Restaurant-Style Spicy Mayo (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

We’re in a heat wave. 

This is about that time of year where I’ve gotten my summer vacations out of the way, and my next low-key excitement is buying sweaters from WHBM… so I get tired of the heat pretty quickly. My birthday is in the fall and as much as I try to hide my love for all things pumpkin, I really just can’t. Mums, pumpkins, sweaters, apples, pumpkins next to mums, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, roasting veggies while wearing a sweater and drinking Punkin Ale, arranging mums while stacking pumpkins while drinking a Punkin Ale, more pumpkins, ugh. It’s too good. Now that I think of it, 2 years ago I bought mums way too early and they just chose to leave me and die because of the heat. After replacing them twice, I decided I need more patience.

We aren’t there yet! It’s still hot, and I still have nice people bringing me fruit, tomatoes, peppers, etc from their gardens. A lady gave me a zucchini the other day the size of a baby. Little hot peppers, cute little radishes, herbs – I should appreciate this time of year more than I do. Having said that, a lot of this stuff translates well into different types of cuisines. Mexican food? Dice those tomatoes and make some guac. Jalapenos? Make a fun sauce. Lots of parsley, basil and cilantro? Make chimichurri! With all good end-of-summer recipes though, you need a good sauce. Fish tacos, roasted veggies, burgers, sandwiches, you need something to bring the heat and complement your food.

You know that delicious spicy mayo they make at sushi restaurants? That sauce that has just the right amount of flavor, and if you’re feeling sassy you order like 2 sides of it? Well, good news! I made a recipe that is probably nothing close to what they’re actually making, but it tastes pretty darn close and is easy to make. Put it on everything. This also puts that huge jar of Mother In Law’s Gochugaru Chili Flakes you may have bought for my last recipe to good use. I actually smothered those Cajun Artichoke Turkey Burgers with this spicy mayo and my chimichurri sauce in a lettuce wrap and a slice of grilled red onion. Yum 🙂

Restaurant-Style Spicy Mayo (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Makes ~1 cup

Ingredients

  • ¾ Paleo-friendly mayo, or Veganaise
  • ¼ cup Sriracha, adjust for heat preference. Get the chicken-bottle stuff, keep it authentic J
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos (soy sauce, if not strict paleo)
  • 1 tsp paleo-friendly Worcestershire-style sauce – I like Primal Kitchen’s Steak Sauce. Annie’s also makes a vegan Worcestershire sauce (or use regular, if you aren’t strict)
  • 1 tsp gochugaru chili flakes

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Easy peasy.

Can be stored in the fridge for as long as the expiration date on your mayo says – I doubt it’ll last that long because you’ll definite eat it all!

 

Enjoy!

-S

Chimichurri Sauce (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, EVERYTHING)

I’m a little late on posting this. And, by a little, I mean a lot. I really wanted to post it last Wednesday, but time got away from me.

So! This most recent full moon (in Aquarius) was directly opposite of Venus, which calls love and relationships front and center and puts you directly in front of whatever you’ve been facing in the background. Because of how strong this position is, until the new moon, ensure that important decisions you make are done so with logic and understanding, and not just emotion. The open window for opportunity is also here, so if there’s something to shake up and change, now would be the time.

That’s one thing I like to think about when it’s a full moon. I look at new moons as though they’re a beginning to a new chapter, and full moons as sort of a “pulse check” to make sure your intentions are where they should be by shining literal and figurative light on everything around you.

So about those turkey burgers I posted last week. It seems a lot of people were as jazzed about them as I was, which is always awesome. I definitely need to share with you this sauce concoction I made while I was at the beach. It’s called Chimichurri sauce – most often found in South American food, I’ve seen it served with steak. Personally, I’d eat it on everything and anything. When I’ve had it before, it’s been a bit more heavy on the oil, so I lightened it up this time and while the texture/consistency is different, I HIGHLY recommend keeping this on hand pretty much all the time. Put it on your breakfast, put it on your burger, put it on your chicken, your tacos, your fish, anything you’re eating, this pretty much takes what you’re eating from a 2 to like an 11. Delicious. Make it your own, too – my version has some zip to it, but you can change yours up to add whatever other common herbs you have on hand too (oregano, mint, etc).

Chimichurri Sauce (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, EVERYTHING)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, stems removed
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley, stems removed

(at this point, I should be honest, you don’t need specific ratios, just a medium sized mixing bowl filled with fresh herbs… just go heavy on the parsley)

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/3 of a red or yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp gochugaru chili flakes (I like Mother In Law’s Korean Chili Flakes)
  • Sea salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)

 

Directions

  1. In a food processor, add your herbs, garlic and onion. Start blending, slowly pouring in your olive oil until you achieve a thinner consistency.
  2. Once the herbs are finely blended, add your lime juice, salt and chili flakes. Continue to blend. The consistency should be thin, almost runny, but not watery.
  3. Do a quick taste test – this should be herby but not taste like a mouth full of grass… it should be tangy, salty and flavorful. Add more lime juice, chili flakes or salt if needed, and blend for another 10-15 seconds.
  4. Serve and enjoy! I keep mine in the fridge for up to 5 days after. It may slightly dull in color over time but it’s still tasty, don’t worry!

-S

Crispy Roasted Plantains with Cilantro Lime Aioli (Paleo, Vegan!)

Hey y’all!

It’s definitely been a while, I know I need to make an effort to post more. I’ve been cooking, I’ve just been terrible about documenting everything. Some fun stuff, some un-fun stuff, busy with work, the whole nine. I’m headed to the beach late next week, followed by a trip to Philly to see KHALID! (thanks work!), and I plan to just eat… NON STOP. I’ll have to fit some running in there, I think.

Guess what today is! It’s the start of Leo.  Where are my LEO’s at?! A lot of people near and dear to my heart are born under this sign, and I definitely feel a complete shift in energy, for the better. Interesting about this particular time is that when we are dead in the middle of this fixed Fire sign, there’s a lot more intensity, energy, creativity and overall happiness. People are back in their element. I like that, because all of those warm-weather summer projects are calling. Oh, and that intense heatwave is done, so I no longer have to carry my giant dog across the pavement to the grass for her to go to the bathroom.  It’ll only get better when mercury retrograde is done on July 31, when all the confusion and A.D.D.  slows down.

Let’s get to it! Who loves to dip stuff into..stuff? I do. My latest obsession is plantains. They’re the older brother of the banana… less sweet, starchier, can go sweet or savory. Though I feel like I’ll never live down the nasty, bouncy-ball, chewy charcoal briquette plantain slices I made a few months ago, my tribe… they’re good sports. They’ll try these again.

The key to making this dish is RIPE plantains. Borderline brown. Slice them down the middle, gently, and carefully peel them. They’re just so wonderful.

 

Crispy Roasted Plantains with Cilantro Lime Aioli (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients

  • 3 large plantains, peeled, sliced into ½ inch pieces on a diagonal
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • sprinkle of onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the aioli

  • 2/3 cup paleo or vegan friendly mayo – i like soy-free Vegenaise
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 small garlic glove, pressed or finely minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

 

Directions

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of ghee. Once up to temperature, add plantains, spacing evenly. Sauté until golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Use your remaining tbsp of ghee once you flip the plantains to the 2nd side, to ensure a consistent golden brown crust.
  2. As plantains are cooking, mix together your aioli ingredients and add to a small serving bowl.
  3. Once plantains are thoroughly cooked, tender and brown on both sides, transfer to a paper-towel covered plate to drain excess oil. Serve immediately while still hot.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, lime and one last dusting of salt.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Paleo Sausage Gravy Over Biscuits… and it’s DELICIOUS

Victories come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you get the job, sometimes you almost miss a step on a staircase but don’t and catch yourself. Sometimes, you thought you forgot your phone charger at home but find it in your workbag. And then… sometimes you make sausage gravy over biscuits and it’s gluten free, dairy free, and DOESN’T SUCK.

This is a great time to be alive. Honestly.  I can’t even explain the joy I get from making this, because now I can share it with people who’ve never enjoyed the salty tasty goodness of sausage gravy.  You can bet your bottom I’ll be making this again.

This weekend is my hometown’s big annual event, the Mushroom Festival. Thousands of people gather to see artisans, crafts, food, antique cars and demonstrations about how mushrooms are grown and distributed. It’s a really fun time, and the whole town shuts down so that everyone can enjoy it. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, you should definitely check it out – more into at www.mushroomfestival.org.

Since this is just one big post about me talking about what I DO like, I realized I haven’t complained about the heat yet. It’s still really hot, guys. Fortunately, it’ll be in the high 60’s this weekend, so… I suspect I may be wearing a flannel to the mushroom festival….. 🙂

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits (PALEO!)

Prep Time: 40 min

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yields about 8-10 biscuits

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • 2/3 cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½  tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp) of cold butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk, fully mixed/shaken
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 2 Eggs

For the gravy:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can of coconut milk
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 heaping tbsp. tapioca or arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  • sprinkle of paprika
  • sprinkle of chili powder, optional
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with your preferred oil/cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together your coconut milk and lemon juice. Stir in your eggs and continue to whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a separate larger mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix in your butter cubes with your hands, and press the mixture together until it starts to get a sandy, coarse meal-y texture. Continue this until butter is no longer in large chunks.
  4. Fold in your buttermilk/egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir until fully mixed. Allow it to sit so that the flours can absorb the moisture, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. With your hands, take a rough handful of the biscuit mix and place on the baking sheet. So  that it resembles a flakier biscuit shape, I pinch and poke the top with my hands so it isn’t a perfectly round shape. Continue to form biscuits, placing 1-2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  7. Meanwhile, while your biscuits are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add your onion and sausage. Continue to saute until browned, breaking up large bits of sausage. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  8. Using the remaining fat in the pan, turn the heat down to medium low and add your arrowroot/tapioca flour and whisk to combine. Once it thickens, add your coconut milk (remember to shake the can well to ensure it’s mixed!) and  continue to whisk. Add your herbs and salt and pepper, to taste. Add your sausage back in and continue to stir occasionally, allowing the gravy to thicken.
  9. Pour over your biscuits…. Or just eat it out of the pan. Or smother it on your face. I love gravy, do what you want.

Enjoy!

-S

Health Food Haul – Ideas for Healthy Groceries

So you’ve made the effort to eat more healthy foods, and you’re ready to shop. Where do you shop, and where do you start? What’s worth splurging on, and what’s worth buying the regular or generic brand? I’ve picked my favorite products and brands at my favorite stores.

Whole Foods

After Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017, there was a noticeable decrease in a lot of their produce and meat prices. I like to make special trips to Whole Foods a few times a month (since it’s sort of out of the way), and these are a few of my favorites.

Miso

miso.jpg

Miso is fermented soy-bean paste – derived from a legume, it’s not for the strict paleo dieters, but it’s gluten-free and loaded with flavor. Any time I’m making an Asian-style marinade, this is a definite staple because it’s a huge punch of flavor. You can find it in red or yellow “flavor”, depending on your preference, and I particularly love the brand Westbrae Natural.

Plant-Based Protein Powder

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Calling all Vegans! For the naysayers that lament you’ll never get enough protein, here’s your rebuttal. I love this brand of protein – PlantFusion Vanilla Bean Flavored Nature’s Most Complete Plant Protein. It has a really light flavor, so you can really add it into anything, such as smoothies, desserts, etc. It’s considered a “complete” protein, so you get everything you need.

Olive Oils, Vinegars and Sauces

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This one is more of an adventure than it is a requirement… I love sauces. Truly, I will put sauce on anything. I love aioli, I love gravy, I love dipping sauce. Whole Foods stocks a few of my personal staples, which I love… California Ranch Olive Oil (buy domestic!) has this flowery peppery taste that I have to have when using EVOO. Balsamic is another staple, and I often pick up a bottle of Napa Valley Naturals Organic Balsamic Vinegar, for salads and reductions. In a pinch, of I don’t have the time to make my own salad dressing, Primal Kitchen Green Goddess Dressing and Marinade is another favorite I like to keep on hand.

Ground Buffalo and Bison

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In my home town, we had a restaurant that actually made it to the Travel Channel, called Half Moon. It was known for sourcing “unusual game” on it’s menu, such as kangaroo, buffalo, alligator or other food not commonly found within the US. Nature’s Rancher Ground Bison is great to pick up when I’m trying to recreate Half Moon’s “buffa-loaf” – a tasty meatloaf made with buffalo/bison, rather than ground beef. Nature’s Rancher is one of the “Animal Welfare Approved” farms in the US, where further info can be found at https://animalwelfareapproved.us.

Wegmans

Wegman’s is my grocery store superhero. I get so excited when I’m able to stroll around and get my groceries, bulk nuts/candies, AND BOOZE! Plus, if I’m absolutely famished, I can get things at the food bar, or restaurant. It’s the mecca, the toy store, the everything for foodies.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

brussels

These have to be the best thing ever. I have a food processor that I love using, but for whatever reason, I can’t stand using it for brussels sprouts. I don’t want them paper thin, but rather a little chunky… and Wegmans sells these glorious bags of pre-shredded brussies. You can find Wegmans Cleaned and Cut Shaved Brussels in the produce section. LOVE IT.

Almond Milk

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I can’t take credit for this one. My friend started getting this brand after Wegmans discontinued their generic store brand (we called just to be sure… it really was tragic….), and not only is the bottle cute, but it really is the tastiest. Califia Farms Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk is carrageenan free, and is so far the simplest almond milk I can find without making my own. For the record – carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and is commonly used as a binding agent or additive in foods, or a thickening agent. Carrageenan is not FDA regulated, though side effects with the digestive system have been documented.

Organic Produce Selection

This isn’t any one particular product, but I find the organic selection at Wegmans to be a lot wider than Whole Foods. I’m not sure if it’s product placement or marketing, but I also feel like there are cheaper options for little things that add up, such as organic herbs, or veggies I don’t normally buy a lot of. Highly recommend.

Giant (Martin’s)

Giant is my usual go-to, out of convenience. I will say that I think they do an exceptionally good job at stocking a lot of organic items I prefer, and if they don’t stock it, management actually takes requests to start stocking certain items… which has worked out in my favor a few times. If you look enough, you can find pantry staples I use in my ingredients right around your local grocery store if these other big-chain retailers aren’t feasible! Giant even has their own natural/organic brand, called Nature’s Promise. I love the selection it offers.

Tahini

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Other stores have good brands I’m sure, but I am a big fan of this brand because it’s unsalted. A quick stop to Giant and I can stock up on enough Woodstock tahini to make whatever my heart desires…. like this Garlic Tahini Kale Salad…. 🙂

Low Sodium Chicken Broth

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This speaks for itself. Beef and vegetable broth not pictured, but I can pay a fraction of what some of the other brands at Whole Foods and Wegmans charge for organic and anti-biotic free chicken broth. I typically start with low-sodium options to limit my salt, that way I can add to the dish later if necessary.

Maple Syrup

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This stuff can really cost a fortune. I really only use maple syrup as a sweetener in recipes to get that nutty flavor, as I think it’s too sweet to eat on waffles and pancakes. This is just enough to last me a few months, as I use it sparingly.

Diced Tomatoes

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I have about 4 of these cans on hand at any given point. I use them for Caprese Chicken, Curried Chicken Meatballs, and even my fresh salsa! I’ve spent hours chopping tomatoes into little pieces, and I have to say this tastes just as fresh as if I cut the tomato myself. It just saves a LOT more time!

Local Markets

Some things are just better left to the local markets, made one at a time, and with love. A few favorites sourced locally near me, below!

Eggs

it’s a life dream of mine to have chickens on my would-be horse farm… but I’ll settle for local eggs in the meantime. Harvest Market, one of my favorite places, is my go-to for local goodies. I learned (a lot later in life than I probably should have) that brown eggs come from brown chickens, so for no other reasons than purely aesthetics, I love to get brown eggs from my beloved brown chickies. The local farms that Harvest Market sources their eggs from let their chickens roam and live their best lives.

Honey

honey

I like eating local honey for a number of reasons. One brand near me, Walt’s Swarmbustin’ Honey, is made right down the street by local bees. Local bees means local pollen, and local pollen means local allergies… which means if I’m eating local pollen, I’m building immunity to it. In my smoothies, I’ll also by the pollen kernels from Walt’s, for an extra kick. So far, so good! ATTNit should be noted that if you have any life-threatening allergies to bees, bee stings or anything bee-related, you should consult your doctor before starting this. It’s an unusual link, but not worth the risk!

Kombucha

Babas-kombuchas

I’m finicky about this. I really think there’s a difference in taste/quality of small-batch kombucha that makes it special. A few local brands that I get at Harvest Market (or my local farmer’s market in KSQ) are Baba’s Bucha, and Inspired Brews. Both have Unique flavors, and who doesn’t love a good dose of probiotics?

Not sure where to start in your area? Visit www.localharvest.org to check out local and seasonal markets that source your next favorite produce, goodies or grocery staples. You can search based on zip code, or for what you’re specifically looking for, such as co-ops, CSA’s, markets.

Enjoy!

-S

Garlic Chili Toasted Sesame Oil

A few of you asked about the chili oil I added to my noodles — this is great on more than just noodles. This stuff keeps for a while in the fridge, so I like to make a big batch… but be careful, it definitely has a bite!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 6-7 large cloves of garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1/4 cup roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp dried chili de arbol
  • 4 heaping tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan sea salt; more to taste

Directions

  1. Combine grapeseed oil and all but one clove of garlic in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until it starts to brown slightly. Reduce to the lowest heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until garlic becomes very dark, about 10 minutes. If the garlic becomes quite sticky, this is when you know it’s done.
  2. Transfer mixture to a heat-proof bowl and add sesame oil. Transfer to a blender and blend on high speed until garlic is completely emulsified, about 30 seconds. Return mixture to saucepan and add chilies and remaining garlic. Simmer over low heat until chilies and the fresh garlic begins to bubble. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool.
  3. Separately, grind half of the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle until roughly ground. Add to the oil mixture with remaining sesame seeds and sugar and salt – add more salt if needed.
  4. Transfer to a jar or container with a lid (preferably glass so the scent does not leech into the container). This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

This goes delicious over some Ginger Scallion noodles, sautéed brussels sprouts, or even bread if you love it that much 🙂

 

Enjoy!

-S

Paleo Mayonnaise

  • All ingredients should be as close to room temperature as possible!
    • 1 large organic egg yolk
    • ¼ tsp finely ground Himalayan sea salt
    • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard (I’m a fan of Grey Poupon… always)
    • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
    • 1 tssp apple cider vinegar
    • ¾ cup avocado oil

     

    *Note: whisking can be done in place of a food processor– fair warning, you will need some muscle.

    1. Add egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar and salt to your food processor. Pulse until the mixture is uniform, and bright like the egg yolk.
    2. Stream in about a third of your oil through the top and blend until emulsified, about one minute.
    3. Once mixed, continue to blend in the oil in a slow stream until fully emulsified, and blend for another 30 seconds once all of the oil has been added.

    Enjoy!

    -S