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Gluten-Free Gravy using Kuzu Root

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Kuzu root – or otherwise spelled “kudzu” here in the US – is a fast-growing medicinal root that has been used in Asian cooking and healing for centuries.  Well-known for it’s digestive health properties in calming down cramping, diarrhea and intestinal distress, kuzu is also great to use as a thickening agent for sauces, soups and gravies.  Some studies in China have shown that the properties of the flavonoids in kuzu may reduce high blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, help reduce migraine headache pain as well as acute neck and shoulder tension.  So, why not toss out the conventional corn starch or wheat flour to thicken your Thanksgiving gravy this year and add a new item to your culinary medicine chest?  Check out this simple recipe for making healthy, gluten-free gravy for your family.

Kuzu Root Gravy

  • 2 cups stock (if you’re turkey stock is not a full two cups then just add some extra organic stock to bring it to 2 cups.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian you may make this gravy quite easily using vegetable broth)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons ground kuzu root (I use a mortar and pestle to crush the chunks)

Bring your stock to a boil over high heat then reduce your heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Dissolve the kuzu root in 3 Tablespoons of warm water.  Using a wire whisk or fork and stirring constantly, slowly pour the dissolved kudzu into the simmering stock, blending well to avoid creating lumps.  If your gravy is too thin simply add some more dissolved kuzu.  If too thick, then thin with extra stock.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Try serving your kuzu root gravy over Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower mash(try this recipe from paleomg – yummy!) as a delicious alternative to traditional mashed potatoes…  and, don’t forget the butter!

Happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

Love,
Maria

 

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Sweet Potato Soup

Monday, September 30th, 2013

sweet potato soup w: name

 

  • 2 Tbsp red palm oil
  • 1 Large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 inch ginger root, microplaned
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lemon, squeezed for juice (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 cup mango nectar
  • 1 pkg organic coconut cream

 

Over medium heat in a soup pot, melt red palm oil and sauté onion, garlic and ginger. Add spices and stir.

Add stock and potatoes – increase heat and bring to a boil.

Then reduce your heat and cover, simmering until potatoes are soft and blendable.  This will take about 30 minutes.

Do not keep boiling or you’ll lose all your stock!  Simmer only.

Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

When coconut cream is melted in well then place in a blender or use a hand held blender to puree smooth.

Serve warm with a sprig of parsley to garnish.

For extra flavor float a little hot sauce on top as well!

 

Photo courtesy Flickr.

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Curry Beef (or Lamb) Stew

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

 

Curry beef stew w: name

 

  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 pound stew meat – grass-fed beef or lamb shank
  • 2 cups full fat, organic coconut milk
  • 2 purple onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into half inch pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tbsp hot curry powder
  • 2 to 4 tbsp ground cumin seed
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 golden beets, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 purple potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
  • 1 delicata squash, seeded and cut into chunks (leave the skin on)
  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo or gigande beans
  • Sea Salt to taste

Brown your stew meat over medium heat in a small amount of coconut oil.  The slower the better for tenderness.

In a soup pot over medium heat soften the onions, garlic and carrots in a small amount of the broth about 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

Add in the coconut milk and spices, stir and cook for a few minutes without boiling.

Slowly stir in the rest of the stock to blend – then add the potatoes, beets and squash and cook until all vegetables are soft.

After about 30 minutes – add in the beans and flavor with sea salt.

 

Photo Courtesy Flickr.

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Beer Chili

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Beer Chili w:name

 

  • 1/4 cup red palm oil
  • 2 purple onions, peeled and diced
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef or bison
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 green chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups pre-cooked beans – pinto, aduki, kidney, navy – mix ’em up!
  • 1 twelve ounce bottle of Omission IPA (gluten-free micro brew)
  • 1 Cup chopped cilantro
  • Sea Salt

In a large soup pot, over medium heat – melt the red palm oil and saute onions, garlic and peppers until soft and fragrant.

Add ground meat and cook until brown.   Stir in spices.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the cilantro.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low – simmer until all veggies are tender.

Before serving, stir in the cilantro.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

 

Photo Courtesy Flickr.

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Harvest Soup

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Harvest soup w: name

 

  • 6 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 inch of freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 small to medium sized butternut or acorn squash, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp red palm oil (found in the oils section at New Seasons or Whole Foods)
  • 1 medium purple onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine (pinot gris works well for cooking)
  • 2 Pears – any variety – sliced off of core
  • 1/3 cup full fat organic coconut milk
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to taste (about 1 to 2 tsp each)
  • Sour cream or mascarpone cheese (optional)

Over high heat put the stock into a big soup pot and add the ginger, squash, potato and cinnamon and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer.

Saute onion and garlic in red palm oil for 5 minutes over medium heat until soft and gently browned. Add the wine and pears and cook for another 5 minutes. Add to soup.

After all vegetables are soft and cooked through (test the squash and potato for doneness) then remove the cinnamon stick, add the coconut milk, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Blend in a blender in small batches or use an immersion blender in the pot to puree all ingredients into a rich, creamy blend. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or mascarpone cheese with a sprig of beet root or parsley for contrast. Serve warm.

Photo Courtesy Flickr.

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Spiced Walnuts

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 2.39.10 PM

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, heat honey, oil, and 1 tablespoon water over medium heat. Add walnuts; toss to coat.  Then sprinkle the sugar, salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne over the nuts.  Cook, tossing and stirring until the nuts are well coated and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet to cool completely.

 

Photo Courtesy Flickr.

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Caprese Salad

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 2.33.36 PM

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers (optional)
  • 1/4 cup extra-vergin olive oil

 

In a circular design around the side of a serving plate, alternate fresh mozzarella slices with sliced tomatoes, overlapping to look like a pinwheel.  Tear and sprinkle your fresh basil leaves on top.  Salt and  pepper to taste. Sprinkle capers if desired.

Just before serving, drizzle your best extra-virgin olive oil.  Insalata Caprese should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time and become soggy, and no vinegar should be used on this type of salad – not even balasamic.

 

Photo Courtesy Flickr.

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Avocado & Leek Soup (chilled)

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013


Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 1.05.18 PM

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced leeks
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup cultured sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the leeks are tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then puree it in a blender or food processor. (Alternatively, the soup can be pureed in the saucepan with a hand-held blender.) Pour the soup into a bowl and leave it to cool. Cover and chill well.

Just before serving the soup, prepare the avocado. Halve the avocado and discard the seed. Scoop the flesh from the peel and press through a fine stainless-steel or nylon sieve. The avocado can also be pureed in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding a little of the chilled soup to thin the puree and make sure it is smooth.

Stir the avocado puree into the soup together with the sour cream, lime juice, and cilantro. Add seasoning to taste, then ladle the soup into 4 bowls. Add slices of lime and cilantro sprigs.

Photo Courtesy www.publicdomainpictures.net, Avocados & Leeks.

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Roasted Salmon with Parsley Lemon Sauce

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

salmon pic

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 purple onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet, in one piece, skin on

Preheat the oven to 500°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, 3 teaspoons of the oil, the mustard, tarragon, and black pepper. Add the onion and parsley.  Set aside.

Place unbleached parchment paper on a baking sheet. Lay the salmon, skin-side down, on the baking sheet. Rub the remaining 1 teaspoon oil onto the salmon and sprinkle with the salt.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the salmon is medium-rare to medium. With a large spatula, lift the salmon off the baking sheet, leaving the skin behind. (Bake the salmon skin for 10 more minutes to crispy.  This makes a delicious addition to crush and sprinkle over salad or side dish.  It’s like bacon!)  Divide salmon into portions and serve with the sauce spooned on top.

Photo courtesy http://www.123rf.com

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Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

lamb shanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

4 lamb shanks

Salt

Ghee

2 rosemary sprigs

2 onions, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 carrots, cut into chunks

1 head of garlic, cut in half

1 bay leaf

2 cups bone broth

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325F (optional, see below)

IN a heavy bottomed skillet, heat some ghee and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. When they are done, pour all but a little of the leftover rendered fat into a dish and set aside.

With the remaining fat in the skillet, add the onions, garlic, rosemary and bay leaf and cook for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

Arrange the shanks in the skillet around the vegetables, add the tomatoes, about a Tbs of salt, and the bone broth and bring the whole mix to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat, cover and cook about 2 ½ -3 hours at a bare simmer OR in the oven (if in the oven, remove the lid for the last 20 min).

When the lamb shanks are fall-off-the-bone-tender, remove from the heat and the vegetables and set aside. Skim off the fat*, then take the remaining vegetables and pass them through a food mill to create a sauce. (if it is too thick, add a bit more stock to get a thinner consistency). Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve over the shanks!

* Save the leftover cooking fat to cook other vegetables and meat later

Photo courtesty of Flickr.

 

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Cauliflower and Leek Soup

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

leeks

Ingredients:

1 Medium Head Cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped

2 Leeks, White and Light Green Part Only, sliced

6 Cloves Garlic

1 Piece Kombu

1 quart Bone broth

1 Tbs. Sea Salt

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 lemon, juiced

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 bay leaf

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.

Spread chopped cauliflower, leeks and garlic on baking sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. Roast in oven for 40-45 minutes. Vegetables should be brown on edges and slightly softened.

Pour roasted vegetables into a saucepan and add broth, kombu and spices. Over medium high heat, heat vegetables and broth until it bubbles. Allow to steep another 10 minutes off the heat then remove the kombu.

Using an immersion blender (stick blender), thoroughly puree all contents of the saucepan. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Just be careful putting hot liquids in a blender as they can cause the lid to come flying off sending your yummy soup all over your kitchen. (You can vent the lid a little to help reduce the chance of this happening.) Squeeze in your lemon juice, adjust salt to taste and enjoy!

Photo courtesty of Flickr

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Garlic Confit

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

garlic confit

Ingredients:

1 cup peeled garlic cloves

about 2 cups coconut oil or ghee

 

Preparation

Cut off and discard the root ends of the garlic cloves. Put the cloves in a small saucepan and add enough oil to cover them by about 1 inch – none of the garlic cloves should be poking through the oil.

Set the saucepan on a diffuser over medium-low heat.

(What normal person has a diffuser?! I don’t, so I just put the saucepan straight on the burner.)

The garlic should cook gently. Very small bubbles will come up through the oil, but the bubbles should not break the surface. Adjust the heat as necessary and/or move the pan to one side of the diffuser if it is cooking too quickly. Cook the garlic for about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the cloves are completely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the garlic to cool in the oil.

Refrigerate the garlic in a covered container, submerged in the oil, for up to one week.

 

Photo courtesy flickr

 

 

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Braised Chicken Thighs in Poblano Cream Sauce

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

chicken thigh

Ingredients:

4 pounds chicken thighs

1 quart bone broth

2 bay leaves

1 Tbs. salt

2 Tbs. ghee

 

Preparation:

Melt butter in skillet over med-high heat and place the thighs, skin side down,  into skillet to brown . Add bay leaves, salt and broth, cover and allow to braise over medium heat about 30-40 minutes until tender

Add sauce to the pan and cook an additional 10 minutes.

 

Poblano Cream sauce

 

Ingredients:

8 poblanos, roasted, skins removed and seeded

2 onions, sauté sliced

3 star anise

3 bay leaves

1 can coconut milk

`1 Tbs ghee

Salt to taste

 

Preparation:

Melt butter in sauté pan and gently caramelize onions. Add coconut and spices (wrapped in cheese cloth, one little packet) and bring to a light simmer and allow to reduce about 15 minutes until thickened and the cream is infused with the flavor of the spices

 

Remove the spice pouch and pour the infused cream and cooked vegetables into a blender and puree. Remember that this mix will be hot and hot things expand in the blender. So cover the lid with a towel and hold it firmly in place BEFORE turning on your blender.

 

 

Photo courtesy flickr 

 

 

 

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Baked Onions (best with torpedo or sweet yellow onions)

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

onion

Ingredients:

2 large onions, skin on, but clean off any dirty layers

Fat

Thyme sprigs

salt

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375F

Cut the top of the onion flat, so that you can put a lid over your steamer and gently steam your onions 5 minutes just to get them loosened a bit

Place the onions in a baking dish, drizzle with melted fat, a pinch of coarse salt and a few sprigs of thyme

Allow to gently roast about 30 minutes, the inside should be melty soft by this point, allow to cool and remove the stiff outer skins, enjoy!

 

Photo courtesty of Flickr

 

 

 

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Furikake Condiment

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

furikake

Ingredients:

½ cup raw wet coarse celtic sea salt

½ cup shredded dulse

½ cup raw sesame seeds

 

Preparation:

Mix all the ingredients well and store in a glass pint jar

 

Photo courtesy flickr

 

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