Archives for category: Uncategorized

Wild & Free

Hey everyone! Come check out my new blog over at www.thecleanplatechef.com

 

You can still view all the old wild and free posts along with new content!

-Nikki

View original post

Advertisements

Hey everyone! Come check out my new blog over at www.thecleanplatechef.com

 

You can still view all the old wild and free posts along with new content!

-Nikki

I frequently get questions about breakfast. I guess our American breakfast culture hasn’t done much to encourage paleo-friendly type foods. Between breakfast cereal (Captain Crunch to Barbara’s Puffins), waffles, pancakes, grits, muffins (i.e. cake for breakfast… Jim Gaffigan anyone?!), donuts, scones, english muffins, and the ever-popular “toast”; its understandable that newbie Paleo followers have a hard time with their morning meal.  Especially in the athletic community which almost always proclaims OATMEAL! for breakfast (gotta get those complex carbohydrates).

Interestingly enough, people in other countries eat all kinds of things for breakfast that don’t include oats, flour or sugar. Here are a few examples:

Cyprus
Traditional breakfast includes Haloumi cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and fruit juice.

The UK
A “full english” breakfast will have bacon and sausage, baked beans, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, and toast with butter.

Turkey
Boiled eggs, salami and cured meats, with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, local cheese and fresh sourdough bread.

Japan
Almost always have rice, seafood and fermented foods. Oftentimes breakfast will just be leftovers from the day before.

Afghanistan
Oftentimes includes omlettes, boiled eggs, rice with meat (beef) or spinach. They also have breakfast cakes or biscuits.

Uganda
A typical breakfast would be tea with cooked bananas in a stew with meat or vegetable sauce.

Mexico
“El desayuno” as it’s called, contains tortillas with spicy eggs and sausage, often accompanied by local fruits.

As you can probably tell, breakfast choices are not limited by the grocery store aisles of the United States, your toaster, or a gallon of milk. So try branching out. Take a hint from the cultures of the world and eat your leftovers, grill up some sausages,  and reach into your produce drawer. It’s hard to change your food culture, but paleo breakfast doesn’t have to be an arid desert of scrambled eggs and bacon. And while both of those items are quite delicious, the monotony will get a bit taxing after a while. Especially when you go out to brunch with the fam and everyone’s got a stack of pancakes and french toast next to your little a la carte portions of eggs, bacon, and tomatoes (which unfortunately end up costing 4-5x more than if you had made them yourself).

When it comes to MY breakfast, there really is no standard. I generally fast between 8 pm and 12 pm the next day (16 hours). I’m not super committed to it, but left to my own devices it’s what happens more often than not. This is because I don’t like to eat before I work out and I usually work out in the morning. I’ll wake up, have some coffee with coconut cream, and go about my usual morning routine. The coconut cream is dense enough that I usually don’t get hungry. After my workout, I’ll either run errands or come home to cook. It’s around noontime by then so it becomes more of a lunchtime breakfast.

So here’s my (not so typical) typical breakfast:

I’ll usually have eggs (scrambled or over easy) with a bunch of vegetables sautéed in coconut oil (peppers, onions, mushrooms, greens). Sometimes I’ll have some fruit but not too often. I usually eat fruit by itself if I need something on the go. Many times I will make sweet potatoes or yams, either grated or sliced and baked with some coconut oil. Every once in a while I’ll get into a smoothie phase in which case I’ll blend up some variation of coconut juice, coconut meat, avocado, cocoa, kale, tahini, half a banana, and cinnamon.

I also have some breakfast ideas posted on my recipes page and today’s recipe is an excellent suggestion for people who don’t have time to cook in the morning. It employs the celebrated yet often neglected “crock pot” or slow cooker. Prepare this dish the night before and wake up to a pot full of breakfast for 2 or 3 days (depending on who’s eating… and how much they eat).

Much like a crustless Quiche

Crockpot Egg Casserole (original idea from Sweet Cheeks)

1 lb. of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. coconut oil or bacon fat
2 medium-large yams, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 eggs
1 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. dill
a pinch or two of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
avocado for garnish

  1. Grease crock pot with coconut oil, butter, ghee, or bacon fat.
  2. Mix grated sweet potato with a little crushed red pepper
  3. In a skillet, heat coconut oil or fat and saute onion, garlic, and pepper until onions begin to sweat.
  4. Begin your casserole in the crock pot by first layering 1/3 of the grated sweet potatoes, then 1/3 of the onion mixture, then 1/3 of the bacon. Repeat 2 more times.
  5. In a bowl, whisk eggs with coconut milk and seasonings. Pour the egg over all the layers in the crock pot.
  6. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. It’s done when the internal temp is 160 or it doesn’t “jiggle”when you shake the pot.
  7. Cut into squares (or rectangles) and store leftovers for breakfast the next day!

The Original Urban Solace Version, complete with grilled cheese and sweet potato fries

My husband used to work at a restaurant in San Diego. Not gonna lie, this restaurant makes some pretty delicious meals and my man is one of their biggest fans. He loves many a dish on their menu… Beef cheeks, fig meatloaf, ahi tuna chop chop… I could go on forever. Not being one to back down from a challenge, I sometimes try to recreate his favorite meals with a paleo-friendly ingredient list.

Apparently, I succeeded in my quest and now hubby has a new favorite home cooked meal. So much so that he mourned the impending end of this meal while he was halfway through his cup of soup. Just the thought of it being over made him sad. I’m pretty sure he would have hooked up a soup IV if he could.

So with that introduction I give you (Duh Duh DA DA!!!)

Tomato and Roasted Fennel Soup

1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
3 c. stock
1 sweet onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
4-5 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. duck fat, divided
1 Tbsp. dried basil
sea salt
pepper
1/4 c. pine nuts
olive oil to drizzle

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a bowl, coat the fennel, garlic, and parsnips with 1 Tbsp. of fat and season with some salt and pepper
  3. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 mins

    Parsnips, Garlic, and Fennel

  4. In a soup pot, over medium heat, sauté the shallots and onions until translucent
  5. Once the fennel mixture is done roasting, add it to the soup pot, sautéing for another 5 mins

    Add roasted veggie to sauteed onions

  6. Add stock and simmer for 10 mins

    Add stock before tomatoes

  7. Add tomatoes and continue to simmer for 5 mins adding basil
  8. With an immersion blender (or regular blender) puree the contents of the soup until all chunks are gone, add salt and pepper to taste
  9. In a blender or spice grinder, grind pine nuts with sea salt until it becomes a fine dust like grated parmesan
  10. Add half the nuts to the soup pot and stir

    Success!

  11. Serve with a garnish of olive oil and a dusting of pine nuts

Looking forward to sharing some new recipes this new year! I am currently on my honeymoon. My husband and I got married on December 30th and are spending 2 weeks in beautiful San Diego, our home away from home. Stay tuned…

 
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.

 

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.

Another simple and tasty ethnic meal.

Indian Style Chicken with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

1 – 2 lb. chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces

1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced

2Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced

3 medium cloves garlic, pressed

1 Tbsp. chicken broth

1 tsp. garam masala

5 c. kale, finely chopped

3 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes

1 c. chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

The ingredients

1. Heat broth in a large skillet or braising pot. Add Chicken, onion, ginger, and garlic. Stir frequently for 8 mins.

2. Add garam masala and stir again for 30 sec.

3. Add broth and stir in sweet potatoes and kale.

4. Simmer on low/medium heat for 15-20 mins until chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.

Adding the potatoes and kale

Curried Turkey Tender and Sweet Potato Mash

I looked in my fridge today and created this delectable plate of happy. It was momentary inspiration. It was Kismet… Fate, if you will. Please make it, because I’m sad that I’m the only one who was able to savor every blissful bite.

Curried Turkey Tenders with Sweet Potato Mash

1 Turkey Tender, chopped into 1 inch pieces.
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. salt
1 cooked sweet potato
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
3-4 organic mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 avocado, sliced

1. In a medium skillet, heat oil on low and carmelize onions. Add mushrooms, cook until soft. Chop up sweet potato and add to skillet to heat slightly. Take off heat and mash together in a bowl.
2. In a small bowl mix turkey, curry and salt. In the same skillet add a little more oil and raise to a medium heat, cook until almost done. Remove from heat.
3. Add sweet potato mixture back into skillet and add garlic, warm the mixture until garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and mash.
4. Add meat to skillet to cook till done.
5. Serve turkey over mash and garnish with avocado.
Serves 1.