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Shhhh … Listen! Do You Hear the Sound of Sous Vide?

Roast Beef

Roast Beef

No. You can’t hear the sound of sous vide because it’s silent. And powerful. And will transform the way you cook … especially proteins. Never again will you worry about what temperature is right for chicken, beef, pork or seafood. There’s no carry over cooking, so the temperature you prefer for your steak, for example, is guaranteed to be rare, medium rare, or even medium well if that’s the way you like it.

What’s this all about anyway? If you aren’t familiar with sous vide, I’ve had several weeks to use mine and it is a revelation. I’ll take you through the process using the humble chuck roast to produce two different dishes. The cut of meat is the same. The time and temperature varies between roast beef (a fraction of the cost of a rib roast) and a typical pot roast braised on the stovetop or in the oven (think luxurious and fabulous flavor).

Many months ago, the cool folks at ChefSteps.com announced a crowdfunding campaign to support their sous vide cooker, Joule. The video on the Joule link is super. As an early adopter, there was a deep discount on the unit and like many such projects getting off the ground, there were some considerable delays past the anticipated ship date. No matter. It’s part of the adventure of helping great products launch. Now you can order Joule here and here.

It used to be that sous vide was a strictly restaurant technique. The equipment was massively expensive and a rig costs in the plus $1,000 range. But sous vide (which is French for under vacuum) was actually invented for home cooks to make their dishes reliably delicious. It didn’t take off as a home appliance largely due to the high cost. But restaurant chefs love it because a steak can be sitting happily in medium-rare 130 degree F water, waiting for a patron to order it and the chef to sear and sauce it at the last minute. Faster service, exact degree of doneness and satisfaction all around.

Like many electronic devices from cell phones to smart TVs, early incarnations of inventions are massively expensive, but if you wait it out, the price plummets. Even a year ago, top-rated sous vide cookers like the Anova were $300. Now on Amazon.com, the price is around $150 and during Amazon Prime Day, it was $99! So the technology is at the point that it is practical for a cook whose kitchen is well-equipped. Makes a great present!

I have to give a shout out to Nomiku as well. This dynamic duo couple—chef and physics dude—toured the country teaching tekkies how to build a DIY sous vide cooker after the chef was dazzled by the ones in her professional kitchens. After time they decided to engineer a cooker that didn’t need a blueprint to construct. And their cookbook, is a gorgeous collection of restaurant-worthy dishes you can make even if you don’t have a degree from a cooking school.

This is the set-up you use for whatever brand of sous vide cooker you have:

Joule Sous Vide Set-up

Joule Sous Vide Set-up

A deep pot to submerge your cooker and your food.

While vacuum sealing your ingredients is ideal, you can also use a ZipLock freezer bag (but not the kind with a slider). The ZipLock freezer bag is safe to use with food in this application, and strong enough for the normal cooking times. If your roast is going to cook for more than 12 hours (I have a pastrami cooking away for 48 hours) then you really should use the vacuum sealer bags. I had a Food Saver on the shelf that I really didn’t use for its intended purpose (freezing food) but I use it now at least every other day. But you can simply add your ingredients to the sous vide bag, lower it into the water and secure the top to the side of the pot with clips, as shown in this video. I’ve made several versions of chuck roast over the last few weeks. The one below was not seared, and I didn’t remove the fat deposits. Not searing the roast didn’t markedly change the flavor, but the chunks of fat were unsightly, so I take them out now when I made roast beef. Because of the higher temperature for a pot roast, it isn’t as noticeable, so I don’t bother with the trimming.

 

Chuck Roast in Sous Vide Bag

Chuck Roast in Sous Vide Bag

For long cooking times, I found these ping pong balls on Amazon which cover the water surface and minimize evaporation. You could use aluminum foil over the top, too.

Sous Vide Joule with "cover"

Sous Vide Joule with “cover”

Once the roast is seasoned and bagged, choose your temperature. I set the sous vide for 135 degrees F for the roast beef and cooked it sous vide for 48 hours, and for the pot roast I used 160 degrees F. and 24 hours. I seared the pot roast in a skillet as well prior to sealing it up. The roast beef was company worthy and is rib roast quality at a fraction of the price. The pot roast was succulent and tender with loads of juice for gravy.

Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast

Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast

To accompany the roast, I’ve got a salad that was instantly dubbed Klaatu Burrata Nikto by Harris and Linds. #scifinerds I started out using the traditional caprese salad ingredients, but found the textures too similar. Over time I’ve added various items. Right now I like thinly shaved fennel, sliced green olives, cucumber as well as tomatoes. For lunch and this photo I also added some thin-sliced ham. Burrata is a mozzarella shell with creamy, soft stracciatella inside. Stracciatella used in this sense is a riff on traditional Italian ice creams or soup. Currently it’s Harris’s hands-down favorite salad. He prefers lettuce-free salads, I’ve recently discovered. While this recipe is not paleo, it is primal, so if you’re down with dairy, it’s all good.

Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad

Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad

The playlist features this year’s Grammy nominees and as usual, Louisiana is well represented. Enjoy!

Roast Beef
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Sous Vide Chuck Roast Two Ways
Sous Vide Chuck Roast Two Ways
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Servings Prep Time
8servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8servings 10 minutes
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For the roast beef
  1. Remove the large fat deposits from the roast. You'll have to cut into the roast here and there to do this, but don't cut pieces from the roast. You could leave the fat in, but the presentation at serving isn't as nice. Using twine, pack the meat into a roast shape and tie at intervals to maintain the shape. Continue to the searing.
For either roast
  1. For either roast, heat the oil or ghee in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the seasoned roast and brown on all sides 3-4 minutes per side.
For the roast beef
  1. Fill a large stock pot 2/3 full and submerge sous vide cooker as directed by your cooker's directions. Set cooker temperature to 130 F for medium rare or 140 for medium. You can also set the temperature for higher or lower for your preferred doneness. Cook for 48 hours, checking periodically to be sure the water level hasn't decreased. Add water as necessary to maintain level. The temperature will quickly return to the temperature you've set.Joule Sous Vide Set-up
  2. Add roast to sous vide bag and seal or lower opened bag into the pot with the sous vide bag open. Secure top of bag with clips to the side of the pot to keep water from getting into the bag. Sealed bag can just be lowered into the water.
For the pot roast
  1. After searing the roast, lower heat to medium and add chopped onion. Sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add broth and wine and cook for 5 minutes, scraping up browned drippings. Add roast and onions to sous vide bag and seal or lower opened bag into the pot with the sous vide bag open. Secure top of bag with clips to the side of the pot to keep water from getting into the bag. Sealed bag can just be lowered into the water.
  2. Fill a large stock pot 2/3 full and submerge sous vide cooker as directed by your cooker's directions. Set cooker temperature to 160 F. Cook for 24 hours, checking periodically to be sure the water level hasn't decreased. Add water as necessary to maintain level. The temperature will quickly return to the temperature you've set.Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast
For either roast
  1. Remove roast from the sous vide bag, carefully retaining the juices. Pat the roast dry. If desired, heat 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and sear roast on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove to cutting board and cover with aluminum foil.
  2. Make gravy by adding juices to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce the juices for 2-5 minutes, taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve, slicing the roast against the grain. Pass the gravy separately.
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad This embellished variation on a caprese salad is a melange creamy, crisp, juicy textures and flavors. It may not make the earth stand still, but it sure is good.
Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad This embellished variation on a caprese salad is a melange creamy, crisp, juicy textures and flavors. It may not make the earth stand still, but it sure is good.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Ingredients
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  1. Distribute vegetables and ham evenly among 4 servings dishes. Nestle burrata half on top of vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
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Creole Shakshuka

Creole Shakshuka

Creole Shakshuka

It’s pretty hot in south Louisiana and sometimes a salad for supper doesn’t cut it. But I wanted something fresh and lively. I don’t do breakfast except for coffee. Occasionally I’ll have what amounts to brunch on the weekends, but I love eggs and thought of this dish for dinner. Tunisian in origin, shakshuka is a tomato and bell pepper sauce that has eggs poached in it. While nice on it’s own, I wanted to make it more substantial. So I added some fabulous smoked deer sausage from Kartchner’s and creolized the seasonings. If you haven’t been to Kartchner’s in Krotz Springs, it’s so worth a trip! The boudin is amazing. And the cracklin’s are the best; I refer to them as paleo pig candy. 🙂

Eggs, tomatoes and herbs

Eggs, tomatoes and herbs

If there is a more versatile ingredient than an egg, I don’t know what it is. Eggs can be hard boiled, scrambled, fried, poached, and shirred. If you separate the yolks and whip the whites, eggs are magically transformed into soufflés and meringues. A wonder of nutritional goodness, eggs have regained their place in the hall of fame of good real foods. And compared to other nutrient-dense ingredients, eggs are cheap. I’d like to think that paleo peeps are a strong reason that eggs are once again recognized for their contribution to health. And one of our goals is to have more grassfed and pastured options in our kitchens. If you don’t have yard birds of your own, or can’t make it to the farmers market, don’t despair, the good news is free-range eggs may become more available. And make this egg recipe! It’s delicious.

To accompany the shakshuka, I thought creamy avocados and bright, fresh citrus would be welcome. So I’ve paired the egg dish with a grapefruit and avocado salad.

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

New music this week … dance, dine and enjoy!!

Creole Shakshuka
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Creole Shakshuka
Creole Shakshuka: quick and easy for weeknight supper, or the star of your next brunch. Paleo, gluten free, low carb and delicious.
Creole Shakshuka
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Creole Shakshuka: quick and easy for weeknight supper, or the star of your next brunch. Paleo, gluten free, low carb and delicious.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 25minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
25minutes
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  1. Over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet, add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage to a plate and reserve.
  2. Add olive oil to now empty skillet and add onion. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and celery and continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and roasted peppers. Season to taste. Bring to a rapid simmer and lower heat to medium low. Return sausage to skillet and combine.
  3. Crack eggs into the tomato sauce, leaving a bit of room around each eggs. Cover and simmer until egg whites are set and yolks are desired consistency, about 5 minutes for runny yolks. Garnish with parsley and green onions.
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Grapefruit Avocado Salad
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Grapefruit Avocado Salad
Juicy pink grapefruit and luscious avocado with a refreshing citrus dressing combine into a perfect summer salad.
Grapefruit Avocado Salad
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Juicy pink grapefruit and luscious avocado with a refreshing citrus dressing combine into a perfect summer salad.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
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Instructions
  1. Make dressing: combine lime juice, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Distribute baby spinach on salad plates. Alternate grapefruit sections and avocado slices on top of spinach. Drizzle with dressing.Grapefruit Avocado Salad
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Blackberry Ice Cream

Harris’s garden is bursting with early summer fruits and vegetables. It’s so amazing to wander around the yard and into the greenhouse and “make groceries” as they say around here. I found tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and Harris froze quarts of blackberries, dewberries and other berries that I used for this week’s menu. The ice cream is paleo and I’m serving it at the Whole Foods demo next week along with my recipe for Chocolate Almond Cake, also paleo, but without the sea foam frosting. Cake and ice cream is natural pair and icing would be too much of a good thing.

Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream

Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream

I found the Bloody Mary Steak Salad on Food52.com. As soon as I read the ingredients, I knew it was a winner. The recipe was created by Ali Slagle. She said to thank her later, and I did. I changed up the recipe a bit by adding olive oil to the dressing, cucumber and avocado. What a nice break from a lettuce-heavy salad.

Bloody Mary ingredients: the base for a vibrant salad.

Bloody Mary ingredients: the base for a vibrant salad.

The rich, delicious steak married perfectly with the raw, salty, creamy and crunchy vegetable elements. And the dressing has all the punch of a Bloody Mary … which would be a great accompaniment, if you’re so inclined.

"Steak" your claim to a fabulous summer meal.

“Steak” your claim to a fabulous summer meal.

This salad is versatile. Chicken would be amazing, as well as cooked shrimp.

Cooked shrimp is a seafood alternative to the steak.

Cooked shrimp is a seafood alternative to the steak.

New tunes for a summer day. Hope you enjoy.

"Steak" your claim to a fabulous summer meal.
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Bloody Mary Steak Salad
Adapted from Ali Slagle's recipe on Food52.com, this Bloody Mary Steak Salad is as delicious as it is versatile.
Bloody Mary Steak Salad
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Adapted from Ali Slagle's recipe on Food52.com, this Bloody Mary Steak Salad is as delicious as it is versatile.
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
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  1. In a small bowl add the vinegars, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, celery salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Whisk in olive oil.
  2. Slice the steak into bite-sized pieces (after resting from grill). Drizzle with dressing and toss, coating well.
  3. On a large platter add the remaining ingredients. Add the sliced steak. Toss, adding more dressing as desired. Serve immediately.
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Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
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Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
Use any type of berry for this Blackberry Ice Cream. Cooking the purée changes the taste from fresh and bright to rich and smooth.
Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
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Use any type of berry for this Blackberry Ice Cream. Cooking the purée changes the taste from fresh and bright to rich and smooth.
Ingredients
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Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Mash the berries well or purée in food processor. Strain through a mesh sieve placed over a bowl, and using a plastic scraper press as much pulp as possible through the sieve. Scrape the underside of the sieve occasionally to remove the purée to the bowl. Set aside.
  2. Use the purée as is or place in a small sauce pan and bring to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid is syrupy and thick, 10-12 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl add coconut cream and coconut milk (don't refrigerate either of these prior to using, the cream gets very hard). Add the blackberry purée and remaining ingredients. Taste for sweetness, adding more honey to taste if desired. Refrigerate until cold.
  4. Place blackberry mixture in ice cream machine. Process according to machine directions. Place in lidded container and freeze.
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Paleo Fried Chicken and Paleo Strawberry Shortcake

Paleo Fried Chicken: a basket of nourishing, delicious Southern Comfort.

Paleo Fried Chicken: a basket of nourishing, delicious Southern Comfort.

Y’all. When it comes to Southern comfort, fried chicken is king. And for paleo peeps, it’s so hard to turn down the old favorite. But we know better. And now we have it all: perfectly seasoned, juicy chicken in a crackling crisp coating that will satisfy all your fried chicken dreams.

Crispy, crackly Paleo Fried Chicken!

Crispy, crackly Paleo Fried Chicken!

It’s been a long journey to put this recipe together. But I think once you’ve made and tasted this most excellent version, it will be your go-to favorite. It started while I was watching a chefsteps.com video about their best fried chicken. Chefsteps is cuckoo for sous vide cooking. And rightfully so. Here’s the video to see what got my wheels turning. But a sous vide set up isn’t a common kitchen tool, and I wanted to find a way to make the idea accessible to all. Having the chicken already perfectly cooked and then frying the chicken for only a couple of minutes made sense for several reasons.

Now Cook’s Illustrated has a recipe in this month’s magazine for Lemon Chicken that uses the technique of sautéing the bird pieces until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp, then finishing the cooking in the oven. I made sure to cook the white meat only to 160 degrees F., and the dark parts to 170. Even though the chicken’s final fry is a mere minutes, I didn’t want the chicken to be overcooked. I also used two methods before the fry: one batch of chicken had just come out of the oven and I let it cool down on the counter for about 20 minutes, so it wouldn’t be screaming hot when I put it in the batter. The other batch I’d cooked the day before and refrigerated. I also put it out on the counter, in this case, so it would come up in temperature and not be stone cold. Both worked beautifully.

Paleo Fried Chicken: the first sear.

Paleo Fried Chicken: the first sear.

There’s no standing over three quarts of hot grease for upwards of 30 minutes per batch, and since healthy oils are not cheap,  there’s no need to spend a lot of money on this homey dish. Because you’re only cooking the coating, you only need about a cup and a half of coconut oil (you could also use lard … ummm …. yum!) And it only takes 2-3 minutes per side to achieve crackly perfection.

Ready to batter and fry.

Ready to batter and fry.

So then onto the batter.

This coating leads to Paleo Fried Chicken greatness!

This coating leads to Paleo Fried Chicken greatness!

One of the drawbacks to paleo cooking can be using substitute ingredients for things like wheat flour. Alternative flours often taste like their origin: coconut and almond for example. And these flavors can be very welcome in certain preparations, but truthfully, fried chicken isn’t one of them. Enter the master geeks at America’s Test Kitchen. A few months ago they published a paleo cookbook, Paleo Perfected. There are 150 recipes, most of which are not new approaches to paleo dishes. Scrambled eggs with sausage and peppers, bison chili, pan-roasted chicken with zucchini and tomatoes … these are pretty basic and common. But the few recipes that address flour-based favorites, are what I wanted to explore. And the fried chicken batter delivers in spades.

The downside to the America’s Test Kitchen recipe is that they don’t use whole chicken parts. It’s a recipe for chicken fingers. And let’s face it. That’s okay for kids, but real deal fried chicken means bones and skin. By combining chefsteps idea of pre-cooking, and using Cook’s Illustrated’s sauté and roasting method, plus their paleo batter, I think I’ve got the fried chicken hat trick.

Keep the coconut oil around 375 degrees F.

Keep the coconut oil around 375 degrees F.

Let the crispiness begin!

Let the crispiness begin!

There is just a hint of almond flavor that pretty much disappears after the first couple of bites. And unlike other paleo coatings and batters I’ve tried, this one is actually crunchy. It was still crunchy at room temperature and I re-warmed a few pieces for lunch the next day and the crispiness was all there. Harris loved this chicken. His only comment was that it was too mild. So ramp up the black pepper and cayenne, and use your own favorite flavors … this recipe can take the heat.

I do hope you’ll give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

So what Southern icon could be more complementary to fried chicken? Strawberry Shortcake. Here I used a reader-requested cupcake recipe in Bon Appétit from the California bakery, Mustache Baked Goods. It isn’t sugar heavy; the texture is perfect; the berries only need a kiss of honey; and the topping is either whipped coconut or heavy cream.

Paleo Strawberry Shortcake

Paleo Strawberry Shortcake

For a tangy, fresh contrast to the chicken, make my Sneaky Coleslaw. Then it’s picnic time!!

Sneaky Coleslaw

Sneaky Coleslaw

With this country meal, you’ve gotta have some country tunes. With the exception of Willie and Merle, the artists are new. I think you’ll like their tunes.

All the flavor and crunch: none of the guilt.
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Paleo Fried Chicken
Paleo Fried Chicken: Never envy the fast food empires any longer. Here it is: crunchy, crispy, juicy and seasoned to perfection. And all paleo, all the time! For superior results, use a pasture-roaming chicken. This recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen: Paleo Perfected.
Paleo Fried Chicken
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Paleo Fried Chicken: Never envy the fast food empires any longer. Here it is: crunchy, crispy, juicy and seasoned to perfection. And all paleo, all the time! For superior results, use a pasture-roaming chicken. This recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen: Paleo Perfected.
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Using a meat pounder or a small heavy skillet, pound the thick end of the breast pieces to about 1/2 inch so all pieces will cook uniformly. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in the skillet and add chicken pieces. Do not crowd. Make two batches if necessary. Place chicken, skin side down and cook without moving for 8-10 minutes until skin is deep golden and crisp. Remove white meat from skillet and reserve. Turn dark meat pieces over and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes.Paleo Fried Chicken: the first sear.
  3. Add white meat back to skillet, skin side up. Place in oven and roast 10-12 minutes, checking that the temperature of the white meat is just barely 160 degrees F. and the dark meat registers 170 degrees. Remove from the oven. Place chicken pieces, skin side up on a plate and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Alternatively, cook the chicken up to two days prior to frying and refrigerate. About 20 minutes before frying, remove chicken from the refrigerator and set on a plate at room temperature.
  4. To make the batter: in a large bowl, whisk together the arrowroot powder, almond flour, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne. Whisk in the seltzer water and let sit for 15 minutes. This is necessary for the batter to properly hydrate.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Or lower the temperature to 200 degrees if you have just roasted the chicken. Place wire rack over a baking sheet and place in the oven. Ready to batter and fry.
  6. Whisk in cream of tartar and baking soda. Using a deep, medium-sized sauce pan, melt 1 1/2 cups coconut oil. Be sure the level reaches just over half way up the thickest piece of chicken. This depends on the size of the pan. If needed, add additional coconut oil. Heat oil to 375 degrees F.This coating leads to Paleo Fried Chicken greatness!
  7. One piece at a time, coat the chicken in the batter and allow the excess to drip off. Gently place the chicken in the coconut oil Do not crowd the pan. The temperature will drop when the chicken is added, but must remain at or near 375 degrees or it will be greasy. Fry chicken for 2-3 minutes or until deep golden brown. Flip pieces over and fry an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken to baking sheet in the oven.Let the crispiness begin!
  8. Continue frying the remaining chicken. Serve hot or at room temperature.All the flavor and crunch: none of the guilt.
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Paleo Strawberry Shortcake
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Paleo Strawberry Shortcake
Paleo Strawberry Shortcake: Light, airy almond cakes topped with honey-sweetened strawberries and whipped coconut or heavy cream.
Paleo Strawberry Shortcake
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Paleo Strawberry Shortcake: Light, airy almond cakes topped with honey-sweetened strawberries and whipped coconut or heavy cream.
Servings
18servings
Servings
18servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 325°. Lightly coat edges of cups and tops of 3 standard 6-cup muffin pans with nonstick spray and line with paper liners.
  2. Use finely ground almond flour or sift regular almond flour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl; discard any large pieces. Whisk in baking powder and ¼ tsp. salt. 

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk eggs and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and whisk in almond-flour mixture and 2 tsp. vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake cupcakes, rotating pans top to bottom halfway through, until a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 15–20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool.
  4. To assemble: cut cakes in half horizontally. Spoon berries on top of bottom half. Add a dollop of whipped cream. Top with remaining cake and top with additional cream and berries.
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Sneaky Coleslaw
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Sneaky Coleslaw
My house recipe for coleslaw. Great with any roast meat, fish or birds.
Sneaky Coleslaw
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My house recipe for coleslaw. Great with any roast meat, fish or birds.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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  1. In a small bowl, add onion and vinegar. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, add cabbage, carrot, sauerkraut and drained onion. Reserve vinegar for dressing. Mix together the mayonnaise (or olive oil), stevia, and seasonings. Pour over vegetables and toss to combine. Taste, adding vinegar or other seasonings as desired.
  2. Sneaky Coleslaw
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Beef Heart Burgers and No-Bake Potato Buns

Hearty Burger

Beef Heart Burgers: a new twist on an old standby.

This menu makes me think of 50s early rock, especially rockabilly. So there’s a punky Spotify playlist for your prep and noshing. Eddie Cochran had a too-short life, but a powerful influence in music. Many music historians credit him for the birth of punk rock by way of his tune, “Somethin’ Else.” Punk is in-your-face and the main course is too—so let’s get to the “heart” of the matter and have somethin’ else for supper.

The prevailing advice is: eat more organ meats. It’s where the great stuff is. But most people are put off by offal. I have my limits, but I also have the motivation to expand those limits since I know how good these foods are for robust health. Plus I have my DH (darling husband) for inspiration because there aren’t any pieces/parts this Cajun hasn’t tried, and he enjoys them all.

First up: heart. I picked up some grassfed/grass-finished beef heart, kidney and liver from Brookshire Farm (Abbeville, LA) at the Lafayette Hub City Market and decided that as ground meat, heart would be simple to incorporate into a dish. With my cheap but effective grinder, it was easy to add this often-forgotten, nutrient-packed meat into my burgers.

Ground Beef Heart

Ground Beef Heart

I wasn’t as intimidated by the raw meat as I thought I’d be. Bless them, the folks at Brookshire Farm sliced the heart prior to packaging, and I didn’t have to deal with a whole organ. I combined four ounces of the ground heart with three-quarters of a pound of ground, grassfed beef.

I wanted a real burger to eat out of hand, and I didn’t want to use a long list of ingredients. Plus I wanted something that I could make on the stove in under 30 minutes. The result is a potato cake that works well and tastes great. I purposely didn’t season the “buns” with anything other than salt, since burger buns are plain. The key to this hack is using only a tiny bit of oil in the pan so the bun wouldn’t be greasy on the fingers. You could use sweet potatoes instead of white, though I’m not sure if they hold together as well.

Potato Buns

Potato Buns

Then I assembled the burgers with garden tomato slices, lettuce, and some fresh goat cheese flavored with herbs and garlic. Along with the burgers I served grilled pattypan squash and melon and cucumber salad—light, refreshing, and no awful offal.

Pattypan Squash Ready for the Grill

Pattypan Squash Ready for the Grill

Melon and Cucumber

Melon and Cucumber

Finally leave to the scientists to figure out the best way to hold a loaded burger so all the goodies stay inside the bun. Here’s a graphic of how to do it:

burger hold

How to Hold a Burger

Hearty Burger
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Beef Burgers with Heart
Grassfed beef heart contributes delicious flavor to nutrient dense beef burgers.
Beef Burgers with Heart
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Grassfed beef heart contributes delicious flavor to nutrient dense beef burgers.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 20minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 20minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Cut beef heart into 1-inch chunks while partially frozen (this makes grinding easier). Grind into a medium bowl. You can also reduce the heart pieces in a food processor. Pulse in very short bursts, checking every two pulses for consistency. Scrape down the processor bowl between pulses. Do not over process. Ground Beef Heart
  2. Add ground beef and with two forks toss together with ground heart combining the two. Form into 4-ounce patties.
  3. To cook on the stove: heat cast iron or other skillet on medium high heat until hot. Sprinkle surface of skillet with generous dusting of salt. Add patties and cook for two minutes. Turn the patties over and cook for two minutes. Turn patties again and cook for two minutes. Check temperature with instant read thermometer, inserting the tip of the thermometer horizontally through the patties: 125 degrees for medium rare, 130 for medium and 135 to 140 for medium well. Continue cooking until desired temperature is reached. Serve with toppings of your choice.
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Potato Buns
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No-Bake Potato Buns
Easy-to-make, no-bake potato buns for your favorite burger or sandwich—four ingredients, no grains. Sweet potatoes can be used, too, for a paleo alternative.
No-Bake Potato Buns
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Easy-to-make, no-bake potato buns for your favorite burger or sandwich—four ingredients, no grains. Sweet potatoes can be used, too, for a paleo alternative.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
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  1. Using the large holes on a box grater, shred potatoes. On a clean kitchen towel, place a large handful of shredded potatoes and wring out as much liquid as possible. Remove from towel and add to a large mixing bowl. Squeeze liquid from remaining potatoes in batches as needed.Red-skinned potato and shreds - GheeWhizz.com
  2. Sprinkle with tapioca starch and salt. Toss to mix thoroughly. Heat 12-inch skillet on medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp. ghee or oil to skillet, spreading it evenly over the surface with a basting brush. Using a half-cup measure, scoop up potato mixture and place in the skillet. With a spatula smooth the round into a 3-3 1/2-inch circle about 1/3-inch high. Continue with remaining potato mixture. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn potato cakes over and cook on that side for 5 minutes, covered. Remove cover, turn cakes over and cook for 2 minutes, uncovered or until spotty, golden brown. Turn again and cook for 2 minutes more, uncovered. Remove to cooling rack. Cakes can be reheated briefly in dry skillet over medium heat if making ahead of time.
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Pattypan Squash Ready for the Grill
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Grilled Pattypan Squash
Known in Cajun country as ciblème, this vegetable is also called scallop or custard squash. Meaty enough to hold their shape on the grill or in a grill pan, this vegetable is perfect at a summertime cookout.
Grilled Pattypan Squash
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Known in Cajun country as ciblème, this vegetable is also called scallop or custard squash. Meaty enough to hold their shape on the grill or in a grill pan, this vegetable is perfect at a summertime cookout.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 5minutes 10-12minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time
10-12minutes
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  1. Toss squash slices with olive oil, seasonings and herbs. Cook on grill or grill pan 5-6 minutes per side until browned and cooked to your liking. Cut off a taste to check for doneness.Ciblème or Pattypan Squash
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Melon and Cucumber
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Melon Cucumber Salad
Refreshing melon and cucumber salad tossed with lime make a super summer salad.
Melon Cucumber Salad
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Refreshing melon and cucumber salad tossed with lime make a super summer salad.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
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  1. Combine melon and cucumber in a bowl. Mix together lime juice and zest and honey until combined. Pour over melon and cucumber. Serve chilled.
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