Sunday, June 16, 2013

Baked Apples (AIP)

Although it may not look like it on my blog, I've been extra good lately with sticking to a pretty strict eating plan where even my "splurges" have been pretty healthy or at least very close to the guidelines. So I'm posting a dessert! A very simple, very healthy, wonderfully delicious dessert. I mean it. This one you can definitely splurge with a lot less guilt, but a whole lot of taste!

Baked Apples
Apples, core removed except for about 1 inch at the bottom
1 tbsp coconut oil, per apple
Spices: Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger (to taste)
1-2 tbsp coconut butter or coconut milk ice cream, per apple

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place your cored apples in a small casserole dish. Your apples should be mostly hollowed in the center but you want it to still remain intact at the bottom to collect all the juices and goodies. Place 1 tbsp coconut oil in the core of each apple. Dust apples with a mixture of your desired spices or use a simple apple pie spice mix; use a light dusting for a light flavor or heavy dusting for extra spicy apples. Place in the oven and cook 35-45 minutes or until apples are soft all the way through. Remove and transfer to serving dishes. Top with 1-2 tbsp coconut butter or coconut milk ice cream or whatever you have on hand.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Creamy Macadamia Nut Shrimp

Sometimes you find a recipe that is truly perfect all on its own. Except that you don't have this ingredient or you're out of that ingredient. Or it's a bit more complicated than you'd like and you're feeling a little bit lazier than usual. This is one of those recipes. The original credit goes to Mark Sisson; you can find the recipe here. His recipe is amazing; I know this because I've made it several times. The dish is a wonderful combination of flavors: shrimp, macadamia nuts, coconut, lime. Seriously, the lime makes the recipe. Don't skip! The reason for my own tweaks? I was missing shallots, and I really wasn't feeling the food processor. I love my food processor, but I don't like cleaning my food processor. So when I was overly tired the other night and looking for something simple to throw together, I realized I had most of the ingredients for this dish (and an extra ingredient or two) and figured with a little ingenuity, all I needed to do was create the lazy man's version!

Creamy Macadamia Nut Shrimp
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large clove garlic, chopped
½ medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
½ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tail off
2 tbsp coconut manna (aka coconut butter)
3 tbsp coconut cream or milk
Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp lime juice, roughly

Heat coconut oil in a wok or medium skillet on medium low heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until fragrant, but just before the garlic turns golden brown. Add macadamia nuts and toss gently for a minute to lightly toast. Turn up heat to medium. Add shrimp and allow to lightly sear. Add coconut manna and allow it to start to melt, then incorporate coconut cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is thoroughly cooked. Transfer to serving dish(es). Top with lime juice to taste. Enjoy while hot!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Beer-Battered Chicken Tenders

OMG! I've created the perfect beer batter recipe! The perfect golden and crispy on the outside, but nice and bready and chewy on the inside. Let's go crazy! Fry everything! Chicken, fish, cheese, oreos! Ok, so maybe not everything. I started with chicken tenders. And then I went for mozzarella sticks. All good. Next stop: fish and chips! Yes, I'm headed out this week to buy some nice white fish. This is the perfect batter for those fish and chips cravings. Ok, so it's not perfect but it's pretty close. It's definitely nice and crispy but still a thicker batter, unlike the tempura types. And you can fry it in almost anything. I used a combination of beef tallow and bacon fat. Why not? It sounded good to me. And it worked like a charm. If you're one of those paleos/primals watching carbs, this may not be the best recipe for you. I've got several in the works that are lower carbs. My blog probably looks like that's all I eat, but it's definitely not the case. So my promise is that my next post will be low carb! And no dairy. I've been trying to cut back myself. And then I created this concoction and had a whole block of delicious whole milk mozzarella in the fridge just begging to be turned into crispy little mozzarella sticks dipped in marinara... But I digress. On with the recipe!

Beer-Battered Chicken Tenders
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp Redbridge beer (or another preferred gluten-free beer)
1 cup tapioca flour, more or less (plus more for coating)
¼ tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oil or fat of choice for frying
1 lb chicken tenders, rinsed and gently patted dry

Combine the egg and baking powder in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly. Add beer and mix. Add the seasonings in and then the tapioca flour slowly, stirring until the mixture becomes slightly thickened. Use more or less to get the right consistency. The batter might look very runny, but when it settles it will thicken quite a bit so stir thoroughly before adding more tapioca. Too thick and the batter won't cook all the way through. Too thin and the batter won't cover as well. The consistency of the batter will look very odd--science-experiment odd, like a strange mixture of a goopy gel and liquid all in one. Don't panic; this is normal. You're doing it right. Heat the oil/fat in a small, deep-sided skillet or wok; at least an inch and half or so. When you drop the food in, you will want at least two-thirds of it submerged. In a small shallow bowl, place about ⅓ - ½ cup of tapioca flour. Dredge a chicken tender through the flour and then in the batter. When fully-covered, quickly drop into the hot oil (it's runny so you have to work quick to try and avoid some drips). Cook 2-4 minutes and flip when the edges are golden brown. Cook another 2-4 minutes. Use a thermometer to check that the chicken is cooked to 160°F and remove from oil. Drain on paper towels if desired. Use the time to gauge how long the other tenders need to cook. Repeat until all tenders are fried. Serve with preferred dipping sauce!*

*For honey mustard pictured, use ⅓ cup all natural yellow mustard with 1-2 tsp local honey (more or less to taste). 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tequila Lime Chicken

I have this thing for all Latino-related food. I tell everybody that I must have been some form of Latina in a past life. Technically, I am part Portuguese, so maybe that's where all the strong cravings come from, but then again I'll never really know. Regardless, there's just something delicious about the combination of tomatoes and peppers and onions and citrus and salt that does something good for the soul. And then there's tequila... Yup, a girl's best friend (as long as it doesn't get her into trouble)! This recipe is adapted from an Ina Garten recipe. The original is good, but I decided to put my own flare to it (and this is coming from the girl who just a little over a year ago refused to make any recipe unless she followed it directly ingredient for ingredient, word for word)!

Tequila Lime Chicken
1-1.5 lbs chicken breast tenders or strips*
½ cup gold tequila
1 cup lime juice**
¼ cup lemon juice**
¼ cup orange juice**
1 tbsp chili powder
4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp paprika

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. In a medium baggy or bowl, mix together the tequila and juices. Add the seasonings, jalapeño, and garlic and mix thoroughly. Add the chicken. Marinade at least 24 hours*** in the fridge. When time to cook, pull out the grill and cook 2-3 minutes per side until done. If you don't have a grill (like me, sadly), then put the oven on broil and place the top rack in the broil position. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place a cooling rack (for baking) on the sheet. Place chicken on top of the rack. When broiler is ready, place the pan in the oven and cook 2-3 minutes per side until done. Presto! Almost but not quite grilled chicken! Top with fresh salsa for extra flavor. I prefer homemade, but go with your favorite.

*You can use most types of chicken for this marinade, but cooking times will differ. Using a cut with the skin attached is also great. Grill skin side down first or broil skin side up first to get the skin nice and crispy.
**Freshly squeezed is best. If you can, you can, and if you can't, you can't. Don't sweat it!
***This is where meal prep comes into play. I made this dish in a baggy, zipped it up, labeled it, and threw it in the freezer. The morning of, I pulled it out and placed it in the fridge in a bowl of cold water (double check that the baggy is sealed) and went about my day. That night, I pulled the chicken out of the fridge and cooked it according to the recipe with no problems! And ready in less than 10 minutes to boot!