Sunday, December 16, 2012

Meaty Meatballs (AIP)


Oh, meatballs. Little balls of yummy, meaty goodness. And sadly, never Paleo- or Primal-approved when prepared in the traditional manner. Luckily, there are several recipes for flour- and grain-free meatballs. But sadly, most of them call for almond flour. Bleck! I know, I know, it's a good protein, and it makes some of the recipes doable, and I should be rejoicing that I can enjoy meatballs once again!

NO! No almond flour here! This girl just can't do it. I've tried. I don't care for the texture or the unnecessarily overly-filling aspect of almond flour. Plus, it detracts from the true flavor of the meat in recipes like this one. So down with the almond-flour. It has it's uses and purposes, but oh no, just not here! Instead, we're going with a little bit of a veggie filler to pull everything together, and as long as you drain off the excess moisture from the veggies, the results are quite nice.

Meaty Meatballs
1 lb ground beef
½ onion, roughly chopped
1 large stick celery, roughly chopped
½ large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp Italian herb seasoning (make sure its just herbs!)
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
½ tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)

Preheat oven to 435°F. In a large bowl, add ground beef and eggs and mix to combine. In a food processor, add onion, celery, and carrot. Blend until finely minced but not mush. Drain mixture onto paper towel to extract as much moisture as possible, then add to beef and egg mixture. In same food processor, add garlic, basil, and parsley. Lightly pulse to a fine chop and add to large bowl. Add remaining seasonings to the large bowl and combine all ingredients thoroughly by hand until well-mixed. Form mixture into meatballs of desired size. Place meatballs into a foil-lined casserole dish large enough to hold all the meatballs. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the internal temperature reads 165°F. Top with preferred sauce like the NOmato Sauce.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cacoila with Cauliflower Rice


Cacoila is a delicious Portuguese-style of pulled pork that is made with peppers instead of BBQ sauce. I was first introduced to this dish several years ago while visiting family in the New Bedford area of Massachusetts, also known as Little Portugal. I grew up eating a few of the traditional New Bedford-style Portuguese foods—Gaspar's Chourico and Linguica (is there any other brand worth mentioning?), blood sausage, kale soup. All great dishes and luckily for me, easily adaptable to the paleo/primal lifestyle. The first time I had this dish, it was served on a nice fluffy Portuguese roll as a sandwich. It was superbly delicious. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but I definitely remember the taste of their cacoila, so I did my best to replicate it. It's not perfect, but I think I got pretty close and managed to stay pretty close to the traditional taste. It's been several years for me, so I may need a New Englander to tell me for sure!

Cacoila
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground black pepper
couple dashes of cumin
couple dashes of coriander
2 lbs. pork butt
½ cup Portuguese brand crushed red pepper*
2 onions, sliced into rings
3 red peppers, seeded and sliced into thick strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp orange zest, preferably fresh
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
¾ cup orange juice (freshly squeezed preferred but not required)
1¼ cup red wine (Portuguese if you can find it)
4 tbsp tomato paste

In a small dish, combine salt, paprika, allspice, cinnamon, ground black pepper, cumin, and coriander. Wash and pat pork butt dry with paper towels. In a dish large enough to hold your pork butt, rub the spice mixture over the entire piece. Set in dish and coat the outside of the pork butt with all of the crushed red pepper. Marinate in the fridge at least 24 hours but preferably up to 48 hours.

At time of cooking, remove pork butt from fridge and allow to come to room temperature while prepping the pot. In the bottom of a stock pot or dutch oven, layer onion rings and pepper strips. Add garlic, orange zest, parsley, and bay leaf. Set pork butt on top of onions and peppers, making sure the lid will still sit securely on top. If not, you may need to create a well in the onions and peppers to make room. Pour the orange juice and red wine over the top of the pork butt to fill up mostly to half way up the pot. If not, add more orange juice or red wine to fill. The meat should be somewhat sitting in the liquid, but its not crucial as long as there is room for the onions and peppers to cook down so that most of the meat sits in the liquid later as it simmers. Bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to low or simmer and cover. Simmer for 3-3½ hours, checking occasionally to make sure the liquid doesn't dry out. The onions and peppers and meat should release liquids while cooking, so the meat should remain half to three-quarters submerged. If not, add liquid to keep it mostly covered. 

After 3½ hours, check meat. It should shred easily between to forks. If it doesn't, keep on a simmer while covered until the meat does shred. Once the meat is completely shredded, add tomato paste and increase heat to medium low to cook off extra liquid. This will allow the mixture to thicken and become more stew-like. You can thicken to your desired consistency.

Traditionally, this dish is served on rice or Portuguese bread as a sandwich. To make this more paleo/primal-friendly, I served mine on a bed of cauliflower rice. 

*Note: If, like me, you are unable to locate a Portuguese brand of crushed red peppers, you can easily create your own mixture with the following recipe:

Crushed Red Peppers
2-3 red peppers, only stem removed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt

Process red peppers including seeds in a food processor. Pepper choice will depend on heat desired. For less spicy, I used just red bell peppers and added 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes for a touch of heat. You could also add red cherry peppers for added heat or another spicier red chili pepper. Once thoroughly minced, add olive oil and salt and blend until a thick paste.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese



I am WAY behind on my blog. So turns out school and work and trying to stay Paleo/Primal/Ancestral Health isn't as easy as I'd thought it'd be! And slowly I started consuming a little junk here and a little junk there (except wheat!), and wouldn't you know, I was back to having stomach problems here and stomach problems there, and well, you can see where this is going... But I am getting back on track! And I am even more convinced that eating with an Ancestral Health approach is even more important than ever. Because in the last week and a half that I have gone back to being much stricter with my eating, I've already seen improvements. I've lost 4 lbs, reduced many IBS symptoms, have more energy (yes, I am still tired, but I am not so exhausted I can't cope tired), and I'm slowly starting to feel a little better mentally. So with all that being said, let's say hello to the cold of fall and good bye to junk with some Pumpkin Muffins! After this, I'm cutting back even more on sugars and white starches than I did before.

Ok, so yes, this recipe does have sugar in it. And yes, that means that it’s not exactly 100% in line with the ancestral health approach. But everybody needs a treat every now and again. And you want a treat that tastes amazing but isn’t horribly terrible to indulge in. So while this recipe does have some sugar, I cut the amount by a lot. And I still approached the rest of the recipe with a Paleo/Primal approach. If you’re gonna be bad, at least stick to as many of the basic principles as you can, right? This recipe is still gluten-free and corn-free. It uses real grass-fed butter and pasture-raised eggs. And it also uses real full-fat cream cheese. Please note that my approach allows for some consumption of white rice and potato starch, so this isn’t really too far off the path for me. The other important thing to remember: don’t overindulge. Stick to one or two and then give the rest away or throw them in the freezer for another treat day!

Pumpkin Muffins
1-15 oz Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
1 stick butter, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie mix!)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (plus more for topping)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with a stand mixer or hand mixer. Mix at least 2-3 minutes. Grease your muffin or cupcake pan with butter or use paper liners. The GF cake mix is a lot denser than normal cake mix so fill the muffin tins up pretty high. I went almost to the top and got a good-sized muffin. This won’t make for as many muffins so keep that in mind. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool and then top with cream cheese frosting and a dash or two of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2-8 oz packages of full-fat cream cheese, softened
½ cup powdered sugar (or less!)

In a stand mixer (or food processor), combine the packages of cream cheese and half the powder sugar. Blend together. Slowly add more powdered sugar until the desired sweetness is present. This makes for a cream-cheesier frosting, but I know that I can’t handle all that sugar!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tortilla Española


Whoa! It's been way too long since I posted a recipe. I've been crazy busy, but still trying to eat the best I can. It hasn't been easy, and after eating some-what junky the past week, I can tell a difference. I haven't consumed any wheat or grains, but I've had to make a few comprises for the sake of time. And a lot of that has meant eating take-out or on-the-go with all the bad oils and added processed ingredients. I'm not miserable, but I'm not feeling 100% my best either. I've got to get back with the regularly scheduled program and find the time for quick meals that will get me back on track. Here's a great idea for breakfast. If you've never had it, Tortilla Española is like a giant pie-shaped omelet. You can easily add other veggies or even sausage to change up the flavor a little. And this isn't too bad to eat cold or it can reheat so you have a couple breakfast or lunch servings for when you're running late. The recipe looks long, but really it's just super detailed step-by-step so that hopefully you can follow along easily.

Tortilla Española
6 medium potatoes, peeled
1 whole yellow onion, peeled
6 large eggs
6 tbsp ghee
1 tsp paprika
Salt, to taste

Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately ⅛ in thick (think half moon shapes). If you slice them a bit thick, don’t worry—it will simply take a bit longer for them to cook. Peel and chop the onion into ¼ in pieces. Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture.

In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat half the ghee on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn. Leave in pan until the potatoes are cooked, stirring occasionally. Add more ghee if necessary to keep potatoes from sticking. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the potato onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon. Add salt and paprika.

Add ghee to a medium, non-stick frying pan (aprox. 9-10 in) and heat on medium heat. It helps if the sides are curved or rounded on the inside. Be careful not to get the pan too hot because the oil will burn—or the tortilla will! When hot, stir the potato onion mixture once more and add to the pan and spread out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then you can carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has cooked around the edges. The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.

When the mixture has cooked on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Two methods. Traditional method: Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will fall onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes. Less fuss method: Put the oven-safe skillet in a preheated oven at 375°F for 10-15 minutes until the egg is cooked through. Keep an eye on it to avoid drying it out!

Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve. Cut into wedges.

(Based off the Tortilla Española recipe at about.com)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good Morning Breakfast Skillet



This started out as “I need to clean out the fridge and it’s time for breakfast, so let’s see what we’ve got!” But it turned out delicious so I figured out the amounts so that I could post the recipe here. Because it’s a hodge-podge kind of dish, you can follow the recipe exactly or you can choose to substitute items for what you have on hand. This dish works great in a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one, don’t be deterred. Just use a regular skillet and keep it hot.

Good Morning Breakfast Skillet
2-3 tbsp ghee
4-5 small red potatoes, chopped small
1 small-medium onion, sliced into half-moons
½ bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
4-5 mushrooms, sliced thin
½ cup link sausage, sliced and cooked*
2-3 eggs
Salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste
Heat two-thirds of the ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and salt. Cook until potatoes are about half-cooked (the outside is starting to get soft, but the middle isn't quite tender yet) and add onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. When vegetables are almost desired doneness and potatoes are cooked through, add sausage and cook just enough to re-warm. Cook eggs in desired manner (I prefer over-medium seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika for this dish because there are tons of ingredients to sop up the yolk!) and place over vegetable mixture. Serve.

Note:
*Pretty much any sausage, ground or sliced, will work in this dish. I used sliced Gaspar's linguiça, but you could use Portuguese or Mexican chorizo, regular breakfast sausage, etc. What you use for your sausage of choice can really change up the dish!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Garden Pepper Chili


The weather is slowly but surely cooling off, and it's been rather rainy. This is the perfect time for chili. Luckily I had a few peppers ready in my garden and time this weekend to whip up a pot. This is a pretty mild tasting chili, but it has a good taste. The emphasis here is on the different pepper flavors which meld together really well and make for a chunky-style chili without the beans. So if you like spicier chili, add some spicier peppers or increase the amount of cayenne pepper or even add red pepper flakes. This is a great start, but if you'd like your chili even chunkier, up the amount of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

Garden Pepper Chili
2 lbs ground beef
2 tbsp butter
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 red fresno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cherry peppers, seeded and chopped
4-5 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
2-14 oz cans tomato sauce
1 small can green chili peppers, diced
2 heaping tbsp cumin
1-2 tbsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp chili pepper paste (like Sriracha)
salt and pepper to taste
½ 8 oz can tomato paste

Brown the ground beef in a large pot. Once most of the meat has browned, add butter if necessary, onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Lightly cook until edges of vegetables appear soft. Add poblano, red fresno, jalapeño, and cherry peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chili peppers, and seasonings. Cook on a low simmer for 1-2 hours until vegetables are soft. Add tomato paste and simmer for another ½ hour. Serve with desired toppings like cheese or sour cream.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Seared Scallops


Another pumpkin recipe? Yep, it's fall and I'm surrounded with pumpkins and pumpkin dishes everywhere I look. Good thing pumpkin is definitely a healthy dish and it's very versatile. This take on pumpkin is a mix between sweet and savory, but it's a good combination. You have the semi-sweet taste of cooked pumpkin with the highlights of coriander and curry mixed with the saltiness of the scallops and the tang of sour cream. If you're not too keen on the curry, there's no harm in taking it out and upping the salt and pepper for a different taste.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Seared Scallops
2-3 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh, ground ginger
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
1 lb scallops, rinsed and patted dry
Sour cream or Greek yogurt, to serve

Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and saute until the edges turn translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 2-3 more minutes. Add the dry spices except for the salt to the pan and cook an additional minute or two until the spices turn fragrant. Add the pumpkin and coconut milk and slowly stir until thoroughly combined. Add salt. Continue to heat the soup and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend the soup (in small batches if necessary) until the mixture is an even puree consistency. Heat the remaining coconut oil or ghee in a sauce pan. Salt scallops. When the oil is very hot, add the scallops to pan and leave to sear 2-3 minutes. When the side looks lightly browned, flip the scallops and repeat. Try to leave the scallops alone while they are cooking so that a nice crust will develop. Prepare bowl of soup and top with scallops. Serve with a topping of sour cream or Greek yogurt if desired.

*Make it AIP-friendly!
Use an AIP-friendly curry powder (seeded or seedless recipes can be found here) and skip the red pepper flakes and coriander (if going seedless). Skip the sour cream/yogurt garnish.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Boats



There are probably tons of different recipes for stuffed peppers floating all over the internet. There's no doubt that most of them that I've tried are good. But usually they either have rice in them or they taste too much like spaghetti sauce. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good spaghetti sauce. But I like a good spaghetti sauce in a spaghetti dish (with rice noodles or squash noodles now that I no longer eat the traditional spaghetti); I don't want spaghetti sauce in my stuffed peppers. And I don't really have a problem with rice, except that it just tastes like filler in a pepper. I want my filling to be nice and meaty to compliment the pepper cup. So I got a little creative with this recipe and used a white wine base to give a slightly sweet hint to the usual savory. And if you're like me and don't like tons of leftovers that you'll be eating for days or you're looking for meals you can prepare ahead, these freeze wonderfully. Just skip the cheese topping and wrap the individual pepper halves tightly with wax paper or saran wrap and place in freezer bags. When you're ready to cook, top with cheese and place in a preheated oven until the internal temperature is 160°F.

Stuffed Pepper Boats
1 tbsp ghee
1 lb ground Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
½ scant cup of dry white wine
1 tbsp basil, chopped
½ tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 firm bell peppers
Parmesan cheese, to top

Important: If you have the time, I highly recommend putting the sausage mixture into the fridge for a few hours; either prepare the filling in the morning or the night before or at least several hours before serving. There are two benefits: the flavors in the filling have time to meld together and really improve the taste and the cold filling holds together much better and makes for an easier time stuffing the sausage. This isn’t a required step, but just a recommendation.

In a large skillet, heat ghee. Add Italian sausage and brown. When most of the chunks are browned, add onions, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning. When the onions start to look translucent, add tomatoes. Cook 3-5 minutes and add garlic. Cook about 1 minute until garlic is very fragrant. Add white wine to the pan. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan and allow dish to simmer approximately 10 minutes on medium heat. The wine should slightly thicken and most of the liquid should cook off. Add basil and parsley and cook another minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 375°F. For the stuffing of the peppers, the size of the bell peppers will determine how many you need. Bigger ones while require more filling so you’ll need fewer “boats”. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise. It helps to figure out first which sides will remain as flat as possible and try to make them the bottoms. If not, shave off a little of the side to create a flat bottom; be careful not to create a hole in the side. Keeping the stem intact, cut out the seeds and the membranes. Stuff the pepper with desired amount of stuffing, trying to pack it in without breaking the pepper. Top with cheese if desired. Place in a small foil-lined pan or baking dish and cook in the upper part of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the internal temperature is 160°F.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Asian-style Beef and Mushroom Soup



I am most often not a fan of leftovers. Most of the time, they just never taste as quite as good as when freshly made or I've already had the meal twice by now and I'm ready for something else. But even worse, I'm not a fan of throwing out old food and completely wasting something that was otherwise good food. Right now this is great news for my sister. When I make a dish that has multiple servings, I tend to eat it a couple times and then package it up for her to pick up on the weekends to take with her back to school. But I'm also on a budget so lately I've been focusing on reincorporating leftovers into a completely different meal. The Crying Tiger was delicious. I had enough meat for dinner, lunch the next day, and then some still leftover. But I ran out of sauce and the desire to eat more Crying Tiger. Plus I had to use up some mushrooms, and I have a ton of beef broth stored in the freezer. The combination just works. Beef and mushroom soup, anyone?

Asian-style Beef and Mushroom Soup
1 tsp ghee
1-2 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp ginger, crushed
1 tsp garlic, minced or crushed
1 large shallot, sliced thin
5-6 large baby portabella mushrooms, sliced thin
4 cups beef broth (preferably homemade)
1 can whole straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
1½ cups cooked beef*
Salt, to taste**
Fresh basil and spinach or spring onions, to serve (optional)

Heat ghee and sesame seed oil in medium saucepan. Add shallot slices. Cook 1 minute and add ginger, garlic and portabella mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms start to wilt. Add beef broth and straw mushrooms. Simmer 15-20 minutes. When heated, add cooked beef until heated through, approximately 5 minutes depending on size of meat pieces. Serve with fresh spinach and basil. The heat of the soup will lightly cook the leaves.

Note:
*I used leftover slices of beef from the Crying Tiger recipe. Any leftover steak or stew meat pieces sliced or cut into strips or chunks will work in this dish. The Crying Tiger was an Asian-style marinated beef so just keep in mind marinades if you decide to use leftovers. It may alter the taste of the soup.
**Salt to taste especially if using a homemade broth. I do not salt my broth so that I have more control when cooking. But be careful not to over salt! 

*Make it AIP-friendly!
Substitute coconut oil for the ghee. Skip the sesame seed oil if you are going seedless. Use some coconut aminos instead. Use any cooked beef that is nightshade-free. Optional: Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top before serving for extra flavor.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt


This was not the recipe I had intended to post today, but it came out so well that I really couldn't resist. I can credit its creation to two things: 1) fall and 2) acid reflux. I know, I know. How can these both possibly have influenced such a delicious treat? Let me explain. After Labor Day passes, everybody pretty much switches over to fall mode, regardless of the weather. So everywhere you look, everybody's blogging and social networking about pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, especially those amazing Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. So yep, there's already pumpkin in the fridge and pantry in this kitchen. And then I woke up at 3 am this morning with horrible acid reflux, most probably a result from indulging in a few too many tortilla chips while out with friends the other night. The acid reflux has been coming and going since then, and Tums just weren't cutting it anymore. So I needed a new approach and figured since food got me in this mess, the right food might be able to get me out of it. Now I know that ginger is great for digestive issues of all kinds, but I've had a few different teas and they're rough to get down. And then I started thinking that probiotics are great for digestive issues also (Activia, anyone?). Greek yogurt is so much easier to eat than drinking a ginger tea, so I wondered if I couldn't just combine the two and add some spices to enhance the flavor. The result was basically a pumpkin pie spice yogurt. And then the lightbulb moment: I have pumpkin in the fridge! Even if my weird reflux remedy isn't successful, the taste makes it so worth it!

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt
1 cup full-fat, plain Greek yogurt
5 tbsp canned pumpkin puree (not the pumpkin pie mix)
1-2 tsp honey (preferably raw and/or local)
½ tsp fresh, crushed ginger*
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Dash or two of ground cloves

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly in a small serving dish. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice if desired and serve.

Note:
*You could also use ¼ tsp ground ginger or instead of creating your own spice mixture, use a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Adjust the level of spice to your preference. You can also add a dash or two of ground cardamom for a Pumpkin Pie Chai taste. If you're looking for acid reflux or indigestion relief, I used approximately a teaspoon and a half of fresh ginger.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Crying Tiger


Yikes! It's been a whole week since my last post! I'm a little behind because I started school, and I've been trying to adjust to a much busier schedule. The good news is that I took the time yesterday to grocery shop and plan meals for during the week so while the posting may continue to be a tad bit spotty while I figure things out, I should hopefully be more consistent than this past week. Now on to the good stuff—the food!

This is my first recipe suggestion for the blog! If you've never had Crying Tiger, then you're missing out. It's a Thai beef usually cooked over a grill and served with veggies and rice and a spicy Thai chili sauce. If you're not eating rice, then load up on the veggie platter; some ideas include Thai basil, mint, cilantro, cucumber slices, spinach, onions (spring onions or regular), or even lettuce. Lettuce turns this meal into a great wrap for a delicious lunch too; romaine leaves are perfect because they are long and narrow but still hold up and have a satisfying crunch. You really can get a little creative with this recipe. The main focus is the marinated meat and the sauce. In my opinion, its the sauce that makes the meal. Now I can't take full credit for the recipe. I adapted it from an email I received from my younger brother. But he can't remember where he got the recipe from, so he can't exactly take full credit either. My adaptations were mostly for ease of locating items at the grocery store, and one or two for taste. Let me know what you think!

Crying Tiger
1½ lbs. thinly cut steak*
½ tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
Ground black pepper
4 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp wheat-free tamari (soy-sauce substitute)
1 tbsp honey
1-2 spring onions (scallion or green onion), sliced

Dipping Sauce
1 tbsp sriracha (also called Rooster Sauce)
½ tbsp coriander
1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
¼ cup fish sauce
5 tbsp lime juice

Important: If you can, make the dipping sauce the day before. If not, at least make it the morning of so that it has time to sit together and allow the flavors to meld. You can also marinade the meat at the same time, but at a minimum, make the marinade for the meat an hour in advance of cooking.

Slice the steak diagonally across the grain into approximately ¼-½ inch strips. If the strips are too long, cut in half so that they are about 3-4 inches in length. Place in a gallon size bag or marinating container. Season with coriander, garlic powder, and black pepper. Do not add salt; the fish sauce and tamari have plenty. Make sure the seasonings have coated the meat and add the fish sauce, tamari, honey, and spring onions. If using a gallon-size bag, close up and massage all the ingredients into the meat. If using a marinating container, it may help to combine the wet ingredients together before adding to the meat. Marinate in the fridge at least an hour or until ready to cook. For the sauce, combine all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. To cook the meat, it's best to use a grill and cook to desired doneness. If you do not have a grill, you can also broil the meat on high about 3-5 minutes per side. If broiling, place the meat on a baking rack or grate and place in a foil-lined pan. To serve, place meat and veggies on a plate and serve with dipping sauce.

Note:
*I used a flat steak that was labeled for pan-frying. You could also use thinly-sliced skirt steak or flank steak for a nicer cut of meat. Regardless of meat cut choice, look for something that's not more than ¼-½ inch thick.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Horseradish, Cheddar & Onion Stuffed Burgers


I am happy to say that these burgers taste extremely gourmet, but they aren't really that much trouble. Sure, they're not exactly as easy as mac 'n cheese or ramen, but who really wants to eat that stuff anyways? The combination of sweet onions, spicy horseradish, and salty cheddar all mixed in the middle of a perfectly cooked burger is definitely going to make your mouth water. You have to cook the onions first until they're nice and caramelized. This takes a little bit of time, but that's probably the most complicated step. Which is great, because who doesn't want gourmet-tasting food without all the fuss?

Horseradish, Cheddar & Onion Stuffed Burgers
2 tbsp butter or ghee, divided in half
½ small onion, sliced into thin strips
1-3 tsp white horseradish, liquid drained*
1-2 tbsp cheddar cheese
2-¼ or ⅓ lb hamburger patties**

Heat ghee in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook slowly, stirring occasionally. Keep the onions cooking until they caramelize. This may take a while, but it's worth it. While the onions are cooking, prepare the hamburger patties. Flatten the patties out. Don't go too thin or the meat will crack while cooking and the stuffing will fall out. Place a thin layer of cheddar on each patty, being sure to leave a border around the edges to seal up the patty. When the onions are finished caramelizing, allow to cool just enough to handle. Heap 1-3 tbsp on one patty. Top with horseradish. Press the two patties together carefully, trying to not lose any of the filling. Pinch the two patty sides together all the way around and gently reshape the edges of the patty. Salt and pepper your burger. Heat remaining ghee in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add burger and cook both sides 3-5 minutes each for medium and longer for more doneness. This burger could also easily be cooked on the grill with great success. I served mine on a bed of lightly sautéed spinach with the leftover onions and topped with Roma tomatoes.

Notes:
*The amount of horseradish for each burger is going to be a taste preference. Between the onions, cheese and burger meat, the bite of the horseradish disappears fast. If you enjoy this bite as much as I do, I would definitely lean towards 3 tsp. If you really just want more of a hint of horseradish, stick to 1 tsp. 
**The size of the hamburger patties will determine the size of your final burger. If you want a big burger to enjoy, then go all out. Just keep in mind that you're stuffing the burger, so you want to create thinner initial patties. Keep the stuffed burger flatter and wider, rather than thicker and taller, to make sure that the stuffing still gets warm enough to melt the cheese.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Primordial Pão de Queijo


I laid off the dairy the past few days, and that was probably wise considering this dish was on the menu for tonight. Pão de queijo are Brazilian cheese bread bites that are traditionally made with a hard cheese and tapioca flour. They are crispy on the outside and ooey, gooey on the inside. When I was researching different recipes, some people who weren't familiar with the texture claimed the insides were rubbery. If you get this feedback, just lament with them that they don't understand good food and celebrate that there will definitely be more awesome little bites of deliciousness for you! At the same time, you may only want to make these if you have company coming over. Wait? What? Yes, I know. They are so, so, so good—which is exactly the problem. I had trouble not devouring the whole plate in one sitting! But there you go. I should note that I have combined several different recipes and adapted a few ingredients to make this a little more paleo/primal friendly. This isn't necessarily a traditional recipe, but I did my utmost to keep the traditional texture, and in that attempt, I think I was successful. Either way, they are very good. And I could even see adding more garlic and turning this into garlic cheese balls and serving with a healthy marinara sauce for a nice twist!

Pão de Queijo
½ cup butter
⅓ cup water
⅓ cup half & half
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup hard cheese of choice*, grated or very finely shredded
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine butter, water, half & half, and salt in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Allow butter to melt, stirring occasionally. As soon as ingredients come to a boil, immediately remove from heat. Do not allow cream to curdle. Add tapioca flour and garlic and mix until smooth. Set aside away from heat source to rest for 15 minutes until somewhat cooled. If the mixture is still too warm, remove from hot pan to cool to avoid cooking eggs when they are added. Once mixture is cooled enough, added cheese and eggs and mix thoroughly. The mixture will look a little rough in texture from the cheese particles but should still cling together. Drop in rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. No need to grease. Cook for approximately 20 minutes in the oven in the upper half but not too close to the heat source. You want the tops to lightly brown and crisp on the outside.

Note:
*I used roughly ½ cup manchego cheese (this is a sheep's milk cheese that has been aged at least 6 months or longer and is very hard) and ½ cup reserved aged cheddar (this cheddar had been aged 2 years and was much harder than your traditional cheddar). This cheese combo turned out great and I can definitely recommend it. If you can't find manchego or the reserved cheddar, you can substitute for other hard cheeses like romano, parmesan, aged cheddar, aged gouda, piave, grana padano, or sbrinz. I have seen other pão de queijo recipes that used soft cheeses like mozzarella, but I don't know how well they hold up or if they adjusted other ingredients. I haven't tried a soft cheese so I can't make any recommendations. Paleo/primal/ancestral health diets recommend hard cheeses, so I try to stick with those.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Curry-crusted Lamb Breasts w/ Basil Yogurt Sauce


Lamb? You're probably thinking that sounds gourmet and expensive. And usually you'd be right. But wait just a second. For this recipe, I'm thinking cheap and lazy. Wait, lamb? Cheap? Lazy? You probably think I'm kidding. A few weeks ago I would have thought I was kidding too. A few weeks ago I'd never come across lamb breasts ribs. Lamb breast ribs are meaty and fatty and very easy to cook; they just take a while. But the best part—they don't necessarily need a whole lot of supervision. And they're definitely cheap. I found several pounds worth for around $5. There aren't many cuts of any meat that you can pick up for that price. Now that we've covered cheap, how about lazy. I had already picked up the lamb breast, but had to figure out how in the world I was going to cook them. They were sitting in my fridge when I heard the news that we were expecting Hurricane Isaac. I live on the Gulf Coast. Expecting a hurricane does not give you a lot of time to cook or prepare food. Instead of cooking, I needed to be preparing for a hurricane. After hurricane prep was all said and done, I didn't have a whole lot of energy left over and I was feeling lazy. So this recipe isn't about exact measurements. Just use your best judgment and throw on some spices. I promise, it will still turn out amazing.

Curry-crusted Lamb Breasts w/ Basil Yogurt Sauce*
3-5 lbs Lamb Breasts Ribs
Salt and Pepper
Ginger powder
Garlic powder
Cumin
Paprika
Turmeric
Cardamom
Coriander
Cinnamon
Cloves
Cayenne pepper
Basil Yogurt sauce (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse off the lamb breast ribs and place in an oven safe dish large enough to hold all the ribs. Season thoroughly with salt and pepper, then with garlic and ginger powder, then with cumin and paprika. Use a little less turmeric. Then a little less cardamom and coriander. A little less of cinnamon and cloves. For cayenne pepper, season to taste. Lightly for a little taste or heavily for heat. You can also choose to season with Thai chili powder for more heat. (Do not use regular chili powder. Chili powder is a different type of chili and will drastically alter the taste.) Flip the lamb breast ribs over and repeat on the other side. Cover with an oven safe lid or foil, and place in oven. Cook for approximately 3 hours. Flip breast ribs halfway through cooking time.

Basil Yogurt Sauce
1 cup Greek yogurt
2-3 tbsp chopped Thai basil
1 tsp toasted cumin
pinch of sea salt

Whisk all ingredients together immediately after placing ribs in oven and refrigerate while ribs are cooking. This allows time for the ingredients to blend and meld together. Serve cold with ribs.

Note:
*The photo makes the lamb look burnt. This is really all the seasonings crusted onto the ribs and exactly what you are looking for!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Salmon in Cool Cilantro Coconut Sauce


I have to start this off by saying that I never thought I'd be cooking with cilantro. Especially fresh cilantro! I really just don't care for the herb. But more importantly, I never thought I'd be telling you that I cooked a dish with cilantro that I liked! Yes, you read that right. I actually ate and enjoyed every bite of this salmon—every cilantro-coated piece. So how did I end up with a dish centered around cilantro? Blame it on Instagramer thecavery (see website: thecavery.com). She posted an Instagram challenge for her followers to create a dish that incorporated three ingredients: coconut, cilantro and salmon. Normally, I avoid cilantro like nobody's business. But, a challenge is a challenge, and I've been meaning to experiment more lately with food, so I thought, why not? I'm glad I did. This dish turned out great. I definitely need to take more risks in the kitchen. After all, isn't that what this blog is for?

Salmon in Cool Cilantro Coconut Sauce*
1-2 serrano peppers
1 jalapeño pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh cilantro, packed
1 cup full fat greek yogurt
⅓ cup coconut cream**
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
6-8 oz. salmon fillet per person
Cumin
Paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

*Very important: Make your sauce several hours ahead of time! The longer it refrigerates, the better the flavors meld together. Keep in mind that the heat of the peppers will also get a little stronger over time. 

Remove the seeds and membranes from the serrano and jalapeño peppers. Use more serrano for more heat. Roughly chop peppers and garlic and add to processor. Add garlic and pulse until well blended. Add yogurt and coconut cream. Blend. Salt and pepper to taste. Blend again and refrigerate until ready to serve.

At meal time, heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. While heating, season salmon fillets with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Once the oil is very hot, place salmon in skillet skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes until skin is crispy. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes. Depending on thickness of fillet, this will cook salmon rare to medium-rare. If a longer cooking time is desired, reduce heat to medium low and cook for a few additional minutes per side. Remove from heat. Place salmon on serving plate and top with cold cilantro coconut sauce from fridge. Add additional fresh cilantro if desired.

Note:
**It's very easy to place a can of good quality coconut milk in the refrigerator for several hours and then open the can WITHOUT shaking it. Scoop the cream off the top. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pesto Burger (AIP)


For me, one of the most frustrating parts of eating the way I do is that if you don't remember to plan your meals or your schedule goes awry and you're suddenly limited on time, then you're stuck trying to find out how to get some quick but healthy food on the go or on the fly. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, but its hard to make compromises when you really don't want to eat food that's probably going to make you sick later. Or maybe you've just had a really long day, and you want to throw something together that's quick and easy and doesn't require a lot of thought or effort. There's always an egg or salad, but if you're wanting something a little different, then you really need a little bit of "paleo fast food". I always have individually-wrapped hamburger patties in the freezer (along with some pre-divided chicken), and they are my go to meal when I need something quick because I can pull them out and defrost them fairly quickly. And of course this week, I have lots of pesto on hand since I needed something to do with the overload of basil from my garden. So let's get a little creative on the fly and jazz up your plain ol' hamburger patty with a little bit of pesto love.

Pesto Burger
1 hamburger patty (at least a 1/3 or 1/2 lb)
Salt (to taste)
4 tbsp basil pesto, divided
1/2 tbsp bacon fat or FOC

Salt and pepper your hamburger meat. Add 2 tbsp of pesto and mix together thoroughly. Reform into patty. If you have a gas grill, fire it up and skip the bacon fat. Cook like a regular hamburger. If you're using a skillet, heat up the bacon fat over medium-low heat and add your burger to the pan. When it's cooked to your desired temperature, put on a plate and top with more pesto. Serve with a side of sliced cucumbers or a bed of spinach or even fresh sliced tomatoes.

Italian Sausage in Wine Sauce


Every now and again (or for some individuals, most weeknights), you need a meal that tastes great without too much fuss. This dish may not be up at the top of the list for super quick and easy, but it's up there. The best part is that because of the vegetables in the dish, you can easily get away with making this not just the main dish, but the whole dish. And that means you've got a one pot meal, which also means less dishes. Easy cooking, easy cleanup—need I say more? The trick is to not rush the process and stick to a lower heat range to keep the vegetables from burning while the onions caramelize. And I'd recommend sticking to butter in this recipe. The butter helps the wine sauce thicken a little better without needing flour or another starch. The consistency that you are looking for is almost like a runny syrup.

Italian Sausage in Wine Sauce
3-4 tbsp butter
1 lb Italian sausage (either handmade or your favorite brand)
2 red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut into strips
2 medium yellow onions, cut into strips
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp dried marjoram
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1½ cups white wine

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Cut Italian sausage into slices or chunks and add to pan. Add bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes and sauté. When onions start to caramelize, add garlic, basil, marjoram, oregano, salt and pepper. If the skillet starts to look dry, add a little bit more butter. Add white wine and scrap up all the brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Simmer until meat is cooked through and wine sauce begins to caramelize and thicken. Serve as is or over spinach or cauliflower rice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pesto Chicken (AIP)


I've been neglecting my garden the past few weeks, partly in frustration at the endless amounts of rain that are slowly killing some of my plants and partly because I've been very busy with other endeavors. I remedied that today and gave my container garden some much needed TLC. There was quite a bit of pruning involved, especially when it came to the basil. Seriously, I had some basil stalks over a foot high! What was bad for the garden was great for the kitchen. After snipping all the overgrown basil, I had more than enough to make a great batch of homemade pesto. Throw in some chicken and some rice noodles, and you've got a great meal that almost as good as sitting at a lovely outdoor restaurant in Italy. The fresh ingredients at least help me pretend that I'm back there anyways!

Pesto Chicken
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
4-5 chicken tenders
Salt  (to taste)
3-5 tbsp pesto or enough for a good coating

Heat coconut and olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Season chicken tenders with salt. When oil mixture is heated, add chicken to skillet. Cook each side 3-4 minutes each until chicken is cooked through. Dress with a scoop of pesto over chicken or toss chicken in pesto. I recommend serving on a bed of fresh spinach.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chorizo, Spinach & Manchego Stuffed Mushrooms



Chorizo, Spinach & Manchego Stuffed Mushrooms
I can't take credit for the recipe for these amazing little bites of deliciousness. Alas, I wish I could. They turned out great. I actually had bookmarked the recipe months ago with the plans of getting around to trying them eventually. But I had never had Mexican chorizo (we grew up eating Portuguese chouriço and there is HUGE difference), so I just wasn't sure. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my sister said she wanted to try a recipe from Mark's Daily Apple that used Mexican chorizo. We bought some and then it was gone before I even had a chance to try it. So last week when I went shopping and some chorizo caught my eye, I had to try it. So my first experience with chorizo was Chorizo & Egg Pepper cups; they were delicious (that recipe is coming soon), and I was sold on chorizo. This meant that I now had some extra chorizo that I needed to use up. And I've been thinking lately that I need to eat more vegetables. Luckily, I remembered this recipe; it calls for approximately 3 links of chorizo and that's exactly how much I had left. This had to have been something like fate.

I did make a few changes, but the original recipe is here: Chorizo, Spinach & Manchego Stuffed Mushrooms. My changes are as follows:
  • I hollowed out the mushrooms and added the scraps and chopped up stems to the skillet with the onions. I don't frequently cook with mushrooms and can't stand to throw away good food, so I felt like this was a good option.
  • When the oven was preheated and the filling was still cooking on the stove, I popped the mushroom caps in the oven for about 5-10 min until they looked slightly cooked and then dumped the liquid to prepare them for filling. I don't care to use to the microwave for cooking if I don't have to, and the oven was already preheated so I feel like this wasn't any extra work.
  • I added a couple more tablespoons of manchego and an additional ounce of cream cheese to the filling. This meant that I ended up with a little more filling than mushrooms, but I'm not complaining. I'll find a way to eat it.
  • After cooking at 375°F for 10 min, I turned the broiler on high and stuck them underneath it for about 3-5 min. This made the top of the filling a little bit crispy, which I prefer.
A big thanks to I Breathe... I'm Hungry. Because of this great recipe I have also discovered a great new cheese—manchego. Manchego is actually made from sheep's milk instead of cow's milk. The brand I found was a little bit pricey compared to some cheeses, but it was aged at least 6 months (aged cheeses are usually preferred; and according to Wikipedia, all official manchego cheeses labeled "viejo" should have been aged at least a year) and tasted great—definitely a new flavor. While looking for manchego, I also discovered a great deal on some grass-fed cheddar cheese aged 2 years. I tried a bite of this one tonight also; it was a little pungent (similar to Swiss) for a cheddar cheese, but I enjoyed the flavor. Here's an additional photo of my cheese splurge.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Salmon-topped Scrambled Eggs


I wanted something quick and easy for dinner, but I had to use up some of the salmon I bought the other day. It was a great sale price on fresh, wild caught Alaskan Sockeye salmon that I just couldn't pass up so I ended up with a whole pound (this is quite a bit for it being just me!). I also wanted something light and simple since I was eating so late. I had also recently just purchased 3 dozen farm fresh eggs yesterday, so those caught my eye as I was digging in the refrigerator looking for ideas. Salmon. Eggs. Salmon and eggs? It sounds like a perfectly gourmet dish, but also perfectly healthy. And so, voilà! Enter Salmon-topped Scrambled Eggs. Light, quick, and simple but also filling. The following is for one serving.

Salmon-topped Scrambled Eggs
Butter or ghee (or preferred cooking fat), divided
6-8 oz salmon fillet, deboned*
Dill to season
Ground black pepper
2-3 eggs
Dash or two of paprika
Splash or two of half & half
Dollop or two of sour cream

Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. While heating, season salmon with dill and black pepper. (I skipped the salt because I feel that the butter adds enough saltiness to the dish. If you disagree, feel free to add salt here.) Cook salmon in skillet to desired doneness (2-5 minutes per side depending on thickness and preference; medium or medium rare works well with this dish). While salmon is cooking, heat butter in another skillet over medium-low heat. In a small dish, thoroughly whisk eggs, paprika, ground pepper (to taste), dill, and half & half until bubbles form on top. This makes for light and fluffy eggs. Test the pan with a drip of egg. You want the egg to start to cook, but not to start frying. The trick here is low heat. Pour the eggs into the skillet and drag your spatula through the eggs as they cook. Continue to do this until eggs are cooked through. On a plate, layer first the scrambled eggs. Fluff the salmon into chunks over the eggs. Top with sour cream and another dash of dill.

Note:
*You can choose skinned or skin intact. Ever since my older brother recently informed me about the deliciousness and healthiness of salmon skin, I love to eat it! It tastes great when you cook it all crispy like chicken skin. If you choose skin intact, my recommendation is to season the skin side lightly with cajun seasoning and then the meat side with dill and ground pepper. Then let the cooking fat get pretty hot before placing the skin side down in the pan. Once the skin is nice and crispy (2-3 minutes), flip and finish cooking your salmon to your preference. Lower the heat some if you prefer your salmon cooked more well done so that the outside doesn't burn. You can choose to use the skin in the recipe, but I preferred it without. I just snacked on the skin while the eggs were cooking.

I based my recipe off a salmon dish I found on Herb Companion. You can find the original recipe here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Over-loaded French Fries


There are just some days when all you want is comfort food. You slept through your alarm. You were late for work. Your boss wrote you up a bad review. Your significant other broke up with you during your lunch break. You had to reprint, re-assemble, and refile all your afternoon paperwork. And then you come home to discover your roommate stole all your gin. Yeah, it's been one of those days. And when you need a carb splurge, this is the dish for you.

How to Make Paleo-friendly-ish* Over-loaded French Fries:
1. Fry french fries in hot bacon fat. When they look done, cook a little longer for extra crispyness. 
2. Season with sea salt and paprika. 
3. Add triple cheddar cheese (hey, if you're gonna splurge--SPLURGE)
4. Ask sister if she believes in such a thing as 'too much cheese'. Ignore horrified stare and add more cheese anyways. 
5. Add bacon bits. 
6. Repeat question to sister but this time about bacon. Again, ignore horrified stare and add more bacon anyways. 
7. Pop in preheated oven until cheese is melty. 
8. Top with a generous ladle of sour cream (who really eats just a dollop?!) and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. 
9. Enjoy the wonderful adventure in your mouth. 
10. Consider seconds. Or thirds.

Note: *This is definitely what I like to call a Splurge Dish. You wouldn't want to eat this once a week. Maybe once a month to every other month. But if you're not avoiding dairy, go for it. Just stick to full-fat sour cream and aged cheddar cheese. Go nitrate-free bacon if you can get it. If you're really going all out, cut and slice all your own potatoes for the fries. Most frozen french fries contain some amounts of vegetable oil. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Huevos Rancheros Locos


I created this dish because I kept craving Huevos Rancheros but I didn't want to give in and eat the corn tortillas. So instead, plantain chips! You have two options with the plantain chips: serious primal by making your own or buy a bag and settle for the fact that you'll be consuming a little bit of vegetable oil. The decision is completely up to you, but it all comes down to ideal health or convenience. If you decide to make your own plantain chips, they're great fried in coconut oil.

And now the recipe. This makes one serving.

Huevos Rancheros Locos
Small can of El Pato salsa de jalapeño*
14 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes**
3 tbsp of diced canned chiles
3 tbsp canned chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped or diced (use the adobo sauce too)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2-3 eggs
Butter (or other healthy fat for frying the eggs)
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
Handful or two of plantain chips (thicker cut works better than paper thin)
Cheese (optional)

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine the salsa de jalapeño, fire roasted diced tomatoes, diced chiles, chipotles and adobo sauce, cumin, and chili powder. Let simmer while preparing the rest of the dish and stir occasionally. Heat butter in a small skillet. Add your desired number of eggs to the skillet. Salt, pepper, and paprika the eggs and cook to your preference. (If you like your eggs runny, this is perfect for this dish!) When eggs are almost ready, spread a small amount of sauce onto a plate--spread enough sauce about the size of a corn tortilla. Top with a handful or two of plantain chips to form an even layer. Top with finished eggs. Cover with sauce--use a little, use a lot, your choice! Top with a small sprinkle of cheese if you're not avoiding dairy and a couple more plantain chips.

Let me know what you think!


Notes:
*If you can't find El Pato brand, find a similar restaurant style salsa that's basically tomatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro. You're looking for something that's a more authentic taste than your typical jarred salsa.
**I use Muir Glen. They're organic and supposedly most of their cans are switched to the new BPA-free lining. Also, you'll be adding the amount of tomatoes you want to cut the spiciness in the salsa de jalapeño. If you like a lot of heat, use less of the tomatoes. If you want medium heat, add the whole can. If you want mild heat, add the whole can and don't use all of the salsa de jalapeño. It's pretty spicy stuff. Additionally, this is going to make it chunky. If you like chunky, use as is. If you prefer smooth, throw these in the blender or food processor to purée these up.