Sunday, June 10, 2018

MILLET TABBOULEH SALAD

I like the combination of fresh dill, mint and parsley with lemon juice in a salad. I have eaten tabbouleh over the years and this recipe for tabbouleh is a bit different. It uses millet as the grain instead of bulgar wheat or couscous. Some tabbouleh recipes also include chopped tomatoes, onion and cucumber. Tabbouleh can be eaten as a side dish with chicken, fish or meat or eaten on its own as a salad. This recipe doesn't include a lot of dressing and if you like a 'juicier' salad, you can add more lemon juice, vinegar and oil.

Both the DH and I enjoyed this salad and have leftovers for another meal. We ate this salad with baked chicken thighs. 


Salad mixed and ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups cooked millet
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh dill
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

If cooking the millet right before you make the tabbouleh, let it cool first. In a medium size bowl, mix the millet, herbs and dressing. Combine well. Add more lemon juice, vinegar and oil to taste if needed. Serves 4.

Adapted from "The Plant Paradox Cookbook"

Saturday, May 19, 2018

SLOW COOKED APPLES

Last fall one of my neighbours gave me a bag of apples from their backyard tree. I knew these apples were for cooking as they were softer apples. They came with a few spots as they were not sprayed which is great. These apples can be used in a variety of ways.

In talking to a friend, she suggested cooking these apples in a slow cooker and to cook them so that they are still in chunks and not pureed like apple sauce. She provided me with a recipe that she was going to use that she got from a friend. I tweaked the recipe and was able to cook the 20 apples. I used Splenda and not sugar in the recipe. The nice thing about this recipe is that you leave the skins on the apples so there is less work to prep them. The caramel syrup is the kind you use when making flavoured coffee drinks. I stirred the apples once they finished cooking to make them more like sauce than chunks. 

I froze some of these cooked apples in one or two cup portions and kept a container in the fridge to enjoy for the week. 


Apples placed in the slow cooker.

After the first hour of cooking.

After three hours of cooking.

Stirred it more to create a bit more puree than chunks. 

INGREDIENTS:

20 apples or enough to fill the crock of a slow cooker
1 to 2 tbsp cinnamon (I used 1 tbsp)
1 tsp nutmeg
dash of cardamom (optional)
2 tbsp sugar or Splenda
2 tbsp regular or sugar free caramel flavour syrup
3/4 cup of water

DIRECTIONS:

Core and cut into quarters or eights each apple. Place into the slow cooker. After all the apples have been placed into the crock, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, sugar and syrup. Mix well. Add the water and stir. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for two hours. Reduce the heat to low for the third hour. Every half hour or so, stir the apples while they are cooking. If the apples require more cooking, keep cooking until you have the desired consistency. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

CHERRY CRISP WITH A NUT DATE TOPPING

In looking to make a dessert that is somewhat paleo and to use some of the frozen sour cherries from last summer, I decided to make cherry crisp with a different topping than what I have tried before. I combined recipes from previous posts and a topping from paleorunningmomma. The topping is different as it uses mainly dates and walnuts with a small amount of almond flour. The dates provide a nice sweetness to the topping.

For sugar in the filling, I used erythritol which is a natural sweetener and has a low glycemic index. I used tapioca starch in the filling as the cherries were frozen and I know they would have a lot of juice once thawed. After baking it, I should have added more tapioca starch than two and a half tablespoons. I would have preferred it to have less juice once baked. I had both pecans and walnuts in the pantry and decided to use walnuts. 

This recipe is a nice change from an almond flour based topping. 

Starting to add the topping.

Crisp covered with topping and ready to bake.

Cooling off after baking.

DIRECTIONS:

Filling:

4 cups of fresh or frozen pitted cherries
¼ cup white sugar or splenda
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 ½ tbsp ground almond flour or tapioca starch

Topping:

1 cup pitted dates softened*
1 cup raw walnuts or pecans
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To make the topping, combine the softened dates, walnuts, almond flour and vanilla in a food processor and process on high until a crumbly paste forms.
  3. Place the cherries in a large bowl and add the sugar, almond extract, salt and almond flour or tapioca starch. Combine well.
  4. Grease a 1.5 quart baking dish and add the filling mixture. 
  5. Generously sprinkle the crumb topping over the berries using the entire mixture.
  6. Cover the top with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and continue to bake another 15 to 20 minutes until the fruit is hot and bubbly and the top begins to brown and turn crispy. If using frozen cherries, you will have to gauge the time as it might need more time to bake. I baked it for about 50 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, allow to cool and serve warm. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. 
  8. Serves 6 to 8 depending on appetites. 

Recipe Notes
*To soften the dates, soak them in a small amount of hot water for one to two minutes, then drain.


Recipe is a combination of ones already posted on this blog and paleorunningmomma for the topping.

Monday, April 30, 2018

RED LENTIL CARROT SOUP

Even though the warmer weather has started, I still like to make soup for lunches. This lentil carrot soup has a wonderful flavour with curry powder and ginger added to it. One could have also added cumin to the soup but I didn't. The apple adds some sweetness to the taste. I used fresh ginger as I have some on hand. I didn't add any parsley or cilantro as a garnish based on pure laziness. 

The soup is lighter in colour than how it looks in the photo. The soup was so good the DH had two bowls. 


INGREDIENTS:

1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger or 1 tsp powdered dry ginger
2 large size carrots, peeled, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
5 - 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of coconut or almond milk
chopped parsley or cilantro as a garnish 

DRIECTIONS:

Using the Stove:
Heat the oil in a soup pot to high on the stove. Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium and sauté for five minutes. Stir the onions so that they don't stick or burn. 

Add the curry powder and ginger and sauté for another minute and stir. Add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut milk.  

Cover the pot with a lid and heat to high. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low or simmer and cook for 45 to 60 minutes until all of the vegetables are soft and the lentils are cooked.

Using an immersion blender puree the soup. You can also transfer the soup to a regular blender and puree it. If doing that you can add it back to the pot once pureed. Add the coconut milk, stir and add more salt and or pepper to taste. Garnish the soup bowls with parsley or cilantro. Serves five to six.

Using the Electric Pressure Cooker: 

Choose the sauté feature (high) on the electric pressure cooker. Add the oil and once it is hot, add the onions and sauté for five minutes. Stir the onions so that they don't stick or burn. 

Add the curry powder and ginger and sauté for another minute and stir. Cancel/stop the sauté feature. 

Add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut milk. Close the lid of the pressure cooker, select the pressure cooker button and cook for 15 minutes on medium high. I like to cook soups with beans for at least 15 minutes. Some cooks use less time. I choose automatic pressure release instead of manual. If using a manual release where it vents gradually, you could probably cook it for closer to 10 minutes than 15. 

Once the pressure is released, open the lid and stir the soup. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. You can also transfer the soup to a regular blender and puree it. If doing that you can add it back to the pot once pureed. Add the coconut milk, stir and add more salt and or pepper to taste. Garnish the soup bowls with parsley or cilantro. Serves five to six.

Modified from kitchen treaty.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

PALEO POPPY SEED LEMON LOAF

Recently I bought a cookbook called "The Plant Paradox" by Steven Gundry. It has a number of interesting recipes. All of the recipes are gut friendly and lectin-free. The cookbook includes some great looking food and includes a variety of different foods. This recipe is from the cookbook.

This poppy seed loaf looked good and the DH asked if I would make this recipe. One ingredient that I hadn't used before is erythritol. It is a natural sweetener and doesn't spike your blood sugar. You can bake with it. It is sometimes sold under the brand name Swerve. I bought the sweetener just as erythritol and found it at the local health food store. Instead of using a loaf pan I used a round cake pan. For the lemon juice and zest I did something a bit different. Last fall I had a large bag of lemons which were not getting used and I didn't want to let them spoil. I grated the lemons to get the zest and combined the zest with the pulp of the lemons in the food processor. I pureed it and froze the mixture in ice cube trays. Once they froze I transferred them to a freezer bag. I have been using these frozen lemon cubes in recipes that call for juice and zest.

The loaf turned out fine and tastes good. Using almond flour and coconut flour creates a different texture to the loaf than using wheat flour but it holds together and is a good alternative to wheat flour.

Batter in the cake pan ready to go into the oven.

Just out of the oven.

Ready to sample.

Another angle to see the loaf slice.


INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

3 eggs
1/2 cup erythritol or Swerve (brand name)
1/4 cup avocado oil
juice from 3 lemons
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp poppy seeds

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flours, salt and soda.
4. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the erythritol, lemon juice and zest, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Whisk the wet ingredients and combine well.
5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine well.  Fold in the poppy seeds. 
6. Transfer to the lined loaf pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
7. Let cool for a few minutes before removing the loaf to a cooling rack. It can be served warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings.  

Friday, March 30, 2018

FENNEL APPLE PECAN SALAD

From time to time I buy fresh fennel bulbs both during the summer and winter months. In winter I think more about roasting and baking fennel pieces and in summer I think about adding it to salads. 

Even though it is early spring, I became focused on making a fennel salad today. I usually add orange to a fennel salad but this time I decided to add apple and some nuts. I find a fennel salad to be very refreshing and it is a nice change. In making this recipe I decided to half it as it was for two people as part of lunch and I didn't want leftovers. I cut the quantity of each ingredient into half and used a green apple and pecan nuts. To make thin strips from both the fennel and apple, I used a mandolin. I forgot how useful the mandolin is to make thin strips and need to use it more often. You can use a food processor with the right attachment to make thin strips but the mandolin has less parts to it and easier to clean up. Both the DH and I enjoyed the salad and I will make it again.   


Mixing up the fennel salad.

Ready to eat.

INGREDIENTS:

1 fennel bulb, sliced very thinly into strips
1 green or other tart apple, cored, sliced very thinly into strips 
1 oz chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds 
handful of parsley, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
salt to taste 

DIRECTIONS:

Using a mandolin, food processor or hand grater, shred the fennel bulb and apple. Place into a medium size mixing or serving bowl. Add the nuts and parsley and mix everything until it is well combined. In a small bowl, container or glass jar, mix the olive oil, vinegar, honey and salt. Add to the bowl with the salad mixture. Mix well and serve. Makes 4 generous servings.

Friday, March 23, 2018

RAISIN CHOCOLATE CHIP PALEO COOKIE

Even though Spring arrived this week, the weather is still winter with cold and snow. One needs no better excuse to make cookies. I decided to make these cookies as they are paleo and I like the combination of raisins, chocolate chips and shredded coconut. You don't have to add the chocolate chips. They are a great substitute for oatmeal raisin cookies. I found this recipe in "Against all Grain" which has many interesting recipes.

I used a vegetable shortening and there are other options including palm shortening or butter. I used palm sugar instead of honey as the sweetener. The cookies have a darker colour as the palm sugar is brown in colour. To make the golf ball size dough for each cookie, I used a cookie scooper but didn't fill it all the way to the top. I made 14 cookies and used the convection setting on the oven at 350 degrees F. The cookies turned out great and we enjoyed them.




INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup shortening
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup honey or palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract 
4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup blanched almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins or 1/3 cup raisins and 1/3 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Using either a mixmaster or an electric hand mixer, mix the shortening and egg in a bowl for one minute on a high speed. Add the honey and vanilla and mix for another minute or until creamy. 

In another small bowl, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, flours, baking soda and salt and combine using a mixing spoon. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix for another minute until it is all combined. Scape the sides down with a spatula if required. Add the coconut, raisins and chocolate chips (if using). Mix again until everything is combined.

Line a cookie/baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a spoonful of batter, about the size of a golf ball, onto the parchment paper. Once you have placed all of the golf ball size cookie batter along the baking sheet, take a piece of parchment paper, place over each cookie and gently press down using the back of a spatula. Press them into circles, about 1/4 inch thick. The cookies don't spread when baking so you don't need much room between each cookie.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown. Makes 12 to 14 cookies depending on the amount of batter you use for each cookie.

Adapted from "Against all Grain" cookbook


Sunday, March 11, 2018

BREAKFAST SAUSAGES

I have never made what could be called breakfast sausages before making this recipe. I have made meatballs, sliders and burgers all geared to lunch or supper, not breakfast. But I have bought breakfast sausages. I came across this recipe in the cookbook "Against all Grain" and decided to make it for a Sunday morning breakfast instead of making paleo style waffles or pancakes.

I used a one pound package of lean ground pork and bought pork that was organic grain fed. You can use lean ground chicken or turkey instead of pork. Having two sausages along with some slices of sautéed apple and bullet coffee was very filling. I used dried herbs as I didn't have fresh sage and I didn't have marjoram so I used herbes de Provence. I used one green apple for making the sautéed apple slices.

It is a great recipe and if you have the time to make them, it is much better to have these sausages than buying a store bought product. It doesn't require much time to mix up the meat, herb and spices and the cooking time is no different than that of a store bought product. Both the DH and I enjoyed this meal.


Apples and cinnamon sautéing in a pan.


Cooking the sausages.

Plated and ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound lean ground pork
2 tsp chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp dried sage
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp marjoram or 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
salt and pepper to taste

1 to 2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the pork, herbs, maple syrup and spices in a mixing bowl. Heat a frying pan, non-stick if you have one, to medium high heat. Form the meat mixture into patties. I made eight patties and used my hands to shape them.


Fry the patties in the pan and flip over several times while cooking. It should take about 10 minutes. You can cook the apple slices in the same pan once the sausages are cooked. Remove the cooked sausages and place on a plate. Wipe the pan with a paper towel to remove any fine bits left from cooking the meat. Sauté the apples for 10 minutes with the cinnamon. Stir often. Add the meat during the last minute back to the pan to heat them up. Another option for cooking the apples is to sauté the apples and cinnamon in a separate pan with a little bit of butter. I did that while I was cooking the sausages. The recipe makes eight sausages.

Adapted from "Against all Grains".

Friday, March 9, 2018

HOT CEREAL MADE FROM NUTS

Over the years I have visited the blog site of Danielle Walker, Against All Grain,  who has written about dairy, gluten and grain-free recipes. She has written at least two cookbooks and I finally just bought the book titled "Against all Grain". It has a number of wonderful recipes that I plan to make. Danielle Walker started to change to what she ate as she was dealing with autoimmune issues including ulcerative colitis. She started to follow a Paleo diet and found the foods that helped her thrive. 

I have been following and cooking a Paleo style diet as I am watching my carbohydrate consumption/insulin resistance with balancing the amounts of carbs, fat, protein and plant material and the DH deals with some autoimmune issues. I do include some dairy in my diet including plain Greek yogurt with some fat in it, Parmesan cheese and some goat and sheep cheeses. I am careful with not consuming too much cheese. I will also have toast from time to time but I am selective on the type of bread. Sour dough is my preferred choice followed by rye or pumpernickel. I will also have small amounts of oatmeal and small amounts of certain kinds of beans. The DH is also not eating vegetables from the nightshade family and is careful eating some vegetables that have a lot of lectin in their skins. Since changing his diet, he is feeling much better. 

The recipe that I am profiling in this post is from the cookbook "Against all Grain". It is a hot cereal made from nuts. I didn't make any changes though I used almond milk instead of coconut milk. I just happened to grab the almond milk from the fridge instead of the coconut milk. I was leery of adding 2 teaspoons of cinnamon as I thought it might be too much but it wasn't. This cereal is very filling and it makes four portions. It has the consistency like cream of wheat. I would first start off by just taking one portion in your bowl as it is filling and you may think the portion is small but it is deceiving. I added a few raisins, a teaspoon of maple syrup and some almond milk to my bowl of hot cereal. Both the DH and I enjoyed this hot cereal. I will make it again. 

Nuts added to the blender.

Blending the ingredients.
Cereal placed in the pot to heat up.

Adding raisins to the bowl of cereal.

Ready to eat with milk, maple syrup and raisins added to the bowl.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw pecan nuts
pinch of sea salt
1 ripe banana
2 cups of coconut or a nut milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon 

DIRECTIONS:

Place the nuts in a bowl or a storage container that comes with a lid. Sprinkle the nuts with the sea salt. Add water to cover the nuts by at least one inch. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight.

In the morning, drain the nuts and rinse them several times in a colander. Place the nuts in a high speed blender or food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a pot, cook on medium high until the cereal starts to heat up and reduce the heat to low. Cook for five to eight minutes. Serves 4. You can add some raisins, milk, maple syrup to your bowl of hot cereal.

Friday, February 9, 2018

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

Over the past two weeks I have experimented with making pizza crust from cauliflower. There are a number of recipes that you can find and they all use cauliflower that is processed to become riced. Some cook the riced cauliflower and squeeze the water out of it to become a pulp while others add the uncooked riced cauliflower to the rest of the ingredients to make the crust. The two recipes that I tried both used an egg and cheese in the crust batter. Both of these ingredients help hold the crust together. For pizza crust number one, I used a baking pan and for pizza crust number two, I used a pizza stone. 

Crust number one is made using cooked riced cauliflower that you drain in the colander, then squeeze the pulp in a dish towel and wring it out until all of the excess moisture is removed. It takes some work to wring and squeeze the water out.Two pounds of raw cauliflower ends up to be about 2 cups of dry pulp. This recipe includes an egg and soft goat cheese.

Crust number two uses riced cauliflower that doesn't require cooking. You still need to ensure that the riced cauliflower has excess moisture removed so I placed it between paper towels to remove any excess moisture. There wasn't really any moisture to remove. The recipe includes one pound of cauliflower, an egg, almond meal flour and Parmesan cheese. 

There is a two step process in baking the pizza. First you need to bake the crust and then you add the ingredients and bake it a second time but only for five to ten minutes. Because of the short cooking time for the second bake with the toppings, it is good to sauté whatever vegetables you are adding as toppings. For example, I sautéed the mushrooms and onions in advance. In pizza number two, I added spinach as a topping but didn't sauté it beforehand. In making both pizzas I used similar ingredients such as prosciutto, mushrooms and grated goat cheese. In the second pizza I used a caramelized onion flavour brick goat cheese and that is why the grated cheese has a light brown look. I didn't use any tomatoes or tomato sauce because the DH is staying away from nightshades. 

Both pizzas had a crust that held together and they were not soggy. I tried to make the crusts thin and crispy. Crust number one is from the detoxinsta.com site and crust number two is an epicurious recipe. Both pizza crusts work. In identifying which one I prefer I would choose crust number one. I think that crust holds together better and I found it less salty. A third of a cup soft goat cheese in crust number one has less salt than a cup of Parmesan cheese that was used in crust number two. Both pizzas had prosciutto in the toppings which is also salty. I will likely do more experimenting in the coming weeks on cauliflower pizza crust.


Cauliflower Crust #1

Crust out of the oven after baking for 35 minutes.

Out of the oven after baking the toppings.

Ready to sample.

Cauliflower Crust #2


Pizza dough spread out on parchment paper before placing it on a hot pizza stone.

Pizza crust after cooking for 25 minutes on a hot pizza stone.

Out of the oven after baking for almost 10 minutes with the toppings.

Ready to sample.