Archives for posts with tag: Dinner

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

When I found out that Tropical Traditions had a great recipe for a coconut flour-based pizza crust, I had to give it a whirl. So I did.

Unfortunately, my first experience with coconut flour pizza was kind of a bust, so the opportunity to redeem the dish was quite exciting.

My fiance and I give this dish two thumbs up. It’s not Dominos, or Caesars or Round Table. So don’t be expecting classic gluten-pizza taste and texture. However, the crust is flavorful with herbs and garlic, it holds up under the weight of pesto and toppings, and the edges get crispy. So I call that a success in the world of Paleo-Italian fusion cuisine.

Herbed Pizza Crust

3 eggs
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup whole coconut milk
1/2 c. coconut flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl, mix in milk and garlic.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and beat into the milk mixture. The batter needs to be thin enough to spread but not watery.
  4. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ( NOT WAX PAPER!)
  5. Bake 12-20 mins. until bottom edges begin to brown.

    browning on the sides

  6. Remove crust from the oven and carefully turn over. Could be achieved by placing a cutting board, face down, over the crust and flipping. Put the flipped crust back on the baking sheet
  7. Cover with your sauce and toppings. Bake for 5 -10 mins depending on your topping choice.

Nutrition Facts for the Pizza Crust

I made ours with a sun-dried tomato pesto.

The Sauce

Not a lot of measurement in this pesto… just get out your food processor and add these ingredients to your taste:

garlic cloves
sun-dried tomatoes
olive oil
walnuts, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds
parmesan cheese
sea salt

I think I like this type of crust with a sauce/spread like a pesto instead of a more watery pizza sauce.

Our toppings were:

italian sausage, red onion, raw shaved parmesan, mushrooms, and zucchini.

Fully Loaded

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!

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.

 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.