Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pumpkin Nut Panna Cotta Tart



This Pumpkin Panna Cotta is a lightened up treat that won't leave you feeling heavy after those multiple rounds of turkey and all the fixings. Panna Cotta is essentially an Italian style jello and is super simple to whip up. You blend, you heat, you stir, and BOOM, you're done. The crust is a magical blend of toasted hazelnuts, flaxseed and maple sugar. Don't like hazelnuts? Try pecans or walnuts! Short on time and don't feel like having to throw another dish in the oven to bake? Skip the crust all together and just make the panna cotta served in ramekins or cute single serving glass jars. It's totally up to you how you want to serve this because it will be delicious anyway. I was feeling a little bit naughty and drizzled a little RumChata and coconut caramel sauce (I used Juli's of PaleOMG recipe from her newest book, Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook) on top. 

 Pumpkin Nut Panna Cotta Tart

What you'll need:
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (or pecans, or walnuts), toasted and skins removed
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Otto's cassava flour
  • 2 tbsp maple sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp grassfed butter, cold
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 2 tsp gelatin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 fresh grated nutmeg
  • pinch of cardamon
  • pinch of salt

What to do:
  1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350F. If using hazelnuts, bake for 8-10 minutes at 350F. Cool slightly, then remove skins by rubbing the hazelnuts together with a tea towel. It is okay if not all the skins come off. If using pecans or another nut, there's no need to toast before hand just add them to the food processor. 
  2. Add the hazelnuts to the food processor along with the next 4 ingredients. Pulse until it resembles a course meal. Add the cold butter 1-2 tbsp at a time. Pulse until it starts to come together. Press evenly into a tart pan. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  3. In a sauce pan, add 1/2 cup almond milk. Evenly sprinkle 2 tsp of gelatin over the almond milk, let it bloom. Blend the remaining 1 cup of almond milk, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple sugar, and spices until smooth. 
  4. Heat the gelatin mixture over medium low heat and whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Strain the pumpkin mixture into the gelatin mixture. Whisk to combine. Heat until the mixture starts to steam. Pour into the tart shell (or individual ramekins/jars). Allow the tart to set in the fridge. 
  5. Serve chilled with a drizzle of RumChata or Coconut Caramel, if preferred!






Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Deconstructed Papas Rellenas (Cuban Beef and Potato Stuffing)


I love a good meat and potato dish. This Cuban Beef and Potato stuffing is a play on the traditional papas rellenas or meat stuffed potato ball. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you probably are familiar with Porto's Bakery (and if you haven't, you must!). Porto's is a Cuban bakery that makes the tastiest Cuban pastries and cakes. They also have these deep fried mashed potato balls stuffed with a ground beef mixture. And let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've tried one of these!

While I love the holidays and all the traditional foods that are associated with it, sometimes, I believe you need a little spice in your life (and no, pumpkin spice does not count). Enter, this non-traditional stuffing. A deconstructed papas rellenas. A good Cuban dish requires a sofrito, think of it as the Cuban equivalent to a mirepoix (the aromatic base of any good soup or stew; carrots, onions, celery), except sofrito consists of onions, bell peppers, and garlic. You'll want to sweat and caramelize the onions first, then add the peppers and garlic last. Trust me, this extra little step will make this dish pop!

Deconstructed Papas Rellenas (Cuban Beef and Potato Stuffing)

What you'll need:

  • 2-3 small to medium white sweet potato (or any potato can be subbed), cubed
  • olive/avocado oil, salt and pepper to season the potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 5-6 sweet mini peppers (or one medium bell pepper), finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar or fresh lime juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • (start with 1/2 tsp) salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 tbsp golden raisins (optional)

What to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425F. Toss the cubed potatoes with 1-2 tbsp oil, massaging the oil into the potatoes thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the potatoes in one (1) even layer on a silicone lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 425F, tossing once about half way through. 
  2. While the potatoes are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 1-2 tbsp oil. Add the onions. Sweat the onions until they start to caramelize and are fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. Add the peppers, then the garlic. Stir. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.  
  3. Add the ground beef. Break up the chunks. *Note: I add a little ground beef at a time, breaking up the chunks, as to not overcrowd the pan which could lead to steaming of the mixture and not sauteing*
  4. Season the mixture with paprika, cumin, cayenne (if using), and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Once most of the meat has browned, add the apple cider vinegar/lime juice. Then the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and add the bay leaf. 
  5. Simmer the mixture on medium low for about 15-20 minutes. 
  6. Once potatoes have finished roasting, remove from oven and set aside. Season the ground beef mixture with more salt/pepper, to taste. Stir in golden raisins (if preferred, but highly recommended). Add the potatoes and garnish with chopped cilantro. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes


Fact: I'm not actually a chocolate fan. I mean, I like it, on occasion, but it's rare that I'll crave it. If I'm going to indulge it's going to be a piece of good quality dark chocolate, at least 85%. Anyway, let's just say I had way to many bars of chocolate (that would've taken me forever to finish), so the next best thing would be, cupcakes! These use dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and strong brewed coffee for an insanely intense chocolate flavor. Don't get me started on this frosting, it's two ingredients, TWO! Roasted sweet potato puree and dark chocolate. I know, what in the world? Trust me. It is good and as good for you as you can get when it comes to indulgent desserts. The cupcake recipe is adapted from an old recipe I found a long time ago (which unfortunately, I can't remember where I found it), but I've tweaked it so that it's gluten-free and paleo friendly. The recipe for the frosting is from Genevieve Ko's Better Baking. Do yourself a favor and use this to frost anything that would require a healthy (pun intended) dollop of chocolate frosting. :)


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
What you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 oz good quality dark chocolate (85%)
  • 2/3 cup maple sugar
  • 3/4 cup Otto's Cassava Flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Avocado Mayo (I used Chosen Foods)
  • 1/2 cup shaken canned coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups roasted sweet potato
  • 10 oz dark chocolate (or semi-sweet)
What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted; Mix until smooth. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the canned coconut milk and lemon juice, stir and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, Otto's Cassava Flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or another clean bowl, beat the mayo, with the lemon/coconut milk mixture, vanilla, and chocolate/coffee mixture until combined. Add the dried ingredients and beat until combined and no lumps remain. 
  3. Divide batter evenly in a paper lined muffin tin. Bake at 300F for 20-22 minutes. Cool slightly before removing onto cooling rack. Make the frosting by pureeing the roasted sweet potato in a food processor until completely smooth. Heat the puree in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the chocolate and stir into the sweet potato puree until melted and combined. 
  4. Spread frosting over cupcakes. Serve immediately or store them in an airtight container for later, just bring them to room temp before serving.

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