Sunday, August 27, 2017

Nom Nom Paleo Asian Meatballs + NYT Tomato Sauce

These meatballs were surprisingly tasty for dinner, but were raised to another level the next day when I tried to disguise a home-made sandwich for a store-bought one for my picky-eater daughter.

Getting a text too late to buy a meatball sandwich from Whole Foods, I decided to make one for her while she was in the shower. But as she "eats with her eyes," I thought about what the sandwich from the deli would look like: hard roll, and meatballs slathered in sauce.

I didn't have a roll, but luckily, I had seen a video for a 4-ingredient tomato sauce on a New York Times post earlier that morning. I only had 15 minutes to let the sauce cook down, but it was thick enough to cover up the meatballs from dinner - and when I returned to take her plate, the sandwich was gone.  “It was really good except for the bread,” she said, and was surprised when I told her I had made it.

So I’d say ditch the roll and enjoy these meatballs as an appetizer, snack, or main dish with this fabulous buttery tomato sauce - it totally saved the day!

My Paleo Marin Rating: 5 Persimmons

For the Meatballs: 

See Michelle Tan’s always lively Nom Nom Paleo website for “Asian Meatballs” recipe here.

For the NYT Tomato Sauce:

See "Marcella Hazen’s Tomato Sauce” video and recipe link here.

#paleo #meat #meatballs #asian #tomato #Italian #snack #maindish #appetizer #glutenfree 

*My Paleo Marin 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, August 20, 2017

The Big Dipper Savory Herb Quick Bread

Is it fall yet? anywhere? I can hardly wait to dip a thick toasted slice of this savory herb bread in a bowl of butternut squash soup,* both modified for non-dairy dietary restrictions, of course.

Dairy products (except for grass fed butter) are in the "Red Zone" on the Paleo diet. But I first noticed I was becoming lactose-intolerant years before I knew about Paleo by, of all things, the zucchini bread at Peet's Coffee & Tea. It took awhile to figure out that any food made with milk, buttermilk or cream wasn't going to be a good choice for me. So time to make adjustments.

Soups are easy; substitute coconut milk or use chicken broth. But baked goods are more of a challenge. Thank goodness for Califia Almond Milk - and the cheese expert at Whole Foods. He has guided me to Kite Hill products on multiple occasions. For this bread, he recommended non-dairy ricotta as a substitute for cottage cheese which worked perfectly in terms of texture and taste.

The chef that created this recipe was going for a ranch dressing flavor palette. It's delicious toasted with jam for now, but I made another loaf to freeze slices for some serious soup dipping when the first evening chill hits the Bay Area.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 5 Persimmons


3 cups gluten-free flour, preferable Cup4Cup
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup almond milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
4 tablespoons grass fed butter, melted and cooled (or ghee)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
2 eggs, lightly whipped
1 cup non-dairy ricotta, preferably Kite Hill


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bread pan with butter. 

1. Whisk the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.

2. In another bowl, whisk the almond milk w/ lemon, melted butter, dill, chives, eggs and ricotta together. Pour into dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until all the dry ingredients are absorbed.

3. Pour the batter into the bread pan. Bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes and check for doneness with a wooden skewer. Bread will be done will skewer is clean, and the top is browned.

4. When the bread is done, place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Flip the brea onto the rick and let cool for at least another 15 minutes before serving.

Best eaten fresh, the bread can also be wrapped lightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from the kitchn recipe for Easy Ranch Quick Bread, link here.

*See "Potimarron Squash Soup w/ Saffron, Orange Zest and Caramelized Seeds" and "My Thai Coconut Curry Soup" for soup recipes.

For a link to Kite Hill Farm products, see here.

For a link to Califia Almond Milk, see here.

#paleo #vegetarian #glutenfree #dairyfree #sugarfree #quickbread #savory #bread #soup #squash #almondmilk

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, August 13, 2017

Lazy Glaze of Summer Baked BBQ Ribs

As I thanked the pig who gave its life for this first 5+ rated dish, I dug out the wrapper and did a Google search on the brand.

Prairie Ranch is a cooperative of small to mid-sized family farms in Missouri that raise organic, free range livestock. "Our hogs are raised unconfined and bedded on thick straw, and given plenty of room to roam and access to fresh air and sunshine. This extra care results in rich, juicy organic pork with a delicious difference you can taste." The butcher at Whole Foods said he doesn't worry about buying organic meat (given their strict standards) except for pork: "For some reason, organic pork always tastes way better."

Save this dish for a special occasion, and buy the meat responsibly. My apologies to my vegan and non-pork eating followers, although I doubt you've read this far. 

My Paleo Marin Rating 5+  


I found the Prairie Ranch ribs at my local Whole Foods for $6.99/lb. They are also available online at the link here.


3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon granulated onion
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon mustard powder
1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper


1 lb. spareribs per person
1 cup Bulls-Eye BBQ Sauce*


1. Combine the rub mixture ingredients. Coat sparerib slabs with the rub mixture, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in fridge for 2-24 hours.

2. Place ribs on a wire rack set over a baking sheet covered with foil. Broil for about 4-5 minutes.

3. Turn down oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour and then cover with foil.

4. Bake for another hour, and then spread BBQ sauce over the ribs. Cover with foil and cook another 1/2 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes. Separate ribs and serve.

*Bulls-Eye BarBQ Sauce is rated #1 for texture, aroma and flavor in the Serious Eats taste tests. For a paleo version of bbq sauce, select a recipe from Paleo Grubs here.

#paleo #pork #bbq #ribs #maindish

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Blackberry Cobbler (Vegan)

My memories of picking blackberries on my grandmother's farm in Southern Maryland have often left me less than enthusiastic about summer berries in California.

But last week when we found a vendor at the Marin Farmers' Market with melt-in-your-mouth super sweet blackberries, the time was ripe to indulge in a berry cobbler.

Cooks' Illustrated posted a low-sugar blueberry and biscuit recipe with an ingredient list "small enought to let the fruit shine through." I used the blackberries, and switeched out a few ingredients to make the dessert gluten and dairy free.

It's peak season for berries. Check your Farmers' Market for the best selection.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 5 Persimmons


Blackberry Filling:

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch fine grain sea salt

6 cups fresh blackberries, washed and picked over

1-2 tablespoons lemon zest

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1 cup gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup

2 tablespoons almonds, ground in a food processor
1/4 cup cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup almond milk mixed with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Biscuit Topping:

2 teaspoons cane sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Blackberry Filling:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Stir sugar, arrowroot powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. 

3. Add berries and mix gently with a rubber spatula until evenly coated.

4. Add lemon zest and juice to mixture and combine.

5. Transfer berry mixture to a 9-inch glass pie pan, place pan on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until filling hot and bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes.


1. Add the lemon juice to the almond milk. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

2. Whisk the flour, ground almonds, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to combine.

3. In another bowl, whisk the melted butter, almond milk and lemon juice mixture, and vanilla in a small bowl. 

4. In another small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons cane sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

5. One minute before the berries come out of the oven, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; stir with a rubber spatula until just combined and no dry pockets remain.

To Assemble and Bake the Cobbler:

1. Remove the berries from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

2. Pinch off 8 equal-sized pieces of the mixed biscuit dough and place around the hot berry filling, being careful to keep them separated.

3. Sprinkle each biscuit with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through, about 15-18 minutes. 

4. Cool cobbler on a wire rack for 20 minutes and serve. 

#paleoinspired #berrycobbler #blackberries #dessert #farmersmarket #summer #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree

Recipe adapted from the Cooks Illustrated website here.

*My Paleo Marin 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.