Turkey Breast Rub & what I’ve been up to…

Sorry, to anyone following, for not posting in months…my heart hasn’t really been in it with all of my attention on work, moving, and something I’m really proud of, starting a charity!  Combining my 2 two passions of  kettlebell sport and training with supporting individuals with an autism spectrum disorder  (ASD), I created Kettlebells4Autism.  I’ll post more about it at some point, but for now, please check out the website here!  Starting May 15, 2013, tee shirts will be sold and all funds raised will be donated to very deserving not-for-profit organizations supporting individuals with an ASD.

Okay, back to the recipe.

Ingredients

Bone in, skin on turkey breast (about 1.5 lbs.)

Approx. 1tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp. of each of the following:
cracked peppercorn
sea salt
dried thyme
dried rosemary
granulated onion
granulated garlic

3 tsp. of Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. chicken broth

Directions

Preheat oven to 375•

Rub olive oil over turkey, all over.

Mix dry ingredients and mustard.  Add wine and mix.  Should be fairly think consistency.

Rub mix all over turkey breast. Place in shallow baking dish.

Cook for about 20 minutes at 375• or until skin forms a crust, then reduce to 325•.  Continue to cook for about 60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches no less than 165•  and juices run clear. Enjoy!

turkey done

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Coconut Milk Yogurt and Grain Free Granola

A big thank you to my friend and teammate Stella Rose (no relation to Axl) for the coconut milk yogurt idea!  It’s really easy to make and you don’t need a yogurt maker, just patience and be willing to experiment.

Coconut Milk Yogurt (Shout Out)

This is the recipe I used, so a shout out to Cultures For Health!  I used gelatin as the thickening agent, and Greek yogurt as my starter.  I poured the yogurt into a mason jar, which I placed in an oven mitt, wrapped in a towel, then into a cooler, lid on,  for 24 hours.  I’ve made this three times now, and the last batch was the best one, with a slightly sour yogurt taste. I didn’t get that with previous batches and have no idea what I did to cause it!  Either way, the creamy consistency was achieved and that’s what I wanted for the granola.

Grain Free Granola

3/4 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup cacao nibs

(*sub or add any combination of nuts and seeds you prefer)

3 tbsp. honey

3 tbsp. coconut oil

Grated nutmeg and cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325°

Melt the honey and coconut oil over low heat and stir until mixed thoroughly.

Pour nuts, seeds and cacao nibs into a large bowl and add melted honey and coconut oil.  Mix thoroughly- everything should be coated with the honey and oil.

Grate nutmeg and cinnamon to your taste and stir.

Evenly spread mix onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, remove and gently toss, evenly spread mix again and bake for another 10 minutes.  You can easily burn your batch if you exceed 20 minutes, so keep an eye on them, and remove the batch if  brown before 20 min.

Allow the tray to cool. This is essential, so that the honey can cool, leaving you with little chunks of granola. * Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

granola

Spicy Portuguese Shrimp

This is a quick meal that my family has been making for years and I love it! You can vary the heat from mild to burn your lips off depending on your preference. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 lbs large raw shrimp, with shell (a must!) and deveined

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup fish stock, or beer, or white wine

1 tbsp. sweet pimento paste (see picture below)

1 tbsp. hot pimento paste (1:1 sweet to hot pimento paste ratio for medium spicy)

1 tbsp. flat parsley, chopped

About 1 tbsp. coconut oil, choose a brand with a very mild coconut flavour…enough to thoroughly cover the bottom of a large pan

Fresh ground salt and pepper

Instructions

*Add coconut oil to a large frying pan, medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent.

*Add the sweet and hot pimento paste, plus the stock or beer or wine, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a simmer.

pimenta

*Add shrimp. Allow shrimp to cook in the liquid and toss gently until thoroughly pink (about 5 minutes).

* Add parsley and toss.

shrimp1

*Remove the shrimp from the liquid once cooked, and allow the liquid to reduce for another 5 minutes. Pour sauce on shrimp and add a bit more parsley.

Note: although some may expect the shells to be a pain to peel when eating, you’ll find they act as a great vessel to carry the spicy sauce into your mouth. Get messy. Obrigado!

shrimp4

Christopher Walken Chicken with Pears Recipe (Vertical Roast)

I didn’t think Christopher Walken could be any cooler and then I came across this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43VjLCRqKNk. No biggy, he’s just roasting a chicken but there’s just something about him, and this video made me want to try vertically roasting a chicken.  This method allows the chicken skin to be crispy all around, while the meat is tender and juicy.  If you don’t want to buy a vertical roaster, you can use a bundt cake pan or a 1/2 empty beer can.

Tools

Vertical roaster, or 1/2 empty beer can, or bundt cake pan.

Roasting pan

Ingredients

Whole chicken

About 2 tbsp. quality butter, preferably organic or grass-fed, salted and room temperature

A few sprigs of fresh rosemary or fresh thyme

Salt and pepper for seasoning

3-5 pears

1/2 a lemon

Carrots and beets or other vegetables for roasting, sliced thick or quartered

1 tbsp. melted coconut oil

Instructions

*Pre-heat oven to 450° (you will be placing chicken on the lowest rack).

*Rinse chicken and pat dry inside and out with paper towels.

*Season cavity with salt and pepper.

*Slide pieces of butter under the chicken skin as well as sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary (see picture below, I admit to using more butter than needed).

*Rub skin with butter, all over!

*Place chicken onto the vertical roaster and onto disposable dish. Place dish within roasting pan.

*Place 1/2 lemon inside the disposable dish.

*Slice a piece off the bottom of each pear, keep both the slice and whole pear together and place the pears around the chicken.

*Toss vegetables in coconut oil, option to season with dried herbs of your choice or salt and pepper. Place vegetable around the large roasting pan.

* Place the chicken and vegetable on the lowest rack, breast side facing oven door.  You’ll roast the chicken for about  15  minutes at 450° then lower the temperature to 400° for about  an hour or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 155° and juices run clear. Baste the chicken 2-3 times within the hour with the juices collecting in the dish, the lemon adds more flavour. Remove from oven and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before carving. Toss the vegetables within the pan after about 25 minutes, you may have to remove them within the hour.

Gravy/Sauce option: Once the chicken is cooked, you can also dispose of the lemon and place the remaining juices that have collected into a sauce pan and reduce for about 10 minutes, then pour onto the chicken pieces/slices.

Puttanesca with Zucchini Noodles

Puttanesca with Zucchini Noodles

Before cutting out wheat, puttanesca was one of my favorite pasta dishes. Shame I only recently thought of making it with zucchini noodles! This is a quick and tasty dish and between the olives, coconut oil and walnuts, it includes a good amount of healthy fat.

Ingredients

1 medium zucchini

3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

About 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced/halved

10-12 sun-dried cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed thoroughly

2 cloves garlic, sliced thin or minced

3 anchovy filets

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Dried chili pepper to season, approximately 1/4 tsp. if you like it spicy, otherwise a pinch.

Teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Instructions

Julienne the zucchini- using a julienne peeler is a time saver!

Heat up about the coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook until beginning to brown.

Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to wrinkle/soften.

Add the olives, capers, sun-dried cherry tomatoes, walnuts, chili peppers, and anchovies.  Allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes.

Add the zucchini noodles and gently toss with the other ingredients, using a fork and spoon (as you would toss a salad). The noodles should be lightly covered in  the oils and juices from the tomatoes. Allow to cook until the zucchini noodles soften. Plate, add a bit of the parsley, and enjoy!

**I made the above for a quick lunch. The ingredients made about 1.5 servings.

Chimichurri Sauce: A Fresh, Flavour Explosion.

If you’ve never seen or heard of it, Chimichurri is a sauce from Argentina served with grilled beef, made up of fresh herbs, usually parsley and oregano, and a liquid base of olive oil and vinegar. You can really vary the ingredients and still have great results…and given the olive oil base, it’s a good source of healthy fat.

***My favorite way to make chimichurri is a 2:1 thyme to parsley ratio, no oregano. Picking those tiny thyme leaves off the stems is a labour of love though, so feel free to reverse the ratio if you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, i.e., 4 tbsp. of parsley and 2 tbsp. of thyme instead.

Ingredients

4 tbsp. fresh thyme

2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley

1 shallot, finely chopped or 1 roasted shallot (my preference)

1 clove garlic, minced or 2 roasted (again, my preference)

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

Juice from 1 lemon

1/4 tsp. dried red chili flakes

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions

Place all ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add oil and continue to pulse until you achieve a fairly thick consistency. You can add more lemon juice or oil if you’d like it a little thinner. Best to allow it to chill for 1-2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Heavy kettlebell sets followed by Netflix and PALEO SNACKS!

I’m 6 weeks away from a big kettlebell sport competition in Novi, Michigan and my sets are getting heavier and longer.  I  have control sets (8-10 minutes of lifting, 7-8 reps per minute) on Sundays, and now that I’m lifting 18 or 20kgs, these sets are exhausting and I pretty much spend a couple of hours resting on my couch when I’m done.  I expect I’ll get use to the heavy sets, but until then I’m taking advantage of the downtime and enjoying Netflix- I’m almost through season 1 of Lost : )

I like a little snack while chilling out and these are my two favorites, one a bit spicy, one naturally sweet.

Sweet Potato Spears with Spanish Spice

Ingredients

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes.

1  tbsp. coconut oil.

Spanish dry spice mix or any spice combo you like.

*baking sheet and parchment paper

Instructions

*Preheat oven to 450°

*Add coconut oil to a pan and melt over low heat.

*You can peel them or just scrub the sweet potatoes and cut into spears by cutting in half lengthwise, then each half into 6 long pieces. If the potato is thick, cut the 6 spears in half lengthwise.   Place in large bowl.

*Add melted coconut oil to sweet potatoes and  mix until coated.

*Add spice mix and toss until spears are coated.

*Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving a little space between each spear (don’t layer them).

*Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until crispy and starting to brown. Turn each spear over and bake for 15-20 minutes more or until browned and crispy.

Oven Roasted Beet Chips

Once again I bought a heap of beets at the farmer’s market, and in addition to roasting some, making soup, grating into salad, I also made beet chips.  You can find several recipes online and they are all pretty much the same, but I’ll give this Shout Out to the Civilized Caveman (<–click for his recipe). I added a little sea salt to mine, and melted coconut oil.

Slow Cooker Grass Fed Osso Bucco

Slow Cooker Grass Fed Osso Bucco

Another text exchange between me and one of my sisters…sister:  “They have gf veal shank at Sue’s [a local market]”, me: “get me some!”.  Recipe below : ) Thanks Agatsu for including this in their newsletter!

Ingredients:

6 pieces, about 3.5 lbs., of grass fed veal Osso Bucco (veal shank)

2 cups beef or bone broth

3 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 Spanish onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can San Marzano Tomatoes (D.O.P.) *note, the D.O.P. stands for “Denominazione di Origine Protetta” and in this case, it means that the .tomatoes are true San Marzanos, grown in the valley of the Sarno (28 oz.). You can go with plum and use the back of a spoon to break them down the tomatoes in the pan, or diced tomatoes.

1 can tomato paste (5.5 oz.)

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. salt plus salt to taste and for seasoning shanks

½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper plus to taste and for seasoning shanks

Instructions:

*Season both sides of the veal shanks with salt and pepper and set aside.

*In a deep skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat.

*Sear the veal shanks then place in the slow cooker.

*Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes.

*Deglaze the pan with the beef/bone broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the shank bits off the bottom of the pan.

*Add the can of tomatoes, salt and pepper and stir.  Use the back of your wooden spoon to break down the tomatoes. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes.

*Add the tomato paste and stir.  Boil for 5 minutes.

*Pour vegetables and liquid into slow cooker, turn on low, and let cook for 7 hours.  The meat should fall off the bone.  Serve over cauliflower rice. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Tuesdays are slow cooker days in my house. I’m out early, home late, so a simple pot roast works.  Oh, and I came across a blog  with a compiled list of 30 Paleo slow cooker recipes, so a Shout Out to “Holy Would if She Could“! Thanks Holly for putting this together : )  The recipe below came from an email to my sister that read “I bought a gf pot roast from the farmer’s market, what should I do with it?”  Her response (delicious) is below.

Ingredients

4-5 lb. pot roast (preferably grass fed)

2 onions- sliced

4 carrots – large dice

2 celery stalk – large dice

2 garlic cloves (smashed)

2 cups beef stock

1, 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1, 5.5 oz can tomato paste

2 tsp. salt + salt for seasoning

Montreal steak spice

Fresh ground pepper

Garlic powder

Dry thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

Instructions
Season pot roast generously with Montreal steak spice, fresh ground pepper, salt, garlic powder and dry thyme.  Place cut vegetables, rosemary and garlic on bottom of crock pot.  Place pot roast on top of vegetables.    Pour broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and salt in crock pot. Stir.  Pot roast should not be under liquids, leave top quarter of roast exposed.  Add tomato purée or more broth if more liquid is required.

Set for 7-8 hours on low.

Serve over cauliflower purée (I went with spaghetti squash instead- already had some made).

Passing on Info.

I’m working on my “Resources” section, looking for videos, journal articles and websites to include that may be of use to readers, and are not cited on other websites. Whole9 has a  great list of resources!

Here are a couple of others I think are worth checking out:

*Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food– In my opinion, there are many take home points, and two that resonated with me are the importance of cooking and education/knowledge about healthy food.

*Blog: Sean Flanagan Health & Nutrition Coach (Ancestral Health Approach).  He also posts great tips and information on his Facebook Page.  I’m really interested in craving type responses and related behaviour and his post yesterday was about how sugar consumption and eating other junk foods affect appreciation and taste for nutritious food:

Many people make excuses and denial about their sugar consumption – stating that they “like to eat” as a cutesy and responsibility-waiving way to talk about their habits.   This essentially implies that sweet foods (or other junk) are the most flavorful foods.   This is only true if you’ve developed a bit of an addiction to this kind of stuff.  When you’ve successfully lost the taste for these things, it’s gone for good (unless you mess it up).   It’s not a matter of willpower at all (except at first) – with time you’ll start gravitating towards foods that make you feel great and avoid those that make you feel like crap. The truth is nutritious foods prepared right are much more flavorful than poor food choices.   And not only would a grass fed filet mignon with herb butter, mushrooms, and baked sweet potato taste WAY better than skittles – but you’ll feel GOOD after.   Immediately after and for the hours that follow. When you’ve defeated your sugar and junk cravings, you’ll naturally find yourself enjoying nutritious foods more.    Think about what would happen if you’re listening to a static-ridden radio station… what would happen if the static went away?  By definition, you’d hear the music come in clearer.   Junk cravings are the static that mess up your experience and appreciation of real satisfying foods.   You’ve got to get rid of the noise in the way. This will take time and precise action.  But first things first, accept the fact that you’ve developed an addiction to some foods that are not doing you any favors.   No judgment from me – but you’ve got to be honest with yourself to move forward.   With time and the right direction, you’ll discover that nutritious foods are the most satisfying foods on all levels.

*Paleolithic Nutrition: Twenty-Five Years Later by Melvin Konner and S. Boyd Eaton.

Konner’s work has contributed greatly to the concept of the “Paleolithic Diet”.  This article provides further support of the “evolutionary discordance hypothesis”-  which links modern-day chronic diseases (e.g., type 2 diabetes, obesity, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) to our departure from nutrition and activity patterns of hunter-gatherer ancestors.

More to come…but some recipes first!

Christina

Shout Out- Merguez Meatballs

A friend recently asked me if I ever get tired of eating meat…my answer was “no”, and I added that’s probably because I eat a variety of protein sources, like beef, pork, bison, lamb and chicken,  plus fish and seafood,  loads of vegetables, not to mention the combination of herbs and spices.  I guess these things keep my taste buds guessing!  Like anyone else, I sometimes have a  “food rut” day where I feel like I don’t know what to cook, and that’s when I start looking up recipes.

Here’s another recipe Shout Out to Melissa Joulwan, who does an amazing job of using a variety of spices. The Merguez spice mix is one you’ll want to keep around for another day!   The last time I made them, I was out of fennel, but no biggy, they were still delicious. Give these a try, I know you’ll love them!

Golden Beet & Fresh Dill Soup

Beets are in season most of the year in Ontario.  Seasonal vegetables and fruit taste better, and are often cheaper, but if you need more reasons to eat seasonal food, check out this great write up–> Whole9 link.  More about beets…I love the naturally sweet taste roasted, in a salad, and they make for a great soup, served hot or cold (gazpacho)…and the colour is amazing.  In the below recipe I used golden beets, but you can also use regular, or candy cane beets to change up the colour, while the taste is just slighlty different.

Ingredients:

*1 quart of golden beets, washed and trimmed.

*3.5 cups of chicken stock

* 1/2 cup water

*1 tbsp. coconut oil + 1-2 tbsp. for cooking

*1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

*1 tbsp. of thyme

*a few sprigs of fresh dill

*salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

-Peel beets and cut into 1″ pieces.  Place them in bowl and rub in 1 tbsp. of coconut oil.  Add thyme and rub in some more.

-Cover a baking sheet with a generous piece of foil.  Place beets on the baking sheet. Fold the foil around the beets, forming a packet and crimp the ends to seal in the heat.  Roast until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 35-45 minutes.

-Once the beets are cooked, add 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil to a soup pot, and heat over medium. You need enough oil to cover the onions and the beets.

-Add the onions and saute until translucent.

-Add the beets and stir to coat with the coconut oil.

-Add the broth, water and vinegar.

-Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Continue to simmer for about 35 minutes.

– Remove pot from heat and either use a hand-held blender to blend until smooth or add in batches to regular blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

-Sprinkle fresh dill and serve.

Here’s a batch I made with candy cane and golden beets. I served it cold with a tablespoon of coconut milk per bowl, and some sliced strawberries.  It could have been a dessert and will definitely be a repost for Valentine’s Day!

                                          

Coming up this week…

Hi all,

Posts this week will include,

*Golden Beet & Fresh Dill Soup plus why it’s a great idea to eat seasonal vegetables and fruit.

*Greek Food! Kotopoulo Kapama, also known as Braised Chicken.

*Homemade Mayo (a little tricky but worth it).

*A Meatball Shout Out with leftovers to freeze for later.

*And how about we take a few minutes to kick back and enjoy a song I love to listen to while I cook…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDD8noPMxDw  : )

See you soon,

Christina

Tomato, Leek, & Sausage Frittata

Frittata is easy and you can throw in pretty much any mix of vegetables alone or with meat, chicken, or fish.  I used leeks, grape tomatoes, and left over sausage.

Ingredients:

*8-12 eggs (depending on the size of your skillet)

*1-1.5 cups of cooked and seasoned meat chicken or fish (e.g., diced ham, chicken, sausage, etc.)

*1-1.5 cups cooked vegetables (e.g., spinach, cherry tomatoes, leeks, peppers, mushrooms, etc.)

*up to 2 tbsp. cooking fat

*salt and pepper plus other herbs and spices for seasoning if needed (see below for seasoning instructions)

Oven proof skillet

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350º

-Beat the eggs and set aside

If you don’t have any cooked protein or vegetables, no problem, you can use one skillet and start here…

-Season your protein to your taste (e.g., salt and pepper;  plus oregano & parsley; etc.)

-Add 1 tbsp. of cooking fat to your skillet, over medium heat cook the protein through. Remove from skillet and set aside.  Drain any excess fat from the skillet…time for the vegetables.

-Add 1 tbsp. of cooking fat to your skillet, add the vegetables, season to your taste, cook until tender

If you do have cooked vegetables and protein, add about 1 tbsp.  of cooking fat to your skillet over medium heat. More if using a large skillet. You’ll need enough to coat the vegetables, protein and the skillet.

-Add the cooked protein and vegetables, and mix to distribute the cooking fat.

                               

– Add the beaten eggs

-Using a wooden spoon, push the ingredients within the pan until the egg begins to cook and vegetables and meat are evenly distributed (about 4 minutes).  I like to add some grilled tomoto slices to the top just before placing in the oven.

-Place skillet in the oven for 13-15 minutes or until the top puffs up and begins to brown.

-Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Benefits of Homemade Broth

There are at least a dozen websites and blogs with bone broth recipes.  Chris Kresser notes the health benefits of bone broth, mainly the mineral content, which are easy to absorb (Kresser, 2011).  Beyond the health benefits, it’s definitely cheaper to make your own rather than relying on tetra packs and cans, void of nutrients.   Plan ahead, and have portions of homemade broth stored in your freezer for use in soups, stews, sauces…or even a hot cup with some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Here are some recipe links and pictures of my last batch.  I store mine in 2 cup, freezer proof glass containers- red for chicken broth, blue for beef bone broth.

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/3615609338/slow-cooker-beef-bone-broth

http://balancedbites.com/2011/04/easy-recipe-mineral-rich-bone-broth.html

http://thenourishingcook.com/beef-stock-anyone/

Kresser, C., (2011). How to prevent colds and flus naturally. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://chriskresser.com/how-to-prevent-colds-and-flus-naturally

                                                              

Baked Wild Sockeye Salmon with Fresh Herbs

I needed something that required little fuss tonight.  Other than melting down some coconut oil and chopping some herbs, I was out of the kitchen for this one. As for why it’s a great idea to eat wild salmon over farmed, I’ll leave that to Mark Sisson (click away).

Ingredients:

**No measurements here, you can really eye-ball this and the amount of everything below will depend on the size of the fish

*Wild sockeye salmon fillet

*Fresh basil, flat Italian parsley, rosemary, dill, because that’s what I had in my fridge but you can see other variations below.

*Salt and pepper for seasoning.

*Coconut oil

*A whole  lemon plus lemon zest

Instructions:

-Pre-heat oven to 400°

-Line a baking with parchment paper.

-Melt the coconut oil, in a pan, over low heat.

-Lemon slices will be placed underneath the salmon, between the salmon skin and the parchment. Slice enough to form a row the length of the salmon fillet. There can be inches of space between them. This will prevent the salmon skin from sticking.

-Place the salmon fillet skin side down on top of the lemon slices.

-Pour the coconut oil over the fish. Just enough to form a thin layer.  The fish will be cold, which will make the oil begin to harden immediately so work fast with the next step…

-Season the flesh side with salt and pepper, don’t be shy.

-GENEROUSLY sprinkle the fresh herbs and lemon zest onto the salmon.

-I like to place a few lemon slices on top of the fish as well.

-Place in the centre of the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes (separate it at the thickest point with a fork to test).

-Served here with sliced tomatoes and roasted beet salad, and field greens.

If you have more time to devote to this dish, you can also combine the oil and herbs in a food processor then pat them onto the fish.

Other herb combos include fresh or dry dill, parsley and mint; thyme, parsley, sage and rosemary; and more…

I’ve yet to cook a whole fish- future goal!

Spanish Pork Kabobs

The Arabic influence in Spanish food is evident in spice mixtures used with pork, lamb and chicken.  I love this mix of spices and herbs and you can always prepare it in advance and store  for later use.  Loads of flavor and apart from the time spent marinating the meat, you can cook these kabobs quickly.

Dry Spice Mix:

3 tbsp. ground cumin

2 tbsp. ground coriander

1 tbsp. paprika

1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

*mix well and set aside  or store for future use.

Marinade:

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 chopped Italian parsley

2 tbsp. minced garlic

Protein:

2 lbs. pork, cubed into 1 inch pieces

**you’ll also need skewer sticks

Instructions:

*Combine the dry spices and olive oil in a frying pan, warm on low heat until slightly fragrant (about 2- 3 minutes). Place in a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

*Place the pork pieces in a bowl and add the cooled oil and spice mix.  Add the garlic, lemon juice and parsley.  Combine everything and rub into the pork pieces.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Next day…

*If using wooden or bamboo skewers, you can soak them for 3o minutes prior to adding the pork.  This is to “prevent” them from charring but really, they’ll char a bit either way, so if you don’t have time, no big deal.

*Preheat broiler or grill.

*Thread meat onto skewers.  Add a bit of salt (optional).

*Place skewers onto broiler pan or grill, allow to cook for about 4 minutes then turn over for another 4 minutes. Don’t allow them to cook too long, as they will become dry. I’ll sometimes designate one kabob as the one I’ll cut into/butcher really, to check that the meat is ready.

Enjoy!

Picture explanation: I’m new to blogging and learned this weekend to keep my camera handy at all times!  I made these pork kabobs to eat with friends after a kettlebell training session.  It was warm and sunny out, so after the workout we brought a couple of plyo boxes into the parking lot, and ate our meal in the sun.  We were famished, dug in right away, and by the time I realized I hadn’t photographed the final product, we’d eaten most of them.  Oops!

Olive Tapenade and Spread- fun with MUFAs

Olives are one source of healthy fat (aka monounsaturated fats-MUFAs). The gist of the benefits of MUFAs include contributing to improved cholesterol levels, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and more. I make a point of including healthy fat in each of my meals- the amount depends on the fat source. Olives as a tapenade can be served with raw vegetables as a dip, and a topping for a mild white fish, even pork. Tapenade stores well in the fridge and is easy to make.

If you’re not a fan of capers, you can exclude them.  The inclusion of capers is what makes it a “tapenade”, so without them, you have an olive “spread” or “paste”….delicious either way.

Ingredients:

*2 cups pitted olives, rinse thoroughly, look for quality, avoid preservatives, and play with colour. Kalamata olives are dark black or brown, juicy, and ripe therefore easy to pit; green olives, such as Sicilian green, are large, firm, tart, and require more effort to pit; other varieties are red and light brown.

*2 tbsp. capers, rinse thoroughly (see other options below)

* 1 clove garlic, minced

*2 tbsp. olive oil

*1-2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Once you’ve pitted the olives, give them a rinse under cold water to remove excess salt. I smashed down the capers a bit too, and rinsed those.

Place the olives, garlic, and capers in a food processor and pulse a couple of times.

Next pour in the olive oil with the food processor running. You can continue to run it until you achieve a smooth texture (tapenade on the right in the picture, with Kalamata olives) or just a few pulses for more of a coarsely chopped texture (tapenade on the left, with green Sicilian olives). Stir in the lemon juice to your preference and pepper to taste. I prefer the taste once the tapenade has chilled for at least a few hours.

Store in the fridge and be sure to keep it covered with a bit of olive oil so that it doesn’t spoil.

Below, served with raw peppers, cucumber and carrots.

Other options:

You may find the flavour to be strong. Before you blend the above ingredients to a smooth texture, give it a taste. If you want to mellow it out, sauté a handful of cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered), 1/2 a shallot (chopped) and 1/2 tsp. of minced garlic.  Add this mix to the coarsely processed tapenade and blend until smooth.  I served  it below with baked white fish. Great flavour combination!

More options to try with the original recipe: double the garlic; 1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard; anchovy fillets; finely chopped parsley; thyme; basil. 

Duck Breast with Blackberry Sauce (I love my cast iron pan)

The Duck.

* 2 duck breast, skin on

fresh ground salt and pepper

The Sauce.

*1 cup of chicken broth

*1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I like Acropolis Organics because there are no preservatives or added sugar)

*1 cup fresh blackberries

Preheat the oven to 400°

Grind salt and pepper onto both sides of the duck breast. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross pattern into the duck skin but be careful not to pierce the meat. Place the duck breast skin side down onto your seasoned cast iron pan  (I use coconut oil to season it), or use any pan that you can put in the oven.  Turn the heat to medium – the fat will render well if you start with a cold pan. I’ve also seen this done in a hot pan, but I’ve tried both and prefer to start without heat- Gordon Ramsay agrees!

As the duck heats up, you’ll have to drain the fat into a bowl so that there is always just a bit left in the pan.  Keep your  attention on the pan, and keep the bowl where you’ll be draining the fat away from the heat.  The good news is that you can store this fat in the fridge and use it for cooking later- worth the effort I’d say. Allow the skin side to cook until golden brown then turn it over so that the flesh side can have some contact with the heat- just a quick sear.  Turn it skin side down again and place it in the oven for 6-8 min (internal temperature of 115°). You can also use the  “bounce test” my dad taught me, to test if it’s cooked medium rare…once again  Gordan Ramsay does the same  (see 1:26, or watch the whole thing if you’re not interested in reserving the fat, plus he’s just cool to watch).  Plate the duck and let it sit, don’t cut into it yet, until you’ve made your sauce.

The sauce.  Using the same pan, with some duck drippings still inside, add the broth. Let it come to a boil then add the balsamic vinegar and stir.  You can even add a tablespoon of the rendered duck fat for a little more flavour.  Stir frequently, continue to cook until the liquid begins to reduce. Add the blackberries and continue to stir.  Be patient. Once it’s reduced to a syrup, it’s ready to serve and worth the wait. Slice and add sauce~ a labour of love<3

Best Chili Ever

This post is a shout out to the best paleo chili I’ve ever had-  find it on The Clothes Make the Girl.  It’s delicious and stores well, so make a big pot, freeze it in batches to have around for later.  Here I served it with cauli rice, another popular paleo recipe (one here at Nom Nom Paleo), sliced heirloom carrots tossed in olive oil and apple cider vinegar, plus 1/2 an avocado (healthy fat) and sautéed kale on the side. Protein; healthy fat; minimum of 2 veggies- check, check, check!

Cold Sweet Potato Salad

*2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped into cubes

*1-3 tbsp. olive oil

*1-3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

*1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans (or other nuts, e.g., hazelnuts, cashews, etc.)

*1/4 medium red onion

*1 tbsp. chopped parsley

*salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Peel and chop your sweet potatoes into cubes.  Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 3-5 minutes (you want them soft but not mushy- pierce with a fork to test). Drain thoroughly then place in a bowl and gently toss in about 1 tbsp. of vinegar. Refrigerate.

Lightly toast the nuts while the sweet potatoes cool.  When done, add the nuts, chopped red onion, and parsley to the sweet potatoes and gently mix. If you want to eat this cold, hold off on toasting and adding the nuts until the vegetables cool in the fridge. When cool, add the toasted nuts and prepare your dressing by mixing your oil, remaining vinegar, bit of salt and cayenne pepper. This is an estimate so adjust as needed.  Add dressing to the salad, toss and serve.

Rise & Shine- Beef Hash & Eggs

This is not something that requires measuring the ingredient, but if you need some guidance…

*1/2lbs grass fed ground beef- medium (lean if using regular beef)

*1/2 red pepper, chopped

*1/4 med. red onion, chopped

*1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced

*1/2 tomato, chopped

*3-4 kale leaves, remove stem and centre vein, slice leaves thin

*1-2 tsps. dried oregano

*1-2 tsps. dried thyme

*3 eggs

*1-2 tbsp. cooking fat (e.g., ghee, duck fat, etc.)

salt and pepper to taste, few leaves of fresh parsley and basil chopped

***increase, decrease or swap any vegetables, spices or herbs with others you prefer.

Use a deep pan with lid.  Heat some of the cooking fat over medium heat.  Add the beef, using a spoon to break it into pieces. Remove from heat when there are no longer pink spots. Drain all the fat if using regular beef. Drain most of the fat if using grass-fed. Set beef aside.

You can start your vegetables in a separate pan while you cook the meat or give the same pan a wipe, add more cooking fat and start to sauté the onion and peppers. Let cook until they begin to soften then add the mushrooms and tomatoes.  Add oregano, thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Let these cook for another 5 minutes. When the vegetables are near ready, add the kale and continue cooking until the kale begins to wilt.  Add your cooked beef.  More seasoning if you need it. Mix the beef and vegetables thoroughly.  Using a spoon, evenly spread the hash around the pan.  Sprinkle oregano and basil.

Crack each of the eggs over a section of the hash (1 egg per 1/3 of the pan) cover with lid, and allow to cook. Approximately 5 minutes, less if you like them a little runny.

Enjoy!

Christina

Paleo Scotch Eggs

*1/2 lbs. lean pork

* 5 eggs (4 for cooking, 1 for coating)

*1 tbsp. dried thyme, parsley, and basil (play around with other combinations if you like or add cayenne for a little heat)

*1/2 tsp. salt and pepper (fresh ground is best)

*1/4 cup almond flour

*enough coconut oil to fill a small frying pan

Hard boil eggs, then run them under cold water until they are cool enough to touch. Let sit in cold/ice water for about 5 minutes (makes for easier peeling). In a bowl, combine the pork, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Beat the remaining egg in a bowl and set aside.

Place the almond flour on a plate and set aside.

Press handful sizes of the pork and spice mixture into pancake forms on a board or cling wrap.

Heat the oil in a pan, medium heat. Keep an eye on the heat, or wait until you’ve formed the meat on all of the eggs (see below) before heating the oil.

Peel eggs. Form a meat pancake around an egg ensuring the meat is evenly distributed with no visible gaps. Should form into a ball. You can also use the cling wrap (between your hand and the egg, if needed, to help distribute the meat around the egg). Once formed, roll the meat ball into the beaten egg with one hand, keeping the other hand clean and dry. Place the egg onto the almond flour. Using your dry hand, gently push the meat ball around the almond flour until the ball has a thin layer of flour covering it.

Repeat above for remaining eggs.

You can check if the oil is hot enough by dropping a tiny piece of spare meat into it…should sizzle immediately.

Depending on the size of your pan, place a couple of the eggs into the hot oil. Must have enough space between the eggs so that you can turn them with ease.

Turn the eggs as the immersed side begins to brown. Continue until all of the egg has made contact with the oil and the meat is cooked through and golden brown.

Remove and let cool.

Dig in!