June 2012 archive

Choco-Cherry Upside-Down Banana Bread

Say that five times fast…

So Colorado Springs is officially on fire.  As I was driving home from the airport on Monday you could see the smoke coming up over the mountain.  A little worried.  Plus side is that everything smells like BBQ.

And if the fires don’t kill me, this heat just might.  OMG I miss central air.  We have two window units but they’re not helping much.  Mostly because we have horozontal sliding windows and the units don’t have extensions long enough to fit–so I kinda gerry-rigged it with styrofoam.  Well, I tried.  Home improvement isn’t exactly my forte.

So I baked for you!!

PS…baking in105 degree heat with no AC?  Capital S-STUPID.  But delicious.  Oh, so delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 c Coconut Flour

1 t Salt

1 t Baking Soda

2 t Cinnamon

1/2 c Flax

6 Eggs

3 Mashed Bananas

2 t Vanilla

1 1/2 c Whole Cherries

2 T Cocoa Powder

1 T Coconut Milk

INSTRUCTIONS

Start with the dirty work–pit all your cherries and chop them roughly.  Set aside.

Whisk all your dry ingredients–EXCEPT THE COCOA POWDER AND COCONUT MILK–together.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the mashed bananas.  Add the dry ingredients a bit at a time until well blended.

Spread the cherries out on the bottom of a greased loaf pan.  Add 2/3 of the batter.

To the other third of the batter still in the bowl, add the 2 T of cocoa and 1 T of coconut milk.     Pour the chocolate batter into the pan and swirl with a knife.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Cool completely, then CAREFULLY remove the loaf from the pan and serve Cherry-Side-Up.  Enjoy!!

**I have now added a new category for my baked goods and other treats.  When you see “No Sugar Added,” I have added no extra sugars in the form of honey, palm sugar, or maple syrup.  If there is any sweetness in these products, it will be from fruit, sweet potatoes, etc.**

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Peach Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

Peaches are here!  I very well may have overdone it just a little when I came home from Whole Foods on Friday with two dozen peaches, but I guess that just means I have to get creative.  Damn.

So this recipe wasn’t completely my idea.  Thanks, Pinterest…again.  What can I say?  Makes the work day go by faster.  Wait, what?

I consider this cake quite the accomplishment–Paleo baking of any kind can be a pretty tedious process.  Getting a good texture that’s not too dry or gritty or goopey takes some trial and error.  And then there’s the challenge of getting an entire cake to bake evenly over muffins or even splitting the batter between two, 9-inch pans…and making sure the texture of the batter and the cooking time are sufficient to get the damn thing out of a ribbed bundt pan intact…yeah, ok, I’ll stop.  But know that this cake was a labor of love.  A lot of good peaches went in and will never come back…

What I ended up with is a sinfully rich, not-too-sweet, summery cake with a moist, fine texture.  Nope, no grittiness here!  I also appreciate how peach chunks kind of melt into the batter as it bakes and marbles the whole thing…giving us some AH-mazing little pockets of peachy goodness.  (I really do wish the outside was a lighter golden brown like the wheat-based original, but coconut flour is like that sometimes…and the flavor definitely did NOT suffer).  If you don’t have a bundt pan, just go ahead and bake it into a loaf (it’ll be a helluva lot easier to get out of the pan).  While you’re at it, I bet you could cut it into slice and make a pretty bangin’ almond butter and honey sandwich.  Or French toast…Oh.  Hell.  Yes.

One thing you absolutely cannot change in this cake is the ridiculous amount of butter.  Don’t be Pansy-Bakers.  The butter is what makes this cake.  Butter is what makes life worth living.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 c Coconut Flour

2 T Arrowroot Powder

10 Eggs

1 c Pastured Butter (or Palm Shortening if dairy-free)

1/3 c Raw Honey

4 Ripe Peaches

1 t Sea Salt

1 t Baking Soda

1 Vanilla Bean, split

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk your dry ingredients together and set aside.

Take two of your peaches and cut into chunks.  Using a food processor or blender, puree until you have a peachy slush.  If needed, add a couple of tablespoons of water to help things along.  Cube the other two peaches and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and honey.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until frothy and well combined.  Add the peach puree.

Bit by bit, add the dry mixture and continue blending.  With a spoon, mix in the vanilla bean and the last two peaches.

Generously grease a 10-inch bundt pan (or loaf pan) with coconut oil.  Spoon the batter into the pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Serve with coffee.  Lots of coffee.

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The Baconana

Bacon is Life.  Gluten is Death.  Easy.

I should be thankful I get as many long weekends as I do.  Really.  But something about having 4 days off with no complicated plans makes me…well…want to putz around with no complicated plans for the rest of my life.  All I did this weekend was eat, watch reruns of Glee, and do yoga.  And make sweet, sweet love to this cheesecake.  I love my life sometimes.

Oh!  Good news it that I’ve only got a 3-day week.  OK, sometimes I do love my job (though I need to hurry up and publish my Great American Novel so I can just work from home forever)…I’m heading out to Miami for another long weekend.  And after that, I have a very special surprise coming up–some of you will love me, some of you will hate me.  I’m not sorry.  I’m actually getting into it.  Just doing my part for Paleo and the sustainable food movement.  Yep, that’s me!

OK now for the abomination I just pulled out of my toaster oven.  And when I say “abomination,” I really mean “Transgalactically Foodgasmic”.  Not really sure what prompted the wrapping of a banana in bacon at 6:30am.  I’d put it on the same level as putting GI Joes in the microwave–you know, just to see what happens.  Except this is about a bajillion times more edible.  And please don’t try to do it in the microwave.

The end result?  Like…Bananas Foster meets…well, bacon.  And Bacon is Life.

INGREDIENTS

(Makes 1 Baconana)

1 Large Banana

2 Thick Slices of Bacon

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees F.

Carefully wrap your banana with the bacon and secure with toothpicks.

Place Baconana on a baking sheet and into the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bacon is nice and crisp around the edges.

Enjoy!

**Do yourself a favor and toss a nice, runny egg on the side.  You won’t be sorry.  And drizzle with a little maple syrup if you’re feelin’ a little frisky.**

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Rutabaga Fries

I really wish the “Food and Drink” section of Pinterest wasn’t full of outlandishly decadent desserts all the friggin time.  It’s killing me.  We’ve got a wedding in Miami next weekend–during which I will be wearing skimpy summertime clothes…and a swimsuit–and it’s fracking killing me.  I’m surprisingly fine without fruit–I’m even good without the green apple and pumpkin ration.  But someone PLEASE GOD IN HEAVEN GIVE ME A TRAY OF PEANUT BUTTER S’MORES BARS.  Or I might kill someone.

On a mildly related note, does it piss anyone else off as much as me the number of things labeled as “healthy”?  Like “ZOMG HEALTHY BREAKFAST IDEA!!!!” under a pic of some sugar and starch laden bastardization of a brownie?  Just because it has oatmeal and peanut butter in it does not make something “healthy.”  “Low fat” is not healthy.  And for the love of God, stop calling sh*t “low calorie”…especially desserts…if it’s a damn dessert it’s going to be bad for you, end of story.  Unless it’s fruit.  But fruit is not a dessert.  Accept your damn cheat meal and move on with your life.  And if you have a board chock full of outlandish desserts, that’s fine, but goddamnit do NOT tell me you ALSO have a “Fitness Inspiration” board full of half naked women with little mantras like, “Never give up!  You will have your dream body one day!” or “To hear the words, ‘Have you lost weight?'” or “Butt-kicking fat loss system!!”  OMG, people.  Are you for real?

Camilla’s Pet Pinterest Peeves.  OK, I’m done.

So I’m actually going to dedicate part of this post to m rutabaga fries.  So good.  I got a bunch of rutabagas by accident the other day–I was looking for turnips and somehow ended up with these.  I’m so smart.  The cashier so kindly offered to let me bring them back but I hate making a scene.  OK, that’s not true.  BUT I took them home and figured, when in doubt, slather them in fat and toss ‘em in the oven.

INGREDIENTS

2 Large Rutabagas

1/4 c Oil or Fat (I used rendered duck fat from earlier in the week)

Coarse Sea Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash and dry your rutabagas and trim any roots.  Cut into fries, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Toss the fries in a bowl with fat and salt to taste.  Arrange on baking sheets, no more than 1/2 inch apart.  Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on how crispy you like them), flipping halfway through.

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Roast Duck w/ Sesame-Ginger Glaze

It was none other than the great Julia Child who taught me to roast a duck.  There’s something so refined about a roast duck–kinda like, “Oh, yeah, I had some time this evening so I ROASTED A DUCK.  And I’m going to serve it on my FINE CHINA with a perfectly paired WINE and CLOTH NAPKINS!”  Never mind that I was all by my lonesome.  And there was neither fine china nor wine nor cloth napkins with which to serve my lovely bird.

When I mentioned it to a co-worker he gave me this look that was part disbelief and part sheer pity.  Whatever, I roast ducks by myself on Friday nights.  That’s the moral of the story.  At least I’m eating well (Mom).  I need to make some friends.

So, duck.  It’s a lot more versatile than most people seem to think…it’s like a really fatty chicken, really, so I wish it wasn’t so intimidating.  Expensive, yes…intimidating, no.  Personally, I’m a fan of duck in sweeter sauces–Julia has a recipe for duck with peaches that I’m DYING to try as soon as they start selling them at our Farmers’ Market–but just a nice marinade of red wine or lemon juice with a little oil, salt, and pepper will turn our beautifully.

This time, I opted for an Asian-style marinade.  It’s nothing crazy and came out tangy and sweet while the skin of the duck was lightly crisped and the meat melt-in-your-mouth-tender.  Obviously, cooking time will differ depending on the size of the duck (mine was almost 5 pounds exactly).  Julia has a nice table of cooking times in her book, but I’ve found that you kind’ve have to eyeball it a little because every oven (and, as I’m learning, altitude) is different.  My 5-pounder took an hour and a half and I let it rest about 10 minutes before I stared carving.  if you’re bird is 4 1/2 pounds, for example, I’d subtract about 10 minutes and test it for doneness.  To tell if it’s cooked through, give the thigh a poke–you want juice that’s either a really light pink (medium-rare) or yellow (well-done).

One last note…SAVE THE FAT!!!  I’ll be posting an extra special duck fat-laden recipe later this week ;)

INGREDIENTS

1 Whole Duck, about 4-6 pounds

1 Medium Onion, quartered

1/4 c Coconut Aminos

1/4 c Rice Vinegar

2 t Fresh Ginger

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

1/4 c Sesame Oil

1/4 t Dry Mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

Wash the duck and pat dry.  Remove the gizzards and the neck (they’re great to toss in a stock or make a pate).  With a sharp fork or knife, prick the skin all over.

Whisk together your oil, vinegar, coconut aminos, ginger, and seasonings.  Brush a quarter of the marinade all over the duck (generously) and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the duck from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature (about 15 minutes).  Place in a large roasting pan, place the onion inside the cavity, and truss the legs with twine.  Brush with another light layer of the marinade.

Place in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes (give or take depending on the weight of the bird and oven strength).  Every 20-30 minutes, remove the duck and brush with the remainder of your marinade and baste with rendered fat.  When it is done roasting, remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

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Paleo Protein Bars

I will never be Crossfit Games caliber.  It’s just the cold, hard truth.  BUT that does NOT mean I’m still not an overly combetitive individual trying every day to get better.  I want to be stronger, I want to be faster, and of course I want to look better (I’m a very superficial person).

In an attempt to take my training a little more seriously I’m honing in on diet (and recovery!) like I never have before–I’ll be continuing to play with principles of the 21DSD and perhaps a summertime Whole30 is on the agenda as well.  I’m enough of a purist that I’m avoiding the protein powders and supplements (I only take Vitamin D and liquid fish oil) and trying to worry less about partitioning nutrients at certain times of day than about the overall quality of my diet.  That being said, a search for the perfect post-workout shot of protein and carbs is a high priority at the moment, especially since it’s a tough nut to crack when you’re looking for whole food items that will keep for a few hours in the car or at the office.  A popular option for a lot of folks in my shoes are nut and nut butter-based snacks, but I’m also wary of consuming too many nuts and nut products because of the high omega-6 content.  Besides, relatively speaking, the protein content of nuts isn’t that high and they have a little too much fat for a PWO fuel.  Everybody is different, but if I get too much fat PWO I feel like I’m going to puke, especially after a tough metcon.  These last few weeks I’ve been doing a hard-boiled eggs and coconut water, which I think is working pretty well but got old after like, a day and a half.

So, this weekend, I started playing around with some good PWO fuel options that I could bake into something portable.  These aren’t anything fancy but they give you a nice hit of protein and starchy carbs (with cinnamon to help with insulin sensitivity!) and can be tossed in a ziploc baggie or tupperware for easy access.

I almost never do macronutrient breakdowns, but in the interest of fitness and the meticulous science that is the PWO fuel debate, I went all the way over to FatSecret and did the legwork for you:

Per bar (based on recipe yielding 12 bars): 101 Calories, 4 g Fat, 22.3 g Carbohydrate, and 6.1 g Protein

INGREDIENTS

(makes 12 bars)

2 Large Yams, shredded

6 Eggs, beaten

2 T Coconut Flour

2 t Cinnamon

1 t Vanilla

1 t Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the yams with the eggs, coconut flour, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.  Press the mixture down into a greased 4.8 QT (15x10x2) baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is browned and there are no liquid bubbles.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Super Simple, Super Chocolate Mousse

Can I just say that my 21DSD is really putting a cramp on my style?  I pride myself in rarely consuming sugars, but I never realized how much fruit and starch I took in.  Maybe a Whole30 would have been more appropriate?  But then again, this really is an eye-opening experience–and I’m one of those snotty Paleo geeks who thought she knew everything!–and I’m glad I’m doing it.  If nothing else, after a week I could swear I’m sleeping better and my cravings are *somewhat* better.  I’d still knife someone for a sweet potato, but whatevs.

So, this recipe.  NOT 21DSD approved.  It’s an oldie, but I guess I’m craving more than just sweet potatoes today.

This is such a rich and decadent treat…I mean, OMG.  I made it for the first time right after Ross left because I was sad and needed a shot of Chocolate Morphine.  And then I made it a bunch after that.  It’s only three ingredients (maybe four or five if you count any toppings…I’m a fan of even more chocolate chunks and cinnamon) and will leave you seeing chocolate stars without making you feel like you ate a brick the next morning.  OMG, people!!

INGREDIENTS

(Makes About 1 Cup, Serves 1-2)

1 can Full-Fat Coconut Milk

2-3 T Cocoa Powder (depending on how rich you want it)

2-3 T Raw Honey (depending on how sweet you want it)

Toppings: chocolate chips, shredded coconut, dollop of almond butter, cinnamon, etc…

INSTRUCTIONS

Chill the can of coconut milk, unopened, for a few hours or overnight.

Open the can and scrape out the solidified cream layer into a bowl.  Beat vigorously with a whisk or an electric mixer until softened.  Add the honey and cocoa and beat until light and fluffy.

Top with your garnishes of choice, and enjoy!

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Jamaican-Asian Braised Oxtail

Gotta love Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives…only there would I have gotten an idea like this.  I really wish I could say I’ve been recording and watching several episodes daily ONLY because my husband is halfway across the country for the summer, but this has been going on for months years.  Seriously I love the Food Network more than anything (well, maybe not Game of Thrones but I totally didn’t just say that) and DDD is one of my chief sources of inspiration for my food because of the sheer creativity and talent profiled every single time.  Besides, I never feel bad copying anything I see because they never share their secret recipes and I get to destroy my kitchen trying to replicate something I’ve never even tasted myself.

Huh…maybe that’s not a good thing?  Thankfully, Guy has an excellent vocabulary for food criticism and I was an English major.

If you’ve never cooked with oxtails before, know that they’re a pretty tough cut of meat and need to be either braised or tossed in the slow cooker to bring out the rich, buttery, bone-sucking texture we love so much.  Thankfully, those are probably the two easiest cooking methods out there, so go nuts with flavoring.  In this version, I braised my oxtails in a mixture of coconut milk, tomato puree, and some sweet and spicy seasoning that brought the islands and the Far East together.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Beef Oxtails

1 can Full-Fat Coconut Milk

1 c Tomato Puree or Prepared Tomato Sauce

1 Onion, roughly chopped

1 Bell Pepper, roughly chopped

2 t Cumin

2 t Chili Powder

2 T Coconut Aminos

Salt and Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the oxtails in a medium to large Dutch oven or deep oven-safe dish (like one of the bigger Corningware bowls with a lid).*

Whisk together the coconut milk, tomato sauce, veggies, and seasonings.  Pour over the oxtails and stir to combine.

Bake in the oven, covered, for 4-6 hours at 200 degrees (longer is better–it will continue to tenderize the meat and flavor the sauce).  Occasionally during the cooking process, stir to redistribute the sauce.

*This would also be lovely in a slow cooker.  Just toss everything in and set on low for at least 6 hours.

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Crockpot Asian-Style Carnitas

It’s like Mexican and Chinese takeout had a delicious baby.

You know the best thing about this dish?  It’s  even good cold and leftover when you’re drunk and stumbling around like an idiot looking for something to eat at midnight.  Thank God I found it before I found the bag of dark chocolate in the pantry.  Yeah, I know…who’s a winner?  THIS GIRL.

I was so hungover enough this morning that it hurt to blink.  OMG.  And I missed yoga, and missing yoga makes me cranky.  AND one of the dogs pooped on the floor and I had to shampoo the carpet…before I’d had coffee.  This is why it’s better to own, people.

Thankfully Paleo breakfasts are the single best thing for a hangover.  And coffee.  LOTS of coffee.

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs Pork Shoulder, cut into large cubes

1/4 c Sesame Oil

6 Cloves Garlic, minced

1/4 c Rice Vinegar

2 T Fresh Ginger, grated

1/4 c Fresh chives, chopped

1/4 c Coconut Aminos

Salt and Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, ginger, chives, and coconut aminos with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the cubed pork and stir to combine.  Dump the whole thing in a slow cooker.  Cook on low for at least 6 hours.

Remove cooked pork and spread out in a large baking dish.  Broil for 8-10 minutes until each piece is browned and slightly crispy.

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Salmon Tarts

OMG OMG OMG.

GAME OF THRONES COOKBOOK!!

As soon as I found out that such a thing, indeed, was possible I had it on pre-order.  AND.  IT’S.  HERE!!!

And yeah, the whole thing is pretty Geek-a-Licious.  I spent a soild hour and a half just perusing the intro and reading all the regional descriptions and double checking everything on my handy dandy map of Westeros.  Do not judge me…I have a thing, OK?!

THEN I started getting into the recipes themselves.  I love how almost every recipe comes in two parts–a medieval version and a modern version.  There’s some wacky stuff (pidgeon pie…that calls for pidgeons) but also some recipes I’d be proud to serve to a crown (honey roasted chicken with currants…holy crap I almost ate the photo).

So last night was originally a leftovers night–with said leftovers being the remnants of a baked salmon fillet–but I was dying…DYING!…to try something out.  Needless to say there isn’t much that’s Paleo but thankfully medieval recipes are pretty un-complicated and all I had to do was get creative with some substitutions.

I honed in on the Fish Tarts because, well, I had fish in the house that needed to be eaten.  Plus anything in tart or pie form is delicious. Which is reason number 5734875345785 that I love this book, because those Song of Ice and Fire folks ate a lot of stuff in pie or tart form.  I had to find a Paleo-friendly pastry dough, which I did over at The Nutty Kitchen (only change I made was not adding shredded coconut and nixing the honey)…side note-BEST Paleo pie crust I’ve ever had.  Seriously…OMG.  Plus I got to use my brand new tart pan!  Thanks Mike & Missy!!

The original recipe also calls for dates and figs to be added to the tarts, but I nixed those thanks to the 21DSD.  I’d also note that tart pans come in all shapes and sizes, so monitor the cooking time a bit depending on the difference.  The pan I used has four, 4-inch tarts.  What I ended up with was a pretty simple recipe but damn if it wasn’t delicious.  Kinda like fancy-schmancy-grown-up comfort food!

INGREDIENTS

Crust (adapted from the Nutty Kitchen):

1/4 c Butter, softened

2 T Coconut Oil, softened

1 c Coconut flour

3 Eggs, beaten

1/4 t Salt

1 T Cold Water

Filling:

1 lb Salmon, cooked and flaked

1/2 Onion, diced fine

1 Egg

2 T Fresh chives, chopped

1/2 t Paprika

Salt and Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

For the crust…

Whisk the dry ingredients together.  To this, add the butter and oil and with either a fork or food processor, mix until you have a coarse meal.  Add the eggs and water and knead until you have a smooth ball of dough (it will be a little more crumbly than wheat-based pie crusts).  Press into tart molds.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until a light golden brown.

For the filling and assembly…

Combine the salmon, egg, and seasonings.  When the crusts are done baking, remove from the oven.  Spoon the filling evenly among the tart shells.

Return to the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Enjoy!

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