Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Posts tagged “food

Valentine’s Day Our Way

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We had a wonderful Valentine’s Day this past weekend. Andy and I decided to stay in and cook for each other instead of battling the landmine of multi-course (no substitution) wheat, sugar and dairy heavy pre-fixe menus arranged by local restaurants.

And deciding to avoid the crowd and the high cost of dining out (both to the wallet and to our waistlines) it turned out to be a great decision, because I had one of the most fun Valentine’s in years. :)

We decided we would each make one dish (paired with a wine) for the other person, and then eat them together family style.

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I made this Chicken Korma for Andy, with a 4-ingredient gluten and dairy free naan to eat with it.

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Andy made me one of my favorite things that he makes a few other times a year: Eggplant Moussaka. He uses the Primal recipe that can be found here at Mark’s Daily Apple.

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I bought the ingredients for the Chicken Korma dish at Nugget Markets, and the rest of the ingredients needed to complete our dessert, a Black Bean Brownie mix I was sent by Breads from Anna.

BlackBeanBrownie

The gluten free mix contains powdered honey, cocoa powder, tapioca starch, arrowroot, millet flour, chia flour, chickpea flour, navy bean flour, pinto bean flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, sea salt, xanthan gum, so I was pretty happy to make it. All I did was add some coconut oil, a cup of coffee, and a can of organic black beans (following the package intructions).

I baked them in a cupcake pan (because portion control, baby!) and when they came out, I poked holes in the top and drenched each one with Kahlua. Kahlua makes everything taste better. :)

Then I frosted them with melted semisweet chocolate, and decorated them with coconut manna that I had melted a bit and sweetened with stevia (and colored with a few drops of food coloring to make it pink).

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I made this candle holder for the table to sit out on every anniversary or Valentine’s Day. It’s made from 36 corks from bottles of red wines we have enjoyed together over the past three and a half years.

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I made it with a glass plate, glue gun and ribbon for less than $10, including the candle. :)

This blog entry would be incomplete if I didn’t mention the wines we drank with dinner!

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To start things off right, we toasted with a glass of Ayala Champagne. Because you should drink Champagne and not sparkling wine on Valentine’s Day! ;)

The next wine to the right is a Riesling made by Gainey. You can find their current release of Riesling here. The 2004 on the bottle worried me slightly, as I thought it might have been over-the-hill, but it still tasted great and was a perfect match for the Chicken Korma.

Then, with the Eggplant Moussaka, we drank a 2011 Stag’s Leap Petite Sirah (one of Andy’s favorite wines I had bought for him for Christmas). I would say this Petite Sirah is for you if you think you don’t like that particular varietal—because Stag’s Leap makes theirs so…velvety, soft and sophisticated.

You can find Breads from Anna on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

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Thanks again to Nugget Markets for sponsoring our stay-at-home Valentine’s celebration. You can find them on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

valentines spread

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Drink Wine Day is February 18th, Celebrate with Tandoor Chef and Win a $250 Wine Gift Card

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Indian cuisine is one of the most interesting food and wine pairings. Tandoor Chef has recently developed a pairing tool to help you choose the best compliment (wine or beer) to their restaurant quality authentic Indian cuisine.

And to celebrate the upcoming National Drink Wine Day on February 18th, my friends at Tandoor Chef are giving away a $250 wine gift card. You can enter by clicking this link!

The purpose of National Drink Wine Day is to spread the love and health benefits of wine.  Wine has played an important role in history, religion and relationships.  We embrace the positive benefits of wine such as new friends, reduced risk of heart disease and the enhancement of food and life. I really didn’t need another reason to drink wine, but whoever came up with this holiday deserves a pat on the back and a big bottle of 2008 Opus One. ;)

Speaking of enhancement of food, Tandoor Chef has developed a line of gluten free items, which I will be reviewing very soon and doing a wine pairing of my own. They also have 11 selections under 300 calories per serving for those of you watching your waistline.

You can find Tandoor Chef on Facebook here, follow them on Twitter here, on Pinterest here, and on Instagram here.

Hope you’ll join us for National Drink Wine Day on February 18th and enter to win(e)! ;) Good luck!

 


Exploring Russian River Wineries and a Stay at the Applewood Inn


Meatless Mondays: Quick and Easy Roasted Red Pepper Soup

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We enjoyed this homemade soup (my own recipe) on Saturday night paired with delicious gluten free and vegan sandwiches from Pushkins Bakery. If you haven’t tried their “adult grilled cheese” or “the buzz”, please do. Both sandwiches are vegan and gluten free and are utterly delicious. It was fun to have a completely vegan meal for a change. :)

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato (peeled)
1 large onion
3 to 4 large red bell peppers
1 head of garlic
2 shallots
4 roma tomatoes
1 quart vegetable stock

1 1/2  tsp cumin
1 1/2 red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp paprika
salt to taste

1-2 Tbs olive oil per baking sheet

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 385°F.
Prepare 2 half sheet trays by greasing them liberally with olive oil.

before cooking potato onion
peppers

Chop all vegetables into uniform pieces. Place the onion and the sweet potato on one tray. On the other tray, you should be able to fit the chopped tomatoes, peppers, garlic and shallot. Important because the potato and onion will take slightly longer to bake. Bake the vegetables in the oven for about 40 minutes, checking to make sure nothing is burning and rotating them on the pan to prevent burning.

The peppers and tomatoes will be ready to remove from the oven when the peppers blister slightly and the garlic is roasted and tender. From the time you remove the peppers and tomatoes, leave the potato and onion tray in the oven ten minutes longer.

cooked potato and onion

roasted red pepper and tomato

other ingredients
In a blender, begin to blend all the vegetables. There will be more than one blender can hold, so blend a little at a time with the vegetable stock. Since you will be enjoying the soup, add the stock to the consistency you like (I used all but about 1/2 cup of the stock), as thick or as thin. Empty each round of blended vegetables into a very large bowl so that they will mix together.

Then add all of your spices and flavorings. The crushed red pepper, paprika, coriander, and the cumin and salt to taste. Stir the spices in the bowl manually. Then in batches, return the vegetable mixture to the blender and mix until completely smooth. Pour the smooth soup into a new large bowl.

This soup can be made up to a day ahead of time. Just simply ladle into serving bowls and reheat. I’m confident this will be one of the easiest, yet most tasty soups you will ever make! :) We paired the soup with a 2011 Handley Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley and a 2012 St. Rey Celeste, Candyhill Vineyards (Revolution Wines).

wine pairings


Recipes from the 1st Annual Ladies Holiday Party and Gluten Free Cookie Exchange Sponsored by Challenge Butter and Bob’s Red Mill

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Special thanks to the suppliers of our ingredients for the First Annual Ladies Holiday Party and Gluten Free Cookie Exchange: Challenge Butter and Bob’s Red Mill.  As you can see above, our ladies put together quite a spread with your line of products.

Challenge Butter sent all baking attendees coupons for their butter and new cream cheese products. Bob’s Red Mill sent 4 packages of coconut, almond and hazelnut flours our way as well. We used these products to make and share the following cookie recipes (I’ll also be sharing other treat and savory recipes using Challenge and Bob’s Red Mill products throughout 2015 as well!):

Grain Free “Oatmeal” Chocolate Chip Cookies

shiloh
Ingredients
1/4 cup Challenge Butter
1 large egg at room temperature
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill almond flour
2 Tbs Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp finely ground flax seeds
3/4 cup finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Procedure
Preheat oven to 350°F
Place the Challenge Butter and the egg in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream for 1 minute on high. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use an electric hand mixer.
Add the honey and vanilla and mix for another minute.
Place the cinnamon, nutmeg, Bob’s Red Mill flours, baking soda, salt, and flax seeds in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Slowly add the dry ingredients


Gluten-Free Orange-Cinnamon Lace Cookies

susan

Ingredients
1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill almond flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoons grated orange rind (zest)
5 tablespoons unsalted Challenge Butter
1/3 cup Pyure Organic Stevia
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon orange extract, optional
melted dark chocolate for drizzling, optional

Procedure
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.

In a small bowl mix together the flours, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest until well blended.

Combine the Challenge Butter, Pyure Organic Stevia, and honey in a medium saucepan set over low heat. Stir until the butter melts and the stevia dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the dry ingredients into the pan, followed by the orange extract.

Drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet by teaspoonfuls, spacing the spoonfuls 4″ apart from one another. Bake no more than six cookies on a pan.

Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, until they’re an even golden brown. Transfer the cookies, on their parchment or foil, to a rack, and let them rest until they’re completely cool and crisp.

Bake succeeding batches while the first batch is cooling.

Once the cookies are completely cool, drizzle them with melted dark chocolate, if desired.


Caramel Date Thumbprints

kristy

cookies
Cookie Base
Ingredients
1 1/4 cups pecan halves
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill almond flour
1 1/3 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped plump Medjool dates
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted Challenge butter, softened
¾ cup Pyure Organic Stevia
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Procedure
Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor. Remove dough from food processor and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour to firm up the dough. You can also place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to speed up the process.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Shape cookies into little balls and press your thumb into them to make a deep impression. Bake at 350°F until they are golden brown. Take out the cookies and carefully (as the cookies are still hot) press them back down in the center to make sure the impressions are deep enough to hold the caramel date filling.

Caramel Date Filling
Ingredients
20 medjool dates soaked in hot water and drained
2 Tbs Challenge Butter
sea salt to taste
2 tsp vanilla extract
Procedure
Pulse in a food processor until the filling becomes a caramel texture.
When cookies have cooled, use a pastry bag to fill them with the caramel.

Chocolate Drizzle
Ingredients
2 cups chocolate (chips or semisweet)
2 Tbs coconut oil
Procedure
Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil in the microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between. When chocolate is melted, drizzle it over the finished cookies and set aside to dry.


Thanks again to Challenge Butter and Bob’s Red Mill for their awesome product supplies. You can find them on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. You can find Bob’s Red Mill on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

If you would like to sponsor the 2015 Ladies Holiday Party and Gluten Free Cookie Exchange, you can contact me here. I am looking for wine sponsors, gluten free cookie ingredients, catered items for guests, and goodie bag items for attendees.


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Tickets to the Zinfandel Experience

If you’re reading this, it’s actually AFTER Christmas now and I am late in bringing you my twelfth Christmas pick. Oops. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. If you are still looking for gift ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Maybe the gift you chose was a big fail and you need something completely different. I am here to help!

But first, a special shout out to Esther Price Candy in Dayton, Ohio. I ordered a one pound box of assorted chocolates for Andy and an eight ounce sugar free box for myself a few weeks ago to arrive in time for Christmas. Esther Price is Andy’s favorite candy and I order it for him as a special treat every year just for Christmas. Unfortunately, the box from Esther Price turned up missing at the UPS store. (Even though someone had signed for them at the store on the 19th of December, they were gone by them time Andy came to pick them up.)

I contacted Esther Price and they took very good care of me. They immediately shipped out a replacement order next day air with no charge to me! It was around 1pm on Monday the 23rd when I called about my missing package). By the next day (the 24th) at around 1pm UPS arrived with the candy. So very awesome!! Thank you for your great service, Esther Price. We got the candy just in time for Christmas! :) You can find Esther Price on Facebook here.

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Now for day 12 of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Tickets to the Zinfandel Experience.

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The Zinfandel Experience features four festive, celebratory events over three days and offers a diverse selection of Zinfandel wines and styles from renowned producers and emerging wineries. The events also showcase Zinfandel producers’ spirit of collaboration and community. Set at the historic Presidio overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the iconic Four Seasons Hotel, the Zinfandel Experience is the largest single varietal tasting of its kind, bringing together top producers and wine lovers to celebrate America’s grape.

Over 100 ZAP producer members will participate in the 2015 Zinfandel Experience. Thirty-four winemakers will participate in Epicuria on Thursday, January 29 at the Golden Gate Club, Presidio of San Francisco. Over 30 winemakers will host tables at the Zinfandel Experience Dinner and Live and Silent Auctions on Friday, January 30, 2015 at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. Over 100 winemakers will participate in The Tasting at the Golden Gate Club and the Film Centre, Presidio of San Francisco Saturday, January 31, 2015.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, ZAP was founded in 1991 at a time when Zinfandel was the underdog with a cause. A small group of passionate winemaking pioneers and Zinfandel lovers joined to create a movement that would elevate the understanding and status of Zinfandel wine – rightfully establishing it among the premier varietals of the world.

Attending 2015 Zinfandel Experience is more than going to a fun and lively wine tasting event. It’s also about making deeper connections with others who love Zinfandel as much as you do. It’s about introducing your friends to a meaningful part of your life. And it’s about discovering new ways of bringing Zinfandel’s magic into the world.

Click here for more information on the event line up and ticket pricing.

You can find ZAP on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. The official hashtag for the 2015 Zinfandel Experience is ‪#‎ZinEx.


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Piatti eGiftcards

It was a very hectic weekend over at cavegrrl.com headquarters, so I apologize for no gift idea yesterday. I will make up for this with two blog posts today and two gift ideas (day eight and day nine of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover).

I’ll begin with Day eight’s idea: eGiftcards from Piatti Ristorante and Bar. The best thing about this gift idea is that you don’t even have to get in your car to buy one. You can complete your transaction entirely online and the eGiftcard is delivered immediately into the recipient’s email inbox. You can personalize it and choose your own design like this:

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Then with that they can buy a meal that looks as incredible (and Primal friendly!) as this:

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The eGiftcard is the easiest and most convenient way to treat friends and family with the gift of dining at all Piatti locations:
Northern California: Mill Valley, Danville, Sacramento, & Santa Clara
Southern California: La Jolla
Washington: Seattle
Colorado: Denver
Texas: San Antonio: The Quarry

You can purchase a Piatti eGiftcard here.

You can find Piatti Sacramento on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. Tune in later today for day nine of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers :)


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