Archive | August, 2015

Lamb Boulettes, Confetti Rice and Honey Nut Broccoli

Lamb boulettes, confetti rice and honey nut broccoli

Lamb boulettes, confetti rice and honey nut broccoli

Meatballs don’t usually seem festive or unusual, but they’re easy to make and grassfed meats are the most economical when ground. I was in the mood for lamb and wanted to use a frozen package I had from Bayou Farm, Ville Platte, Louisiana. We’re so lucky to have abundant sources of pastured protein in Acadiana, and I’m grateful for all the farmers and producers who make these amazing and delicious meats.

Lamb Boulettes

Lamb Boulettes

Recently at a family gathering, I was reminded of the lamb scene from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” It’s the sort of thing the carnivore cook in me thinks is funny. If you don’t, no problem. There are scores of recipe sites that cater to you and make you laugh at us as well. Mom, he’s a vegetarian.

My daughter mentioned a meatloaf recipe she knew of from her junior year abroad in Rome that had some unique (for meatloaf) ingredients, and I decided to use them in this boulette recipe. Seasoned with lots of parsley, lemon zest, parmesan and allspice, they are tender and toothsome without the use of a panade made of bread and milk. Instead, I used tapioca starch or you could use arrowroot.

And for accompaniments I made colorful confetti rice and broccoli. If rice isn’t for you, cauliflower “rice” is a great substitute. My nut’n’honey broccoli complements the boulettes with just a hint of sweet to lift the cashew butter and Tabasco flavors. And it’s a poke in the ribs to my long ago and wayward cereal monogamy.

Confetti Rice

Confetti Rice

Honey Nut Broccoli

Honey Nut Broccoli

This week’s Spotify playlist features some late-summer inspired tunes as much of the country returns to school, and we all savor the sweet, ripe days of the season.

Lamb Boulettes
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Lamb Boulettes
Savory lamb boulettes are meatballs seasoned with parsley, lemon zest and allspice.
Lamb Boulettes
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Savory lamb boulettes are meatballs seasoned with parsley, lemon zest and allspice.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 10minutes 20minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20minutes 15minutes
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in one tablespoon ghee for 5 minutes or until soft, but not brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. In a large bowl, dissolve tapioca starch in wine.
  3. Add lamb and all other ingredients except two remaining tablespoons of ghee. Combine well. Using a 1/8 cup measure, shape into 12 boulettes (meatballs).
  4. In large, oven proof skillet, add 2 tablespoons ghee and sauté meatballs on all sides until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
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Confetti Rice
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Confetti Rice
Long-grain rice side dish with colorful, flavorful bits of onion and pepper.
Confetti Rice
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Long-grain rice side dish with colorful, flavorful bits of onion and pepper.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 5minutes 15minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15minutes 15minutes
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and peppers and sauté over medium heat for three minutes.
  2. Add rice and salt. Sauté for two minutes.
  3. Add broth, stir to combine ingredients. Cover and reduce heat to medium low.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes. Lift lid and using the end of a wooden or other spoon, insert into center of pan, scraping gently to the bottom. If liquid remains, re-cover, cook another 2-3 minutes and check again. When liquid is evaporated, turn off heat, re-cover pan and allow to steam gently for five minutes. Fluff rice and serve.
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Honey Nut Broccoli
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Honey Nut Broccoli
Crisp broccoli with cashew butter, honey, Tabasco and macadamia nuts.
Honey Nut Broccoli
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Crisp broccoli with cashew butter, honey, Tabasco and macadamia nuts.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 5minutes 5minutes 3minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5minutes 3minutes
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Instructions
  1. Add 1/2 cup of water to large sauce pan, bring to boil over high heat.
  2. Add broccoli, cover and steam for three minutes, until crisp tender. Drain and remove broccoli to serving dish.
  3. Add remaining ingredients in now empty saucepan over medium low heat. Stir to combine thoroughly, until cashew butter is completely melted. Add broccoli to pan and combine, heating through and cooking to desired tenderness. Taste and correct seasoning, adding salt, pepper or Tabasco as desired.
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Paleo Singapore Noodles

Paleo Singapore Noodles

Paleo Singapore Noodles

Last week we were visiting family on Cape Cod and enjoyed all manner of delicious local seafood and summer vegetables. My Mom’s tomatoes were stellar and her lobster corn chowder to die for! By the end of week, I thought it would be fun after a day trip to leave the cooking to a neighborhood restaurant. Tucked away in a little strip mall, Asia Garden in Sandwich, Mass., is a gem. Everything was fresh and the chef could not have been more accommodating about catering to specific dietary needs and taste preferences. I enjoyed their Singapore Noodles made with rice noodles, and wanted to create my own version without any grains.

Often paleo recipes for “pasta” include spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash, but squash isn’t an ingredient that blends seamlessly into Asian flavors. I ran across a recipe for slow cooker cabbage noodles in the new Ketogenic Cookbook by Jimmy Moore and Maria Emmerich and realized that cabbage would be a perfect fit for this paleo makeover. I made the “noodles” the day before and so the dish came together in minutes. You might steam cabbage to skip the slow cooking, but I found the cabbage flavor to be quite mild after its time in the Crock-Pot and it was about as easy a recipe as you could find. I haven’t tried any other recipes from the book, but I’m looking forward to exploring it.

In researching the traditional ingredients for Singapore Noodles, I found that instead of (or in addition to) shrimp, cooks use chicken and pork, other vegetables and seasonings. About the only consistent items are curry powder and rice noodles.

Singapore Noodle Ingredients

Singapore Noodle Ingredients

I used shrimp, but I think the next time I make it, I’ll use chicken. Instead of bean sprouts, I used the unusual mirliton.

Mirliton

Mirliton

It’s a commonly-found vegetable in South Louisiana supermarkets and I discovered that raw, it makes a nice substitute for bean sprouts which I often find to be over the hill or bitter in local stores. Also called chayote or alligator pear, I have a little gadget for julienne strips that’s fun to use. The flavor is mild and the texture is crisp—just the right contrast to the other elements in the dish.

Mirliton Shreds

Mirliton Shreds

Once the ingredients are prepped, the meal takes only moments to prepare. Satisfying and nourishing, I really loved the flavors and I hope you do, too! For tunes this week, I found new music and few throwbacks. Enjoy!!

Paleo Singapore Noodles

Paleo Singapore Noodles

Paleo Singapore Noodles
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Paleo Singapore Noodles
A paleo version of this Chinese restaurant fave. Savory, crispy and deeply flavored, you can use shrimp, chicken or pork for a quick, easy-to-make one-dish meal. The cabbage "noodles" are made in a slow cooker; save the extra and freeze for other recipes.
Paleo Singapore Noodles
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A paleo version of this Chinese restaurant fave. Savory, crispy and deeply flavored, you can use shrimp, chicken or pork for a quick, easy-to-make one-dish meal. The cabbage "noodles" are made in a slow cooker; save the extra and freeze for other recipes.
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Ingredients
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Quarter the cabbage, remove the core and slice thinly. Place cabbage in a slow cooker with 1/2 cup broth, butter and a sprinkle of salt. Cover and set on low heat. Cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. The edges may brown a bit, but this is okay. Remove 3 cups of cabbage to a bowl, reserving the remaining cabbage for another recipe.Singapore Noodle Ingredients
  2. In a small bowl, place the shrimp and season with coconut aminos, fish sauce and white pepper.
  3. In a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Add onions and bell pepper and sauté, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes. Add shrimp and cook, stirring frequently about 2-3 minutes. Shrimp will not be quite done. Remove shrimp and vegetables to a bowl.
  4. In the now empty skillet, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and curry powder. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add cabbage and 1/4 cup broth and stir until combined, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp mixture and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until all ingredients are heated through and shrimp is cooked. Off heat, add lime juice and stir. Garnish with mirliton shreds, green onions, cilantro. Taste for seasoning and add salt and white pepper if needed.
  5. Paleo Singapore Noodles
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Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

 

Okra is delicious and doesn’t have to be slimy! We had a whole summer of okra abundance, cooking it up at least twice a week in different guises. Harris always plants okra, but until we got married, I never cooked or ate much of this vegetable. Like most okra-shy people, even the idea of slime was off-putting, but the challenge didn’t deter me. With so many pods flourishing in the garden, we didn’t want waste any. And who doesn’t think the flower is gorgeous? Related to hibiscus, most of this year’s okra is red that turns green when it’s cooked.

Pretty flower for a lovely vegetable.

Pretty flower for a lovely vegetable.

The flavor of okra is mild with a taste that reminds me of asparagus. If you object to the gooey texture like I do, it is easily eliminated by cooking the sliced pods in ghee, lard or coconut oil without any liquid. Then it can be added to whatever recipe you like: goo-be-gone! You can pull off this trick with frozen okra, too. The okra will become very soft, and it sort of melts into the other ingredients. If you’re an okra devotee, this probably won’t bother you.

When I decided that I’d like to come up with my version of the South Louisiana staple, Shrimp and Okra Gumbo, I consulted my darling husband first. He likes the viscous texture of boiled okra. And he rejected the inclusion of tomatoes and sausage— it’s not the way his mama made it. So I thought I’d experiment and make the gumbo his way and mine. I love tomatoes with okra; they’re kissing cousins, and something porky in the mix can’t be beat. I wasn’t going to eliminate either. And I thought that dashi would make an excellent broth instead of the water that most recipes use.

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Dashi is the easiest of all the stocks to make. It’s rich with minerals from kombu (a type of seaweed) and has a lovely smoky edge from the bonito (smoked, fermented, dried and flaked tuna). One of the original Iron Chefs, Michiba, started nearly every battle making a fresh batch of this “broth of vigor.” And unlike bone broths, dashi take less than 20 minutes to make, so Michiba could wallop the competition in record time. Dashi is packed with nutrients that most Americans miss out on since we’re not inclined to eat many sea vegetables. I love the flavor and use it as my go-to seafood stock. It’s gently reminiscent of the ocean and can be used in non-seafood dishes without seeming out of place. Make extra and freeze it in ice cubes trays so you’ll have some when you want to boost the umami of a dish.

Dashi in Progress

Dashi in Progress

By now my gumbo was all kinds of wrong in Harris’s estimation. But I asked him to keep an open mind. When he got home from “school,” (he’s a technical instructor), he was super hungry as he doesn’t eat breakfast during the week and had to skip lunch for a meeting. He looked at the pots of gumbo on the stove and opted right away for my version. He didn’t even try the gloopy one sans tomatoes and sausage. We serve gumbo over rice, but you can keep it paleo by eliminating it or using cauliflower “rice.” Harris has decided he loves my recipe and gives it his ultimate compliment: “You can make this anytime. I could eat it every day.”

Paleo Banana Pudding

Paleo Banana Pudding

On to dessert. I’ve wanted to tackle a paleo banana pudding for a while and come up with a recipe that used no added sugars. After checking in at Cook’s Illustrated, I decided to follow their technique of roasting some of the bananas which concentrates the flavor and then double the impact with fresh bananas. I also wanted to add pineapple since it would play well with the coconut milk base. To ramp up the pineapple’s flavor and bring out more of the sweetness, I sautéed it in butter. For a final tropical twist, there are toasted macadamia nuts. Whipped cream is optional, but it’s also delicious. Or you could whip up the coconut cream that rises to the top of a chilled can of coconut milk (use regular coconut milk, not lite).

Since this is a quintessential Southern meal, I thought some Southern rock would be in order. I found a list of “best unknown Southern rock tunes” compiled by Brion McClanahan. He did an awesome job, so I’ll share his treasure trove. Bon appétit!

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
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Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
This Shrimp and Okra Gumbo recipe is South Louisiana Wedding Soup—wedding referring to the marriage of flavors. Shrimp, okra, sausage, tomatoes marry the best ingredients into a late summer-early fall treasure. Gluten free and down home delicious! Omit the rice flour roux and substitute cauliflower "rice" for a paleo version.
Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
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This Shrimp and Okra Gumbo recipe is South Louisiana Wedding Soup—wedding referring to the marriage of flavors. Shrimp, okra, sausage, tomatoes marry the best ingredients into a late summer-early fall treasure. Gluten free and down home delicious! Omit the rice flour roux and substitute cauliflower "rice" for a paleo version.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 20minutes 45minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 20minutes
Cook Time
45minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
For the dashi:
  1. Make the dashi and set aside.
For the gumbo:
  1. In a skillet large enough to hold the okra in a single layer, melt lard or ghee over medium heat. Add okra and cook, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes, until fully cooked and vegetable shows no sign of stickiness. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or other large pot, sauté bacon over medium heat until partially rendered, about 2 minutes. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add celery, green pepper, garlic and seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove vegetables to a bowl and heat lard or ghee over medium to medium-high heat. Add rice flour and stir constantly with wooden spoon, being very careful not to splash yourself with mixture (it gets extremely hot) until roux is the color of peanut butter about 7-8 minutes. Lower heat if necessary, and do not walk away from pan as roux will burn. It will continue to cook and darken. (Omit this step for paleo version.)
  4. Lower heat to medium, add vegetables and quickly mix together to stop the roux from over cooking.
  5. Add tomatoes, 3 cups of dashi, okra and sausage. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add shrimp and cook just until shrimp turns pink, about 3-4 minutes. Add additional dashi to thin if necessary. Taste and correct for seasoning.Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
  7. Place 1/2 cup of rice in gumbo or other bowl. Ladle gumbo over rice, garnish with parsley and green onions.
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Smoky seafood stock, packed with umami and a cinch to make.
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Dashi
Quick and easy to make, savory, and nutritious, dashi belongs in the pantheon of foundation stocks. Make a double batch and freeze in an ice cube tray to have on hand whenever you want to boost the flavor of a seafood soup or sauce.
Dashi
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Quick and easy to make, savory, and nutritious, dashi belongs in the pantheon of foundation stocks. Make a double batch and freeze in an ice cube tray to have on hand whenever you want to boost the flavor of a seafood soup or sauce.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 5minutes 10 minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 minutes 10minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Place water in saucepan. Add kombu. Set over medium heat and allow to come to a slow simmer, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, remove and discard kombu. Add bonito flakes to pan. Allow to settle and steep, 10 minutes.
  3. Strain through fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or coffee filter. Discard bonito flakes.
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Paleo Banana Pudding
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Tropical Paleo Banana Pudding
Using only the sweetness of bananas and pineapples, this paleo pudding puts the boxed stuff to shame.
Tropical Paleo Banana Pudding
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Using only the sweetness of bananas and pineapples, this paleo pudding puts the boxed stuff to shame.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
6servings 10minutes 20minutes
Servings Prep Time
6servings 10minutes
Cook Time
20minutes
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Place 3 bananas on cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Skins will be black. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile add butter to large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add pineapple and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat if pineapple begins to get too brown.
  3. While fruits are cooking, add 1/4 cup or so of coconut milk to large bowl. Add gelatin, vanilla and salt. Allow gelatin to soften.
  4. In a separate bowl, add remaining 3 bananas, sliced. Sprinkle with lemon juice and mix gently. The lemon juice will help keep the bananas from browning.
  5. Remove roasted bananas from skins and add to gelatin mixture. Mash and mix well. Add remaining coconut milk and stir. Fold in uncooked bananas and pineapple. Mix thoroughly, but gently.
  6. Spoon into individual serving bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Top with toasted macadamias and whipped cream, if desired.Paleo Banana Pudding
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Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

Once on a 10-day trip to France, I became enamored of Salade Niçoise. Nearly every day for lunch as we toured the wine regions, I would find this delectable entrée in nearly every auberge or bistro we visited. There’s something about the combination of tuna and potatoes, vegetables, egg and and anchovy that I love. In researching the dish, I found that in Nice where the salad originated, it was and is usually a vegetable-only concoction minus the potatoes. But if the restaurants of France add the extras, I will, too.

In the sultry heat of August, this is a main course that is super simple to put together. If you’ve boiled some potatoes for another meal and a few eggs, you can be supping in the space of one song (playlist as usual, provided!). You can add things like cucumbers and celery or leave out the anchovies if they’re not your thing. We had the great good fortune to share charcoal-grilled tuna caught by a friend in the Gulf, and there were lots of leftovers for this dish, but traditionally oil-packed canned tuna is the fish of choice, and it’s wonderful — and easy — in this salad. Dressed with a classic French vinaigrette, you need nothing more except a cool beverage.

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

 

Salade Niçoise
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Salade Niçoise
A perfect one-dish meal, Salade Niçoise is nourishing, delicious and super quick to prepare. It's even festive enough for a casual dinner party. Paleo-friendly, you can swap out the white potatoes (even though they're no Whole30 approved) for sweet potatoes or leave them out altogether for an ultra low-carb dish. 
Salade Niçoise
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A perfect one-dish meal, Salade Niçoise is nourishing, delicious and super quick to prepare. It's even festive enough for a casual dinner party. Paleo-friendly, you can swap out the white potatoes (even though they're no Whole30 approved) for sweet potatoes or leave them out altogether for an ultra low-carb dish. 
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Make the dressing: Add shallot, Dijon mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Taste and correct for vinegar or olive oil.
  2. Assemble the remaining ingredients on a platter or individual plates. Drizzle with vinaigrette.Salade Niçoise
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