"I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand." -Ben Franklin

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lemon-Ginger Chocolate Fudge

I've recently fallen in love with the combination of ginger and chocolate-- the two flavors complement each other really well!  I also love the combinations of lemon (something summery to go with this warm weather!) and ginger, and lemon and chocolate... so why not make an awesome lemon/ginger/chocolate treat, especially since chocolate is now everywhere with Easter coming up soon?  I originally thought I could make little chocolate eggs, but once this started chilling in the fridge, I decided that the egg idea wasn't going to work out for me... and instead I realized I had made fudge!!  Nom!!  (Also, cool stuff: an NPR article came out a few days ago, citing some research that chocolate consumption favorably influences your metabolism and can help keep you lean.  Whoot!)  

-100g dark chocolate (I used 85%)
-1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
-25g butter
-2 1/2 tbsp. ginger
-lemon zest from 1 lemon

1.  Break up dark chocolate and place in a bowl.
2.  Combine all other ingredients in a pan over medium heat and stir well.
3.  When mixture boils, pour over dark chocolate and stir.  (You could pour it into a small tray here, but I just kept it in the bowl.)
4.  Place in refrigerate until set (4-5 hours).  Slice up and enjoy!

Quote of the Day:
"Chocolate is the first luxury.  It has so many things wrapped up in it:  Deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good."  -Mariska Hargitay

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Primal Three-Cheese Aubergine Parmesan

I randomly bought an eggplant-- sorry, aubergine-- last week. Originally I was going to throw it in a curry, but that didn't pan out... so what the heck was I going to do with an entire aubergine/eggplant? (By the way, I love the fact that they call it aubergine here in the UK-- it sounds much more appetizing than eggplant.  The first time I saw it by this name in the grocery store, I became really confused because I had no idea it wasn't universally called eggplant in English.) Eggplant parmesan is absolutely delicious, but I hadn't had it in a long time due to gluten... but duh, I realized I could just substitute the flour/bread crumbs with coconut or almond flour! So here's my version of a three-cheese aubergine parmesan! (That sounds so much more impressive than eggplant parmesan.)


For aubergine/eggplant:
-1 large aubergine/eggplant, peeled and sliced thinly
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
-1/3 cup coconut (or almond) flour
-1 tsp. basil
-1 tsp. oregano
-1 tsp. black pepper
-1 egg

For sauce:
-2 cans chopped tomatoes
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-1/2 large onion, chopped
-2 tbsp. basil
-2 tbsp. oregano
-2 tbsp. black pepper
-2 tbsp. olive oil

For fillings/toppings:
-1 cup grated parmesan cheese
-1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
-100 g full-fat mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (approx. 190ºC).
2. Beat one egg in a bowl, and add a tablespoon of water to create an egg wash. Combine the flour, basil, oregano, pepper, and parmesan cheese on a large plate (or in another bowl). Dip aubergine in egg, then cover in flour/cheese/herb mixture. Place on a greased baking sheet.
3. Cook for 30 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through.
4. To create the tomato sauce, add olive oil to a pan on medium heat, then add onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and spices/herbs and stir well, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes/until sauce thickens.  (I started making the sauce after flipping the eggplant-- the timing worked out perfectly!)
5. Pour some sauce along the bottom of a baking dish (I used a 19cm X 34cm one), then add a layer of eggplant and top with ricotta cheese. Add another layer of sauce, then eggplant, then add mozzarella cheese. Add sauce, then eggplant, then finally top with parmesan cheese.
6. Bake at 400º F (200º C) for 20 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!

Check this out:
A new book on the ancestral/Paleo/Primal lifestyle is coming out at the end of April!  Instinctive Fitness, by Oliver Selway from paleotraining.co.uk, will be released on April 27, and you should definitely check this out-- if you sign up on the book's site, you can read the first two chapters now!

Quote of the Day:
"I don't believe in low-fat cooking."  -Nigella Lawson

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tikka Masala-Inspired Coconut Beef Curry and "The Six C's"

I have nothing but positive memories of Indian food-- in fact, some of my fondest memories of high school and college are connected to Indian restaurants! Going out for Indian was a tradition in high school after speech tournaments, and it's also a tradition with my friends at Penn-- we go to Sitar for pretty much all celebrations (my friend from Penn visited me here a few weeks ago, so of course we went out for Indian!). I also love Indian restaurants because I can always find something on the menu, and I've never gotten a bad reaction reaction (i.e. "been glutened") from one either. When I first came here, I couldn't find spices at reasonable prices in Tesco or Sainsbury's (note: they're reasonably priced at Lidl, which I didn't find out until later), so I stocked up on (cheap!) Indian spices at a Middle Eastern market-- my first week in Edinburgh was spent eating ghetto versions of my favorite Indian dishes. Indian food every day? Dream come true! (Here's my recipe from last spring for butter chicken/murgh makhani.)

I could go on about how much I love Indian food all day, but instead I'm going to give you two recipes that work amazingly together: Tikka Masala-Inspired Coconut Beef Curry and "The Six C's."

The first dish is inspired by chicken tikka masala, which A) is my favorite Indian dish, and B) was allegedly created in the UK, and was even called "Britain's true national dish"! Beef is not typically used in Indian cuisine, but I had a pack of minced beef, so I decided to make beef tikka masala. Then I realized there's no one recipe for tikka masala (tikka refers to the meat or marinade, and masala just means "mixture of spices"), so I looked up a bunch and formed my own; but instead of using yogurt as a base for my curry, I went with coconut milk instead so any non-dairy eaters can enjoy this too (and I also threw in some extra coconut in general). I also didn't marinate the meat first because I used ground beef-- so this is more like a chili, I suppose; but if you use other cuts of meat, definitely make a marinade first. I wasn't totally sure what to call this recipe-- it's not beef tikka masala for the aforementioned changes and ground beef isn't typically used in curries, but it's not really chili either... But I decided to call it a curry, so here's my Tikka Masala-Inspired Coconut Beef Curry. (By the way, don't believe the "Red meat will kill you!" articles that have been everywhere lately-- that study was an example of bad science. Check out responses from Robb Wolf, Denise Minger, Gary Taubes, Chris Kresser, J. Stanton, Stanley A. Fishman, Zoe Harcombe, and Dr. Joe Leonardi.)

Ingredients for Tikka Masala-Inspired Coconut Beef Curry:
-900 g minced beef
-1 large onion, chopped
-2 tbsp. coconut oil
-1 can of stewed tomatoes
-2 tbsp. tomato paste
-1 cup full-fat coconut milk
-2 tbsp. garam masala
-3 tsp. coriander
-3 tsp. cumin
-3 tsp. paprika
-3 tsp. turmeric
-2 tbsp. ginger
-3 tbsp. garlic
-2 tsp. cayenne pepper
-2 tsp. black pepper
-2 tsp. curry powder
-2 tsp. chili powder
-3 tbsp. lemon juice
-3 tsp. cinnamon
-3 tbsp. slivered almonds (optional)
-3 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes (optional: add more for garnish)
1. Heat coconut oil in a pot. With the heat on high, add in onions and stir frequently, then keep adding in spices and stirring until onions appear to be done.
2. Add in beef and cook until brown.
3. Add in tomatoes and stir well. Then add in coconut milk, almonds, and coconut flakes. Stir well, then bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for approximately 45 minutes.

I originally wanted to serve this over cauliflower rice, but my lack of food processor and the fact that I was using frozen cauliflower led to an epic fail. So I decided instead to do mashed cauliflower with some spices. It coincidentally turned out that all of my ingredients started with the letter "C"... So here's "The Six C's": Cumin-Coriander-Cinnamon-Curry Coconut Cauliflower!

Ingredients for "The Six C's":
-750 g cauliflower (I used frozen)
-1/2 cup coconut milk
-2 tbsp. cumin
-2 tbsp. coriander
-3 tbsp. cinnamon
-2 tbsp. curry powder
1. Boil cauliflower in a pot until soft. Drain water.
2. Mash cauliflower, slowly adding in the coconut milk. Stir and add in the spices. Keep stirring and mashing until you get the consistency that you want. (I left my cauliflower a bit chunkier, but you can certainly mash until very smooth.)

2012 Paleo Community Survey:
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Quote of the Day:
"This curry was like a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony that I'd once heard... especially the last movement, with everything screaming and banging 'Joy.' It stunned, it made one fear great art. My father could say nothing after the meal." -Anthony Burgess