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Paleo

Quintessential California Prawn Salad

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Quintessential California Prawn Salad

This simple salad is a personal favorite when I’m low on time and energy. And, depending on your personal preference, it can be made even easier with a few cheat-items! In all it’s glory, the from-scratch recipe is as follows: Ginger Turmeric Vinaigrette This is a great dressing to kick start your week and detox from the wildness of the weekend; turmeric is a natural detoxifier and anti-inflammatory that will help to clear your liver of toxins and raw garlic is an antimicrobial good for immune boosting and blood purifying.

½ shallot, diced 2-3 tbs apple cider vinegar ¼ cup olive oil ½ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp fresh ginger, chopped finely 1 tsp honey 1 tsp lemon juice Pinch of salt Pepper to taste

Combine the dressing ingredients and shake aggressively to emulsify.

** This is an easy way to boost your salad any day of the week – feel free to make leftovers, they only get better with time! **

For the Salad: 10 frozen, raw WILD shrimp 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ loose cup parsley, chopped ½ -1 avocado, cubed 1 grapefruit (or your favorite citrus), supremed Baby spinach, wild arugula, shredded kale (aka your favorite salad greens) Seasonal option: ½ a head of raw fennel bulb, sliced very thin adds a fresh California bite to this dish! Salt and pepper to taste

Pull the shrimp out of the freezer and soak in room temperature water to defrost. This can be done while you’re getting ready to go out or just winding down after a long day. Takes about 10 minutes. Once defrosted, begin by taking the shell off the shrimp and throwing away.

Next, heat 1 Tbs good olive or coconut oil over medium to low heat in a sauté pan and add your minced garlic. Once softened, add the shrimp and cook until just pink.

*Pro Tip* - for perfect shrimp cook shrimp "low and slow" only flipping once. Be careful not to overcook – good quality shrimp is okay to eat a little bit underdone so don’t worry about undercooking, just try to avoid the rubbery texture of overcooked seafood.

*Pro Tip #2* If the weather permits, take this party outside! BBQing your shrimp will add a flavorful smoke to the dish.

Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan, toss with parsley, salt and pepper and set aside.

While your shrimp are cooking, you can prepare your salad. Toss the greens, avocado chunks and citrus supremes with your turmeric dressing and add the shrimp on top.

That’s it. Easy.

If, however, you don’t have the time (or perhaps the culinary inclination), this recipe can be even further simplified by using a store bought dressing. Just be sure to choose a bottled dressing that uses real olive oil – it will make all the difference. My personal favorite for jarred dressing are the Bragg Brand vinaigrettes.

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Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

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Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

You are not truly a grill master until you have learned the ropes of the vegetable. Grilled vegetables on their own, or along side your protein, make any meal more gourmet, diverse and more nutritious. In this recipe inspired from the San Francisco Chronicle, the vegetables are paired with a flavorful miso dipping sauce which is frankly so good you'll  find yourself dipping much more than vegetables in it.

Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup white miso

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled)

2 teaspoons of garlic (aprox. 2 cloves)

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tables spoons mirin (*can be substituted with 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs white wine or sake, and 1 tsp honey*)

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 olive oil

1 pound of broccolini

Yellow squash, cut lengthwise

1 medium carrots, peeled and sliced length wise

Olive oil as needed

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place the miso, ginger, garlic, vinegar and mirin in a food processor  or blender. Blend on high until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Combine the sesame oil and olive oil in a measuring cup and mix together. Slowly drizzle the oil into the miso mixture as you continue to blend it. Taste and adjust to your taste if needed with black pepper and sea salt. Garnish the sesame seeds

Meanwhile heat the grill to medium-high, clean and oil it. Wash and slice all your vegetables as needed and toss with olive or coconut oil and salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables until tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Serve with the miso dipping sauce and impress all your grill master friends!

The Skinny

When you eat animal proteins like eggs, meat, poultry, or fish, your stomach produces hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin to digest them in the ideal, highly acidic conditions. When you eat carbohydrates your body produces an alkaline environment. When eating protein and carbohydrates together the acid and alkaline environments cancel each other out, making it difficult to digest anything effectively. By eating non-starchy vegetables alongside your protein, you ensure better digestion and proper nutrient absorption.

For more on the principles of check out the Body Ecology Diet.

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Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

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Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

One of the challenges of turning a dish healthy is how to replace dairy. I'm always looking to replace saturated fats with something that still tastes rich and creamy. Behold cashew cream! This magical trick takes raw cashews and turns them into a cream that will enhance almost any dish, sweet or savory.

The key to making good cashew cream is to soak the cashews thoroughly beforehand; this will make for easy blending. It’s also essential to use raw cashews, as roasted ones won’t boast the same neutral flavor or blend up as well. Depending on how much water you add, it can be quite thick — like the texture of ricotta — or thin enough to resemble heavy cream. It demands very little effort — all you need is a food processor or a high-speed blender — and it’s incredibly versatile. Add a little maple syrup, and it becomes a sweet dessert cream. Add some miso or salt and a touch of lemon, and the cream (or crème, if you want to be fancy) turns savory. Mix in lemon juice, some sea salt, and a little Dijon mustard and you've got a vegan alfredo. Add some cocoa powder and vanilla, and you've made a vegan ganache. Your cream will last at least four days in the fridge, and can be frozen as well. Curious about what to do with cashew cream, other than simply eating it with a spoon? Here are a few of my favorite applications:

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Serves six

INGREDIENTS 2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound 4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup of cashew cream Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup coconut milk 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil, thyme leaves

1/2 Tbs of rosemary

Cashew Cream

1 cup raw cashews

½ cup water

Juice of 1 lemon

Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

DIRECTIONS

To begin, soak your cashews in a bowl of water in the fridge overnight, then drain and rinse. To make your cashew cream, place all ingredients in a blender and blend at high-speed until smooth and creamy.  Your cashew cream can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.

To make your gratin, Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly grease a casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, use a mandoline (or a sharp knife) to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less.

Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl, add the chopped rosemary.

Now you are going to build your gratin by layering the squash, potatoes and cashew cream in your dish. Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them, just spread evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top that layer with half of your cashew cream. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the cashew cream. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the coconut milk over the entire dish.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns.

Scatter on the fresh basil or thyme before serving.

Serve with a big green salad!

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Stocks and Broths: How to Soup Yourself to Health

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Stocks and Broths: How to Soup Yourself to Health

Alternate tittle: How to Cook Bone Broth Like a Witch Doctor. Homemade broth is one of those ancient dishes we have let fall to the wayside. For centuries stocks and broths were the backbone of a family's nutrition, but now it is much easier to drop by your local store and pick up a box of pre-made or a bullion cubes.  I get it.  We, myself included, are all busy rushing around trying succeed in our lives and then feed ourselves and our loved ones.

But I had my eyes opened a few years ago, when I opened my life to a man who is an incredible chef and who takes none of these old traditions for granted.  He really values the taste and depth of food made from scratch and will go to great lengths to make homemade sauces, soups, dressings, and pastas, you name it.  While I agree that flavor is much better, my biggest discovery is how easy it is to actually make these healthy basics. Now I am the lucky owner of a jam-packed freezer.  It is full of homemade fish and chicken stocks, ice-cube trays full of different pesto's and tomato sauces, pre-made crusts and lots of tiny bags filled with veggie and bone scraps to be saved for future stocks.

I first got into drinking bone broth to improve on my digestive system (as it's known to seal and heal the gut), but now I drink one cup a day of this age-old medicine for a strong immune system during flu season, to support my body when I'm stressed out, and to give me beautiful, vibrant skin and hair. It is the very BEST real food way to get your body maximum nutrients.

A South American proverb says "good broth will resurrect the dead." Known as a cure-all in traditional households, bone broths can be found across many generations, continents and healing traditions.  And science validates what our grandmothers knew best, a homemade broth is the healthiest thing you can eat. It's known to cure colds, soothe sore throats, heal ulcers, relieve fatigue, strengthen hair, nails and bones, improve digestion, heal the gut and boost the immune system.  Whether you are a chef, a healer or just trying to live a healthy life, this is a must have ingredient for your kitchen.

INGREDIENTS Broths can take many forms but should always start with a pile of vegetables (or scraps), and pure water. From there you can add just about anything to make it your own and boost the nutrition to fit your needs:

Vegetables: Onion, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms or mushroom stems (cut and save your shiitake stems in the freezer), green beans, leeks (or saved/ frozen leek tops), greens, dried or fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, thyme).

Bones: Organic beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, or fish bones. these can be bought raw from your local butcher or you can save leftover bones after a roast. Keep them in the freezer adding scraps of bones/ vegetables until you have enough to fill half a stock pot. Now you are ready to make stock! Cooked bones work fine, but raw bones produce more flavor.

Boosters: Clean egg shells (for added calcium); Heads and feet of poultry (for added collagen); Dried seaweed, aka kambu, (adds iodine for thyroid support & digestibility); Vinegar (increases nutrient absorption);  shiitake/ maitaki or reishi mushrooms (to deep immune support ).

Nourishing Chicken Stock

INGREDIENTS

1 whole organic chicken carcass including all the bony parts: neck, back, breastbone and wings (Remove as much of the fat as possible.) (Highly recommended option to include the chicken head, feet, or gizzard for increased mineral density and lots of healing collagen. This is a great way to create a medicinal broth that will support your digestive and immune system and give you healthy hair, skin and nails.)

4 quarts of cold water

2 Tbs. vinegar

1 large onion, quartered, papers can be left on

1-2 full heads of garlic, cut width-wise, papers can be left on

3 pieces of celery, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

1 bunch of parsley

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp of whole peppercorns

Optional Boosters: 1-4 Tbs. of seaweed (dulce or kambu) optional 1-4 egg shells, cleaned 10 shitake stems (or whole mushrooms)

DIRECTIONS

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 and once ready, add your bones and onions to the oven to brown (about 15 mins). This will deepen the flavor of the broth and give you a dark, rich color (if you are looking to make a clear broth, skip this step.) NOTE: If using the head or feet, do not brown them first

(If using the addition of seaweed, cut a piece of kambu that is a few inches long and soak in water for 10 mins.)

Meanwhile, add the rest of your vegetables and non-roasting bones (like feet or head) to a stock pot with cold water. Cover with enough water that the bones and veggies are just submerged. Remove the roasted bones from the oven and place them directly into the stock pot with the vegetables. Add the herbs, bay leaves, pinch of sea salt, peppercorns and the kombu. Add vinegar and let them sit for 45 minutes in cold water. The vinegar will help to leach maximum nutrients (calcium and collagen) from the bones.

Once you have soaked your cold stock, turn on the stove to high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer then skim the top of the broth with a ladle to get the scum (small bubbles) off. (These are the toxins the bones release.) Remove the kombu after 45 minutes and discard, but let the broth continue to simmer for a minimum of 8 hours, but up to 24. If needed, you can add water to replenish any evaporated liquid

Once done cooking you will need to strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Save the liquid-stock, then compost the remaining bones/veg.

Your stock will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to four-five days. For the stock you don't think you'll use right away, let it cool and then add it to plastic quart containers (old yogurt jars) or zip lock bags to freeze. I like to freeze some in ice-cube trays so that I can have small portions to throw into sautéed veggies.

I love to drink a cup of steaming broth with my lunch with a little parsley and salt, but I also add it to my cooking by making rich soups, cooking grains, beans or even oats with it. It is the very BEST real food way to get your body maximum nutrients.

Alkaline Vegetable Broth

This is an excellent broth to make if you are vegetarian, fighting a cold, or on a whole-food cleanse. This broth is completely alkaline and will help your body re-set from the acidity of a regular diet.  You can use it as a soup base, to add extra flavor and nutrition to any recipe that calls for water, or as a great nourishing, hydrating and cleansing meal.

INGREDIENTS

Choose a combination of the following vegetables equaling about 1 1/2-2 cups of each: celery, carrots, zucchini, green beans, parsley, kale, spinach, chard, parsley, and onions. Add several cloves of garlic, a handful of your favorite herbs and a couple of bay leafs. Include boosters like kombu, vinegar, lemon juice, or shiitake mushroom stems.

DIRECTIONS

Place all of your vegetables in a large stock pot and saute for a few minutes. Add more than enough filtered water to cover them. Bring to boil and then simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off and let cool on the stove. Strain and discard the veggies and keep the broth.

These will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or you can freeze and use later as a soup stock.

The Skinny

When cooked for a long period of time bones and vegetables release their nutrients into the water. Bone broth's contain high levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur, and trace minerals. Vegetable broths contain the potassium and magnesium , but with little to no protein.  And in its liquid form, these nutrients are very easily absorbed by the body. Broths made from fish bones and seaweed provide iodine and thyroid strengthening substances.

When broths are cooled they congeal due to the presence of gelatin. Gelatin has been used for historically by many cultures to treat a long list of diseases including treat ulcers, hernia, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle disease, digestive issues,  infectious disease and cancer. Infant chicken stock that includes the head is called the "Jewish Penicillin".

Broths drastically improve the bodies mineral content, repair digestion and boost the immune. And as a low-calorie, protein rich food, vegetable and bone broths are hard to beat.

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

A good blended soup should be a go-to in your cooking kit of cooking techniques. They are easy to make, extremely nourishing and seem much fancier then they truly are.  All blended soups start with garlic, onions and vegetables. Get creative with whatever is in season. Cook vegetables until soft, season and then blend them until smooth. Wah lah! I love picking a good garnish. Garnish opportunities are endless! Some of my favorites are something with crunch (toasted nuts, whole-grain croutons, crispy tortilla strips), something creamy (yogurt or flavored oils), or fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, thyme.) Get creative! 

INGREDIENTS

Olive Oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 teaspoons of red curry paste

1 head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped

1 russet potato, peeled and chopped

1 can of coconut milk

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium)

Greek yogurt, toasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro leaves for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the onions, garlic and ginger and generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until onions become translucent, stirring occasionally.  (4-5 mins)

Add red curry paste to the vegetables and cook another minute or until fragrant. Stir in your coarsely chopped cauliflower and your peeled and chopped potato. Add another pinch of salt.

Add about 4 cups of stock and increase the heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce it to medium heat and add in your coconut milk. Stirring occasionally, cooking until the vegetables are very tender. About 20 minutes.

Using a food processor, immersion blender or hand-held blender, puree the soup until it is completely smooth. Put the soup back into it's pot and reheat on low until you are ready to serve.

Serve hot in warm bowls and garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a few sprinkled pumpkin seeds and cilantro leaves.

The Skinny

Cauliflower is part of my favorite vegetable family: The Cruciferous! The cruciferous family are known sulfuric vegetables that stimulate and detoxify the liver. for healthy detoxification you'll want to include a cruciferous vegetable 2-3 times per week.

Cauliflower itself offers huge doses of antioxidant Vitamin C, manganese and carotenoids. 1 cup of cooked cauliflower gives you  55 mg of vitamin C. Cauliflower also contains high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation. And, just by virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower is naturally protective against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

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Breakfast for Dinner: The Big Green Omelet

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Breakfast for Dinner: The Big Green Omelet

This herb- and green-laden egg dish is a delicious celebration of spring and a great way to get your protein and veggies in one beautiful dish. Get creative by using whatever greens and fresh herbs you have on hand. You could also add shitake mushrooms, shaved zucchini or shredded carrots.  Serve it with homemade sauerkraut, salsa or avocado. It is also wonderful cold for lunch the next day. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS

6 eggs

2 Tbs coconut oil (or cold pressed olive oil.)

1 large spring onion (shallots & leeks are also good options.)

1 lb greens (nettles, spinach, kale or arugula or a mixture work well), blanched and chopped

½- 1 small Serrano chili, diced

1 bunch mint, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 350 if you do not want to flip your eggs part way through cooking.

Heat a 2 Tbsp of coconut oil in a cast-iron pan (or any other non-stick pan which can go into the oven.).  Add onions over medium heat, salt well, and cook 5 minutes until tender and translucent.  Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in large bowl.  Blanch your greens by dropping them into boiling water for 1-2 minutes.  Add blanched and chopped greens and the herbs to the beat eggs. It will seem like a ridiculous amount of greens, but that is the point.  Add the cooled onions and more salt and mix well.

Re-heat pan over medium-high heat. Add egg mixtures and let cook 7-10 minutes until almost completely set. The middle will still be damp.  Don't let the bottom burn and adjust heat accordingly.  When the eggs are almost completely set you can either slide it onto a plate and then flip it back into the pan to cook the top for 2-3 minutes or you can slide the whole pan unto the pre-heated oven and cook it for 2-3 minutes until set but not too firm.

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Thai Chicken Slaw

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Thai Chicken Slaw

I am always looking for delicious & nutritious salads that are easily made and can satisfy all week. This is my latest obsession. I was inspired to make a dish that was both full of crispy, fresh, summer veggies and also high in protein (and as usual, looking to add an Asian spin).  So I took the route of a colorful slaw, added some flavorful chicken and spiked the whole thing with spicy Thai chilies and fresh herbs. Yum, I'm hooked. This dish is fantastic eaten as a side dish, for lunch behind my steering wheel, or reinvented into an incredible dinner as kimchee lettuce wraps.

THAI CHICKEN SLAW

Ingredients: 

  • 1 chicken breast and 1 thigh (pan roasted, cooled and then shredded)
  • 1 head of purple cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 radishes
  • Handful of mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 Serrano pepper, Thai red chilies or 1/2 a jalapeno (to taste), seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1" nub of fresh ginger
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1-3 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp toasted cashews or peanuts
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Directions: 

Begin by seasoning and roasting the chicken.  Toss it with soy sauce and fresh ginger and roast at 350 F for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Set it aside to cool and then shred when it cools down enough to handle.

Shred your cabbage and carrots and add them to a very large mixing bowl. Slice radishes (and any other crunchy veggies you have on hand) and add them to the large bowl as well.

Create a dressing by mixing the shallots, cilantro, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and honey to a small jar with a lid.  Shake the heck out of it. When the dressing is well shaken, add 1/3 cup of olive oil and shake again. Shake it, shake it.

Add chicken to the big bowl and mix evenly into the veggies. Cover the whole thing with dressing and toss together thoroughly.

You can mix in the toasted nuts now, or save them until right before you eat.

Eat all week and in every way possible.

HINT: This salad is amazing served in a lettuce cup with kimchee!

The Skinny: Cabbage is part of the cruciferous family, best known for their anti-cancer properties (known as glucosinolates).  Other cruciferous are broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.  In fact, the anti-cancer effects are so well studied that it is one of the American Cancer Society's key dietary recommendations.  Beyond it's antioxidant qualities, cabbage also has very high levels of vitamin C, potassium and folic acid, biotin, calcium, and magnesium.  Cabbage also has an anti-bacterial effect which makes it particularly beneficial for healing peptic ulcers and indigestion. This is due to the strong amino acid L-Glutamine, which heals and regenerates the stomach lining.  And lastly, as with the rest of the cruciferous, cabbage protects and cleanses the liver. So eat it up, for a liver clean up!

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How to Roast Chicken (and then eat it all week.)

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How to Roast Chicken (and then eat it all week.)

The very best roasting technique comes from one of the very best chefs in California: Thomas Keller of French Laundry. Luckily, it is also very simple and very rewarding.  Learn this recipe by heart and you will never go wrong.

One Pot Roast Chicken

Inspired by In the Green Kitchen, Alice Waters

Serves 4-6

Salt and fresh-ground pepper

2 or 3 thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

2-3 Tbls butter (or olive oil.)

3 potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

2 celery stalks, thickly sliced

4 large shallots

5 cloves garlic, whole and peeled.

1 lemon chopped in 1/2

Fennel, squash, turnips, parsnips or your favorite root vegetable

To begin, prepare the chicken by bringing to room temperature 1 hour before your ready to begin cooking.  Remove the giblets if kept inside, wash, dry well and heavily season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Preheat the over to 450.

Season the inside cavity as well and take a few sprigs of fresh herbs, 2 garlic cloves and 1/2 a lemon and place inside the chicken.  Truss your chicken by tying the legs together with string and tucking the wing tips up and under the back of the neck.

With your remaining fresh herbs, chop them loosely and mix with the butter or olive oil.  Using your fingers to pull the skin away from the bird, rub the butter herb mix between the chicken breast and the outside skin.  This will help you to create perfect crispy skin.

Toss your chopped vegetables with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, fresh pepper and whole, peeled garlic cloves.  Lay them in a deep roasting pan, making a space in the center for the chicken.  Take a long piece of tin foil and crumple and round it to make a ring for the chicken to sit on.  Place the ring in the center of the veggies and the chicken on top, breast side up.

Roast the chicken for 20 minutes before flipping over and roasting 20 more minutes with the breast side down.  Flip one last time, breast side up and lower the temperature to 400 for the last 20 minutes.  During the final 20 minutes continuously check the chicken every 5 minutes. The internal temp should read 160. Be sure to take the temperature where the breast and thigh meet.  If you do not have a meat thermometer, simply stick the tip of a knife where the breast and thigh meet. When the chicken is done the juices should run clear, not pink.

Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a cutting board or platter.  Allow to rest for 10- 15 minutes before carving.

And then eat it all week....

A roast chicken is one of those classic dishes that is so versatile you could transform the leftovers into at least 4 more dishes before you tire of it. Here are a few ideas:

Breakfast

  • Jook is a savory, Asian breakfast porrage. Make steel cut oats or polenta for the base and add shredded chicken, scallions, fresh ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil!
  • Sweet potato hash is a great way to start the day chop up 1/2  a sweet potato, onion, bell pepper and left over chicken.  While your at it, might as well poach an egg to go over the top.

Lunch

  • Transform your lunch time salad using your freshly roasted chicken. Add white beans, roasted fennel and toasted pine nuts for a delicious, filling salad.
  • I love a good chicken salad sandwich. Chop the leftover chicken and mix with yogurt or avocado to bind it. Then add curry, currents, sliced grapes and chopped walnuts. Serve open face on a hearty bread with arugula.

Dinner

  • Enchiladas or tacos: Shred the chicken, mix with cheese, black beans and fresh cilantro for enchiladas.  Or shred and sauté with kale, red bell pepper and chili flakes for fantastic taco filling. Serve with black beans and fresh avocado!
  • Chicken Soup is the most obvious choice for left over chicken, but get creative and try a chicken white bean chili or a chicken tortilla soup.

The Skinny

As we know chicken is a fantastic source of lean protein.It is also relitivly cheap to buy and easy to prepare. Chicken contains high levels of niacin, selenium, and vitamin B6. When cooked in a soup, chicken is an age old recipe known to boost the immune and fight the common cold. And in chinese medicine chicken is regarded as an energy booster and digestive support.

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Shiitake Meatloaf with Ginger Miso Glaze

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Shiitake Meatloaf with Ginger Miso Glaze

You may have noticed by now, but I have an innate Hawaiian desire to turn most dishes Asian.  Oatmeal? Why not Jook? Soup? Why not miso? Noodles? I want soba. So it's no surprise that I turned a recent turkey meatloaf into a shiitake ginger masterpiece (if I say so myself). It all started with a basket of "ugly shiitakes" from the Civic Center Farmers Market.  They sell these curly little buggers for half the price as the full, but they are just as fresh and flavorful.  Hardly a week goes by without a trip to the mushroom booth.

Shiitakes have a rich, smoky wood flavor and are a great addition to most anything.  I like them in stir fry's with tofu, miso soups, with braised meats, sauteed with garlic and sesame oil AND I love to save the stems in the freezer for a later-made soup stock.  Not to mention their numerous health benefits.

Combined with a package of frozen ground turkey meat (one of my frozen protein staples), and a few  staple asian spices I had on hand, I came out with a very simple, nourishing dinner. I served this  with sautéed spicy bok choy.

SHIITAKE MEATLOAF WITH GINGER MISO GLAZE

Ingredients: 

For the Loaf

  • 1  1/2 lb lean ground turkey (preferably organic)
  • 4-8 shiitake mushroom caps and stems removed
  • 3 tsp Fresh ginger, skinned and minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 organic eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp sambal (optional)

For the Miso Glaze

  • 1 Tbs miso paste
  • 1 tsp mirin (or rice vinegar)
  • 1 Tbs honey

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Begin by putting your ground turkey into a large mixing bowl.  Using sesame oil, sauté your shallot and garlic until just cooked (about 1 minute.) Add shiitakes and ginger and saute until just cooked (about 5 mins.)

Add this mixture to ground turkey, along with your green onions and all the sauces (hoisin, tamari, honey, fish sauce and sambal). Mix all the  ingredients together.   Place the turkey mixture into a deep loaf pan (9X5).

To make the glaze simply whisk together the miso, honey and mirin.  Coat the turkey loaf with a layer of glaze, reserving some for a final coat when it comes out of the oven.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Pull from oven and coat with the remaining glaze. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Great with any kind of veggies!

The Skinny: Shiitakes are a super food!! They are most known for their ability to power up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease.  Interestingly, studies have actually shown that shiitakes can either increase or decrease immune activity, depending on what the body needs.  They have also been shown to lower cholesterol levels. To top it off, shiitakes are an excellent sources of selenium and polysaccharides and a very good source of vegetarian iron.

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The Easiest Soup Imaginable

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The Easiest Soup Imaginable

I have an admission: I ate my jack-o-lantern.

I couldn't help myself!  I had all these beautiful pumpkin's on my porch staring in, begging not to be wasted.  So I did some research (turns out you can eat almost every pumpkin!) and I roasted up several varieties.

Keeping in-line with my recent soup fetish, I decided to blend this baby up into a creamy concoction.  What I ended with is the easiest fall soup imaginable.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 medium squash (Any kind will work: acorn, kambucha, butter nut, etc.)

1 can of light coconut milk

1 tablespoon of Thai red curry paste

½ cup diced onion

1 tablespoon of diced fresh ginger.

1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or olive oil.)

Topping: Plain yogurt, pumpkin seeds, chili flakes.

DIRECTIONS

To begin preheat your oven to 400.  CAREFULLY cut the squash in half and place in a deep baking pan, skin side up.  Pour ½ cup of water in the pan with the squash.

Roast squash for 30-45 minuets or until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Remove the pan from the oven and place on stovetop to cool.

While the squash is cooling, heat coconut oil in a deep soup pot. Add your diced onion and ginger and sauté until soft (about 3 minutes.) Add 1 Tbs. of curry paste and mix well. Add some chili flakes at this point if you want extra spice. Then scoop the pumpkin flesh into the pot and stir it well (breaking up the big pieces of squash). Pour in 1 can of coconut milk and mix together.   You can stop here and have a chunky soup, or you can blend this in your food processor little by little until it is smooth.  I think blended soups are fancy, so I opted for the latter.

Simmer soup (blended or not) for 5 minuets and its ready to eat.

Serve with 1 scoop of plain yogurt and sprinkled pumpkin seeds and chili flakes.

The Skinny: Pumpkins are full of carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and fiber! This low calorie squash will help you keep healthy eyes, bones strong, promote healthy digestion and a strong immune system! 

If you use the seeds (waste not, want not) you get a huge does of Omega 3's  manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and tryptophan. Pumpkin seeds are at the top of the nutrition nut pile.  They are anti inflammatory (good for arthritis), protect from prostate cancer, lower cholesterol with their Phytosterols, and improve mood and stress coping. They are also very high in protein

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Poached Egg Miso

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Poached Egg Miso

Is it just me or did winter sneak up behind us, in the midst of our summer holiday?  True to San Francisco weather, we had  two precious weeks of 70 degrees, sunny park lunches, followed quickly with the a search for our wool hats and boot socks.  With the rainy weeks ahead I thought it the perfect time to talk soup. Those of you who know me, know that my relationship with soup has been a rocky road. My mom would always cook up big pots of everything-in-fridge-soup, that I would force down throughout the week. Resentful that I was once again face to face with the vegetables I had rejected so certainly just a week before. Once I was free to rule over my own kitchen, I vowed to ban all soups, stews and watery leftovers from my kitchen table.  But I admit, I have softened through the years. Maybe its due to chilly San Fran living, or that a blended soup offers something much more complex and intriguing. Or possibly that my 'ol mom was onto something and that I now recognize that soups are a great way to make a nourishing meal.  Whatever it is, I have turned a corner and am always looking for interesting new ways to make amends with my old enemy.

This week I was inspired by The Kitchn's  winter soup round-up and made this super easy, nourishing miso soup for dinner last week. It is the perfect prescription to rainy nights and fall colds and will leave you wishing your mom was around to fix you soup.

Poached Egg Miso 

INGREDENTS

2 quarts good broth

1/2 cup miso paste

One 12-ounce block soft tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 small bunch scallions, green tops sliced thin

Greens (I used spicy broccolini in this version but bok choi, chard, pea shoots or dandelion greens would be great.)

Chili flakes

Kombu  (a seaweed that adds flavor, nutrients and digestibility to soups, grains and beans.)

For each  bowl:

1 cup cooked brown rice (or quinoa)

1 large egg

Soy sauce

Sambal (aka rooster sauce.)

Sesame oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour stock into a large saucepan.  Add a 3 inch piece of kombu to the cold stock and bring to a boil.  While stock is boiling ready the miso paste into a small bowl or measuring sup.  Add boiling stock to the miso and whisk until completely dissolved then combine with the stock.  Keep over low heat; do not let the broth boil after the miso has been added.

Stir in the tofu cubes and the sliced scallions, and heat just until warmed through.

Meanwhile add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to a pan.  Once hot, add your greens and stir to evenly coat with sesame oil. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon- 1 teaspoon (depending on taste) over the greens, add a splash of water lower the heat and cover for aprox. 5 minuets or until the greens have wilted.

To prepare a bowl of soup Place 1 cup cooked white rice in each soup bowl. Poach an egg for each bowl of soup. (Alternatively, you can add an egg to a bowl of hot broth, cover it, and let stand for several minutes.)

Pour about 1 cup of miso soup over the rice in each bowl, place a poached egg on top and add wilted greens.  Serve with soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and sesame oil.

The Skinny

Seaweed is a super food you should be eating. The Japanese have been cooking with sea vegetables for centuries to enhance both the flavor and  nutrition of their dishes. Seaweed offers the broadest range of minerals of any food as they contain every single mineral found in the ocean. The highlights are iodine which support the thyroid, lignans which offer cancer prevention, funcan substances dramatically lower the inflammation in the body.  Seaweed also has theraputic levels of folic acid and magnesium which protect the heart, cardiovascular system and support women in menopause. And last but not least a broad range of B vitamins to decrease stress and anxiety.  (Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Murray, 2005.)

Adding pieces of kombu to your soup stocks, grains and beans will allow the nutrients to be absorbed by the food.  You can also try dulce flakes as a seasoning and of course seaweed sheets for making sushi and wraps.

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Kale and Roasted Pepper Pesto

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Kale and Roasted Pepper Pesto

Sauces and spreads are one of those foods generally bogged down with additives and preservatives.  Luckily, they are also one of the most simple things to make and even easier to freeze for later.  I like to put my pesto into an ice-cube tray, so that I have the perfect serving size for small dinners. So bust out your food processor and up the flavor and nutrients of tonight's meal. I found this recipie on the fabulous food blog Cooking on the Weekend, by Valentina Kenney Wein.  I LOVE her use of kale (of course) and also the smoky, burn of the bell pepper.

 

Kale and Bell Pepper Pesto

INGREDIENTS

2 cup Pecans, roasted

1 medium Red Bell Pepper, roasted

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 to 4 large Garlic Cloves, roasted

4 cups packed green Kale Leaves (about 1/2 bunch)

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS
  1. To roast the pecans: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet. When the oven is preheated, put the baking sheet in and roast until the nuts look a bit oily and are very aromatic, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. To roast the pepper: Place it directly on top of a high flame on the stove and let it cook for a few minutes. You’ll hear it crackle as the skin begins to char. Use metal kitchen tongs to turn the pepper as each side chars. It should be mostly, but not completely black. Then place the pepper in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for about 5 minutes. Remove the plastic and let the pepper become cool enough to handle. Gently peel the skin off the pepper. Break or cut the pepper into a few pieces and then use a paring knife on the inside to remove the white membranes and seeds. Set aside.
  3. Wash, dry, and remove any tough stems from the kale.
  4. In a food processor, make the pesto by blending the kale with the roasted pecans, roasted pepper, and roasted garlic. Once it’s smooth, gradually pour in the olive oil and blend until it’s fully incorporated. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
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Egg Salad. Pure and Simple.

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Egg Salad. Pure and Simple.

Its "Unprocessed October" I am have been brain-storming ways to make whole-food and delicious lunches.  Today I called on an old friend: the egg salad sandwich. Its one of those classics that everyone loves but no one makes. I think this is the perfect time to revisit. Here is my spin: Egg Salad, Pure and Simple.

INGREDIENTS

2 hard boiled eggs

1 Tbsp of Plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp of unprocessed Dijon mustard

2 tsp of fresh herbs (today I used lemon thyme)

2-4 tsps of finely chopped shallots

rock salt and pepper to taste.

1/2 a piece of Trader Jo's Whole Wheat Lavash bread, (or another simply made bread.) For Paleo serve in lettuce cups.

Handful or wild arugula, lettuce, or mache

Home made pickles.

*NOTE: I like crunch in my egg salad so I generally throw in a small dice of whatever veggies I have available: cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, pickles, capers, etc. Chopped nuts can also be a nice addition.

*For an interesting variation try a curry powder, chopped apple and toasted pecans combination.

DIRECTIONS

Hard-boil your eggs (See directions below for a perfectly hard-boiled egg.)

In a bowl mix together shallot, mustard, yogurt and herbs.  Add the shelled eggs and roughly chop.

Fold the eggs and yogurt mixture together but allow it to stay course and not get too smooth.

If adding other veggies, fold them in also.

Serve over a salad, in a flat bread wrap or an open face dense rye bread sandwich. Add a spicy lettuce to contrast the creamy eggs and serve with home made (or fresh) pickles.

How To Perfectly Hard-Boil An Egg

1) Place eggs in a pot and cover with 2" of water.

2) Bring water to boil.

3) Once water boils, remove from heat momentarily and bring heat to medium. Place the eggs back on to simmer for 1 minute.

4) Remove pot from heat and let sit for 12 minutes. *NOTE: If cooking 5+ eggs, let sit for 15-20 minutes.

5) Rinse eggs under cold water. Ready to eat or save.

 

The Skinny

Yogurt has less fat and cholesterol then a vegetable-oil based mayonnaise. It can provide the creamy texture or moistness you are looking to add to a recipe. i.e- on tacos, in eggs, on sandwiches, in oatmeal, etc. Yogurt, unlike mayonnaise is a super food.  Yogurt can help improve digestion and immunity with its pro-biotic content; yogurt is a rich source of calcium; yogurt helps increase the bio-availability of other nutrients, yogurt supports healthy re-balance after antibiotics and yogurt is an excellent source of protein.

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