April 8, 2013
I know what you’re thinking: fried chicken, HEALTHY?! How could something battered in flour and fried in oil be HEALTHY?!
Well, with the help of Charles Mayfield’s Paleo Comfort Foods, I successfully recreated this indulgent Southern dish without the extra guilt.
Even though this fried chicken is certainly healthier for you, it’s not something I recommend eating every single night. Save it for a once-in-a-while treat—it’ll make it all the more special.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with tinfoil. Place a wire rack on top and lightly grease it to prevent sticking.
Meanwhile, heat 1 1/3 cups of refined coconut oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Unrefined/extra virgin coconut oil will leave you with a coconut-y taste as well as splatter more, so save yourself the trouble.
In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup of almond flour with 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder, a good pinch of salt, and a crack of black pepper. In a medium bowl, lightly beat two eggs. You’re now ready to assemble the chicken.
First, dip each piece of chicken in the egg, then toss in the almond flour mixture to coat. I used about two pounds of drumsticks and thighs, but any chicken part will do.
When the oil’s hot (at about 350 degrees…although honestly, I didn’t check), add in the chicken. Watch out for sputtering grease! Cook until browned on the other side, about 3 to 4 minutes…
…then flip over with a long pair of tongs. Continue frying for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oil and place on the prepared wire rack/baking sheet. Bake on the top rack of the oven until cooked through and crispy, about 15 minutes.
To add some nutritive value to this meal, I made two delicious side dishes: carrot timbales (also courtesy of Paleo Comfort Foods) and braised red cabbage.
For starters, you’re going to need carrots. LOTS of carrots. I used a little over a pound, which yielded 4 6-ounce timbales.
Shred the carrots and 1 to 2 cloves of garlic. You can be old-school and use a box grater, or you can be
lazy like me and use a food processor.
Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large skillet over low heat. Add the carrots, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook until brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a little bit of water if it starts to stick.
Next, put the carrots in the bowl of a food processor or blender and add 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (go easy—nutmeg is VERY overpowering), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a big pinch of salt. Process or blend until completely smooth, adding more coconut milk if the carrots aren’t mixing nicely.
Add two eggs to the food processor or blender and process for 1 additional minute just to combine.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (Note: I baked the carrot timbales before the chicken.) Put some water to boil on the stove-top.
Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins with olive oil or coconut oil. Evenly distribute the carrot mixture among the 4 ramekins and place in a large roasting pan.
When the water is boiling, pour it into the roasting pan so it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins. (You don’t have to be exact—just don’t completely cover them!) Bake for 45 minutes, or until set and beginning to brown on top and around the edges.
To make the cabbage, heat up 1 tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of lard (yes, lard) in a large skillet on medium, then add 1 large thinly sliced onion. Saute until light golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Add 1 small head of red cabbage to the skillet. (You could also use savoy or nappa cabbage.) Add 4 tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, turn the heat down to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes. If the cabbage starts to dry out, add some more vinegar, water, or chicken stock.
Once the cabbage has softened a bit, season it well with salt and pepper. Add in one green apple, chopped into matchsticks, and stir it to incorporate. Cover the cabbage with a lid and cook until everything is tender, about another fifteen minutes longer.
Taste before serving, and add 1/4 cup orange juice if the cabbage seems bitter.
Voila—a flavorful, comforting meal that you CAN have. Don’t be ashamed to lick your fingers and scrape the plate!
What’s your favorite comfort food? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Tags: chicken, comfort food, delicious, healthy, paleo, vegetables
April 5, 2013
Roasting a whole chicken is great…but often, it leads to household warfare over who gets the juicy, flavorful dark meat and who’s stuck with the white meat.
With quail, everybody wins: each little bird has two legs and two wings to munch on. And—bonus—they take less than a half an hour to cook.
Of course, quail isn’t easy to find, but the search is definitely worth it. I got mine at our local butcher.
A note of caution: these little birds are often more skeleton than meat, so to avoid a pile of bones for dinner, try to buy them semi-boned.
To roast, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and grease a large glass roasting pan with olive oil or coconut oil. Dry the quails off with a paper towel, then place breast-side down in the pan. (They should be snug, but not overcrowded.) Season well with kosher salt and pepper.
Now, for the basting mixture, combine 1 tablespoon of melted ghee with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add 1 rounded tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 3 tablespoons of orange juice, and 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of raw honey. Stir well and adjust to taste.
Pour half of the basting mixture over the quails and evenly spread them with a brush.
Roast for 10 minutes, then remove the quails from the oven and baste with the remaining mixture. If the pan seems particularly dry, add 1/4 cup to 1/2 chicken broth around the edges. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes to finish cooking.
To serve, I recommend plopping this birdies whole down on the plate. Really, they’re best eaten with your hands, so get messy and dig in!
With the quail, I made possibly my favorite roasted vegetable ever: beets.
My dad, on the other hand, HATES beets, but claims mine are the best he’s ever eaten. I prepare them very simply so the sweet, earthy flavor shines through.
Preheat the oven to 450 and grease a large baking sheet with olive oil or coconut oil.
Roughly chop the beets into large chunks, about 3/4 inch wide. It doesn’t have to be exact—just make sure they’re all about the same size. I used about 1 1/2 pounds in total, somewhere around 8 medium beets.
Put the beets in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of your fat of choice. I usually use olive oil, but coconut oil is also a good choice. Whatever you select, make sure it isn’t too overpowering! Season the beets with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika, a large pinch of salt, and a good crack of black pepper. Mix to combine.
Spread the beets evenly on the greased baking sheet, and roast for 45 minutes. Check the beets every 10-15 minutes and give them a good stir. They’re done when they begin to crisp up around the edges and are tender, but still have a bite to them in the center.
I also made a green salad with raspberry vinaigrette. I’d provide the recipe, but as is the case with most of my salad dressings, it becomes more of a random science experiment than a set formula.
Aside from chicken, what’s your favorite kind of poultry/fowl? Let me know in a comment!
Tags: beets, delicious, dinner, healthy, paleo, quail, roasting
April 5, 2013
What’s not to love about lambs? They’re fuzzy, adorable…
Best of all, if you get the right cut, it can be on your weeknight dinnerplate with realitively little effort.
To achieve a defined flavor, I started the night before with a marinade. We had some deteriorating arugula in the fridge, so I decided to make a pesto.
In the food processor, I blended 2 cups of arugula, 1 large clove of garlic, a large handful (about 1/4 cup) of walnuts, and 1/3 cup of olive oil. This sauce is highly customizable—experiment with using basil or mint in place of the arugula and hazelnuts, pistachios, or macadamia nuts instead of the walnuts.
Then, I poured the pesto into a large ziploc bag with 1/3 cup of orange juice and added a little over 2 pounds of boneless leg of lamb. After sealing it up, I vigorously shook the bag to fully distribute the marinade. I marinated it in the fridge for about 18 hours, but anywhere from 2-24 hours should suffice. (The longer, the better—just don’t exceed a day.)
To cook, I heated the gas grill to about 450 degrees and put the lamb in the center. 7 minutes later, I flipped it over and let it cook for an additional 7 minutes. Ideally, you want to get the lamb to 125 degrees for somewhere between rare and medium rare.
Before eating, I covered the lamb with some tinfoil for about 10 minutes, then thinly sliced it to serve.
To go with our farmyard friend, I made an unusually interesting eggplant medley.
First, I heated a large skillet dry over medium-high heat and charred two eggplants on all sides until nearly blackened, about 20 minutes total.
While the eggplants cooled on a cutting board, I melted 1 tablespoon of organic refined coconut oil in the same skillet, then sauteed 1 medium red onion and 1 large red bell pepper with 1 large clove of crushed garlic.
Once the veggies were tender and beginning to brown, I poured them into a large bowl to cool.
Don’t worry, the eggplant was not forgotten! When it was near room temperature, I peeled off the charred skin and roughly chopped it into 1/2-inch-ish chunks. I added it to the onion, pepper, and garlic in the bowl and mixed it all up with a wooden spoon.
My favorite part was definitely the embellishments. To the bowl, I added 1 large handful of chopped walnuts (again, about 1/4 cup), the juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds, 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley, and a big pinch of paprika and cumin. I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.
And there you have it: a simple, tasty Middle-Eastern inspired dinner to impress your family, friends, and/or yourself! If you eat dairy, I highly recommend spooning some good quality yogurt onto your plate to dip everything in.
So, what do you like to marinate your meats in? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Tags: delicious, dinner, eggplant, food, grilling, healthy, lamb, Middle Eastern, paleo