Tag Archives: paleo

Seafood from the Back of a Truck

Under typical circumstances, offers of seafood from a lone vehicle in a gas station parking lot would have sent up an immediate red flag.  But the brightly hand-painted signs promising Kodiak scallops and Alaskan shrimp propped up next to a pickup truck last week were surprisingly reassuring, as was the salesman, who identified the origin and method of harvest for each of his goods.  I walked away with 2 1/2 pounds of shrimp and almost 2 pounds of scallops which were local, had lived well, and were free of chemicals, pesticides and shelf-life stabilizers.

When I got my little gems home, I looked up a few different recipes, but ultimately decided to freestyle dinner.  First, I had to do something with the shrimp.  Most of my shrimp cooking experience has included a frozen bag of EZ peelers, but these mamas needed a bit more work.  They had been de-headed and de-veined, but still retained copious numbers of legs and eggs.

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After some experimentation, I ended up snipping down the back of each carapace with some kitchen scissors.  The meat came out easily after that, even if it was a bit labor intensive to cut a slit in each individual shrimp.

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I diced up some bacon and cooked it about half way on the stove, then added some sliced zucchini and green onions.  I threw in the shrimp and seasoned it all with sea salt, pepper, thyme and garlic.

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For the scallops, I heated up an empty pan.  I coated the scallops with avocado oil, and sprinkled them with sea salt and pepper.  There were so many scallops, I had to sear them in three batches, about 45 seconds on each side.

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I ended up with more scallops than I’ve ever seen at once!  I’ve never liked ordering shellfish in restaurants, because the quantity is always disappointing.  There was no skimping on shrimp and scallops at our house that night.

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I made up a basic risotto for a carby treat, and served us up!  Si wasn’t convinced that this meal was anything special, but John was impressed.  Restaurant shellfish lacks both quantity AND quality, it turns out.  The scallops were tender and moist, and the shrimp tasted so fresh.  There are certainly some perks that come with living at the source.

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Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

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Last weekend, we came home from the Kenai River with 9 Sockeye salmon, all thanks to John’s newly acquired fishing skills.  Several of them were processed with my newly acquired filleting skills.  We froze the fillets, then grilled half and smoked half of the bellies.

Smoked Salmon

We marinated the pieces of salmon belly in salt, brown sugar, and Yoshida’s for about 24 hours, then smoked it over maple chips for 2 hours.

Eggs Benedict

For the breakfast, I stacked a Romaine lettuce leaf, a good chunk of smoked salmon, and a poached egg, then smothered it in Hollandaise sauce (using this recipe), and topped with a sprinkle of paprika.

I love this recipe because a) it’s delicious, b) it’s pretty simple, and c) it looks fancy.

(Paleo/primal disclaimer: I realize the marinade for the smoked salmon has a lot of sugar and even HFCS.  As I become more experienced and confident in the process of smoking salmon, I’ll start working on more Paleo-friendly recipes.)

Cooking: The Post-Project

Cooking, for me, is one domain that has managed to move beyond project stage and into the realm of lifestyle.  This is probably true for many people, since after all, there is a fundamental physiological need to eat.  Even so, I remember when cooking was a project: baking cookies as a kid, attempting Eggs Benedict in high school, preparing a $2 lobster that I bought at the Asian farmer’s market under the freeway in college.

My last big cooking project happened two years ago when I came home with Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso.  It didn’t take long before I was sold and, with that, cooking made its final transformation from string-of-projects into lifestyle.  (I don’t want to waste any effort trying to convince anyone to eat the way I eat; either you’re interested or you’re not.  But I think it’s worth mentioning, as an aside, that today, at almost five months pregnant, all of my pre-Paleo clothes fit great, and my husband doesn’t complain about headaches any longer.  Unless he has pizza.  Or beer.)  Again, necessity plays a role.  Food doesn’t come out of a box in my kitchen, which means if I want to eat, I generally have to turn on the stove or take out a knife.  Fortunately, I really like to cook.  I’m certainly not a chef, but I can follow a recipe and get creative with flavors on my own.

Even though cooking as a whole is part of my day to day living, I can still make sub-projects out of it.  I’m expecting, and hoping, that Alaska will present a host of new culinary experiences.  On the wishlist is an afternoon spent skiing under the Northern Lights, then coming home to grill up a pile of moose hamburgers and enjoying salmon sashimi with a side of wild-picked blackberries after a day on the river.  I know there are much more exotic and daring cooking opportunities awaiting me, much like that lobster from under the freeway.

Currently, my cooking looks as follows:

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Lamb Burgers with Cucumber & Mint Yogurt Sauce

Bacon and Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Dressing

Watermelon

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Chicken Liver Paté

I’ll admit, I considered this a project.  It turned out pretty well, seeing as I have developed no taste for liver.  I used the recipe from Balanced Bites and ate it on sliced cucumber, bell peppers, and grass-fed cheese.

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Orange Salmon on White Rice – I tweaked the recipe found at The CrossFit Way by adding more orange juice to make it saucier.

Green Beans with Cashews

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Dry Rubbed, Slow Cooked Pork Ribs

Homemade BBQ Sauce – I used Sarah Fragoso’s recipe in Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook.

Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower with Grass-Fed Butter

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Veggie, Sausage, and Egg Stack

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Grilled Turkey Burgers with Mustard on Coleslaw (cabbage, carrot, celery, apple, pecan, cucumber, red bell pepper, and dressed with homemade mayo whisked with apple juice)