Friday – 160122
Food for Box with Chef Adam
Introducing Chef Adam:
First, I just want to say that I’m fairly new to the Paleo diet and I’m not entirely sure I’m on board 100%, but definitely willing to check it out. While I will certainly include some Paleo recipes, my aim is to provide you with some fairly simple and delicious healthy options to prepare in your own home.
I am also not a dietitian. I’m a classically French trained chef – think lots of butter and cream! I tried being vegan for 6 months once, it was hard but I learned how to comfortably cook for someone who is vegan. There have been times when I’m in a restaurant cooking on the line and the waitress comes back and explains that the patron sitting at her table is a vegan. The kitchen will get quiet followed by grumbling, banter, and “tell em they can have a salad!” I’ve also tried a few different ways of detoxing. I like to drink and eat, and sometimes it’s just necessary. I’ve learned that there is more to it than that though. Eating clean needs to be a part of your lifestyle just like working out. One of the things that I am really appreciating about the Lurong Challenge is it gives everyone a chance to be realistic about their lifestyle. Nobody is perfect and you’re crazy if you think that I’m not gonna throw back a couple over the weekend or even smash a whole pizza, yes a WHOLE pizza! Life’s too short.
Second, I’d like to say thanks for giving me the opportunity to share one of the things I’m very passionate about: food. One of the largest issues with our society today is the lack of knowledge on how to take care of or feed our bodies properly. The majority of the population today doesn’t know how to eat, and the ones who do had to take the initiative themselves. For some it may be too late ;). I’m joking, it’s never too late! But seriously, I believe showing children at a young age how to garden, food prep, and cook should be part of our public school systems. It’s the small things that make the difference.
So I’d like to talk next about just a couple of the staples I keep in my kitchen.
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes – A deactivated yeast contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, but is a significant source of B complex vitamins. I mostly use it for flavor as a cheese substitute.
- Coconut Oil (refined and unrefined) – Refined coconut oil is for high heat cooking, like searing, and is striped of the majority of it’s nutrients. Definitely not as useful as unrefined coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid and acts as an antioxidant. If you heat unrefined coconut oil to high temperatures it will burn and create cancer-causing carcinogens.
- Liquid Aminos – Used as an alternative to salt, contains 16 essential and non-essential amino acids; the building blocks of protein. It tastes similar to soy sauce and comes in spray bottles that you literally mist on your food. It is however, made fro soy, which is a Paleo no no.
- Real Salt – This is a great product. It’s mined from an ancient sea bed in Redmond, Utah. It is the most convenient and economical option for most. The typical table salt has no nutrients. It makes things taste better, but if you’re gonna use salt why not get the most out of it? It contains 60 trace minerals and tastes way better than conventional salt.
- Raw-unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother) – Used for tons of things. Making vinaigrette, seasoning food and drinks, it can even be used as a toner for your skin. Don’t cook it though, it’s full of good bacteria. The majority of your immune system is in your gut, and we need good bacteria that comes from fermentation.
- Lots of Lemons – Put lemons in your water, it will help in digestion and is full of minerals and vitamin C. It also helps in making an easy, on the go basic vinaigrette. Just squeeze it on top of your salad or veggies. Also, make sure to wash your lemons under hot water before use. Most are sprayed with a wax coating for shelf life reasons.
- Tons of Fresh Herbs – It’s best if you can grow and/or dry them yourself. My favorite herb is Thyme, I just love the smell and taste. Herbs are packed with micro-nutrients. Parsley and cilantro are great for removing heavy metals from the bloodstream and organs. Herbs can pump up any dish like ten notches! I cannot stress enough just how important and tasty they are!
Herb-Seared Pacific Cod with Garlic Mustard Cream and Pesto “Pasta” Salad
This recipe is fairly simple and involves a blender. I have a ninja, which is a pretty affordable unit. Honestly, if I had my choice I’d own a Vita Mix, but they are $500+ blenders. Telling you right now, you need a decent blender in your life.
I’m using wild caught Pacific cod. Being that I’m from the Great Lake State of Michigan, I can’t tell you how much using cod bums me out, but out here in Colorado we just don’t have access to fresh fish. Granted, there are a few exceptions to this like trout, salmon, and some whitefish. Wild caught is the best possible option, it contains way more nutrients than farmed fish. I’ve consumes enough salmon for anybody’s lifetime, so I’m bored with it but it’s a great option. Really you could use any one of these fish in this recipe if cod isn’t your jam. I personally don’t like my salmon or cod cooked all the way through but that’s up to you. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish but in general fish cooks fairly quick. You can usually tell when the fish is cooked if it will flake with a fork. Under cooked fish resists flaking and is translucent.
- 1 cup Cashews
- 3 cups of Water
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tbsp of Whole Grain Mustard
Combine cashews, water, nutritional yeast, and salt in a blender and blend on high until it becomes a smooth, velvety consistency, about 2-3 minutes. If your blender isn’t powerful enough to make a smooth consistency, strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Next, stir in the whole grain mustard with a spoon. Taste it! Maybe you like more mustard or salt. Set the cream aside for when you’re ready to cook your fish. I use this recipe a lot; you can use it in place of cream in any dish.
Zucchini Pesto “Pasta” Salad
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 cup of Pumpkin Seed (lightly roasted, just to add some color)
- 1/4 cup Water
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil
- 2 Scallions, chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, rough chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbsp of Fresh Lemon Juice, or to taste
- Pinch of Salt
Combine all ingredients into the blender and blend on high until smooth. It’s ok if it isn’t perfectly smooth. It can be a little chunky or you can add a little more water for a smoother consistency. Once again, taste it, does it need more lemon, salt?
- 1/2 Zucchini
- 1 Tomoto
Start by dicing your tomatoes. Then cut the half zucchini into pasta like strips, either using an Asian mandolin slicer or a knife. You can pick up an Asian mandolin at your local Asian market. They’re pretty affordable and will take a lot of time out of chopping and slicing your veggies. They can also be dangerous, so be careful. Combine your veggies and toss with your homemade pesto.
- 10 Sprigs of Thyme cleaned
- 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
- 6 oz Portion of Cod (or any fish)
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp White Pepper or Black Pepper
- 1/2 left over Lemon from Pesto
- 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
- 3 Tbsp Refined Coconut Oil
Combine your fresh, chopped herbs and rub down your fish with them, then season with salt and preferably white pepper but black pepper is fine. Next, get your pan ripping hot, but then TURN DOWN THE HEAT. Using the coconut oil we wanna sear the fish but not burn it. Place the fish in the hot pan, let cook for about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip the fish after you have established a light, brown sear. Once you flip the fish, let cook for another minute. Then tilt the pan towards you letting the oil pool at the bottom of the pan. Then use a spoon to baste the fish with the excess oil. Do this for about a minute. Remove fish from the pan and place on a paper towel, just to get rid of the excess oil. Then place over the “pasta” salad. Using the same pan you cooked the fish in, drop in the minced garlic and sautè for 15-20 seconds, DON’T BURN THE GARLIC. Squeeze your leftover lemon in the pan and follow with 3/4 cup of your already made cashew cream. If your sauce tightens up, just add a little bit of water to thin it out and salt to your liking.
Certified Personal Private Chef