Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Almond-Crusted Cod

This is one of those uber-easy, yet impressive-looking dishes!  I've been disappointed by the lack of wild salmon at my local BJs, but they do have wild haddock and cod; either is great in this recipe. 

Almond meal is something I like to just use in moderation; when I first went grain-free, I was going pretty buckwild with almond flour-based baked goods, but I've cut way back since learning about that pesky oxidized omega-6 :(  Yes, some things are too good to be true...  This makes 3 servings (I like to have leftovers to microwave at work the next day and stink up the office).

1 lb cod filet
3/4 cup almond meal *UPDATE* I have also done this with chopped, slivered almonds and liked it even better!
3 TBS melted clarified butter
1 lemon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning, herbes de Provence or whatever herbs you like

- Preheat oven to 500
- Lay fish out on a cookie sheet lined with foil
- Combine other ingredients and spread evenly in a thin layer over the fish (if using almond meal, it should be a wet-doughy consistency)
- Bake for about ten minutes until fish is flaky and topping starts to darken; serve with lemon wedges

For sides, I just sauteed some quartered baby bella mushrooms and green beans with garlic.

I'm doing the Whole30! No BS this time!

Sound familiar?  Yep, I started a Whole30 for the new year, but quit a few days in :(  I started putting heavy cream and Truvia in my coffee again, had a few drinks on the weekend, and didn't get back on track.  So what's different this time?

  • I'm prepared!  Last weekend we went up to Annapolis to hit up Trader Joe's & Whole Foods to stock up on goodies, and I recently replenished my supply of grass-fed beef.  I also ordered more coconut oil and a couple packs of leaf lard to render so I won't be tempted to cook with my clarified butter.  I've been reading the Whole30 posts on the 9 Blog, perusing Chowstalker for recipes, and today I will be writing up a menu plan.  If I learned one thing from doing Weight Watchers, it's the value of planning meals- that was the key to my (albeit shortlived) success.
  • I have support!  The folks at Whole9 have opened an official Whole30 Facebook page, and I have started a smaller Facebook group with some folks from PaleoHacks, so we can have a lot of interaction and get to know each other a little better.  The beau has claimed he will participate too, but I don't forsee him giving up his peanut butter & protein powders just yet ;)  I've asked him to not tempt me with dinners and ice cream- if we go out to eat, we'll probably stick with Red Robin (they will wrap your burger in lettuce!) sushi (I can eat my weight in salmon sashimi) and maybe some local seafood places.  Having support at home goes a long way!
  • I've hit bottom!  While I feel immensely better since cutting out grains, I still have some lingering gut issues, and it's time to find the culprit.
  • Preparation+Support+Rock Bottom=Motivation and Excitement!  Last time I felt dread, this time I am STOKED!  I don't have the little voice saying "gee, I can't go all of July without my sangria" or "I'll probably end up having a cupcake or two," etc.  The "cheats" and "slip-ups" aren't worth it.  I just feel ready.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I've got a Golden Ticket!

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how SUPER STOKED I am about the fast-approaching Ancestral Health Symposium.  Things are coming together quite nicely- I was able to get one of the $25 student tickets, I got a great deal on a hotel thanks to a helpful tweet by Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make The Girl, and I'm also working on organizing a meetup for fellow PaleoHacks members!  If the beau and I can get plane tickets for a decent price, then I will be just thrilled :) 

The Paleo community is positively buzzing with nerdy excitement, and I am no exception!  Like it says on the homepage, this is "the Woodstock of Evolutionary Medicine;" all the people whose books and blogs I read daily are going to be together in one place, and I can't wait.  There are very few paleo folk here in Southern Maryland, and even fewer if you don't count my friends that I've converted; I'm really looking forward to meeting new people and learning some new things!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mushroom Burger with Parsnip-Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

*Find this and other paleo recipes on Chowstalker!*

No story or sermon today, just hardcore food pr0n!

1 lb ground beef (I used pastured, not-100%-grassfed cow from Zekiah Farms)
4 oz sliced baby portabellas
2 slices of your favorite cheese (or not)
a couple cloves of garlic, chopped
2 TBS clarified butter or fat of choice

1 small sweet potato
2 parsnips
Salt and other seasonings to taste- I used some Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute and Everyday Seasoning
1/2 cup duck fat

Saute mushrooms and garlic over medium high heat, set aside.  Make the hashbrowns- heat duck fat over medium-high heat, shred sweet potato and parsnips, and add to pan.  Add seasonings and stir every few minutes until browned to your liking (about 10-15 minutes).  While the hash browns are cooking, make your burgers- I made mine about 1/2lb each, about 1 inch thick, sprinkled on some TJ's Everyday Seasoning, and made indentions with my fingers to help them stay flat while cooking.  I did four minutes on the first side, flipped them, added the mushrooms and cheese, and cooked about 3 or 4 more minutes on medium-high heat for medium burgers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Roasted Duck Salad with Berry Vinaigrette

*Find this and other great recipe ideas at Chowstalker!*

"Eating paleo is too expensive!"  Well, you better call the whaaambulance because I just got a duck at BJs for six bucks the other day.  There are some great deals to be had if you look for them- check out markdowns on items hitting the sale date (as was the case for this duck), invest some time in researching deals on pastured meats, get local produce if you can, you know the drill!

Had I made this duck on a non-work day, I would have used this method, but due to time constraints, I compressed the time down to about three hours, roasting at 325 degrees.  I definitely found that scoring the skin, poking and flipping periodically helped the duck to give off a lot of fat- 1 whole cup to be exact.  Can't wait to use this on some roasted veggies, hash browns, etc. 

Roasted Duck Salad (1 serving):
1 roasted duck breast
3 cups of your fave salad greens
2 TBS coarsely chopped pecans
1 TBS crumbled feta (blue cheese would probably be great, if you're into that)
Berry Vinaigrette, to taste

Berry Vinaigrette (4 servings):
1/4 cup raspberries and/or blackberries (I used a mix)
3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp honey

While the duck is roasting, toast the pecans- just put them in a pan on medium-low heat, and cook until they start to get a little color on them (swirl the pan around every couple of minutes); set aside.  For the dressing, just whiz everything together with a blender, or press berries through a seive and whisk all the ingredients together.  After your duck is rested and carved, just put everything together on a plate and drizzle with some vinaigrette.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Coconut Chicken Curry

Find this recipe and hundreds of others on Chowstalker!

Yesterday I checked out the new Asian grocery store in town and found some great stuff!  I came away with a couple cans of curry paste, some frozen coconut meat, pork rinds, fish sauce and a couple other things.  I was hoping for some young Thai coconuts, but they don't carry them (I did tell the staff that I will buy coconuts if they stock them!  I usually have good results from requesting products at small shops like this).  There are plenty of gems to be found at Asian groceries, but sugar, MSG, wheat & soy were lurking everywhere; I accidentally bought pork rinds with MSG in them (this place even sold MSG by the bag!  Apparently it is also known as "umami spice").  After I got home, I made a big pot of chicken curry to bring in for lunch throughout the week, and I must say, it is BANGIN.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 can coconut milk (refrigerate this, scoop out the cream, and either toss the water or use it in a smoothie)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
enough of your favorite curry paste for 4 servings (I used panang curry)
2 TBS coconut butter
2 TBS coconut oil
2 TBS chopped kaffir lime leaves
1 TBS prepared lemongrass

-Over medium heat, cook curry paste with coconut oil for a couple minutes
-Add onions and cook until they start to soften
-Add the cream from your chilled coconut milk, lemongrass, coconut, and chicken
-Turn heat to low, and cook (stirring occasionally) until chicken is cooked through; about 25 minutes
-Stir in lime leaves & coconut butter, serve over steamed broccoli or roasted cauliflower

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lovely lunches

Inspired by a Balanced Bites post dedicated to lettuce wraps, I picked up a head of Boston lettuce last week.  The great thing about Boston lettuce (aside from its wrap-ability) is that it is still living, and consequently stays good in the fridge for quite awhile.  I brought a few leaves and whatnot into the office and made these bad boys:

Oooh, doesn't that look fancy?  For the filling, I just used some cold rotisserie chicken, bacon, guacamole, and some tomato slices; super easy!

Today I did another bigass salad (this was the second time I've found an adorable baby slug crawling around on my lettuce- eek!)

I brought in some lettuce mix, bacon, rotisserie chicken (I don't eat these all the time, I swear) & dressing, and added some spinach, broccoli, carrot, onion, radish, boiled egg, and a few sunflower seeds from the office salad bar.

Now to think of some semi-homemade lunches sans bacon and rotisserie chicken...