Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Posts tagged “recipes

Roasted Carrots with Curry and Pecans

carrots
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.

Ingredients:
(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! :)


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.

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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.

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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.


Wellshire Farms Holiday Ham: Herbed Orange Ham Recipe

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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!


Persimmon, Hazelnut and Arugula Salad with Honey Citrus Dressing

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OK, sometimes I trick people into eating Primal/Paleo. Such is the case when I am invited to or Andy and I throw potluck-type parties. And this was the case last Saturday. Being Paleo/Primal at a party can be as scary as Halloween itself! :)

So here’s the great salad (I have named the FALL-iday/Holiday Salad!) brought that served both as a conversation piece, and the main part of dinner for Andy and myself. :) You can use the ingredients below in pretty much any ratio you want––I’ll just give you the framework of what I used. And don’t miss out on the dressing. It really makes the dish!

Salad:
16 oz container of Organic Girl Arugula (you can also use a little spinach or spring mix if you’d like, but I think arugula tastes the best in this particular salad).
4 medium-sized fuyu persimmons, cubed
Arils of 1 pomegranate
4-6 slices of bacon (thick-cut, Applewood smoked)
1 cup toasted. skinned, and chopped hazelnuts
2-3 ozs. parmesan cheese–shaved…not the POWDERED kind for crying out loud ;)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, or in my case, a catering pan if you are taking the salad to a large party. :)

Dressing:
1 part lemon juice
2 parts grapefruit juice
3 parts extra virgin olive oil
2 parts honey
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp crushed ginger
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Dress the salad and serve. If you are transporting the salad to an event like I did, wait until you arrive at the event to dress the salad.

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.


Trick or Treat? Treat!! Four-Ingredient Hazelnut Butter Cups (sponsored by Nugget Markets)

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Hey you! Yes, I’m talking to you. You’re the one who bought the institution-sized bag of Halloween candy “for the neighborhood kids”… Like, back sometime near Labor Day. Yes, and I know you put it away in the pantry for safe keeping. Hmmm, but somehow it seems to have all disappeared.

I’m not going to judge you. I like treats myself. The only difference is that I would never buy name brand candy. When I reward myself with a treat, I prefer to know what’s actually in it, and I prefer it to be non-poisonous. I used to really dig Reese ‘s Peanut Butter Cups until I found out how much sugar and other crap are in them…and that they are GMO–Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, PGPR) peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ. Thus, making them COMPLETELY un-Paleo friendly.

So now I compromise with hazelnut butter cups. You’ve heard of Nutella, right? Well this is about the same thing with way less sugar and all the flavor.

Thanks to Nugget Market for supplying the ingredients.

Hazelnut Butter:
2 cups toasted organic hazelnuts (skins removed)
2 Tbs raw honey
2 Tbs organic coconut oil

    Place all ingredients in a food processor and grind until the mixture becomes a paste. Set aside.

    Chocolate:
    16 oz box E. Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate 72% Cacao Disc Wafers (Melted)

    You’ll also need mini cupcake liners, a mini cupcake pan, and some non-stick cooking spray. 

    1. Place the liners in the pan and spray them with some non-stick cooking spray.
    2. Then pour the melted chocolate in the liners until filled 1/3 full.
    3. Take a small spoonful of the hazelnut butter mixture and form in into a small ball.
    4. Drop it into the 1/3 full liner of chocolate. Repeat for each candy.
    5. Set the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes to set the chocolate and filling.
    6. When filling is set, cover the rest of each candy with more melted chocolate. Repeat for each candy.
    7. Return the pan to the freezer to set all the hazelnut butter cups.

    Here’s what they look like when you cut them open! :) Happy Halloween, friends!! :)
    You can find all the ingredients in this recipe at Nugget Market.
    You can find Nugget Market on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here!

    candy


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

     

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    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.

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    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.


    Pig of the Month: The Gift that Keeps on GIving

    At cavegrrl.com headquarters, I frequently get emails from different marketing representatives offering to ship me samples of their client’s product, hoping I will love it and tell all of you about it. Often, I get pitched for products that are gluten-free (but not grain-free) and still get several offers from people to send me candy, cake and the like from my old blog, which I rarely even update. So, it’s refreshing to get a request from a company that offers a line of products I really love.  And this time it’s worth the extra miles on the treadmill.

    I bring to you the Pig of the Month.

    Pig of the Month has taken your favorite meats and snacks and made them even better. Pig of the Month is an online retailer specializing in world famous barbecue.  Their products have been featured in several top national media outlets AND personally endorsed by The Chew’s Iron Chef, Michael Symon, and now, me! :)

    Established in 2010 by Lea Richards after leaving her high stress job in finance, Ohio Based Pig of the Month BBQ is the product of a beloved family tradition and the result of one family’s insanely wild goose chase for the best barbecue. With a smoking technique that was perfected over decades, the company ships homemade, all natural BBQ products ranging from a variety of meats, sides, and sauces straight to your door!

    I have now had the chance to try 3 of the products sent to me by Pig of the Month. Here’s the care package I received about a month ago:

    pigpackageIt contained:
    1. 1 pound of Duck, Pear, and Port Sausages
    2. 1 package of 6 slices chocolate covered bacon
    3. 1 pound Applewood Smoked Bacon
    4. 1 pound Garden Herb Bacon
    5. 1 rack (2 lbs.) Memphis Style Baby Back Ribs

    The first item Andy and I tried were the ribs.

    ribs
    We put together a little dinner around them with mashed sweet potato & cauliflower, as well as grilled vegetables:

    IMG_3177
    Then we tried the Duck, Pear & Port Sausage. I also made Brussels sprouts l’orange and sweet potato wedges with a grapple balsamic ketchup.

    ribs_sausage

    1234981_10200883998195485_376274403_n  salad
    With the Garden Herb Bacon that came in the package, I made an apple, bacon, toasted walnut and arugula salad. I made the dressing with: 1 tsp crushed garlic, 1 part lemon juice, 2 parts apple cider vinegar, and 2 parts extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste.

    pigofthemonth_bacon
    I gave the Chocolate Covered Bacon to Andy for a part of his birthday present. The bacon is made of nitrate free applewood smoked bacon, draped in a layer of 72% Swiss chocolate.

    Other bacon cooking ideas include:
    1. Use the bacon as a wrap around your favorite items when grilling: asparagus, scallops, meats.
    2. Wrap around a feta-stuffed fig or pecan stuffed date and bake in the oven to create an amazing appetizer.
    3. Lay on a rack inside of a baking pan, coat with date sugar, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup or honey and bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes: candied bacon!

    For more ideas, there are a ton of recipes on the Pig of the Month recipe page here.  Use the coupon code “ILOVEPIG” for 15% off your next order. PS: If you live in Dayton, Ohio (where I happened to spend the first 25 years of my life) or the surrounding area, you can pick up your order at their facility!!

    You can find Pig of the Month on Facebook here and on twitter here.


    Recap of the California State Fair Cooking Demo & Recipes

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    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.

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    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.

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    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:

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    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!!

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    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. :)

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    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.

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    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. :)

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    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)! :)


    Recipe: Rhubarb and Onion Ketchup with Wine Pairing

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    Ultimate wine pairing: Rhubarb Ketchup and New Harbor Sauvignon Blanc.

    Yes, believe me. It happened. I made butternut squash fries and a nifty little “ketchup” to pair with them. It turns out that the wine I happened to also be sampling was a perfect match for the tangy, tart New Harbor Sauvignon Blanc.

    Here’s the recipe, it’s very simple.

    3 stalks rhubarb
    1/2 large yellow onion
    2 Tbs molasses
    3 packets of stevia or 2 Tbs honey
    1 tsp salt

    Chop rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and finely dice the onion. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a pot and sauté the onion until it’s translucent. Then turn down the heat to low-ish/medium and add the rhubarb. Then add the molasses, salt, and stevia, and about 1/2 cup of water. Cook on low heat until the mixture becomes a thick ketchup consistency.

    Its just that easy. Serve on top of potatoes, pork, chicken, or better yet, lamb burgers!

    Happy 4th of July! :)


    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.

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    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

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    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!
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    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!

     

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

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    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

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    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”

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    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.


    Quick Pick to Kick Off Easter Dinner: Carpenè Malvolti Prosecco Brut

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    Many wines were flowing at my boyfriend Andy’s house last night as we sat in on a twitter tasting (more on that tomorrow), and unloaded the latest samples shipped to me just in time to show you before Easter arrives. One of the wines is the one you see above: Carpenè Malvolti Prosecco Brut ($19.99).

    You can start your Easter dinner with the popping of the Carpene Malvolti Prosecco’s cork and sipping it with a light first course or appetizer. A soup or fish course would be perfect. This Cilantro Lime Shrimp dish from Skinnytaste.com would be a good fit as would my very own recipe for Hard Boiled Eggs with Avocado, Cumin, and Curry.

    This Prosecco is full of juicy green apple fruit flavors and has gentle bubbles. It was more of a fruit forward sparkler even though classified as a brut. Adding peach puree or other juices to this Prosecco makes a delicious and very easy cocktail. Or, you can simply enjoy it alone with it’s light 11% alcohol content. Cheers! :D

    You can find Carpenè Malvolti on Facebook here and on twitter here.


    Blood Orange & Avocado Salad featuring Nudo Mandarin Olive Oil

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    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

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    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!


    Little Soya Gluten Free Soy Sauce

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    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

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    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.

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    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

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    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.


    Cauliflower “Breadsticks” Recipe & Wild Garden Hummus

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    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

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    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.


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