Blog Archives for category Paleo Recipes
When we were little and in Capital “B” Big trouble, the big gun was called in for disciplinary purposes. The Capital “B” Big gun was my Dad. He’d come in from a long (long) day out in the barn, and really, the last thing he had was the mental energy to deal with my brother and I bickering over back car seat territory or my (alleged) smart mouth. Poor SUE!, at her witt’s end, she’d send us to sit on the hope chest at the end of my parents bed, and wait for him to come in for dinner and deal with us. I found myself sitting on that hope chest frequently.
But it brings up a good point, and one that people ask me about all the time: how do you get to that culinary zen where you don’t need to follow a recipe, and you can just wing it? Well, it’s not something you learn overnight, that’s for sure. But there are a few things you can do to tweak a recipe into a winner, salvage a broken dish, or anticipate what’s going to work and what’s not:
Now before you get all bent out of shape and protest to drinking spinach or kale at 7:00 in the morning, let me make one, very bold statement. I promise you, you will not taste it. Seriously. I’m telling you, I have no idea how it works, but somehow the spinach is cancelled out and it is all nutritional goodness and no vegetable taste. I love sneaking leafy greens in all sorts of food, because who doesn’t need more kale? But this spinach-in-the-smoothie is one pretty legit trick.
So I guess I can’t completely blame you, when you read the title: BEST THING I’VE EVER COOKED, and you are a little wary. I get it. I’ll chalk it up to consistent writing and pat myself on the back for the ability to keep you all coming back with (exaggerated) bated breath. But this time it’s not me. The designation of THE BEST THING I’VE EVER COOKED is completely (partially) unbiased, (mostly) unprompted, and (probably) warranted. Even divided by 60, this was still an above normal dinner.
Dinner Party Rock Star: Fish en Papillote – Maple Glazed Salmon with Bok Choy and Mustard Mashed Potatoes
Fish en papillote is a method of steaming fish in a parchment envelope. (“En papillote” means “in parchment” in french. Bonus points, now you’re throwing a FRENCH dinner party!) There are myriad reasons why this method is amazing, from juicy, succulent fish, to flavorful veggies, to a show-stopper table presentation that includes theatrical unwrapping of your own personal envelope of deliciousness.
But I stand by my assertion that once you cut up a raw chicken, everything else is a cake walk. We butchered, roasted, seared, sautéed, pan roasted, braised, and carved a whole chicken, then had a lovely little Atkins-friendly dinner party with our beaus. I pulled together this list for our meat-extravaganza, and maybe it has a tip or two in it that you might find useful. So, without further adieu, here are my Top 10 Tips for Perfectly-Cooked Meat…
I’ve tried sautéing it in a skillet, with a cast iron grill press on top. I baked it on a rack/baking sheet combo in the oven. I tried a non-stick skillet. A cast-iron frying pan. A stainless steel saute pan. They all yielded mediocre results. Somehow I never got that chewy, crispy, perfectly cooked and not too brown consistency. It was either too crispy, or too fatty, or both.
Of course I became friends with the Chef there, and he gave me a tour of his beautiful garden. We talked about what I liked to cook, and American markets, and how much comparable produce costs in the United States. He asked the english names of some of the plants he only knew in swahili, and I had to guess what some of the foreign bounty actually could be. He made this vegetable curry that will go down as one of my favorite food experiences – I’m quite sure – of my entire life.