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I am a culinary school graduate. It is official. My very last day of school EVER was last Monday. ( Well, at least I’d like to think it will be my last day of school ever. You never know. ) Our last day of school consisted of a portfolio show where we had to make a bite sized dish for possible future employers to come and pretend to be interested in hiring us. I think only about 8 employers showed up…leaving me where I started. Jobless. Well, I tried. The good news is that my dish was paleo. Well, minus the crispy onions.

photo 2-36

Seared Ahi tuna, with daikon, carrot, and jicama salad, wasabi sauce and coconut cream.

As you may know, I am obsessed with sushi, and wasabi. So, I figured I would incorporate a few of my favorite flavors into my dish. Turned out pretty good i’d say.

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This is where I got to stand for hours…and hours for the portfolio show.

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This was my friend Alicia and I after being at school for like 14 hours. Goodbye culinary school… now off to find me a job.

In the meantime, I am not really sure what to do with myself. I keep thinking that I have homework to do, or deadlines to reach… but I don’t. Guess I might as well focus on the blog!

 

 

I know, you probably thought I am procrastinating on the bacon post. Well, lucky for me bacon has a built in procrastination phase called curing. Bacon is like the baking of cooking… it requires patience. The bacon takes a week to cure so I thought i’d make a little treat in-between called Gravlax. Gravlax is  cured salmon but the plus side is that it only needs to cure for 48 hours. Ready to make some Gravlax?

First you will need:

 

Ingredients:

1 salmon fillet

1/4 cup salt ( Corase sea salt works best )

1/4 cup sugar ( optional but it helps round out the salty flavors )

1 Tbs. Smoked Paprika

2 Tbs. Cumin seeds

1 Tbs. fresh cracked pepper

1 Bunch of fresh Dill

Directions:

Combine together all the spices and the fresh dill.

 

Spread and even layer on a large baking dish…

Place your salmon fillet on top of the curing mixture.

Rub the rest of the curing mixture onto your fillet.

Cover it in plastic wrap..or just use a big ziploc if it is easier but make sure to press all of the air out. Plastic wrap is my nemesis, yet I used it anyways…bad choice.

At this point you can put something on top of the salmon to press it down…but I find if you do this sometimes the salmon can come out too dry. I would just wrap it tight in plastic ( or a ziploc ) and flip the fish half way through ( 24 hours if you do the math ).

After you unwrap your fillet, wash off all of the curing mixture.
You will notice it is now a darker color. Time to slice!

You want to slice starting at the bottom and moving towards the tail…making sure not to slice into the skin.

Once you are done slicing that you are good to consume. Gravlax can be served as an appetizer, eaten as a snack or as a salad. I chose to go the salad route.

For the salad I sliced up some avocado and tossed some spring mix with some dijon mustard vinaigrette ( dijon, coconut vinegar, and olive oil ).

I know it may seems strange to eat “raw” salmon but don’t knock it till you try it! Makes for a great Omega 3 rich snack.

Happy curing!

It’s Monday, and you love your life. Don’t deny it.

Well, if you are not feeling much love for your life at the moment than you should enter my giveaway if you have not yet done so. I know I would love my life if I won an awesome jar of coconut oil, but i’d hate my life if I missed the opportunity to do so. The giveaway ends tonight at 10pm! Time is running out people. Enter Here.

Just in case you don’t win, I have a little recipe to cheer you up. I know it is supposed to be “Meatless Monday” and all, but instead of going meatless I decided I would go beef-less. I went with 100% grassfed goat from Flying Mule Farms instead.

I ended up getting two of these little guys, trimming them up a bit ( removed as much of the silver skin as possible ) and making a curry/stew out of it. You are also welcome to use lamb, or beef in this dish but if you can get  your hands on some goat, I highly recommend it. I found the goat to be less gamey than lamb, and rather tender. This recipe is actually one that has been adapted from my Latin Cuisine class. I believe we used lamb but it comes from Trinidad where using goat would be more authentic. Believe it or not, goat is actually pretty popular in other countries and is a very sustainable meat, but for some reason us Americans prefer beef. Onto the recipe!

Curried Kid

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. Lime Juice

1 lime cut into wedges

1 Tbs. sea salt

1 1/2 pounds of boneless lamb or goat ( cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes )

2 Tbs. coconut oil

1 cup onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons of tamarind pulp ( usually found in the ethnic cuisine part of the store. Make sure to buy seedless or else you will have a fun time picking out the seeds by hand…unless your into that…) Never used tamarind pulp? Consult Dr. Google. Here.

1 cup green mango, peeled and diced about 1/2 inch cubes

1 Tbs. curry powder

1 jalepeno pepper, seeded, minced

1 cup tomatoes peeled, seeded OR since tomatoes are not quite in season or yet you can use one 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes.

1 Cup of chicken stock

1 cup of potatoes, peeled and diced ( optional if you don’t do potatoes or if you can sub white potatoes for sweet potatoes )

1 Cup Kohlrabi, peeled and diced ( you can find this at the farmers market, whole foods and even Raleys right now. )

1 Tbs. Fresh Thyme, chopped

1 tsp. fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large spaghetti squash

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

First you are going to want to get your spaghetti squash baked so that you have it ready to serve with the stew.

Place your spaghetti squash face down on a sheet pan and bake until tender. ( usually around 30-40 minutes but keep an eye on it. )

1. Combine the 1 tablespoon of lime juice, lime quarters, sea salt, and meat with one cup of water. cover and allow to stand for 30 minutes. ( meanwhile prep the rest of your ingredients.

2. Drain your meat and pat dry. ( make sure to dry it off really well or else it won’t brown properly ).

Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat on all sides. Remove the meat.

3. Add onions; cook 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Add garlic, tamarind pulp, mango, curry powder, and jalapeno pepper. Cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Return meat to the pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes to make sure that the meat is coated with the spice mixture. Add the stock.

4. Bring to a simmer, add kohlrabi, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

5. Add potatoes, and cover and simmer 30 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir in the fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and correct seasonings.

6. Serve hot over spaghetti squash.

Bon Appetite

 

 

When people walk into my kitchen, one of the first things they see is this:

Yep. I big jar of coconut oil. It is funny how many questions I will get about something I forget is not really “in the norm”. I use it everyday so I don’t think much about it. I forget that people still think that corn or soy oil is a healthy oil to use for cooking. ( Yep, vegetable oil is bad mmmkay. Go pour it down the drain. NOW. )

Besides coconut oil being a stable fat too cook with ( meaning it won’t give you cancer when you heat it up ) it tastes pretty darn amazing. One of the biggest questions I get is “does it make your food taste like coconut?” Well, no actually. I have found that it tastes like coconut straight out of the jar. ( Yes I admit I have taken a nibble of coconut oil straight out of the jar…) but when you cook it, the coconut flavor kind of cooks out. If you don’t do dairy, coconut oil is a good substitute for butter in both cooking and baking.

If you want to learn a few ways to use coconut oil then you can check out this video:

Or you can just keep reading my blog because I use it for everything.

Sooo now for the part you have been waiting for. The giveaway. I know you all love free stuff. So here is the deal:

First you must subscribe to the tropical traditions newsletter here:

http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/subscribe_for_special_sales.cfm

Then leave me a comment with your name and email address so that I can contact you if you win. I will choose a winner at random and the contest ends on June 25th (next Monday ) so hurry up and enter!

And of course, if you win…you have to promise me to throw out all vegetable oil and substitute it with coconut oil. Really, it is for your own good.

If you want to learn more about Tropical Traditions coconut oil check out some of the information below!


Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Now that I am free from homework, I have no excuse but to get back to talking about real food. I will try to post as much as I can this week, but I will be headed to Washington D.C. next week. No guarantees on the blog posts! I’ll see what I can do however. For now, here is what I cooked for Father’s Day:

Chicken with roasted broccolini and a honey mustard sauce

Ingredients for the Marinade:
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup grainy mustard
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 1/4 cups good quality olive oil

For the Chicken:

  • 6-8 Chicken breasts or chicken thighs ( you can use less and just save some of the marinade )
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh oregano

Directions:

For the Marinade:

First pulse the garlic in a food processor. Add the grainy mustard, honey, Dijon, lemon pepper, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to blend. Then add the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. Keep the food processor running while you slowly add the oil. Do not over mix. The consistency should be thick but still pourable.

For the Chicken:

Coat the chicken with the marinade like this….

Then chop up your oregano and thyme and add it to the chicken/dressing mix. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for about 4 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Place the chicken on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes..or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. ( It will go up to 165 after it is removed from the oven. This is called carry over cooking ).

Viola! Chicken is done.

I will admit I got a little primal and had some dairy with dinner. I made a Tzatziki sauce to go with the chicken. If you do dairy here is the recipe, otherwise pretend this isn’t here. Avert your eyes. Now.

  • 3 tbsp onion (approx.)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1 cup cucumber
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt ( the full fat plain stuff )
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

roughly chop the onion, garlic and fresh herbs. Peel the cucumber, remove the seeds and roughly chop.

Purée the garlic and onions in a food processor. Add the cucumber and herbs and pulse just a few times. Strain the cucumber mixture.

Once strained, add the cucumber mixture to the yogurt and season with the salt and pepper. Mix together and serve.

And again, if dairy does not agree with you. PLEASE ignore this recipe. The chicken tastes just fine without the yogurt sauce.

For the broccoli I just tossed it in some melted coconut oil, salt, and pepper and put it in the oven for about 10 minutes or until it was tender. I served it with some remaining marinade ( Marinade that did not come in contact with the raw chicken! This is important peeps! Food safety first! )

I also served this with a large salad that is not pictured. It was just as simple spring mix salad with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives, shaved carrots, and a red wine vinaigrette.

Dinner is served.

Happy Cooking!

 

Hi Folks,

Sorry I have been a bit MIA on the blog lately. The good news is that I am done with classes for the quarter which included baking numerous gluten bombs….

My eclairs are a hot mess.

I wanted to cover more of the surface of the tart but all that was left was one kiwi and some blueberry’s and blackberry’s.

These are photos of my final exam. We had to make eclairs and a fresh berry tart, which sounds easy but all of this stuff is from scratch. There are no pre-made pie crusts in culinary school. We had to make:

Pate A Choux ( the eclair dough )

Pastry cream ( a.k.a. Vanilla custard )

Creme Anglaise ( another type of vanilla custard but its more of a sauce consistency. )

The sweet tart dough for the tart…

We had 3 hours to finish, and luckily I finished without any problems. No curdled eggs ( this happens if you over-cook your custard or don’t temper your eggs properly ). No burnt or deformed pie crust, no collapsed eclairs, everything went as planned, and I passed my final exam! All that worry for nothing.

I will admit this class was fun, but it was a bit of an obstacle at times when I had to taste my food, or when friends wanted me to taste their food. Hopefully my stomach will have a good amount of time to recover. Now to get past the obstacles at home….

White, Wheat, Sourdough, and a stomach ache?

What is your biggest obstacle?

Day #30 has come and gone. It felt weird making my breakfast this morning and not snapping a photo of it before I dug in…so I snapped a quick photo anyways. I think I have created an odd habit. Taking pictures of my food has worked its way into my routine. Uh oh.

I may take a few days off from posting about my food but I have a feeling I will be back with more very soon…perhaps something a bit more challenging. We shall see. :)

Now on with the days food!

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, dill, and sweet potatoes.

If you still have not tried smoked salmon in your scrambled eggs… you don’t know what you are missing out on. I suggest you try it immediately.

Not only did I survive yesterdays WOD but I also had the opportunity to cook lunch for my friend Laura and her little one Claire. ( well, Claire had a sandwich with almond butter and jelly ).

Salmon with red and golden beets, ( glazed with coconut oil, chicken stock, and raw honey ), and brussel sprouts.

I was a little nervous serving beets and brussel sprouts to Laura…little did I know it was the first time she had tried either of these vegetables. If you have had beets before, you know they have what we call in the culinary world an “earthy” flavor. A.K.A. it tastes like dirt. They are kind of an acquired taste…but luckily Laura isn’t a picky eater and enjoyed the beets and the brussel sprouts. Mission accomplished.

Another concern when serving fish is that people are not used to #1 eating the skin, #2 seeing it served skin side up, and #3 are used to it being served to them over-cooked. Laura asked me before she started eating “Can you eat the skin?”. Yes. You can indeed eat the skin. If it is served nice and crispy of course.

Dinner

Salad of of leftovers

For a post-workout meal I made a salad out of leftovers from lunch. The only thing I had to slice up was mushrooms and avocados. I added a bit of balsamic vinegar and dinner was done!

And that my friends concludes my thirty days of Paleo…or does it?

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