grain-free tabbouleh

I’ve made this Grain-free Tabbouleh recipe from Melissa Joulwan’s The Clothes Make the Girl for several potlucks now and it’s always been a huge hit. The cauliflower substitution for bulgur wheat is a really good touch.

Chris is part Lebanese and I’m a sucker for ethnic food so we jump on the tabbouleh-train whenever possible. We’re lucky we don’t have actually gluten intolerances so we indulge in the occasional traditional tabbouleh but this recipe makes it a real meal instead of a cheat meal.Paleo Tabbouleh

The salad:
1 head raw cauliflower
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 seedless cucumbers
4 ripe tomatoes
4 cups curly parsley leaves (about 2 bunches)
1 cup fresh mint leaves
6 scallions

The dressing:
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. After washing your cauliflower and separating the florets, use your food processor to rice it. Use the pulse mechanism until the cauliflower begins to resemble rice. You may have to do it in batches if necessary. Melt the coconut oil and in a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the coconut oil.

2. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and coat the sheets with the riced cauliflower in a thin layer (as thin as possible). Place in the oven. Check on it at 10 minutes, then again at 15 minutes, and once more at 20 minutes. You don’t want it to burn but you don’t want it to be soggy – you want crispy.

3. Clean the cucumbers and tomatoes and begin dicing them into small pieces. As you go, place them in a colander over the sink and sprinkle with sea salt, allowing the vegetables to sweat out the moisture.

4. With your best knife, begin to mince the washed herbs. This might take some effort but I like the pieces small so they spread evenly within the dish. Place the herbs in a large bowl.

5. Take your scallions and begin to finely slice them. Side note: when you’re done with the roots, don’t throw them away! Place them in a small cup with about 1/3 cup of water, they will regrow (I know! It’s magic!).

6. If the cauliflower is done, allow it to cool. Meanwhile, drain your the tomatoes and cucumbers. Then combine all the veggies with the herbs!

7. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Slowly drizzle the olive oil while whisking everything with a fork. With a rubber spatula, meld the dressing into the large bowl, allowing everything to be coated. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

tzatziki sauce

Seriously – easiest recipe ever. Works great with dill, too! My local grocer just happened to have parsley on sale.

Tzatziki blog

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp parsley, finely minced
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from 1 lime
  • sea salt & pepper

1. Clean, peel, and dice the cucumber. Place in a bowl and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Allow the cucumber to sweat the excess water out. Drain and put it aside.

2. Combine all ingredients and season to taste. Done!

beef kidney in red wine sauce

Many people don’t have much experience with offal. Eating animal organs has become uncommon and that’s a bit of a shame. Our ancestors ate organs for two main reason: organs are nutritional powerhouses and there’s no sense in wasting precious food.

If you took part in our most recent cow-share or are looking to expand your culinary expertise, I urge you to try them out! Your best bet for optimal nutrition are organs from pasture-raised animals. Find farmers near you here: http://www.eatwild.com/

Beef Kidney 7

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef kidney
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is a favorite)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/8 tbsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

1. Rinse and dry the kidney. Using a paring knife, cut the membrane and remove the fat and tubes from each cube. Place the cubes in a medium-sized bowl and cover with cold water and the two vinegars. Allow to soak for at least 30 minutes. This helps remove the beefy odor.

2. During the soaking time, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Throw in the kidney cubes and allow them to brown, tossing them every now and then.

4. Remove the kidney from the pan and set aside.

5. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and allow them to cook. Allow the onions to become translucent. Add your seasoning.

6. At this time, include the red wine and allow to cook for a minute.

7. Add the kidney cubes and stir around. Allow the flavors to meld together.

8. Serve on a plate with cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash!

Recipe inspired by and adapted from Mark’s Daily Apple. We get our grass-fed beef from Wolf Creek Farm.

dairy-free, easy peasy pesto

Something I always tell people about eating healthy is to have fun with it! It shouldn’t be some a punishment or horrible chore that you have to do. Eating clean is not easy but it doesn’t have to be miserable. That’s when you can start getting creative. Homemade condiments and sauces are one way to get unnecessary ingredients out of your diet and connect with your food!

Here’s an easy quick recipe for pesto that can go on top of anything! Eggs, veggies, meats, even by itself if the moments calls for it :)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 3 cloves garlic (if you’re not a huge fan of garlic, take it down to 2 cloves)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups basil (about 2 small bunches or 1 large bunch)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. In your food processor, grind walnuts and garlic together until it has a rice-like consistency.
  2. Add in basil, olive oil, and salt & pepper.
  3. Blend until everything is well-mixed and super green! The viscosity should be hardy and not runny.
  4. Add to whatever you’re craving at the moment!

 

Seen here on top of some ground beef egg muffins :)

If you want to be adventurous, try adding mint, parsley or other fresh herbs to the mix. Play around with ingredients and see what you can come up with. ¡Buen provecho!

stuffed roasted squash

Who loves fall? This girl. I love everything about it: the beautiful saturated colors of the leaves, the crisp air in the mornings that make you want to stay in bed, the smell of cider and pumpkin – I don’t even mind having to carry layers of clothes around because it’s cold in the morning and toasty during the day! But what I love most about fall is the food (duh).

Eating seasonally is pretty important to me and I make every effort to buy most of my produce from local farmers around the Central Virginia area. And what yummy produce is in abundance in the fall? Squash! Roasted, baked, sautéed – any which way you cook squash it will be nutritious and delicious!

Here’s a super easy idea that allows you to get creative and use whatever you have on hand! The only important part is preparing the squash.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash squash of your choice (I like acorn) and grab your best & sharpest knife. Cut horizontally across the top and a little bit off the bottom to stabilize it. Scoop out the seeds. (If you want to get really resourceful, you can save the seeds to toast them and have an handy-dandy snack for later!) Line up on a baking sheet and pop into the oven for about 45-60mins.
2. Grab your skillet and get going on a good stir-fry! Good ingredients to mix-and-match are: ground meat, onions, peppers, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, and bok choy. Some of my favorite spices for stir-fries are: paprika, chili powders, cayenne pepper, ginger, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and all-spice. Add salt & pepper to taste. Go crazy! Get creative! Have fun!
3. Once your squash is squishy (that’s a technical term) but still holding its shape, start scooping the stir-fry in. If you’re doing dairy, top them off with some aged gouda or a really good parmesan.
4. Turn your broiler on as you stick the squash back into the oven and let them go for 5-10mins. Let the flavors and textures blend together but don’t let it burn!
5. Take the squash out. Let them cool. Devour as necessary!
I didn’t include measurements or numbers because it will depend on the type of squash you use and how big your batch of stir-fry will be. Whatever you don’t use up = leftovers! You can’t lose, really. 

feed a cold

It’s been a while since I have posted and for that, I apologize. Life has been a little crazy recently – I ended my position at a local restaurant and am now working for a local photographer in hopes of absorbing and learning everything & anything. Needless to say, I’ve been a little stressed.

Stressed to the point where my sleeping habits have been affected and my immune system couldn’t take it anymore. I usually get a solid 8 hours of sleep and have reduced that to less than 6 hours a night, and it finally snowballed on me. [Read about the importance of sleep here.] On Friday night, after working my last shift ever (on Graduation weekend no less) I left the restaurant with a huge headache. Saturday morning came and I felt like I had been hit with a truck. Everything hurt. Still does. I managed to make it to the Charlottesville City Farmer’s Market but crashed shortly thereafter and am still recovering.

In hopes of of lifting my spirits, I’ve been making delicious meals for myself. Nothing makes me feel better than a good yummy meal.

Yesterday, sweet & citric were my cravings so I tossed this beauty up. Spring greens, topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, slivered almonds, sliced oranges with a balsamic vinegar & EVOO dressing, with a side of curried grass-fed beef heart. Totally hit the spot! Sweet, salty, and nutritious!

In order to avoid infecting the public and steering clear of the Graduation crowds, I made brunch at home! A basil and green onion omelet with pasture-raised bacon on the side (duh, you can’t have brunch without bacon). And a side of frozen strawberries, coconut milk, and almonds as my dessert! The frozen berries tamed the fiery sensation from my sore throat.

Finally, dinner tonight — bunless grass-fed burger with roasted kale and an avocado & kimchi side. This was delectable. The burgers were seasoned with green onions, paprika, and curry and cooked in bacon grease (what ISN’T amazing cooked in bacon grease?). The kimchi was a gift from my favorite vendor at the market – Wolf Creek Farm!

I’m still not feeling 100% but I can rest easy knowing that at least I’m feeding myself properly!

Where I got my ingredients

beet & apple faux-slaw

A spark of ingenuity hit me last week while we were cooking up some beef tongue tacos (don’t hate – lengua is delicious). We just started receiving our winter CSA share from Horse and Buggy Produce and in an effort to use up as much as we could, I came up with this concoction!

This beet and apple faux-slaw goes perfectly on top of tacos, as a side to a bigger entree, or as a quick snack!

You’ll need..

  • 2 medium-sized beets, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1/4 green apple – its sour taste lends well to the other ingredients but I’m sure other apples would be fine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp sumac* optional
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free Tamari sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
*I found this spice at Whole Foods and it’s delicious but it may be hard to find in other stores. If you find it, great! If not, no worries!

Start with a sauce pan on medium-low heat and drizzle the olive oil on top. Julienne the beets and apples in the meantime. I would suggest cutting the apples first — beets tend to get red juice all over the place and make your kitchen look like a murder scene. Lovely.

Once you’ve got your matchstick pieces, place the beets into the pan and stir. Do not add the apples. While the beets are lightly cooking, mix the tamari and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season the beets with dried lemon peel, sumac, and salt & pepper (keeping in mind that tamari is also salty).

Once the beets have softened up a bit turn the heat off, add the liquid mixture, and let cool (if you’re in a hurry, go ahead and pop it into the fridge). Add in the apple pieces and stir away. The apples will absorb the red coloring from the beets and give you a super colorful dish. Devour!

I topped the lettuce-wrapped tacos with slices of avocado, the faux-slaw, and some chopped spicy almonds.

Grass-fed beef tongue from Wolf Creek Farm

kale chips, from green to yummy

I love making these on lazy Sunday afternoons. Kale chips are super easy to make and satisfy the need to munch on something in the middle of the day.

My process is a little tedious but it’s well-worth it in the end — I usually have some music or a movie going on in the background.

Rinse the kale leaves and make sure they’re clean. With a paper towel, pat them dry individually to remove all moisture. Wet leaves will burn in the oven. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut the stems from the leaves. To make it easier and more efficient, I cut the leaf in half and remove the stem that way. Place all halves in a large bowl. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over top of the leaves. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of fresh-ground black pepper. Add whatever spice combination you like. My favorite has been a blend of cumin, paprika and cayenne. I like it hot.

This is where is gets messy and tedious. Wash hands thoroughly and remove any jewelry. Start mixing the bowl of leaves with the spices and oil. Rub each leaf so that it gets oil over all of it. Depending on your bunch of kale, this could take a while. I usually start preheating the oven right about now. The oven should be set at 325° F. Once you’ve covered every kale leaf, start placing them on your cookie sheets. Don’t overcrowd them and make sure they’re as flat as can be. Time will vary depending on the oven but my golden number has been 9 minutes. In my kitchen 10 minutes will burn them and 8 will leave them chewy.

All the leaves may need to be baked in several batches so use this time to catch up on emails, load up the laundry, wash the dishes, or (if you’re like me) google “cute baby animals” and spend your time ooh’ing and awww’ing.

Eat straight from the oven or refrigerate for later!


simple & easy Brussels sprouts

You start with the salty smell of a good olive oil, where you actually taste olives, not oil. Take a large flat plate and get a good solid layer of oil over it, sprinkling lightly with your favorite sea salt. You’ve washed the small buds of Brussels sprouts, making sure all the dirt has been removed from their leaves. Carefully and with kindness, trim the roots and cut the sprouts lengthwise, exposing their off-white centers. Place them face-down in the olive oil pool, allowing them to soak up and absorb the oil into their centers.

Bring a large skillet to your stove, warming a tablespoon or so of (more) olive oil on low-medium heat. Transfer the Brussels sprouts from the plate to the skillet – still face down and be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cover. The sprouts will take five to ten minutes to cook. You’ll know by their bright green color when it’s time for their final step. Uncover and bump up the heat to medium-high. With a couple of flicks of your wrist, toss the buds in the pan, trying to get them to face up. Their movement will be your signal that they are ready – slight popping up as the heat steams the centers. Like popcorn but elegant and subdued. The purists of olive oil will judge you for oxidizing the oil but you need the heat for the crunch. The caramelization of the centers will show a golden face and release a sweet aroma. Depending on your mood, several additions are suggested: toasted almonds for more crunch, a good smelly cheese to accentuate the savoriness, cubes of velvety avocado to compliment the crispy buds, or a drizzle of potent honey because you can never have enough sweetness. Enjoy right off the pan, you’ll lose the crispness when reheated.

Upcoming recipes!

Okay, so I’m not just sitting on my butt and eating copious amounts of food (well, not ALL the time). I’m testing out a couple of recipes that I hope to share with everyone but several trials must be completed. (As a side note, testing recipes is a really good way to satisfy all your cold-weather cravings).

-Pumpkin muffins! Made the first batch last night and oh boy, there goes my waistline.

-Homemade Nutella! Two batches down – pretty decent but could use some perfecting (read: I want to justify having to make more).

-Power balls! Inspired by the Nutella and portable!

Also, I was introduced to My Drunk Kitchen recently and found it hilarious. My kind of cooking show ;) You’d enjoy it.

Stay tuned!