Sunday, June 25, 2017

Aloha! Ahi Tuna Poke Salad - Part 1

When my local Mill Valley Market posted a Facebook photo of ahi tuna steaks that had just arrived, I bought a half pound, and picked a recipe online from a trusted source,The Kitchn, to give traditional Hawaiian poke a try. It was one of those times when the universe reminded me that stepping out of my comfort zone can sometimes bring unexpected rewards!

I really liked the recipe posted below, and there are many variations on poke, but I guarantee that any of them will taste better than what you may have had in a supermarket deli case - even in Hawaii. Look for ingredients that appeal to you, and buy very fresh fish - you might ask your fishmonger if she or he would eat it raw. Just make sure the fish looks pink, is sashimi grade, feels firm to the touch, and smells fresh (not fishy).

[This is Part 1 of two posts on ahi tuna poke. Part 2 will cover information and recipes from the Sunset Test Kitchen's class on poke held in Sonoma yesterday by Chef Metcalfe of the Shiso Modern Asian Kitchen Restaurant.]

My Paleo Marin: 5 Persimmons

The Kitchn's "Best Ahi Poke" Recipe (adapted for Paleo):


1/2 -3/4 pound ahi (yellowfin tuna) steaks

Coconut Aminos:
 Aged coconut sap and sea salt;
Low salt, gluten free and vegan;
Substitute for soy sauce
1 scallion, cut on the bias
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 firm avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 - 3 Tablespoons macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted
2 Teaspoons black sesame seeds
3 Tablespoons coconut aminos
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 Teaspoon coarse salt, Himalayan, Hawaiian, or Kosher (to taste)
1/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes (personal preference)

Garnish: Arugula, frisee, etc.

As you like it toppings: Edamame, Cucumber, Daikon, Seaweed, Pickled Radish, Masago (roe), shiso (julienned), 
Furikaka (homemade w/ coconut aminos), wasabi, minced ginger


1. If possible, select tuna pieces with a minimum of white streaks (connective tissue) as they can be too chewy (or remove them with a sharp knife). Cut the steaks into 3/4" - 1" pieces, and place the chunks into a large bowl.

2. Lightly toast the macadamia pieces in a frying pan over low heat (about 2-3 minutes), or until they turn light brown.

3. Add the onion, scallion, garlic, avocado, nuts, coconut aminos, sesame oil, salt and pepper flakes in the bowl. Stir well to combine.

4. The recipe recommends putting in the mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Another recipe said to let it sit about 2 minutes and then serve. I put it in the fridge, but found it tasted much better after it sat out for about half an hour. 

5. Add garnish when ready to eat.

Makes 4 side servings.

#paleo #ahi #tuna #poke #sesame #summer #salad #macadamia #Hawaiian #fish #sashimi #japanese #asian #glutenfree #dairyfree, #pickling, #shiso, #edamame, #wasabi, #seaweed, #seafood 

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, June 18, 2017

Beat-the-Heat Thai Noodle Salad w/ Toasted Sesame Oil Dressing

This cold crunchy Thai Noodle Salad is perfect for your next summer potluck. The recipe makes a huge bowlful of healthy salad that is both vegan and gluten free.

The recipe is adapted from the sassy New York Times bestselling Thug Kitchen (eat like you give a f**k Cookbook - an irreverent take on cooking from two Millennials in Los Angeles. The authors proudly boast that they have “the only website dedicated to verbally abusing you into a healthier diet.”

Easy and delicious, serve this salad anytime - with or without the profanity.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 4.5 Persimmons


Toasted Sesame Dressing:

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar 
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 Teaspoons coconut aminos
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste

Noodle Salad:

1 package Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Rice Noodles (8 oz.)

1 medium head of iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 large head of Romaine lettuce, crisp parts chopped into bite-sized pieces 
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks (or julienne - video here)
1 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks (or julienne - video here)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup chopped basil leaves (cut in a chiffonade style here)
1 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)

1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
Lime wedges


Toasted Sesame Dressing:

1. Add all ingredients together in a mason jar. Twist lid on tightly. Shake vigorously, and set aside.

Noodle Salad:

1. Put 4 quarts of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice noodles, and turn heat to medium. Use tongs to separate noodles, and stir for about 4 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Drain the noodles in a colander and set aside to cool.

2. Lightly toast the slivered almonds over low heat in a frying pan until they begin to turn brown, about 3-4 minutes. Stir constantly. Set aside to cool. 

3. Chop, chop, chop all the veggies. 

4. To serve on a platter, place the lettuce around the plate, put the noodles in the middle, and add the rest of the vegetables around the sides. 

5. When ready to eat, pour the dressing on the salad and taste test for salt and pepper. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top. Self-serve using tongs.

Optional: Toss all ingredients in a large bowl, and check for seasonings. Serve with tongs on individual plates, and then sprinkle almonds on top.

Store extra in fridge for about 2 days.

#paleoinspired #Thai #Thaifood #salad #noodles #ricenoodles #sesame #almonds #vegan #vegetarian #glutenfree #ricevinegar #healthyeats #cleaneating #recipes #maindish #potluck

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, June 11, 2017

Lemon Curd with Summer Berries

I first saw a photo of this beautiful dessert in the May issue of Bon Appétit. While always happy to find an excuse to make lemon curd, I had no idea what the red berries were.

Turns out they are lingonberries, previously seen by me only in tinted-glass jars of Ikea jam. I mail ordered the frozen berries from Oregon, and shared half of the 3-pound minimum with a friend who made a lingonberry spread that was also good as a topping.

Fresh and colorful, the lingonberries add a tart balance to the sweetness of the curd. However, the dessert is just as good - and much more economical - with any combination of fresh blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries. 

My Paleo Marin Rating: 4 Persimmons


2 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup cane sugar
6 large eggs
Pinch of kosher salt

1 stick of butter (8 Tablespoons), chilled and cut into pieces

2 cups fresh mixed berries


1. In a large pot, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Combine over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat to cool to a temperature still warm but not hot enough to curdle the eggs in Step 2.

2.  In a large bowl, add the cracked eggs, salt and the remainder of the sugar. Whisk constantly for about 1 minute until the eggs are light and frothy. Gradually add in about 1/4 of the warm lemon juice mixture to the eggs, and whisk constantly until combined. 

3. Gradually whisk the remaining egg mixture into the pot with the lemon mixture, and cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens enough to see the lines of the whisk, about 1 - 2 minutes.

4. Pour the curd into a blender. At medium speed, add butter pieces one at a time. When all the butter is absorbed, transfer to a nonreactive bowl, cover the top of the curd with plastic wrap and press to the top so a film doesn't form. Allow curd to cool for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Curd can be stored for up to 2 days.

5. To serve, add the curd to plates and top with washed fresh berries. 

Optional: Berries can be mixed with an additional 1/4 cup sugar for a half hour prior to serving, if desired.

Serves 6.

#paleo #lemon #curd #lingonberries, #berries, #blackberries, #strawberries, #dessert, #fruit, #recipes #ikea

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit 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, June 4, 2017

English Peas, Macadamia Nuts & White Chocolate Salad

"This is one of the greatest dishes of all times....People went crazy for it," claims Chef Jeremy Fox of the former Ubuntu Restaurant in Napa. David Chang writes, "Fox...makes the best tasting vegetables on the planet." So, of course, I had to give this recipe a try.

For anyone who was lucky enough to eat at Ubuntu before it closed, you'll appreciate the complexity and unique combination of flavors in this salad. For others, it might be a bit of a mystery as to why it was so complicated and took so long to make.

There's no doubt the salad will be a conversation piece. Just allow several hours to make it, or bring in a sous chef to help.

My Paleo Marin Rating:  2.5 Persimmons


Pea Shell Stock:

1 pound fresh pea pod shells (about 2 pounds of whole pods)
1 garlic clove, smashed with germ removed
1 shallot, sliced
Image from
On Vegetables link here
2 springs fresh spearmint

English Pea Salad:

2 pounds fresh peas, shucked (about 4 1/2 pounds of peas in pods)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup Pea Shell Stock (chilled)
1 Tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
3 Tablespoons white chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted

Fresh pea tendrils or edible flowers to garnish
Kosher salt, to taste
Olive oil in a squeeze bottle for topping and to decorate plates


Pea Shell Stock:

1. Wrap the ingredients in a large piece of cheesecloth, gather the corners together and tie with twine.

2. Lower the sachet into 1 quart of water in a pot set over low heat. Keep the bubble very low just to steep the ingredients.

3. After 2 hours, life the sachet from the stock and allow the stock to drain out into the pan. Discard the sachet.

4. When the stock has cooled, transfer the stock to an airtight container with a lid. Refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze the extra for up to 2 months.

English Pea Salad:

1. To cook the peas: Bring a pot of water to boil over medium-high heat. Add salt to make a salty brine. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Add the shucked peas to the boiling water and blanch until they become tender, about 1-2 minutes. Drain immediately and put in ice bath. When completely cook, place them on towels to dry off.

2. Gently squeeze the prepared peas to divide in half, discard the skins, and place in bowl. Season the peas with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the pea shell stock with the vinegar and season with salt to taste.

4. To compose the salad in 6 individual bowls:  Divide the peas evenly, and sprinkle with the chopped chocolate and toasted nuts. Garnish with mint leaves and flowers. When ready to serve, pour the seasoned Pea Shell Stock over the peas, and dot the surface with olive oil dots from a squeeze bottle.

Serves 6.

#paleo #englishpeas #ubuntu #jeremyfox #californiacuisine #macademianuts #glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan #vegetables #salad #whitechocolate #peasalad #edibleflowers #nasturciums

Recipe adapted from the KCRW website 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 therms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.