Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

What can I say?  I love pumpkin!  I woke up today with the notion to make pumpkin pancakes.  These got two thumbs up from the mostly-paleo husband and not-so-paleo mom.  The inspiration for these comes from these totally awesome chocolate pancakes and a similar recipe in Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution.

  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (if using canned, make sure the only ingredient is pumpkin)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or other nut butter (if you have a nut allergy, you might try unsweetened sunbutter)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Coconut oil (for cooking)
  1. Heat griddle or pan.
  2. Whisk the ingredients together until a smooth batter is formed.
  3. Drop some coconut oil onto griddle or into pan.  Allow to melt.
  4. Add pancake batter and cook on one side until bubbles start to form on the top and around the edge, and bottom is lightly golden.  Flip and cook another minute or two.
  5. Serve with fruit, unsweetened jelly, maple syrup, or other condiment of choice (also good plain or with a little coconut butter on top).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CrockPot Beef with New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

One of my favorite foods is the New Mexico chile pepper.  Red or green, it doesn't generally matter, I love them both.  This recipe is a slight adaptation of one of my favorite dishes - carne adovada - pork in a red chile sauce.  I've made a slight variation of this recipe many times with great success.  I've changed things up to use grass-fed beef and cook it in the crock-pot.  

Warning:  in order for the flavors to fully develop, you need to allow at least 24 hours or more for marinating time.

  • 3-4 pounds grass-fed beef (I used a roast)
  • 16 New Mexico dried red chile pods
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Tbs kosher salt (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  1. Broil chiles in the oven for about 30 seconds each side, until they are black and blistered.  Leave oven door slightly cracked, and be mindful of the fumes.
  2. Once the chiles are cooked, soak them in boiling water for 45-60 minutes (again, be mindful of the fumes).   Reserve this water, as you'll use it to make the sauce. Then, transfer them to cool water.
  3. While chiles are soaking, cut beef into cubes (about the size of stew meat).
  4. Once the chiles have cooled enough, use your hands to remove the outer skin and the seeds (if desired; the seeds are where the heat is, so use to your taste).  I recommend some gloves during this process.  Please be careful of touching your eyes after you handle the chiles.
  5. Place the chiles, garlic, salt, oregano, and about 2 cups of the water in a blender or food processor.  Blend until a nice sauce has formed.
  6. Place the meat into a plastic ziplock bag or other device appropriate for marinating meat.  Add sauce and make sure all of the meat is covered.
  7. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 24 hours.  I marinated around 36 hours.
  8. Place meat in a crock-pot.  Set time for low, 8 hours.
  9. Serve and enjoy!  The meat should be really tender, with a flavorful red sauce.
Part of Real Food Wednesday  by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.  If you are looking for more real food ideas, check out the other links!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Savory Beef and Squash Pie

Holy cow, Batman, this dish was so good that I couldn't wait to share it with you.  The squash is slightly sweet, counteracting the spicy and savory goodies underneath.  I love this recipe because you could use whatever veggies you have on hand.  Don't have those I used?  No worries, toss in whatever you have in your 'fridge.  Great way to use up leftover veggies.

The funny thing is, a year ago (okay, seven months ago even), I wouldn't have touched squash with a ten-foot pole.  I most certainly would not have thought squash tasted "sweet".  How the mighty have fallen:)  Our taste buds can, and do, change when you stop the processed food and continue to try new things!

  • Butternut Squash - 1 decent size or 2 small
  • Coconut oil (or ghee) - 1 Tbs or so
  • Leeks (or onions), diced - 1 cup or so
  • Sliced mushrooms - 8 oz or so
  • Ground beef (grass fed; or other combination of ground meat) - 2 lbs
  • Emeril's Creole Seasoning (note:  I use a lot less salt than the recipe calls for, you may need to adjust depending upon your preference for salt) - 3-4 Tbs (to taste - you probably want to start with less and add until it tastes good to you)
  • Garlic powder - 1 Tbs (to taste)
  • Onion powder - 1 tsp (to taste)
  • Kosher salt - 1/4 tsp (to taste) (if you use the Emeril Creole Seasoning per the recipe, you'll probably want to omit the salt here)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • Tomato paste, 1 Tbs
  • Fresh spinach - 2 to 3 cups
  • Coconut Butter - 2 Tbs (this will depend upon how much squash you have)
  • Coconut Milk (canned, get the kind without the "gunk") - 1/2 cup (again, this will depend on your squash, use less and add more as needed)
  • Cayenne pepper - 1/4 tsp (maybe a little more if you like things spicy)
  • Cinnamon - 1-2 tsp
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Cut squash in half.  Remove seeds and membranes.  Put in a pan to roast.  Roast for 350 degrees for about 50 minutes (you can also use water in the roasting process, but this worked for me and seemed easier).
  3. Heat oil over medium heat.  Once heated, add leeks (or onions).  After a few minutes, add mushrooms.  Cook until tender, maybe 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
  5. Add spices (Emeril though salt), tomatoes, and tomato paste.  Cook for a few minutes until tomatoes begin to release their juices.  Then add the spinach.  Cook until spinach is wilted.
  6. Put ground beef mixture in the bottom of your roasting pan.
  7. Remove cooked squash flesh from the skin.  With the flesh, puree the coconut butter, coconut milk, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon until desired consistency is reached (I put this all in the food processor for a few quick whirls; you could also use a hand blender or hand-held potato masher...whatever you have that works).  Spread squash puree over the tom of the ground beef mixture.
  8. Bake about 20 minutes.
Use curry powder instead of Creole seasoning; add fresh ginger and some type of spicy pepper to meat mixture; and add a little powdered ginger to squash.

Part of the Real Food Wednesday carnival at Kelly the Kitchen Kop; there are some great website you should check out! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Flat Bread

Bread?  Have I gone mad?  Maybe I need to review the foods one eats while enjoying the Paleo lifestyle?  'Cause eating Paleo, one doesn't eat bread unless it's a rare indulgence (and you aren't gluten intolerant!).  And if it's made with nut flours, well, that's a pass too, at least most days.  

But hold on a minute before you stop reading about this totally awesome recipe I found here.  With only 3 (yes, 3) ingredients, one of which is a vegetable, you are going to be blown away.   Well, maybe not blown away in the same way you would with a fresh loaf of bread baked in a French bakery you found while walking down the streets of Paris...but pretty good, actually:)  I must admit I had doubts, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Another bonus:  an extra touch of veggies.  Although I'm lucky in that my family loves veggies, if you have kiddos or others who don't, this might be a great way to sneak in some extra veggies.  These come out thin and airy, but surprisingly sturdy (although I'm not sure you'd want them for say, sloppy joes).  Stay tuned for what I do with these bad boys in future posts (besides just eat them out of the pan...yum).

  • 1/3 cup cooked, drained, and pureed veggies (you can probably use about anything; I used cauliflower)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites (save the extra 2 yolks for something else)
  • 1 tsp salt (I think next time I'll use 3/4 tsp)
  • Ghee or oil to grease pans
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Cook and puree veggies.  If you already have leftover veggies, go ahead and puree them.  I tried to get a nice, smooth consistency.  You want the mash to be pretty thick, so make sure you drain your veggies first before you puree.
  3. Separate eggs.  Beat egg whites with salt until they are stiff.
  4. Mix yolks with veggies.
  5. Carefully fold veggie/yolk mixture with egg white mixture until blended.
  6. Grease the dickens out of a pan (or use Silpat, which I don't have...but may need some day:)).  Seriously, this is important.  I didn't grease my first batch well enough (though I thought I did at the time) and I lost half of my "bread" to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Either spread mixture over pan (which I did) or create pancake-like shapes (for hamburger "buns" perhaps).  Cook until top is lightly golden browned, about 30 minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Berry Muffins

Early this summer, I  followed the Whole30 program designed by Dallas and Melissa over at Whole9.  As part of the Whole30, they decree we "do not try to shove our old, crappy diet into a shiny new mold.  This means no “Paleo-fying” existing less-than-healthy recipes – no “Paleo” pancakes, pizza or Fudge Babies".   As advertised, the Whole30 program completed changed my life.  Seriously -- it's that good of a program.  Indeed, I have almost completely let go of emotional eating (hate to say it, but shoving mouth-fulls of broccoli mindlessly into the pie hole doesn't work at all the same as Cheetos do) and have eliminated my awful sweet cravings.  If you haven't given it a go, you really should.  And now, even months after the Whole30, I eat pretty much the same as I did before (okay, maybe a little more bacon or brisket, but other than that, pretty much the same:)).  However, my dear husband and mother, who are will go on through most of this Paleo journey with me, are not willing to shake everything.  Sweet treats being one of them.   Breakfast being another.  While they don't mind eggs for breakfast, they aren't willing to go with me on leftovers (I don't know why....I think it's all the marketing we've been subjected to telling us what foods are "breakfast" foods versus "dinner" foods...but I digress) and occasionally request something muffins.  If they are going to eat these kinds of foods, then I prefer them to be made with better ingredients...hence, the muffin recipe.  And with only 1-2 T of sugar, and 12 muffins, they aren't really that bad for them.

I've had to tinker with this quite a bit to get the right consistency (either way too dry or way too moist).  But, by George, I think I've finally got it.  Let me just add, if you are working to lose weight, I'd stay clear of these until you either really need a treat (and then I'd probably make my way over to these cookies or something similar) or are closer to your ideal body composition.  Similarly, if you are working to overthrow your sweet demon, I'd hold off on these.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter (I like it softened, at "room temperature")
  • 1-2 T honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (I use the "cream" part from canned coconut milk -- don't shake the can before you open it and the "cream" will rise to the top)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • Frozen berries (no need to defrost), small bag, no sugar added (blueberries are probably my husband's favorite)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together eggs, coconut butter, honey, vanilla, and coconut milk.  Set aside.
  3. Sift together salt, baking powder, and coconut flour.
  4. Slowly stir in dry ingredients with wet ingredients.
  5. Fold in frozen berries.
  6. Fill muffin tins with mixture (I got 12 muffins).
  7. Optional - sprinkle top with a little bit of coconut butter (that's the white stuff you see in the picture above -- it didn't melt, but the natives didn't seem to mind:)).
  8. Cook about 33 minutes or until knife comes out clean (your oven might be different, so start checking around 30 minutes or so).
  9. Let cool slightly and then serve.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cocoa-Rubbed Steaks

This isn't really the most novel recipe for a steak rub, but it was sure good!  I personally love steak any which way.  Salt and pepper work just fine.  But every now and then, I'm looking for something different.  I saw some old Bobby Flay episode on the food network, where he was making coffee-rubbed steak, and thought how great a nice cocoa-rubbed steak would be (I use different spices than he does, but I would think that his recipe, where cocoa is subbed for the coffee, would be great as well).  We don't drink coffee, you see, and so I had to move on to something we did have on hand (I know we are the 2 weirdest folks on the planet -- but there you have it).

  • 1 large steak (preferably some type of grass-fed meat)
  • 1-2 T coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp each:  salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

  1. Heat skillet.
  2. Mix spices (cocoa powder through ginger) together.
  3. Rub one side of the steak with coconut oil and spice mixture.
  4. Place in screaming hot skillet to sear.  Meanwhile, but other side of steak with coconut oil and spice mixture (careful here not to burn yourself).
  5. Sear other side.
  6. Reduce heat to low and cook through under cooked to your liking.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Custard Cups

Okay, so a bit of warning before I get into this recipe.  I don't each much sweet food anymore; a bit of fruit every now and again (though less now that we're moving away from summer).  For this reason, it doesn't take much for me to think something is sweet.  I also rarely crave "sweet" food these days (hooray for conquering the sweet demon!) and don't generally eat foods that encourage my dormant sweet tooth (although I will probably indulge in the chocolate cake I'm planning for my dear husband's birthday...but that'll be another post for another day).  Pumpkin and coconut are naturally sweet ingredients to me, so I didn't add any additional sweetener.  Depending upon your taste, you might add some fruit (pureed (ripe) banana or dates) or other sugar (honey, maple syrup, coconut crystals, etc. -- maybe 1 -2 T).

Anyway, pumpkin is a quintessential fall food in my mind.  I love it from October through December (okay, any time of the year really, but especially so this time of the year:)).  With all of the lovely pumpkins in the store, and a crisp to the air (finally), I couldn't help but make something that makes the most of one of my favorite vegetables.  This recipe is super-duper easy AND tastey (at least I thought so).  In my mind, a perfect breakfast (with a side of buffalo andouille sausage) and I can't wait for breakfast again tomorrow.

  • 1 can pumpkin (15 oz can or about 1.5-2 cups mashed pumpkin; make sure if you get the canned kind the only ingredient is pumpkin)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter (you want it to be softened, but not melted...think room temperature butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (if you use the canned kind, you want the "cream" portion that rises to the top if you don't shake the can)
  • 1-3 Tbs cinnamon (yes, I really love cinnamon!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp each, ground: nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cardamon
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (don't worry, we'll turn it down!).
  2. Mix ingredients together until they are all completely combined (you want them mixed up well so that you have a pie consistency, and don't get chunks of "scrambled eggs").
  3. Pour into muffin cups (I got  6 very full muffin cups).  You could put this into a pie pan (you'll probably need to adjust your baking time), but I wanted a "grab and go" breakfast this week.
  4. Put in the oven at bake for 10 minutes.  Then, turn down the oven to 350 degrees and bake another 40 minutes or so.  When your knife comes out clean, your cups are done.  Note:  your oven may well cook differently.  You may want to check the doneness after 30 minutes or so.
  5. Let cool before attempting to remove from the muffin pans (unless you don't care what it looks like...which I didn't when I wanted to taste one this morning).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Make-ahead Beef in a Spicy Tomato Sauce (Chhoyala)

     I don't know if I've mentioned it, but my dear husband is from Nepal.  More specifically, he is from the Kathmandu valley and is a Newar.  According to my good friends at Wikipedia (they know everything, right?), the term Newar applies roughly to the descendants of citizens of Medieval Nepal (consisting of Kathmandu Valley as the capital and the ever changing territory with the farthest extent being Gandaki river to the west and the Koshi river to the east, Tibet to the north and Terai to the south).  They are united by their common language, which is Newari.  

     Anyway, this is a dish introduced to me by my sister-in-law during Thanksgiving one year.  Basically, it's beef in a spicy tomato sauce.  Yum.   Chhoyala (don't ask me how to pronounce this - my Nepali and Newari are terrible - even my husband can barely understand me, even when he knows what I'm trying to say) is a traditional party dish, typically made early in the day and served later.  One thing about the Newars, they love to party.  There is a festival and feast for everything you can imagine. Yes, feasts.  Newars are big on feasts, or big parties, with lots of food.  Much of the food is simple to prepare, yet very tasty -- my kind of food!  Chhoyala is more than likely to be a snack food or appetizer, but I like it as a main dish.

     It's a perfect make-ahead on Sunday afternoon when I'm in the mood to cook.  And little prep the night before, and voila, dinner ready for Monday night, when I'm dragging myself home from work and thegym and don't feel like cooking...but sure feel like eating:)  Although you can eat it right after it's finished, it tastes WAY better the next day after the flavors have a chance to meld and the tomatoes have time to break-down (tenderize) the meat.  

     In the Kathmandu valley, one would typically make Chhoyala with water buff.  Since I can't find water buff here (okay, I've not yet had buff, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't taste like chicken), I used beef stew meat, but you could use pork, lamb, chicken, buffalo, etc.  You would typically eat this with beaten rice (and have some rice wine), but since I rarely indulge in rice, I serve it with cauliflower rice or shredded cabbage.


  • Stew meat, 2 lbs (use any meat you have on hand - if you are using another type of meat, you'll want to cut it into cubes)
  • Turmeric powder, 2 tsp
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp (or to taste)
  • 4-5 large tomatoes (you can also use canned, but make sure you get the fire roasted tomatoes, preferably without salt) 
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 Tbs cayenne pepper, or to taste (alternatively, if you have jalapenos or other peppers, you could use those as your heat component)
  • 1 Tbs oil 
  • 1 tsp fenugreek (also known as methi seed) (optional)
  1. Roast tomatoes if using fresh.  I pop mine under the broiler of my toaster oven.  You could also put them on your stove if you have a gas range or throw them on the grill.  Roast until blistered, turning as necessary to ensure blistering on all sides.
  2. Coat meat with turmeric powder and salt.  You have two choices with the meat:  either boil it in a little water until cooked or brown until no longer pink (or to desired doneness).  Both taste really good.  I like them both equally well.  Once cooked, remove from heat and reserve.
  3. Once tomatoes are roasted, transfer to a food processor.  Add garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper (or peppers).  Blend until mixed.
  4. If you are using the fenugreek, heat oil in a pan.  Add fenugreek and cook until blackened.  The dish tastes fine without the fenugreek - but if you have it - then use it.  I'll introduce you to other recipes that use fenugreek if you have an interest in trying it, but don't want to waste the money for a "one-time" spice.
  5. Add fenugreek (if using) and oil to the tomato mixture.  Mix again.  Taste, adjust seasonings as necessary (you may need a little bit of salt here).
  6. Once pureed, mix the tomato mixture with the beef.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.  Tastes great cold or reheated.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nepali Wedding Soup

It's cold outside today.  About a 25 degree drop in temperature compared to yesterday;  indeed, today is the first day it has actually felt like fall!  What better way to celebrate the change in seasons than a steaming bowl of soup?  

This is a different take on one of my favorite soups -- the Italian wedding soup -- modified to include traditional Nepali flavors and zucchini instead of pasta.

For the soup:
  • Ghee or oil
  • 3/4 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (optional - I had one that needed to be used before it went bad)
  • 2-3 T curry powder, or to taste (start on the low end, you can always add more as you cook)
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1 T ginger, minced (you can store your ginger in the refrigerator to keep it on hand; but, if you don't have any, sub ginger powder, maybe about 1 tsp)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 or 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, cut in rounds or long, like noodles
  • 4 cups homemade beef or chicken stock
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, kept whole, but sliced lengthwise (it's going to act like a bay leaf)
  • Meatballs (see below)
  • Spinach
For the meatballs:
  • 2 lb ground meat (you can use any combination; I'm particularly fond of beef/pork)
  • 1/4 onion, VERY finely diced (you don't want to be eating large chunks of onion in your meatballs)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely diced (again, you could use ginger powder if you don't have fresh)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, VERY finely diced (for less heat, omit the seeds)
  1. Heat ghee/oil in a soup pan.  Add onion and red bell pepper.  Cook until onions are translucent, but not browned.
  2. Add curry powder, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes.  Mix with onions and peppers and cook another minute or so.
  3. Add carrots, zucchini, stock, and jalapeno.
  4. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for meatballs (ground meat through jalapeno pepper).  Form into meatballs.
  6. Add meatballs to soup.  Let cook about 5-10 minutes, until vegetables are tender and meatballs are cooked through.
  7. Add spinach and cook until spinach is wilted.
  8. Taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  9. Remove jalapeno pepper and serve.