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Archive for the ‘seafood’ Category

Cod with Bacon Sauce

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

During the description of this recipe, I will tell you how I screwed it up. I’m not perfect; some of my experiments are failures that range from minor to epic. This one was minor. This cod is not as good as it could be. I’ll tell you what I did wrong, and hopefully give you a couple of ways to avoid my pitfall.

I had a frozen package of cod that was 26 ounces. The recipe I was using as a base to kick this off called for 16-20 ounces. If you just have a pound of cod, fry up 4 strips of bacon to start. If you have more, like I did, fry up 6. Get them nice and crispy, then drain them on paper towels and set them aside.

Here’s where I went wrong. The original recipe said to dredge the cod in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I figured coconut flour would work best in this application. I was totally wrong; it just got soggy. No crisp at all. Thankfully, everything else tastes so good that this wasn’t too big of a deal. So either skip that step completely and just cook the cod in the bacon grease with a tablespoon of ghee added for 2-3 minutes per side, or until it flakes easily with a fork, or dredge in almond flour instead of coconut.

When the fish is done, remove it from the pan and keep it warm. Remove the grease and wipe the pan clean. Return it to the heat and melt four tablespoons of ghee. Thinly slice an entire bunch of green onions, the green and white parts, and cook the white parts in the ghee for two minutes, then add the green parts and cook for another 2-3 minutes. While that’s cooking, crumble the reserved bacon. When the green onions are done, add the crumbled bacon, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and a tablespoon and a half of capers. Whisk it a few times to combine, then serve it on top of the cod.

This was actually really yummy. I just wish I hadn’t used coconut flour.

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Sausage and Crawfish Jambalaya

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

The saga of cleaning out the fridge before the cow is ready (on the 18th, yikes!) continues. This weekend, among other things, I thawed out a pound of crawfish. There are exactly three things that should be made when one has a pound of crawfish, and all of them are Cajun. Today, I decided to make a version of jambalaya, using cauliflower rice. Tomorrow, it might be étouffée (Paleo Comfort Foods has a great version), or maybe gumbo.

The first thing you’ll want is a pound of pre-cooked andouille sausage. Wellshire makes a good brand with minimal fillers. If you don’t like spicy, you can sub some cubed chicken breast–just make sure to cook it in some fat, as you’ll need it later. For the sausage, you can simply slice and fry. Use a big pot, because this is a two-pot meal and it’ll all end up in this one eventually.

When the sausage slices are brown, add one diced onion, one diced green pepper, and two large stalks of celery, also diced. There should be enough rendered grease from the sausage to cook them in. If not, add some fat of choice. When the veggies have softened, add some garlic (four or five cloves, minced) and cook for another minute or so. Then add a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, a 6-ounce can of tomato paste, three cups of chicken stock, a tablespoon of Creole seasoning, two teaspoons of chili powder, a few pinches of salt, a half-teaspoon of dried thyme, and cayenne and black pepper to taste. Let this simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat up a tablespoon or two of oil. In that, sweat a small minced onion, a diced green pepper, and a minced shallot. When they are soft and the onion and shallot are starting to turn golden, add a head of grated cauliflower. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. Stir in a tablespoon of Creole seasoning. If your seasoning is salt-free, add salt to taste.

By this point, hopefully your jambalaya is done. Add a pound of crawfish tails to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower rice and serve.

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Buffalo grilled shrimp

Monday, May 28th, 2012

We have a half-cow coming sometime in July, so we have to clear out our freezer to make room for it. Memorial Day means grilling, so Husband suggested surf and turf, with steaks and some frozen gulf shrimp. And Buffalo grilled shrimp is both delicious and really, really easy.

Three ingredients. Peeled shrimp, Frank’s Red Hot (or your favorite hot pepper sauce, but Frank’s is traditional), and grassfed butter or ghee. Put the shrimp on skewers, and grill them until they’re cooked, turning and basting with a mixture of equal parts Frank’s and melted butter. If you want them spicier, do a 2:1 ratio instead.

Tonight I served these alongside sirloin steak with garlic scape butter, and roasted broccoli.

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Crab and fried green tomato salad

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Today, thanks to my in-laws borrowing the preschooler for the day, we got a lot of work done around the house. For the couple of hours before they took her off on a grand adventure, I took her to the farmer’s market. At one booth, four lovely green tomatoes glowed at me like the Holy Grail of produce. I had to buy them. I knew my husband was at home chopping and stacking firewood in 90-degree weather (because really, what better time to do it?) and he’d be working up an appetite. But he’d also be hot and sweaty and wouldn’t want to eat anything hot or heavy. I recalled a fried green tomato and dungeness crab appetizer at a restaurant we’d gone to in Seattle, and I knew we had a couple of cans of crabmeat in the fridge. An idea was born.

First, since I’d just bought a bunch of cool new oils, I decided that I wanted a mayonnaise-based crab salad. First, I drained a one-pound can of wild-caught crabmeat, to which I added three diced stalks of celery and half a diced green bell pepper (red or yellow would make the salad more colorful). Stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt, pepper to taste, and a bit of Old Bay if you like. I made my homemade mayonnaise with some avocado oil along with the safflower and olive oil. I used four rounded tablespoons of mayo in the salad, and finally added a few healthy glugs of Tabasco sauce. And back into the fridge it went.

For the fried green tomatoes, I didn’t mess with perfection. I used the wonderful recipe from Paleo Comfort Foods, altering it only to use a different kind of chili pepper, since I didn’t have chipotle. Just look at those beauties!

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To plate it, just pile your crab salad on top of whatever greens and veggies you prefer, then put the fried green tomato slices around it. I put some chèvre crumbles on the tomatoes because I’m not dairy-averse, but it would be delicious without them.

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Scallops with Shiitake Sauce (and Chocolate Avocado Pudding)

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Today was a gorgeous day–one of those foggy late spring mornings that clears to a lovely, warm, sunny afternoon. I got a text from my husband that we absolutely needed to eat dinner outside on the back patio. Thankfully, I’d planned to make something that would go well outside and in. I am working my way through a freezer full of seafood to make room for a side of beef in July, so scallops it was. And I had some shiitake mushrooms from our organic produce delivery service, Green Bean Delivery. Some googling around and I had a plan.

First off, even the best scallops are likely going to be treated with a saline solution that makes them really difficult to sear. It also gives them an off taste. So unless you’re lucky enough to get dry scallops fresh off the boat, you’re going to want to brine them. For two pounds of scallops, soak them in a mixture of a quart of water, two tablespoons of salt, and a quarter-cup of lemon juice for 30 minutes. After that, put them on a plate between paper towels (I use 10) with a weight on top for another 30 minutes.

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While they’re soaking and draining, get your veggies prepped. I served these over zucchini noodles. Using a mandoline slicer or julienne peeler, cut zucchini into thin strips. Once you start to see the seeds, stop. This bowl is the end result of five medium zucchini.

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Prep your shiitake mushrooms. You’ll want to cut off the stems if yours came with them, as they’re pretty woody. You’ll want to end up with about this much, which will yield about two cups when sliced.

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Finely mince a shallot until you have about two tablespoons of them. Set them aside with the mushrooms. You’ll also want 3/4 cups of sparkling white wine (I used vinho verde, because it’s what I had on hand), a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a pinch of dried tarragon, two pinches of kosher salt, and 1/3 cup of sour cream.

Now you’re ready to cook. In a large Dutch oven, heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Put your zucchini strips in the coconut oil, and your scallops, which will likely require 2 batches, in the skillet. The zucchini will just need to stir until it takes on the texture of cooked pasta, at which point you can salt it to taste and add a bit of Parmesan or garlic if you want. The scallops should sear for about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.

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When the scallops are done, put them on a plate. Add the shiitakes and shallots and sauté them for three minutes or so, until the mushrooms release their liquid and it evaporates.

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Add the wine, Dijon, tarragon, and salt. Scrape up all the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Let it boil a bit, then turn the heat all the way down to low and whisk in the sour cream. Serve scallops with the sauce over the zucchini noodles and enjoy a nice spring evening.

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For dessert (and I apologize for getting no pictures of this), I had an avocado to use up, so I decided to finally experiment with chocolate avocado pudding. It really couldn’t be easier. For two adults and a preschooler, you’ll want to blend together one ripe avocado with two tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond), 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of kosher salt. Once it’s blended, put it in your ramekins or bowls and stick it in the fridge until it’s ready to eat.

Grain-free Game of Thrones: Tully Trout

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Can’t believe the finale of Game of Thrones is already here. This has been the fastest ten weeks ever. Tonight’s meal was grilled bacon-wrapped trout stuffed with lemon and sage, in honor of what I hope will be the debut of Riverrun tonight.

You’ll want one trout per person. Whole trout, butterflied and deboned as much as possible. Head-on if you can, although it’s certainly not necessary. To prepare it, first open it like a book. Brush the inside down with olive oil, then sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Put in some thin lemon slices and sage leaves–I find that four of each will fit pretty well without too much of a struggle.

stuffed trout

Close it up and wrap it with bacon, then use toothpicks or small wooden skewers to secure the bacon in place. If you use toothpicks, you may want to pierce it through with a metal skewer and then put the toothpick inside the hole, because the fish skin may be too tough for the toothpicks to withstand.

bacon trout

Grill them on medium-high direct heat for five or six minutes per side. Be careful for flare-ups from the bacon grease dripping on the coals!

grilling trout

Once the bacon is done, so is the trout. We served it with a small green salad.

look I'm eating a face!

Paleo Father’s Day Brunch

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

brunch

Clockwise from top: Celery root “hash browns,” crabcake eggs Benedict, and sausage gravy and biscuits.

This was a really fabulous brunch–had it at 10 AM and was really not very hungry even when dinner rolled around.

The hash browns were amazing. I’ve really missed breakfast potatoes since I made the switch to a Primal diet, and these were amazingly good. The celery root shredded right up in the food processor, and they cooked into a wonderful soft texture that I’ve never really managed to pull off with actual potatoes. Cook them a bit longer than the recipe calls for–I gave them an extra five minutes per side and still didn’t get them as crispy as I could have. Otherwise, they’re dead easy–shredded celery root, salt, and pepper, fried in whatever oil you prefer–I used ghee. My mother-in-law couldn’t tell that they weren’t potatoes.

The sausage gravy and biscuits I made from this Robb Wolf recipe. About the only thing I did differently was omit the fennel in the gravy, used tapioca flour instead of arrowroot powder, and beat the egg whites into soft peaks for the biscuits (I shouldn’t have bothered–it took so much stirring to incorporate all the coconut flour that it deflated them completely). I’ll keep searching for a better biscuit recipe. The gravy was really good, though–couldn’t tell that it was dairy-free at all!

I’ve made crab cakes on here before–they’re one of those things that I make a little differently every time. The standard is crabmeat + egg + almond flour + green onions + Old Bay + salt and pepper. Sometimes I use a little bit of diced celery or celery seed. I fried them in olive oil for about 5 minutes per side, and then put them in the oven at 200 degrees on a cookie sheet to keep warm along with the hash browns while I made the rest of the meal. To make the Benedict, I made hollandaise sauce using my stick blender. Put 3 room temperature egg yolks in the beaker, and top with the rest of the ingredients. Put the barely-melted butter in last, let it settle for about 15 seconds, then whiz it with the stick blender until it’s smooth. You can do this in a regular blender or food processor too, but I prefer the stick blender version. You’ll want this to be the last thing you do for the meal, because if it cools off too much it’s really not very good, and it can’t be reheated. To plate it up, top a crab cake with a poached or fried egg, then pour the hollandaise over it.

Crab, Avocado, and Mandarin Orange Salad

Monday, June 6th, 2011

There are some nights where I get stuck late at work, and I’m always scrambling to put something on the table for dinner that doesn’t take forever. And when it’s 90 degrees outside, you don’t want to do a frittata and heat up the whole kitchen. Today was one of those days. About halfway through my work day, when I had a moment to think and plan, I realized I had a container of crabmeat in the fridge. Costco had a good deal on wild-caught lump crabmeat a few months ago, and as the containers keep in the fridge for months, I bought two. One remained, and I decided to try to mimic a favorite appetizer of mine from McCormick and Schmick’s, a blue crab, mango, and avocado tower. I didn’t have mango, but I knew I had mandarin oranges, so I did some Googling around for a dressing recipe I could use as a base and went from there.

I started with this salad dressing recipe, only leaving out the poppy seeds. Definitely use oranges packed in water rather than any sort of syrup–you can get those at Whole Foods. I added about a quarter to a third of the finished dressing to a well-drained one-pound container of lump crabmeat, just enough to moisten it well and get a little of the flavor into it. Do this in a bowl, and keep the can the crabmeat came in–you’ll use it later. Coarsely chop two ripe avocados.

Since the dressing only calls for half the oranges in the can, save the other half. Pack half of the crabmeat back into the can as firmly as you can get it. Top the crab with half of the saved oranges, then top that with half the chopped avocado. Invert the can onto a plate–if you’re lucky, it’ll keep its tower form. Pour additional dressing around the tower on the plate. Do this again with the other half of the ingredients to make the second serving.

You can do this with ripe mango instead of oranges if you have them. I can attest from having the McCormick and Schmick version that it’s good that way too.

crab avocado tower

Plank Grilled Salmon with Ramp Pesto and Roasted Sunchokes

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Today was the first farmer’s market of the year. I look forward to this day to a ridiculous degree, and very rarely does it live up to my expectations, as there’s just not too much in season right now. But this year? AWESOME. I found a bunch of stuff I rarely ever see, including the world’s most perfect ramps. Ramps, for those of you who don’t know, are a wild spring onion, also referred to as wild leeks, even though they look nothing like the leeks you’re familiar with. If you can only find the bulbs, use them in the same way you’d use garlic. If you’re lucky enough to find them with the leaves still attached, they look like this.

fresh ramps

Whole wild ramps make awesome pesto. Take 10-15 of them. Remove the bulbs and chop them coarsely. Chop the stems and leaves coarsely as well. Make a pile of bulbs, a pile of stems, and a pile of leaves.

cut ramps

Over medium heat, saute the bulbs only in olive oil for about two minutes, until they start to brown a bit. Add the stems and saute it for another minute, then add the leaves and saute until wilted, about another minute more.

cooked ramps

Put them in the food processor with about a half cup of toasted walnuts or pine nuts. Pulse a few times. Add a half-cup of Parmesan cheese and a pinch of Kosher salt. Pulse again a few times. Slowly add a half-cup of olive oil, pulsing occasionally. You don’t want it to be a puree–you want some chunkiness to it.

ramp pesto

Sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes (which are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem), are a nice low-starch tuber. They’re ugly as hell, though, and they supposedly make you quite flatulent, although I ate mine about 3 hours ago and have yet to get that particular symptom. You can eat them raw or cooked–they’re quite versatile. To roast them, start with two pounds. Peel half of them, and leave the skins on the other half–you’ll want to scrub those with a sponge under warm water to get all the dirt off. Cut them in bite-size chunks.

sunchokes

Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. I did mine for 30 but they could have gone 10 more minutes and been a bit creamier. But like I mentioned, you can eat them raw, so it’s not like they’re gross if they come out a little undercooked.

For the planked salmon, heat your grill to about 450 degrees. Soak an alder or cedar plank in water for at least an hour. I let mine soak for most of the afternoon. When your grill is ready, put the plank on it for 10 minutes, lid down. Flip the plank and put your salted and peppered salmon filets on it, skin side down. A standard-size plank should fit 4 salmon filets–if you’re making more than that, you’ll need more planks. Close the lid again, and let the salmon cook on the plank for 12 minutes. Remove promptly. The skin should stick to the plank, leaving a nice soft salmon filet to put on your plate.

Serve it with ramp pesto and the sunchokes. Eat it outside, take a bite before you take a picture, and marvel at the new leaves, the birds and sunshine, and all the bounties of another wonderful spring.

salmon sunchokes pesto

Speaking of the bounties of another spring, tomorrow I’ll show you the morels.

Scallops with Sakura Sauce

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

First off, this is not a recipe for anyone who is trying to lose weight. As Cookie Monster would say, Scallops with Sakura Sauce is “sometimes food!” Why am I making it? Because it’s my birthday, that’s why! Well, yesterday was my birthday, but I was too busy to make it yesterday.

This recipe is borne from much experimentation. It is my absolute favorite thing to get at the Japanese Steakhouse here in town–seared hibachi scallops covered in a thick, savory egg-yolk based sauce. Total heart attack on a plate, but hey, it’s pretty much Paleo, minus one ingredient that’s somewhat borderline.

Start off with making the sauce. You’ll want to make some homemade mayonnaise, but do NOT use olive oil–it totally throws off the flavor. I also used rice wine vinegar instead of the standard white wine vinegar I use in normal mayonnaise. My oils were 3/4 cup walnut oil, 1/2 cup high oleic safflower oil, and 1/4 cup light sesame oil. I also added about half a tablespoon of wheat-free soy sauce instead of salt. Once the mayonnaise is made, add two or three more egg yolks to it, along with a tablespoon of white miso paste. It should be stiff and pale yellow and look something like this:
sakura sauce
Put your sauce in the fridge until you’re ready to make the scallops. For the scallops, heat up some butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. If you use frozen scallops, make sure they are drained well and patted dry–any extra liquid will make this recipe not as good. Also, make sure not to crowd your pan. I did it in batches.
searing scallops
Sear the scallops for two minutes, then take them out of the pan and put them on a plate, seared side up. Repeat until all your scallops are cooked.
seared scallops
Put them back in the pan, seared side up. It’s okay if you crowd the pan now–you’ll want them all in there. Top them with the Sakura sauce and lower the heat to medium-low, then put a lid on the pan.
scallops with sakura sauce
Cook for 3-4 more minutes, until the sauce starts to brown around the edges but the top is still glossy. Serve immediately with stir-fried vegetables–it’s best with mung bean sprouts and a mixture of zucchini, summer squash, and shiitake mushrooms. I didn’t do it with the latter this time, because it’s my birthday and I’m lazy.
served scallops
It’s not pretty, but it’s damned good.