Monday, December 19, 2016

Sous vide apples

A slightly different treat today - I'm marrying one of the "new" cooking techniques (sous vide, literally "under vacuum") with the oldest diet on Earth!  I have a couple of different sous vide rigs - a Dorkfood DSV (that turns your crockpot into a sous vide rig) and an Anova immersion circulator.  (As usual, I receive NO compensation or dispensation from anyone I may link to - I paid for both of these, fair and square.)

Sous vide cooking is pretty simple, really - you put food and seasonings in a food-safe plastic bag, remove all of the air (or at least as much as you can), and immerse it in water that's at the temperature you want the food to be at and leave it there until it's at the correct temperature, through and through.

In this case, we're doing apple slices with cinnamon, butter, and honey - it goes great in a bowl on its own, but if you can find some paleo-friendly ice cream (I've had some coconut ice cream that wasn't bad), it would be AMAZING...

Ingredients

  • Four apples (I use Granny Smith)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or use "spoonable stevia" or some other paleo-friendly sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Set your sous vide rig to 85C / 185F.
  2. Peel, core, and section the apples.
  3. Put all of the ingredients into a food-safe plastic pouch (like a Zip-loc(tm) bag) and shake well to distribute everything evenly.
  4. Remove as much of the air as you can from the bag (one of the best ways to do this is to put the bag under water, *almost* to the lip, and then zip it closed) - or if you've got your own vacuum sealer, go nuts!  Try to make sure that the apple slices are in a single layer to help speed the cooking.
  5. Immerse in the water bath and leave it there for 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Banana bread with chocolate chips

And our second banana-themed Christmas treat posting for the day comes courtesy of Danielle Walker over at Against All Grain again - this recipe is from her first cookbook, appropriately titled "Against All Grain - Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well and Feel Great".

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 0.5 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 0.25 cup almond flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 0.25 cup chocolate chips (again, Krisda brand is made with stevia)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5) and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom.  Don't forget to put the parchment paper into the pan!  
  3. Combine the coconut oil, eggs, honey, vanilla, and vinegar in a stand mixer and beat on high for 30 seconds.
  4. Combine the coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt in another bowl, and then gradually add it to the liquid in the stand mixer while the beater is mixing.  Continue to mix until well-combined.
  5. In yet another bowl, mash the coconut milk and bananas together until it's well-combined and sort of looks like baby food.
  6. Add this coconut-banana concoction to the rest of the batter while the beater is on medium.  Continue mixing until well-combined.
  7. Add in the chocolate chips and let it beat for a little longer until the chips are dispersed throughout the batter.
  8. Dump the whole thing into your loaf pan and bake for around 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven, let it cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, and then put on a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Squares

Okay, only got one post out yesterday rather than the promised two...  So let's see if we can get caught up today, with a pair of banana-themed recipes.  (Because nothing says "paleo" like bananas, right?)

First up, these chocolate banana squares!

Ingredients for Squares

  • 2 large REALLY ripe bananas - more brown than yellow, ideally
  • 0.5 cup crunchy-type almond butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 0.25 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (Krisda brand is sweetened with stevia)
Ingredients for Topping
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate (as always, the darker the better! 😊)
  • 0.5 Tbsp palm shortening (or butter)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a 9x13 pan with coconut oil (probably not the healthiest option, but I use the spray stuff)
  3. Peel the bananas, and mush 'em up real good.
  4. Combine the banana mush with the rest of the square ingredients, except the chocolate chips.  Mix well until it's a consistent batter.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, mix thoroughly.
  6. Dump the whole thing into your greased-up pan, and spread evenly in the pan
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes.
  8. Let cool, and cut into squares.
  9. Put the squares side-by-side on a piece of parchment for this next bit.
  10. Melt the topping ingredients together in the top of a double boiler, and mix well until thoroughly combined.
  11. Drizzle the melted topping over the squares.
  12. Let stand until the topping has hardened.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cherry Bakewell Squares

Well, it didn't take too long to blow through my "a recipe every day" statement, did it?  So we'll post two today to try to catch up.  😀

First up, Cherry Bakewell squares.  I first discovered Cherry Bakewells in tart form during a trip to the UK about 10 years ago.  They're not, in my experience, particularly common in North America, although a "British Foods" store near me (which closed this year, sadly), used to sometimes get in the "Mister Kiplings" brand at this time of year.

This recipe does a good job of combining the sweet cherry jam center, almond topping, and a decent pastry, while still managing to remain paleo - and they disappear fast around here!

Ingredients - Jam

  • 1 bag frozen cherries (about 600g)
  • 0.5 cup water
  • 0.25 cup honey
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot, mixed with just enough water to form a slurry
Instructions - Jam
  1. Put everything but the arrowroot in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. When it's slightly thickened and somewhat syrupy, stir in the arrowroot slurry and it should thicken up even more very quickly.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.
Ingredients - Crust
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 0.5 cup coconut flour, sifted to remove lumps
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 0.25 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
Instructions - Crust
  1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
  2. Put a piece of parchment paper in an 8x8 baking pan so it comes over the top on all sides - it's how you'll lift the completed dessert from the pan.
  3. Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour the dough into the parchment-lined pan and pat down evenly right into the corners.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
Ingredients - Topping
  • 1.75 cups almond flour
  • 0.33 cup coconut oil, melted (but not too hot...)
  • 0.33 cup honey
  • 3 room-temperature eggs, lightly beaten
  • sliced almonds
Instructions - Topping
  1. Basically, combine everything into a bowl and stir well.
Instructions - Assembly
  1. Remove that crust from the oven and make sure it's done.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 350F.
  3. Pour the jam over the crust and spread it out evenly to cover the crust.
  4. Pour the topping over the jam and carefully spread it out evenly to cover the jam, being careful not to stir things up too much.
  5. Top with some sliced almonds.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Let it cool, lift out using the parchment paper, place it on a cutting board, and cut into squares.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Twelve(ish) days of Treats! A short(bread) introduction...

Christmas is coming, and it can be a tough time of the year to be paleo - so many wonderful treats, all laden with refined sugar and white flour, seemingly await you around every corner!  Well, I'm going to see if I can help you get through the season with your diet (relatively) intact - over the next ten days I'll be posting recipes for various seasonal treats.  And don't forget, I've previously posted this yummy recipe for Christmas muffins too!

These are still "treats" though - some of the recipes will use a fair amount of dried fruit and/or paleo friendly sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup, so they should still be eaten in moderation...

Now that that's been said, let's get baking!  Today we'll be making paleo "shortbread" cookies, courtesy of Danielle Walker (author of three "Against All Grains" cookbooks)

Ingredients

  • 2.25 cups almond flour
  • 0.25 cup arrowroot flour
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 0.25 cup maple syrup
  • 0.5 cup palm shortening (I usually find mine at "Whole Foods" stores in the US, but can't seem to find a reliable source in Canada)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine the almond flour, arrowroot flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, and affix the paddle attachment to the mixer.
  4. Add in the maple syrup and mix until well-combined.
  5. Drop the palm shortening in one tablespoon at a time while the mixer is running, allowing each to combine fully before you drop in the next tablespoon-full.
  6. Process until the dough forms a crumbly ball.
  7. Roll the dough ball out between two sheets of parchment paper to 0.5 inches (about 1 cm) thickness.
  8. Cut the rolled dough into 1" by 3" rectangles and place these rectangles on the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between each rectangle.  You can poke small holes in the top of each rectangle to make it look more like "real" shortbread if you want.
  9. Bake for around 12 minutes, until the edges are looking nicely browned.
  10. Allow to cool, and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Review - Siete Foods tortillas

NOTE - As always, I have received no remuneration, compensation, or other considerations from the vendor(s) named herein.  I'm doing this all on my own, folks!

One of the minor inconveniences about paleo has always been the lack of a decent wrap or flatbread for fajitas and the like.  Julian Bakery makes(*) a coconut wrap but it tastes, well, like coconut.  And, since I do love a good fajita now and then (or more often, if I can get it), I'd been almost resigned to figuring out how to make my own (although most of the recipes out there look to be too "egg-y" for my liking).  Now, that's changed.

These aren't (as far as I know) available in Canada, but on a recent road trip to Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, we purchased four packages of Siete Foods' tortillas at the local Whole Foods - two each of the Almond Flour and the Cassava and Coconut.  We've now tried a package of each, and the verdict is: delicious!  We did find the Cassava and Coconut ones tear rather easily, and I think I prefer the taste of the Almond Flour ones by a thin margin, but both are entirely adequate for my purposes!  Two thumbs up!

* = Or maybe not any more?  I can't find the wraps listed on their web page now, although you can see "wraps" on the left menu of their main home page.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pie crust

I'd previously posted this pumpkin pie recipe, but it was crustless because I wasn't happy with the crusts I'd tried, which were mostly based on almond flour and tended to be dry and not particularly pie-like.  Well that's changed - I made this crust this past weekend as part of my preparations for Canadian Thanksgiving, and it worked perfectly.  And, as a bonus, it's a "push crust", so you don't have to roll it out, just push it into the pan!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (although butter would probably also work!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour


Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine everything but the coconut flour, and stir well with a fork until combined.
  3. Stir in the coconut flour, and stir well until the dough is combined and holds together.
  4. Gather the dough into a ball and push it into a 9" pie plate.  Prick it all over with a fork.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until it starts to brown.  (You may want to use a pie crust shield, both now and when you fill and bake the pie, so the edges don't get overly scorched.)
  6. Fill your pie with pumpkin pie filling and bake as appropriate.  (It may take somewhat longer than the original recipe, closer to 40-45 minutes rather than the 30 minutes in the original recipe.)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.  I took this recipe to my family's dinner yesterday - and, to be clear, my family does NOT have a history of eating sweet potatoes.  However, this recipe was a huge hit, and my mother even said I'd be welcome to bring it again for Christmas dinner, so I'd consider it a success!

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, whole
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Prick the skins all over and roast the sweet potatoes in the oven about 45 minutes to an hour, until done.
  3. Let the sweet potatoes cool.
  4. Preheat the oven back to 350F.
  5. Grease a 8" square (or similar) casserole dish with coconut oil.
  6. Peel the sweet potatoes and mash them in a big bowl.
  7. Add in the maple syrup, egg, spices, and salt.
  8. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth.
  9. Put the mixture into your greased baking dish and level out the top with a spatula or spoon.
  10. Scatter the chopped nuts over top.
  11. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until starting to look golden-brown around the edges.
  12. Serve immediately, or you can refrigerate it overnight and reheat it the next day.
  13. Dig in!
Credit where it's due, I found this originally at http://www.paleonewbie.com/paleo-sweet-potato-casserole/ 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Homemade cranberry sauce

I don't know why I've never done this before, but it tastes AMAZING.  I had a bit more than I needed for tomorrow's, so I just ate the extra out of a bowl after it cooled - and it's all I can do not to dig into the main batch that's currently gelling in the freezer.  Make it a day before for optimal results.

Ingredients

  • 100 mL water
  • 100 mL real maple syrup
  • juice of one orange (I used a Valencia one, that's all the grocery store had)
  • zest from the same orange (extract this BEFORE you juice it, of course)
  • 1 x 12-ounce bag frozen cranberries (or use fresh - again, limited grocery store selection)
Instructions
  1. Combine the water, maple syrup, and orange juice in a pot on the stove over medium heat, and bring it just to a simmer.
  2. Add the cranberrries and zest and bring it back to a simmer.
  3. Keep a close eye on it, stirring occasionally.  Soon the cranberries will start to "pop".
  4. Once the cranberries are all done popping, simmer for a few more minutes, then remove from heat, place in an appropriate container, and refrigerate.