Sunday, December 10, 2017

Rustic Italian Carrot Cake

This cake brought to mind the home delivery food service: Imperfect Produce - "Ugly Produce. Delivered." It claims that 1/3 of the world's food goes to waste, often for its looks - enough to feed 2 billion people. But some good news: Whole Foods & Walmart are going to start selling this type of produce! And here in Marin, there's a group called ExtraFood that delivers food from markets and restaurants to non-profits several times each day. Everything helps.

But back to the cake. Yes, it's a bit of an ugly cake. But like most Italian desserts served at home (except for Sicily*), it's simple and earthy and delicious. Mostly carrots, plus one half cup of coconut sugar, almond flour, eggs, and spices, the cake is perfect in the morning, afternoon or at night. A dollop of coconut whipped cream with orange zest on top is optional (sort of).

My Paleo Marin Rating: 4.5 Persimmons


Unsalted butter, for coating the cake pan

2/3 cup gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar
5 large egg yolks

3 cups shredded carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste

5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


Put rack in center of the oven,  and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly cover the bottom and sides of a 9” springform pan with unsalted butter.

1. In a large bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour and baking powder together. Add the almond flour and whisk again to mix. Set aside.

2. In another large bowl, use a hand mixer (preferable to get rise) to beat the sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow and thickened, about 2 minutes.

3. Gradually stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, followed by the shredded carrots and vanilla. The batter will be thick; set aside.

4. In another bowl with clean whisk attachments, beat the egg whites and salt together until the white form stiff, but not dry, peaks.

5. Using a rubber spatula, add about 1/4 of the egg whites to the cake batter and gently fold in. Gradually fold in the remaining whites, and transfer to the prepared cake pan. Spread batter into an even layer.

6. Bake the cake for about an hour, until the top is golden brown and has shrunk slightly away from the sides of the pan.

7. Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on the wire rack. When fully cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and let sit, preferably for at least 12 hours, before serving.

Cake will keep for several days in plastic wrap.

*paleoinspired #glutenfree #dairyfree #cake #Italian #lowsugar #coconut #almondflour #snack #dessert #ImperfectFood #ExtraFood

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn website here.

*According to Marcella Hazan in The Classic Italian Cookbook: "Italians take their sweets and aperitifs away from the dining table, at a pastry shop or cafe....Sweets [at home], save those from Sicily, are both in substance and appearance, modest, earthbound creations."

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, December 3, 2017

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Golden Almond Milk

Here's the adult version of warm milk and honey that only needed a reading of Goodnight Moon to complete the warm fuzzy feelings I got while enjoying a cup.

It's so easy. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk), 1 tablespoon of grated fresh turmeric, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, and 6-8 peppercorns just to a boil. Cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes. Strain mixture into a glass or stainless steel bowl (the turmeric will stain some surfaces). Add a tablespoon of honey, if desired. Mint optional. Serve hot or cold.

You might even be able to give up your daily Vanilla Chai Latte with Almond Milk ($4) at the espresso bar,
and instead enjoy your anti-inflammatory, low-sugar Golden Milk beverage knowing that you're doing something good for your body ~ and soul!

My Paleo Marin Rating: 4.8 Persimmons

#paleo #almondmilk #coconutmilk #turmeric #ginger #drinks #dairyfree #low-sugar #anti-inflammatory #julemsceramics

Recipe and health benefits of turmeric and ginger on Dr. Weil's website here.

For pottery source, see Judith Lemons Facebook Page @julemsceramics or her Etsy site here.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Caramelized Onion, Paleo Bacon and Goat Cheese Savory Galette

The inspiration for this rustic tart came from Top Chef host Gail Simmons' wedding buffet where seven variations of galette were prepared by chef Daniel Boulud. The recipe shared in Food & Wine Magazine featured shaved celery root and acorn squash, with a base of ricotta cheese. After giving it some (a lot of) thought, I bought filling ingredients that I would have selected for one of the galettes.

Caramelized onions with a splash of balsamic vinegar were the perfect complement to the sugar-free bacon and goat cheese. The gluten-free crust was a bit too flaky, of course, but the flavors melded into such a sublime eating experience everyone was reaching for a second slice.

Please use your imagination and personal preferences to create the perfect galette for your table!

My Paleo Marin: 4.8 Persimmons



3/4 cup gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup Flour
3/4 cup almond flour or almond meal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 oz. chilled grass-fed butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt, preferably Kite Hill
2 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


2 yellow onions, halved and sliced paper thin (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Image from Garrett Valley website
4 slices of sugar-free bacon, preferably Garette Valley

4 oz. of goat cheese, preferably Pt. Reyes Creamery, pinched off into bite-sized pieces

Thyme and oregano leaves

For garnish, fresh arugula, optional



1. In a food processor, pulse both flours and the salt to combine. Add the butter until pea-sized pieces of dough form. Add the yogurt, ice water and lemon juice; pulse until the dough starts to come together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured flat surface, and form into a disk. Add one or two tablespoons of flour as needed; my dough was still very sticky. Cover in plastic wrap and place in a fridge for at least 1 hour.


1. To caramelize the onions, heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the chopped onions. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until the onions turn golden brown, about 45 minutes. When cooked through, add the balsamic vinegar, mix, and set aside.

2. While the onions are cooking, line a baking sheet with foil and bake the bacon slices at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and set aside. When cool, tear the bacon into bite-sized pieces.

To make the galette:

1. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chilled dough on the parchment paper, keeping the plastic wrap on top. Roll out the dough to about 13" round.

2. Leaving a couple of inches around the outer edges, spread the carmelized onions over the bottom of the galette. Sprinkle the bacon bites, goat cheese pieces, thyme and oregano leaves evenly around the top.

3. Fold up the sides, and bake at 400 degrees F. until the crust starts to turn golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and slightly cool. Cut into serving pieces, and top with fresh arugula, if using.

#paleoinspired #glutenfree #galette #foodandwine #savory #lunch #tart #foodandwine #gailsimmons

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, November 2017, recipe here.

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, November 19, 2017

DIY Orange Cranberry & Honey Sauce (Repost)

Do It Yourself, or... Delegate It Yourself!

If last minute preparations for Thanksgiving are starting to stress you out, here's a delicious solution for the cranberry sauce. 

Ten minutes tops to make. Vibrant taste. Beautiful color. 

Prepare a day ahead, cross it off your checklist, and then just wait for the compliments from your guests. Goes great with leftovers, too.

My Paleo Marin Rating 5 Persimmons


1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons orange zest
1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries


1. Over medium heat, dissolve the honey in the orange juice and water, about 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the orange zest and cranberries. Cook, uncovered, until most of the berries have burst and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally during the cooking process.

3. Taste for sweetness and zest. Cool before serving. 

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

#paleo #cranberries #honey #Thanksgiving #glutenfree #dairyfree #lowsugar

Recipe adapted from the 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, November 12, 2017

(Almost Vegan) Cheesecake with Amarena Cherries on Top

Thanksgiving can be challenging given everyone's food preferences. If you're looking for an alternative to pumpkin or sweet potato pie, this light and creamy cheesecake will be a welcome addition to your holiday dessert table.    

I tackled this Bon Appétit recipe for "Ricotta Pie with Amarena Cherries" as you would a crossword puzzle: what is another ingredient for...:

Sour Cream = Thai Brand Coconut Cream
Eggs = Silken Tofu
Ricotta cheese = Kite Hill Non-Dairy Ricotta
Cream cheese = Daiya Dairy Free Cream Cheese Style Spread

You can't imagine my delight when this came out of the oven. It looked like, tasted like, and had the texture of a New York cheesecake. The Fabbri Amarena cherries, made from select Italian wild black cherries, truly were the "cherry on top" - a delicious surprise on an already delicious dessert.

Note: It was just the melted butter in the crust where I didn't find a good non-dairy substitute. However, since making the cheesecake, a representative of Kite Hill suggested using coconut oil. I haven't tasted this, but do see that it is on the ingredient list of the Daiya frozen vegan cheesecake.

Photo from Google Images

My Paleo Marin Rating: 
Cheesecake: 4 Persimmons
Fabbri Amarena Cherries: 5 Persimmons



3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or coconut oil), melted and slightly cooled + more for the pan
1 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup gluten free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons silken tofu


12 oz. Daiya Dairy Free Cream Cheese Style Spread (Note: this product is coconut-based and matches the flavors of the rest of the cheesecake)
1 1/2 cups Kite Hill Non-Dairy Ricotta (may be on back order - worth the wait)
3/4 cup Thai Brand Coconut Cream, thick part, refrigerated overnight upside down
1/4 cup silken tofu
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest


Amarena cherries and syrup



Note: Crust can be baked 1 day ahead, cooled, covered tightly and stored at room temperature.

Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a spring-loaded 9" pan with butter (or coconut oil).

1. Melt the butter (or oil) in a small pan over low heat, and set aside until slightly cooled.

2. In a food processor, pulse the almonds, flour, sugar and salt until the almonds are finely ground and mixture is well combined. Add the silken tofu and pulse to combine. Add butter (or oil) and pulse until mixture has the consistency of  wet sand.

3. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan and about 3/4 of the way up the sides. Spread the crust out by pressing a straight-sided measuring cup around the bottom and sides. Use your fingers to finish, if necessary. Chill the crustt until firm, about 20 minutes.

4. Bake the crust until it is evenly golden brown and set, about 12-14 minutes. If the crust slumps, it can be pushed back into place with the sides of the measuring cup while it's still warm. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.


Note: This section requires a hand-held electric mixer for best results.

1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese spread until it is smooth, about 1 minute.

2. Add the ricotta and coconut cream, and beat until well incorporated.

3. Add the silken tofu and mix.

4. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar and salt. Beat until the filling is creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.

5. Add the almond extract, vanilla extract, lemon and orange zests, and mix just to incorporate.

To Bake:

Keep the oven at 325 degrees F. 

1. Fold a layer of foil around the bottom of the prepared pan to form a waterproof seal. You might have to attach two sheets together, and then fold up the side of the pan. Repeat with several more pieces of foil.

2. Set the prepared pan inside a large roasting pan or baking dish, and pour the filling inside the crust. It may go above the crust.

3. Set the roasting pan in the oven, and add very hot water about 1/2 way up the sides of spring-form pan and foil.

4. Bake for 60-75 minutes until the top of the cheesecake is set and dry to the touch. The filling may still wobble underneath; it will firm up as it cools.

5. Let the cheesecake cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, and then place the baked pie in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours until the pie is cool and firm.


When ready to serve, remove the sides of the spring form pan and place on a plate. Add the cherries and drizzle syrup to the top of the cheesecake.

The cheesecake can be refrigerated tightly covered for up to 3 days.

To order the Fabbri Amareno Cherries, see the link here.

#paleoinspired #coconut #nondairy #glutenfree #dessert #cheesecake #nondairy #vegan #ricotta #Thanksgiving 

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit magazine, November 2017 issue, link here.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

President Obama's English Short Ribs

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Chef Markus Samuelson shared his recipe for English Short Ribs that he served to President Obama when the president came to eat at his Red Rooster Restaurant in Harlem.

A few tweaks for paleo ingredients were still met with gastronomic gusto by the lucky recipients of this very special treat. There was a bit of a "presidential price tag," but preparation was very easy and delicious results are pretty much guaranteed!

My Paleo Marin Rating: 4.8 Persimmons


4 English-cut short ribs (6 oz. each)
(Note: recipe will accommodate up to 8 ribs)
1/2 teaspoon salt and petter
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 teaspoons lemongrass
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
3 cups beef broth, preferably homemade
1/2 cup plum sauce
1/4 cup coconut aminos
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
2 bay leaves


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

1. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add short ribs and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add onion, carrot, celery, lemongrass, garlic and ginger to the pot. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add broth and stir to dissolve any of the brown bits that may be on the bottom of the pot. Add the plum sauce, coconut aminos, thyme, parsley and bay leaves. Combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Return the ribs and their juices to the pot. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until the meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours.

3. When the meat is cooked through, transfer the meat to a plate. Strain or laden the fat from the liquid, then strain the rest through a fine sieve. Discard the bay leaves and thyme, and transfer the vegetables to a food processor. Process the vegetables until smooth, then add 1 1/2 cups of the braising liquid and pulse to combine.

4. Return the sauce to the dutch oven and taste for salt and pepper. Add short ribs and coat in sauce. Set aside until serving.

5. Reheat short ribs in sauce when ready to serve. Place short ribs on plates and spoon sauce over each serving. Put remaining sauce in a bowl and serve with ribs.

#paleo #shortribs #ribs #meat #maindish #obama #marculsamuleson #redrooster #glutenfree #dairyfree #alcoholfree  

Recipe adapted from the Epicurious website here

Sunday, October 29, 2017

New York Times Pickleback Slaw (Vegan)

"Pickle back" is a bar term where a shot of pickle juice follows an alcoholic drink. It's a catchy name for this New York Times recipe that adds a generous amount of pickle juice to the creamy dressing ~ along with Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and Frank's Hot Sauce.

It might the dressing, or the unexpected addition of Grannie Smith apples, that elevate the slaw to restaurant quality. It's a perfect side dish for turkey or ham, and the dressing alone is also delicious on lettuce salads and veggie wraps.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 4.8 Persimmons


1 small head of green cabbage
1 small head of red cabbage
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 tart apples, like Grannie Smith, peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks


1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise, preferably Vegenaise Grapeseed Mayo
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, or juice from pickle jar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, preferably Edmond Fallot
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons hot sauce, preferably Frank's Hot Sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Remove outer leaves of the cabbages. Cut in half, then in half again. Slice into thin ribbons. Mix with carrots and apples in a nonreactive bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Dressing ingredients. 

3. Pour the dressing over the cut vegetables, and taste for seasoning. Salad can be covered and stored in the fridge. Toss again before serving. 

#paleo #vegan #vegetarian #salad #slaw #sidedish #Vegenaise #glutenfree #dairyfree 

New York Times recipe link here.

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.