For the past six years (or so), I have worked on-and-off at Seattle’s best steakhouse (clearly, I am totally unbiased). El Gaucho is fantastic. Delicious. The service is great and the quality of steak unparalleled in Seattle. It’s everything you look for in a traditional steakhouse – swanky and sexy with dishes that don’t disappoint… unless you are dieting. Shift work at the Gaucho requires me to be surrounded by mouthwatering food for 8-12 hours each night. This is not something that I have ever complained about. Rather, I’ve always thought that a major bonus of working there was easy access to delicious grub at a deep discount. My waistline almost never agreed with me. A permanent bonus to shift work at the Gaucho is that I am on my feet for extended periods of time, often walking at a heavy clip. This might seem easy, but toss a full tuxedo and knee-high boots into the mix and suddenly it’s no walk in the park. My job is a workout, regardless of how slow or busy it is. This is great because it allows me to indulge – ever so slightly – in some treats without feeling guilty about them. Sometimes it’s a steak, sometimes it’s dessert, and sometimes it’s a bottle of wine. Really, it all depends on how the night plays out.
Before going full Paleo, I was able to get by with a healthy Gaucho meal each night. Diet-friendly options included a small filet (eat half!) with spinach or broccoli (hold the butter!) or any of the salads (forget the Roquefort dressing). I’d often order the steak sandwich (hold the bread and sub out chips for tomatoes) or 410 burger (hold the bun and sauce). Baked potatoes with chile sauce and garlic were also a fan favorite. I’d graze on apples and grapes and prunes throughout the evening and nab some prawns here and there when the opportunity arose. Staff meals, which are served at 1pm and 10pm each day, were something that I typically avoided unless general hunger demanded it. These meals would range from delicious and healthy to delicious and decidedly not so healthy. Regardless, they’re something that I generally speaking try to avoid because they are simply not all that good for you in the end.
Now that I’m full Paleo, grazing on fruit is not so much an option anymore and my arsenal of “go to” foods is even more limited (not because of the meat, but because of the preparation. Seasoning has gluten and butter is brushed on everything). Unless I want to spend $4 on steamed asparagus each night, I am gonna need to change some habits. That means packing my dinners and bringing some snacks to keep me going – regardless of how busy it is on a given night. I must remember that I’m never too busy to take care of myself. Fact.
I’ve become a HUGE fan of food in muffin form. Cook something into a muffin tin and VOILA! It’s portioned perfectly and completely portable. This is a bulletproof combination. These little guys were inspired by my dad’s post-4th of July frittata and boast high nutritional scores in a tiny little package.
Mini Prociutto Frittatas
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 medium Walla Walla sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. frozen spinach, thawed and drained of liquid
8 lg. eggs
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 Tbsp. coconut flour
12 cherry tomatoes
5 (ish) ounces Prosciutto
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions until they are soft and translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms have released all liquid. Season with salt and pepper and cool to room temperature.
3. Beat eggs in a large bowl with milk, flour, salt and pepper. When combined, add mushrooms and spinach. Stir to combine.
4. Spray muffin tins with coconut spray and line sides and bottom of each with prosciutto. Pour egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with cherry tomatoes.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before popping out of the tins. Serve warm or cold.
Time: 10 minutes prep + 20 minutes in the oven
Yield: 12 frittatas