Paleo Recipes: Week of May 13

Coconut Yogurt With posts like this and this and this, you may have thought I was off the Paleo Diet.  But that’s totally not the case.  I’m still going strong :)  I did put on several pounds after my trip to NYC though.  With dining destinations like Le Bernadin, The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Eataly, Baked and the Momofuku Noodle Bar, it was close to impossible for me to follow Paleo guidelines.  But I don’t go on many vacations throughout the year, so I was totally fine with breaking the rules.  I’ve got three recipes below that have helped me get back on track.  They’re easy to prepare and packed with flavor.  Each recipe also has a richness that makes you forget the fact that you are eating diet food.  Citrus Avocado Dip, Coconut Yogurt, and Chorizo Meatloaf recipes below.

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Blood Orange Marmalade

Blood Orange Marmalade

So I think I might have a new obsession: Orange Cardamom Scones + Blood Orange Marmalade + Mascarpone Cheese.  Sweet, tart, creamy, flaky, and buttery.  Does it get any better than that?  Not just for scones, this sunset-hued spread can liven up any slice of buttered toast or cream-cheesed bagel.  Typically thought of as a breakfast food, marmalade can actually be used in many other applications.  Try spooning a dollop over vanilla ice cream to brighten up your late night dessert.  This marmalade can also be shaken into a seasonal cocktail or be used as the base of a fruit vinaigrette.

I’m already one paragraph in, and I have yet to mention the best part of this recipe.  It only requires 3 ingredients.  And 1 of them is water!!  If you’ve never made marmalade before, don’t be intimidated and give this recipe a try.  I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how easy it is.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pear Salsa

Pear Salsa

Fragrant chunks of crisp, Bartlett pear are tossed with sweet red onion, fiery bits of serrano chile, fresh mint and verdant cilantro.  This beautiful bowl of purple and green is then dressed in a simple mix of olive oil and lime juice.  Fresh, bright and SO yum, this recipe makes a lot of salsa, so make sure you have friends or family around to help you finish it.  I love to serve this up with some tortilla strips, but you could also spoon atop a seared piece of fish or mix in with steamed rice.

We’re all familiar with tropical fruit salsas like pineapple and mango, but really, you can use any type of fruit.  I’m getting a little giddy just thinking of the possibilities!  Apple and thyme salsa?  White peach and tarragon?  Berries and sage?  So many options!  What’s your favorite type of fruit salsa?  Continue reading for the recipe and share your thoughts below!

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Pear and Arugula Smoothie

Pear and Arugula Smoothie

I’ve reached that point in the new year where my body is just craving something healthy.  Cake, ice cream, burgers and Chinese food have recently been added to the list of things I don’t want to eat at the moment.  This list is, of course, only temporary.  But as for right now, I am officially on a health kick.  Morning meals include homemade granola, scrambled eggs sans butter, and variety of delicious smoothies.  My Spiced Oatmeal Smoothie is a standard, but recently, I’ve been ob. sessed. with this Pear and Arugula Smoothie.  Peppery arugula is blended with orange juice, pine nuts, yogurt, ginger and fresh pear.  The finished smoothie is light, bright and packed with flavor.  It’s seriously the easiest way to down a cup of greens in the morning.  Continue reading for the recipe (with animated GIF!).

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Brandon’s 2012 Top Picks

Frozen Seared Steak

Here’s a brief roundup of my top recipes from 2012.  I’ve really grown to enjoy writing this type of article each year.  Skimming through my archives, I get flooded with all sorts of fond memories.  During the month of February, I posted a number of Mexican recipes that I had prepared for Valentine’s Day.  I had led my boyfriend to believe that he was getting steak and salad for dinner, then surprised him with an entirely Mexican feast (he’s Mexican by the way).  In June, I moved from a beautiful house to a new apartment.  I find it interesting to see how my photography has changed since transitioning into the new space.  In September, I started experimenting with fermentation after enjoying an afternoon with a group of lovely San Diego Food Bloggers.

I’ve found that many of my good memories throughout the year have food associated with them.  I still remember the pickled quince served to a gathering of close friends for Thanksgiving.  The corned beef my mother prepared my first evening back in New Jersey (after 4 years!).  The citrusy walktails consumed during the Coachella Music Festival (a walktail is a cocktail you drink while walking from your car to the venue).  My first bite of caramelized onion and jalapeno-topped, cream cheese-slathered, sriracha-drizzled hot dog enjoyed with an old friend on his porch in Poughkeepsie.  A glorious sip of intensely flavored shrimp broth at a taco spot in Tijuana with my boyfriend.  Like I said above… flooded.  Continue reading for my top picks of 2012.  Also, please share some of your favorite 2012 food memories.

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Poached Quince

Poached Quince Last year, during the height of my soda-making obsession, I first discovered the beauty of the quince.  I was experimenting with a new flavor profile (quince and star anise), and after a few hours of simmering, I was left with a delicious soda syrup and melt-in-your-mouth Poached Quince.  After just one bite, I knew I had stumbled upon a new seasonal favorite.  In its raw form, quince is quite inedible.  Sour and astringent, raw quince looks like an apple or a pear, but seriously… don’t take a bite.  When cooked, quince transforms into a wonderfully fragrant delicacy nothing short of pure heaven.  The fragrance is like apple and pear mixed with heady floral notes.  In this recipe, I’ve added vanilla, cardamom and ginger to the poaching liquid.  Each of those flavors compliments the quince; however, you can omit any or all of them if you’re not a fan.  Quince are ripe when firm, yellow and fragrant.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Heirloom Tomato Jam

Heirloom Tomato Jam

Homemade condiments and sauces are two things I’m completely obsessed with.  If you were to open up my fridge today, you’d find an assortment of weck jars filled with jams, aioli, mustards, spreads, dippies and dairy products.  And perhaps a jar or two of pickles.  This Heirloom Tomato Jam is my newest addition.  Ripe heirloom tomatoes are simmered with ginger, red chile, cinnamon, cumin and ground clove, resulting in a ketchup-like sauce just packed with flavor.  Sugar used to bring out the sweetness in the tomatoes is balanced by a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice.  Use this jam as a condiment for your next backyard burger or spread over freshly baked cheddar biscuits.  You could also use this jam with any beef, chicken or pork entree or mix into an afternoon bowl of polenta.  That’s the beauty of homemade condiments.  Having an arsenal of unique flavors at your fingertips allows you to easily switch up your everyday meals, creating unique dishes with minimal effort.  Prep this jam over the weekend, then enjoy throughout the week when time and energy are usually limited.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Ripe Plum Tabbouleh

Ripe Plum Tabbouleh

With the 4th of July just around the corner, I’ve been testing out some nontraditional sides that would fit in well at a barbeque.  Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad typically made with bulgur, tomato, herbs, lemon and olive oil.  The flavors are fresh, bold and clean.  A perfect counter to the assortment of smokey, fatty meats usually found at a backyard barbeque.  Stone fruit just screams summer to me, so I decided to substitute in some ripe, juicy plums for the tomatoes.  This salad starts with small mound of sliced scallions.  Tiny jewels of ombre-hued plum and fiery red chile are added just before a fragrant flurry of chopped mint and parsley.  Textural bulgur is crumbled in at the end with a dressing made of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  The finished salad is utterly addicting.  Because tabbouleh is dairy-free, it can sit out a party for a little while without worry of spoilage.  But I highly doubt it will sit around for too long before the whole bowl is finished.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Tomato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette [Giveaway]

Tomato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

This Tomato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette is a vibrant celebration of one of my favorite ingredients, the tomato.  Sitting atop a mound of textural couscous is a haphazard mess of yellow, orange and red dressed in a fragrant, fruity vinaigrette.  Finished with a scattering of chopped oregano, tarragon and mint, this salad is freshness incarnate.  These bold, scrumptsh flavors are sure to keep the fork-to-mouth motion in full effect until the last morsel is consumed.

I should also mention that the types of tomatoes used aren’t particularly important.  Can’t find yellow cherry tomatoes?  Go with all red.  Orange tomatoes not available in your local market?  Pick up a roma, beefsteak or plum tomato.  Simply use the recipe below as a general guideline.  You’ll definitely want to make sure all of your tomatoes are ripe.  This salad is best consumed during the summer months when tomatoes are in season.  Continue reading for the recipe plus giveaway details.

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Blood Orange Frozen Yogurt

Blood Orange Frozen Yogurt

I still remember the sweet smell of crisp, white citrus blossoms the afternoon I went blood orange picking.  Standing amongst a small collection of blood orange, lime, lemon and Valencia orange trees, I stopped for a moment to enjoy the warm sun and heady fragrance.  After a brief zen moment, I continued on with the task at hand.  Nimbly darting throughout the limbs, I eagerly plucked ripe citrus from the trees while trying to avoid the sharp thorns dotting the surface of each branch.  The massive bowl of oranges pictured below is just a small fraction of the bounty I brought home that afternoon.  As I organized each fruit into different bowls around my kitchen, I couldn’t help but smile at the collection.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve prepared a number of recipes utilizing my winter citrus.  This Blood Orange Frozen Yogurt is one of my favorites :)  Made with blood orange zest and juice, this luscious fro yo is tart, creamy and complex.  Orange liqueur bumps up the oranginess of the dish while honey lends a sweet, floral note reminiscent of those wonderfully fragrant citrus blossoms.  If you can’t find blood oranges at your local market, you could certainly make this recipe with regular oranges.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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