Monday, September 26, 2011

Egg in a (Squash) Hole

Lately, I've seen a couple of recipes for eggs wrapped in other food, including this one (page 46) from The Food Lovers and this one from Jan's Sushi Bar.  

As I was cutting the top part of the butternut squash the other day, I thought, how cool would it be to cook an egg in the hole?  Turns out, it tastes pretty good (though don't expect my picture to look good like the ones by Bill & Haley or Jan).

  • Butternut squash
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Fat (ghee, coconut oil, etc.)
  • Eggs
  1. Cut squash into thick slices, maybe about 1" (it needs to be thick enough to hold your egg).  Cut off the outer peel and remove the seeds.  For the portion without seeds, use a round cookie cutter to make hole in the center.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add fat.
  3. Season squash with a little cayenne, salt, and cinnamon (get both sides).  Add to the pan and cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes).
  4. Once squash is softened, crack an egg into each squash hole.  Let cook until egg is almost cooked (3-5 minutes?) and then carefully flip (I lost a bit of egg in each flip).  Depending on how you like your egg cooked, let cook on this side for another minute or two.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Adovada Enchiladas

I had two different food-related thoughts that came together this weekend.  First, I wanted to use the Carne Adovada (one of my favorite New Mexican recipes) sauce developed by Use Real Butter, but I wanted to make it with ground beef (I was originally thinking Adovada burgers or something).  Then, my library hold of Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint Cookbook finally came in (hooray!) and I was intrigued by his use of egg white crepes to make the enchiladas.  Aha, I thought (in what I like to think was a rare moment of brilliance), adovada enchiladas could be something really good. 

I thought about making coconut flour tortillas, but eggs are generally used to tame down heat here in New Mexico (and since I don't eat dairy...these kind of things help:)), and frankly Mark's crepes looked pretty easy (I subbed coconut milk for the cream).  I found it took me a bit to make the perfect crepes, but once I got the hang of it, life was good.  [You cannot taste the coconut milk in the crepes once you are done.]

Anyway, this recipe is a bit, er, time intensive?  But, for a special weekend meal, I think well worth it.  Also, I added veggies to my sauce mixture - you can change them up or omit them as you prefer (I figured since I was doing so much work, I wasn't going to take the time to make another side dish...).

Served above with fresh mango and avocado to tame the heat and add a lovely bit of sweetness!

  • 20 dried, red New Mexico chiles (to tone down the heat, remove the seeds)
  • 3-4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp oregano (original calls for 2 tsp, but I'm not a real fan of oregano, and I can totally taste when there are 2 tsp)
  • 3-4 cups beef broth/stock (you can use water, but I think the beef broth adds a needed depth/body)
  • 1 pound ground meat (I used a mixture of pork and beef - pork (carne) adovada is a very traditional New Mexican dish)
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 8 egg whites (save the yummy yolks for something else)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (if you let the can sit in the 'fridge, the "cream" separates from the water -- I used the cream part)
  • Oil (to grease the crepe pan)
  • Sliced mango (optional)
  • Sliced avocado (optional)

Begin by making the sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degree (F).  Place dried chiles on a baking sheet and cook until blackened and blistered, about 8-10 minutes (keep the door open a crack...also, be careful of the fumes...and be VERY careful to handle the peppers and their seeds).
  2. Meanwhile, bring beef broth to a boil.
  3. Remove from the oven and cover peppers with beef broth.  Cover and let steam for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove pepper from broth, reserving liquid.
  5. In a food processor (or blender), mix together peppers, salt, oregano, and about 2 cups of the broth.  Blend until pureed.  You may need to add a little broth/water to get the desired "sauciness".
Make the filling [you can start this while sauce is being prepared}
  1. Begin to brown meat. 
  2. Chop veggies (if using). 
  3. Once meat begins to release a little of its fat, add veggies (except spinach) and let begin to soften.
  4. Add sauce and spinach and cook until thickened and spinach is wilted.
Make the crepes

  1. Whisk together egg whites and coconut milk.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a pan or griddle, add oil, and pour just a little bit of the egg white mixture.  The key here - you want it to be THIN.  Mark suggests about 1/6 cup.  I don't have a cup that is 1/6 cup, so I just eye-balled it.  Once the crepes begin to form little bubbles all the way through (like pancakes), flip.  It doesn't take too long on the other side.
  3. Set aside on a plate until all the crepes are cooked.
Assemble the enchiladas
  1. If you turned your oven off, turn it back on to 325 degrees.
  2. Put a crepe on a plate, stuff with filling, roll, and place into pan.  Do this until you are done (whether because you ran out of food or no more will fit in your pan).
  3. Cover with foil and place in an over for about 20 minutes (this helps the flavors meld together...we tried it both with and without baking, and I prefer the end result after baking).
  4. Plate.  Serve with diced mango (this is really good, and really helps tame the heat) and/or avocado slices.  Enjoy your Paleo enchiladas! 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Squares

I recently saw a post on making your own chocolate bars.  I was pretty intrigued.  Although I've learned to make a lot of things at home, chocolate bars never really occurred to me.  What a brilliant idea.  Of course, I couldn't use the original recipe due to my dairy intolerance, but I figured coconut milk/oil would work splendidly.  And, well, yeah, it worked (probably too well!). 

I can't decide whether stumbling across these bars was the best or worst thing I've discovered in a long time:)  My husband says they taste like a Newari treat - Chaku - eaten with ghee (chocolate and clarified butter?).  My mom said they taste like a Mounds bar.  Everything thought they were fantastic.

So, disclaimer time.  Please remember that these are a treat/occasional indulgence.  Particularly if you are working on your body composition, remember that SUGAR=SUGAR=SUGAR, regardless of the fact that the ingredients are "healthier".  Accordingly, these absolutely delicable little squares should be treated as a treat.  But, when you do indulge, savor and enjoy!
  • 1 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (if you use the canned kind, try to get the "cream" that separates from the water)
  • 1/2 cup coconut crystals (I think honey or other sweeteners would work as well)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
[The original recipe calls for 1 T vanilla extract and 1 tsp salt -- my palate is not necessarily all that sensitive and I couldn't tell a noticeable I left these out.  But, you might notice that these ingredients add a certain extra "oomph" that you enjoy.]
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Line a small pan with parchment paper (or, grease the bottom of your pan well with coconut oil.  If you have candy molds - which I don't - you could use those as well).  Pour chocolate mixture into pan.
  4. Refrigerate for about 1/2 hour.  Then, cut chocolate into squares and refrigerate another hour or two.
  5. Best stored in the refrigerator...although if you're like my family, they don't last all that long.