Archives for category: Sauce

This one is from the hallowed Paleo grounds of Mark’s Daily Apple. In fact, it’s one of the recipes from the Primal Blueprint Reader Cookbook. I’ve made this dish a couple times. It’s so lovely and aromatic as welll as FILLING. This last time I only dished it over a 1/4 of the acorn squash. But for those with hearty appetites, go ahead and serve it in a half a squash. It’s a beautiful presentation either way.

For the folks who are uber-sensitive to dairy: swap out the butter for coconut oil and omit the yogurt. Enjoy!

It's a spice extravaganza!

Butter Chicken

4 lbs. chicken thighs, chopped into 1 inch cubes
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup Greek-style (thick) yogurt
7 tablespoons butter, chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes, unsalted)
6 cardamom pods (crush pods slightly to release seeds and more flavor)
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cup cream or coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

  1. Combine chicken, garlic, spices and yogurt in a covered container. Refrigerate for an hour or two.
  2. Melt butter in a deep pan. Add vinegar, tomato paste, tomatoes, cardamom and cinnamon. Boil rapidly, stirring until sauce is thick (approximately 20 minutes).
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and add chicken. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through. Add cream or coconut milk, simmer a few minutes more, and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Roasted Acorn Squash

2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
Coconut oil to grease baking sheet

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil.
  3. Place squash halves face down on the sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 mins, until the squash is tender and the lip of the opening is browned.

An unfortunate picture of a delicious dish!

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Layers of Vegetables

Made this beauty for Thanksgiving. It was a hit! Creamy and delicious and FILLING. Use a mandoline slicer or attachment on a food processor if you don’t want to spend the whole day thinly slicing. Other than that, this recipe is a breeze.

Rutabaga, Green Apple, and Butternut Gratin with MacCashew Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

Gratins
5-6 rutabaga, peeled and thinly sliced
4 granny smith apples, cored and thinly sliced 
1 butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
1/4 cup fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil, warmed to liquid
Fresh ground black pepper
Fine ground sea salt

Cream Sauce
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, not soaked
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. On low/medium heat, slowly sauté red onion with sugar and a tbsp. of coconut oil until onions are brown and caramelized (be patient and careful not to burn.) About 10-15 min.
3. Oil a casserole dish and begin to layer the vegetable slices:
Rutabaga: brush coconut oil, fresh thyme, tiny pinch salt/pepper
Apple: brush coconut oil, tiny pinch salt/pepper
Onion
Butternut squash: brush coconut oil, tiny pinch salt/pepper
4. Whatever layer you finish on, top with a little more salt and pepper as well as some thyme. 
5. Bake for 45 mins. 
6. Make cream sauce while the gratin bakes. Drain cashews from soaking liquid and rinse. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour over gratin when done. 
recipe adapted from : Yum Universe

This recipe was a complete accident… something that happens more often than not, actually.

I work for a family and cook for them every night and the other day I found myself standing in front of the refrigerator trying to decide how to use the random ingredients available to me. The pesto burger stack was born. Being the Paleo Chef that I am, I was not about to try to wrap this burger in a bun but I wanted this dish to have a sense of completeness that is often lacking when you put a burger patty on a plate with a side of whatever. By grilling the butternut rounds with the burgers I created a harmonious visual presentation as well as a protein/starch element that helps the dish have some complexity. And let me say, the mixture of the sweet squash with the salty pesto is heavenly.

The Stack

Pesto Burger Stack

Pesto

3 c. fresh basil leaves

2-3 cloves garlic

¼ c. walnuts

¼ c. parmesan cheese

½ c. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

Stack

                1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into rounds

                1 lb. grass-fed ground beef

                1 small red onion, minced

                1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, add all pesto ingredients and puree until desired consistency, taste to adjust for more salt, garlic, or basil flavor as you desire.
  2. In a bowl, mix together red onion, beef, and garlic.
  3. Shape into patties about the same size as the butternut rounds.
  4. Oil the butternut rounds and put on a preheated grill on medium heat. About 5-10 min. each side depending on thickness. Test done-ness with a fork.
  5. Grill the burgers, about 5 min. each side on medium heat 
  6. Once the squash and burgers are done, arrange stacks on a plate. Squash on the plate, then spread pesto on squash and top with burger.  

 Option: top burger stack with some shaved parmesan.

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.

I absolutely love ethnic food. Latin American, Japanese, Ethiopian, Thai, Cameroonian, etc. These cuisines all have exotic and distinct flavors, ties to cultural and social norms, as well as vibrant history of healing and fueling their people. Oftentimes, when shopping or eating out, I find that ethnic food is also the most clean, unprocessed and health supportive. Unfortunately, many ethnic markets, restaurants, and homes have been polluted by American food standards and western dietary influence. Japanese food in the States is a faint resemblance to the wholesome meals of Okinawa. A trip to Buca di Beppo, aka “Italian food”, is a far cry from the pure wholefoods found in the hills of Tuscany. I am increasingly appalled as I venture into Asian, Latin, and Middle Eastern markets here in Los Angeles and find products laden with hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and many other “food-like” substances. Sugar is added to everything from coconut milk to sauces. Wheat and corn derivatives are in all kinds of marinades, nothing is organic, everything is refined.

In order to get “back to the beginning” of human eating we need to take a second look at these places and their historical culinary traditions so that we may shed light on where they began to fall away from their original design. I’ve found that the best way to get some really good, unadulterated ethnic meals is, 1. Go to the country of origin and find a family and let them cook for you– or– 2. Make it yourself.

Since I’ve recently been dubbed “Chef Nikki”, I suppose option number 2 is certainly within my reach. Thus, the following recipe.

It is a venture into fusion cooking (a venture I travel all too often). It combines the goodness of American comfort food with the celebration of flavors from Mexico. All the while, remaining Paleo compliant and friendly to all the gluten and lac-tarded people out there.

Meatloaf with Almond and Ancho Mole

The Loaf

Turkey Meatloaf and Ancho Mole Sauce

Meatloaf

1 lb. organic, wild, or kosher ground turkey

1/2 head large cauliflower, chopped finely into “rice”

6-7 shiitake mushrooms, chopped finely

1/2 medium white onion, chopped finely

3  garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper

1 1/2  c. Almond and Ancho Mole sauce, reserve remaining sauce for finished loaf.

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl  and press into a greased loaf pan.

3. Bake 30 mins and then cover. Bake an additional 30 mins or until middle is done.

4. Let it set/cool for 10-20 mins. Serve with remaining sauce.

Almond and Ancho Mole Sauce

1 c. whole almonds (blanched)

2 medium dried ancho chilis (seeds and stems discarded)

2 c. vegetable stock

1 medium tomato (quartered and seeded)

1/2 medium white onion (use the other half of the meatloaf onion)

2 Tbsp. raisins

2 -3 medium cloves of garlic

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp. anise

1/2 tsp. coriander

4 allspice berries, crushed

1 Tbsp. cooking fat (rendered fat, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or ghee)

1 . Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. `Spread the almonds out on a dry baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 mins, stirring once or twice until almonds are light tan.

toasting the almonds

2. Heat a dry heavy bottom skillet or cast iron griddle and tear the ancho chilis into large pieces. Toast for 1-2 mins occassionally pressing down on them with a spatula. They should blister and begin to lighten in color. Be careful not to inhale the fumes.

3. In a blender, puree chilis, almonds, stock, tomato, onion, raisins, garlic and salt.

4. Add ground spices into the blender and puree thoroughly. You may add some stock if its too thick to blend.

5. Add the cooking fat to a heated skillet and add the sauce, reduce until desired consistency. Use immediately or cool and refrigerate.

As this week of conscious Primal effort comes to a close, I have noticed that I am much more mindful of the food passing from my hand to my mouth. Eating clean, whole foods takes some thought, some self-control, and some preparation. I enjoy cooking but as I talk to others and step into their “food” universe, I realize that most people do not have the time, knowledge, or determination to stick with eating the Wild and Free way.

Today, I had the pleasure to cook with some fellow Crossfitters. The meal was simple, seasonal, and Paleo but I realize that no matter how simple the preparation or how beneficial the nutrients, people must make a choice to commit to their kitchen or they will succumb to the pressure of the microwave oatmeal, the taco bell drive thru, or the pita chips and hummus. The way that you eat is entirely up to you. No one can force you to buy organic, spend time in your kitchen, and experiment with recipes.

With that said, here’s another day of deliciousness.

9:30 am – coffee at Mr. Toot’s coffeehouse and a bowl of papaya, orange, coconut, and cashews

12 pm – As I walked out of the newly opened Staff of Life natural foods market, they handed me a dark chocolate heart… Okay! Off to Crossfit for the catch 22 workout:

22 Deadlifts (103 lbs. )

100 m Farmer’s walk

22 Dumbbell Squat and Press

100 m Farmer’s Walk

100 m Sprint

22 Chest to Bar Pullups

400 m Run

22 OH Squat (53 lbs.)

400 m Run

2:30 pm – Made some fresh almond milk from soaked almonds, coconut water, vanilla extract, and a spoonful of honey. A raw lunch: Zucchini noodles with a basil/artichoke pesto, sundried tomato pieces, and smoked oysters

6 pm – Began my paleo cooking consult.

Menu:

Winter Citrus and Avocado Salad

Grapefruit, Blood Orange, Arugula, Olive Oil, Avocado

Roasted Vegetables

Beets and Kabocha Squash

Chicken with Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto

Organic Chicken, Cilantro, Pistachios, Cardamom, Lemon, Olive Oil, Garlic, Pepper, Sea Salt

Chocolate Mousse with Cashew Cream

Dates, Avocado, Cocoa, Vanilla, Honey, Cashews

Successful evening of good instruction resulting in good food. Here’s the Pesto recipe…

Cilantro Pistachio Pesto

1 c. pistachios
2 c. cilantro leaves, packed
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cardamom
3/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pure Paleo is no easy feat, especially while attending culinary school. I’ve had more grains, legumes, sugar, and dairy beautifully displayed before my eyes (and stomach) three days a week for the past 5 1/2 months. My 80% Primal goals have tumbled to a more lenient 70%… maybe 60% Paleo regime. Unfortunate yes, but also very educational.

I have learned a multitude of reasons to continue to embrace a clean, original human diet vs. following the modern “health” standards. I’ve been faced with the comments and judgement of critics, the constant psychological obstacles, as well as the questions and concerns of the less or mis-informed public. All these things combine into one great learning experience.

While I do not wish to repeat the experience, I do value the knowledge and insights obtained during my brief stay in Santa Cruz and my journey through Chef school.

In an attempt to get back on the wagon, so to speak, I’d like to propose a public rebirth into my Paleo values. It seems like a necessary step, seeing as how I’d like to primarily focus on Paleo cooking as a Paleo Chef. Right now I feel like somewhat of a hypocrite due to unneccessary amounts of neolithic foods in my diet.. not to mention my days as a whole.

In the spirit of renewal and change, I propose an online daily report of my endeavor to return to the Paleo fold. This will most likely include a run-down of my daily Paleo-eats and activities. My attempt at optimum sleep, sunlight, and stress relief. As well as my fight to maintain Paleo composure in the face of all things sugared, flourescent, and unnatural.

So… starting tomorrow, you will see a daily post related to my assimilation back into Paleo heaven. It will not be easy (can you say “sugar withdrawal”?), but it will be worth it. My legitimacy as a Paleo professional hinges on my ability to practice what I preach.

So here we go!

Enjoy the ramblings, as I’m sure there will be many.

Today I was able to share some Paleo food with my class for my final presentation. And even though my final was based on a Gluten-Free condition, I incorporated Paleo recipes into my demonstration.

It seemed to be a successful presentation and I hope you love these dishes as much as I do.

Poisson Cru

2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 red onion, finely diced
1 large tomato, seeded and diced.
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna, cut into 1/2″ cubes

  1. Set the tuna aside and combine everything else into a large bowl.
  2. Add the tuna and let marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain excess liquid and serve.
    Option: Serve with avocado half.

Recipe by Laird Hamilton, Force of Nature

Poisson Cru and Papaya

Papaya and Cabbage Salad

1 papaya, battoneted
½ head cabbage, shredded
1 tsp. lime zest

  1.  In a bowl combine ingredients and toss with cilantro-lime dressing.

Optional plating: place papaya cuts on top of some shredded cabbage, drizzle dressing and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Cilantro-Lime Dressing

3 limes, juiced
1/3 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. sea salt
½ c. cilantro, chopped

  1. In a blender, combine juice, spices, and cilantro. Slowly add oil to emulsify.

If you’re curious, here’s the handout from my presentation today… enjoy!
Student Handout – Bauman College 2011

Here we are, another fall season upon us. A season full of great comfort meals like soups, stews, and baked goodies galore!

I’ve been a huge fan of squash for a couple years and more recently, as a paleo eater, I have a newfound appreciation for these “starchy” vegetables since starchy grains are relatively forbidden. Spaghetti squash replaces spaghetti pasta, mashed butternut squash replaces rice side dishes, roasted acorn squash is another delightful and filling alternative.

Halloween is upon us and in keeping with the squashy season and the pumpkins of jack-o-lantern and pie fame, I made some pumpkin butter. It’s a nice paleo friendly treat to spread on some coconut pancakes or drizzle over cubed and roasted sweet potatoes. Another bonus: While cooking, it makes the house smell amazing.

Pumpkin Butter

1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup agave syrup or honey
1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Cinnamon
3/4  tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice*
Pinch of salt

* You can make your own pumpkin pie type spice by combining 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg.  You do not need to add cinnamon since it is already included above, however, if using this spice for another recipe; you would want to add 1 tsp ground cinnamon to the mix.

  1. Combine the pumpkin, agave nectar, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat, mixing until well combined. Stirring constantly, cook for about 15 minutes, or until thickened.
  2. Stir in the spices and salt, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from heat, and transfer your pumpkin butter to a small bowl or jar. Let cool completely before covering and refrigerating.
  4. Pumpkin butter will keep for about 2 weeks in a covered air tight container in the refrigerator.

NOTE

  Continuously stirring is really important in this recipe to keep your pumpkin butter from burning. If you have to walk away, add a few tablespoons of apple juice and turn down the stove heat to low, still continuing to stir as you can. (Add about 5-7 minutes additional cooking time if you do this.)

Makes about 2 cups ~ 32 Tablespoons

 Greetings friends and health seekers!

So this is what it takes for me to actually sit down and compile my first blog post… a rainy day. Pathetic I know, but it was just the motivation I needed to get this thing off and running.
 
 
I have just finished my 4th week at Bauman College on a quest to become a certified Natural Chef. Living here in Santa Cruz has been a very busy but fun adventure. I am loving the beautiful woods and abundant farmer’s markets. Bike rides to school involve a scenic view of the morning fog lifting off the Capitola Pier. Too many coffee shops, too little time.
 
 
I am loving all the food experiments at school. Last Friday was our “Vegetables and Greens” class. Here are some pictures of our creations!

The complete feast

Stir-Fried Szechuan Broccoli with Zesty Spiced Pecans

Blanched Greens in Cashew Curry Sauce

Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Gratin with Basil Cream

The basil cream was so delicious that I decided to recreate it at home and I thought I’d pass along the recipe for those who want to give it a whirl.

 

BASIL CREAM

1 bunch basil

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 cup water

2 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Heat a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Prepare a bowl with ice water. Take the whole bunch of basil and dip for a few seconds in the boiling water. Plunge immediately into the ice water. Drain and squeeze the basil in a towel to remove remaining water.

In a blender, add the basil, cashews, nutritional yeast, water, lemon, and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.

 
This cream inspired a meal that I made for lunch/dinner (lunner?) today. Squash season is in full swing and in honor of the squash and I took a basil cream opportunity to make some spaghetti squash and topped it off with some lovely locally grown Roma tomatoes, some fresh basil, and some mini turkey meatballs.
 
Needless to say, it was heaven. And now heaven is in my belly.
 
Stay tuned. I sense a pumpkin butter recipe in your near future.