Best (NON Bacon) Brussels sprouts, Asian Style

I do love a good bacon and garlic Brussels Sprout but being late in the winter season it was time to awaken the “side dish”.

Taking inspiration from one of the Hottest Chefs in the world, David Chang, here we have my version of a paleo friendly, especially if you use a pure anchovy fish sauce, high flavored restaurant style Brussels sprout side dish..serve with Grilled Meat or mix with eggs or just eat them as a snack!

To start you need to trim and cut in half a whole heap (4 pounds ) of medium to small sized  Fresh Brussels sprouts, I like to discard the outer layer of each, if you have a farmer fresh resource you probably can skip that step.

Heat oven to 475

On 2 sheet pans put 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, each, place in oven to melt the oil, and then spread evenly across the pan, and divide the sprouts between the pans and season with sea salt.  Roast the sprouts for 7 minutes, then turn the sprouts and turn and swap position in oven of the pans—roast another 8 minutes, they should be darkly roasted and soft but not mushy

Dressing

  • ¼ Cup Fish Sauce
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • ¼ Cup Honey, slightly heated so it dissolves easily when whisked
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup of chopped Cilantro
  • ¼ cup of chopped Fresh Mint
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Optional, 1 red Thai Chili, minced

Mix all this together and then in a large bowl place the roasted sprouts and bath them in the dressing, I recommend starting with half the dressing to start and tasting and adjusting to your liking, you might find this dressing is enough for 2 batches for you.

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Apple Chicken and Squash Stew

Fall, a Favorite time of year to enjoy the bounty of the farm with mild weather, early nightfall, and cool weather.  Comfort food comes to mind for many of us and when you put it all together you get something like Chicken, Squash, and Apple stew.

Is it 100% Paleo?  I don’t know I’m not really that concerned about it, it’s good!   It fulfills my desire for something creative and challenging that I can make without spending 3 hours in the kitchen.  Let’s get started!

For the Stew

  • 8 Skin on bone in Chicken thighs, preferably Pastured Raised from a farmer you know
  • 1 tablespoon fat (bacon drippings or coconut oil)
  • 3 yellow medium onions
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup unfiltered unpasteurized Apple Cider
  • 1 Tablespoon, Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Gluten Free tamari (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 6-8 dashes Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

Salt and pepper the chicken thighs,

and cut the onion into ½ to ¾ inch chunks, Peel the big, solid end of the squash and divide into 3, then cut into similar sized chunks as the onion.

In a large  ovensafe saucepan or dutch oven (8 quart), Add 1 tablespoon fat, get pan smoking (literally) hot brown chicken skin side down over high heat, turn and brown other side, I did 2 batches of 4, took about 10 minutes each batch.  Set Chicken a side, when cooled a bit remove the skin and discard.

Preheat oven to 375

Once the chicken is browned off, reduce heat to medium add onions, cook until they brown, be sure to scrap the bottom of the pan hard to release the goodness from the Chicken thighs.  Once onions are browned add squash and cook for 3-5 minutes, then add the Apple Cider, Stock, and Maple syrup and add the thighs to the pot, bring this to a simmer, then move to the oven to cook for an hour, covered.

Pull the pot out of the oven and pull the chicken thighs out and remove the knuckle and bone and lightly shred the chicken.  Season the broth with Tamari, Fish Sauce, worcestershire, and Chili Powder, salt and pepper and add chicken back in, stir it up and taste.  Additional items you can add, Chopped fresh Sage, Bacon bits, or Prosciutto.

You’re ready to eat, who’s hungry?

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Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin bars, the comfort food at many a fall family reunion and church social.  Haven’t figured out the frosting part, I doubt you’ll notice.

Shopping list

  • 15 ounce Organic Pumpkin Puree (Sweet potato would work too)
  • eggs, from a farmer you know
  • 3-3.5 ounce bar 85% or higher dark chocolate
  • local RAW honey
  • butter, again organic, grassfed preferred
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Sea Salt
  • ground almond meal (or whole almonds to grind)
  • Pure Vanilla (Preferably Organic)
  • Optional (Ancho Chili powder)

Recipe

4 ounces butter
15 ounces of Pumpkin Puree
4 ounces local RAW honey
4 eggs
1.5 cups ground almond, or almond meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
Optional-3-3.5 ounces chopped Dark Chocolate
Optional, 1.5 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder

Preheat Oven to 350, grease up a 11 by 13 pan, I use coconut oil.

Melt butter, slightly warm honey, combine in large bowl with pumpkin and eggs, Whisk until smooth, add Almond Meal/flour, vanilla, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chili powder if using.  Stir until well mixed.  your purpose here is to disperse the soda, cinnamon, salt through out the batter.  If using fold in the Chocolate.

Total baking time will be roughly 35 minutes and your done when the center of the batter is firm to the touch.  I turn the pan at 15 minutes.  and check again at 30 minutes cause I can’t stand overcooked baked goods.

Cool in pan for 30-45 minutes, cut into 24 squares and ENJOY!  Try not to eat more than 6 the first day…I mean try it..Not sure you’ll be able to limit yourself!

 

TIP:: if you prefer a less Almond texture or taste to your bar, reduce the almond meal by half, bake at 325 for 40- 45 minutes instead.

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Easy Chocolate Cookie

Hey there, I’ve never had a “Paleo” cookie I really liked, so I thought I’d tackle making one–Now this isn’t 100% Paleo, it has cane sugar in it, each cookie has about 7 grams of sugar, which  is about the same as 1 ounce of dark chocolate.  The point is it’s a treat, it’s pretty healthy but it isn’t “free” from calories or carbs.  Now I will dismount this high horse I’m on and get to the Nitty Gritty

There are 5 main Ingredients: Nuts, Dried Fruit, Chocolate Nut Butter, egg and good sea salt.  I wish there weren’t almost as many appliances, but we need 3: food processor, mixer and an oven.

First thing we are gonna do is go shopping:

We need 1/2 cup of each nut, Raw and Unsalted:

  • Pistachio kernels
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts, Blanched with no skin preferably but skin will work if that’s what you have
  • Unsweetened Dried Cherries
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Nut Butter, I’ve been using, http://www.justinsnutbutter.com, if you are looking at the price and trying to decide if you are going to make the plunge but can’t, Chocolate Almond Butter will work
  • you need 1 egg, you better check the frig
  • Coarse Sea Salt, I use Grey Frontier Brand

Once you get back home, preheat that oven to 350 and break out the food processor.

Add 1/2 cup each pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt. Let the processor do the chopping, use a knife on a cutting board (add salt after your done and mix it in) or if you have some sort of magic nut chopper put it to use.

Move the nuts to a mixing bowl add 1/2 cup of the dried cherries, 1 cup of the nut butter and 1 egg.  Mix together; this takes a little less time than getting your mixer set up, about 45 seconds.

Prepare a cookie sheet with a liner, parchment or a fancy silicone one (use it if you got it).  The recipe makes 10 to 12 - 2 Tablespoon cookies, I know, I know –  depends on how precise of a measure you did in the steps above.  With a tablespoon make dough balls, 2 tablespoons each and roll them just like Peanut Butter cookies of your childhood.

I bake 6 at a time, pressing them down with a fork (works best to wet the fork with water after each cookie so the dough doesn’t stick)

Bake for 5 minutes, turn the cookie sheet and bake for 6 more minutes. Let the cookies sit on the sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.  Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

 

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Sriracha Butter Sauce

Mother Sauce
We’ve been using this sauce on everything. It’s a pretty simple sauce, melt butter, add some minced garlic and some Asian sauces and your set. To date we’ve used it for Chicken Wings sauce, on sweet potatoes, and as a sauce on Shrimp. We like it better cooked with the main ingredient but spooning it on as a sauce works as well.

The Sauce

  • 4 ounces of Grass fed organic butter (or best butter you can get)
  • 2 tablespoons Sriricha
  • 1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Gluten Free Tamari
  • 1 clove of minced garlic

Melt butter with all the other ingredients, that’s it!

With Chicken Wings


Roast 4 dozen chicken wings, seasoned with salt and pepper at 375 for 75 to 90 minutes, turning occasionally, every 30 minutes or so
Add the sauce to large pan and over medium heat toss with the wings, if there is rendered fat from the roasting of the wings go ahead and add that into the pan as well. Cook about 4-5 minutes to nicely coat the wings then I love to serve this with:

Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 Sweet Potatoes

Roast sweet potatoes with skin on in oven till cooked through, 375 for 40-45 minutes, let cool (5 to 10 minutes), peel, and chop into cubes. Pour butter mix over sweet potatoes mix together by folding and now you can serve or if needed hold in oven at 225 for up to 30 minutes. Can be made up to 2 days ahead and warmed in a 325 over until center is hot, roughly 30 minutes.
And now a similar but different kind of idea

Shrimp

  • 1 pound of 16/20 or 21/25 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and I like to remove the tail as well.
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 clove garlic thinly sliced

Pat shrimp dry, in large pan heat coconut oil, add shrimp cook 90 seconds (60 if 21-25 size), turn shrimp remove from heat, add garlic, let cook 90 more seconds (60 if 21/25 size). Remove the Shrimp, in the pan add the butter sauce, whisk it over medium heat reducing by about 25%. Add shrimp back in and coat, cook a little extra if you think your shrimp is a bit under done (30 seconds over medium heat should be enough).

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Snap Peas

Snap Peas are just in season here in the midwest, so here is a super simple idea on how to use them.

Recipe

  • 2 pounds of snap peas
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons of Fresh Thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons of Rendered Bacon Fat (sub Coconut oil or Lard as wished)

Snap the Peas, pinch by the stem tip, twist and pull off the string from stem to bottom

Mince garlic, and pick and finely chop the Thyme.

Heat large pan with Fat, when warm add peas and cook until Al Dente (7-10 minutes) you want to get some color on the peas.  Add garlic and Thyme, cook until Fragarant, 1 minute or so, Season with Salt and Serve!

We eat them Like Edamame, but you

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Turtles

I grew up in a medium sized town in Iowa with a famous chocolate shop, their specialty was turtles.  So seared into my “enjoyment” gland is the need for an ooey gooey sweet, nutty chocolaty treat.  As I pondered how to make these “paleo” the issue wasn’t going to be the nuts or the chocolate, but the ooey gooey.  After over cooking and under cooking, SUCCESS, finally, and luck prevailed and now we can all enjoy the quintessential turtle as a paleo treat.  BE WARNED YOU CAN’T JUST EAT ONE.

Ingredient list

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 20 ounces of assorted nuts, options include, cashews, almonds (whole or slivered), pecans (preferred chopped), macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, heck I bet pumpkin seeds would work too
  • 6 ounces of your preferred dark chocolate, I used 88% endangered species
  • local raw honey (8 fluid ounces)
  • grey sea salt (any good sea salt would work)
  • Pure Vanilla extract
  • Optional but useful, Parchment paper

RECIPE

prepare a 9 by 9 pan with parchment paper covering the bottoms and the sides

  • 8 ounces of butter
  • 8 ounces of raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt

 

For the Oeey Gooey

In a sauce pan combine all ingredients then over low heat melt the butter.  Once the butter has melted whisk everything together and keep at a low simmer.

Slowly cooking the honey, butter mixture until it’s a blonde caramel, don’t tan too much as it will burn the milk solids and turn everything bitter, this takes about 15 minutes (very roughly).

 

While the ooey gooey is cooking combine your nuts in a large bowl, big enough to stir everything together when then ooey gooey is ready, I used 6 ounces of chopped pecans, 7 ounces of raw whole cashews, and 7 ounces of raw almonds.

Pour ooey gooey over the nuts and stir to distribute.  Place the nut mixture into the 9 by 9 pan and press out with a spatula into the corners and to make the top as flat as possible.  Put in refrigerator is cool.

Once cooled (about 3 hours), melt chocolate and pour over the top ( found the better I was at making the top of the nuts flat before refigeration the easier the spreading of chocolate was) and distribute.  Put back in refrigerator to set up chocolate (about 2 hours), once the chocolate is set, pull the turtles out of the pan by lifting the parchment paper.

Set the turtles on the cutting board chocolate side down, slowly remove the parchment scraping any ooey gooey onto a knife and spreading back onto the turtles.  Cut into pieces and enjoy.  I’d also recommend keeping these refrigerated until ready to serve, with layers of parchment if stacked.

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Best “Damn” Brownie ever

So I’ve been spoiling the gym, family, and myself as I’ve set on a quest for the perfect Brownie recipe–I had a winner but it fed a small army, had 2 pounds of Chocolate and 1 pound of butter–while all that is…well, SUPER COOL!..It’s not too practical to spend $30 on a recipe for Treats, so I looked within and BOOM,

BEST DAMN BROWNIE EVER!


Dark Chocolate, nutty, and fudgy—only down side I can find is that you don’t eat them hot out of the pan, they need to be chilled to set up.

Pretty simple to make–just don’t over bake them, I’m calling for Nut meal or Flour, what I mean is you can use Almond Flour, Hazelnut Meal, Pecan whatever…I’ve been making meal out of hazelnuts in the food processor, and by Heaping I’m saying it’s ok to add a bit more than ½ a cup.

Preheat oven to 325 and butter or oil a 9 by 9 pan

3 ounces 80% or higher Organic Chocolate Melt the Butter and the Chocolate together in the microwave in low heat setting, stirring occasionally, Aim to just melt the Chocolate, warm the honey slightly in the microwave (high for 20 seconds) and then Whisk into the Chocolate mix with 2 eggs, add the Nut Meal or flour, Vanilla, and Sea Salt and stir to combine
4 ounces Organic unsalted Butter
4 ounces Honey
2 Eggs
½ cup heaping Nut meal or flour
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
3 to 4 ounces 70% or higher Dark Chocolate Chop the Chocolate into chunks and fold into the brownie batter

Pour batter into the 9 by 9 pan and move the batter around to fill all the corners, pop in the  upper third of your oven (not the top) until the center is set to the touch, 25 minutes or so, and then place pan in Refrigerator until the brownies cool, roughly 1 hour—slightly longer or overnight is fine.  I cut these into 25 brownies and eat them for breakfast; such is the life of making the perfect Brownie.  Store Chilled, if you are layering best to put some parchment or wax paper between each layer.

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Paleo “pasta”

Pasta?  Think of the chicken as your noodle, it’s a perfect Paleo/Zone solution.  Inspired by a dish I had when I was a very young chef just starting out, Earthy Leeks, Prosciutto, and Mushrooms with Chicken, makes for a great bowl of fuel for your active life.

Shopping list

  • 8 Chicken Beasts (boneless skinless)
  • 3 leeks
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 5 Portabella mushrooms
  • Prosciutto, La Quercia if you can find it
  • 3-4 sprigs of Rosemary
  • Chicken stock, if you don’t have your own

Optionally

  • Butter
  • Parmigianino Reggiano

Recipe

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary finely chopped
  • 5 Portabellas, cleaned and diced
  • 3 leeks, cleaned and diced
  • 10 slices of Prosciutto julienned
  • 8 chicken Breasts cleaned
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 4 ounces of butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parmigianino Reggiano to taste, optional

To make your “noodles”, clean your chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper, The next step is to fully cook the chicken, I like to grill mine but broiling or pan frying will work as well.  Once the chicken is cooked let it rest.

While the chicken is resting mince your garlic and finely chop the rosemary, clean the mushrooms by removing the stem and scraping away the gills, then dice.  For the leeks dice same size as the mushrooms and soak in cold water, to remove grit, remove from water by pulling the leeks out, not pouring them out.  Stack the prosciutto and thinly slice it.

For the “noodles” thinly slice the chicken on the bias—that means across the grain and a little on the diagonal.

In a pan over medium heat add some cooking oil, Bacon Fat would be perfect, 1 Tablespoon of your preferred oil will be plenty.  Add the leeks and cook until soft then add the mushrooms, cook until they release their liquid, add the garlic and Prosciutto.  Cook for about 1 minute add the Chicken stock and reduce the liquid by about half, this shouldn’t take more than a minute or 2.

Now add the rosemary, season with salt and pepper to taste and then add the chicken.   If you are using the butter add it now but without the burner on.  Toss your the “pasta” until the “noodles” are all sauced.

You’re Ready! dish up your “pasta” top with Parm (if using) and serve.

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Berry Egg Bake

Berry Egg bake

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy your local berries, honey, and eggs, and if you are lucky enough milks.  This bake is based off an Italian custard desert updated for your breakfast needs, if made ahead it’s a quick breakfast alternative, we try to make at least 2 per week.

The berries or fruits can be of your choice so far I have tried

  • Raspberries
  • Huckleberries
  • Currants
  • Strawberries, farmed and wild
  • Blackberries, farmed and wild
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Saskatoons

Some combos I like, raspberry and blackberry with lemon, currants and strawberries with lime, cherry, blueberry, and raspberry with lemon, and blackberry and saskatoon with orange.

Shopping list

  • 2 pints of berries (I prefer to mix them)
  • 1 pint half and half
  • 6 ounces of butter
  • 12 eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Honey
  • Almond flour
  • Citrus (2 oranges, 2 limes, or 2 lemons)

Recipe

  • 6 ounces of butter
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of half and half
  • 2 pints of berries
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla
  • Zest of 2 citrus
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups of almond flour

This recipe is for an 11 by 13 pan, which is pretty standard in most kitchens, I prefer glass, the pictures show a ceramic casserole which won’t hold as much as this recipe makes. Pre heat oven to 350.

  1. Wash and dry citrus and berries.
  2. Zest Citrus.
  3. Over low heat in a non-reactive pan (no aluminum) melt the butter and heat the honey with it—do not brown the butter.  While the butter in melting in a large bowl crack in all your eggs into bowl and whisk together with half and half, zest, salt, and vanilla.
  4. Whisk in butter and Honey mixture, might want to add a small amount first to temper the eggs, doubt you can actually scramble them though
  5. Stir in the almond flour
  6. Add berries to pan, and pour liquid over them
  7. If you want to get fancy you can place a few berries on the top and sprinkle with a little almond flour

Place baking dish on a liner like a cookie sheet and slide into middle of oven and cook for 30 minutes, turn cook for another 15-20 minutes until the middle of the custard is almost set.  Remove and cool, if serving right away, cool for about 30 minutes to set center, if not cover and refrigerate.  I like it both cold and warm in the morning with a big cup of iced coffee.

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