Tag Archives: cilantro

Roasted Salsa Verde

DSC_0721 Every once in a while, I buy prepared salsa from the store. A bottle of organic salsa verde (green salsa) made its way into my cart recently and though I’d scanned the label for any non-Whole30 ingredients, I didn’t notice xantham gum last on the list. Xanthan gum is a thickener – it IS okay to eat on your Whole30 – but when I opened the salsa, the texture was weird and a bit slimy.

Immediately I knew that I could do better and just make my own. There are a million variations of salsa verde it seems: raw, roasted, different ratios of tomatillos to jalapeño, etc. but I found this one worked well for my taste buds. It was pretty mild but you could make it hotter by leaving the seeds and membranes of the jalapeño pepper intact.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time:  15 min     Makes: 3 cups

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 lb tomatillos (these look like green tomatoes but are more closely related to gooseberries)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful of cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Place the whole tomatillos and whole jalapeño pepper on a foil lined baking sheet. Broil in the oven on high for 5-10 minutes until the veggies start to char a bit. Flip over and broil another 5-10 minutes on the other side. *You can also char them on a grill or in a pan on the stove. Allow them to cool a bit. DSC_0723 DSC_0724 DSC_0726
  2. Slice the jalapeño in half and remove some or all of the white membrane and seeds (if you want a mild salsa verde).
  3. Put the tomatillos, jalapeño, garlic cloves, onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt in a blender or food processor. Pulse until the salsa is to the desired consistency. I like mine a little bit chunky but you can puree until smooth if desired. DSC_0729
  4. Keep refrigerated. Keeps for several days in the fridge. DSC_0739

 

Paleo Fresh Spring Rolls

DSC_0830 The other day, I wanted fresh spring rolls. Badly. I also happened to be staring at the collard greens in the grocery store and this idea was born. I know you love quick and easy recipes, but I’ll be honest: this one is a bit more labor intensive because there is more cutting / chopping than usual and it depends which sauce(s) you make on the side. I could see these being an awesome weekend treat or something neat to bring to a summer party. All the components can also be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated for a day or two before use.

The really cool part is that the kelp noodles look just like the vermicelli that comes in fresh spring rolls, but if you can’t find them, you could surely leave them out. I served my rolls with Umami Mayo but I think they’d be killer with Melissa Joulwan’s Sunshine Sauce, my Paleo Sweet and Sour Sauce or my Paleo Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce on the side for dipping. Dipping rules.

Prep time: 45 min     Cook time:  10 min    Makes: 6 full rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of collard greens (you need one whole leaf per roll)
  • 6-7 medium-sized raw shrimp (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a cucumber, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, dark green tops removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint, basil or cilantro leaves
  • 1 package kelp noodles (you’ll use about half), optional
  • 1/4 cup of Umami Mayo for dipping, optional

Directions:

  1. You’ll need to blanch the collard leaves so they become more pliable and lose some of their bitter flavor (this can be done ahead of time). Set up a large bowl with ice water. Bring a very large pot of water to boiling. Dip the WHOLE collard leaves in the boiling water for 1 minute. Immediately place them in the ice water to cool and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside. DSC_0810
  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, if needed. Into a small skillet over medium heat, place the raw shrimp and 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover and steam until the shrimp are pink, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Slice in half from head to tail.
  3. Rinse and drain the kelp noodles. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the carrot, cucumber and green onion. How thinly you slice them depends on how much chewing you want to be involved. DSC_0808
  5. Now that the collard leaves are cool, remove the tough stem with a sharp knife by cutting upward toward the top of the leaf in an upside-down V shape. The leaves will roll better. DSC_0821
  6. Now assemble a wrap: Lay the collard leaf on a flat surface. Place two halves of shrimp at the top of the leaf. DSC_0813 Next, put a small amount of kelp noodles (a little less than a 1/4 cup worked for me). DSC_0814 On top of that put a few mint leaves, and two or three slices EACH of carrot, cucumber and green onion. DSC_0815 DSC_0816
  7. Now you’re ready to wrap, burrito-style. Gently but with a bit of pressure, roll from the shrimp end toward the stem end. DSC_0817 DSC_0818 Once you’ve rolled over once, fold in the sides and then finish rolling all way down. DSC_0819
  8. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  9. Slice each wrap in half and serve cold with your choice of dipping sauces, if desired. DSC_0832

 

 

Simple Shrimp Ceviche

DSC_0219Can I interest you in a meal that cooks itself?

Yes? I thought so!

It’s not too good to be true, it’s just ceviche – a dish of seafood that’s “cooked” using citrus juices and served up with ingredients like tomato, jalapeño and avocado. YUM. Last year, I posted a recipe for ceviche - along with one of the first videos I ever made…eeeek – and recently, I created a different one with shrimp that came out just as good (if not better).

Since I cook for just one person, I only used 1/2 lb. of shrimp but you can easily double the recipe or more. Plan the day (or morning) ahead so you can give the ceviche enough time to “cook”. If you don’t like shrimp, you can substitute scallops or firm white fish. Rumor has it that the juice from the marinade is a hangover cure though I haven’t tested that theory yet ;)

Prep time: 15-20 min     Cook time: 6+ hours    Makes: ~3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. (~250 g) raw shrimp
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 a jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 an avocado, cubed
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

  1. Peel and devein the shrimp, if necessary. Chop the shrimp into small pieces.
  2. Prepare the veggies: dice the tomato, mince the garlic and jalapeño, and cube the avocado. If you want the ceviche to be spicier, you can leave the seeds in or add more jalapeño.
  3. Mix the shrimp, tomato, garlic, jalapeño and avocado in a bowl. Squeeze the citrus juice on top and combine. There should be enough liquid to cover the shrimp.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or until the shrimp has turned from translucent to opaque.
  5. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and top with chopped cilantro.

Jicama Carrot Slaw

DSC_0276Memorial Day Weekend is almost here. That means it’s time for more BBQs and summer fun, and it also means it’s socially acceptable to wear white. I almost never wear white because I’m the world’s biggest klutz. Truly. Just this morning, I was grading lab reports with a shaker bottle of decaf coffee on my desk. Suddenly, a notebook slid off the top of a stack and – you guessed it – coffee. went. all. over. Luckily, I know myself better than to wear white at any time. My brown shorts perfectly camouflaged the fact that I’d just poured coffee all over my lap. Score!

To make a long story short, with parties and Memorial Day gatherings in the near future, this refreshing slaw is a great side dish to bring with. You could also add shredded cabbage for a more traditional take on slaw.

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: ~2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup jicama, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons chipotle mayo
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

  1. Use a box grater or a food processor with a shredder blade to shred the carrots and jicama. Bonus tip: buy pre-shredded carrots to save time (though they are usually more expensive).
  2. Combine the shredded carrots and jicama in a large bowl. Add the chipotle mayo, cilantro, and lime juice.
  3. Stir until combined well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Chill for best flavor.

Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha)

Thai Coconut Soup - Tom Kha | stupideasypaleo.comThai Coconut Soup is one of my favorite Asian dishes.

Usually I have recipe writer’s block. The harder I try to think of something to make, the more I can’t. It’s those times when I buy random ingredients and get home to my pantry and fridge that inspiration strikes. What the heck?! My local market had wild-caught shrimp on sale, which I couldn’t resist, and when I got home I suddenly thought: tom kha! This is a common Thai soup that is really easy to make but has so many layers of complex flavor. Wha-bam! That’s the flavor hitting your tongue.

The only problem is that I didn’t have lemongrass or Thai chili paste that most of the recipes I looked at called for, so I thought…I’m going to solutionize (yes, that’s a made up word) this scenario. I omitted the lemongrass but doubled the lime juice and used sriracha instead of red chili paste. In 5 minutes – plus the time it took me to peel and devein the shrimp – I had a hot, yummy bowl of tom kha in my hands! It might not be 100% authentic but it is 1) easy, 2) fast and 3) a damn good recreation.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time: 10 min    Makes: ~4 cups

Ingredients for Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha):

  • 14 ounces (420 ml) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups (475 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 pound (500 grams) shrimp or chicken breast
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha (or to make homemade, check this out)
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions for Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha):

  1. Prepare the shrimp by peeling and deveining if not already done prior to purchase. If using chicken, clean the chicken of any connective tissue and cut into small chunks.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, chicken stock and ginger. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Add the shrimp or chicken, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce and sriracha. Simmer until the shrimp (less than 5 min) or the chicken (5-10 minutes) is cooked through.
  4. Top with fresh chopped cilantro for garnish.

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Thai Coconut Soup - Tom Kha | stupideasypaleo.com

 

Cinco de Mayo Steak Salad

DSC_0163Living in San Diego, you could say that Cinco de Mayo is a pretty big deal around these parts. All over the city – and pretty much the rest of the US – folks will be gladly using this holiday to eat vast quantities of guacamole and drink lots of tequila. I hate tequila. It all stems back to a Jimmy Buffet concert in October 2008, but I digress. Safe to say, no NorCal margaritas for me!

I made a version of this salad the other day, and it was so punchy with flavor that I had to make it again. And then it hit me! The colors are red, white and green and most of the ingredients are common to Mexican cuisine. In celebration of the Fifth of May, the Battle of Puebla and the love of drinking fermented agave, I bring you this festive salad. Substitute any cooked meat you’d like if you don’t like steak. I topped mine with a pan-fried grassfed New York strip steak sliced thin.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time: 10 min    Makes: 2-3 cups of salad (plus meat)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe tomato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup jicama, cubed
  • 1/2 an avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1 tsp Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

DSC_0161

Directions:

  1. Combine the spinach, tomato, jicama, avocado and cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice on top and drizzle with olive oil. 
  2. Taste and season with salt and pepper if you like.
  3. Top with cooked meat of choice. I used steak, but grilled chicken would be a great alternative!

Note: I earn a small commission if you use the links in this post to purchase the products I’ve featured. I personally use and believe in the products I recommend.

Indian Pineapple Cauliflower Rice

IMG_3895A couple weeks back, I went to an Oscar party with the wonderful folks from Invictus and had to think of an Oscar-themed dish to bring along. Originally, I was joking around with Tiger Burgers (a nod to Life of Pi and Richard Parker) but then I kept thinking Pi-neapple. The idea for Life of Pi-neapple Indian Rice was born.

I modified a recipe by the amazing Melissa Joulwan of Well Fed, and what I brought is the result. It looks a lot like curry rice…so realistic in fact that when I asked my pal Amy if she’d tried it, she said no because she’d thought it was real rice. The currants and cinnamon give a hint of sweet and spicy while the cilantro adds a nice fresh flavor. The batch easily doubles to serve more hungry bellies or just to have for leftovers. Pairs really well with chicken and shrimp.

Prep time: 10-15 min     Cook time: 15 min    Makes: 3-4 side dish servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 of a fresh pineapple (or 1/2 cup unsweetened canned pineapple)
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large handful of cilantro
  • Coconut oil or fat of choice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rice the cauliflower in a food processor. Set aside.
  2. Dice the pineapple into small pieces (hint: big chunks are fine but cutting it to a smaller size is a bit more appealing visually).
  3. Dice the onion and garlic finely. Chop the cilantro.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt a large spoonful of coconut oil.  Saute the onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, almonds, currants, curry powder and cinnamon. Stir until combined well.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high, add another spoonful of coconut oil and dump in the cauliflower. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s softened but not mushy.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the pineapple and cilantro. Check flavor and add salt / pepper to taste.

Paleo Banh Mi Sliders

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Banh Mi is basically a Vietnamese sandwich made with French bread and layers of amazing flavors: sweet, salty, tangy, umami (savory) and spicy. [Side note: “Whaaaat?! A Vietnamese sandwich with French bread?” Yes. A quick Google search of French Indochina will give you all the historical details]. Vegetables, meat and spices combine in harmony and sing on your palate. There are as many variations and ways to make banh mi as you can possibly imagine, even breakfast versions and those with more traditional fillings like Vietnamese cold cuts and (gasp!) head cheese. This recipe is a take on Banh Mi flavors.

Of course, as all good Paleophiles do, you’ve tossed all offending grains and grain products out of your life for good. Sandwiches in the traditional sense are long gone, unless you resort to making or buying Paleo bread – which is usually pretty disappointing, am I right? These Banh Mi Sliders are going to punch you in the face with so much flavor that you won’t even miss the bready platforms of yesteryear.

One of the key ingredients in these sliders is the homemade umami mayo. If you’ve never made it, I highly recommend you check out Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for mayo from her awesome book, Well Fed or her website (linked below). You can make the mayo and the pickled carrot and daikon ahead of time if you’re busy during the week; heck, make a big batch of sliders in advance – the recipe doubles nicely as well – and just assemble these tasty wee bites on demand.

Prep Time: 30 min     Cook Time: 10 min     Makes: ~15 sliders

For the pickled carrot and daikon:

  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ½ cup julienned carrot
  • ½ cup julienned daikon radish
  • Salt
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and honey. Heat on medium-high until boiling.
  2. Pour the hot liquid over the carrot and daikon radish in a heatproof bowl. Add salt to taste.
  3. Let the vegetables pickle for at least 30 minutes. You can make this the day ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.

For the umami mayo:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 1.25 cups light tasting olive oil
  • Coconut aminos (you’ll use 1.5 tsp for every ¼ cup mayo)
  1. Check out the directions for making homemade mayo here or watch the video here.
  2. Mix ¼ cup of the mayo with 1.5 tsp coconut aminos in a small bowl.

For the sliders:

  • 1 pound of lean ground pork
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (or ⅛ tsp dried ginger)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (I like Red Boat)
  • ½ a jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and shape into sliders (mini-burgers).
  2. Pan fry or grill until completely cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

To assemble the sliders:

  • 1 head of Boston (Bibb) or Romaine lettuce (Boston gives you a better cup to make the  sliders in)
  • Thinly sliced English cucumber
  • Thinly sliced jalapeno (optional)
  • Chili oil (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Umami mayo
  • Pickled carrot and daikon

In each lettuce leaf, place one slider and top with sliced cucumber, jalapeno, chili oil, cilantro, mayo and pickled carrot and daikon.

Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

IMG_3655

Sometimes I get bored of regular salsa, and I’m not one to buy fruit at the market very often – I just don’t fancy it all that much, unless we’re talking about berries in season. Lately, I’ve made a couple of fruit salsas to brighten up some otherwise heavy winter dishes. It’s easy to switch out ingredients, so if you don’t like pineapple then try mango or papaya, for example. This recipe made about 5 cups of salsa and keeps well for 1-2 days.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a fresh pineapple
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, red or green
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper
  • 1/2 of a red onion
  • 1/2 of a cucumber
  • Juice of two limes
  • Large handful of cilantro
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

1. Dice the pineapple, avocado, tomato, bell pepper, onion and cucumber into roughly the same sized pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl.

2. Remove the seeds (or leave them in if you like things spicy) and inner white ribs from the jalapeño pepper. Dice finely. Add to the bowl and then go wash your hands so you don’t get capsacin in your eyes. That would be ouch.

3. Chop the cilantro and add the juice of two limes to the mixture.

4. Add salt and a sprinkle of cinnamon to taste.

5. Let the salsa sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine. This goes great with pork, chicken or fish.

Pork Stuffed Mushrooms

IMG_3630

Sometimes I have no plan when it comes to recipes, and I spend time wandering around the market until inspiration hits like “wha-bam”! This one came to me while standing in Tesco on New Year’s Eve trying to think of something clever to bring to a friend’s house later that night. You could use any other ground meat–beef, lamb, turkey or game meat–and it would be just as tasty. I added a small amount of hard goat’s cheese to the top but that could easily be left off.

Ingredients:

1 dozen large button mushrooms

1/2 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1″ piece of fresh ginger, minced (or 1 tsp dried ground ginger)

Fat of choice

2 tbsp almond flour

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz (0.25 kg) lean ground pork

2 oz hard goat cheese (or cheddar)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).

2. Clean mushrooms, and remove the stems. You may want to scoop out the gills to create more space for the filling. Chop the stems.

3. Prep the rest of the veggies: dice the onion, mince the garlic and ginger and chop the cilantro.

4. In a skillet over medium heat, add fat of choice and then sauté the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds. Add the onion and diced mushroom stems and cook until softened.

5. Remove from the heat, put into a large bowl and let cool. Add almond flour, cilantro, salt, pepper and ground pork. Stir to combine.

6. Arrange the mushroom caps on a foil-lined sheet. Make small balls out of the pork mixture and place into each cap.

7. Bake for 20 minutes. If desired, add sliced goat cheese on top and return to the oven for 5 more minutes to melt it.

 

Holy Guacamole Salad

guacamole salad

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:

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

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:

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.

5. Try not to eat the whole bowl! :)

 

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.

finished dish

Ingredients:

  • 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:

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

Ceviche

I’m not sure how authentic this ceviche is, and frankly all that matters to me is that it’s delicious and simple to make. With warmer weather coming up soon, this cool seafood-based dish is a nice addition to those spring-summer favorites that you may already keep on hand.

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Fennel-Tomato Salad

The first time I ever smelled fennel, I was brought back to my 21st birthday and the shot of Sambucca I was tricked into drinking (black licorice in a glass…ew!). After I got over that initial response and tried it, I was won over by its delicate anise flavor and crunchy texture. These lovely fennel bulbs, tomato, and purple onions arrived in my Suzie’s Farm CSA box this week, so I prepped this crunchy side salad to take advantage of the fresh produce. The vinaigrette is courtesy of my great friend Jen (of Jen’s Gone Paleo fame). Feel free to sub out produce that you may have handy, such as a large tomato instead of cherry tomatoes.

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 2 small (or 1 large) fennel bulbs
  • 1 small bunch of purple onion
  • 4 medium cherry tomatoes

Ingredients for the vinaigrette:

  • Juice of one lime
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • Pinch of ancho chili powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. Slice the fennel bulb and purple onion thinly. Discard the stalks/onion tops. Chop the tomatoes. Combine the veggies in a bowl.

2. Prepare the dressing. Pour on top. Stir.

Eat and enjoy!