Plenty

So on Sunday Mike and I purchased some new pots and pans. I LOVE every piece we brought home. Investing in high-quality, heirloom-type cookware I can imagine leaving to our future children makes me smile.

Mr. Research-everything-to-death advised me that All-Clad was the way to go and I couldn’t agree more. I have also always dreamed of owning a Le Creuset pot or 2..or 3… So we stopped by their store too 🙂  I believed they would give me magical culinary powers and I think I was right.

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Mini chocolate cake brownies in our new cocottes!
Recipe from againstallgrain.com

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Mike and I eat a 90% paleo/ grain-free/whole foods diet which means we buy lots of organic, free-range, vegetarian-fed beef, pork and chicken (in addition to gorgeous, in-season- when possible- fruit and vegetables). That stuff is expensive! Over the last 3 years we have realized the most economical approach is to buy the usually less desirable cuts of meat.  The unintended effect of working with these cuts was re-appreciating the wonderful flavor and tenderness that old-school braising develops.   Using the Le Creuset 3.75 qt deep skillet I crisp up the skin of chicken thighs (season with a a moderate amount of salt and a dash pepper) on the stovetop. It takes about 3-4 minutes to get a beautiful golden brown color. Flip over and cook a few minutes more.  Before popping the whole skillet in the oven I add 3 crushed cloves of garlic, a sprinkle of thyme and a few spears of asparagus.  Using an internal meat thermometer I crank the oven up to a full broil when the meat hits about 150 degrees (make sure to remove the thermometer before broiling).  The broiler re-crisps the skin right before serving! Don’t forget to enjoy the natural pan sauce this method provides!  So so easy and delicious.

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While we were at Williams Sonoma checking out the All-Clad pans this book jumped out at me. The photo on the front sold me before I even opened it. Whatever that was- I needed to try it. I brought it home and realized I needed to paleo-ize this dish so here is my version:

You’ll need:

– Two eggplants
– about a 1/4 c. of oil of your choice
– 1 small tomato, large-diced
– 1 Tbsp Za’atar seasoning (or make your own- see below)
– Fresh herbs to garnish, optional

Sauce:
– 1 can of Coconut Milk
– 1 tsp grass-fed butter or ghee
– Salt
– 1 clove of garlic

Method:
– Slice two eggplants in half. Slice a few slits in the flesh lengthwise and drizzle moderately with the oil of your choosing. Pop in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes until the eggplant is tender and starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

– While the eggplant is cooling, make the sauce (which I thought was mozzarella cheese at first).  Instead of using buttermilk and greek yogurt as the real recipe calls for, I used Coconut Milk.  Scoop out the coconut milk solid from the top on one 8oz can. To that, whip in by hand: a teaspoon of ghee, a dash of salt, and 1 crushed and diced garlic clove.  Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

– When ready to serve, spread a generous amount of your sauce on each portion of eggplant. Sprinkle on as much za’atar* as you’d like, followed by the diced tomatoes and some fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary or basil and enjoy!  This is definitely going into the appetizer rotation in our house, it eats much like a salad to me so I would be happy starting a meal with this dish any day. If you make it please let me know what you think!

* You can certainly make your own za’atar (a popular middle eastern seasoning) if you don’t have any in the house. Combine:  – 2 Tbsp thyme, 1 Tbsp Roasted Sesame seeds, 2 Tbsp marjoram, 2 Tbsp Oregano, 1 tsp coarse seat salt.  1/4 c ground sumac is usually added but I didn’t have any. To get a bit of sour lemon flavor in that usually comes from the sumac I zested a lemon (about 2 Tbsp).

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