Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sausage Squash Soup

Back in the pre-paleo days, I used to make a fantastic Tortellini Soup.  Tonight, I decided to adapt it for the noodle-free lifestyle.  Yellow crookneck squash made a terrific tortellini replacement!

Sausage Squash Soup
1 lb. sausage
1-2 T. minced garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
fresh rosemary, thyme, basil, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 T. tomato paste
16 oz. chicken broth or stock
2 medium-sized crookneck squash, sliced or diced into tortellini-sized pieces
at least 4 cups spinach or chard

Cook the sausage in a large pot, crumbling it as it cooks.  Add the onion, garlic, and herbs, cooking until onions are translucent.  Stir in the tomatoes and the tomato paste.  Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the squash and cook until it's tender.  Stir in the spinach or chard leaves.

My chard bolted.  I'm still learning how to garden in CA.

Bowlful of little chard leaves.

Pot full of delicious spicy soup!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lemonade Ice Cream

This might be my favorite ice cream recipe so far.  I've been dreaming about making it for a year.  It has fantastic flavor and a very satisfying texture.

The only thing I don't like about making frozen custard is the amount of time you have to wait between starting to make the recipe and actually eating it.  After cooking a custard, you must chill the mixture thoroughly, usually overnight!  When I start making ice cream, I want it NOW!

Here's the solution:  mix chilled or frozen ingredients into the cooked custard.  Freeze some lemon juice into small cubes, zip them into a bag and throw them in the freezer.  When you get that hankering for Lemonade Ice Cream, you'll be eating it today instead of tomorrow.

Lemonade Ice Cream
2 cans full-fat coconut milk
1/2 c. honey
3 T. lemon zest, finely chopped
5 egg yolks
3/4 c. lemon juice, frozen
1 t. vanilla

Put one can of coconut milk in the freezer.

Stir the other can of coconut milk, the honey, and the lemon zest into a medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over low heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cover.  Let steep for 10 minutes.

Separate eggs and beat yolks with a whisk until creamy.  Refrigerate the whites for another use.

Uncover the saucepan and return to heat.  Bring to a simmer.  Gradually stir the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, several tablespoons at a time.  This is important so you don't get scrambled egg ice cream.  Stir the egg mixture back into the saucepan.  Cook and stir over low heat until the mixture just coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 10 minutes.  Mixture will register 170 to 175 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Remove from heat.  (At this point, you can strain through a fine-mesh sieve, to remove the lemon zest and any cooked bits of egg.  I like the bits of lemon zest, so I opted to not strain.)  Scrape mixture into a 8-cup bowl.  Remove the can of coconut milk from the freezer.  Pour 1 1/4 c. of the cold coconut milk into a 2-cup glass measure, pour the remaining into the cooked mixture.  Drop frozen cubes of lemon juice into the glass measure until it reaches 2 cups.  Stir the cold coconut milk and frozen lemon juice into the cooked mixture until all the lemon cubes are melted.

Freeze in your ice cream freezer.  Garnish with shavings of unsweetened chocolate, chopped strawberries, or fresh mint.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Paleo Almond Butter Ice Cream

More ice cream.  Because it's still summer.

Nut Butter Frozen Custard
inspired by Brown-eyed Baker

2 cans coconut milk
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. creamy nut butter (almond or sunbutter or whatever nut butter you like best)
1/8 t. salt
6 egg yolks
1 T. vanilla extract

Warm one can of the coconut milk, honey, nut butter, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the nut butter has melted.  Continue cooking until the mixture comes to a slight simmer, bubbling around the edges of the pan.

Meanwhile, pour the remaining can of coconut milk into a large bowl and place a fin-mesh sieve on top.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl.  Slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan.  Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula, a few minutes.

Pour the custard through the fine-mesh sieve and stir it into the coconut milk.  Stir in the vanilla extract and polace the bowl over an ice bath.  Stir occasionally, until the mixture is cool.  Cover and transfer the custard to the refrigerator until completely chilled, 8 hours or overnight.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.  I recommend an old-fashioned ice-and-salt type.  My little canister freezer couldn't handle the mixture -- the ice cream mix froze to the wall of the canister, stopping the freezer from turning before it had actually made ice cream.  I poured the entire mixture in a container and set it in the freezer.  It's pretty firm, and needs softening before scooping.

But oh my goodness, it's wonderful!

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

For Christmas, Superman gave me a bunch of seeds.  As soon as I could, I planted my rainbow carrots, one of my favorite things to grow.

Recently, I went out and plucked several of these beauties from the dirt.  After a good scrub in the sink, they were ready for the oven!  Pastor Ryan has a lovely (and very easy!) recipe for Thyme Roasted Carrots that I highly recommend.

A rainbow of flavor.

Did you know purple carrots are orange on the inside?

Steaming hot.

Thyme Roasted Carrots
fresh carrots
olive oil
thyme, salt, pepper

Drizzle fresh carrots with olive oil and toss until evenly coated.  Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper.  Bake at 400F for 35-40 minutes.  Serve hot.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Paleo Granola

You may remember the sadness and regret I related at banishing my favorite homemade granola from my kitchen when I started the Paleo experiment.

I have now found something better.

Thanks to Brooke McLay at The Cheeky Kitchen, I now have reason to celebrate!  Her search for oat-like ingredients led to this masterpiece, and her pictures are absolutely drool-worthy.

I have tinkered with her recipe just a tad to personalize it, but I believe either recipe will satisfy your breakfast (and bedtime) bowlful cravings.

Paleo Granola
2 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. raw pecans, chopped
1/4 c. raw walnuts, chopped
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
3/4 c. unsweetened coconut, wide shreds
1/4 c. unsweetened coconut, fine shreds
1/4 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. flax meal
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
1/4 c. honey

Preheat oven to 300F.  Mix all ingredients together.  Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool, stirring occasionally, until mixture is crispy.  Store in an airtight container.  Good luck making it last more than a couple of days.

Preheat oven to 300F.

Gorgeous ingredients.

Before baking.

Perfectly toasted!

Paleo "Oatmeal" Cookies

I combined the best parts of two recipes to come up with this creation.  If you'd like to look at the original recipes, please visit here and here.

Paleo "Oatmeal" Cookies

1 c. almond flour
2 T. coconut flour
1/4 c. flax meal
1 c. coconut flakes, pulsed to oat consistency
1/4 c. honey
1 egg
3 T. coconut oil, melted
1 t. vanilla
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir all ingredients together.  Using a large cookie scoop, form 12 cookies.  Flatten and shape with wet fingers.  Bake 12-15 minutes.

They make excellent ice cream sandwiches too!

Paleo Garlic Bread

Despite the misleading picture, this recipe makes just one loaf.  I doubled the recipe for the two loaves shown below.  Also, toasting a slice of this hearty bread and cutting it up makes lovely croutons for your favorite salad.

Paleo Garlic Bread
inspired by fastPaleo
makes 1 small loaf

1 c. almond meal
1 1/2 T. coconut flour
1/4 c. flax meal
1 t. baking soda
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. thyme
1 t. salt
3 eggs
1/4 c. coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a small loaf pan with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds.  Add eggs, coconut oil, garlic.

Scrape mixture into the loaf pan.  Bake for about 35 minutes.

Garlic bread with Zucchini Spirals

Zucchini Spirals

One of my youngest daughter's favorite dinners is Lasagne Rolls.  Back in my pre-paleo days, I made it all the time.  I stopped eating it, though, because Italian food started giving me severe heartburn.  With a family history of GERD, gall-bladder problems, and intestinal woes, I heeded the warning.

But it was a fun and pretty dish to make.  So I decided to see if I could re-create it, paleo style!  There is a little planning ahead necessary in this dinner.  You will need oven-roasted, mashed butternut squash, and cooked, chopped chicken.  But don't let that hold you back!  It's easy to roast a squash and cook up some chicken a day ahead of time.

First, slice a medium zucchini lengthwise into "lasagne noodles".  I used the 1/8" slice on my mandoline, but I wish I would have used the 1/4".  The thin slices were too fragile for easy rolling.

Next, steam the zucchini slices.  I used a Tupperware microwave steamer, on high for 3 minutes.  Lay the slices out on foil, and blot the extra moisture with a paper towel.  Cooking with veggies instead of pasta means your ingredients will be releasing moisture, rather than absorbing it.  This can lead to very soupy/watery dinners.

Spread the butternut squash mixture on each "noodle".

Top that with finely chopped cooked chicken.

Roll and place next to each other in a casserole dish, atop a thin layer of homemade spaghetti sauce.

Generously dot the top with more spaghetti sauce.

Bake at 375F for 20 minutes.  Delicious served alongside Paleo Garlic Bread.

Zucchini Spirals
1-2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4"
2 c. butternut squash, oven-roasted, mashed
1 t. Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. coconut flour
1 egg
1 t. salt
1 c. chicken, cooked and finely chopped
homemade spaghetti sauce

Steam the zucchini slices for 3 minutes in the microwave, lay out on tin foil and blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

Mix mashed butternut, italian seasoning, garlic, coconut flour, egg and salt.  Spread on each zucchini "noodle".

Top butternut with chopped chicken.

Pour a thin layer of homemade spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Roll each "noodle" into a spiral and set next to each other in the casserole dish.  Generously dot with more spaghetti sauce.

Bake at 375F for 20 minutes.  Serve hot.