Saturday, August 20, 2011

The classic French omelet - Paleo-style

I'm not going to tell you how to make the omelet. I'll leave that to the expert below, Jacques Pepin. But to make it Paleo, here are the ingredients:

1 tsp. rendered duck fat
3 pastured eggs
chopped chives
filling of your choice

Damn! He's good! I need more practice.

Chilled Cream of Leek and Zucchini Soup

Another recipe to use up those ever-invading zucchini. I have found lots of leek soup recipes that involved potatoes, but since I'm not eating those things right now, I had to substitute something to help add veggie-volume, and the zucchini that I got from the CSA last week were screaming, "Pick me! Pick me!" It worked!

This recipe serves, as a first course, six slightly inebriated hungry middle-aged Mermaids who are watching their figures...

Leeks, 4 cups, chopped
Zucchini, 2 to 4, chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
2 cups half and half (*but to make it strictly Paleo, use Aroy-D Preservative-Free Coconut Milk)
Zest of one lemon, finely minced
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy pot, heat the oil to medium heat. Add the leeks and stir around for about a minute, till it starts to soften. Then add the zucchini, also stirring into the leeks and oil. Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat down a little, and let the vegetables cook for 7 - 10 minutes (depending on how much zucchini you used), until soft. You'll need to pick up the lid and stir everything around a few times to make sure it doesn't burn.

Add the stock, put the lid on the pot and let the whole thing simmer for another 10 minutes. Take it off the stove and let it cool enough so you can work with it. In small batches, run the soup in the blender (or use a stick blender right in the pot - my favorite method) until it's quite smooth. It's important to run small batches in the blender so that your soup doesn't explode through the lid!

Return the soup to the pot. Add the half and half plus the nutmeg, stirring in well. Taste for seasoning. I added about 1/4 tsp. white pepper, but black is fine, and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Add the lemon zest. Pour the soup into a container and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least four hours to chill properly.

You can serve this from a pretty clear glass pitcher and pour it into shorter clear glasses, or even martini glasses. Garnish with chives or dill and a lemon slice. You could also top it with just a little chopped smoked salmon or some caviar.

*If you make this soup with the coconut milk, skip the nutmeg, add some ginger slices and lemongrass sticks to the pot while it's simmering (but remove them when ready to blend), add lime zest instead of lemon, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and a few drops of chili oil.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cucumber Pineapple Salad

My cook in Indonesia used to make a salad similar to this for lunch at least once a week. The traditional recipe calls for adding sugar in the dressing, but I always found the Indonesian pineapple was more than sweet enough. Pineapple from the US isn't as sweet, but I still don't add sugar. It's up to you.

By the way, this is spicy! The recipe is Sumatran in nature, so chilies are required!

2 cucumbers
1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped coarsely
1 tsp Sriracha hot chili sauce
Juice of a lime
2 Tbs. safflower oil
salt and white pepper to taste

Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut them in half again, lengthwise, then dice into 1/2" pieces. Put them in a medium-sized bowl. Add to that the pineapple, green onions and cilantro. In a small container, blend the Sriracha, lime juice and oil. Pour over the salad. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Mix well and refrigerate for an hour for flavors to meld.

Serves 4 to 6

Friday, August 12, 2011

Zucchini Yogurt Dip

I just worked this recipe out today. Not very Paleo-diet with the yogurt, but I live in 2011 and I needs me some dip sometimes!

(Thanks to Sheri, Ramona, Alyce, Sharon, Eileen and Jill for being the brave tasters.)

This is a delicate-tasting dip, so you don't want to serve it with anything too powerful. Good for dipping veggies, but crackers or toast would be okay. I imagine it would be good on a baked potato too!

3 medium-sized zucchini, trimmed and shredded
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used the full-fat kind, but I supposed you could go with a lower fat, if you're into that)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet at medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add shredded zucchini and saute for a few minutes, just until soft and barely cooked through. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt to soften. Fold in zucchini, then walnuts. Add oregano, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve.