Pork chops and apple compote go together so well, and this paleo recipe from the cookbook Cooking with Coconut Oil is a snap to make!
When I was offered a review copy of Cooking with Coconut Oil by Elizabeth Nyland of Guilty Kitchen, my answer was a resounding YES! I am a huge cookbook junkie, and especially like to read books penned by fellow food bloggers. Also, since I started eating paleo in August, I’ve loved using coconut oil in the kitchen, and was eager to learn more things I could do with it. Today I’m sharing my experience cooking & photographing three amazing recipes from the book, and the recipe for Pork Chops with Apple Compote is at the end of this post!
Cooking with Coconut Oil arrived the day before I left to spend the holidays in Tennessee with Ben’s family, so I did not get to cook with it right away. I had plenty of time to page through it, though, bookmarking recipes I wanted to try and craving almost everything pictured in the gorgeous photographs. This cookbook features a large, full-color photo of every single recipe, which I love. (Cookbooks that only show pictures of some of their recipes are a huge pet peeve of mine–I never want to make any of the un-pictured recipes!) The book also has informational sections that cover the health benefits of coconut oil, details about many of the ingredients used in the book, and ten tips for living a paleo lifestyle. Did you know that the medium-chain-triglycerides in coconut oil improve brain function and can have therapeutic effects on Alzheimer’s patients? Yeah, neither did I!
I’ve always been more of a baker than a cook, but I’m working hard to change that, especially since starting my Whole30. It’s exciting to try lots of different meats in lots of different forms. Yesterday I made pork belly (you can see the before & after pics on Instagram–it was good, but not quite good enough to share with you!). Today I used ground chicken to make meatballs. I am so happy with the way this dish turned out–it’s one of the best savory recipes I’ve made! The meatballs are moist and rich, and the sauce provides the perfect level of tart tomato and roasted garlic flavor.
When I lived in Houston, I loved to stop at El Rey Taquería for a big bowl of their tortilla soup, which was packed with chicken, shredded cheese, corn, avocado, and crispy tortilla strips, and also called caldo tlalpeño. The restaurant is open until 3 am on the weekends, and has a drive-through. I miss living the easy life in H-town, with all the drive-throughs, cheap prices, and delicious Mexican food! I decided it was time to make my own caldo tlalpeño up here in the frosty north.
A little research revealed that caldo tlalpeño and tortilla soup are not really the same thing. Tortilla soup usually has tortilla strips in it (shocking, right?), and caldo tlalpeño often has chickpeas and other vegetables like chayote. This is my version of the soup, which combines the best of both worlds. If you can’t find chayote (I found mine at the Vietnamese market), you can use zucchini instead or leave it out.
Have you ever made zoodles? If you get yourself a julienne peeler, you can be making zucchini into low-carb noodle stand-ins in no time. It’s actually really good. You may not be able to fool people into thinking they are eating actual spaghetti, but I don’t think anyone will be complaining.
I made you a whole dinner! This is one of my favorite things to make for my boyfriend–he loves it. You can also make it with scallops instead of shrimp. The shrimp or scallops broil wrapped in bacon, which makes them almost impossible to overcook, and they don’t need any other seasonings! So simple and so delicious. You only need five ingredients (salt and pepper don’t count)!
If you’ve never tried rutabagas (also known as yellow turnips), I highly recommend them. This creamy rutabaga is a healthier, more flavorful version of mashed potatoes. You’re going to love it! It’s adapted from Ina Garten, and you should check out her version, because it has an amazing crispy shallot topping. I usually make the crispy shallots, but they take a while and today I was in a bit of a hurry.
I served the shrimp right on top of the creamy rutabaga, with a simple salad on the side. I plumped some raisins, toasted some pecans, and tossed them with baby arugula, olive oil, balsamic, and a little salt. The perfect summer dinner!
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
For the bacon-wrapped shrimp:
1/2 pound shrimp (I used 31-40 count per lb), peeled, tails on (or use sea scallops)
8 or so slices of bacon (you need one slice of bacon for every two shrimp or every one or two scallops)
For the creamy rutabaga:
3/4 cup whole milk, heavy cream, or coconut milk
3 tablespoons butter, ghee, or olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the rutabagas, trim and peel them and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Put them in a saucepan with a generous pinch of salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 35 minutes (they should feel tender like cooked potatoes when pierced with a fork). Drain them, and put them in a food processor with the milk, butter, and some salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Taste seasonings and adjust as necessary.
To make the shrimp, preheat the broiler and lightly grease a baking sheet. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is starting to brown but still very undercooked. Drain on paper towels.
When the bacon is cool enough to handle, cut each piece in half lengthwise. Wrap each shrimp with half a piece of bacon, using a toothpick to secure the ends. If you are using large scallops, you can wrap each one in a whole piece of bacon. Place the bacon wrapped shrimp on the baking sheet.
Broil for about 3 minutes, then flip the shrimp over and broil for another 3 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and the shrimp are fully opaque. Scallops may need an additional minute or two if they are large. Serve hot.
There are lots of Vietnamese stores and restaurants in my neighborhood. On lazy days I do all my shopping at Truong Thinh, the Vietnamese market around the corner, and pick up a banh mi for lunch. One of my favorite places to eat is Pho Hoa, where I love to order the House Special Vermicelli Plate (number 90 in case you’re going–Pho Hoa is a chain and there might be one near you!). It comes with a bunch of delicious things, and rice paper wraps so you can make your own spring rolls. The first time I ordered it, the waiter brought the rice paper wraps first and Ben and I tried to take a bite of them. No dice. They are dry like paper until you soak them in hot water. Oops.
Anyway, the house special plate comes with those wraps (and a big bowl of hot water to soften them) and vermicelli, herbs and vegetables topped with grilled pork, meatballs, a spring roll, and shrimp & sugarcane. It also comes with fish sauce on the side. It’s SO good, and the grilled pork is my favorite. I don’t know what they do to it.
This dish is my attempt to recreate that dinner at home. I have to tell you, it’s really good, but it’s not QUITE the same flavor I get at the restaurant. You should still make it, though. It’s super yummy and healthy and beautiful (and lots of fun to photograph, if you’re into that). It has a lot of components, but almost all of them can easily be made in advance. When it’s time to eat, just cook the pork and put together your bowl!
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