Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Apple butter BBQ turkey meat loaf

Pictured with mashed fauxtatoes
I like making meat loaf because it's yummy, the leftovers taste good, it's easy to reheat, and you really have to try hard to mess it up. I love the apple butter BBQ sauce from my chicken drumsticks recipe, so I decided to use it in meat loaf for an interesting flavor twist. I thought it would pair well with ground turkey moreso than beef. I also added some tasty spices and sauteed veggies.

I hate using alternative flours as a binder. Almond meal doesn't really work to hold it together unless you add a LOT, coconut flour dries it out, flax or chia can make it slimy, and so forth. I just add an extra egg and powder some dried mushrooms in a spice grinder. The mushrooms add flavor and help hold everything together without drying out the meat. You could experiment with other dried vegetables or even sweet potato chips. If you eat dairy, parmesan cheese works great. Or, don't use any binder and pack everything into a loaf pan, though the slices will be a bit crumbly.

Usually I pack everything for meat loaf into a loaf pan, but I wanted to get a nice BBQ glaze on as much surface area as possible. So, I baked it free-form and brushed it with a few coats of sauce.

Serves about 4

  • Half a red onion, chopped
  • Half a red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or coconut aminos (use coconut aminos for Whole30)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (can use 1/2 cup liquid egg whites if you prefer)
  • About 1.25 lbs ground turkey (anywhere from 1-1.5 lbs should work)
  • 0.5 oz (weight) dried mushrooms, powdered in a spice grinder
  • 1 tsp fat of choice for sauteeing
  • 1 Tbs BBQ seasoning (recipe follows) or Penzeys 33rd and Galena spice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Batch of apple butter BBQ sauce (recipe here; use only the ingredients for the barbecue sauce and perform steps 1 and 2)
For the BBQ seasoning: (note: this makes more than you need for this recipe, but it's nice to have extra around!)
  • 1 Tbs ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1 Tbs onion powder
  • 1/2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Make the BBQ sauce and let it simmer while preparing the meat loaf.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the onion and saute until translucent but not brown. Add the bell pepper and garlic, and saute until the pepper is soft. Let cool.
  4. Beat the eggs in a large bowl with the mustard, Worcestershire sauce or substitute, BBQ seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add the ground turkey and sauteed veggies, and combine thoroughly with your hands. Add in the mushroom powder, thoroughly combine, and let it sit for a minute or two to absorb some of the liquid.
  5. Shape the meat mixture into a loaf on a lightly oiled slotted broiler pan. Pour some of the BBQ into a small bowl (to avoid cross-contamination) and brush a thick coat onto the loaf.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, then brush with another coat of sauce, and bake for 20 more minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, brush with a third coat of sauce, and let sit for about 5 minutes before slicing. Serve, passing extra sauce on the side.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rosemary mashed fauxtatoes, without a steamer

Pictured with BBQ turkey meatloaf; I will post the recipe for that tomorrow!

I love cauliflower mashed "fauxtatoes". This has always been my standard preparation; the use of a vegetable steamer basket is vital to prevent the cauliflower from getting soggy and waterlogged. After seeing this recipe from A Veggie Venture (one of my favorite blogs!), I got an idea for a technique that would no longer necessitate a steamer. It was convenient as well because I got a half pound of turnips in my CSA box. I put the turnips in boiling water to cover, then added the cauliflower florets on top. This way the turnips boil and get tender while the cauliflower steams, using the turnips as a rack. Then everything gets drained and pureed together.

The original recipe used sage, but I had some rosemary in my garden so I went with that. You can substitute other fresh herbs, but I don't think I'd use dried for this. I also modified the recipe to be dairy-free.

I pureed everything in my food processor to get it creamy and smooth; you can use a potato masher if you'd like but it will be lumpy and the cauliflower will be more detectable.

Makes about 4 cups

  • 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, stemmed and cut into uniform florets
  • About 1/2 lb turnips, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 Tbs fresh minced rosemary or other herb
  • 1 Tbs ghee (can substitute olive oil or butter)
  • 1 Tbs coconut milk (can substitute heavy cream, or just leave it out, though it will be less creamy)
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous amount of salt, to taste
  • Optional: truffle salt, for sprinkling (if you happen to have it on hand)
  1. Bring an inch of water to a boil in a saucepan just large enough to hold the turnip chunks in a single layer. Add a generous pinch of salt, add the turnips, then layer the cauliflower on top. Sprinkle with salt, cover, and cook until very tender and just slightly overcooked. Drain in a colander.
  2. When cool enough to handle, add the veggies to a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to partially process half of them before you can add the rest. Process until completely smooth. Taste and add salt if desired.
  3. Serve warm, optionally sprinkled with truffle salt.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cranberry, apple, & onion chutney

Cranberry sauce is the hardest Thanksgiving item to de-sugar-ify. Unsweetened cranberries are so unpleasantly tart that you really need an awful lot of sweetener to balance it out. I previously posted a recipe for sugar-free cranberry-grapefruit sauce, but it has 3/4 cup artificial sweetener, and thus I wanted a different option.

First and foremost, I wanted to reduce the amount of overall sweetener for a relish that is naturally tart with just enough extra sweetness. I thought it made sense to go the savory route and make a spicy chutney with onions. That way, it seems more intentional that it is tart. If it was just a fruity side dish, I think that people would be unpleasantly surprised when biting in. This isn't a traditional dessert-like cranberry sauce, but instead provides a nice foil to roasted turkey or ham. I served it with pork chops that I grilled with Penzeys Singapore seasoning for a quick weeknight supper.

The onion and apple provide a nice base of natural sweetness, but I did end up adding a bit of extra sweetener. It tastes even better the next day.

Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 apple (I used Honeycrisp), peeled, cored, and cut into chunky dice
  • 12 oz bag fresh raw cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • Juice and zest from 1 orange
  • 2 Tbs fresh grated ginger or 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • Sweetener of choice to equal 1-2 Tbs sugar or to taste (I used the stevia equivalent of 2 Tbs but I think I could have gotten away with less)
  1. Saute the onion in a bit of oil until translucent and just starting to brown.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have all popped and the whole sauce is magenta.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. You can serve right away at room temperature, but it is better when it sits for a day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cauliflower "wild rice" and sausage stuffing

It's late October, so in food blogger time, that means it's basically Thanksgiving. I've already started getting lots of hits from search terms related to Thanksgiving, so I figured I'd devise a few new recipes. I've previously posted an entire menu, but many of the dishes rely on dairy and artificial sweetener, so I'd like to add some alternatives. And better photos.

I love my coconut flour "cornbread" stuffing; I've made it several times for company and no one has been able to detect a difference. However, I wanted to offer an option based on whole foods and veggies rather than an alternative flour. A lot of people make poultry stuffing based on a wild rice blend, so given my penchant for cauliflower "rice", this seemed like a good starting point. I baked it in a casserole dish, but you could likely stuff it inside a bird if you prefer (though I believe there's an inherent salmonella risk in doing so, so try it at your own risk). Chipped pecans gave it a taste and textural contrast that mimicked wild rice surprisingly well. Chopped pecans would work too, but the chips really had a perfect texture. Since rice normally clumps together a bit because of the starch, I added a beaten egg, though if you have an egg allergy or similar I am certain you could leave it out.

Serves 4-8

  • 1 head cauliflower, separated into florets and run through the shredding disk of a food processor for "rice"
  • 1/2 lb bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 oz (weight) crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan chips
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional; see recipe description)
  • 1 tsp cold coconut oil, ghee, or butter (I used ghee)
  • Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, crumbling with a wooden spoon. When no longer pink, remove it from the skillet using a slotted spoon.
  3. Saute the onion in the sausage grease (there should be about a teaspoon) until just starting to soften, then add the celery and mushrooms. Saute until all the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, thyme, cayenne, and pecans.
  4. In a casserole dish, stir the cauliflower with salt to taste, using a pretty generous amount. Using a fork, toss it with the beaten egg, then thoroughly combine with sausage and the veggie mixture. Smooth the top and dot it with tiny pieces of the cold fat.
  5. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden browned on top. Serve with roast chicken, turkey, or Cornish hens.
(I have not tried these personally, but I definitely think they would work!)
  • Add a diced green apple along with the veggies
  • Add 2 Tbs dried fruit such as Craisins, cherries, apricots, golden raisins, or currants
  • Use a different nut instead of or in addition to the pecans, such as hazelnuts, pistachios, or pine nuts

Friday, October 19, 2012

Moroccan-spiced pumpkin hummus

I go through a tub of guacamole pretty much every week because I put it on everything. Particularly since deciding to scale way back on my cheese consumption, it's my go-to condiment when I want to add something rich and luscious to my eggs, grilled chicken, veggies, even meatballs. So, I wanted to find an alternative creamy spread that I could use as a change of pace. Enter pumpkin hummus. I've made this several times already as I just can't get enough of it. I got the idea from this page, so apparently it is a traditional middle eastern dish. Maybe?? Well, the internet says it is. In any case, that pumpkin/cumin/tahini combo creates a perfect harmony. I also add some ras el hanout, but you can leave it out and it will still be delicious.

Makes about 2 generous cups

  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/4 cup roasted tahini
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout (optional; I used this recipe)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs lemon or lime juice
  • 1 Tbs fresh minced cilantro or flat-leaf parsley (I've used both successfully, it's just a matter of preference)
  1. Put everything in a food processor.
  2. Blend! You're done!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CPK-style Thai chicken meatza

I love California Pizza Kitchen's Thai chicken pizza. I hate how I feel after eating a floury crust topped with cheese and sugary peanut sauce. This is my solution. I've been loving meatza lately for its simplicity. While I could have made an alternative crust and topped it with chicken chunks, I decided to instead relegate the meat to the crust and then pile on the toppings.

Instead of peanut sauce, I used the Sunshine Sauce recipe from Well Fed, which is based on sunflower seed butter. I loved it, though bear in mind that it is NOT like the sweet, gloppy peanut sauce you get at restaurants. It's light and refreshing with a fairly strong lime juice flavor. If you want a conventional peanut sauce flavor, add a tablespoon of honey or two packets of sweetener such as stevia. This recipe only needs one or two tablespoons of sunshine sauce, but make the whole batch anyway because it's yummy! I've been dipping jicama sticks in the leftovers.

I didn't measure any of the toppings, so feel free to just sprinkle on however much you like. The amounts I give are approximations. Oh, and I got confirmation from Tom Denham of Whole9 that bean sprouts are indeed Whole30 approved and are not considered a legume.

Serves 2-4

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 1-2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbs minced cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbs chopped roasted salted cashews
  • 1-2 Tbs sunshine sauce 
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. Beat the egg with the curry paste and salt. Mix it thoroughly with the ground chicken.
  3. Lightly grease a large pan (I used a 10" round cake pan). Pack the meat into the pan, making it slightly thicker at the outer edges to resemble a crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the meatza crust from the oven (do not turn the oven off) and drain and/or blot off any accumulated liquid. Spread sunshine sauce on top, then sprinkle on the carrots, bean sprouts, and scallions. Bake for another 5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle it with cilantro and chopped cashews. Let cool for a couple minutes, then slice into wedges and serve with extra sunshine sauce on the side.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dairy-free mini cheesecakes with bacon-apple topping

I recently learned that one can go to Sonic and buy an order of three cheesecake bites. Just three little cubes of cheesecake, rolled in cereal crumbs and deep-fried. I love the idea of being able to just get a little something sweet, and I especially love cheesecake, so I set out to make a healthier version.

There are lots of recipes for Greek yogurt cheesecake. They are light and fluffy, and while I love a rich, dense slab of cheesecake, I thought that a less heavy base would be nice for this use. Most of the dairy-free cheesecake recipes I've seen use a base of cashews and/or coconut butter, but given the wide availability of coconut yogurt, I decided to go ahead with that. I also kept it crustless to lower calories and keep preparation simple. 

Normally I like cheesecake with fresh raw berries, but since they are out of season I picked up a Honeycrisp apple. I'm not a fan of gloppy cooked-to-death fruit so I sauteed it simply with a bit of bacon and some chopped hazelnuts. 

Stuff I did that was annoying and I'm not sure if it actually benefitted the recipe:
  1. Since Greek yogurt is just regular yogurt with some of the whey drained out, I got the idea from this recipe to try to drain the coconut yogurt myself. I let it sit in a sieve lined with a coffee filter for about 24 hours and I didn't think that it made too much of a difference in the texture. I just added some extra coconut flour to thicken it and it worked fine. So, you may be able to omit this step and just use a 6 oz container of regular yogurt. By the way, I used So Delicious plain coconut yogurt, but it does have some funky ingredients including added cane juice so if you prefer, you can make your own in a crock pot!
  2. I put the muffin tin in a water bath while baking, but I'm not sure if that actually matters. 
So it's up to you if you want to take those steps or just throw caution to the wind.

Makes a dozen minis

For the cheesecake:
  • 3/4 cup homemade coconut Greek yogurt (see item #1 in the above list) or regular dairy Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbs coconut flour (omit if using dairy Greek yogurt)
  • 1 Tbs arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Tiny pinch salt
  • Sweetener to taste* 
For the apple topping:
  • 1 strip bacon, chopped into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 apple (preferably Honeycrisp), diced small
  • 1 Tbs chopped toasted hazelnuts (you can substitute any nut you'd like, I use hazelnuts because of the favorable fatty acid profile. Or use coconut flakes to make it nut-free.)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch salt (I used bacon salt!)
 *The So Delicious brand yogurt already had some sweetener so it didn't need much. I used one packet of stevia; alternately, a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup would complement the apple topping nicely. If your yogurt is completely unsweetened, you'll want sweetener equivalent of about 1/3 cup sugar (guide).

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine all of the cheesecake ingredients in a food processor and puree until completely smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as necessary.
  3. Line 12 mini-muffin cups and distribute the cheesecake batter among them, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way full.
  4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until firm. Chill very thoroughly before serving, at least an hour.
  5. While the cheesecakes are baking, make the topping. Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat. Remove the bacon with a fork or slotted spoon, then saute the apples with cinnamon and salt in the bacon grease until golden and tender. Stir in the hazelnuts and let the mixture cool thoroughly in a bowl off heat. Spoon it over the cheesecakes before serving.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A month of Whole30 make-ahead freezer meals

I added a new page to the site: a month's worth of make-ahead freezer meals that are Whole30 compliant! Check it out here:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ridiculously easy sausage, peppers, and onions in the crock pot

It's time for a ridiculously easy recipe! I don't even really know what to say about this since it is so simple. There's sausage in it. Peppers and onions, too. It's filling and yummy. Go make it! And if you don't want to eat it right now, make it anyway because there are directions for freezing!

Serves about 4

  • One 12-16 oz package of sausages (Aidells organic basil & garlic sausage is widely-available and has no added sugar, nitrates, or dairy. But you can use whatever you like!)
  • Bag of frozen pepper and onion stir-fry veggies (I used this kind)
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs dried Italian herb mix
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you may not need salt if your sausage and canned tomatoes are salty)
  • Your favorite pasta substitute for serving (I used half of a large spaghetti squash, and cooked it according to this photo tutorial)
  • Optional: grated Parmesan and/or shredded mozzarella cheese for topping
  1. Combine the crushed tomatoes with the garlic and herbs. Cut the sausage into bite-sized chunks and mix it with the tomato mixture.
  2. Put half the peppers and onions (unthawed) into the bottom of your slow cooker. Dump the sausage mixture on top, then the rest of the peppers and onions. Add salt and pepper and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve atop your pasta substitute of choice.
Make-ahead directions: Freeze the sausage/tomato/garlic/herb mixture. You can also add the frozen veggies but there's no need since they're already bagged and frozen. When ready to cook, just dump everything into the crock pot, no need to thaw first. You may need to add an hour or two to the total cook time. You can also freeze cooked spaghetti squash flesh in muffin cups.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Protein pumpkin bread French toast

Topped with cinnamon and a blob of coconut butter -- reminiscent of frosting!
This was inspired by a recipe for banana bread French toast. If it can be done with banana bread, why not pumpkin? It's a perfect breakfast for an autumn morning.

I opted to use protein powder as my primary flour substitute. It worked great, although the texture of protein powder based baked goods tends to be very smooth and a bit gummy. I think that almond flour yields a nicer crumb, so if you don't care about macros you can make a different pumpkin bread recipe such as this one. However, I was willing to compromise for a more satiating breakfast. I also added a bit of golden flax meal to improve the texture and also add some extra fiber. And of course there are also eggs and coconut oil. So it's French toast, but you're also getting plenty of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and even a veggie serving from the pumpkin!

This recipe is kinda-sorta dairy-free. I used whey protein isolate, which has all of the lactose and casein removed. Most people who eschew dairy avoid it because of one or both of those compounds, so even if you don't eat dairy you might be okay with this particular protein powder. If not, you can try egg white protein or rice protein.

I baked it in a petite loaf pan so that it would rise like bread, rather than getting little rectangles like you would get in a conventional loaf pan. They are easy to find; I saw foil ones at Wal-Mart for a little over a buck. You can bake it in a regular loaf pan, you just might need to adjust the cooking time and the slices will not look as nice.

I doubled up on the pumpkin by adding pumpkin puree to the egg wash mixture as well. If you prefer a fluffy French toast, you can make this recipe for the bread but use the pumpkin egg batter and add extra spices. This is more dense than fluffy, as is characteristic of any quick bread. I try not to eat very sweet things, so I just topped it with coconut butter and cinnamon. However it would be terrific with a drizzle of maple syrup, either the real stuff or make your own sugar-free version.

Makes 8 thick slices, or 12 thin ones


For the bread:
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein isolate (True Nutrition WPI in natural premium vanilla or Jay Robb brand are stevia-sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbs milled golden flax seed
  • 4 Tbs melted coconut oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice (or combine 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp allspice, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
For the egg batter:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk, stirred
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Coconut oil or ghee for cooking
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Combine the flax meal with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Set aside to soak while you mix the other ingredients.
  3. Combine the protein powder, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. In a larger separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly. Add the flax mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Grease a loaf pan (preferably a mini pan) and pour in the batter. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until solid. Let cool thoroughly before slicing, at least an hour. Ideally, chill it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to make French toast, preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat until quite hot. Whisk together the egg batter ingredients except for the oil. Working in batches, dip slices of pumpkin bread in the batter, then cook over medium heat in coconut oil or ghee until both sides are golden brown, turning only once. Serve.
Freezing directions:  Let cool, freeze in ziploc bags, and keep frozen until ready to eat. To serve, place in toaster oven or microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fish taco bowl

San Diego is (apparently) known for its fish tacos. This article describes them as, "a humble assemblage of ingredients: a lump of fried or grilled fish, shredded cabbage, salsa fresca and white sauce in a corn tortilla, with a wedge of lime perched on top". The sauce is what really makes them unique, as it's a sort of spicy tartar sauce that complements the fish perfectly. I decided to make my own, replacing the taco shell with a bowl of veggies, blackening the fish instead of deep frying, and making a creamy but dairy-free sauce.

I used this recipe pretty much exactly for the sauce, except I wanted to use a dairy-free substitute for the sour cream. What's with all the dairy-free stuff lately? Well, dairy gives me a stuffy nose. I don't normally post a whole lot about boxing on here, but after years of sparring and fighting my nose is just a mess. Internally, it's probably the nose equivalent of one of those houses you see on Hoarders. It's all swollen and filled with scar tissue and dried blood and probably bits of leather and my teammates' hair or something, so if I have the sniffles on top of that I'm basically forced to breathe through my mouth sooooo...less dairy. Plus a lot of my readers following a paleo lifestyle avoid dairy so this way, everybody wins. I'm not completely giving it up, just trying to reduce, particularly during the week when I am boxing a lot.

For an easy dairy-free sour cream I was inspired by this tutorial from Oh She Glows. First, take a little can of coconut milk and let it sit in the fridge for overnight or longer. This may not work with all brands, but it definitely works with Thai Kitchen and will probably work with any brand which contains guar gum. I used one of the mini 5.5 oz cans which was perfect for this recipe. Flip it upside down and use a can opener to remove the bottom of the can. This will reveal a watery liquid that has separated from the solid coconut cream.

Pour off the liquidy layer. Discard it or save it to use in smoothies

Spoon out the solid coconut cream into a bowl...

...then add 1 tsp lemon juice and a big pinch (about 1/8 tsp salt) to the coconut cream and mix thoroughly.

There you have it! Dairy-free sour cream.

Serves 4

  • 1 bag angel hair cole slaw or about a pound of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 6 radishes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 skinless fish fillets (I used cod; tilapia or mahi would work very well but you may need to adjust cooking time)
  • Old Bay or other seafood seasoning or blackening seasoning
  • 1-2 Tbs ghee or other high-heat fat of choice
  • 1 batch fish taco sauce (recipe). For dairy-free, substitute the sour cream with the coconut-based recipe above. For lower calorie, use reduced-fat mayo and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • Minced cilantro and lime wedges for serving
  • Fresh salsa for serving (optional; I always make this recipe)
  1. Make the fish taco sauce and chill until ready to serve.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. 
  3. Heat the ghee or oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat until very, very hot. Meanwhile, season the fish liberally with Old Bay on one side. Cook the fillets on the unseasoned side for 1 minute, then flip and cook on the seasoned side for 2 minutes. Put the skillet directly into the oven and cook for 8 minutes or until flaky.
  4. Meanwhile, distribute the cabbage, radishes, scallions, and avocado evenly among four plates. Top with the fish, drizzle with sauce, and serve with lime wedges and fresh salsa.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bacon and blue cheese slider kebabs

Usually when I eat burgers, I eat them bunless atop a salad. However, I think that part of the appeal of a burger on a bun is that all the toppings and condiments are together in a neat little package and you taste everything in each bite. Hence, slider kebabs were born. They are like eating a cute little hamburger, but without the bread.

I wrapped the slider patties with bacon. It didn't get too crisp in the oven, but you can easily sear the bacon after baking the patties. I used my kitchen torch but a hot cast iron skillet would work as well. Alternately, you can just pre-cook the bacon slices and slide them onto the skewer. Or omit the bacon altogether!

I made a blue cheese and horseradish dipping sauce. Dairy-free readers can just combine horseradish and mayo, or use something else altogether. I think that bacon-wrapped turkey sliders with guacamole for dipping would be delicious.

Makes 12 skewers


  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 90% lean grass-fed)
  • Steak seasoning for the burgers (I used Penzeys English prime rib rub; McCormick Montreal steak seasoning is widely available at supermarkets and would also be great. I also think the ingredients in these umami slider burgers would be great, but in a pinch just salt & pepper will work.)
  • 6 strips bacon, cut in half crosswise
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
  • Red onion, cut into 1" chunks
  • Romaine lettuce, cut into chunks
  • 12 mini bamboo skewers
For the blue cheese dipping sauce:
  • 2 Tbs blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 Tbs Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs grated horseradish (get it from the refrigerated section near the pickles. The kind of the shelf in the condiments aisle always has corn syrup and soybean oil)
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Season the ground beef liberally with your spices of choice and combine using your hands. Shape it into twelve uniform patties.
  3. Wrap each slider patty with half a slice of bacon and arrange them on a slotted broiler pan. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.
  4. If desired, crisp the bacon using a kitchen torch or in a piping-hot cast iron skillet.
  5. On each skewer, thread half a cherry tomato, the burger patty, a chunk of red onion, and a piece of lettuce (in that order).
  6. Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients, mashing the blue cheese crumbles with a fork. Serve the skewers with the dipping sauce on the side.

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