M has been back home (Illinois and Indiana) visiting family and helping prepare for her sister’s wedding. Making food decisions isn’t easy when there is no easy access to grocery stores (at least by walking) and there are little mouths to feed. Having a special diet can be a burden for others when you are depending on their hospitality. I am traveling there today for the wedding. I am curious what kind of challenges there will be for me these next four days (though I hear there are paleo options at the reception).
I did go off menu once this week. I was riding home from the grocery store and saw The Supper Truck and TFK setting up for Septemberfest at Marble Brewery. They have the best smoked meat from Mississippi to the Rio Grande, okay I don’t really know that, but it is damn good. The last time M and I got something from TFK, M got the pulled pork sandwich and I got their smoked pastrami Reuben, read the review here. By the time I got back to Marble the outside patio was packed and TFK and Supper had a steady line of customers. TFK did not offer the Reuben this time around, so I opted for the pulled pork without the BBQ sauce. Normally their pulled pork is server on a soft roll with BBQ pulled pork and a bit of coleslaw. I am not a big fan of coleslaw, but I thought I would give theirs a shot. I was not disappointed.
As I ate this sandwich I kept thinking, “No there isn’t a paleo version that would be this good.” TFK really knows how to put together freaking amazing sandwiches. The coleslaw was quite good. It was fresh, crispy and not overly wet. Most of the coleslaw I have eaten was drowned in dressing to the point all you really can taste is the sugar and vinegar of the dressing and not what it is dressing…you know for the veggies. TFK’s folks understand that too much of any ingredient can ruin a dish. TFK, thank you for understanding how flavors should work with each other and not compete for dominance.
Update: I just heard from the fine folks of TFK and the Reuben will be back on their menu this fall, like in a week or two. Check them out at Marble on Tuesdays from 3-10pm. These hot sandwiches are perfect for chilly autumn evenings.
Okay enough of the off menu, let’s get to the on menu stuff.
As I mentioned above M has been out-of-town for the past few weeks, which means that I have been left to fend for myself. It’s really not that bad. I usually cook on weekends while M cooks during the week. I come from a long line of professional chefs on my mother’s side of the family. I inherited the cooking gene, and spent some of my youth taking culinary courses and cooking professionally. Just don’t ask me to bake anything.
We get most of our Paleo Recipes from the Nom Nom Paleo app and the Well Fed and Make It Paleo cookbooks. This week I was going to try to make Nom Nom’s Chawanmushi. It’s a Japanese egg custard dish. By the time I got to making dinner I lacked the patience required to steam my meal for almost an hour. So I jumped across the pond and went for Chinese instead. Nom Nom’s version has enough of the core ingredients needed to make egg drop soup. So I thought why not go even further and make it a Hot and Sour Egg Drop soup? They both have similar bases, neither are very paleo… sugar, soy sauce, and occasionally tofu. What I ended up with was a really great paleo soup for the cool fall days ahead.
What you need:1 tbsp of coconut oil 8 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken thighs ( if you want to use pork loin instead go ahead) 1 inch piece of ginger 4 cups chicken stock (Imagine Organic Chicken Stock is the only one I have found that doesn’t have sugar in it this is not true of the beef broth however.) 4 medium cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced ( you can get fancier mushrooms if you like, such as shiitake) 2 ounces of shrimp, cut into little pieces a pinch of red chile flakes 1 tsp of vinegar 1.5 tbsp coconut aminos Freshly ground salt and pepper Hot sauce ( Cholula or Frank’s Red Hot) 2 eggs, lightly beaten 4 scallions, thinly sliced Fresh cilantro leaves
How you do it:
1. Heat a cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. While the pan is warming up season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add the coconut oil to the pan and then add the chicken once the oil is warm.
2. While the chicken is cooking prep your veggies and the shrimp.
3. Once the chicken finishes cooking set it aside and let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes.
4. While the chicken is resting reduce the heat on the pan you cooked the chicken in and take the ginger and micro-plane it like mad. Throw the ginger into the pan a let it cook until it becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds).
5. Add the chicken stock and turn the heat back up and let it reach a slow boil ( about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, chop the chicken into little pieces ( or shred if you prefer).
6. Add the remaining ingredients except the cilantro and scallions and eggs. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper as needed.
7. Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl with a fork and then slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup. Allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.
8. Once the soup is ready ladle it up and garnish with the scallions and fresh cilantro leaves.
9. Serve with a nice side of veggies or Nom Nom’s Asian Cauliflower Fried “Rice”. I went for broccoli lightly sautéed in sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds.