Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Recipes

A Trio of Pinots and Food Pairing with Holman Ranch Wines

 

three pinots
First of all, a big thanks to Holman Ranch for sending me six bottles of great wine to taste and give feedback to all of my readers. Not all wineries are quite that generous, and you make this particular writer feel appreciated for what I do. :)

Now, onto the reviews! :)

It was a lot of fun to have a varietal tasting last Wednesday night with Andy. We chose to break into the three different Holman Ranch Pinot Noirs I received in my mixed half case.

I also made a dinner to pair with the wines: Pork and beef meatloaf wrapped in bacon (with a mushroom and shallot sauce), hasselback potatoes, and roasted Brussels sprouts.

plated food

The first wine we opened was the 2011 Estate Grown Heather’s Hill Pinot Noir.

heathershill
The 2011 Estate Grown Heather’s Hill was the best wine to have with food. It’s lighter in color (ruby) and very tight/tart at first. It has lots of aging capability, as it even opens up in a 20 minute time frame. This wine is not as delicate as most Pinot Noirs I have tasted, but it’s got some good characteristics that will make this wine finer as it ages.

The second wine we tasted was the 2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir. This wine was Andy’s favorite. It is aged for 12 months in French oak.

estate grown
It’s lower in alcohol, smokier on the nose and palate, and just a little more… Pinot-y. It was a great wine to me because it was a little more quaffable without food, but was also a great pairing with our meal. The mushroom sauce (we had on top of the meatloaf) and this wine are a great match.

Our final wine of the evening (and my favorite) was the 2010 Hunter’s Cuvee Pinot Noir.

hunters
This wine was my favorite! I could drink it with or without food. It’s earthy/leathery, but lots of fruitiness as well. It’s the highest in alcohol of all three wines we tried, so no wonder I like it best. Hmmm…

To make the meatloaf, I blended 1 part grass fed ground beef and 1 part ground pork. I seasoned the meat with garlic infused alderwood salt, added two eggs, one 1/2 cup of almond flour, 1 Tbs crushed garlic, and 2 Tbs Bragg’s liquid aminos. Then I wrapped the loaf in slices of bacon and baked it at 400°F until the bacon showed signs it was getting crispy. Test the loaf with a meat thermometer and don’t let it get past 125°-130°F, or you’re gonna be hosed and you might as well use that loaf as a door stop or paperweight. Take the loaf out of the oven just BEFORE or as you reach that temperature range, and it will be perfect.

I topped the finished loaf with a mushroom sauce (for the Pinot Noir pairing, naturally). The sauce was made of shallots, mushroom, white wine, butter, garlic. No recipe there, I just wing it.

You can find Holman Ranch on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.

If you represent a winery and would like to be featured in a wine/food pairing on my website, please contact me here.


Latin-Spiced Rooster Potatoes

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Have you ever heard of Rooster Potatoes? If you haven’t don’t feel bad. Neither had I.
This all-purpose potato is farmed right here in the US in Edison, California! It starts pink, but bakes golden brown with a light yellow fluffy flesh. You can bake it, boil it, mash it, roast it or fry it.

I was sent a bag of Rooster Potatoes to try, and I came up with this recipe (which was originally enjoyed on Superbowl Sunday as part of a giant buffet with other Mexican/Latin American type dishes). You can also make this recipe with any other variety of potato, and sweet potatoes are especially interesting with this spice combination.

Ingredients:
1 Kg (2.2 pounds) bag of Rooster potatoes
2-3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs adobo seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried parsley

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a cookie sheet or baking dish with olive oil spray or lightly coat it with olive oil. Cut potatoes into 1 1/2″ inch cubes or bite size pieces. Place potatoes in a medium-sized bowl and then set aside. Combine the adobo seasoning, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder and dried parsley in a small bowl. Then, drizzle 2 Tbs olive oil (use less or more to your taste/preference) over the potatoes and then sprinkle the seasoning blend over the potatoes to coat them. Place potatoes on the baking sheet. Check on them 15 minutes in and turn them with a spatula to brown evenly. Bake until golden brown.

For other recipe ideas, you can visit the Rooster Potatoes website here.

You can find Albert Bartlett on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Wellshire Farms Holiday Ham: Herbed Orange Ham Recipe

final plate
Having a ham on the table during a holiday gathering is pretty much a tradition in my family. Especially on Christmas Eve. They are great on their own, with a side of mustard, or my favorite is leftover ham chopped into cubes and reheated in a saute with onion and kale or chard and some dried cranberries. In this blog however, I developed a recipe to make the ham the star of the show. It’s got all the wonderful herbs present in a holiday meal, with orange and zest that compliment the ham’s saltiness.

A big thanks to Whole Foods Market for allowing me to try one of their delicious holiday products, a ham from Wellshire Farms. I ended up with a (half) traditional boneless ham. I liked this ham because I was able to create my own recipe to heat the ham, as well as carve to my liking. (I liked. A LOT). ;)

ham package
Here’s how I prepared the ham, as well as the side dishes I made to complete last weekend’s Sunday dinner.

Preheat oven to 325°. To reheat your ham, I recommend using a roasting pan with a rack, one with a bottom that you can pour some water in to help the ham retail moisture while it reheats. A meat thermometer is a pretty good thing to have as well. (Tip: A 4-pound boneless ham will serve about 12 people, and this marinade will be enough for that size).

Marinade ingredients:
4 Tbs fresh rosemary
2 Tbs fresh sage
2 Tbs toasted fennel seed
2 Tbs chopped garlic
2 Tbs orange zest
1 Tbs black pepper
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until completely blended (mixture will be a pretty bright green). Paint the ham with the mixture using a BBQ brush. (You can also pour it over or use your hands, but a brush will coat the ham nicely. Set aside while you prepare your side dishes.

ham with dressing
Cover the ham with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 140° (Allow 7-8 minutes per pound). Remove the foil and place the oven on broil. Leave in for 2 minutes. This will give the top of the ham a nice finish.

out of oven

Here is a link with videos to Wellshire Farms entire line of hams.

Wellshire Ham Details (traditional boneless ham)
Wood smoked
60% less fat
No preservatives and no antibiotics
Free of nitrates, no artificial ingredients or preservatives!
The natural wood smoke and rich tasting ham make a savory combination.
You can get creative with your own unique glaze.
Ham lays flat for ease of cooking and carving.
(This ham is wrapped in clear packaging, other varieties of Wellshire Hams are wrapped in red, gold, and silver foil).

For other great ideas and information on ham, you can check out the Whole Foods Market recipe ideas here. You can find Wellshire Farms on Facebook here.

To save yourself time, you can order your ham online by heading to Whole Foods Market’s online shopping cart here.

The other dishes in the photo above will be forthcoming over the next week (hopefully): Pommes Anna and a wilted spinach & kale, chestnut, & cherry salad with roasted shallots. Happy holidays!


Scary Good Pesto and Blue Cheese Potatoes (sponsored by Whole Foods Market)

 

996945_10201219126053472_882570989_n
Last Saturday, Andy and I went to a Halloween party and I took these potatoes. They were inspired by a dip that Andy buys for us (occasionally as a treat) at Taylor’s Market. The dip/spread is called Walnut Basil and Blue Cheese Spread, and it’s rather addictive. I thought I would take the same flavor components and make them into bite-size little party treats. It was a big deal that I make a good culinary impression at this party, and I knew these would be well received. PS: They were all gone within a half an hour! :)

Ingredients:
2 pounds red, blue, & yellow mini potatoes–if you can’t find these, red ones will do.
1 jar 365 (Whole Foods private label) Pesto Sauce
1/4 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (or sour cream)
1/2 cup Crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
salt/cracked pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F and slice the potatoes into bite sized pieces. Generously oil a baking sheet and place the chopped potatoes it. Drizzle some oil over the potatoes (how much you use is up to you). Bake the potatoes until they are golden and crispy. Set aside while you prepare the pesto and blue cheese mixture.

For the blue cheese/pesto mixture, combine the pesto and the blue cheese in a bowl large enough to eventually hold the potatoes, too) and mix together with the back of a spoon, add the coconut milk (you can also use sour cream) to thin the mixture so that you can easily spread it on the potatoes.

Then add the potatoes in the bowl with the pesto/blue cheese mixture, and fold them in until the potatoes are well covered. Then place the potatoes back on to their original baking sheet and turn the oven on to the broil setting.

Broil the potatoes until the pesto and blue cheese mixture forms a crust and they look browned/crispy.

Go forth and be the hit of your party!! :)

Thanks to Whole Foods Market for sponsoring the food used in this recipe!! :) You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here.


Grocery Trip and Dinner from Whole Foods Market (Nike Women’s Half Marathon Series)

Sorry for the delay on this post! I have been pretty behind on writing. ;) It’s race week! Here’s another healthy recipe brought to you by Whole Foods! -cg :)
====================

First of all, I’d like to again thank Whole Foods Market of Northern California for sponsoring me for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon Series, and giving me a gift card to spend on food during training.

photo(7)
This week, my grocery trip/list was light. I had already stocked up (hoarded food, LOL) from a grocery trip a few days ago. So the above was really all I needed to make it through to the weekend.

1 pound of Brussels sprouts
1/2 pound of pork sausage
2 pears
1 cantaloupe
1 butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 onion
1 avocado
1-6 pack of Zevia Ginger Ale
1 bottle of Roger d’ Anoia Cava (fueled by the grape!)

For dinner that evening, I made a stuffed acorn squash with onions, sausage, kale, and basil, with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts.

photo(6)
For the Brussels Sprouts:
1 Pound Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil

Slice the Brussels Sprouts and drizzle them with olive oil, then bake at 385°F until they are golden brown and crispy.

Now for the squash! You’ll need:
1/2 pound of pork sausage
1 acorn squash
1 onion (sliced)
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
4 cups kale (shredded)
1 egg
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese (or parmesan cheese)

Split, de-seed and place your acorn squash on a cookie sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Prebake the squash at 400° for 30 minutes then remove from oven. Set aside to cool.

Cook the pork sausage in a medium skillet until it is about halfway done. Remove from the pan. Then sauté the onion in the fat from the sausage. When the onion is browned/translucent, add the sausage back in with the kale, and wilt the kale in the mixture over low heat. Then add the basil last, and wilt it a little as well. Remove the mixture from the heat, and add the egg and the cheese. Mix until completely incorporated. Then divide the mixture into two parts, and stuff each half of the acorn squash. Then return the squash to the oven (385°) and bake the squash until the stuffing is set and the acorn squash is fully baked.

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here. The Nike Women’s Series is on Facebook here.


Whole Foods: What’s in My Grocery Bag? (Nike Women’s Half Marathon Series)

whole foods loot
As you can see in the photo above, Whole Foods hooked me up BIG TIME with a goodie bag full of nutritious foods to fuel my training for the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon.
There were six Larabars, a bag of kale, two tangelos, two bags of Peeled Snacks dried fruits, a tetrapack of Almond Milk (365 brand), a bag of walnuts (also 365 brand), a jar of Cucina Antica pasta sauce, a bag of Rhythm Kale Chips (my absolute favorite brand), a jar of Maranatha Almond Butter, and a bag of Go Raw Spirulina Chips.

This weekend, I made a soup with some of the ingredients Whole Foods provided for me (along with some of the foods I bought with a gift card they provided), as well as a post-race kale and egg dish! The soup I made was a butternut squash soup topped with a slice of gluten-free toast and blue cheese walnuts. I cut the toast in the shape of a heart because Andy and I met 2 years ago and we are pretty much celebrating every day over the next couple months.

photo(3)
Butternut Squash Soup with Blue Cheese Walnuts:

Soup:
(makes 3-4 servings)

Ingredients:
2 Tbs bacon fat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 oz red wine
16oz chicken stock
6 ozs So Delicious Coconut Milk (Unsweetened)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Topping:
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted
2 Tbs blue cheese

1 slice (per each serving) gluten-free bread, toasted

Directions:
1. Oven roast the butternut squash at until it is tender. Approximately 45 minutes at 375°. Set aside to cool.

2. Cook the onion and shallot in the bacon fat in a medium-sized pot until they are browned. Add the red wine and allow the onion and shallot to cook further and to caramelize.

3. Pour in half of the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to low and add the cooked butternut squash. Cook together for about 5 minutes, then transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Add the coconut milk to aid this process. When the mixture is smooth, return it to the pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

5. To make the topping, place the toasted walnuts in a food processor along with the blue cheese and lightly pulse 5 or 6 times to incorporate. Do not overmix, or you will end up with blue cheese and pecan spread. You want the nuts to still have a texture to them. Once you make the blue cheese walnuts, you can top the soup with them and serve with the toast.

Here’s a pretty common scene when Andy and I have dinner together. Our carbs mostly come from wine and fruit. My joke is that I am “fueled by the grape”!

photo(4)
We ate the soup with a salad and sausages, and had fruit for dessert.

On Sunday, I ran a the Urban Cow 5K here in Sacramento and I broke my personal record for the distance by 8 seconds. After the race, I ran another 5K as a cooldown (from the race location back to Andy’s then a loop around the local park), and then I came back to Andy’s house to take a big ol’ bubble bath and prepare my post-race meal: A kale, chicken, egg, onion, and bacon sauté. I can describe it as sort of a fried rice thing without the rice, but with bacon and kale instead. OK, I know that doesn’t make sense, so here’s a picture, and what I did to make it below that:

photo(5)
Kale Post Run POWER Breakfast:
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 cup shredded chicken
3 cups kale
2 eggs, 2 egg whites
2 pieces cooked and chopped bacon
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion in a little olive oil until browned, and add the garlic, then the kale and sauté until wilted. Add the eggs and stir the ingredients in the pan until the eggs are cooked through. Then add the chicken and the bacon and leave on heat long enough to warm the ingredients through. Salt and pepper to taste and serve. Just what I needed after a run!

So that’s a little bit on what I have been eating! Another recipe to come in a few days and more on the training as well!!

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here. The Nike Women’s Series is on Facebook here.


Recap of the California State Fair Cooking Demo & Recipes

IMG_3138
Look at that beautiful crowd! I want to thank all the people who came out to our cooking demo at the California State Fair. I realize many people were just passing through the kitchen and saw a place to sit down for a while, but there were a lot of people who stayed through our class, and many who actually new about Paleo, and wanted more information.

I was impressed there were a few couples in the crowd that showed up to see the demo because they already practice the Paleo/Primal diet/lifestyle. They were so nice to us (important because of my semi-stage fright/shyness), and it was fun to compare notes and results. It was a real encouragement to have like-minded people in the audience cheering us on!

Andy made a dish from last year, his ever-popular Bacon Wrapped Dates, which are simply three of the best ingredients you can find, bundled in a little package and secured with a toothpick. Pecan halves, Medjool dates and thick-cut premium (preferably applewood-smoked) bacon. Below is Andy making a tray to be baked in the oven (while we are actually doing the cooking demo) so some samples would be ready to be passed around before the end of the class.

 IMG_3136
We were supplied with pitted Medjool dates (along with the rest of our ingredients) this year thanks to Savemart. The pitted dates saved a step in prepping those trays, as Andy places half a pecan in place of the pit, and wraps the date in one half slice of thick cut bacon, then secures each piece with a toothpick.

IMG_3137
After your tray looks like this, place in the oven at 400°F and bake for 12-15 minutes (start checking them when it gets close). The bacon should be cooked and browned.

For my part of the demo, I made this Paleo Mud Pie. Recipe is below:

IMG_3144
Serves 30-40 people

Crust:
3 cups almond flour/almond meal
1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine crust ingredients and spread on a large baking/jellyroll pan (you’ll want the pan to be at least 2″ deep).

Bake the crust for 20 mins at 375°F, or until you can smell the butter and the crust has turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare your filling:

For the Filling:
8 medium -10 large Avocados
1 cup honey (ohhh yeahhhh)
8 Tbs Almond butter (once again, ohhh yeahhh)
1 cup cocoa powder
3 Tbs instant coffee
1/4 cup hot water
2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:
1-2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Place the instant coffee in the hot water and allow to dissolve completely.
So, since there are a lot of ingredients quantity wise, you’ll want to split the recipe into half and then mix it all together in a big bowl. For instance: In a food processor, pureé the 4-5 avocados in a food processor, add 1/2 cup honey, 4 Tbs almond butter, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, then 1/2 the coffee mixture and 1 tsp vanilla. Transfer the mixture into one big bowl, then repeat with the remainder of the ingredients.

Then you’ll combine both chocolatey mixtures into one big bowl and stir together to incorporate fully. When the two mixtures are combined completely, spread them over the cooled crust, and then refrigerate the pie for 2-3 hours before serving.

To serve, sprinkle 1-2 cups chocolate chips over the pie. If you can get mini-chips, even better. I prefer the Enjoy Life brand because they are dairy free.

Paleo. Chocolatey. Mocha. Goodness.

The State Fair experience makes me want to do some local cooking demos/classes. Would anyone be willing to attend/pay for that sort of thing? Just curious. Leave me a note and tell me your thoughts!! xo


Make Your Favorite Summer-Inspired Recipe with Whole Foods! $20 Gift Card Giveaway!!

IMG_3118
I just made a terrific summer inspired dinner with ingredients from Whole Foods. I spent $54 dollars for everything you see in the above picture. And, it comfortably feeds four people.

My friends at Whole Foods had this great idea for a gift card giveaway on cavegrrl.com and sent me $40 to buy ingredients and showcase a recipe. Well, I spent a little over $40, but I did get more than a pound of chicken sausage (1.12 pounds), a package of sliced pancetta, a 1/2 pound of hazelnuts, 1/3 pound of mushrooms, 1 1/3 pounds yellow squash, 1 1/3 pounds zucchini squash, 1/3 pound of olives, 1 package of tarragon, 3 shallots, 1 lemon, an entire bag of kale salad (1 pound), 2 baguettes made by Against the Grain Gourmet, AND a bottle of French white wine. :)

IMG_3122

And what did I prepare with all of the groceries? A brown butter summer squash linguine with chicken sausage, a warm kale salad, garlic buttered baguettes, served with a French blanc de blancs.

IMG_3119
For the warm kale salad you will need:
1 pound kale salad
1/3 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 package of pancetta, sliced or diced (if sliced, you will want to chop/cut into finer pieces)
3 shallots, finely diced
1 Tbs olive oil

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and sauté the shallots until they are translucent. Then add the pancetta and the mushrooms and cook together until the pancetta browns. Add the kale and turn with the ingredients, allowing it to wilt in the pan. Cover the pan with a lid to help wilt the kale. Add all of the salad and steam until the kale is barely tender. Set aside and prepare your summer squash linguine.

For the Brown Butter Squash Linguine, you will need a tool called a julienne slicer. I just bought one this past weekend in order to make the recipe and it has kind of changed my life. I’ll be making squash linguine at least once a month now! :)

I snagged the recipe from Fine Cooking.com and you can click here to find it.

1-1/2 lb. young yellow (summer) squash (about 4)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon or parsley
1/2 lemon

You’re basically going to slice 4-6 summer squashes (I used green and yellow) to their core with the julienne slicer. It’ll make fine strips that when cooked are the texture and size of spaghetti noodles (linguine, maybe not so much as the recipe advertises) ;)

You’ll melt the butter and add the hazelnuts cooking until the butter reaches a nutty brown color, about 2 minutes. Then you’ll add the squash and salt. Coat the squash with the butter and hazelnuts, and continue cooking for about a minute. Then you’ll stir in half of the chopped herbs, and squeeze a little of the lemon over the squash and toss. It’s a pretty easy and totally rewarding operation! :)

The sausages were easy to prepare. I bought the house special chicken sausage with spinach and feta, exclusively made at Whole Foods. All I did was sear them in a hot pan and finish them off in the oven. Then, I sliced them on a bias to serve. :)

The bread was prepared with a little bit of crushed garlic stirred into melted butter and lightly brushed on the baguette slices. I placed them under the broiler until they were toasted to perfection.

And that, my friends… is one wonderful meal at about $13.50 per person including wine. :)

IMG_3123

My friends at Whole Foods want to give you a $20 gift card. So, enter by commenting below (tell me your favorite summer recipe or meal), and if you have a twitter account, follow me and retweet the link to this blog post for an extra entry (be sure to leave me your twitter handle in your comment!). I will announce the winner this Sunday. Good luck!

You can find Whole Foods Market on Facebook here (Roseville location here) (Sacramento location here) and on twitter here (national) and here (Sacramento) and here (Northern California)! :)


Paleo Panzanella Salad Featuring Julian Bakery’s Paleo Bread

salad
What do you eat when it’s this hot outside? Salad! This is a great meal for the current weather.
Since going gluten and grain-free, I have denied myself one of my favorite dishes: Panzanella Salad. I was surprised to find out that Andy had never had the salad before.The people at Julian Bakery make Paleo Bread, and they kindly sent me samples of the almond and coconut to use as I pleased––I had the salad in mind. The Paleo Bread™ Almond is Gluten Free, 60 Calories, 1 Net Carb, 7g Protein and 5g of Fiber Per Slice. Grain Free, Soy Free, Corn Free and GMO FREE.Panzanella Salad
Salad Ingredients:
6 cups Paleo Bread cubed (I used the almond variety, but the coconut variety will work, too!)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1  cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive tapenadeDressing Ingredients:
1 Tbs finely minced garlic
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (we use Frate Sol)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperCut the Paleo bread into cubes and toast in the oven until browned. You can also toast the cubes in a pan in some olive oil.

To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, basil, and tapenade. Add the Paleo bread cubes and toss with the dressing. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Allow the salad to blend it’s flavors for about 30 minutes to an hour.

976905_385514468228283_1594004350_o
You can find Julian Bakery on Facebook here and on twitter here. You can buy Julian Bakery Almond Bread in stores at these locations or online here.


Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Pizza featuring Colman’s Mustard

photo(14)

Sometimes you just need to eat a pizza. Like, damn.

The crust for this pizza was made with Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix,  which contains rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour and xanthan gum, so it’s not Paleo, but is a much healthier wheat crust alternative. It gives the crust such a close-to-the-real-thing texture, but you can omit the mix and just use cauliflower and cheese and eggs, but like… it just won’t be very close to real CRUSTY goodness. :(

But this will:

Crust:
1/2 package Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix
5 eggs
1 head cauliflower
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Line a pizza pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 385°F.

Follow Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough package directions for 1/2 the package. Steam cauliflower in the microwave until it is “falling apart” tender. Allow to cool. Pulse the cooled cauliflower in your food processor with the rest of the ingredients until they are well combined.

Spread onto lined pizza pan and place in oven to bake until raised and slightly browned. Meanwhile, prepare the BBQ sauce! When your crust does become slightly browned, you will want to remove from oven, but keep oven on, as you will be using it again to bake the pizza after you top the crust.

Now make the BBQ Sauce!
581001

BBQ Sauce Ingredients (adapted from Mark’s Daily Apple BBQ Sauce Recipe):
1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 – 1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 – 2 tablespoons honey
2 – 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Colman’s mustard
2 tablespoons water
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

In a small bowl mix together tomato paste, butter, hot sauce, honey, vinegar, mustard and water. In another small bowl mix together allspice, cinnamon, pepper, chili powder, paprika and onion powder. Mix the spices in with the wet ingredients. OK. There you go.

Spread on half baked pizza crust and then top with your favorite toppings. This time, I did mushrooms, onions, and chicken (tossed in a little of the BBQ sauce and whatnot).
Then bake until it’s all browned and bubbly like. Come on, I know you have enough common sense to figure it out! ;) xoxo

Drink some fine Milan Ruz with the pizza! Cheers!

 

amazonbanner


Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

photo(13)
I have a problem. It’s this recipe I invented for cookie dough. It’s addictive and I have had it, ahem… for breakfast the past two three days. But only a little bit at a time, with fruit. I swear. Can’t. Stop. Eating it.

You don’t bake it. You just eat it. You know, like you would straight out of the tube an institutional-sized tub. Sigh. Yes, because it’s way easier to stick your face in a vat of dough than it is to actually have to measure ingredients and use any muscle at all to stir it around in a bowl. I know you are stronger than me and none of you have ever purchased this product or eaten it only by candlelight the light from the fridge on your face at midnight. ;)

Anyway, to avoid the sugar, wheat and all the unnatural ingredients that cookie dough normally contains, I came up with this recipe over the weekend (as I was making a recipe from OMG it’s Paleo? called 5 Ingredient Avocado Pudding.) I made the pudding with the idea that Andy and I would use it as a dip for bananas and apples. The recipe called for chocolate chips, and it made me think of chocolate chip cookie dough and a possible recipe for that… we could dip the fruit in that, too! Oh joy!

The secret in the cookie dough is Mehjool dates. They’re probably one of my biggest indulgences (60 calories apiece!). Not only do they give the dough sweetness, they also provide a molasses/caramel flavor. And, for diehard Paleos, I have made it two ways. Some people don’t believe in using butter at all, some people don’t eat any legumes at all. I myself, enjoy organic garbanzo beans once in a while. So, review the recipes below and tailor them to your own needs. :) Each one serves 2-4 people. Enjoy.

PS: You’ll need a food processor for this one. Puréeing dates is tough on the forearms. ;)

Recipe One: Paleo Version
Ingredients:
5-6 pitted dates (chopped)
3/4 cup toasted almonds
1 Tbs coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs honey
1/3 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (this brand is great!)

Procedure:
Pulse the almonds in the food processor until they are a fine meal consistency, then add the coconut oil. Process until the mixture turns into almond butter, then add the chopped dates, honey, the vanilla and the salt. Then remove the mixture and transfer into a small bowl. Add the coconut flour and some coconut milk until the dough is the consistency you like. Then stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat. OK, I’m ready. What about you? :)

Recipe Two: Primal Version
Ingredients:
5-6 pitted dates (chopped)
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup organic garbanzo beans
2 Tbs greek yogurt (I use 0% fat)
2 packets stevia
1 Tbs grass fed butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks

Procedure:
Pulse the almonds in the food processor until they are a fine meal consistency, then add the butter. Process until the mixture turns into almond butter, then add the garbanzo beans, the greek yogurt, the stevia, the vanilla and the salt. Then remove the mixture and transfer into a small bowl. Add the coconut flour and some coconut milk until the dough is the consistency you like. Then stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat! As I stated earlier, I love to use the dough as a dip for apples, but you can form into little pieces and use as a topping for Greek yogurt or as a treat on ice cream. There are also plenty of recipes out there in the paleosphere for “paleo” ice cream using coconut milk. Here’s one from PaleoOMG :)


OMG That’s Paleo? Cookbook Preview & Recipe: 5 Ingredient Avocado Pudding

photo(12)

Today’s recipe for 5 Ingredient Avocado Pudding is brought to you by PaleOMG’s Juli Bauer and her new cookbook, OMG That’s Paleo?

It was actually Andy who found Juli’s site PaleOMG and brought it to my attention when he saw her recipe for Chocolate Waffles, sent me the link and said, “Let’s make THESE!”
I started following Juli and really liked her down-to-earth personality and writing style. (Which actually encourages me to write more like myself and not so formally.) I especially loved her cooking videos. It takes a lot of courage to be on camera like that! :)

Some of her instructions on the website make me snicker (because I sometimes feel like writing them in my own recipes), such as this line in a recipe for Easy Chicken Dinner in 1…2…3:
“Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Not sure if it’s totally cooked through? Cut it open and look. Duh.” :P

A year later, and Juli has an entire cookbook! I have flipped though it and am looking forward to making her version of the popular Canadian dish poutine, as well as Bacon Chicken Alfredo. I especially appreciate the book’s 5 Ingredient Meals section (in which today’s recipe is included).

There is even space below each recipe to make notes if you change something in her recipes to suit your own tastes. The recipe for the Avocado Pudding is below, though since I was making it for dessert for both Andy and myself, I doubled the recipe. Also, it can be made vegan by sweetening the avocado with maple syrup or stevia drops (to taste) instead of honey.

Thanks to Juli for sending me a copy of OMG That’s Paleo? for review. You can buy it on Amazon here.

5-Ingredient Avocado Pudding
Prep time:  3 mins
Total time:  3 mins
Serves: 1
Ingredients:
1 avocado, mashed
3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs + 1 tsp raw honey
2 teaspoons sunbutter (or other nut butter)*
pinch of salt
dark chocolate chips (optional, but rather necessary in my case) ;)Procedure:
Mash up the avocado.
Add in powder, raw honey (or syrup), sunbutter, pinch of salt and mix thoroughly.
Top with dark chocolate chips. Yes, please.

*TIPS: I used a pistachio nut butter in the recipe. Trust me on this. It’s gooood. Also, for best results, use a food processor to purée the avocado and remaining ingredients. Refrigerate before serving. Top with chocolate chips just before serving.

You can follow Juli on twitter here and like PaleOMG on Facebook here.

If you’d like to see Juli herself prepare the above recipe, her video tutorial is below:


Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Sweet Potato Tots

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Last Saturday was the annual Komen Race for the Cure at Cal Expo, and Andy won his division! (Race photo by Morinico Photography)

To celebrate the win, I made one of his favorite foods (pizza!) these Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Tots (the pizza was a primal-ized BBQ Chicken Pizza, which I will share with you later this week). I had made an earlier version of the tots last week for myself, but was not satisfied with the texture or really, the flavor. This time, I used a combination of cauliflower and sweet potatoes, and it was a success! I also coated the tots in almond meal for extra crunch. Here’s the recipe!

1/2 head caulflower
2 medium sweet potatoes
3 large eggs
1/4 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/8  cup coconut flour or gluten free flour (to use as a binder)
cracked pepper (to taste)
salt
1/4 cup olive oil or a can of olive oil spray

1 cup raw almonds
1 Tbs coconut flour
1-2 tsp your favorite spice mixture (you can be creative here: chili powder, curry, rosemary, cumin)

Peel and cut potatoes into cubes and microwave until soft. While the potatoes are microwaving, pulse the (raw) cauliflower in a food processor until it’s texture is finely “crummed”, do not purée. Set aside in a large mixing bowl. When the potatoes are tender, set aside and allow them to cool.

Rinse out and dry the food processor, then pulse the almonds until they are almost breadcrumb consistency, then pulse in the coconut flour. Then if you wish, add in your favorite spices or extra parmesan cheese to finish off the breading. Set mixture aside on a plate and rinse and dry the food processor again.

Preheat oven to 385°F

Then place the sweet potatoes in the food processor and pulse to mash them up. Then add the cheese, the coconut milk, the eggs and the coconut flour, and pulse until smooth. Then remove the potato mixture and add it to the cauliflower crumbs. Stir until well combined.

Coat a baking sheet with olive oil or olive oil spray. Form the cauliflower and sweet potato mixture into little cylinder shapes and then roll in the almond/coconut flour/spice mixture. Set each shape on the baking sheet. This recipe will probably yield about 24 tots. Lightly drizzle the tots with olive oil, or pulse them lightly with the spray. This will help them get extra crisp.

Bake in oven until golden brown. (30-40 mins) Salt to taste. :)


Pistachio and Wasabi Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks with Avocado “Mousse”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sometimes the most simple ingredients and cooking methods can yield the most amazing meals. This was the case last night. Just a few ingredients and it was less than an hour from kitchen to table. Of course, you’ll need a food processor to make things easy, but you can also use a coffee grinder for the fish coating and a blender for the avocado mousse. Once coated, you can prepare the tuna in a skillet on a range top, or grill it. I know you’ll want to try it once you read how simple it is, so I will cut right to the chase. ;) Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup raw pistachios
1 Tbs wasabi powder
1 large ahí tuna steak (about 20 ounces, perfect for 2 people)*
2 Tbs olive oil

Procedure:
Pulse the pistachios and the wasabi powder together in a food processor until they reach a finely chopped consistency (like toddy grind coffee).
Coat your tuna steak with the olive oil and roll it in the ground nut mixture, careful to cover all sides. Allow to marinade in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

No matter how you choose to cook your tuna steak, allow the meat to sear on all sides and get slightly warm in the center. It takes longer to cook on a charcoal grill, and a much shorter amount of time on a gas grill. I am very comfortable using a skillet, so I would heat 1 Tbs olive oil or avocado oil in a pan and get it very hot to sear on all sides. The time it takes to sear and cook through without over-cooking depends of course on the thickness of your steak. :)

Ingredients:
2 avocados
1 Tbs lime juice
wasabi powder (to your taste, 1 Tbs for moderate heat))
1/2 tsp salt

Procedure:
Place the avocados, wasabi powder, lime and salt in the food processor and blend until the mixture becomes mousse-like. Remove the mixture and place in a Ziploc or pastry bag. Place in the freezer and allow to firm (20-30 minutes). Do not allow to completely freeze. Pipe a design of your choice on a plate and top with the remaining pistachio and wasabi coating to dress up the plate.

*The fish Andy purchased came from Taylor’s Market. You can also go to Sunh’s Fish or Whole Foods to buy a similar cut. I recommend sushi-grade. It’s more expensive, but you won’t regret it! Have a great weekend!

The side dish pictured is a simple sauté of kale, onions, a portobello mushroom and bacon.


Blood Orange & Avocado Salad featuring Nudo Mandarin Olive Oil

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A few nights ago, I threw together this quick salad so that I could open my package of Nudo Olive Oils and sample them. I had just returned home from shopping at Nugget Market, and had picked up a few blood oranges. I was particularly interested in trying the Mandarin variety of Nudo (produced with mandarins from Southern Italy which are harvested right off the tree and into their olive press).

Ingredients:
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/4 red onion, rough chopped
1 blood orange
1 1/2 Tbs Nudo Mandarin Olive Oil
pinch sea salt

Procedure:
Peel the mandarin orange and slice it widthwise. Rough chop 1/4 of an onion (so that the pieces with collect on a bite-full of salad). Place the slices of blood orange on a plate, and arrange pieces of onion over the slices. Then place some chopped avocado over the orange/onion duo. Then salt the plate and drizzle with the Nudo Mandarin Olive Oil.

About Nudo Italia:
Nudo means ‘naked’ in Italian. The company was named Nudo because they only wanted to sell simple, pure products with no pesticides, additives or modifications.

Other varieties of Nudo
include Olive Oil Stone Ground with Garlic, Olive Oil Stone Ground with Basil, Olive Oil with Lemon, Olive Oil Stone Ground with Fresh Mint, Olive Oil with Thyme, Olive Oil First Cold Pressed, and Olive Oil with Chillies. The oils are sold separately or as a part of different gift sets.

The Nudo oils are packaged in tins to protect it from sunlight and maintain the quality. The tin is also 57% recycled and weighs less than glass, so it has a smaller carbon footprint when shipped.In addition to olive oils, the company sells antipasti such as artichoke hearts, pesto, capers, tapenade and sun-dried tomatoes, pastas, soap, chocolate spreads and other gifts, including some gifts selected for Easter.

The most unique gift on their site, however, is the option to “adopt” an olive tree for yourself or someone else. You can also choose the grove from which the tree will grow and your oil will derive, and the delivery method in which your oils will arrive. The cost? $49 for 3- 500 mL (16.9 fl.oz) tins. For more information about tree adoption, you can click here.

You can find Nudo Italia on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. They also have a Pinterest page here.


Gluten-Free Chicken Pesto Pizza featuring Bella Pizza & Foccacia Mix

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Andy and I always celebrate our monthaversary with a special dinner (either at a restaurant or by either of us cooking something that we don’t indulge in everyday). This month, I made one of Andy’s favorite foods and one of the things he used to eat most before going Paleo. Pizza! We both love pesto, but just don’t eat it that often either because it’s usually found on top of bread or pasta. Both no-nos of course. So we compromised with a rice and potato-based gluten-free mix and cauliflower blend for the crust. This time, I used Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix.

Bella Gluten-Free was founded by Mary Capone, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo last month, and who is also a celiac chef and mom of celiac children. She wanted “to create baking mixes that were beautifully tasting, heavenly in texture and wonderfully nutritious.” I have to say that of all the pizzas/crusts at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Mary’s was the best. And that’s coming from Andy Harris, who basically subsisted on two food groups–pizza and beer!!–during his span of running 23 marathons. ;) Andy selflessly (haha!) tasted over 5 slices of pizza at the show to bring you the report back. I did get to try the Bella Gluten-Free Mix at the show and was so impressed I wanted to feature it here on cavegrrl.com, despite its rice base. I think it’s a great product, and the bottom line is that it doesn’t have wheat.

So here’s what I did to make the pizza! PS: About the pizza I made with this mix, Andy said: “I ate the rest of that pizza today, and I swear it was the best pizza I’ve
ever eaten.  That was wicked!!!”

FYI: One package of Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix makes two 14” pizzas or two 9” focaccia or 12 hamburger or sandwich buns.

Crust:
1/2 package Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix
2 tsp Mayacamas Gluten-Free Pesto Mix
5 eggs
1 head cauliflower
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Line a pizza pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 385°F.

Follow Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough package directions for 1/2 the package. Steam cauliflower in the microwave until it is “falling apart” tender. Allow to cool. Pulse the cooled cauliflower in your food processor with the rest of the ingredients until they are well combined.

Spread onto lined pizza pan and place in oven to bake until raised and slightly browned. Meanwhile, prepare your pesto topping! When your crust does become slightly browned, you will want to remove from oven, but keep oven on, as you will be using it again to bake the pizza after you top the crust.

Pesto:
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (do not skimp on quality here!)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place the nuts and garlic in your food processor. Pulse together until the texture is slightly grainy. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly puréed. Add the Parmesan cheese and puree until well combined.

Topping:
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 red onion
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
2 chicken breasts (4 oz each)
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

Slice onion and sauté it in a heated skillet with the olive oil. Add the salt and the mushrooms. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once the onions are translucent, add the balsamic vinegar and cook a little further. Then add the chicken and cook until it is browned. Turn off stovetop and allow to rest.

Assemble the pizza:
Grate as much mozzarella as you like (we used about 1 cup)
Spread the pesto evenly on the the pizza crust, and top with the chicken, onion, mushroom mixture. Then top with the mozzarella cheese.
Return the pizza to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt and the toppings to heat through.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. If you can wait that long… :)
Wine pairing: Sangiovese from Vino Noceto (with the pizza) and an Assyrtiko from Gaia Estate, Santorini, Greece (with the salad). PS: On our salad, we’re still loving extra virgin olive oil and the Auntie Si’s Lemongrass Vinegar!


Primal-Friendly Gluten-Free Bleu Cheese Pecan Bread

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you never make anything else from this website, make this recipe. It is a spin on an old recipe I used to make called “crack bread”. I call it that because it will turn you into an addict. ;) If you don’t mind eating wheat or sugar, you can look up & make the old recipe here. If you’re ready to have an amazing Primal-friendly meal, (with way less calories) read on:

I came up with the old recipe after tasting an appetizer called Billy Blue Bread at The Owl Grill in Grass Valley. It’s still on the menu there, but since I have cut wheat and sugar from my diet, I wouldn’t dare indulge. Instead, I tweaked my old recipe to make it gluten free and so that no added sugar is necessary! I even ditched the butter in the new recipe and replaced with with an onion “jam” of sorts. There’s so much flavor in the onion “jam”, you won’t miss the butter.

Special products I used in this recipe include Extra Virgin Olive Oil (everyday variety) made by California Olive Ranch and Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Artisan Flour Blend. I’d like to thank both companies for sending me product samples. If you want to be truly primal, you can leave out the gluten-free flour blend (it contains rice), but I recommend leaving it in the recipe to help give your bread a better texture. It’s a really great product.

Primal-Friendly Gluten-Free Bleu Cheese Pecan Bread with Balsamic Reduction
Before you begin, you’ll want to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and toast and chop your pecans so they are both ready to use. Also, if you don’t want to hassle with making a balsamic reduction, there are several you can buy to use instead.

For the Cauliflower Bread
2 heads of cauliflower
4 eggs
4 egg whites
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Artisan Flour Blend
1 Tbs California Olive Ranch Olive Oil
pinch salt

Prepare: Preheat oven to 375°. Cook cauliflower either by boiling it or microwaving until it is almost falling apart. Allow to cool and then place in a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower with the eggs until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the almond meal, the flour blend, and salt. Stir until completely blended and spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in oven until golden brown and bread has set completely. (About 30 minutes). While bread is in the oven, you can prepare the onion jam.

For the Onion Jam
3 large red onions
1-2 Tbs olive oil (I used California Ranch Olive Oil)
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
pinch salt

Slice onions and sauté in 1-2 Tbs olive oil. Add the salt. When the onions turn translucent, add the balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking slowly until onions caramelize, then add the garlic at the end. Incorporate fully until the onions are cooked. This should take about the same time the bread will take to bake. When the onions are finished, allow to cool a bit and then place them in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it turns into a paste or “jam”. Set aside. At this point, the bread should be ready to remove from the oven. Now you’re ready to make the balsamic reduction.

For the Balsamic Reduction
2 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar

In a saucepan, heat the vinegar until it is simmering and reduce it until it is the consistency of molasses. This will take about 20 minutes. You will be looking for something thick and viscous that will stick to the back of a spoon.

For the Finished Product
3/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Keep oven temperature at 375°.
Spread the onion jam over the bread, and top with 3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese crumbles, then sprinkle the pecans over that.

Place bread back in oven, and bake for 10 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Then, drizzle the reduction over the bread. Serve immediately with a big glass of merlot! :) Also, I really enjoy dipping the bread in the Arbequena variety of oil that California Olive Ranch makes.

You can find California Olive Ranch on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Pamela’s Products Facebook page is here and follow them on twitter here.


Grilled Monkfish Medallions with Mustard featuring Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today’s recipe is from The New York Times Wine Club website and was brought to you by the makers of Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We were introduced to Tazah at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Andy coordinated the product sample at the show, picked the monkfish recipe, and even prepared it for us. I didn’t have to do anything but smile and pose with the bottle of Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Sometimes I have it pretty easy. The recipe is fantastic and Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil is versatile enough to use in a recipe and also use in a salad dressing (which we also did the very same evening).

One of the photos is the monkfish with the marinade, and the finished plate includes one of our favorite sides: parsnip chips, sautéed eggplant (both prepared with Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and a garnish of kiwi. I was really impressed with Andy’s cooking (he’s above average to start, especially when preparing meat, but this time was a real treat!!). The meal turned out so great! The flavor component that is key is the orange zest. It really amplifies the flavor of the sauce.

To make this recipe completely paleo you can use coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce.

Grilled Monkfish Medallions with Mustard

Ingredients
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 thick slices of monkfish, each about 6 ounces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 orange

Directions
Combine the mustard, orange juice and soy sauce with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Beat well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place monkfish in a glass or ceramic dish and pour 6 tablespoons of mustard mixture over fish, turning each piece to coat both sides. Set aside at room temperature.

Preheat a grill or broiler.

While the grill is preheating, place the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Stir in the grated orange zest and the remaining mustard mixture. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Grill or broil the monkfish 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Briefly reheat the sauce to a simmer, stir it and spoon it over the fish.

For more information on Tazah, you can call (323) 664-8956 and find them on Facebook here.


Little Soya Gluten Free Soy Sauce

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


OK, so I know soy and soy products are not considered paleo or primal, but I found a gluten-free, non-GMO soy sauce I love and want to tell you all about.

Little Soya meets all FDA standards for labeling as a gluten-free product.  Each batch of soy sauce they produce is tested twice by separate labs to ensure our results are accurate. Also, Little Soya contains no MSG!

Little Soya also contains 45% less sodium than then leading brand on the market. Their lower sodium content makes a great salt substitute in many of your favorite recipes. Their fun, fish-shaped containers are re-sealable and recyclable!

I used Little Soya in a mixed vegetable stir fry recently and here’s how I seasoned the vegetables:

Little Soya Stir Fry:
4 cups mixed chopped vegetables
1/2 cup LIttle Soya Soy Suace
1 Tbs fresh crushed ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp five spice powder
1 Tbs crushed garlic
1 Tbs honey

Combine the soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, five spice powder, garlic and honey. Set aside. Heat 1-2 Tbs oil in a wok or large sauté pan and sauté vegetables until tender. Pour sauce over the vegetables and heat through. So simple and delicious!

You can find Little Soya on Facebook here and on twitter hereYou can order Little Soya online from Amazon here.


Whole Foods Market & Cook Taste Eat Blogger Contest: Chocolate & Cinnamon Pepita Butter Ice Cream

finished product
Whole Foods Market and Cook Taste Eat, a website created by Michael Mina and fellow foodie friends dedicated to helping everyone cook and eat better, have teamed up to offer food bloggers across the Continental U.S. the opportunity to become a Cook Taste Eat TV star.

This is my entry for the contest. It’s a dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo using Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value™ Coconut Milk.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chocolate & Cinnamon Pepita Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

I used cinnamon and pepitas to incorporate classic Mexican ingredients in my recipe. I also featured Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value™ Coconut Milk as one of the main ingredients instead of using milk or cream. I used a Patron tequila liqueur to flavor the ice cream. Additionally, I used agave nectar and dates instead of sugar to sweeten the dessert. You’ll need an ice cream maker to recreate this dessert. Here are the ingredients and procedure:

Ingredients:
For the ice cream:
2 – 14 oz. cans Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value™ Coconut Milk (full fat, not light variety)
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 banana
10 dates
3 Tbs agave nectar
2 Tbs Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa

For the cinnamon pepita butter:
1 1/2 cups toasted pepitas
2 Tbs coconut oil
2 Tbs agave nectar
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

For the chocolate chunks:

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup coconut oil

Instructions:
For the ice cream: Combine all the ice cream ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse/blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a bowl and set in the freezer so that mixture will get extremely cold. Chill but do not freeze while you prepare the cinnamon pepitas butter.

For the cinnamon pepitas butter: Toast raw and unsalted pepitas in the oven on a cookie sheet until they are lightly browned. Then transfer them to a food processor and pulse until they become a grainy texture. Add the coconut oil and pulse until mixture becomes the texture of peanut butter or almond butter. Add the agave nectar, cinnamon, and salt, and blend until well combined. Set aside.

At this point you can remove the ice cream mixture from the freezer and pour it into your ice cream maker. Follow individual manufacturer’s instructions, but the mixture should start to resemble ice cream within about 20 minutes if you have an electric model. While the mixture is in the machine, you can prepare the chocolate chunks.

For the chocolate chunks: Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave and stir until fully incorporated. Chocolate will be a thin, syrupy texture. Spread on a wax paper lined baking pan and place in the freezer or refrigerator and allow to harden. Once the chocolate is firm, break it up into little chunks and set aside. Reserve a little to use as a topping when you serve the ice cream.

Once the ice cream is made, transfer it from the machine into a large bowl and set in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow it to firm a little more. After 10 minutes, remove the ice cream and stir in spoonfuls of the cinnamon pepitas butter and the chunks of chocolate. I love big chunks of ingredients in my ice cream, so a little stirring will do. Then place the ice cream back into the freezer one last time for 20-30 minutes and allow to harden. Serve with a little of the melted chocolate.

In exchange for writing this blog and tweeting a link to this blog, I received an entry into the Food Blogger to Media Star Promotion. For the Official Rules, click here.

PS: This recipe is paleo friendly and gluten free. You can use honey or stevia in place of the agave nectar. You can leave out the chocolate chunks to make it completely dairy free! :)


Vegetarian Recipe: Saag Paneer featuring Karoun Dairies

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


On Saturday night, Andy and I stayed in for a change and I made another vegetarian meal with some products that were sent to me by Karoun Dairies. I decided I was in the mood for Indian cuisine and the Yanni grilling cheese I received from Karoun on Friday was the perfect thing to use in my own little version of saag paneer. :)

For fun, I added some boiled potatoes and parsnips into the finished stew and I also made the cauliflower breadstick dough (from a few posts back) into a thick sort of naan bread. Phenaanamal!! ;)

Ingredients:
4 cups baby spinach leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound Yanni grilling cheese, sliced or cubed

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbs fresh ginger
3 Tbs crushed garlic
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup Karoun Kafir lite cheese
3 parsnips, cut into half moons
2 potatoes, cubed
salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spinach in the boiling water until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a food processor. Puree until finely chopped. Set aside.

Cut potatoes and parsnips into uniform pieces and boil them until they begin to soften. Do not overcook. Stay on the firmer side, as they will do their last part of cooking in the finished stew.

Next, sauté the onion and mushrooms together until the onion is translucent/cooked through. Add the tomato and the tomato sauce, along with all spices (ginger, garlic, tomato, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne pepper). Allow to simmer on low to medium heat so that the tomatoes will break down.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the Yanni cheese, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Return to the tomato sauce, and stir in the spinach purée. Salt to taste. Cover and cook for about 5-10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Lastly, stir in the Kefir cheese to thicken the sauce. Then add the boiled parsnips and potatoes and coat them with the spinach and tomato sauce. Heat through and make sure the potatoes and parsnips have fully cooked through. Serve the fried Yanni on the side (to retain the cheese’s crispy edges!) :) Happy to report I did not miss meat that night! Thanks to Karoun Dairies for the great product samples!

To find Karoun products, you can enter your zip code in the store locator here.
You can find Karoun Dairies on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Recipe: Veggie February, Redwood Goat Milk Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For our first seafood & vegetable dinner this weekend, I made stuffed mushrooms and used three different products I picked up or were sent to me from vendors at the San Francisco Winter Fancy Food Show.

Redwood Hill Farm sent me three different products to taste, and one of them was a goat milk cheddar cheese. I was instantly intrigued because I love cheddar cheese. I had bought a few dozen crimini mushrooms earlier in the week, and needed to use them. So, I thought I could use the cheese somehow to make stuffed mushrooms. Another important element I used was a gluten-free seasoned coating mix from Hodgson Mill I also brought home from the food show. The final result was amazingly good, and I didn’t even use any eggs as a binder. Andy sautéed some shrimp (a wonderful departure from red meat) and I made a big salad to round out the meal.

My recipe for the stuffed mushrooms is below. I’d like to thank Redwood Hill Farms for the cheese samples and for the coupons for some of their other products that were sent to me.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Redwood Hill Farms Goat Milk Cheddar Cheese

Ingredients:
12 medium to large crimini mushrooms
1 diced onion
2 Tbs crushed garlic
1/3 cup almond meal
1/2 block of Redwood Hill Farms Goat Milk Cheddar Cheese (finely grated)
1/4 cup Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Seasoned Coating Mix
2 Tbs Karoun Dairy Lite Kefir Cheese (Labne)
1 Tbs olive oil or butter
cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 385°F. Remove stems from mushrooms and chop finely. Lightly oil a 13×9 pan and place mushroom caps gill side down on the pan. Roast the mushrooms while you are preparing the stuffing filling (10 minutes once oven has come to temperature.)

Then heat a pan with your oil of choice and sauté the onion with the mushroom stems. You probably won’t need any salt in this dish because the seasoning mix and the cheeses are salty enough on their own. Cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have cooked through. At this point, the mushroom caps should be ready to take out of the oven. Remove the caps from the oven and flip them over, allowing them to cool as you prepare the rest of the mushroom filling.

Add the crushed garlic, almond meal and the seasoned coating mix to the mushroom stem/onion mixture and coat evenly. Then add the kefir cheese and stir until well combined. Lastly add about 3/4 of the shredded goat milk cheddar (save 1/4 of it to top the mushrooms once they’ve been filled). Add a little bit of cracked pepper to your mushroom filling and then fill the caps. I find it is easier to pick up the caps and scoop filling into them rather than trying to fill them with a spoon. Then once I have scooped some filling into a cap, I dip it into the extra shredded cheese so that the cheese sticks to the top of the mushroom rather than a bunch of cheese ending up on the pan.

Once you have filled the mushrooms and topped them with cheese, return the pan to the oven and bake at 385°F for about 25 minutes. The cheese will turn a nice golden brown on top and the mushrooms will develop an even more roasted flavor. I was so happy with the way they turned out and I hope you will give them a try!

For some fun cheese and wine pairings, you can go to Redwood Hill Farms’ website here.

You can find Redwood Hill Farms on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Cauliflower “Breadsticks” Recipe & Wild Garden Hummus

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At this year’s San Francisco Winter Fancy Food show, I saw that one of my favorite products (Wild Garden Hummus) was on display. This product is not considered “paleo” or “primal”, as it’s main ingredient is garbanzo beans (not accepted in the paleo diet), but I personally find it to be a nutritious and delicious snack food, and healthier than bacon (which is double the calories and fat per serving and completely accepted by paleos.) Wild Garden Hummus is completely portable, convenient and does not need to be refrigerated until opened.

Wild Garden Hummus comes in jars, triangle-shaped tetra packs, and boxed with a bag of pita chips for the ultimate snacker. ;) I took pictures of the products that the vendor sent home with me, and also a picture of the product on sale at one of my sponsors: Nugget Market (at West Sacramento, last week).

Wild Garden Hummus comes in 6 flavors: Traditional,  Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Garlic, Jalepeno, Fire Roasted Red Pepper, and Black Olive.

Wild Garden Hummus is all-natural, preservative and trans-fat free. It is vegetarian and features the healthiest ingredients available. I used a 1/2 tomato sauce and 1/2 Wild Garden Hummus ratio to make a dipping sauce for my cheesy cauliflower breadsticks! I went with the Traditional flavor which only contains 6 ingredients (and that includes water). Also the hummus is only 35 calories per serving (2 tablespoons).

And now, here’s the recipe for the breadsticks (modified recipe from Fast Paleo):

Ingredients:
2 heads of cauliflower
2 tablespoons of Italian seasonings
(mix anything you like: basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel, garlic, onion powder, red pepper flakes)
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, not the powder kind, the GOOD kind. ;)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Steam cauliflower until it is mushy and almost overly cooked. I do it in the microwave and it takes a while. You could even cook the cauliflower the night before and do the remaining steps the next day. Cool slightly (so you don’t prematurely cook the eggs) and pulse in a food processor with the eggs until you form a purée.

3. Add your spice mixture and pulse until well combined.

4. Add the parmesan sheet and pulse until the cheese is also incorporated.

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Invest in a roll of parchment paper. It’s well worth the sticks NOT sticking to your pan. Spread the cauliflower mixture on the parchment in an even, medium thick layer (3/4 in thick).

6. Place in oven and bake until the sticks start to dry out and turn golden brown. Then, remove from oven.

7. Flip bread over and cut it into “sticks”. Top with a little more cheese if desired. Place under oven broiler to complete the browning and get the sticks slightly crispy. Watch closely to prevent burning.

Tip: Don’t roll out the mixture too thin on the baking sheet, and don’t skip step 7! It really gets the breadsticks more like “breadsticks”…crispy/chewy on the the outside and softer in the middle.

Enjoy! Is it Friday yet? ;)

You can find Wild Garden Hummus on Facebook here, or for more information, you can visit their website here. Wild Garden Hummus is available at Nugget Markets.

SF Winter Fancy Food Show 2013 #WFFS13: Auntie Si’s Lemongrass Vinegar

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Andy and I just returned from the Annual Winter Fancy Food show in San Francisco. I go every year and always find something I have never seen or tasted before. This year, it was Auntie Si Lemongrass Vinegar. (Though, I actually have to give credit to Andy for the find–he’s the one who first spotted the Auntie Si booth at the show, tasted the vinegar and urged me to try it.)

Auntie Si Lemongrass Vinegar was developed by Virginia Wax (aka Auntie Si), a native of Argentina. Wax has been making the vinegar for over 20 years for friends and family, but has only been selling it to the public for the past 2 years.

How did she come up with lemongrass vinegar? Virginia says, “I was taken by the aroma of lemon grass [I discovered at farmers' markets] and started to experiment with it. I had tried various vinegar infusions, but the lemon grass was my favorite.”

Andy and I met Virginia at the Fancy Food show and spoke to her at length about the product. Not to name drop or anything, but Darrell Corti is a fan of her lemongrass vinegar and thus you can find it locally/buy it at Corti Brothers. You can also buy it by calling 805.481.4102.

Last night, Andy and I made a simple dressing with the vinegar with 1 part olive oil, and 2 parts vinegar. For more recipe ideas, you can visit the Auntie Si recipe page here, or look for them here in the future, as I will be trying it out in a few more meals.

You can follow NASFT on twitter here and find them on Facebook here.

You can like Auntie Si on Facebook here.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,907 other followers