Low-Carb, Paleo Hummus

img_2608by Karen Frazier

I love hummus and when I went paleo, it was one of the most difficult things to give up. Fortunately, I came up with a fabulous replacement that tastes just like the real stuff, but is paleo friendly, low-carb, and Whole30 compliant when you serve it with chopped veggies.

  • 1 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon tahini

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Drizzle with EVOO.

 

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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.

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)

Asian Cucumber “Noodle” Salad

Cucumber

by Karen Frazier

They had beautiful cucumbers at the farmers market this week, so I picked up a few. I find cucumbers really refreshing – particularly in the summer. I love their slight acidity, which adds balance to fatty or rich cuts of meat, such as pork belly. I also picked up some cilantro, red scallions, and red heirloom carrots.

I have a spiralizer that I love to use to turn veggies into noodles, so I knew immediately what I wanted to do with this combination of farmer’s market veggies. I wanted to spiralize them into cold, crunchy “noodles” and then toss them with an Asian-inspired vinaigrette.

If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a vegetable peeler and cut the cucumbers and carrots into long, wide strips. You can use a paring knife to cut the strips into “noodles” or you can leave them as wide strips. It’s up to you.

Cold Cucumber “Noodle” Salad

  • 2 cucumbers, spiralized or cut into noodles
  • 2 large carrots, spiralized or cut into noodles
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of one orange
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha (or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes for Whole30)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold pressed sesame oil
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, carrots, scallions, and cilantro.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, sea salt, pepper, ginger, garlic, sriracha, and sesame oil.
  3. Toss the vinaigrette with the vegetables and serve cold.

spiralizer cover

(image license)

For more spiralizer recipes, check out the Healthy Spiralizer Cookbook, which I wrote for Rockridge Press.  It contains an array of veggie based “noodle” recipes using a spiralizer. I really like my Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer, which works like a pro with many vegetables.

If you’re trying to cut down on carbs, or if you just want to find a great way of adding noodles to your diet without the gluten, a spiralizer is a wonderful choice. I like making zucchini noodles into pasta, that I can then toss with all types of Italian sauces. You can also make soups, salads, and an array of other tasty vegetable and fruit dishes.

Orange Avocado Coleslaw

slawby Karen Frazier

I always thought I hated coleslaw with a passion. I was only ever really exposed to it at potlucks and picnics, but one taste told me it wasn’t for me. I first got an inkling that I might enjoy coleslaw when I accidentally ate some on a weekend away at Cave B in the Columbia Gorge. I was eating lunch in the restaurant there, Tendrils, and I took a tentative bite of the slaw. It was delicious. As the chef wandered by, I asked him what was in it, and he admitted it had apples and ginger.

That’s when I started trying to make a better coleslaw – because I knew it existed. I tried it with apples and ginger. Pretty good. I tried it with jicama. Not bad. I keep tinkering with my recipe trying to give it more punch. For the most part, I’ve been a little underwhelmed. Until tonight.

Tonight I made pork belly with coleslaw, and it was delicious. In fact, I might go as far as to say the coleslaw actually stole the show for me…which is really saying something given how much I love pork belly. When I was done eating, I wasn’t hungry anymore. But if I’d wanted another bite of food, it would have been the coleslaw I nibbled.

I started with a simple organic coleslaw mix from Whole Foods, an orange, and an avocado. I like making my coleslaw dressing avocado-based instead of mayo-based because I like the vitamins, fat, fiber, and flavor I get from the avocado. It worked out swimmingly. Sadly, I didn’t measure. But I am going to try and estimate for you exactly what I did, because seriously folks. Yum!

Orange Avocado Coleslaw

  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves (I dumped a bunch in and chopped them and then realized oh God! Raw garlic! So I scooped a bunch back out)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • Juice of one orange
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha (I like the recipe from NomNom Paleo) – or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes for Whole30
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 package organic coleslaw mix
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, chop the garlic cloves, 10 one-second pulses. Scrape the cloves from the sides of the food processor back into the bowl.
  2. Add the avocado, orange juice, orange zest, sriracha, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, and salt. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the coleslaw mix with the dressing.

That’s it. Simple. Basic. I’ve been making it harder than it had to be.
photo credit: Chez Olga Haitian Restaurant Eastown Lourdie Lunch January 20, 2012 7 via photopin (license)

Paleo Smoked Rib Eyes with Sweet and Sour Bacon Jam

Ribeyesby Karen Frazier

Jim is a meat lover. Man does that guy love his meat. If you put meat on top of meat, well he loves that even more. It’s why after his heart attack, I realized that the Paleo diet was the only way to go that would make him happy. I just couldn’t see him subsisting on a nearly vegetarian diet with a tiny amount of meat.

Fortunately, the research on the Paleo diet for people heart disease is very promising. After researching it extensively and talking to his cardiologist, this is where we settled. So far so good. He’s lost 30 pounds and his blood lipids are improving. His BP is low, and he is healthier than he has been in years.

It’s been great for me, too. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and celiac disease. Both are autoimmune conditions, and research is showing that Paleo diets work well for those. Since October 1, I have lost 55 pounds (and still going). I have more energy than I’ve had in years. My celiac disease is under control, and I just feel so much better in general. For us, it has vastly improved our health.

Anyway – meat on meat. I got a little sidetracked there with the whole health thing. And while health is super important, if you’re eating tasteless, unsatisfying food, any diet can be difficult to stick to. Since I am so invested in Jim’s good health–I want him around for years to come–I tailor the foods I make to his tastes. I want to make him do a happy dance at how delicious the foods I provide are. That means that sometimes, I put meat on meat. Which is where I came up with the idea for smoked rib eyes with bacon jam. Because seriously – yum.

The bacon jam is the perfect combination of sweet and sour with just a little bit of spice, while the smoky ribeye is the perfect canvas for it. Jim got a smoker a few years ago for Christmas and it is his pride and joy. If it came down to his smoker or me, I think he might choose the smoker. Fortunately, I’m happy that he spends time outside adding a little smokiness to meat, because it really brings the flavor to dishes like this. If you don’t have a smoker, no worries. Just cook the ribeye (or your favorite cut of beef) on the grill, or however you enjoy cooking it. My instructions below are for the smoker.

I served this dish with a sweet potato that I’d spiralized into pommes frites style shoestrings, fried in lard, and sprinkled with a bit of Himalayan pink salt. If that sounds like a super carby choice, it is not as bad as you would think. One five-inch sweet potato (peeled) in a spiralizer makes a huge batch of pommes frites, and it only has 26 grams of carbs. Between two people, it’s 13 grams of carbs each, minus about 3 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 10 grams. If you do fry up some sweet potato pommes frites, make sure your oil is 375 degrees Fahrenheit before you start to cook the potatoes, and work in batches.

I also added a side of sautéed citrus spinach. I’ll put the recipe below. I can’t actually eat a whole ribeye, or even half one, but it gives me a few meals. As for the leftover bacon jam, roll it in your omelet tomorrow morning or warm it up and put it over a fried egg.

Smoked Rib Eyes with Sweet and Sour Bacon Jam

  • 2 12-ounce grass fed rib eye steaks
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into small dice
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Swerve sweetener or 1 packet stevia
  1. Preheat your smoker to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season the steaks generously with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  3. Smoke the steaks for 50 minutes.
  4. While the steaks smoke, in a large sauté pan, brown the bacon over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan and set the bacon fat aside.
  5. Add the onion to the remaining fat and the bacon and cook it, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about five minutes.
  6. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the vinegar, thyme, sea salt, orange zest and orange juice, sriracha or red pepper flakes, and stevia or Swerve. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces and the flavors blend, about 20 minutes.
  8. Heat two tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the smoked rib eyes and cook until well browned, two minutes per side.
  9. Serve the bacon jam spooned over the top of the steak.

Sauteed Citrus Spinach

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, duck fat, lard, or bacon grease
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups organic fresh baby spinach
  • Juice and zest of half an orange
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  2. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is soft, about four minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the spinach, orange juice, orange zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach wilts. Serve immediately.

photo credit: junehug via photopin cc

Caramelized Onions – In the Slow Cooker

caramelized onionsby Karen Frazier

Caramelized onions add a sweet umami flavor to any dish. Just a few of these delicious onions make the dishes to which you add them display deeper complexity and richness. Plus, they are just plain delicious, and they’re a great way to add flavor to ancestral recipes.

I use them to top burger patties and steaks. I puree them with faux mashed potatoes made from cauliflower or celeriac. I stir them into soups and stews. I puree them with other cooked veggies and stir them back into braising liquid to make a flavorful thick sauce or gravy. I fold them into omelets, cook them with chicken, mix them with pureed avocado for a creamy dip, and find dozens of other delicious uses for them.

So it stands to reason with that, with so many uses for caramelized onions, it makes cooking easier if I make them in bulk and freeze them. When I make a single serving of caramelized onions on the stovetop, it takes about 45 minutes, which isn’t realistic for busy weeknights. However, if I make them in bulk in the slow cooker and freeze them, they are really easy to incorporate in all kinds of delicious dishes.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

  • 5 to 7 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (or however many fit in your slow cooker)
  • 3 tablespoons melted duck fat, lard, or your preferred fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a slow cooker to coat the onions.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and turn it on to low. Cook for about nine to ten hours, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden brown. Remove the lid and continue cooking the onions on low, stirring occasionally, for an additional one to two hours to allow excess liquid to evaporate.
  3. These will keep in the freezer for up to six months.

A note about the onions: The Environmental Working Group lists onions as one of its Clean 15, items that test only negligible amounts of pesticide residue. If I pick up onions at the farmers market, I buy them organic. Otherwise, I typically by conventionally grown onions at the grocery store.

One of my favorite cooking publications, Cooks Illustrated, recommends Spanish onions as the perfect caramelizing onion. I agree – if you can find them, try these. Otherwise, yellow onions are perfect. Sweet onions will make a very sweet caramelized onion, which may be a bit too much sweetness for some people. I prefer my caramelized onions on the more savory side with just a hint of sweetness, which is why I tend to use yellow onions or Spanish onions.

My favorite onions are cipollini, so I was excited to give those a try to caramelize. To my surprise they were almost aggressively savory – so just a few onions went a very long way.

photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry via photopin cc

Rosemary and Chive Roasted Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoesby Karen Frazier

For years, I thought I hated sweet potatoes. Of course, my only experience with them was the syrupy sweet candied Thanksgiving type, dripping in sugar, sweetness, and sometimes even marshmallows. Frequently, the sweet potatoes that wound up on the Thanksgiving dinner tables I frequented even came from a can. Blech.

As a result, I avoided them like the plague.

Then, a few years ago, I decided to try them again. I purchased fresh organic sweet potatoes at the local farmers market and decided to roast them. I was trepidatious, but I was ready to give them the old college try. They were delicious! I made them a few times for the family, and then promptly forgot about them.

Last night we had guests over for dinner. Jim and I eat very differently these days, usually consuming veggies and protein with a little fruit tossed in here and there, but with guests coming, I decided I wanted to add a starch so my guests didn’t leave feeling hungry and dissatisfied.

We mostly eschew starches around here, saving them as an occasional treat instead of standard fare. As a result, I no longer cook white potatoes, rice, quinoa, or any other grains that I would traditionally offer as a side dish. I toyed for a moment with offering our guests mashed cauliflower, but in the end, while I love that stuff, I couldn’t do that to my guests. They might find it weird.

Then I remembered sweet potatoes. While a bit starchy, sweet potatoes have a lot of fiber and nutrition in them, including vitamins A and C. Likewise, unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes don’t contain saponins, which are anti-nutrients that may disrupt cell membranes in the body. Plus, they’re pretty darn tasty.

So, I roasted some organic sweet potatoes, cooked a lovely rib roast, sautéed some chanterelles, and made a nice salad. Dinner was delicious, and I especially enjoyed the sweet potatoes. Here’s the recipe.

Rosemary and Chive Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice (skin still on)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, stems removed and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat, melted (or grass-fed butter or any other fat you choose to use)
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, rosemary, chives, garlic, duck fat, salt, and pepper until the potatoes are well-coated.
  3. Put the potatoes in a pan, forming a single layer along the bottom. I use a 9×13″ casserole dish.
  4. Roast the potatoes for about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir the potatoes and turn them over. Continue roasting until the potatoes are browned, about 25 to 30 minutes more.

photo credit: SaucyGlo via photopin cc

Quick Pickles

picklesMy family would probably tell you I’m obsessed with pickles. I. Love. Them. Every year I wait for cucumber season and watch for pickling cucumbers at the farmers’ market so I can enjoy homemade pickles. I like them garlicky with a touch of heat. These refrigerator pickles are great because they are quick and require no canning. We go through pickles pretty quickly in our house, so I do them in 2 pound batches in a crock.

Zesty Refrigerator Dill Pickles

  • 3 cups white wine vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 pounds pickling cucumbers, cut into spears
  • 4 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Small bunch fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes (or to taste)
  1. Boil vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan to dissolve salt.
  2. Layer cucumbers, onion, garlic, dill and peppercorns in a large crock.
  3. Pour hot brine over cucumbers. Add pepper flakes.
  4. Allow to sit, uncovered, on the counter until pickles are room temperature.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for three days before eating.

I also like to do a quick pickle to red onions. It removes some of the bite from onions, and the result is delicious on burgers or salads. Tonight, I’m making a quick pickled onion to put on top of Mediterranean spiced lamb burgers.

Red Onion Quick Pickle

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 thinly sliced red onion
  1. Combine sugar, salt, and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk until sugar and salt dissolves.
  2. Arrange red onions in a small bowl.
  3. Pour brine over onions.
  4. Sit at room temperature for one hour.
  5. Cover and refrigerate.

Warm Spinach Salad

baby spinachI have a certain person in my family who despises green food, and it’s not me or one of the kids. Still, I can get him to eat his spinach when I make this warm spinach salad. You can vary it in a number of ways, which I’ll include after the recipe. For the salad, I prefer baby spinach, which is more tender and flavorful; however, you can use other types of spinach, as well. The recipe below serves four.

  • 8 ounces of baby spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons duck fat
  • 5 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or raw apple cider vinegar)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. Wash and drain baby spinach. Place dry spinach in a large, heatproof bowl.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan and cook chopped bacon until crispy.
  3. Remove bacon from fat with a slotted spoon and put in bowl with spinach.
  4. Add shallots and cook until soft.
  5. Add red wine vinegar, scraping browned bits off bottom of pan.
  6. Pour dressing from pan over the top of spinach and bacon and toss. The bacon will wilt slightly.
  7. Top with fresh pepper and serve immediately.

Variations:

  • Change vinegar to sherry vinegar or balsamic
  • Add pine nuts
  • Add zest from one orange to dressing when you add sugar