Monthly Archives: June 2012

Holy Guacamole Salad

Holy Guacamole Salad | stupideasypaleo.com

I’ll admit it: I love the Food Network. While I’m more drawn to shows like Chopped! and Iron Chef America, I decided to watch an old episode of Barefoot Contessa yesterday. Normally, Ina’s food isn’t really up my alley but her recipe for Guacamole Salad spoke to me right away. Only bummer…it wasn’t Paleo. A couple of tweaks later, and I had a bowl of amazing flavors and colors sitting in front of me…perfect for a summer cook-out (or just a quiet weeknight at home).

The creaminess of the avocado, tang from the lime and crunch from the Persian cucumbers are the stars of the show! (Persian cucumbers have thinner skin and hardly any seeds…their crunchiness is the reason I used them. If you can’t find them, regular cucumber–peeled and seeded–would be a good replacement).

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: 4-5 cups

Ingredients for Guacamole Salad

For the Salad

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 3 Persian cucumbers
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 large, ripe avocados (I used 3 small)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (2 if you like spicy)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro

For the Dressing

  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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Directions for Guacamole Salad

1. Prepare the veggies and add to a large mixing bowl:

  • Halve the grape tomatoes.
  • Chop the cucumbers and bell pepper into medium chunks…we are making salad here, not salsa!
  • Chop the red onion into small dice (big chunks of onion = not so bueno).
  • Cut the avocados in half, and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop out the entire flesh. Then chop into medium chunks.
  • Chop the garlic and jalapeño finely. Remove the white inner membrane and seeds to control the spiciness.
  • Run your knife through the cilantro a few times to cut the leaves down a bit.

2. Mix all the veggies together and then prepare the dressing.

3. Zest one lime into the bowl.

4. In a measuring cup, combine the fresh lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Mix and pour over the veggies. Toss to coat.

Shrimp in Coconut Broth

Man, I love the Twitters! So many interesting people with lots to share. In fact, my most recent follow is Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay01)…I bloody love him, especially on Hell’s Kitchen where he curses and kicks people out of the kitchen! Today he posted a delish-looking recipe for “Mussels in an Aromatic Coconut Broth”, to which I immediately started salivating. I headed to the market to pick up my shellfish, took one look at the sad, mostly wide-open mussels and asked the fish guy when they were delivered. When he stared blankly at me, I became worried. He left to ask the boss, came back and said, “Tuesday.” Folks, it’s Friday here. Not to mention, when I pressed my face to the glass and looked at the tag buried deep among the shells it said, “Harvested 6/4″!!! It’s the 15th. In true Ramsay style, I wanted to tell the guy to piss off, but instead I bought shrimp and went to town on modifying the recipe.

This recipe varies in technique from the original and also substitutes a couple key ingredients. Since shrimp meat on its own is not super flavorful, I used the shells to infuse the broth with shrimpy goodness. Later, I strained the liquid and used that to create the base for the dish. When I plunked the bowl down in front of the Mister, he took a few bites, then launched into a very long story about his shrimp-eating past. The point of the story: he said it was the best shrimp he had ever tasted. Ever.

Shrimp in Coconut Broth | stupideasypaleo.com

Ingredients for Shrimp in Coconut Broth 

  • 2 lb. raw shrimp
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine (or chicken broth if doing Whole30)
  • 1 can (16 oz.) full fat coconut milk
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced down the middle
  • 1 red chili pepper (I used Thai), sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • Cilantro, as garnish

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Directions for Shrimp in Coconut Broth 

1. Set aside a large skillet. Peel the shrimp of their shells and put the shells into the skillet (do not throw them out…yet). Save the peeled shrimp in a bowl for later use.

2. Add the can of coconut milk, white wine, thyme and garlic to the shrimp shells. Put the pan on medium heat and let it simmer for ~10 minutes until the shells turn pink and the broth is infused with flavor.

3. Strain the shells and herbs out by pouring the mixture through a strainer. Save the broth!!! Discard the shells.

4. Return the broth to the skillet. Add the shrimp, lemongrass, chili pepper, green onion and salt/pepper to taste. Cook over medium-high heat until the shrimp is pink and the broth has thickened just a bit.

5. Add the ghee (clarified butter) and stir so it melts into the broth. Be sure to remove the lemongrass prior to serving as it’s very tough…nobody wants to eat that!

6. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and serve.

Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad | stupideasypaleo.com

I fell in love with Green Papaya Salad on my trip to Bali in 2011. We took a side trip to Nusa Lembongan, a tiny island off the coast of Bali and spent a couple days snorkeling and enjoying maximum relaxation time. While there, we dined outside at a Thai restaurant and I had my first taste of this dish…flavors of savory, spicy, sour and a little sweet all duked it out on my tongue.

Ever since then, I’ve wanted to make Green Papaya Salad (or som tam as it’s called in Thai) myself and make it Paleo-friendly. I’ll admit, this recipe may fit under the “special” category because you may have to do a little searching outside a conventional grocery store to find some of the ingredients, but any Asian food market should have these basic ingredients. Our local health food market actually has everything you’d need except the fish sauce and dried shrimp!

Most of the recipes I searched on-line use peanuts, bean sprouts and sugar to develop the complex flavor profile of som tam. With a few swaps, I figured out a couple ingredients that did the trick. I substituted cucumber for the bean sprouts (similar in color and texture) and roasted unsalted cashews for the peanuts.

Ingredients for the Green Papaya Salad

  • 1 medium-sized green papaya, about 4 cups shredded
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 2 generous handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 green onions
  • 12 green beans
  • 1 or 2 Thai red chili peppers*
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves, washed and packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 Tablespoons dried shrimp, optional
  • Cashews and cilantro for garnish

Directions for the Green Papaya Salad

1. Peel the papaya with a sharp knife. Julienne the flesh using a julienne peeler (as I did) or use a box grater to achieve a similar effect.

2. Prep the remaining veggies:

  • Peel and slice the cucumber lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and slice flesh into match-stick sized pieces.
  • Quarter the cherry tomatoes.
  • Slice the green onion into match-stick sized pieces (discard upper dark green parts).
  • Slice the green beans on the bias (diagonal) into long pieces.
  • *Mince the Thai chilis. CAUTION: Thai chili peppers, though tiny is size, pack a whallop of heat. Take care not to touch your eyes, etc when prepping them. I scooped out all the seeds prior to mincing and it was still a medium-spicy. I recommend starting with ONE and upping to two or three if it’s not hot enough for you.
  • Roughly chop the basil leaves. Add all veggies and papaya to a large mixing bowl.

3. Juice the limes and pour over the veggies. Hint: Roll your limes on the counter prior to squeezing to help release the juice.

4. Add fish sauce, coconut aminos and (optional) a drizzle of honey.

5. If you prefer, add the dried shrimp and then let sit for 30 min for all the flavors to meld. Garnish with chopped cashews and cilantro prior to serving. Serve straight up or as a delicious side dish to grilled chicken or fish.

Enjoy the taste-circus that’s about to happen in your mouth!

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Green Papaya Salad | stupideasypaleo.com