Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Recipe Test - Garden Burgers

I found this recipe in paleomagonline.com last summer and had to share as it is the most delicious burger I have ever tasted! I love that it is jammed packed with healthy veggies.

To cut down on my prep time, I use my minichopper to prep all the veggies.


• 1lb lean ground beef
• ¼ cup Red onion, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup Carrot, finely chopped
• ½ cup Yellow squash, finely chopped
• ½ cup Zucchini, finely chopped
• A handful of broccoli florets, finely chopped
• ¼ cup packed Spinach, finely chopped
• 6 Basil leaves, finely chopped
• 2 TBSP Parsley, finely chopped
• 1 tsp Granulated onion (I just added some onion powder instead)
• ½ tsp sea salt
• Ground pepper
• Coconut oil
• 1 Avocado, sliced

1. Heat coconut oil in pan over medium heat.
2. Add onion, cook for 2-3 minutes. 
3. Add carrot, cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add zucchini, yellow squash, and broccoli, cook for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add spinach, cook for 1 minute.
6. Remove pan from stove, allow veggie mixture to cool.
7. In large bowl, combine ground beef, veggie mixture, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, onion powder; mix well. Break the mixture into 4 equal-sized pieces and form into loosely-packed patties. Make a small well in the center of each patty by pressing down lightly with your thumb (this will keep your burgers from puffing up in the middle and give a flatter surface).
8. Grill for about 5 minutes per side. (If possible, brush your grill with coconut oil for extra flavor.)
9. Top with avocado slices.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Grilled Steak with Sesame Sauce and Grilled Scallions

I picked up the summer eats edition of Fine Cooking Magazine and am using it for tons of inspiration. Last week I made a delicious paleo-friendly version of their sesame sauce for grilled steak and scallions. Asian cooking is way out of my comfort zone but I've been trying hard to expand my horizons and am extremely pleased with how this dish came out. It's also the first time I've used my bottle of organic coconut aminos, so that was pretty exciting.

  • 1.5lb steak (flank, skirt, london broil)
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp organic coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or olive oil, plus more for the grill
  • 1/2 tsp and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic and 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Asian sesame oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp palm sugar (or use honey)
  • 1 tsp organic arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 cup water and 1 tsp water
  • 20 scallions, roots trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  1. Season the steak with salt and pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbsp coconut aminos with 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil, and 3 cloves of the crushed garlic. Pour into a large zipper bag. Seal the steak inside the bag and massage the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat 1.5Tbsp of the grapeseed oil, 2 cloves crushed garlic and 1/2 tsp ground ginger over medium heat until garlic begins to brown around the edges. (Don't let the garlic burn.) Add 1/3 cup water, the remaining 1/4 cup coconut aminos, vinegar, sesame oil, and palm sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the 1 tsp arrowroot powder with 1 tsp water to form a paste. Stir it into the sesame mixture and cook about a minute more until it returns to a boil and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Heat your grill to medium-high. Clean and oil the grill grates.
  6. Toss scallions with about 1/2 tsp oil and some salt to coat.
  7. Grill your steak to desired doneness (about 4-6 minutes per side). Transfer to a large cutting board and brush with about a third of the sesame sauce. Let the meat rest and prepare your scallions.
  8. Lower the heat to medium and grill the scallions until they are tender and have good grill marks (about 2-4 minutes per side).
  9. Transfer to a large platter and drizzle with a few spoonfulls of the sesame sauce.
  10. Toast the sesame seeds either in the oven, in a small pan on the stovetop, or create a little bowl out of aluminum foil and put it on the grill.
  11. Slice the steak thinly and serve with the scallions. Drizzle the remaining sesame sauce on top and sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds.
Instead of regular sea salt, I tried out my special black lava sea salt and rubbed it into the steak.

Whisked up the marinade.

I ordered the coconut aminos from Amazon and found the sesame oil in the grocery store in the asian cooking aisle.

The start of the sauce...

Mmmm... sesame sauce!
Be sure to whisk the arrowroot powder completely into the water and avoid clumping.

Make sure your grill is nice and hot to sear in the flavor to the meat.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tostones (Fried Plantains)

Tostones are fried green plantains which are very popular in Latin American households (and especially Puerto Rico). Unlike their yellow plantain cousins, they are not sweet. Tostones are so easy to make my husband actually prepares them all the time (and he's better at it than me). We like them to come out crispy and sprinkle them generously with salt. I usually burn my tongue because I am too impatient and want to eat them hot out of the pan. Tostones make a great side dish or snack but are also impressive served as an appetizer. I generally prepare 1 plaintain per person depending on the size of the group.

  • 2-3 ripe green plantains
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt
  1. Remove the peel from the plantains. It's not like peeling a regular banana and will be quite difficult to remove that way. Start by cutting off both ends of the plantain. Using your knife, slice down the length of the plantain taking care not to go too deep into the meat of the fruit. Make another long incision about an inch or two parallel to the first. You should now be able to peel off that inch wide piece of peel. Once that is removed, you should be able to peel away the rest.
  2. Slice crosswise into 1" pieces.
  3. Heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil in a nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat.
  4. Fry the plantains a few minutes on each side until starting to brown.
  5. Remove the pieces from the heat and place on a piece of parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment paper. Find an object (I use a mustard jar) to smash the plantains down flat. You want to get them about a half inch thin otherwise they won't get crispy. Return the flattened plantains to the pan and fry again on either side until brown and crispy.
  6. Sprinkle very generously with salt and serve immediately.
[These would be delicious served with a garlic alioli sauce for dipping!]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Marinated Lamb Kabobs

Kabobs! I have fond memories of summer and shish kabobs as a child. I was in the mood for something different this week which led me to buy some lamb. Then I thought, "why not marinate the lamb?" That then led to, "hmm, why not marinate some veggies, too?" Figured I may as well skewer 'em all together for a fun, colorful treat.

(This recipe yielded about 12 skewers. I used 12" bamboo skewers.)

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1.5lb lamb, cut into chunks for skewering
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 8oz package baby bella mushrooms, peeled and stems removed (cut some of the bigger mushrooms in half to try to keep them all around the same size)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (try antique or heirloom)
  1. Marinate your meat a few hours in advance (or leave it marinating in the fridge overnight). In a small bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients. Put the marinade and lamb chunks together in a zipper bag, seal, and massage the marinade into the meat.
  2. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30min to prevent scorching on the grill.
  3. Begin threading your skewers, alternating meat and different veggies. Try to keep your veggies about the same size as each other (you may have to split up some of the onion wedges if they are too thick). Brush the skewers with the remaining marinade making sure to coat the veggies well.
  4. Grill a few minutes each side until the tomatoes are blistered and lamb is cooked through.

Tips for variations:
  1. Leave the meat off and use the marinade to grill some veggie skewers as just a side dish.
  2. Add other vegetables like zucchini or eggplant to the mix.
  3. Try using special sea salts like smoked or black lava to enhance the flavor.
  4. Sprinkle with a few pinches of herbes de provence before grilling.
  5. No grill? No problem! Place kabobs in a roasting pan on an oven-safe rack and bake at 425F for roughly 12-15 minutes. No need to turn them over provided there is at least 1 inch of space between the bottom of the pan and the rack.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Recipe Test - Summer Peach and Tomato Salad

This delicious recipe is out of an old issue of Cooking Light Magazine. I would never have thought to pair peach and tomato, but the flavor combo is out of this world! 

  • 1/3 cup red onion, thinly vertically sliced
  • 3 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into 8 wedges each (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 pound heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thick wedges
  • 1/2 pound heirloom cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  1. Combine red onion, peaches, and all tomatoes in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture over peach mixture; toss gently to coat
  3. Sprinkle with basil (and feta cheese if using).
The best way to pit a peach is to cut the peach in half, then cut that
half in half and twist the halves opposite directions to pull them off the pit.

love these heirloom tomatoes!

I tried a new salt - black lava sea salt - to see if I could enhance the flavor.

My modest little window pot of herbs - it's been
growing since Easter and I haven't killed it yet!
So proud of my home-grown basil.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Roasted Asparagus Salad

I brought this salad to a family barbeque today and it was a big hit. I actually learned how to make it from the awesome chef at Miette Culinary Studio in New York City where I attended a group cooking class/teambuilding event with my company a few months ago. I slightly altered it to make it easier to prepare at home.

  • 2 bunches of asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large package of organic greens (e.g. mesclun, arugula, etc)
  • 2 navel oranges, peeled and sliced crosswise about 1/4" thick
  • 1/2 a large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 2.25oz can sliced black olives, drained
  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. Place asparagus on a large baking sheet and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Roast for 10 minutes, or until soft. Remove pan from the oven and cool off to the side.
  3. Prepare all fruits and vegetables with a sharp knife.
  4. In a very large bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper together. This will be your dressing.
  5. Add the fennel, scallions, and lettuce and toss to coat.
  6. Slice the roasted asparagus into 2" pieces.
  7. Pull your sliced oranges apart so you have triangle-shaped pieces of orange.
  8. Add in the asparagus, orange slices, red onion, and black olives and toss once again.