Green Apple and Fennel Slaw

One of the first plants ready to harvest in my mom’s garden is Florence fennel bulbs. The mild licorice scent and flavor always reminds me of early summer and it’s one of my favorite summer vegetables, especially when paired with tart green apples and citrus. This bright summer slaw is based on those three flavors. While I use a blend of grapefruit and lemon juice, orange juice can be used instead. I use purple cabbage because of the increased flavonoids from the anthocyanins that give it that gorgeous color. I shred cabbage by cutting it thin, but run the rest of the veggies through the grating disc on my food processor. I use olive oil or avocado oil mayonnaise simply because the monounsaturated fatty acids in those two oils are more stable and less easily oxidized than polyunsaturated fatty acids with a high omega-6 to low omega-3 ratio (aka vegetable oils).

I have served this slaw with smoked pork spare ribs and with baked salmon.

1/2 head purple cabbage, cored, and shredded
4 carrots, peeled, & shredded
1 fennel bulb without fronds, shredded
1 green apple, cored and shredded
1 Ruby Red grapefruit, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups olive oil or avocado oil mayonnaise
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all the shredded produce in a large bowl. Toss together until the vegetables and fruit are equally distributed. In a medium bowl, whisk together grapefruit juice, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour the dressing over the shredded vegetables and fruit. Toss with tongs or two large spoons until the slaw is evenly coated with dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Stir or toss before serving to distribute any juices from the bottom of the bowl.

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Enchilada Frittata

I’ve found frittatas (baked omelettes) to be an easy and nutritious way to make familiar foods low carb and more nutritious. I’ve made pizza frittatas several times but this enchilada frittata is my favorite thus far. A 1/4 cup of corn kernels, a couple tablespoons of masa harina (corn flour), or 2 corn tortillas cut into strips can be added to this frittata to increase the enchilada flavor if they’re part of your diet.

6 eggs
1 cup cheddar cheese or dairy free cheddar shreds
1/2 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
2 Tbs salsa verde
2 Tbs chopped green chilies or jalapenos
2 Tbs butter or coconut oil, divided
1 Tbs milk or non-dairy milk alternative
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp mild chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Prepare a cast iron skillet or a glass pie plate with 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter. In a large saute pan, melt the other tablespoon of coconut oil or butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the ground beef, salsa verde, green chilies or jalapenos, ground cumin, mild chili powder, salt, and pepper to the onions and garlic. Cook until the meat is brown. Remove from heat and strain out any excess fat. Spread the ground meat in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add the black olives and shredded cheese. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and milk with a fork. Pour the eggs over the meat and cheese in the baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Pickled Green Peaches

I have a lone peach tree in my yard that produces lots of fruit that never ripen. We think it needs a cross-pollinator and are looking to add another variety of tree to my yard. After years of disappointment in not having fruit to harvest, this year I decided to see if there was something I could do with green peaches. Turns out that pickling them is pretty common, especially in the Middle East and the US South where the trees are extensively cultivated. Green almonds and green apricots can be used instead of green peaches. The green fruit is pruned from the trees in order to thin out the fruit to make more room and energy for the remaining fruit to mature. As is common in traditional cultures, a way to use the thinned fruit was found.

Once pickled, the fruit can be used in salads, as an accompaniment to main dishes, or eaten on their own as a snack. I found dozens of different recipes, so combined the ones I liked best and that I had ingredients on hand. I made two different types, one more salty and one more sweet. I won’t know how they turn out until next month, but the recipes are below.

Savory Pickled Green Peaches

20-24 green peaches
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs honey
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp red chile flakes or 1 red jalapeño, sliced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
2 sprigs of fennel

Wash green peaches and dry each one with a paper towel. Make a couple of small slices in each fruit with a paring knife so the brine can get into the peaches. In a medium saucepot, bring water, vinegar, salt, and honey to a boil. Disinfect a quart size canning jar. Tightly pack peaches into the jar, alternating with the rest of the ingredients. Leave about an inch of headroom at the top of the jar. Disinfect the lid and ring to the jar. Pour the boiling brine over the peaches, making sure peaches are covered and not floating. Seal with the lid and ring. Leave jar out on the counter for 4 days, shaking often. Refrigerate. Pickles should be ready to eat in 4 weeks. Makes 1 quart.

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Sweet & Spicy Pickled Green Peaches

20-24 green peaches
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 slices ginger, fresh or dried
2 bay leaves

Wash green peaches and dry each one with a paper towel. Make a couple of small slices in each fruit with a paring knife so the brine can get into the peaches. In a medium saucepot, bring water, vinegar, honey, and salt to a boil. Disinfect a quart size canning jar. Tightly pack peaches into the jar, alternating with the rest of the ingredients. Leave about an inch of headroom at the top of the jar. Disinfect the lid and ring to the jar. Pour the boiling brine over the peaches, making sure peaches are covered and not floating. Seal with the lid and ring. Leave jar out on the counter for 4 days, shaking often. Refrigerate. Pickles should be ready to eat in 4 weeks. Makes 1 quart.

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Pineapple No Bake Cheesecake

For Father’s Day I combined some of my dad’s favorite flavors to make a dessert: pineapple, cheese, coconut, & almonds. I made 4 mini cheesecakes in 4.5 inch spring form pans. It should work in a regular 10 inch spring form pan. My mom suggested making a sauce from the leftover pineapple juice to pour over the top. I’ll have to try that next time I make this cheesecake.

Crust:
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely​ ground almond flour
3 Tbs salted butter, melted
1 tsp stevia-erythritol blend
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake:
2 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 20oz can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained and liquid reserved
1 cup reserved pineapple juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 packet Knox gelatin
2 Tbs stevia-erythritol blend
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
coconut oil for pan(s)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix together all the crust ingredients until evenly distributed. Spoon crust mixture into the bottom of spring form pan(s) and pat down with fingers until level and pressed together. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool before making cheesecake. Prepare the insides of the spring form pan(s) with a light coating of coconut oil. In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese, heavy cream, stevia-erythritol blend, vanilla, and salt with an electric mixer or stand mixer until smooth. In a small saucepot or a microwave safe glass measuring cup, bring a half cup of pineapple juice to a boil. Put gelatin powder in a small bowl. Pour hot pineapple juice over the gelatin powder and whisk until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the other half cup of pineapple juice to the gelatin and juice, whisk to combine. Add crushed pineapple and gelatin mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until well combined. Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust in the spring form pan(s). Tap sides to level the top. Cool in the refrigerator for an hour before covering with plastic wrap to prevent it from sticking to the top of the cake(s). Chill for at least 3 hours before serving.

Posted in Dessert, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Sugar Free | 1 Comment

Raspberry-Blackberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Berry season is upon us once again. I recently decided to do something with the dozens of quart bags of previous years’ harvests in my freezer. I made several batches of low sugar jellies and then had the idea to make a new berry based barbecue sauce. I used raspberries, blackberries, homemade Three Tomato Sauce, homemade adobo sauce, and homemade chipotles. I tried it without the tomato sauce and without the adobo sauce, but both ingredients add a depth of flavor the sauce needed.

An immersion blender is the easiest way to blend the ingredients before straining out the seeds, but it can be done in batches in a regular blender.

8 cups frozen raspberries
4 cups frozen blackberries
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup adobo sauce
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs smoked paprika
2 tsp sweet paprika
1-3 diced chipotles from adobo sauce (deseeded for less heat)
Salt to taste

In a large stockpot combine all ingredients except salt and simmer on low until the onions and garlic are cooked through. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer or a chinois conical strainer to remove seeds. Return strained sauce to the stockpot and put back on the stove. Simmer, stirring often, until sauce reaches your preferred consistency. Salt to taste, approximately 2-3 teaspoons. Remove from heat. Ladle sauce into sterilized canning jars and seal lids in a water bath.

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Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce

I’m eating, and smoking, more pork this summer so I tried my hand at a tomato based barbecue sauce. This is the first one I’ve made, usually I use berries as a base. I used my three tomato sauce as a base instead of ketchup and used buckwheat honey instead of brown sugar. Buckwheat honey has a strong flavor that pairs well with meats. Wild flower honey or another strong flavored honey can be used instead, coriander honey would be a good choice. If you use commercial tomato sauce, sauté a diced sweet onion and two cloves garlic in a few tablespoons of butter before adding the rest of the ingredients and blend the sauce prior to bottling to make it smooth.

4 cups three tomato sauce
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup buckwheat honey
1/4 cup salted butter
1 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs mild chile powder
1 Tbs yellow mustard powder
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chipotle powder (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients except butter in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook down the sauce until it thickens and reduces by about half, stirring often. Add butter and stir until it’s well combined. Remove from heat and store in glass jars or bottles. Refrigerate between uses.

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Easy Pozole Verde

This is my time saving version of a Mexican stew with pork or chicken and hominy that can take days to make. I use homemade salsa verde and canned or frozen green chiles made from homegrown produce instead of fresh tomatillos and chiles, but store bought works, too. More depth of flavor can be added by searing the salsa in the pot after the pork has been browned and before other ingredients are added. This recipe can also be made with chicken. I often use prepackaged cole slaw mix for the shredded cabbage. It’s not a traditional addition to pozole, but I like the added texture, fiber, and nutrients the cabbage provides. It can be added to the stew in the last 30 minutes of cooking if you prefer the cabbage to be cooked. White beans can be used instead of hominy, though hominy is traditional and has fewer carbohydrates. Plain, full fat Greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream and has a little more nutritional value. This can be made in a crock pot as long as the pork is browned first. I also make an easy pozole rojo with homemade adobo sauce instead of fresh or dried red chiles that I will post in the future.

1 1/2 lbs pork shoulder cut into small chunks
3 cups vegetable or pork stock
1 25oz can hominy, drained & rinsed
1 16oz jar (2 cups) salsa verde
1 4oz can green chiles (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs lard or coconut oil
1 Tbs dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
¼ cup cilantro leaves, rough chopped
½ head of cabbage, shredded (optional)
1 avocado, diced (optional)
3oz pepitas, toasted (optional)
4oz sour cream (optional)
lime wedges (optional)

In a stockpot, heat the lard or coconut oil until shimmering. Add the pork pieces in a single layer and brown on all sides. This may have to be done in several batches. Remove the browned pork from the stockpot and add the onions. Cook until translucent. Add the salsa verde, green chiles, garlic, and oregano. If desired, pan sear the salsa and chiles until most of the liquid has evaporated and it starts to brown. Return the pork to the stockpot and add the stock and hominy. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring periodically. Cook until the pork is tender and almost falling apart, 2-3 hours. Before serving, salt to taste and stir in the cilantro. Serving suggestion: ladle soup over shredded cabbage and top with avocado, pepitas, sour cream, and a wedge of lime.

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