Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Torte

My name is Ginnie and I am cooking nerd.  I love kitchen gadgets.  I have quite the collection.  I think my two favorites are my propane torch (a real one, not the crappy "kitchen" one") and my iSi Gourmet Whip.

Sunday evening we had a few friends over for dinner, and in preparation for The 21 Day Sugar Detox that I am doing, I figured I might as well go out with a bang by having what is the best Flourless Chocolate Torte...ever.

The recipe is not of my own creation, but I adapted it to make it paleo.  I have seen some other recipes out there, but there is nothing compared to this one by Cooks Illustrated.  Sublime perfection.

Anyways, you can't eat this torte without cream.  However, it was Sunday, and I didn't have any on hand so I couldn't run to the store.  In the past I have done the coconut milk whip cream.  You know, put the can in the fridge overnight, take out the thick part, and then whip it?  It's good, and it works okay.  But I thought I should give it a try in my iSi.  So I just chilled the can, shook it well, put it in the iSi, and it turned out perfect!  Just like whip cream foam.  I was jumping for joy!  (Now you get why I am a  kitchen nerd!)

10 eggs
1 lb. 4 oz. dark chocolate (I used 70% Valrhona)
1 1/4 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. water
1 tbsp. espresso powder
Kettle of boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven.  Oil a 9" springfoam pan on the bottom and sides, then place a parchment circle in the pan and then oil it again.  Wrap foil around the lower half of the pan evenly.  Place the pan in large roasting pan.

Mix espresso powder and water together.

In large stand mixer, whip eggs on medium fast speed until they pale and thicken, about 8-10 minutes.  
Meanwhile, in a large boil placed over simmering water, melt the chocolate, coconut oil and espresso together.

When the chocolate mixture is smooth, remove from heat and fold in 1/3 of the eggs.  Fold in the next 1/3 and then the last 1/3.  Place the mixture in the springfoam pan, smooth the top and the fill the boiling water in the roasting pan until it comes half way up the sides of the spring foam.

Place in the oven and cook 23-27 minutes, removing from the oven when the center temperature reaches 140 degrees.  It may seem underdone, but that is okay.  As long as it is at the 140 degrees it will turn out perfectly.

Remove from the oven and the water batch, and place the torte on a cooling rack.  Cool it until it reaches room temperature.  Cover it and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight preferably.

Remove sides and slice with a warm knife.

Serve with coconut whip cream and berries of your choice.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mahi Mahi with Madeira Orange Sauce, Mashed Cauliflower, and Sauteed Spinach

What can I say to convince you that cauliflower mashed is just like regular potatoes?  Add a little nutritional yeast and you get that starchy taste that you may miss when you are just making the switch over.  Cauliflower, with its simplicity, has quickly become one of my new favorites.  There is so much you can do with it!

Got some great Mahi Mahi the other day and the night I fixed it, I wanted a savory sweat sauce.  Since oranges are in season, why not pair it with an orange marmalade?  

It turned out delightful.  You can never go wrong with sweet and savory together.

3 fillets Mahi Mahi, skin intact
salt and pepper
1 tsp. thyme

1 head cauliflower, chopped into even pieces
1 c. water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. almond milk
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, fine dice
1/2 red bell pepper, fine dice
6 cups spinach

1 c. Madeira
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. orange marmalade
1 tbsp. dill
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.  Salt and pepper the flesh side of the fish, then add the thyme.  Place flesh side down on sheet pan.  Place in oven and cook 15-20 minutes depending on thickness.  The skin will begin to look dry...that is okay, I promise the fish will be moist.

While oven is preheating, add the cauliflower, water and olive oil to a large saute pan over high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender.

Heat the Madeira and Dijon in a small sauce pan until boiling and allow to reduce by half.  Add the marmalade and dill, whisking it well into the Madeira.  Lower to medium and allow the sauce to continue to reduce, whisking once in a while.  Watch it so it doesn't reduce too much, reduce to simmer if necessary.  Salt and pepper to taste to finish.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and pepper, cooking until tender and they start to caramelize.  Reduce heat to medium, add spinach and cook until the spinach is done, meaning tender and soft.  (about 6-8 minutes)  Pepper to taste and then set aside to keep warm.

The cauliflower should be done around this time.  Add everything in the pan into a food processor.  Process until the cauliflower breaks down.  Add almond milk, yeast and nutmeg, scraping down the sides and process until smooth.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Place cauliflower on heated plate, then spinach mix, and then a piece of the fish.  Lightly spoon the sauce over the top.


I included this so you can see my recipe book.  I write as I am cooking, cross off and adjust measurements as I taste.  X ones that don't work.  It's a process...but it is fun!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Balsamic Roasted Chicken and Truffled Brussels Sprouts

Sorry for the delay in posting, but the older two boys and I took a trip to Washington D.C. to meet up with their Dad while he was there for a conference.  I had a lot of great food, some paleo, some not.  Remember folks, moderation!

Anyway, before I left we had one of my favorites, Balsamic Roasted Chicken thighs and Truffled Brussels Sprouts.  I don't think one can ever have enough Brussels sprouts...especially when highlighted with truffle.  Oh yeah.

Balsamic Chicken

10 chicken thighs
2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. thyme

 Generously salt and pepper the chicken thighs.  Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and thyme.  Coat thighs evenly and set in fridge, covered, for at least 4 hours.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook thighs about 45 minutes until they are deep golden brown.  I baste from the liquid in the pan about 20 minutes in to cooking and then about 10 minutes before they are finished.

Truffled Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, cut in half, outer leaves removed and cleaned
1 tbsp. truffle oil
8 dates, sliced thinly
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1-2 tsp. truffle salt
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Evenly coat the sprouts with the oil and lightly pepper.  Put in oven and roast for about 7-12 minutes, depending on how big they are.  You want them to be almost done because you will add the dates and almonds for the last few minutes of cooking.  If you put the dates almonds in too soon the dates will harden (like candy) and the almonds will burn.  (And yes, I can tell you from experience...)  Add the almonds, dates and truffle salt to taste.  Finish until the dates are just warm, about 3-5 minutes.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gingered Beef and Vegetables

2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 1/4 c. vegetable stock
1/3 c. coconut aminos
2 tbsp. minced ginger
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 head bok choy, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, small slice
1 pound beef, cut into cubes, about 1 inch x 1 inch
1 tbsp. arrowroot 
1 tbsp. water

Prepare the beef by absorbing any excess moisture/juice using a paper towel.  Salt and pepper well.Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat.  Add the beef and searing quickly, then turning to the other side.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium high and add the onion.  Cook until the onion starts to soften, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the broccoli and about 1/4 c. of the stock, cooking about 5 minutes.  Finally, add the bok choy, mushrooms, ginger, remaining stock, amines and meat.  Reduce to medium, cover, and cook an additional 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  

Separate the food and the sauce.  Put the sauce back in the pan over medium heat.  Mix the arrowroot and water and then add to the sauce, whisking until it starts to thicken.  Serve over the beef and vegetables.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Italian Wedding Soup

When I was in college there was a local pizza joint that had Italian Wedding Soup.  I had never had it before, and considering I grew up in a small Wyoming town that lacked an Italian restaurant, that wasn't much of a surprise.  But, I feel in love with the soup that was a combination of stock, meatballs, spinach and rice.  I have made it many times through out the years but I had to adapt it so it was paleo.  Still just as good...maybe even better.

1 lb. each ground beef and ground pork
2 eggs
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
5 ounces baby spinach or other soft green (arugula, escarole)

Mix the meat, eggs, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper together.  Form into meatballs and set aside until you are ready to put them in the soup.  I usually make them the size of ping pong ball.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until they are tender and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Then add a Parmesan cheese rind.  (I save mine and put them in the freezer until I need them for soup.  If you are strict Paleo, add 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast.)  Add the 8 cups chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Add the meatballs gently one at a time.

Allow the meatballs to cook over a gentle simmer until they are done, about 10-15 minutes.

Add the spinach and then salt and pepper to taste.  The soup can then be served immediately or cooled and then put in the fridge until the next day.  Soup is good the first day, but it is great the second!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

A cracker oops...but great breadcrumbs!

Sometimes not everything I try works out...but then, sometimes, even though it doesn't work out it turns into something else wonderful.  My cracker mishap made awesome breadcrumb topping for savory dishes.  I used it in a meatball recipe that I will be posting soon, but I can wait to use it for some chicken or eggplant "parmigiana".  Here's to mistakes!

2 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. each thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper
2 tsp. nutritional yeast (great article on nutritional yeast from Mark's Daily Apple)
1/2 c. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the olive oil and mix it well.  It will be stick and loose, but that it is okay.  Spread the mixture out evenly on a silpat or parchment paper.

Cook until the mixture turns golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Allow to cool and then scrape off and put in a glass container that seals.  Store in the fridge until you need them!

Spicy Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa and Sweet Potatoes

Since it has been so cold lately, I wanted to have something for dinner that made me think of warm sandy beaches and a cool ocean breeze...thankfully I'll be feeling the real thing the first week of April, but until then foods reminiscent of a beach vacation will just have to do. 

1 pork tenderloin, room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the oil and all of the spices and seasonings in a small bowl.  Generously coat the pork with them mix. Heat a saute pan over high heat. Sear the pork on each side for about 30 seconds.  Once you have done each side place the pan in the oven.  Cook 15-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the tenderloin, until it is medium.

2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 c. sweet potatoes, sliced thin like fries
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, add oil to a large fry pan.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook until they are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the cumin and salt and pepper to taste and cook an additional 2-4 minutes.

While the pork and sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare the salsa.

2 mangoes, cut into small dice
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and small dice
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
1/2 c. cilantro minced

Mix all of the above ingredients together and set aside to allow flavors to marinate together.