a paleo weekend

First of all, I MADE IT A WHOLE WEEK! Woot woot! (Or maybe that should be “grunt grunt,” given that this is a Stone Age diet and all.)

So apparently I won’t have to take on my Paleo experiment alone. I’ve dragged my husband into it with me. Well, not exactly, but he’s pretty content meeting his grain and dairy intake in the mornings with a bowl of cereal, but after that, it’s been fairly easy to convince him that slabs of flesh and piles of spinach can constitute good eats.

He arrived home Friday afternoon, and after a day of refueling with yams, I was excited to head to the grocery store and pick out some nice red meat. Performing his caveman-like duties, Mark seared the meat in the cast iron skillet while I sauteed some zucchini and cherry tomatoes for a side.

I already talked about Saturday’s delicious mussels, so I’ll move on to yesterday’s meal. After my 10-mile run (with no GI problems to report!), we headed to the Leucadia Farmer’s Market for the first time in ages. There, among the herbs and hippies, I discovered some purple-skinned yams called Japanese sweet potatoes. Even when the only starch I’m really allowed is yams, I’m a slave to variety.

As per my coach Nell’s cookbook, I sliced the large yam into 1/2-inch pieces, and tossed it with 1 Tbsp of chopped basil and 2 Tbsp of olive oil. I threw in some paprika, as well, and then broiled them on a rimmed baking sheet for about 15 minutes. I used to bake yam fries, but broiling is a much faster way of doing it and yields a crispier crust. We ate the fries with a batch of homemade “Paleo” mayo (eggs+olive oil) that turned out a little runnier than we would have liked.

With our yam fries, we had seared grass-fed steaks that were oh-so tasty. Who needs a grill? (Actually, I really want a grill.) I am embarrassed to admit that it was my first time trying grass-fed steak at home. Prior to going Paleo for a month, we didn’t really buy and cook a lot of meat, let alone pricey steak, but this month it’s all about the “why not?”

I also tried Nell’s recipe for Rappini, or Broccoli Rabe. Basically, you take a half bunch of the greens, coarsely chop them, and put them in a pan with 1-inch of water. You then steam them for 5 minutes, drain off the water, and mix them up with the juice of half a lemon, one Tbsp of olive/walnut/flaxseed oil mixed with fresh basil, and a handful of chopped sundried tomatoes and raisins. It was a very nice accompaniment to the full-flavored steak and the starchy yams.

In other news, I managed to resist all the samples at Costco, as well as the peanut butter filled pretzels that our friends brought to the beach. I think this “diet” is turning out to be more of a mental exercise than a physical one. I’m continually surprised by my own willpower. I’m usually the type of person who can put away two baskets of tortilla chips at a Mexican restaurant before the food is even delivered. Over the past week, I’ve had to learn to just not want things. It really is amazing how if you put your mind to it, you can overcome things that used to be daily pleasures.

One pleasure I won’t give up, however, is wine. And last night I cheated a little more (in the name of celebrating one week) by adding a Pink Lady to the mix — which could very well be my new favorite summer drink. And while I’m not really allowed tonic water (sugar sugar!), if I’m allowed energy gels on bike rides, I can justify one or two of these little evening indulgences every once in awhile.

Right Nell? (wink wink)

Pink Lady

2 oz gin

tonic water (Whole Foods’ 365 brand sweetens theirs with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup)

Angostura bitters, to taste

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add gin, tonic water, and 6-8 shakes of bitters. Enjoy!

4 thoughts on “a paleo weekend

  1. June 28, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Looks pretty tasty!

  2. Monica
    June 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Jen – so excited that you’re dabbling in the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. It’s definitely become my food philosophy, and I’ve never felt better. Keep up the good work – check out the Healthy Skeptic for more resources/recipes, etc. Hope all’s well on the West Coast – I might attempt to join you out there in the near future!

    1. Jen
      July 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      No way, I had no idea. When did you start?

      1. January 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

        Hello and Happy Thanksgiving! Im hopping you can asnewr this question before I bake these incredible looking yams. Can I pre bake these the night before for 40 mins then refrigerate and finish them for the last 20 or so minutes when I take my turkey out to rest? I’m short on oven space but don’t want to risk them getting mushy if I pre bake the day before. Your thoughts? Love love love your blog and cooking channel! P.S. just made your buttermilk brine for the turkey I know it’s gonna be GOOD! it! Oh, and made the sweet potato pie, too. Looks and smells amazing! Can’t wait to dig into this stuff!