Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Maple Citrus Pot Roast

I love pot roast. It's hearty and warm, like a good hug. Who doesn't love a good hug?! Anyway, I switched up the flavors a bit for something a little different. Serve over mashed potatoes or with a side of roasted root veggies for a perfect warm meal on a cold winter night!

Maple Citrus Pot Roast

What you'll need:

  • 2-3 lbs beef chuck/brisket/or round (I used chuck)
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 large orange, cut into wedges
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • few springs of fresh thyme
  • 2-3 small to medium sized white, purple and orange carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Pat dry beef chuck. Season all sides with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. In a dutch oven/large heavy pot, add enough oil/fat of choice to coat the bottom (about 2-3 tbsp of a 5.5 qt pot). Sear meat over high heat, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside. 
  2. Turn heat down to medium and add the chopped onions. Saute until fragrant, scrape the bottom of the pan to pick up all those browned bits (those are the BEST for adding flavor). Add the garlic. Saute for another 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, scrapping up even more of those browned bits. Then add the maple syrup, orange juice, chicken stock, and orange wedges (squeeze the juice). Bring to a soft boil. Then add the meat back to the pan. Add the bay leaves and fresh thyme.
  4. Cover the dutch oven with the lid and bake at 325F for 2 hours. Add the carrots about an hour later. Serve over mashed potatoes, pureed cauliflower, or even by itself. Enjoy!

    Note: This recipe can also be made in a slow cooker. Just follow steps 1-2 as is. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan and scrape up the remaining brown bits. Add the meat to the slow cooker along with the deglazed onions and brown bits followed by the remaining liquids and herbs. Cook on low for 8 hours. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Roasted Cashews

Is pumpkin spice still a thing during the winter holidays? Or is it just a Fall thing? Anyways, I love pumpkin when it's cold. So really, that means, in California, I only enjoy pumpkin from Thanksgiving to about New Years. These are super simple to toss together but oh so addicting! They've got just the right amount of holiday spice and are perfect for snacking on.

Pumpkin Spice Roasted Cashews

What you'll need:

  • 3 cups raw cashews
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  • pinch of salt
What to do:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. In a large bowl, whisk the eggwhite with a pinch of salt until doubled in volume and foamy. Whisk in the maple syrup, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice until combined. 
  2. Toss in the cashews and mix until they're all coated with the mixture. Spray a baking sheet with oil (I used this), but feel free to use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread the cashews in a single layer. 
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 400F. Turn oven down to 350F. Toss the cashews and rotate the pan. Bake for an additional 10 minutes at 350F. 
  4. Remove from oven and allow the cashews to cool. They'll get nice a crispy as they cool completely. Enjoy!

Sangria - 2 ways

Sangria and sangria blanca are super simple to make and can easily be made ahead of time, perfect for all those holiday parties you're hosting right? While you're slaving away making all the holiday fixings, make sure to throw together either, or both of these delicious and refreshing cocktails for sipping while you work. I've made sangria two ways here, for those that like red wine and those that prefer white. Both are flavorful and delicious! For the red sangria, I went Sandra Lee Semi Homemade (I loved that show on the FoodNetwork. Her "cocktail time" at the end of every show was my favorite for these reasons alone.) and bought a bottle of Trader Joe's pre-made sangria. It is delicious on its own, but I classed it up a bit by adding some tasty winter spices. For the white sangria, I kept it light and refreshing by mixing a reisling and some hard apple cider.

Apple Ginger Cider Sangria
What you'll need:
- Reisling, or other semi-sweet/dry white wine
- Hard apple cider, ginger flavor
- apple, sliced thin
- pears, slice thin
- oranges, cut into wedges

What to do:
1. In a large carafe, combine 3 parts reisling and 1 part hard apple cider, ginger flavor, and fruit slices. Refrigerate overnight and serve chilled with ice.

Vanilla Cinnamon Sangria

 What you'll need:
- Trader Joe's Pre-Made Sangria
- apples, sliced
- oranges, wedges
- berries (I used blackberries)
- cinnamon sticks
- whole star anise
- fresh vanilla bean or 2-3 tsp vanilla extract

What to do:
1. In a large carafe, combine the sangria and fruit. Add the star anise. Break the cinnamon sticks in half before adding. If using fresh vanilla beans, cut bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Add the seeds, then the remaining bean pod. If using extract, add 2-3 tsp of vanilla to preference. Refrigerate overnight and served chilled over ice.

Happy drinking!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Eggnog Panna Cotta

Making panna cotta is a great way to impress your friends and family. Not only does it have a fancy Italian name but it's also super luxurious on the palate. But it's actually relatively simple to make PLUS it's one of those desserts you can make ahead of time! Textually similar to a baked custard, like creme brulee, panna cotta is just cream and gelatin with sweetner and maybe some vanilla. The gelatin is what gives it its creaminess instead of eggs likes in a custard. But since it is the holidays, why not go all out and combine custard and panna cotta for something super fancy!? This does take a little more time to prep than a traditional panna cotta, but will be so worth it when you show up to a party with these.

Eggnog Panna Cotta

What you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (or almond milk for dairy free)
  • 1 cup cream (or full fat canned coconut milk for dairy free)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 tsp gelatin (I used this)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp cognac (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp rum (optional)
What to do:
  1. In a bowl, add the cream, keep it cold by placing this bowl in a larger bowl full of iced water. Set aside.  Bloom the gelatin by adding about 1-2 tbsp of the cold cream (just scoop it from the bowl) to the gelatin powder in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and maple syrup together until combined. In a sauce pan, heat the milk (or almond milk) with nutmeg and cinnamon over medium heat until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the milk is steaming. Don't let it boil or it will curdle. 
  2. While continuously whisking, slowly temper the egg yolk mixture by adding the hot milk to the yolks. Make sure to go slow or you'll just end up with scrambled eggs. Once you've added all the milk to the yolks, pour the entire thing back into the sauce pan and heat over medium heat. 
  3. While stirring the custard mixture (I like to use a push/pull zigzag movement for this), add the bloomed gelatin. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. 
  4. Set a mesh strainer over the bowl with the chilled cream. Remove the custard mixture from the heat and strain the custard into the bowl of the chilled cream. Stir in the vanilla and alcohol (if using) until combined. 
  5. Ladle the panna cotta into your jars/ramekins/dessert cups. Let it set in the fridge overnight. Serve chilled with a fruit compote (I made a blackberry compote for this), or as is!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Mini Cubano Plantain Bites

Cuban food is AHHH-mazing. If you've never had a Cubano, or cuban sandwich, I suggest you either 1) make one for yourself (it's pretty simple) or 2) find a place that serves them. Have any of you seen the movie, Chef, with Jon Favreau? Great movie, btw. Favreau's character is a big time chef that receives a scathing review for his restaurant, falls into a depression and decides to start a food truck making Cuban food. What I wouldn't give to have been a character in the movie, eating those cubanos. Anyway, I digress. Here's my interpretation, lechon asado (cuban pulled pork), ham, pickle relish, dijon mustard on a crispy tostone (twice fried plantain). Oh. Em. Gee. Delicious.

Mini Cubano Plantain Bites


For the Tostones
  • Green plantain, peeled and sliced
  • coconut oil, for frying plantains
For the Lechon Asado
  • 2-3 lb bone-in pork shoulder/pork butt
  • 5-8 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice (I juiced, 2 whole limes and 1.5 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 medium (baseball sized) onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
Remaining bites
  • nitrate free ham
  • finely diced bread and butter or sweet dill pickles
  • finely diced onions
  • dijon mustard
  1. Pat dry the pork. Using a knife, make 5-8 (depending on amount of garlic used) one inch slits sparingly throughout the meat. Place a clove garlic in each slit. 
  2. Place the garlic stuffed pork is a large ziploc bag. Add the remaining lechon asado ingredients. Marinate the pork at least 6 hours or overnight. 
  3. The following day, remove the pork from the marinade. Place in a slow cooker. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the marinade to the slow cooker pot. Cook on low for 6 hours. Then turn up to high and cook for another 4 hours. 
  4. Remove the pork into a large bowl. Shred. Add a tablespoon of the liquid from the slow cooker pot at a time. I added about 4 to keep it moist and juicy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. 
  5. To make the tostones, cut off the ends of the green plantain. Peel the skin and slice (about 1/2 inch thick). Heat a cast iron skillet with coconut oil over medium high heat. Fry both sides of each plantain slice for approximately 1 minutes. Remove from skillet and using a flat bottomed cup/bowl/or other kitchen tool, smash each plantain slice into a disk. Fry both sides of each smashed plantain disk for another 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. 
  6. To assemble, top each tostones with sliced ham, the lechon, finely diced pickles and onions, and a drizzle of dijon mustard. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Citrus Mango Ceviche

It has been a minute since I've posted a recipe on here but this ceviche deserves the royal treatment. I received my very first Sizzlefish shipment last week and immediately wanted to make a ceviche with the scallops and the shrimp. If you haven't heard of Sizzlefish, they supply and ship fresh  fish and seafood (flash frozen) straight to your door! I rarely purchase fresh seafood at the grocery store because I know a lot, if not all, have been frozen and thawed, only to be frozen again once I get home. Bleh. Anyways, Sizzlefish offers lots of different packages (and 3 month subscriptions!), I received the Paleo Prime Plus which included 14 perfectly portioned pieces:

  • 2 packs wild caught Golf Shrimp
  • 2 packs Sea Scallops 
  • 2 4oz portions Sockeye Salmon
  • 2 4oz portions Coho Salmon
  • 2 4oz portions Sablefish
  • 2 4oz portions Haddock
  • 2 4oz portions Atlantic Cod

The individually portioned pieces comes in handy, since I'm mostly a cooking party of one. But that just means, I don't have to share! HAHAHA. So ceviche is super simple to make and requires no more than 10 minutes of prep (less if you've got amazing ninja knife skills). You can play around with the types of seafood but you'll need the acid from citrus, lime is almost always the one, as the citrus is what will "cook" the raw seafood. With this recipe, I also threw in a few tablespoons of ginger beer on a whim, it added a nice "ginger spicy" sweetness, but is totally optional.

What you'll need:
  • 8oz (2 packages) cleaned and deveined shrimp, diced
  • 8 large scallops (4/pack - 2 packages), diced
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 3 TBSP red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 TBSP cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 TBSP ginger beer (I used Reed's) - optional
  • juice of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
What to do:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container. Let the mixture marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
  2. Serve with cucumber slices or tostones (fried plantains) and sliced avocado. To make the tostones: Peel the skins off a green plantain (it can have a few yellow spots), make sure that the plantain is room temperature or the skins will be more difficult to remove. Remove the ends and slice through the skin, wedge your finger between the skin and the plantain slowly working your way down. Slice plantain to about 1/2 inch thick rounds. In a cast iron skillet, heat some coconut oil (I have a 12" skillet and poured enough oil to cover about 1/4" inch) over high heat. Fry the plantain rounds  for about 1-2 minutes on both sides. Remove and using a flat bottom cup/anything with a flat bottom and smash the plantains. Fry the flattened rounds again, for about a minute on each side. Remove and drain. Season with salt. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Simple Berry Clafoutis

Clafoutis are super simple to make and are a great dessert to serve all year round. They're like a cross between a flan and custard. The edges get nice and crispy while the center remains soft and lucious. This recipe only has 6 ingredients and you can customize it however you like,  be it by using berries, or stone fruit, even melted chocolate!

Simple Berry Clafoutis (recipe adapted from Epicurious)
What you'll need:
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or other non dairy milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Kerrygold butter, ghee, or coconut oil (for dairy free), melted
  • scant 1/2 cup almond flour + 1 TBSP arrowroot powder
  • berries, stone fruit, chocolate, nuts 
What to do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter/coconut oil until the sugar has dissolved and everything is incorporated together. Add the flours and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into a heavy duty pie pan (cast iron works best).
  2. Top with choice of berries, stone fruit or chocolate. Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on how hot your oven runs and the type of dish you used; mine baked in a glass pie dish in 30 minutes)  It will puff up a bit. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon (if topped with fresh berries, optional) and powdered sugar (equal parts coconut sugar and arrowroot). A dollop of ice cream would also be magical!

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