Appetizers

Appetizers are fun.

Pork “Larb” with Sesame Cucumber Salad

Posted by on Jan 17, 2015 in Appetizers, Dinner, pork, potluck | 0 comments

Pork “Larb” with Sesame Cucumber Salad

  The other day, I had a recipe fail that turned into a delicious dinner. I love when that happens. The attempted recipe was for potstickers, the wrappers for which I was trying to make with Ottos Naturals cassava flour. I’ve found that cassava flour works great as a 1:1 sub in so many recipes, so I had expectations of a one try recipe success. Sometimes I’m overly-confident / hopeful about these things. I bet with a few more trials, I’d get it right. But after three or four, I decided to call it a day and cook up the remaining potsticker filling for dinner that night. This dish, made with ground meat (pork in this case, but you could use beef, chicken, duck or lamb, or just about any ground meat you’ve got on hand) is similar to larb, which is a Laotian minced meat salad that is also a staple on most Thai restaurant menus. It’s wonderful served over rice or cauliflower rice, in lettuce cups or over greens, or in a bowl with the cucumber salad piled on top. The reason I’m calling it “larb” and not simply larb is because ground rice powder is a main component of this dish when made traditionally. When should you make this dish? Well, it takes about 20 minutes, maybe 30 if you’re pokey in the kitchen, so is perfect as a quick weeknight meal. It’s also wonderful as an appetizer, especially if you plan on following it with other better-than-take-out favorites, such as: Thai Chicken Skewers with Peanut-Free Satay Sauce, Sesame Zucchini Noodles, Orange-Ginger Beef Stir-Fry or Pad Thai.   Pork “Larb” with Sesame Cucumber Salad   serves: 2 as a main course, 4-6 as an appetizer prep time: 15 minutes cooking time: 5 minutes   For the Cucumber Salad: 1 English cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced (on a mandolin is ideal) 1 small shallot, very thinly sliced 1 tablespoon coconut aminos 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon fish sauce 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (simply omit if doing a Whole30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox) 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut aminos, sesame oil, vinegar, fish sauce and coconut sugar. Add the shallots, cucumber and half of the sesame seeds. Toss to combine. Set aside. Sprinkle the cucumber salad with the remaining sesame seeds and serve either on the side or piled on top of the pork. For the Pork: 1 pound pork 1/2 cup minced scallions (about 6-8) 1 tablespoon coconut aminos 1 teaspoon fish sauce 3 Thai bird eye chiles, crushed, or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon coconut oil or other high heat oil 1/2 cup toasted cashews or macadamia nuts, minced small handful of mint leaves, minced juice of one lime, plus additional wedges for serving, if desired. In a large bowl, combine the pork, scallions, coconut aminos, fish sauce and crushed chiles. Mix well to combine. A gloved hand is perfect for this task. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add the oil. Once it’s shimmering, add the pork and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through. Break it up and stir as it cooks, but don’t stir more than you have to so it has a chance to brown a bit. Once the pork is cooked, stir in half of the minced nuts and half of the mint. Squeeze in the juice of one lime over the pork. Serve the pork over rice, cauliflower rice, in lettuce cups or over greens, sprinkled with the remaining nuts and mint. Serve with...

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The Zenbelly Cookbook Sneak Peek: Paleo Breadsticks

Posted by on Jul 9, 2014 in Appetizers, breads & muffins, grain-free, holiday, Snacks | 21 comments

The Zenbelly Cookbook Sneak Peek: Paleo Breadsticks

For more great recipes like this, check out The Zenbelly Cookbook, an epicurean’s guide to paleo cuisine To celebrate the release of my very first cookbook, I will be sharing a recipe from it every week, so you get a sneak peek of what’s to come! And if you’re already excited, you can, of course preorder it HERE. You’re likely to get a lower price if you preorder, and it will be on your doorstep on AUGUST 12TH! What can you expect from The Zenbelly Cookbook, you ask? Good question! Here are the things I’m most excited about: How To’s The beginning pages of The Zenbelly Cookbook are chock full of tips and techniques, complete with step by step photos to go with them. You’ll learn everything from how to source quality ingredients, to how to hold a knife, to how to cut up a whole chicken. Photos 2 per recipe! Each recipe in the book has an ingredients photo (like the one below) and a plated photo (like the one above) I had so much fun doing both of these shoots, but mostly the ingredients shots. There’s something about organizing things neatly that brings me zen. Plus, I love how it gives a visual “before”, so you can see all of the ingredients you’ll be using. I hope you love them, to Recipes Duh, I know. But I’m so excited to share these recipes with you. While there are some favorites from the blog that just had to be included (like NY Style Pizza Crust and No Joke Chocolate Cake), about 100 out of the 110 recipes are brand new. Menus I’ve included several menus for you, including an adventurous Thanksgiving spread, and a fancy multiple course dinner party menu that you can make 98% of ahead of time. Imagine how impressed your guests will be when you present them with an incredible dinner, all the while being nothing short of cool and collected. HOW DO YOU DO IT?! (Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me!) I’m very excited to be sharing these little sneak peeks with you, and will plan on posting one every Wednesday for the next few months. So stay tuned, and subscribe if you don’t want to miss a post! (Don’t worry, I’ll never share or sell your email address, and the only time you’ll hear from me is when I post a new recipe, or have news directly relating to this blog or the book) This week, I’m sharing my recipe for Paleo Breadsticks. These babies are soft and chewy on the inside, with a bit of a crust on the outside. The dough takes a bit of time to rise, since it is a yeast-dough, but I hope you find that the end result is worth it! Enjoy these with a salad if you miss having something bread-y with a big salad, dip them in marinara or Puttanesca sauce, serve them with charcuterie… Whatever makes you happy! paleo breadsticks prep time: 90 minutes | cook time: 12 to 15 minutes | makes: 10 bread sticks 2 teaspoons dry active yeast (naturally gluten-free, but check the package to be sure) 1 tablespoon honey 1/4 cup warm water (should feel warm on the inside of your wrist, but not burn) 1 cup finely ground almond flour 1/2 cup arrowroot powder 1 tablespoon psyllium husks 3/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt 1 large egg 1 tablespoon light olive oil 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter or light olive oil, for brushing • In the warmed bowl of your stand mixer (or alternately, the bowl you’ll be using with hand-held beaters), combine the yeast, honey, and...

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bacon wrapped sweet potato bites

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Appetizers, potluck, Snacks | 9 comments

bacon wrapped sweet potato bites

Earlier this month, I had the honor of catering the Food For Humans book release party. The event started late morning, so a brunch menu was in order. I was going to need a lot of bacon. Enter US Wellness Meats, who was beyond generous and donated enough of their fabulous beef and pork bacon to feed 200 hungry Nom Nom Paleo fans. My prediction for Sunday’s big game? These will get snatched up faster than you can put them on platters and stab them with toothpicks. Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites with Guacamole makes 50-65 bites 2 sweet potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds total 2 pounds bacon (beef and/or pork) 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional) dash chipotle (optional) Guacamole, for serving (I served these bites with avocado mousse, guacamole’s sexy cousin. To make, simply puree your avocados until smooth. I use a simpler selection of ingredients for the mousse than I do for guacamole; some ground coriander and fresh lime juice is perfect, if you ask me) preheat your oven to 375. peel the sweet potatoes and dice them into bite sized pieces. The ideal shape and size, baking time wise, is a rectangle 1/2 inch thick by about 3/4 inch long. Try to get them as uniform as you can, so they all take the same amount of time to bake. wrap one half of a slice of bacon around each piece of sweet potato arrange snugly on a baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft and the bacon is cooked. Make ahead: Steps 1-3 can be done up to 3 days ahead of time. Drain excess bacon fat and Turn the oven up to 450. Sprinkle with paprika / chipotle mixture, if desired. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy. Remove to a platter, stab with toothpicks, and serve dolloped with guacamole or avocado mousse. All of the links on zenbellycatering.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly...

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latkes

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Appetizers, Vegetables, Vegetarian | 20 comments

latkes

Every time I make latkes (which is much more often than once a year, due to catering) I get this song stuck in my head. And now, you can too! You’re welcome / I’m sorry.   The first time I ever heard that song was on my second date with Simon, when for some reason I can’t now remember, he sang it to me. Clearly at that moment,  I knew he was the one. And if you’re wondering whether or not potatoes are paleo: At the risk of sounding like a total jerk, I just don’t have time. Seriously, I need about 72 hours in each day this month. But let me google that for you. As always, I invite you to make your own decision regarding what works best for your unique health goals and needs. Another fun Google search would be something like “latke recipes”, which I’m guessing will yield about a gazillion variations. The possibilities are virtually endless with these fried little nuggets of potato joy, but I’m a big fan of keeping it simple, in this case.       Latkes makes about 3 dozen 3 inch potato pancakes   5 pounds russet potatoes (organic!), peeled or scrubbed 1 large (3/4 pound) onion 1 tablespoon salt 5 ounces (about 1 cup) potato starch 4 eggs 2+ cups fat for frying; duck fat being the #1 choice, or you can use light olive oil. Grate the potato and onion with the shredder blade of your food processor, or with a box grater Place the shredded potato and onion in a large colander and with your hands, mix in the tablespoon of salt. Place either in the sink, or over a large bowl. The potatoes and onion will release a lot of liquid. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and potato starch. After about an hour, squeeze (and I mean SQUEEZE) as much liquid as you can out of the potatoes and onion and add to the bowl with the eggs and potato starch. Mix well. (Again, your hands are probably the best tools, here) In a large skillet, heat 1 cup of the oil over medium heat. To test if it’s hot enough, drop in a shred of potato. It should sizzle right away. Once the oil is hot enough, drop quarter cupfuls of the potato mixture into the pan, and flatten into a pancake shape. Press down with the back of a metal spatula to further flatten. This will also help them bind. Fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the edges are brown. Flip, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Add more oil as needed, and make sure you let it get hot again before adding another batch of latkes. Transfer to drain on several layers of paper towels (putting a paper bag underneath the paper towels will allow you to use less of them) If eating right away, keep in a warm oven until they’re all ready to eat. Alternately, freeze of refrigerate until ready to eat. To reheat, bake in a single layer in a 450 oven for 5-7 minutes, or until sizzling hot. Serve with apple sauce and sour cream, if you eat dairy. All of the links on zenbellycatering.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly...

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Smoked Squash Hummus

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Appetizers, Paleo, Snacks, vegan, Vegetarian | 9 comments

Smoked Squash Hummus

This recipe is part of my review of the Blendtec Designer Series Blender with Twister Jar. To enter to win one for yourself, click the image below! This giveaway is now closed.  I can’t take credit for the genius of this recipe. I found my inspiration for it in Where There’s Smoke by Barton Seaver. The original recipe calls for cooking the squash in a bed of hot embers, which sounds downright dreamy. But I recognize that not everyone has hot embers at their disposal, so this method might not be practical for all. If you do, please go make the recipe exactly as he wrote it. Skip the baguette, obviously, but if you eat the occasional gluten-free sourdough, order yourself some Bread SRSLY. SRSLY. The ingredients are super clean, and this stuff is legit, made the right way right here in San Francisco. If you’re local, check their site for Good Eggs delivery options and local markets that carry it. And if you’re not, you’re in luck because they recently started shipping their sourdough breads all over the country. I swear I don’t get paid to say any of the above. I don’t even get free bread! I just really appreciate the fact that there’s a good option for when I feel like jumping off the paleo wagon and having a damn good sando. Back to the matter at hand: Hummus, sans garbanzos.  I made this recipe for the first time for the Fallon Hills Ranch dinner I did last month. It was part of the second course, which was homemade fresh beef sausage, smoked squash hummus, fennel kraut, shaved apples, and micro greens. Yet another example of just how tough it is to eat paleo; it’s just so restrictive. Poor us. And if you’re still sad, because now you have HUMMUS, but no PITA BREAD, dry your eye. Because Predominantly Paleo has grain-free pita for you. Here we are in action, plating it up: When I made this hummus for the dinner, I threw it in the smoker for an hour, and then roasted it until it was super soft. But I wanted to even further adapt this loveliness for those of you who would like to prepare the entire dish from the comfort of your kitchen. Roasting the squash in the oven with smoked paprika gives it the essence of smokiness that you’d get from roasting it in embers. Not the full effect, but it’s still delicious. smoked squash hummus   For the squash 3 pounds squash, diced in one inch pieces (about one medium butternut, or your favorite hard squash) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon smoked paprika For the hummus 1 C tahini 1/4 C lemon juice 1 C olive oil 1/8 t chipotle for a kick, or paprika for mild Preheat oven to 425. Slice the squash(s) in half and scoop out the seeds. Rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika. Place on a baking sheet. Roast squash for 45 minutes to one hour, or until very soft. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the squash into the twister jar of your Blendtec.* Add the tahini, lemon juice, and chipotle or paprika. Blend until smooth, using the twister top to keep everything moving. Drizzle in the olive oil, and continue to blend until very smooth. Season to taste with additional salt, paprika and/or cayenne, and lemon juice. Serve with fresh veggies and/or grain-free everything crackers   * If you don’t have a high powered blender, you can make this recipe in a food processor. All...

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roasted butternut squash soup

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Appetizers, soup, Vegetables | 7 comments

roasted butternut squash soup

 This recipe is part of my review of the Blentec Designer Series blender. Click the image below to enter! This simple recipe is a perfect example of how the techniques you use can make a world of difference in the finished product. If you were to take all of the ingredients in this recipe, throw them in a pot and boil them, you would still have butternut squash soup. It would still be orange and creamy and comforting. But when you roast all of the ingredients until they’re caramelized and tender, and then puree them with the broth, you have something that’s on a whole different level. It has depth. Complexity. Layers of flavors. By simple roasting the vegetables, you have a soup that can be served as an elegant first course at a dinner party, or in small teacups as hors d’oeuvres, drizzled with truffle oil or cider cream. And you’ll still have a simple, humble soup that will warm you to your core on a chilly weeknight. And then there’s the texture; smooth like butta. I’ve pureed more soups that I can count, and can tell you this: When you puree a soup like this in a high powered blender like a Blendtec, the texture is sublime. I catered a dinner party last weekend, and the second course was sunchoke bisque. The guests raved about it, and asked how I made it. I said “Well, I sauteed the sunchokes with some shallots in butter…” And they cut me off with “right, but how did you puree it? What did you use? It’s SO smooth and decadent!” The difference is in the details.   roasted butternut squash soup 1 medium butternut squash, about 3 pounds (or you can use your favorite hard squash) 2 large carrots 1 medium onion 2 tablespoons butter, melted (or coconut oil, or your preferred fat) 1 teaspoon garam masala 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon sea salt 6 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade Preheat your oven to 425 Peel and dice the squash and onions, and dice the carrots. In a large bowl, toss the diced veggies, butter (or fat), garam masala, ginger, and salt. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender and caramelized. Combine the cooked veggies and the broth in a large soup pot  and simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes. Carefully transfer the soup to your blender and puree until very smooth, in batches, if needed. Serve in tea cups or shot glasses as hors d’oeuvres, with one or a variety of these suggested garnishes, if desired: a drizzle of truffle oil and a few thyme leaves a sprinkling of garam masala and smoked paprika or chipotle for some kick sprinkled with sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds; toss a handful of pumpkin seeds with a pinch of salt, a pinch of cayenne, and a drop of maple syrup. Toast  on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 325 oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool completely on parchment. a swirl or cider cream; boil 1/2 cup apple cider in a small sauce pan  until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup coconut cream or sour cream. Or: Just ladle it into big bowls for dinner, if you want to keep it simple.   This recipe is part of my review of the Blendtec Designer Series Blender. Blendtecv provided the blender with the intention of me reviewing it. I was not compensated for this review, other than being given the blender for review. I was not encouraged by Blendtec to write...

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Free eBook: Essentials

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