Pad Thai Paradigm Shift

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This “Paleo” thing is still happening despite a terrible yearning for potato chips and salty, salty noodles. So soft and salty, yum. Speaking of noodles, we tried a good recipe last night. Paleo Pad Thai. Yes, it has zucchini cut into noodle shapes masquerading as noodles. Yes, that kind of substituting makes me feel crazy because zucchini aren’t noodles and pretending like they are is just going to make us all sad. And still hungry afterwards because we wanted noodles! Yet, the zucchini was great in the recipe. Truly great. Dare I say it, it really did have a noodle feel to it. I ate as much as I could without taking from the rest of my family.

The whole zucchini as noodle was so completely satisfying that I made Brandon pick up more zucchini on the way home later in the week so we could have meatballs and “pasta”. We both agreed on wanting it. What? In the past I made zucchini a few times and Brandon was not into it. It seemed to only be hot water – atomically hot too, and then terribley cold and soft. Maybe noodle shape is the way to go? Either way, we are loving it.

The only downside of this change in eating (so far) is the expense. I have been in the habit of filling out meals with pasta (cheap) or beans (cheap), and adding one frozen veg on the side (sort of cheap). Now the pasta and beans are out and we need a lot more vegetables and meat every week. Last time I went to the grocery it seemed like all the meat prices had gone up by $1 a pound and the fresh produce has always been too high for my blood. The frozen veggies aren’t very varied which is noticeable when you start eating double what you were before, so I have been thinking about where to go from here. We both feel really good so far and want to continue this, but I can’t stand paying so much at the grocery.

We live near a number of farmer’s markets that happen throughout the week, including one with a “Meat Bus” so I am going to try to figure out the logistics of doing the bulk of my grocery shopping at a farmer’s market. I’m not going to lie, it makes me feel anxious, because I don’t know the protocol. Do I grab everything and bag it myself and then tell the cashier person what I have? How do I plan to have enough cash? Do you even need cash? Do I buy a whole week’s worth at a go like I do at the grocery, or do I only get a few days worth? Will I spend my life dragging my reusable bags and increasingly rambunctious toddler around to various city parking lots in an effort to have something to eat every night? Talk about a first world problem there! It seems that this could be quite the learning curve. It’s a lot to think about. If all goes well, I will give it a go this weekend and hopefully feel empowered and all that jazz afterwards. Then I can expound on how my life has changed and I will never go back to shopping in a brick and mortar store.

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Anyhoo back to the pad thai. The recipe itself was kind of confusing and I had to reread it about 250 times as I was cooking so I thought it was going to taste horrible. It has almond butter in it too, so there was a lot of reason to worry. The results were just great. We loved it. Next time I will just do it with all chicken. The shrimp was delicious, I love shrimp, but too damn expensive! Nearly $20 a pound. Whole foods used to sell some frozen raw shrimp that was $11 or so. What is happening in the world?

 

Paleo Pad Thai adapted from Paleo Magazine Reader’s Favorites Cookbook

3 T coconut oil

4 zucchini

1 chicken breast

1 lb shrimp

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 T ginger, minced

3 T almond butter

1 T apple cider vinegar

1 T fish sauce

2 T chili garlic sauce

1 lime (2 if you want one to garnish with)

12 basil leaves (the original calls for Thai, but I only had regular – still good)

Salt and pepper

12 grape tomatoes, halved (sounds gross, but works)

 

1. Slice zucchini into long “noodles”. Thank god for Brandon, because this is beyond my abilities even with the mandoline.

2. Chop chicken into ¼ inch pieces.

3. Mix together almond butter, cider vinegar, fish sauce, chili sauce, and juice of lime.

4. Scramble egg in a bowl and set aside.

5. In large frying pan, saute onions in coconut oil over medium heat until not quite soft. Add chicken and brown it.

6. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute or so. Stir in the almond butter mixture. Make sure everything is well coated.

7. Turn up heat to medium-high and toss in zucchini (and shrimp if using). Cook 5-10 minutes until zucchini is al-dente. I put a lid on it for a little while to let steam help cook the noodles.

8. In a separate pan, quickly cook scrambled egg.

9. Add tomatoes and basil to zucchini. Cook until tomatoes are soft 3 or so minutes.

10. Chop egg and stir in to zucchini.

11. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

12. Rethink your philosophy of ingredient substitions.

 

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