Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shredded coconut topping for baked chicken

I never used to be a fan of shredded coconut - could not stand them in baked goods, so never tried them anywhere else.  But now . . . I like to add them to shrimp stir-fries, toast them for use on salads, and now - on baked chicken!

My first attempt at it I tried to make a batter, adding almond meal and eggs.  While very tasty, it didn't get crispy.  This time - just simply oiled up the chicken first, then sprinkled on my seasonings and the shredded coconut. Bake at 350F for 1 hr.  Paleo is so easy! And tasty! :)

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Simple but tasty

Really simple, easy salad.  I wanted something a little more filling than just grabbing an apple or some veggies - thought about adding a protein, but just wasn't quite that hungry this morning at 10am.

apple, divided in half
oil of choice
freshly grated ginger
white wine
leafy greens
sea salt

Chop the apple, onion, mushroom, and asparagus, cook it up in a little oil of choice.  Just for fun, I added a wee bit of ginger and white wine.  I tossed the asparagus in at the end so it'd still be crispy.  Toss it all on a bed of leafy greens, sprinkle on a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and you've got the other half of the apple for dessert.  Quick, simple, easy! (and tasty!!)

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paleo Noodles . . . sort of!

I don't miss pasta for the most part.  I can't say as I ever really liked the taste of it by itself, but it was nice to pair it with a tasty sauce for added texture/filling.  When you think of spaghetti, you automatically think sauce + noodles, right?  So what happens when you go paleo and noodles are no longer an option?  What exactly do you serve that sauce on? Just meat by itself?  Well, sure, you can do that but I still feel like the dish needs a 3rd texture to round it out.  (By the way, since we are nightshade free I have an awesome nightshade-free recipe for spaghetti sauce in Cavemom's Cooking!) 

I like serving the sauce over meat served on top a bed of shredded raw zucchini, but it's still not quite what I was looking for.  Serving it over a bed of leafy greens works too, but again . . . not quite what I wanted.  I even tried shirataki noodles . . . they had zero flavor of their own and are too processed for my liking.  Then, at the grocery store, I found dried woodear mushrooms. 

This edible fungus has an interesting history of uses (I'll let you look that up).  I've tried them a couple different ways - tossed into dishes dry and let the moisture of the dish reconstitute them, which may leave some of them still crunchy, or simmered them to reconstitute.  Personally I like woodears just a little bit crunchy, but I liked the texture of crunchy noodles too.  Reconstituted they have a kind of rubbery texture, but it's not too terribly different than pasta. By themselves, woodears don't have a strong flavor, but they do complement dishes nicely.  They can be purchased whole or shredded/sliced, which would make them much more noodle-like; I got mine whole.  You'll probably have better luck finding them online than in most grocery stores unless it's holiday time.   A word of warning for the grocery stores though:  Around here all you can get is a 1 oz package for $4 - $9.  Pretty expensive! They can be found online in bulk for much cheaper, which is how I'll be sourcing them from now on.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Everything's Better with Bacon!

While wanting a healthier diet, I reeeeeaaaally didn't want to give up bacon . . . so like everything else, I thought I'd try making it myself. First I tried switching to side pork, frying that up with a little seasoning, but it tasted just like a fried pork chop - not the bacon-y goodness I was looking for.

This recipe was one of those instances where the idea just popped into my head while I was actually in process of frying up some side pork. The idea? Add apple cider vinegar to the pan. Now, I knew about brining bacon, but we have a small fridge and don't have extra space to allocate. It took some experimenting with amounts and heat settings, but I finally did it: quick, easy, bacon-on-the-fly that *gasp* actually tastes like bacon! I really like a maple-flavored bacon, but adding maple syrup is up to you.


Side pork, sliced
Sea salt (best with applewood smoked sea salt, which you can easily make yourself with a smoker, some applewood, and some sea salt)
1 part maple syrup (1 part = about 1 Tbsp per pound of bacon)
2 parts apple cider vinegar

Arrange side pork in a large skillet. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper and fry on medium heat until the side pork starts to brown. Add 2 parts apple cider vinegar and 1 part maple syrup. Swirl around in the pan to coat the side pork. Continue to fry (a splatter shield is recommended). When good and browned on the bottom, flip side pork over and sprinkle salt and pepper on the browned side. Continue to fry until slices are as done as you like. Tastes like bacon!

We actually prefer this recipe over commercial bacon. Today, I did basically the same recipe except we smoked it with hickory instead of frying it. Takes longer, but ooooooh was that ever good!!

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wine? Yes please!

While our paleo ancestors certainly weren't bottling wine for fine dining, it wouldn't have been an total impossibility for them to have found and eaten fermented fruit.  Therefore, I like to cook with wine!

Funny thing is, I'm not a wine drinker.  There's very, very few wines I can stand the taste of, most of which are sweet red wines, and I like them over ice.  My absolute favorite is Cherry Wine from St. James Winery, in St. James, Missouri.   It's what I use in my recipes that call for red wine.

There's just something about the flavor of a good sweet cherry wine, roasted garlic, and rosemary that works well on so many meat roasts.  So remember, before you drink it all, save some for the food!! :)

Note: If you know who to credit for the comic, please let me know and I'll add it! :)