Sunday, December 08, 2013

Paleo Salted Caramel Chocolate Bacon Bark

I think that every word in that title is awesome. Any one of those in a dessert is great and if you combine them, its like multiplying awesomness.  At my CrossFit box's holiday party, they were going to have a paleo recipe contest.  When I read this recipe on Civilized Caveman's blog, I knew it was the one I was going to make.

George, from Civilized Caveman, got a copy of The Paleo Chocolate Lover's Cookbook, and he shared the recipe on his blog.  My local library has 16 copies and one is on hold for me. I'm waiting with bated breath.

All in all, its pretty easy to make, but it does take some time to allow the chocolate and caramel to cool.  When I made a larger, second batch, I actually took advantage of the unusually cold weather we were having in Seattle to cool my caramel on the back porch!
My daughter helped me with these photos. The film strip doesn't do them justice.
Don't worry that the recipe has warnings to wear gloves, the coconut milk and sugar don't seem to get as hot as non-paleo caramel's cream and sugar, but do use a large enough pan.  I made a single batch in a 2 quart sauce pan and it does bubble up.  Do clear a bit of space in your fridge so that you can fit your chocolate to cool on a flat space.
Reading the recipe on my borrowed tablet on a Belkin Tablet Chef Stand!

Also, give it plenty of time to cook.  My first batch, I cooked a little hotter than my second batch and it came out much more like a sticky caramel candy, but it was harder to drizzle over the top of the chocolate.  My second batch, I simmered longer, but at a lower temperature, and it was a thick caramel sauce.

You'll see in one of my pictures, I wasn't using parchment paper, but some plastic wrap.  Make sure whatever layer you use covers the sides of your pan, don't just use a Silpat. The chocolate will leak under and stick to the pan and you won't get nice bark.
Bacon, bacon, bacon!
I also had one not-really-a-problem problem.  Both times, I had too much bacon.  I mean, too much bacon for my candy, but between my kids and I, we ate it right up.  Some problems, like high sales rates, are good problems to have.

The Paleo Salted Caramel Chocolate Bacon Bark was a hit at the party, even among the people that weren't all that into sweet and savory combined into one.  Alas, it was not the winning recipe of the night; that honor went to a Korean BBQ chicken recipe.  I'll admit it, it was really great chicken, cooked perfectly, with just the right amount of smokiness from the grill.

If you make it, let me know how it goes!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Paleo Sriracha Chicken Thighs

Yesterday for dinner, my 11 year old son and I made Sriracha Chicken Thighs.  I had seen this Orange Sriracha Chicken recipe on one of my favorite paleo recipe websites, Nom Nom Paleo, but didn't have half of the ingredients.  But I had a fresh orange and sriracha sauce so I decided to make something loosely based upon her recipe. And I had a hungry helper.
Heather takes the best pictures of food.
We made a simple, dual purpose sauce and marinade and baked the chicken.  Pretty easy and he got to continue to play Xbox during the time it took to warm up the oven and cook the chicken.

A few notes about this recipe.  Firstly, I used the convection setting on our oven. That contributed to the nicely browned and mostly crisp, chicken skin.  I cooked it skin side up first, then flipped it, and flipped it back again to finish it.  When the skin side was down, the skin got a little soggy and didn't quite crisp up the same when I finished it skin side up. So, start it skin side down or don't flip it at all.

Secondly, I used the marinade as part of my glaze.  I've been taught that this is not a good thing to do, because the marinade picks up beasties from the meat.  I figured that I was going to reduce the marinade that it would cook/kill them and I added a little water so that it would stay at a higher heat a little longer while reducing.  If that makes you uncomfortable, make more sauce than I show below and keep them separate.

I hadn't planned on turning this dinner into a post, but the comments on some of the photos were encouraging me to post a recipe, so here goes. Thanks for the encouragement!

Sriracha Chicken Thighs

10 minutes preparation, 20 - 30 minutes marination, 40 minutes cooking


Juice of one orange
Big squeeze of Sriracha, maybe a tablespoon or so
About 1/4 cup of finely diced red onion
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
Big teaspoon of honey
10 chicken thighs, skin on
Sesame seeds
Small amount of chopped parsley

  1. Turn on your oven to 400 degrees on Convection bake.  
  2. Prepare the sauce. Combine the orange juice, sriracha sauce, onion and salt and stir until combined.  Taste it and add some honey to take the edge off.  Or don't taste it and just add the honey, then taste it to see if its not too hot.
  3. Put the chicken thighs in a big ziploc bag with about half of the sauce to marinade. Let it marinate until your oven is up to temperature or you've played a few games of Call of Duty multiplayer.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, maybe two of them depending upon the size of your thighs (the chicken thighs, silly). 
  5. Remove the thighs from the bag and arrange them on the baking sheets, skin side down. Give them some space so that they'll brown and not steam each other. Save the marinade for reduction, if you're going to do that.  Put them in the oven for 20 minutes. You'll flip them at that point.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, reduce the sauce in a small saucepan over pretty high heat.  If you're using saved marinade, add a little water, a little less than a 1/4 cup, so that it can boil for longer.  When the marinade part has reduced, add the remaining sauce and reduce it again.  Once it has been reduced, remove the sauce from heat and wait for the chickens. The sauce shouldn't be runny, but not as thick as a jam.
  7. After cooking the thighs for 20 minutes, flip them skin side up and cook them for another 15 minutes.  This should result in nicely browned skin.
  8. After the 15 minutes or when the chicken is pretty much cooked and the skin is nice and crisp, spread the sauce on your thighs (still the chicken thighs), on the skin side. Put them back in the oven for about 5 minutes to kind of turn the sauce into a glaze.
  9. When they're done or you're ready to eat, put the chicken thighs on a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley and sesame seeds.
  10. Eat and enjoy!

Try it and let me know how it goes!