Paleo Matzoh Brie

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Parve * Paleo ~~

CIMG2286 CIMG2258-001

There are two distinctly different schools of thought on matzoh brie.  The first, which I think is the more common of the two, is scrambled eggs with softened (with water) torn matzoh stirred in.  Sometimes there are also vegetables and savory stuff included.

I come from the second school of matzoh brie.  Pancakes.  I actually never knew that the first school existed until I was already well into adulthood and ordered matzoh brie at a restaurant.  Image how disappointed I was to be served a plate of scrambled eggs!  I confess I might have been rude to the waitress about not bringing me the right order but the manager came to disabuse me of MY mistake.

Through all these years I have stuck to my version of matzoh brie and whenever I invite friends over during Passover, this is what I serve.  In all modesty, this is the best matzoh brie anyone has ever tasted (even this Paleo one).

The toppings are also personal preferences (read that as:  whatever your mother served it to you with).  My mom served it with cinnamon-sugar.  In this I have deviated as I really like it with maple syrup or sometimes apricot preserves.  No matter what you eat it with…these are a real treat.  Enjoy!
Continue reading Paleo Matzoh Brie

Paleo Passover Potato Kugel with Shallots

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Parve * Paleo ~~

IMG_9210

Last Passover my friend Hadley and I decided to have a leftovers dinner.  Since we each held a seder in our homes, we were unable to attend the other’s seder and this way we could at least taste what the other had served.

Now, not to be boastful, I am an awesome cook and the food at my seder was amazing.  We both made pot roast from brisket and used approximately the same recipe so that was a wash.  Our Tzimmes’ were both delicious in different ways – mine had a very deep richness and Hadley’s had a fresh quality to it that I liked (so much that I’ve made it for this year).

Our menus diverged at the kugels.  I made a matzoh kugel using matzoh farfel, chopped carrots, onions, celery, and parsnip.  I moistened it with vegetable broth and olive oil and seasoned it with salt, pepper, chopped parsley and dill, and poultry seasoning.  This dish has been a hit for the past 15 years – but then I tasted Hadley’s potato kugel and I was blown away.  It was the best potato kugel I had ever tasted.  The other thing about it was it’s paleo and I can eat it!

So here is the recipe with very significant changes but equally fabulous results!  Enjoy! Continue reading Paleo Passover Potato Kugel with Shallots

Light-as-Air Paleo Matzoh Balls or Heavy-as-Lead Matzoh Balls or Potato Dumplings

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian *  Parve * Paleo ~~

IMG_8533-001

Update:  I served these, along with “regular” matzoh balls to everyone at the seder and all the guests thought these were great and I didn’t have to make two kinds anymore.

I’m not sure you can exactly call these matzoh balls since they are sort of free form dumplings…but the flavor and texture is exactly what an ideal matzoh ball should be.

This recipe came about as one of those happy accidents.  I recently bought a bag of potato flour (yes, flour – not potato starch)

IMG_8493

and I decided to try to make nockerle (heavy Hungarian dumplings that my mother would make with chicken paprikash).  Nockerle are simple to make, stir together flour, egg, salt, and sometimes oil.  Then spoon into boiling water – and that’s it.  So I did the same substituting potato flour for the all-purpose flour.  I spooned the potato mixture into the boiling water and held my breadth…they did not dissolve.  This was an excellent first step.

Nockerle are cooked for just a short period of time, but when I removed these dumplings from the water they were clearly still raw.  I returned them to the pot; covered them and cooked them for 20 minutes.  I lifted them out of the pot and took a taste…SHOCK!!! My nockerle had transformed into feather light matzoh balls (or dumplings if you take the shape into consideration)!

How to make matzoh balls light or heavy seems to be some mystical combination of factors.  I know every year my mother would use exactly the same recipe and some years they were heavy-as-lead (our family’s preference) and other years they wouldn’t even hold together and just dissolved when you boiled them.

In the case of these matzoh balls, degree of lightness is directly related to length of cooking time.  The matzoh balls have to be completely cooked through and they will be feather light (this will be a function of how large you made the matzoh balls + cooking time).  If you cut a matzoh ball in half and it is not a uniform color, they will have some degree of heaviness.

TO MAKE HEAVY-AS-LEAD MATZOH BALLS:  increase the potato flour in the Light as Air recipe by 2 tablespoons.  The “dough/batter” will be thick enough to roll into balls about the size of a walnut.  Cook, covered, in boiling water (or soup) for about 40 minutes to ensure doneness (no matter how long you cook them, they will remain darker on the inside than on the outside – a sure sign of a heavy matzoh ball).

Now here’s the catch with these matzoh balls.  If you follow the rules of Passover to a T these will not qualify as kosher for Passover even though all of the ingredients are kosher and none of them have any foods forbidden on Passover.  Why?  Because the potato flour is not certified Kosher for Passover (I could not find a potato flour that is kosher for Passover).  If, on the other hand, you observe Passover more loosely (like me) following all the rules but not concerning yourself with certification, then these will be fine for your paleo seder –  in fact they will be better than fine they will be excellent!. Continue reading Light-as-Air Paleo Matzoh Balls or Heavy-as-Lead Matzoh Balls or Potato Dumplings

Paleo Fruit Crisp

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo ~~

IMG_9054

With Passover just around the corner, I’m starting to test the recipes I’ll use at seder.  I always make my chocolate tort but this year in addition I decided to make something fruity.  Okay – here’s the real story behind this recipe.  I thought instead of making Tzimmes, I’d do something different with sweet potatoes.  I thought maybe maple sweetened sliced sweet potatoes with some kind of a crumble on top.  Then I thought ‘how about some fruit in that’…so in went sliced apples and raisins.  I baked the whole thing forever ’cause nothing wanted to soften and I ended up with this weird dish that was almost dessert – but not quite.

IMG_8950

The topping, however, was divine.

So this is my next try – I got rid of the sweet potatoes and went straight for a fruit crisp.  I used 4 cups of peeled and sliced apple and 3 cups of (frozen) blueberries.  It tasted delicious but I confess that again the apples took forever to cook (about 1 1/2 hours).  I think that’s because I used “hard” apples – you know:  fuji and honey crisp, and pinks.  If you choose to make this with apples, I think macintosh would be a better choice as they soften much better.  But you could also make this with all berries, or ripe pears instead of the apples would be delicious.  If peaches are in season that would be great…anything will taste super under this crisp top (maybe not liver…)

…and, of course, because it’s Paleo – it’s kosher for Passover!  Enjoy!
Continue reading Paleo Fruit Crisp

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Tiny Turkey Meatballs

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~

IMG_9018

As I’ve mentioned recently (or maybe not so recently) I’m enamoured with soup meals -that is soups with enough protein, vegetables, and starch to constitute a complete meal in one bowl.  This one came about in what is not uncommon in my kitchen – leftover stuff.

I had lots of chopped kale left from the Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad I posted last week and, due to a miscalculation on my part, way too many sliced sweet potatoes from the soup kitchen.  Further, I had purchased a pound of ground turkey at the farmer’s market (I love their turkey products) and so…Ta Ta  Sweet Potato and Kale Soup with Tiny Turkey Meatballs.

I love saying that:  Tiny Turkey Meatballs….Tiny Turkey Meatballs…. I love saying that because whenever I make meatballs of something other than beef I usually name them Turkey Balls or Lamb Balls or Pork Balls – all of which are terrible names.  However, browsing someone’s blog (can’t remember whose or I would give you a link to them) I noticed s/he made a dish with turkey balls and called it turkey meatballs…Why Didn’t I Think of That????  If only I could go back to any of my cookbooks that have recipes for some form of meatball and rename them properly…alas it’s too late for past balls – but you know all future balls will be meatballs!
Hope you love this soup – Enjoy! Continue reading Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Tiny Turkey Meatballs

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo ~~

IMG_8882

I belonged to a book club many years ago.  There were about 7 of us and each month one of us would pick the book and host the dinner/discussion.  The club dissolved with my friend Helen’s quick and very unexpected passing.   Without Helen (whose book choices the rest of us always questioned) it was just too hard to regain momentum.  Skip forward several years and one of the original book club members decided to revive it but with a slightly different cast of characters.  After much debate a book (My Brilliant Friend) and a date for the meeting was chosen.

I confess that, as is/was usually the case, I put off reading the book until the last minute.  Three days before the meeting I started reading – and I’m happy to report I finished it with 2 hours to spare.  The dinner was to be at the organizer’s home and then, of the seven reading the book, only 3 of us (host + me + 1 other) made it to the discussion/dinner.

All this is just leading up to the fact that our host had prepared a wonderful dinner including my new favorite-salad-ever.  She found the recipe on a blog

kale and brussel sprout salad from www.onceuponachef.com
I went to the blog only to find that the blogger, Jen Segall, took and altered the recipe from Bon Appetit  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale-and-brussels-sprout-salad
The recipes at both sites use Parmesan style cheese which, being paleo, I omitted.   They both make really big batches (Bon Appetit serves 8 to 10 and Once Upon a Chef serves 6 to 8) and I wanted a more normal sized yield (mine serves 4 to 6).  Proportionally, they both used more dressing, but I honestly feel the amount here is PLENTY!  And, I went with the Bon Appetit choice of almonds rather than walnuts.
Here are some of the things that make this my new favorite salad
It’s DELICIOUS!
It’s easy to prepare – I found already shaves Brussels Spouts and washed and chopped kale at Trader Joe’s, making this salad a snap to make.
 IMG_8855  IMG_8854
It’s versatile –  add cooked chicken for a whole meal salad; add chopped apples and raisins/craisons/currents for a sweeter version; add beans for a heartier vegetarian/vegan salad
It can be prepared in advance – unlike many salads that just get soggy/slimy when dressed too soon, this one gets even better when allowed to stand
Hope this becomes your most favorite new salad too!   Enjoy!

Continue reading Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Beef Heaven – Paleo Nua Sewan – Thai Beef Jerky

IMG_8377

Beef Heaven – Nua Sewan – Thai Beef Jerky

I gotta confess I’m not a beef jerky kinda girl.  In fact, besides Nua Sewan that I tasted in a Thai cooking class eons ago, I never even tasted beef jerky until last month when I bought a package from Trader Joe’s.  To be honest, I thought it was yucky.  So why make it?

To begin with, I had a huge sirloin and I’m only one person, so after cooking a piece of it for dinner I was still left with a lot and I recalled how much I liked the recipe I learned in my cooking class.  Of course that recipe used all sorts of ingredients that are definitely not Paleo – so here’s my version.  I think it’s pretty terrific…I hope you do too! Continue reading Beef Heaven – Paleo Nua Sewan – Thai Beef Jerky

Noodles with Sunflower Seed Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo

CIMG4546

My goodness but I miss Noodles in Peanut Sauce – so I did what any food blogger would do…I made a recipe using different ingredients but yielding a sauce just as delicious as the original (maybe even better).

I have a long history with Noodles in Peanut sauce.  I first published a recipe for it in 1992 for my book “Wholesome Harvest” – in it I used a combination of peanut butter and tahini along with soy sauce, vinegar and a few other ingredients.  Next was in “1,000 Vegetarian Recipes” (1996) where I have a recipe for Peanut Noodles as well as one for Sesame Noodles.  Next came “Something for Everyone” (1997) that had Peanut Noodles in it.  But my big breakthrough came when I entered a cooking contest with my friend Valentine.  The contest was for Lawry’s Marinades.  I created, and Valentine filmed preparation of the recipes for several of the products. My favorite was a very simple recipe for Peanut Noodles:   equal parts Lawry’s Sesame Ginger marinade and smooth peanut butter.  Amazing.  I used that recipe from then on and always got high praise from guests.

Now that I’m Paleo, Peanut Noodles are problematic on so many levels:  I don’t eat peanuts, I don’t use soy sauce (or tamari), no sugar (though I am a little loosey goosey on that one), and of course no “normal” noodles.  But the mad scientist in me was determined to make this work.

Let’s start with the noodles.  I’ve made this with noodles made from sweet potato starch, but I’ve also made this using blanched shredded cabbage.

CIMG4704  CIMG4710

CIMG4706   CIMG4705

 

If you are not Paleo, you could use gluten-free spaghetti or mung bean vermicelli or thin rice noodles.  If you have no dietary restrictions – and you’re only reading this blog because we are friends : ) feel free to use regular thin spaghetti or lo mein noodles.

The other substitutions I have made are coconut aminos instead of the usual soy sauce.  Coconut aminos are similar in flavor to teriyaki sauce and you could use that if you do not have coconut aminos.

CIMG4502

I love Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed butter it’s not as thick as peanut butter but not as thin as tahini.  It has cane sugar in it (as I said earlier I am not too rigid about having some sugar in my diet) so you can use another brand that doesn’t contain sugar but you may want a little extra maple syrup.  You could also use cashew butter instead of the sunflower if that is what you have on hand, but cashew butter tends to be thicker than my sunflower seed butter so you may have to thin the sauce down.

So, enough about the technical stuff; here’s the recipe…it’s really DELICIOUS! Continue reading Noodles with Sunflower Seed Sauce

Eggnog Reminder

Two posts in one day???  This is just a quicky to remind you that I have an AMAZING dairy-free gluten-free Eggnog recipe.  I’m posting it today so you have time to get the ingredients before New Year’s Eve.  Leftovers (if there are any) are great for breakfast.

Happy 2016!!!! Continue reading Eggnog Reminder

Portuguese Sausage and Vegetable Soup

IMG_7760

I have always loved “soup meals” during the colder months (although this year you could hardly have called October or now November cold months).  This morning I went out to walk the dog,

CIMG3307

felt the nip in the air, came in and immediately went to the kitchen to make soup.

A soup meal is more than just a bowl of soup.  It’s soup laced with enough protein, starch, and vegetables that you don’t need anything more to make a complete meal…well, in the BP (before Paleo) days I would have added some crispy bread to the menu.  The reasons that I love soup meals are many:

It can be made in large batches and freezes well so you can alway have an easy/quick meal on hand

Easy clean-up:  In addition to being a one spoon, one bowl meal, it’s usually also a one pot meal.

If you have a crock pot/slow cooker (and know how to use it) it can be prepared in the morning and then is ready by dinner

I started cooking soup meals when my dad was on Chemo.  His taste buds and appetite had changed; food no longer interested him and he was just getting thinner and thinner.  He was, however, willing to eat soup – so I would “hide” lots of small pieces of meat or chicken and some kind of starch (rice or barley or potatoes) in my soups and he would eat the whole thing.  If you have a friend or loved one who is having a hard time eating, try a soup meal and see if it does the trick.

I adapted this soup from a recipe I wrote for “1,000 Vegetarian Recipes” – obviously there was no sausage or ham in that recipe, but I remember loving the combination of cabbage, greens, and potatoes.  I used hot Italian sausages but I will warn you that the soup is pretty spicy – you may want to use sweet Italian sausages or some combination of the two (I’ve made this sometimes using turkey sausage and sometimes pork), but you can also use cooked sausages like Kielbassa or maybe even frankfurters or cured meats like corned beef or tongue (though I honestly haven’t tried any of those yet).

In any case…look for more soup meals in the near future.

Enjoy!
Continue reading Portuguese Sausage and Vegetable Soup