Archive | March, 2015

Roast Pork Tonight!

Roast pork recipe. Paleo, gluten free, low carb.

Why wait for Sunday dinner? Have succulent, roast pork tonight! Make it a paleo, low carb, gluten free, one-dish meal with crisp, tender veg.

 

Our family had a roast-for-Sunday-dinner tradition. My mom would put on a roast beef or pork loin roast before Mass and when we got home, it was like waiting to open Christmas presents. The aromas that filled the house were tantalizing and appetite arousing. The crisp crust, juicy and flavorful meat beckoned us to the table and satisfied like crazy. As a family of seven, we made short work of a big roast, but in the fast-paced world of modern reality, roasts like these are special occasion, big group meals. So I decided to try to replicate the wonders of the Sunday dinner roast in a weeknight-meal format.

One pot dishes are good: stir fries, stews, casseroles, but I wanted the deep flavors and crusty exterior of a beloved pork roast that could serve one or a dozen and be ready in about an hour. Plus I didn’t want a lot of fussy prep. A variety of vegetables was in order. Some fruit to complement the savory goodness of pork was a welcome addition. A minimum of clean up items was a must as well.

Bringing that New England tradition to South Louisiana meant infusing the meat with seasoning. This region has earned scores of awards for the excellence of the local food. I think the heart of that excellence lies in the proper seasoning of the ingredients. The craze for brining got the nation started on this awareness, but it’s a drag to drown good poultry in water and this approach does nothing for other meats. The truth is, you can season meats, poultry and seafood without water and still achieve maximum flavor. Every supermarket and specialty meat market in the area offers already seasoned items. The problem for me is, often the meat or chicken has lingered in the seasoning (which is applied with a really heavy hand) too long and can often overwhelm the reason for the season(ing). Sometimes off flavors develop, too.

So I always opt for seasoning things myself. I can use as much of whatever ingredients I like, and I can control the length of time. I employed a tip I learned from America’s Test Kitchen about cooking meats to ensure a crisp exterior: add baking powder to the seasoning which allows the surface to dry. Elevating the meat on a rack over a small baking sheet and leaving the it uncovered in the fridge does the trick.

Use an unusual cut for the recipe: bone-in country-style ribs to replace pork loin or Boston butt. Each meaty, well marbled piece is one generous portion, which means you can cook as many or as few as you wish. And the small size means it will cook up to perfection in an hour. Once the meat is browned in a grill pan or cast iron skillet (or any heavy-bottom, oven proof skillet) the meat is removed, the vegetables added and tossed in the browning juices, the meat replaced on top of the veg, and the skillet is popped in the oven. Then you can help the kids with homework, catch up on email or take a bubble bath if you like. Your supper will cook up tender, delicious and crackling. I hope you’ll try this recipe. Feel free to substitute other vegetables or add some favorites. And let me know how you like it!

For a refreshing side, I’ve added a quick, quick cucumber salad. The crunch and acidity are a nice contrast to the rich meat.

There’s a mixed bag of tunes this week. The first, by Elle King has the makings of long-lasting hit, the hook will stay with you long after you dance around the house, tantalized by the aromas wafting through the air, waiting for, and then savoring this yummy supper. Enjoy!!

Roast pork recipe. Paleo, gluten free, low carb.
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Roast Pork Tonight!
Why wait for Sunday dinner? Have succulent, roast pork goodness any weeknight. Make it a paleo, low carb, gluten free, one-dish meal with crisp, tender veg.
Roast Pork Tonight!
Votes: 0
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Rate this recipe!
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Why wait for Sunday dinner? Have succulent, roast pork goodness any weeknight. Make it a paleo, low carb, gluten free, one-dish meal with crisp, tender veg.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 10minutes 1 1/4hours 1hour
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 1/4hours 1hour
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Up to 24 hours prior to cooking, place baking powder and seasonings in large zip top bag. Add ribs, one at a time, and shake to coat completely. Shake off excess and place on a rack over a small baking sheet or plate. Repeat with remaining ribs. Place in refrigerator, uncovered, until ready to cook.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat grill pan or oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add ribs, leaving a little space around each one. If making a double recipe, brown in batches. Melt the ghee, honey, lemon juice, garlic and Tabasco sauce in a small saucepan. Allow the fat to render a bit on the ribs, and cook on each of the four sides about 3-4 minutes, 12-15 minutes total. After the ribs are turned to the second side, baste each one with honey. Continue basting as each side is turned.
  3. Remove ribs to a plate. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Spread in a even layer and place ribs in a single layer on top of the vegetable mixture. Place in oven. Roast for one hour, basting meat occasionally with remaining honey sauce.
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Lightning fast, super crisp, spicy and delicious. This cucumber salad is paleo, low carb and gluten free.

Lightning fast, super crisp, spicy and delicious. This cucumber salad is paleo, low carb and gluten free.

Lightning fast, super crisp, spicy and delicious. This cucumber salad is paleo, low carb and gluten free.
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Spicy Cucumber Crunch
Lightning fast, super crisp, spicy and delicious. This cucumber salad is paleo, low carb and gluten free.
Spicy Cucumber Crunch
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Lightning fast, super crisp, spicy and delicious. This cucumber salad is paleo, low carb and gluten free.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Place sliced cucumbers in serving dish. Dressing with vinegar, salt, pepper and hot peppers. Serve.
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Skirt Steak Pizzaiola and Italian Turnips and Greens

 

 

Steak Italian Style. Paleo and gluten free.

Juicy steak, peppers, onions and raw tomatoes. Fresh Italian flavor. Paleo, gluten free and quick and easy.

Our greenhouse has been a joy all winter. How lovely to “shop” right outside my door. Harris’s hard work building and growing a huge variety of vegetables has meant that we had fresh, ripe tomatoes in a season when they are as rare as flip flops and sunburns. For this week’s recipes I harvested these:

Fresh produce from a winter greenhouse: tomatoes, turnips and tender greens.

Fresh produce from a winter greenhouse: tomatoes, turnips and tender greens.

With such bounty and the envies for some Italian flavor, I decided to make a paleo meal with one of my favorite cuts of beef: skirt steak. The menu came together easily with lots of fresh flavor. If you don’t happen to have your own tomatoes right now, you can substitute organic cherry or grape tomatoes. Not quite the same, but delicious nonetheless.

The greens season is coming to a close. It’s been interesting having so much and so many kinds. We’ve eaten more greens this winter than ever before. I can’t say for certain that’s why we’ve avoided any colds, sore throats and the flu, but I can’t believe they didn’t help. As more of our yard is devoted to edible landscapes, I’d encourage you to plant something for yourselves. A patch of dirt, a container on the fire escape, a rooftop planter—you’d be amazed how wonderful it is to snip a fresh herb you’ve grown yourself or pick a cherry tomato that grew under your loving care. Every time we take ourselves off the commercial agriculture grid, we become a bit more independent. And we conserve food for those unable to raise anything for themselves. We know where and how our food was produced. We eat it just plucked with the nutrients as vital and robust as possible. We look forward to the next sprouting wonder and get creative with recipes for a bumper crop. We share with others: both the vegetables and the foods made with them.

Harris’s desire to build the greenhouse was inspired in part by a neighbor when he was a child. The man had a greenhouse and amazed his friends with summer vegetables all winter long. A greenhouse kit can be fabulously expensive, but Harris figured out on his own with a few hundred dollars and many trips to Lowe’s how to build it, heat and cool it, set up shelving and plant everything. Well, he already knew how to plant. He’s been growing fruits and vegetables since he was a kid in his Dad’s garden. Right now we have: Tabasco peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kohlrabi, mustard greens, Swiss chard, turnips, blueberries, green beans, corn (yes! corn!!), basil, thyme, lettuce and sprouts for transplanting in the garden. All in a 100-square-foot space. Un-freaking-believable! Another architectural marvel is how Harris designed the structure holding the rain barrels. It elevates them so that a gravity-fed hose works in the garden which is on higher ground than where the rain barrels are. And he thought he’d have no use for high school algebra! Here are some photos:

Greenhouse

Greenhouse2

Greenhouse3

 

 

Rain Barrels

In the yard we’ll soon have dewberries, raspberries and blackberries. There are new buds on the fruit trees: peach, plum, fig, satsuma and Meyer lemon. The peas have been planted. Here are plum blossoms:

Plum Blossoms

We have lady bugs in the house off and on all winter. Harris gently transports them from the house to the greenhouse. He wants to send away for some praying mantises. And did I mention the beehive? Oh. I will. There’s a whole new adventure there … look for photos and progress later this year.

As spring begins, I’m feeling love and gratitude. And the playlist this week reflects the mood. I hope you enjoy the music and the recipes.

Steak Italian Style. Paleo and gluten free.
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Skirt Steak Pizzaiola
Does it seem that every Italian-inspired dish is pasta, pizza, and bruschetta? You can have paleo, gluten free Italian—and steak, too! This dish features lightly cooked and raw vegetables with a bright, delicious sauce. Add sliced mushrooms and/or zucchini to grill pan or skillet if you like. Equally good hot, cold or at room temperature, this is a perfect addition to a picnic meal or pot luck supper. The dressing is light on vinegar, so it's not quite a vinaigrette, but adds just enough acidity to brighten the mixture.
Skirt Steak Pizzaiola
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Does it seem that every Italian-inspired dish is pasta, pizza, and bruschetta? You can have paleo, gluten free Italian—and steak, too! This dish features lightly cooked and raw vegetables with a bright, delicious sauce. Add sliced mushrooms and/or zucchini to grill pan or skillet if you like. Equally good hot, cold or at room temperature, this is a perfect addition to a picnic meal or pot luck supper. The dressing is light on vinegar, so it's not quite a vinaigrette, but adds just enough acidity to brighten the mixture.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Prepare dressing: add vinegar to small bowl, season with salt and peppers and oregano. Add minced garlic or shallot and slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly until well combined. Set aside. Add tomatoes to medium bowl.
  2. Pat steaks dry. Cut skirt steaks into 4-5 inch pieces and sprinkle with salt. Place grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Preheat for 5 minutes. Cooking in batches if necessary, place steaks in pan without crowding. Cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook additional 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness. Cook to desired doneness.
  3. Remove steaks to plate, poking them several times with a fork. Drizzle a little dressing over each. Add onions and peppers to pan, stirring often and cooking until crisp tender, about 5-6 minutes. While hot, add to bowl with tomatoes. Add remaining dressing and stir to combine.
  4. Slice skirt steak on the bias in thin strips. Top with vegetables and serve.
Recipe Notes

This recipe lends it self well to grilling outdoors. Cook the peppers and onions in a disposable aluminum pan over the heat and add tomatoes after they're done. Add dressing and serve.

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Turnips, greens recipe, pancetta. Side dish Italian style. Paleo and gluten free.
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Italian Turnips and Greens
Light, but substantial, this greens recipe is brimming with flavor. A little pancetta, bold seasonings and seasonal vegetables will add an Italian touch to your dinner table.
Italian Turnips and Greens
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Light, but substantial, this greens recipe is brimming with flavor. A little pancetta, bold seasonings and seasonal vegetables will add an Italian touch to your dinner table.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 5minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, add pancetta and cook until fat is partially rendered about 2 minutes. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent and nearly tender about 5 minutes. And oregano, black pepper and crushed red pepper.
  2. Add turnips and broth or water. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for about 7 minutes. Add greens, combine and cook until vegetables are tender about 3 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil, taste for seasoning and serve.
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Crispy Cajun Chicken and Chocolate Almond Cake

Paleo, gluten free, chocolate almond cake with seafoam frosting.

Deep chocolate cake made with almond flour and coconut sugar seafoam frosting. Paleo and gluten free.

I’m not sure why coconut sugar is considered paleo when organic cane sugar isn’t, but when it comes to flavor, coconut sugar is great. Without any additional molasses or processing, coconut sugar has the flavor of brown sugar. There’s really no coconut flavor per se. I used this ingredient to make both the cake and the frosting for this cake. And without any wheat flour, the almond flour gives the cake a rich, dense moistness that will make you forget the cakes of the past. I’m really not much about dessert. I’d rather cook than bake, and I don’t have a sweet tooth. But nearly everyone else in my family does. So here’s one for all of you!

The chocolate flavor is ramped up with espresso powder and topped with an icing my Mom used make for spice cakes. It’s called sea foam frosting and it’s made with egg whites. The coconut sugar adds a caramel flavor and the consistency is like melted marshmallows. Some recipes heat the sugar and water to 240 degrees F and whip the eggs whites separately, but I wanted to keep this to one bowl. You’ll be surprised at how dark the mixture is to begin with and how light it becomes at the end. Topping the cake with berries adds fresh acidity and texture.

For dessert (if you want the cake for your main course) is crispy Cajun chicken. I wanted Cajun/Creole flavors and cracking skin, too. Most stuffing recipes require bread in some form, but I thought that more chicken would hold everything together and it does. Broiling the chicken at the end, makes the skin crisp and delicious. And to lighten the meal a bit, I served the chicken with puréed parsnips. So where has this vegetable been all my life? I was shocked at what a nice stand-in for mashed potatoes this side was. Parsnips aren’t as sweet as carrots, they have a mild flavor without the bitterness that turnips can have, and they’re creamier as well.

I hope you enjoy this menu, and have fun with this week’s playlist. And now that it’s March, we can look forward to spring!!

Crispy Cajun Chicken with Parsnip Purée
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Crispy Cajun Chicken with Parsnip Purée
Smothered chicken goes crispy with all the flavor and goodness of the trinity (plus garlic) and Swiss chard. Paleo and gluten free, it's paired with creamy, delicate parsnip purée. So good, cher!
Crispy Cajun Chicken with Parsnip Purée
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Smothered chicken goes crispy with all the flavor and goodness of the trinity (plus garlic) and Swiss chard. Paleo and gluten free, it's paired with creamy, delicate parsnip purée. So good, cher!
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
8servings 15 minutes 30minutes
Servings Prep Time
8servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt chicken fat. Add onion and Cajun/Creole seasoning and sauté 5 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper and garlic or shallot and sauté 5 minutes. Add Swiss chard and cook until wilted about 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
  2. Remove the bones from the chicken thighs. Freeze for making broth. Season with Cajun/Creole seasoning.
  3. In a food processor, add chicken breast and pulse 6-8 times until chunky. Add vegetable mixture and heavy cream or coconut cream. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down sides and check to see if smooth and uniform. Process another 30 seconds if needed.
  4. With chicken thighs skin side down, divide stuffing mixture equally and place on each thigh, smoothing the top and spreading it over the surface. On non-stick baking sheet, place each stuffed thigh skin side up in top third of oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven to broil (the surface of the chicken should be about 8 inches from the broiler.) Broil for about 5 minutes or until skin is brown and crisp.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, cover the parsnips in water in a sauce pan, and bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10-12 minutes until tender. Drain and mash adding butter, salt and pepper. For smoother texture, place in blender and purée.
  6. Serve chicken thighs over parsnips.
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Paleo, gluten free, chocolate almond cake with seafoam frosting.
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Chocolate Almond Cake with Sea Foam Frosting
Paleo and gluten free, this deeply chocolate cake is made with almond flour. The sea foam frosting is a combination of egg whites and coconut sugar for a caramelized, melted marshmallow topping. Berries add brightness and contrast.
Chocolate Almond Cake with Sea Foam Frosting
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Paleo and gluten free, this deeply chocolate cake is made with almond flour. The sea foam frosting is a combination of egg whites and coconut sugar for a caramelized, melted marshmallow topping. Berries add brightness and contrast.
Servings
12servings
Servings
12servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. For the cake:
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, and cut a parchment paper circle to cover the bottom of the pan. Lightly butter the parchment paper, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Place eggs and coconut sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk attachment, or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer. On low speed, mix the eggs and sugar together for 1 minute. Gradually increase speed to medium high, and whisk for 13-14 minutes. This length of time is necessary for the proper volume of the cake.
  4. With a large spatula, gently fold dry ingredients into egg and sugar mixture, about one-fourth at a time, being sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes. The cake is done if a toothpick or cake tester, inserted into the cake, comes out clean. If needed, bake for another 10 minutes, checking after 5 minutes, to see if cake is done. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan, remove the sides of the pan, and allow to cool for an hour before frosting.
For the sea foam frosting:
  1. In a double boiler over rapidly simmering water, add the egg whites, sugar, water, and salt. You can also use a heat-proof bowl set over a pan, just be sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the boiling water. Be certain your pan and beaters are very clean; the littlest amount of fat or grease will keep the frosting from whipping properly. With a hand-held mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for 9 minutes. There will be soft peaks. Remove the pan from the heat and continue beating for another 5 minutes until glossy and thick.
  2. When the cake is cool, spread the frosting on top of the cake and garnish with berries.
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