Sorry for the radio silence. The Internet and phone have been down at my house for 3 days*. I finally figured out how to get online on my phone (I had to turn off the wifi) at home so I can now connect with the outer-world again. That said, I’m writing this blog post on my phone so I will just give you a sneak peek and fill in the details once I’m fully online again.
* Dear Comcast, you are NOT my friend. I do not like you. And no, I won’t go unplug my modem and hit the reset button for the umpteenth time. Send a technician. That is all.
Surf and Turf Paleo Style
Last night’s dinner was decidedly paleo. You might notice a salad trend at dinner lately. This is partially because it is summer, partially because it is so heatherly, and largely because my new found ability to eat raw plant matter thanks to eliminating grain and legumes entirely from my diet has me eating raw fruits and veggies every chance I get.
Last night I made a salad of butter lettuce, quick pickled red onions, canned Italian tuna, and capers, tossed in a dressing of olive oil and champagne vinegar. To beef up the meal I roasted butternut squash with olive oil, fresh torn sage and S+P.
I have always wanted to go to Buenos Aires. Last night I simply went to Star Market, purchased a pork roast and applied this Cooking Light Recipe to make a delicious paleo friendly dinner. I served it with side of zucchini and smothered everything in chimichurri and it was super flavorful. I can still taste the garlic though. Eat among good friends.
Here is a pic of the pork marinating:
Fridge Forage Dinner
My husband accuses me of loving all things Italian. I think because whenever there is nothing to make for dinner some sort of Italian dish always finds its way to our table. Or maybe because he’s right, I sort of fell in love with the country after two extended stays in my 20’s. In any case, I pulled together this modified caprese salad for dinner because really there wasn’t anything else in our larder.
That’s it. A simple heatherly meal.
I tried to recreate the salad Kristen and I shared for lunch at Reddwood in Yountville for my birthday for dinner. Kristen’s idea of replacing olives with capers in an earlier post was a good one. I recommend it. Here is how I assembled this very pleasing salad:
Place a single layer of bresaola (it should be lonza but this is what i had on hand and it worked nicely) on a plate. Top with dressed arugula (dressing was shallot/balsamic/olive oil/S&P). Pretty the arugula with bite size pieces of nectarines, peaches, cherries and buratta. Sprinkle with capers. Drizzle with more balsamic. Crack a little pepper and viola – Birthday Salad is ready to go.
I served this salad with a simple roast chicken and it was devoured by my sister, Sam and me. It meets the heatherly diet – which is paleo modified to include dairy and wine. Skip the buratta and its totally paleo, but not nearly as luscious.
As I mentioned, my hubby has a new toy which has dictated the direction our meals have taken over the last several days. Short of grilling pancakes (which, I’m sure is possible and will probably be tried at some point), we have grilled nearly everything else.
Grilled Harissa Chicken with Bok Choy Herb Salad and Ginger Carrots
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 4 T harissa paste (I used THIS Moroccan harissa which I found at Oasis Market on Telegraph)
- 4 T olive oil
- Salt to taste
Combine chicken, harissa, oil, and salt (if your harissa isn’t salty – mine was quite salty, so I didn’t add any extra salt) in a large bowl and marinate in the fridge 2-24 hours. Bring chicken to room temperature before grilling. Heat grill to medium (450ish) and grill pieces until done 20-25 minutes.
- 5 heads baby bok choy, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 cups shredded napa cabbage
- 3 persian cucumbers, sliced in half lengthwise and sliced into half moons
- 1/2 cup minced herbs (I used 3 parts mint, 1 part basil)
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 1 small thai red chili, VERY thinly sliced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 T fish sauce
- 1 T rice wine vinegar
- 1 t maple syrup
- 1 t sesame oil
Toss together all vegetables in salad bowl. Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your dressing. Shake your dressing. Just before serving, toss together salad & dressing.
- 1 bag trader joes shredded carrots (close your eyes and pretend they’re organic)
- 1″ piece fresh ginger, minced very finely
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T black sesame seeds
Heat olive oil in large frying pan. When oil is shimmering, add ginger and saute until fragrant -1 minute or so. Add carrots and stir until just beginning to wilt. Remove from heat and toss in sesame seeds. Can be served hot, cold, or room temperature.
Grilled Local Trout + Brassicas with Heirloom Tomatoes
I’ve recently heard the word “Brassica” thrown around in the foodie scene. Turns out it just seems to be a fun way to describe foods of the cabbage/broccoli family. Common types of brassica used for food include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and some types of seeds. We chose baby bok choy (because we had it left over from last night’s salad) and broccoli rabe (because it looked too good to pass up at Berkeley Bowl.) Just giving them a good seasoning of olive oil, salt & pepper was all we did to prepare the “brassicas” and the trout fillet before my hubby gave them a quick grill and plated them out over a canvas of thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes. Though the broccoli rabe was a slightly stronger flavor than maybe was prudent with the trout, all plates were licked clean.
Yesterday was a long work day for me so we decided to buckle and get grubby thai takeout. I am a sucker for green curry chicken, so we had that with a few veggie dishes. Because we are eating a Heatherly diet there was no rice, no peanut sauce and no tofu. Sam wouldn’t touch the chicken because we all know it wasn’t organic and free range. Which brings me to the most important message in this post:
WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE OPEN AN ORGANIC THAI RESTAUANT IN ROCKRIDGE THAT MAKES AUTHENTIC GRUBBY THAI FOOD. Thank you. I promise to be a regular customer.
The Old Gray Mare, she ain’t what she used to be
After nearly a decade our grill faced a slow death and finally kicked the bucket last week. (Oddly, our refrigerator nearly suffered the same fate until a savvy and kind ‘fridge repair guy helped us out – LMK if you need a recommendation!)
So, it was out with the old and in with the new. A new grill means that we’ll be grilling dinner until my husband tires of playing with his new toy.
Up to bat last night? Heritage pork ribs and arugula and stonefruit salad with a shallot/balsamic dressing. My hubby tried 2 ways of making the ribs: dry rub and st. louis style. They both cooked away on the grill for several hours (which we could previously not do because our old grill had only one setting: HOT) no doubt making the neighbors drool. A good friend of ours makes a mean dry rub mix and the Ancho blend was just the ticket for our ribs.
I’m still trying to duplicate the salad Heather and I had on her birthday and while last night’s try was good, I think I can do better. I served it with burrata (as it was at the restaurant), but it didn’t really add anything to the salad and I found the olives too tricky, so I plan to try switching them out for capers. Here’s the riff I plan to try next time:
Kale Salad with Peaches, Capers + Proscuitto with Shallot Balsamic Dressing
- 1 bag Trader Joe’s power greens (baby kale, spinach + chard)
- 2 ripe, but not falling apart peaches, cut into 3/4″ cubes
- 2 T capers
- 6 small chives, minced
- 1 package TJ’s proscuitto, baked and crisped in the oven and crumbled
Dressing: (last night I skipped the rice wine vinegar and added too much syrup for a heavy balsamic/honey mustard kind of dressing. My family loved it, but I prefer brighter flavors. This is what I’ll do next time.)
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 t maple syrup
- 1/2 t dijon mustard
- 4 T olive oil
- 1 small shallot, very finely minced
- salt & pepper to taste
I really should have taken a photo of the boys after they ate their ribs. Their faces were COVERED in barbeque sauce (we like Daddy Sam’s which is GF, but not Paleo). It was comical.
Duende in Oakland
Last night we went with some friends to Duende in Oakland for a lovely adult night out. Duende is Spanish/Basque and headed by Paul Canales. It’s a great spot and we thoroughly enjoyed the food, wine, & company.
I think, too, that I FINALLY figured out what to say to servers to explain my dining restrictions to them: “I cannot eat any gluten – it is not a diet thing, but a severe medical condition”. This simple sentence avoids the words celiac, gluten-intolerant, and allergy and was very effective and to the point. Try it sometime.
Sorry I forgot to photograph the rabbit/dungeness crab sausage I had. It was served over sliced heirloom tomatoes, steamed romano beans, and a subtle mustard sauce. My husband had goat meatballs that looked amazing, but were not GF.
Anyway, Duende has a great cocktail program. I had a variation on a Pimm’s cup. It was a little sweet for me, but delicious nonetheless: