Summer Stone Fruit

Arguably the best part of the hot Summer months is the weekly trip to our local Farmer’s Market. Seeing familiar faces, interacting with growers, and picking up produce that was picked that morning, makes 90 degree weather almost bearable.

With such high temps this year, I’ve noticed that we are seeing a lot of fruits reach the market earlier than expected and in fantastic form. Last weekend, I had my eye on a basket full of stone fruit that I didn’t expect to even be edible before August! Much to my surprise, these beauties were plump, juicy and ripe for the picking.

Farmer's Market Stone Fruit

There were peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots and my personal favorite, pluots. If you’ve never had the opportunity to eat a ripe pluot, you are missing out on a delicious hybrid fruit. A cross between an apricot and a plum, a pluot carries the best traits of each fruit and presents itself with just the right amount of tart and tang, but irresistibly sweet flesh.

I find that when you stumble upon truly fresh fruit, it should be left unadulterated. So this recipe keeps the fruit at the forefront and keeps your prep time at a minimum. Feel free to omit the mint syrup, it just adds an extra dimension to the dish. If you have fragrant fruit, they can stand alone on your table!

Peach Salad

Summer Peach Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:
6-8 full size stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, pluots, etc.)
1/4 c. boiling water
1 T. honey
1 bunch fresh mint

Method:
1. Fire up your grill to high heat. Be sure to clean the grates from any leftover grilling and oil the grates. You can also use a stove top grill pan or a non-stick skillet (you just won’t get those beautiful grill lines!).
2. Prep your fruit by slicing into thick wedges and removing the pits.
3. Grill each side of the fruit just long enough for grill marks to form, then set aside in a large bowl.
4. Combine your boiling water and honey, then stir to dissolve the honey completely.
5. Add the bunch of mint to the hot water and allow to steep for 5 minutes, or just long enough to release it’s flavor.
6. Remove the mint from the syrup and allow it to cool slightly.
7. Drizzle the mint syrup over the fruit and toss to coat.
8. Serve in a large bowl and garnish with mint sprigs (if desired).

Notes:
1. The fruit in this recipe doesn’t even have to be grilled – if you are short on time, make the syrup ahead and store in the refrigerator. When you have some ripe fruit on hand, just slice it, toss with the cold syrup, and serve.
2. I am not a fan of leftovers, but these make a great yogurt topping the next day. Store some in the refrigerator, combine with some Paleo granola, and top your favorite yogurt.

Paleo Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice
It wasn’t until we gave up rice through going Paleo that I realized how much I actually love it in so many ways. Indian Basmati tastes like toasted butter, Chinese brown has a subtle nuttiness, and Thai pineapple fried rice is a complex meal in itself. Initially, it was difficult for me to find acceptable substitutes and for the most part, I just stopped searching. It seemed easier to just have extra yellow curry instead of supplementing with rice – until I discovered the wonders of a cheese grater and a $1.99 head of cauliflower.

This recipe is super simple to make, can be done well in advance (and I mean days in advance – think week-long lunch prep), and is pretty much a global crowd-pleaser. It can be customized by changing the vegetables with the seasons and even using variations of cauliflower (did you know it comes in more than just white?). Serve it with your next batch of curry and your family will wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 large heads cauliflower, leaves removed
2 T. avocado oil
2 carrots, small diced
1 large onion, small diced
2 cups diced pineapple
4 ea. green onions, sliced thinly (I reserve some of the tops for garnish)
3 ea. eggs, whisked
1 T. coconut aminos
salt & pepper, to taste

Method:
1. Grate both heads of cauliflower on the large holes of a cheese grater. It might be a little messy, but that can be controlled by grating directly into a large bowl.
2. Heat up 1 T. of the avocado oil in the largest skillet you own on high heat, until it shimmers.
3. Add the carrots, onions and pineapple to the skillet. Sauté until the onions are translucent, the carrots have a bit of color, and the pineapple has started to caramelize. Remove from pan and reserve.
4. Add the remaining 1 T. of avocado oil into the same skillet and heat until it shimmers.
5. Add the cauliflower to the skillet and sauté until it is slightly brown, about 5 minutes.
6. Add the green onions and egg, cooking just until the egg is cooked through (about 30 seconds).
7. Add the carrot mix back to the skillet. Season liberally with the coconut aminos, salt and pepper.

Cauliflower Puree

Cauliflower Puree
One of the styles of food I most enjoy cooking (as well as eating), is Southern comfort food. I grew up in a house where I was blessed with a mother who had dinner on the table every night and it was always delicious (well, except for salisbury steak night – what was she thinking?). Most meals were dripping with butter, loaded with flavor, and always kept you wanting more. It was comfort food at its finest. After going Paleo, I thought I’d never be able to enjoy any of my mom’s wonderful dishes again. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. With a little creativity and often a lot of butter, you can give your family a delicious version of many comfort classics.

This recipe for cauliflower puree is an easy stand in for mashed potatoes, as a side, as a topping for shepherd’s pie, or as the base for a great croquette. They are creamy, full of flavor, and pair with and endless number of main dishes (thinking about serving them with my mom’s meatloaf has me salivating now!). Don’t be afraid of the butter or the cream. If you don’t eat dairy, you can easily substitute some avocado or olive oil. Just be ware, it won’t be nearly as dreamy.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, stems and leaves removed, cut into florets
3 oz. grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is delicious), room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, hot
salt & white pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Set a steamer basket in a pan shallowly-filled with water. Fill basked with cauliflower florets.
2. Turn on heat on high to bring water to a slow boil. Cover and reduce heat to a rapid simmer.
3. Steam cauliflower until cooked through, about 10 minutes (don’t worry, you can’t really over-cook it).
4. Once cooked, remove cauliflower and transfer to a food processor or blender.
5. Add butter and half the cream, blend until smooth.
6. Taste for consistency and add as much cream as you’d like, until the puree is silky smooth.
7. Season liberally with salt and white pepper.

Sausage Ratatouille

Sausage Ratatouille
Strapped for time and need to get dinner on the table before every member of your hangry family loses their minds? This quick and easy weeknight meal is loaded with seasonal veggies, delicious Italian sausage, and the best jar of tomato sauce I’ve ever bought. Try it and trust me, it will end up in your weekly rotation.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 T. avocado oil
1 large onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
1 jar marinara sauce (I love Mezzetta!)
Salt & Pepper
Parmesan, shaved, for garnish

Method:

1. Brown the sausage in a large non-stick skillet, cooking all the way through. Reserve in a bowl to the side.
2. In the same skillet, add the avocado oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté until softened and starting to brown.
3. Add the marinara sauce and heat through. Add the sausage back to the pan. Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.
4. Garnish with shaved parmesan and serve.

Wild Salmon & Ratatouille

Salmon

After embracing the Paleo lifestyle, one of the most difficult issues to tackle has been finding creative dinner dishes that are easy to prepare on a weeknight. One of my go-to creations has been a sausage ratatouille that is on the table in less than 20 minutes. It’s delicious, nutritious, and hearty (don’t fret – I’ll post that recipe, too). I also find myself struggling to get enough fish into our diet. As a chef, I know how delicious it can be, I’ve just never been a seafood fan. However, when you pair it with a delicious tomato-based sauce and fresh vegetables, it becomes a dish that pretty much anyone will enjoy.

For this recipe, you can use whatever fish you’d like. We happen to live in the Pacific Northwest, so when it’s salmon season, you can’t find a better filet. You can also leave the skin on, just be sure to get a hard sear on the fish to ensure it turns out crispy. There’s nothing worse than flabby fish skin! I like to use Mezzetta pasta sauces; they are a Californa-based company that makes a canned product that rivals even the homemade stuff. It’s completely Paleo and adds nearly all the flavor you’ll need in this quick and tasty dish.

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients: 
2 T. avocado oil – divided
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 bunch kale, de-veined and chopped
1 – 25 oz. jar marinara sauce
4 – 4 oz. portions salmon, skin-off
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Shaved parmesan, for garnish

Method:
1. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high until shimmering.
2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini. Sauté until softened and starting to brown.
3. Add the marinara sauce to the pan and cook until heated through.
4. Add the kale and sauté until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Hold warm.
5. Make sure your fish portions are dried on both sides and that all pin-bones have been picked. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
6. Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat with the second tablespoon of avocado oil until shimmering.
7. Add the fish to the pan, skin-side down (or where the skin would have been if you have removed it).
8. Cook until nicely browned and then flip with a fish spatula. Continue cooking until medium-rare, or about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
9. Place your ratatouille mixture in the center of your plate and garnish with a few halved tomatoes. Perch your fish on top of the ratatouille. Garnish with a sprinkling of shaved parmesan.

Paleo Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup
This simple recipe for delicious Paleo Tomato Soup should be a staple in your collection. It utilizes canned tomatoes (which can really help stretch your budget) and a few other simple ingredients to produce a crowd-pleasing dish.

Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your personal preferences – including the varietals of olive oils, tomatoes and wine. I love San Marzano tomatoes, which can be found at most grocery stores. There may be some citric acid in the ingredient list (as a preservative), but that should be all you see. Be sure not to pick up a can that has sugar, herbs, or additional salt added. When you choose an olive oil, get a high quality brand that has a robust flavor – it will come through in the final product. Also, I like to use pinot noir for the wine in this recipe. It stands out against the acidity of the tomatoes and provides a great foundation.

Yield: about 7 cups
Ingredients: 
3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. tomato paste
12 oz. red wine
2 – 28 oz. cans whole, peeled tomatoes
1 small bunch basil, chopped
1 t. paprika
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Method:
1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion and sauté with a wooden spoon until softened, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook, stirring continuously, until you smell roasting garlic and the tomato paste has cooked down, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the red wine and reduce until it is a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes.
5. Add both cans of tomatoes, the chopped basil, and paprika to the pot. Stir to combine.
6. At this point, you can use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes, or just use the end of your wooden spoon.
7. Continue cooking until the tomatoes are heated through, about 15 minutes.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
9. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth.
10. Check again for seasoning and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Tips:
1. You’ll probably need more salt than you think. It really brings out the nuances of the tomatoes, so don’t be afraid to keep adding it. For this recipe, I generally use at least 1 T, if not more, depending on the quality of the tomatoes.
2. If the soup is thicker than you’d like, thin it out with some chicken or vegetable stock. It will adjust the consistency without sacrificing flavor.
3. Always taste the dish before you store it. If you thin it out, it will need more seasoning.
4. This soup freezes really well. Portion it into FoodSaver bags, seal, and lay flat in your freezer. It will keep for up to 6 months.

Paleo Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes
My husband recently met with a nutritionist to discuss a wide range of challenges he’s been having with regard to nutrition – everything from sleep issues, to acid levels, all the way to actual nutrient intake. When we started our Paleo journey, it was clear that we were severely nutrient deficient in a number of areas, but we’ve made a great deal of improvement in the last year. That improvement has given us the opportunity to look even closer at the way our bodies process the foods we eat and what we can do differently to lead happier, healthier lives.

Victoria Ritchie, NTP, had some great insights for him, including discussing his acidity level and need to increase potassium and salt in his diet. One of the best ways to do this was through avocados. He was stoked to hear that, considering it may be his all-time favorite food.

We are always trying to find ways to eat more avocados, or even better, guacamole. These little stuffed tomatoes can really be filled with anything – I just love a reason to eat more guac. It’s best to try these during tomato season (that would be in the summer for most people), but cherry tomatoes are available in supermarkets year-round. Just be aware that they’ve probably been in cold storage and won’t be as delicious as their sunshine-filled friends in July.

Cut Tomatoes
It’s pretty easy to core the tomatoes, just make sure you have a sharp paring knife. Also, to ensure they don’t roll around on your serving plate, slice a small flat spot on the bottom of each to give the tomato a solid foundation on which to sit.

Yield: about 30 half-tomatoes
Ingredients:
1 pint container cherry tomatoes, ripe
1/2 cup Paleo guacamole
1 slice cooked bacon, crispy

Method:
1. Slice each tomato in half around its equator (the fattest part). Slice off a small amount on what will be the bottom side of each half, allowing it to sit flatly on a plate without rolling around.
2. Remove the seeds and extra flesh from the middle of each tomato half, discarding what you remove.
3. Fill each tomato half with about a teaspoon of guacamole. Depending on the size of your tomatoes, the amount will vary.
4. Break up the crispy, cooked bacon into small pieces to use for garnish. Top each mound of guacamole with a piece of bacon.
5. Store under refrigeration and serve immediately. The guacamole will start to brown after a couple of hours of exposure to oxygen.

Prosciutto Crisps

Prosciutto Crisps
The ultimate in simple to create, easy to devour snacks are these prosciutto crisps. It’s as easy as opening a package, heating up the oven, and throwing them in. They are a fantastic vehicle for our guacamole or they can be inhaled on their own. To be honest, it’s better than bacon. That’s saying a lot.

You can buy pre-sliced prosciutto in the deli or cheese section of your supermarket. At Whole Foods, I love to get the Applegate Farms Natural Prosciutto. It only has three ingredients: pork, salt, and spices. It tastes great and is reasonably priced. It’s the perfect thickness for this application and each slice is separated by a piece of coated paper, so they are easy to separate. You don’t realize how important this little piece of paper is until you try to gently divide two paper-thin slices of prosciutto – it’s impossible. So if you don’t get the Applegate Farms brand, be sure that whatever you buy, each slice has some sort of divider between.

Yield: 16 crisps
Ingredients:
16 thin slices prosciutto

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Line a few sheet pans with parchment paper.
2. Lay each piece of prosciutto out on the parchment-lined sheet pan, be sure not to overlap.
3. Bake until crispy, about 15 minutes. Depending on the strength of your oven, it may take more or less time. Start checking them after 12 minutes. The edges will curl a bit and they will look crispy.
4. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Asiago Rosemary Crisps

Asiago Crisps

I seem to be posting a stream of single-digit ingredient recipes. Why can’t everything be this easy? Today, we’ve got a two-ingredient chip that is crispy, savory and delicious – all in one. You can make cheese crisps with nearly any hard cheese and a variety of herbs. If you don’t have any fresh herbs, you can use dried, just use about a quarter of the amount.

Additionally, these don’t have to be made in muffin tins. If you want a more abstract shape, or you want something larger, just bake them on a silpat mat or parchment paper. I like using muffin tins because I like the uniformity of the result.

When they start to brown, they are probably done. Initially, they won’t look “crispy”, but give them a few minutes to cool and you’ll find that they are pretty easy to remove from the muffin tin with an off-set spatula. If they aren’t crispy enough, just throw them back in the oven and finish crisping.

Yield: 24 crisps
Ingredients
4 oz. Asiago cheese
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
2. Shred the cheese on the small holes of a box grater. You can also do this in a food processor. Just make sure to shred it on the smallest setting.
3. Combine the cheese and rosemary in a small bowl. Toss to combine.
4. Divide the cheese evenly into the wells of 24 standard muffin tins. It ends up being about 2 t. per well.
5. Bake until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Tip: A few great cheese and herb combinations…
Sage + Cheddar
Tarragon + Gruyere
Pink Peppercorn + Thyme + Parmesan
Dill + Romano

Paleo Cinnamon Apple Chips

Cinnamon Apple Crisps
Want a nearly hands-off, two ingredient, delicious snack? Cinnamon apple chips are the perfect answer to the need for easy to create, healthy snacks that require little effort. If you own a dehydrator, this will be even less time-consuming. Since most people only have an oven, this recipe is designed with that in mind. They do need to “dehydrate” for a few hours, so throw them in the oven on a day you know you’ll be home for a while, and let them do their thing.

Yield: about 50 chips
Ingredients
3 large, sweet apples (I like Pink Lady or Honeycrisp)
Cinnamon

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line two sheet pans with parchment.
2. Wash your apples thoroughly. Slice them thinly on a mandolin or with a knife (I like around 1/16 of an inch).
3. Lay the apples on the prepared sheet pans in a single layer, being sure not to overlap.
4. Sprinkle them with as much cinnamon as you’d like. I’m a cinnaholic, so I go to town. You don’t have to be as generous.
5. Put them in the oven to dehydrate. Flip them half-way through.
6. When they are completely dry, allow to cool and store in a zip-top bag.