Paleo Recipes for Modern Day Cavemen

Archive for the category “Appetizers”

Shrimp Cocktail

Greetings from Seattle! I’ve been traveling a bit for work but being in this beautiful Pacific Northwest city reminded me of all the fresh seafood available and I had to bring up one of the most simple paleo ideas ever.

This might not be the most gourmet of paleo “recipes” but I had to post because it was a game changer for us during the start of football season and hadn’t occurred to me to do at home until recently. When watching the games, we were so used to snacking on everything – or at least we were. But the chips and junk food went away and crudités ended up being our paleo snack of choice.  A few weeks ago, my husband asked for something other than fruit and veggies to munch on and a lightbulb went off in my head – I actually forgot how simple and satisfying shrimp cocktail could be. I know, silly me… Try it for your football weekends!

Shrimp Cocktail, Paleo, Cavemen Gourmet

Serves 4
2lb large shrimp (de-veined and tail on)

Bring water to a boil and add the shrimp. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until shrimp turns pink and curls slightly.  (To make my life easier, I buy shrimp that’s already cleaned and peeled.)

Drain and cool. I wish I could say that it was harder but that’s really it. For the dipping sauce, I had some amazing and natural marinara sauce from the local farmers market so I just added some horseradish. Next time I’ll try to be creative and add things to the water to flavor the shrimp slightly.

Serve chilled. Enjoy!

Shisito Peppers

I have loved shisito peppers for the longest time but never thought to post them as a ‘recipe’ until I started seeing them on some New York restaurant menus. One thing I love about New York dining is the food trends. You know – the “IT” dish that spring up on every menu when a new hot spot opens up. There was the miso cod, then the lobster mac and cheese, then the oxtail and bone marrow dishes a couple of years ago.  Heck, even the occasional vegetable made the list like ramps when the ‘farm to table’ restaurants couldn’t get enough of the stuff!  Generally, I only saw shisito peppers on the menu of Japanese restaurants. Now – they’re white hot and I’ve seen them on dozens of menus in a variety of cuisines.

They are without a doubt the easiest things to make. The only hard part is finding them in your local grocer because they’re somewhat hard to find. The peppers are great for an appetizer or the after school/work snack but just be careful to give them to kids. Typically, they are as mild as bell peppers but every once in awhile you get a spicy one that may not be good for children if they aren’t used to it!
Serves  1-2

20 shisito peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt

In a frying pan, heat to high and add olive oil.  Toss in shisito peppers and mix in the pan until they are blistered, about 5 minutes. (I personally like my shisito peppers soft but feel free to sauté for less time if you want it a little bit crunchier).

After the peppers have cooked, remove from the pan and transfer to a  plate. Sprinkle kosher salt.

Serve and enjoy!

Cucumber, Turkey and Avocado Roll

Greetings from London! I have been traveling a bit and am reminded daily of how hard it is to eat well while on the road. This easy recipe is a great snack for any roadtrips or flights (especially with those dreadful airline meals!).  As simple as this recipe is, you’ll love the amazing combination of texture and taste!

Serves 2
2 cucumbers
8oz sliced turkey breast
2 ripe avocado

First, peel your cucumbers. I like a tiny bit of skin on mine for the added texture but you can do however you prefer. Then cut your cucumber in half (not lengthwise!).  Next, with a sharp paring knife, make an initial indentation lengthwise and start cutting the core of the cucumber out, creating a hollow log shape out of the cucumber.

Next, core and slice your avocado in quarters.  Once that is done – simple layer the turkey in the cucumber and place the avocado in the turkey. Voila! You have yourself a fresh, paleo snack that’s refreshing and delicious! Feel free to add some basil or other herbs to add more flavors. I keep this simple because my husband loves the basic saltiness of the turkey next to the crunchy cucumber and the creamy avocado.


Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad

My favorite culinary curmudgeon, Anthony Bourdain, doesn’t call roasted bone marrow “Butter of the Gods” for nothing. It is one of my absolute favorite dishes and incredibly simple to make at home (and much cheaper than getting at a restaurant!).  Bone marrow is rich in fat and protein and has a soft and gelatinous texture.  I wouldn’t recommend eating it morning, noon and night, given it’s fat content but I think it’s great on occasion – especially since most of the fat in marrow is monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats).  When you take your first warm and buttery bite, it’s a slice of heaven. Just like this acoustic version of My Hero from Dave Grohl. Is there anything more awesome? Very hard to beat…

Makes 2-3 servings
6 three-inch pieces of marrow (approximately 3-4 pounds)
1 bunch parsley leaves
6 oz cipolline onions
6 oz cherries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
course sea salt
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line your baking pan with aluminum foil because the marrow and fat will leak out during the roast! Place the bones standing upright. Add the onions as well since they’ll be sweet like candy when they’re roasted. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes. (That’s right – you don’t have to add/season/do anything to the bones!)

While the bones and onions are roasting, mix the parsley leaves with chopped cherries. (I know that Anthony Bourdain’s favorite meal includes parsley salad with capers but I didn’t have any when I was making this so I included cherries to add some tartness. It worked great but feel free to add capers instead.) Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and course sea salt and pepper to the salad.

After 20 minutes, your marrow should look softened and loose (shouldn’t be liquified or you’ve gone too long). Take the bones out and set up standing on a plate. Take your onions and chop up 3oz and add to your salad and mix. Set the remaining 3oz on your plate. 

These are a bit challenging to eat if you don’t have the right utensils so make sure you have a slender spoon (or chopsticks!) so you can scrape the buttery goodness out. Enjoy!

Kale Smoothie

Day 23 of the food challenge. I think I’ve eaten enough eggs in the past 3 weeks to turn myself into a chicken. When I need a break and want a tasty snack that does not involve a hard boiled egg – this is my new favorite go-to.  My brother first told me about a kale shake months ago and I remember having reservations (or fears) that it would taste like bitter grass.  But it’s surprisingly delicious, smooth and tasty.  The only annoying thing is that you have to break out the good ol’ blender and that’s never fun to wash. But it’s such an easy way to get your greens down!  The recipe is a random assortment of ingredients – please feel free to play with the ratios of greens and fruit. It happened to be what was in our fridge when I made it.

Makes 2-3 servings
1 banana
5 medium kale leaves
2 clementines
8 strawberries
1 whole carrot
1/2 avocado

Put all items in a blender until desired consistency. Best served immediately. Enjoy!

Egg and Seaweed Roll

Day 3 of paleo challenge. 

Hard boiled eggs. Gotta love ’em! During the paleo challenge – I keep a fair amount in the fridge when I need a great, quick snack. It’s perfect for those mornings when I have no time to make an omelette or anything fancy. Here’s a nice way to sprucen up hard boiled eggs (hat tip BJ).  I used the whole seaweed paper this time but that’s just because I accidently bought the wrong seaweed. I prefer these little seaweed snacks from Sea’s Gift.  Great little snack and wraps a bite sized portion perfectly.

Makes 2 servings
4 hard boiled eggs
0.2 ounce Kim Nori Seaweed

In a small bowl, mash up your hard boiled eggs with a fork to a desired consistency.  Then simply take your bite sized kim nori (seaweed snack paper) and wrap around the mashed eggs. My breakfast this morning was served with a turnip latke. Delicious breakfast! Next time – I’ll try to add a nice creamy avocado to the eggs. Maybe even some bacon to make it crazy. YUMBO!

Prosciutto Melon Snackattizer

Holiday party time! If you need a paleo appetizer idea – this will be the easiest recipe by far. So easy my caveman husband can do it (getting him to actually do it is another question…)

1/2 pound sliced prosciutto
1 large cantaloupe

Cut your cantaloupe in half and de-seed the melon.  Remove the rind and slice into what size/shape you want (I’m too lazy to use a melon baller).  Then wrap your cantaloupe pieces into as much prosciutto as you want – I typically find that half of each prosciutto slice is a perfect ratio.

That’s it! If you want to get fancy – add a sprig of mint or drizzle a little balsamic on this. I like it plain and simple. Enjoy!

Stuffed Grape Leaves

I love stuffed grape leaves. Before I met my Egyptian husband, I never had them before. Fortunately, my in-laws are amazing cooks. I’m in love with one recipe from my aunt in-law that has stuffed grape leaves with beef and rice.  But to make a paleo version, I took out the grains. Here’s a paleo version of stuffed grape leaves that I think you’ll enjoy.

Makes approximately 40 grape leaves
1 pound ground beef
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon dried mint
1 lemon (sliced)
16 oz jar grape leaves
salt and pepper

Hand mix the ground beef, chopped onion, dried mint and garlic together.  Take out several grape leaves from the jar.

To stuff the leaves, put about 1 tablespoon of the beef mixture in the center of the leaf.  Fold in the sides and roll upwards tightly.  I like to roll mine super thin (around the width of a Sharpie pen).   In a medium saucepan or pot, place the finished grape leaves side by side in the pan. Make sure that as you finish each of the grape leaves, you put them next to each other and pack in tight like sardines.  Once the bottom layer of the grape leaves is done, layer with thin slices of the lemon.

Continue with the next layer of grape leaves on top of the lemon slices until you’re done with your beef mixture.  Then fill your pot with water (covering nearly all of the leaves).  Simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  After cooking, pour out the water and let cool for a few minutes. Then serve and enjoy!

Onion Tart

I’m a big fan of onions. Big. HUGE. Though I can’t bite into them like George Costanza can, I put eat them with nearly everything – in my omelettes, in my salads, in my soups… I would eat them for dessert but I’m not that crazy.  One thing I do love is carmelized onions for that really sweet and natural taste. This recipe was inspired by a post I recently saw where I just loved the pictures.  So I tried to make it more paleo friendly. I think you’ll enjoy the chestnut flour crust because it adds a slightly sweet flavor to it. Hope you like!

Makes 4 servings
For the crust:
1 cup chestnut flour
1/3 almond flour
1 egg

For the filling:
2 red onions
1 medium sweet onion
2 shallots
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
grated Gruyere cheese (optional)
salt and pepper

For the filling: Peel and slice your onions. I sliced mine very thin because I wanted the mix of onions to blend well together. Feel free to use any type of onion – I’m a sucker for red onions so I put more of that in than anything.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil on high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the onions and stir for 5-10 minutes until all of the onions have softened up. Reduce heat to medium and cook the onions for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened dramatically and are well browned.  Then add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another 10 minutes, until all of the onions are completely caramelized. Remove from heat.

Before you make the crust, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust: in a medium sized bowl, add your flours and egg together. Hand mix until you have a dough-like consistency.  (It will be a bit tougher/harder than your typical dough but that’s expected – you’re using nut flours!). Place the dough on a large piece of parchment paper. Get your rolling pin out and roll the dough until the crust is about 1/8″ thick. Then place your sauteed onions in the center of the dough – leaving enough room on the sides so you can roll up the tart. Grate some gruyere cheese on top of the onions.

With the parchment paper, fold up the edges of the crust leaving some of the onions exposed in the center (see picture). I find that the parchment paper allows me to create the hexagon shape of the tart much easier than if I use my hands. And the flour is much harder to work with and less malleable than typical dough. So use that parchment paper!

After you’re done folding the tart sides over, grate more of the gruyere cheese on top if you want. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes and voila! You have a paleo onion tart. Perfect for brunch or a decadent snack.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

As Summer winds down and Fall approaches, I’m getting a liiiiittle excited. Ok fine – I’m getting majorly excited.  I’m not thinking of the beautiful change in seasons coming up or the autumnal colors that are about to surround me.  I’m thinking about Peyton Manning and his awesome commercials. I’m thinking of Tom Brady and wondering if he’ll be affected by being Gisele’s baby daddy.  That’s right folks – FOOTBALL SEASON!!!

I was watching Hard Knocks a few days ago and thinking this is the best show on television. This is what makes reality tv amazing.  The show pulls at your heart strings. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you feel glad that you’re sitting comfortably on the couch watching these guys while they work their butt off only to tear their achilles tendon (Ropati Pitoitua – you are my hero. I touch my healthy earlobe and it feels tender. You tear your achilles and it looks like you’re about to take a nap).  You don’t even have to be an avid football fan to watch – so hop to it and get on board the Hard Knocks Train.

When I think of football season, I also think of food and lots of it. This will be my first football season eating paleo so I was trying to think of snack-attizers to keep my non-paleo friends happy during kickoff. This recipe is inspired by my Mom who often makes a version of these wings. They’re sweet, spicy, delicious and easy to make.

Makes 4-6 servings
3 pounds of chicken wings
1 cup of chestnut flour
1/2 cup of walnut oil (or your favorite oil for frying)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar (I put on my paleo approved list in very small doses)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (optional if you don’t want the heat).
salt and pepper
1 green onion (thinly sliced)

Rinse chicken wings under cool water and pat dry.  In a large frying pan, pour in your walnut oil and put on high heat.

In a large bowl, mix your chicken wings and 3/4 cup of your chestnut flour.  Coat all of the wings with the flour so that they can fry up evenly.  (Chef’s Note – this is the first time I tried chestnut flour.  It’s slightly sweeter than other nut flours and used commonly in desserts as an alternative to all-purpose flour.  I absolutely loved the flavor that came out of it and will use again for other crusts that need a slightly sweet kick.)  Once your wings are evenly coated with the flour, add them to the hot frying pan.  Fry on each side for about 7-10 minutes until cooked through or until golden brown and crispy.

For the sweet and spicy sauce, in a small sauce pan combine the orange juice, fish sauce, vinegar, water, Sriracha sauce, minced garlic and water.  Stir evenly and add a little salt and pepper. Stir on medium/high heat and add your remaining bit of chestnut flour. This will thicken the sauce a little bit (and is a great substitute for corn starch as a thickening agent). Stir frequently.

Once your wings are done frying on both sides and are crispy, golden brown – add your sauce and reduce heat to low. The sauce will look a bit watery once you pour it in but will thicken up nicely with the heat. Mix the wings so that all of them are coated with the sauce and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Place wings in a serving dish and top with sliced green onions. Best served immediately. Enjoy!

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