Tag Archives: condiments

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Compound Butter

Food Lovers’ Fridays: I’m a big fan of bringing classical cooking methods and recipes into the home kitchen. Today’s post is part of a series meant to highlight those traditional techniques and recipes that can be used in or adapted to paleo cooking.

I have been dragging lately. These days I cannot seem to get motivated and I am cranky when I have to try. I guess the whole bar experience took more out of me than I realized. It doesn’t mean I am not thinking of food, or wanting lush, expansive doses of flavor — it just means I’m leaning more heavily on the culinary tricks that offer the most bang for the buck.
Thus, today’s FLF is one of the simplest, but most amazing things I know how to make: compound butter.

It really is as simple as it gets: warm some butter, dice some herbs, moosh together, and serve. If you are a more strict paleo eater, you’ll use ghee. If you aIre vegan, I would try a combination of equal parts red palm oil and coconut oil. The red palm has a rich, carroty flavor that is reminiscent of butter or ghee, and the coconut oil makes that flavor a little less intense, so that the flavor of the herbs can shine.

Because compound butters so simple, they allow for endless variations. My favorites, I think, are  fresh herbs from our garden with just a touch of salt. A single herb works just as well as a blend, so use whatever you’ve got. Compound butters don’t have to be savory, though — a vanilla and coconut sugar version, for example, would be great on a paleo muffin or bread.

I call the attached version Scarborough Fair Butter after the song; it’s my go-to for seasoning our Thanksgiving turkey. Because rosemary and sage are more dominant flavors, I’ve balanced them with a stronger dose of thyme and parsley. It is equally adept at livening up any number of vegetables (try roasted beets or sweet potatoes) or swirled atop a gorgeous grilled steak. That extra hit of flavor is divine.

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Compound Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine parsley, thyme, rosemary and sage, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  2. Continuing to stir the mixture, add the softened butter. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.
  3. If preparing for later, roll the mixture into a cylindrical shape. Cover with plastic wrap, then wrap the bundle with aluminum foil. Place in freezer until ready to use.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/food-lovers-fridays-compound-butter/
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Food Lovers’ Fridays: Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic | Paleo + Life

Food Lovers’ Fridays: I’m a big fan of bringing classical cooking methods and recipes into the home kitchen. Today’s post is part of a series meant to highlight those traditional techniques and recipes that can be used in or adapted to paleo cooking.

I’m just gonna come out and say it: You need this.

That’s a bold pronouncement, I know. But I’m not backing down from it. Roasted garlic can change your culinary life.

When you switch from the standard American diet to a whole foods/ancestral eating template, one of the things you lose is hyperpalatable food. Processed foods have scientifically engineered ratios of sugar, salt and fat to get you hooked. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a smart business decision. Big flavor makes you come back for more (and more and more).

So when you make the change to a new way of eating, getting used to natural tastes can be a challenge. But don’t despair. Real, whole food can have big, intense flavors, too — you just have to figure out how to make them happen.

Enter roasted garlic.

Roasted Garlic | Paleo + Life

Creamy, carmelized, and meltingly tender, roasted garlic will become your new go-to flavor booster. Less than an hour in a hot oven makes the sharp tang of raw garlic mellow into something so different, so luscious, it’s hard to believe it’s the same food. Spread it on crackers, mash it into soups, rub it on steaks or baked potatoes, mix it into guacamole, make salad dressing with it — once you’ve made a batch, you’ll want to use it all the time.

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Roasted Garlic

Ingredients

  • 5 heads garlic
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon herbs (I like rosemary or marjoram)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the papery skin off of the garlic heads, but do not separate the cloves. Cut off the tips of each head of garlic (approximately 1/4").
  3. With aluminum foil, make a small packet to hold the garlic. Place a dollop of coconut oil on the cut side of each head. Sprinkle the herbs and salt over the garlic; close the foil packet tightly.
  4. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes, or until garlic cloves are softened and lightly colored.
  5. Remove from oven; set aside until ready to serve.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/roasted-garlic/

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Herb Infused Oils

Infused Herb Oil | Paleo + Life

Food Lovers’ Fridays: I’m a big fan of bringing classical cooking methods and recipes into the home kitchen. Today’s post is part of a series meant to highlight those traditional techniques and recipes that can be used in or adapted to paleo cooking.

The Husband and I are pretty comfortable with our lack of hipster cred, despite living in the city “where young people go to retire.” We’re at a different stage now: somewhat shocked to be “the grown ups” in the family, still getting that urge to call our parents to come fix it when something goes wrong (though we usually don’t), but overall, we’ve settled more or less comfortably into a fairly traditional kids/house/dog lifestyle. Hubs has even gone to the dad joke, more than once.

However, today’s Food Lover’s Friday is about herb infused oils, which makes me want to learn all of the hot new slang, so that I can impress upon you the awesomeness of this technique.
For one, it’s dead easy. Two, it is incredibly quick. Three, this much flavor will seriously up your dinner game. Fr fr.

Now that I’ve embarrassed my children (Hey, kids! Get off the internet! KThxBai. <3, Yr Mom), let’s get down to business. Infused oils are simple, elegant, and bring a whole new world of flavor to your table. Use them as the base for your salad dressings, drizzle them into soup, splash some on roasted veggies, mix them with sour cream for dipping sauce  — basically, anywhere you need a shot of fresh herbal flavor. Thinking ahead to the holidays (I know, I know, but I’ve been seeing decorations in the stores since August), flavored oils are a great gift. It’s something people rarely think to make for themselves, but love to get.

Garden Herbs | Paleo + Life

Rosemary, oregano, purple sage, and salad burnet in the garden. No matter what we dish out, these tough plants can take it.

I grow a mix of perennial herbs all over our garden — these plants are gorgeous and can take all sorts of neglect. When I make infused oils, my homegrown herbs are mostly what I use, since they are there. I like putting in a bit of this and a pinch of that, but you can always buy mixes if you don’t feel confident making up your own. Mixed herbs are incredibly easy to find at your grocery store or spice shop (Savory Spice Shop is incredibly convenient for me, so that’s where I tend to go). Just make sure wherever you buy your spices does a brisk business: you don’t want to make your oil with spices that are too old (ha, see what I did there? Old spice? Ahem).

I almost always use olive oil as the base, simply because I always have it on hand, but do try other oils like sesame or macadamia nut; they will add another interesting flavor note to the mix. Keep these in the fridge for the best flavor, and use within a month.

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Herb Infused Oils

Ingredients

  • 1 cup olive or other oil
  • Fresh herbs (for this batch I used 2 sprigs of rosemary, approximately 5" long)

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the herbs; they must be absolutely bone dry.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the herbs and oil. Over medium-low heat, warm the herbs for approximately 5-10 minutes, or until their flavor has suffused the oil. Remove from heat. When cool, strain the solids from the oil. Pour the oil into the container of your choice and refrigerate immediately. Use within one month.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/herb-infused-oils/

Cinnamon Spice Nut Butter

Cinnamon Spice Nut Butter | Paleo + Life

When I was a kid, I loved cinnamon toast. Loved. And when I say loved, I mean that if there had been a choice between cinnamon toast and some of the relatives, well, let’s just say that my family might have been considerably smaller.
It was one of the first dishes I ever learned to make. We’d butter pieces of white bread, sprinkle tons of cinnamon and sugar on top, and stick it under the broiler. Impatiently, we ‘d check on it about every twenty seconds. This was practical as well: our toast would go from pale white to crusted black in the blink of an eye.
When it was finally done, we’d cram every last bite into our mouths, still piping hot, not caring even a little bit that it was just shy of burnt on the top and rare on the bottom. It was hot, sweet, cinnamon-flavored bliss.

As an adult who chooses to eat paleo, toast has not been on the menu. But I still adore the sweet, spicy flavor of toasted cinnamon. This spiced nut butter, with a subtle touch of heat from Aleppo pepper, is a more sophisticated way to get my cinnamon fix. Feel free to skip the pepper if making this for children or those with sensitive palates. Bananas, covered in this, and frozen, are a fabulous treat.

A general hint on nut butter: unless you are having an emergency (no, I don’t know what a nut butter emergency would be, but I’m sure it happens), buy raw nuts that you can soak and dehydrate yourself. Until I tried it, I was skeptical about the difference, but now I am a believer. Soaking and then dehydrating the nuts is like alchemy. Somehow, the flavors blossom in a stronger, more intense way: the difference is night and day.
The brilliant and thorough Beth of Tasty Yummies offers an absolutely excellent tutorial on the process. Follow it, then come back here and make this. I promise, it will be delightful.

Cinnamon Nut Butter

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds soaked and dehydrated nuts
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or other sweetener (optional; skip if you are doing a whole30)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place soaked, dehydrated nuts in food processor. Process for 10-15 minutes, or until nut mixture becomes smooth and creamy. (The food processor and the nut butter may be quite warm; this is expected.)
  2. Add remaining ingredients and process 2-5 minutes, until thoroughly blended in. Pour the mixture into glass jars and refrigerate.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/cinnamon-nut-butter/

Mango Citrus Salsa

Mango Citrus Salsa | Paleo + LifeWe are having another cool Portland morning, which is bittersweet. I feel the summer slipping away. At this time of year, the earth seems to spin just a little bit faster every day. Any minute now, the whirlwind of autumn busy-ness will begin: school shopping, new schedules for the kids, cleaning up the garden, prepping for Halloween … even though I won’t have classes myself, there is still plenty to do. I love autumn and look forward to it every year.

Despite my love for autumn, though, I have always had a special place in my heart for the simple pleasure of summer food. This salsa is my way of stretching out that pleasure just a bit longer.

The sweet mangos and hot peppers would be fantastic on their own, but the bright tang from the lime and the musk of grapefruit both brighten and deepen the flavor. I aimed for a medium level of heat in this particular salsa, so I seeded one pepper and left the other intact. Making salsa yourself means cook’s choice: if you prefer your salsa less spicy, seed both peppers. I found the bright orange Bulgarian carrot peppers at my local farmer’s market, but whatever peppers you have available will do just fine. This is delicious with fish or meat, especially roast pork.

Mango Citrus Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 large mango (if using ataulfo mangoes, use two or three)
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1 lime
  • 2 scallions
  • 2 peppers (I used one jalapeno and one Bulgarian orange pepper)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice mango, discarding the seed. Dice flesh into chunks and place them in a bowl. (If mangoes are not in season, thaw a bag of frozen mango chunks).
  2. Peel the grapefruit. If you want especially neat pieces, use a grapefruit knife to section the fruit. Otherwise, peel the individual slices of fruit, break into chunks, and add to the bowl. Repeat with the lime.
  3. Slice scallions thin rounds. Add to bowl.
  4. Slice one pepper into rings and add to the bowl. Slice the second pepper in half; remove seeds and cut into half rounds. Add to the bowl.
  5. Mince the cilantro (you should have approximately 3 tablespoons). Add to the bowl.
  6. Stir the mixture until well-combined. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/mango-citrus-salsa/

Quick Blueberry Shiso Jam

Blueberry Shiso Jam | Paleo + LifeI was all set to get back into the kitchen tips today, but was waylaid by a food disaster.

(Cue dramatic music: Dun dun DUN!)
Instead, I’m going teach you to make lemons when life hands you lemonade … by which I mean how to make a quick jam when you accidentally buy terrible fruit. Yes, I know that was confusing. My apologies.

The story goes thusly: My local grocery store had blueberries on sale. I was happy to purchase some, since my kids eat them like they’re going out of style. My happiness was short-lived, however, because these were just awful. Instead of the gloriously tangy flavor I expected, this sad fruit was bland and mealy. I literally could not eat them.

Since I’d already bought them, however, I was stuck. Some people might have tossed the blueberries, as a matter of principle, but I felt that wouldn’t work, since we haven’t yet got a money tree growing in the back yard. The world’s largest and most vicious, thorn-laden blackberry? Yup, that’s back there. But no dollars as of yet. Therefore, I knew these bad berries needed rescuing.

(Do y’all enjoy step-by-step photos of recipes? Personally, I just want juicy pictures that make me hungry but lots of people seem to enjoy it. I’ll give that a go today. Mind you, I was holding the camera in one hand and cooking with the other — in addition to the fact that I take photos about as well as a clever two year old. I’m getting better, but I have quite a lot to learn. So the photos mightn’t be the most exciting ones you’ll ever see. I suggest you lower your expectations, and come along with me on this photographic journey.)

1. Wash the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad blueberries. Put them in a saucepan over medium heat.

Adding berries | Paleo + Life

2. Add lemon juice…

Adding lemon juice | Paleo + Life

…and a pinch of salt…

Adding salt | Paleo + Life

…and the sweetener of your choice to the pan. (Mine is maple syrup, because that was what I grabbed first from the cabinet. Honey would be even more fabulous.)

Adding syrup | Paleo + Life

3. Realize that you forgot the herbs. Step out to the garden and pluck a few leaves from this gorgeous thing.

Shiso | Paleo + Life

4. Bring the leaves inside. Wash them, stack them atop one another, roll them into a little bundle, then slice into thin ribbons (this is called a chiffonade, and is a handy technique for all sorts of dishes).

Chiffonade of shiso | Paleo + Life

5. Turn off the heat. Stir in the shiso chiffonade (say that ten times fast!), along with some chia seeds.

Adding chia seeds | Paleo + Life

7. Set aside to cool (approximately 30 minutes). If served immediately, this is more of a compote; as it cools, the jam becomes firmer.

So there you have it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Except that it’s blueberry jam, not lemons.
The children and I ate the heck out of this with a couple of batches of tasty paleo pancakes. This is also delicious as an addition to a cheese plate.

Quick Blueberry Shiso Jam

Quick Blueberry Shiso Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh shiso leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Wash the blueberries and drain them. Put them in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add lemon juice, salt and maple syrup. Cook until the berries start to pop, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make a chiffonade of the shiso leaves.
  4. Remove the blueberry mixture from the heat, stirring in the shiso leaves and chia seeds.
  5. Set aside to cool (approximately 30 minutes). If served immediately, this is more of a compote; as it cools, the jam becomes firmer.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/quick-blueberry-shiso-jam/

 

 

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