Sunday, February 27, 2011

Frittata of the Week! Ground Beef & Green Chilies

I was going to post this tomorrow, but then I started thinking that I know a lot of paleo-eating people that do a ton of cooking on Sunday.  So if you're making your list for the market over a lazy cup of coffee with coconut milk, this one's for you. 

The great thing about frittatas is their versatility - you can dump anything in there, whether it's stuff from a well planned out trip to the market or the remnants of last night's dinner. This one has a bit of Mexican flare, and it delicious topped with a little Tapatio and avocado.

7 local eggs, 1 lb Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef (browned), 1 can green chilies, 1 small onion (diced), salt & pepper, paprika, cumin, cayenne. Spray a baking dish with olive oil and bake at 375 until center is set. (feeds 1 husband for 3 days).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Curry Fish Chowder with Delicata Squash and Bacon

I love stews, soups and chowders and this sweet and spicy fish soup is great for cold or hot weather.  The squash fills in for a potato, and with the bacon and coconut milk, you'd never know you're not eating a dairy based chowder.   

I used Pacific wild cod, which is a great cold water fish that will hold up in your soup.  Be sure to ask about how the fish is caught - for cod look for wild caught, bottom longline, jig or trap* - as methods like trawling are ruining the sea floor and cause a lot of collateral damage.  Cod also only has about 89 calories per serving, but almost 20g of protein and tons of omega-3's.

In a large dutch oven chop 3-4 slices of bacon and brown, draining any excess fat.  Add a diced onion, a diced bell pepper, 1 small peeled and diced delicata squash, 2 tbs curry powder, a little salt and pepper - saute for about 4 minutes, adding olive oil if needed.  Add 1 can coconut milk and about 16oz (+/-) vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil and add fish, making sure each piece is cut to about the same size so it will cook evenly.  Simmer until fish is done and squash is tender. Give it a squeeze of lemon before serving. 

*source: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Paleo Fried Coconut Calamari

We love fried calamari, it's the perfect happy hour nibble, and it's pretty easy to recreate at home without all the undesirable ingredients.  Depending on your tolerance for heat - we love spicy food - adjust the cayenne and crushed red pepper accordingly, as the coconut milk gives it a nice cooling component.  Since we got a pound of fresh squid for $6.99, it's even cheaper than going out! Also, squid (wherever it's from) is a good alternative, sustainable choice for dinner. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Roasted Leeks & Carrots

I love roasting vegetables, it brings out so much of the natural flavor and sweetness.  Leeks are sometimes overlooked to eat by themselves, but they have a very delicate flavor and are delicious with a really simple preparation.  I roasted these with a little olive oil, sea salt and fresh tarragon.  Voila.  

Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs, it's lemony and bright, and makes any dish delicious  You can even roast chicken using the same 3 ingredients above. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sweet Gluten Free Treats! Ginger Molasses Cookies & Pear and Cardmaom Mini-Muffins

Disclaimer:  While these are gluten free, these are not paleo, nor would I consider them healthy.  Enjoy them in moderation with someone you love.  

We don't eat a ton of sweets, but every now and then I have a killer sweet tooth and need something more than a piece of super dark chocolate, (and it was Valentine's Day this week).  Both these recipes I modified from  Gluten Free Girl and they are delicious.  I had to get them out of the house asap, so I took them to the gym.  Ironic, I know, but everyone needs a little sweet every now and then.

(if you'd like more thorough directions, ask away!  I'm happy to email them out)

**Gluten Free Ginger Molasses Cookies (left):
Sift 1/2 c sorghum flour, 1/2 c brown rice flour, 1/2 c arrowroot, 1/2 c teff flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. Add 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp black pepper.

In a large bowl cream 1 1/2 sticks softened butter, 3/4 c brown sugar and 1/2 c xylitol. Add 3 large eggs one at a time, then add 1/2 c molasses and 2 tbs fresh ginger (peeled and finely diced).  Incorporate dry ingredients slowly - when well combined add 1/2 c greek yogurt and 1-2 cups of crystalized ginger.

Drop spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

**Gluten Free Pear & Cardamom Mini-Muffins (right):
In a saucepan, heat 10 tbs butter just until it starts to foam.  Add 1 large grated pear, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ground cardamom, 1/2 tsp ground ginger.

In a large bowl combine 3/4 c almond flour, 1/4 teff flour, 1/2 c arrowroot, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp baking powder.  Add 3/4 c xyliotl, 2 heaping tbs of greek yogurt,  and 2 large eggs and whisk until combined.  Mix in dry ingredients, then add the pear/butter mixture.  Mix in some toasted walnuts and bake at 375 in a greased mini-muffin pan for about 10-12 minutes. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Smoked Salmon Balls

This is my smoked salmon experiment.  I love things bite-sized, and I love having friends over for hors d'oeuvres, but I find that most things meant to be eaten on one bite often come on crostini.  While I do indulge occasionally in a perfectly toasted, thinly sliced sourdough crostini, I can't eat them frequently.

I had some smoked salmon, and while part of me wanted to go buy a bagel and cream cheese, I thought I'd try to take that flavor profile and modify it a bit.  Both were good, but I think the winner was the stuffed tomatoes.  The sesame seeds have a very strong flavor that was almost overwhelming to the salmon (but it was great texture!).

I pulsed the smoked salmon with capers, red onion, italian parsley, salt & pepper, and a tiny bit of olive oil.  Half of the mixture I stuffed into hollowed out cherry tomato halves, and the other half of the salmon I rolled into balls then coated with sesame seeds. 

If you eat dairy, these are delicious with a tiny bit of greek of yogurt. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Roast Chicken Part 2: Blood Orange Salad

It's been so nice, almost summer like, around here (queue hate mail from my East Coast friends) that I find myself craving summer fare.  This was no different....I had some leftovers from my Mexican Roasted Chicken, so I made a quick salad for dinner.  

In California we're blessed with prolific citrus crops in the winter (vitamin C for flu season) and I love experimenting with all the different species.  Blood oranges have an incredible color and flavor, and really make a statement in this easy salad. 

Fresh spring greens, blood orange sections, avocado, yellow cherry tomatoes, shredded chicken, cilantro - topped off with some fresh cracked pepper, slivered almonds, a drizzle of olive oil and a little blood orange juice. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Easy Mexican Roasted Chicken

We love Mexican food - and I mean the good kind, if you think Taco Bell is Mexican and/or food you are sadly mistaken - but between the cheese, rice and beans it can be a minefield for a paleo eater.  This is a quick and easy Mexican roast chicken that you can eat with a little avocado and salsa verde, put on a salad, scramble with eggs and peppers, or throw in a chicken soup.

In my previous post I talked about the benefits of roasting whole chicken, so no need to remind you about my crush on Anthony Bourdain or how funny I think his description of trussing is.

Wash and dry your bird, salt and pepper the inside cavity.  Stuff with 1 onion, 1 lime and 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro.  Set in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.  Dust the chicken with some paprika, chili powder, ground coriander and chopped cilantro.  Put a little water in the baking dish and about 1/2 tbs of butter.  Bake at 375 for 2 1/2 hours, turning and basting every time you remember.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Veggie Stuffed Flank Steak with Tequila Tomatoes

This is a recipe from a certain Food Network star with peroxide locks that I typically don't watch, but we happened to catch him on a good day and I found this recipe attractive because I don't have a dishwasher, so the idea of using the least amount of pots and pans for a dish is extremely attractive.  I made some modifications as this recipe calls for some unnecessary flour coating and a ton of mozzarella cheese. 

Some cooks notes: If you have an aversion to carrots on the crunchy side - and I'm only saying this because I live with someone that does -  I'd blanch them first. If you're buying the flank steak from a place with a butcher, ask them to butterfly it.  Or if you have mad knife skills, slice away.  It'll make your steak easier to tenderize,  cook faster, and give you a better 'roll'.  I did not butterfly mine, so it really only made it around the veggies 1 1/2 times.

Tenderize both sides of your flank steak with a mallet (also a great way to get out any angst and/or pent up aggression that may be lingering, just be sure not to crack the tiles in your countertop).  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.  Add layers of julienned carrots, red bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and green onions then roll that bad boy up using bamboo skewers or toothpicks to hold it in place.  Salt and pepper the outside of your meaty yule log.

Sear all sides in a pan with a little olive oil then put on a baking sheet and finish off in the oven.  While your steak is in the oven, put about 1/2 cup of tequila in the pan to deglaze, scraping the brown bits off the bottom.  Reduce by half and add 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice and a little water.  Slice your beef bouche de noel and serve with your tomato reduction.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kale Chips with Sundried Tomato Tapenade and White Bean Puree

With football season coming to a close, I wanted to leave you with some Sunday afternoon fare that can be enjoyed even without a game on.  While our Superbowl was hardly anything to write home about - we were both sick so there wasn't much eating, chest bumping, or general shenanigans - but this is something I totally would have made had I been on top of my game.  

Lacinato kale works best for this recipe, but I had flowering kale in my fridge so I used that.  Trim them up, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper, and any other spices you feel like, bake them at 375 for about 15 minutes.  I made 2 different accompaniments for them, while both are gluten free the white bean puree isn't paleo. 

Sundried Tomato Tapenade (1st picture - paleo):  Sundried tomatoes with oil, 1/2 juice Meyer lemon, crushed red pepper, sea salt, kale and Italian parsley.  Pulse it in the food processor just enough to blend - it should still have some good texture to it.

White Bean Puree (2nd picture - gluten free): White beans, sundried tomatoes with oil, 1/2 juice Meyer lemon, salt and fine ground pepper, Italian parsley.  Pulse in a food processor until smooth, adding olive oil oil if needed.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower with Masala

A little spice makes everything nice...even boring cauliflower.  I think cauliflower is the unsung hero of the vegetable kingdom and it way more versatile than people think.  It's also super low in fat, has lots of fiber and vitamins, and can be cooked multiple ways.  Roasting it brings out the natural sweetness, and you can season it to complement any main course.  Roasting the whole head of cauliflower makes for a more dramatic presentation, or cut the florets bite sized for a cocktail party hors d'ouvres.

I truly wish our budget allowed us to eat all organic, all the time, but in the interest of middle-class economics, there is a resource for us!  Dr Weil and the Environmental Working Group have developed a list of items that you DON'T have to buy organic (the pesticide levels were low), and items you MUST buy organic.   Cauliflower (and broccoli) are absent from both lists, so that's up to buyer discretion, so buy from your local farmers market and ask questions!  

Trim head of cauliflower, discarding green parts and stalks (you can turn those into a puree if you'd like), and placing florets in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and a little masala (I happened to use Pav Bhaji Masala, but you can try Garam, cumin, curry, turmeric, or whatever spice you have on hand).  Roast at 350 for about 30-40 mins, turning cauliflower over at least once.  


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