Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lazy Glaze of Summer Baked BBQ Ribs

As I thanked the pig who gave its life for this first 5+ rated dish, I dug out the wrapper and did a Google search on the brand.

Prairie Ranch is a cooperative of small to mid-sized family farms in Missouri that raise organic, free range livestock. "Our hogs are raised unconfined and bedded on thick straw, and given plenty of room to roam and access to fresh air and sunshine. This extra care results in rich, juicy organic pork with a delicious difference you can taste." The butcher at Whole Foods said he doesn't worry about buying organic meat (given their strict standards) except for pork: "For some reason, organic pork always tastes way better."

Save this dish for a special occasion, and buy the meat responsibly. My apologies to my vegan and non-pork eating followers, although I doubt you've read this far. 

My Paleo Marin Rating 5+  


I found the Prairie Ranch ribs at my local Whole Foods for $6.99/lb. They are also available online at the link here.


3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon granulated onion
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon mustard powder
1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper


1 lb. spareribs per person
1 cup Bulls-Eye BBQ Sauce*


1. Combine the rub mixture ingredients. Coat sparerib slabs with the rub mixture, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in fridge for 2-24 hours.

2. Place ribs on a wire rack set over a baking sheet covered with foil. Broil for about 4-5 minutes.

3. Turn down oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour and then cover with foil.

4. Bake for another hour, and then spread BBQ sauce over the ribs. Cover with foil and cook another 1/2 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes. Separate ribs and serve.

*Bulls-Eye BarBQ Sauce is rated #1 for texture, aroma and flavor in the Serious Eats taste tests. For a paleo version of bbq sauce, select a recipe from Paleo Grubs here.

#paleo #pork #bbq #ribs #maindish

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Blackberry Cobbler (Vegan)

My memories of picking blackberries on my grandmother's farm in Southern Maryland have often left me less than enthusiastic about summer berries in California.

But last week when we found a vendor at the Marin Farmers' Market with melt-in-your-mouth super sweet blackberries, the time was ripe to indulge in a berry cobbler.

Cooks' Illustrated posted a low-sugar blueberry and biscuit recipe with an ingredient list "small enought to let the fruit shine through." I used the blackberries, and switeched out a few ingredients to make the dessert gluten and dairy free.

It's peak season for berries. Check your Farmers' Market for the best selection.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 5 Persimmons


Blackberry Filling:

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch fine grain sea salt

6 cups fresh blackberries, washed and picked over

1-2 tablespoons lemon zest

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1 cup gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup

2 tablespoons almonds, ground in a food processor
1/4 cup cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup almond milk mixed with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Biscuit Topping:

2 teaspoons cane sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Blackberry Filling:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Stir sugar, arrowroot powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. 

3. Add berries and mix gently with a rubber spatula until evenly coated.

4. Add lemon zest and juice to mixture and combine.

5. Transfer berry mixture to a 9-inch glass pie pan, place pan on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until filling hot and bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes.


1. Add the lemon juice to the almond milk. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

2. Whisk the flour, ground almonds, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to combine.

3. In another bowl, whisk the melted butter, almond milk and lemon juice mixture, and vanilla in a small bowl. 

4. In another small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons cane sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

5. One minute before the berries come out of the oven, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; stir with a rubber spatula until just combined and no dry pockets remain.

To Assemble and Bake the Cobbler:

1. Remove the berries from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

2. Pinch off 8 equal-sized pieces of the mixed biscuit dough and place around the hot berry filling, being careful to keep them separated.

3. Sprinkle each biscuit with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through, about 15-18 minutes. 

4. Cool cobbler on a wire rack for 20 minutes and serve. 

#paleoinspired #berrycobbler #blackberries #dessert #farmersmarket #summer #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree

Recipe adapted from the Cooks Illustrated website here.

*My Paleo Marin Rating between 1-5 Persimmons
I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hallelujah! Cauliflower Tacos w/ Coconut Cream Sauce (Vegan)

Hallelujah! Siete Foods now makes a paleo/vegan/gluten and grain-free taco shell that is actually good!  No more shoe-leather substitutions made from scratch (by me).

Hallelujah! because the dairy-free sauce in the recipe is also good on hamburgers and salmon.

And Hallelujah! because OMG it’s spicy! Not for the faint of heart.

The Brand New Vegan chef who developed this dish nailed the flavors. And be sure to look for Siete Foods taco shells in your local market or through their store locator here.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 3.5 Persimmons


Image from Siete Foods
Taco Filling:

1 small head cauliflower
4 oz. fresh mushrooms
1 cup walnuts
2 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos
1 to 2 Tablespoons chili powder (personal preference)
2 Teaspoons ground cumin
1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 Teaspoon onion powder
1/4 Teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 Teaspoon salt

Coconut Cream Sauce:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 can full-fat coconut milk
lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup water


Cilantro, tomatoes. chopped red onions, sliced peppers, etc.


Taco Filling:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Lightly pulse mushrooms in a food processor until they have a rice consistency. Put aside in a large bowl.
2. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they have a rice consistency. Mix in the bowl with the mushrooms.
3. Remove the leaves and core of the cauliflower; cut into small pieces. Pulse the pieces in the food processor to the same consistency of rice, and add to the bowl.
4. Stir in coconut aminos. Stir in spices and mix everything thoroughly.
5. Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Stir lightly and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes.
7. Let mixture cool down a bit in the baking sheet on a wire rack.

Coconut Cream Sauce:

1. Add all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender; blend until smooth. Add a small amount of water if the sauce it too thick.

Completing the Tacos:

1. Follow the directions on the package to heat the taco shells.

2. Add the filling to the shells. Top with the sauce and garnishes of your choice.

#paleo #vegan #tacos #mexican #cauliflower #vegan #coconut #healthyeats #glutenfree #dairyfree #sietefoods #hallelujah #sunflowerseeds #cilantro #coconutcream

Taco filling recipe adapted from The Brand New Vegan website here.
Coconut Cream Sauce recipe adapted from the Elephantastic Vegan website link here.

*My Paleo Marin Rating between 1-5 Persimmons

I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Paleo Chicken Tika Masala (Whole 30)

I have studiously watched Nepalis make authentic Indian and Nepali food in the US. I have written down recipes at 11,000 feet in the Himalayas. But there is some magic that goes into their cooking that for me is impossible to duplicate.

I guess that’s why I was surprised to hear one of my dinner guests say, “This is the best Chicken Tika Masala I’ve ever had!” The basic recipe is one of Bon Appétit's “BA's Best, a collection of our essential recipes," modified for Paleo by substituting coconut cream and plain almond milk yogurt for dairy.

If, like me, your taste buds perk up from the food aromas in the parking lot of your favorite Indian/Nepali restaurant, recreate that for your guests as spices wafting from your kitchen fill your guests with hungry anticipation.

My Paleo Marin: 4.5 Persimmons

3-6 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 cups almond (or coconut) milk plain yogurt
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise

3 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, crushed
2 dried chilies, or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups thick coconut cream, preferably Trader Joe’s in the brown & white can (if you can find it)
3/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish


1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander and cumin. 

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, salt and 1/2 of the spice mixture together. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Cover and chill for 4-6 hours, or overnight.

3. Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, tomato paste, cardamom and chiles and cook, whisking often, until tomato paste has darkened and the onion is soft. Add the remaining half of spice mixture and cook stirring often, until the bottom of the pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes with juices, breaking the tomatoes up with your hands. Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.

5. Add the coconut cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.

6. While the sauce is thickening, preheat a broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside the sheet. Arrange the chicken on the rack in a  single layer. Broil until the chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.

7. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, add to the sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. 

Serve with lettuce leaves, or cauliflower rice, recipe here.

Chicken can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and chilled. Reheat to serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

#paleo #chicken #Indian #whole30 #Nepali 

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit's recipe here.
Cauliflower rice recipe from The Kitchn.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Chicken Soup for the Soul w/ Rice Noodles & Sesame Oil

Throughout Southeast Asia, hot soup is eaten year round. Even though it's counter-intuitive, eating hot soup when the temperature is high causes your brain receptors to kick in and start to cool you down. 

Or maybe you have a summer cold? In any case, a bowl of fragrant, golden and savory chicken noodle soup is always welcome and nurturing.

Try this lighter version with rice noodles adapted from the New York Times' recipe, "Chicken Soup From Scratch." Or, if whole chickens go on sale at your market, make a batch and freeze in quarts to have for those “rainy days” when you really need some Chicken Soup for the Soul ~

My Paleo Marin Rating: 4.8 Persimmons

Photo from Google Images
For the Broth (made a day before the soup):

See link here to make the broth. I spent 1 1/2 hours gently simmering the whole chicken plus other ingredients. I put the cooked chicken in the fridge, and spent another 1 1/2 hours reducing the stock. I  refrigerated both the chicken and stock overnight. The recipe made about 5 quarts of stock.

For the Soup:

Ingredients (for 2 large servings):

1/2 package Annie Chun's Rice Noodles
1 quart previously-prepared broth (above)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1 cup previously-cooked chicken pieces (above)

Garnish: 2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal; dash of sesame oil (and/or hot chili oil)


1. Put 1/2 a pack of Annie Chun's rice noodles in a large bowl of hot water to soften. 

2. While the noodles are soaking, add 1 quart of chicken stock to a 5-quart pot and heat to a low boil. 

3. Cook the carrots in the broth until softened (about 5 minutes). 

4. When the noodles have softened in the warm water (about 10 minutes), add them to the pot and finish cooking through. Shred the chicken pieces with a fork, and add them to soup to heat up.

5. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with chopped green onions and oil(s).

Use the stock and chicken within 3 days, or freeze for up to six months.

#paleo-inspired #chicken #soup #noodles #broth #cleaneats #comfortfood #glutenfree #dairyfree #nutritious #newyorktimes 

My Paleo Marin Rating 1-5 Persimmons

I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Aloha! Ahi Tuna Workshop - Part 2: Japanese Pickled Cucumbers

Why do some restaurants charge so much for sushi and sashimi, while others are much more reasonable, especially in the all-you-can-eat establishments? 

The reason was made clear by the two samples of ahi tuna brought in by Chef Edward Metcalf at the Sunset Outdoor Kitchen Workshop (see photo below). The tuna with the bright red color (on the left) sells for about $12 - $15 a pound. The lighter one (on the right) sells for about $26 - $30 per pound. The one on the left has been treated with CO2 to boost the reddish color and make it more "appetizing." It is crunchier than the other tuna steak, and is used widely in the industry - especially in spicy tuna sushi. The natural tuna has a texture more like soft butter, and needs no flavor boosters to be melt-in-your-mouth delicious. For more information on the use of CO2 and tuna, see the New York Times article here.

A recipe for Japanese pickles was included with the workshop handout.  Blanching the cucumbers for 2 minutes followed by an ice bath was the “chef’s secret” to making authentic pickled cucumbers. Chef Metcalf said that the Japanese serve something pickled with almost every meal, and the recipe also works for beets, carrots, beans, and cauliflower.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 3.8 Persimmons


4 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (about 2 medium-large cucumbers)
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pure cane sugar
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds


1. Thinly slice the cucumbers (with a mandolin if possible). Blanch the sliced cucumbers in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Put immediately in an ice bath (1/2 ice and 1/2 cold water).

2. When the cucumbers are completely cooled off, strain the slices and set aside in a medium bowl.

3. Whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, and sesame seeds. Pour over the cucumbers and mix well. 

4. Place in a covered container in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving (20 minutes minimum).

Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

#paleo-inspired #sushi #sashimi #japanese #ahi #tuna #asian #cucumbers #pickled #salad

A special thanks to Chef Edward Metcalfe of the Shiso Modern Asian Restaurant for the workshop.

My Paleo Marin Rating 1-5 Persimmons
I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Firecracker Red & Gold Raw Beet Ribbons

Visually stunning, the vibrant colors in this salad will help you forget you're not wild about raw foods. I surprised myself when, during my taste test, I enjoyed the triple crunch of beets, snow peas, and sesame seeds so much that I ate all the extras put aside in case I needed them for the photo shoot.

It took a bit of practice to figure out how to "shave" the beets into ribbons with my vegetable cutter, but eventually it all came together. After marinating in the dressing, the yellow beets were the sweetest. I modified the recipe from Food & Wine Magazine to my taste, but offer up the julienned shiso leaves and crushed coriander as options if you'd like.

Beets are loaded with B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium and potassium - low in calories, and high in fiber. Enjoy this earthy side salad with chopsticks.

My Paleo Marin: 3.8 Persimmons


1/2 pound snow peas
1 1/2 pounds mixed red and yellow beets, medium size

Kuhn 4" Peeler
Image from Google Images
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 Teaspoon hot chili oil (or more according to personal preference)
2 Teaspoons Red Boat Fish Sauce (or more according to taste)
2 Teaspoons honey (or more according to taste)
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Kosher salt to taste

Garnish: Toasted sesame seeds; Thai basil (julienned), or arugula

Optional: 8 shiso leaves, thinly sliced; 1 Tablespoon crushed coriander seeds


1. Blanch the snow peas in bolding salted water for about 1 minute. Place pods in an ice bath to cool, then drain and pat dry. Cut off ends, and chop crosswise into 1/2" pieces. Put in a medium sized bowl. 

2. Cut the bottom and top off of the beets. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler. Carefully run the peeler around the sides of the beets to create a thin ribbon of beet. Tear into bite-sized pieces, and put them in the bowl with the peas.

3. Whisk together the oils, fish sauce, honey, and citrus juices. Pour over the beets and snow peas. Stir in the sesame seeds, and salt to taste. Chill the salad for about an hour.

4. When ready to eat, top with garnishes and serve.

#paleo #raw #salad #beets #snowpeas #shisho #asian #glutenfree #healthyeats 

*Recipe adapted from Food and Wine Magaziine, June 2017

My Paleo Marin Rating 1-5 Persimmons

I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.