Sunday, May 31, 2015

Brownies Squared - Part II

“10,000 Blistering Barnacles!” The first bite of these brownies releases oceans of velvety Valrhona chocolate, followed by the crunch of toasted macademia nuts, ending with the creaminess of Strauss Family Butter.

While the photo may be blurry, the bowl holds vivid memories of countless hours spent reading Tin Tin books with my daughter. We bought this bowl on our first trip to the Tin Tin Store in San Francisco, probably around 2004.

This recipe* is perfect for a crumble over Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream (recipe posted July, 2014). My daughter may be too old for the bowl, but the kid in me loved this delicious trip down memory lane.

Tin Tin’s Brownies & Cream


1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup macademia nuts, chopped

8 oz. Strauss Family unsalted butter
2 oz. Valhrona chocolate
1 oz. Ghiradelli 60% chocolate

3/4 cup organic coconut sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup "Cup 4 Cup" gluten-free flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8” x 8” metal baking pan with foil covering the bottom and sides. Brush bottom and sides with melted butter or spray with nonstick spray.

1. Lightly toast the chopped macademia nuts on one baking sheet and the coconut flakes on another baking sheet in the heated oven for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

2. Put 2 inches of water in a saucepan, and place a wider metal bowl on top to make a double boiler. When the water boils, melt the chocolate and butter in the metal bowl, stirring constantly until it is smooth.

3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until the mixture turns a light yellow and the batter dribbles back in the bowl in thick, luxurious ribbons.

4. Gently fold this mixture into the slightly cooled chocolate. Fold in the nuts, flour, and salt. Mix thoroughly and pour into prepared baking pan.

5. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of a heavy duty baking pan (if you have one). Wet the paper and shake dry. Place on the baking sheet and put the brownie pan on top. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the brownies are just about set in the center. It is very easy to burn the bottom, so keep a watchful eye at the end of the baking time.

6. Remove the brownies from the oven and place on a wire rack. Sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes on top. When the brownies have cooled, remove the foil liner, and cut the brownies into squares.

Makes 16 brownies.

#paleo #brownies #chocolate #valrhona #ghiradelli #dessert #tintin 

*Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Brownies Squared - Part 1

For a picnic, potluck or unexpected guests, brownies are always popular. A cross between a cake and a soft cookie, you can easily elevate the humble brownie to the "next level" by upgrading a few select ingredients.  

Below is the first of three brownie recipes.* Each was so good I couldn’t choose just one. My grandson’s girlfriend begged requested that I send her this recipe. So here it is, with love, for Jill.

Jill’s Brownies


1 cup macademia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
6 tablespoons organic grass-fed butter, salted
4 ounces 60% Ghiradelli chocolate, chopped
4 ounces 90% Ghiradelli chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup organic coconut sugar
2 large organic omega-3 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon Valrhona unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons corn starch


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

1. Lightly toast macademia nuts on one baking sheet and coconut flakes on another baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Line the bottom and sides of an 8" x 8" metal pan with foil, shiny side down. Lightly grease the foil with butter. Set aside.

3. Put 2 inches of water in a saucepan, and place a wider metal bowl on top to make a double boiler. When the water boils, melt the chocolate and butter in the metal bowl, stirring constantly until it is smooth.

4. Remove the bowl from the stove, stir in the sugar and then the eggs, one at a time.

5. Sift together the cocoa powder and corn starch in a small bowl; add to chocolate mixture.

6. The next step is very important: vigorously beat the batter with a wooden spoon for at least 1 minute, or until it becomes glossy and pulls away from the sides. It should no longer be grainy, but nearly smooth.

7. Add the toasted nuts and stir. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan.

8. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a baking sheet. Wet the parchment paper, shake off the excess water, and lay it on the cookie sheet. Put the pan with the brownie mixture on top of the damp paper, and slide it all in the oven.

9. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the center is almost set. Make sure the oven does not go above 350 degrees F. It is very easy to burn the bottom of the brownies so don’t over-bake.

10. Place the brownie pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes on the warm top. When completely cooled, slice the brownies into squares and remove from the pan.

The brownies can be stored for several days at room temperature, or frozen for up to one month. As always, enjoy sweets in moderation.

#paleo #brownies #dessert #grassfed #organic #wholefoods #macademianuts #foodphotography #foodbloggers #glutenfree

*Adapted from David Leibovitz’ "Gluten-Free Brownies" recipe.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pok Pok Chicken Wings

Wondering what to make for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday? The fried chicken wings from Portland-based Pok Pok Restaurant are world famous, and I’ve adapted the recipe from the Pok Pok Cookbook for the Paleo palette.They would make a very tasty snack to serve your family or guests.


Marinade & Sauce:

8 - 10 medium cloves of garlic 
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup Red Boat fish sauce
1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Chicken Wings:

12 chicken wings, wing tips cut off (or buy Party Wings if your butcher has them)
Grapeseed oil (for deep frying)
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup water

Day Before Cooking Wings:

1. Finely chop the garlic. Put in a bowl and add 1/4 cup warm water and salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, and then strain the garlic mixture into a bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to press the garlic and extract as much of the liquid as possible. Set the garlic pieces aside.

2. Add fish sauce and sugar to the garlic water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. There should be about 1 cup of liquid.

3. Put the chicken wings in a mixing bowl, add 1/2 of the liquid mixture, and reserve the other 1/2 in the fridge for the next day. Toss the wings well. Cover and refrigerate overnight, tossing the wings occasionally. 

4. Fry the pressed garlic pieces in 1 tablespoon of oil; drain on paper towels, and store in an airtight container at room temperature overnight.

Day of Cooking Wings:

1. Remove the wings from the fridge and place in a colander to drain for at least 15 minutes.

2. Dip each wing in the rice flour, covering completely, and stack on a plate to the side.

3. Pour the oil in a wok or large saucepan. Bring the oil to medium-high heat, until just starting to smoke.

4. Fry the wings in batches. Turn them over with tongs after a couple of minutes. They should be cooked through in about 5-6 minutes. Turn off the fire, and transfer the wings to a plate with paper towels; put paper towels on the top to absorb the oil.

5. Heat up the oil again and fry as before. Stack the wings on the plate and cover with paper towels until all are cooked through. Set aside.

6. Clean the wok. Put the reserved 1/2 cup fish sauce in the wok and add 1/4 cup water. Stir the sauce on high heat until it reduces down by about 1/2. Put in the fried wings and cover with the sauce. Continue tossing them until the sauce has become a glaze covering the wings. Add the reserved fried garlic and stir fry until the wings have turned a shade darker.

7. Transfer the wings to a serving plate. Best while hot and sticky, or enjoy cold later on. It’s all good.

#paleo #pokpok #chickenwings #chicken #Vietnamese #friedchicken #partyfood #snacks

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Paleo Donkey Balls

Once upon a time, the Kona Nightengale carried freshly harvested macnuts (macademia nuts) from the fertile volcanic hills. An uncracked Hawaiian macnut looks much like a ball. Men processing the macnuts would laugh and say, ‘Here come the Donkey Balls.’ And so began a tale of two balls.”* 

This candy is infamous throughout the Hawaiian islands. You can order it online, or here is an easy recipe for you to make right at home.


1 2/3 cups shredded coconut flakes, divided
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided
1 oz. Valhrona chocolate, or other chocolate bar (for tempering)

In addition to the ingredients, you will need a candy thermometer.


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Toast 2/3 cup of the coconut flakes for about 10 minutes, or until they are slightly browned. Put toasted flakes in a small bowl.

2.  Mix remaining 1 cup shredded coconut flakes, coconut oil, and agave nectar in a bowl, kneading by hand to mix well. Put in the fridge for 10 minutes.

3. Cut parchment paper to fit over a plate. When the coconut mixture is firm enough, roll into balls, about 1 tablespoon each. Place the balls on the parchment paper, and put in freezer for 10 minutes.

4. Put 2 inches of water in a saucepan and place a wider metal bowl on top to make a double boiler. When the water boils, put 1 cup of the chocolate chips in the metal bowl and melt the chocolate, stirring constantly, heating it to a temperature of 105 degrees F.

5. Add the rest of the chocolate chips and chocolate bar to the melted chocolate. Stir briefly, then take the bowl off of the boiling water.  Mix until all the chocolate is melted and the temperature has cooled down to about 82 degrees. The chocolate is “tempered” (blended well, good color, and will have a crunchy bite) when it has a glossy sheen.

6. When the filling in the freezer is firm, dip each coconut ball into the 82 degree chocolate.  Roll each one around with 2 forks to cover all sides with chocolate, and then roll the balls in the toasted coconut flakes. Lift each ball with the forks back onto the parchment paper.  When all the pieces are covered, put them back in the freezer for 10 minutes.

8. The chocolates are now ready to serve. Keep in the refrigerator, and store in the freezer after a few days.

Makes about 12 - 15 balls.

#paleo #coconut #chocolate #donkeyballs #dessert #candy #hawaii #kona


Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Slanted Door’s "Shaking Beef”

I’m pretty sure the name “Shaking Beef” comes from the little hula-like dance the beef pieces do while cooking in the wok

Adapted from the The Slanted Door Cookbook, this recipe will provide not only an entertaining and delicious but - also, if the claim is true that eating greens with red meat will cancel any negative health effects,* - a totally guilt-free meal!



1 tablespoon grapeseed oil 
1 teaspoon coconut sugar 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak, preferably grass fed, cut in 1” cubes

Note: For a more affordable dish than beef, substitute 1-1/2 pounds pork center cut bone-in chops, OR 12 oz. thinly-sliced shitake mushrooms.

Cooking Sauce:

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup Mirin rice wine
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce

Dipping Sauce:

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Stir Fry:

1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion, divided
3 green onions, cut into 1” pieces, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably Strauss Family Farms, divided


1  bunch young watercress, stems removed



Combine the oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Trim the fat from the meat and cut into 1" cubes. Marinate the meat for two hours at room temperature.

Cooking Sauce:

Combine the vinegar, Mirin, coconut aminos, sesame seed oil, sugar and fish sauce in a bowl. Set aside.

Dipping Sauce:

Combine the salt, pepper and lime juice. Set aside.

Stir Fry:

The ingredients are cooked in two batches as follows:

1. Heat a wok on high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add 1/2 cup of grape seed oil and heat until shimmering. Add 1/2 of the meat pieces, letting the bottom of each piece sear with a brown crust, about 30 seconds to 1 minute (depending on the temperature of your stove). Immediately turn the pieces over until cooked through, about another 30 seconds to 1 minute - do not overcook. Remove the meat pieces with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the oil into a glass measuring cup to use later. 

2. Add 1/2 of the red and green onions to the wok. Stir for about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 of the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add 1/2 of the Cooking Sauce and stir. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and combine until the butter melts. Put the cooked meat back in the wok and stir to coat all ingredients. 

3. Set this batch aside (keeping it warm), wipe the wok, and cook the second batch the same way as the first one, starting with the oil previously set aside. 


Place the cooked meat and pan sauce over a bed of fresh watercress (note: for the mushroom option, set aside extra pan sauce). Serve with the Dipping Sauce. 

Cauliflower rice (Paleo) or Jasmine rice optional.

Serves 4.

*Dr. Sarah Ballantyne,
Scientific research shows that eating red meat in combination with vegetables containing chlorophyll "completely inhibits the production of potentially cancer-causing byproducts from the digestion and metabolism of heme (an iron-containing molecule that is rich in red meat).”

#paleo #Asian #Vietnamese #beef #watercress #pork #stirfry #shitake #foodphotography #foodporn