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.

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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.

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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.

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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 cup cauliflower, “riced” with a shredder (or semi-cooked rice if not dieting)
* 100 gr feta cheese, crumbled (omit if dieting)
* 1/2 cup of olive oil
* 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 and olive oil 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 and squeeze some lemon juice. My non-dieting 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.