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. :)
1 large sweet potato (peeled)
1 large onion
3 to 4 large red bell peppers
1 head of garlic
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
Preheat oven to 385°F.
Prepare 2 half sheet trays by greasing them liberally with olive oil.
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.
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).
I used to work at The Bonbonerie in Cincinnati, Ohio and the most amazing thing they make (other than their masterpiece wedding cakes—many of them creations by the incomparable Richard Prince) is their Büche de Noel (pictured below).
I never attempted to make one myself until this year, and just to raise the stakes, I made it Primal friendly! :) I used coconut flour and eggs and made a simple sponge cake that would roll without falling apart. I am posting the recipe and hope you will try it yourself because it really is not that hard, but it takes a little effort and patience. And great ingredients.
I’d like to thank Challenge Butter, Bob’s Red Mill, and Pyure Organic Stevia for helping make my Büche de Noel taste amazing. They all sent me products that were used in cookies for my annual Ladies Gluten Free Cookie Exchange, (I’ll be writing about that very soon) and I am continuing to use their ingredients in other recipes that will be featured here on my website throughout the year.
First, prepare your filling and frosting.
For the Filling
20 Medjool dates soaked in hot water and drained
2 Tbs Challenge Butter
sea salt to taste
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until the filling becomes a caramel texture.
For the Buttercream:
1 stick Challenge Butter
1 cup Pyure Organic Stevia
1/2 cup coconut oil (solid, not melted)
1/4 melted semisweet chocolate
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
This is another food processor item. Start with the Pyure Organic Stevia. Pulse the product in the food processor until it becomes a fine powder. Then add the Challenge Butter and coconut oil and blend together until you have a buttercream-like substance. Add the cocoa and vanilla extract. When ingredients are combined completely, add in the melted chocolate. The chocolate will heat up the butter and coconut oil and mixture will look rather runny. Pour the mixture into a bowl and place into your refrigerator while you make the chocolate bark and the cake. Next, prepare your chocolate “bark”.
2 cups dark or semisweet chocolate (broken into pieces)
1/2-3/4 cup coconut oil
Melt your chocolate pieces and the coconut oil in the microwave 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each 20 seconds. Do not overheat. Stir until the mixture is completely smooth and spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator until semi-solid. Then take out the sheet and with the twines of a fork, drag lines across the chocolate to create a “bark” texture. Then return the pan to the refrigerator to solidify completely.
8 large eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour
(plus 1-2 Tbsp more for dusting your baking pan)
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
4 tbsp Pyure Organic Stevia
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1 large orange
Rind of 1 large orange
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and grease the sides of it with coconut oil or butter. Then lightly dust with Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour and tap off the excess.
Separate the eggs into 8 yolks and 8 whites. Whip the egg whites with the lemon juice and cream of tartar, until firm peaks can be formed. You can do this with a stand mixer, a hand mixer or you can do it like I did by hand. If you do it by hand it’s quite a workout!
In a separate bowl, whisk together the Pyure Organic Stevia, The Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour, the orange juice, orange zest, salt, vanilla and egg yolks. Once you have combined those ingredients completely fold in 1/4 of the egg white mixture. Once the first 1/4 has been folded in, fold in another 1/4 of the egg white mixture. Continue adding portions of the egg whites, while folding until you have a complete incorporation of the two mixtures.
Pour your batter into your prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and place a sheet of parchment paper directly over the top. Then roll the hot cake into a “jellyroll” and then let it cool while it’s still rolled tight. Remove your date paste and the buttercream from the refrigerator. The date paste will be a perfect spreading consistency, but the buttercream will be pretty solid. To get it to the right texture, simply stir it around and it will loosen up pretty well the closer it gets to room temperature.
Now it’s time to unroll and fill your Büche de Noel. At this point, the cake should look like this (below):
Fill your cake with the date paste and then spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream over that. It should look like this (below):
Then roll up cake and frost with the remaining buttercream. Now it should look like this (below):
Next, break up the chocolate bark you made and place it on the cake so that the cake looks like a fallen log. I added some toasted coconut to resemble lichen and some seeds and dried fruit so it really looks like a little forest bed. When you slice the Büche de Noel it will look like this in the middle (pictured below).
I plan on making this cake every year (perhaps with different frostings and fillings, but keeping it free of gluten and added sugar). I hope you will attempt this recipe as it is not too tricky with practice and patience.
I hope all of you had a safe New Year’s and I wish you all the best for 2015! Cheers :)
It’s a pretty easy recipe to make, and once you’re done you can pick out a nice cookie tin and present it to your recipient (but instruct them against shaking it). Remember to tell your candy lover to store the fudge in the refrigerator (when they are not too busy eating it) ;)
For the Pistachio Layer:
2 cups roasted pistachios
1-2 Tbs coconut oil, softened
1½ Tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp sea salt
For the Chocolate Layers:
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate (whatever your favorite brand happens to be)
1/4 coconut oil, softened
Line a 9 x 13 in. baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Begin with roasted pistachios (either roast them in the oven or buy them pre-roasted, but try to get them unsalted, as this will add an unnecessary amount of sodium to the recipe). Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until the nuts begin to stick to the sides (you’ll end up making a pistachio butter by the time you are done blending). Add the coconut oil to help the pistachios turn into a butter. When the mixture is completely smooth, add your sweetener of choice, the vanilla and the salt. Set this mixture aside.
Melt your chocolate with the coconut oil (either in the microwave in 10-15 second bursts and stirs) or over a double boiler on the stovetop. When the chocolate is completely melted, spread half of it onto the parchment lined baking pan. You’ll want the layer to be a little less than 1/4″ thick on the bottom. Let the chocolate harden before you move onto the next step. You can speed things up by placing your pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.
When the chocolate has completely solidified, spread the pistachio mixture over it 1/4″ from the edge of the chocolate. Spread the mixture evenly. Then top the pistachio layer with the remaining melted chocolate and also spread evenly. The idea is to get all layers pretty even so that when you cut it, the pieces of fudge will look elegant and uniform. :) Return the pan to the refrigerator/freezer and allow to harden completely.
The next step is to cut the pieces of fudge in little diamonds. You can do this by making diagonal slices all the way across from left top to right bottom, and then diagonal slices from the top right to the bottom left. You can place the slices directly into your parchment-lined cookie tin with a spatula.
Now you’re all set to give a delicious, addictive homemade gift. You might not want to give it away once you try it. ;)
Join me tomorrow for another 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover (DAY 10!!) Getting sooo close to Christmas now! Cheers! :)
Thanksgiving 2014. Last week, Andy and I celebrated a little early because we will be in Mexico for the actual holiday, and I couldn’t resist making something special to pair with Georges Duboeuf’s new release of Beaujolais Nouveau—the inveterate red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France, that is only fermented a few weeks before being released for sale annually on the third Thursday of November.
Retailing at $10.99 nationwide, the 2014 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau complements an abundance of holiday dishes, from savory roasts to cranberry sauce. Suggested serving temperature for the Nouveau is between 62°F – 66°F, which is just slightly cooler than room temperature, to enhance the aromas and fruit flavors.
Our spread included:
turkey roulade stuffed with shitake mushrooms, shallots, chorizo and bacon, on a bed of carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions
sweet potato latkes
bacon wrapped persimmons and bacon wrapped dates
2014 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau
Thanks to Georges Duboeuf for providing the bottle of Beaujolais!
Now the recipe for the latkes—skip the sweet potato casserole and give these a shot!
Sweet Potato Latkes
3 sweet potatoes
1 yellow onion
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut oil (melted)
Preheat oven (425°F)
Peel sweet potatoes and grate them, using the large holes on the grater, into a large bowl—I cheat and use a food processor on the shredder setting.
Grate the onion, too. Then, squeeze out as much liquid from the potatoes as you can and then add the grated onion to the bowl with the potatoes.
Add all other ingredients and combine. Using your hands works best, so keep a towel nearby or work close to the sink.
Prepare two baking sheets by pouring melted coconut oil on them and coating the entire tray.
Then form the potato mixture into 4-inch (or so) discs and place on the baking sheets until you have filled them up.
Brush the tops with a little melted oil and bake to desired crispness. I recommend checking on them and flipping them midway through baking to get both sides crispy.
Remove from oven and drain on paper towels prior to plating/serving.
ENJOY!! Happy Thanksgiving :)
I love September and October in Sacramento. There are so many fun events to celebrate Farm-to-Fork and harvest time. There’s an intoxicating energy all around. The wineries are busy harvesting their grapes and there gets to be a little chill in the air in the mornings and when the sun goes down.
Though the Farm-to-Fork celebration has officially come to a close, it’s certainly not over. So many local restaurants and grocery stores have adopted this theme, and it’s exciting to see the concept take off locally just in the past two years. (Even though Alice Waters was practicing Farm-to-Table 40 years ago!! and Sacramento is not doing anything new.) ;)
I know that ever since I went Paleo (3 ½ years ago), I have made it a point to eat non-processed, local and organic foods when at all possible. I was extremely blessed to meet a partner who had adopted the same healthy eating habits as me and we have continued to be Paleo/Primal in the three years since.
We have made some incredible Paleo meals together with the best ingredients from two of my sponsors: Nugget Market and Whole Foods. We have also used other purveyors: Taylor’s Market and Sunh Fish for our meats and fish.
This Salmon dish is only an example of the kinds of things we prepare on a weekly basis. There is almost always something this special, so many times, it is more tempting to stay in than to eat in a restaurant. Don’t even get me started on all the eclectic wine that we have to pair up with whatever we make. ;)
The recipe was adapted from the Salmon Hazelnut Recipe from the book It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The cauliflower and sweet potato mash was done on a whim and is all my own.
I hope you continue to practice Farm-to-Fork/Farm-to-Table at your house and when dining out beyond this month and celebrate this incredible agricultural paradise we are lucky enough to call home. :)
The star of this recipe is the compound butter that tops the salmon after it has been baked. You can use all or some of it, but we had a lot left over (even after using 1/2 of it on 20 ounces of salmon).
Make the compound butter ahead of time (recipe below) and use the freezer to re-solidify it if you happen to be short on time.
For the salmon
1 Tbsp melted butter
salt and pepper to season
20 ounces wild-salmon (it was easier for us to portion after cooking)
Preheat oven to 400. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with salt. Place salmon in the middle, skin side down. Brush salmon with melted butter and season again.
Place salmon in oven and roast it about 10 min. Be careful not to overcook. To serve, portion your filets and top each with slices of hazelnut butter and additional toasted hazelnuts.
1/2 stick of butter
4 Tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 small shallot and 1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely minced
Toast hazelnuts over medium heat until golden, then set aside to cool.
Sauté shallot and garlic in 1 Tbs of melted butter until shallot is translucent. Remove from heat.
Then add shallot mixture to the toasted hazelnuts, along with the remaining butter, thyme, and some salt and pepper.
Place mixture into the freezer for about 10-20 minutes.
Then place a large piece of plastic wrap on flat surface and transfer the butter mixture (after it has set up a little in the freezer) to the center of plastic. Form a log shape like above. Wrap tightly in the plastic and chill until solid. This will take 2 hours in the refrigerator, or about 45 minutes in the freezer.
Spinach salad with red and yellow bell peppers, avocado, mushrooms, and salami from Taylor’s Market.
1 head cauliflower (cut into small pieces)
1 large white sweet potato (cubed)
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
Salt to taste
Cook cauliflower and sweet potato in boiling water until fork tender. Drain water and set aside.
Chop shallot into thin slices and sauté in melted butter in a small pan. Add the garlic. Cook until shallot is translucent.
Place cooked cauliflower and potato into a food processor with the shallot mixture.
Add the garlic powder and chicken stock and pulse until completely smooth. Season to taste.
Last but certainly not least was the wine pairing. A 2010 reserve Pinot Noir from one of our favorite (and super local) wineries, BellaGrace Vineyards. The grapes are sourced from Sangiacomo Vineyards in Carneros. It is a fairly ripe Pinot Noir, but with the distinctive strawberry flavors unique to the region. The wine is fairly acidic, which perfectly compliments the fatty characteristics of Pacific salmon.
You can find BellaGrace Vineyards on Facebook here or visit them in person at the winery (complete with a cave cellar) at 22715 Upton Rd in Plymouth from 11:00am to 4:00pm, Fri-Sun. They also have a tasting room in Sutter Creek (73 Main St, Sutter Creek) open from 11am-5pm daily.
Every year Andy and I get together with another family for a nice dinner party on the back deck at our house in Incline Village. We collaborate on a menu for our guests and make a fuss over the food and wine. The first year, we tricked everyone into eating a fully Paleo meal. Since then, all the guests know it’s a Paleo meal, and no one seems to mind. :) No one misses the bread or the sugar!
Typically, I am in charge of two side dishes, and Andy grills the meat (main course), makes a big salad, and makes his classic Bacon Wrapped Dates.
I have to say, Summer Solstice Party Number Three was a success and for one of my sides, I made and served these carrots.
I used a stevia sweetener called Pyure Sweet in the recipe. Many thanks to the manufacturer for sending me the samples.
(feeds about 8-10 as a side dish)
1 cup pecans
5 pounds carrots
8 Tbs coconut oil (or butter)
1/4 cup Pyure Sweet
1 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs curry powder
1/2 cup lemon juice
Sea Salt to taste
Cracked black pepper
First, you’ll need to toast the pecans. You can do this in the oven or in a skillet on low heat. Whatever works for you. Just be careful not to burn them. Let them cool once toasted, and give them a rough chop. Set aside.
So, I personally choose the oven to toast my pecans, because it heats up the oven for my carrots that go in next. I have the temp at about 375°F for toasting the pecans. I heat it up to about 400°F when it is carrot roasting time.
Before the carrots go in, you’ll need to clean them up by peeling and cutting them into “french fry” shapes. It’s up to you what size you cut them down, but make sure they are uniform so they will cook evenly. Then, put them on a sheet tray (or two) that’s well oiled/greased (coconut oil or olive oil works best), salt liberally with sea salt, and roast until browned. I would tell you how long to leave them in the oven, but it all depends on how thick you have cut them, so I am leaving that up to you.
While the carrots are roasting away, you can make the curry sauce. Melt 8 Tbs of coconut oil (or butter) together over low heat in a saucepan with 1 Tbs molasses, 1/4 cup of Pyure Sweet stevia blend, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 1 Tbs curry powder. Make sure all ingredients have combined over the heat (without boiling) and set aside.
Remove the carrots from the oven when they are close to being done. Drizzle the curry sauce over the pan/pans of carrots. Return to the oven and roast an additional 5-10 minutes.
Then the sauce has saturated and cooked into the carrots, remove them from the oven, and sprinkled the toasted pecans over them.
Serve the carrots warm or room temperature. A perfect party side dish and a true crowd-pleaser! :)