My go-to Thanksgiving Recipes

pie

Thanksgiving is like the Food Superbowl to me. I love spending time with family and friends and enjoying a wonderful meal together. I do not like feeling stressed and running around the kitchen right before dinner is ready. It doesn’t have to be that way; it shouldn’t be that way! Continue reading

Advertisements

Homemade Sauces: Mayo, Harissa, & Chimichurri

Mayo

I’ve always been a bit intimidated by homemade mayonnaise, but if you’re eating Paleo and you want mayo, then you need to make it yourself(because you can’t have canola oil).  First I whipped out my fancy schmancy Vitamix (which instantly gave me confidence).  I got started making the mayo according to the Vitamix instructions and almost immediately my eggs were scrambled from the heat of the motor.  I’m sure that I could have tried again and lowered the speed and that would have solved the problem.  But, I didn’t want to play trial and error. So I moved on to the food processor, after all, it’s how Mark Bittman makes his mayo.  Same problem.  Cooked eggs in about 2 seconds.  Next, the hand blender.  No emulsification.  Fail.  Fine, I guess I will to whisk it by hand, the old fashioned way.  I whisked until I thought my arm would fall off and the result was nothing short of amazing.  The mayo came out great and was so silky and delicious – incomparable to the store bought stuff.  I will definitely be making this again.

The Best Homemade Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk

1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp salt

¾ cup *light* olive oil

Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, and salt in a bowl.  Whisk to combine everything well.

Whisking with fury, gradually add oil to the yolk mixture.  Start with just a few drops at a time, then add it in a slow stream.  Whisk like crazy until the oil is gone.  And don’t forget to breathe.

ProcessorYzoh

My little lady enjoying harissa and chimichurri. Brings a tear to my eye.

I’ve been wanting to make harissa for awhile.  I did some research and came up with this concoction that was extremely easy, very delicious (even my 4 and 5 year olds loved it), and, gasp, healthy!  We dipped almond meal crusted chicken tenders in it, but I think I will be dipping grilled chicken in it, come summer.  Here’s the recipe:

Harissa

2 red peppers

2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press

½ tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp cumin

¼ cup olive oil

A good squeeze of lemon juice

salt

Char the peppers on the grill.  Cover and let steam for a few minutes.  Peel off the black stuff and remove the seeds and stem.  Put the peppers, along with the rest of the ingredients in the food processor.  Add salt to taste.  Done.

Harissa

While I realize that Chimichurri is traditionally served in Argentina with steak; I personally love it with vegetables.  Greens beans and asparagus are particularly good matches.  Try this very simple recipe from Mark Bittman; no special equipment needed.

Chimmy

Mangia e bevi come ti pare ma vestiti come si conviene.

“You can eat and drink the way you like, as long as you know how to dress accordingly.” – Italian Proverb

If you like what you see, then “Like” Tinycookbigappetite.com on Facebook if you want to be notified in your news feed anytime I have a new post.  Or you can sign up for e-mail subscription on the right hand side of my homepage.  Thanks and happy cooking.

Delicious Soups (that happen to be good for you)

butternutLast week it was really chilly here in California (54 degrees)!  Even though I grew up in New York and Michigan, after living in southern California for 12 years my skin has thinned a bit.  Okay, maybe a lot.  There is nothing I want more than a bowl of hot soup when the chill has set in.  One of my favorite soups is Butternut Squash soup.  This recipe is my mother-in-law’s recipe and it has just enough ginger to warm the back of your throat and leave you satisfied.  This should be in everyone’s recipe file because it’s sooooooo good and because you can make a huge batch of it and freeze it.

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

1 cup chopped onions or leeks

1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tablespoon butter (or ghee)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

*1 butternut squash, 1 ½ -2 pounds, roasted

Slice of ginger, about 1 inch think, peeled

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

½ cup heavy cream (optional)

chopped cilantro for garnish (so yummy)

1 – In a large saucepan, cook the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in the butter and oil, covered, over low heat about 15 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

2 – Scoop the flesh of the squash and add it to the pot with the ginger and the stock.  Continue to cook, covered, for about 30 minutes.

3 – Puree in food process.  (This is where you would add the cream).  Be careful when pureeing hot liquids.  I usually take out the plug on top and semi cover it with a kitchen towel.

*To roast butternut squash: Cut in half crosswise, then cut each half in half (so you have 4 pieces).  Place, cut down on some foil on a baking sheet.  Roast at 425 for about 30-40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife.  Let cool.

Serves 8-10.  This can be made a few days in advance.  It also freezes very well (without the cream).

Egg Drop

Egg Drop Soup

 There is no faster soup to put together than egg drop soup.  I remember eating this as a kid and had sort of forgotten about it until I started this Paleo thing.  It’s easy, simmer chicken broth (homemade is best), pour in a beaten egg whilst gently stirring with a fork, add some chicken and/or chopped spinach if you like and you’re done.  As Ina Garten always says, “How easy is that?”

posole

Posole

My neighbor made me some Posole a few months ago and I fell in love with it.  And my kids love anything they can “decorate” (i.e. garnish).  I used this recipe from Food&Wine, except that I left out the hominy because of the Paleo thing I’m doing.  It was good, but I think the broth needed a little more oomph.  Next time, I will add some chile powder.

Chili is more of a stew, but I’m including it here anyway because it’s my blog and I can do what I want.  This is another “decorating” recipe that my kids love.  My husband doesn’t like beans in his chili, so I created this recipe for him (and it’s paleo).  The spice of the chili and the sweetness of the sweet potato worked so well together.  (Sorry, I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture)

Chili (Paleo Style)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 diced onion (large)

2 lbs ground beef

3 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 T chili powder

1 T cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt

28oz can peeled tomatoes, pureed

2 baked sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

Cook onions in oil for a few minutes until softened.  Add garlic and spices and cook for another minute.  Add about half the tomato puree and then add the meat and cook through.  Stir in the rest of the tomato puree and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over low heat for about an hour (stir occasionally).  Uncover and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or so.  Add sweet potatoes and gently stir.

*Top with avocado, chopped cilantro, and chopped onion.  This freezes well.

Slow Cooker Chicken Broth

The base to any good soup is the broth.  I recently got a slow cooker and have been trying to figure out some new things to cook in it.  I read somewhere that you can throw your chicken bones (and necks and backs, etc. that I’ve been stockpiling in my freezer) in your slow cooker; fill with water and cook on low for 8 hours.  I cooked in on high for the first 2 hours and then 6 hours on low.  The result was nothing short of amazing.  In the paleo world this is called bone broth.  With a little bit of salt thrown in, it tastes amazing and is really good for you.

While doing this Paleo thing, I kind of wanted to make tomato soup and french onion soup, but decided against it, since each soup is just sooooo much better with cheese.  I can’t wait to sink my teeth into a grilled cheese sandwich dunked into some creamy tomato soup!

“Cuisine is when things taste like themselves.” – Curnonsky

What to do with all those vegetables?

brussels

Purple brussel sprouts at the farmers market!

Okay, I’m 2 weeks into the Paleo plan and I have yet to feel my energy burst or clearer skin.  But I am still holding out hope!  I’m normally a person who craves things a few times a week.  I get it in my head and then I have to have it.  It’s like I’m pregnant all of the time.  It drives my husband nuts.  The weird thing is, on this Paleo diet, I haven’t had cravings for anything!  That said, my palate is getting a little bit bored eating 2 servings of vegetables with every meal.  So, what is a gal to do?  Get creative with her veggies.

Fennel

Roasting Veggies – not only do I think it produces the best tasting vegetables (you know, those crispy caramelized bits), but it’s also hands off, so you can tend to other parts of the meal.  The favorites in our house are broccoli (roast with stalks up), brussel sprouts (I quarter them – these are especially good tossed with browned butter and some lemon juice – a-maz-ing), butternut squash (cubed), and fennel (my personal fav, since it really transforms from the raw version – it’s like candy).  It’s easy – heat your oven to 400 degrees and toss the veggies with a good amount of olive oil and kosher salt.  Spread in an even layer and roast for about 10-15 minutes and toss around and roast for a few more minutes.  You can also use the same technique and make amazing carrot and sweet potato fries.

Veggie Fritters

Dreamy chef, Curtis Stone, makes these amazing vegetable fritters that my whole family gobbles up.  I grate some carrots, zucchinis, and onion.  Add an egg or two and some salt and pepper.  Cook in some olive oil and enjoy your vegetables in a new way.

Onions

Skip the tears with scuba goggles!

Caramelized onions are a must have in your cooking repertoire.  This recipe from Ina Garten is my go-to recipe.  I like to cook mine down so that it’s more like an onion jam.  They are amazing on burgers, a great topping for pizzas, or delicious added to scrambled eggs.  And they freeze very well.

kale

Greens

I love greens, but get bored of salads real fast, especially in winter.  Sauteed kale in olive oil (or cook some bacon first and sauté in the delicious fat that renders) is amazing and I make it every week.  I also love to sauté spinach and then add some lemon juice and pine nuts at the end and you are in for a real treat.  Indian Greens: To say that I love Indian food would be a major understatement.  Indian spices make any vegetable taste amazing.  As far as greens go, I love Saag Paneer.  Here’s a link to a yummy picture of it.  My favorite Indian spice blend is garam masala – try sprinkling on your veggies.

Some other veggie ideas are sweet potato hash, butternut squash soup (more on soups next week).  And don’t forget about the magic of spaghetti squash – it’s amazing how a vegetable can mimic pasta!

And, sauces and condiments are your friend: Gravies (I have an amazing roasted garlic gravy to share with you next week), chimichurri (recipe next week) on green beans is incredible, hollandaise (recipe next week) over asparagus, and salsa pretty much tastes everything taste better.

One last idea, sautéed cabbage with some apples and apple cider vinegar.  It’s a nice change a pace and a beautiful color!  Got the idea from a great book, Practical Paleo.

Next week, chicken dishes, beef dishes, and soups.  “Like” Tinycookbigappetite.com on Facebook if you want to be notified in your news feed anytime I have a new post.  Or you can sign up for e-mail subscription on the right hand side of my homepage.  Bon appetit!

Cabbage