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

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

Paleo Beef n Broccoli

When I was about 7 years old my dad took me to a sand pit and we picked out the perfect sand for my brand new sand box.  I remember my dad measuring, sawing and grunting through the whole project.  When all the pieces came together he stood back and said, “now you can dig your way to China”.  Well, Dad, I am now going to finish that journey!

“It is rarely a child’s potential that causes them to be unsuccessful, but rather the lack of rigorous goals, high standards and imagination of their parents, teachers and coaches.” ~Jeff Martin

To prepare for my 6 day trip (1 day for travel, 2 days for the crossfit gymnastics cert and 3 days as a tourist with the hubster) I’ve been racking my brain Pinterest for a good beef and broccoli recipe. I found it.  The trick is fry the meat separately!!!

Paleo Beef n Broccoli

  • 2 top sirloin steaks; sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2″ ginger; peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • coconut oil
  1. Place steak strips, coconut aminos, garlic, ginger and onions in a bowl and let it marinate on the counter top for an hour.
  2. Heat a large pan to just shy of HIGH and add coconut oil.
  3. Working in batches, brown the steak strips- ONLY the steak!!! Set steaks aside.
  4. Once the last batch of steaks is done add all the steaks, marinade and broccoli to the pan and fry ’em up (I had some left over zucchinis so I threw that in there too).
  5. Top with sesame seeds cause you’re fancy like that.

 

Hmmmm, beef- it's whats for dinner!

Hmmmm, beef- it’s whats for dinner!

Let it marinate!

Let it marinate!

Fry 'em up!

Fry just the steak first- then add the rest later!

Voila!

Fancy, huh?!!?!

 

During my marinating hour I made two sides:

Asian Cucumbers

  • 2 Japanese cucumbers; sliced
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T dill (fresh or dried)

Mix.  Refrigerate- if you have the time.

Spicy Kale Crisps

Preheat oven to 350.  Massage oil and salt into kale and bake for 10-15 minutes- long enough to be crispy but not burnt.

paleo preach

Tootles-

jess

 

 

Butternut Squash

My dad used to tell me: You have to have a plan, even if it’s just to change it.  I take that piece of advice very seriously especially in the kitchen.  I hate coming home from work and having no idea what is going to be for dinner so I have started meal planning using Pinterest-smartest thing I have ever done!!!

Today I had planned on making a pork loin and butternut squash stew but the loin was still in the freezer.  Time to change the plan!  I had picked up some meat (and maybe some strawberry Kit-Kats) from the new San A by Kinser and thought I’d try the butternut squash in chili!  Perfect crock-pot meal and awesome for a typhoon day!

round pork mixed with ground beef

ground pork mixed with ground beef

Australian beef

Australian beef

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced

Spices

Spices

meat mixture with spices ontop of squash... on low 6-8 hours

meat mixture with spices on top of butternut squash… on low 6-8 hours

Since I only used 1/2 of the butternut squash in the chili, I went to Google to figure out what to do with the other half.  Then I found this: Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan.  I don’t understand the “parmesan” so this is what I did:

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale:

  • 1/2 butternut squash , peeled and diced (yes I used youtube)
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 leaves kale, diced and stems removed
  • 1 handful of almonds and pecans, chopped
  • salt n peppa
  1. Preheat oven to 400 while you dice away.  On a baking sheet (I used a Pampered Chef stone) add squash, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cover with tin foil.  Poke holes in tin foil.  Don’t get too carried away.  Bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Decrease oven heat to 350.  Remove from oven and remove tin foil.  Give it a good stir.  The squash should be soft.  Add kale and nuts.  Stir.
  3. Put back in oven for 12 minutes.
  4. Turn off your oven.  Remove from oven. Add a sprinkle of salt and peppa and then try to wait until its cool.
Salmon from the San A and the Roasted Butternut Squash Kale

Salmon from the San A and the Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

Tootles-

jess

 

Paleo Surf n Turf

The hubster just came home from a two week TDY (business trip) and I thought a Surf n Turf dinner would be nice to come home to:

What says welcome home than a T-bone?!

What says welcome home than a T-bone?!

This dinner was wicked easy to put together…. especially since I let him do most of the work!  If you have one of these husbands laying around… tell him to fire up his grill!

1. While your hubster starts the coals for the grill: take the steaks out of the fridge and out of the wrappers.

2. Make a rub… heres mine:

  • 2 t granulated garlic
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • salt and peppa

3. Dice red onion, tuna (from any Japanese grocery store in the sashimi section), avocado and mango (dice the red onion a tad bit smaller than the rest).

4. Make the dressing:

  • 1 1/2 t minced ginger
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 t coconut aminos
  • 2 t sesame oil

5. Grab a small bowl and add diced onions, then pack in the diced tuna, avocado and then the diced mango.  Press firmly but don’t squish… finesse it.  Layer the diced yumminess until it reaches the top of the bowl.

6. Slice up a watermelon.

7. Rub one side of the steaks with your rub, the other half with salt & pepper.  Give your husband the steaks.  Remind him not to over cook them.

8. Open a bottle of wine, unless your preggo, then make sure your doors are locked.

9. Plate your Tuna Salad by placing the plate upside down on your bowl.  Flip the bowl and plate.  Slowly remove the bowl… slowly!  It tastes the same if a few squares fall of out place, trust me.

10. Top your sexy salad with the dressing.

11. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top.

Nacho Mommas Tuna Salad

Nacho Mommas Tuna Salad

12. Throw some watermelon on your plate.  Add salt if you’re from the South (or know where the “South” is).

13. Wait for your husband to come in the door with perfectly cooked steaks.

14. Add your steaks to your plate and fight over whether or not butter is paleo.

Cheers.

Tootles-

jess

*I am not a doctor and do not tell preggo women what to do with their bodies.

** The tuna salad was inspired by www.justataste.com… thank you Pinterest.

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