVide Supreme to 130F so it would be ready and waiting when I woke up.  I would’ve washed and chopped the broccoli ahead of time but I was too damn tired.  Who am I kidding?  If there isn’t visible mud or bugs on the broccoli, I just chop up the florets, season them up, glug on some melted ghee, and roast them .  My sis used to work as a sous chef in some fancy-pants places around San Francisco, and she told me NO ONE ever washes the produce.  Food for thought.

When I woke up, I preheated the oven to 425 F and plopped my pre-cooked chicken breasts and two frozen packets of Cascadian Farms Winter Squash Puree in the SousVide Supreme.  Then, I prepped my broccoli for roasting and popped them in the oven once it came up to temperature. 

While the broccoli roasted for 20 minutes, I sliced up a pound of mushrooms, finely chopped 2-3 large shallots in my mini prep processor, and squeezed 3 cloves of garlic through my garlic press.  Then, I heated my skillet to medium high, and put in 2 tablespoons of butter.  I like to throw my shallots in the pan right after the butter melts (but before the pan gets too hot) to make sure they don’t burn.  Once the shallots were translucent, I added the minced garlic and stirred them around for 30 seconds.  I added the mushrooms (with some salt and pepper) and sauteed the  ’shrooms until all the moisture had evaporated.  Next, I poured in about a cup of canned low sodium chicken broth, a few dashes of Worchestire sauce, and tasted the sauce for seasoning.  Once it came to a simmer, I removed it from the heat and added a heaping spoonful of sour cream and whisked it in.  If I had some creme fraiche, I would’ve used that instead because it doesn’t break the sauce.  Also, I would’ve thickened the sauce up with some flour or cornstarch pre-Paleo, but now I just accept the thin sauce.  It does pain me.

By this time, the broccoli was roasted to my liking so I plated the florets and drizzled them with aged balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic flavored extra virgin olive oil.  I heated my cast iron skillet to high and put in a heaping tablespoon of ghee.  Once it was heated, I seared off my chicken breasts.  Then, I removed the winter squash puree from the SousVide Supreme, squeezed it out into a bowl, and mixed in a pat of butter and salt and pepper to taste.

And in case you missed it the first time, here’s another shot of my dinner: