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Showing posts with label gluten free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gluten free. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Maple Bourbon Chocolate Ganache Tart with Salted Hazelnut Crust, Vegan, Paleo, and Gluten-Free


This may be one of the best desserts I have ever made. It is complex and perfectly balanced with a salted hazelnut crust and a creamy maple, bourbon chocolate ganache filling.

The crust has a similar texture to graham cracker crusts and the filling is richly dense while remaining easily sliceable. The tart is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and paleo.


I recommend it for an adults-only crowd, or reduce or omit the alcohol for younger palates. My kids enjoyed a few bites before announcing that there was something strange about it. I admitted to possibly adding a splash of bourbon. Possibly.

“It was on the shelf,” I said. “It was calling me.” 

“You should have resisted the temptation,” Brad said, pushing his pie away. “See how well it worked out for Adam and Eve?”

Good point. 

Rich helped himself to the rest of Brad’s pie.


In my defense, bourbon has as much alcohol as vanilla extract does. Actually, vanilla extract is bourbon, primarily. So, if you put vanilla in your desserts, why not bourbon? I rest my case. In any case, more pie for me.  

Make sure to use a good quality unsweetened chocolate. I prefer Guittard Unsweetened Chocolate Gourmet Baking Bars because they are Certified Fair Trade and has a deep chocolate flavor with floral and spice notes. 

Maple Bourbon Chocolate Ganache Tart with Salted Hazelnut Crust

Serves 12


For the crust:


2 cups (about 200 grams) ground hazelnuts
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons palm shortening or vegan butter, melted


For the filling:

¾ cup coconut cream, divided
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, divided
Pinch sea salt
6 ounces 100% cacao chocolate, such as Guittard, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons bourbon, optional  

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the hazelnuts, sugar, and sea salt. Drizzle in the melted butter or shortening and vanilla extract. Stir to mix thoroughly.
  3. Press the mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. 
  4. Place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.


To make the filling:

  1. Bring ½ cup of the coconut cream, maple syrup, vanilla, sea salt, and bourbon to a simmer in a small sauce pan. Remove from the heat. 
  2. Stir in the chocolate with a spatula and then allow to rest for 5 minutes. Stir again until the chocolate is melted.
  3. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup of coconut cream to cool the mixture.
  4. Pour into the prepared tart shell and refrigerate until set, 2 to 3 hours.




Nutrition Information:
Hazelnut Bourbon Maple Chocolate Torte, 12 servings
Per slice: Calories 273, Fat 23, Protein 5, Carbohydrates 17 (Sugars 10), Fiber 4

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage and Hazelnuts


In the Christmas movie The Family Man, Jack, played by Nicholas Cage, gets a glimpse of the life he rejected. On Christmas Eve, he is transported from his investment banking, Ferrari-driving, single malt Scotch drinking life in New York City to his college girlfriend, the family he never had, and a broken minivan in suburban New Jersey.

New Jersey, Kate.

Every time I watch the movie, I'm know I'm supposed to think about how rich the simple life is with dirty diapers and barking dogs and friends who wear bowling shirts.

I don't.

I imagine life in a high rise, attending the opera, wearing black dresses that aren't made of jersey knit, and drinking wine that isn't sold by the glass. I am a bad person. 



During his glimpse at what his life could have looked like, Jack takes his wife, played by Tea Leoni, to dinner in the city. As he brings a bite of food to his lips, he closes his eyes and says, "God, I miss that taste!"

That is how I feel about this pasta, especially these roasted butternut squash ravioli with sage, toasted hazelnuts, and nutty brown butter. After five years of being gluten free I have missed the taste of fresh pasta. Last month, I developed a recipe for homemade gluten-free, paleo pasta that fulfills all of my pasta lusts. It is tender, chewy, and perfectly delicate. 

That said, it is temperamental. (Read: I pay the swear jar at least a dollar before I even get started.) But, I try to remind myself that making fresh pasta, even with wheat flour, requires patience and sensitivity. You can't rush the process. It is a labor of love

But once I take that first bite, I realize it is worth every ounce of effort. Hence, I've made the recipe at least once a week in the month since developing it. Tonight, I'm using this pasta dough to make celeraic and chevre fennel agnolotti with brown butter parsley pesto and shiitakes from Local Milk Blog.


Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage and Hazelnuts 

Serves 4
 
Filling
1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds and strings removed
1 teaspoon roasted garlic
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper  

Pasta Dough 
3/4 cup tapioca starch (100 grams), plus more for dusting 
3/4 cup almond flour (90 grams)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
3 large eggs, divided

3 tablespoons ghee  
1 sprig fresh sage, minced
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts

Filling 
1. To make the filling, preheat the oven to 400F. Place the butternut squash in a roasting dish. Roast uncovered for 1 hour, or until the flesh is tender. 

2. When it is cool enough to handle, scoop the butternut squash flesh into a small mixing bowl. You should have about 2 cups.

3. Stir in the roasted garlic and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Set the filling aside. You can complete this step a day ahead of time if you wish. 


Pasta Dough
1. To make the pasta dough, Mix the tapioca starch, almond flour, sea salt, and guar gum in a small mixing bowl. 

2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 2 eggs. Use a spatula to stir it around, slowly incorporating the flours until the dough comes together into a ball. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and dust lightly with tapioca starch.

3.  Divide the dough into four to six pieces and cover all but one with a towel or plastic so that they do not dry out. Knead one of the dough pieces with your hand and flatten until it is about 1/4-inch thick.

4. Set the pasta maker to the first setting, #1, which is the widest. Run the dough through the machine twice. If it tears, fold it back onto itself and run it through again. If it sticks, dust lightly with tapioca starch.

5. Set the pasta maker to the next setting, #2, and run the pasta dough through it twice. Reduce the setting again to #3 and run the dough through twice. You can stop at this setting for a slightly thicker noodle, or drop the setting to #4 and run it through twice more.

6. Make two pieces of dough into sheets and lay them side by side on the parchment paper.


7. Scoop the filling onto the dough by the tablespoon, spacing apart by about 1 1/2 inches between each bit of filling.

8. Whisk the remaining egg. Brush the egg lightly along the sheet of pasta with the filling. Carefully place the top sheet of pasta over the filling and press gently in between each lump of filling, then press along all other sides trying to prevent any air bubbles from remaining in each ravioli.

9. Use a sharp knife, pasta cutter, or ravioli stamp to cut each ravioli. Add the scraps to the remaining dough.

10. Repeat with the remaining filling and dough.



 To Cook and Serve
 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ravioli for 7 to 9 minutes. 

2. During the last 2 minutes of the ravioli cooking time, heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sage and hazelnuts and cook until fragrant.

3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked ravioli to the skillet and brown gently in the ghee. Season with salt and pepper.




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gluten-Free, Paleo Fresh Pasta


Since going gluten-free five years ago, I've missed the taste of fresh pasta, its perfect texture readily absorbing the flavors of heirloom tomato sauce, roasted garlic alfredo, or carbonara. After several unsuccessful attempts to make gluten-free pasta at home, I finally admitted defeat and sold my pasta machine. When I went paleo about three years ago, pasta of any sort became a distant memory. 

Recently I tried Cappello's gluten-free, grain-free pasta, and instantly fell in love with the tender, chewy texture. I did not fall in love with the price. At $11 a pop, it was a splurge - certainly not something I could put on our weekly menu. That was a bummer, because with Rich being pescatarian and me paleo, it's tough to find healthy meals that satisfy both of our dietary preferences without resorting to salmon every night.

I am thrilled to say, that is about to change. Pasta is back on the menu!

I created a gluten-free paleo pasta recipe that is easy to work with and tastes amazing. The ingredients are similar to Cappello's, but theirs is made "primarily with almond flour and cage-free eggs" according to their website whereas mine has a more traditional ratio of flours to eggs, with nearly equal parts tapioca starch and almond flour.

It make delicious lasagna noodles, fettucine, and ravioli. I've already made this recipe three times, including a Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with Ghee, Sage, and Toasted Oregon Hazelnuts (recipe to come).


You can make this recipe with a rolling pin and parchment paper. That is what I did to test the recipe before investing in another pasta maker (this is my third). The simple machine makes the task easier and yields a thinner noodle that holds up better to cooking. I bought mine at World Market for less than $40.

Tips for Making Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta:

  • Humidity affects the dough. If you're making it on a rainy day or you live in an environment with high humidity, you may need to add just a touch more tapioca flour. 
  • Unlike pasta dough made with gluten, this dough does not tolerate stretching. It should not be draped over a dowel to dry and should be carefully hand-fed into the pasta maker. Actually, this reality makes working with the dough using a rolling pin easier. 
  • Be patient. The first time you make the dough, you may find it temperamental. Make sure you have enough time and energy to focus. (Definitely don't drag out your SLR camera on the first try!)  

Gluten-Free, Paleo Fresh Pasta Recipe

Yields 2 servings

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (50 grams), plus more for dusting 
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour (45 grams)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon guar gum
1 large egg

1. Mix the tapioca starch, almond flour, sea salt, and guar gum in a small mixing bowl.

2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg. Use a spatula to stir it around, slowly incorporating the flours until the dough comes together into a ball. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and dust lightly with tapioca starch.


 3. Divide the dough into four to six pieces and cover all but one with a towel or plastic so that they do not dry out. Flatten one of the dough pieces with your hand or a rolling pin until it is about 1/4-inch thick.

4. Set the pasta maker to the first setting, #1, which is the widest. Run the dough through the machine twice. If it tears, fold it back onto itself and run it through again. If it sticks, dust lightly with tapioca starch.

5. Set the pasta maker to the next setting, #2, and run the pasta dough through it twice. Reduce the setting again to #3 and run the dough through twice. You can stop at this setting for a slightly thicker noodle, or drop the setting to #4 and run it through twice more. That is the setting I used in the photographs here.



6. Dust the pasta sheet with tapioca starch. This will help prevent the noodles from sticking to one another once they are cut. 

7. Attach the fettucine attachment to the pasta maker and re-attach the hand crank to the attachment. Carefully feed the flattened dough through to cut the sheet into individual noodles.


8. Lay the pasta onto the parchment sheet and allow to rest while you repeat steps 4 through 7 with the remaining dough. Be careful not to incorporate too much tapioca starch into the dough as you process it.


9. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Carefully slide the noodles from the parchment paper into the boiling water and quickly stir with a pasta spoon. Set a timer for 90 seconds. Stir once or twice if the noodles are sticking to one another or to the bottom of the pot.

10. Drain in a colander and transfer the noodles to the sauce or serving dish.

 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chewy Vegan Gluten-Free Brownies


Last night after a full day of surfing and our weekly family grill night, Rich said he was craving brownies. I love having a stocked pantry that allows me to whip up whatever sounds yummy at the moment. Good quality cocoa powder is a must. My favorite is Equal Exchange Baking Cocoa, which is fair trade and has such a profound impact on all of my baked goods. A baking cupboard full of gluten-free flours is helpful, too.

The foundation for this recipe came from my much loved (and smeared with lots of chocolate) copy of Babycakes by Erin McKenna. However, I changed the recipe substantially, skipping the applesauce, chocolate chips, and xanthan gum. I also used palm shortening instead of coconut oil and used brown sugar in place of white sugar because the complexity of brown sugar complements chocolate so beautifully, which I learned about 10 years ago from Nigella Lawson in How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

These brownies are crispy on the edges and decadently chewy on the inside. We ate them straight out of the pan while they were still so hot they burned our mouths and crumbled everywhere. Hey, surfing burns a lot of calories. We were hungry! They are even better once they cool off a bit.

Yields 15 small squares 
1 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar* or coconut palm sugar  
2 teaspoons double-acting, aluminum free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup palm shortening
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon powdered sugar* (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 6x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine the garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. 
  3. Add the palm shortening, vanilla extract, and hot water and stir until just combined. 
  4. Spread the mixture into the baking dish and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 27 minutes. The top will still be slightly jiggly. 
  5. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before sifting powdered sugar over the top, slicing and serving. 

*Note: If you are vegan, look for a vegan brown sugar and powdered sugar. Alternately, use coconut palm sugar and skip the powdered sugar.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Paleo Vegetarian Pot Pie




Chicken pot pie combines everything wonderful about fall and winter into one dish – thick and savory broth, moist dark meat chicken, and sweet peas and carrots enveloped in a buttery pastry. For my family, however, it combines all of the things we cannot or choose not to eat, wheat, dairy, and meat (Rich has been a vegetarian since before I met him). 

For years, I’ve looked at chicken pot pie longingly, wishing I could adapt it to all of our dietary preferences. I finally decided to tackle it an am so glad I did. Here’s what I learned:

First, individual serving dishes allow you to tailor each one to suit each person’s taste. Chicken for me and the kids. Freshly ground pepper for me and Rich. 

Second, the best thing about many meaty dishes is the sauce or other flavors you add to it. Chicken pot pie is no different. Capture the essence of the dish and it’s a win! 


This version is both paleo and can be vegetarian (simply leave out the chicken or replace it with diced mushrooms), which means it’s also dairy free (use palm shortening instead of butter) and gluten free.

Serves 4 

2 cups blanched almond flour
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 medium egg, whisked
1 tablespoon ice water
2 tablespoons butter or palm shortening 

1 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
3 carrots, sliced
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken, optional
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
½ teaspoon sea salt 

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Coat the interior of four 2-cup ramekins with butter or palm shortening. 

2. To make the pastry, combine the almond flour, tapioca starch, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times just to combine. Add the egg and ice water and process until thoroughly integrated. Add the butter or palm shortening and pulse a few times, allowing small bits to remain. 

3. Remove the dough, place on a sheet of parchment paper and top with a second sheet. Roll the dough out between the sheets. Fold the dough in thirds, as if folding a business letter, and roll out again. If it seems sticky, slide it onto a sheet pan and place in the freezer for 5 minutes. 


4. Turn a ramekin upside down on the pastry dough to trace a circle around it with a sharp knife. You will need to re-roll the dough for the final circle. Allow the pastry to rest in the refrigerator while you get on with the filling. 

5. Combine the tapioca starch and 3 tablespoons of the vegetable broth in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining vegetable broth. Add the vegetables, thyme, and sea salt. If using chicken, add it now. Divide the mixture between the ramekins. 


6. If you have little ones, use two 6-ounce ramekins instead of one of the larger ones so each kiddo gets his or her own portion.


7. Top each ramekin with pastry and press the edges down to create a seal. Pierce the top with a sharp knife a few times to allow steam to escape. 

8. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

BBQ Chicken Pizza


I have the slightest obsession with the show Chopped on Food Network. Contestants, most of them professional chefs, receive a basket of mystery ingredients and have to transform them into an appetizer, entree, or dessert within 20 to 30 minutes.

That's pretty much how I feel every time I open my refrigerator to prepare dinner on the last day before I go grocery shopping.

Tonight I had some leftovers that needed to be put to good use: roasted chicken and potatoes, caramelized onions, and a half bottle of Cabernet. I also had a handful of fresh rosemary that Cole picked from our neighbor's yard. I feigned frustration. Want me to carry that home for you darling?

Have I mentioned how much I love California? Food grows everywhere here!

So this is what I came up with, a gluten-free pizza crust slathered in a Cabernet reduction barbecue sauce and topped with roasted chicken, sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, and fresh rosemary. It is lovely without cheese, but it would be absolutely epic with fontina.

As I ate it, I imagined Chris Santos saying it was the best bite he had enjoyed all day. Hey, a girl can dream. 

Yields 1 pizza

1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cabernet
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

1 gluten-free pizza crust*

1 cup cooked chicken, roughly chopped
1 cooked potato, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup caramelized onion (from about half an onion)

*I prepared my pizza crust from scratch from the cookbook Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annalise G Roberts. It is my go-to for gluten free baking recipes.

  1. To make the barbecue sauce, cook the onion and garlic in olive oil with a pinch of salt over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until soft. Add the wine and cook down until almost completely reduced. Add all of the remaining ingredients and cook for another two minutes until the flavors come together. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Ladle the barbecue sauce over the pizza crust . Top with the chicken, potato, onion, cheese (if using), and rosemary.
  3. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese has melted.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Roasted Asparagus with Crisp Fried Peel



I have long appreciated the "nose to tail" way of thinking about cooking animals. It is so honoring to the life of the animal to raise it sustainably, harvest it humanely, and then use every potion, wasting little or none.

Now chefs are talking about a similarly beautiful concept, "root to stalk", which utilizes all edible portions of the plant in cooking. I first heard about it while reading the absolutely epic cookbook Manresa; An Edible Reflection, written by chef David Kinch of the Los Gatos restaurant Manresa.


I approached this spring's first bouquet of asparagus with this approach. Typically, I remove the woody ends of asparagus spears with a vegetable peeler and am left with a heap of thin but tough ribbons of the vegetable. This week, I tossed this pile in two batches into hot oil and fried it for about 90 seconds until crisp, drained it on a paper towel, and salted it. It provided a delightful textural contrast to the creamy first-harvest asparagus spears. I'm so excited to explore other root-to-stalk cooking methods.

serves 4

1 bunch asparagus
coconut oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
red wine vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. 
  2. If the ends are dry, remove a small segment from each asparagus spear. Peel the bottom two inches of each spear with a vegetable peeler. 
  3. Place the asparagus on a large square of parchment paper. Drizzle with coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Fold the parchment to form a small package, also referred to as en papillote. Roast for 20 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat about 1/2-inch of coconut oil in a sauce pan. When it is very hot, fry the asparagus peels in two or three batches, being sure not to crowd the pan. Use tongs to remove each batch, setting it on a paper towel to drain. Season generously with salt. Repeat until all of the peels are cooked.
  5. When the asparagus has finished cooking set it on a serving platter and sprinkle with red wine vinegar. Top with the fried peel and serve immediately. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Paleo Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt

Hello, darlings. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and if you're like me, you have no taste for cloying milk chocolate confections, never mind the roulette of trying to pick one from the box that isn't filled with orange cream.

You can of course purchase from an artisan chocolate maker, such as Moonstruck, a favorite in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Or you can make your own and choose only the flavors you love.

I opted for sea salt and cacao nib crusted and cinnamon-cayenne dusted truffles. The fillings are the same and are both paleo and vegan. They would be raw as well, but I use a roasted almond butter.

yields 2 dozen

1/2 cup roasted, salted almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup cacao nibs
sea salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch sea salt

  1. Combine the filling ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in a shallow dish in the refrigerator. Stir occasionally and chill until nearly set. The consistency should allow you to easily scoop and shape into balls.
  2. Remove the chocolate in one-teaspoon portions and use a pair of spoons to shape roughly into a ball. For the cacao nib and sea salt version, sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt and then roll in the cacao nibs. 
  3. Alternately, combine the cinnamon, cocoa, cayenne, and sea salt in a shallow dish and roll the truffles to coat. 
  4. You may need to pause mid-way through the process and chill for another few minutes. 
  5. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Almond Butter Cups


I made these yummy chocolate almond butter cups yesterday with no intention of putting them here on the blog (the recipe is based on Practical Paleo's primal fudge recipe) but I posted a picture to Instagram and received a lot of interest.

Halloween is tomorrow and I am that mom who doesn't take her children out to trick or treat, so I thought I should make something delicious for them that resembles one of my favorite candies, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. So here's a paleo version that's healthy enough for breakfast. What? No, of course I didn't feed it to them for breakfast this morning. Psshhh.

yields one dozen
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup creamy almond butter, divided
1/4 cup honey 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  1. Pour the coconut oil, 1/2 cup of almond butter, and the honey into a blender. Pulse to combine. 
  2. Add the cocoa powder and 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt. Blend until thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide about half of the mixture between 12 lined muffin cups. An easy way to do this is to use measuring spoons to dole out about 2 tablespoons per cup. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm slightly. 
  4. Divide the remaining almond butter between each of the chocolate cups. If you use a measuring spoon, it will be about 2 teaspoons. Sprinkle each with a small pinch of sea salt, then pour the remaining chocolate over the top. 
  5. Refrigerate until set, about 30 more minutes. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paleo Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Cinnamon Compote


I have heard it said that a pancake is a pancake, regardless of the ingredients. I understand the spirit behind this stance; if you try to recreate all of your favorite baked goods with paleo ingredients, you're missing the point, not to mention the myriad benefits, of embracing the lifestyle.

I get it, really, I do.

But, the statement rubs me the wrong way. First, pancakes made with almond flour and loaded with pastured eggs knock the socks off anything Bisquick could come up with. Just because they're poured in a skillet doesn't send your blood sugar skyrocketing and double you over with gut pain. (Now that would be some kitchen alchemy!)

Second, a primal lifestyle is not a list of rules but a framework, or as Mark Sisson calls it, a "blueprint."

Whatever, I'm going for it.

These pancakes are so fantastic as a weekend breakfast (I should know, we eat them every weekend) and they easily serve the four of us, though last weekend, I also cooked up a few pieces of bacon. I think the boys are growing... yeah, like for the next 15 years.

serves 4

2 ripe bananas
6 eggs
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch sea salt 
2 tablespoons potato starch*
1/2 cup blueberries
2-4 tablespoons palm shortening, coconut oil or ghee 
  1. Combine the bananas and eggs in a blender. Add the almond flour, soda, salt, and potato starch. Pulse a few times, then scrape down the sides and blend again.  
  2. Stir in the blueberries.  
  3. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat. Melt a teaspoon or two of fat in the pan, enough to coat. 
  4. Pour about 1/4-cup of the pancake batter into the pan. 
  5. Cook until small bubbles form, then using a thin metal spatula, carefully flip them. It will get easier with subsequent batches. 
 *Potato starch is a good source of resistant starch, but if you prefer to avoid it or don't have it in your pantry, you can use about 1 tablespoon of coconut flour.

Blueberry Cinnamon Compote
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or honey 
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until thick and fragrant.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Paleo Energy Bars



While some people choose the paleo diet for weight loss, many more choose the lifestyle for improved performance in sports and recreation. For the latter, getting enough calories from ancestral foods can be challenging. I mean, how many chicken thighs can you eat? Okay, don’t answer that one. The point is, nutrient and energy density are desirable when you’re expending a significant amount of calories in a CrossFit box, paddling out to the lineup, or wrestling with rambunctious kiddos.

Yesterday we took the boys up to Zuma to surf. The thing about surfing is that you don’t really feel like you’re exercising, but it burns through so much energy… especially if you spend more time paddling for waves than actually catching them.

Fortunately, I planned ahead and made these amazing paleo energy bars adapted from Dannielle Walker's Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great. By the way, this cookbook was instrumental in helping me transition to a grain and dairy free lifestyle. I highly recommend it.

The kids love these bars and they kept the hunger gremlins at bay until we got home and enjoyed salmon and kale salad for dinner.

Yields 12 bars
½ cup almond butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
½ cup raisins
¼ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
3 ounces roughly chopped dark chocolate, 80 percent cacao preferred

1. In a small saucepan, bring the almond butter, maple syrup, salt, and coconut oil to a gentle simmer. Stir until well combined. Remove from the heat.
2. Combine the nuts and raisins in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is roughly chopped and thoroughly integrated. Add the shredded coconut and pulse one or two more times.
3. Dump the nut and raisin mixture into a mixing bowl. Pour in the sweetened almond butter and stir to combine.
4. Add the chocolate pieces and stir just to combine. The residual heat of the almond butter mixture will slightly melt the chocolate, but should leave some pieces intact.


5. Dump the mixture into a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Use another sheet of parchment to press down on the mixture.
6. Place it into the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice into squares. Store in the refrigerator.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Loaded Paleo Nachos Recipe



Whenever I get really hungry and find myself tempted to indulge in something decidedly un-paleo, the first thing on my mind is loaded nachos. This kind of hunger doesn’t occur often; it’s only when I become too strict about my food choices—stressing about FODMAPs or nightshades, for example—that I end up consuming too little and become crazy hungry (read: stark raving “get out of my way kids, mommy is STARVING!” lunacy.)

It’s a challenging balance to strike when you adopt a primal lifestyle—eating the kinds of foods your body thrives on and eating enough of them to keep you thriving. However, the balance becomes easier as you find what foods are best for your body, discover recipes you enjoy, and find time-saving methods for preparing them. 

I'm slowly adding to my repertoire of paleo recipes and Juli Bauer's recipe for nachos from The Paleo Kitchen: Finding Primal Joy in Modern Cooking is good enough to make again and again. Here's my take on her version.

As a side note, I typically don't care whether something is vegan or not, but I do respect people who choose a vegan diet and am happy to offer recipes that please everyone. If you're sharing this meal with meatless friends, swap the chicken for black beans or simply skip it altogether. 

Loaded Paleo Nachos 
Serves 2 to 4 
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed
3 tablespoons coconut oil 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
16 ounces cooked chicken, diced 
1 cup guacamole
1 cup pico de gallo
1 cup homemade paleo barbecue sauce, see below
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the sweet potato in ultra thin slices with a good chef's knife or a mandoline.
  3. Toss the sweet potato slices together with the coconut oil and sea salt. 
  4. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet being sure not to overlap. You may have to roast them in batches. 
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. After the 10-minute mark, remove any that have browned and allow to rest on a cooling rack. Cook all of the sweet potatoes this way. 
  6. To serve, top the freshly-baked sweet potato chips with chicken, guacamole, pico de gallo, and barbecue sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately. 

Homemade Paleo Barbecue Sauce Recipe
yields  2 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 cup diced onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons brown mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
juice of 1 lime
  1. In a small sauce pan, cook the onion in oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly softened.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. 
  3. Pour in the tomato sauce, vinegar, spices, and salt. 
  4. Simmer on low for 15 minutes uncovered. 
  5. Finish with lime juice and adjust the seasonings. 
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