Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sweet Potato Hash

If you know anything about me, it's that I love, love, LOVE potatoes. I love them boiled, roasted, mashed, fried, hashed, if it's potato I'll eat it!

That was one of the harder foods to give up for paleo. But in it's place, I started using more sweet potato, something I wasn't too fond of before. I've developed a great, fast breakfast from sweet potatoes, eggs and spicy prosciutto. 

Sweet Potato Hash

1-2 sweet potatoes, depends how many people you're making this for or for how long you want to keep the mixture in the fridge
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder
1-2 eggs

1. After peeling the sweet potato, grate it with a cheese grater.
2. Mix it in a bowl with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Here is where you can get creative if you want. Sometimes I add curry powder or cumin or cayenne if I want a little spice in my sweet. 
3. Add 1-2 eggs, depending on how many sweet potatoes you used. I usually to 1 egg for ever sweet potato, unless it's a big one then I use 2 eggs. The egg is basically what keeps it together.
4. Heat a pan at med-high with some coconut oil. Add the shredded, spiced and egged sweet potato to the pan and spread it out thin, like a hash brown! I've noticed the thinner you spread it, the better it holds together like a patty. If you just want a mound of sweet potato hash then you can mix it up in the pan.
5. While the potato is cooking, cut up some spicy prosciutto.
6. Once the potato hash has cook till crispy on both sides, fry an egg in the same pan. While the egg is cooking, sprinkle the prosciutto onto the hot sweet potato. Plop the egg on top and enjoy! The spicy prosciutto goes so well with the sweet potato, it's fantastic!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Paprika Chicken

This recipe comes straight from my genius...or more like a thought then some skilled research. Basically, I got this recipe offline and tweaked it to fit my mood.

Paprika chicken, steamed broccoli with lemon and velvety butternut squash (recipe coming soon!)

Paprika Chicken: 

4 chicken thighs (my new favorite cut of meat)
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne (depending on my spice level)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly oil a broiler pan or Pyrex dish. I prefer a broiler pan because it keeps the chicken away from it's fat thus making it super crispy.

2. Mix the spices and oil either in a plastic bag or a bowl. Add the thighs and toss or stir until well coated.

3. Bake the chicken thighs for 30-40 minutes. I love them they turn a lovely dark brown and the skin crackles when poked with a knife. Internal temperature should reach 160° to be safe.

This is so, so easy and really good. Jake's started requesting it! It's really nice with almost anything, honestly. Salad or rice or even potatoes. The first time I made it, I made it with sweet potato fries. SO yummy.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Almond-herb crusted Sole and Creamy Spiced Kale

As I wind to the end of the 30 day Paleo challenge, I realized that there was one dish I hadn't yet tried out. Kale.

Although I've eaten a lot of it in the past, I found that I haven't cooked it for myself in a long while. After the Winter of Kale, I have a hard time making kale voluntarily. But this recipe is certainly interesting.

[I made this meal with only one recipe, the creamy kale. The Sole and asparagus I did myself.] 

Almond-Herb Crusted Sole:

Almonds, enough to make about a cup of almond meal
Dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Granulated garlic
Red pepper flakes
4 Sole fillets
Coconut Oil, for frying

1. Place almonds in a food processor or blender. Blend until it becomes meal. This will act as your bread crumbs, and believe me you can barely tell the difference. 
2. Season the almond meal with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and any other spice you want to throw in there (maybe cayenne and cumin for a Mexican feel or Chinese 5 Spice, which is a new favorite spice for me).
3. Whisk an egg on a plate, this is for dredging your Sole fillets. Bread each fillet and put aside.
4. Heat your pan on med-high until the pan is very hot (not going to lie, our pan was smoking it was so hot but we turned the heat down once we started cooking).
It's ok to be jealous.
5. Fry the Sole depending on how thick your fillets are. Our fillets were very thin, which is why we made 2 each, and fried them for maybe 30-45 seconds each side. 

Lemon Asparagus with Garlic:

3 cloves of garlic
Olive Oil, for sauteing
Lemon wedges
Salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic and asparagus when the pan is hot.
2. When asparagus is bright green, it is cooked. I like to drain my asparagus on paper towels so they aren't oily on my plate. Then I squeeze lemon wedges over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. It's simple, easy and quick. And fantastic!

Creamy Spiced Kale:

1 head of kale
2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut milk

1. Wash your kale, removing any stalk with a sharp knife. Don't dry the leaves, a little water will only work in your favor.
2. Heat a pan on med-high, add kale and stir a few times. The water on the leaves is going to steam the kale in this process. Stir occasionally, careful not to burn the leaves like I did, until they begin to wilt.
3. Combine the Ras el Hanout and the garlic. Once the kale is wilting, push the mound to one side of the pan. Add the coconut oil and spices together. Let them cook, just the oil and spices, for about 20 seconds to release the flavors. 
4. Briskly stir the spiced oil into the kale leaves. Quickly add the coconut milk to the pan. This will help the kale not mine did...
5. Let the mixture simmer for a while, until the leaves are to a texture you like and the coconut milk thickens.

[NOTE: In regards to the Ras el Hanout, which I had never heard of until now but it is very interesting. I wouldn't add the entire measure of cayenne pepper. When I made more of this spice, I will probably add half that amount. I found that my mouth was on fire for a long long time when I made my kale and Jake had to finish if for me. So maybe add less if you're sensitive and add extra spice later if you need it.]

Homemade Tartar Sauce:

Homemade mayo

1. Place a few tablespoons of your homemade mayo in a bowl. Add finely chopped pickles and shallots (essentially add how ever much you want, it depends how chunky you want your tartar sauce). Splash vinegar into the bowl, don't add too much at first. Add then taste. You can always add more but you can't take vinegar out.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Apple Crumble with Coconut Whipped Cream.

The worst part of starting paleo for me was that I had to give up baking. I love baking! But I've turned a positive eye on the situation. I'm claiming this situation to find new ways to bake!

My first baking journey was this yummy dessert. 

Apple Crumble with Coconut Whipped Cream:

Apples, chopped up (I used 2 apples which is a good amount for 2 people)
Nuts, I used pecans
Lemon juice
Cinnamon and nutmeg
Coconut flour, about 1/3 cup
Dried dates, 4-5
Coconut Oil, about 1-2 tablespoons chilled (so it's solid)

1. Chop up the apples and nuts, combine in a bowl and sprinkle lemon juice over them. Spice it up with some cinnamon and nutmeg.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and dates. Add chopped solid coconut oil and blend again.
3. Place filling in either individual ramekins or a pie dish. Cover with topping and seal with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes then uncover and bake till the tops are nice and brown. 
4. Top with coconut whipped cream, which you can find here, and enjoy!

Feel free to mix it up with different fruit and nut combos. Next on my list is strawberries and almonds!!

NOTE: I noticed that the topping was a bit dry for my taste. I want to play around with it and figure out how to make it more crumbly. Once I do, I'll post it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blue Ribbon Country Captain Chicken.

Don't let this name fool you. I was thinking it was going to be a slight bar-be-que but this was something different! With the peppers and raisins, it had some cool flavors! 

Blue Ribbon Country Captain Chicken: 

3 strips of sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon (optional) 
Sooo goood.
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs  
salt and black pepper, to taste 
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
4 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups) 
3 large bell peppers (red and/or green), thinly sliced 
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon) 
3 tablespoons raisins 
1/2 cup chicken broth 
2 tablespoons curry powder  
3 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced 
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Cook the bacon (it says optional but you know you wanna do it) and cut up into chunks.
3. In the same pan, add the coconut oil and bring to heat on med-high. Place the chicken thighs in a single layer in the pan. The goal is to brown the skin, crispy, delicious. Let it be in the pan until it's ready to flip. Then place the chicken in a 13x9 pan.
4. Without draining any of the oil/fat, saute the peppers, onions and raisins until they are soft but not fully cooked. Place in the pan with the chicken, I smothered the chicken with the peppers and onions. 
5. Pour the broth into the pan and scrape up the brown bits from the pan, you'll be making a sauce. Add the curry powder and cook until it starts to thicken. (Note: I would double the about of broth and curry powder. It has great flavor and I wanted more of the sauce.)
6. Pour the sauce over the chicken, over the pan with foil and place in the over. Bake for 35 minutes then take the foil off and raise the temperature to 400 and finish cooking for 5-10 minutes. 

Paleo Pancakes.

This morning I woke up in the mood for brunch. But I wanted it to be quick and easy (as I spend a majority of my time every other day cooking and cleaning). So I decided that pancakes were the best option.

So I found the great recipe for coconut flour pancakes!

2 cups raisins
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
8 eggs

Honestly, the directions should be self explanatory...

I made a few adjustments, however. I used half raisins and half craisins (oooh yeah!) and instead of almond milk, I used this great blend of almond and coconut milk. It's really delicious! 

Rogan Josh.

One of the first things I had to get used to when I moved in with Jake: our difference in cuisine. 

I grew up with a lot of British foods, French, Italian. And I love those kinds of food (the mote butter then better). I found that Jake preferred more ethnic flavors, Indian, Thai, Mexican. It took me a while to adjust to the spices, learn what they taste like and how to use them.

Over a year later, I love Indian food, Thai and Mexican. My hot (as in spicy) threshold is a lot stronger as well. So this next dish was welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed.

Rogan Josh: 

Spice blend:

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves  
3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger 
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
4 teaspoons ground cumin 
4 teaspoons ground coriander 
2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper

2 pounds lamb (stew meat, shoulder, or leg), cut into 1-inch cubes 
salt and black pepper, to taste 
1 tablespoon coconut oil 
2 medium onions, diced 
1 cup coconut milk 
1 1/4 cups water

1. Mix all the spices together and set aside.
2. In a dutch oven or large pot, heat the coconut oil on med-high.
3. Once the pan is hot, add the lamb. The goal is to brown the lamb, like crust brown not cook. Once the lamb is in the pan, just let it sit, don't stir for a minimum of 5 minutes. I did this for each side of the lamb. 
4. Once the meat is browned, add the onions and cook until the onions are become see through.
5. Add the spice mix and cook until fragrant. Then add the coconut milk and water. 
6. Bring the pot to a boil then cover and turn to low. Let the Rogan Josh simmer for 1-2 hours (I did for one and it was perfect).

It's going to look like a gross brown mess but the flavor is incredible. The texture of lamb is so vastly different then that of beef, it's much softer. This dish originates from Kashmir and in the book where I got the recipe, they describe it as having the texture of cashmere. And it does! 

Serve over rice or, in true paleo fashion, over cauliflower rice.

Sunshine Sauce.

This is like the ranch for paleo. I swear. And if it isn't, it should be.

My favorite thing about paleo is all the new flavors I'm being introduced to. Sunflower seed butter is def at the top of the list. It's so interesting to taste and def makes this sauce something unique!

Well Fed: Blog.
Sunshine Sauce:

2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter 
dash ground cayenne pepper 
1/4 cup coconut milk

1. Place all ingredients except the coconut milk into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the coconut milk and blend again.

Taa-daa! There you have it! I doubled the ingredients and keep the sauce in a glass jar with a screw on lid to keep it fresh. They go amazing with the Bora Bora Fireballs. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bora Bora Fireballs

In week two, Jake made these Bora Bora Fireballs that blew my mind and are seriously my new favorite thing. Paleo or not, I'll probably be making these for a while.

He got the recipe from a really great book: Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat. I mean, common, how is that not perfect for us? It's a really great book.

Bora Bora Fireballs: 

1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, sugar-free, packed in its own juice
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3-4 scallions, white and green, very thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 fresh jalapeƱo, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 pounds ground pork

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with either foil or parchment paper. While the oven is preheating, toast the shredded coconut in a pan. Once toasted, put aside and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
2. Drain pineapple in a sieve over a bowl or cup, we'll use the juice later. Add the drained pineapple to a large bowl.
3. Add to the bowl 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne, coconut aminos (like boy sauce but without the soy), ginger, garlic scallions, jalapenos and eggs. Mix together well then, using your hands, crumble in the ground pork. Knead with your hands until well combined. 
4. Using about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture, make meatballs. Dip in the pineapple juice then roll in the shredded coconut. Make sure to press the coconut into the meat by rolling the meatball in your palms. 
5. Bake in the oven 25-30 minutes. 

They'll make your whole house smell amazing. We ate them with stir fry and sunshine sauce (which is slowly becoming a house-hold staple here).

Jake and I made a batch, ate about 1/4 for lunch that day then divided them up into batches of 5  and put them in the freezer. This way, you can grab some on your way to work! They are sooooooooo good!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cauliflower Rice

One of my staple foods before Paleo was rice. It was easy to make, went with everything and stayed consistently delicious upon reheating (so good for lunches).
So when I first saw cauliflower rice I was interested. Honestly, rice doesn't have a distinct flavor, it can be anything you want it to be. Same for cauliflower! This way you get a rice like side dish and an extra serving of veggies! I barely notice the difference now!
Cauliflower Rice:
Head of cauliflower
1 egg
Mix ins

1. Cut up the cauliflower and steam on the stove. When it's completely steamed, put the cauliflower pieces into a bowl.
2. With either a potato masher or whisk (I use one of the two beaters from my hand mixer, it works best) start to mash up the cauliflower, breaking it into small pieces. I've also tried using a food processor and pulsing it, that works too.
3. Add spices! I usually add pepper and garlic powder, then either salt of smoked salt (which we got a Bulk Barn and it smells intense). I've also used Greek seasoning, paprika, cayenne, etc. Literally, anything. After you spice it, add one egg and mix. 
4. It's time to add some mix ins. I usually always add onions at least. Maybe some garlic. In this picture, I have onions, garlic, mushrooms and pine nuts. It's yummy. 
What variations will you try?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coconut Whipped Cream

One of the hardest things for me to give up on the Paleo Life Style is sweets. I love sweet things: cookies, chocolates, cakes, brownies. You name it, I'll eat it. I even love chocolate covered bacon!
But one day, while I was flipping through a Paleo cookbook, I came across something that may just tie my over...and be my new favorite!
Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 can of coconut milk (can be organic if you want)
Vanilla Extract
1. Put the can of coconut milk in the fridge either overnight or all day long. It needs to be cold or it won't work.
2. 15 minutes before you're going to need it, place the can and a bowl in teh freezer. This'll get it just that much more cold.
3. Once you're ready, take the can and flip it upside down. I know it's unconventional and crazy but you need to do this part. The first time I tried this, I didn't do this step and I was mixing that coconut milk for like 15 mintues before I gave up! Open the can and pour out the clear coconut water. All you'll have left is the cream!
4. Put the cream into the cold bowl. Add vanilla extract, about 1 teaspoon. With a stand mixer or a electric hand mixer or even the old fashion man-powered whisk (if you're good and can do it fast!) whip that cream until it's a consistancy you want.
5. I use it on berries mostly. Once or twice I had a spoonful standing in the dark kitchen before bed. If you close your eyes, you could imagine it with a little coconut rum or citrus vodka and a little umbrella. Great summer treat!