Sunday, November 29, 2015

Winter Walnut, Beet & Pear Salad

This salad is dedicated to our local Mill Valley Market where most of the ingredients were purchased. It is a family-owned market, and many of the items come directly from their family farm.

Not only did the green grocer offer great suggestions for the best combination of veggies for taste and texture (as well as the photograph), he also cautioned me to wait until Wednesday to purchases the lettuces - not an easy thing to do for someone who likes to prep ahead!

Plus, seeing the friendly faces of the staff who have worked there since I started going to the market 27 years ago made very clear why shopping local is important - on so many levels.

*MPM Rating: 5 Persimmons


Note: After making the salad platter above, there were enough greens leftover to make another large bowl of salad. The dressing recipe is for just the platter; if making all the salad greens in a bowl, double the dressing recipe.


1 head red butter lettuce
1 head escarole
1 head little gem lettuce (2 for bowl)
1 head Belgium endive
1 head frisee
1 head radicchio
2 bunches baby beets
1 Bosc pear
1/2 pound French feta*
2 tablespoons fresh dill
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted as shown here, optional

*For paleo, omit feta cheese.


1/3 cup grapeseed oil
Juice of 1 1/2 fresh lemons
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, to taste
2 tablespoons honey, to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt & ground pepper to taste


1. For the beets: cut off the tops, rinse, and put in roasting pan. Fill pan to 1/8” with water. Cover the pan tightly with foil, and roast at 425 degrees F for about 40 minutes, or until a fork slides easily into the middle. Set aside to cool. Remove the skins and cut into quarters (can be prepared the night before and stored in a covered container in the fridge).

2. For the walnuts: toast a baking sheets at 350 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned. Set aside to cool (can be prepared the night before and stored in a covered container).

3. Combine the ingredients for the dressing, whisking as each one is added. Set aside.

4. Rinse and thoroughly dry all the vegetables.

5. Thinly slice the pear with a mandolin and cut the slices in half.

6. For the platter: Arrange the ingredients on the dish in the order presented. Add just enough of each one to fill out the plate. Put the rest in a bowl and set aside for later. Drizzle the dressing on top, with extra on the side. Serve immediately.

For a bowl: Roughly tear the veggies into bite-sized pieces and put all ingredients in a bowl. Add dressing and toss well. Serve immediately.

#salad #vegetarian #glutenfree #healthyeating

Recipe adapted from website.

*MPM 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 22, 2015

Repost: Cauliflower Mashers

One of my favorite discoveries on this diet has been how much better I like the taste of these cauliflower mashers over mashed potatoes.  It only takes about 15 minutes and 4 ingredients to made a delicious side dish to accompany any food - or just enjoy by itself.


1 large cauliflower
4 ounces of European unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal brand)
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper

Optional: 1 clove garlic
Optional: Chives for topping

1. Chop the head of cauliflower into florets.  Steam the florets in a double boiler for 8 - 10 minutes, or until a fork goes easily into the stem. 

2. Put the steamed cauliflower, butter, salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend until the cauliflower mixture looks like mashed potatoes.  Taste for butter, salt and pepper.

Optional:  Add 1 clove of finely chopped garlic in the food processor.

Top with chives, if using. Serve. 

Makes 4 side servings.

#paleo #cauliflower #glutenfree #lowcarb 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thanksgiving Apple Cider Cake

This apple cake is adapted from a traditional New England family recipe.* Topped with apples, cinnamon, sugar and a creamy apple cider reduction glaze, it's a perfect fall dessert and beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving table.


To Prepare Ahead:

1 can coconut milk left in fridge overnight, upside down, preferably Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream Extra Thick & Rich

1 additional can: optional to serve alongside cake

1 cup apple cider, reduced to 1/2 cup, cooled for about an hour
1 cup apple cider, reduced to 2 tablespoons, cooled for about an hour (watch carefully at end)

For the Whipped Cream in the Cake (note: only 1/2 cup of mixture will be used in cake):

1 cup coconut milk: 3/4 cup solid and 1/4 cup liquid
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cake:

1/4 cup softened butter (4 tablespoons or half a stick)
3/4 cup cane sugar
2 eggs

2 cups gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut whipped cream, previously prepared

1 Granny Smith apple, chopped into 1/8” cubes (about 1 cup)

For the Topping:

1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cane sugar

1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly with a mandolin

For the Glaze:

2 tablespoons apple cider reduction, previously prepared
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-4 tablespoons whipped coconut cream, or enough to drizzle glaze off a spoon or knife but still be a bit firm

Optional Whipped Cream to Serve alongside Cake:

1 cup of firm coconut milk from top of can
1-2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the inside of a 9” springform baking pan.

For the Whipped Cream in the Cake:

Combine the coconut milk, powdered sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment for about 1 minute. Mixture should be a slightly runny. Put in covered container in fridge to chill.

For the Cake:

1. Add butter and sugar and mix on medium in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth.

2. Add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed; mix on medium high for about 3 minutes until batter is light and fluffy.

3. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup apple cider reduction and 1/2 cup of the coconut whipped cream until well mixed.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the batter, followed by 1/3 of the apple cider/whipped cream mixture. When all the ingredients are combined, remove bowl from mixer. Gently fold in the cup of chopped apples.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the apple slices on top in a fan shape. Sprinkle with the sugar/cinnamon blend. Check in 50 minutes. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. [I baked the cake for an hour, turned off the oven, and let the cake sit in the oven for another 10 minutes.]

6. Cool the cake pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool on rack for about an hour.

7. Combine the 2 tablespoons cider reduction, sugar, and whipped cream until it is thin enough to drizzle from a knife over the top, or put it in a squeeze bottle and decorate the top. Save the extra glaze to put on slices as they are served.

For the Optional Whipped Cream to Serve with Cake:

Add the coconut milk solids, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat on medium high for about 3 minutes; mixture should be more firm than that used in the cake.

Store the cake for about 3 days in the fridge, or freeze in plastic wrap and foil.

#cake #dessert #Thanksgiving #glutenfree

*Recipe adapted from website.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Morning Meringues

There can’t be an easier cookie recipe:
  • Toast 3/4 cup pecans for 10 minutes at 350 F; 
  • Whip two egg whites and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter until soft peaks form; 
  • Add 1/2 cup cane sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom; whip 2-3 minutes until stiff peaks form;
  • Gently fold in chopped pecans, 3/4 cup chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup dried cherries; 
  • Drop 2” balls onto foil-lined cookie sheet;
  • Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 5 minutes; turn off heat and leave to finish overnight (or at least 8 hours). 
Makes about 26 cookies. Store for up to 3 days in the fridge, or freeze. 

Ingredient List:

3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans

2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract if not available )
1/4 teaspoon cardamom 

3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries

#meringues #glutenfree #dairyfree #cookies

Recipe from November Food and Wine Magazine.