Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kale Chips

Everyone's got a recipe for these. The only reason I'm putting it up is because, well, I haven't been experimenting lately. I've spent almost the entire summer outside and I have nothing here to show for it. Bear with me - winter is just around the corner and I'll be back in the kitchen ;-).

And I have another admission. I eat while I read. Pretty much nonstop. And now that I can't put down an entire bag of caramels, red ropes, or potato chips, these are my replacement munchies. They aren't potatoes, or concentrated butter and sugar, but they are really tasty, crispy, crunchy, and a heckuva lot cheaper than buying a bag of them at Whole Foods!!

1 bunch kale (mine weighed 1.5# including the stems)
EVOO or coconut oil
Himalayan sea salt, or fleur de sel, or kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350*F

Fill the kitchen sink with about 2" of cold water. Immerse the leaves in the water and swish them around to get all the grit, sand and bugs off. In late summer, kale around here tends to get these tiny little red bugs, and while I don't mind sharing my kale with them, I don't want to eat them.

Strip and discard the stems. Use a salad spinner to remove excess water from the leaves, working in batches. Then put the leaves on a kitchen towel and roll and scrunch the leaves to get the rest of the water off - kind of like mashing a sleeping bag into a stuffsack.

Tear the leaves into larger bite-size pieces; if the leaf wants to fold over on itself, tear it down the middle so it can't - you want one layer of leaves only on your baking sheet. Toss the leaves with about 1-1.5 TB oil, massaging the leaves to coat them with oil and make sure it's evenly distributed.

Use a sheet of parchment paper on your baking sheet to keep the kale from sticking and help it crisp up nicely. Lay the pieces out and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Bake for 10-11 minutes, removing while the leaves are crisp and still have color. A few will be brown, it can't be helped. Bake a couple of sheets at a time to save time; you'll have about 5 sheets total to bake.

Remove immediately and use the parchment paper to pour them into a bowl.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Avocado and Shrimp Salad

I was rootling around on the Internet looking for an avocado-shrimp recipe and not only did this one sound the best, I found the exact same recipe on several sites: it looks like Taste of first posted it in 2007. (Just wanting to give proper credit here. :-) )

The original recipe calls for cooked medium size shrimps, coarsely chopped. I used bay shrimps because I didn't have a lot of extra time and I hate cleaning shrimps. Just be sure you buy a brand like this one: wild caught, not farmed, that does NOT have "natural flavors" in the ingredients. That is nothing but glutamic acid, which causes seizures & migraines just like MSG, monosodium glutamate. The only ingredient should be shrimp!

Next, if you're using cooked, frozen shrimps, thaw them out completely in a strainer over a bowl, then dump on a clean dry dish towel and gently squeeze to make sure you get all excess water out. The dressing is not thick to begin with, so extra water will make it runny and bland-tasting.

The original recipe also calls for seasoned salt. Any brand I've seen includes either MSG or "natural flavor",  so I used kosher salt and Old Bay Seasoning. Perfect!! I also cut back the capers, it was a little too briny for my taste. If at all possible, let the shrimp salad chill for an hour to let all the flavors, especially the Old Bay,  fully develop before combining with the avocado for serving.

Ok, I will finally shut up and give you the recipe! Serves 4 if on avocado halves, or 3-4 if mixed together on lettuce.

1/2 lb cooked/thawed bay shrimps, or cooked medium shrimps, peeled and de-veined & coarsely chopped
1/2 c celery, finely diced
1/4 c yellow onion, finely diced
3 TB + 1/2 tsp GARD-Paleo mayonnaise
1 TB capers, drained
1 TB fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 healthy pinches Old Bay Seasoning
6 grinds black pepper

1 or 2 medium ripe avocados, halved and pitted right before you're ready to serve

Optional: Bibb, butter or red leaf lettuce, washed & spun dry

In a medium size glass mixing bowl,  thoroughly combine everything except the avocados.  Click on the picture for a closer look at the onion and celery sizes:

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.  Taste again and correct seasonings.

Halve and pit the avocados. You can either spoon the shrimp salad into the avocado half (prettier presentation but messier eating), in which case you'll need two avocados, one half per person:

or scoop out and dice the avocado, gently tossing with the shrimp mixture, and mound on lettuce. We like it better this way, and one avocado is plenty:

Chile Verde con Cerdo (Green Chili with Pork)

Guy Fieri made this on his FN show (the one where he actually cooks) several years ago, and dang is it good! I made a few small changes here and there using what I've learned from Rick Bayless. This chile is proof you can have lots of flavor without burning the taste buds off your tongue with hot peppers, LOL. If you want it hotter, substitute the jalapeno with serrano peppers. It also freezes well and is crock pot friendly. Serves 6.

2 lb pasture raised pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) all fat trimmed off, cut in 1" cubes
3 TB EVOO or coconut oil
2 large Anaheim chiles, diced
2 medium white onions, chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (seeds removed for milder heat; substitute 1 or 2 serrano peppers for more heat)
1/2 lb (about 5) tomatillos, husks removed and stickiness rinsed off skins
1/4 c white wine, aged in aluminum barrel
3 TB apple cider vinegar
1/2 c homemade chicken stock
1 TB dried oregano
1 TB ground cumin
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425*

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (I use the one from our toaster oven, it's just the right size) and roast the tomatillos, turning a couple of times to brown the skins and soften them. I didn't watch the clock, it probably took about 20 minutes; they were ready before the pork was finished browning.

While you're roasting the tomatillos, heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and saute the onions, chiles, peppers and garlic until softened and translucent but not brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Raise the heat to med-high, add a little more oil if you need it, and brown the pork in the Dutch oven, working in batches so you don't overcrowd (that will cause the pieces to braise and turn grey instead of get brown and crispy). Put all the pork, the onion-pepper mixture and the roasted tomatillos back in the pot. Add the wine and vinegar, using the flat edge of a wooden spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Don't worry, you won't taste the vinegar at all; it just helps tenderize the meat. Add the chicken stock, oregano, cumin, and about 1.5 tsp ea salt & pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and simmer for 2-3 hrs (or in a crock pot on low for 6 hrs) until the pork is falling-apart tender. Taste for salt & pepper.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Braised Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Do you remember that ancient comfort food recipe for pork chops baked with rice and Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, meat so tender it would fall apart on your fork? Jimmy Bannos, Jr., chef at The Purple Pig in Chicago, put a healthy, modern spin on it, and I spun it some more.  Yes, there's a lot of gravy in the picture, orange from all the carrots. You can never have too much gravy. Serves 4-6

Braised Pork Chops
2 TB EVOO or coconut oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless range fed pork chops, all fat trimmed off, dried with paper towels and seasoned on both sides with salt & pepper
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 large celery ribs, roughly chopped
3 large or 4 medium carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
5 large cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
2 c chicken stock, preferably roasted for deeper flavor
5 6" sprigs thyme
5 California bay leaves (6 if the smaller Turkish ones)
2 c whole organic coconut milk

Mashed Potatoes
2+ lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & 3/4" diced
1/3 c whole coconut milk, scalded
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 TB EVOO or coconut oil
2-3 TB potato flour
2 TB white wine (aged in aluminum barrels, not oak)

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the pork chops about 3 minutes on each side, working in batches to avoid overcrowding or lowering the temperature too much. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion, celery, carrots & garlic to the pot, stirring occasionally until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaves and coconut milk; bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add the pork chops back in, cover and braise on Low until the chops are falling-apart-tender, about 2 hrs.

During the last half hour of the pork chop cooking time, boil the potatoes in well-salted water till tender, 15-20 min. Drain, mash, and add enough coconut milk & EVOO to suit you (lumpy mashed = less, smooth & creamy = more). Salt & pepper to taste & keep warm.

Back to the chops & gravy:  remove the chops to a platter & over with foil. Remove & discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Ladle 3 cups of the braising liquid and as many of the vegetables as you can into a blender and puree.

In a medium saucier or saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the oil and potato flour. When it's nice and bubbling, whisk in the pureed vegetable sauce one ladle full at a time, continually whisking until the gravy is thickened. Ladle in more of the braising liquid in the Dutch oven if you need to thin it out. Whisk in the white wine and then add salt & pepper to taste. Make a bed of the mashed potatoes, top with the chops and drown in gravy.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Beet, Apple and Cabbage Salad

Is it a salad or a slaw? Whatever it is, we like it enough to go into our regular meal rotation! I got this recipe from Australian Vogue Living, only changing a couple of small things. In the picture below we had it with roast pork with figs and Marsala  The dressing is a variation of the basic salad dressing. Serves 2-3

1/4 small red cabbage, cored & thinly sliced
1/4 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored & thinly sliced crosswise (the shorter direction)
1 medium red beet, raw, shredded on a grater
2 big handfuls mache (lamb's lettuce), well washed & spun dry
1/4 c walnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 c EVOO
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
2 TB Original Dijon mustard
2-3 tsp raw honey

Put all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss to combine. In another small bowl, whisk together the honey and vinegar, then  add the mustard, then stream in the EVOO whisking the whole time. Taste and add more honey if necessary. The mache is a sweeter lettuce, so you want a little bite to the dressing.

Just before serving, toss the salad with just enough dressing to coat, or serve it on the side. You will have plenty of leftover dressing.

Roast Pork with Fresh Figs and Marsala Wine

I love this fresh (to me) take on fruit and wine with pork, especially since prunes and port wine reductions  have been done to death. The fresh figs and Marsala are truly delicious with pork, and I think it would be wonderful with chicken, too. I got the idea for this from Australian Vogue Living, along with a recipe for shredded beet, apple and cabbage salad. Serves 4

1.5 lb grass-fed pork tenderloin, silverskin and visible fat removed
Kosher or sea salt
2 tsp fennel seeds

1 c chicken stock
1/2 c + 1 TB Marsala wine (or other slightly sweet, red, nitrate/nitrate-free wine)
5 ripe organic figs, 4 in 1/2" dice, 1 sliced and set aside for garnish
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1-2 TB arrowroot powder

Preheat oven to 400*F

Dry the pork with paper towels, rub both sides with EVOO, about 2 tsp salt, and fennel seeds. Roast about 20-25 min, till the very center is about 138-140*F. Remove from oven, put in a serving dish & lightly tent with foil to rest. While it's roasting and resting, make the sauce.

Bring the stock and 1/2 c wine to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the diced figs, reduce to simmer and cook about 20 minutes until the figs are nice and soft and the liquid has reduced by about 1/3. Pour in all the accumulated pan juices in the serving dish from the resting pork. Add salt & pepper to taste. Now add 2 tsp of Marsala: stir and taste to see if you want to add a little more. Adding this last splash of wine is what "wakes up" the sauce, as the wine will have mellowed a lot during the cooking process. Once you have adjusted all your flavors, add 1 TB of arrowroot and stir to thicken and add gloss. If you want it thicker, add only 1 extra tsp at a time, stirring continuously

Slice the pork, spoon the sauce over the meat and garnish with the uncooked figs.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Curried Chicken Salad

I love this chicken salad in the summertime. Use leftover cooked chicken breast or gently poach a couple of breasts with bay leaf, fresh thyme and a few peppercorns. Serves 2

8 oz chicken breasts, cooked, cooled & cut crosswise into 4 equal pieces, then shredded
1/3 c organic red grapes, halved
1/3 c toasted cashews
Salad greens

1/2 c + 2 TB coconut milk yogurt (here is Paleo Plan's recipe* which I used)
2 TB Dijon mustard
2-3 tsp mild curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add the chicken and grapes and stir gently to combine. Add the cashews right before serving so they don't get soft. Serve over lettuce or on large 1/4" thick diagonal slices of English cucumber.

*Inner Eco's coconut water probiotic kefir is available at most Whole Foods Markets

Modified from a recipe submitted by Something Natural on 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cold Cucumber Soup

This is a great soup for a hot summer day, tart, crunchy and refreshing. Ina Garten tops her original recipe (which I had to change quite a bit) with shrimp, but it is also perfect with salmon cakes over salad. This is quick and easy to make IF you can find pre-made coconut milk yogurt. If you have to make the yogurt yourself, allow an extra 24 hrs prep time. Also please remember that coconut milk has far fewer natural sugars than cow's milk, so you do not need to add any lemon juice or vinegar, and you might even want to add a little raw honey, warmed up first so it dissolves well. Serves 4

1-1/4 c coconut milk yogurt (here is Paleo Plan's recipe*, which I used)
4 oz whole organic coconut milk
1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded & chopped
1/4 c chopped red onion
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TB fresh dill, minced
Optional: 1+ TB raw honey, warmed up

Dump the cucumber, red onion, scallion, salt & pepper in a food processor and pulse until it's fairly well chopped. Add the coconut milk and pulse until coarsely pureed, but it still has texture.

Put into a large mixing bowl, stir in the yogurt and dill, and taste for salt & pepper.

Note: It will be less sweet than a yogurt made with cow's milk, and the tartness will vary depending on the probiotics. Likewise, whole coconut milk has a lot less natural sugar than light cream from cow's milk. So if you like, add 1 or 2 TB of raw honey to taste.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours before serving.

*Inner Eco's coconut water probiotic kefir is at most Whole Foods Markets

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Breaded" Pork Chops with Salad, Pickled Red Onions and Hazelnuts

I took Anne Burrell's idea for pork Milanese, used my own recipe for breading (which came out oh so good!! and is very similar to my Chicken Delicioso but I like this even better), and topped it with salad, GARD-style pickled red onions, and toasted hazelnuts. I am sure you will love this! Serves 4

4 pork chops, butterflied and pounded thin
Kosher salt
Coconut oil
2 large pasture-raised eggs, beaten with 1 TB water

2 c "Italian bread crumbs"
6 ea 6" sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped, stems discarded
6 ea 6" sprigs thyme, leaves stripped, stems discarded (use 2 extra sprigs if the stems aren't dense with leaves)
3 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley
1 pinch red pepper flakes
zest of 2 lemons
6 medium cloves garlic

Mixed salad greens, escarole, or mache (lamb's lettuce) for 4
Pickled red onions
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
2 handfuls hazelnuts, roughly chopped and toasted

Make the breading first: put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the herbs are finely minced.
Put half into a pie plate or other breading dish and set the other half aside to spoon onto the tops of the chops.

Put the beaten egg and water in another pie plate or dish. Thoroughly dry the pork chops with paper towels and lightly season with kosher salt. Heat 1/4" coconut oil in a large saute pan just above medium heat.

> Temperature is important. Too hot, and the nuts/seeds in the breading will burn, too cool and it will just soak up the oil and be mushy. Make sure the oil is rippling with heat before you add the pork!

One chop at a time, dip both sides in the egg mixture, then in the breading. This breading is moister than usual and tends to clump: spoon the breading on top and gently press in with the back of the spoon, turn and do the same thing. Add more breading to the dish as needed. Cook the chops 2 at a time, or however many you can fit in the pan without crowding, about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side, turning when golden brown. Do not overcook the chops! They are very thin and won't take much time at all.

As the chops are cooked, remove to a wire rack over a sheet pan to drain and keep crisp.

Mix the EVOO and 2 TB of the pickled red onion juice with the mustard; blend with a fork to make a quick dressing for the lettuce. Just toss with your fingers, you'll use less dressing and coat the leaves more evenly.

Top each chop with dressed salad, pickled red onion, and toasted hazelnuts.

Oh yum yum yummy!!


This Ina Garten recipe needed little adjustment. We couldn't taste the zucchini, but it is a great way to use them up, and is optional anyway. Although you can serve it cold or hot, it's much better cold and makes a good take-to-work lunch. Serves 6

4 TB EVOO or coconut oil
3 c leeks, white & light green parts thinly sliced and rinsed in a bowl of cold water to get all the dirt out
**If you dislike leeks, you can substitute yellow onions, or shallots
5 c small white potatoes, unpeeled, eyes cut out, and chopped (maybe 10-12? potatoes)
3 c zucchini, chopped
>1 qt vegetable or chicken stock
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3-4 TB whole coconut milk
4 TB chives, chopped
Drizzle of EVOO

Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the leeks or onions and saute about 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes, zucchini, 3/4 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper. Add just enough stock to not quite cover the vegetables: the zucchini has a very high water content which will cook out, thinning the soup.

Note: if you don't have, or don't want to use, zucchini, use 4 c leeks and 5 c potatoes. Add enough stock to cover.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat & simmer for 30 minutes until the potatoes & leeks are very soft.

Process through a food mill with the medium disk. You can use a food processor or immersion blender, but the food mill will remove all the zucchini seeds and any larger bits of potato/zucchini skin. Add the coconut milk and taste for salt & pepper. Serve hot or chill in the refrigerator before serving, topping each bowl with fresh chives and a little drizzle of EVOO.

Pickled Red Onions

Keep these on hand to top hamburgers, "breaded" pork chops, barbeque; to brighten up green salads; anywhere you want to add a little sweet and sour crunch. They'll last very well in a pint mason jar in your refrigerator for at least 4 weeks, probably longer. Makes about 2 cups.

1 large red onion, sliced paper thin
1 TB kosher salt
1/2 c red wine vinegar
3-4 drops Original Tabasco
1.5 TB raw honey
1/4 c hot water
1/4 c cold water

In a medium glass bowl, melt the honey and dissolve the salt in the hot water, stirring with a whisk to help dissolve it faster. Add the vinegar, Tabasco and cold water and stir to combine. Add the onions, turn to coat and press them down into the vinegar mixture with a pair of tongs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hr, although they're much better if you can marinate them overnight. Use the tongs to turn the onions a few times and press them down as they're chilling to help them break down faster.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Strawberry Tarts with French Pastry Cream

I got the idea for these from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris strawberry tart recipe; it took a couple of tries, and now it's perfected! I'm sure it would be delicious with any berry (mmmm, blackberries!). You could also skip the tart shell and just serve it in dessert bowls.

I will warn you, though: the pastry cream takes a good 20+ min of cooking and stirring over low heat. There's no shortcut: bring it to a boil and you'll end up with soup, so maybe listen to a good audio book, or TV show, or catch up on the phone with a friend while you patiently stir. Serves 4

Tart Shells
2.5 c finely ground, blanched almond flour (Bob's Red Mill isn't blanched & is too coarse ~ I use JK Gourmet or Honeyville, which is less expensive)
3/4 tsp sea salt
3 TB coconut oil, melted

1 tsp raw honey
1 extra-large pasture-raised egg, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375*

Pulse the flour and salt in a food processor to mix, then add the oil, honey and egg, and pulse until everything is mixed together and forms a ball. Press the dough into 4 individual tart pans with removable sides. Prick holes all across the bottom with a fork so it doesn't puff up (since we aren't blind-baking, it may do that a little anyway; just tap the bottoms back down lightly with a fork and continue baking.) Bake for 10 minutes until a light golden color and cool on a rack to room temperature while you make the filling.

Pastry Cream
5* extra-large pasture-raised egg yolks, room temperature
*Use 6 yolks if they are medium or barely large eggs
2/3 c raw honey
3 TB tapioca flour or tapioca starch (different names for the same thing) 
1.5 c whole (full fat) coconut milk
1/2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
1 to 1.5 tsp Cognac

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and honey together on medium high for 6-7 minutes, until it's very thick and light-colored. Reduce to the lowest speed (Stir) and add the tapioca flour.

Scald the coconut milk by warming in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until steam rises and bubbles form around the edges. Don't allow it to boil, or the custard won't thicken. (I thought it wouldn't matter since it's the molecular structure of proteins in cow's milk that breaks down at a boil, but guess what? It has the same effect with coconut milk.)

Temper the egg/honey mixture: put the pan of hot milk on a hot pad next to the mixer set on Stir, and slowly ladle in half the milk, then slowly pour in the rest of the milk. If you add it in too quickly, you'll have scrambled eggs poached in milk.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, get your movie/book/phone ready, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 20-25 min. At first it will look like there's kind of a layer of more foamy milk on top; that will eventually go away as you cook and stir. Don't let it come to a boil, just slowly cook and stir until it thickens to the consistency of pudding, and equals about 1-3/4 c. You can pour it into a measuring cup to check and then pour it back into the pan; it won't hurt it. 

Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and Cognac, taste and add a little more if you like. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap laid directly on the custard so a skin doesn't form, and chill.

Strawberry Topping
Fresh strawberries (about 2 cups), hulled and if large, halved
3 TB pistachio nuts
1/4 c  unsweetened apricot jelly or jam + 1 tsp water

Warm the jelly in a small saucepan with the water and if it's jam, put through a sieve with the back of a spoon. Spoon the custard into the tart shells and arrange the berries on top. Brush the tops of the tarts with the jelly (you'll have some left over jelly) and dot with pistachios. Eat as much as you like: you've earned it!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cottage Pie

This was a lot tougher to re-work than I expected. Normally I put seeded, diced tomato for freshness and lots of Worcestershire in the beef and gravy to give it a deep umami flavor, but since they're both high in glutamic acid (anchovies in the Worcestershire) and not allowed on the GARD, it was a challenge to be sure. Diced red pepper and a hint of cumin and Tabasco did the trick. You can't actually taste the cumin or cayenne, but the flavor intensity builds as you eat more, so be cautious when you're tasting and adjusting the seasonings. Serves 4

1 lb lean pasture raised ground beef
1 small yellow onion, small dice
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c (about 1/2 medium) red bell pepper, small dice
1-1/4 c roasted stock,beef, lamb or chicken
2 TB potato flour
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3-4 shakes Tabasco
3 medium* Yukon Gold or Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
1/4 c whole coconut milk
Mild paprika

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in the EVOO until soft. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Add the garlic, salt & pepper and brown the beef, cooking until all the liquid is gone and the meat has started to caramelize. Since we can't use tomato paste or anchovy to add umami, we have to make up for it by caramelizing the meat (and by using a stock from roasted bones).

>While the meat is browning, boil the potatoes in a medium pot of salted water about 10-15 min until very soft when checked with a fork. Drain and mash with enough coconut milk to make them very soft and smooth. Taste for salt. Cover and set aside.
*3 medium potatoes is plenty. It always looks like you won't have enough, but if you make any more, your ratio of potatoes to meat will be waaaay off. Please trust me on this :-).

Now preheat your oven to Broil.

When the meat has browned, stir in the red pepper. Sprinkle the potato flour over the meat and cook for just a minute.

Add the stock 1/3 at a time, stirring and cooking until it's thickened before adding more. The gravy should be very thick but not gluey. Pour into a small casserole dish.

Drop spoonfuls of mashed potato on top of the beef mixture until it's completely covered. We like the tops of the potatoes to brown, so the rougher the texture, the better the results. Sprinkle with paprika and put under the broiler about 5-8 minutes until the top of the potatoes have a light crust and the tips are browned.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Zucchini with Mint & Parsley

This might just be the fastest, easiest side dish ever invented. I love the mint and zucchini together - thank you, Rachael Ray. Perfect with a New York strip steak and sauce made from pan drippings. Serves 2

4 small zucchini, 1/2" slice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 c fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Coat a large saute pan with EVOO (a couple of TB) and heat on medium. Saute the zucchini and garlic 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Add the mint, parsley, salt & pepper and cook another minute.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This is Ina Garten's recipe from Back to Basics. Easy, fairly fast, freezes well, perfection in a bowl! Serves 4

3 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1" cubes
2 small or 1.5 medium yellow onions, cut in 1" dice
1.5 McIntosh or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut in 1" cubes
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3+ c vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp mild curry powder

Sliced banana (sounds weird but tastes really good!)
Roasted, salted cashews (nice crunchy texture)
Sliced scallions (nice texture and offsets the sweetness of the squash and apples)

Preheat oven to 400*F

Put the squash, onions and apples on a half sheet pan. Drizzle liberally with EVOO and toss to coat. Sprinkle  with salt & pepper.

Roast for 35-40 minutes until everything is soft and there's a bit of caramelization on the vegetables. Pass the cooked vegetables through a food mill fitted with the medium blade or process the veg in batches in a food processor with enough stock to help it puree smoothly. Transfer to a dutch oven or large soup pot, and add enough stock to make a thick soup, approximately 3 cups. Add the curry powder, warm through, and taste for more curry powder, salt & pepper.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Potato Latkes (Pancakes) with Applesauce

Oh, yummmm! This sweet version with applesauce is perfect with breakfast sausage patties. (I topped my patties with applesauce as well.)

For more savory versions as a side dish for pork, you could add 1 TB finely grated onion, a clove of garlic also finely grated, 1/4 tsp ground marjoram and 1/4 tsp fennel seed. Serves 3-4.

2 large Idaho or Russet potatoes, peeled
1 large pasture raised egg, room temperature
1 + 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 TB potato flour
3-4 TB coconut oil

Organic unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon (yes, cinnamon! it's really good with both the latkes and the sausage!)

Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a large saute pan (do not use non-stick). In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg, salt & pepper together. Grate the potatoes on a box grater in the center of a clean, dry kitchen towel. Wrap up the towel, hold over the sink and squeeze out as much liquid as possible: press against the side of the sink to get the last bit out.

Dump the potatoes into the bowl with the egg and use your fingers or a fork to separate the shredded potato. Sprinkle the potato flour over the potato and use a fork to mix well. Use two forks to drop about 3 TB worth of shredded potato into the hot oil. Repeat until you have about 5 or 6 latkes in the pan. Do not mash or press the potatoes together! This will allow them to cook more quickly and more surface area to brown, making them nice and crunchy. Cook about 3 minutes on each side, or until they're nicely browned.

When you're ready to remove them from the pan, use 2 spatulas and gently squeeze them together to get out the excess oil before putting them on a plate. Serve hot with applesauce.

*Note: if you have leftovers, you can refrigerate them and reheat in a toaster oven but be sure to put them on a plate or metal pan with sides! The oil in the latkes could drip down onto your heating element and at best, set off your smoke alarm; at worst, catch fire.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Breakfast Sausage Patties and Eggs

We're very fortunate to be able to buy our plain ground pork from a local Amish farm. It's very lean, about 10% fat, yet cooks up very moist and tender because of the maple syrup. It can take some patience and digging on the Internet to find affordable pasture raised proteins, but it's worth the effort. This is my newest (and our favorite) version of breakfast sausage. Great with eggs over easy for Jeff and scrambled for me. Serves 3-4

1 lb lean, unseasoned pasture raised ground pork sausage
1 rounded tsp dried sage
1 rounded tsp pinch kosher salt
1 rounded tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
2.5 tsp organic maple syrup
3 pinches crushed red pepper flakes

4 pasture raised eggs, room temperature
pinch of kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 dashes Tabasco (optional)

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients so they're evenly distributed. Wet your hands with tap water and form 5 equal size patties. Cook 5 minutes on each side so they're no longer pink but still juicy. Remove to a dinner plate and cover with a skillet lid to keep warm while you cook the eggs.

I added a TB of EVOO to the pan and cooked 2 eggs over easy, and then 2 scrambled with Tabasco, so they pick up all the fond (caramelly bits) left in the pan from the sausage.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Julia Child's French Onion Soup

The first time I ever made this, I didn't have any beef stock on hand so I roasted our leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass and made stock from it. It was so rich, with such deep flavor, it was unbelievable, and since then I've always used homemade roasted stock. This time, I used our leftover Easter leg of lamb carcass. (You don't taste lamb, just lots of rich meaty flavor.) You can make this with any roasted stock, even vegetable. My version has more onions (Julia's recipe calls for 5 c onions to 2 qt stock) but since we aren't topping it with cheese and bread I wanted it to be more substantial. Serves 3-4 and freezes beautifully.

5 large sweet onions like Vidalia or Walla Walla, thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 tsp kosher salt
1 TB tapioca flour
1 qt roasted stock
1/3 c dry white wine, not aged in oak barrels
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1-2 TB cognac (I use Decourtet)

Heat the EVOO in a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions, toss with tongs to coat with oil, cover and cook about 15 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium and add the salt. Since you're using sweet onions with lots of natural sugars, you don't need to add any sugar to help the browning process. Cook about 40-50 minutes, stirring often, until the onions have caramelized to a deep, golden brown.

Sprinkle the tapioca flour over the onions. Stir and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and add the stock and wine, and season with salt & pepper to taste. It will feel like something's missing; that's going to be the cognac, which comes later. Put it back on the heat and simmer, partially covered, 30-40 min longer.

Before serving, remove from heat and add the cognac. Stir it in, then taste for salt & pepper. Serve immediately.

Shrimp Scampi

Mmmm, garlic and wine make everything taste good. Cooking the spaghetti squash in the sauce for 4-5 minutes will improve the texture, plus it absorbs all the beautiful flavors. Roasted or steamed broccoli makes a great side dish, and you can bake it alongside the squash. Serves 2.

1 1.5# spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
Water or chicken stock

1/2 lb 30-40 ct shrimp (about 16), shells off, tails on, deveined, rinsed & drying on paper towels
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 healthy pinches crushed red pepper
1 lemon, zested & juiced
1/4-ish c dry white wine, not aged in oak
Big handful fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400*F

Place cleaned squash cut side down in a baking dish or roasting pan, on a half sheet pan and pour in 1/4" water or chicken stock.

Bake 45 minutes. Check the liquid level at about 30 minutes and add more if needed. Turn the squash over and bake another 15 minutes or until very tender. Remove from baking pan and let cool enough to handle. Use a fork to scrape out the pulp in long spaghetti-like strands into a dish and set aside. The picture below is from a different squash. One 9" in length yields a lot of squash, more than you will need for this dish. Freeze the extra for later.

Warm the EVOO over medium-low heat in a large saute pan. Add the garlic & saute for a couple of minutes. Add the shrimps & season with salt & pepper. Cook just till both sides of the shrimps turn pink (you turned them over) but aren't cooked all the way through, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimps and set aside. Add the lemon zest & juice, wine, red pepper flakes & parsley, then put the cooked squash in the pan. Cook and toss with tongs for about 4-5 minutes so the squash absorbs all the flavors. Add the shrimps back in & cook for another minute until they're completely opaque.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Achiote Tacos or Taco Salad

Achiote seeds are commonly used in Indian and Mexican dishes, especially in the Yucatan. They're slightly nutty and sweet, spicy but not hot, and add a unique flavor that's subtle but lingers on your palate and has you wanting "just one more bite". Most often used in rubs, they also work really well in a ground beef taco filling ~ worlds apart from the packaged taco mix! I swear I could imagine myself in the Yucatan jungle, surrounded by banana trees, wild parrots, and warm tropical breezes as I was making this. Ah, if only ;-).

>>Note: Achiote can cause an allergic reaction in some people who are sensitive to nuts and seeds.

Tacos using daikon radish for shells. You could use jicama, but it's so mild, we think background spiciness of the daikon really punches it up. Serves 3-4

Taco salad

I used the recipe from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen for the
Achiote Paste
2 TB achiote seeds
2 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
3 TB apple cider vinegar
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 rounded tsp kosher salt

Taco & Salad Ingredients
1 lb pasture raised ground beef
2 TB plus 1 tsp achiote paste
2 healthy pinches dried oregano, crumbled between your fingers
1/2 tsp kosher salt
green or red leaf lettuce, wide chiffonade
daikon radish, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandoline for tacos, or julienned for salad
8-10 red radishes, sliced, for salad

Grind the achiote seeds and allspice as finely as possible in a spice grinder. Put in a small bowl and mix in the pepper, oregano and vinegar. Chop the garlic, sprinkle with salt, and then worth the two into a smooth paste, alternately mincing and using the flat side of your knife. Scoop the achiote mixture onto the garlic & work them together, drizzling with 1 or 2 TB water to make a thick, coarse paste.

The orange-red coloring you see is annato, often used as a food colorant. You'll have close to 1/2 c of achiote paste, and you'll only need a couple of TB, so save the rest for a pork shoulder rub or grilled fish tacos.

Brown the ground beef in a large (10-12") skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up finely, cooking off all the moisture released, and getting good color/caramelization on the meat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the achiote paste, oregano and salt. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes so the heat really releases the flavors of the allspice, achiote and oregano. Add 1 + 1/4 c water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes, until almost all the water is evaporated, leaving just a little bit of sauce in the pan. The longer and slower you simmer, the more the meat will absorb all the flavors.

Assemble the tacos or salads as shown in the pictures above.

Roasted Stocks (Chicken, Lamb, Beef & Vegetable)

I only just realized that I've never said anything about making stock from roasted bones and vegetables. It wasn't until I put French Onion Soup on my dinner menu for later this week, using a stock I made from Easter's roasted lamb shoulder bones, that it occurred to me.

When you make a regular meat broth (chicken, turkey, lamb, beef) from uncooked bones, keeping it at a slow simmer the whole time, it will be gelatinous from drawing out the collagen in the bones. That's not a bad thing: it's protein, and good for you.

When you make a roasted bone broth, the collagen is already cooked, so the finished stock won't be gelatinous. What you will have is 'fond', the dark roasty bits at the bottom of the pan and on the carcass/bones, which makes the stock darker and adds a lot of concentrated flavor. Plus, since you've already paid for and eaten the meat, it's practically free, and you won't be paying premium prices for commercially roasted stock. Save all your leftover carcass/bones from your meals, & add them to a ziploc in the freezer until you have the equivalent of 2 chicken carcasses' worth of bones.

To make Roasted Vegetable Stock, follow the link to the basic recipe and begin by putting all the vegetables but not the herbs, salt or pepper in a large roasting pan and toss with just enough olive oil to coat. Leave the garlic cloves whole and in their skins so they don't burn. Roast at 425*F for about 45 minutes, turning about halfway through, until the veg are nice and browned. Transfer them to your stock pot. Use just enough hot water to deglaze the roasting pan, scraping up all the fond and pour into the pot. I usually do this twice to make sure I get it all. Continue with the stock recipe; you'll only need to simmer for 1.5 to 2 hrs.

To make Roasted Chicken Stock, follow the link to the basic recipe and begin by putting all the vegetables but not the herbs, salt or pepper in a large roasting pan and toss with just enough olive oil to coat. Leave the garlic cloves whole and in their skins so they don't burn. Add the picked over carcass/bones. [If you're using uncooked chicken wings/back/neck, do coat them with oil.]

Roast at 425*F for about 45 minutes, turning everything about halfway through, until the bones and veg are nice and browned. If you're using carcass or loose bones, they should be a dark, dark brown; that's what you want! Uncooked chicken, like wings, will take about 1 hr.

Transfer everything to your stock pot. Use just enough hot water to deglaze the roasting pan, scrape up all the fond with the edge of a spatula and pour into the pot. I usually do this twice to make sure I get it all. Continue with the stock recipe, but you'll only need to simmer for about 2 hrs.  See how dark the water is, even though I haven't even started the simmering process?

To make Roasted Lamb or Beef Stock, use onions, carrots, parsnips if you have them, whole garlic cloves in the skins, celery including the leafy tops, parsley & thyme. No dill. Follow the same procedure as for roasted chicken stock above.

>Note: I don't use rosemary in any of my stocks because rosemary oil is very intense, and even using just a stem or two, it's still prominent. Since I don't always want a rosemary flavor in a soup or stew, I find it's better to omit it and just add it in to the recipes as desired.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Butternut Squash Salad with Blueberries and Walnuts

Jeff grilled the squash on the Weber along with a pork tenderloin and it came out pretty darned good. The squash is sweet and tender, the arugula is spicy, and the walnuts add crunch. The salad is a spin (excuse the pun) on an Ina Garten recipe, which called for dried, sweetened cranberries (read: cane sugar) so I sprinkled some blueberries on it instead, since they're kind of sweet and tart at the same time - wish I'd thought of them before I took the picture! It's a match made in heaven! [I'm sure someone somewhere has thought of this combination before, but for right now, I'm having a 'moment'.] Serves 4-6

1 butternut squash, about 1 lb, skin on, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
1/2 c EVOO plus extra for cooking the squash
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Arugula lettuce
1/4 c blueberries
3/4 c sparkling apple cider or apple juice (not from concentrate, no sugar added)
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB shallots, minced
2 tsp original Dijon mustard, or Colman's reconstitued (2 tsp dry mustard + 2 tsp cold water, mix & let sit 10 min)
1/2 c walnut halves, toasted in a dry pan or in the toaster oven

If you are cooking the squash on the grill, lightly brush the cut side with a dab of EVOO and grill about 10 minutes on each side, until it's fork-tender. Remove to a plate and let cool enough to handle. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

If you're roasting the squash in the oven, preheat to 400*F, peel and cut the squash into 3/4" cubes, toss with EVOO, salt & pepper. Roast the squash for about 20 minutes until fork-tender, turning once halfway through cooking.

While the squash is cooking, make the dressing. Bring the cider, vinegar and shallots to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucier or saucepan and reduce to about 1/4 c. Remove from heat, whisk in the mustard, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 c EVOO. Taste & correct seasonings.

Put the arugula, squash, walnuts and blueberries in a large bowl and toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. If you use your hands to toss the salad you'll need less dressing and the squash won't get - well, squashed, by tongs. Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Southern-Style Coleslaw

Is there any other kind, really? Not in my world! Tangy and sweet with a little bite from the Tabasco, we eat it on hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, and as a side dish for so many other things ~ like the herb grilled pork tenderloin we're having tonight.

I've made this slaw for years and never once measured a thing, just eyeballing, adding more of what I need, and tasting along the way, so forgive me but it's really hard to write up. I suggest you print this out and make notes of  the quantities you end up using, because this slaw is all about personal taste and preference. Otherwise, you'll come back to it midsummer and say, "Hmmm... whatever did Ah do last time?" Serves 4 as a topping, 3 as a side dish.

3 c Savoy cabbage, shredded on a box grater or thinly sliced and then cross-diced (my preference)
1/2 c carrot, grated on a box grater
3 pinches (about 1/4 tsp) celery seed
1/3 - 1/2 c GARD or Paleo mayonnaise
1 TB + 2 tsp or more apple cider vinegar
2 tsp raw honey (room temp is fine; the acid from the vinegar breaks it down quickly)
5 shakes original Tabasco sauce
5 pinches kosher salt
6-8 grinds black pepper
Sweet (mild) paprika

Put the cabbage, celery seed and carrot in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to lightly toss and combine. Add the mayo, starting with 1/3 c and stir with a fork to mix it all in. Continue to add 1 TB mayo at a time until it's to your liking; this is not a mayo-heavy slaw: there should be just enough to hold the salad together, and for its sweet creaminess to offset the vinegar and Tabasco.

Start with 1 TB and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar in the slaw. Add the 2 tsp raw honey, mix well, then taste to see if you want to add the 2nd tsp of vinegar. You probably will want even more if you're used to a vinegar-based slaw. Add the Tabasco, salt & pepper, mix well,  taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle the paprika over the top, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, to allow the flavors to develop and marry. This is even better the next day.

Herb Grilled Pork Tenderloin

The weather is beautiful tonight and we're barbequing outside, but you can easily roast this in the oven. Jeff also grilled a butternut squash for salad, and I'm making Southern-style Coleslaw for the leftover pork tomorrow at lunch. Two very different sides, both yummy! The marinade is modified from an Ina Garten recipe. Serves 4.

1# pork tenderloin
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 TB fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, finely minced
1 tsp original Dijon mustard, or Colman's reconstituted (1 tsp dry mustard + 1 tsp cold water, mix & let sit for 10 min)
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Remember to increase your marinade quantities if your tenderloin is 1-1/4 lb or more. Mix all of the ingredients except the pork in a large ziploc bag. I put the bag in a bowl, like this, so I can thoroughly stir everything together without dirtying a measuring cup or bowl:

Put the pork tenderloin in the bag (I cut mine in half only so it fits better, just remember to reduce your cooking time if you do so), squeeze out the air, squish it around to cover the pork with the garlic and herbs, and let it marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Squish the marinade around again, and turn it over to marinate for another 30-60 minutes while your barbeque coals are getting ready.

Discard the marinade but don't wipe off any of the bits on the meat. Sprinkle with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Grill, turning to brown each side, about 20 minutes total if it's all in one piece, until an instant meat thermometer in the very center reads 138-140*F. Remove to a plate, cover tightly with aluminum foil and rest for 10 minutes before slicing. It'll be well done at the ends and medium-rare (pink but not bloody) in the middle.

If you're roasting it in the oven, preheat to 400*F and roast on the center rack, cover and rest for about the same length of time; use a meat thermometer to check the temp.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Tart or Pie

This is the fastest, easiest pie (or tart) ever! I found a great baked crust recipe at Elana's Pantry, so that makes me very happy: I see lots of tarts and refrigerator pies in our future! The filling took a little more work, finding the right ratios, ingredients and texture, and here it is. Oh so yummy.

Preheat oven to 350*

2 c finely ground, blanched almond flour (Bob's Red Mill isn't blanched & is too coarse ~ I use JK Gourmet and there are several brands on the internet like Honeyville Grain that are more affordable)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TB coconut oil, melted
1 large pasture-raised egg, room temperature

1 can whole coconut milk, shaken
10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 TB freshly brewed decaf coffee or espresso
4-5 TB macadamia nut butter *you can make your own; I'll tell you how below

Whipped Cream
1 can whole coconut milk, unshaken and chilled

Pulse the flour and salt in a food processor to mix, then add the oil and egg, and pulse until everything is mixed together and forms a ball. Dump it into a 9" tart pan, or an 8" shallow glass pie dish. Use your fingers to press out the dough and then use a piece of parchment paper and a juice glass to help even and smooth it out, like this:

Put on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. While it's cooling, make the filling.

Dump the chocolate chips and 4 TB macadamia nut butter in a medium heat-proof mixing bowl. Heat the shaken coconut milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to come to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and nuts and let it sit for a few minutes, then stir with a whisk to melt the chocolate and oil in the nut butter until completely melted and smooth. Add the coffee and stir to combine. Taste to see if it's nutty enough for you, or if you want to add the extra TB of nut butter. Pour into the cooled crust and refrigerate until set, several hours. The chocolate will set it up quite firmly, you don't need to add any egg or gelatin. You'll have some leftover filling if you're making a tart.

To make the topping, open the chilled, unshaken can of coconut milk and spoon the thickest part off the top, about half the can, into a chilled metal bowl. Whip like you would heavy cream, until it's nice and stiff. Spread over the whole pie/tart or put big dollops on each slice.

*Macadamia nut butter is so easy. Tip 1/2 c unsalted macadamia nuts into a food processor and pulse until they're in fairly small bits. Add 2 tsp room temperature coconut oil and a pinch of salt and keep pulsing until it turns into a thick paste (easier to measure and work with than melted coconut oil). If you want a little sweetness, drizzle in a teensy bit of maple syrup. I tried it with and without, and prefer it without the maple syrup.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Potato Salad

This is my favorite summertime potato salad, and with homemade mayo, it's GARD and Paleo friendly. If you have time, refrigerate it for a few hours to let the flavors have time to marry. Serves 4-6

2 lb small red potatoes, cut in quarters or sixths, depending on size
1/2 c homemade mayonnaise
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 TB whole coconut milk
2 TB original Dijon mustard or Colman's reconstituted*
1/4 c fresh parsley, roughly chopped
3 TB fresh dill, roughly chopped or 3/4 tsp dried
1/3 c celery, small dice
1/3 c red onion, small dice
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (I used about 8 grinds)
Kosher salt

Bring the potatoes to boil in a large pot of water. Add 1 TB salt, reduce to simmer, and cook until just tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain in a colander, put the colander over the pot off the heat, cover with a kitchen towel and steam for another 15 minutes. This way, they'll finish the last bit of cooking but still retain their shape.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, coconut milk, mustard and pepper. Add the potatoes, celery, red onion, dill and parsley and use a large spoon to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Cover and chill for a few hours or even better, overnight.

* For each TB of dry Colman's mustard, add 1 TB cold water, mix and let stand for 10 minutes

GARD and Paleo Mayonnaise

I've been procrastinating on making mayonnaise because of all the difficulties I've read in the comments section of various food blogs. Pooh. Don't fear the mayo, it's actually really easy.

A little salt and apple cider vinegar whisked in after it's emulsified rounds out the flavors, and it's a good starting point for many different types of salads. Here are three preparation methods, with tips at the end. Makes a little over 1 cup. Keeps 5-7 days.

1 large pastured egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, room temperature
1/4 tsp dry mustard (I use Colman's)
1 c extra light olive oil
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp + 1 small pinch kosher salt

Method 1, Immersion Blender: In a pint measuring cup, put in the egg, lemon juice, mustard and olive oil, in that order. Put the blender down at the bottom of the cup and blend on high for about 10 seconds until it starts to emulsify, then slowly work your way to the top of the oil, about 30 seconds total. If there's still a little un-blended oil at the top and you're worried about the blender splattering mayo everywhere, just use a whisk to finish incorporating the last little bit of oil. Add the salt and vinegar, and whisk to thoroughly blend. This is the easiest and fastest method, and foolproof.

Method 2, Whisk by Hand: In a small bowl, whisk the egg, lemon juice and mustard together until thoroughly incorporated. Whisking briskly, very slowly drizzle in the oil a drop at a time, incorporating each time before adding the next drop. Continue to whisk (think of Julia Child doing this by hand for years!) adding just a few drops at a time, until it starts to thicken, lighten in color, and take on the consistency of mayonnaise ~ emulsifying ~ then continue whisking while you drizzle the rest of the oil in. Whisk in the vinegar and salt last.
This method takes the longest, but it's pretty foolproof also.

Method 3, Blender: Blend the egg, lemon juice and mustard together for a few seconds until thoroughly combined. With the blender still on, add one drop of oil at a time, following the same instructions in Method 2, blending instead of whisking.

With any of these methods, you can use the mayonnaise immediately, but it does thicken up even more after about 30 minutes in the refrigerator, to the consistency of commercial mayo. Keep it stored on an upper shelf towards the back of the refrigerator, where it's coldest, and it will last closer to 7 days rather than 5.

Tips for Mayonnaise Success
  • Pastured egg whites are much thicker than caged eggs and in addition to health benefits, will give you a better mayonnaise. 
  • If the egg is even the slightest bit chilled from the refrigerator, you'll have problems. Take the egg out the night before, or immerse it (in the shell) in warm tap water for 10 minutes before using.
  • Add the vinegar and salt last so you can adjust the amounts to your taste.
  • Your mixing cup or bowl must be dry, dry, dry. Not a drop of water anywhere.
  • Use dry, powdered mustard instead of wet.
  • Use a light, less flavored olive oil for more neutral taste and base. Not EVOO.
  • If you use any other salt than kosher, cut it down to just a couple of pinches.
  • Vitamix blenders run hotter than regular blenders and may cook the egg.
  • For regular blenders, like my Kitchen Aid, use the Blend button. 
  • Keep the blender turned on, don't pulse.