Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crispy Cheesy Lemon Asparagus with Fried Eggs

This scrumptious dish formed in my mind in the middle of the night. I'll admit it. I often fall asleep to food. Instead of counting sheep, I count cookies. And, (of course) new recipe ideas. I thought up this recipe because on whim I had bought a bunch of organic asparagus but had no real plans for it. I usually just broil or grill asparagus with olive oil, lemon and salt.

It was time for a change! So taking what I had in my fridge I came up with a delicious side dish which goes along great with steak or fish - or simply to have as your main meal (which I did that night). However, I think this is a perfect "family style" side to whip up when entertaining. It reminds me of one of those giant sides you find at your favorite steak house. And come on. Anything with the name "Crispy Cheesy" is guaranteed to be a winner.

1 pound of asparagus, white stems chopped off
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 pinches of salt
2 tablespoons of fresh shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of gluten-free bread crumbs
The zest of one large lemon
2 organic eggs cooked over-easy (or sunny-side up depending on preference)
Lemon slices for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your broiler and make sure the rack is on the top level. In a large bowl, toss your trimmed asparagus with olive oil and salt and spread out onto a cookie sheet. Set aside. In a small bowl, toss together the fresh parm, bread crumbs and lemon zest and set aside. Put the asparagus in the oven and broil until the heads start to crisp up and turn brown in spots (about 10 minutes). While the asparagus is cooking, fry up your two eggs over the stove top. I prefer mine over-easy with the yolk cooked to a soft-boil consistency so it's not oozing out but still very soft. Feel free to do them however you like. When the asparagus is almost done around 8 to 10 minutes, remove the cookie sheet and sprinkle the cheese/bread crumb mixture on top. Broil for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bread crumbs crisp. Remove asparagus from oven and arrange on a platter or serving plate. Top with the fried eggs and garnish with lemon slices. I added some additional pepper and salt just to the fried eggs and then squeezed fresh lemon juice on top for some extra lemony flavor  =)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blueberry Cherry Crumble

I don't have much to say about this Blueberry Cherry Crumble except that it's mouthwateringly delicious. Mouthwateringly.......obviously not a word. But there is really no other way to describe it. 

The fresh blueberries and cherries pop with flavor in your mouth. Be sure to use fresh fruit and not frozen. 

The topping for this crumble is so yummy It's really difficult for me not to eat it all before topping the fruit. Entirely grain-free, a mixture of almond meal with agave nectar and chopped pecans, it tastes like some nutty honey goodness. If that makes sense.

Crumbles/Crisps are probably my favorite deserts to make because they are so easy (it's really hard to screw them up), super delicious and not just gluten-free but really low in fat. 

I wanted to do a really juicy berry crumble for Memorial Day weekend and dark berries are always the way to go. Make sure you choose really ripe fruit for your crisp or crumble - the more ripe, the more juicy. 

As hard as it will be to not eat this right out of the oven, it tastes so much better the second day, even the third day and fourth. The longer it sits, the fruit gets sweeter and the syrup that forms from the fruit juice and agave gets thicker. I prefer this desert cold instead of warm and it tastes awesome with fresh whipped cream on top.

Hope you enjoy this scrumptious desert! Happy Memorial Day!

3 cups of fresh cherries, pitted
2 pints of fresh blueberries
1/4 cup of agave nectar (or honey)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour
1 1/2 cups of almond flour
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 1/2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (I use this oil because it doesn't really have a flavor which could interfere with the fresh fruit flavor)
2 1/2 tablespoons of agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the cherries, blueberries, lemon juice and arrowroot powder. (Arrowroot powder acts as a thickening agent similar to cornstarch). Pour fruit into a  2-quart circular baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, grapeseed oil and agave nectar and mix well. Next, mix in the chopped pecans. Crumble evenly on top of fruit mixture. Bake in the oven covered with tin foil for 60 minutes or until the fruit is juicy and bubbling. Take out of the oven and remove the tin foil. If the top is not totally browned, put back in the oven uncovered for another 5 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes (as mentioned before it's better the second day cold) and top with fresh whipped cream!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Acai Bowls

This is my new favorite breakfast. And my favorite pre/post work-out snack. And just an all around favorite bowl of goodness to have any time of the day. Acai Bowls. It's sort of a trend that is going around. Especially out in California. My husband and I just celebrated our one year anniversary out in Cali. driving up the Pacific Coast Highway. It was quite incredible. Santa Barbara was our first stop and also my first taste at an Acai Bowl.

Santa Barbara. Can I please move here? Or at least a second home? :)

Acai Bowls originated in Brazil. which makes sense since that is where this superfruit is grown. The acai berry is the fruit of the acai palm tree from the Amazon of Brazil. It is packed with antioxidants, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Hence, SUPERFRUIT.

To make the Acai Bowls, you need to buy the frozen acai. You can it find in the freezer section of Whole Foods where the other frozen fruit is. The pack I found (above), has the 4 frozen pouches of acai which makes 2 bowls. 

Acai Bowls are most commonly blended with frozen acai fruit and banana, then topped with additional fruit of choice and nuts or granola. For my Acai Bowls here, I also blend in some frozen berries and a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice for additional flavor. The bowls come out in a thick smoothie-like consistency after blending. You can choose to top your bowl with whatever fruit you like and add some chopped nuts, granola, dried fruit, honey or even yogurt. The options are endless.

Hope you enjoy this easy-to-make, refreshing and SUPERFRUIT healthy bowl of goodness :)

7 ounces of frozen acai (2 pouches in the brand I bought above)
2 bananas (one for blending, the other for topping)
1 cup of frozen berries (I used a mix of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)
Splash of fresh squeezed OJ

Sliced strawberries
Sliced banana
Gluten-free granola
*feel free to add your favorite fruit, granola, honey, dried-fruit, coconut......etc.
Makes one large Acai Bowl

In a blender, add the frozen acai, frozen berries, the one banana (broken into pieces), and a splash of fresh squeezed OJ. Blend until smooth. (If you find that it's not blending well because there isn't enough liquid, add some more OJ until it starts to blend easier. Don't add too much though because you want a thick consistency). Pour into a bowl and top with sliced strawberries, sliced banana and gluten-free granola. Or, add whatever toppings you desire! Try topping with my Superfruit Granola. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coconut Lime Rice (Grain-Free!)

One of my favorite grain-free discoveries has been cauliflower "rice". And just like regular rice, the versatility of it. Two of my go-to recipes are my Mexican Rice Bowls and my Mediterranean Paella . I love making both of these dishes because they are great one-pot meals and you can eat leftovers for days.

Last week, I wanted to switch it up and try something new but still using cauliflower as the rice component. That is what so great about it. You can find your favorite rice recipe for inspiration and then do your own grain-free version using cauliflower.

I was inspired with this particular dish while browsing food sites the other day, and I saw a side dish for tropical rice. It sounded fantastic so I decided to do my own grain-free version, Here I use coconut, cilantro and lime for a great tropical flavor. A natural sweetness comes from the raisins and a crunch from the toasted almonds. It turned out great and I served citrus marinated grouper filets over top.

Feel free to tweak the recipe as you wish - macadamia nuts instead of almonds and adding a different dried fruit all are great options!

1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and roughly cut into 4 or 5 segments
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup of celery chopped
1/3 cup of toasted coconut (recipe below, can make ahead of time)
1/4 cup of blanched almond slivers
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
The zest of 3 limes
The juice of 3 limes
1/3 cup of light coconut milk
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1/3 cup of raisins
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra lime zest and cilantro for garnishing

In a food processor add the cauliflower (one section at a time) and pulse until it's chopped into the consistency of  rice. (Do not over pulse/chop the cauliflower. You want it to have the right texture, and over chopping it will make is too mushy). Continue to chop the cauliflower one section at a time, adding the finished product to a separate large bowl. Put the cauliflower aside. Next, take a large skillet over medium heat and add the two tablespoons of coconut oil with the chopped onion, pepper and celery. Cook until the veggies are softened and the onion is translucent. Add the cauliflower to the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Using a wooden spoon, stir around the cauliflower allowing it to brown and crisp up in some areas. This part is important in achieving the perfect texture for the "rice". Slowly start to add the 1/3 cup of coconut milk while stirring well. Eventually, the cauliflower should start to brown up (even sticking to the bottom of the pan at times) but keep stirring. You don't want to add too much liquid because you lose the consistency of the rice and it will get too soft and mushy. So don't overdo the coconut milk. Let it sit and "fry" up a bit while you stir frequently for about 10 minutes. In the mean time, heat a dry skillet over medium/medium-low heat and add the almond slivers. Stir frequently until toasted and fragrant (about 6 minutes). Add to the cauliflower along with the toasted coconut, raisins, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro. Stir and let cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add additional chopped cilantro and lime zest over-top. Serve with grilled fish, chicken or tacos!

1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
2 to 3 packets of splenda, stevia or truvia

Combine coconut and splenda in a bowl. Toast in a dry skillet over medium heat until brown and fragrant. Stir frequently so it doesn't burn (about 3 minutes). Store left over coconut in an air tight container in the fridge to use later.

I also use this as an ice cream topping in my PiƱa Colada Ice Cream. So good!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Slow Roasted Pork with Cinnamon Apples and Sweet Onions

Yesterday I was inspired to break out my slow cooker and make a delicious meal with basically no work. And that is what a slow cooker is, right? I have been so busy lately running around and not having time to cook a REAL dinner (sorry husband), that I figured this was the perfect solution. A one-pot meal that requires barely any work, and that will last a few days (at least)? SOLD.

I called my husband on the way to Whole Foods to tell him the good news: I was picking up a pork tenderloin to slow roast for 8 hours and it was just for him (which was a lie of course). You would have thought I gave him a pot of gold. What is it with men and their meat? Especially messy, whole pieces of meat that you slow roast or barbeque.....anyway, no complaints here! The meal turn out amazing and like I said: Day 3, and we still have a lot of it left.

The good news is there is absolutely no oil or fat of any kind added to this dish. And since pork tenderloin happens to be one of the leanest meats you can buy, you are safe to pig out (no pun intended). More good news is that it comes out so tender it falls apart like short ribs...yes! Like short ribs. A lean pork tenderloin is capable of doing this thanks to Mr. Slow Cooker here. Oh and did I mention the dish is also 100% Paleo? Yes. It's time to dig in.

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of fat
2 apples, peeled and sliced (use a sweet varietal such as Gala)
1 sweet onion, sliced (I used Vidalia)
1/3 cup of chicken broth
2 to 3 tablespoons of honey (for Paleo) or agave nectar
2 to 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
3 springs of fresh rosemary
3 springs of fresh thyme
6 Sage leafs
Your favorite pork/poultry seasoning (or just salt and pepper)

Start by taking your pork out of the fridge and let it rest until it reaches room temperature. Next, season the tenderloin generously with your favorite pork/poultry seasoning (I used one that has a mix of rosemary, thyme, sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg) or salt and pepper will work just fine. Massage it into the pork. Place the tenderloin in your slow cooker and pour the chicken broth over the top. Stick the fresh herbs around the pork. Whisk together the honey (or agave) and Dijon mustard. Spoon 1/3 of it over the pork, covering it. Next, add the onions and spoon another 1/3 of the honey mustard mixture over top. Then add your apples as the last layer all over and around the pork and top with the rest of the honey mustard sauce (If you feel like you need a bit more honey/mustard, feel free to make more. It wont hurt!). Sprinkle the apples all around with cinnamon. Set your slow cooker to LOW and cook for about 8 to 10 hours. Around hour 8, take a fork and and see if the pork falls apart easily. If not, let it cook longer. (Side Note: The apples come out very soft in this dish. If you would prefer more of a texture to them, add them to the slow cooker later on in the cooking process). After you are finished slow roasting, serve the pork to individual plates and top with the apple/onion mixture. YUM!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Roasted Veggie Plate

This is a simple roasted veggie dish that I make probably once a week. It's my go-to dish especially when my husband is out of town because I LOVE roasted veggies, and don't mind not having a meat component for dinner (and he usually does). Regardless, you can eat this as your main meal or as a great side dish. It's super healthy and easy to make. You can use any favorite veggies for this, but I absolutely adore roasted eggplant and portobello mushrooms.  I can honestly eat an entire plate of roasted eggplant in one sitting. It's my absolute favorite! I top this dish with roasted shallots, roasted tomatoes (or olive oil packed sun-dried work too), sliced avocado and some crumbled goat cheese (can also use feta or blue). 

Hope you enjoy this simple to make and healthy veggie dish.

2 portobello mushroom caps, whipped clean with stems and ribs removed
1 medium Italian eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium shallots (or 1 large), sliced razor thin
1/2 cup of roasted tomatoes (or oil packed sun-dried), homemade or store bought
1 avocado sliced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter or substitute of choice
2 pinches of salt
Goat cheese or feta for topping (optional)
Makes 2 veggie plates. Serves 2 for main course, 4-6 as a side dish.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and a do the same with a small casserole or glass dish for the two portobello caps. (I actually use a glass pie dish for this and it works perfectly). Place the mushroom caps in the small dish with the stem-side facing up. Next, spread out your eggplant slices onto the cookie sheet, trying not to overlap. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, butter or butter substitute and salt. Using a soft-bristle cooking brush or pastry brush (even a paint brush works as long as it has never been used for paint!), brush the olive oil mixture over both sides of each eggplant slice and over both sides of the mushroom caps. Leave a tiny amount of the mixture left and mix in the sliced shallots with your hands so they are also coated. Sprinkle the shallots on top and around the mushroom caps. Put the mushrooms and eggplant both on the same rack in the oven (about middle to middle-high level, the standard rack level) and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and cover to keep warm as they should be done. Remove the eggplant and flip each slice over and roast for another 5 minutes. Arrange on plates with the mushroom cap and shallots in the middle and place the eggplant slices around it. Stick the sliced avocado in between each eggplant and top with your roasted tomatoes. Last, sprinkle with your favorite crumbly cheese - goat, feta or blue.