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
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.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Thai Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry w/ Coconut Milk

Can't remember when I've enjoyed sweet potatoes more. This dish was supposed to be about the chicken, but the sweet potato chunks absorbed the creamy sauce and left me checking the pot for more.

Ease into fall with this NYT recipe - use chicken, fish or just vegetables - and you've got Sunday supper covered.

My Paleo Marin: 5 Persimmons


4 -6 large chicken thighs
Kosher salt
Black Pepper

2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/4 cup scallion, finely chopped
1" fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Serrano Chili, seeded and finely chopped

2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste

1 can coconut milk, preferably Thai Kitchen
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (try the oblique cut shown here)

Optional garnish: toasted coconut flakes, black mustard seeds, fresh cilantro, lime wedges


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Set aside on a plate.

2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 5 qt. dutch oven. Add chicken pieces to cover the bottom, and brown for 6-8 minutes per batch. Add more oil as needed. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

3. Turn the heat to medium, and add the scallion, ginger, garlic and chili to the pot. Stir and cook down until soft, about 1-2 minutes.

4. Stir in curry paste and cook for about 1 minute.

5. Add coconut milk and sweet potatoes, and stir to combine. Place the chicken pieces on top and add water to come half way up chicken pieces, about 1/2 cup.

6. Bring the curry ingredients in the dutch oven to a boil, cover, and place in a heated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the ingredients are cooked through.

7. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter. Place the dutch oven on the stove and simmer the sauce over medium heat until it reduces to thickened consistency, about 10 minutes.

8. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, and add garnishes per personal preference.

#paleo #chicken #curry #thai #comfortfoot #casserole #sweetpotatoes #glutenfree #dairyfree 

Recipe adapted from the NYT link here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

No-Sugar-Added (No Kidding) Apple Cobbler w/ Coconut Whipped Cream

Fall apples and baking are something to look forward to each year, but what about all the added sugar?  If you're glucose intolerant, or just want to eat healthier, the options are not very appealing.

I decided to take this on as a challenge, putting the package of sugar back twice as I pondered how to modify this seasonal comfort food without added sugar or dairy.

In a Food & Wine recipe, I figured that the biscuit topping would be sweet enough by substituting coconut milk for dairy and dusting the top with cinnamon before baking. It was. Sort of.

That left the apple filling. The recipe called for a pomegranate juice reduction, and so, instead of a cup of sugar, I tried mixing the juice reduction with Medjool dates in a food processor, and voila! A naturally sweet syrup in which to bake the apples. It was delicious.

The coconut milk whipped cream was the crowning glory that brought it all together. And the payoff for a "pretty good dessert?" No digestive payback from one of my favorite comfort foods!

My Paleo Marin Rating: 3 Persimmons



2 cups pomegranate juice
4 oz. Medjool dates
1/4 cup gluten free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, halved and sliced 1/3 inch thick


2  cups gluten free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick cold butter, 4 oz., cut into small pieces
1 can coconut milk, preferably Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk, refrigerated overnight


Pomegranate seeds

1 can coconut cream, preferably Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream, refrigerated overnight upside down


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


1. Over medium heat, boil down 2 cups of pomegranate juice until it measure 1/3 cup (about 15 minutes).

2. Pit the dates; mix with the juice reduction in a food processor until well combined.

3. Place the prepped apples in a large bowl. Coat the apples with 1/4 cup flour, salt, and the date/juice reduction by stirring with a stiff spatula. Pour mixture a 9" round glass baking dish.


1. Add the 2 cups of flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

2. Add the butter pieces and work to combine with 2 knives or a pastry cutter. Knead with hands until dough slightly holds together.

3. Put the coconut milk in a small bowl and stir until the lumps dissolve. Set aside about 1/8 cup. Fold the remainder of the coconut milk into the dough just until thoroughly mixed.

4. Place the dough in clumps over the top of the filling. Spread to cover the top if you prefer. Brush the top with the remaining coconut milk. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon using a fine sieve.

5. Place the baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden. If the top starts to get too brown, cover with foil.


1. Place the cooked cobbler on a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the top with pomegranate seeds.

2. For the coconut whipped cream, open the can and put the firm part of the cream in a mixer. Beat until stiff peaks form.

3. Add the whipped cream and extra pomegranate seeds to serve.

#paleo #apple #cobbler #coconut #coconutcream #glutenfree #dairyfree #noaddedsugar #Medjool #pomegranates #comfortfood #food&wine

Recipe adapted from the Food & Wine 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.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ayurvedic Spinach & Mushroom Soup (Vegan)

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine was awarded to three American scientists "whose work has left us at an important juncture where...insights from Ayurvedic and modern medicine could probably offer solutions." Solutions for not only keeping us healthy based on the circadian rhythm, but also curing us when we get a disease.*

Ayurvedic medicine is the traditional Hindu belief system of striving for balance in all of the body's systems. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that your nutritional health "is the result of what, when, where, how and why you eat... Food should be eaten mindfully, with gratitude, and be lovingly prepared with the highest ingredients."**

This Spinach and Mushroom Soup comes close to providing the "sweet, sour, salty, warm, heavy and moist" elements prescribed for a dish. And to align with the circadian rhythm, please enjoy the soup between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM for the best metabolism, digestion, and energy production!

My Paleo Marin Rating: 4.8 Persimmons

Vegetable Stock


1 large yellow onion
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small bunch parsley
1 leek, green parts


1. Wash and roughly chop all the vegetables. No need to peel the vegetables.
2. Generously cover them with water in a 5 qt. stock pot.
3. Bring water to just under a boil over high heat. Turn heat down, and gently simmer for about an hour. Stir occasionally.
4. When finished simmering, remove the vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon. Pour the stock through a colander covered with cheesecloth. 
5. Add to the soup recipe below. Or store in airtight containers for up to a week, or freeze to use later.



3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or butter or ghee for non-vegan)
1 lb. mixed mushrooms such as brown cremini, shiitake, chanterelles, etc., chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 large shallot, finely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground allspice

5 cups homemade vegetable stock (may have to add water to equal 5 cups)
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper

5 ounces baby spinach, washed

Fresh lime juice to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a 5 qt. stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released the liquid and are well-browned, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice. Cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook gently for 20 minutes.

4. Stir in the baby spinach and let cook until just wilted, 1-2 minutes.

5. When ready to serve, add fresh lime juice and check for seasonings.

6. Store extra in airtight containers in fridge, or freeze to eat later.

Serves 4.

#paleo #ayurvedic #soup #spinach #mushrooms #vegetarian #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree #Indian #Pakistani #nobelpeaceprize

*Quotes from The Swarajya Magazine article "This Year's Nobel Prize in Medicine Puts Fresh Focus on Ayurveda" here.

**Ayurvedic references from the Balance and Bliss website here.
Vegetable Stock recipe adapted from The Kitchn recipe here.
Soup recipe adapted from the New York Times 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.