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Tag Archive: nut-free

Crab Cakes and Citrus-Infused Mayo (gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, paleo)

June 23, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Friday was officially my last day of school, and I couldn’t be gladder. No more geometry. No more boring-as-heck marketing class. No more finals or projects or tests. I’m relieved…for now. I still have two books to read and annotate, two French workbooks to complete, and three chapters of an AP Euro textbook to complete before school starts again.

Oh well. For now, I’m just enjoying the fact that I don’t have to return to my “favorite” institution for two months. 

I spent my first few hours of freedom at a pool party with all of my friends. We’re teenage girls, so of course there were a few rounds of truth or dare and some Disney sing-alongs. I also had quite a good time eating fruit and flaunting my new swimsuit that I’m a teensy bit obsessed with.

Enough about me. Onto the food!

In the summertime, both my family and I prefer to have lighter, less meat-dense meals. Don’t get me wrong—we love our pork, lamb, and beef—but when the weather gets warmer, you don’t necessarily want to be digging into a rich, saucy stew every night.

If you’re looking to mix up your weekly dinner rotation, these crab cakes are a great addition. They took me maybe forty or so minutes to prepare and tasted DELICIOUS. There were also plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day, an added bonus.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

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You’re going to need some mayonnaise for this recipe to help hold the crab cakes together. I really dislike the way the store-bought stuff tastes, so I always make my own. This mayonnaise is EXTREMELY easy to prepare and takes less than ten minutes to whip up…and the difference in taste is unbelievable. 

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process 2 large egg yolks, the juice of two limes, 1 1/2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of dijon mustard, a good pinch of salt, and a large crack of black pepper until smooth, about 1 minute. 

With the machine running, SLOWLY drizzle in 3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil OR liquefied coconut oil. It should take 3-4 minutes to get all of the oil from the measuring cup to the machine, so make sure you keep your pouring at just a trickle. This will really help to emulsify all of the ingredients and make it super creamy.

I like my mayonnaise on the lighter, creamier side, so I only add 3/4 cup of oil. If you like a denser, thicker mayo, add more oil as necessary.

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To make the crab cakes, preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. You’ll be cooking the cakes in batches, so you’ll need to keep the first batch warm while the second batch is going. 

In a medium-sized bowl, break up 1 lb of lump crab meat into small chunks and remove any shells if you find ‘em. 

Pour the crab into a large bowl and add 1 chopped yellow bell pepper, 1 chopped scallion, 1 whisked egg, 6 tablespoons of the citrus-infused mayonnaise OR 6 tablespoons of store-bought mayo and the juice of a lime, 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning (for the recipe I used, click here), a generous pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons of coconut flour. With your hands, squish and squeeze all of the ingredients together, really making sure to get everything well-incorporated.

Form the crab mixture into 6-8 cakes, depending on how large you want them.

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In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1/3 cup of organic palm shortening. If you don’t have or don’t like palm shortening, you can use regular coconut oil, ghee, or even avocado oil in its place. Whatever you do, DO NOT use olive oil. Its low smoke point will lead to oxidization and lots of splatters.

When the fat is completely melted and shimmering, add half of the crab cakes to the pan. Cook undisturbed until dark brown on that side, about 6 to 8 minutes, then flip to cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer. 

Once crisp and darkened on both sides, transfer the finished crab cakes to the prepared baking sheet and pop in the oven. Add more fat to the pan if necessary, and repeat the same steps with the remaining crab cakes.

Serve with some of the citrus-infused mayo or a generous slice of ripe avocado. 

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What are you most looking forward to this summer? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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GUEST POST: Cardamom Carrot Pudding (gluten-free, dairy-free option, nut-free, paleo, vegan option)

June 21, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

I have to warn you in advance: this pudding is ADDICTIVE. When I first took it out of the fridge to give it a taste, I immediately had to put it back…or I would’ve eaten the entire thing

The great thing, though, is that you can eat it for breakfast. That’s right, BREAKFAST. It’s extremely low in sweetener (with only 1/4 teaspoon of added stevia) but full on flavor with the warm spiciness of cardamom and cinnamon and the cool creaminess of the coconut milk.

Head on over to Kate’s Healthy Cupboard to check out the recipe. Kate was one of the first people who reached out to me, and she’s truly one of the nicest bloggers I’ve met so far. Be sure to visit her website for Cinnamon Ice Cream, Grain-Free Cheez-Its, and Plantain Tortilla Chips!

You can find my guest post ————-> HERE!!! <—————-


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Open-Face Strawberry Tartelette (gluten-free, casein-free, nut-free, paleo)

June 10, 2013 Print this page

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I used to not like pie. Well, I liked the crust, but not the filling inside. It was always too soupy, too sweet, or too mushy, and why wouldn’t I eat the flaky, crunchy base instead?

Nowadays, I like pie fillings particularly more, but the crust is still my favorite part. I had a strange yet powerful craving for strawberries a few days ago, and ultimately wound up making this tartelette to satisfy it.

Inspired by the open-face apple pie in Primal Cravings, this tasty dessert  uses a combination of tapioca and coconut flours in the dough, so you don’t have to worry about spending $40+ on fancy blanched almond flour. If you have inflammatory issues and/or are allergic to nuts, this crust is a perfect solution.

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To ZipList this recipe, click here.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust it lightly with tapioca flour and set aside.

To make the tartelette dough, whisk together 1 cup of tapioca flour, 1/4 cup of coconut flour, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl until well-combined. Yes, tapioca flour has more carbohydrates than widely-used nut flours, but it’s much less calorie-dense and not as prone to oxidization. Unfortunately, folks, there’s no “perfect” flour. Treats are treats. 

With your fingers, break up 6 tablespoons of cold ghee (I stuck mine in the fridge for about 2 hours) into 1/2 teaspoon-sized drops. Squeeze and pinch the ghee into the dry ingredients until the texture of a chunky sand—it should hold together but crumble slightly when you pick it up.

Using a spatula, stir in 1 egg, beaten, and 2 tablespoons of raw coconut nectar OR raw honey OR maple syrup. (I used coconut nectar, my current favorite sweetener.)

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Roll the dough up into a ball, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool to the touch but not solid as a brick, about 15 to 30 minutes.

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While the dough chills, slice up a pint of fresh strawberries and set aside in a medium-sized bowl.

In a small saucepan, whisk together 2 tablespoons of ghee, 3 tablespoons of raw coconut nectar OR raw honey OR maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of all-fruit strawberry jam over medium-low heat until it begins to boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook until syrupy, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Pour this mixture over the strawberries and stir to combine.

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Remove the dough from the fridge and take off the plastic wrap. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and roll it into a 9” by 12” rectangular oval. If you get a little rip, press it back together; it you get a huge rip, squish it back together and start over.

Scoop 2/3 of the strawberry mixture into the center of the dough, leaving about an inch all around. Gently fold the edges on top of the strawberries and brush the crust with some of the remaining strawberry mixture’s syrup.

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Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 35 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for at least 15 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board for serving.

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While the tartelette cools, make a jam with the remaining filling. It’s very simple: pour the remaining strawberries and syrup into a small saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook down until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. 

You could eat this tartelette plain with a little of the jam…or, you could make a strawberry-coconut cream to go on top! 

The day before you want to make the tartelette, stick a can of coconut milk in the fridge so the cream will separate from the watery stuff at the bottom. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!

30 minutes prior to serving dessert, put a bowl and either electric beaters or the whisk attachment on a mixer in the freezer to chill out. 

Open the can of coconut milk from the bottom and pour off the clear liquid. Take the bowl and beaters/whisk attachment out of the freezer and scoop out the coconut cream. Beat on high (for me, about setting 8) until light and fluffy, about 6 to 7 minutes. If you’d like, you can stir in some or all of the strawberry jam when it’s done.

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What is your favorite thing to do with strawberries? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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Homemade Tandoori Chicken (gluten-free, paleo)

June 6, 2013 Print this page

When I was younger, I used to be a REALLY picky eater. If I had my way, I’d eat Kraft macaroni and cheese every day for the rest of my life. Sure, I ate my fair share of apple slices and grape tomatoes, but for the most part, I was fairly limited in what I wanted to eat.

Around the time I was 10 or so, a switch went off. I still loved my Goldfish and pizza, but began becoming more adventurous towards more exotic cuisines and ingredients. One thing I fell in love with was Indian food.

My family lives within a half an hour of several excellent Indian restaurants, where spicy, comforting dishes were boundlessly served up. With a mango lassi in one hand and a huge chunk of naan in the other, I happily dug in to new flavors.

To this day, my favorite dish is by far Chicken Tikka Masala, and really, it was because of the sauce. When you put tomatoes and spices with a rich, creamy base, how can you go wrong?

Today, I’ve created a more health-friendly version using Aarti Sequeira’s recipe as inspiration. This recipe is not dairy free, for I feel the marinade really needs the yogurt’s acidic tang. I’d use a plant or nut-based yogurt, but unfortunately, most ones with a coconut or almond base are loaded with sugar and other additives. Once in a while, some good-quality dairy (especially if it’s fermented) is fine by me.

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There are two ways to make the marinade. The first is to make your own spice blend; the second is to purchase a pre-made one. Making your own is more complicated, but yields a more complex flavor; buying a spice blend is easier, but may not produce the desired result. It’s up to you what you want to do.

Toast the seeds of 2 pods of green cardamom and 1 pod of black cardamom, 3 cloves, and 2 guajillo chilies (I got mine at Penzey’s) in a small skillet over medium heat. Once you start to smell the spices (about 3-4 minutes later), pour everything into a spice or coffee grinder and blend to a fine powder.

Add the spice mixture to a medium-sized bowl with 1 1/2 cups of yogurt (I used Green Valley Organics), the juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil OR liquefied coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric, and a pinch of paprika. Stir well to combine.

imageIf making a spice mixture seems too daunting to you, you can always buy a pre-made Tandoori spice. (I know Penzey’s has one.) Simply substitute 3 heaping tablespoons for the dry spices I used in this recipe. Make sure you still add the lemon juice and oil!

Lay out 2-3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a dish and, with a fork, stab each piece like it’s Caesar. (Et tu, Brute?) I learned this trick from Aarti—it will allow the marinade to really seep itself into the meat. The more stabs, the better. (Don’t just be Brutus, be Cassius! Be Casca! Be…OK, enough with the Julius Caesar references.)

Pour the marinade all over the chicken and make sure each piece is sufficiently smothered. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and preferably 8-24.

When your tummy starts to grumble, turn on your broiler to low and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Place a wire rack atop it and lightly grease with some coconut oil.

Take the chicken out of the marinade and spread it out on the wire rack. Don’t toss the marinade! You’ll need it later to make the sauce.

Broil the chicken on an oven rack about 4-6 inches away from the heat source. Cook on one side until beginning to char, about 15 minutes, then flip over and cook on the other side for an additional 10-15 minutes, depending on how hungry you are and how crispy you like it.

While the chicken turns into magical tasty goodness, make the sauce. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan with 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of honey OR maple syrup OR raw coconut nectar, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low to thicken. 

Serve the chicken with the sauce on top and your favorite vegetable on the side. I usually make this with cauliflower florets, which I toss in about a teaspoon or two each of paprika, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil or ghee. I then roast them at 450 until soft and golden brown, about 30 minutes total.

What’s your favorite Indian dish? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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Chocolate Mousse Pie (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo)

June 2, 2013 Print this page

What’s high in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and E?

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Chocolate mousse pie, duh!

Unlike traditional mousses, this one is made with…you guessed it…AVOCADO. That’s right: A-V-O-C-A-D-O AVOCADO. And trust me…you’d never know it was there.

The first time I encountered this magical combination was in Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. I immediately thought, “COOL!”, then realized, “Wait…what?!” Avocados and chocolate seemed pretty out there. But, after seeing that even Giada de Laurentiis attempted such a dessert, I decided I had to give it a try.

To ZipList this recipe, click here.

I actually think I like it better than traditional chocolate mousse…especially with this delicious crust.

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A few hours before you want to bake the crust, soak 5 or 6 small dates in about 1/2 cup of water to soften them.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a spring-form pan with coconut oil.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 1 cup of almond flour (blanched or unblanched, it doesn’t matter), 1/2 cup of almond slivers, 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of melted refined coconut oil, the dates, and a pinch of salt until no clumps remain, about 2 minutes. Scoop everything out, form it into a ball, and press it to the bottom of the spring-form pan, using your hands to flatten it and spread it to the corners. 

Bake until fragrant and beginning to darken in color, about 17 minutes.

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Let the crust chill in the freezer while you make the chocolate mousse. It shouldn’t take very long; but don’t exceed more than 30 minutes in the freezer. DO NOT TAKE THE CRUST OUT OF THE PAN.

In a small saucepan or in the microwave with 30 second intervals, melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate. (I used Alter Eco’s Dark Blackout, which is 85% cacao.) 

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In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process 4 VERY ripe avocados until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. If you use unripe fruit, you’ll get a chunky, tough mess. Bleh.

By the way, avocados are one of the few types of produce that you can buy organic OR conventional. The tough outer peel protects the inner flesh from pesticides and sprays, so feel free to get whatever’s ripest.

To the blended avocados, add 1/2 cup of good-quality cocoa powder, 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, a few drops of stevia (if you want it sweeter), 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and the melted chocolate. Blend until no green remains in the bowl, about 4 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of coconut milk if it’s too thick for your taste.

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Now, aside from the residue around the edges, could you tell there were avocados in here? Nope.

Take the crust out of the freezer and pour the mousse on top of it. Smooth it evenly on top of the crust with a spatula, and let sit in the fridge until set, at least 2 hours and preferably 4 or 5.

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When you’re ready to eat, take the mousse pie out of the fridge and carefully separate the pan’s bottom from the sides. Transfer to a cutting board, slice, and serve. 

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Any dessert you’d like me to re-create? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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