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Tag Archive: dairy-free

Garlicky Soft-Shell Crabs (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo)

May 21, 2013 Print this page

This is my FAVORITE time of year. The weather is warm, but not too hot, all of the pretty flowers are blooming, more and more produce is coming into season…

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…oh yeah, and soft-shell crabs. Nom nom nom.

To obtain these little guys, my dad and I made the brave journey over to Stew Leonard’s on a Saturday morning. Do you know how crazy that place gets?! Between the non-stop animal sounds, hoards of people, and baked goods stacked a mile high, it was quite overwhelming.

Luckily, it was worth it: the crabs turned out deliciously. We’re definitely considering going back for more next weekend.

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First thing’s first: you’re going to need crabs. (I know, huge shocker.) Please ask your fish monger to clean your lovable crustaceans for you…that is, unless you want your hands covered in crab guts. Give them a quick rinse and pat-down before you use them.

Traditionally, soft-shell crabs are dunked in a thick batter before they’re fried. Since I wanted to taste the crab and not the coating around them, I lightly tossed them in about 1/2 cup of arrowroot flour and 2 heaping tablespoons of Essence of Emeril.

I love Emeril Lagasse, and his seasoning is pretty awesome. To make it, simply combine 2 1/2 tablespoons of paprika, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, and 1 tablespoon of dried thyme. (I adapted the recipe from here.)

Transfer your coated crabs to a plate. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. This is one of those times where you need the extra fat for crispification, so don’t skimp!

Once hot, add the crabs to the pan belly-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

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Flip the crabs over and add more olive oil if the pan is getting dry. Continue cooking for another five minutes, then place on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you make the sauce.

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To the pan, add 5 small or 4 large cloves (about 2 tablespoons) of chopped garlic and saute for about a minute. Carefully pour in 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/4 cup of water or chicken stock, stand back, and let simmer down for 3 to 4 minutes over low heat.

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Remove the crabs from the oven, and drizzle each with a little sauce and a good squeeze of lemon juice. 

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I served the crabs along simply roasted sunchokes and sauteed baby kale with balsamic vinegar. DELISH.

What’s your favorite seasonal spring food? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know! 


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Crispy Sweetbreads (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo)

May 18, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

When I was maybe 10 or 11, I went out to dinner with my family and saw “sweetbreads” on the menu. Being the carb-o-holic I was, I decided to order them. Sugary pieces of bread…what could be bad?

Upon putting in my request with the waiter, my parents explained to me that sweetbreads were not an appetizer version of a dessert: they were in fact something completely different. I immediately opted for something else instead…because I did not want to eat a thymus gland.

Last month while in Florida with my mom, I again saw sweetbreads on the menu. This time, I ordered them, and they were fantastic.

After seeing The Domestic Man post about his lamb sweetbreads, I knew it was time to try cooking these guys myself. Both the butchers and my parents seemed to doubt my abilities, but my attempt proved to be very successful.

Honestly, there’s nothing much to it but to do it. You don’t need very many ingredients or fancy equipment; you just need a good couple of hours to cook. My recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman’s in How to Cook Everything.

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First, you’re going to need about a pound of, well, sweetbreads. You’ll probably want to get them at a butcher or US Wellness Meats.

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Once it’s vigorously bubbling, turn the heat down slightly and stir in 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Gently drop the sweetbreads in and cook for 10 minutes.

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Drain the sweetbreads and run under cold water until cool to the touch, about 7 minutes. If you see any loose pieces of membrane, peel them off—it’s not a big deal if you don’t get every piece.

Dry the sweetbreads off with a paper towel, then transfer to a clean plate. Place another plate on top of the sweetbreads, and weigh it down with a bunch of cans. (I used five 14.5 ounce cans of coconut milk.) Transfer to the fridge for 1 to 3 hours.

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When you’re ready to cook, cut the sweetbreads into 1/2-inch slices. Toss in 3/4 cup of arrowroot flour, making sure to shake off any excess coating.

Heat 1/4 cup of duck fat over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add half the sweetbreads and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Every couple of minutes, sprinkle with a little bit of salt.

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Flip over and fry until golden brown on the other side, about 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer the sweetbreads to a paper towel-lined plate, and add the rest to the pan, adding more fat if necessary. Follow the same steps for the second batch.

When all of the sweetbreads have been cooked, pour in 1/2 cup of wine wine to the hot pan. Let bubble for 3 to 4 minutes, then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.

Drizzle a little sauce and a drop of lemon juice atop each sweetbread to serve.

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To accompany these crunchy bits of goodness, I made a simple parsnip puree and sweet potato chips.

Have you ever tried sweetbreads? Am I crazy for trying them? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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Chocolate Chip Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo)

May 16, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

To quote my gluten-free bio teacher, “It was so nice to have a doughnut. I haven’t been able to have one in forever because I can’t eat them.”

That’s right. YOU—yes, you—can have a delicious holed dessert without gluten, grains, dairy, and tons of added sugar. No grease, no junk, no guilt!

The only special equipment you’ll need is a doughnut pan: I got mine for nine bucks off of Amazon, and it worked beautifully. 

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (Have you noticed that 350 is the magic number for baking?) Grease your doughnut pan with a little bit of coconut oil and set aside.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium, beat together 1/3 cup of softened refined coconut oil, 1/4 cup of raw honey OR maple syrup, 1/3 cup of light coconut milk (I used it because it’s more liquid-y than the full-fat stuff), 3 eggs at room temperature, 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla until homogeneous. (I know this seems like a lot, but it’s to cover up the coconut-y-ness of the milk.)

Decide to make these on a whim and have no time patience to bring eggs to room temperature? Here’s a great trick: submerge the eggs in a small bowl of hot water for 5 minutes, and voila! Please, do not use cold eggs—the texture won’t be quite right.

To the wet ingredients, add 2 3/4 cups of blanched almond flour, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Mix on medium until completely combined with the wet ingredients, about 2 minutes longer, then add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips to the dough.

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Scoop the dough into a large plastic bag and seal the top. Make sure you get as much air out as possible! Push everything towards one of the bag’s lower corners and twist the rest of the bag tightly. Make a horizontal cut along that corner, snipping off about 1-2 inches total.

Applying gentle pressure, squeeze the dough around the center of each spot in the doughnut pan. Smooth out the tops with a small spatula or the back of a spoon.

Bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes total. Oven temperatures vary, so always keep an eye on your treats!

Allow the doughnuts to rest in the pan for 10 to 20 minutes before carefully removing to a plate or wire rack to completely cool.

While the doughnuts come to room temperature, make the chocolate glaze. In a small saucepan or in the microwave with 30-second intervals, melt together 4 ounces of dark chocolate and 3 tablespoons of refined coconut oil. Once melted, place in the fridge for 10 minutes before dunking the top of each doughnut in the chocolate.

Let harden in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, then repeat the glaze-dousing process. Return to the freezer for another 5 to 10 minutes before applying the final layer of chocolaty goodness. 

Freeze for another 5 to 10 minutes, then dig in immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Now, who wouldn’t want that? A crazy person, that’s who!

For the dairy-free ice cream recipe I used, head on over to Living Healthy with Chocolate. (The verdict? Excellent texture, but experimentation with different brands of coconut milk is needed.)

If there’s a dessert you’d like me to try and make gluten-free/dairy-free/Paleo, leave me a comment on Facebook! 


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Easy. Peasy. Paleo! (Featuring two new recipes!)

May 14, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

When removing all grains and almost all dairy from your diet, there’s sometimes that initial shock of, “Oh my gosh, what do I do now?!” After living your whole life eating cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pretzels for snack, and pasta for dinner, there can often seem like there’s nothing to eat.

Happily, there’s actually a boatload of tasty, healthy foods that are perfectly Paleo! Here are 4 tips that will help you stay on track whether you’re new to or familiar with this eating style.

#1: Get the right ingredients.

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A lot of “Paleo” foods are things that you already eat. Vegetables. Fruits. Meat. Poultry. Nuts. The only big changes in any of these areas are buying organic produce and pasture-raised/grass-fed protein.  

Snacks and treats are where it gets tricky. Without wheat, man-made oils, and a lot of excess sugar, most, if not all processed fare is out. And at home, how are you supposed to make a cake without flour?

To create a seemingly “normal” product, you’re going to need to visit Whole Foods and/or Trader Joe’s and seek out some unusual ingredients. Here are three of my baking staples:

  • Refined Coconut Oil: When I first started making Paleo desserts, my parents and I noticed that everything had a coconut-y taste. This was because we were using extra-virgin coconut oil, which is bottled with pieces of the coconut meat in tact. Refined coconut oil, however, has no coconut-y taste and holds up well to high temperatures. Make sure you’re buying an organic, non-hydrogenated product! My favorites are Spectrum and Whole Foods’ 365 house brand. 
  • Raw Honey: If you’ve ever perused the internet in search of Paleo recipes, you’ll notice that the majority use maple syrup. Mine, however, usually do not. I have nothing against maple syrup—really, sugar is sugar once it’s in the body—but my family prefers the lighter, less-noticeable taste of honey. Try to find a local seller in your area for the best quality product.
  • Blanched Almond Flour: Yes, Honeywell Almond Flour is really expensive and the bag is huge, but I promise you, it’s worth it. Why the high price? Unlike wheat flour, which is made in massive quantities from a cheap product, almond flour is manufactured on a smaller scale…and because almonds are pricier than wheat, the flour is naturally more expensive. You’ll be amazed at how well your gluten-free desserts turn out.

Be sure to visit Living Healthy with Chocolate, Elana’s Pantry, and The Spunky Coconut for some great dessert ideas!

If you’re a newbie to Paleo desserts, I’d suggest trying my Chocolate Chip Banana Cake or Chocolate Mousse.

#2: Prepare meals ahead.

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There is nothing more frustrating than being hungry and not having anything to eat. We’ve all been there…and what’s most likely to happen? You’re going to pig out on something you probably shouldn’t.

To prevent this problem, it really helps to prepare meals in advance. These Juicy Pork Wraps, for example, take 10 minutes to put together and will yield at least 5 or 6 servings for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast.

The night before you want to eat your “in-advance” dinner, combine a little over 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of chipotle chili pepper, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a little less than 1 tablespoon of raw honey, 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke, and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. It seems like a lot of ingredients, but if you already have everything in your pantry, it’s not a big burden.

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Rub everything all over a 4 1/2 to 5 pound piece of pork shoulder and stick skin-side up in the slow cooker for 16 hours. Yes, 16 hours, folks.

No slow cooker? Grease a large Dutch oven with about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, put in the pork, cover tightly, and let braise at 300 degrees for 4 to 6 hours. (However, I recommend the former preparation.)

When you’re ready to eat, simply remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred it with two large forks. Serve with cut up jicama, guacamole (I just mixed together 1 1/2 avocados with about 1/4 cup of my favorite salsa), and Boston lettuce leaves for wrappers.

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That wasn’t too hard now, was it?

For more great ideas, I highly recommend reading The Paleo Slow Cooker by Arsy Vartanian and visiting her website, Rubies and Radishes.

#3: Buy good meat.

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You are looking at probably one of my favorite places on Earth: The Saugatuck Craft Butchery.

Every week, my dad and I venture to this magical land of meat to pick out our meals for the coming days. They’ve got EVERYTHING…and the best part? All the meat is sourced within 150 miles, so you know its fresh.

Sure, you can buy good quality meat at Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but it’s nothing like at the butcher. I’ve been able to experiment with so many different cuts of meat: tri-tips, spare ribs, whole ducks, quails, ground goat, oxtails, lamb sirloins…things you just can’t get at the supermarket. And I promise, it just tastes so much better.

If you’re looking to satisfy the carnivore in your family, try my Crisp Roasted Duck with Cherry Sauce or Sweet Braised Pork Hocks.

#4: Eat a well-rounded breakfast.

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Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Think about it this way: if you eat dinner at 6:30 P.M. and wake up at 7:00 A.M., you haven’t eaten in over twelve hours! Even if you aren’t hungry when you wake up, it’s critical to at least eat something.

Your morning meal should include a good amount of protein and fat, plus some carbohydrates. You don’t necessarily have to eat “breakfast food” for breakfast! Take today, for example: I had salmon and cauliflower rice instead of my usual eggs.

Here’s my recipe for the tastiest granola EVER. Make sure you limit yourself, though: it’s so delicious, you could easily go overboard!

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In the bowl of a food processor, chop up 1 cup of raw almonds and 1 cup of raw cashews until small, but not powdery, about 30 seconds to 1 minute total. Then, pour into a bowl and mix with 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup of maple syrup or raw honey, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. 

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Spread the mixture out onto a greased baking sheet, and place in a 350 degree oven until brown and crispy, about 20 to 30 minutes. Give a good stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning.

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Stir in 1/3 cup of dried raisins or cranberries, if desired, and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before storing in a large ziploc bag at room temperature or in the fridge.

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s easily customizable. Feel free to use macadamia nuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, cacao powder, or other dried fruit in the place of or in addition to some of the ingredients!

For some other tasty breakfast recipes, try my Carrot Muffins or Pumpkin Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce.  

And there you have it! What are your best Paleo tips? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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Yum-Yum Bars (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, vegan option)

May 12, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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There’s a reason why obesity is such a problem in this country. It’s because candy bars happen to be so. Freaking. TASTY.

Although I love a good piece of chocolate, my favorite kinds of candy are always the ones that have the perfect mix of sweet, salty, and crunchy. These Yum-Yum bars are kinda a combination of Snickers and Twix bars, with a crisp shortbread base, creamy sunbutter filler, and a drizzle of dark chocolate on top. 

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To ZipList this recipe, click here.

You’ve gotta start from the ground up. Here’s how to make the cookies!

In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1/2 cup of melted refined coconut oil, 1/4 cup of raw honey OR maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Blend just to combine, about 1 to 2 minutes.

To the wet ingredients, add 2 cups of blanched almond flour, 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Process until a sticky, slightly crumbly ball, about 3 minutes longer.

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Gather the dough and squeeze it into a ball. Your hands are going to get REALLY GREASY, so have some soap ready to wash off the excess  coconut oil afterwards.

Wrap the ball tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably 2.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the ball and roll it out until it’s about 1/4-inch thick.

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Cut off the crumbly stuff along the sides to form a perfect rectangle. (You can squish the scraps back together and make more cookies!) Cut it into 7 or 8 pieces, then bake until crisp and golden-brown, about 15 to 17 minutes.

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Once out of the oven, feel free to slice each piece in half or leave them whole. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a plate and put in the freezer to chill out for about 15 minutes. DO NOT skip this step: if you do, the filling will melt all over your cookies and not stick at all. 

To make the closest thing you can get to the most awesome peanut butter ever without peanuts, simply combine 1/2 cup of palm shortening and 1/4 cup of sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of raw honey OR maple syrup a generous pinch of salt. Stir to combine and let sit in the fridge until the cookies are cool.

image Once the cookies are frigid to the touch, top each with about 2 teaspoons of the filling. Spread gently with a knife, then pop back in the freezer to firm up for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, melt 3 ounces of dark chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, then cool in the fridge for about 10 minutes until the consistency of soft butter. 

When the Yum-Yum bars are solid, take them out of the freezer and top with a spoonful of the chocolate. Let freeze for another 15 minutes, or eat right away, like I did.

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What’s this magical pile sitting atop some of these Yum-Yum bars? Stay tuned to find out my secret ingredient. 🙂

All I can say is YUM. YUM. 

What candy bar would you like to see recreated? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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