Friday, 22 May 2015

Paleo Granola

This is one of those "if I do say so myself" recipes. It is really freaking delicious.
If you know me then you know this is high praise indeed as I tend to be very critical of my own cooking.

This has not been an easy recipe to create. It's been the source of much cursing as I've thrown out many batches of burned nuts or had to choke down just plain old boring cereal. Unhappy face.

I think the win is from the multiple layers of flavour. By using both honey and maple syrup you get this incredibly delicious depth of flavour that using just one or the other doesn't provide. Using butter/ghee and honey means some of the chunks end up with a caramel or toffee taste as they caramelize during baking. O.M.G.

You'll also notice I've used some salted nuts in the mix. Adding a few salted nuts adds a little hit of flavour to each cereal cluster (kinda reminiscent of salted caramel - just sayin').  Use unsalted nuts if you like it better that way. In the recipe I've listed our favourite nut mixture however feel free to change up to whatever tickles your fancy. 

If you are going to make primal or paleo type granolas/breakfast "cereals" I would highly recommend that you get an oven thermometer. If your oven runs hot the nuts can turn from pale to incinerated in what seems like a millisecond; too cool and it never seem to cook and the granola turns out too dry. (I didn't think it was possible for a cereal to be too dry considering that we generally add some kind of milk or milk-like product to it, but believe me it can. I've done it.)

OK ready? Let's do this.

Small bowl
Large bowl
Food processor or chopping knife
Whisk or immersion blender
2 cookie sheets
Parchment paper

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup honey (warmed so it mixes easier)
1/4 cup ghee, melted (or butter for primal folks)
one egg white
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla (have you tasted the Madagascar stuff? Just wow.)

2 cups almonds
1 cup roasted cashews - salted
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup macadamia nuts - salted
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup large flake unsweetened coconut
1/2 cut finely chopped dehydrated fruit bits of your choice
1/8 cup chia seeds
1/8 cup flax seeds briefly pulsed to break the husk

Preheat oven to 300 F

Pulse almonds, cashews, pecans and macadamia nuts in your food processor (or chop with your knife) until they are a size you would like to eat. I usually do this in a few batches otherwise you can end up with dust and huge chunks instead of uniform sizes.

Place chopped nuts in your big bowl and add the rest of the nuts and seeds.

In the small bowl whisk (or use immersion blender) the egg white til frothy, add liquids and spices and mix well.

Add the liquids to the nut-seed mixture and combine well. It will seem a bit wet but no worries.

Press the mixture flat into 2 parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

Bake 20-30 minutes rotating sheets at 10 minutes, then every 5 minutes thereafter, until at the thinnest parts of your layer - usually the edges - the nuts are golden brown, dry and crispy. The thicker parts will be lighter coloured and may give a little if you press them. That's what you want; it will firm up as it cools and you get chewy bits along with your crispy bits.

Let cool, break into chunks. Store in an airtight container.

I recommend putting almost all of the granola in your container then giving it to someone to hide before tasting it. Leave only a few chunks for you to taste. I made a batch yesterday and as there was no one to hide it from me I ended up on a granola-binge high. Roll me out of the kitchen please.

This stuff is seriously energy dense so go easy on it. 
1 cup contains approximately 760kcal; 20g protein, 64g fat, 44g carbs of which 14gs are fiber.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Paleo Cauliflower Rice Pulao

I have been very interested in Indian cooking lately, much to the delight of family and friends. I've been experimenting to find the perfect butter chicken, chicken tikka masala and lamb rogan josh recipes. I think I've got the rogan josh to my liking but keep repeating the butter chicken and tikka masala recipes (again to the delight of family who are far less critical of my cooking than I am) trying to achieve that deep, rich, complex flavour.

In my wanderings through the recipes I created a "paleo" version of my favourite side dish, veggie pulao. The traditional recipe calls for peas, beans and potatoes. I've put quotes around "paleo" as I will often swap out broccoli for either the peas or beans and consider the other as part of my 20. If these barely-legumes bother you then take them out entirely and swap with your favourite other veggie. It's all going to taste good. Potatoes just get chucked out entirely. I suppose you could use bits of sweet potato but you'd have to pre-cook the cubes and then they might turn to mush during the stirring.

When you serve the pulao, leave the whole spices in (but warn your guests about them) as they look and smell amazing. 

Adapted from the e-Curry blog

Large skillet
food processor or box grater
stirring spoon

4 tablespoon ghee (butter if you are primal) or coconut oil also works well

4 cloves, gently crushed
6 green cardamom, gently crushed
1 big black cardamom, gently crushed
1 – 2″ stick cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon paprika
freshly ground black pepper, about 6 turns
salt to taste

1 head cauliflower, riced in your food processor on the box grater, about 4 cups
2 carrots, chopped into tiny cubes
and two or more of the following:
1/2 cup chopped green beans
1/2 cup peas, shelled or frozen
1 cup tiny broccoli florets
1/2 cup cubed broccoli stems

Garnishes (optional):
fresh cilantro
lightly toasted almonds or cashews

Cooking happens fairly quickly so before you start, gather all ingredients and have them ready by your pan. 
In a small bowl combine cinnamon, cardamom (green and black) and cloves
Have cumin ready in another small bowl
Have ground spices ready in a final small bowl
In a large bowl combine cauliflower, carrots and your chosen veggies

Heat ghee/butter/coconut oil in large skillet over medium high heat
When the ghee starts to shimmer add cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add cumin and simmer 1 minute until fragrant.
Add ground spices while stirring - do not let them burn or you will need to start over - stir for 30 seconds.

Add the vegetables and turn heat to high. Stir to coat with spices and ghee. Allow veggies to cook, stirring frequently so cauliflower browns but does not burn; about 5 minutes.

Take it off the heat while the cauliflower rice is still firm as it will continue cooking for a few minutes more on its own. You want the "rice" to be tender but firm and not soggy (although it will still taste delicious if you overdo it).

Plate and add garnish as you wish.

Prepare for adoration. 

Let me know if you try this with some sort of tuber and how they held up during cooking.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mum's chicken foot soup stock - 2 ways

My Mum makes some simple recipes with very few ingredients that have amazing depth and rich flavour complexity. She swears it's her home-made chicken foot stock that makes everything taste so good.

OK, I know I'm supposed to be primal and I really do believe that we should be eating the whole animal, but there is something about chicken feet that makes me squirmy. Its also a bit bizarre for me that those skinny little legs and toes, which look like they have nothing to them, make such an amazing base for soup. Luckily my Mum isn't squeamish about them so she keeps me supplied with as much stock as I want. (Yay, Mum!)

Mum has a pressure cooker (a badass old skool cooker; that thing scared me as a kid and scares me now) so she often uses that to make stock. She also has been playing with her new slow cooker so I asked her to try making the stock with it as I don't know many people who own a pressure cooker these days.

Turns out it worked just as well in a slow cooker just (obviously) took longer than cooking them in the pressure cooker.

Ready for this incredibly complex recipe?

2 lbs (1kg) Chicken feet - most come de-skinned*. Look for pink feet.

Seriously. That's it.

Method (also highly technical):
Rinse chicken feet
Place feet in slow cooker or pressure cooker
Add water to just cover
If using slow cooker, cover and cook on High for 4 hours
If using pressure cooker, cook at low pressure for about 1 hour.

Let cool to room temperature, remove chicken feet**. Put broth in refrigerator. As it cools it will solidify into an amazing mass of gelatin. Portion out as you like; freeze what you don't use right away. Makes about 4 cups.

Mum doesn't use any spices in her cooking water so you can use it for any type of soup. However, you certainly could add the typical poultry type veggies, spices and herbs to the cooking water to make it taste like traditional chicken stock.

*If the feet still have their skin on (they look yellow instead of pink) de-skinning them is easy. Check out this Simply Recipes post for details (one of my fave cooking blogs even tho' not primal).

**I'd be composting the feet at this point but Mum says soak them in soy sauce (gluten-free), tamari (San-J has gluten free, organic, non GMO) or coconut aminos and eat them like dim sum. Shudder.

Thats it! Next up, some recipes of Mum's that use the chicken foot stock.

What are your favourite chicken stock recipes? Would you change to making stock from chicken feet? Already do? Let us know!