Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers: Paleo Appetizer Recipe

shishito peppers recipe paleo

This post and recipe for Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers is by my husband G who was inspired by a young farmer at our local CSA to turn the pepper bounty from Saturday’s pick-up into a tasty appetizer. Take it away G!

What comes to mind when you hear the word “pepper”? Other than “salt,” I mean.

For some of us, it might conjure up sensations like hot, spicy, or burning. For others, it may be colors like the vibrant red of a shiny bell pepper, the brilliant green of a jalapeño, or the fiery orange of a habanero. Still others may be reminded of a country, like Mexico, the appropriately named Chile, or even…Japan?

shishito peppers paleo appetizer

That’s right – Japan! Land of sushi, sashimi, New York Yankee’s outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, the world’s coolest electronic gadgets, Godzilla, books that are read from right-to-left, and the tasty Shishito pepper.

shishito peppers paleo appetizer

We found some Shishitos at our local CSA farm (along with all sorts of fresh and beautiful produce), and filled our weekly basket with 9-10 peppers. One of the farmers said the shishito peppers are delicious when sauteéd in olive oil and salted to taste, so that’s what we did, with minor modifications.

Paleo Spirit | Paleo Appetizer

Instead of using only olive oil, we added equal amounts of leaf lard -the highest grade of lard from the visceral – or “soft” – fat from around the kidneys and loin of the pig. It lacks any real pork or meaty flavor, making it an excellent neutral-flavored cooking fat with a high smoking point. Leaf lard is particularly prized by bakers for use in producing moist, flaky pie crusts.( We used leaf lard it in this recipe because we had it on hand. But you could use regular lard given the savory flavor of the dish.)

leaf lard

We purchased the lard a few weeks back at Red Apron Butchery during the book release party for the cookbook Beyond Bacon.

Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers

Here’s how I made this amazing paleo appetizer recipe:

To make the pan-fried shishito peppers, first, I heated some of the lard along with some olive oil (for flavor) in a cast iron skillet until hot. Next, I also added the peppers and fried them for about 10 minutes, adding in some minced garlic in the last minute, then sprinkling the finished peppers with fresh lemon juice and sea salt. The result was the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy – enough to please most any palate.

Getting back to the original question, when I hear the word “pepper,” I instantly think back to memories of my Dad watching football on a Sunday afternoon with a plate of jalapeño peppers and sliced cheese. He’d eat the jalapeños whole, turn beet red, and sweat like a madman. It looked painful, but he said he enjoyed it. Funny, but he often complained of heartburn…I wonder if there was a connection?

Fried Shishito Peppers | Paleo Appetizer Recipe

Pan-Fried Shishito Peppers Recipe Continue reading

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Avocado Chocolate Frosting (Paleo and Vegan)

Paleo Avocado Chocolate Frosting

Today’s post is by my husband G who did a great job making a beautiful, delicious, healthful (uh, yes, I think it is – at least relatively speaking!) birthday cake for me recently. 

My wife’s birthday always falls near – and sometimes on – Mother’s Day. This often makes for a fun and enjoyable weekend as we celebrate both events, but it can also be kind of hectic as the boys and I shop for gifts and attempt to divvy them up appropriately and in secret.

Well, this year I vowed to get an early and efficient jump on things. The boys and I did our shopping, wrote our birthday and Mother’s Day cards, wrapped our gifts, and were busy clapping each other on the back for our efforts when my wife suddenly asked the dreaded question:

“Are you making me a cake?”

A cake?!?!

D’OH!!!

I forgot the cake!

After hemming and hawing about whether she REALLY wanted a cake (lame, I know), and whether I had enough time to make one, she said “Just look at my website. You know I’ve posted cake recipes!”

My eyes quickly darted back and forth like a deer caught in the headlights. “Ummm…yeah! Duh! Of course I…hee-hee…of course I know that, Sweetie!”

She rolled her eyes, handed me my iPad, and said “Here. Get busy!”

And I have to admit it…it WAS easy. And it DID have avocado in the chocolate frosting. An avocado chocolate frosting. And it WAS delicious!

Paleo Avocado Chocolate Frosting

We’ve had this cake (Chocolate Paleo Snack Cake) before, but it’s the first time I’ve actually made it myself. Now, I’m fairly competent in the kitchen so I wasn’t wary of the task…but I was a tad skeptical when my wife told me that avocado was a primary ingredient in the frosting.

Paleo Avocado Chocolate Frosting

Avocado?

Isn’t that for guacamole? I mean, I love guacamole but this is chocolate frosting! Well, what it all comes down to is trust, and I trust my wife. After all, she’s like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island – she can make ANYTHING with coconut! – so I had to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Paleo Avocado Chocolate Frosting

Not only is this frosting really tasty, but it doesn’t taste anything like avocado! It tastes exactly how it’s supposed to taste – like rich, creamy chocolate cake frosting. In fact, when you serve it to your friends don’t tell them it’s made with avocado until after they eat a piece! Just enjoy their surprised expressions.

Avocado Chocolate Frosting

Paleo Avocado Chocolate Frosting Continue reading

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Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets

Today’s post is written by my husband G who is a Baltimore, Maryland native and die hard Ravens fan. He’ll introduce our new recipe for Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets just in time for Sunday’s Ravens-49ers match-up. The following recipes may come in handy for Super Bowl parties if you are looking for some delicious finger food without all the junk. Take it away G!

Super-Bowl Sunday – It’s an American tradition!

Since the first Super Bowl game was played in January of 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, the game has morphed into a mega-event that can captivate an entire nation for one Sunday afternoon. If you believe the statistics, nearly 85% of all Americans will be watching this year’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Simply put, that’s incredible!

And let’s not forget the drama surrounding Super Bowl XLVII. For starters, the head coaches of each team are brothers! That’s right, brothers! John Harbaugh coaches the Ravens and his younger brother Jim coaches the 49ers. Then there’s the impending retirement of the Raven’s team leader and future Hall-of-Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, as well as the ascension of wonder-boy 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick to genuine NFL superstar. All in all, it looks to be a great game as fans around the country hunker down in front of their televisions to cheer on their team.

And what Super Bowl party would be complete without good food? Unfortunately if you’re eating Paleo, the pickings are often slim…but it doesn’t have to be that way! In the spirit of great tasting, all-American bar-food that goes so well with football and the Super Bowl, we’re happy to present…

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets!

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets: PaleoSpirit.com

These paleo buffalo chicken nuggets are surprisingly tasty! (Our family fights over these every time Lea makes them.)

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Nuggets: Paleo Spirit

Now for the recipes…first come the chicken nuggets, then homemade blue cheese dressing, dairy-free ranch dressing and how to make a plain paleo chicken nuggets version. Continue reading

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G’s New Year’s Paleo Resolution plus a Giveaway

(G’s New Year’s Paleo Resolution Giveaway is now closed. The three winners are listed at the end of this post.)

About two years ago, my wife Lea started “eating Paleo” in an effort to alleviate some health-related issues which she believed were possibly caused by certain kinds of food, like gluten. Partly to be supportive, and partly because she does most of the shopping and all of the cooking, I went along. I mean, really…what choice did I have?

To my surprise (admittedly, I was skeptical), the new way of eating proved wildly successful for her and for myself. When combined with a regular regimen of Yoga, walking, and occasional sprinting, I shed the pounds quickly! Without much real effort and a lot of tasty meals, I was able to see a “1” followed by a “6” on my bathroom scale for the first time since I was in high school over two decades earlier.

I was very proud of myself; I looked good, and I felt great. I celebrated my discipline at being able to cut out sweets and bread, and to eat well at work as well as at home. My wife applauded my resolve. Things were going great! Until…

The fall off the “paleo wagon”

…Something happened. I don’t know when, but it happened just the same. Slowly but surely, the carbs returned – a little bread here, a slice of pizza there. And of course, there was the beer. As you may have noticed from some of my beer reviews, I love the stuff. So…bread, pizza, beer…and two years later, it’s all back, and then some.

G contemplates his fall off the paleo wagon. (At "Grounds for Sculpture" in New Jersey)

G contemplates his fall off the paleo wagon. (At “Grounds for Sculpture” in New Jersey)

PALEO RESOLUTION

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not fat. I don’t think I’m even chubby…but I am overweight, and I don’t like it. So, in an attempt to regain my previously trim physique, I am willfully joining my wife on the Strictly Paleo Plan for the month of January 2013. I’m hoping to not only lose weight and get back in shape, but to re-establish those good food and exercise habits that worked so well when we first “went Paleo” back in 2010.

Wish me luck! I’ll need it…

PALEO GIVEAWAY!!!

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Paleo in Maryland: Steamed Crabs

I’m a very crabby guy.

But when I say crabby, I don’t mean curmudgeonly or cantankerous, although I’ve occasionally been accused of both.

I mean I love to eat crabs. Steamed crabs.

Maryland steamed crabServe’em up with some ice-cold beer on a picnic table covered with old newspaper and in my humble opinion, you’ve pretty much achieved Nirvana.

But that’s because I’m from Maryland, where steamed crabs are more than food – they’re a way of life. Marylanders have been gorging themselves on steamed crabs since the first settlers paddled up the Chesapeake Bay in 1634, and even before that if you consider Native American tribes like the Nanticoke and the Powhatan.

There was a time when hardly anyone outside of the Delmarva Peninsula – that’s where Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia all collide on the eastern side of the Chesapeake – ate much crabs, but that’s changed in recent years. It’s not hard to get a decent crab cake in most American cities nowadays, but steamed crabs? That’s a different story!

So whenever Lea and I visit my Mom & Dad on Maryland’s eastern shore, we make a point to have steamed crabs. Lea, a native Texan, had never had steamed crabs before she met me, but after 15 years of marriage she can tear into them with gusto! She also likes that eating steamed crabs fits in well with her lower-carb, paleo diet.

Now…a little bit about the crabs, themselves. The ones that we eat in Maryland are called Callinectes sappidus, which means “tasty beautiful swimmer” in Latin. But that’s a mouthful for a Marylander, so we just call them “Blue crabs,” which makes sense because before they get tossed in the pot they actually are…blue.

We like to think of blue crabs as our own, but the truth is they’re found all the way from Nova Scotia down into the Gulf of Mexico and even as far south as Argentina! Good thing, too, because due to over-fishing, most of the crabs we eat are imported from Louisiana! No matter, they’re still blue crabs, and nobody does them like they’re done in Maryland…sorry, Virginia! Continue reading

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Paleo and The City: Greensquare Tavern

Greetings, everyone! “G,” here, filling in for Lea to write a glowing review of Greensquare Tavern, a very Paleo-friendly, “farm to table” restaurant in New York City.

Lea and I really enjoy dining out – probably too much, if my wallet has anything to say about it – but her celiac disease adds an extra dimension of difficulty to finding a suitable restaurant. On more than a few occasions we’ve found great restaurants unfortunately using ingredients that make it virtually impossible to dine safely, so we have been forced to cross them off our list. Therefore, it was a genuine pleasure to come across the Greensquare Tavern.

Located at 5 West 21st Street in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, Greensquare Tavern is spacious, airy, and inviting. A picture window in the front by the bar and a large, overhead skylight flood the dining area with soft, bright light even on a gray rainy day like the day of our visit.

We arrived just before the lunch rush and were greeted by Renee Typaldos, one of the managing partners. There were still plenty of seats, but that didn’t last long. Within 10 minutes, most of the tables were full of hungry office workers and assorted cube mice looking for a healthy, delicious lunch.

Greensquare Tavern

I started off as I usually do, by checking the beer list, and was pleased to inform Lea that Estrella Damm DAURA, a gluten-free ale from Spain, was available! She clapped her hands with delight and promptly ordered one in a large, frosty glass. There aren’t many gluten-free beers, and seemingly fewer restaurants that serve them, so a nice, tasty bottle of DAURA was an unexpected treat.

Estrella Damm Daura

After delivering the gluten-free beer, our waiter returned to tell us about the daily specials. Lea and I both started off with the Chilled Beet Soup. Chilled Beet Soup Continue reading

Estrella Damm Daura: The “Star” of Gluten-Free Beers

Estrella Damm Daura? Da…I mean Darn! That’s good beer!
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Estrella Damm Daura
My wife Lea and I have been drinking gluten-free beer for about a year now, and not surprisingly, some are better than others.
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Beer-lovers who drink gluten-free beer usually do so because…well, because they want a beer, right? Well, yes and no. Undoubtedly, there are some folks who prefer gluten-free beer to traditionally brewed beer. I mean, some people like wine coolers…but I digress. Anyway, many beer-drinkers reach for gluten-free beer because like my wife, they have Celiac Disease.
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Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in people of all ages. It’s caused by a reaction to gluten protein that is commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. Additionally, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation (http://www.celiac.org/), approximately 1 out of ever 133 Americans (about 2.5 million people) have some degree of intolerance to gluten, so it’s not surprising that the market for gluten-free food, including beer, is growing.
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As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, the biggest difference between gluten-free beer and traditional beer is…drum-roll, please…the taste! Gluten-free beer tends to be sweeter due to high sugar content. That’s because gluten-free beer is often brewed with sorghum, a type of grass used for a variety of purposes, like making syrup for pancakes or feeding livestock. Speaking for myself, some gluten-free beers taste pretty good, and I don’t mind drinking them, but others do NOT. Bottom line: if you like beer but have Celiac Disease, adjusting to the taste of gluten-free beer is pretty much a priority.

Continue reading

Bard’s…Not all Gluten-Free Beer is Created Equal

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love beer.

My wife, too, enjoys a high quality beer now and then. But her gluten intolerance made me feel…well, guilty if I was sitting across from her at the dinner table, sipping a cold, tasty bottle of beer while she downed another glass of ice water.

So when she discovered gluten-free beer, I was all for giving them a try. Continue reading

TOLERATION Gluten-Free Ale

Paleo and Gluten Free Beer B&WContinuing my ongoing effort to review gluten-free beers for Paleo beer-lovers, up next is TOLERATION Gluten Free Ale, from “Nick Stafford’s Hambleton Ales” in Yorkshire, England.

First, a little history about “Nick Stafford’s Hambleton Ales”. Not surprisingly, the company is owned by its founder, Nick Stafford. According to the company’s website, after being laid-off twice in only seven months (or “made redundant”, as the Brits like to say) in 1991, Mr. Stafford was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and decided to start his own brewery. Continue reading

G Accepts The Hundred Push-Up Challenge

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak…VERY weak.

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I was an athlete for most of my life. I started playing competitive sports in the 2nd-grade, and actually played Lacrosse all the way through high school and college. In fact, the team I played for in college was a top-ten ranked Division 1 team, and went to the NCAA playoffs.

Now, I don’t say this to brag…much…but simply to reinforce the idea that physical fitness is something I’m familiar with. However, since my early 30’s, the word “familiar” is an all-too appropriate description of my approach. I’ve been “familiar” with physical fitness, but I haven’t really achieved a personally satisfying level for quite some time. There have been numerous attempts to “just do it”, join a gym, knuckle under, and discipline myself back into shape, but most of those attempts were dismal failures. Luckily, I’m not obese and my health hasn’t suffered. But I am…or rather, I was overweight, and like a lot of guys in their mid-40’s, I had a tendency to sit on the couch and flip channels when I could have been out exercising.

Well, that all changed when my wife got me to “go Paleo.” Not only have I lost weight while eating tasty food like bacon, eggs, and steak, but I’ve been able to get my body back into shape by doing the things I enjoy, like hiking, rather than running on a tread mill in a noisy gym. I also learned that the best exercises for trimming and toning are the ones that you can do without ever stepping into a gym, like copious amounts of pull-ups and push-ups.

With that in mind, I began to do push-ups every day before my morning shower to get my blood pumping and shake me from my waking stupor. I started with 10 push-ups and soon progressed to 15, 20, and finally, 30. I was fairly pleased with myself, and my wife did notice some modest but definite results. Crafty person that she is, she then asked me to take the “100 Push-Up Challenge.”

My first thought was “You mean, actually do 100 push-ups?” After her curt reply which may have included something about my IQ-level, she explained the concept to me. Basically, the challenge is designed to help participants literally do 100 push-ups within 6 weeks of starting the program. Sounds crazy, right? A little too ambitious, maybe? Yeah, I thought so, too. But I started the program anyway. My wife was staring at me so I chose the path of least resistance.

After a simple initial test to see how many push-ups you can do, you’ll be classified into a category ranking based on that number and your age. This determines the number of push-ups you should do for each rep of the challenge. For example, after factoring in my age and initial score, I started the challenge on day 1 by doing 10 push-ups on the first rep, 12 on the second rep, 7 on the third and fourth reps, and 9 on the fifth and final rep. In between reps, I rested for 60 seconds. And that’s about it! Of course, the number of push-ups for each rep increases each day, so watch out! What seemed easy on day 2 may seem impossible on day 3.

I’m up to day 4, so check back this week to see my progress! And if you’re interested in taking the challenge yourself, all of the information can be found right here: http://hundredpushups.com/

Happy Trails!

- G
G’s Cave Archives

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