Miso Soup

While soy is to be avoided on this diet, when it’s fermented and its protein/lectins are broken down by the beneficial bacteria doing the fermentation, it becomes an acceptable ingredient. Tamari (wheat-free) soy sauce for example is used by many Paleo dieters, while natto (fermented soy beans), and soy-based gluten-free unpasteurized miso paste are all considered very good for our health. Tofu on the other hand is very processed, and it still carries loads of agglutinin (SBA), so it’s not an acceptable food in the Paleo-sphere.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find these ingredients in all countries, especially the unpasteurized miso paste. Most miso pastes are pasteurized, so their cultures are dead, making miso itself useless. In my local Japanese food store I only found one product that was unpasteurized, and many more than weren’t. Also, make sure that your miso does not contain grains/barley.

This miso soup is very easy to make, and very healthy because it includes various bone minerals, the miso live culture, and iodine & other rare minerals found only on sea-vegetables. My husband usually dislikes miso soup in sushi restaurants, but he loved this one (he asked for a refill, rare for him).

miso

Ingredients (for 2, 5 gr of carbs each)
* 2 heaping tspoons of unpasteurized barley-free & gluten-free miso paste
* 2.5 cups of water
* 2 tbspoons of dried sea vegetables (I used this 6-variety pack)
* 4-6 oyster or wood-ear mushrooms
* Green part of 1 green onion, chopped

Method
1. Place the dried sea vegetables in warm water, and let them stand for 10 minutes. Then rinse them well.

2. In a saucepan add the water, under medium heat. Using a tea cup, submerge it to the warm liquid and remove about 1/3 cup of it. Set aside the cup.

3. Add the sea vegetables and mushrooms in the saucepan and bring into a boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from fire.

4. Add the miso paste into the warm-ish water in the tea cup and try to liquify the paste using a teaspoon. It’s important for the water in the cup to not be very hot, or the active culture will die.

5. When the soup in the saucepan has cooled down a bit (warm, not hot), add the chopped green onion, and the now-liquid miso paste. Mix well, serve immediately, possibly with some sashimi!

Cheese Crackers

We generally don’t use much flour in our home (Paleo-approved flours or not). Except for crackers that is, to keep happy my French, cheese-loving husband. The recipe below makes for some amazing gluten-free cheese crackers, and he says that they’re the best cheese crackers he had in his life. And he has tried quite a few so far.

Ingredients (makes 45-50 pieces, 1 gr of net carbs each)
* 1 cup of blanched, fine almond flour
* 3/4 cup of coarse almond meal (I get mine at Trader Joe’s)
* 1/2 cup of flaxseed whole ground meal
* 1 egg
* 1-2 TBspoons of finely minced, fresh herbs you have around: rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, lavender, mint, basil etc.
* 2 TBspoons of fine Parmesan cheese (optional)
* 2 TBspoons of raw sesame seeds (and/or poppy seeds)
* 1.5 TBspoons of olive oil
* 1/4 tspoon sea salt
* Some freshly grounded black pepper to taste

Method
1. In a big bowl put all the ingredients together and start working the mixture with your hands. Soon it will become a well-rounded ball.

2. Cut out two pieces of parchment paper, as long as your cookie sheet is. Preheat the oven at 350 F (175 C).

3. Lay down your ball mixture in the middle of one parchment paper, and try to spread it a bit with your fingers (just enough so it’s not a ball anymore).

4. Place the other parchment paper on top, and using a rolling pin, spread the mixture across the parchment, as equally as possible. Aim for a thickness that you desire (I go for a pretty thin texture). If you spread it too much on some side, you can always remove that part, and re-spread it.

5. Remove the top parchment paper and throw it away. Using a pointy knife, cut out a grind in the spread, creating rectangles of about 2.5″ diagonally (be careful to not cut the parchment paper).

6. Place the parchment paper with the mixture on the cookie sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Then check it out to see if the edges are starting to brown. If that’s the case, remove the cookie sheet from the oven, and using oven gloves, cut out the rectangles that are already done and let them cool on a cooling rack (they will be soft at that point, but they will harden as they cool). Put the rest of the undone crackers back to the oven for another 2-4 minutes (monitor them).

7. When done, remove them from the cookie sheet and place them in the cooling rack too. Half an hour later, break-out the crackers in their predefined grind shape. They now are harden and ready to eat. Keep in an air-tighten bag for up to 1.5 weeks.

Oopsie buns

Oopsies are the Americanized version of the French souffle. My French husband loved them. They can be baked in ramekins for a more authentic souffle taste (in this case omit the almond flour), or as bread buns. They’re extremely low carb, and Paleo/Primal.

Ingredients (makes 6 buns)
* 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated in two bowls
* 3/4 cup of creamy goat cheese, or shaved emmental cheese
* 2 tablespoons of almond or coconut flour
* 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar (or baking soda)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). On the bowl with the whites, add the cream of tartar.

2. Beat the whites in high speed until very-very stiff, about 4-5 minutes.

3. Add the cheese and flour to the yolk bowl, and beat until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

4. Fold the yolk mixture slowly into the whites, and mix carefully with a spatula for a few seconds.

5. Spoon the mixture in 6 pieces, on a baking sheet with a parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Per Serving (3 buns): 430 calories, 3 gr of net carbs, 36 gr of fat, 25% protein, 83% Lysine. 45% B12, 72% Riboflavin, 63% choline, 55% A, 23% calcium, 59% phosphorus, 31% selenium, 33% copper.

Mashed Roots

One of my favorite foods, is mash. Super-easy to make! I made a batch tonight, using 2 turnips, 1 rutabaga, and just half of a purple yam. It turned everything a beautiful purple color. I kept some for tomorrow, and I froze the rest.

mash

Ingredients
* Any roots or bulbs you have around: white potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, kohlrabi
* 1/4th stick of butter
* 1/4th cup of kefir or coconut milk
* Salt & pepper

Method
1. Peel, wash, and cut the roots in cubes.

2. Boil in water for about 20 minutes under medium to high heat.

3. Drain, and place in a large bowl. Add the butter, kefir, salt & pepper.

4. Using an immersion mixer, mix everything well.

5. Serve immediately, refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze in plastic boxes.

Best Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower fried rice is the best substitute for Chinese fried rice on low carb and grain-free Paleo diets. Here’s a generic recipe for it, but accompanied with hints and tips on how to make the recipe work best. You see, if you treat cauliflower like rice, you will end up with a mushy, cabbage-smelling dish. Following the tips below, will bring your fried cauliflower much closer to the real thing.

wpid-14064318020091

Ingredients (for 2)
* Half a cauliflower head, in small florets
* 1 egg
* 4 tablespoons of olive oil
* 1 small leek, cleaned and chopped
* 1/2 cup of frozen peas
* 1 cup of shelled shrimp or mushrooms
* 1/2 cup of veggies chopped (e.g. carrots, peppers, broccoli etc)
* 1 green onion, chopped
* 1 clove of garlic, chopped
* 1.5 tablespoons of gluten-free tamari soy sauce, or coconut aminos
* 1 teaspoon of turmeric (optional)
* black pepper to taste

Method
1. On a small frying pan, with a tablespoon of olive oil, crack an egg on low heat. Using a wooden spoon, swirl continuously the egg, until you achieve a scrambled egg consistency. Turn off the heat before the egg is fully cooked, set aside.

2. On a wok or frying pan, add the shrimp (or mushrooms), 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil, peas, veggies, leeks, garlic, and black pepper. Stir occasionally. Add the soy sauce. Cook in medium heat until the shrimp is done and the leeks have become transparent and soft, and there’s no liquid left in the pan. Set aside.

3. Using a food processor and its S blade, add half of the cauliflower in it. Give it 5-6 jolts until the cauliflower has become “riced”. Do not make the pieces too small, but it should still feel a bit chunky. Set aside, and process the rest of the cauliflower.

4. On a very large frying pan (I used a 14″) that is not wok-like (but rather it has a flat surface), add 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil, the turmeric (if using), and the cauliflower. Under high heat, fry the cauliflower, stirring occasionally, until it starts to get burned marks and it starts to feel dry.

5. Add the meat mixture in to the big frying pan with the cauliflower rice, and stir. Add the scrambled eggs, green onion, and stir. A minute later, turn off the heat, and serve.

IMG_20160823_192505

Tips
1. We use a very large, leveled frying pan instead of a wok because woks tend to trap moist. We’re trying to get rid of as much moist from the dish, because it’s that moist that brings the cabbage smell to cauliflower.
2. We’re using leeks because these emulate the sweetness of rice. Without it, the dish comes out a bit flat in taste.
3. Do not process the cauliflower too much, or too much moist will come out of them.
4. Do not crack the egg on the same pan as the cauliflower. While scrambling the egg on the side of the pan works with rice, it doesn’t work as well for cauliflower. Same goes for the meat mixture.

“Blatzara” Greek spinach pie

Blatzara (aka “plastos”) is the original version of the popular Greek spinach pie. The recipe goes back thousands of years, but only a few villages still make spinach-pie this way. In fact, this is one of these recipes that you can’t find anywhere else online. I’m originating from the Souli mountain villages of Epirus, so this is as original as it goes. I double-checked with my mom & grand-mother too.

Blatzara is made similarly to modern Greek spinach-pie, but without a dough/phyllo. It does retain the same taste though, and it’s easier to make! This makes it perfect for the Paleo diet, with only a few small changes: I used “riced” cauliflower instead of white rice (although white rice was optional in the original recipe anyway). The rest is the same as in the ancient recipe!

Ingredients (for 6)
* 1/2 cup spinach (thawed from frozen), or 2 cups fresh spinach
* 1 cup fresh sorrel (or baby kale), chopped
* 1 cup fresh Swiss chard, chopped
* 1 cup of other green leaves you got (e.g. chopped amaranth, kale, collards, beets, dandelion etc). Use more spinach & swiss chard if you can’t find such kinds of greens.
* 2 leeks, cut in 1/4-inch rounds
* Some chopped mint
* 4 scallions (or 1/2 of a big onion), chopped
* 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
* 1/2 cup cauliflower, “riced” with a shredder (or semi-cooked rice)
* 100 gr feta cheese, crumbled (optional, only if you do dairy)
* salt to taste

Method
1. Wash the leaves with cold water. In a big bowl place the chopped onion, parsley, leeks, mint, spinach, sorrel, Swiss chard and other greens. Add salt to taste. Using your fingers, work the mixture, until they almost start looking wilted.

2. Crumble the feta cheese using your fingers, and add it to the mixture. Add the riced cauliflower too. Carefully mix all ingredients again. Pre-heat the oven at 400 F (200 C).

greek-pie

3. Move everything in a deep baking pan. The raw ingredients should be forming a mass of about 2.5 inches thick in the pan.

4. Bake for about 45-50 minutes. Half-way through check it out and notice if it looks too dry. If yes, drizzle a bit more olive oil on top of it. When it has started getting some nice color on top, remove from the oven.

5. Serve it with either by squeezing some lemon juice, or with butter. In Greece we drizzle lemon juice, but my French husband loves it with butter (since it gives the dish a more creamy texture). Enjoy!

Pegan Breakfast “Cereal”

Yummy breakfast! Please soak these nuts & seeds before using!

paleo-cereal

Ingredients (for 1)
* 1 cup of kefir
* 1 tspoon of raw & unfiltered honey (optional)
* 1 tspoon of unsalted pecan pieces
* 1 tspoon of unsalted walnut pieces
* 1 tspoon of silvered almonds
* 1 tspoon of unsalted pistachios
* 1 tspoon of unsalted raw pine nuts
* 1 tspoon of unsalted, raw sunflower/safflower seeds
* 1 tspoon of unsalted, raw pumpkin/squash/pepitas seeds
* 2 Tbspoons of frozen or fresh berry selection (e.g. blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, or other kinds etc)

Method
1. Put all the nuts & seeds in a breakfast bowl. If using unsweetened milk, you could optionally add a teaspoon of honey and stir it well in. Add the berries and milk. If using frozen berries, wait for 2-3 minutes for them to get warmer. The berries will now release some color into the milk, making it look really interesting. Enjoy!

Variation: You can also use a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder! Optionally, a pinch of cinnamon too. Or, you can use a chopped banana instead of berries!

Notes:
1. If using Brazil nuts, make sure you only use 1 of them, chopped. A single Brazil nut has over 100% of the daily value for Selenium, but it also has the most phytic acid than any other nut, so you don’t want to be overdosing in any of that.

2. Macadamias are great to use in this recipe, but you’ll have to buy them chopped, or use a food processor to chop them. Same goes for hazelnuts, which in addition will have to be skinned. Might not worth the effort for a quick breakfast.

3. Do not use peanuts, they’re not nuts. Botanically, they’re beans/legumes.

Breakfast Muffins

These breakfast muffins were the original craze in the Paleo community back in 2012. The idea is that you can make them ahead of time, refrigerate them, and then you microwave some of them for a few seconds in the morning, for breakfast.

breakfast-muffins

Ingredients (makes 12, 3 gr of carbs each)
* 6 eggs
* 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
* Some cheddar or Swiss cheese, or 1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)
* 2 green onions
* 1 tspoon avocado or olive oil
* Salt & pepper to taste
* A cup (overall) of broccoli, bell peppers, yam, spinach, zucchini… Use whatever fast-cooking veggie you need to get rid of from your fridge

Method
1. In a big bowl whisk well the eggs, with the optional grated cheese or coconut milk. Then sprinkle salt & pepper to your taste.

2. Cut the green onions, mushrooms and vegetables in small pieces. Preheat oven at 350 F (180 C).

3. Place the chopped vegetable ingredients in a frying pan and fry in medium heat for 3-4 minutes with some avocado oil, while stirring often. If you’re frying potatoes/yams, cook them first for a while, before adding the other veggies.

4. Using a large spoon, pour the fried ingredients in the cupcake/muffin pan holders, using equal amounts for each. Then, using a ladle, pour the egg mixture on top of each the muffin holder.

5. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the holders immediately and let cool. Then refrigerate for up to 3-4 days, and if wished, each morning microwave for 15 to 30 secs (depending on the microwave unit) the quantity you need for breakfast.