Monday, October 26, 2009

Catch and Release I'm not so sure about the whole touchy-feely, sacred place aspect of this blog...but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of writing what you want and need to let go of on leaves and leaving them. Mental fall cleaning. It works for me. Check out the post here:

Chinese and Split Peas

It's October.
It's the end of October.
It is cold. There was frost on the windows this morning, and I could see my breathe as I walked to my car to go to Crossfit.
Ok. That's a lie.
*'s supposed to be cold.

Living here in Southern California, sometimes we have to pretend a bit in order to enjoy the seasons that our friends in other parts of the country take for granted. We pull out our dutch ovens and fill the house with the delectable scent of braising short ribs...and while dinner's bubbling in the oven, we're outside trimming the bougainvillea in our bikinis. We visit Riley's Farm in Oak Glen to go apple picking Saturday...then drive the opposite direction to go spend the day at the beach on Sunday. And we'll start making soup in October...even though it's been in the mid-nineties these last couple days.

So the last recipe posted was that wonderful curried lime shrimp soup. This new soup entry - Nori Shrimp Egg Drop Soup - is 100% paleo and ready in 5 minutes, which makes it totally lunch worthy! Dinner tonight is yet another soup - one that's not-quite-so 100% Paleo. A rib-sticking, been bubbling in the crockpot all day, down home split pea soup. Will the next post be yet another soup recipe? I don't know! Maybe I'll stray into the territory of paleo chowders or a succulent stew. But for me 'soup' equals 'autumn' ...and when you live in Southern California, that sometimes means quite a crapload of soup to try and pretend that the palm trees are finally changing colours!

Nori Shrimp Egg Drop Soup

This made 2 nice bowls. Perfect for lunch with a friend! This isn't the nicest picture in the world, but the soup was very good. The lime juice and extra grated ginger were added in after the first bite and made ALL the difference! If you want to make it vegetarian, use veggie broth and omit the shrimp. They weren't in the original recipe anyway!

2 cups water
2 cups low sodium broth (veggie, chicken, beef...whatever! soup is so forgiving!)
1/2 cup diced red onions
about 1 cup thinly sliced zuchinni
1 cup shrimp
2 sheets Nori, cut into strips, then squares (scissors work best)or organic kelp/sea vegetable flakes
about an 1" square knob of fresh ginger (skin removed), finely grated
pepper to paste
juice of 1 lime

Combine water and broth in a medium pot, throw in the onions and heat to boiling. Once the broth is boiling, add in the zuchinni, shrimp, Nori, grated ginger, and pepper. Turn down heat and cook about 1 or 2 minutes over medium heat, until shrimp are cooked through. In the meantime, whisk the eggs in a separate bowl with a fork. Reduce heat to low and quickly stir the eggs into the hot broth, whisking with a fork as you slowly pour the egg in. Add lime juice, stir, and serve immediately.

and now...just because I love you all, here's a little 2 minute bonus recipe! Takes 10 minutes to prep and dinner is done! Gotta love that!

Split Pea Soup

Dinner tonight at chez clements!

OK...first off, you need to have that ham bone that you bagged and threw in the freezer last time you had a ham. If you don't have a ham bone, well...then you won't have chunks of tasty ham unless you go buy some to throw in. For the simmering part though, you can also throw in a ham hock (you DO have those in the freezer, right?!) or even a chunk of salt pork. Basically, you're looking for salty pork goodness to flavor the peas! If you want ham and are sans bone, you can buy a ham steak and dice it and throw it in. You can also omit the ham altogether and make it vegetarian.

So...haul out the crockpot, plug it in and turn to low. Dice a big yellow onion and throw it in. Follow up with diced celery and a crapload of carrots in nice big chunks. Add pepper and (here's my secret)dried ground mustard. I usually put mustard seeds and pepper corns in my spice mill and grind them fresh, but obviously the pretty yellow tin of dried mustard works fine also. Add a couple cups of dried split peas. Throw your ham bone, or whatever you're using, in on top. Cover with broth or water (broth obviously adding yet another layer of flavor). Cook on low for 6 hours, adding more liquid if needed.

******************About an hour before serving, take the ham bone out of the pot and let cool. Mix the remaining ingredients in the pot. By this point, there should be no mashing of peas should be all melded together into creamy green goodness! Add extra water if it's too thick for you. Personally, I like my split pea soup like my to stand a spoon up in it! Anyway, pick all the ham off the bone and throw it back into the pot (the meat...not the bone!), and let warm through. Serve and enjoy.

When heating up leftovers, you'll probably need to add some water and stir up before sticking in the microwave.

So try 'em and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Curried Shrimp Soup with Lime

OK's a race to beat the clock and be IN BED by 10:15 and clock in a full 8 hours of sleep. So here goes...

First off, I'm going to give you the original recipe for this soup. It's amazing! You can make it in minutes and can be served warm on a chilly evening or cold on a hot summers night. I've done both and have made it numerous times for company and everyone loves it! My kid's love it too! It's definitely one of my favorite keeper recipes. So un-adulterated version first, then I'll tell you what I did to make it paleo. And, for my vegetarian friends...ixnay the shrimp, use veggie stock, and ramp up the veggies (suggestions below with the paleo version) and you're good to go too!

Curried Shrimp Soup with Lime

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons curry powder
28 ounces lo-fat chicken broth
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup milk (preferably 2%)
1/2 pound shrimp (cooked or uncooked)
Salt to taste

Heat a dutch oven on medium high. Add butter. When bubbly, add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes until onion is tender. Stir in flour and curry and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whish in chicken broth, lime juice and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Stir in corn and simmer for 3 minutes. Add milk and shrimp. If serving warm, heat completely but do not boil until shrimp is fully cooked (if uncooked) or warmed through (if cooked). Season to taste. If serving cold, remove from stove and refrigerate.

Jen's Tip: if you're planning on serving cold, go with a homemade broth or a storebought one. I made this once with a homemade stock and when it was refrigerated, I ended up with an aspic-esque mold! This is obviously not an issue if you're serving hot!

This stuff is SO good that this is what's left at the end:

Paleo Curried Shrimp Soup with Lime

Too simple! I omitted the butter, flour, honey, corn, and milk. I added zuchinni and red pepper - browning with the onions in some spray olive oil. I also used the juice of 2 limes. Other than that, no substitutions made for the deleted ingredients. Instead of a creamy looking soup, it was broth based. All the flavor was still there...just none of the non-paleo junk!

Honestly...if you only try one of my recipes, let it be this one! Delicious!

OK...good night! *sprints off to bed....*

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eggplant and Garlic

...two of my favorite things! Dinner tonight contained copious amounts of both. And since it's already past my bedtime, we're jumping straight to the recipes without further ado... (after I apologize for any typo's that might appear, because I'm hitting send and going to bed!)

Lebanese Style Stuffed Eggplant

*******************Take 6 of the 5- or 6-inch long baby eggplants and hollow each out with a melon baller. Leave about 1/3 inch of eggplant flesh along the interior. Set aside.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry about 3 tablespoons of pine nuts until golden...keep a close eye on them and stir frequently or they will burn! Once toasted, tranfer them to a mixing bowl.

Finely chop about 4 cloves of garlic and 1 large onion. In skillet, heat up a little more olive oil and saute half garlic and onion. After a couple minutes, add about 3/4 pound of ground meat (I used pork. you can use lamb, chicken, beef...whatever!) and brown with a bit of salt and pepper. After meat is cooked through, transfer to bowl with pine nuts. Add about 1 teaspoon of allspice and salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside for a minute.

******************In same skillet, saute the other half of the garlic and onions. Add about 2 cups of chicken stock and 14 oz diced tomatoes with juice...recipe called for canned - I used fresh. I also threw in some fresh parsley that I had chopped and a bit more salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered and go stuff the eggplants with the meat mixture.

Transfer stuffed eggplants to skillet with the sauce and simmer, covered for about 45 minutes to an hour. Carefully turn the eggplants once about halfway through the cooking process.

Once cooked, serve with fresh lemon juice and parsley sprinkled on top.

Roasted Cauliflower

Had this tonight too. It's my favorite way to cook cauliflower. Simply pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Throw cauliflower florets into a baking dish. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on thyme and fresh parsley, salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown, stirring frequently to avoid burnt spots. Tonight...I took it straight out of the oven and tossed it into a bowl of baby spinach. Once mixed, the heat from the cauliflower wilted the spinach a bit. It tasted good and looked pretty and snuck in yet another serving of veggies!

Garlic Sauce

I believe I've mentioned how excruciatingly delicious this stuff is! It's good on asparagus or green beans. Fresh yellow squash rounds are to die for when used to scrape the last of the sauce out of the food processor! It elevates a piece of fish or a chicken breast to haute cuisine! But be careful! It's NOT low fat! It has tons of flavor, so a little really does go a long way. And it will keep in the fridge for about a week!

****************** First mince 4 or 5 cloves of garlic...start by thinly slicing the cloves, then roughly chopping.

Once it's all chopped, add about 1 tsp of sea salt, then mash the hell out of it with the side of the blade of your chef's knife until it looks like this:

Once minced, throw it in a food processor. Begin processing, adding a total of 1 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice...alternating a little of each at a time until all liquids are added. Easiest way I've found to do this is to stick a funnel in the top of my processor!

Once done, slowly add one or two egg whites while still continuously blending, until you get a nice mayo-like consistency. And that's it! Minimal input...amazing taste!

So there...three new recipes! Now it's time to go sleep!