Protein. Lots and lots of protein. Welcome to my life for the past week. I’ve been stumbling around a bit with my diet of late. Perhaps too much coconut ice cream (for a while there I was rockin’ a whole little family of flavors in my freezer door) and not enough green veg and protein. A lovely way to subsist for sure until alas, that delicious frozen dessert while seeming to feed one’s soul, doesn’t necessarily spread the love to the rest of the body, resulting in my just feeling not so vibrant. The habit needed to be kicked – at least for a little while. However, saying that I will cut back on my tasty treat consumption is waaaaay easier than me actually cutting back on my tasty treat consumption, especially when Hail Mary macaroons stare at you in the face every time you open the fridge door (if you haven’t tried these little coconut gems of awesome – you should.) And so, I sought outside help via Heather Kelly and her OPENutrition seminar. (She’s great – granted she’s a rower, so I like her on principle, but you will too because she knows her stuff!) Two days and two 3 hour sessions, I was suddenly committing to a 5 week strict Paleo challenge minus nuts and fruits and coupled with a lean mass gain – jigga what?! Needed: yes. Shocking: also yes. Continue reading
Despite CO’s repeated attempts at a winter remix it does indeed appear to be spring. Boo ya! Although this does mean that from here on out I probably have no use for my favorite zippy hoody and long lulu pants. I love me some sunshine, but I miss layers in the summer. Layers are my jam. But anyways, with spring comes not only a change in my wardrobe but also in my cravings. I’m very much a land dweller in my eating style – hearty veggies and four-legged protein (maybe throw in two legs plus wings too…)– done. However, once it starts to warm up, my body begins to crave protein of the water dwelling variety to spice and lighten things up a bit. Upon consumption it feel less like that perfectly cozy sweater and more like that less is more sundress experience. While I raised some eyebrows at the Whole Foods checkout counter the other day for declaring that I am not a seasonal pumpkin consumer (I’m a loyal, annual supporter, and fall is just not a long enough season for everything pumpkin!) sometimes you have to hang up the meat stews and rock some fish cakes. Light, airy, and perfectly satisfying – welcome to springtime!
Ingredients: (makes 4 cakes – good for two people)
- 7.5 – 8 oz fresh salmon (if the fish guy is nice, ask him to remove the skin!)
- 1 lime
- fresh italian parsley (flat leaves – but don’t stress if there is only the curly kind…)
- 2-3 cloves shallots
- 2 eggs
- spices: salt, pepper, chipotle, sunny paris (the bomb spice blend from Penzey’s – don’t have it, just rock some onion powder and a spice combo you like – maybe a little dill…)
How it’s Done:
Remove the skin from your salmon if it’s still on your fish. Doesn’t have to be the prettiest job ever, so don’t stress too much – just get it apart one way or another (I cut my fish into smaller fillets and with sharp, short strokes slowly removed the meat from the skin – there was also some general yanking involved – no, it was not my most precise work by any means, and no, I’m not proud of it…) Once you’ve removed the skin, chop the salmon up into small, about ¼ inch pieces and place into a medium sized bowl.
Coarsely chop parsley – think midway between finely chopped and just pulling those leaves off the stem. Throw chopped parsley into bowl.
Finely chop shallots and add to bowl.
Zest your entire lime and add zest to bowl. Save your lime for later to squeeze over your finished cakes.
In a separate bowl, scramble eggs and then add to salmon mixture.
Finally add your spices. Truth – I did not prescribe amounts. I put about equal amounts in of all my spices, which was between several and many hearty shakes. More if wine consumption began during and not after the cooking process. Get a little crazy with those spice shakers. Let loose a little bit.
Mix everything together.
Two eggs should be fine, but take a gander at your mixture. Your salmon shouldn’t be floating willy nilly in your egg mixture, but there should be a good amount of egg “batter” to work with – if it’s looking super dry, just add in another egg.
Heat up a frying pan (cast iron is the bomb here) to medium – maybe flirting with medium high – heat. Throw a hearty spoonful of fat into said pan – both coconut oil and olive oil work great, but if you want to mix it up, get crazy with that fat!
Spoon about a ½ cup of “batter” into the per cake, and cook each cake for 3 minutes on each side.
Consume right away with a slice of lime. Why wait?!
These taste awesome with a simple salad. My sister whipped up a delish counterpart in an arugula salad with roasted walnuts (roast them – they taste 800x yummier in salad!) shaved fennel, and avo.
These can also kick butt for brunch. Or maybe made mini for some Paleo style appetizers. Enjoy!
I love when the universe aligns to allow great things to happen. In this case said alignment resulted in delicious little cups of awesomeness. Gotta love that! When one first begins eating and thus cooking Paleo, there can be the sad face response to delicious very non-Paleo things you encounter in the big, wide world of grains. However, once one begins to dabble in Paleo cooking, I’ve found this as my overwhelming reaction: Jigga Whaaaat: I can totally make that shit Paleo! As such, welcome to my weekend.
I sat down and turned on the tube, almost changed the channel from whatever random, food related show was on the cooking channel until I heard, “lasagna cupcakes.” First response: gross. Second response: curious. The more I watched, the more I desperately wanted to consume those televised goodies, and the more I wanted to consume them without my stomach telling me that I suck as its general overseer of happiness. Thus began the quest to make Paleo-fy Aarti Sequeira’s Lasagna Cupcakes. I kept the first part of her recipe the same because it totally rocks and is Paleo friendly, (you can find her original recipe here,) but I went in and did some serious tweaking with the rest. Actually, not so serious. Very easy and straightforward tweaking. I promise. I also have recently become OBBSESSED with making and consuming my own coconut butter a la Mark Sisson – aka: the man! Here is his recipe. I promise it’s like the easiest thing ever and totally worth it. This recipe has said coconut butter in it, but you can always just use straight-up cashews and I’m sure it will be marvelous.
Next step: start planning a party to celebrate your little meat cups! And then giggle. Just a little.
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 lbs Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
- ¼ c. tomato paste
- 1 (28 oz. can) crushed tomatoes
- ¼ c. chopped fresh basil
Cashew Coconut Cream Filling:
- ¾ c. raw cashews
- ½ c. coconut butter (check out link above for recipe, or rock some more cashews, or maybe some macadamia nuts…)
- 1/3 c. mango chutney (I had to scour WH a bit to find this, but make it happen, b/c it seriously makes this filling happen!)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 zucchinis (3 if they are tiny little guys)
- ¾ lbs proscuitto (proscuitto, while kick ass, can be a little pricey. Chicken deli meat can also totally work as your cups, it is just provides a little less of the salty, crispy pork experience…)
How it’s Done:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Soak cashews in a bowl of warm water (makes them easier to break down for the sauce.) Start coconut butter if you are going the homemade route (recipe above.) Technically, you may be better off making your coconut butter a few hours to way earlier in order to allow it to harden slightly, but I think you should still be ok making it as you go. Your filling will just be slightly runnier – still delicious though. You can also buy coconut butter, I just don’t like the taste as much – or you can use more cashews or perhaps macadamia nuts.
Start with the sauce. In a large pot heat up olive oil, and then add the cinnamon stick and cloves. Let these simmer for a little bit to allow them to open up – in the meantime, finely chop your onion. Add onion to the oil and spices along with a little bit of salt. Cook until it starts to become translucent. Chop garlic and add to the onion. Allow to cook for about 1 more minute. Fish out your cinnamon and cloves at this point before you lose them forever, and to prevent you from chomping down on a whole clove mid meal: less than ideal.
Remove your sausage from its casings. I cut it down the center; turn it inside out, and break it down with my fingers as I drop it into the pot. You just sort of need to go after it – aggressive sausage breakdown!
Continue to break the sausage apart with your stirring implement until it is in small chunks. Allow it to cook until it is no longer pink. Add your tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add your crushed tomatoes, chopped basil, and salt and pepper. Stir together and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes while prep your filling.
Put your cashews along with a tablespoon or two of water in your food processor and blend till they are almost completely smooth. Think just before nut butter texture. Add coconut butter and blend till combined. Scrape out your cashew/coconut mixture into a small mixing bowl. Add mango chutney allow with a hefty grinding of pepper. Combine.
And now we construct…
First lets prep our zucchini. If you have a mandolin, mandolin those squashes right down the middle to make long, thin slices. Then, cut eat long slice into about 1 ½ inch pieces (they should be just narrower than your muffin cups.) If you rdon’t have a mandolin I might rock first cutting the zuchinni into 1 ½ inch chunks short-ways, then cut each chunk into thin slices about 1/8 – ¼ inch thick.
Next: proscuitto. You are using each piece of proscuitto to line a muffin cup in order to create a base for your lasagna experience. Depending on the size of your proscuitto, you can go about this in several ways. When I had larger pieces from the butcher I used the whole piece and wrapped it around the cup. When I had slightly smaller and thicker pieces from a pack, I cut them in half and crossed them in the bottom of the cup. Both worked. And don’t stress if they’re not perfect – they will still be super neat and delicious. Breath!
Once the proscuitto is down, spoon a small amount of sauce in each cup (about 2, maybe 3 Tbs.) Top sauce with a small scoop of your cashew/coconut cream (about a tsp.) Then top with a piece of zucchini. Layer one: done! Repeat the above process one more time: meat sauce, cream, zucchini. Finally drizzle, or rock the spray can, olive oil over each cup, and top with salt and pepper. Boom!
Cook the cups for 25-30 minutes, or until the zucchini starts to soften on the top.
Pair with a yummy salad (I did arugula, avo, strawberries, olive oil, and balsamic,) and enjoy those happy little cups of deliciousness!
*Got extra basil – throw it on a salad, maybe with some strawberries and avo. Got extra tomato paste that will inevitably go bad in your fridge before you remember it again – freeze it in Tbs size portions to be ready to go for next time!
So yes, I’ve been on sort of a baking crazy of late. In order to reassure you all that I do not solely subsist on bake goods, I decided I best post a recipe for an actual meal. I was browsing the recipe archives of Smitten Kitchen a while ago, which was my all time favorite cooking blog when I ate grains, and came across her recipe for Broccoli Cream Pesto mixed with totally deliciously looking pasta. I think this perusal also happened to coincide with the week of my recovery in which I decided I was going to stop wallowing and make things happen (at least most of the time,) and thus was like, “you know what? Screw it. I am making that delicious pasta dish Paleo. Dammit. And I did. And here it is. And it’s pretty paleotastic (aka: super yummy) if I do say so myself. Continue reading
So I don’t have the best track record with the crockpot. Isn’t this the kitchen tool for hopeless bachelors? Like seriously, isn’t it the one vehicle for cooking food that you actually can’t f*ck up? Ummmm: so false. The first time I made Paleo chili – epic freaking fail. The good part: I was not making chili for company. The bad part: I thus had to consume a whole pot full of crappy chili, because I was not going to waste all that grassfed beef. Needless to say, I hung up my crock pot for a good 6 months after that experience – daunted, and well yes, defeated by the shear simplicity of it all. About a month ago though, I really wanted some chili, and I decided, you know what, why not – I’m giving that puppy another shot. (And this time I had two friends coming over so I really couldn’t have a repeat crappy chili incident.) Success! Well, at least, very edible chili ensued.
In an attempt to prove to myself that I could in fact conquer the crockpot, along with an intense desire to have beef stew, and a not so intense desire to hang out in my apartment while it cooked on the stove, I decided to give this recipe a whirl. I’m deeming it hearty and super solid. Crockpot – you are no longer the master of me. Take that bachelor, cooking appliance, and hello to putting a bunch of stuff in a pot and peacing out for hours on end only to return to delicious things. Currently, in fact, my apartment smells like scrumptiously roasting pork, of the soon to be pulled variety (from Civilized Caveman in case you were curious.) Love this thing! Continue reading
Ok, I know that I have had two, back-to-back recipes with maple syrup in them in one week (Fried Maple Bananas being on Wednesday. If you haven’t tried these you should. For serious.) Acknowledged. But give a woman a break. A) It’s fall, which means crunching leaves, pumpkin everything (more to come on that front later), and maple syrup: it’s hardy and tastes like changing seasons – of course I want to use it in everything. B) I just got off of a three-week sugar detox: maple syrup is tasting damn good right now… Continue reading
Oh, the frittata: the kitchen sink of egg dishes, which was just what I needed last night as my motivation level was at about a 1.5 on the let’s get shit done scale. I am someone who can eat the same meal day in and day out for an embarrassingly long time. Which, coincidentally is handy I now have a blog to force me to expand my horizons, as otherwise you people would start to sense a pattern pretty quick. This week though, I was just so freaking bored of all my usual options – so bored in fact that I didn’t even have impetus to come up with something new and brilliant – resulting in me wandering aimlessly around Marczyk (a local market if you aren’t a Denver-ite) and making small talk with the butcher until inspiration struck. What is something that involves mindless cutting, sautéing, and baking that will result in sheer awesome: Chorizo Frittata. Continue reading
Tuesday nights are my cooking nights. I don’t teach that night, but I do teach early Wednesday morning – which I naturally use as my excuse to be boring, hole myself up in my apartment, and cook something besides scrambled eggs. Truth be told, I’ve actually never been a mayonnaise fan. It always just seemed like I was spreading some creepy, ambiguous fat over my sandwich. I’m crediting my newfound change in mayo tone to A) I no longer consume sandwiches, and B) Paleo makes one reevaluate their relationship with good, healthy fats in a big, lets gets serious sort of way. Hence, I woke up Tuesday morning weirdly craving mayo… Continue reading
I am notorious for food ruts. Like eat the same meal for breakfast for 6 months food ruts. Lately my dinner options have been a characteristically lackluster. I mean, I love my cats and all, but its hard to get motivated to cook something extensive and awesome when the only positive reinforcement in my apartment will be – well absolutely nothing because cats don’t really do positive reinforcement… On Tuesday, enough was enough. I am a strong, independent woman and need to cook accordingly. Thus, I packed up me and my reusable shopping bags into Dupree, my sassy grey Prius, and took myself to the store. Purchased: grass fed sirloin (a ginormous amount – I think even the butcher was impressed,) local beets, and a medley of kale. It was on like nobody’s business. Continue reading