Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peaches and Sausage

Peaches and Sausage
Apples and Sausage is one of my favorite dishes. During a trip to Riley's Farm in Oak Glen, CA I was introduced to this tasty little early American dish at the Hog's Head Colonial Restaurant. It was love at first bite! Naturally I recreated the dish and we eat it every so often when I am at a loss for what to cook.

Today was definitely a day where I was not so much out of ideas but out of time. We took our children to Wild Rivers for a day of water slide fun. Before I left this morning I took some gorgeous pork bratwurst out of the freezer just so I could make Apples and Sausages when we returned. When we got home I realized there was a big problem. I was out of apples! I try to buy seasonal produce and apples well... just aren't in season. Sure I keep a few around but yesterday when I did the shopping I didn't buy a single apple. But I did buy California peaches. Peaches, pork bratwurst? Really? I know what your thinking " Paleo Chickie did you get too much water up your nose today? Spend too much time in the sun?" Yes, I did. But that is not the point! The point is that this is GOOD!!!
Peaches, red pearl onions, tarragon, and thyme.

Normally when I make Apples and Sausages I add in fresh thyme and oregano from the garden. Fresh herbs are not only delicious but they provide minerals that are lost when herbs are dried. Even if you live in a tiny apartment grow a pot of fresh herbs on your windowsill. My daughter has a mini herb garden sitting on her windowsill. I am training her for a lifetime of culinary pleasure and good health.
Peaches and oregano? Maybe, but I happen to have some tarragon growing right now. Tarragon has a licorice like flavor. I am certain your thinking I am quite mad, licorice flavored herbs, peaches, and pork, yuck! Trust me, its GOOD!

Before we go any further let's talk pork bratwurst. Whole Foods sells a mean pork bratwurst that is simply meat and spices. Some bratwurst contain fillers like wheat or even canola oil! Seriously! If you can't purchase the Whole Foods pork bratwurst look for sausages that are as simple as possible.  Make sure you read the label! I can't begin to recount the number of times I have brought home something that looked healthy only to find hidden dairy, wheat, or unsavory oils.

I love to buy fresh local produce when I can. California grown is important to me. I like to support local farms as well as have produce that didn't have to travel across the country or even the world to get to me. When I buy California grown my produce is always fresher and lasts longer. This week I found some beautiful  red pearl onions. Naturally I had to add those into my peach, pork bratwurst dinner.

Slightly frozen sliced pork bratwurst.
I whipped up my savory Peaches and Sausage in about 30 minutes and it was a hit! The best part was that the peaches created a delicious sauce. Next time I am serving it over sweet potatoes!

What you need:

6 small red pearl onions chopped or 1 large red or brown onion chopped, whatever you have on hand will work.

2 ripe peaches cut into small pieces or chunks, it's up to you.

6-8 pork bratwurst sausages slightly frozen, sliced into pieces. If your buying Whole Foods 6. If not add more! Slightly frozen results in easier to cut.

3 sprigs fresh tarragon finely chopped.

3 sprigs fresh thyme finely chopped.

4 Tablespoons coconut oil

How to do it:

Saute your onions in the coconut oil over medium high heat. Coconut oil unlike olive oil can be used to cook at higher heat. Coconut oil has a higher smoking point than olive therefore more stable and less likely to oxidize and become damaged. I use a lot of coconut oil for that reason. If your afraid of coconut oil don't be. It is delicious and nutritious. Here is a fantastic article explaining the misconceptions surrounding coconut oil.

When your onions are nice and browned toss in your sausage. I should not have to tell you to stir everything occasionally, right? Good. When your sausage is browned add in your chopped herbs and peaches. Cook (don't forget to stir) until your sausages are cooked through and your peaches have softened quite a bit. You should have a beautiful tasty sauce at the bottom your pan from the peaches and the juices from the sausage. My children loved this dish. Of course I did have to tell my son the Ninja Warrior that the peaches were in fact nectarines. He is 6 and has fuzzy fruit issues. This wonderful dish serves 4.

I served this delightful meal with a big salad made from dinosaur kale, red butter lettuce, radishes, heirloom tomato, and avocado with a olive oil vinaigrette dressing. Everything fresh and locally produced.

The leftovers!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tasty Baked Chicken

Tasty Baked Chicken!

I refuse to believe eating a correct diet equates to less tasty. Since I must eat a Paleo diet for the sake of my health I have an enormous incentive to enjoy everything I can eat. I have found that I enjoy eating a Paleo diet much more than my previous "optimal" American diet. I am a heck of a lot healthier and feel more satiated and nourished.  As a person who used to battle hypoglycemia not being hungry all the time and feeling good after I eat instead of sick is nothing short of miraculous.

This dish is one of my favorite due to the ease of preparation. Making this dish truly easy requires maybe ten minutes after you load the morning dishes in the dishwasher. All you need to do is season your chicken with olive oil and spice and leave it in the fridge to marinate.  The longer it marinates the more flavorful the chicken. 

What you need:

6 chicken legs, skin on. I prefer Mary's Air Chilled chicken due to its superb flavor and tenderness.
Garlic powder
Ground sage
Dried marjoram
Fresh ground pepper
Garlic infused olive oil or regular extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves peeled.  I buy my garlic pre-peeled and ready to use. It is a little more expensive but worth it since I use so much garlic.

How to do it:

Place your chicken in a large plastic container or bowl.  Sprinkle very generous amounts of the paprika, garlic powder, sage,and marjoram over your chicken. Don't be shy with the spices! Add a nice sprinkling of freshly ground pepper but not too much. Pour over a generous amount of olive oil. Using your hands rub the olive oil and spice all over the chicken until all the pieces are nicely coated.  Add your garlic cloves. Cover and place in the fridge for 3-24 hours. Again the longer it marinates the tastier the chicken.

When your ready to cook heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your chicken on a foil lined baking dish or pan. I like to use a deep flat baking sheet lined with non stick foil. Pour any remaining marinade over the chicken. Don't forget the garlic cloves! They need to go in the oven too!Place the chicken in the oven for about an hour.  When the chicken is ready the skin will be golden brown and have pulled away from the bottom of the legs. Once the chicken is out of the oven scoop up all the beautiful juices and the garlic from the bottom of the pan and pour back over the chicken and serve. Serves 4.

I serve this meal with a large mixed green salad and usually a seasonal fruit for dessert.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zhug - Yemenite Salsa

Not the best picture but you get the point.

Yemenite cooking reflects its people;  spicy, vibrant, and very opinionated. Zhug is nothing short of these things. I will never forget the first time I ate Zhug or Yemenite salsa. Shortly after I met my husband I was invited to a family lunch where I was served a beautiful bowl of Yemenite chicken soup with a side of red rice. I was offered a pretty green salsa like substance with a name that I still have trouble pronouncing with the right flare. I timidly took a spoonful and added it to my soup like my then boyfriend did. The soup on its own was quite nice but it was divine with the addition of the Zhug. The Zhug gave the soup a spicy garlicky finish. It was the best bowl of chicken soup I have ever eaten. Since then I have eaten Zhug with everything from eggs to burgers. My husband's eyes always light up when he sees there is Zhug about. I used to rely on my mother-in-law to keep us supplied but with her poor health I have begun making it for my family. Someday I hope my daughter will become the family Zhug maker.

Yemenite Zhug

What you need:

4 jalapeno peppers, seeded
4-6 garlic cloves, if you like a lot of garlic add more
1 bunch cilantro
salt to taste

Less spicy

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
4 garlic cloves
2 bunches cilantro
salt to taste

How to do it:

Toss everything in the food processor and whirl until you get a vibrant green thick salsa like substance. Add salt to taste. Store in a glass jar. It should last several weeks in the fridge.

Zhug is great with eggs, burgers, chicken, roast beef, added into bone broths or soups. You could even serve a little on top of an avocado. Use your imagination! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Temecula Olive Oil Company

Raise your hand if you like drinking olive oil shots? You don't? Really. Why not? Oh, it's because you have never had olive oil good enough to drink. Shame. Most people have that problem. I did, dear reader, I did. When I visited the Temecula Olive Oil company several months ago the thought of taking a gulp of plain olive oil was anything but attractive. Being the adventurous type and surrounded by my wine drinking buddies I had to try. I am the wine drinking buddy wrangler and had managed to watch my friends drink who knows how many glasses of wine over one weekend in the Temecula Wine Country. I felt left out. So when we ventured into Temecula Olive Oil I had to... well.. drink something.. you know to prove my womanhood or something like that. I discovered in that first sip of pure olive oil that olives are truly amazing little fruits that can produce smooth flavorful oils that don't have a bitter aftertaste.

Keep in mind that the olives used are all California grown and the balsamic is made in house. Everything is fresh and delicious.  I left that first day with a very large and heavy bag of oil and vinegar and big huge happy grin on my face. Because you know stuff like olive oil makes me all twitterpated and giddy.

Since that fateful afternoon we have been back three times. Today we were fortunate enough to try the Temecula Valley blend and the Pecante Pepper. The Temecula Valley blend is very earthy with a hint of heat. This oil is produced from the winter harvest and has very different qualities from your typical olive oil. The Pecante Pepper is made with crushed jalapeno peppers. When I first tried it I assumed I was in for something hot and painful. Instead I was met with the crisp taste of green bell pepper followed by a little heat. The lovely lady who served us our oil suggested the Pecante for coleslaw. I adore cabbage and slaws so I had to bring the Pecante home. We also purchased the Rotture di Oro based on the recommendation of our daughter. The Rotture has a excellent herby finish. It is how olive oil should taste.  I can't wait to use these amazing oils on my salads and warm vegetables.

We also brought home some of the amazing Vanilla/Fig balsamic and my personal favorite the California Honey. I use the vinegars on all my salads and I even use the California honey when I make meringue.

Today's purchases...

You can purchase these and many other incredible olive oils from the Temecula Olive Oil Company at They ship all over and are well worth the price. If you join their club you get 10% off every time you order and will receive olive oil shipments to your home four times a year.  I finally joined and can't wait for my first box to arrive.

They also make amazing soap!!

Herb and Garlic Pork Tenderloin

I don't cook a lot of pork outside of bacon or the occasional pork belly. Pork can be beautiful or it can be wretched. Most of the time it is either too salty or just too dry and chewy. The worst pork I ever ate was in a Chinese style restaurant. I believe it was trying to be sweet and sour pork. It was a terrible rubbery mess that would have made a better small bouncy ball than actual food. I do love the flavor of pork and acknowledge that if we ever moved to Israel I would probably be arrested in a dark alley for buying apple wood smoked bacon on the black market. Venturing beyond fatty pork has been an enjoyable venture.  Lately I have been partial to pork tenderloin due to its wonderful succulent nature.

I made this last night for my husband's birthday along with a lovely platter of steamed asparagus and an avocado salad. Everyone loved it!

Herb and Garlic Tenderloin

What you need:

3 Pork Tenderloins, the more you make the merrier you will be!

1 Sweet onion cut into rings, you can use 2 if you really like onions.

5- 7 cloves garlic, whole and peeled. You can gently crush them or just throw them in.

6-8 sprigs of fresh herbs chopped. I prefer fresh marjoram, oregano, a little thyme and winter savory. This recipe is a reason why everyone should have a little herb garden. Herbs grow beautifully in pots!

2-3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/4 cup water or white wine

Freshly ground pepper to taste
A nice sprinkling of salt, I prefer sea salt or REAL Salt. Google it!
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

The key to spice is to know what you like. If you want a little more garlic or onion add more. If you don't care for coriander reduce it. Cooking is about experimentation. I rarely use the spice quantities recommended.  I know what I like and I adjust for my personal taste.

How to do it:

Rinse your tenderloins and pat dry. Mix your spice mixture and rub all over tenderloins. Set aside.

In a dutch oven heat coconut oil and saute your onions over medium heat. Once your onions are translucent toss in the garlic and saute for a minute. Gently place your tenderloins over the onions and garlic and brown on both sides. Once both sides are brown toss in your herbs and the water or white wine. Place the lid on top and bake in a 325 degree oven for about  1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure there is liquid in the pot and to drizzle the liquid over your tenderloins. If the pot becomes dry (it shouldn't) add a little more wine or water. When your tenderloin is done it will be easy to break up with a fork.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Coconut Flour Strawberry Cream Cake Recipe

Here it is!!

What you need:

Vanilla Cake

4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour , sifted.
1 can coconut milk, I used light coconut milk
1- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla seeds stripped from vanilla bean. When I use vanilla extract I tend to use a lot. Adjust if your afraid of too much vanilla.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup coconut oil melted. Measure the coconut oil out first and then melt in micro.
1/8 to 1/4 cup honey


1-  large heavy cream from Trader Joes should do the trick, whipped until stiff. If you want your whip cream sweet, add a spoon of honey to taste after its whipped and whip again for a few seconds. We prefer it without the honey.

Fresh strawberries, two baskets.

Before you begin:

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Grease two standard size round cake pans with coconut oil, if you can find it Nonstick Coconut Oil Spray works best.

How to do it :  Gently mix the eggs then add coconut milk and vanilla. I use vanilla seeds from a wonderful little store called The Spice Merchant in Temecula, CA. The seeds are free from the bean and ready to use. They give a strong lucious vanilla flavor to baked goods. They are well worth the money. Good quality extract works beautifully too. Once the egg, coconut mixture is well combined add the coconut oil and honey.  You could increase the honey if you want a sweeter cake but I think the cake is perfect with only 1/8 of a cup. I also don't like my sweets too sweet.  Mix until well combined. Slowly add the coconut flour and baking soda.  The batter should be like a good pancake batter and not too thin. If it is too thin add a little more coconut flour. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and place into the oven. These cakes cook quickly. They were ready in 10 minutes in my oven. I prefer the cakes to be brown on the edges to insure firmness. The cakes themselves will be very moist to eat but firm enough to frost.

While the cakes are cooking quickly whip up the entire container of heavy cream until stiff and slice up your strawberries anyway you like. Once the cakes are cool invert one onto a platter. The cake should easily pop right out.  Place about a quarter of your whipping cream on the top of one cake, gently spread over the cake and top with half the strawberries.

Place another quarter of the whip cream gently over the strawberries and spread it out carefully.

Place the remaining cake on top.

And place the remainder of your whip cream and strawberries.

As you can see the cake comes out beautifully! Find a small child to share this gorgeous cake with. Just make sure he or she belongs to you. ;)

Enjoy!! If you have problems with this recipe let me know. E-mail me or leave me a comment and I will see what I can do to make it work for you. I do plan on experimenting with coconut cream for this cake in the future.

If you want to try the Vanilla Seeds used in this recipe call The Spice Merchant in Temecula, CA at . The beans are well worth the trouble. The Spice Merchant has a website but this particular gem is not available but you can order it from the store directly.

Tomorrow... Roast pork tenderloin!! Yum!

Primal Coconut Flour Strawberry Cream Cake

Today is my darling husband's birthday. So I made him a cake. The cake was moist, soft, and tasted almost exactly like a cake made from wheat. This cake does use cream. I know very Paleo of me. But my darling husband can eat dairy and does very well on it. Me not so much but I had some anyway because well... IT'S BIRTHDAY CAKE!!! Darling husband and our two children (more on them later) ate half the cake. It was that good! My daughter's only complaint was that I should have flavored the cream. Ok, next time I will flavor the cream. She ate two huge pieces so it must have been good.

Want the recipe? I bet you do! I will be posting it later on today.

Trader Joes Coconut Milk

I discovered this wonderful product a few weeks ago and I am addicted to it. I can't drink full fat coconut milk, the ol gall bladder doesn't like it. I have tried So Delicious Brand unsweetened but it is so chalky. I don't know how people drink that stuff. The other day I was in Trader Joes and my little bunhead (aka the ballerina in my life) picked up a sample and immediately glided over to me in the nut aisle and pointed out the loveliness of the coconut milk. I tried it and I bought six containers. I am now scared of shortages and will be buying as much as I can.

Whole Foods, yes, I am talking about you!, sold out of my favorite full fat coconut milk and has not had it on the shelves for months. If you live near a Whole Foods and are fortunate enough to see the 365 brand of Coconut Milk buy it! It is amazing over fruit. Yes, I know I was talking about Trader Joes. Sorry, I get distracted easily sometimes. If you are lucky enough to live next to a Trader Joes check out their Unsweetened Coconut Beverage. It is creamy but not overly so with no chalky aftertaste. 1 cup has 1 gram of carbs, and 5 grams of fat. And for those of you who are still concerned about calories - 60 calories.  It is excellent mixed with ice tea! This is not a product I would cook or bake with but it is fantastic to drink by the glassful. I save the cooking and baking for the 365 brand.


Going Paleo is far from easy. Last night my husband and I were invited to a 15 year wedding vow renewal. We had a fabulous time!  Whenever I go anywhere, and I mean, anywhere my focus is on the food. I could be in a gas station in the middle of nowhere and I will searching for the best possible morsels of food in the three little aisles at Arco.

Last night we were served a gorgeous mexican buffet. I know what you are all thinking, mexican... tough. And yes it was. My husband who subscribes to the Mark Sisson Primal lifestyle made out better than I did at the buffet. I need to live strict dairy free Paleo. I made a meal of the taco lettus, meat, and salsa. It was actually quite good. Last night's dinner reminded me again why I need to get my food out to the world. Imagine a Paleo buffet table at your cousin's wedding, Paleo style restaurants, or a Paleo bakery! Wouldn't that be amazing!

I can cook. Actually I can cook really well. I once wanted to be a pastry chef before sugar, grain and vegetable oil made me a puddle of humanity who had to drag my sick self to the doctor every 30 days.  I do Paleo cooking pretty darn well. According to my children I can bake Paleo style with rather tasty results.  I am here to share my cooking and with a little luck inspire everyone to live a life long Paleo lifestyle.

Stay tuned ...