April 11, 2013
Every Saturday morning, my dad and I travel to our local butcher to buy meat for the coming week. They’ve got your basic cuts, like rib-eye steaks and pork roasts, but sometimes they’ll have something totally unusual, like rabbit or quail.
After perusing through their freezer this week, I discovered ground goat. I’ve only had goat a handful of times before and have never cooked with it, so I figured I’d give it a try in a tagine, one of my favorite Moroccan dishes.
A tagine is a stew-like dish that’s made in a clay pot with a cone-shaped top. Unfortunately, I do not own such a device, so I used my Le Creuset French Oven instead. But hey, if you have a tagine, definitely use it in this recipe!
First, cut up your veggies. I roughly chopped 1 large onion, 3 zucchinis, 4 carrots, and 1 large eggplant, but you can also use parsnips, sweet potatoes, or even butternut squash. I also diced up 4 cloves of garlic and added it to the rest of the vegetables.
Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a French oven, Dutch oven, or tagine over medium heat. (Any deep pot will do.) Once hot, add the veggies and cook until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes. Season well with kosher salt.
Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin, 1 teaspoon of coriander, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and a good crack of black pepper. After cooking for a minute or two longer, pour in 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup all-fruit apricot preserves, and 2 cups of chicken broth. Reduce heat to low and cover.
While the veggies get tender and flavorful, make some meatballs to go in the tagine. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a large baking sheet with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, mix together 2 pounds of ground goat, 1 large egg, beaten, and 2 tablespoons of ras el hanout. (For the recipe I used, click here.) If you can’t find ground goat, feel free to substitute ground beef or lamb instead.
Next, roll the meat into balls. With 2 pounds of ground meat, I made 30 meatballs, so each one should be a little over an ounce. You don’t have to be exact, but make sure the balls are all approximately the same size.
Place the goat balls on the prepared sheet, and bake until light golden brown, about fifteen minutes. You’ll be adding the balls to the tagine later, so it’s OK if they aren’t completely cooked yet.
About half an hour before you want to eat, add the meatballs to the vegetable mixture along with 1/4 cup of raisins. Put the lid on and cook on low for another 25 to 30 minutes.
Warm, comforting, and exotic…YUM.
This is a great dish to make in advance if you don’t have much time to cook on weeknights. Just make the meatballs and vegetable tagine base and store each in separate containers. The night you want to have the goat ball tagine, let everything come to room temperature for half an hour, then proceed with the final steps of the recipe.
Have you ever had goat? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!
Tags: delicious, dinner, healthy, meatballs, Morocco, paleo
April 9, 2013
Desserts are undeniably delicious, and that’s that. I have always had a sweet tooth, and once in a while, I just want something sugary and comforting. (Don’t we all?)
Luckily, this Chocolate Chip Banana Cake is filled with healthier, more wholesome ingredients, like almond flour, fresh fruit, and pasture-raised eggs. Best of all, it contains only little natural sweetener, so you can enjoy your treat without having a massive blood sugar crash afterwards.
To ZipList the cake recipe, click here.
To begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch circular cake pan with parchment paper. Grease it heavily with melted coconut oil.
I cannot stress enough how important this step is. If you neglect to take these protective measures, your cake will undoubtedly stick, even if you have a non-stick pan. The resulting mess and drama are NOT worth it!
Puree 2 1/2 ripe bananas in a food processor or blender until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. The bananas should be clump-less and resemble a pancake batter. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of blanched almond flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix together with your hands, taking care to break up any big clumps of almond flour.
In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together 3 large eggs, 1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of water, and 2 tablespoons of raw honey. When well incorporated, add to the bowl with the almond flour and stir with a spatula.
Gently fold in the banana puree into the rest of the batter, then mix in a little less than 1 cup of chocolate chips.
As a huge chocoholic, I’m very particular about what kind of chocolate I use in my baking. For this cake, I used Enjoy Life’s mini chocolate chips—and although they do contain some sugar, they’re pretty much the only widely available chocolate chips that are completely gluten, soy, and dairy-free. Alternatively, you can use 6 ounces of chopped chocolate or 1 cup of cacao nibs…but whatever you do, don’t use too much! This is a banana cake, not a chocolate cake.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and spread to get as even of a layer as possible. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center and the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least an hour (preferably longer) before serving and resist the urge to immediately eat the cake.
This cake is incredible plain, but it tastes even better with my easy cashew (yes, cashew) frosting. And—bonus—it can be made completely vegan!
To ZipList the frosting recipe, click here.
The first step is the most important: put 1 cup of raw cashews in a small saucepan, add just enough water to completely submerge, and simmer on low heat with the lid on. You really should soak the cashews for at least 2 or 3 hours, but if you’re in a hurry to eat your cake, 1 hour will do—just make sure the nuts are soft to the touch.
Next, pour the cashews and their water into a blender. Add 1/2 a ripe banana, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of raw honey, 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar, and 2 tablespoons of your milk of choice. I used the raw cow’s milk my family buys from a local farm, but you can use almond, cashew, hemp, or even coconut milk instead. Blend until completely smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the cashew mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat on high (for me, alternating between settings 8 and 10) until significantly lighter, about 10 minutes. Put the bowl with the frosting in the refrigerator to cool for about half an hour before serving atop or alongside the cake.
Now, you can have your cake and eat it too! (I know, I know…bad pun…)
What dessert should I try and recreate next? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!
Tags: bananas, cake, chocolate, delicious, dessert, gluten-free, healthy, paleo
April 8, 2013
I know what you’re thinking: fried chicken, HEALTHY?! How could something battered in flour and fried in oil be HEALTHY?!
Well, with the help of Charles Mayfield’s Paleo Comfort Foods, I successfully recreated this indulgent Southern dish without the extra guilt.
Even though this fried chicken is certainly healthier for you, it’s not something I recommend eating every single night. Save it for a once-in-a-while treat—it’ll make it all the more special.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with tinfoil. Place a wire rack on top and lightly grease it to prevent sticking.
Meanwhile, heat 1 1/3 cups of refined coconut oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Unrefined/extra virgin coconut oil will leave you with a coconut-y taste as well as splatter more, so save yourself the trouble.
In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup of almond flour with 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder, a good pinch of salt, and a crack of black pepper. In a medium bowl, lightly beat two eggs. You’re now ready to assemble the chicken.
First, dip each piece of chicken in the egg, then toss in the almond flour mixture to coat. I used about two pounds of drumsticks and thighs, but any chicken part will do.
When the oil’s hot (at about 350 degrees…although honestly, I didn’t check), add in the chicken. Watch out for sputtering grease! Cook until browned on the other side, about 3 to 4 minutes…
…then flip over with a long pair of tongs. Continue frying for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oil and place on the prepared wire rack/baking sheet. Bake on the top rack of the oven until cooked through and crispy, about 15 minutes.
To add some nutritive value to this meal, I made two delicious side dishes: carrot timbales (also courtesy of Paleo Comfort Foods) and braised red cabbage.
For starters, you’re going to need carrots. LOTS of carrots. I used a little over a pound, which yielded 4 6-ounce timbales.
Shred the carrots and 1 to 2 cloves of garlic. You can be old-school and use a box grater, or you can be
lazy like me and use a food processor.
Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large skillet over low heat. Add the carrots, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook until brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a little bit of water if it starts to stick.
Next, put the carrots in the bowl of a food processor or blender and add 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (go easy—nutmeg is VERY overpowering), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a big pinch of salt. Process or blend until completely smooth, adding more coconut milk if the carrots aren’t mixing nicely.
Add two eggs to the food processor or blender and process for 1 additional minute just to combine.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (Note: I baked the carrot timbales before the chicken.) Put some water to boil on the stove-top.
Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins with olive oil or coconut oil. Evenly distribute the carrot mixture among the 4 ramekins and place in a large roasting pan.
When the water is boiling, pour it into the roasting pan so it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins. (You don’t have to be exact—just don’t completely cover them!) Bake for 45 minutes, or until set and beginning to brown on top and around the edges.
To make the cabbage, heat up 1 tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of lard (yes, lard) in a large skillet on medium, then add 1 large thinly sliced onion. Saute until light golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Add 1 small head of red cabbage to the skillet. (You could also use savoy or nappa cabbage.) Add 4 tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, turn the heat down to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes. If the cabbage starts to dry out, add some more vinegar, water, or chicken stock.
Once the cabbage has softened a bit, season it well with salt and pepper. Add in one green apple, chopped into matchsticks, and stir it to incorporate. Cover the cabbage with a lid and cook until everything is tender, about another fifteen minutes longer.
Taste before serving, and add 1/4 cup orange juice if the cabbage seems bitter.
Voila—a flavorful, comforting meal that you CAN have. Don’t be ashamed to lick your fingers and scrape the plate!
What’s your favorite comfort food? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Tags: chicken, comfort food, delicious, healthy, paleo, vegetables
April 5, 2013
Roasting a whole chicken is great…but often, it leads to household warfare over who gets the juicy, flavorful dark meat and who’s stuck with the white meat.
With quail, everybody wins: each little bird has two legs and two wings to munch on. And—bonus—they take less than a half an hour to cook.
Of course, quail isn’t easy to find, but the search is definitely worth it. I got mine at our local butcher.
A note of caution: these little birds are often more skeleton than meat, so to avoid a pile of bones for dinner, try to buy them semi-boned.
To roast, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and grease a large glass roasting pan with olive oil or coconut oil. Dry the quails off with a paper towel, then place breast-side down in the pan. (They should be snug, but not overcrowded.) Season well with kosher salt and pepper.
Now, for the basting mixture, combine 1 tablespoon of melted ghee with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add 1 rounded tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 3 tablespoons of orange juice, and 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of raw honey. Stir well and adjust to taste.
Pour half of the basting mixture over the quails and evenly spread them with a brush.
Roast for 10 minutes, then remove the quails from the oven and baste with the remaining mixture. If the pan seems particularly dry, add 1/4 cup to 1/2 chicken broth around the edges. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes to finish cooking.
To serve, I recommend plopping this birdies whole down on the plate. Really, they’re best eaten with your hands, so get messy and dig in!
With the quail, I made possibly my favorite roasted vegetable ever: beets.
My dad, on the other hand, HATES beets, but claims mine are the best he’s ever eaten. I prepare them very simply so the sweet, earthy flavor shines through.
Preheat the oven to 450 and grease a large baking sheet with olive oil or coconut oil.
Roughly chop the beets into large chunks, about 3/4 inch wide. It doesn’t have to be exact—just make sure they’re all about the same size. I used about 1 1/2 pounds in total, somewhere around 8 medium beets.
Put the beets in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of your fat of choice. I usually use olive oil, but coconut oil is also a good choice. Whatever you select, make sure it isn’t too overpowering! Season the beets with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika, a large pinch of salt, and a good crack of black pepper. Mix to combine.
Spread the beets evenly on the greased baking sheet, and roast for 45 minutes. Check the beets every 10-15 minutes and give them a good stir. They’re done when they begin to crisp up around the edges and are tender, but still have a bite to them in the center.
I also made a green salad with raspberry vinaigrette. I’d provide the recipe, but as is the case with most of my salad dressings, it becomes more of a random science experiment than a set formula.
Aside from chicken, what’s your favorite kind of poultry/fowl? Let me know in a comment!
Tags: beets, delicious, dinner, healthy, paleo, quail, roasting
April 5, 2013
What’s not to love about lambs? They’re fuzzy, adorable…
Best of all, if you get the right cut, it can be on your weeknight dinnerplate with realitively little effort.
To achieve a defined flavor, I started the night before with a marinade. We had some deteriorating arugula in the fridge, so I decided to make a pesto.
In the food processor, I blended 2 cups of arugula, 1 large clove of garlic, a large handful (about 1/4 cup) of walnuts, and 1/3 cup of olive oil. This sauce is highly customizable—experiment with using basil or mint in place of the arugula and hazelnuts, pistachios, or macadamia nuts instead of the walnuts.
Then, I poured the pesto into a large ziploc bag with 1/3 cup of orange juice and added a little over 2 pounds of boneless leg of lamb. After sealing it up, I vigorously shook the bag to fully distribute the marinade. I marinated it in the fridge for about 18 hours, but anywhere from 2-24 hours should suffice. (The longer, the better—just don’t exceed a day.)
To cook, I heated the gas grill to about 450 degrees and put the lamb in the center. 7 minutes later, I flipped it over and let it cook for an additional 7 minutes. Ideally, you want to get the lamb to 125 degrees for somewhere between rare and medium rare.
Before eating, I covered the lamb with some tinfoil for about 10 minutes, then thinly sliced it to serve.
To go with our farmyard friend, I made an unusually interesting eggplant medley.
First, I heated a large skillet dry over medium-high heat and charred two eggplants on all sides until nearly blackened, about 20 minutes total.
While the eggplants cooled on a cutting board, I melted 1 tablespoon of organic refined coconut oil in the same skillet, then sauteed 1 medium red onion and 1 large red bell pepper with 1 large clove of crushed garlic.
Once the veggies were tender and beginning to brown, I poured them into a large bowl to cool.
Don’t worry, the eggplant was not forgotten! When it was near room temperature, I peeled off the charred skin and roughly chopped it into 1/2-inch-ish chunks. I added it to the onion, pepper, and garlic in the bowl and mixed it all up with a wooden spoon.
My favorite part was definitely the embellishments. To the bowl, I added 1 large handful of chopped walnuts (again, about 1/4 cup), the juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds, 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley, and a big pinch of paprika and cumin. I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.
And there you have it: a simple, tasty Middle-Eastern inspired dinner to impress your family, friends, and/or yourself! If you eat dairy, I highly recommend spooning some good quality yogurt onto your plate to dip everything in.
So, what do you like to marinate your meats in? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Tags: delicious, dinner, eggplant, food, grilling, healthy, lamb, Middle Eastern, paleo