PALEO PUDDING

A practical paleo cheat sheet for real humans in the modern world.

Smoked salmon, where have you been all my life?

Oooohhhh man. This was yummy.

A cod fillet, seasoned with some salt and pepper, and dipped in a very runny slurry of water and arrowroot powder, then pan-fried in EVOO.

Served up with 2 sliced up red potatoes (yeah, I eat those sometimes), roasted in a 450 degree oven and seasoned wth salt and pepper and a frisée salad. 

The salad’s dressed with some lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a small amount of olive oil, then I sprinkled the top with some radishes, chives, and capers. 

Anyone know a good paleo tartar sauce recipe? I dipped bits of my cod fillets in some paleo mayo mixed with capers and lemon juice. It was a pretty adequate substitute, actually, but next time, I think I’ll grate in some garlic and onion, too.

Adventures in Tri Tip

Seasoned this tri tip with salt, pepper, and a little coriander and cumin. Seared it in a super hot pan on both sides, then tossed it in the oven to roast, fat side up, at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. Overcooked it a smidge.

Your mileage may vary. I’ll be trying this again tomorrow.

I’m not a big fan of fake food, but tonight I wanted meatballs and I needed a suitable vehicle for them.

These balls were SO delicious. Grass-fed ground beef, mixed with minced garlic and onions, a bit of tomato paste, some mashed cauliflower (the moistmaker!), a small amount of minced bacon (because, of course), all seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit of dried oregano.

I browned the balls on the stove on all sides, then drowned them in homemade marinara to finish cooking over medium-low heat. In the meantime, I spiral sliced some zucchini and tossed the strings into a frying pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Satisfying and delicious. But I’m still not a fan of fake noodles.

Breakfast for dinner.

Sweet potato, spinach, onion, bell pepper, and bacon hash topped with chopped heirloom tomatoes and 2 fried eggs. Seasoned with chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and cumin.

All that’s missing is an avocado.

I also gave myself a slightly nasty burn involving bacon grease and a rogue sweet potato.

Put together a quick little brunch while watching the Chargers. It didn’t bring them any luck, but I’ll have leftovers for lunch for the next couple days.

Putting that spiral slicer to good use here.

On Halloween night, I was in pure ZOMBIE MODE and didn’t get around to making dinner until about 9pm. So, starving and pretending to ignore the bag of fun-sized candy bars sitting on the counter in my peripheral vision, I scrambled to make myself something good to eat before I accidentally ate all the chocolate in the house. And all the cheese, too.

Fried up some chopped bacon with onions and mushrooms, then added some curly spiral-sliced zucchini, a some garlic, a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt, and a ton of freshly cracked black pepper.

And of course, there’s nothing in the entire world that can’t be improved by the addition of a fried egg and some leftover steak. 

Overcooked the egg a bit, unfortunately… Too hungry to care.

It still oozed out of there and all over my bacon-y zucchini goodness as desired. 

Quick, easy, WAY more delicious than I expected, and in my belly in under 20 minutes.

RACK OF LAMB.

Early in our relationship, I offered to cook dinner for my boyfriend and when he asked what we’d be eating, I responded with the typical “whatever you want.” He suggested a majestic rack of lamb.

At the time, I probably laughed and fixed us up some grilled cheese sandwiches.

Prior to this, I’d thought the easiest way to make lamb is to toss a few shanks on a pile of canned tomatoes, chopped celery, and slices of carrot in a crock pot all day. An actual roasted rack of lamb still sounded incredibly out of reach. Turns out, though, rack of lamb is stupid-simple to make, and it doesn’t take all day to turn from ingredients into food.

All you need is… 

- A package of frenched rack of lamb. I bought a 1-pounder on mega sale, which is really the only time I tend to buy lamb.
- Salt + pepper to season the meat with.
- A palmful each of cumin and coriander
- Enough ghee to melt in a big heavy pan

Pre-heat the oven to 420° while you prep your lamb. Cut the package open, recoil from the funky lamb odor (I still can’t get used to this), slap some salt and pepper on that sucker, and rub the outside with equal amounts of cumin and coriander. 

Heat some ghee in a big heavy pan and once it’s super-hot, sear both sides of the lamb. About 2 minutes on each side should be enough to make a crispy, crunchy sear. 

Pop the lamb into the oven for about 15-20 minutes (depending on how rare you like your lamb… I like my closer to the rare side of medium-rare). I used a digital thermometer stuck into the middle part of the lamb and pulled it out right when it hit about 130°. After a brief rest under a cozy tin foil tent, while I scrounged up some veggies, the lamb got sliced into 4 big ol’ chunks.  

Served up with some celery, onions, and carrots that I roasted in the oven alongside the lamb + some leftover steamed broccoli and cauliflower, this was a fancy-pants-looking meal in just about 30 minutes.

TOM KHA GAI SOUP

A fellow food-loving friend of mine sent a recipe for Tom Kha Gai soup over to me, along with the promise that while the ingredient list looked long, this was possibly one of the easiest soups she’s ever made. 

She wasn’t kidding about that ingredient list. My crappy local grocery store doesn’t even HAVE a lot of these items… but I made do with what I could scrounge up, and as soon as the temperatures started dropping this week, I threw a huge pot of this together. 

I didn’t even wait to finish my bowl before grabbing my laptop and emailing my friend back with something that probably looked a bit like: “OMGOMGOGM THIS SO GOOOOOOOOD!@*)!”

Here’s the ingredient list as it was sent to me: 

  • 2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 and 1/2 cans coconut milk 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2+ tablespoons garlic or one shallot, finely minced 
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander seeds. Crushed gently with a mortar and pestle if you have one. 
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, chopped coarsely.
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons ginger or galanga, chopped coarsely.
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 + tablespoon fish sauce 
  • 1 + tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, sliced thinly 
  • 2 carrots, cut into discs 
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces 
  • 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms 
  • 1-2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce or sambal 
  • juice of one lime, plus an extra lime in case you like yours more lime flavored
  • 1/4 cup basil, julienned 
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Now, here’s the actual ingredient list that I used: 
  • 2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 and 1/2 cans coconut milk 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 3 cups of water I instead opted for a few glugs (I’d imagine it was close to 2 cups) of homemade chicken stock that I had in my fridge
  • 2+ tablespoons garlic or one shallot, finely minced 
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander seeds. Crushed gently with a mortar and pestle if you have one. I just used about the same amount of the powdered stuff I had in my pantry.
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, chopped coarsely. My grocery store sells mashed up lemongrass in tubes. I squeezed about a tablespoon or 2 into my soup.
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons ginger or galanga, chopped coarsely. I get the tubed ginger, too. I just eyeballed out what looked like about a tablespoon and a half.
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves You kidding me? They don’t sell that here in the mountains.
  • 1 + tablespoon fish sauce 
  • 1 + tablespoon brown sugar Didn’t use it, didn’t miss it.
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, sliced thinly 
  • 2 3! carrots, cut into discs 
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces 
  • 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms 
  • 1-2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce or sambal Yeeeah, this was where I went slightly less than 100% paleo, but it was a super delicious addition. You can always swap this out for Nom Nom Paleo’s Paleo Sriracha
  • juice of one lime, plus an extra lime in case you like yours more lime flavored
  • 1/4 cup basil, julienned I just ran out of basil, so I skipped it. It would have been verrry yummy, I’m sure!
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

And yes, despite the ingredient list, this soup was simple as hell to make. Just start by heating up some oil in a big soup pot, add in the garlic for a minute or two before adding in the coconut milk, chicken stock (or bullion cubes + water) and the lemongrass and ginger goo (if you’re not using the goo, chop up some fresh lemongrass and ginger and place it in a sieve or folding steamer or little tea thingy and submerge). Bring it to a low boil, then add in fish sauce, carrots, and onions (and sugar + kaffir lime leaves, if you’re using those ingredients). Let these ingredients boil for a few minutes, then add in your mushrooms, bell peppers, spicy sauce, and lime juice, and let everything simmer on medium heat. The recipe says about 5 more minutes at this point should do it, but — on recommendation from my friend who’d sent the recipe over — I opted to keep it simmering on the stove, tasting it frequently, until I thought it tasted super delicious.
Seriously, this soup’s SO simple to make that, at some point in the process, I actually got a bit bored… so I pulled out a skirt steak from my fridge, seasoned both sides with salt and pepper, then seared it in a big frying pan for a few minutes on each side. Once it was seared to my liking, I rested it in a mixture of coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, sesame seed oil, and a dollop of some of the aforementioned ginger goo for about 10 minutes. 
By the time your steak’s seared and resting, your soup’s probably ready. I pulled my soup off the heat at this point and covered it with a lid while I got everything else ready. I sliced up my steak, then tossed it back into the hot frying pan, along with some of the coconut aminos mixture it was resting in and some cremini mushrooms and leftover bell pepper and onions, just to finish cooking the meat to a solid medium-to-medium-rare.
While this was happening, I chopped up some cilantro and folded a handful of it into the soup, along with a last-minute addition of about a tablespoon or so of curry powder. (Gooooooood call on the curry powder - it was SUCH a flavor booster.)
Served all this up together with a few slices of lime, and it was one of the most impressive, least sweat-worthy meals on my table in a long, long time. 

I just discovered nutritional yeast. Apparently, this is a thing that vegans all know about as a flavor-helper for a wide variety of non-dairy menu items. It sounds incredibly unappetizing, but surprisingly, these flakey bits add a cheesy, savory, very-slight Cheeto dusty quality to just about anything you add them to.

And without it, that batch of cashew cheese is nothing but a heap of wet cashew grounds. 

Here’s the recipe I followed for my very first batch of cashew cheese EVER. It’s a super-simple recipe, but a good one to start with as you get to know your taste buds’ tolerance for yeast flakes as a cheese substitute. 

While I’m totally convinced this stuff is made out of ground up unicorn horn or something, I found 2 tablespoons for 1 cup of cashews to be a little much. When you over-do nutritional yeast, it starts to become very obvious that IT’S NOT ACTUAL CHEESE. For my next batch, I’ll be dropping that amount down to maybe a tablespoon or a tablespoon and a half, and adding in a few garlic cloves. I also would have blitzed this in my food processor a bit longer, just to smooth it out a bit more. I found that streaming in some chicken stock until it looked smooth and creamy helped keep my teensy food processor from catching on fire and exploding from the strain of grinding up all them nuts.

All things considered, for a first attempt, this is perfectly adequate dipping material. In addition to scooping it up with cucumbers and celery, I’ve used it as filling for a few roasted mini bell peppers, I’ve stirred some in with scrambled eggs, and I’ve topped a serving of meat sauce with this. Not bad. Not bad at all. Those vegans might really be on to something here.