Archives for category: Dessert

Another honeymoon delight and re-creation of an Urban Solace dish. I think it was a pretty successful attempt, though the custard to chocolate ratio was off a bit (there should have been more custard). This version of the pot de creme is dairy-free but it is certainly not sugar-free. Which makes this recipe a once or twice a year venture for us.

Grocery shopping tips:

Make sure to buy some good quality chocolate for the ganache cap. I really like Valrhona 85% and Endgangered Species 88%.. If you want chocolate without soy lecithin then check out Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. For coconut milk, look for the Native Forest brand of coconut milk. The cans are BPA free… hard to find these days. For more information about the harms of overconsuming canned coconut milk, check out Chris Kresser’s little article about my favorite food: COCONUT!

I mean I really, REALLY love it

Recently I’ve been a bit startled at the sheer amount of coconut products that I consume. I mean really? How many kinds of coconut can one paleo adherent eat? Try coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut water, coconut meat (mature and young), coconut sugar, shredded coconut, flaked coconut, coconut oil…. AHHH! I decided enough was enough and that too much of a good thing (that thing being COCONUT) is not good at all. So, in an effort to steer away from my obsession I am abstaining from coconut for this week. It’s the final week of my Whole 30 program and I thought it only appropriate to use this week as an excuse to really clear away the excess items from the diet.

When I began paleo, my only real coconut exposure was in the form of coconut oil (for cooking) and coconut water (for drinking). Since then, my knowledge of all things paleo has expanded and I’ve become more familiar with alternative ingredients for baking and cooking. Knowledge is good if you use it wisely. One of the most attractive things about “ancestral living” is the simplicity of it. In the beginning, it was easy to be simple because I was also ignorant to all the possibilities of nut flours and coconut sugars and date pastes. One of the most attractive things about “ancestral living” is the simplicity of the OG plan…

Live Simply

It’s easy to get excited about new knowledge and employ new food strategies to cope with the loss of familiar SAD diet favorites like pancakes, cookies, pies, and dairy-based items like Pot de Creme. I strive to be  a healthy, balanced person but I also want to be a creative and innovative chef. There’s a time and place for the substitutes but there’s a great deal of value in the simplicity of the Paleo Diet. That being said, here I am, sans coconut, trying to strike a balance and reign in my addiction.

Here’s the innovative “yin” to my simplistic “yang”:

Chilled to Perfection

Salted Caramel Pot de Creme with a Chocolate Cap

Caramel Custard
3/4 cup coconut sugar, divided (1/2 cup for the caramel, 1/4 cup for the custard)
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
5 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Warm 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Moisten the sugar with just a few drops of water.
  2. Stirring constantly, cook sugar until it caramelizes. The sugar will liquefy, bubble and eventually thicken. Once the caramel turns a rich tan color, remove from the heat and add the cream and whole milk, constantly stirring to combine. It’ll get crazy bubbly… just keep stirring.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and keep stirring until smooth. At first, the caramel will have some lumps, but don’t worry, these will eventually smooth out. Once it is smooth, turn off the heat let it cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 300.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla until thick. Slowly, whisk in the cooled caramel until fully combined. Let the mixture sit for a minute then skim off any foam that has developed on the surface.
  6. Fill ramekins with the custard and place in a baking pan. Fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil and poke some holes in the foil.
  7. Carefully place in the oven and cook for 30—35 minutes. They are finished once they are wobbly in the center but completely firm to the touch. Let sit 10 minutes covered. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 – 2 hours before adding the chocolate cap.

Chocolate Cap
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. ground coffee
1/2 c. chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch sea salt

  1. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk with coffee to a near boil.
  2. Pour through a sieve over chocolate and stir until smooth.
  3. Add some vanilla and sea salt.
  4. Pour ganache into cooled ramekins over the custard. Make the chocolate cap about 1/4 as thick as the custard.
  5. Chill until ganache has hardened and garnish with sea salt flakes.
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A delicious treat! Nuts optional.

This is an amazing recipe for those who want a “sweet” treat without completely derailing their sugar detox/cleanse/general avoidance. The combination of sweet potato or yam, spices, and coconut creates a really savory and finger-licking taste. No guilt involved, I promise. Even more, when you freeze these puppies, it’s almost like a little open faced ice cream sandwich! Say WHAAAT!? yup. Muy delicioso. So have fun with it… play with the spices, and while you’re at it, play with the filling too! It could be garnet yam, sweet potato, kabocha squash, okinowan sweet potato, butternut squash, etc.

In addition to being awesome, these are also NUT-free, SOY-free, GLUTEN-free, DAIRY-free, EGG-free, and SUGAR-free.

Coconut-Crusted Yam Tart

Crust
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 1/2 c. unsweetened dried coconut

Filling
2 c. yams, mashed
1 c. coconut milk (full fat)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a food processor, pulse oil and coconut until thoroughly crushed into the consistancy of sand.
  3. Press crust mixture into a tart pan or muffin cups.

    Golden is good.

  4. Bake for 15-20 mins. Check it near the end to make sure it’s not burning.
  5. Make the filling by mixing flaxseed and coconut milk together in the food processor. Don’t process, just let them sit for 5 mins or so.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and process…. and process… and more processing. The longer it goes the better the texture.
  7. Once the crust is done, pour the filling over the crust and chill (or FREEZE!) until firm.
  8. I topped one batch with some sliced almonds, making it not NUT-free. Toppings are optional, feel free to express yourself.
  9. EAT… NOM NOM NOM NOM.

ALTERNATIVE FILLING ALERT! (AFA for short)

Here's what they look like: White on the outside, purple on the inside.

2 c. hawaiian purple potatoes (aka okinowan sweet potato)
1 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. lime zest
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger

  1. Same directions as above. Expect pretty purple tarts.
  2. Add some zest and shredded coconut for garnish.

    Purpley!!

Perfect day for a brunch!

Another recipe from our honeymoon feast! The star of this dish is definitely the crust. It has a “lara bar” like texture and taste. Many agreed that the crust could stand alone as a dessert however, the addition of the fruit gives it a fresh and bright taste. It’s easy, gluten and dairy free, and delicious. A perfect addition to a weekend brunch with friends.

Raw Pear and Blackberry Tart

2 D’anjou or bartlett pears(firm), sliced

1 pkg. blackberries, washed thoroughly

1  1/2 c. sliced almonds (or any combo of nuts you like)

1/2 c. shredded coconut

5-6 dates

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

  1. In a food processor, blend nuts, coconut dates and spices until sticky. Add a date if it’s too dry and crumbly.
  2. Press nut crust mix in small tart pan or pie plate.
  3. Layer pear over the crust.
  4. Top with blackberries.
  5. Cut and serve.

    Satisfy the Sweet tooth

Caramel Sauce (optional)

1/2 c. honey or maple syrup

1/2 c. coconut milk

1 tsp. vanilla

  1. In a saucepan, heat sugar on medium-high, stirring constantly until it gets close to a boil.
  2. Immediately add coconut milk and vanilla and stir to combine. Allow to cool.
  3. Serve over tart.

Just a quick little post involving my favorite ingredient : COCONUT!

I love macaroons and never feel (too) guilty for eating them. I dipped these in chocolate to make them super awesome.

Om Nom NOM says the Coconut Monster.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. honey
3 c. fine shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Separate egg whites from the yolks, store away yolks in the fridge for later use. (see my upcoming post about pot de creme!)
  3. In a steel mixing bowl, whip egg whites and salt with a hand blender or whisk (quickly) until smooth and soft peaks form.
  4. Add honey and vanilla. Whip some more until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in coconut.
  6. Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter onto the sheet, pinching the mounds at the top.
  7. Bake for about 15 mins until they turn a golden brown on the top.
  8. While baking, melt chocolate in a double boiler and stir until smooth.
  9. Once macaroons are cool, dip into chocolate halfway and let cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Tasty Bark

Another great inspiration from Mark’s Daily Apple. My father LOVES mac nuts and dark chocolate. So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it for him. Actually, I brought a batch to a Christmas party cause I knew he would be there. Needless to say, I’m glad I set aside a few pieces at home because they were gobbled up at the party.

Salted Macadamia Nut Bark

9-10 oz. DARK chocolate (I used Endangered Species 88%)
1/2 – 3/4 c. macadamia nuts
sprinkle of sea salt

  1. In a double boiler (one pot of boiling water, with a pot or metal bowl on top) Melt the chocolate.
  2. Add macadamia nuts to the melted chocolate (you can crush the nuts or have them in larger pieces depending on your preference)
  3. Pour mixture into a square dish lined with parchment paper. The smaller the dish, the thicker the bark.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until solid. Cut into even pieces and share!

This cake was a gift for my friend and Crossfit High Voltage gym owner, Tim Thackrey.

Here’s the man himself and your’s truly:

A happy birthday, indeed.

 
Armed with a chocolate cake recipe from Elana’s Pantry (with a few modifications) and my own chocolate ganache, this cake was dressed to impress. It was pretty much a chocolate bomb to the face. Fortunately, it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and DELICIOUS.
 
Warning… I will not label this cake, PALEO. It qualifies in the sense that there’s no grains, legumes, or dairy. But there’s a ton of sugar and it should not be eaten as a snack food. This is definately a rare TREAT.
 

Chocolate Cake

 ¾ cup coconut flour, sifted
¼ cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 eggs
1 cup coconut oil
1 ½ cups coconut sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon orange zest
 
  1. In a small bowl combine flour, cacao, salt and baking soda
  2. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, blend eggs, oil, coconut sugar, vanilla and orange zest

    The Wet

  3. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
  4. Oil (2) 9 inch round cake pans and dust with coconut flour

    Ready for some oven action!

  5. Pour batter into pans and bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes
  6. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then remove from pans
  7. Frost

Vegan Chocolate Frosting – Filling

1 cup dark chocolate
½ cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch celtic sea salt   
 
  1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and grapeseed oil
  2. Stir in agave, vanilla and salt
  3. Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to cool
  4. Remove from freezer and whip frosting with a hand blender until it is thick and fluffy
  5. Frost in between two cake layers.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

12 oz. dark chocolate
12 oz. full fat coconut milk 
 
  1. Heat coconut milk in a saucepan, bring almost to a boil. Stir constantly so it doesn’t burn.
  2. In a heat-safe bowl, place the broken pieces or chips of chocolate.
  3. Pour heated milk over the chocolate and stir until smooth.
  4. Place cake on a baking rack over some foil or a baking sheet.
  5. Pour ganache over cake starting from the center of the top.
  6. Let the frosting spill over the sides onto the foil or baking sheet.
  7. If some areas of the cake are not getting “ganach-ed”, try pouring directly over them, but keep the coating smooth over the entire cake. Don’t use a spatula. Oftentimes it will stick and mess up the ganche.

    Post Workout Nutrition... sort of.

 
In honor of my Mother in Law’s birthday, I created a special meal and an even more special dessert. This mound of chocolatey goodness (forgive the poor quality picture, I was too excited to eat it!) is gluten-free, grain-free, and soy-free. There is some sugar, but if you are a sugar nazi, then you can omit it. Remember that you aren’t making a habit of eating this everyday. A little chocolatey bliss is (everyone say it with me…) O-KAY. Inhale… exhale. Need I remind everyone that Paleo eating is a holistic perspective on health, it’s not a religion. There shouldnt be “sins” or “doctrine” or “penance”. Just keep the perspective and enjoy the fudgy brownie.
 

Yes, it was chocolately.

 

Paleo Fudgy Brownies
 
 1 c. nut butter (not peanut, I used tahini)
1/2 can coconut milk (the thick kind)
2 eggs ( 3 for more cakey and less fudgy)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking powder (make sure its Gluten Free!)
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/4 c. coconut sugar
1/3 c. chocolate chips (Dark! I used the Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar at Trader Joe’s. Its 85%. I chopped it up into small chunks.)
Optional: 1/3 c. chopped nuts
 
  1. Preheat oven to 450. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the nut butter, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Then add cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate chips and baking soda.
  3. Pour into dish and bake for about 18 mins.

Paleo Ice Cream

1/2 c. cocoa powder 
1/2 c. coconut milk (refrigerate the can and scoop out the firm cream of the milk)
3 frozen bananas
1/4 c. tahini (optional)
toasted coconut (optional)
 
  1. Put all the ingredients in a Vita-Mix or food processor and blend till smooth.

*Note: if you use a blender, you may have to add a little more liquid to get it to blend. If it’s too melted then you can place it in the freezer until firm.

 

Menu

The Feast

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken

 Grapefruit Fennel Salad

Steamed Artichoke with Olive Oil Aioli

Coconut Honey Custard with Fresh Strawberries

 

Usually dinner consists of some pretty easy/thrown together/stuff in the fridge ingredients. But sometimesI feel like making an actual “planned” meal. Dessert and all. Here are the recipes and pictures to prove it’s awesomeness.

Skin On.

Skin On.

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken

 2 Organic, Free-Range Chicken Breasts, skin on

1/2 c. mustard

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 c. honey

1 clove garlic

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

 fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

 

 

 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In a blender, add mustard, oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, pepepr, and salt. Blend until smooth.

3. Using a spoon or spatula, spread the honey mustard sauce over the chicken. Bake for 25-35 mins until cooked through and the skin/sauce has begun to carmelize.
 
Fennel and Citrus should get married

Fennel and Citrus should get married.

Grapefruit Fennel Salad

 2-3 c. baby salad greens

1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

 1-2 grapefruits, supremed (reserve liquid)

 1/4 c. olive oil Juice and zest of 1 lemon

sea salt to taste

 

 

 

 1. Place sliced onion in a bowl with some water, let it soak for 20 mins. Then pat dry.

 2. In a blender, mix juice, zest, and salt. On the lowest setting, slowly add the olive oil to incorporate evenly.

 3. Toss greens, dressing, onion, and fennel. Add avocado for garnish (and because it’s awesome).

It's fun to play with this food!

It's fun to play with this food!

Steamed Artichoke with Olive Oil Aioli

 1-2 artichokes, trimmed

2 egg yolks

 1/2 c. olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon, some zest.

3-4 cloves of crushed garlic (HINT: roast the garlic for an even better flavor!)

sea salt to taste  

 

 

 

 1. In a pot, place artichokes stem down and fill with about 2-3 inches of water. Cover and turn heat on med-high and steam for 35-40 mins.

 2.In a blender  or whisk by hand all remaining ingredients, except the olive oil. Add slowly, like the dressing while whisking (or blending).

Imagine some chopped strawberries and a light dusting of cocoa on top.

Imagine some chopped strawberries and a light dusting of cocoa on top.

Coconut Custard with Fresh Strawberries  

4 Eggs

 2 c. Coconut Milk

1/3 c. Honey

1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract

Sea Salt

 5 strawberries, chopped for garnish

 

 

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Blend all ingredients except strawberries.

2. Divide custard into oven-safe ramekins and place on a baking sheet/pan. Fill the baking with water and bake for 1 hour.

A holiday favorite… completely out of place in the beginning of June, however, I remembering promising this recipe a very very long time ago (come to think of it… sometime around the holidays.) Well, here you go. Feast on this. There are still plenty of pears and apples out there in the markets, begging to be made into this delicious dish.

A 2010 Holiday Favorite

Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Crisp

Topping
¾ c. Almond flour
1 c. chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons chilled unsalted organic ghee or coconut oil, cut into pieces
 
Fruit Filling
3-4 medium slightly under-ripe pears (about 31/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and each cut lengthwise into eight slices
3-4 small apples, cored and cut
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons almond meal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish with 2-inch sides.
  2. To make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, dates, nuts, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives used scissor-fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. To make the filling: Toss together all the ingredients until well mixed and spoon into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling. Set the dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips.
    Bake for about 1 hour, or until the topping is golden and the filling thickens and bubbles. Cool at least 20 minutes. Serve with cashew cream, coconut cream, or Greek yogurt, if desired.

Makes 6 servings

As promised, here is another delicious version of Halva. Feel the freedom to toss in a multitude of different flavors, nuts, etc. It’s foolproof in the sense that you don’t need to heat it correctly to crystallize the sugar. Another feature is that, unlike traditional halva, it’s not super sweet. That’s a bonus in my paleo book altough some may argue the opposite. I personally would like to know that only 1 Tbsp. of honey went into the whole batch rather than 2 c. in a regular batch of halva. Not only is there less honey, but making this recipe raw also means you can use RAW honey.

Raw Honey

Like coconut, raw honey is an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal substance. It’s a good energy source that will help replenish liver glycogen stores, post workout. It’s also traditionally been used as an immunity booster, cough suppresant and can be used to treat wounds due to it’s anti-bacterial and healing properties.

Keep in mind, although raw honey is a Paleo-friendly sweet, it should not be used in excess (think like a caveman… would they have daily access to bottles of honey? I think not). You should also consider your needs and goals. People who want to lean out (gain muscle, decrease fat, lose weight) and decrease insulin resistance should limit all sweeteners… fruit, honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar, dates… you get the idea.

That being said, here’s the goods… another delicious culinary adventure in my brand new Kitchen Aid food processor!

Raw Chocolate Halva

1 c. tahini

1 c. coconut shreds (unsweetened)

1/2 c. raw sliced almonds or 1/4 c. almond meal

1/4 c.  cacao (more to taste)

2 Tbsp. maca powder

1 Tbsp. raw honey

1Tbsp. spirulina

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. sea salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. coffee grounds

1. Throw it all in a food processor and press GO.

2. When it’s all mashed up into a moist meal, taste test and add additional ingredients as necessary.

3. If it’s too dry, add more tahini. Too wet, add some coconut or almond meal.

4. Press into a coconut oiled pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares.