One of the things I miss the most being on a Paleo/Primal diet is BREAD. In that category would also be a nice, not too thin pizza crust that I have never been able to replicate with cauliflower. I also wanted to be able to PICK UP the slice of pizza and not have to use a utensil. A lot of gluten free pizza recipes require and knife and fork and leave me feeling like I am eating some sort of soggy polenta dish with tomato and cheese on top.
I finally came up with a ratio/blend of ingredients that make a great gluten free crust, and I will probably never make a cauliflower crust again. I felt confident enough about the crust recipe’s texture and flavor that I made it at the 2017 California State Fair Cooking Demo on the last morning of the fair. Try for yourself, and use the following crust recipe as a base for any kind of pizza you want to make. I am posting the exact recipe below that I made at the California State Fair. 🙂
PS: You’ll need a food processor, 3 sheet pans (at least 9 by 13) a cook top of some kind, and an oven to make this! (Just throwing that out there!) For the oven, place one rack in the middle and one nearer to the top.
2 large sweet potatoes (you can use orange or white, whatever you prefer)
1 1/4 cup nut flour of your choice (I used a ground pistachio/almond blend)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
1/2 Tbs dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into roughly 1-2 inch squares and pre-cook them. You can do this any way you want, but I would stay away from boiling them because this will leave them waterlogged and soggy. My shortcut is the microwave. Cook them until they will mush between your fingers with almost no effort. You can also bake them if you want. Tip: Cook potatoes the night before, or even a few days before to shave a little bit off your pizza prep time.
If you are making the breakfast pizza, this is the part where I go ahead and PREHEAT the oven and cook my bacon for the topping at the same time. Even if you’re not making the breakfast version, SURELY you’ll want bacon on your pizza anyway! 🙂 This is an easy way to get the bacon super crispy without burning it. I use a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to cook the bacon. While you’re at, go ahead and line THREE sheet pans with parchment paper. Two you will need for the pizza crust, so parchment paper line them and set them aside for now. The remaining pan will get a layer of parchment and then your 6-10 slices of bacon. Don’t crowd the pan too much, or the bacon won’t cook evenly and it won’t render (get crispy). Once you’ve put the bacon on the sheet pan, place it in the oven and THEN turn the oven on. Heat it to 400°F. You’ll want to cook the bacon slow, so a cold oven is OK to begin with. By the time you’re ready to put your crust in the oven, your bacon will be almost ready and your oven will be the temp you need it. Now on to the crust!
Grind the nuts of your choice (I used a mixture of pistachios and almonds–1 cup ground pistachios, 1/4 cup ground almonds) until they look like coarse sand/start sticking to the sides of the food processor bowl (we don’t want nut butter, just finely ground). Pulse in your parmesan cheese. Add the salt, garlic powder and the dried oregano. Then begin adding your sweet potatoes in stages. You will need to add the water, olive oil, and 3 eggs in between adding the potato pieces so that the mixture continues to blend well. Depending on the size of the potatoes, you might not need to add all of them. Consistency-wise you are looking for a thin cookie dough, but thick cake batter. It won’t be the consistency of pizza dough from a pizza parlor, it will be more loose than that.
Spread the dough mixture onto the other parchment-lined pan. Spread evenly across the pan, no thinner than a 1/2 inch thick. At this time, you can check your bacon. It may or may not be done depending on the thickness of the bacon slices. If it is not done, you can leave it in on the top rack and set the timer to remind you to check it (I go in 5 minute increments). Also, make sure to pour any excess grease off of the pan. Pour the grease into a coffee cup or something you can retrieve it from for later use (I will get to that later!) Place the dough pan on the middle rack and bake for 10-12 minutes.
15 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs chopped garlic
2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
If you want, you can buy a jar of pizza sauce and skip this step all together. I do this when I am pressed for time. If not, add your crushed tomatoes, paste, and herbs and salt to a saucepan and cook together while the pizza crust does it’s first bake for the 10-12 minutes. You will be simmering the sauce until you need to use it. Also, the bacon should be getting done by now, so check it again and take it out if necessary.
Sausage and Shallots Preparation Ingredients:
Reserved bacon grease
1 lb ground turkey
While the sauce is cooking and crust is baking, dice up the shallots. Then, in another saucepan separate from the one you used for the tomato sauce, pour some of the bacon grease you reserved from earlier, heat it up, and sauté the shallots until they are translucent. Add the ground sausage (turkey or pork, whatever your preference) and cook with the shallots, allowing the meat to cook through and brown. When the meat is browned, turn off the heat and set aside. At this point, the first bake of the crust is probably done, so go ahead and take out the crust and place the pan on a heat safe surface.
At this point, fetch the third parchment lined pan, and invert it, making sure the parchment paper stays put. Place it on the top of the crust and flip it over. This is so the pizza crust will cook through/dry out, and you will be able to pick up the pizza/not eat with a fork! Your oven should still be at 400°F. If you are making the breakfast pizza, this is the part where you will peel the parchment off the top of the crust, use the back of a spoon and make little “wells” on the pizza. I make 4 wells for 4 eggs. The wells I am describing are little indentations so that when you crack the egg on the pizza crust, it will not run all over the top. Instead, it will be captured in the little bowl you made for it. Once you have made the wells and cracked the eggs into them, carefully place the crust into the oven for another 10 minutes. This time, use the rack that is higher in the oven, so the eggs will set.
1 bunch green onions
½ cup sun dried tomatoes
6-10 slices bacon
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
OK, we’re almost done! For final prep, chop the green onions and set aside. Also, chop the bacon you prepped earlier and set aside. I also like to measure out the sun dried tomatoes and the cheese and put everything in a row (so I don’t leave anything out). It’s like a little pizza assembly line. 🙂
Take the crust out (the eggs on top should be almost set). Turn the oven temp up to broil (low), you will need to use the oven one last time after you top the pizza (so that the cheese will melt). Begin with the tomato sauce and spread around the crust, being careful to avoid the eggs on top. Then add the sausage, bacon, sun dried tomatoes, green onions, and top with the mozzarella cheese. You should still be able to see the eggs through the toppings.
Place the pizza back in the oven until the cheese on top melts and browns. I like to keep an eye on the pizza through the window on the door of the oven to prevent over-browning. Once the cheese on top is melted, take the pizza out, allow to cool 5-10 minutes before cutting. This is the part where I set the table. By the time I am finished setting the table, the pizza is ready to cut and serve!
Did I leave out anything? Do you have questions? Contact me here!
Today I am a guest on the podcast Serious Talk. Seriously. hosted by Johnny Flores! We chatted about my rebranding of cakegrrl.com to cavegrrl.com, Paleo, gluten free, bread, Oprah, the importance of having a supportive significant other, alopecia, the changing roles of men and women and even vocal fry! Click below to have a listen and if you enjoy, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes HERE or on Stitcher here. Click the link below to listen! 🙂
I wanted you to meet the entry winners, so you might perhaps comment below and cheer them on for the upcoming race on October 19th! Maybe you’ll even look them up in the race results following the race.
The second entry winner is Karla Euler from Jackson, GA. I asked Karla to share a little bit about herself, her daily diet, and how she is preparing for the race:
I am a 52 year old US Army Vet, mother of 3 grown daughters and grandmother to two beautiful grandchildren, both age 5. I grew up in Southern California and now live in Jackson, GA. I work as a Deputy Court Clerk so I spend most days inside a building which drives me to spend my off days outside as much as possible! I enjoy yard work, hiking, swimming, biking, pretty much anything that will keep me outside and spending time with my family 🙂
I have always tried to maintain a healthy life style and I did up until my 2 grandchildren were born. I found myself making many excuses not to eat right or exercise just so I could spend all my spare time with my grand kids. The Nike Women’s Half Marathon will be my first and has given me the motivation and determination to get myself back into a healthy life style. I have ran numerous 5k and 10k’s in the past, but I am super excited about the SF Half!! I have been diligently training for this and have loved getting back into exercise and healthy eating. I have more energy overall and feel better physically and mentally both.
The following is a typical day of eating for me:
A Cup of Black Coffee and then out for a run; I find that I do better when I don’t eat before a long run as I tend to eat dinner pretty late at night.
Bowl of Oatmeal and a Banana, Black Coffee
Deli sandwich on wheat bread, cottage cheese with fruit
Baked Fish, yellow rice, garden salad, glass of milk
Additionally, I do take a multi-vitamin, fish oil, calcium supplement, and glucosamine tablet daily as well as drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Thanks to Karla for submitting her story to cavegrrl.com. I am hoping to meet her on the day of the run and wish her luck in person! 🙂 Thanks to Nike and Whole Foods for allowing me to give two other women the chance to run in the race.
You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.
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.
I wanted you to meet the entry winners (I’ll be featuring one today and one next week), so you might perhaps comment below and cheer them on for the upcoming race on October 19th! Maybe you’ll even look them up in the race results following the race.
Hi my name is Cathy. I am a 34 year old mother of 3 girls ages 9, 4 and 1.5. I am a stay at home mom with the girls now, but I previously worked as a pediatric physical therapist. I love to be active, and enjoy all outdoor activities. As a family, we love to go to the beach, the pool, and Disneyland.
The Nike Women’s half marathon will be my second half. I’ve completed many shorter distance races, but have actually come to enjoy the training and actual race of the 13,1 miles. I try to eat pretty healthy in general, as I am still nursing my youngest child, but I often find it difficult to keep it as healthy as I’d like because of how busy I am.
I find that when I food prep I eat much healthier, that is something I am striving to get more consistent with. I’ve also noticed that when I “eat clean” I feel so much better both physically and mentally, that is real motivation for me to try and keep it up.
The following food journal is what I ate today and is pretty typical of what I normally eat.
Breakfast: Yogurt with strawberries and blueberries
Snack: Baked mini flat pretzels and dill havarti cheese, honey crisp apple (shared with the littlest)
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with side salad
Dinner: BBQ’d hamburger with lettuce and avocado, baked sweet potato fries
Water throughout the day, as well as a multivitamin, glucosamine supplement, calcium, and a broad spectrum antioxidant supplement.
On days that I run, I also have a protein bar or shake following my runs.
Thanks to Cathy for submitting her story to cavegrrl.com. I am hoping to meet her on the day of the run and wish her luck in person! 🙂 Thanks to Nike and Whole Foods for allowing me to give two other women the chance to run in the race.
You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.
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! 🙂
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!! 🙂
So, I finally had time to get out to Whole Foods and start using the gift card they gave me to feed myself during my half marathon training (the Women’s Nike Half Marathon in San Francisco on October 20th). For about $65 dollars, here’s what I bought:
- 1/2 Gallon So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
(will use in smoothies, sometimes morning coffee)
- 1 pound bag frozen raspberries
(will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
- 1 package Diestel sliced herbed turkey breast
(love their products, a healthy splurge indeed!)
- 1 head of organic cauliflower
- 1 small block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
(.25 pounds or so, my biggest splurge on the list!)
- 3 pound bag frozen triple berry blend
(will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
- 2.87 pounds of broccoli crowns
- 1.17 pounds of organic bananas
(will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
- 1.82 pounds of Grenache grapes
- 1 pound of Organic Girl Super Greens
- 1.5 pounds of parsnips
- .75 pounds of coconut flour
(will use in occasional treats after long runs)
- ,75 pounds of almond meal
(will use sparingly to make gluten free bread or occasional treats)
- 1 orange flesh honeydew melon (my favorite fruit!!)
This was my awesome dinner tonight, almost all of it made from the ingredients on my shopping list today from Whole Foods. It was a Diestel Turkey salad (2 1/2 slices), on a bed of Organic Girl Super Greens (dandelion, arugula, spinach mix), 2 hard boiled eggs, 1-2 Tbs grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, eggplant “croutons” and studded with about 1/2 cup of organic Grenache grapes. I don’t typically use dressing because the egg and cheese make everything so flavorful I don’t need it. 🙂
As far as the running goes, I have an app called Runkeeper to log my daily mileage. Here’s a look at my run this past Sunday. I wanted to put in a long run on the roads because I had not done one in a while. I was even wondering if I could make it past 10 miles! Followed by the map are my mile splits:
1 mi: 9:05
+12 ft elevation climb
2 mi: 9:07 +1 ft elevation climb
3 mi: 9:01 -10 ft elevation loss
4 mi: 9:18 -3 ft elevation loss
5 mi: 8:44 -18 ft elevation loss
(water stop at 5.25 miles)
6 mi: 8:59 +23 ft elevation climb
(ran kinda through the mall and through the tunnel into Old Sac… AWESOME)
7 mi: 8:09 +15 ft elevation climb
8 mi: 8:20 -5ft elevation loss
9 mi: 8:35: +4ft elevation climb
(water stop around 9 miles)
10 mi: 8:36 -3ft elevation loss
11 mi: 8:47 +4ft elevation climb
12 mi: (last .24 of my run in front of the Sacramento Zoo) 9:38 -8ft elevation loss
I am planning on running a short race the first weekend of October, but otherwise will mostly be concentrating on building my road tolerance and endurance.
If you would like to check out my profile and my running on Runkeeper, click here.
Look for another post using my groceries from Whole Foods, coming this week and more on my training as well!
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! 🙂
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:
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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:
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
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
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.” 😛
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.
1 avocado, mashed
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.
If you’d like to see Juli herself prepare the above recipe, her video tutorial is below:
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)
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. 🙂
If you never make anything else from this website, make this recipe. It is a spin on an old recipe I used to make called “crack bread”. I call it that because it will turn you into an addict. 😉 If you don’t mind eating wheat or sugar, you can look up & make the old recipe here. If you’re ready to have an amazing Primal-friendly meal, (with way less calories) read on:
I came up with the old recipe after tasting an appetizer called Billy Blue Bread at The Owl Grill in Grass Valley. It’s still on the menu there, but since I have cut wheat and sugar from my diet, I wouldn’t dare indulge. Instead, I tweaked my old recipe to make it gluten free and so that no added sugar is necessary! I even ditched the butter in the new recipe and replaced with with an onion “jam” of sorts. There’s so much flavor in the onion “jam”, you won’t miss the butter.
Special products I used in this recipe include Extra Virgin Olive Oil (everyday variety) made by California Olive Ranch and Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Artisan Flour Blend. I’d like to thank both companies for sending me product samples. If you want to be truly primal, you can leave out the gluten-free flour blend (it contains rice), but I recommend leaving it in the recipe to help give your bread a better texture. It’s a really great product.
Primal-Friendly Gluten-Free Bleu Cheese Pecan Bread with Balsamic Reduction
Before you begin, you’ll want to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and toast and chop your pecans so they are both ready to use. Also, if you don’t want to hassle with making a balsamic reduction, there are several you can buy to use instead.
For the Cauliflower Bread
2 heads of cauliflower
4 egg whites
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Artisan Flour Blend
1 Tbs California Olive Ranch Olive Oil
Prepare: Preheat oven to 375°. Cook cauliflower either by boiling it or microwaving until it is almost falling apart. Allow to cool and then place in a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower with the eggs until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the almond meal, the flour blend, and salt. Stir until completely blended and spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in oven until golden brown and bread has set completely. (About 30 minutes). While bread is in the oven, you can prepare the onion jam.
For the Onion Jam
3 large red onions
1-2 Tbs olive oil (I used California Ranch Olive Oil)
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Slice onions and sauté in 1-2 Tbs olive oil. Add the salt. When the onions turn translucent, add the balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking slowly until onions caramelize, then add the garlic at the end. Incorporate fully until the onions are cooked. This should take about the same time the bread will take to bake. When the onions are finished, allow to cool a bit and then place them in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it turns into a paste or “jam”. Set aside. At this point, the bread should be ready to remove from the oven. Now you’re ready to make the balsamic reduction.
For the Balsamic Reduction
2 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
In a saucepan, heat the vinegar until it is simmering and reduce it until it is the consistency of molasses. This will take about 20 minutes. You will be looking for something thick and viscous that will stick to the back of a spoon.
For the Finished Product
3/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Keep oven temperature at 375°.
Spread the onion jam over the bread, and top with 3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese crumbles, then sprinkle the pecans over that.
Place bread back in oven, and bake for 10 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Then, drizzle the reduction over the bread. Serve immediately with a big glass of merlot! 🙂 Also, I really enjoy dipping the bread in the Arbequena variety of oil that California Olive Ranch makes.
Today’s recipe is from The New York Times Wine Club website and was brought to you by the makers of Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We were introduced to Tazah at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Andy coordinated the product sample at the show, picked the monkfish recipe, and even prepared it for us. I didn’t have to do anything but smile and pose with the bottle of Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Sometimes I have it pretty easy. The recipe is fantastic and Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil is versatile enough to use in a recipe and also use in a salad dressing (which we also did the very same evening).
One of the photos is the monkfish with the marinade, and the finished plate includes one of our favorite sides: parsnip chips, sautéed eggplant (both prepared with Tazah Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and a garnish of kiwi. I was really impressed with Andy’s cooking (he’s above average to start, especially when preparing meat, but this time was a real treat!!). The meal turned out so great! The flavor component that is key is the orange zest. It really amplifies the flavor of the sauce.
To make this recipe completely paleo you can use coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce.
Grilled Monkfish Medallions with Mustard
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 thick slices of monkfish, each about 6 ounces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 orange
Combine the mustard, orange juice and soy sauce with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Beat well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place monkfish in a glass or ceramic dish and pour 6 tablespoons of mustard mixture over fish, turning each piece to coat both sides. Set aside at room temperature.
Preheat a grill or broiler.
While the grill is preheating, place the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Stir in the grated orange zest and the remaining mustard mixture. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Grill or broil the monkfish 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Briefly reheat the sauce to a simmer, stir it and spoon it over the fish.
For more information on Tazah, you can call (323) 664-8956 and find them on Facebook here.
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!! 😉
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!
For our first seafood & vegetable dinner this weekend, I made stuffed mushrooms and used three different products I picked up or were sent to me from vendors at the San Francisco Winter Fancy Food Show.
Redwood Hill Farm sent me three different products to taste, and one of them was a goat milk cheddar cheese. I was instantly intrigued because I love cheddar cheese. I had bought a few dozen crimini mushrooms earlier in the week, and needed to use them. So, I thought I could use the cheese somehow to make stuffed mushrooms. Another important element I used was a gluten-free seasoned coating mix from Hodgson Mill I also brought home from the food show. The final result was amazingly good, and I didn’t even use any eggs as a binder. Andy sautéed some shrimp (a wonderful departure from red meat) and I made a big salad to round out the meal.
My recipe for the stuffed mushrooms is below. I’d like to thank Redwood Hill Farms for the cheese samples and for the coupons for some of their other products that were sent to me.
Stuffed Mushrooms with Redwood Hill Farms Goat Milk Cheddar Cheese
12 medium to large crimini mushrooms
1 diced onion
2 Tbs crushed garlic
1/3 cup almond meal
1/2 block of Redwood Hill Farms Goat Milk Cheddar Cheese (finely grated)
1/4 cup Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Seasoned Coating Mix
2 Tbs Karoun Dairy Lite Kefir Cheese (Labne)
1 Tbs olive oil or butter
cracked pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 385°F. Remove stems from mushrooms and chop finely. Lightly oil a 13×9 pan and place mushroom caps gill side down on the pan. Roast the mushrooms while you are preparing the stuffing filling (10 minutes once oven has come to temperature.)
Then heat a pan with your oil of choice and sauté the onion with the mushroom stems. You probably won’t need any salt in this dish because the seasoning mix and the cheeses are salty enough on their own. Cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have cooked through. At this point, the mushroom caps should be ready to take out of the oven. Remove the caps from the oven and flip them over, allowing them to cool as you prepare the rest of the mushroom filling.
Add the crushed garlic, almond meal and the seasoned coating mix to the mushroom stem/onion mixture and coat evenly. Then add the kefir cheese and stir until well combined. Lastly add about 3/4 of the shredded goat milk cheddar (save 1/4 of it to top the mushrooms once they’ve been filled). Add a little bit of cracked pepper to your mushroom filling and then fill the caps. I find it is easier to pick up the caps and scoop filling into them rather than trying to fill them with a spoon. Then once I have scooped some filling into a cap, I dip it into the extra shredded cheese so that the cheese sticks to the top of the mushroom rather than a bunch of cheese ending up on the pan.
Once you have filled the mushrooms and topped them with cheese, return the pan to the oven and bake at 385°F for about 25 minutes. The cheese will turn a nice golden brown on top and the mushrooms will develop an even more roasted flavor. I was so happy with the way they turned out and I hope you will give them a try!
For some fun cheese and wine pairings, you can go to Redwood Hill Farms’ website here.
Last night, Andy came over to my house and I made Indian food for the first time. Chicken korma is one of my favorite Indian dishes and I don’t know why it took me this long to make it for him. It’s got a subtle heat that slowly builds. While we were eating, Andy told me it was one of the top 5 things I have ever made for him. Maybe he just wanted something from me after dinner? 😉
Enjoy this dish with a sauvignon blanc or viogier from Casque Wines (Loomis). Today and tomorrow they are participating in the Holiday in the Hills Event at their new tasting room at the Flower Farm – 8920 Horseshoe Bar Road – offering food and wine pairings throughout the weekend along with a logo glass or cloth wine gift bag for all customers that purchase wine. Just bring a new, unwrapped child’s toy to donate for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Toy Drive and wine tasting at ALL 17 participating wineries is FREE for the day. (Cash donations will also be accepted in lieu of a toy). Where: Auburn, Lincoln, Loomis, Newcastle. When: Dec. 8-9, 11 am to 5 pm. Participating Wineries: Bonitata • Casque • Ciotti • Cristaldi • Dono dal Cielo • Fawnridge • Green Family • Lone Buffalo • Mt. Vernon • PaZa • Pescatore • Popie • Rancho Roble • Rock Hill • Secret Ravine • Viña Castellano • Wise Villa
And now the recipe!
2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless, skinless and cut in half or thirds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup sweet onions, diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cardamom or 1 pod
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon water
1/3 cup golden raisins or currants
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh mint (leaves washed and coarsely chopped)
1/4 fresh cilantro (leaves washed and coarsely chopped)
Fresh black pepper
Toast and chop the walnuts. Set aside.
Heat a large heavy sauce pot over medium high burner and when hot add oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. It will probably take 2 batches to cook all of the chicken. Brown both sides and remove from the pan. Add more oil and repeat until all chicken is seared.
Remove chicken and add onions, carrots, ginger and garlic and sauté until lightly caramelized about 3-4 minutes in the left over fat. Lower heat and add spices. Cook until spices become very fragrant…make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot as you stir. Add broth, walnuts and the seared chicken. Bring to a boil then simmer gently until chicken is tender, approximatly 20 minutes. Mix together cornstarch and water. Whisk into simmering chicken. Return to a boil to thicken. Turn off heat, add raisins and stir in yogurt and herbs.
On the side, I made some parsnip chips and some potato wedges and sprinkled them with garam masala and sea salt. I also made some sautéed onions and eggplant, as well as broccoli battered in coconut & almond flour and baked to simulate some of the common deep fried Indian appetizers I crave. 😉
More on Casque Sauvignon Blanc (2011): It is $20 a bottle, and is their inaugural release for this varietal. The wine was cold fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel without being allowed to go through malolactic fermentation, and no oak aging was used. It’s a drink now wine and just proof of the talents of winemaker Kevin Stevenson. The wine went so well with the Chicken Korma, crisp enough to cool, cut through the kick in the dish.
You can find Casque Wines on Facebook here. Cheers! 🙂
A few weeks ago, Chevys Fresh Mex (no apostrophe, not my typo :)) hosted me and RB for dinner to introduce all of you to their updated menu choices that meet the nutritional guidelines of the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWellSM program. I asked them if we could take things a bit further and show cavegrrl.com readers that Paleo is possible at Chevy’s! Before I tell you about the new menu items for kids, I’ll show you our amazing Primal (I had cheese on my salad, so not completely Paleo) meal:
First up, we had the citrus-infused Ceviche Mixto. It was a combination of shrimp and calamari lightly cooked in lime and orange juices and infused with chile arbol and cilantro mixed with red onion and red bell peppers. Instead of the corn tortilla crisps, we opted for a bed of lettuce. That’s probably about the easiest tip I can give you. Just ask for your meal on lettuce instead of chips! 🙂
I ordered the Santa Fe Chopped Salad: A Mesquite-grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado, fire-roasted red peppers, crumbled bleu cheese served on hearts of romaine. I used salsa and avocado as my “dressing”.
RB had the Carne Asada with Shrimp Skewer: a chile-rubbed carne asada, mesquite-grilled to your liking, served on a bed of San Antonio veggies and topped with a fuego-spiced shrimp skewer. We asked for extra avocado and veggies instead of the side of rice.
Paleo/Primal can definitely be done, as well as gluten-free, even at a major chain restaurant. Just make sure you tell your server or get a manager what you need. 🙂
As for the kids menu, that debuted on July 17th at Chevys Fresh Mex, Carlos Franco (executive chef for all Chevys locations) says, “These exciting new menu and promotional offerings underscore our ongoing pledge to making dining out a healthy, fun activity for kids and their families. In keeping with all Chevys fare, our entrees for kids incorporate exciting flavor profiles and only the freshest local ingredients.”
The National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program launched one year ago in collaboration with HealthyDining to help parents and children select healthful menu options when dining out. Restaurants like Chevys that participate in the voluntary program commit to offering healthful meal items for children, with a particular focus on increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium. Though the menu items are not Paleo, I like the healthier direction they take by serving grilled vegetables and apple wedges instead of deep-fried sides. Here are some of the new menu choices:
- Chicken Fajita with carrots, celery sticks and apple wedges (water for beverage)
- Soft Beef Taco (without cheese) with grilled veggies, and carrots and celery sticks ( apple juice for beverage)
- Soft Chicken Taco (with 1 tablespoon cheese), sweet corn tamalito, grilled veggies (pineapple juice for beverage)
In addition to making dining out healthier, Chevys also recently instituted new elements that make the restaurant experience more fun for kids, adding games like the Burrito Maze, Sabroso Mad Lib and Be the Artista; menu items such as Build Your Own Taco. The restaurant will also continue its Kids Eat Free promotion on Tuesdays, where guests receive one free under-12 kid’s meal with the purchase of one regular adult entrée.
Chevys Fresh Mex’s new kids’ menus and Tuesday Kids Eat Free promotions are available in all 42 company locations.
And now: The Giveaway!!
Chevy’s Fresh Mex has generously offered a “Be Our Guest” card to one of my readers.
The card is good for an entrée and a non-alcoholic beverage!
To enter to win the card, please comment below on the Chevys Mex menu item you would most like to try! I will announce a winner next Friday. 🙂
Happy Labor Day Weekend!!
A few weekends ago, Running Bum and I took a little trip to Mill Valley to poke around at some property he is interested in buying. I tagged along with him to run a race the next day. The race, the Marin Memorial 10K, is one of the fastest 10K courses in the area, but it’s still a really tough course. No PR, and I was definitely not running with “fun runners” that day.
For our pre-race meal, we dined at Piatti. And we kept it Primal. Since Piatti is one of my sponsors on cakegrrl.com and will be migrating to this site at the end of the month, I wanted to show my audience on this site what we had for dinner that evening–without touching wheat/pasta/grains/rice.
Our appetizer was the Kobe steak crudo, secret sauce, capers, and tiny arugula. The dish comes with crostini, but we politely asked the server to see if he could swap it out for something else. Instead of telling every server in the world we are Paleo, I simply just say, “we are gluten-free”, or “we are wheat-free”. Our appetizer was served, honoring our special request, with a small side Caesar salad. Perfect.
Next up, we split a chopped romaine salad with salami, chickpeas, olive, peppers, artichokes, and two cheeses. I don’t freak out about chickpeas, and enjoy them about once a month, so I love them on this salad. I ordered the dressing on the side, but to be honest, this salad has so many goodies on it, I didn’t even need dressing or my typical balsamic and olive oil blend.
For the entreés, he went for the cioppino and I the espresso crusted filet, served with bloomsdale savoy spinach, extra vegetables instead of the mashed potatoes, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, and aged balsamic. We ate everything family style, as I love to get RB’s input on things I plan to write about. (Sometimes he even writes for me!)
The cioppino is probably the best I have ever had. The chef did something magical with his addition of a small amount of sambuca to the broth. The stew was heavy on seafood and once again by request we were able to get some extra vegetables on the plate instead of the bread that is typically served with cioppino.
The espresso filet is something I liked so much, I am going to try and replicate it at home. The execution was flawless both presenation and cooking-wise (medium rare!!). I tried to share it with RB, but I think I downed most of it. 🙂
By the way, this meal is going down as one of the best since we have been together. Of course, the meal at Place Pigalle still ranks supreme, but this one rates top notch on service and food quality. It just doesn’t feel or look like a chain restaurant.
Another win was the wine we drank with our meal. Piatti has a selection of wines available on tap called Barrel-to-Table (Piatti’s revolutionary barrel-to-table wine program pours these wines through a custom tap and barrel system which eliminates oxidation and brings the wine directly to the table using the most environmentally sustainable technology – no corks, foils or bottles.) So, yes, I will take the wine hose for $1,000, Alex.
Indeed, I was intrigued, so we tried the Kemiji Pinot Noir (a Barrel-to-Table selection), because we both thought it would be the best compromise for a pairing between the cioppino and the filet–and it was! Instead of playing around with a mere glass or a 1/2 Liter, we went for the Big Gulp–a whole liter for $55. 😉
That evening, we stayed at Marin Hotel and Suites. We took advantage of an Amazon sale from a couple of weeks prior and got the room at a very steep discount. RB and I just love steep discounts. 🙂 It was a pretty good room for the price, equipped with a mini kitchen: a coffee pot, microwave, full-sized refrigerator, sink, and dining area. A bonus for me was that the room had a clock radio by the bed with an iPod dock and speakers…I took advantage of it, and plugged in my iPhone so I could blast Born and Raised. 😉
You can find Piatti Mill Valley on twitter here and the Sacramento location here. The Sacramento menu changes around, but you can typically find my favorite salad (the salad pictured above) on it. 🙂 You can find Piatti on Facebook here.
PS: At the Sacramento location, don’t miss the summer music series every Friday night (hello, live music on the patio!) and the $10 wine list on Saturdays. 🙂
This past weekend, I needed to make something to bring to a birthday party for a good friend of mine. Since Saturday was packed full of fun activities (including 7.5 miles of running, a tour of the Roush Residence hosted by Sac Mod, and a “wine-by” of Raley’s Grape Escape), I didn’t have a big block of time to spend on the dish. Still, I wanted to bring something that looked inviting and would stand out on a potluck table. Something that would look and taste like I spent more time than I did ;), and something light that would pair well with the hot weather.
Of course, I never follow a recipe exactly, so I changed up a few things. Also, it’s not completely Paleo since there is cheese in the dish, but cheese is my little cheat.
Here’s my version:
2 Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
2 organic tomatoes, sliced
4 Tablespoons cilantro (finely chopped)
1/2 cup Casero cheese (crumbled like bleu cheese)
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbs olive oil
cracked black pepper
When you are prepping the avocados, squeeze some lime juice over them after you slice them to prevent them from browning. To prepare the salad, pretend you are making a lasagna or moussaka. You will have enough ingredients to make two layers.
Layer the bottom of a 9×13 in. baking dish with both kinds of tomatoes and one of the sliced avocados, then drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil over the layer. Add half of the cilantro over that, followed by half of the cheese crumbles. Then sprinkle half of the cumin and then crack some pepper over that. You won’t need salt because the cheese will be salty enough to season the salad. Repeat the process to form the top layer.
Make this salad within a few hours before you plan to serve it, or right before you plan to serve it, if possible. Organic tomatoes and avocados taste amazing, but their lifespan is extremely short. 🙂