Cocktail Time: Maple Orange Bacon “New Fashioned”

by Karen Frazier

IMG_1571This weekend, Jim and I headed out to the Sandstone Distillery outside of Tenino, WA. We were looking for something to do on a rainy Sunday when I thought, “Hey – let’s go tour a nearby distillery.” After a little Googling, I discovered Sandstone, which had this on its website: bacon-flavored whiskey. Bacon. Whiskey. How could I not go? How?

And so, off we went to the distillery, where we were treated to a lovely tour on one of the most delicious smelling places I’ve ever been! Next, they brought out their wonderful spirits and let us taste. Along with the bacon whiskey, we tasted vodka, rosemary vodka, gin, black gin, white whiskey, garlic and chive vodka, barrel aged whiskey, and 124 proof whiskey. All were outstanding and really delicious, and I got excited thinking of all the different cocktails I could come up with.

The bacon white whiskey is made from infusing their white whiskey with bacon from local pigs that actually are fed some of the byproducts of grain from the distillery’s whiskey making process. It is delicious with a smokey bacon flavor that’s not over the top.

The vodka is smooth and delicious. I liked it better than my standard go-to vodka, Tito’s. The rosemary vodka, especially when mixed with a little lemon, tastes like summer in a glass. The gin isn’t overpowering in its juniper flavor and is really lovely. The garlic and chive vodka, which isn’t yet for sale, was surprising and not overpowering. I think I could come up with a cocktail or two for it – or at least a few recipes where I could cook with it. The black gin has a lovely licorice finish because it is infused with star anise (hence the name black gin), and it’s very smooth. The barrel-aged whiskey tastes like a single-malt scotch, also smooth and tasty. And the white whiskey is smooth and a delicious sipper.

We came home with the bacon white whiskey (naturally), the vodka, rosemary vodka, and black gin. And now I start making cocktails. First up was the bacon white whiskey. I think it’s only available at the distillery, so if you’re not local, you may want to substitute bacon vodka or something similar. You could even infuse vodka or whiskey with a few slices of cooked bacon. If you’re a paleo dieter, the drink is sort of paleo if you include a little whiskey in your diet from time to time (raising hand – I do!).

Maple Orange Bacon “New Fashioned”

  • 1 shot Sandstone Distillery Bacon White Whiskey
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • Soda water
  • Ice
  • Orange slice

In a Collins glass, combine the whiskey, orange juice, maple syrup, soda water, and ice. Garnish with the orange slice.

I’ll let you know what I come up with as I experiment with the other spirits we brought home.

 

Patty Melt Soup

caramelized onionsby Karen Frazier

I used to love patty melts. In fact, it was one of my favorite things to order when we went out to dinner at a greasy spoon. Celiac disease (and a low-carb paleo diet) put the patty melt out of reach for me, but I know I could find a way to get all the same flavors without it having to be a greasy burger.

Whenever I’m trying to recreate flavor profiles of a favorite dish I can no longer have, my first stop is soup. I figure you can recreate almost any flavor in a soup. In this case, it worked. Patty melt cravings satisfied in a delicious, low-carb, paleo way.

Patty Melt Soup

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into pieces
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seed (use a spice grinder if you can’t find it ground)
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 8 cups beef bone broth
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  1. In a large pot, brown the bacon on medium high. Remove the bacon from the fat with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
  2. In the same pot, cook the ground beef, crumbling it with a spoon, until it is browned, about five minutes. Remove it from the fat with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are browned and caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the beef broth, caraway, and mustard powder, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with the side of a spoon. Return the ground beef and bacon to the pot. Turn the heat to medium.
  6. Bring the pot to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes.
  7. If you’d like a little cheesy flavor with the  soup, stir in the nutritional yeast.

If you like more veggies in your soup, add some sliced carrots, zucchini, or any other vegetables you enjoy. Cabbage is also a tasty addition.

Chocolate Nut Butter Fudge

fudgeby Karen Frazier

I bought a few cans of coconut milk the other day and found, as often happens, the coconut milk had separated into cream at the top of the can with the water condensing in the bottom. This separation of the solids and liquids, I realized, is the perfect way to add a creamy element to a lot of different foods.

My first thought was using these coconut milk solids (the coconut cream) to make icing, since they had a texture similar to chilled butter, albeit a bit creamier and less dense. However, I didn’t feel like messing with paleo flours to bake a cake or brownies, but I still wanted to mess around with the cream a bit.

Then it hit me. If I mixed the coconut cream with a nut butter and some melted chocolate, it would develop a fudge-like consistency. Or that was my hope. So I gave it a try, and it worked. The result was a creamy, low-carb, vegan, paleo, tasty fudge with the perfect texture and the exact right level of sweetness.

You’ll need to use canned coconut milk here – the full-fat kind, not lite coconut milk. Usually you can tell if the solids and liquids have separated by giving the can a shake and listening. There won’t be a liquid sloshing sound. If, for some reason, it hasn’t separated, then you can refrigerate the unopened can overnight, which should do the trick.

The cans of coconut milk where this is most likely to happen are those without any additives or emulsifiers – so check the ingredients and make sure it only lists coconut cream and water. This is the type that is most likely to separate.

When you open the can, pour away the water and use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the solid coconut cream out. Some stores also sell coconut cream, and you can use that, as well.

Choose a nut butter that works with your diet. If you’re paleo, sugar-free, organic almond butter works well here. If you’re not paleo, then use organic, sugar-free peanut butter instead. I don’t specify an amount of liquid stevia (for paleo), or liquid sucralose (for non-paleo, low-carb) because sweetness preferences vary. I tend to like my dessert not very sweet, so I don’t add a lot of sweetener. To get the right amount of sweetness, add a bit of the liquid sweetener (5-10 drops), taste, add more, taste – and continue until you reach the desired sweetness level.

Chocolate Nut Butter Fudge

  • 2 ounces unsweetened dark, vegan chocolate
  • 1/3 cup nut butter
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, drained or 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Liquid stevia or liquid sucralose to taste
  1. Line an eight-inch square pan with parchment.
  2. In your microwave or on the stove, melt the nut butter and chocolate. If melting on the stovetop, do it on low heat and stir frequently. In the microwave, cook on high for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until smooth.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl or stand mixer, beat the melted chocolate and nut butter, coconut cream, vanilla, and sweetener until smooth. Taste and add more sweetener as desired.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan using a rubber spatula to spread it in an even layer. Freeze for one hour. Cut into squares, and store the fudge in a zipper bag in the fridge or freezer.

photo credit: Coffee Fudge via photopin (license)

Lemon and Artichoke Shrimp Scampi

by Karen Frazier

scampiThis meal came together within 15 minutes, and it’s really tasty. It’s also low-carb and paleo.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or your favorite paleo-friendly fat
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized into noodles or cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high until it shimmers.
  2. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, three to five minutes.
  3. Add the shallot and artichoke hearts. Cook, stirring occasionally, for four minutes.
  4. Add six of the minced garlic cloves and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the lemon juice, shrimp, white wine, and zucchini. Cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp is pink, about four minutes.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 minced garlic cloves, the parsley, the basil, and the lemon zest.
  8. Stir into the shrimp mixture just before serving.

photo credit: Healthy Zucchini Noodles with Prawns via photopin (license)

Spicy Asian Chopped Chicken Salad

slawby Karen Frazier

This is a tasty, simple throw together meal when you have leftover chicken, or when you have cold rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. It takes minutes to prepare, but it is satisfying and flavorful.

Spicy Asian Chopped Chicken Salad

  • 1 pound cooked chicken meat, chopped
  • 1 head green cabbage, julienned
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste for Whole30, use 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • Juice of one lime (or juice of half an orange)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped nuts or sesame seeds (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, celery, and cilantro. Toss to mix.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the Chinese hot mustard powder, grated ginger root, Sriracha, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Toss the vinaigrette with the salad and serve immediately.
  4. Garnish with the chopped nuts or sesame seeds.

Orange-Almond Spice Cookie Bars

IMG_0908by Karen Frazier

I have always been a baker. Puttering around in the kitchen baking stuff is one of my favorite ways to while away an autumn weekend afternoon while Jim watches football. With the celiac disease and my low-carb, paleo diet, however, I stopped engaging in that love. It’s only been recently that I’ve started tinkering with baking once again.

This recipe came to me in a flash of inspiration a few days ago, and I decided last night to give it a try. I was worried about lots of things – tweaking ratios, etc., but the cookies came out really well on the first try. Feel free to mess around with the flavor profiles. I love the way the orange, spice, almond, and chocolate blend in this tasty recipe.

The cookies are paleo-ish – the erythritol in the sweetener renders them not quite paleo; however, if you aren’t baking low-carb, you can replace the sweetener with coconut sugar. It will raise the carb count, but keep the cookies paleo. So it’s a matter of blood sugar vs. staying totally paleo.

Orange-Almond Spice Cookie Bars

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup Swerve Sweetener or Truvia (for low-carb) or coconut sugar (for paleo)
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups almond meal flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate
  • Liquid stevia, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, mix one cup of the coconut oil with the Swerve or Truvia, almond extract, orange zest, and Chinese Five Spice powder until well blended.
  3. Stir in the eggs, beating until well-combined.
  4. Stir in the almond flour and the sea salt, mixing until well combined.
  5. Spread the dough evenly in the prepared baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies brown slightly around the edges (the top won’t brown), and the dough doesn’t have much give on the top, about 30 minutes. Cool for ten minutes.
  6. Lift the cookies out of the pan by lifting the parchment. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining two tablespoons of coconut oil and the chocolate. Cook, stirring constantly, on low heat until the chocolate melts. Stir in the stevia a few drops at a time until you achieve the desired sweetness. The cookies are quite sweet, so I made my chocolate only lightly sweet to serve as a slightly bitter counterpoint to the sweetness of the cookies.
  8. Spread the chocolate in a very thin layer (or drizzle it artistically) on the cookies. Allow the chocolate to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to harden the chocolate slightly. Then, cut the cookies into small bars and transfer them to plates. Refrigerate to completely harden the chocolate.

Since I don’t eat a lot of sweet stuff, I’m keeping these cookies in the freezer, at the ready for when I need a sweet treat, or when I just want a taste of something completely different.

Grilled Beef Short Ribs with Apple and Jicama Slaw

short ribsby Karen Frazier

Okay – here’s the deal. I had leftover marinade from my earlier pork belly recipe, but alas, I had no unfrozen pork belly. Not to worry, however. I have about 10 pounds of it in my freezer (yay!)

So anyhoo…I wanted to use the rest of the marinade. Which is why I headed to the grocery store and picked up some flanken-style beef short ribs (the kind of beef short ribs where they are cut thin across several bones).

I marinated them in my extra marinade for a little over two hours, and then I popped them on my Foreman grill, which I consider a very underrated kitchen gadget. You can also grill them on the regular grill or use a grill pan.

Although the marinade was the same, the flavor was very different from the pork belly. The beef was super flavorful. As I was eating, I realized the ribs would be delish with a ginger broccoli stir-fry, but it’s also good with a crispy, slightly sweet, slightly acidic slaw (or why choose? you can do both!) I’ll include recipes for both, and you can decide.

Asian Marinated Flanken-Style Beef Short Ribs

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 2 to 3 pounds flanken-style beef short ribs
  • Sesame seeds
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, stevia, sriracha, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger root.
  2. Add the short ribs to a large zipper bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and squish it around (I believe squish is a technical term) until all the meat is covered. Refrigerate for two to four hours. The longer the marinade, the more flavor you’ll get. You can even marinade in the morning and cook when you get home.
  3. Preheat a grill on high.
  4. Grill the short ribs, three to four minutes per side.
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Broccoli Ginger Stir-Fry

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the coconut oil on medium-high until it shimmers.
  2. Add the ginger and broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about five minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the soy sauce. Cook for one minute, stirring frequently.

Apple and Jicama Slaw

  • 2 sweet-tart apples (I like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady), cored and julienned
  • 1 Jicama, peeled and julienned
  • Juice of two limes
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a large bowl, combine the apples and jicama.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, ginger root, rice vinegar, cilantro, olive oil, and sea salt.
  3. Toss the dressing with the apples and jicama.

So those are the recipes. Trust me, they’re delicious! But, I just thought of something else that would be really delicious with the short ribs…a bok choy stir-fry, cooked in a manner similar to the broccoli above. You might even toss in a handful of sliced shiitake mushrooms for a tasty low-carb side dish.

Spicy Asian Pork Belly with Slaw

pork bellyby Karen Frazier

I love pork belly. I order ours online at Tenderbelly and cut it into one-pound slabs, which I freeze and use as needed. This tender meat is tasty and versatile. It’s also very rich, so I typically serve it with a side of something that is crispy and acidic, such as a slaw. The acidity and crispiness of the slaw cuts through the unctuous fattiness of the pork. The slaw here is a typical Asian slaw, but you can also try the recipe with a slaw made from julienned jicama or apples, which would taste delicious with an Asian vinaigrette.

Spicy Asian Pork Belly with Slaw

For the pork belly:

  • 1 to 2 pounds of pork belly
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

For the slaw:

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Cilantro leaves to taste
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Juice of one lime
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginggeroot
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the pork belly:

  1. Slice the pork belly into slices that are slightly thicker than thick-cut bacon. Put the slices in a large zipper bag.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, stevia, sriracha, sesame oil, and gingerroot.
  3. Pour the marinade in the bag with the pork belly, sealing the bag and squishing it around to distribute the marinade and coat all of the meat.
  4. Refrigerate for one to two hours.
  5. Heat a large saute pan on medium high. Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, cook the pork belly until it is crisp on both sides, three to five minutes per side.
  6. Serve the pork belly on top of the slaw with the scallions and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

For the slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and scallions. Toss to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, ginger, garlic, sriracha, mustard powder, and salt.
  3. Toss the dressing with the slaw.

photo credit: umi nom pork belly adobo via photopin (license)

Low-Carb Paleo Stuffing/Dressing

stuffingby Karen Frazier

Yes – I know it’s after Thanksgiving, but some people turn around and make stuffing again at Christmas. Plus, I didn’t want to offer you a stuffing/dressing recipe until I’d tried it out on my own. That way, if it was terrible, we all would have all had disastrous stuffing on Thanksgiving. It wasn’t – it was tasty.

  • 8 ounces pancetta, cubed
  • 16 ounces bulk sage sausage
  • 2 tablespoons paleo-friendly fat (coconut oil, duck fat, etc.)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 apples, chopped (optional)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 6 rosemary sprigs, stems removed and chopped
  • 6 sage sprigs, stems removed and chopped
  • 6-8 thyme sprigs, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large pot on medium-high heat, cook the pancetta and sausage,stirring occasionally, until browned, about five minutes. Remove the pork from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl.
  3. In the pot with the fat from the pork, add the paleo-friendly fat and cook until it melts.
  4. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about five minutes. Remove from the vegetables from the fat with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the pork.
  5. In the same pot, add the celery and apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about five minutes more.
  6. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the entire contents of the pot (including the fat) to the bowl with the other vegetables and the pork.
  8. Add the almond meal, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and eggs. Mix well.
  9. Spread the mixture in a large casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for one hour.

Tips:

  1. Try replacing the apples with about a pound of chopped mushrooms.
  2. To quickly chop the herbs, put them all in a food processor and pulse for about 10 one-second pulses, or until well chopped.

photo credit: Stuffing at the ready via photopin (license)

Avogolemono Soup with Herbed Lamb Meatballs

Avgolemono soup

by Karen Frazier

I’m on a soup roll. I’m making it about once a week right now because it keeps and freezes well, and because soup is tasty. This week, I decided to try my own take on an avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup made fragrant with garlic and herbed lamb meatballs. It was fully experimental, but incredibly delicious, and the house smelled fantastic! This is a simple soup that came together very quickly. It took me less than an hour to make. For fun, I used purple carrots in it, which added some nice color. I think next time, I may stir in about two cups of baby spinach after I add the lemon and eggs, because spinach goes so nicely with both lamb and lemon. The heat of the soup will wilt and cook the spinach almost instantly.

Avgolemono Soup with Herbed Lamb Meatballs

  • 15 garlic cloves, divided
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh marjoram
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat (or your favorite fat, such as olive oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups homemade chicken bone broth (or store bought chicken broth)
  • Juice of 2 to 3 lemons
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, pulse together ten of the garlic cloves with the marjoram, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper until finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the herbs and garlic finely and then mix with the salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the chopped garlic/herb mixture with the ground lamb. Roll into one-inch meatballs and set aside. I use my stand mixer for this, because my hands get so cold when I mix the meat by hand.
  3. In a large pot, heat the duck fat or olive oil on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about five minutes.
  4. Chop the remaining five garlic cloves and stir them into the onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. Drop in the meatballs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat off under the soup. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the lemons. Working about a tablespoon at a time, whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot broth into the egg and lemon mixture to temper the eggs so they don’t cook when you add them to the soup. Then, in a thin stream stir the egg mixture into the soup. If adding spinach, stir it in after you’ve stirred in the egg and lemon mixture.
  8. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.