Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes never tasted so good!

Slice the potato, add butter and salt, and an hour or so later prepare your topping of choice.

Delicious, nutritious, easy. My mantra for the week.


Sweet potato of choice: 

I used one extra-large Japanese sweet potato that was plenty for 3 side portions

Butter, preferably grass fed
Fine sea salt to taste

Toppings of choice:

Melted butter, preferably grass fed
Bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces and baked or fried
Scallion, sautéed 
Garlic cloves, sautéed
Chives, cut
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Scrub the potato clean and dry it with a towel. Using a steady hand and a sharp knife, cut slices in the potato 1/8" wide, about 3/4 of the way through, or as far as you can cut without the potato coming apart. My potato was so big, I baked it for an hour, and then cut deeper when it had softened up. 

One suggestion for cutting the slices is to place a chopstick on each side of the potato to stop the knife before it goes through to the bottom; if it is small enough, place the potato in a large wooden spoon and the sides of the spoon will stop the knife. 

2. If possible, gently place butter with a knife in between the slices; add salt. If the potato is too rigid, bake it for about 45 minutes, and then insert the butter. Add butter and salt to the top. 

3. Check the potato about 1 hour into baking. The potato is done when a fork can easily be inserted toward the bottom of it. My enormous potato took about 1 1/2 hours. 

4. Add toppings of choice and serve.

#paleo #veggies #hasselback #sweetpotato #healthyeating 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Matcha Tea Truffles

Channeling my inner Ina Garten, I wondered what to make for a friend coming to tea who loves dark chocolate and green tea lattes?

Matcha Tea Truffles, of course!

If you appreciate the health benefits and tastes of green tea, coconut, and dark chocolate, you also will love these melt-in-your-mouth treats.



1 cup coconut butter (manna)

1 tablespoon matcha tea powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 

Chocolate Coating:

14 ounces dark chocolate: I used:

   2 ounces Valhrona Noir Guanaja chocolate, chopped
   4 ounces Ghiradelli 60% chocolate, chopped
   8 ounces Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips 

3-4 tablespoons almond milk


For homemade almond milk, start the night before and follow the recipe here.


1. In a food processor, mix the coconut butter, match tea powder, and maple syrup until well blended, about 30 seconds. Stir in the shredded coconut with a wooden spoon.

2. Put mixture in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for about 15 minutes, or until it is firm enough to form into balls.

3. Using a heaping teaspoon of filling, roll into a ball, and place on parchment paper on a plate. When all balls are rolled, place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Makes about 24 balls.

Chocolate Coating:

1. If you have the patience and a candy thermometer, omit the almond milk and melt and temper the chocolate as described here. The result will be a beautiful sheen on the chocolate, and the balls can dipped and covered with chocolate using 2 forks. 

Or (as I did this time),

1a. Put 2 inches of water in a pot and add a wider metal bowl on top to make a double boiler.  When the water boils, add the chocolate pieces and the almond milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the chocolate is melted together. Remove from the heat, and add enough milk so the chocolate is thin enough to roll the balls of filling in. Stir briskly to mix the chocolate and milk together.

2. When the balls are firm, roll them in the chocolate with your hands until they are covered. Place them on parchment paper on a plate. Place the plate in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Makes about 24 truffles. Keep refrigerated for a few days, or freeze.

#paleo #truffles #matcha #chocolate #dessert #glutenfree

Recipe adapted from My Whole Life website.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hasselback Carrots

hasselback carrots orange swedish
Hasselback is a Swedish cooking technique named for the restaurant that created it in the 1700’s. It consists of making thin slices horizontally through a vegetable, almost to the bottom but not quite, usually on a potato; then various toppings are added either before or after cooking.

This post will feature Hasselback Carrots with its beautiful colors perfect for a fall appetizer or side dish. Use your preference for the dressing - I deviated from the original recipe* and used the revised one below it. Whatever you choose, it’s an elegant addition to any table.


4 large carrots, scrubbed, cut in 3” lengths
Sea Salt to taste

Fleur de Sel Sea Salt, for topping
Sliced chives, for topping

Original Dressing Recipe:

Fresh lemon juice for drizzling
Olive oil, for drizzling

Revised Dressing Recipe:

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon capers
Pinch of sea salt


1. Cut the scrubbed carrots into 3” lengths. Steam the pieces in a double boiler filled with 2” of water. Carrots should be cooked through in about 10 minutes. Let cool.

2. While the carrots are steaming, mix together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

3. When the carrots have cooled, place one piece of carrot on a cutting board. Cut one side to form a flat bottom. The skin should peel off easily now. Turn the carrot and cut on all sides until the end is a perfect square. 

4. Heat a cast iron frying pan to very hot. Place the carrot pieces in the dry pan with tongs. Turn them until they are blackened, about 8 minutes. Let cool. 

Note: I didn’t care so much for the taste of the very blackened sides, but they looked striking. Next time, I would just barely char them.

5. When the carrots have cooled, carefully begin cutting 1/8” wide slices about 4/5 of the way through the carrot. Place on a serving plate and fan out the slices. Repeat with the remaining carrot pieces.

6. Taste one slice for salt. Drizzle the carrots with the dressing. Top with finishing salt and chives. Serve.

Makes about 4 side servings.

#paleo #vegetarian #hasselback #carrots #Swedish #foodphotography #foodblogger

*Original recipe from Bon Appetite.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rustic Spinach Pasta + Sauce

If you didn’t make it to Tuscany this summer, here is the next best thing. Jenn Louis in Pasta by Hand, A Collection of Italy’s Hand Shaped Pasta, includes this recipe for "Rustic Malfutti” (spinach dumplings) in her excellent new book.

To accompany the pasta, Louis' recipe for "Tomato Sauce” combines techniques from all over Italy. She adds butter to mitigate the acidity of the tomatoes, and the result is a creamy sauce that pairs well with many pastas.

Named as one of Food & Wine’s "Best Upcoming Chefs" in 2012, Louis’ book contains easy-to-follow recipes and beautiful photographs for everything from pasta and sauces, to stocks and ragu. It’s worth checking out.

Tomato Sauce

Image from Amazon Website

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh oregano, or other dried Italian herbs
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in small cubes

Kosher salt to taste


1. Heat oil over medium heat in large frying pan. Cook the garlic, onion, herbs and pepper flakes until the onion is translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and butter and simmer for 45 minutes.

3. Salt to taste.

4. Process the sauce in a food mill, or press through a mesh strainer. Discard the solids.

Spinach Dumplings
Pasta always tastes better with a friend!


2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed
4 eggs
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste

1 cup (+/-) gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup 


1. In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath for the spinach.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add the spinach to fill the pot and blanch it for about 2 minutes. Remove spinach with tongs to ice bath. Repeat with any remaining spinach.

3. Drain the cooled spinach in a colander. Squeeze out excess water with hands, and then with towels. 

3. In a food processor, mix the spinach and eggs until smooth. Taste for salt.

4. Scrape the spinach into a bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold in just enough flour until the mixture is thickened to resemble thick pancake batter. Mixture can be covered with plastic wrap and stored for up to one day. Note: this pasta cannot be frozen.

5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Make a dumpling by scooping up the spinach mixture on one soup spoon, and then slightly rounding it off in another spoon. Drop the dumpling into the boiling water; repeat with all the spinach mixture until the pan is filled. When the dumplings rise to the top and appear done, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel and pat dry. 

6. Reheat the tomato sauce in a large frying pan. Add the cooked dumplings to the sauce and let the flavors blend together for 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes about 4 servings.

#paleo ##glutenfree #healthyfood #vegetarian #pasta #Italian

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mix & Match Superfood Smoothies

superfood smoothies pomegranate spinach pearDay One, I watched almonds soak. Day Two, pears dehydrate. But it was all worth it.

These three recipes are adapted from the book, Superfood Smoothies, 100 Delicious, Energizing & Nutrient-Dense Recipes, by Julie Morris.

Each smoothie is a satisfying, nutritious pick-me-up. No, you don’t have to make the pear chips from the French Laundry Cookbook - but they do make quite an elegant scoop ~

1. Spinach Smoothie


Almond Milk:

1 cup raw almonds
mulberry berries & hemp seeds for superfood smoothies paleo
2 cups water

2 cups chopped frozen spinach

2 cups diced ripe Bartlett pears
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup dried mulburry beries
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons honey


To make ahead of time: 

Almond Milk

1. Put almonds in medium bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight, or up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Milk will be creamier the longer the almonds soak.

2. When finished soaking, drain the almonds and rinse with cold water.

3. Put almonds and 2 cups of water in a blender; puree for about 2 minutes.

4. Strain mixture through cheesecloth. Squeeze all milk out of cloth into a jar and refrigerate milk for up to three days.

Green Tea Ice Cubes:

1. Boil 2 cups of water; steep 3 jasmine or other green tea bags for 5 minutes. 

2. Poor cooled tea into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.

To make the smoothie:

1. In a blender, add 1 1/2 cups almond milk, spinach, pears, ginger, mulberry berries, hemp seeds (source of protein), honey, and 1 cup frozen green tea ice cubes. Pulverize for about a minute.
2. Enjoy immediately. Serves about 4.

2. Pomegranate Smoothie:


2 cups frozen mixed berries
1 cup diced ripe Bartlett pears 
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons honey

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

To make ahead of time:

Green Tea Ice Cubes: see above.

To make the smoothie:

1. Place frozen berries, pears, juice, ginger, hemp seeds (source of protein), honey, and 1 cup green tea ice cubs in blender. Pulverize for about one minute, until mixture is frothy.

2. Pour into serving glasses and top with pomegranate seeds. 

Serve immediately. Makes about 4 servings.

3. Pear Smoothie


2 cups chopped ripe Bartlett pears
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 cup green tea ice cubes

Pear Chips (optional)

1 cup pure cane sugar
2 cups water
1 firm Bosc Pear

To make ahead of time:

Green Tea Ice Cubes: see above.

Pear Chips: (optional)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

1. Boil water and sugar until syrup forms - about 8-10 minutes.

2. Slice pear on thinest setting of mandolin.

3. Using tongs, put pear slices gently in syrup mixture and cook over medium heat until cooked through - about 8 minutes.

4. Let pear slices cool in mixture - about 10 minutes.

5. Place pear slices on paper towels; add paper towel on top and pat dry.

6. Put slices on parchment paper on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Turn slices over and bake 30 minutes more (1 hour total) - or until the pieces are firm enough to stand upright. Be careful not to bake too long and burn them.

7. Use in smoothie, or store in airtight container for about 1 day.

To Make the Smoothie:

1. In a blender, add the pears, coconut milk, ginger, hemp seeds (source of protein) and ice cubes. Pulverize for about one minute until frothy.

2. Pour into serving glasses and place pear chips on top (if using).

Serve immediately. Serves about 4.

#paleo #smoothies #energydrinks #glutenfree #dairyfree #healthyeating