Archive for April, 2012

Poached Hake in Thai Coconut Sauce (Secret Recipe Club)

It’s that time again for another Secret Recipe Club reveal! I sat out last month with the start of our frozen yogurt store but I am excited to be back in full swing :)

I was given Dena’s blog Oh! You Cook! for this month’s assignment and couldn’t wait to start deciding which recipe I wanted to make. She has so many recipes that I kept drooling over but the one I kept going back to was her Broiled Haddock with Thai Coconut Sauce. I happen to love anything Thai and I’ve been searching for a savory dish that incorporates (one of the many cans of) coconut milk I purchased on sale recently – waalaa, this was the one!

This recipe was amazing, many thanks to Dena for posting this entree that inspired this oh-so-flavorful dinner! I made a few tweaks though to suit my needs and what I had on hand. I decided I didn’t want to dirty a second dish and heat up the oven so I poached the fish in the coconut sauce instead of broiling it first. I added mushrooms for more veggies, increased the amount of bell pepper, used Thai green curry paste in place of the Sambal Oelek, replaced brown sugar with coconut nectar, substituted hake (white fish) for the haddock, unrefined coconut oil in place of the sesame/olive oil to add to the coconut flare along with coconut aminos for the soy sauce and used fresh ginger for that extra ginger punch.

I had never eaten or heard of hake prior to my recent visit to Costco, but they were taste-testing these skinless, white fish fillets and I couldn’t pass them up! Skinless fillets are easier to deal with plus they were wild-caught and individually frozen for easy portioning :) If you don’t have hake, feel free to substitute your favorite white fish – tilapia, haddock, halibut or cod.

I even had a bit of leftover sauce; it was delicious over steamed kale and cooked quinoa for a light vegetarian meal! I love dishes that are easily adaptable and this sauce is really versatile depending on your preferences — serve over baked tofu cubes, sauteed or poached chicken, or use as the cooking liquid for cubes of potatoes and vegetables.

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut Sauce (adapted from Broiled Haddock with Thai Coconut Sauce)

Ingredients

2 tsp coconut oil (butter, ghee, oil can be subbed)
1 Tbsp fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced (white or baby bella), optional
3 scallions, diced
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp Thai green curry paste (or Sambal Oelek chili paste)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s)
1 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (if you hate cilantro, you can leave this out but it adds brightness to the dish)
3 (6 oz) skinless hake fillets or other white fish such as tilapia, haddock or halibut
4 lime wedges

cooked grain of choice for serving (brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc)
Directions

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; stir for 30 seconds.  Lower heat if garlic starts to brown.
2. Add curry powder, curry paste and cumin; stir for 1 minute to bring out their flavor and aromas.
3. Add red pepper, mushrooms and scallions; stir for 1 minute then add coconut aminos, coconut sugar and coconut milk. Stir to completely mix and bring to a simmer (do not boil).
4. Add fish to the sauce, cover and simmer until cooked through, about 6 minutes (flesh is white and no longer transparent).
5. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Serve fish and sauce over a bed of rice or your favorite cooked grain. Serve with a lime wedge for added brightness (this adds a nice freshness, I wouldn’t skip this) and enjoy!

*For a grain-free dish, serve this over cooked potatoes and/or a bed of sauteed spinach to soak up the sauce.
*For a vegetarian friendly meal, substitute 1-inch cubed potatoes or tofu for the fish.



April 30, 2012 at 10:00 am 18 comments

Blueberry Hemp Snack Bars

I am learning a lot about myself, not to mention how to “deal with” and manage people from running our yogurt store and starting a new business. While managing (mostly) high school kids has proven to be a big challenge, it also brings about growth….and who couldn’t use a little stretching?

Thank goodness for the weekend though! It’s been a week of emotional ups and downs at work and I am ready a rest day to recharge.

Experimenting in the kitchen, particularly with baking, is a stress relief for me so you know where I was headed after a long week! These blueberry bars are made with oat flour, along with a bit of protein powder, juicy blueberries and earthy hemp seeds. While I planned on making buckwheat bars, I’ve been eating buckwheat like crazy and ran out so oat flour was next in line :)

These bars are a great snack, breakfast or a light dessert. Feel free to substitute the blueberries for your favorite berry or fruit. If hemp seeds aren’t your thing, add in chopped nuts, seeds or even chocolate chips!

Blueberry Hemp Snack Bars

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup oat flour (I grind my own using gluten free oats – buckwheat would probably work)
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (about 65 grams)
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar or date sugar (or other granulated sweetener)
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 eggs, whisked
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 Tbsp hemp seeds (if you don’t like the earthy taste of hemp, feel free to substutite 1/3  cup your favorite seeds or chopped nuts)
3/4 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh- blackberries, cherries, raspberries or a combo can be substituted)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 8×8 pan or large loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease well). Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (flour through salt).
3. Stir in the eggs and applesauce just until combined them fold in the hemp seeds and berries.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 14-16 minutes or until just firm on top and a toothpick comes clean.

*Due to the protein powder, be careful not to over bake or it will cause the bars to be dry! Depending on the size pan used, you may have to adjust the baking time. Mine were done right at 15 minutes in my little toaster oven.

Here’s to a restful rest of the weekend and a fresh start to the week!

April 29, 2012 at 11:57 am 7 comments

Flourless Tangelo Cake aka “The Fruit Loop Cake”

Over Easter weekend, my step mother-in-law and I baked this cake as an experiment. We were aiming for a flourless dessert, free of leavening and sugar and wound up tweaking a recipe for Flourless Orange Almond Cake she encountered while watching Laura Calder on the Cooking Channel.

This is not a traditional fluffy cake. I repeat, this cake does not have resemble a traditional cake with a tender crumb and texture but it’s delicious in it’s own right. The rest of the family dubbed this recipe “The Fruit Loop Cake” as it sort of tasted like the cereal in dessert form!

We made a few changes to the recipe but basically stood by the original this time around. On my own, I can go overboard tweaking recipes but I didn’t have full reins on this one (thanks B for keeping me under control!). Instead of the usual white sugar, we substituted erythritol* (see recipes notes for details). In place of regular oranges, we used tangelo’s (citrus fruit hybrid of tangerine and pomelo or grapefruit) which gave the cake a lovely distinctive flavor. The soaking syrup is simple; it includes Grand Marnier, a bit of delicious local honey, erythritol and juice from the fruit.

And yes, I fully intend to create a different version of this cake with my crazy ideas down the road :)

It was delicious the first night we made it, but I thought it may have needed some added texture in the form of chopped nuts or something. Turns out, refridgerating the leftover cake made the erythritol slightly granular again (I assume it was the sweetener in the soaking syrup since it didn’t cook long) and that’s what added a slight crunch. We thought it was YUM!


Flourless Tangelo Cake aka “The Fruit Loop Cake” (adapted from this recipe)

Cake Ingredients: 

6 eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated erythritol* (or other granulated sugar, I bet coconut sugar would work well)
Zest of 3 organic tangelos
1 1/2 cups almond flour
pinch of sea salt

For the soaking syrup:

Juice from the 3 tangelos
3 Tbsp erythritol (or 2 Tbsp more honey)
2-3 Tbsp honey (we used delicious local honey!)
1 Tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, optional

Optional: Whipped cream (we didn’t have this, would have loved to have served it with this!). Toasted chopped almonds for serving would add a lovely texture too.

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Grease (with coconut oil, butter or ghee) and line a 9-to-10-inch springform cake pan (or tube pan) with parchment paper and set aside.
2. To prepare the cake batter, separate the eggs into two bowls. Beat the yolks with the sugar and zest until ribbony, then stir in the almond flour and salt. Beat the whites to peaks. Stir a spoonful of whites into the yolk mixture, then fold in the rest, gently (do this carefully since no leavening is used and the egg whites help create height). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until set, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then unmold onto a serving platter.
3. For the syrup: Heat the orange juice, erythritol and honey together in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the liqueur if using. Spoon the syrup evenly over the warm cake, letting the syrup soak in as you go (it will absorb most of it).
4. Slice and serve with whipped cream and/or toasted almonds (or refrigerate overnight if you want a slight crunch if using erythritol).

*What is erythritol?
Erythritol is a naturally-occuring sugar alcohol (polyol) found in fruits and fermented foods. It can be manufactured by fermenting glucose and is considered to be 60-70% as sweet as sugar. It is absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine and then excreted almost unchanged in the urine, so it does not affect blood sugar the way regular sugar and some other sugar alcohols do. Since it is absorbed before it enters the large intestine, it also does not cause as much of the gastric distress considered to be a side effect of most sugar alcohols such as xylitol and maltitol.

Erythritol can have a mouth-cooling feel when eaten in concentrated forms, but in many baked goods, it is diluted enough for this effect to be unnoticeable. Erythritol is sold under the brand names such as ZSweet and Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Zero as well as several others. It can be found at some grocery stores and health food stores (such as Natural Grocers and Whole Foods) but is more affordable when purchased online.

April 23, 2012 at 6:18 am 10 comments

My Favorite Taco Salad Bowls

All the nacho photos from my last post made me crave Mexican food! Off I went to the grocery store to pick-up ingredients for our go-to taco bowls.

We make this dish in some form or fashion at least twice a month – sometimes I use cooked rice, millet or quinoa instead of the shredded lettuce as the base. When I have avocado on hand, I will make guacamole and plop a big scoop on top instead of the plain yogurt. If you do not eat meat, you can make this meat-free by increasing the beans to 3-4 cups and adding 1-2 cups of a cooked grain as the “meat filling”. Gotta love options :)
My Favorite Taco Salad Bowls

Ingredients

Spice mix*
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika (you could use a heaping 1/2 tsp smoked paprika for a different but lovely smoky taste)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp oregano

2 tsp coconut oil, butter, ghee or other neutral oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups cooked beans (pinto or black)
3/4 lb ground meat (turkey, bison, chicken, beef)**
3 tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno, deseeded and deveined and minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced

For serving
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese (omit for dairy free or use dairy-free cheese)
plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, optional
avocado cubes or guacamole, optional

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meat and onion and cook until meat is cooked through.
2. Stir in the spice mixture and beans, then toss to combine. Cook for about 5-6 minutes while preparing the tomatoes.
3. In a small mixing bowl, toss fresh tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno.
4. Add shredded lettuce to your bowl, top with bean-meat mixture and spoon on the tomato-lime mixture. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, avocado and greek yogurt/sour cream and enjoy! Serve with sturdy chips and use as spoons if you are like me :)

Serves 4-5
*If you prefer to use a pre-made spice pack to save time, feel free to substitute Southwest Taco Seasoning from Simply Organic.
**For a vegetarian dish, increase beans to 3-4 cups and add 1-2 cups of your favorite cooked grain. Crumbled tempeh might even work here as well!

April 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm 7 comments

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