Archives for posts with tag: Nuts

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

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.

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!

A friendly little recipe from Elana’s Pantry. I loved these dearly, mostly because I’m a breakfast sandwich fanatic. Give me a fried egg with tomato, avocado, and bacon between two slices of gluten-free bread, and I am one happy chef. Since going paleo, I hadn’t really found a good sub for my occasional breakfast sandwich (which, by default, means I had not had a breakfast sandwich in a year and a half).

I was in the mood for a biscuit and stumbled upon this paleo-friendly version. It doesn’t really rise like a regular biscuit and doesn’t have layers or anything. Also, because of the almond flour, has a sweeter taste than traditional biscuits. That being said, this recipe could be used in a savory or sweet context. I did, in fact, make a breakfast sandwich with them (I could slice down the middle without the halves breaking from lack-o-gluten).

Note the cute little leftover dough "leaves" on top!

Almond Flour Biscuits

2 ½ cups blanched almond flour, plus about 1 cup for dusting the dough
½ teaspoon sea salt 
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold)
2 eggs
note: Elana’s recipe calls for a sweetener like agave or honey, I omitted it.

  1. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda.
  2. In a large bowl, blend together buttery spread, eggs and agave.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until a nice dough forms.
  4. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to 1 ½ inches thick.
  5. Dust dough with extra almond flour if it is sticky and/or misbehaving.
  6. Cut the dough into biscuits using a mason jar with a 3-inch wide mouth.
  7. Using a spatula, transfer biscuits to a parchment lined baking sheet.

    Buns in the Oven.

  8. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, until biscuits are browned on the bottom edges.

Bonus Feature: Nutrition Facts for the Biscuits

I know, I know. Bread? Surely this can’t be right. Because bread is only made from grain, and grains are FORBIDDEN. Well, you’re in luck. This past week I have conjured up some nice Paleo bread recipes. Definitely not for everyday consumption, but a little bread and butter (translation: Paleo bread and Organic grass-fed Goat’s Milk butter) never hurt any one. Now grains… they do some serious damage. Many of you probably have heard the gospel of Paleo; anti-nutrient filled, inflammation linked, and disease fostering grain products should be avoided 90-100 percent of the time.

Even more than just grains in general, Wheat is by far the most suspect (well, not even suspect at this point… more studies come out every day showing the absolute horror that is our beloved “staff of life”). In a recent podcast, Robb Wolf, ie Paleo Baby Jesus, has an on air talk with Dr. William Davis about his new book, Wheat Belly. I highly recommend you listen to this podcast if you want the latest scoop on what researchers are discovering about wheat, gluten, and it’s effects on human vitality and health. Some of it’s more nasty effects include worsening or initiating behavioral and neurological disorders, handicapping the hormonal signaling of satiety, and keeping diabetics well, diabetic. Just click here for the podcast.

This recipe is not for the nut-free folks, and unfortunately I am more and more finding myself in that camp. Nuts are a bit hard on the digestive system and can be allergenic for some. So proceed with caution. You people out there with systemic inflammation, auto immune conditions, or poor digestion should really limit nut consumption. In my early Paleo days I had my fair share of nut binges. I mean heck, what am I supposed to eat when I have no access to animal flesh or fresh produce?! Since then, I have seen the error in my ways. Not only does heavy nut consumption slow down my poor digestion, it can also be a huge wrecker of the weight loss goals.

Golden Beautiful Bread!

 Paleo Bread

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour

2 tablespoons coconut flour

¼ cup golden flaxseed meal

¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

5 eggs

¼ cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon honey (I used date paste)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  1. Place almond flour, coconut flour, flax, salt and baking soda in a food processor
  2. Pulse ingredients together
  3. Pulse in eggs, oil, honey and vinegar
  4. Pour batter into a greased 7.5″ x 3.5″ loaf pan
  5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

 Paleo Banana Bread

2 cups almond flour

¼ c. flaxseed meal

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2/3 c. chopped nuts (I used sliced almonds)

4 really ripe bananas

2 tbsp. local honey (I used date paste)

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the mashed bananas, eggs, honey, and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until combined. Normally with breads or muffin recipes, you don’t want to overmix, but since there’s no gluten here, mix to your heart’s content. The muffins won’t get gummy or icky.
  5. Fill greased muffin tins, baking cups, mini-loaf pans or big loaf pans about 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 23-25 minutes and loaves for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool slightly and enjoy with a pat of almond butter, coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Mmmm.

These recipes are courtesy of Robb Wolf, author of  The Paleo Solution and blogger Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry.

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

Though uncommon, sometimes I am asked to cover a shift at trader joe’s working Demo . Many people know it as the sample place, snack corner… or, if you’re a free-loading pig, it’s lunch.  Either way, I’m never totally stoked about these shifts. Something about the general public, free food, and a predetermined, unhealthy TJ’s concoction just doesn’t suit my particular sensibilities.

Fortunately, my bosses usually cut me some slack and let me experiment in the kitchen as long as I continue to dole out nasty small plates to the customers.

I decided that not only would be wise to introduce my coworkers to a late night snack in the realm of Paleo, but also include some unfamiliar ingredients. While many may think that Trader Joe’s is a healthy establishment full of hippie lettuce munchers and knowledgable vitamin pushers, I regret to inform you that you are sorely mistaken. As a whole (keep in mind, I’ve worked at not one, not two, but FOUR different stores.) most crew members are satisfied on a diet of cigarettes, beer, and frozen pizza.

With that in mind I give you:

Stuffed Dates

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Lemon Curd

1 case Trader Joe’s Medjool Dates (pitted)

4 oz. plain goat cheese

2 Tbsp. lemon curd

sesame seeds for garnish

1. Slice one side of the date lengthwise to take out the pit and create a space for the goat cheese.

Little Date boats waiting to be filled with goodness.

2. In a bowl, mash together goat cheese and lemon curd and scoop into a pastry bag, or a ziploc.

3. Trim off tip of the bag and squeezing from the top, fill each date with a little bit (…or a lot) of goat cheese.

4. Garnish with some sesame seeds (black, white, or toasted will do fine)

Pistachio Version

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Pistachios

4 oz. plain goat cheese

1/4 c. roasted and salted pistachios (chopped)

2 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Same process as the first batch, just different ingredients.

2. In a bowl, mash together cheese, most of the chopped pistachios (reserve about a tablespoon of pistachio pieces/dust), vanilla, and honey.

The Pistachio Filling

3. Fill the dates and garnish with the reserved pistachios.

The individual quest for knowledge should never be discounted, especially when it comes to health. I know that many people become disgruntled and borderline hypochondriac trying to diagnose themselves using WebMD, “health” magazine questionnaires, and the ever popular self-help section of the bookstore, however, an intelligent pursuit of scientific as well as anecdotal answers to biological concerns is a noble one.

Right now, as I finish up my culinary studies, I am well-aware that my learning and growing does not stop once I drive away from Santa Cruz. In fact, I have a lengthy list of books and topics to read and research once I have a bit more time on my hands!

As of right now, the best I can do is Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution. It’s a really great reminder of why I do what I do, why I cook what I cook, and why I preach it to everyone else. Reading the evidence, the scientific backing for Paleo creates a mindfulness that is shrouded when the world closes in with it’s questions, criticisms, and denials. I like to keep myself constantly in the intellectual circle of food and it’s effects on the body because without the reassurance that comes from other people’s stories and countless medical studies, I begin to lose sight of the greater importance of teaching others about their food choices. My personal experience definitely has helped me, but is that enough to change someone else’s mind. Well, the unfortunate truth is a resounding “no”. People need to be convinced. Believing is seeing, and seeing from all angles in all different lights.

Here’s my Paleo Sunday

Coffee with freshly made Cashew Coconut Cream (recipe below)

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Raw Honey and Eggs

Curry Flax Crackers with Smoked Oysters and Avocado

Sautéed Italian Chicken Sausage and Kale with Garlic

Apple, Dark Chocolate, and Salted Marcona Almonds

Cashew Coconut Cream

2 c. soaked cashews
4 c. coconut water
2 dates, soaked
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
 
1. Blend cashews and coconut water, strain through nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Discard or save solids (use in paleo pancakes or crusts.)
 
2. Put cashew milk back in blender with other ingredients and blend until frothy!

coconut milk in coffee