Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tomato Artichoke Soup

The other night my wonderful Meredith came over and we adapted this recipe and made this soup.  In other news my month of primal eating is coming to and end but I will keep it up for the most part, except you better believe I am going to be eating real pizza next week!  I'm going to keep up with the lemon water detox too, it really helps wake me up and give me energy.  I am very ready for February because every single weekend is filled with fun events including Valentine's day and heading to the coast at the end of the month.  This will be my last post for the month and what better way than to end it with soup (during soup month)!

Serves 4

The Ingredients

1 large onion (1 ½ cups chopped)
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons butter
3 bay leaves
1 15-ounce can artichokes
2 23-ounce jars Muir Glen diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
¼ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Pecorino Romano cheese (for garnish)

The Process

1.  Chop 1 large onion and mince 3 cloves garlic.

2.  In a large soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté the onions, garlic, and 3 bay leaves until the onions are translucent, 5 to 6 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, drain and roughly chop the artichokes. To the pot, add the artichokes, 2 cans tomatoes, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon oregano, 2 teaspoons basil, ¼ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, 1/2 cup yogurt, 3 tablespoons honey, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 15 minutes.

4.  Remove the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender (or blender if necessary), blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Taste and add additional kosher salt if necessary.(Tip: If reheating, you may need to stir in a bit of milk to achieve the correct consistency; the soup becomes thicker after refrigeration.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pizza Chili

As I promised here is my adapted version of this pizza chili recipe.  I can't even begin to explain to you how good this tasted, and yes it tastes just like pizza and will get rid of your pizza cravings.  We have a full weekend coming up which includes making Moosewood's Hungarian mushroom soup for friends on Saturday, and a Super Bowl party for which I am still trying to figure out what to make...any suggestions?  In other news next week is Dumpling week here in PDX and I can't wait to get out and eat them all, here is a list of the participating restaurants.  Speaking of dumplings I am overdue for another dumpling cooking day...perhaps this will happen soon!

Serves 6

The Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small can of sliced black olives
1 package of pepperoni, sliced & diced
4 cups of marinara sauce
2 cups chicken broth
Mozzarella cheese
sea salt, basil, red pepper flakes (to taste)

The Process

1) In a large pot, cook bell peppers, garlic, and onions in a small amount of the fat of your choice until they begin to sweat. Add ground meats and cook until browned.

2) Stir in olives, pepperoni, marinara sauce, and broth. Bring to a boil. Add salt, basil, and red pepper flakes to taste. Allow flavors to mingle over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.

3) Reduce heat and serve in bowls, topped with optional mozzarella cheese.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Everything Muffins

This last weekend was so wonderful, it was beautiful and sunny for all of our outdoor adventures.  We went on a fun afternoon hike on Saturday which was a mud fest, then we played some horseshoe, and Settlers of Catan which is so so so addicting, it is my new favorite game.  The weather in Portland has been fun too, going between super sunny to thick fog makes for interesting outdoor adventures.  In other news our Europe plans are really coming together, we already have 3 apartments reserved and they are all in great locations, now I need to do more research on restaurants, fromageries, and vineyards.  September can't get here soon enough.  Now the food, I made these amazing muffins last week to bring on our Silver Falls trip and serve with the Pizza Chili (coming next post) I made, they were super delicious and a very nice alternative to everything bagels.  Enjoy!

Makes 10 muffins

The Ingredients

For the batter:
2-1/4 c. Almond flour
2 T. Arrowroot flour or powder
1-1/2 t. baking powder
½ t. sea salt
¼ t. onion powder
¼ t. garlic powder
½ c. finely grated Parmesan cheese
⅓ c. Greek yogurt
2 T. Olive oil
3 eggs

For the topping:
1 T. poppy seeds
1 T. dried onions
2 t. Sesame seeds
⅛ t. sea salt
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of onion powder

The Process

1.  Combine topping ingredients in a very small bowl.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, including cheese.

3.  In a small bowl whisk together either Greek yogurt or coconut or almond milk and olive oil and eggs.

4.  Pour liquid ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine.

5.  Spoon batter into 10 silicone muffin cups or into a well greased or paper lined muffin pan. Fill ⅔ full.

6.  With a pastry brush, brush the tops of the muffin batter with water. Sprinkle the topping over the top of each muffin.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pan Seared Chicken with Balsamic Cream Sauce

I am so excited because this weekend we are going to Silver Falls and staying in a lodge with 4 of our friends.  Silver Falls is an amazing and beautiful state park that has a ton of wild life and hiking trails.  There is also the Trail of Ten Falls which I've never hiked and really want to because who doesn't love waterfalls?  As I mentioned last post the cooking situation is not so easy, I think I have come to the conclusion that I am going to make this recipe of Pizza Chili and then just reheat it on the wood stove for dinner.  Today is my Friday and I couldn't be happier, I have been exhausted all week and am ready to relax.  Although tonight I am going to The Portland Kitchen class and meeting staff, kids, and will talk more about what I will be doing as a volunteer.  Onto the recipe, I adapted this recipe and it was so freaking delicious I want to make it again tonight!

Serves 4

The Ingredients

1 1⁄2 lbs chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

1 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin rings and separated

1 lb mushroom, cremini mushrooms, quartered

1⁄2 cup chicken broth

1 cup half-n-half

3 tablespoons avocado oil

3 tablespoons butter

1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, shaved

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper

1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

The Process

1.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and let rest.

2.  In a small skillet, saute onions in the butter until they are golden brown (carmelized).

3.  In a larger skillet with tall sides, heat avocado oil and brown the chicken on both sides, but do not cook through. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.

4.  While the pan is still hot, deglaze with the chicken broth, and use a whisk or spatula to loosen all the browned bits.

5.  Add the half-n-half and the balsamic vinegar to the chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes (if desired) Whisk through.

6.  Add the mushrooms to the cream sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Add onions into the sauce.
Place the chicken back into the pan with the sauces, increase heat to medium and saute until chicken is fully cooked and juices run clear.

7.  Remove chicken and add the Parmesan cheese to the sauce. Stir until melted through the sauce.

Plate the chicken and top with sauce.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Primal Pizza with Grain Free Crust

Did you all know that it is national soup month?  I somehow just found this out and now have a very limited amount of time to make tons of soups!  At least I've made 2 soups and 1 stock this month...  And just in case you were wondering here is an entire list of food holidays for the year.  This weekend we are going on a fun adventure (I'll go into details next post) and we just found out we don't have access to a kitchen, no electronic cooking devices are allowed (ie crockpot), we might have access to a camping stove, and our main source for cooking will be on a wood stove.  This calls for some very creative cooking, and my original plan of making chicken bacon chowder in the crockpot is thrown out the window.  Here is a helpful link on how to cook on a wood stove, looks like I just might be able to make a soup on the wood stove.  Last night I made an experimental pizza with one of my good friends and while it turned out tasty it is definitely more like a frittata, super eggy and not very crusty.  Here is a link to the recipe, and I am still searching for an amazing primal pizza recipe.  We also talked a ton about Europe as she has been several times, she gave me many tips and suggestions on where to go.

Makes 9 pieces

The Ingredients

For the crust:
8 eggs (free range/pastured is best)

1/3 cup coconut flour

3 TBSP melted butter or coconut oil

1/2 tsp of oregano

Pizza Sauce, enough to cover the crust

6 small shallots, thinly sliced and sauted

4 cloves garlic, minced and sauted

Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, enough to cover pizza

Prosciutto and Capicola, enough to cover pizza

The Process

1.  Mix all crust ingredients in an electric mixer and then pour into a well greased 9×13 pan.

2.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until it poofs up and turns golden. Don’t let the poofiness alarm you. Thats just the eggs doing their thing.

3.  Take it out of the oven and cover with sauce, shallots and garlic, meats, and cheese.  Then baked it for 6 more minutes to melt the cheese. You can broil it at the end to make golden brown.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mihshi Waraq Inab

Don't know what Mihshi Waraq Inab is?  It is the Lebanese version of dolma stuffed with meat, rice, spices, and more.  One of my best friends is a quarter Lebanese and has a family recipe for Mihshi Waraq Inab that comes from further back than her great great grandmother.  Last Saturday we decided to triple this recipe and freeze a bunch so that we can have it whenever, since it is labor intensive it is smart to make it in large batches.  As you may recall we had made plans to make  Mihshi Waraq Inab back in November but ran into an issue when we discovered barely any stores carry grape leaves anymore, luckily we found grape leaves at Whole Foods.  During this process I also managed to cut off the tip of my poor thumb while cutting onions, and yes it was a brand new very sharp knife...always seems to happen to me.  Now since this recipe is generations old and very authentic it is in fact a secret family recipe that I can't share with you all, but I did find a similar recipe found at this link (also written below) that you are more than welcome to make, enjoy!  Below are pictures from our wonderful rainy day full of cooking.

Grape (or Vine) Leaves Stuffed with Ground Beef (Wara’ Enab bel Lahma el Mafrooma)

Prep Time: 30 minutes to prepare the filling and an hour to roll the leaves
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Serves: 60-80 leaves, which feeds about 10 people

The Ingredients

one 1-lb jar of brine-preserved grape (vine) leaves (I bought the brand “Peloponnese” from Whole Foods because it doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives, but you can also use wild hand-picked fresh leaves – check this post on MidEats for info on how to find them)

2 cups short-grain white rice (sushi rice is a great substitute because it has similar properties to Egyptian rice – short, thick and gets a bit sticky when it’s cooked).

1 lb grass-fed, organic ground beef

2-3 cups homemade chicken or beef stock (you may use water if you’re out of stock, but the taste won’t be nearly as rich)

2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped or pureed in the food processor

3 tablespoons grass-fed organic ghee
juice of half a lemon
unrefined sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

2-3 bay leaves, sliced garlic (2-3 cloves), onion slices and lemon slices to cover the bottom of the pot before stacking the stuffed grape leaves

The Process

1.  This link will show you how to roll the grape leaves

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mediterranean Pork Chops with Dill Yogurt Sauce

What a weekend, for a mostly unplanned and relaxing weekend we sure did get a lot done and have lots of fun.  Saturday was the dolma making day, stay tuned for that story in the next blog post.  Saturday evening we ended up going to my parents house for a family dinner and they made delicious pork curry.  My dad seemed to be in good spirits and not tons of shoulder pain so I think his healing process is all around a lot smoother this year.  Then on Sunday we had planned on going on a hike but of course when we were just a couple minutes away from our destination it started pouring rain...  So we ended up hitting up thrift stores and had lunch at an old favorite across town, the Lutz Tavern.  The Lutz is a dive bar we use to always go to when my boyfriend lived in the Woodstock neighborhood, and their A-1 burgers are delicious!  After a full day of fun we went to our friends' house for a soup night.  Every other Sunday evening they host a soup night, it alternates stone soup and a soup of their choice.  The idea is that everyone brings an ingredient to add to the soup or that would be a good side and we all eat around a very large round table.  The average turn out is about 10-12 people and it feels very much like a friend/family dinner, I love it!  Last night the host made an amazing Ukrainian borscht (pictured below), it was a perfect end to a rainy weekend.  I made this recipe the other night and served it with a side of lemon and garlic butter covered artichoke hearts.

Serves 3

The Ingredients

For the Pork Chops:
- 3 thick cut boneless pork chops
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt & pepper, to taste

For the Dill Yogurt Sauce:
- 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tbsp of fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic, minced

- salt & pepper, to taste

The Process

1. Take the pork chops and pound them thin with a meat tenderizer.

2. Combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and garlic in a large ziploc bag.

3. Add the pork chops to the mixture making sure to cover both sides in it, and let them marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

4. Before you begin cooking the pork chops, bring them to room temperature for about 10 minutes.

5. While you are doing this, combine the ingredients for the dill yogurt sauce (Greek yogurt, dill, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and salt & pepper) in a small mixing bowl. Once mixed together, place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

6. Place a  large frying pan on medium-high heat, and once hot, add the salt & pepper to the pork chops on each side and add them to the pan.

7. Cook the pork chops for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through.

8. Serve with the dill yogurt sauce.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mini Primal Pizzas

We did it, we bought our European vacation tickets last night!  Our path is Iceland> Munich, Germany> Zurich, Switzerland> Dijon, France> Paris, France.  Can't even express how excited I am because I haven't ever been to Europe!  We are going mid September through October 1st and will be in Germany during Oktoberfest!  Currently I'm preparing for a full day of dolma making tomorrow and trying to find a good primal recipe for pork chops for tonight's dinner.  Any ideas?  This weekend will be nice and relaxing with only several plans so hopefully I will get tons of cooking in!  Onto the recipe, I adapted this recipe and it was super delicious.

Makes 9 pizzas

The Ingredients

1 pound pastured ground sirloin

1 egg

1 tsp. Italian seasonings

½ tsp. kosher salt

5 Tbs pizza sauce, about 1/2 Tbs. per pizza
Toppings: grated mozzarella (primal), un-cured sliced prosciutto, sauted shallots and garlic.

The Process

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix together beef, egg, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and salt until well blended.
2.  Place a piece of plastic wrap in a wide-mouth mason jar lid and press a scant ¼ cup of the beef mixture to the edge of the ring, forming a small patty. Repeat until all the meat is used.
3.  Place the patties on a foil lined jelly-roll pan with edges and bake for 8 minutes.
4.  Remove the beef crusts from the oven and dab the tops with paper towels to remove excess grease.

5.  Top each with a 1/2 Tbs. pizza sauce and your desired toppings. Bake another 5 minutes.
6.  Eat immediately or allow to cool completely and stack in wide-mouth mason jars.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Turkey Pot Pie Soup

I'm still going strong on Primal eating, dry January, working out a lot, and the lemon water detox.  My body feels great, sore but great, and I think the lemon water is really helping my skin!  I am mid way through the month and am already seeing and feeling wonderful results, I might just have to continue all this into February too!  I'm sure many of you have listened to the podcast Serial, well there are now 3 parts out of an interview with Jay and there is an interview out with the prosecutor.  All of it is very interesting but I still don't think Adnan did it, what do y'all think?  Happy Thursday, the week is almost over and here in PDX it is now super grey and rainy, just in time for the weekend.  Honestly it is perfect weather for dolma making which is finally happening after months of waiting!  Here is an extremely tasty recipe that I adapted, enjoy!

Serves 6

The Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter

1 small yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 celery stalks, diced

1/4 cup almond flour

2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups turkey stock

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

2 carrots, peeled and diced

3 cups shredded leftover turkey meat

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

The Process

1.  Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and almond flour and cook for 1 minute. Add in the potatoes, sage, and pepper.

2.  Pour in 2 cups water, chicken broth, and the half-and-half. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.

3.  Add the carrots and mushrooms and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the shredded turkey and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute.

4.  Add in the parsley and season with the salt. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary before serving.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Turkey Stock

I finally took the thanksgiving turkey carcass out of the freezer and made this basic turkey stock for a soup I made the next night.  My dad is doing well after his surgery, no surprises or issues with the process which is very good news.  He even gets to go home today because his pain is under control, normally they keep shoulder replacement patients for two nights so he is in very good shape!  I'm really excited because tomorrow my boyfriend and I are buying our plane tickets for our European adventure that we are going on mid September 2015.  We are looking at the possibility of having a "stayover" in Iceland instead of just a 2 hour layover.  They let you stay for up to 7 days without changing the price of your plane tickets, and we found a really awesome lagoon we are going to visit during our "stayover," check it out  Onto the recipe!  Turkey stock is so versatile you can use it as the base for almost any soup, so be creative!

Servings 8

The Ingredients

1 large turkey carcass and any fat and scraps left on the bones

10-12 cups water (approximate)

2 onions, peeled and halved

2-3 carrots, washed and cut into half (no need to peel)

2 celery ribs, leaves attached, cut in half

5 garlic cloves, peeled

10-15 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

The Process

1.  Place all ingredients in your largest slow cooker, adding enough water to cover the turkey carcass and fill the crock. Cook on low for 13 hours.

2.  Remove and discard turkey carcass, vegetables, and spices. You can do this by fishing out the larger pieces with a slotted spoon, and straining the broth through a mesh strainer.

4.  Pour strained stock into one or more containers and refrigerate overnight. Once the stock cools, the fat will congeal on the top and it can be lifted off and thrown away (if there is any fat).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

Well last night was a major bummer, Ducks lost...but I still believe in them!  Today I am a little on edge because currently my father is in the hospital getting a full shoulder replacement surgery.  He got his right shoulder done last year and is now getting his left shoulder done, while it is a relatively safe surgery it is still a major surgery and things can go wrong hence my nervousness.  This evening after my workout I plan on going to see him, hope all goes smoothly!  So today I am distracting myself at work by feeding my addiction of listening to America's Test Kitchen podcast, which actually led me to a new book I want to read: The Telling Room: A tale of love, betrayal, revenge, and the world's greatest piece of cheese by Michael Paterniti.  It is a true story about a man creating the best piece of cheese in the world and the rise and fall of the company, it sounds like an extremely engaging story.  I adapted this recipe recently and can't wait to make it again, it is so cheesy and delicious!  I served these meatballs over a bed of green beans.  Enjoy!

Serves 6-8

The Ingredients

For the sauce:
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, liquid reserved

1 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp yogurt

¼ cup finely chopped onion

2 tbsp. pesto

1½ tbsp. tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

For the meatballs:
½ cup almond flour

1/3 cup grated onion

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. dried basil

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1½ lbs. ground chicken

2 tbsp. avocado oil

To finish:
4 oz. shredded mozzarella or sharp cheddar (we used cheddar)

2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan

2-3 tbsp. minced fresh basil (optional)

The Process

1.  To make the sauce, add the tomatoes to a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth, adding a bit of the reserved liquid if necessary to smooth the mixture out.  Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook about 1 minute, until it begins to soften.  Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato mixture, pesto, yogurt, and white balsamic vinegar lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 5-8 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.  Set aside.

2.  To make the meatballs, combine the almond flour, grated onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic and egg.  Stir together with a fork just until blended.  Mix in the ground chicken and knead together gently until evenly combined.  Form the mixture into meatballs about 1½-inch in diameter.

3.  Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the meatballs to the pan in a single layer (two batches may be necessary if you don’t have enough surface area.)  Let cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are browned.

4.  Once all of the meatballs are browned, place them in the pan with the tomato sauce.  Sprinkle the mozzarella (or cheddar) and additional Parmesan over the top.  Bake until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and garnish with the fresh basil.  Serve warm.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Leftover Ricotta Garlic Mashed Potato Pancakes

Today is a very important day, it is the day that the Ducks are going to beat Ohio!  I am through and through a full fledged duck fan, not only did I go to U of O but so did my older brother and both my parents lived in Eugene for quite a while.  On top of that my boyfriend was born and raised in Eugene and also went to U of O, so there you have it I am a full blooded duck.  This past weekend was a pretty great one, Friday night I went out to dinner with one of my dear friends to this Ethiopian place called E'Njoni Cafe.  Now Dalo's Kitchen is my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in PDX but they are currently only a food cart because they are looking for a new permanent location and because of that they aren't open dinner hours.  So E'Njoni Cafe is the runner up in my book, you should definitely check it out, great food, and a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.  Saturday I was a volunteer for my mom's Bowen Body class and got 2 1/2 hours of work done that ended up making my body feel fabulous...not a bad volunteer gig ;)  Then Saturday night my friend Valorie (who's birthday it was, happy 30th Val) and I went to the Blazer game, it turned out to be an exciting game even though we should have crushed the Magic.  Then Sunday I went and visited with my great friend Ali and saw her newly purchased home and checked out the awesome Asian market next to her house called Hong Phat.  This store had a pretty darn good selection of foods including king mushrooms, I stocked up on Tom Yum paste, tamari (so cheap), ginger candies, chopsticks, coconut milk, shallots (very cheap), and garlic.  I can't wait to go back and spend even more money :)  Onto the adapted recipe!

Makes 12 pancakes

The Ingredients

2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 Tablespoons chopped scallions, green and white parts

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 Tablespoons plus 1/2 cup almond flour

Avocado oil for frying pan

The Process

1.  In a large bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, cheese, scallions, egg and 3 tablespoons flour until combined.  Using your hands, divide the mixture into 12 portions. Roll each portion into a compact ball then flatten it into a pancake about a 1/2-inch-thick.

2.  Place the remaining 1/2 cup of flour in a shallow dish and carefully dredge each pancake in the almond flour.

3.  Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of avocado oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. (Add enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan.)

4.  Fry the pancakes, in batches, until they're golden brown and crispy on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Add more oil to the pan as needed between batches. (Do not overcrowd the pan and do not flip the pancakes too soon or they won't develop a crisp crust.) Transfer the pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle them with salt.

5.  Serve the potato pancakes with a poached egg.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Roasted Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

It feels luxurious to have Fridays off, and when I do I try to make the best of them.  This morning I went to Roman Candle in SE Portland for a lunch meeting with the founder of The Portland Kitchen to talk about how I can be involved as part of their volunteer team.  I had Roman Candle's cabbage salad with anchovy raisin vinaigrette and it was so delicious!  We discussed how The Portland Kitchen got started, what kind of foods we like, the foundation of what I would be doing, and last but not least our favorite Portland restaurants.  All in all i am very excited to become involved with such an amazing program and in helping educate and support our youth.  In other news last night one of my very best friends came over to help me cook a lovely meal, we adapted this recipe and were extremely pleased with the results.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients

1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 bacon fat

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon thyme, chopped

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 tablespoon grainy mustard

salt and pepper to taste 

The Process

1.  Toss the broccoli florets in the oil along with the salt and pepper, arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

2.  Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
3.  Add the broth and broccoli, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
4.  Mix in the milk, cheese, yogurt, and mustard, let the cheese melt and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ricotta Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Along with Primal eating and no drinking January I am also trying another detox challenge, the 21 day lemon water challenge.  It supposedly gives you nicer skin but I am more interested in the detox, metabolism boost, and digestion aid.  Here is the link, and I will definitely keep you updated as to how it makes me feel.  This is my first week back the to gym full time since mid December and today I can barely walk.  My weekly workout routine consists of: Monday- cardio kickboxing class (sometimes followed up by a cycling class); Tuesday- 1/2 hour Zumba and lift class; Wednesday- 20min of cycling and Zumba class; Thursday- 1/2 hour Zumba and lift class; Friday- cardio kickboxing.  I usually get in 4-5 days a week depending on how busy I am.  I am also excited because my boyfriend is finally joining my gym which is even more motivation to go workout :)  I'm sure lots of you are also on some sort of new year get healthy kick, so I hope I help motivate whether it is working out to eat all the yummy things or eating healthy most of the time.  Also sorry for the repeat picture...boring.

Serves 4

The Ingredients

2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cup fresh ricotta

1/2 cup milk

3 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon pepper

The Process

1.  In large pot of water boil potatoes and garlic until cooked through, about 25 minutes.

2.  Drain potatoes and garlic and put in medium sized bowl.

3.  Begin to mash potatoes and garlic and then add butter.  Wait for butter to melt and add salt, pepper, ricotta, and milk.  Continue to mash up until smooth then serve.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Creamy Chicken Piccata

This is the first Primal meal I made in the new year and while dairy and potatoes are allowed with the Primal diet I am sure that I am taking advantage and using them a little too much, but that won't stop me!  I mentioned in the last post that I take January off of drinking, meaning I don't have my almost nightly couple glasses of red wine.  Here is a NPR article that specifically outlines the benefits of going dry for a month, although we all know moderation is key ;)  I'm extremely excited because this Friday I have my first volunteer meeting with The Portland Kitchen, can't wait to start dedicating my time to such a wonderful organization.  Another random tid-bit of information, I am really curious about making my own kombucha and want to start learning the process.  It is a drink I enjoy so much and don't want to pay the expensive price for it in the store, anyone out there have experience or advice?  I adapted this recipe and paired it with ricotta mashed potatoes and a side salad, enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, pounded to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness

3/4 cup almond flour

1 egg, beaten

4 Tbsp bacon fat, separated

3 Tbsp avocado oil, or lard

1/3 cup capers

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp arrowroot powder

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup capers

salt and pepper to taste

The Process

1.  Heat 3 Tbsp bacon fat and the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Dip the chicken into the egg, then into a bowl with the almond flour. Coat the chicken on both sides.

2.  Place the chicken gently into the oil and cook for about three minutes on both sides. If they are getting too dark before cooked through, turn down the heat a bit. After it is done, move the chicken to a plate and set aside.

3.  With the remaining pan juices, add the remaining bacon fat to the skillet. In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the arrowroot powder. Pour the mixture into the skillet along with the lemon juice and capers. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and thicken for several minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Pour the sauce over your crispy chicken and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ham, Bean, and Sauerkraut Soup

Happy New Year everyone!  We had a fabulous time on NYE, we even walked to the bluffs near our house at midnight and watched all the fire works exploding while ringing in the new year.  It was a beautiful but cold night in PDX which required cozy blankets and lots of champagne.  As I mentioned in the last post my 48 hour soup (ham, bean, and sauerkraut soup) was our planned meal for the evening and it turned out absolutely fabulous, I couldn't have asked for anything more tasty.  I wanted to add the reason why I'm calling it my 48 hour soup is because it took 12 hours to make the stock, 12 hours to chill the stock and skim the fat, another 12 hours to soak the beans and then an additional 10 hours to cook, so technically it is only a 46 hour soup...but 48 sounds better;)  I adapted the recipe from here.  Some of our friends ended up spending the night to stay safe on NYE and the next morning my boyfriend made his famous and ever so delicious Eggs Benedict (pictured below).  We ended the old year and started the new year with amazing meals and I wouldn't want it any other way.  In other news every January I detox and stop drinking for the entire month, this year I have also decided to try the Primal/Wholefood way of eating.  It's similar to Paleo but you are allowed to have dairy, beans (once in a while), and potatoes...which these items are things I truly love and had a hard time giving up on Paleo.  I am trying Primal eating for the month of January and see how it makes me feel, plus it's always a good idea to cut bread, wheat, and refined sugar from your diet.  I am ready for this detox month especially after all of the fatty foods and drinking that the holidays bring.  Enjoy!

Serves 8

The Ingredients

1/2 lb. dry great Northern beans

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 tsp. caraway seeds

1 tsp. dried thyme

2 bay leaves

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups diced ham (leftovers from ham bone)

4 cups ham bone stock

4 cups water

2 cups sauerkraut, with more for serving

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The Process

1.  Soak the beans overnight according to the package.

2.  In a crockpot add all of the ingredients but wait to add salt and pepper 'till the end.

3.  Cook for 9-10 hours on low or until the beans are soft enough to eat.

4.  Salt and pepper to taste and garnish each bowl with sauerkraut.

Our New Year's breakfast Eggs Benedict!