Archives for posts with tag: Paleo

A beautiful morning at my house.

We are definitely creatures of habit. No doubt about it. Even as a chef, I find my household grocery list looking pretty repetitive week to week. This doesn’t happen as much with produce because I like to shop seasonally. For example, during the fall/winter months, hard squashes were always in my reusable totes, but since its turing spring I haven’t bought a squash for a month or so. When it comes to my staples… ground beef, bacon, eggs, coconut milk, etc,  I tend to be very unadventurous.  So every once in a while, I like to purchase something new and different. This past week I picked up some smoked salmon. I LOVE salmon. I usually buy it in frozen steaks but smoked salmon is pretty freaking amazing. When I used to work at trader joe’s, one of my favorite paleo breakfasts during the early shift was a package of smoked salmon and an avocado.

One of my favorite flavor combos!

In remembrance of those days, I recently made a delicious omelette containing those two wonderful items. Healthy fats from all these ingredients, especially the omega 3’s from the wild salmon!

Side note: I also purchased some broccoli, which is a rarity for me. This strikes me as amusing since all I hear from most paleo folks is that they are bored from eating chicken and broccoli all the time. I think to myself, ” How have I managed to sustain paleo cooking for a year without eating broccoli every week?” No joke, I probably have it once or twice in a six month period. So… yeah. I guess that makes me a paleo anomaly.

There's my broccoli!

Salmon and Avocado Omelette

1 oz. smoked coho salmon (from Trader Joes in the beige packaging. It has no sugar added during the smoking process)
2 eggs
1/2 avocado
cooking fat
spices

  1. In a small skillet, melt some coconut oil (good) or bacon fat (better!) over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the two eggs and season with black pepper, red pepper flakes, and some garlic powder (I don’t add salt because the salmon is pretty salty).
  3. Pour egg mix in the skillet. Cook one side and flip to cook the other. This takes practice to do without a spatula. Practice by yourself so you don’t embarrass yourself in front of other people. Then, when you are a proficient omelette flipper, invite friends over for breakfast and impress them with your crazy skillz.
  4. As the second side cooks, add your smoked salmon and avocado slices to one side of the egg circle.
  5. Slide onto a plate and  fold over the filling with the empty side of the egg.
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See, I told you I like breakfast sandwiches (check my Almond Flour Biscuit post)! This a great alternative to using bread as a vehicle for your food, it’s also another good Paleo breakfast item.

I couldn’t resist trying a new version, especially since it’s nut-free. Nuts and I have a complicated relationship. Actually, I make it complicated. The nuts really hold no blame in this scenario. I tend to have an addictive personality. Okay… okay, not tend. I DO have an addictive personality. I find something I like and I go CRAZY over it. My coconut hiatus last week was an attempt at reigning in that obsession. Unfortunately, when I shut down one obsession, another one starts up. Enter my friend (foe), the NUT.

I found myself going back to my nut dependence that I originally steered away from by introducing more coconut products. Here’s the bottom line: Too much of anything is not good. As a person with life-long digestive problems, nut consumption presents quite an obstacle to “feeling well” in a gastrointestinal context. Not to mention, nuts are relatively high in Omega 6 fats which will sabotage the hallowed Paleo goal of evening out your O3:O6 ratio.

In newbie Paleo-eaters, I almost always hear or see the tendency to over-consume nuts. They are fast, easy and tend to be filling. For me, I could eat nuts until I burst. They really do not make me feel full or satiated… which presents a problem. So my solution is to try not to have nuts around the house. If I do eat them, it’s usually in the form of a “condiment” on salads or in sauces or I will make a dessert-type item OCCASIONALLY (everybody’s favorite diet-related word used to cover up over consumption of questionable items. HEAR YE, HEAR YE! Occasionally means: Not habitual; infrequent).

Yum!

Portobello Breakfast Sandwich

1 large Portobello mushroom, sliced in half like a hamburger bun
1 egg
1 oz. smoked salmon
1/4 avocado, sliced or mashed
1/4 c. sautéed onions
1 Tbsp. melted bacon fat

Remove the stem and gills with a spoon

  1. In a skillet, melt the bacon fat and dip mushroom buns into the oil. Take out ans set aside.
  2. Over low heat, saute onions until soft and a bit caramelized.
  3. Heat up your BBQ grill and over medium heat, grill mushroom halves  until tender.

    Post-grill Portobello

  4. Remove sautéed onion from the skillet and fry up an egg. I like mine a bit runny so this goes pretty fast.
  5. Layer salmon and onions over bottom “bun” add fried egg and avocado and top with the other “bun”.

Wedding gifts are amazing.

A cast iron dutch oven is a prime example of why wedding gifts are amazing.

O Great Bearded One... or Colin.

So, here’s a quick shout out to our friend Colin who purchased said item in honor of our nuptials! Putting it to use was simple enough. I set out to create a delicious Paleo-fied Shepherd’s Pie. Below are the fruits (or pie) of my labor.

This particular pie was topped with a kabocha squash mash, but you could use any squash (or yam) you have on hand.

Kabocha Shepherd’s Pie

1 1/2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef
1 c. diced eggplant
1/2 bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 shiitake mushrooms, diced
4 whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
pinch cayenne

Topping

1/2 onion, caramelized
1 large kabocha squash (about 3 cups of flesh)

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Caramelize onions by slicing thin half moons and cooking on LOW heat for 20 mins or until onions are soft and brown (not brown and crispy). Stir occasionally
  3.  Cut squash in half and take out the seeds. Place face down on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 mins. Done when skin gives easily when pressed.
  4. Let the squash cool and then scoop out flesh into a food processor.

    mash it up!

  5. Add caramelized onions and some salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  6. Lower oven temp to 300.
  7. In a cast iron dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat,  saute onion, celery, and mushrooms for 2-3 min. Add beef.

    celery, pepper, and eggplant

  8. Stir until beef begins to brown.
  9. Add bell pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and spices.
  10. Heat until beef is cooked through and vegetables are beginning to get soft.

    gettin steamy

  11. Spread topping over the top of the meat mixture in the dutch oven. If using a baking pan, transfer meat mixture to baking pan first, then spread the topping on the meat.

    Rustic

  12. Bake for 20 mins or until squash topping begins to brown.

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!!

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.

Roasted Squash and Eggplant with Arugula

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (1/4 inch)
1 eggplant, peeled and diced (1/4 – 1/2 inch)
3 c. fresh arugula
2 Tbsp. melted bacon fat or coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a bowl, coat eggplant and squash with oil and seasonings
  3. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 mins until the edges are browning.
  4. In a bowl, toss the warm veggies with the arugula until it begins to wilt.
  5. Serve with your favorite entree, like Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto Chicken

    Makes a nice side dish for the winter season.

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.

Taken right before I started Paleo, April 2010

I am an enthusiastic fan of ceviche. First off, I love fish. I grew up in Ventura county, going fishing on the weekends with my family. It’s in my blood. Second, ceviche is fresh and light while being packed with flavor! I love it so much that during my honeymoon, I made two different kinds of ceviche: Tahitian ceviche (aka Poisson Cru, recipe here) and Peruvian ceviche.

Today I will share the Peruvian kind. This meal was inspired by my friend Tina. She’s got a great “mommy” blog and she’s half Peruvian. Enter the ceviche feast! We had a great day at the beach with her new baby, Axel Cruz (how cool is that name?!?!?) and Swedish husband, Johan.

Here’s the beach…

ahhhh... honeymoon.

And here’s the meal. Peruvian ceviche joined by fried plantains and sweet potatoes, grilled vegetables with an avocado sauce, and a raw pear and blackberry tart with a dairy-free caramel sauce. (recipes forthcoming)

paleo disciples... ignore the tortilla chips 😉

Note: If you get a white fish that tends to be parasitic (Cod, for instance), in the interest of health it should be blanched first before marinating in the citrus juice. In traditional ceviche the fish “cooks” in the acid but that is not enough to kill off all parasites, so please take the necessary precautions. Ask your fish guy if you’re unsure.

The Main Event

Peruvian Ceviche

1 lb. fresh fish (suggest grouper, striped sea bass, or halibut!)
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. lime juice
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced small
1/2 tsp. sea salt

  1. Cut fish into bite size pieces (larger than a Mexican ceviche).
  2. If blanching, dunk pieces in boiling water for a minute, then drain.
  3. In a shallow dish, combine fish with all other ingredients.
  4. Chill 5 hours, stir once or twice.
  5. Serve with avocado, in cabbage leaves, or over salad… anyway you like.

serves 2-4

Just got back from all my wedding festivities! Spent two weeks away on our honeymoon instead of one and I was quite thankful for the flexibility on our schedules to accommodate such a long vacation.

The new Mister and Missus

Awwwwww!

We stayed in a beach condo for two weeks so I had multiple opportunities to create fun and interesting recipes all day long. Here is the first of many that I will be sharing on this blog.

Add a little side salad and you have a complete meal.

For this recipe, buy all natural and uncured bacon. No nitrates or nitrites added. That stuff is no bueno. Also, go and find a kabocha squash. They are not hard to find and if you’ve never had one, YOU MUST TRY IT! It’s so delicious that my HUSBAND (see how I snuck that in there?!) insists that we always make it when we have visitors because he wants to share his favorite squash with everyone. Here’s what a kabocha looks like.

You can eat the skin too!

Bacon Wrapped Drumsticks with Grilled Kabocha Wedges

5-6 Chicken drumsticks
10-12 slices of bacon (nitrate and nitrite free), about 2 slices per drumstick
1 kabocha squash (also known as a Japanese Pumpkin), seeded and sliced into wedges
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

  1. Light up your grill on medium heat
  2. On a cutting board, wrap the drumstick from top to bottom with bacon strips. Set aside.

    It's like decorating your chicken.

  3. Place kabocha slices in a bowl. Drizzle coconut oil over along with the salt and spices. According to your taste you can make it more salty or more spicy.
  4. Place kabocha on the grill, about 5-6 mins per side depending on the heat of your BBQ. They are done when easily squished or broken. They become quite tender if cooked too long.
  5. Put chicken on the grill and turn halfway through. They should cook about as long as the squash. Be careful for flare ups from the bacon grease dripping into the grill. When the bacon is nice and crispy, take off the grill and serve.

    Crispy and Juicy

Serves 2-3 people