Grill Season

Holy crap- it’s been a busy year!  I just got back from a four week trip to the states and I’m so glad I’m back on island!  I’m still fighting a bit of jet lag, but I’m hoping to recover soon!!

Fire up your grill, ladies and gentlemen – grill season is upon us!!!!

Grilled Salad
-serves four-

1 package of bone in, skin on chicken (brought to room temperature)
1/2 bag frozen shrimp-tail on, raw (thawed)
1 pineapple- cut into symmetrical chunks
1 white onion- quartered, 1/2 to be grilled, 1/2 for the kabobs
1 head romaine lettuce- halved
1 bulb fennel- quartered
1 tangerine- quartered

–marinade–

3 T garlic olive oil
2 limes- juiced
2 T minced cilantro (fresh)
1 T minced garlic
salt n peppa

–dressing–

3 T
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
1 T chopped cilantro
salt n peppa

Grill plate

Grill them veggies with their fruity besties!!!

Shrimp Kabobs

Shrimp Kabobs

Grilled Salad

Grilled Salad

Make the marinade and the dressing.  Marinade the chicken (up to 6 hours) and shrimp (up to an hour) in separate bags.  Place chicken over direct medium-low heat on the grill. Thread onion, chunked pineapple and marinated shrimp on soaked wood skewers- call them kabobs.  In the center of the grill, grill the veggies (yes- the lettuce too) and fruit until charred.  When the veg and fruit are done, replace them with the shrimp kabobs, then dice charred lettuce, onion and fennel and combine with dressing.  Top salad with thoroughly cooked chicken, diced grilled onions, diced grilled fennel and the juice the grilled tangerine over top…. add in the kabob.  Dig in.

Tootles-

jess

Bluberry Balsamic Beef Roast

One of the first thing I noticed about paleo is the importance of grass fed beef.  I’d like to think this option would be a whole helluva lot easier stateside, but maybe I’m wrong.  There are some decent options here in Okinawa like I posted in 2012, but the problem with the off-base-grass-fed beef is: 1. the price (ouch) and 2. the size (the cuts of beef off base are made for Japanese families- petite).

One of my absolute favorite cuts of beef is the prime rib.  During my time in Klamath Falls I would visit my great grandfather who lived in Medford.  We would take long Sunday drives around the Rogue Valley where he would transform the land into the way he remembered it in the 1920s and 30s: majestic.  The area where Costco is now used to be my great grandfathers fathers farm.  Our timing was epically off.

After a few hours every Sunday we would find ourselves in Jacksonville, Oregon.  Nestled quietly in the Rouge Valley, Jacksonville, Oregon, is one of my most favorite places in the world.  Quaint, rustic and simple.  The Bella Union with its gourmet menu, gorgeous staff and stiff martini- is my favorite local restaurant.  My great grandfather and I would order the same thing every time: a gin martini and the prime rib.  Our dates together were filled with history lessons, memories of the olden days and talks of the future.

Since his passing in 2004 I have not been back to Jacksonville, however, during the holidays I attempt to make a prime rib he would be proud of.  This past Christmas season had me so far off the paleo bandwagon, I went with this recipe: Webers Prime Rib in a Blue Cheese Crust.  I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, he would have approved!

After a soul satisfying Christmas Dinner, I bagged up the prime ribs and saved them for beef broth.  I used the recipe by eatyourbeets and went with the crockpot-for-8-hours option.

I’ve had the broth sitting in the fridge for a couple of days and finally found a recipe with sacred beef broth potential… here’s the recipe that was my inspiration: Mushroom and Blueberry Balsamic Pot Roast.

Blueberry Balsamic Beef Roast with Shrooms and Carrots

  • chuck roast “Chuck”
  • 2 plastic containers of mushrooms
  • 6 T fat of your choice
  • 1 package of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 bag baby carrots
  • 1 onion, quartered, peeled and core removed
  • 1 c beef broth
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar (I used strawberry)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

Turn your crockpot on low.  Remove Chuck from the fridge, wrapper and let him breath while you chop and brown.  Slice the mushrooms in halves, the onion into quarters and leave the blueberries and carrots be.

Heat a pan to just above medium heat, add 2 T of fat of your choice (I used ghee… next time, bacon grease).  Brown the onions, then remove the onions on both sides- place them on a plate.  Do the same with the carrots (they wont “brown”), then remove the carrots and throw them on top of the onion plate.  Add 2 more T of your fat (+some if you’re feeling frisky).  Brown the mushrooms and garlic.  The mushrooms will soak up the fat leaving you with darker colored shrooms, browned garlic and a dry pan.  Add the shrooms and garlic to the onion/carrot plate.

Add the last of your fat to the pan and salt and pepper Chuck.  Brown all sides of Chuck.  Once he is brown on all sides (yes you may have to hold him while you sear the ends) remove him from the pan and lay him ever so gently in the crockpot.

In the same hot pan add the broth, balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce; bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer until reduced by half.  Add the garlic, shooms, onions and carrots to the crockpot.  Tuck all those veggies around Chuck.  Once the sauce is reduced by half pour it over the Chuck and his friends.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

the sauce

the sauce

dinner

dinner

approved!

approved!

When you’re ready to eat, pour the sauce back into the pan and reduce it by half again.  While its reducing slice the roast against the grain, plate your veggies and prepare for tender, flavorful, rustic roast!  Pour the sauce over Chuck and his friends.  Enjoy!

Tootles.

jess

Tootles 2013!

Since I blogged pretty heavy through 2013 I’ll save you the recap, however, here’s the few things I’m shooting for in 2014:

  • New blog design and layout by Bianca Frank
  • Organization of my Pinterest boards (http://www.pinterest.com/jesspacpaleo/)
  • Make a RAD monthly goals list
  • A PINK 35th birthday in Vegas
  • Lose the 20 pounds I gained in 2013
  • Yoga more
  • One solid, focused, beautiful, unassisted, strict: pull up. One.  Just one.

2013 was a wonderful year for our family.  Wonderful.  I haven’t blogged or worked out much at all in the past few weeks because, well, I have many excuses: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my 23 year old (step) daughter was visiting with our 1st grandchild are at the top my list!

Place father Christmas atop our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving

Place Father Christmas atop our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving

Smartie wrecked havoc almost every single day!

Smartie wrecked havoc almost every single day!

It only took a week for ol' Smartie to go on STRIKE!!

It only took a week for ol’ Smartie to go on STRIKE!!

I made it JYs "holiday" performance!

I made it JYs “holiday” performance!

Baked Christmas cookies!

Baked Christmas cookies!

Even got the pre-teen to help out!

Even got the pre-teen to help out!

Legos.  A job for my boys!

Legos. A job for my boys!

His squadron Christmas party!

His squadron Christmas party!

Araha Beach

Araha Beach

My squadron Christmas Party

My squadron Christmas Party

Sea Garden

Sea Garden

Aquarium

Aquarium

Xystus Play Place

Xystus Play Place

Jams

Jams

Instead of throwing weights around, making grocery lists and blogging every step- I took this holiday season for me.  And my family.  This year was the first year we celebrated Christmas with all four children.  Being a blended family with adult children, grandchildren and living overseas- THIS was a big deal!!!  And we enjoyed every last second of it!

I pray 2013 was as good to you and your family is it was to ours.  To 2014: I’m coming for ya!

Tootles-

jess

Hong Kong

After the second day of the gymnastics cert my husband flew in to join me.  We made our way to the Central district for some sight seeing and stopped in the Hard Rock Café, cause we are those tourists.

Hey- easy on the name calling, there Hong Kong!

Hey- easy on the name calling, there, Hong Kong!

Soooo, those fish are still swimming.

Soooo, those fish are still swimming.

Veggie and fruit stands are to Hong Kong as Starbucks and hipsters are to Seattle!

Veggie and fruit stands are to Hong Kong as Starbucks and hipsters are to Seattle!

Apparently, these are da bomb... next time.

Apparently, these are da bomb… next time… maybe!

After a good nights rest in our fancy smancy hotel we spent the next morning enjoying our tourist status.  We got lost.  We laughed.  We were offered “great” deals on watches.  Got rained on.  Took the subway.  Took a taxi.  Found a “7 For All Mankind” store.  And then we had an Irish Coffee in a British pub…

hollywOOOOOOd!!!!

hollywOOOOOOd!!!!

Purchasing designer jeans was a memorable experience for two reasons.  1. They are mentioned in my favorite song, My Humps; don’t judge… and 2ndly: I have wanted designer jeans since my pre-crossfit/paleo days… when I couldn’t fit in them.  Now.  They are mine.  Call me shallow… talk to the hand!😉

To continue with our touristy travels through Hong Kong, we switched hotels and moved over to the Kowloon side of Hong Kong.  We checked into the Mira Hotel.  This hotel is James Bond meets Jackie Chan.  Holy sexiness, sleekness with an Asian twist– so cool!  Our room came with a Droid.  Yes.  A phone.  Enter your room, stare in awe, look at the tub next to the king side bed and then… and then the Droid.  Free calls to 92 countries, Wi-Fi hot spot… and a virtual map.  What could be better than this?  How about reservations to OZONE… on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Calrton!!!  When in Rome, right!?!?!

hk9

As if the grounds of Hong Kong wasn’t posh enough, at the top of the tallest building in Hong Kong rests this bar… the highest bar in the world.  We had the Mira book our reservations and we definitely felt like frauds walking into this place.  Ok, maybe “frauds” was a bit extreme… But, I did ask my husband to call me Vivian for the night.

For dinner we chose the 6 course meal.  Be prepared to salivate:

Oysters... from Puget Sound.

Oysters… from Puget Sound.

fasdfas

Sashimi Squares with a few sea grapes… as if it wasn’t fancy enough

Halibut from Alaska...set ontop of a vegetable consommé...

Halibut from Alaska…set ontop of a vegetable consommé…

The CHEF came over and told us all about how fancy this was...

The CHEF came over and told us all about how fancy this was…

It was divine!!

It was divine!!

This, however, was my favorite part…

This is the mother of all things fabulous...  Its a cup, on a bowl which is filled with mesquite smoke...

This is the mother of all things fabulous… It’s a cup, on a bowl which is filled with mesquite smoke…

The cup holds a perfectly poached egg laying in a thick creamy broth...

The cup holds a perfectly poached egg laying in a thick creamy broth…

Inside the smoke is a velvety mashed potato topped with a slice of heaven (AKA bacon).

Inside the smoke is a velvety mashed potato topped with a slice of heaven (AKA bacon).  Yes, sprinkled with flowers… but, of course!

This dinner left me speechless.

hk17 hk18The view had me convinced I was on the literal cloud 9!

To make our few days in Hong Kong just a tad bit more memorable, we spent the following morning on a run little jog down the Avenue of Stars where we saw Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan’s star.  We finished our jog through the Kowloon Park where the locals were practicing Tai Chi.  It was such a beautiful sight, that yes, it brought me to tears.

After a quick shower and an iced Americo, we slid our way through the subway and made our way to Victorias Peak.

View from the tram

View from the tram

Bubba Gumps

Bubba Gumps

After a nice dinner from atop the mountain, we made our through Hong Kong city on the locals mode of transportation: the escalators…

hk21Then out of no where… and I mean: NO WHERE- came a sickness.  We hopped on the next subway and made our way back to the room.  We stayed in the room, hunched over in pain for the rest of our stay.  I wish I could blame it on the food, the altitude, or the subway… but I think I caught the lovely bug from a co-worker.

All in all, though, Hong Kong was a blast.  Truly, a trip of a lifetime.  As soon as my immune system is built back up from the back to bad sickness I’ve had- I plan on getting to work on my pull ups and a lot more crossfit kids posts.  Until then…. I am contagious. =(

My love, my love, my love, my love-
jess

Crossfit Specialty Course: Gymnastics

Crossfit Gymnastics is my third Crossfit Certification and even though its hard to pick favorites, this cert was really freaking rad!  First off, the cert was in Hong Kong.  I took a direct flight (2 hours) from Naha to Hong Kong.  After a thirty minute bus I checked into my hotel (there was a lady playing a harp in the lobby!!)!  That night I scoped out the nearest Starbucks, did a map study, and then hit the sheets.

In the morning, I got my Starbucks and grabbed a taxi to the box.  Destination: Crossfit Asphodel (pronounced: ass fa del).  The taxi pulled up to a building with a very large garage-like opening.  Inside were four employees guarding three elevators who did not speak a lick of English.  I tried pointing at my shoes and shirt and saying “crossfit” slowly but my game of charades got me no where.  Since I was a hearty 30 minutes early I figured if I just walked around looking lost; someone was bound to find me.  Five minutes later a Kool-Aid drinker emerged from the elevators, eyeballed me and said, “11th floor”.  Then he turned to the guards and yelled in Chinese Cantonese.  Next thing I knew I was in an elevator heading to a crossfit gym on the 11th floor of a building.

I was greeted by a coach who introduced himself (I couldn’t hear his name over the butterflies in my stomach), checked his papers and gave me a name tag: I’m in.  There were only 5 other athletes at this point; all of whom seemed to know each other and had no desire to make a new friend.  Within thirty minutes all of the crossfit elements had arrived: beards, knee high socks, lulu lemon booty shorts, tattoos, rok tape, Regionals Tshirt, and a ton of  ridiculously beautiful smiles.

The coaches introduced themselves: Chuck from Florida (AKA gymnastics Jesus), Jen from Perth (Olympic Athlete) and Kevin (imagine: pure fitness meets humble pie) from Boston.  The lead coach, Chuck, asked the group “how many of you are trainers or coaches?  Competitors?  Injured?”  I was the only one without their hands in the air and I couldn’t help but think: man, these people have long arms.  Chuck followed up with a whole spiel on why gymnastics was vital to crossfit, what we could expect from the course, and of course: safety.

When Chuck went through the expectations I started to really get nervous: pull ups, ring dips, levers, planches and muscle ups.  I knew right away I was waaaaaay out of my league. Once we broke free to start our “warm ups”, I pulled Chuck and Jen aside and informed them of my fitness level.  Instead of pointing out the obvious and laughing at me, they literally put their arms around me and reassured me that not only would I benefit from this course, but I have the most to gain.  Well played.

Off I went, trying to keep up.  We went through the basics with a fine toothed comb: bear walk, crab walk, and of course: superman and hollow.  I spent a lot of the weekend as a third wheel, but I didn’t mind.  I felt like I was brushing shoulders with some big dawgs!

The big lesson I learned from the first day: lat activation.  I need to do a whole lot more of this.  I have always thought the biceps were the big player in the pull up and I could never imagine my little guns moving my whoooooooole body and bringing my chin above the bar.  BUT, I was wrong.  The lats are the major player in the pull up.   Huh, good to know.

The lat: largest muscle in the back. http://justanotherrep.co.uk

The lat: largest muscle in the back.
http://justanotherrep.co.uk

After the first day I was able to sneak in a bit-of-a-chat after hours with the trainers and got to know them a bit more on the personal side.  Even though their knowledge of fitness, their gorgeous physics and their crossfit-godliness didn’t change the fact that they are actually human.  They arrive late, talk about family, take pictures of a dreary skyline and follow the lost into the subways.  Totally. Rad. Humans.

The second day flew by ridiculously fast.  We went through the muscle up, paralettes and handstands but my favorite was finding a modification to the ring dip.  I’ll be using a lot of what I learned in my garage gym, but the ring dip with the heels on a box feels like an epiphany!

I wish I could go through page after page of the notes I took, but this cert did cost a pretty penny.  If you’d like to feel yourself do a ring dip, reverse lever, planche hand stand, or a muscle up- these two days will get you there.

About a week before this cert I created my first crossfit goal: 3 unassisted kipping pull ups in a row.  After what I learned this weekend I really want to change my goal to a strict pull up.  But, I’m not going to.  Instead, I’m going to add the strict pull up as a goal.  Its all about the progression.

Crossfit Gymnastics Cert

Crossfit Gymnastics Cert

Tootles.
jess

Mega Don Quijote

First there was ETWS, now there is Mega Don Quijote (Donki)!!!  OkiHai compares Donki to Walmart and I agree-ish.  Donki is the product of my thought process.  It’s chaos.  It’s colorful.  It’s loud.  It puts a dent in the wallet!

Once you park on the roof, make your way down the aquarium elevator and follow the red rug to Japan Land.  The first section is eye lashes.  Literally 8 rows of eye lashes.  Apparently eye lashes are big business around here!  Around the corner is the over lit area of accessories: purses, sunglasses, and watches.  After you turn the corner- good luck finding your bearing!  Electronics, kitchen tools, car accessories, childrens toys and clothes, hair products, and there’s even a grocery section!

The original intent of my voyage through Donki was to find accessories to our Halloween costume: chefs hat, an apron and an orange shirt.

Iron Chef and Pumpkin Pie!

Iron Chef and Pumpkin Pie!

We wore our couples costume to Reebok Crossfit Asia’s Kids Halloween party.  The only person to get it… got it on their fourth try.  Hmph.

Since I was already half way through crazytown Don Quijote I thought I’d wonder through the grocery section.  Holy happiness!!!  I’m on a spice kick as it is- and I was in heaven!

Its no Penzys- but it'll do!

Its no Penzys- but it’ll do!

I’m on my last jar of Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute Spice and have been looking for a replacement.  I have my fair share of spices but it just takes so much time creating spice blends that I really wanted a choice of already blended seasonings.  I went home with “The Oh!Zone”!!!!

Oh!Zone!!

Maybe its the over use of the !… I like it!!!!

The innuendo sold me: A cleansing blend to add a “lift” to stir-fries & curries.  Also delicious in salad dressings, sauces & in place of refined salt as a healthier table condiment.  You can stay in the gutter, if you want😉

Back to spices: this isn’t the best collection of spices I’ve ever seen but it has done its job of holding me over.  Therefore, I’ve still been on the look out for a company that I love as much as The Chefs Olive Mix for oils and vinegars- but for spices.  Enter the magical potion of friend and Facebook: a friend suggested Savory Spice Shop.  She even let me “borrow” some of her fancy spices: anise and cardamom (Bo Kho and Rogan Josh recipe).  It has a drop down for APO.  Need I say more?  Ok, fine, I will: Roasted Garlic Granules, Raritan River Herb & Chipotle Seasoning,Citrus & Savory Brining Spices and Madagascar Vanilla Extract… my kitchen is ’bout to explode… now we wait!!!

Tootles-

jess

Mean Cuisine Recipes and Review

A fellow foodie, Leah, has started to offer her chef skills to the peeps of Okinawa: Mean Cuisine!  I took advantage of the October special and booked a “Mix it Up” Class.  After a few emails back and forth and a small deposit, my reservation was made!

We met at Awase Fish Market at a designated time plus the 10 minutes it took me to do a u-turn and map study.  We started at the veggie stand.  Leah explained where specific veggies came from with details on taste, texture and recipe ideas.  We picked out some good looking veggies and headed into the actual market.  Inside we notice it was slim picking on the fish front.  3 o’clock was a bit late for a good selection.  We were still able to pick out a few whole fish and turned them into the super quick fish-cleaner-guy fishmonger while we made our way to the sashimi section.

"Yes, Id like the keep the heads"... wait... what?

“Yes, Id like the keep the heads”… wait… what?

When all was said and done, I spent  around ¥6,000 in fresh vegetables and fish- planning to serving 12.

Back at my house we unloaded the groceries and started the first side: Garlic- Chipotle KabochaKabocha is a Japanese pumpkin and available everywhere!!!  I have never cooked with this little guy… this is what I learned: 1.) you’re supposed to eat the peel and 2.) in some cultures it’s an aphrodisiac!!

Kabocha

Kabocha

Galic-Chipotle Kabocha

  • 1 kabocha; stem and bottom removed, deseeded, and sliced into wedges
  • 4 T EVOO
  • 3 T garlic granules
  • 2 t Chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Smother kabocha wedges with EVOO, sprinkle with garlic and chipotle and roast for 20 minutes.  Flip and roast for 20 more.

Smokey, sweet and spicy... Kabocha!

Smokey, sweet and spicy… Kabocha!

My guests arrived willing and eager to learn and cook– Leah put them to work washing the lettuce for the sashimi salad.  While one side of the kitchen prepped the salad, Leah and I started the Fish Head Soup.  This soup looks complicated… it’s not- promise!!

Fish Head Soup

  • 1 pot of water
  • 3 fish heads
  • 1 yellow onion;  ends cut off and chopped in half (leave the skin)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 t marjoram, dried
  • 1 t thyme, dried
    ——————-
  • 1/2 t Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 T coconut four
  • 1 T arrowroot powder
    ——————-
  • 3″ lemon grass, bruised
  1. Bring ingredients to a boil and then down to a simmer.
  2. When the fish’s eyes “pop” it’s time to start adding salt, pepper, more salt.
  3. Boil until the soup reduces to half the volume.
  4. Strain everything out so you’re left with only broth.
  5. Mix curry powder, coconut flour and arrowroot in a small dish then add to fish broth and mix with a hand blender
  6. Add fish balls, lemon grass, salt and pepper- soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish heads, water and veggies!

Fish heads, water and veggies!

Volume is down to 1/2

Volume is down to 1/2

Fish Balls

  • 1 raw fish, skin and bones removed, chopped
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, minced
  • ½ t black salt
  • ¼ t wasabi powder
  1. Mix all ingredients with fingertips in a small bowl.
  2. Form small balls about the size of paintballs.
  3. Drop into fish broth.
  4. Soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish Ball Soup

Fish Ball Soup

Yes, I’m saving the best for last:

Butter-Fried Fish

  • Whole fish: innards, head and scaled removed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • EVOO
  • (optional: garlic granules, herb, etc. of your choice).
  1. Melt butter in pan at med-high heat.
  2. Make paste of oil, salt and herbs or spices that you      choose.
  3. Massage into skin of fish.
  4. Fry fish until it moves easily in the pan.
  5. Flip.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Enjoy.
    Fish and butter, baby!

    Fish and butter, baby!

    Crispy fish!

    Crispy fish!

    Mean Cuisine Review:

Overview: I met Leah at Awase fish market and purchased ingredients to serve 12 for a “fish dinner”.  In my kitchen, we made: fish ball soup, sashimi salad, garlic-chipotle kabocha, three butter-fried fish and 1 oven baked fish.  It took 2 hours from unloading groceries to saying grace.

Pros: Leah’s Mean Cuisine was a great opportunity and I plan on doing it again (Kokasai Street next time!!!)!  She was informative, creative and a pleasure to learn from.  My favorite part was having her in my kitchen.  For example, I have more spices than you can shake a stick at yet I rarely use them.  Leah went through all my spices and gave me some awesome suggestions and pairings.  The laughter that helped build dinner will not be soon forgotten!!!

Cons:  We bought waaaaaay too much sashimi.  Also, I had originally shopped for 12 dinner guests.  Luckily, a couple of husbands didn’t make it and we had just enough for every one.

Prices: Book a cooking lesson before October 31 and pay only ¥1,000 per student per hour (minimum 2 hours) plus materials fee.

Details: Find Leah on facebook or visit her blog!

The dinner party!

The dinner party!

Tootles-

jess

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 174 other followers