Friday, May 11, 2012

Dandelion Greens with Hot Bacon Dressing

I got a new cookbook! Well technically an e-book. . . But still! Aren't cookbooks exciting? And this one seems like it'll be a real winner. It's The Farm by Ian Knauer, and it's full of delicious-looking recipes, beautiful pictures, and lots of stories from life on his family's farm. For my inaugural recipe, I chose this dandelion greens salad. This was my first attempt at foraging for my food, and I did feel a little silly crouching in the parking strip picking young dandelion leaves. I wondered what people driving by thought of me. But after I made and consumed this salad, I don't care anymore.

Dandelion greens are bitter, but in the book Knauer specifically recommends picking very young leaves, from plants that haven't flowered yet. Also, the dressing perfectly complements the bitterness with all the fatty bacon goodness and sugar. Altogether a mix of intense flavors, cheap, easy to make; and eating a bowlful of weeds makes you feel like a total badass.

The recipe in the book is for 4-6 servings, and since it was only me I halved it, but still had to give one quarter of it to the dogs! They liked it too. Here's how I made it.


2 slices bacon, chopped
Half a shallot, finely chopped
1 small egg
1/6 C water
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 T sugar
A medium-size colander's worth of young dandelion greens
Black pepper


Cook the bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to drain on paper towels, reserving the fat in the skillet.

Turn heat to low, add the shallot, and cook until soft, 4 to 6 minutes.

Whisk together the egg, vinegar, and water. Add the sugar and 1/4 t salt to the skillet, stir, and then add the egg mixture. Whisk constantly to avoid curdling. When the dressing has thickened, pour over the greens and stir to coat. The greens will get a little wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lemon Tart

I recently became aware of an adorable online magazine called Sweet Paul, and was inspired to create this Lemon Tart.

Now, in reality the recipe calls for Meyer lemons rather than regular ones, but I was put off at the grocery store by the fact that they were $4.99/lb! I figured a normal, $0.99/lb lemon would work fine. And you know, it sort of did, but the large proportion of pith of a regular lemon compared to a Meyer lemon did make it much more bitter than I presume one made according to the recipe would be. It doesn't taste horrible, but I love bitter foods, so maybe to others it would be inedible. Who knows! So I'm going to copy the recipe straight from the magazine here, and you can decide if you'd like to spring for the fancy lemons or not.

I also didn't have vanilla ice cream to accompany the tart, so I topped it with some ricotta blobs and fresh raspberries, which was pretty delicious.


1 frozen puff pastry, thawed
5 Meyer lemons
1 cup sugar
2 T confectioner's sugar
Vanilla ice cream


Preheat oven to 390 degrees. Roll out the puff pastry to a little larger than its size, using a bit of flour to keep it from sticking to the work surface. Place pastry on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Slice the lemons as thinly as possible and remove the seeds. Dip the lemon slices in sugar and arrange on the pastry. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Let cool for a bit, then eat!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pizza with Pesto, Spinach, Mushrooms, Bacon, and Ricotta

This isn't really a pizza recipe post, since I'm sure y'all can figure out how to put toppings on a store bought crust and bake it, but I did want to share a picture and maybe inspire some pizza-creation!

I bought the only pre-made crusts at the store, little two-packs of gluten free frozen crusts by Udi's. They are pretty good, though they're really more like pitas than pizza crusts. Then I topped it with homemade pesto, layered on the veggies and bacon, spooned some ricotta on top, and finished with some olive oil and fresh ground black pepper.

When it came to baking, I experimented by putting a foot-square piece of Carrara marble I liberated (with permission) from a former employer into the oven to act as a pizza stone. I don't have a lot of experience making my own pizzas but I've heard a pizza stone is a good thing for getting the crust nice and crispy on the bottom. And what do you know, it worked! Amazing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Salmon Rice Bowls

Rice is a debatable ingredient among paleo eaters, so this one isn't 100% paleo, but whatevs. I deadlifted 253 pounds today--a new PR--and then did "Jackie" (1000m row, 50 thrusters, 30 pullups). I'm eating whatever I want, not because I "earned it" by working out but because I dare anyone to stand between me and my dinner tonight.


16 oz wild pacific salmon
6 baby bok choy
1 1/2 cups white rice
extra-light olive oil
toasted sesame oil (cold pressed, unrefined)
gluten-free tamari
five spice powder
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/4 cup water

This is one of those meals where I made it up as I went along, so I didn't really plan ahead or measure anything. First of all, I cooked up a pot of white rice. I then started two cast iron pans heating on the stove, both over medium heat. In one, I put some extra light olive oil (chosen for flavour neutrality, so use whatever oil you like), some sesame oil, and a good shot of five spice powder. In the other, I added some finely chopped garlic and some minced ginger to some more olive oil and sesame oil.

While that was heating up, I cleaned and separated some baby bok choy. I threw the bok choy into the pan with the five spice powder and added a couple of tablespoons of gluten-free tamari and about 1/4 cup of water.

In the other pan, I put four wild salmon fillets and let it cook on one side. While it was cooking, I stirred up the bok choy a bit. I then flipped over the salmon and added a splash of tamari to the pan. As the salmon was finishing cooking, I took a couple of deep bowls out of the cupboard and put about 3/4 cup of rice in the bottom of each, layering the bok choy on top of that. I then returned the pan from the bok choy to the stove and turned the heat up to reduce the remaining liquid into a sauce. I topped each bowl with two pieces of salmon and then poured the sauce over top.



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sweet Potato Salad

So I'm finally getting in on the EWF fun! I should start off and introduce myself. I'm Bird, and I'm the resident paleo. No, that doesn't mean I go around in a fur bikini eating raw meat. It also doesn't mean I'm into low carb or weird evo-psych theories about gender roles.

I focus on eating whole foods, preferably from local, organic sources. This means a lot of vegetables (soon to be coming from the CSA we've joined), good eggs from chickens that get to scratch in the sunshine, and meats from a woman farmer friend of mine--yay for supporting feminist enterprises! Along with that I eat some fruit, some nuts, and sometimes a bit of good quality dairy. I have celiac disease, so I have been gluten free for about five years now, and going paleo wasn't a big shift. I feel healthier and happier eating this way, and I've also gained a closer connection to my food and local farming community.

So, on to the food! Today's recipe is a paleo sweet potato salad that's vegetarian-friendly too.

Sweet potato salad goodness

One of the tricky things about eating gluten and grain free is sharing a meal with vegetarian friends. Yesterday my partner and I were invited to dinner with friends, and I needed to bring a side dish to share. I knew other people were bringing green salads, so I wanted a starch dish that would be exciting and easy to transport to a potluck. I had some sweet potatoes in the pantry and some homemade mayo in the fridge, so I thought a sweet potato salad sounded like a great idea. I looked around online and found a lot of the recipes included bacon--not exactly a vegetarian option. So, how to get that umami taste without adding meat? Sundried tomatoes to the rescue! However, it still needed a little bit balance it, so I also used a tablespoon of dijon mustard, which balanced nicely with the sweetness from the potatoes, and green onions added flavour and an appealing crunch.

Sundried tomatoes make me want to eat them like candy


2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
2 tbsp coconut oil
8 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup homemade mayonnaise
6 sundried tomatoes (packed in olive oil), chopped
1 tbsp dijon mustard
4 green onions, chopped
sea salt

Sweet potatoes in the pan


Heat coconut oil in a deep cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add sweet potato chunks and cook until browned and soft. Transfer to large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Once potatoes have cooled, add eggs, mayo, tomatoes, mustard, and onions, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Gorgeous eggs from Meadow Creek Farm

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chile Sin Carne al Mole: A Tragedy

Here is another recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I was very excited to make this chili because I adore mole, and let me tell you, if I was the type of person who liked really spicy food, I would be raving about it. Unfortunately I can't handle it. I am going to make this again and tone down the spice, probably by omitting the chile powder and just use the jalapeño.

It was a pretty big letdown to not be able to eat my creation, especially after I dressed it up with avocado slices and plain yogurt. However, I didn't want it to go to waste, so I put it in the freezer and have been trying to foist it off on my heat-loving friends. I almost would've gotten rid of a container of it today, too, if my friend's bag hadn't been too full already!

So my final review is, make this according to the recipe I'm posting if you like spicy food, and proceed with caution and experiment with the spice if you're a little more sensitive.


1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 small jalapeño, minced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 pound seitan, coarsely chopped into 1/4" cubes
2 T chile powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cumin
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes in sauce
3 T cocoa powder
3 T blackstrap molasses
2 (14 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and well rinsed
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth


Preheat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat; pour in and heat the olive oil. Add the onions and peppers and sauté for two minutes, then add the garlic and seitan. Cook for eight minutes, until onions are soft. Add the chile powder, cinnamon, and cumin, stirring constantly for another minute. Add the tomatoes, cocoa powder, and molasses. Stir and break up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon, then add the beans and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Allow to sit at least 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blondeez Daily Diary Tuesday

Happy May! 

I started the day thankful that the kid stayed mostly asleep and totally fever-free through the night.  I threw together a hot breakfast of Turkey-Apple Hash and made twin tuna salads for CJ and me for lunch.  I grabbed a hard boiled egg to eat late morning before my workout, then afterwards had that tuna salad over arugula with some homemade applesauce.  Some pistachios and grapefruit hit the spot for a snack, and dinner was leftover carnitas and roasted brussels sprouts.  All in all a good day!

Turkey-Apple Hash
Serves 4-8, depending on how hungry you are
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 15 min
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking fat (I used ghee)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1 zucchini or summer squash, diced
Melt cooking fat in large pan over medium heat and add the garam masala, cooking about 2 minutes to infuse.  Add the ground meat to the pan and brown.  Add the apples and squash and cover for about 5 min, or until squash begins to soften.  Remove cover and allow liquid from apples to cook off, stirring frequently.

Fancy Tuna Salad
Serves 1-2
Prep Time: 10 min
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, diced and 1 tsp. fennel greens
  • 1/2 shallot, diced small
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. capers
  • 1 tsp. dried or fresh dill
  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients, adding oil just to the desired consistency.  Throw in whatever else you have around that sounds good:  olives, sun dried tomatoes, etc.  Serve on bread or over salad greens.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)
Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 40 min
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

Blondeez Weekend Plus One

This weekend the kiddo had a fever that lasted through Monday, so there was more caring for her and less cooking than usual.  For the most part I can't even remember what I ate, so it's definitely not interesting enough to share!  Leftovers, mostly, though I also made a strawberry rhubarb crumble that I polished off almost single-handedly.  Sunday I made it out to grocery shop and made carnitas as well as some other stuff I'll be eating later this week.  Yesterday we indulged some cravings and had pizza and ice cream to celebrate the kid having her appetite back.

Blondeez Daily Diary Friday

Apple Raisin Irish Oatmeal warmed me up after a quick bike ride this morning.  Lunch was leftovers from last night, and homemade applesauce as a snack.

Dinner was a one-pot slow cooker meal that I love--Curried Chicken and  Rice.  Since I had the greens left from the beets I looked up an indian-inspired recipe and came up with Braised Beet Greens, which added a little more greenery to our meal. 

Curried Chicken and Rice (from Slow Cooker Revolution)
Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 4-6 hours
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced or grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 14-oz. can light coconut milk
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • 1/2 head cauliflower (~1 lb.), cored and cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onions, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, curry, and garam masala and cook until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 8-10 min.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 min.  Slowly whisk incoconut milk, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out lumps, then transfer to slow cooker.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to slow cooker, and coat evenly with sauce.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on low.  Break up chicken into bite-size pieces with wooden spoon.  Stir in rice and 1 tsp. salt, cover, and cook on high until rice is tender, 20-30 min.

Microwave cauliflower with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 min.  Stir softened cauliflower and peas into slow cooker and let sit until heated through, about 5 min.  Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro and serve.