Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Matchbox - Holiday Paleo Night!

If you're in the Palm Springs area tomorrow night (Wednesday December 14th), come on over for dinner at Matchbox !  I've been lucky enough to be asked to collaborate in the menu, and couldn't be more excited to work with Chef Michael Estrada!  

Hope to see you there! 

To make a reservation call 760-778-6000 or click here

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Matchbox Palm Springs - Paleo Night

Matchbox in Palm Springs has been doing a monthly paleo night, and I finally made it out to the last one!  I love that Chef Michael is adventurous enough to show that paleo food can be delicious, artfully presented, and translate to everyday dining.

The next paleo night is Wendesday December 14th and I've been asked to collaborate on the menu with Chef Michael!  

Here are some highlights from the dinner....

 Ahi Tuna Tartare
 Wilted Spinach Salad
 Grilled Berkshire Pork Rib Eye - This was the standout dish of the evening, everyone at my table voted it the favorite
 Pepper crusted flat iron steak - those carrots were cooked to perfection
 Cioppino - spicy and delicious
And for dessert.... Cinnamon chocolate pudding, chocolate ganache, coconut whipped cream and fresh berries. One word - decadent

I was too busy eating, so all photos courtesy of Patrick Flynn

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paleo Yam & Pork Belly Hash

This recipe originally comes from  Longman & Eagle in Chicago, and if you're in the mood for a rich breakfast,  this is your jam.  I found the pork belly at my local Sprouts, you can usually find it at specialty grocery stores or butcher shops.  If you haven't had it before, I have to warn you it is fatty, but that's kind of the beauty of it.  This makes enough for 4 to share - or if you're feeling overindulgent, you could probably handle 2 servings.  Think of this as the fancy breakfast sausage + syrup....

12 oz pork belly
2 large thyme springs
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3 cups chicken stock
olive oil
coconut oil
1 large yam, peeled and cut into cubes
2 large shallots, chopped
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 tbs grade B maple syrup
3-5 green onions, chopped

Braise the pork belly:
Preheat oven to 275.  In a large dutch oven, heat a couple tbs of olive oil and sear each side of the belly.  Add stock, thyme and garlic, bring to a boil.  Place in the oven for 3 hours.  Remove pork belly and let it cool. Place the pork belly between two glass dishes (I used baking dishes) and weight the top one with canned goods.  Put in the fridge overnight.  Now, I don't have much experience with pork belly, but braising is apparently the way to go.  If you have an opinion, please comment.

To make the hash:
Remove pork belly and cut into cubes (about the same size as your yams).  In a large pan - I used a big cast iron skillet - heat a couple tbs of coconut oil and brown the pork belly (about 3-6 mins).  Remove from pan and add the yams.  Cook those bad boys, then remove them too.  Add some more coconut oil and throw the shallots in there for a few minutes until the become fragrant. Return the pork and yams back to the pan with all of their juices and some cracked black pepper and let the whole thing cook for a bit.  Add the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and green onions  - toss to coat and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paleo Cauliflower Salad

This crunchy, briny little side dish is great on it's own, or along side something heavy.  I got the inspiration from Savuer (yet again, I know... they're having a good month!), and when I make it again I'll dice everything up much finer.  This is so much more flavorful and layered when you can get a little of everything in each bite.   

1 large head cauliflower, sliced
1/2 c kalamata olives, chopped (or you could use tapenade)
2 roasted red peppers, chopped (you can buy them or roast your own)
5 green onions, sliced
1/4 c good Olive oil
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
3 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
salt & pepper

Put everything in a bowl and let it sit for at least 20 minutes  - but it's even better if you let it sit overnight. Easy. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Paleo Tunisian Beef & Meatball Stew

This recipe for T'fina Pkaila came from Saveur, and it's perfect for a rainy day.  With beef ribs and meatballs, you get a double dose of bovine, and the color from the carrots and spinach make it a gorgeous dish to serve.

olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 lbs ground veal (or ground beef)
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs pepper
2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, beaten

Heat oil in a large pot (I used a dutch oven), and cook onions until trabsulcent.  Transfer to a bowl and mix all remaining ingredients together (using your hands works best), then form the mixture into balls.  Add a little more oil to the pan, and brown all sides of the meatballs - this will probably take a few batches.  Put meatballs on a plate and set aside.

Olive oil
2 lbs beef short ribs* 
4 gloves garlic, mined
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and cubed
5 cups beef stock
10+ oz spinach leaves, roughly chopped
salt & pepper

Season beef with salt and pepper, browning the sides.  Remove from pan and add onions and garlic and cook about 5 minutes.  Return beef to pot, add stock and carrots and simmer on low (covered) for about an hour.  Add meatballs and cook about 10 more minutes, add spinach about 5 minutes before serving so it stays green and doesn't get too soggy.

*When I was at the market there were 2 beautiful beef shanks/osso bucco on sale so I bought them instead of splurging on the short ribs. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Paleo Fish with Spinach & Bacon Vinaigrette

This is fish in another dimension. Dawning of the age of Aquarius stuff.

2 cod/halibut/swordfish filets
3 strips bacon
1 shallot, diced
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs dry mustard
1 tsp thyme, chopped
2 dates, pitted and diced
3+ cups spinach, roughly chopped

Dice bacon and cook in a large pan with a little olive oil until crispy.  Remove and place in a bowl.  Add shallots and saute until tender.  Add vinegar, mustard and thyme and stir.  Scrape everything from the pan into the bowl with the bacon and throw the dates in there.  Put the spinach in the pan and just as it begins to wilt, toss with the remaining ingredients.

Add a little oil to the pan and cook fish until opaque.  Top with dressed up spinach. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Paleo Veal Chop with Whiskey Sauce

Veal has a lot of flavor, and this simple sauce lets you showcase that flavor without covering it up.  This is  also a pretty quick, 1 pan type of preparation that you can throw together on a random Wednesday night and wow your husband/wife in a how-does-(s)he-do-it moment.  (so awkward trying to keep things gender neutral).

1 large veal chop
salt & pepper
olive oil
1 tbs butter
5 large green onions, chopped
1/4 cup whiskey
3/4 cup chicken or beef stock
1/4 cup coconut milk

Salt and pepper both sides of your veal chop.  Heat a could tbs of olive oil in a skillet and sear both sides of the chop - about 3 minutes each.  Remove from pan.  Add the butter and green onions, saute for a minute or two until softened.  Add whiskey (slowly) and chicken stock, scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.  Bring to a boil, simmer and reduce by half.  Add coconut milk and return chop to pan.  Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until veal is done to your liking.  I used 1 big veal chop, but this makes enough sauce to easily accommodate 2.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Paleo Roasted Red Pepper and Cashew Dip

This is a recipe I modified from the whole foods website, and it definitely has a distinctive nutty flavor.  I served this with beet chips, but it would be good with veggies or as a dipping sauce for fish and chicken.  It only takes a few minutes, and you could really go crazy on the modifications.  Switch out the herbs, bump up the tahini, add a different citrus?

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
2 garlic cloves
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1 cup  fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons tahini
3 Roasted red bell pepper

Cashew prep:
Place cashews in a medium bowl, cover with cold water, and allow to soak for 4 hours. Drain

To roast peppers:
Place pepper directly over your gas range, allowing each side to blister.  Place in a large glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to cool, then peel the skins off. Remove seeds and stem and roughly chop. (You can also do this in the oven)

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Paleo Coconut Comfort Stew

While fall is officially upon us, we are certainly lacking the cool temperatures.  I wanted to make a hearty stew, but it was so hot here I switched it up to something a little bit lighter that would still satisfy my craving for fall and big bowl of comforting stew.  

There's nothing better on a chilly day than having something simmering on the stove, filling your house with amazing smells for hours in anticipation of those delicious bites, but when it's hot the last thing I want to do is make the temperature in my shoe box of a house rise even a few degrees.  This dish actually cooks pretty quickly, which will minimize the impact on your thermostat.

1 small onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
2 tbs fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 garlic head, chopped
Zest from 1 lime
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 large chicken breasts, diced
1 can coconut milk
10 oz chicken broth
2 kaffir lime leaves*
juice from 1 lime
Spicy sausage (I used about 6 oz of andouille), chopped in rounds
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp turmeric
5 green onions, chopped

In a large pot add some butter or coconut oil and saute the onion, shallot, ginger, garlic, lime zest and bell pepper until fragrant.  Add chicken and brown.  Throw in the coconut milk, chicken broth, kaffir lime leaves and lime juice, and simmer until chicken is almost done.  Throw in the sausage, shrimp, turmeric and green onions and cook about another 5 minutes. Shrimp will just start to turn pink.   Serve with a little spritz of lime and few extra green onions.  You can also give it a squirt of rooster sauce to bring the heat up. 

*Kaffir lime leaves can be found at spice shops and specialty grocery stores, but if you can't find them, just double the lime juice/zest

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paleo Slow Roasted Tomatoes

With tomato season coming to an end, this is something to do with all those extra lbs of red deliciousness before they start to turn.  You can use these roasted tomatoes as snacks, on salads, as a condiment...just about anything.  Roasting them makes them super sweet (think sundried tomatoes without being super dry).  

2+ lbs tomatoes, halved
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 3225.  Place tomato halves in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle a teeny tiny amount of olive oil over the top of each one and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  If you're using cherry tomatoes they'll be done in about 3 hours.  The larger the tomato, the longer they'll take to cook.  They should look a little shriveled but still juicy. 

You can store extras in a jar in olive oil. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Paleo Swedish Meatballs

Ah meatballs....so delicate, so time consuming, so delicious.   Normally when I decide to make meatballs,  I add a ton of fresh herbs and spices, so they're colorful and flavor packed.  Swedish meatballs have a much milder flavor, and are delicious with ligonberry jam (or any other fruit for that matter, I had some currant on hand).

I adapted this recipe from this month's Bon Appetite magazine, and while you can eat these twice as fast as you can prepare them, you can still be transported to Ikea (er, Scandanavia) for a savory little treat.

1 cup almond meal
2 1/3 c chicken stock
1 onion, diced
2 thick sliced bacon
1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbs arrowroot

Mix almond flour and 1/3 c stock in a large bowl and set aside.  In a very large skillet or dutch oven melt a little butter and saute the onions.  Remove those and add to the almond meal, then cook bacon in the same pan.  Remove bacon, drain and crumble into the onions and almond meal. Add beef, pork, eggs, salt, pepper, allspice and nutmeg to the bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands.  Roll into small balls. 

Melt a tbs or so of butter in the pan, and brown all sides of the meatballs (you might have to do a couple batches).  After you've browned them all, add the arrowroot to the pan and whisk until it forms a paste.  Add the remaining stock, scraping up all the good bits on the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer.

Return the meatballs to the pan and cook another 5-6 minutes (depending on the size of your meatballs). If you like a thicker gravy, remove the meatballs and let the sauce reduce for another 4-6 minutes.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Paleo Burger Patties with Grilled Onions & Marinated Carrots

As the kids head back to school (I don't have kids, but this is what I hear), and summer starts to wane (although, we're having FANTASTIC warm weather here at the beach), it's time to get the most out of your grill.  No need to turn on your oven or stove for this meal.   It's a colorful, delectable, easy meal on a summer night (tell me more, tell me more!)

Real, traditional aioli is quite the production and a very fickle condiment (trust me), so in an effort to save your arm and your sanity, just whip up a batch of Julia Child's mayo as your base. 

For the patties:
1 lb grass fed ground beef
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, ground
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs pickled jalapenos, diced
any other spices you have/want to throw in!

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and form into patties.  Throw those on the grill until they're cooked to your liking.

For the carrots:
2 large carrots, peeled
1-2 tbs white vinegar
1 tbs honey
pinch of sea salt

I called these Whisk vinegar, honey, and salt in a bowl. Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, peel the carrots into strips.  Place in the bowl and toss, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for an hour or so.

For the onions:
1 large red onion

Slice in thick rounds and throw on the grill with your burgers until they've softened and sweetened up.

For the truffle aioli: (mix it all up)
2 tbs mayo (I'll say it again, make you own!)
1 tbs truffle oil*
2 tsp truffle salt*

*You can usually find these at higher end grocery stores, boutique spice shops, or online. 

To assemble: Place your grilled onion down intact, top with the patty, a little dollop of the truffle mayo, and as many carrots as you can handle.  The acid from the carrots really lends a nice touch to the creamy mayo and the juicy, herbed burger.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Paleo Cod Cakes

Who needs crabmeat?  Consider these the poor man's crabcake, and I'd be willing to wager if you didn't say anything, it would be tough for anyone to figure out that you didn't splurge.  They're pretty quick to put together, make a great appetizer, or a very satisfying dinner.

Olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 green onions, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and boiled
1 lb cod filets
salt & pepper
1/2 c almond meal
2 tbs mayo (make your own, I use Julia Child's recipe)
3 tbs dijon mustard
3 tbs fresh dill, chopped
3 tbs parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
juice and zest from 1 lemon

Heat the oilive oil and saute the carrot, onion, green onion and garlic until onions sweat a bit.  Remove and add it to the sweet potatoes..  Mix roughly with a fork.  In that same pan, add a little more olive oil and cook the cook, then add that to the potato mixture.  Toss in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with a fork, but try and keep some texture.

Make little patties out of the mixture - and just a note, the smaller they are, they easier they'll be to flip - and place them on a plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.  

In a large pan, heat some butter until it's foamy and fry those little guys up until they get crispy.  We ate them once with salsa, and once with a remoulade style sauce (mayo, dijon, tabasco) that you'd see more often with a crabcake. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Paleo Campfire Cookout

We like to camp, and recently headed down to San Onofre for an easy weekend of surfing, tent sleeping, and hanging with friends.  

There are some hard things about camping:
1) Getting a site.  These suckers in California get booked fast, so you're limited on the spontaneity.  And on a side note, there are 70+ CA state parks set for closure in 2012, so I can only imagine what a hot commodity some of these sites will be next year.
2) The cleanup.  You know when you get home and everything is covered in dirt, stale campfire smell and seawater?  There is no washer big enough....
3) Cooking.  Oh wait...this is the easy part!  Well maybe not as easy as sitting on the beach, but with a little prep, it can come close. And you don't have to be tied to hot dogs, and with some tools you can throw out those sticks (unless you're saving them for s'mores)

Marinate some chicken (I used bone in thighs) in olive oil, garlic, rosemary (or any herbs) , salt & pepper and place it in a large ziplock plastic bag. Place the bag in the freezer overnight, and pack in the bottom of your cooler the next day.  It will act as an icepack, and be thaw by the time you need it. 

Chop some veggies (I used bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and cherry tomatoes), place them in a big plastic bag with a little salt & pepper.  

When you get your fire going, place the chicken in a flat grill basket - these are also good for grilling fish and shrimp - and put the veggies in another.  Have a beer and flip/toss as needed! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paleo Rosemary Kale Caear Salad

Kale Caesar!  (sorry, I couldn't resist) This crunchy little gem was hiding in my Bon Appetit and it's definitely a keeper.   My only suggestion - add some crumbled bacon.  

1/4 c lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
8 oz anchovy filets, drained 
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
3/4 c good olive oil
2 hard boiled eggs
salt & pepper
1 lb kale, stalks removed and chopped
2 tbs sliced almonds

In a food processor combine the lemon juice, anchovies, garlic and dijon and pulse until smooth.  Very slowly add the oil with the processor on, this will give you that creamy dressing. Add rosemary and pulse to combine.  

Separate the yolk from the white on your hard boiled eggs.  Chop and keep separate.

Put your kale in a bowl, drizzle dressing,  drop in those egg bits, toss in the almonds, crack some black pepper on top (then give it a taste and see if it needs a little salt).  Easy 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Quick Paleo Lunch: AB&J Roll-ups

PB&J is so 2008.... Here's one more idea to have on hand when you have that what-to-make-for-lunch moment.  You know, that one that involves a hungry person and little motivation/inspiration? 

Make some paleo wraps

Fill with almond butter and your favorite jelly.  I used a combo of low sugar blackberry and low sugar apricot jam.  Roll them up and voila! 

You can also fill them with almond butter and raw honey, or sweet potatoes and grade B maple syrup...feel free to get creative.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paleo Salt & Pepper Salmon with Sweet Potatoes

Sometimes you need a fresh, light dinner that won't keep you in the kitchen for hours.  This is one of those meals - the hint of salt on the fish, the bitter greens, and the soothing sweet potatoes make for a pretty nice little combo.  

I know some of you are thinking, "but sweet potatoes are loaded with carbs..carbs are the devil!"  True, there's about 20g of carbs per 100oz, but calm down. Eating some carbs won't kill you, in fact it might help you out a bit.  Not to mention sweet potatoes have a lot of fiber, Vitamins A & B, iron, calcium, magnesium, and beta carotene. Another fun fact (thanks to Wikipedia), is that China is the largest producer of sweet potatoes, providing about 80% of the world's supply.  As with all of your food, try to buy them locally grown.

2 Salmon filets - I happen to come across some wild, frozen Sockeye salmon
1 tsp pink Hawaiian sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 small pads of butter
1 lemon - cut into 2 wheels for presentation and couple wedges to squirt
2 sweet potatoes
3 tbs chives, chopped
1 tsp sea salt

For the fish - Preheat oven to 400. Rinse and dry fish, season evenly with Hawaiian salt and pepper.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet and add the thin pad of butter and a lemon wheel on top.  Bake for about 8 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fish), or until it flakes with a fork without being dry.  Remove from oven and squeeze remaining lemon over top.

For the potatoes: You can peel them, but I like the skin on so I just give them a good scrub.  Cut them into pieces, cover with water and bring to a boil.  When they're soft, drain almost all the water - I leave a few tbs just to keep them smooth - and mash with a potato masher/electric mixer.  You can also add a little coconut milk if they seem dry.  Drop in those chives, a little salt & pepper and mash a bit more

I served this with a wild rocket salad dressed with good olive oil

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bali, a Paleo Paradise

Sorry for the long pause between posts, but I took a vacation and haven't had the chance to cook anything!  We spent some time in Bali, where there is a plethora of fresh fresh and even fresher fruit, and while the sugar in the latter will sneak up on you, the former is spectacular. Even better, at some of the touristy places (Jimbaran Bay, Echo Beach) you can choose your own fish and eat with your feet in the sand.   Our lunch of squid, prawns and baronang (a local fish), all perfectly grilled with a little chili and garlic is one of the top meals I've ever had.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Primal Shrimp & Brie Zucchini Boats

I know this is a paleo blog, but every now and then I like to add just a little dairy to my routine.  I can tolerate small amounts of cheese and greek yogurt, so sometimes I include them in my meals.  These make a great little side dish because everyone can grab their own.

Serves 6
 3 round zucchini/summer squash (I found mine at the farmer's market)
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small wedge brie
2 tbs pico de gallo
 2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tbs chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Cut zucchini in 1/2 and scoop out most of the middle, saving the insides.  Place on a baking sheet and bake about 25 minutes, until they being to soften.  Dice shrimp, some of the zucchini insides, brie, pico, chives and spices and toss to mix.  Fill each squash with the mixture and put back in the oven (or on the grill) for about 10 minutes, until the shrimp is translucent and brie is softened. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paleo Radishes with Herbed Butter

I went to the farmer's market this weekend and found some awesome looking radishes, and in turn had a flash of memory where someone told me to eat them with herbs and butter.  No idea who said this to me, or where I read it (maybe I was having some sort of divine inspiration?), but in any case, this is the perfect way to eat a radish.  Sometimes simple is the best.  

These crunchers were a spicy bunch, but the combo of the cool butter, herbs and a touch of salt made this simple dish kind of complex in your mouth. We ate these as an hors d'oeuvre, but they'd make a great little snack as well.

1 large bunch radishes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp fresh tarragon , chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Good sea salt

Trim off the greens from the radishes and scrub well.  Cut them in 1/2 and arrange on a plate.  Mix the herbs and the butter, and put a tiny dollop on each radish.  Sprinkle with sea salt and serve them up!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Continuing Your Paleo Education

While I can provide you with ideas for dinner on a Tuesday night, these guys can give you the hard science behind the Paleo diet.  Keep learning, and the more you know about why you feel better when you eat this way, the easier it will be to convince your friends and family to try Paleo.  Click here to get yours!

Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
·         Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet
·         Health Implications for the 21st Century

Robb Wolf
·         Paleolithic Diet in a Clinical Setting
·         Does this Stuff Really Work?

John Welbourn
·         Paleo For the Power Athlete and History of Paleo Brands


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