Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Hubbie's Birthday = Veal Piccata

Happy Birthday to my hubbie!  I wanted to make him his favorite, so I went all out and whipped up some veal piccata.  He loves capers and garlic so I loaded up the sauce with extra of both.  The mashed potatoes got whole milk to make them extra creamy, and the spinach was cooked in bacon.  I did my best to make his birthday extra special and full of goodies. :)

The Meat
- 1 1/2 pounds veal, thinly sliced
- 2 cups potato flour
- salt, pepper to taste

The Sauce
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1/2 cup pinot grigio wine
- 1/8 cup of capers
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, sliced

The Veggies
- 8-9 small potatoes
- 1/2 cup milk
- salt, pepper to taste

- 2 cups spinach, raw
- 4 slices of bacon, diced
- 1/4 onion, sliced

Okie dokie.  This took some prep but was a lot of fun to do.  Set up your "stations" so you can streamline your productivity, and make less of a mess! On a Pyrex cutting board, lay out yer meat fer beating.  On another Pyrex cutting board, sift the potato flour, salt, and pepper.  Peel and boil the potatoes for around 15-20 minutes.  While they are boiling away and getting ready for beautiful mashed potato-dom, beat the veal with a tenderizer and enjoy it!  Dredge the beaten meat in the potato flour and set them aside for cooking. 

In a large saucepan, sear each side of the slices of veal.  Remove them from heat, they will complete the cooking process in the piccata sauce you're about to make.  In the same pan, pour the wine, butter, and lemon juice together.  Bring everything to a simmer.  After you've brought it to a simmer, add the garlic and let it cook for 5 minutes before adding in the veal and the capers.  Lower your heat and let everything cook for another 15-20 minutes.

In a different large saucepan, cook the diced bacon and onion on high heat.  While that cooks, drain your potatoes and put them in a large mixing bowl with the milk, salt, and pepper.  Use your masher to create creamy delicious mashed potatoes.

Once the bacon is a little crispy and the onions are soft, lower your heat and add the raw spinach a little bit at a time, stirring constantly and adding more as the cooking spinach begins to wilt. When the spinach is ready, plate the mashed potatoes and spinach first, then smother the edges of their sections of the plates with the veal and sauce.  The potatoes especially taste good with the leftover sauce on top.  Generously pile capers and garlic on top of the veal, and serve to happy people.

Cashew Butter Cupcakes...Did I Mention The Homemade Candy?

Another awesome cupcake recipe!  These are for my husband's birthday - he requested a chocolaty delight, and one thing we miss is Reese's peanut butter cups.  Being Primal, we don't eat peanuts or processed candies anymore, so I decided to deviate from our Primal lifestyle just a bit and treat my husband to some homemade nut-butter cups filled with almond butter, cashew butter, and honey instead!  The cupcakes were also almond butter and cashew butter mixed together, and the chocolate icing had a beautiful hint of coconut from the coconut oil use to make it.  

This is another variation of the lemon raspberry cupcakes I made a few months ago.  The basic cake recipe is the same as those and the other cupcakes I have made, I just altered the recipe to include some almond butter and creamy cashew butter.  The cupcakes turned out great, but their consistency was a little bit heavier due to the richness of the nut butters.

I made the chocolate candies a few nights before because it takes several hours to do the whole process.  I made them in cupcake liners because I didn't find candy sized liners in my usual grocery stores and didn't really feel like searching for them elsewhere...I decided to cut the chocolates into smaller sizes to put on top of the cupcakes (which proved a little difficult and required finesse but looked soooo good) and also, it was freaking awesome to have gigantic candies like this in the house.  They are so rich, we'd only eat half at a time, but oh man, so awesome.

The Candies

- 1/3 cup creamy almond butter with sea salt
- 1/2 cup creamy cashew butter
- 3 tablespoons honey

First, I melted the chocolate chips.  Put them in a medium sized metal bowl - not a plastic one! - so the chocolate can melt without burning in the pan.  In a large saute pan, I brought 1 1/2 cups of water to a low boil.  When the water was simmering nicely, I put the metal bowl with the chocolate chips directly into the hot water, keeping the heat on medium low.  I used a frosting spatula and slowly stirred the softening chocolate until it was all creamy and smooth, with no lumps of unmelted chocolate.  

Once that step was complete, I grabbed my cupcake tin and lined it with cupcake liners.  Using a spoon, I spooned chocolate into each liner, and then pushed the chocolate up the sides of each liner with the back of the spoon.  I tried to make sure that chocolate got into each crevice of the cupcake liner, as well as keeping at least 1/4 inch of chocolate at the bottom of the cups to ensure my bottoms would be thick enough to hold the goodies I was planning on packing inside the candies.  Then it was off to the freezer for around 4 hours. There was a little bit of extra chocolate in the metal bowl so I set it aside to use again for the tops of my candies.

When the chocolate shells were solid, I mixed the almond butter, honey, and cashew butter in a small bowl and spooned the delicious mixture into each shell, leaving around 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch left to cover with more chocolate. I remelted the chocolate in the same fashion as before and 

The Cake

Wet Ingredients
- 1/3 cup frozen banana, thawed
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon arrow root powder
- 1/3 cup olive oil (or light oil of your choice)
- 1/3 cup coconut milk 
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water 
- 1/4 cup creamy almond butter with sea salt
- 1/2 cup creamy cashew butter

Dry Ingredients
   - 2/3 cup white rice flour
- 2/3 cup (don’t pack the cup) shaved palm sugar
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 1/3 cup almond flour 
- 1/4 cup coconut flour 
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour
- 2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the wet ingredients and beat the batter in a medium mixing bowl with an electric beater for around 2 minutes.   I stuck the mixture in the fridge for a little while to let it rest and so the arrow root could thicken it up a bit. 

In a larger mixing bowl, I sifted together all the dry ingredients.  I folded the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mixed them thoroughly. Then I spooned the mixture into cupcake liners in my baking pan. I spooned it almost up to the top of the liner.

I baked the cupcakes for 21 minutes until the tops were solid and I could stick a toothpick in cleanly.  I let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before pulling them out - I have learned that they are slightly fragile.  Once again, I let the cupcakes sit out overnight before icing them.  They are much more firm in the morning, and they were easy to handle then.

Before preparing the icing and decorating the cupcakes, I took my candies out of the freezer and used my largest knife to CAREFULLY cut them into 4 pieces.  Some candies did not make it out intact from this surgical process and needed to be eaten.  It was sad and the candies shall be remembered.

The Icing
- 3/4 cup grated palm sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon almond butter 
- 1/2 cup coconut oil

I used the palm sugar as my base for the icing and swirled some coconut oil into the mixing bowl.  I dotted the mixture with the almond butter and palm shortening.  After beating the icing to a taste and smoothness I liked, I swirled in the cocoa powder.

BE CONSCIOUS OF THE TEMPERATURE OF THE ICING.  If it gets too warm it gets too gooey and the icing gets really drippy and won't stick to your cupcakes right.  You don't want that.  Pop your icing into the fridge for a minute to cool them down if you start to notice that they are getting gooey.  But you must be careful not to leave your icing in the fridge too long, or else it gets rock solid because of the palm shortening. 

Working quickly, I iced the cupcakes with my spatula, and then wedging a chunk of our candies on top.  Sometimes a little extra icing was used, like glue, for the larger chunks of candy.  Then the cupcakes got whisked into the fridge, for the icing to harden and keep the candy chunks in place.  

Depending on how warm you keep your home, around 20-30 minutes before you serve your cupcakes, take them out of the fridge.  Keep an eye on them, if the icing starts to look drippy send them back into the cold for a minute.

Now - go forth and indulge in these, and never settle for a mere peanut butter cup ever again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Frozen Banana "Ice Cream"

Mmm this was a great treat to serve to friends!  This only takes around 10 minutes to make, and it's delicious!  Tastes just like banana ice cream.  I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hates bananas.  


Freeze some bananas a few hours before you plan to serve your meal.  Take them out around 20 minutes before you plan to serve the meal.

- 4 frozen bananas
- 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup of coconut milk
- 3-4 tablespoons of almond butter

In a good blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients.  I broke my frozen bananas into chunks.  Blend together everything in bursts until it is relatively smooth.  I used a flat icing spatula to scrape bits and chunks off the sides and push down any larger chunks that still needed to be blended in between bursts.  

For fun, serve the ice cream in martini glasses.  Funnnnnnn.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lemon Butter Salmon With Turnips and Zucchini

The combination of bacon grease and butter makes this meal so tasty.  Indulge in delicious fats!

The Meat
- 2 fillets of boneless, skinless salmon
- salt, pepper, dill to taste
- 1 teaspoon bacon grease for frying
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice

- green onion, diced for topping

The Sauce
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- salt, dill to taste

The Veggies
- 2-3 turnips, thinly sliced and cut
- 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
- 3 mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 6 Padron peppers, diced
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease
- salt, pepper, dill, basil to taste

- 1/2 heirloom tomato, sliced
- fresh mozzarella to taste
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt, pepper, basil, oregano to taste

Begin by dicing the veggies and putting them in a large pan.  Add the bacon grease, season everything, and bring the heat up to medium.  Saute all the veggies for around 15 minutes, until the turnips and zucchini are soft.  

Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat, and cook the chopped garlic until it is soft and has brown edges.  Add the salt, dill, and lemon juice, and bring it down to a low heat to let all the flavors meld together.

Cook the salmon on a griddle pan, using high heat.  Season the salmon while the bacon grease warms up in the pan.  Sear each side of the salmon, a minute per side, and sprinkle the seared sides with the lemon juice before letting them sit longer, around 4-5 minutes per side.  The salmon should be pinkish, opaque, and flake apart with a fork.  Watch it so it doesn't overcook and dry out.  

Toss the mozzarella and tomato in oil and the seasonings, then add them to the vegetables.

Put the cooked vegetables on the plates and place the salmon next to/somewhat on top of them.  Drizzle the salmon liberally with the lemon butter and garnish the dish with the diced green onion.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So I Entered A Contest...

As many of you know, my husband and I try to eat Primally, and we love to follow Mark's Daily Apple, created by Mark Sisson.  Mark started a Primal Recipe Video Contest, and we decided that it might be fun if I participated.

The video below is me cooking a tasty chicken meal!  It is totally unedited (we watched it through and while it is long, we thought it'd be more fun to watch the whole process, like a cooking show, instead of editing it down) and kind of funny - the smoke alarm went off right in the middle of taping it!! But we enjoyed ourselves and I made another fun meal.  Hopefully it does well in the contest, but really, cooking the meal was reward enough.  

Without further ado, I give you:

Watch it to learn how to make this meal!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Country Style Ribs with Apple and Sweet Onion

Sometimes, you want a meal that is simple but bursting full of flavor.  This is that meal.  The thick slabs of meat simmer in the apple and onion mixture, and the hint of maple syrup and cinnamon makes the juicy meat even tastier.  There is something so satisfying about finishing your meal by picking up a bone and gnawing off the rest of the meat that makes both my husband and myself giddy with excitement...and excited we were to gorge ourselves on this tasty dish!

The Meat
- 2 large cuts of country style pork rib steaks

The Sauce
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 Gala apple, sliced thinly into quarters
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- cinnamon, salt, pepper to taste

The Veggies
- 1 head broccoli, chopped
- 1 cup water
- salt, pepper to taste

In a large pan, melt the butter and saute the sweet onion for a few minutes on medium heat. Then add the applesauce and thin apple slices.  Season it and let it cook on medium-low heat for around 8-10 minutes so the apples soften and everything gets all delicious.  I used a few teaspoons of cinnamon because we adore it, but you should season yours to taste.  

Prepare your rib steaks by coating them with the maple syrup.  After the apples have cooked for a while, use a wooden spoon to move them all to the perimeter of the pan and lay the two rib steaks into the middle of the pan.  Bring your heat up to medium-high heat and crowd the rib steaks with the applesauce and onion mixture.  Let the rib steaks cook for 8-10 minutes per side until the juices run clear.  Make sure to stir and swirl the apple mixture around and over the rib steaks as you cook them.  

Meanwhile, steam the broccoli in a small pot on high heat with 1 cup of water for around 10 minutes.  Season with a teensy bit of salt.

When the rib steaks are cooked through, put them on the plates and smother them with the apple and onion sauce.  Give each plate some broccoli and that's that!  Time for dinner!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Butterfish with Baked Crab

Another wowing meal to serve when friends come over!

The Meat
- 4 fillets butterfish
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter for frying

- 6 ounces of crab meat (although fresh is best!)
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 8-10 pieces of Port Salut cheese
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 a scallion, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish
- salt, pepper, savory, marjoram, paprika to taste

The Veggies
- 3 sweet potatoes, chopped in large pieces
- 1 cup green beans, ends trimmed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt, savory to taste

- 1 pound spinach
- 1/2 cup water
- 8-10 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- lemon juice, salt, pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 380 degrees.

To begin this meal, peel the sweet potatoes and trim the green beans.  Place the veggies in a glass baking dish and sprinkle them with the salt and savory spice.  Brush everything with the olive oil and pour the water into the pan to keep the veggies from drying out.  Put the baking dish into the oven and let them cook for 40 minutes.

Next, make the crab melt.  Drain the crab and place it in a mixing bowl.  Add the diced celery, minced scallion, horseradish, and spices.  Mix in the Greek yogurt and toss in the Port Salut cheese.  Blend everything together with a fork and set aside - I warmed this in a pan until the cheese got all gooey and melted the whole mixture together into a delicious melt-style lump.

Warm the griddle pan and melt the tablespoon of butter for the butterfish.  Season both sides of your fish fillets and let them cook on medium heat, flipping every 2-3 minutes until the fish is white, opaque, and flaky.  

In another small pan, melt the rest of the butter and saute the chopped garlic, stirring occasionally, for around 5 minutes.  Set it aside to toss with the spinach - which you can put in a large pan with the water, lemon juice, pepper, and salt, and wilt on low heat.  When the spinach is wilted and dark green (don't let it go brown), drain it and toss it with the butter and garlic.  

While your spinach is wilting, you should use your fourth burner to heat up the crab mixture with some medium-low heat and turn it into a crab melt.  Use a spatula to flip the gooey awesomeness after 3-4 minutes, and after 8 minutes or so it should be ready to layer on top of the fish.  Plate everything and serve with some white wine!

Another Great Lunch To Go

My husband loves bringing his salads to work.  He eats lunch in a local park and always texts me to tell me how much he loves his salads to go.  They are so easy to make, they only take me around 15 minutes in the morning to prep.

The Meat
- 1 lemon chicken sausage, sliced

The Veggies
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1/4 cup lettuce
- 1/2 cup arugula
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 mushroom, sliced
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 1/4 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 pear, chopped
- 1/3 heirloom tomato, chopped
- a small handful of walnuts, chopped

The Dressing
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt, pepper, basil, marjoram, dill to taste

First slice the sausage raw and cook the pieces on a griddle pan, around 4-5 minutes, turning them so they cook evenly.  While they cook, you can start to chop your veggies.

Put the spinach, lettuce, and arugula in the main section of your Sistema Klip It Salad Box, and then put the meat on top of the lettuce.  Organize all the toppings on the upper section, so that way your salad veggies will stay fresh and your lettuce won't wilt.  Mix together the dressing in a little bowl and pour it into the dressing container.   Clip shut the container and off you go! 

Poaching Up Some Goodness

I love using my poaching pods, and try to bust them out every now and then to shake up our breakfast routine.  By layering some tomatoes. onion, and mushroom fried in leftover bacon grease and some creamy avocado on top of the poached eggs, I added a bit of a gourmet flair to our usual Wednesday morning routine. 

The Meat
- 2 breakfast links
- 2 pieces bacon
- 2 eggs

The Veggies
- 1/4 heirloom tomato, sliced
- 1 mushroom, sliced
- 1/8 cup onion, diced
- salt, pepper, dill to taste

The Garnish
- 1/2 fresh avocado

Fry up your breakfast links on high heat, turning them occasionally, for 7-8 minutes.  Cook your bacon in the same griddle pan, turning once, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.  In the leftover grease on the pan, add your onion, tomato, and mushrooms.  Season and lower the heat to medium.  Stirring often, fry up the veggies for 2-3 minutes, getting them soft but not too crispy.

Lightly grease your poaching pods and break open the egg into each one.  Bring a pot of water with at least 3 inches of water to a boil.  Once the water has reached a steady boil, turn off the heat, and slip the poaching pods with your raw eggs into the hot water.  Cover with a lid and let them poach for at least 4 minutes (I cook mine for 4 and then check to see if they are cooked enough - if they aren't, I leave them in for another minute).  

When your eggs are poached, pull out the pods and slip the eggs onto your plate.  Layer the veggies on top and then spoon all the avocado over them.  Plate your bacon and links and eat your morning meal!