30 minute cod chowda

This dish was inspired by a recent visit to Boston. You might say I tried a few different chowders during my stay. Crab and of course New England clam chowder stood out. The best was the crab chowder at The Four Seasons. I’m sure there are many amazing chowders out there but I only had three days and much more to tick off my list.
The chowders I’m speaking of are usually laden with cream and milk so I thought I’d lighten it up with my version.
So here you have it, Cod chowder.
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INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp virgin organic coconut oil
1 bunch of leeks, washed and thinly sliced
3 cups of diced butternut squash
2 stalks celery washed and thinly sliced
1 box organic chicken or fish broth ( see picture below)
1 236 ml clam juice
1 400 ml can lite coconut milk
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger ( or jarred puréed ginger)
3-4 lbs wild Atlantic cod fillets, cut into large chunks ( available at Costco)
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly chopped parsley

PREPARATION:

Start by prepping your vegetables. Slice your leeks, celery, and squash. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot melt your coconut oil, add to it the leeks, celery and diced squash. Cook on medium heat while stirring, about 7 minutes or until the squash has softened.
Add the broth, clam juice and can of lite coconut milk. Increase heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium for another 5 minutes. Add in the ginger, stir.
Using a hand held immersion blender, partially purée the chowder, leaving it a little chunky. This will help to thicken the chowder.
Add chunks of cod, cover with lid and cook 6 minutes. Taste. Add salt and pepper and a little freshly chopped parsley.

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Baked chicken fajitas

Eat chicken? Most of us here in Canada do. In fact, the average Canadian eats over 30 kg of chicken per year according to recent statistics. That being said, there are countless chicken recipes to try.
This one is simple and you likely have all the ingredients available in your fridge and freezer.
This recipe requires one bake pan which doubles as your serving dish. Prep and cooking time takes less than one hour.
Try it tonight!

INGREDIENTS:

5 boneless skinless organic or naturally raised chicken breasts sliced into 1″ strips
2 red peppers sliced lengthwise 1″ thick strips
1 green pepper same as red
1 1/2 large red onion sliced 1/2″
4-5 cloves garlic chopped
2 tbsp oregano
1 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp hot chilli flakes ( depending on your taste)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3+tbsp organic olive oil or melted virgin coconut oil

PREPARATION:

Pre-heat oven to 400′

Kick ass Paleo chocolate cake

If you can’t live without chocolate then this one’s for you.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
pinch sea salt
10 oz. pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp freshly brewed warm coffee
3 eggs at room temperature
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 325*.

When measuring your dry ingredients be sure to be accurate. Level off the ingredients with a knife.
Mix together all dry ingredients (almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl and
Sift these ingredients onto parchment paper, and set aside.
Place the dates and warm coffee in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Then add eggs coconut oil and vanilla extract. Continue blending and scraping down sides of processor. The mixture should have a smooth consistency.
Add the wet to the dry and stir until smooth.
Grease an 8″ round cake pan with coconut oil and add a few tbsp of almond flour & cocoa to coat the pan and tap out the excess flour. Pour the batter in the pan. Tap the pan. Don’t worry if the batter isn’t perfectly smooth on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 28 minutes in an electric oven worked well.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving so that it has time to set.
Place a large plate over the pan. Give the pan another few taps and Invert it into the plate.
Serve as is or with this simple frosting care of Elenas pantry.

Simple chocolate frosting :

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Place chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl over a simmering pot of water.
Melt then add the vanilla. Place the frosting in a fridge for a half hour.
Frost your cakes over a rack as the frosting may drip down the sides.
The cakes can be left out at room temperature for a few days, or refrigerate in an airtight container for a week.

Winter Asian pork stew

Pork stew

When it’s cold outside there is nothing better to warm your belly than a nice bowl of stew. And this pork stew with Asian accents will do just that. I was searching for something other than the traditional beef stew and stumbled upon this one, which came from Fine Cooking. I tested it out and made a minor adjustment. Now, IMO it’s perfect. 😉
It is relatively inexpensive to make as it utilizes pork shoulder or pork butt (same thing). You may ask your butcher to trim off the excess fat, and there will be quite a bit. Don’t fret about removing all of it. Some will add flavour and the excess can be removed after the cooking process.

You will need a heavy bottom pot, or Dutch oven.

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil, more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh lemongrass
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 or 2 Thai bird chillies or 1 rounded tsp of red chilli flakes
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups onion wedges ( 3/4″ wedges)
2 cups butternut squash (1-inch dice)
2 cups diced red pepper( 1″ dice)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice, more to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce, more to taste

PREPARATION:

Position rack in the bottom third of your oven and heat oven to 325’F
Spread the pork on paper towels to dry for 10-20 minutes before browning. If the meat is very wet, pat it dry. Use this time to chop the onion celery and carrot.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot (6 quart), until it is shimmering hot. Season 1/4 of the pork with salt and pepper and arrange it in a single layer in the pot( leaving 1/2 inch space between pieces. Brown well on all four sides, adjusting the heat if necessary. Each batch should take about 10 minutes to brown. Transfer the pork to a large bowl in batches. Repeat with the remaining pork pieces. Once all the pork is browned remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a few minutes.
Leave about 2 tbsp of fat in the pot and if there isn’t enough fat then add in oil equal to 2 tbsp. Return the pot to medium heat, add the chopped onion, celery and carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, cook stirring often and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula. Cook until the vegetables have softened (about 5 minutes).
Stir in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander and chillies and cook stirring about 1-2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water, stirring to dissolve any of the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Raise the heat to medium high and boil to reduce by about 1/2, 5-8 minutes. Add the chicken broth and the additional 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Return the pork to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
Crumple a 12×16-inch piece of parchment, then flatten it out.
(crumpling makes it easier to handle)
Place the parchment directly on the surface of the stew, allowing the ends to come up the sides of the pot. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes of stewing, add the onion wedges to the pot. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the squash and bell peppers. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven, cooking another hour until the pork is fork tender.

Stir in the cilantro, lime juice and fish sauce and taste adding more if necessary. Degrease the stew by laying a paper towel over the surface of the stew and gently pushing it into all the bumps and dips, then quickly peeling it off. Once the stew is chilled, lift the solidified fat off the top with a slotted spoon. Reheat over medium-low heat to serve.

This stew can be made ahead up to 2 days.

Cauliflower stands up

Cauliflower, part of the cabbage family is coming into season.
So, what do you do with this head of cauliflower?
It’s a blank slate and is screaming for help, so here’s one way you can help it along.

Curry sesame cauliflower rice

INGREDIENTS:

1 small to medium head cauliflower
3-4 tbsp virgin organic coconut oil, ghee or organic butter
2-3 tbsp organic sesame seeds
1 tsp crushed(powdered) hot pepper (or cayenne)
2 tsp curry powder
Sea salt to taste
Gluten-free curry powder
PREPARATION:

Remove any brown spots from the cauliflower. Grate the entire cauliflower using the largest holes in your grater.
In a large non-stick skillet, at medium high heat, melt your virgin organic coconut oil, ghee or organic butter, add sesame seeds, and spices and cook 20 seconds. Add grated cauliflower and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Careful not to overcook the cauliflower. Sprinkle with desired salt and serve hot.

Curried sesame cauliflower rice

Raw Coconut Aminos- get some

My new favorite pantry item, Raw Coconut Aminos. Why do I like them? The obvious reasons are listed on the label. 100% organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO and low glycemic.

Made from coconut tree sap, coconut aminos are a great source of 17 amino acids, vitamins and minerals. They contain 65% less sodium than soy sauce and can be used in place of soy in marinades, dressings and for sautéing. Overall, coconut aminos are a much healthier alternative to soy sauce and they’re PALEO.
Coconut aminos are available at your local health food store.

Here’s an article on the dangers of soy based products
http://paleodietlifestyle.com/dangers-soy/

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Gone camping!

Here’s a great make ahead recipe I picked up at a food demonstration in Quebec.
The chef, sEB of sEB L’Artisan Culinaire does a weekly recipe demo and tasting Saturdays at a local farmers market, so I had a taste. Although, he intended this as a campfire or picnic recipe you can try it at home. He suggests you marinate the chicken for 3 days and up to a week. Seems easy enough.

PORTUGUESE Inspired campfire chicken for 4

INGREDIENTS:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts halved lengthwise( for even cooking throughout)
8 cloves garlic peeled
2 tbsp fresh ginger
1 bunch of cilantro leaves and stems washed
1/2 cup of water
1 pint of brown ale ( he used Newcastle)
1/2 cup fine olive oil
2-4tsp coarse sea salt ( like Malden)* found in specialty grocery stores
3-4 tbsp jerk seasoning in a jar ( not the dry spice seasoning)( very spicy stuff so add according to how spicy you like your food)

PREPARATION:

In a mini food processor, add garlic,ginger, cilantro and chop. Using a zip lock bag placed over a large bowl, add the chicken, beer, water, olive oil,garlic, ginger,cilantro,2 tsp sea salt and jerk seasoning.
Remove as much air as possible, seal and mash around so the seasoning covers the breasts.
Place the ziplock bag flat on a tray in the fridge for 3 days and up to 5.
When you’re ready to grill use indirect heat if using coals otherwise the chicken will burn. Sprinkle a bit more sea salt on the breasts during the cooking process.
Total cooking time should be 10-12 minutes per breast. Simply fold over one end of the breast and if it breaks apart easily it’s usually done. Otherwise, just cut into one to be sure 🙂

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Pumpkin seed pesto

Here’s a variation on the traditional pesto. Substitute cilantro for basil and roasted pumpkin seeds for pine nuts or walnuts. This one is dairy free as well.
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INGREDIENTS:

1 cup plus 1/3 cup or more as needed organic olive oil
4 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves*(see note below)
1 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
4 cloves peeled garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Grated lemon zest( optional)

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 325′ and place pumpkin seeds on a tray. Roast no more than 10-15 minutes and remove from oven placing them in a clean bowl.
In a food processor, place washed and dried cilantro leaves ( use a bit of the green stem as well)
1 cup olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until the mixture forms a coarse paste. Add the extra olive oil as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for a few weeks, remembering to add a bit more olive oil on the top of the pesto. Or fill ice cube trays 3/4 full with pesto, freeze and then store in zip locks bags for future use.

USES:

Base for dips, marinating chicken meat or fish, great on pasta and spread on toast points.

20130725-103440.jpg* see my earlier post on basil walnut pesto for tips on how to wash cilantro or basil