Lemon Pepper Chicken

I came in to work today trumpeting “TGI…T!”  One of my coworkers responded with “So Happy It’s Thursday!” which made me laugh.  The reason for our good spirits is that our office is closed tomorrow, giving us a 3-day weekend.  Yay!

Anyhoo, on to today’s recipe, which can be described in two words:  easy and delicious.

I don’t know if there’s a “classic” recipe for Lemon Pepper Chicken because I didn’t bother to try and find one.  Faced with some chicken parts, a couple of lemons on my counter, the pepper mill and not a CLUE as to what else I could do with it, I just started winging it.

And pretty much hit a home run – the chicken was juicy and flavorful and lemony and peppery.  Pretty much everything you’d want from lemon pepper chicken.

This was great served with roasted Japanese sweet potatoes and Swiss chard sauteed in ghee with garlic, and the entire dinner is Whole30 compliant.

Lemon Pepper Chicken.  Baked chicken takes on a fresh and lively flavor when paired with zesty lemon and black pepper.

Lemon Pepper Chicken
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into pieces
  • 2 medium lemons, juiced and zested (rinds reserved)
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Lay out the chicken pieces in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and pour the lemon juice over the chicken. Sprinkle liberally with salt, then the lemon zest, and finally the pepper, coating the pieces well. Tuck the reserved lemon rinds under and around the chicken pieces.
  3. Baked, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes, basting once or twice with the accumulated liquid, or until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  4. Discard the lemon rinds before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 336 calories, 24.1g total fat, 110.4mg cholesterol, 104.1mg sodium, 360.2mg potassium, 4.4g carbohydrates, 1.9g fiber, <1g sugar, 26.4g protein

Venison Curry

Sunday night, I sent out a plea on Facebook.

“I don’t know what to post tomorrow – Venison Curry or Bang-Bang Shrimp. Help!”

The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the shrimp, which is why I posted it yesterday.  However, about 1/3 of the commenters wanted the curry, and I’m more than happy to oblige today.

Because this was really, really delicious.  The three of us devoured it, leaving very little in the way of leftovers.  Kind of disappointing, actually.

This is a take on a Massaman curry, a Thai dish with Muslim origins.  It’s most often made with beef, but versions made with lamb, chicken, duck and tofu are not uncommon.  I made mine with pressure-cooked deer shanks, after reading a recipe using venison on Hank Shaw’s blog.

Thanks to the wonder that is the pressure cooker, this came together in just a little over an hour and it’s really pretty simple:  pressure cook the venison shanks (oxtail might be a good choice, too) while preparing the vegetables, then shred the meat from the shanks and add them to the curry.  Boom – done.

We might want to note that due to the additions of the peas, which I just loved, this is not paleo.  You can certainly leave them out if you wish, but I’ve been craving spring peas lately (actually, I’ve been craving spring anything lately) and I really don’t think a few once in a blue moon are going to throw my health into some sort of downward spiral.  They certainly don’t have an immediate affect on my well-being the way gluten, MSG or aspartame do.

In fact, if you leave out the peas and switch out the fingerlings for sweet potatoes, this will not only be paleo, but Whole30 compliant.

Note:  I used a canned curry paste that, aside from a tiny amount of added sugar, is pretty clean.  If you want to make your own, Hank’s recipe contains the ingredients and instructions for what looks like a really dynamite homemade curry paste that contains no added sugar or soy.

Edited to add: Apparently peas, despite being a legume, get the “paleo pass” along with white potatoes and white rice.  This makes me…quite happy, actually.

Venison Curry - a sumptuous Thai-style curry that's rich in flavor and simple to make.

Venison Curry
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs venison shanks
  • 2 tablespoons lard or other fat suitable for frying
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 quart beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon lard or ghee
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 tablespoons yellow curry paste, or to taste
  • 1 cup frozen spring peas, thawed
Instructions
  1. Melt the 2 tablespoons of lard over high heat in the pressure cooker. Sprinkle the shanks liberally with salt and pepper, then brown in the fat. Add the beef stock to the browned venison.
  2. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat to high until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 55 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to decrease naturally.
  3. While the shanks are cooking, heat the tablespoon of lard or ghee in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and cook the onions, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, coconut milk, fish sauce, cinnamon and chicken stock; stir in the curry paste. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Once the venison shanks are done, carefully remove them from the pressure cooker and shred the meat from the bones with a fork. Stir the venison and thawed peas into the potato mixture and simmer for an additional 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 455 calories, 24.7g total fat, 27.7mg cholesterol, 1452.5mg sodium, 894.6mg potassium, 26.6g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 5.7g sugar, 33.7g protein

Bang-Bang Shrimp

I’ve got a bad case of fuzz-brain this morning (don’t you wish YOU were menopausal?  ‘Cause I just have all the fun), so please bear with me.  I’ll make every attempt to be coherent.

Some time ago, I got a request from a fellow blogger to find a way to make Bonefish Grill’s Bang-Bang Shrimp more or less paleo.  Well, I’m always up for a challenge, and a challenge it was – for one thing, I’ve only ever eaten at Bonefish Grill once and I did not have the Bang-Bang Shrimp.  For another, we don’t eat a lot of shrimp; the vast majority of the shrimp for sale in this country comes from either Asia or Latin America, where it is farmed in the aquatic equivalent of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO).

Ewww.

I finally broke down a couple of weeks ago and bought a bag of frozen shrimp from my favorite natural foods store, hoping that it wouldn’t be too terribly bad.  A quick search of the interwebz told me that Bang-Bang Shrimp is nothing more than fried shrimp tossed in a sauce of mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce and a little sriracha.  The mayo and sriracha I had no problem with – it’s one of my favorite combinations, in fact – but we just weren’t going anywhere with that sweet chili sauce, which is basically sugar, water and xantham gum with a little chili thrown in.  Tasty stuff, but not something I keep in my kitchen these days.

It didn’t take much thought to decide to replace the sweet chili sauce with honey, red pepper flakes and gluten-free tamari, and I have to say it was just delicious.  It may not taste like the dish you get at Bonefish Grill, but it was good enough to have Beloved tell me repeatedly how delicious it was, and the man is pretty lukewarm about shrimp (he’d rather have crawfish).  The Young One didn’t say much about it at all, but I think that was just because he was too busy eating.

This is an appetizer on the restaurant’s menu, although I served it as a main dish.  The servings weren’t large; like most things that are fried and doused in sweet sauces, this is neither low in calories or carbohydrates.  But if you’re craving such a dish, it is certainly tons better than eating something that’s been coated in GMO cornstarch, fried in industrial seed oils and coated in refined sugar.

We’ve all got to make compromises in life.  Some are tastier than others.

Note:  For those of you who voted for the venison curry recipe for today, not to worry; you’ll get it tomorrow or Wednesday.

Bang-Bang Shrimp - A bangin' good, real food version of the restaurant favorite.

Bang-Bang Shrimp
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups lard or other fat suitable for frying
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, Sriracha, tamari, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the lard in a large, heavy skillet over high heat until it reaches 350 F.
  3. Combine the tapioca and potato flours in a gallon ziplock bag. Liberally sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper; drop half the shrimp into the bag, close tightly and shake until coated. Remove to a plate, shaking off the excess flour, and repeat with the remaining shrimp.
  4. Fry the shrimp in the lard until pink and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Drain briefly on paper towels, then toss in the sauce. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired, and serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 463 calories, 34.2g total fat, 134mg cholesterol, 593mg sodium, 170.3mg potassium, 28.4g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 12.6g sugar, 11.3g protein

Blackberry Buckle

It is Friday and I can’t even BEGIN to express how pathetically grateful I am that this week, which has just been horrific, is at an end.  On the upside, I’m please to report that what had us so very frightened at the beginning of the week turned out to be pretty much a non-issue.  We still don’t have the whole story or all of the results so I still can’t post about it, but as soon as I do, I will.  But aside from the fact Beloved seems to be coming down with a cold and has some odd rash on the left side of his face, we’re all fine and everything seems to be returning to normal.

Or I so fervently hope.

Anyhoo, today’s recipe is my version of the classic fruit buckle.  The base of buckle is a rich cake batter, which is sprinkled with fresh fruit and then topped with a streusel mixture. During the baking process, the cake batter rises up around the fruit, encasing the fruit in batter and causing the streusel to buckle, giving it a bumpy, uneven appearance.

Is it good?  Well, let’s just put it this way:  I don’t think this lasted 24 hours in our house.  We’d all walk by the covered dish it was in, sitting on the counter in the kitchen and cut a tiny piece, which decimated it pretty quickly (and no, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to suggest we were finding excuses to walk past it).

If you have a nut allergy, I apologize, because this is just full of almonds, which accounts for it’s calorie and fat content.  However, if you don’t this is one of those special treat desserts that is certain to please your family.  I used blackberries because they were on sale at the store (it may not be berry season here, but it is in California), but you can use just about any fruit you want.  I may make it again this summer when the local peaches are ripe.  Mmmmm, peaches…

Blackberry Buckle. This homey, gluten-free dessert can be made with just about any kind of fruit.

Blackberry Buckle
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients – the flours, salt, baking soda and coconut sugar – in a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients – eggs, ghee, and vanilla – and mix on medium speed until the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to high and mix until the batter is very smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients for the topping except the ghee. Stir in the ghee, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is moist and crumbly, but not wet.
  4. Pour the batter into a well-greased 8″ x 8″ baking dish and scatter the blackberries evenly over the surface, then top with the almond mixture (there will be a lot). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack; cut into squares and serve.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 448 calories, 31.6g total fat, 96.5mg cholesterol, 132.5mg sodium, 382mg potassium, 33.4g carbohydrates, 6.9g fiber, 16.7g sugar, 7.4g protein

New and Improved!

I want to thank everyone who has expressed concern over my post from yesterday; you’re all so kind.  It turns out the bad news isn’t as bad as we feared; now we’re just waiting for the results of the not-so-bad news.  I’ll let you know.

Anyhoo, you might have noticed a few changes around here; I haven’t said anything about them before because I was waiting for something else to be completed.  It’s finally finished, so now I can tell you a little bit about the changes that have been going on here at the Sushi Bar.

You’ve probably noticed that ads are back.  When I changed the format of the site, I found that my old sponsor had sold us all to another company and was told I’d have to sign up with them if I wanted my current ads to continue.  I am not at ALL impressed with this new company, and decided that I’d wait until I found another sponsor before I ran ads again.  I finally decided on Google Ads, and I’m glad I did.

I never wanted to run ads here (in fact, I believe I once foolishly promised I wouldn’t), but I need to do something to help defer the cost of hosting and the time I spend working on maintaining the site.  I like Google Ads if for no other reason than I can control what ads are shown here – if I see an ad on my site that I feel doesn’t belong here, I can tell Google to pull it.  (Trust me, I already have.)  If YOU see an ad here you feel is inappropriate for this site (i.e. an advertisement not in keeping with the tenor of my content), please make note of the sponsor and/or URL, and let me know.  If I agree that it has no place here, I’ll pull it.

On the right hand side of the screen, you’ll see a tab that says “Follow Me” with a cute little oven mitt.  If you click on that tab, a dialogue box appears giving you an opportunity to subscribe to my RSS feed or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.  It’s a handy little gadget.

You’ll also find several options to “pin” the recipes posted here, as well as like them on Facebook, share them on Google+ or tweet them (available at the bottom of each post).  My favorite is the “Pin It” button that appears when you mouse over one of the recipe photos.

Last, but certainly not least, is the “Recipe Box” option on the main menu.  I’ve teamed up with Ziplist to provide my readers with an easy way to save the recipes they find here to an online recipe box for easy reference.  Not only that, it has a function that will assist in meal planning, based on the recipes you’ve saved to your recipe box, and will list the ingredients required for each recipe and allow you to build a shopping list for those you need to buy.  Once you’ve signed up for a free Ziplist account, it also provides you with a list of grocery store specials in your area to make the shopping even easier.  Best of all, you can use it to save any recipe you find on the internet, not just mine.

I couldn’t be more pleased to be partnering with Ziplist and provide my readers with what is a really useful tool.  I hope you’ll sign up for a free account and make use of this great resource.