Category Archives: Tapas

Balsamic Chicken

Oh good, as my cold subsides (it’s almost gone, though my sense of smell hasn’t returned as of yet… Well, slightly) I can get back to normal in the kitchen. Tonight’s dinner happened because I forgot to thaw fish, and the boyfriend forgot to take it out when I asked him from work. I had some mashed pumpkin in the fridge that I had prepared the night before, so I was really just looking for a good protein. I ran to the store and picked up some organic free-ranged chicken breast tenders, and whipped up this easy preparation in about 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken breast tenders
  • 1/4 cup organic balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons organic stone ground mustard
  • 2 small, sweet apples (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped or sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • A little salt, pepper, thyme, and cayenne pepper

In a pan, heat some coconut oil. Add the onions, garlic, and apples, and sauté for a few minutes. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the chicken into chunks and put them in the pot as well. Then add the balsamic, mustard, seasonings, and stir. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through.

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Pineapple Vegetable Fried Cauliflower “Rice”

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I’ve heard about making cauliflower rice before, but didn’t think I could do it, as I don’t own a food processor. Then, I was searching around the internet, and saw a few people suggest you could do it just with a hand grater. I decided to give it a try. I had a beautiful head of yellow “cheddar cauliflower” (no relation to the cheese), and it was BIG, so I had plenty to use. I cut a few big florets off, and used the larger hole setting on the grater.

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It worked! It was a little messy, and a little extra work, but it came out wonderfully! Trying to figure out how to spice it up, I decided to be inspired by this pineapple fried rice I used to love at the Thai restaurant, as well as bringing in complimentary curry and spice flavors.

I cut up some carrots and broccoli into small chunks, grabbed some frozen pineapple (Trader Joe’s brand) and organic frozen peas (legumes not paleo, blah blah) out of the freezer, and went to work.

The (estimated) Breakdown:

1 cup Carrots (diced small)
1 cup Broccoli (diced)
2 cloves garlic (diced)
1 cup peas (organic, frozen)
1 cup pineapple chunks (Trader Joe’s frozen)
3-4 cups grated cauliflower (1/4- 1 head depending on the size)
2 tablespoons duck fat
Cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, ginger powder, turmeric, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne

Heat 1 tablespoon duck fat over medium high heat. Then, add the carrots, broccoli, and garlic. After a minutes or so, add the peas and pineapple. Season and stir for a few minutes before adding the second tablespoon duck fat . Add the cauliflower and stir. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

That’s it! It’s really easy, relatively quick once you prep everything, and it was AMAAAAAZING. It was so good that I decided to make a second batch, and went through the entire prep process again….it was so very worth the effort. In the future I might try mixing some egg, or onion in there, for more of a fried rice feel, but i think it’s pretty perfect as is. If you don’t have duck fat, you can use coconut oil, bacon grease, tallow, ghee, or butter. Coconut oil would probably go really well, otherwise I think an animal based fat is ideal.


Kabocha Squash (3 Ways)

Have I mentioned yet how much I love Autumn. It brings so many beautiful things; Cool air…. colorful leaves….winter squash. Yes, I L-O-V-E winter squashes, there are so many varieties, they are so tasty and nutritious, they store well, you get bonus seeds to roast, and they are relatively easy to make. Not to mention, when they are in season they are cheap too, less than $2 a pound, so load up! This week I bought a couple of Kabocha Squash, which I had previously only had in a Japanese style pumpkin curry, so I decided to roast it, and then use the roasted squash to make some recipes.

I used to have a love/hate relationship with roasting squash. I think, it was because cutting them was so tough and annoying. Then I found out you can roast them whole, and now it’s really the easiest thing ever. Which brings us to the first dish.

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  1. Naked Roasted Kobocha Squash

    It’s almost too easy. The flavor of a good Kabocha is so delicious on its own, that you don’t even need to season. Simply place the squash on a pan, and poke some holes in it with a fork. Then stick it in the oven, preheated to 375 degrees, and roast for 60-90 minutes until it’s easy to stick a fork in it. Cut it open, scoop out the seeds (and save them for roasting later!), and cut up or scoop out of the skin.

 

After scooping out all the roast squash, I used about half of it (so a whole Kabocha) to make the next dish. It originally was going to be a soup, but I got lazy and didn’t feel like watering it down. I’m glad I didn’t because I really like it came out. Thicker than a soup, but creamier and thinner than mashed potatoes. It’s actually almost like a dessert. The coconut milk brings out the sweetness of the kabocha, but the best part is, there is no added sweetener.

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2. Kabocha Squash Puree

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk
  • 8 oz Vegetable Broth (I used Pacific Brand)
  • Thyme, Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and using a hand blender, mix until smooth and creamy. Heat (unless it’s already warm from roasting) and serve.

Finally, I took a bit more of the roasted squash, and made this final dish. I got inspired to do the spinach/squash/nut mixture when remembering these vegan pumpkin kibbeh things I had a few weeks ago. It clued me in that the flavors went well together, so I came up with this side.

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3. Spinach Kobucha Saute

Ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Roasted Kobocha
  • Pine Nuts
  • LIGHTLY season with Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, , cinnamon, paprika, ginger, and half a dash of cardamom.

In a pan with some duck fat (and I also used the juice from the steak I just cooked) saute all ingredients for a few minutes until the spinach and garlic are cooked.  Stir in seasoning.

 

I served all three dishes as sides for a wonderful steak. I believe it was a top sirloin. For the steak I marinated it in a combination of thyme, salt, pepper, paprika, ginger, apple cider vinegar, allspice, and nutmeg. Then I cooked it in a pan, in a little tallow, 4 minutes per side before letting it rest for 10 minutes. It was a perfect medium rare. All together, not including the squash roasting time, this whole meal took under an hour, which is great!

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Salmon Cakes

So after being on vacation with the family, spending a week at Vista Verde – an amazing guest ranch in Colorado, I finally had a chance to shop! I didn’t feel like making anything crazy complicated, so I opted for some super easy salmon cakes! I accented them with an easy spinach and tomato salad, with an anchovy vinaigrette, and some sweet raspberries.

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I love fish burgers and fish cakes, but most contain some sort of corn or flour, and it’s hard to find pre made ones that don’t contain fillers and artificial ingredients. These are super easy, and have none of that junk! You don’t even have to make it a point to go to a specialty store, all of the ingredients were found at my local Stop and Shop.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Salmon (2 Cans)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Guacamole
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Egg
  • Season with Salt, Pepper, Paprika, a little thyme, and ginger powder

The Salmon I used was by Henry & Lisa’s. It was a little expensive at around $5 a can, but I appreciate the Sustainable Seafood Certification and when making fish cakes, I also appreciate the skinless and boneless label, since most canned salmon contains bones. I personally don’t care, but it freaks my boyfriend out, so If I can avoid them in my fish cakes, I’ll pay a little more. Overall, I was really satisfied with the quality and taste.

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Start out by chopping the onion, and combining the salmon and seasonings with it.

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Afterwards, add in the guacamole. I use Calavo brand, because it has only simple, real ingredients, all which are WLC compliant. It’s fun to make your own guacamole, but for an easy store-bought version, this one is great.

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Once everything is mixed together. Grease a griddle or pan. You can use butter, ghee, duck fat, or tallow. I just got my FatWorks tallow in the mail, so you betcha I was excited to use it!

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Once it’s hot, form patties with the mixture and place them on the griddle.

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Cook until browned on both sides, and cooked through. I think it took about 5 minutes per side.

 

 

 


Dressing Up Sardines and Bone Marrow!

Last night, I just didn’t feel like cooking something crazy. I was feeling L-A-Z-Y! I bought a few cans of sardines earlier to stock my pantry, so I decided to do something quick and simple to dress one of them up for dinner.

I buy Wild Planet Sardines in water. They are so good! I’ve always loved sardines since I was a kid.  As a health conscious adult, I appreciate them, since they are packed with nutrients, low in mercury, a great source of calcium and protein, and one of the only meats that works well coming from a can! I used to always get the brisling sardines (the smaller ones), but they’re getting stupid expensive and harder to find. Sometimes the normal ones, the larger variety that come three or four to a can, are weird, taste lower in quality, and sometimes have roe, which is usually kind of grainy and texturally weird for me. Wild Planet sardines are not any of those things, they are amazing. Not only are they ethically sourced, they are so very meaty, and as soon as you open the can, you can tell they’re fresh. From the texture and flavor of the meat to the color of the skin, these are by far, the best sardines I’ve seen.

Anyway, in a small pan I heated up some ghee and threw in

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Zucchini
  • Capers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mushrooms

After having that going for a while I also placed the sardines in the pan. Once everything was cooked through and warm voila! Minimal chopping and cooking, high nutrition,easy, and delicious!

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I also roasted up some delicious marrow bones. I just put them in the oven at 350 degrees (I changed it to 400 degrees later on to make it go a little quicker). I roasted them in a foil lined, glass, square pan, until the marrow was bubbling and easily separated from the bone.

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I love marrow bones. The last time I had them was in a restaurant, when I went on vacation to Montreal. They are fatty of course, pure fat, so if you don’t like jiggly, slimy, fatty textures, you might be put off. It’s definitely worth trying though, they are a decadent treat! The flavor is rich, and creamy, and really buttery. Some people spread it on toast, I just eat it with a spoon, or suck it out of the bone. You really feel very primal sucking bone marrow from a bone….it’s awesome. I actually shared these with my dog. I ate as much as I could out of the bone, and nibbled at meaty bits. What was left, I held for my dog to lick and gnaw away at. Sharing bones with your dog….yup, doesn’t get much more primal than that. I say that in the most amazing, delicious, best of ways.


Sugar Plum Peppers and Giblets

I have a great recipe that I’m getting ready to post later this week, so check back. In the meantime, here ‘s another giblet recipe I whipped up. I was roasting two chickens last night, and decided to incorporate the giblets into a side dish. Considering it was a bit of an experiment, It came out really good. and better than I expected, with a nice tangy zing. That being said, after taking a few bites of peppers, and learning there were organs inside (“what’s this thing?…. And this thing?”), my boyfriend boycotted….his loss! This time, both chicken necks went to the dog, and she ate them without any hesitation. The mixture in the bags were perfect too, both including livers, with 1 gizzard, and even a kidney!

2 giblet bags (liver, gizzards, kidney)
4-5 sugar plums, sliced
3 small bell peppers
3 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos
2 tablespoons coconut oil

I got these beautiful peppers from the farm stand. I actually feel bad now that my organ creation caused the boyfriend to be put off and miss out eating these lovelies! I’ll have to hope they have more!

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Over medium heat, Sauté the coconut oil, peppers, and garlic in a pan. After 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, add the sugar plums. 20130814-094342.jpg

After 2 minutes, add the organ mixture and coconut aminos. Stir occasionally for another 2-5 minutes until everything is cooked through. It will get really saucy. (Please Excuse the fuzzy image…I was trying to take a picture through a bunch of steam 🙂 )

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Add a tablespoon of sesame oil after it comes off heat

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As a bonus to roasting chickens, I had two lovely carcasses to dispose of, so I threw them in the crock pot to make stock.

Chicken Stock

5 allspice berries
1 apple
1 large ginger root – peeled
2 stalks celery
2 roasted chicken carcasses
4 cloves garlic
Salt
Pepper

Since it’s a chicken stock, I’ll let it go on low for about 24 hours.

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Sauteed Chicken Giblets!

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So I roasted a chicken for dinner tonight (two actually), nothing fancy. This time however, I didn’t throw away the bags of giblets. I used to, I didn’t quite know what to do with them, and I haven’t made gravy or chicken broth lately. I thought to myself “This is food” and asked myself why I would ever throw them away. I realized people around the world ate these things as delicacies, and people USED these things. I figured the primal thing to do, would be to embrace these innards! Don’t waste good nutritious food, that’s what it comes down to.

So the bag of giblets came with necks, and gizzards. One came with a liver as well. Gizzards are apparently a sort of seconds stomach….lovely. Both liver and gizzards are low in fat and high protein, but also high in cholesterol. They are a source of iron, zinc, and B12. The liver also is a source of Vitamin A.

As a side note, my dog i suspect is intolerant of chicken, based on past reactions to chicken based dog foods. I was curious if raw, good quality, chicken made any difference, so I gave her one of the raw necks. She thanked me.

I ate the rest of it. I washed everything, and trimmed the weird fat off the neck and gizzards. I cut the organ parts into small pieces. Heating some duck fat in a skillet, and some coconut aminos, I added the neck first. I chopped up a few cloves of garlic and a small shallot. I added them to the pan, as well as some ginger powder, salt, pepper, and the rest of the organs. I cooked until I thought everything looked done, only a few minutes, and until everything was sort of caramelized.

I’m a fan I have to say. The liver was soft and rich, and though  they were chewy, with an odd texture, the gizzards had a nice subtle flavor. The seasoning I used made me think of teriyaki, so if you are just trying this out, and aren’t very brave, it’s probably a good way to go. The neck was good, but it didn’t have much meat, so it was a little annoying. Definitely will do this with my gizzards from now on, otherwise I might save them for a stew.


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