This week the boyfriend is out of town, and I’m on my own. Great in lots of ways (no offense, honey!) but when it comes to eating, not so much. I’ve never done well with cooking just for myself… It’s hard to cook for just one person, and I don’t particularly like leftovers. Still, I did my weekly grocery shop today, and I’m hoping to not cop out and eat canned soup all week.
Tonight I did a quick stir-fry of bacon and baby bok choy seasoned with garlic, pepper and lemon juice. It was delish.
I haven’t been up to much out of the ordinary lately… but I haven’t been posting either. Still cooking away, trying new things. I’ve tried a few different recipes, with varying degrees of success.
I made a spicy cauliflower recipe which was pretty awesome (though sadly my cauliflower was white, not purple). The roasted texture and the spicy flavour definitely made this veg more interesting.
I made some ginger lime chicken bites, (and found a new source of recipes and paleo info in the process!) which turned out tender and with a nice flavour. I felt like this might work as a marinade before cooking.
The other day I put together some double-pork stuffed chicken breasts. Meat, stuffed with meat, and wrapped in meat! The flavour was good, but honestly, it was a lot of meat. I can’t imagine eating one of these suckers with my hands, as described in the recipe. A couple of servings of roasted vegetables rounded out the meal.
There it is. Still cooking, still eating, still trying my best to be healthy. I reorganized my kitchen a while back, which has made cooking a little easier. I think the next step is going to try getting better at planning and preparing meals (or parts of meals) ahead of time, to avoid eating late and having a lot of work to do in the kitchen after a long day at work. We have enough freezer room to store stuff in, but I’ve never been a huge fan of frozen food (unless it’s ice cream!). I’d rather eat fresh every day. Something to think about, anyway.
This meal was a couple of firsts for me. First first, this Asian Almond chicken salad recipe came from nom nom paleo, a lovely and entertaining tumblr I just discovered (which makes me late to the party, I know. I will be going back there for more recipes and ideas, for sure. And I will probably have to buy a t-shirt).
Second, I made a new vegetable friend today: kohlrabi! I’d never had it before. It’s like a cross between an apple and a radish, and I like it. Managed to slice some finger off while chopping it though. Good reminder to work on my knife skills a bit (PS. typing this is really hard with a bandaged ring finger. I’m hitting the “l” key a lot.). Anyway, I served the salad with some roasted sweet potatoes, with the chipotle dip I mentioned in a previous post. Nom nom indeed!
Cooked another good meal last week. Discovered that fish and sausage makes a surprisingly good combination, and that celery can hold its own in a salad. Chorizo and almond crusted cod - recipe from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals book, served with simple celery and almond salad, recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple. The salad keeps well and the leftovers are great to take for lunch.
Earlier this week I tried a fried chicken recipe I found on Mark’s Daily Apple. The fact is, I do love breaded chicken, even though it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, nutritionally. So I figured that maybe nuts would be not only a good alternative, but tasty in its own right to boot.
The verdict? Pretty good. I went with ground almonds and dill, which I figured to be a safe bet, flavour-wise. Plus, that’s what I had in the house :-) My boyfriend declared it awesome, which is even better. Next time I would grind the nuts a little finer, and I wouldn’t coat the chicken quite so much (I double dipped in egg and nuts). Still, it was tasty, and I got a lunch out of the deal since the chicken cutlets were quite large. I served it with avocado, some roasted sweet potatoes, and cole slaw made from a recipe in Paleo Comfort Foods. The cole slaw was as classic as any I’ve ever had - for some reason I wouldn’t have considered this a paleo recipe, but it is!
Last night I was chopping up cabbage for coleslaw and found myself wishing not for the first time I had a food processor.
The closest thing I currently have to a food processor is this:
The Handy Chopper is something I think I inherited from my parents (I don’t even know anymore), and it’s been following me around for years. I went for ages forgetting I even had the thing, but since I’ve started cooking more I’ve been using the little guy within an inch of his life, doing things I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to do. Like making chipotle sauce (see picture). It does well in a pinch, and will let me chop small things like onions and the occasional carrot, but obviously I can’t do anything like throw a cabbage in there.
So my question is this: is a food processor worth it? I don’t want to go and spend a bunch of money on something that will take up space in my kitchen (which is at a premium right now) that I might not use very much. Are there simpler lower-end models that just do the basics? Or should I man up and hone my knife skills?
So I’ve still been cooking away and I tried out some new recipes lately (what else is new?).
Last week, I made Garlicky Roasted Shrimp and Swiss Chard from who else? Mark Sisson. This was the first time I’ve ever cooked swiss chard, and it turned out pretty well. I think roasting it was a good call (as is the case with most vegetables) as it came out a bit crispy and not limp or slimy at all. I added some spice to the shrimp (cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper) and served it with roasted sweet potatoes.
Also last week I made bacon, chicken and avocado salad, another recipe that was submitted to Mark’s Daily Apple. The title almost, but not quite says it all: there were also apples and walnut pieces in this particularly tasty salad. It was like a party in my mouth.
This week I branched out a little further and tried a couple of recipes from a new book: Paleo Comfort Foods. This book represents a different approach to Paleo cooking than I’m used to. The recipes are heartier and more like something my parents would make, if that makes sense. The author is inspired by their favourite comfort foods, and Julie (the author) freely admits her love affair with Southern and Mexican foods, which clearly show their influence.
The first thing I tried was fish tacos, something I’ve never actually had before. I used cod, and it turned out quite spicy. One of the best things that came out of this recipe was the chipotle sauce that went with it. I always wondered what chipotle sauce was, and now I know! The secret is chile peppers in adobo sauce, which you can get at most grocery stores. We served the fish tacos with a tasty coleslaw that had a nice red wine vinaigrette.
The next recipe I tried was acorn squash stuffed with turkey. Protip: don’t think you can substitute chili powder with cayenne pepper, unless you like your food hella spicy. Note to self: buy chili powder. I don’t mind the occasional meal that makes my nose run, but my boyfriend added some sour cream to his. Still, this is a recipe I would make again… if I ever get around to making anything a second time ;-)