Last weekend I hosted a housewarming/congratulations on your new baby/going away party with several of my close friends. (Why not multi-task, right?)
The dinner was Mexican-themed:
Roasted tomatillo salsa
Pan-fried yucca chips
Flank steak with cilantro-parsley chimichurri, taco-style
Green salad with creamy avocado dressing
I didn’t manage to get pictures of everything, as my kitchen was a whirlwind as I tried to pull everything together. (Many thanks to Vinnie for his help and major props for his chimichurri, which is consistently amazing—much better than any I’ve made!) But I did get pictures of some of the items:
Gluten-free chocolate cupcakes filled with dairy-free dark chocolate ganache and topped with buttercream frosting for the boyfriend’s 30th birthday! So much deliciousness! So late in the blogging—he’s been 30 for 16 days! AACK!
You might think gluten-free, dairy-free desserts sound nasty. You’d be wrong. These were startlingly delicious. These are clearly not paleo, because they aren’t sugar-free, but one makes exceptions for 30th birthdays. And since we’re already 16 days late with this, without further ado:
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Fill cupcake papers 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when touched.
On to the ganache!
This was quite simple: Chop 16 ounces of dark chocolate. Combine 2 c. coconut cream, 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar, and 1/8 t. salt in a saucepan and bring to boil. Pour over chocolate and whisk.
I used an injecting tool to inject about 1 T. of ganache into the center of each cupcake.
Onto the frosting!
2 c. butter
4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
Mix butter until uniformly creamy. Add sugar, 1/2 c. at a time, until combined. Add vanilla and mix. Add food coloring until desired color is achieved. (Also, don’t ever, EVER, EVER substitute lard for butter in a dessert… I speak from near-disastrous experience.) ;)
I served these with homemade, dairy-free vanilla gelato with a dairy-free caramel swirl—to rave reviews. I started a 30-day sugar detox today, but I’m almost getting my sugar fix just thinking about these!
I got a food dehydrator this past Christmas, and this past week I FINALLY got around to making beef jerky in it. Jerky, as it turns out, is extraordinarily easy to make, with an extraordinarily delicious payoff. Read on.
1 lb. grass fed london broil (or other lean cut)
2/3 c. worcestershire sauce
2/3 c. tamari (or soy sauce, if you wish)
1 T. grade B maple syrup
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 t. onion powder
1 t. liquid smoke
1 t. crushed red pepper
To make it easier to slice, place meat in freezer for about 30 minutes before slicing.
Slice thinly, with the grain, into long strips about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
Whisk marinade ingredients together.
Pour marinade over beef strips (I like ziplock bags for this) and refrigerate overnight.
Although the directions on my dehydrator recommended 4-14 hours of drying time at 160 degrees, I found that far too long; my first batch was terribly over-dried. Just 2 hours made my next batch just right.
Simple and delicious paleo snack! And it’s so gratifying to make it yourself. No preservatives, the choicest beef… you can’t beat this!
I get a little carried away in the grocery store. Especially one filled with exciting and exotic ingredients, like my local Asian market. Some people spend their extra bucks on shoes or gadgets; mine goes right in my fridge—fodder for the laboratory. But sometimes (okay, many times) I get carried away and end up with tons of extra ingredients on hand that I have to use before they spoil. (Looking in my fridge you’d never know I live alone.) The following recipe comes from one of those times: so many extra ingredients just waiting to be transformed.
I had gotten carried away in the produce section of the Tai Nam Market and ended up with purple basil, Thai spicy basil, and jalapenos—in bulk. Can I make something coherent and delicious out of that? I say of course! I went for a spicy, Thai-inspired pesto. The results were delicious.
2 packed cups fresh basil leaves (I used purple and thai basil)
8 jalapenos, roasted, peeled and seeded (instructions below)
4-5 cloves of garlic
1/4 medium onion
1/3 cup nuts (usually pinenuts or walnuts are used for pesto; I had hazelnuts on hand, so that’s what I used)
the juice of one lime
1/4 c. coconut milk
3/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
First, roast your jalapenos. Having a gas oven with a real (open flame) broiler makes this really easy, but it’s not necessary. Broil peppers directly under broiler (on top rack) or stovetop, right on the burner, turning at intervals until the skin blackens and blisters.
The easiest way to peel the peppers is to put them into a paper bag for 5-10 minutes while they are still hot before peeling. This loosens the skins, making them easy to remove. After peeling them, seed them, making sure to remove all seeds, or else this will be too spicy to eat!
Now you’re ready to assemble your pesto. Combine basil, peppers, garlic, onion and nuts in food processor and pulse until it forms a paste.
Add lime juice, coconut milk, salt and pepper and mix. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil.
The resulting bright green pesto is delicious and versatile. I ate this on spaghetti squash, as a dip for carrots, and on my eggs. Yum!