Entertaining Paleo Style

Entertaining can be nerve-wracking, especially when you are on a "special diet". Unfortunately, when you get too worked up about choosing and prepping the food, you tend to lose sight of the whole reason for having people over...to relax and enjoy one another! So take a deep breath and come up with a plan.

We had company Thursday and Friday night last week...seven people both nights. We don't get to see either group very often, so I needed to be present and available. It was also important for me to stick with the AutoImmune Protocol and serve tasty food.

Tip 1: Unless you are very confident in the kitchen, stick with something you've made before. I turned to an expert for a tried and true recipe (which I've made before). Fiona's Green Chicken Thursday night's menu:

  • Fiona's Green Chicken from Nom Nom Paleo's Food for Humans cookbook. Prep and marinade ahead. Bring to room temp; grill.

  • Green Salad (from a previous post) made with chopped romaine, green apple, celery, persian cucumber, and lemon vinaigrette. Wash and chop lettuce, celery and cucumber ahead of time. Prep dressing too.

  • Grilled Onions and Sweet Potato Wedges with olive oil, salt & pepper

  • Organic Strawberries dipped in Coconut Cream (and shaved dark chocolate for those who could partake)

  • Plus, our guests brought wine (which was tough to avoid drinking, but I did!)

Tip 2: Share responsibility...delegate! Yes, this is easier with some groups than others. Our little guy helped set the table, and my honey helped with the grilling. Hopefully there is one person at your get-together that you can ask to toss a salad, or pour water, or schlep food to the table.

Grilled Grass-fed Steaks Pan Fried Trout Fillets

Friday night's menu:

  • Surf & Turf (grass-fed steaks and trout fillets rubbed with olive oil, salt & pepper). Bring to room temp; grill.

  • Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with April Bloomfield's Lemon Caper Dressing with slight modifications. I followed the recipe, but left out the dijon and replaced the 1/2 tsp sugar with 1 tsp honey (both to take the lemony edge off and thicken the dressing without the mustard). Prep the dressing ahead.

  • Grilled Sweet Potato "Chips" with olive oil, salt & pepper (this was a last minute addition by "the griller".

  • Oven Roasted Broccolini, Carrots, Parsnips, and Onions with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & garlic pepper

  • Organic raspberries and/or dark chocolate. It took me a long time, but I finally found a dark chocolate that does not contain soy lecithin: Alter Eco has only 4 ingredients...can't wait until I can chomp some too!

    Tip 3: Unless it comes up, keep your dietary restrictions to yourself. Your guests probably don't want to hear about all the stuff you "can't eat" or the restrictive diet you are "making them eat". Just share tasty, simple food and it'll all work out. Cheers!

Fresh Food

Several years ago my sweet little niece asked me if I go to church...I responded "no honey, I go to farmer's market". I feel like this is my way to commune with Mother Nature or the Guy in the Sky, or however you want to describe what's "bigger than us". So every Sunday we are home, we go to the Farmer's Market as a family. It's a delight to the senses; we taste, smell and touch as we move through the market and look for the best items to bring home.

Here's part of this week's haul:
Roasted Veggies

There is nothing quite like a crisp, juicy apple from Mr. Ha's Orchards, especially during those first few months of Fall. They are heavenly. Or the delicate, juicy Satsuma tangerines in January. These days, I'm obsessed with the mindblowing perfection of Romanesco. I could go on and on, but the point is food this fresh, tastes different, tastes better.

I can already hear the naysayers mounting their excuses...I don't have time, there's no farmer's market nearby, I'm busy, I don't like vegetables. Well, if it's important to you, you may be able to find a way. No farmer's market nearby? Try a Community Supported Agriculture program or have a box of organic produce delivered to your home. When you ditch processed foods, you won't believe how amazing fresh food tastes. (And, hey now, even our 3 year old eats this stuff!)

We are fortunate to have J & P West Coast Seafood at the market too. The fish is amazingly fresh and delicious. This weekend my parents were visiting, so we splurged on jumbo shrimp and red fish.

Jumbo Shrimp with California Chimmichurri Jumbo Shrimp with California Chimmichurri

I tossed the shrimp with the rest of the California Chimmichurri in the frige, and threw them on the BBQ for an appetizer. After 5-6 minutes and a squeeze of lemon, ooh's and ah's filled the kitchen.

This week, red fish made a debut on the menu board. I had never heard of red fish, so we tried it. Unfortunately, Red Snapper, a relative, appears on the "Avoid" section of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Buyer's Guide, so this may not be a sustainable choice.

Cedar Plank Red Fish Cedar Plank Red Fish

Nonetheless, you could cook another, more sustainable fish this way with fantastic results. Soak a cedar plank in water for several hours. Place sliced lemons and a handful of herbs (thyme & parsley are nice) on the plank in the shape of the fish. Place fish fillet on top of the aromatics. Rub with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grill on medium high heat for about 20 minutes. No need to flip. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Served with farm fresh roasted vegetables and a colorful salad. This is restaurant quality food at home...enjoy!