Tuesday, May 14, 2013



I think at the heart of it, we're all creatures of habit. We generally like routine. Maybe some of us like to live on the edge, live spontaneously. But at the end of the day, we still probably prefer to take a shower at a certain time of the day, or eat foods in order on a plate or conversely mix everything together... We do things that we've grown accustomed to doing. 

Sometimes this works in our favor. When we jump on the paleo bandwagon, we get into the habit of eating meats of all kinds, nuts, fruits, veggies and healthy fats. We get into the habit of avoiding grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods and added sugars. We are seriously, if not literally, on a roll. And when we are faced with hunger and traditional eating times, we begin to make it a habit of choosing paleo things over nonpaleo things. Yay for us! Whoo!!!

Sometimes, though, we get stuck on these habits and we get into a rut. The same chicken breast and green beans, or eggs and bacon for breakfast, every day, for weeks.... It can get pretty old. Very quickly. Typical ways to get past this hurdle are to try out new recipes, eating things and parts of animals we never thought possible. In fact, this is what I do with my blog. I go out, buy weird animal parts like oxtails and beef cheeks, and then scour the internet for a gazillion recipes on how to cook these interesting bits. Then, I find my favorite and post them here. I love cooking new things. It's a challenge that I enjoy and I encourage you all to do the same.

But sometimes, we can get burnt out on the new just as easily as the old. And one piece of advice that I can happily pass on to other paleo newbs is this: buy what you would normally buy and cook what you would normally cook 80% of the time, and spend 20% of your time finding a little something new to add to your tool belt of cooking.

These percentages work for me, the majority of the time. When I shop, I typically buy the same exact things at the grocery store. Same cuts of meat (with some exceptions, although buying weird cuts is now more habit than exception to the rule...), same vegetables, same spices and herbs. At the end of the day, when hubby gets home from work, and I have 1 hour to cook before crossfit, and simplicity wins out. Habits come in to full effect. I know what's in my fridge, and I know how I want to cook it. I'm going to grill some kind of meat. I'm going to pan fry or even (gasp!) microwave some veggies. I'm going to sit down and inhale what I just made. And then it's time to clean up and move on.

Because thinking so much about every meal you make is tiring and impractical. For day to day eating and living, we need something simpler. We need something habitual enough, but tasty to get by and avoid boredom. Crazy dishes like boiling cornish hens and making pickled relish are for weekends and free time. The daily grind is where the majority of our eating and our commitment to paleo falls into place. And rather than make it more difficult for ourselves, we should stick with our 80% habits and 20% new stuff ratio for the best result. 

So that being said, sometimes easier is better. I posted yesterday about my spicy mango barbecue sauce. Today's "recipe" isn't so much a recipe than it is a method recipe. Because sometimes barbecue is just barbecue. And that's more than enough.

You will need:

1/3c. Spicy Mango BBQ Sauce
4 Chicken leg drumsticks
1 pot boiling water
1tsp salt
3 zucchini, sliced long ways in uniform thickness (makes it easier to grill them)
Salt and pepper to season.

  1. Heat up your grill and make sure it's properly seasoned. I like to brush my grill with the wire scrubber when it's hot and then take a paper towel with bacon grease or beef tallow and wipe it over the grate. It helps keep food from sticking.
  2. Put your zucchini slabs on to cook, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove when both sides have dark grill marks and the slabs become floppy, maybe two or three minutes per side depending on how hot your grill is.
  3. While they're grilling, put the tsp of salt into the water and bring it to a boil.
  4. When it's boiling, throw in your drumsticks. They can be frozen or partially thawed. Poaching them in seasoned water helps defrost and cook them so time on the grill is focused on crisping the outside instead of torching them to ensure the middle is cooked.
  5. Boil these suckers on medium boil (don't boil the daylights out of them) for about 7-10 minutes. You want to cook them until they're almost done. Time will depend on the size of the legs. The drumsticks I had were like three times the size of a chicken wing drumstick.
  6. When done, remove them and let them drain for a minute or two over the sink.
  7. Now transfer them to a dish and baste them with the bbq sauce. The best part of poaching them first means that you don't have to worry about gross chicken bacteria getting into your sauce. You can literally baste them with the sauce until you eat them because they're already cooked. So way to save on sauce! Waste not, want not.
  8. Grill these suckers until the outside skins are crispy and they want to fall off the bone with tenderness. Feel free to baste a few layers of sauce on the outside of the drumsticks. Again, you've eliminated your risk of salmonella by cooking them in the water first. I love this method of cooking...
  9. Now, admire your handiwork with the grill. And slap some butter on your zucchini, preferably Kerry Gold because that sh*t is delicious. 
Admittedly, this has hollandaise sauce. But I had the time to make it.
Sometimes paleo is just grilling. It's not magical and mysterious. It's not a bunch of crazy substituted ingredients. It's not crazy cooking methods known only to elite chefs and paleolithic people. It's just real food, some nifty seasoning and a grill. And that's maybe the best part of paleo in the first place.


Post a Comment