Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

almonds

Treat Yo Self: Chocolate Covered Gingersnap Truffles

What do you do when you made a little too much gingersnap dough from the gingersnap crusted ham recipe?

Well in this case, I used it to make chocolate covered gingersnap truffles! Let me reiterate that if you are using Paleo to lose weight, you might not want to make these just yet. But, if you are at an ideal weight, need to gain weight, or you are celebrating a special occasion, these are a great dessert! 🙂

Paleo Gingersnaps
1.5 cups Blanched Almond Flour
1 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 Tbs fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 omega 3 Egg
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 cup molasses

1/4 cup Coconut Oil (Tropical Traditions for best results!!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (including lemon zest).
In a small mixing bowl beat eggs, honey, molasses, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and beat with hand mixer until combined.
Add coconut oil into batter, and continue to blend until combined.
Press the dough out flat on a parchment lined baking sheet, about a tablespoon in size. Bake cookies for 15 minutes at 375.

Let cool completely then break the cookie into crumbs and set aside.

Chocolate Coating:
TCHO chocolate discs
Coconut Milk
Vanilla, or your favorite liqueur

To melt the discs, I heated some coconut milk in a bowl in the microwave (not boiling, but hot enough to melt the chocolate. Place some of the chocolate discs in another bowl and add the heated milk (about 1/4 cup per 6-8ozs of chocolate). Stir the chocolate until it is smooth and add 1/2 to 1 tsp of your favorite liqueur.

Then pour some of the melted chocolate into the cookie crumbs, just enough to make them stick together (reserve the leftover chocolate for dipping). Then form them into balls (ping pong ball sized) until you run out of crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment or wax paper), and place into the freezer to set. This will also aid your next and final step in preparation. Chill for about a half an hour. If you’re like me, maybe you will use this time to run a 5K and shower up after. 😉

After 30 minutes is up, take the gingersnap balls out of the freezer, and microwave some of the leftover chocolate in 5 second pulses to re-melt it. Dip each ball into the chocolate and set back on the cookie sheet. After you have dipped them all, you can place the cookie sheet back in the freezer to firm them up, or if you have more time, you can place in the refrigerator.

Now, treat yo self, but try not to eat them all in one sitting. 😉

Paleo Recipe: Gingersnap Crusted Ham

I’d like to start this post with a big thank you to Tropical Traditions. They sent me a huge jar of coconut oil to try out in my Paleo recipes. I ended up using it in the Paleo Gingersnaps that I used to crumble up and coat the ham below. Here’s a picture of their product. It’s not only good in cooking (use it in the place of –and in the same ratio as–any butter or oil), but excellent as a moisturizer!


So look at the crusty beast below! Can you believe it is gluten free? 🙂 This Gingersnap Crusted Ham was a “side” for our Paleo Easter Meal. I snagged the idea for it from the Alton Brown recipe I first made years ago.

What You Will Need:

One 2 pound”City” Ham (I used an Uncured, Nitrate Free, Hormone Free, Vegetarian Fed Ham)
You will find that 2 pounds of ham is actually only about 1/4 of a normal sized ham. 🙂

3/4 Cup Dijon Mustard

1/2 Cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon (in a spray bottle)

2 Cups Paleo Gingersnap Crumbs (To get the crumbs, you have to make the gingersnaps themselves.)

Paleo Gingersnaps
1.5 cups Blanched Almond Flour
1 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 Tbs fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 omega 3 Egg
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 cup molasses

1/4 cup Coconut Oil (Tropical Traditions for best results!!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (including lemon zest).
In a small mixing bowl beat eggs, honey, molasses, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and beat with hand mixer until combined.
Add coconut oil into batter, and continue to blend until combined.
Press the dough out flat on a parchment lined baking sheet, about a tablespoon in size. Bake cookies for 15 minutes at 375.

Let cool completely then break the cookie into crumbs and set aside.

Procedure:

1. Place the ham in a glass baking dish and paint the dijon mustard on it with a pastry brush.

2. Then take the gingersnap crumbs and coat the ham until it is completely covered in crumbs.

3. Spray the ham with the bourbon to seal the crumb coating.

4. Bake the ham in the oven at 350° for about 10 mins, then take out the ham and lightly spritz the it with more bourbon. Return the ham to the oven and bake it until the crust is golden brown, or if you are like me, you can get the crust a little more brown than that. Let rest about 5-10 mins and then carve to serve.

Mmmm….HAMMALICIOUS!


Dukkah Spice Blend and Curried Cashews

During my journey with Paleo, nuts have been a staple in my diet. When eaten raw or dry roasted (dry-roasted at home, not purchased as roasted/salted), they are exceptionally nutritious. So, today I’d like to show you two recipes showcasing nuts as a sort of condiment, and nuts as a snack.
The first recipe is called dukkah. We use it to season our vegetable sautees. Cauliflower, kale, chard… it really takes the flavor of the vegetables to another level! 🙂
Dukkah
You can modify/change up these ingredients to your liking:

1/4 cup ground coriander

5 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 teaspoon dried mint leaves

2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

Nuts:

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts

1/2 cup raw pistachio nuts

1/2 cup raw almonds

3/4 cup cashewsIt’s easiest I think to roast all the nuts in the oven first, until they are golden brown. I do this on a sheet pan at 350° until they turn color. Be sure to watch closely, they will burn fast.

While the nuts are toasting in the oven, toast the herbs, spices, and seeds until they are brown/toasty/aromatic. Allow each of them to cool completely.

Place the nuts and seeds, along with the mint and salt, into a food processor and pulse into a coarse consistency.

This is the finished product…
Snack Two!
Curried Cashews and Almonds

1 cup cashews

1 cup almonds

1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs coconut oil (melted)

Toast the nuts in the oven or in a skillet until they are golden brown.
Place the spices in a mortar and pestle and grind to incorporate the curry and the red pepper flakes.

Drizzle 1 Tbs coconut oil over the toasted nuts and then sprinkle the curry powder mixture over it. Stir with a spoon to coat the nuts completely.

Bag them up and sneak them into any sort of function where the food options are limited/non-Paleo!!

This way, you won’t starve–you eat clean–no matter what, you win–you might be/or eventually be the sexiest person in the room. #truth!


Almond, Rosemary and Date Crackers (Gluten Free!)

Last night was one of my favorite nights of the month, wine tasting night (with a local wine group to which I belong) at the Barton Gallery (next to Michaelangelo’s Restaurant.

Typically, we each bring a bottle of wine (based on a theme we decide ahead of time for the month) and a dish (if we can) to share. This month was sort of a competition to choose the themes for the next three months, so we brought bottles to vote. The very best as decided by the group would win the themes for February, March, and April.

Some of varietals, regions, themes present last night were: Alsace, San Luis Obispo, Barbera, Barbaresco, Tour of Italy, Rare Italians, and the Middle East. We decided that next month’s theme would be Alsatian Wines, and it was an easy decision after we tried an Alsatian Riesling (C and R brought, the Domaine Gresser Riesling, Alsace 2007 to be exact) that had all the great characteristics of a Riesling, such as clean, bright, and crisp, without being sticky and cloying.

I brought these Rosemary Date Crackers to the tasting because I wanted to make sure there was some sort of cracker/snack I could eat once I got there. I do sometimes get weak and miss bread/crackers at wine tastings, but these crackers were way more flavorful than store bought. The original inspiration came from Elena over at Elena’s Pantry, but I have changed it up quite a bit. Enjoy!

Almond, Rosemary and Date Crackers (Gluten Free and Paleo!!)

2 cups blanched almond flour  

(Tip: Make your own with raw almonds and a food processor)

½ teaspoon salt

1 Tbs fresh or dried rosemary 

(Tip: If you use dried, you can grind up with a mortar and pestle to release the oils.)

4-5 Medjool Dates, chopped

1 egg

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 Tbs unsalted organic butter
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine almond flour, salt, rosemary and dates.

3. Mix in egg, butter and oil until well combined. It’s really best if you dig in and mix with your hands.

4. Roll out the mixture between parchment paper with a rolling pin.

5. Cut dough with pizza cutter, or for fun, you can use little cookie cutters. I left the rolled out pieces right on the paper and placed the paper on a cookie sheet to bake.

6. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

7. Bring to wine tasting and people will love you for them. 🙂