Sunday, March 29, 2015

Chocolate Cherry Brain Boosters

I didn’t expect to find anything very exciting in The Healthy Mind Cookbook, but check out these truffles!

Dark chocolate elevates your mood & improves heart health; walnuts boost memory; cherries aid sleep patterns; and a sprinkling of curry powder on toasted coconut flakes acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Need I say more? Go feed your brain!


4 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut flakes

2 tablespoons boiling water

2 ounces 62-72% dark chocolate, preferably Valhrona, finely chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped into small pieces

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Valhrona

1 cup Medjool dates, halved and pits removed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fine sea salt 

1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped into small pieces

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

Mise en place

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F, and toast the coconut flakes on a baking sheet for 8 - 10 minutes, or until they are golden. Set aside.

2. While the coconut flakes are toasting, prepare the mise en place, that is, get all the ingredients assembled and chopped.

3. Boil about 1/2 cup of water in a pot.

4. Put the chocolate shavings in a bowl and add two tablespoons of the boiling water; use a small whisk to dissolve the chocolate and then whisk until it has a glossy sheen. Set aside.

4. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts, cocoa powder, dates, vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt for about 1 minute. Add the chocolate and blend it all together, about another minute. 

5. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chopped cherries. Cover and put the bowl in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, or until it is chilled and the mixture is firm.

6. Sprinkle the curry powder and a pinch of salt over the cooled toasted coconut flakes and mix well. 

7. When the chocolate mixture is ready, spoon up about 2 teaspoons and make a ball between your hands; roll it in the coconut mixture. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

8. Put the truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Eat when chilled through. Truffles will keep for up to 2 - 4 days in the refrigerator. 

#paleo #chocolate #truffles #dessert

Recipe from The Healthy Mind Cookbook, Big Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory and Mental Clarity by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Indian Curried Cauliflower

Why is Indian food so appealing? Recent research explains that, whereas Western recipes tend to use ingredients that complement each other, Asian foods blend a spice palette of opposites - sweet versus savory and mild versus hot - to create intoxicating aromas, stunning colors, and pungent flavors.

This Indian Curried Cauliflower* is so good that twice I started eating it before I could get my camera gear out. It's also packed with nutritious vitamins, brain boosters, and anti-inflammatories. Enjoy!


1 medium head cauliflower

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon ghee

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon coconut aminos


1. Wash the cauliflower and remove the center stem. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces and set aside in a bowl.

2. Heat the oils in a large frying pan until hot. Add the cauliflower, turmeric, ginger and sea salt; quickly mix well.  The heat allows the spices to release their flavors and the cauliflower to char (get dark spots). Turn the pieces with tongs or stir with a spoon to char the other side - about 2-4 minutes total. 

3. Cover the pan with a tight lid (do not add water) and allow the cauliflower to steam on low heat for 8 -10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cauliflower is done when a fork slides in easily.

4. Add the coconut aminos and stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Taste for salt and spices.

4. Serve immediately as a side dish or main course. 

#paleo #cauliflower #curry #Indian #glutenfree #nondairy #autoimmune  

*Recipe from The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott, NTP

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kale Chips Vinaigrette

When a caterer/friend of mine tried these kale chips, she said, “You could sell these at Whole Foods!” While I’m not so sure about that, I do feel confident enough to say, “Bet you can’t eat just one.

Roasting kale chips can be tricky. Sometimes they are soggy; sometimes burnt. But by following a few easy steps, they can also be crispy and quite delicious:

1. Wash the kale in cold water, and thoroughly dry each piece by gently squeezing a paper towel throughout the folds. Tear or cut the leaves from the stems; tear or cut again into bite-sized pieces and gently squeeze with paper towels. Place torn leaves between paper towels to further absorb moisture; set aside to air dry while making the vinaigrette. 

2. After tossing the kale pieces in the vinaigrette, use paper towels to mop off the excess dressing before placing them on the baking sheet. The vinaigrette makes it more challenging to get an extremely crispy chip, but the flavor is 100% improved over plain chips.

3. To bake:

a. A conventional oven should be just hot enough (400 degrees F) to roast the pieces without burning them. Swish the chips around with tongs about half way through baking, and check them toward the end of the baking time to see if most are crispy sounding when you move them with tongs. They are done at this point. 

b. Some recipes call for 325 degrees F for 20 - 22 minutes for toasted chips. You might have to experiment with your oven to get the best results. 


1 bunch of curly red kale, rinsed and thoroughly dried

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Pomegranate White Balsamic Vinegar,* or balsamic vinegar of choice
6 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and pepper 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Place the kale pieces in a large bowl.

2. In another bowl, make the vinaigrette. Combine the vinegar, mustard, shallot and garlic.  Whisk in the olive oil until the dressing has emulsified.

3.  Pour half of the the dressing over the kale, and massage it throughout the leaves with your hands. The leaves should be just coated, but not soaked; add more dressing if needed (depends on the size of the bunch of kale). If the leaves get too wet, pat off the excess dressing with paper towels. Add salt and pepper and mix with your hands. Taste for seasonings.

4.  Put one layer of kale on each baking sheet.

5.  Place the pans in the preheated oven. In a conventional oven, stir and flip the chips with tongs 1/2 way through cooking, about 4-6 minutes. Continue baking for 4 - 6 minutes (10 - 12 total), until you hear the crunch of the crispy edges when moved with tongs; do not overcook.

6. Transfer to a bowl and serve. Most of the kale pieces will get crispy, but not all. They tend to get softer as they cool (if there are any left), but will still taste good.   

7.  If you didn’t use all the kale, put another batch in the pan(s) and repeat Steps 5 and 6. 

*For a great flavor punch, I like Wine Country Kitchen’s Pomegranate White Balsamic Vinegar found online or at Mill Valley Market.

#paleo #kale #glutenfree #healthyeating

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chocolate Soufflé Cake

Several weeks ago, I splurged on a bar of Valrhona chocolate. It took this long for me to get enough courage to use it, and luckily, a recipe for Chocolate Soufflé Cake from The Slanted Door Cookbook did not disappoint!


11 eggs, separated

6 tablespoons + 1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 Valrhona Guanaja 70% Baking Bar ($12.99)
1 Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar ($4.55)
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Put a piece of parchment paper under the bottom of a 9" springform pan; insert the paper and bottom of pan in the ring and close it with the sides of parchment paper coming up the sides. Spray the bottom of the pan with butter or oil; sprinkle with sugar.

2. Separate eggs, being careful to not get any yolk in the whites.

3. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and set aside.

4. Weigh chocolate bars on a scale to measure 11 3/4 ounces. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler. When slightly warm, whisk in the yolk and sugar mixture in two batches. Set aside.

5. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and whisk on high until the whites form wet peaks. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture. Immediately pour the batter into the pan.

6. Smooth the top of the cake with a spatula and put in oven for 35 - 45 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

Serve immediately with Coconut Whipped Cream (Himalayan Mousse post of 9.14.14).

#paleo #glutenfree #chocolate #cake #desserts #nutfree #Valrhona

Sunday, March 1, 2015

East Indian Veggie Burgers

A signature dish is “you on a plate,” as Gordon Ramsey likes to say. Not necessarily a unique food type, it is your spin on any dish that brings smiles to those who enjoy it, and repeated requests for copies of the recipe.

East Indian Veggie Burgers are my signature dish. The recipe is below, along with the cover photo of a commemorative book that documents making triple batches in my kitchen with friends. While not strictly Paleo (due to the lentils & bulgur), it is vegetarian and quite tasty.

What is your signature dish?


3/4 cup dried lentils, brown or green
3/4 cup bulgur wheat

2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt (separated)

4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons ghee or butter (separated)

1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and cut in 1/4” thick slices (about 6 1/2 cups)

2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 teaspoons)
2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
2 leeks (white and light green parts), chopped crosswise (about 1/2 cup)
2 celery ribs, chopped crosswise (about 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups panko (bread crumbs)
Salt and pepper to taste

12 buns, or lettuce leaves for wrap
Condiments, your choice: mayo, ketchup, pickles, sliced onions, lettuce, pepperoncini, hot sauce, etc.


1. Bring 3 cups water, lentils, and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat so water is at low boil and cook until lentils are softened, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils in a colander. Put three layers of paper towels on baking sheets and spread the lentils on top. Pat the top dry with paper towels and leave to cool.

2. While the lentils are cooking, bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in a saucepan. Stir bulgur into boiling water and cover immediately. Let stand away from heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain bulgur in fine mesh strainer; use rubber spatula to press out excess water. Set aside.

3. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon of butter/ghee. When the foam of the butter subsides, add the sliced mushrooms and stir to cook. When the mushrooms have released oil they absorbed and are slightly limp, remove from pan and set aside in a bowl to cool. 

4. In the same frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon ghee or butter to medium hot. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the onions, leeks and celery and stir constantly until they soften. Sprinkle the curry powder and red pepper flakes over the mixture in the hot pan. Let these spices heat up to release their flavors. Keep stirring all ingredients until cooked down, about 10 minutes. Spread the cooked vegetables on 3 layers of paper towels on a cookie sheet and allow them to cool down.
Photo by Susann Gaska-Gutschmidt

5. Pulse the cashews in a food processor about 15 times, until finely ground.

6. In a large bowl, combine together the cashews, lentils, bulgur, vegetables, mushrooms and mayonnaise. Add as much mixture as your food processor can handle and pulse for about 15-20 one second pulses. Place in another large bowl, and complete the rest of the processing, one batch at a time.

7. To the whole mixture in the last bowl, add the panko, salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper to taste. Form the patties (12) and place on paper towels on baking sheet to absorb any remaining liquid.

8. To cook the patties, heat 2 tablespoons oil to medium heat in a frying pan. Cook about 4 minutes each side. Serve on bun, or lettuce wrap, with condiments of choice.

Patties can be separated with parchment paper and frozen for several months.

#vegetarian #veggieburgers #curry #indian