Food & Recipes

Roast, Poach, Stack, and Plate

September 2, 2013

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I’ve been pretty uninspired in the kitchen lately. I’d like to blame it on the heat, a lack of energy, or a lack of time… but the truth is I just haven’t put much effort or priority behind finding new Paleo & pescatarian-friendly recipes, gathering ingredients, and trying something new. But if I’ve learned anything about cooking it is the more you put into it, the more you get out of it – as is the case for most things in life.

If I had to sum up what we typically eat in a day it looks like this:
Sweet potato hash + eggs for breakfast
• Greek yogurt + banana for lunch (or leftovers from dinner)
• Apple + almond butter for a snack
• Fish + veggies for dinner
– Tilapia and bell peppers
– Salmon and broccoli
– Salmon and red cabbage
– Smoked salmon and cucumber / avocado stacks

So yesterday, Jeremy and I were on our typical Sunday grocery run and I started throwing new ingredients in our basket. Portobello mushroom caps, eggplant, spaghetti squash, and bunches of basil were filling my basket. There was no room in our cart for the usual suspects.

When I got home and started to mentally prep for dinner I asked myself “What would Liz Fabry do?”, as I’ve recently been inspired by her Whole30 platings. In my mind Liz was saying “You just gotta roast it, poach it, throw some goat cheese on it, stack it, and plate it.” It’s like she was telepathically sharing with me her secret formula to making any meal awesome.

So that’s exactly what I did. I blended up some pesto (which was kind of a surprising fail in my Vitamix – I should have used the food processor), and roasted some portobello mushrooms. I filled the mushroom caps with goat cheese and added some poached eggs on top. I decided the bed of arugula needed a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ so I added sliced peach to the plate. If I had balsamic I would’ve reduced and drizzled that around the edges – but I made do with what I had. The pesto turned brown before I could get my camera in order for these photographs but I was proud of the beautiful, tasty, and different meal I had made. Jeremy was impressed too – I told him it was purely hormonal – that I was trying to persuade him to stick around, to hunt oxen and protect our family from saber toothed tigers, with beautiful plates of food.

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Here’s a list of foodie blogs that have me feeling inspired lately:
Salt & Smoke – my college friend, Chris, FINALLY started a food blog! I pretty much don’t eat any of the stuff he makes (gluten and meat and whatnot) but his dedication and detail to food and combinations of simple ingredients is beyond inspiring. Check out his Instagram account too. 
My New Roots is a plant-based food blog that I love to look at.
Orangette – I love the way Molly writes about life and food as if the two are entirely inseparable (because they are!). I also love the way she is super unfussy about capturing polaroids or phone snaps of her kitchen creations.

What are your secrets to staying motivated in the kitchen? What are you favorite food blogs?

Kitchen Sink Frittata

July 16, 2013

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When I’ve got a bunch of random ingredients on hand and am feeling lazy or uninspired the frittata is my go-to. But it always surprises me with it’s tastiness and I think “damn, why don’t I make this more often?”

The recipe is easy and always follows this combo:
veggies + meat (if you roll that way) + olive oil + 4-6 eggs + spices
Pictured above is: onion, green beans, smoked salmon, eggs, fresh dill, salt, pepper

Heat a healthy drizzle of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium-low. Pre-heat your oven to 425F. Cook your veggies. In a bowl scramble your eggs (I usually use 5-6 but my local eggs usually run small). When the veggies are cooked  pour your scrambled egg mixture on top and add spices. At this point you could also top with a little bit of cheese (I recommend crumbled goat cheese) if you’re into that. DO NOT STIR. As tempting as it may be, stirring will destroy your frittata. Once the eggs have pretty much set around the edges stick in the hot oven for 4 minutes.

Serves 2-4 people. Paleo and gluten-free.

A Blueberry Tart

April 16, 2013

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On Sunday nights we have our friends Claire and Bryce over for dinner and a Game of Thrones watch party. Between the four of us we’re a picky bunch to feed. Jeremy and I are mostly Paleo. Claire and Bryce are mostly vegan. Sometimes we’re all eating fish. Sometimes not. Sometimes we’re really into the idea of a smorgasbord of cheese. Sometimes not. Sometimes Claire isn’t eating sugar (including fruits and root veggies). Sometimes we’re not eating at all.

So yeah. We’re those people. But at least we’re those people together. Coordinating dinner can be a challenge but it always promises to be a feast. Claire is not only a juice cleansing guru but also an amazing cook with a background in plant based and raw food – last week she brought over some vegan pho with poached Alaskan black cod. This week she brought some build your own pizza fixins’ complete with a raw vegan dough made from pecans and flax (it was amazing). Simply providing the wine doesn’t work with this crew (because sometimes we’re all alcohol free) – so this week I decided to step it up and make a dessert that would parallel the quality of Claire’s main course.
I settled on a grain-free / gluten-free blueberry tart. It was almost vegan and almost Paleo but sometimes a little bit of honey with a dollop of Greek yogurt makes everything taste so much better.

A Blueberry Tart 
Total cooking + cooling time: 2ish hours 
Yields: 4 small tarts 

For the Crust:
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup almond meal
1 tbs. coconut oil (melted)
1/2 tbs. flax oil
1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes
Pinch of salt

For the Filling:
4 cups of blueberries (I used frozen – they worked out perfectly)
1/2 cup water
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs. Arrow Root
2 tbs. Water
1/4 cup Honey*
1/4 cup Greek yogurt*

*You could used soaked and chopped dates instead of honey and omit the greek yogurt to make this vegan & paleo.

Directions:
Make the crust first by heating your oven to 350F. Combine the sliced almonds, almond flour, shredded coconut, salt, and melted coconut oil in a food processor using the S blade. The dough will look crumbly but should stick together if you pinch it with your fingers. Spread it in the bottom of your tart pans using your hands to pack it into the bottom and along the sides of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes – just until the edges of the crust are beginning to brown. Let cool for an hour on a cooling rack. 

For the filling – in a small saucepan bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil. Add 2 cups of blueberries. Let them boil and breakdown for about 5 minutes. Bring down to a simmer. Mix 2 tbs. of the arrowroot flour / starch with 2 tbs. of water in a small bowl. Set aside. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey to the blueberries. Slowly stir in the diluted arrowroot mix. Cook at a simmer for 30-60 seconds until the blueberries thicken (like pie filling). Remove from heat and stir in 2 more cups of blueberries. Fill your tart pans with the blueberry mixture. 

Let cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours until cooled. Top with greek yogurt and some lemon zest for garnish. 

Rustic Banana Muffins

March 26, 2013

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I don’t have super awesome memories of my mom’s cooking growing up. I was a picky eater who pretty much lived on chicken nuggets, Cheetos and chocolate milk. Plus, both my parents worked full time so slaving over dinner after a long day of work just wasn’t a priority. My mom would throw together something like pigs in a blanket or Rice-A-Roni and we’d all eat together in front of All My Children on the VCR. One of our favorite dinners was mac and cheese from the box – but my mom would make it extra special by adding real cheese, that she’d shred herself, to the mix. So, okay, maybe I do have fond memories of my mom’s cooking – but it certainly wasn’t Pinterest-worthy.

That said, I do have especially fond memories of my mom’s baking. Chocolate chip cookies (she mastered that Tollhouse recipe), lemon merengue pie, sugar cookies, oatmeal lace cookies, German pancakes, drop biscuits (which I insisted she make them from scratch even when the out-of-the-can kind came on the market) and finally, banana bread. We’d go through these phases, and still do, where we’d bake one kind of treat every weekend until we completely burned ourselves out… banana bread seemed to make it into the rotation every six months or so.

I’m going through a banana bread phase right now. But since going mostly paleo, sugar-free, and gluten-free my mom’s bomb-ass recipe full of refined sugar and bleached flour is out of the question. This recipe is based off of the last banana bread recipe I posted  – but I’ve modified it even more since last time to be completely grain free and sugar free. I also made these muffins and I love how they’re a little rough around the edges like drop biscuits.

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Rustic Banana Muffins (Gluten-free and Sugar-free)
6 very ripe small bananas, mashed
6 tbs. coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup full fat greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 tbs finely grated ginger root
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 bar dark chocolate, chopped (I use 88% dark chocolate)

Preheat your oven to 350F. 

Mix all your dry ingredients together in a large bowl (almond & coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt, dark chocolate). Then blend all your wet ingredients together in a stand mixer (bananas, oil, yogurt, eggs, ginger root, vanilla extract). Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until all the flour is incorporated and not a second longer. 

Prep a muffin tin by oiling the bottoms and edges of the muffin cups. Drop large spoonfuls of the banana bread mix into the muffin cups. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the muffins cool almost completely in the muffin tin on a cooling rack before attempting to pry the muffins out. But you can totally eat one with a fork straight out of the pan if you can’t wait to get the muffin in your face (I couldn’t). 

Yields 12 muffins. 

NOTE: If you eat sugar these will not be sweet at all. If you would prefer them to taste more like dessert add 1/2 cup of maple syrup to the wet ingredients when baking. 

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