Lemony Cod, Almond Veggies, & Fruit Salad

An amazing perfectly balanced meal, in 3 parts:

Lemony Cod:
Put broiler on hi. Place cod fillets into a casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil (1 tbsp), and sprinkle with parsley (3 tsp) and rosemary (1 tsp), and top with slices of 1 lemon.
Broil on hi, watching carefully and occasionally basting with the juices, for 15-20 minutes --or just until it flakes easily with a fork.

Almond Veggies:
Heat heavy skillet (I always use cast iron) on med-hi. Add a bag of frozen mixed veggies. (I cheat sometimes! Or you can cut up your own broccoli, cauliflower and carrots...)
Drizzle with a little olive oil (2 tsp) and sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning and a handful of sliced almonds (1 oz.)
Stir every few minutes so things don't burn, and turn down to low once you get close to your preferred veggie done-ness.

Fruit Salad:
Peel 3 tangerines/clementines or 1 navel orange and separate the sections.
Peel 1 grapefruit and separate into sections, and cut sections in half.
Peel 1 banana and cut into thick slices.
Toss together with 2-3 tbsp dried unsweetened coconut flakes.

So delicious.


Bomb Crockpot Ribs

Funny story about these ribs - I came home after class to this INCREDIBLE smell in my apartment, and had honestly No clue where it was coming from. I thought, "My neighbors must be cooking something delicious!"  ...10 minutes later when I walked in the kitchen I realized the smell was coming from My cooking -- I literally had complete amnesia about tossing these bad boys in the crockpot before class!  My subconscious likes to cook, too, apparently.

Anyway - try these. They're so easy you'll forget you made them.

2-4 lbs pork ribs (with or without bone), 1 coarsely chopped yellow onion, 1/2 c orange juice, 2-3 tbsp rosemary, 2 tbsp sriracha or hot sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp quality mustard

Turn crockpot/slow cooker on low. Put ribs in it. Add onion. Add everything else. Turn ribs over a few times to coat them and mix everything. Put the lid on. 
Let it cook on low for at least 6 hours.

My boyfriend and I ate it with some cubed turnips simmered in the rib liquid, and a salad with tangerine slices.


Grapefruit Almond Salad

Easy as 1 - 2 - 3 ....

1 - Salad: get lots of it, wash it, dry it, put it in a bowl. I prefer organic Spring Mix.
2 - Grapefruit: section carefully like in the picture, or just peel, chop and toss on.
3 - Almonds: grab a handful, arrange carefully on each slice, or toss on. 

That's it - the juice is enough for dressing and the almonds provide fat. Add grilled chicken on the side for protein to make it a meal.


**Note - check my link to EWG's Dirty Dozen for a list of pesticide laden produce to either buy organic or not at all


Eggplant Fricassée

 *Adapted from The Silver Spoon - quintessential Italian cookbook

* 1 large eggplant, sliced thickly (~1/2in)
* 2 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 can peeled plum tomatoes, drained & chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 tbsp parsley
* salt and pepper
* 2 eggs
* juice of 1 lemon (or equivalent from bottle)

It is important to remember that eggplant must be well salted and allowed to 'sweat' for 30 minutes, then rinsed and patted dry before using. This takes the bitterness out. I've skipped this step if I'm in a real hurry but it does make a real difference. I like to slice mine, layer it in a colander (salting each layer well), then place a bowl full of water on top to help press them a bit. 

Meanwhile - melt the oil and butter together in your skillet (I use my cast iron, but an enamel casserole like le creuset would be great). Add the onion and sauté over medium for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until translucent. 


Add your patted dry eggplant slices, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and pepper. (Save the salt for the end and add only if it needs it since the canned tomato will likely have enough). 
Stir this around to coat the slices (it's a little awkward unless you have an enormous pan). Let cook for about 15 minutes or until the eggplant is tender enough for you. Flip them over every few minutes to make sure they cook evenly and get coated in the seasonings. 
When they're done, remove from the heat. 
Scramble the eggs together with the lemon juice - it will be very liquidy. ( You'll probably get the best flavor from juicing a fresh lemon)

Pour this over the eggplant in the pan and stir right away so the egg doesn't scramble. It should coat the eggplant like a cream sauce! (I was totally fascinated by this)

I am still fascinated by this dish - it was so simple, with basic ingredients, and seriously came out tasting 5 star restaurant quality. I will definitely make this again, and I am going to try it with chicken too!

Pumpkin Curry

- juice of 1 orange, 1 onion, 1 bell pepper, 1 cup mushrooms, 1 cup chopped pumpkin or butternut squash (may buy frozen!), 1-2 chicken breasts, 1 can coconut milk, spinach
- 1 cup chickpeas are optional as they do not agree with everyone, and are not strictly paleo. If using, start with dry bean and follow directions on package for cooking the day before.

Put the orange juice into a saucepot on medium high.
Add diced/chopped vegetables. Saute until onions are translucent and veggies are softened to your liking.
Add cooked chopped pumpkin or squash, chicken breast, and chickpeas
Saute until cooked through.     

Add 1/3 can of coconut milk plus some water to desired consistency, and 2 tablespoons of curry seasoning powder. 
Add a few handfuls of fresh spinach. Simmer a few minutes until flavors are well combined and spinach is wilted.

Turn the heat off. Add a splash of low sodium soy sauce or tamari. 
Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!!!

Yellow Rose of Texas

I made up a smoothie this morning for breakfast. It's delicious. 

Into the blender:
1/2c milk - coconut or almond
1 banana
1 mango
a splash of rose water
some ice

Blend to smoothie perfection.

Roast Beef Hash

In case you put a package of stew beef in the crockpot last night on low with a little olive oil and completely forgot about it until this morning, when you woke up to the smell of beef (maybe better than coffee...) This recipe is for you! Great for entertaining. No need to add anything to the beef, but seasoning and onion might be nice additions to the crockpot.


1 lb roast beef cooked and shredded (hot from the crockpot if cooked the night before)
1/2 -1 bag frozen turnips
Thyme, Salt, Pepper

Put the turnips in the skillet on high and stir often, when they begin to brown add the roast beef with all its liquid and fats. If there is not enough fat also add some olive oil. Cook them together with a few pinches of dried thyme, pepper and salt and viola!

Fresh, hot, delicious breakfast. I like mine with an egg over easy :)

Spanish Mussels

Adapted recipe from the Spring 2011 issue of Whole Foods' "Meals for 4 under $10"

Spanish-style Mussels with Spinach

Serves 4 (I halved the recipe)

2 lbs Mussels 
2 jalapeno peppers
1 lime
1.5 c coconut milk (unsweetened)
10 oz frozen spinach or collards
1 bunch cilantro (optional)
2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
2 tbsp dried or fresh oregano
Pinch black pepper

Scrub mussels under cold running water, discard any open or with broken shells.
Wash and slice jalapenos in half, removing seeds. (wear gloves to do this)
Wash and zest the lime, and cut it in half.

In a medium pot, add coconut milk and greens, cook 3-5 minutes until the greens thaw and separate. Stir in cilantro if using, jalapenos, and lime zest. Squeeze the lime juice into the pot. Add the tomatoes, oregano and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels, stir, and cover the pot. Let cook 4-6 minutes until the mussels have opened - discard any which don't open. 

Viola! Very quick, very delicious, very nutritious!

Homemade Aioli Sauce

Anything fatty and creamy is right up my alley - custard, cheesecake, butter, gravy. If follows, then, that I love mayonnaise. Love. But I hate manufactured pre-fab food, and love simple, cheap, quality, artisan food. Dilemma. 

Solution? Homemade Aioli!  Now, homemade mayonnaise flavored with garlic and/or herbs is called Aioli sauce. There are many varieties of this - some even including pears! My favorite recipe is made with classic herbs, making it very versatile. This sauce is amazing on sandwiches, with seafood, with steak, tossed with steamed veggies...use your imagination!

Some chemistry:  yes! science in the kitchen! my favorite. What we're really trying to do here is emulsify or blend together two things that don't really want to mix. Like oil and water. Egg yolk, lemon juice, and garlic all act as emulsifiers, which will allow the oil you mix in to break down into micro-droplets and make the yummy creamy sauce you're looking for. Cool.

Now - take your time, be wowed by science, and don't be afraid! 

Homemade Aioli

Ingredients: 1 egg yolk, 1/2 cup olive oil (or other oil you like the taste of), and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice. Pinch of sea salt, dash of garlic powder (or mashed small garlic clove), dash of mustard powder, and 2 fresh rosemary leaves chopped finely.

You begin with an egg yolk. I like to roll the egg yolk in my (clean) hands first to remove all white, then break the yolk and letting it drain into my bowl, leaving the membrane in my fingers to throw away. Not a huge difference, but I find I get a smoother sauce that whips more easily without that membrane. 
So.  Clean bowl. One egg yolk. You may grind a garlic clove into a paste and add it now, or just add garlic powder for flavor later. Begin whipping - I do this by hand, some use a food processor or blender. Add one drop of quality olive oil, or other oil that you like the taste of, and whip whip whip. Add one drop of lemon juice, whip. Drop of oil, whip. Drop of juice, whip. 

Now you can begin to add a few drops of oil and one drop of juice, whipping all the time to keep it blended. When you see the oil separate from the creamy base- stop adding and begin whipping. If it will not come together, try adding a second egg yolk, or just scrap it and start over.
Continue blending in small increments of oil and juice until all is combined. Ta-da!

 Now - for extra flavor. Mix in your sea salt, garlic powder, mustard powder, and chopped rosemary. I like to smash the rosemary into the bowl first to release all its aromatics. 
Enjoy :)

All in all - maybe 15 minutes? Totally worth it for an amazing, gourmet sauce using ingredients you already have. Win. 

Happy Eating!

Maple Coconut Sweet Potatoes

Clearly I like sweet potatoes for breakfast when I have a lazy morning to make them. 
These came out even better than expected, and I had them with a simple spinach omelet and some french press decaf. Lovely.

1 sweet potato, 1/4c coconut flakes, pinch of cinnamon, olive oil, drizzle of pure maple syrup

Heat a heavy skillet to med-hi and add chopped sweet potato. Remember - even chopping is key to even cooking, and smaller cubes cook faster.
Add a drizzle of olive oil and stir. 
Sprinkle with coconut flakes and toss until beginning to toast.
Add 1/4-1/2 cup of water, stir, cover, and reduce heat to med-low.
Cook your omelet or chicken or other protein accompaniment. 
Stir the potatoes occasionally and add more water if needed to keep them steaming.
When tender enough for your liking, add a pinch of cinnamon and drizzle with maple syrup!


Sweet & Savory Tilapia Sauté

This dish is the result of a quick lunch with my friend Cynthia - and turned out to be amazing. Forgive the poor plating - it was too good to waste time taking pictures of it. 
Seriously. Make this. 

Ingredients: for 2
- 2 tilapia fillets, 1 carrot, 2-3 collard leaves, 1 oz. sliced almonds (handful), 4-5 dried apricots, olive oil, white wine, lemon pepper, 1 avocado

Heat a heavy skillet on med-hi
Add oil, almonds, and sliced carrot, and stir frequently so they toast golden - not black.
Add cleaned and sliced collards (trim the bottom inch off, and slice the stem thinly and the leaf coarsely)
Add sliced apricots, generous splash of wine, stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium
In a separate skillet - add tilapia with a little oil and lemon pepper, and cook over medium, flipping once, until it flakes easily. Chop into large cubes.
Add tilapia to the saut, slice the avocado over the dish, and serve warm. 

Say "mmmmm" a lot.

Steak with Apple-Avocado Salad

I splurged on one quality grass-fed ribeye steak from whole foods - and let me tell you it was So worth it! Amazing. It spoke for itself and our only accoutrement were sautéed peppers and onions, and slices of apples and avocado. 

I believe in buying quality - instead of buying large quantities of poor quality food, buy less of better food. One grass-fed ribeye steak with little sides, instead of 2 cheap conventional cuts, soda, processed sides such as french fries, and expensive sauces etc.
Let the food speak for itself!

Ingredients: feeds 2
- Ribeye steak, best quality you can afford. Allow 6-8oz per person raw.
- 1 sweet onion, 1 bell pepper, 1 avocado, 1 apple

Heat a heavy skillet to med-hi (7 out of 10)
Add a tablespoon of oil (vegetable or olive) and the steak right away so the oil is not allowed to smoke
Sprinkle steak with a little garlic salt

Flip every minute, for a total of about 10 minutes for a medium steak. 
Put the steak on a plate and let it rest. 
Do Not poke, prick, or cut the steak until it has rested for 5 minutes! The steak must be allowed to rest and redistribute its juices, or else you will end up with a dry and chewy steak.

Meanwhile, heat another skillet or pot to medium and add sliced onion and pepper with a little olive oil. Stir often until onion is translucent.

Slice the apple and avocado into similar shapes and gently toss together. No dressing is needed if the apple is juicy and the avocado is creamy as they should be!

Shiitake Sweet Potato Breakfast

A happy Saturday morning post-workout breakfast: add some protein and you're golden.  An omelet, leftover shredded chicken or sliced steak would be delicious!

- 1 sweet potato, 3 leaves collards, 2-3 shiitake mushrooms, olive oil, white wine

- Heat cast iron or other heavy skillet to med-hi
- Scrub sweet potato and chop into evenly sized cubes (smaller will cook faster)
- Add to warm skillet with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and stir
- Wash and chop collards - trim the bottom inch off the stem, then thinly slice the stems and leaves alike and add to the skillet

- Rub any dirt off the mushrooms and trim the bottom hard part of the stem off. Thinly slice the mushrooms lengthwise and add to skillet

- After a few minutes, add a splash of the white wine to 'de-glaze' the pan
- Continue to saute until tender enough

Sooo yummy!

Coconut Shrimp Salad

I often need my lunches to be quick so I can spend my brief time eating instead of scarfing. This one really fit the bill - super fast, delicious, and packed with protein...

- Fresh or frozen shrimp, Salad greens, lemon juice, olive oil, coconut flakes, something spicy

- Set a pot with a couple inches of water to boil.
- Thaw frozen shrimp in a bowl of cool water - if you stir and change the water every minute or so this only takes about 5 minutes. Peel the shrimps.
- Put shrimp in water and boil/steam for 4-5 minutes, just until pink/orange and opaque.

- Put some salad greens on your plate, sprinkle with a little lemon juice and quality olive oil
- Add warm drained shrimp, sprinkle with flaked coconut and sriracha or red chili flakes


Broiled Tilapia and Mixed Peppers

Quick, light, and scrumptious - this will do the trick for any weeknight dinner fare, or serve as a light lunch to balance richer meals.

Ingredients: (dish for one person)
- 2-3 bell peppers, sliced, or 1/2 bag of frozen
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- lemon pepper seasoning
- 4 oz tilapia

Set Broiler to Low and let oven heat up.

In a glass casserole dish or metal baking pan with at least 1" sides, toss the peppers with the olive oil and seasoning, and lay the tilapia on top.

Broil for 15-20 minutes - just until tilapia is cooked through and flakes easily. Time may vary by oven. Stir peppers halfway through.




Kombucha is a non-alcoholic fizzy fermented tea, chock full of probiotics, B-vitamins, and pH balancing acids for a happy gut!  Known as an "immortal health elixir",

It is made by combining black tea sweetened with sugar, a cup or so of existing kombucha, and a SCOBY --  Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast.  This mixture is left to incubate on a warm, undisturbed shelf for 1-4 weeks, until all the sugar has been consumed and the drink reaches the desired acidity. Left long enough, it begins to smell and taste very similar to apple cider vinegar. 

After this initial fermentation, the tea may be rebottled plain or with fruit, juice, tea, or herbs (without the mama) and left to ferment another 2-4 days. This second fermentation gives it the characteristic carbonation! Just be careful - pressure can build up if the jar is sealed too tightly and left too long. I prefer mason jars with old canning lids which seem to let just enough CO2 out to prevent explosion.

Obtaining a SCOBY:
- Buy one online, fresh or dehydrated - costing up to $40
- Get one from a friend who makes kombucha - this is the best option since it's free and requires no work from you! Kombucha tea reproduces the SCOBY every few batches, and the old one gets thrown, or given, away.
- Grow one yourself! See the foodrenegade for instructions and great pictures

The SCOBY, aka 'mama' or 'mushroom' has the texture of...well...really thick jello? I made one myself with a $3 bottle from Whole Foods on January 27th, and am on my 4th delicious 1 gallon batch for the cost of plain black tea bags and sugar! 
I have made ginger, blackberry, and blueberry flavors in the past all with good success.

My first SCOBY... (so small, but I was so proud of it!)
... and my current batch! What a beauty. Note also that I switched to this "continuous brew" system - much more convenient, less clean up, no need to touch the 'mama', and sterile samples. (I fish the old 'mama' out with sterilized tongs once a new 'baby' colony develops)

Today I divided up the batch into several small jars to test out a few new flavors - this way it's not a terrible loss if one turns out to be less than delicious. 

From left to right:
Lemon Zinger (Celestial Seasonings)
Cold Ease (Yogi tea)
Moroccan Mint tea

*CAUTION: Please be advised against drinking kombucha if you have known liver disease, kidney failure, or any metabolic conditions which are sensitive to pH changes (such as acidosis)