Monday, June 13, 2016

Salted Almond Coconut Chocolate Candy Bites

I recently had the pleasure of finally meeting the face behind one of my favorite brands, Nikki of Nikki's Coconut Butter, at Paleo F(x) in Austin. She's one awesome boss lady and one of the sweetest people I've ever had the pleasure meeting! It certainly was a happy coincidence that I was just vacationing in Austin with my BFF and decided to stop by the expo at Paleo F(x). So glad we did! 

Since changing my diet one that's Paleo/gluten free, I've found ways to satisfy my sweet tooth with Nikki's coconut butter. All the flavors are soy, dairy, egg, and gluten free. The newest flavor, Cashew Cookie Butter, is also sugar free, for those that are watching their sugar intake. It's also one of my personal favorites, next to the Mint Chocolate Chip (yum!). Being creative in the kitchen is a great outlet for me, when I'm stressing, I like to have fun in the kitchen whipping up something fun and delicious. So, when I'm in the mood for something a little sweet (I'm normally a salty, chips and dip, kinda girl), I like incorporating a little Nikki's coconut butter. It's got all the sweetness I need and the recipes I'm going to share with you include little to no added sugars (except for those already found in the coconut butter or fruits, YAY!). Coconut Butter has so many potential uses and I'm going to try to create all the recipes I can to show you just how versatile it can be!

Now for the Salted Almond Coconut Chocolate Candy Bites. Think of these as a more "grown-up" version of Almond Joy Candies. The extra step of salting and roasting the almonds really take these to the next level. 

Salted Almond Coconut Chocolate Candy Bites

What you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt + 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup Nikki's Vanilla Cake Batter, melted
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream (from canned coconut milk)
  • 1-2 tbsp honey, warmed 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 oz good quality dark chocolate + 1/4 cup Nikki's Dark Chocolate Fudge Coconut Butter

  • What to do:
    1. Preheat oven to 300F. In a bowl, add the raw almonds and 1 tbsp kosher salt, add the boiling water and allow the almonds to brine for at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain the almonds and pat dry. Bake at 300F for 20 minutes. 
    2. Remove and allow almonds to cool slightly. In a food processor, combine the almonds, shredded coconut, Vanilla Cake Batter, coconut cream, honey, vanilla, and kosher salt. Pulse until mixture starts to form a ball/or comes together but not enough to turn into a smooth puree. 
    3. Using a small cookie scoop, or your hands, form the coconut mixture into uniform shapes. Set aside and melt together the dark chocolate and Nikkis Dark Chocolate Fudge. Dip each coconut ball into the chocolate. Allow to harden in the fridge before consuming. Store in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. 

    Wednesday, June 8, 2016

    Japanese Style Crispy Chicken Wings (Teba No Karaage)

    I love a good crispy chicken wing. Crunchy skin, tender meat and usually greasy was my preference...back in the debaucherous days of college. Now, you could say, I've grown up (a little) and my tastes have gotten a little more sophisticated. Enter, these Japanese Style Crispy Chicken Wings. These are lightly coated in potato starch to give the outside the crispiest crunch without being too over powering. I also fried these in olive oil, making these "better" for you. HAHAHA.   

    Japanese Style Crispy Chicken Wings 

    What you'll need:
    • 2 lbs chicken wings/mini drum sticks
    • 2 tbsp gluten free Tamari/coconut aminos
    • 1 tbsp mirin/rice wine
    • 1 tsp FlavorGod Garlic Seasoning (or garlic powder)
    • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tsp sesame oil
    • Potato starch
    • FlavorGod Garlic Herb Salt (or salt/fresh cracked pepper)
    • Olive oil, for frying
    • Japanese chili powder (optional)

    What to do:
    1. Prepare the marinade by combining the Tamari/coconut aminos, mirin, garlic powder, minced garlic and ginger, and sesame oil. Pour over chicken wings (placed in bowl) and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
    2. Heat 2" olive oil in a small saucepan over medium until a deep-fry thermometer reads 320°. Alternatively, if you’ve got a mini fryer, fill olive oil to the fill line. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of potato starch and 1 tsp Garlic Herb Salt/ salt + pepper.
    3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and toss wings in potato starch mixture, shaking off excess; working in batches, fry wings until crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer wings to paper towels to drain. Serve with lemon wedges and Japanese chili powder (optional).

    Monday, June 6, 2016

    Hong Shao Rou (Shanghai Style Red Braised Pork Belly)

    Hong Shao Rou or "Red Braised" Pork Belly is one of my favorite ways to prepare and enjoy pork belly.  A little salty and a little sweet, but Oh So Delicious. The pork belly gets browned and crispy first, then braised in a mixture of salty sweet goodness. This is one of those comfort food type meals growing up so I wanted to put my spin on it by making it gluten free and "paleo" friendly (if you can tolerate rice), but also keeping it true in flavor and texture. :) 

    Hong Shao Rou

    What you'll need:
    • 1.5-2lb pork belly, cut into ~ 1 inch pieces
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
    • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
    • 5 tbsp coconut aminos/gluten free Tamari
    • 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp mirin/rice wine/dry sherry
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp FlavorGod Garlic Seasoning (or use 1 tsp garlic powder)
    • 1 tsp white pepper
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 3 tbsp raw honey
    • 1 tbsp maple sugar/1 piece rock sugar (optional)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tbsp cooking fat
    What to do:
    1. In a bowl, combine the coconut aminos/Tamari, rice vinegar, mirin/rice wine, paprika, garlic, white pepper, and ground ginger. Whisk to combine and set aside.
    2. In a large pot, add 2-3 cups water, smashed garlic cloves and fresh peeled ginger. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, add the pork belly cubes. Bring the water back to a boil and allow the pork to simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the pork belly and remove the garlic and ginger pieces. Pat the pork dry. 
    3. Using a heavy bottomed wok or cast iron pot, add 2 tbsp cooking fat over medium high heat. Working in batches, fry each side of the pork belly until browned and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat for remaining pork belly. 
    4. Turn the heat down to medium, working with the same wok/cast iron pot, carefully add the raw honey and maple sugar (if using). The mixture will bubble rapidly. Then, carefully add the water. Stir in the coconut aminos/Tamari mixture. Place the pork belly back into the pot, stir to coat and cover. Allow the pork to simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally. 
    5. Remove cover and allow the sauce to thicken for 5-8 minutes. Serve with fresh chopped chives and sesame seeds over riced cauliflower or white rice. 

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