Roasted Vegetable Salad

This is my take on California Pizza Kitchen’s salad. I think mine tastes better, though. Hehe. (Just kidding, corporate attorneys!)

This salad blends roasted or grilled veggies with crisp, fresh lettuces for a yummy variety of textures, flavors, and temperatures. You can add meat to make it a meal, or serve it on the side of your protein. Either way, this is no boring salad. Use prepackaged salad mix to make this even easier.

Roasted Vegetable Salad (cut everything into roughly the same size for even roasting)
1 eggplant or about half a dozen baby eggplants: sliced or quartered, respectively
1 bunch of asparagus (cut off woodsy ends)
1 zucchini, sliced or cut into coins
1 bell pepper, slices
1 shallot, sliced
Fat of choice
Sea salt, pepper, Italian herb blend
1-2 bags of salad mix (you can use a simple blend, spring mix, or just spinach)
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prep veggies and make sure they are completely dry.

Place all veggies in roasting pan, mix with fat of choice and seasonings. Toss.

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Keep in oven until veggies veggies are nice and roasted. This may take between 30-45 minutes. Once veggies are cooked, remove from oven.

Arrange your lettuce or salad mix of choice on a serving tray. Top with roasted vegetables and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

I topped mine with a cayenne pepper pan-seared chicken breast cut into pieces.

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I also added carrot sticks and fresh broccoli florets before serving.

Vegetarian Option
Serve as-is without meat.

Primal Option
Add a good blue cheese. The flavors work together really well.

Grilled Tri Tip Roast

Well, I’m back from my trip to Berkeley. It was a really long week, but I’m glad to be home.

Today’s recipe is another homage to the grill. It takes a little while to cook the whole roast, but if you’re short on time, you can use cut steaks.

Before I had the opportunity to put the meat on the grill, I had a little incident involving the marinade spilling all over my kitchen floor. I usually brush my marinade over he meat while grilling, so I had to improvise another marinade I wasn’t planning on making. I will give you both options.

Grilled Tri Tip Roast
-Tri Tip Roast or steak (about 2.5 lbs)
-1 shallot
– 2-3 cloves of garlic
– 2/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
– 4.5 cups of apple juice (check ingredients)
– 1 Tbsp. each of chile powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper
-Sea salt to taste
-1 Tbsp agave nectar (optional)
-About 1 tsp of your cooking fat of choice

Plan B Glaze
*I was dealing with leftover ingredients, so no measurements!
-Agave Nectar
-Apple Cider Vinegar
-Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chile powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, sea salt

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Ok, using the first list of ingredients:
Heat your fat of choice in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Add your shallots and garlic.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and allow them to meld.

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My marinade didn’t reduce very much (I’m also not that patient), but I wanted my flavors to develop a little before I put the meat in there. Pull marinade off the heat and allow to cool.

Once cool, add meat and allow it to absorb the awesomeness.

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Now, somewhere after marinating my meat and before grilling it, my marinade ended up all over my kitchen floor.

If you’re so lucky that your marinade doesn’t end up on your floor, feel free to use the broth to baste your meat while grilling. If your marinade also ended up on the floor, or you would like a thicker glaze, whisk together all the ingredients in my Plan B Glaze.

Commence grilling.

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I like my meat well done. Adjust your cooking time depending on your preference for done-ness. This took about an hour (mostly on indirect heat).

Brush with broth or marinade if you wish.

Once your meat is done, pull off meat and allow to rest before cutting (so it doesn’t dry out).

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Once the meat is well-rested, slice and serve with salad or grilled veggies (I did grilled eggplant and lemon-roasted asparagus).

Enjoy!!

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Paleo Travel

So tomorrow morning I leave my home in Southern California for a week-long stint at a hotel in Northern California. I’m already imagining how horrible this is going to be for my paleo-ness. In preparation, I’ve stashed almonds, protein, and some YouBars in my checked luggage.

Now, I haven’t mentioned YouBars before because, quite frankly, real food is always better than a bar. However, in certain circumstances, food in bar form may be your best alternative. I swear YouBar didn’t pay me, but they’re worth checking out. YouBar is a business, based here in L.A., and all they do is make custom-made protein, trail mix, and energy bars. Comparable to Larabars, but you pick the ingredients. My bar, which I named “Alicia’s Goodies,” (hehe), has almond butter, sesame seeds, protein, and honey. You can add fruit, nuts, whatever you want, and they will make a baker’s dozen just for you.

Hope you guys have a great week. I’ll be gone Monday through Friday and can’t guarantee I’ll be posting (I know, I know, I just got back).

See you all shortly! Hopefully I’ll get some culinary inspiration in NorCal and bring it back to you. =)

Sides and Snacks

I was planning to share a stuffed bell pepper recipe yesterday, but I’ve opted for something simpler (for my own sake). Next week I will be in Northern California for some research and I was so busy taking care of last minute stuff. I’ll share two simple sides with you today: Lemon broccoli with shallots, and fruit salad.

I’ll start with the fruit salad. During the summer, I don’t have much of an appetite, and I don’t care for much cooking that involves heat (unless it’s outdoor grilling). As a result, during the summer, I like to prepare a fruit salad on Friday nights and then munch on it all weekend. It’s a quick snack and since it’s already made, just serve and enjoy!

Fruit Salad
(Only suggestions! You can add or eliminate fruits to suit the tastes of your guests, just cut everything into roughly the same size chunks)
-Half a baby, seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
-1 whole pineapple, cut into cubes
-1 granny smith apple, diced
-1 gala apple, diced
-1 cup sliced strawberries
-Handful of raspberries
-Juice from half a lemon

Throw all ingredients into a storage bowl or a serving bowl and mix. Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent apples from turning brown.

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I know some people like their fruit salad with some kind of creamy sauce. Here’s a simple one:

-Cream from one can of coconut milk
-Zest from a whole lemon
-Drizzle of honey (optional)

Mix all ingredients and serve over your fruit salad.

Lemon Broccoli with Shallots
-2 medium broccoli crowns, cut into florets
-1 shallot, sliced thinly
-Juice and zest from one lemon
-Sea salt, pepper
-Fat of choice

Heat your fat of choice in a large skillet or wok. Add shallots and allow to caramelize.

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(Excuse the not-so-great picture)

Add broccoli, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Heat until broccoli is slightly tender, but still has a bite to it. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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This broccoli dish would go wonderfully with steak, chicken, or shrimp. Enjoy!

Broccoli Variations
-Mix all ingredients, place on a cookie sheet, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees F.

Mexican Chicken Salad

This is another super simple recipe that is great for the summer–especially since there is NO cooking involved! Yay! That’s right. This super light and super easy semi-homemade dish is great for picnics, weekends, or outings. This dish transports easily and only gets better after sitting in the fridge for a few extra hours. Use pre-cooked shrimp, rotisserie chicken, or chicken leftovers. These little shortcuts will keep you out of the kitchen and in the pool (mojito not included).

Mexican Chicken Salad
-1 onion, finely diced
-1 bunch of green onion, finely chopped
-1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
-1 cucumber, peeled, finely diced
-1 tomato, seeded and finely diced
-3 small tomatillos, finely diced
-3 jalapeƱos, cut away membrane, remove seeds and finely diced
-1.5-2 lbs of cooked, clean shrimp (no tails) or one whole rotisserie chicken (remove all the meat from the bones and do a rough chop)
-Juice from one lime
-Sea salt, menudo mix, pepper
-Avocado halves

Throw all of your prepped veggies into a large mixing bowl. Add meat and lime juice. Season with salt, pepper, and menudo mix as necessary.

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Serve the salad in lettuce leaves, cabbage leaves, bell peppers, or in avocado halves!

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Would work well as an appetizer, too!

Enjoy!

Chile Relleno Frittata

I have a thing for chile rellenos. I always have. Whether they’re battered and stuffed with cheese, or lighter and stuffed with meat and veggies (paleo recipe forthcoming), chile rellenos always seem to taste delicious. Since the battered, cheese-stuffed, and fried chile relleno is NOT paleo, I got a little creative and made a frittata with the same basic flavor. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Chile Relleno Frittata
-4 eggs
-1 poblano/pasilla chile, diced (you could use an Anaheim chile if you prefer; you could also double the number of eggs and use a combination of chiles)
-Splash of almond milk or coconut milk (optional)
-Pepper, sea salt, menudo mix
-Cooking fat of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In an oven-safe pan, heat your fat of choice over medium heat. Add your diced chiles.

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Leave the chiles in the pan for a little while. Let them brown and char slightly (careful, hot chile pieces may jump!).

In a cup or bowl, whisk your eggs with a splash of coconut or almond milk. Add your seasonings.

Add egg mixture to hot pan.

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Remove from stove and place in your preheated oven until the center is set. When you remove it from the oven, allow it to cool slightly. Separate the edges of the frittata from the pan with a small spatula. When it’s cool enough to handle (or you can use oven mitts if you can’t wait), place a plate on top of the pan and flip. Your frittata should come right out.

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Slice and serve. Top with salsa or avocado if you wish.

Variations
-Limitless. Substitute any veggies. Broccoli, bell peppers, and asparagus would be fantastic.
-Primal option: add cheese to the top of the frittata before you place it in the oven. After all, it is a little blasphemous to have a chile relleno with no cheese.

Enjoy!

Asian Lettuce Wraps

This is another recipe that I made while on my temporary hiatus. Like most of my recipes, this one involved some experimentation, so I’m sharing what worked and what didn’t work so well with this recipe. I had initially hoped to put the stuffing in chard, wrap it, then cook it in the oven to make little dumplings of sorts (which is why I added egg, so that they would stay in meatball form in the wrapping). I overcooked the chard and it was not appetizing. You’re welcome to give that a try, though I think the stovetop method worked out a LOT better. After cooking the stuffing, then placing it in a fresh, crunchy lettuce or cabbage wrap, you get a nice balance of textures. I’ll guide you through how I did this recipe (I apologize for the confusion in advance! Experimenting in the kitchen doesn’t always work out that well!) Or, you could totally go the other way and do an Asian-style meatloaf. Which ever way you choose, I hope you enjoy!

Asian Lettuce Wraps

  • Lots of veggies (I used bell pepper, chard, celery, bok choy, zucchini, carrots, and some baby eggplant)
  • Ground meat of choice (I used chicken), between .5 lbs and 1 lb. (if you’re going the meatloaf route, you may need more meat)
  • 1-2 eggs (optional, more important if you’re planning to bake, not so important if you’re cooking on your stovetop; if you’re going the meatloaf route, you may need more eggs)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Seasonings: Ground ginger, fresh garlic, cilantro, green onion, pepper, sea salt
  • Chard (stems removed, just the leaves), a leafy lettuce, or cabbage (for wrapping)

If you’re baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Prep your veggies. Since these are going to be wraps, you want your veggies to be bite-sized and relatively uniform.

Ok, so from here you have two options: Option 1 (preferred): start seasoning and sauteing your veggies. Option 2 (for meatloaf or attempting the oven-baked wraps): Place veggies in a large mixing bowl with meat and eggs. Season liberally.

If you’re doing the stovetop method, add your meat to your veggies. Break up the meat and keep on the stovetop until cooked thoroughly. Recheck for seasoning.

If you’re baking, mix all your ingredients together into a squishy, gooey mess. Get your kids involved.

If you’re doing the stovetop method, once your meat is cooked thoroughly, spoon mixture into your wrap of choice, and enjoy (no pic, sorry!)!

If you’re baking, spoon your RAW mixture into your chard or cabbage leaves.

Wrap your leaves like a burrito (or as close to a burrito as possible)

Repeat.

Bake until meat is thoroughly cooked.

The stovetop method would be great for your lunches at work. Just keep your fresh, crisp leaves in a zip top bag or plastic container and your cooked stuffing in another container. Gently reheat your stuffing and either stuff your lettuce, or through into a salad.

Kabobs 2 Ways

It is getting way too hot here in Southern California. When the weather gets like this, I try to avoid cooking in the kitchen. These kabobs are ridiculously simple, you can transport them raw then take them to the backyard (or the beach) and grill them there. Also, the fact that you can eat these with your fingers means no silverware. I love it when I don’t have to do dishes.

Kabobs 2 Ways (Makes a lot)
-2 large chicken breasts, but into about 1-inch cubes
-about 2 lbs cubed stew beef
-apple cider vinegar
-gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
-honey or agave nectar
-juice from 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 1 orange
-1 shallot, minced
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-dried oregano, red pepper flakes, pepper, sea salt, cayenne pepper
-lots of veggies, cut into pieces about the same size as your meat (I used cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, and bell peppers)

If your skewers are wooden, soak them so they don’t catch on fire while you’re grilling them. If not wooden, then no worries!

Get three large mixing bowls. In one, combine your beef with pepper, red pepper flakes, equal parts of honey (or agave) and apple cider vinegar, and a half part of soy sauce or coconut aminos. Set aside and allow to marinade.

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In the another bowl, combine your chicken with the shallots, garlic, citrus juice, oregano, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Allow to marinade.

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Place your prepped veggies in the other bowl.

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Set up your stations! I usually fully line a dish with foil twice. I put my raw kabobs there, then once they are on the grill, I remove the foil and use the same dish for the cooked kabobs.

Start shanking your meat. Just kidding, but start skewering your meat and veggies.

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You will have to forgive me, I don’t have photos of my chicken kabobs or the finished product. Grill until fully cooked. I served me leftover chicken kabobs with guacamole on top. Super good. Enjoy! It’s summertime (well, at least it feels like it), so start grilling!

Pumpkin Muffin/Pancake Batter? But it’s not Fall…?!

I know, I know. “Pumpkins aren’t in season.” Whatever… YOU can make this in the Fall if you’d like. I’ll indulge in my paleo pumpkin muffins (or pancakes) when I’m craving pumpkin, thank you.

Here’s one of the recipes I made during my little hiatus. Hope you enjoy!

Now, before I begin: when I made this the first time, I really wanted pumpkin muffins; so I created this recipe with the intention of definitely making muffins. However, after eating the muffins, it became rather apparent that this mix, as is, would work a lot better for pancakes. The muffins were really light and fluffy, but I prefer my muffins to be a little bit more dense. Pancakes, on the other hand, I prefer airy and fluffy, which is why I think this recipe would work better for that. Either way, you have a choice, and, as always, my recipes are open for interpretation. Add or eliminate ingredients as you wish.

Paleo Pumpkin Muffin/Pancake Batter

  • 2.5 cups almond meal
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 large can pumpkin
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup light agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves to taste)

If you’re baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and either grease a loaf pan or prep your muffin liners. If you’re making pancakes, just keep reading…

In one bowl, mix your dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine your liquid ingredients.

Slowly, add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients (make sure to thoroughly mix).

 

 

If you’re baking, pour/spoon mixture into your loaf pan or muffin liners, respectively. Place in oven and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean.

 

If you’re making pancakes, put a little butter on a griddle and let it heat up. Using either a ladle or a measuring cup, spoon your mixture on the griddle. Flip over when the pancake is halfway cooked.

 

 

Variations: Add nuts!

Paleo Lemon Custard (I’m baaaaaaack!!)

The semester is over (well, the stack of papers on my desk that need to be graded may beg to differ)!!! I’m so sorry for not posting in a while. I’ve been so busy with my research, though (good news), I may have found out my dissertation topic. It’s starting to get HOT here in Southern California, so for my first recipe back, I’ve decided to share a super creamy, light, and fresh summery dessert (it’s also SUPER simple). Enjoy!

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Paleo Lemon Custard (Flan)- Makes 4

  • 1 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of light agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • Zest of one whole lemon
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer.

Pour mixture into ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish and pour water around the ramekins (to keep them moist).

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the center is set.

Pull ramekins out of the oven and allow to cool. Keep in refrigerator until you decide to eat.

The custard, right out of the oven, before cooling in the fridge.

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I did a lot of cooking while I was out, expect another post soon! It’s nice to be back!