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.