Summer Bread with a Tropical Twist

I guess summer is here.  It’s hard to tell when you live in Southern California, because it’s always nice, but when you start seeing women in bikini bottoms in Starbucks, that’s a pretty fair indicator.  Or they could have been shorts, I’m not sure…the clothing is so sparse in these parts.  I’ve seen x-rays that were less revealing.

Anyway, adding onto my seasonal bread series is this delightful little tropical treat.  This recipe can easily be made paleo-friendly by using coconut flour, since there are coconut elements anyway so the taste won’t change.

A BREAD FOR ALL SEASONS: Summer

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Pineapple-Coconut Bread with Macadamia Topping

  • 1  cup sweetened shredded coconut, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (regular or GF- I used 1 cup GF, 1/2 cup coconut flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (for more cake-like sweetness, add additional 1/4 cup sugar or 1/8 to 1/4 tsp stevia)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks, chopped

For Topping:

  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 TBSP butter, softened
  • 1  1/2 TBSP brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Mix together flour, salt, baking soda.  In separate bowl, mix oil and sugar with whisk.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, with hand mixer, followed by yogurt.  Fold in pineapple and coconut. Fold together wet and dry ingredients. Pour into pan.

Mix together macadamia nuts, brown sugar and butter.  Sprinkle over top.  Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

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You Got Beef? These tacos don’t. Plus a beefy bonus!

I love a nice taco, but lately I have been trying to reduce the amount of beef I consume to once a week only.  (Insert your own filthy innuendo here.)  Actually, it’s because cattle farming and the methane that accompanies it is quite horrible for the environment, and I try to take small steps to not contribute to that when I can.  Although to be fair, some of the humans I know put cow farts to shame.

Anyway, these tacos are a riff on street tacos, which don’t use the hard corn shell.  I’ve used a thick romaine leaf in place of the tortilla, and used ground turkey in place of beef.  No harm, just fowl.

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Skinny Street Tacos (serves one, duh)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb ground turkey (not too lean)
  • taco seasoning (I like Spicely brand- see below on how to make your own)
  • 2 Tbsp diced onion
  • 3 large or 4 medium romaine leaves, washed and dried
  • assorted toppings: diced tomato, cheese, avocado

Mix together 1 Tbsp diced onion, 1-2 Tbsp seasoning, and turkey.  Sprinkle into skillet.  If turkey is lean, spray skillet with cooking spray.  Brown meat and cook through.  Spoon into leaves and top.

If you don’t have taco seasoning, you can try to make your own, which I have done before.  A good combo is onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, cumin, paprika, chili pepper.

And now for a seriously NSFW side of beef….

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A Bread For All Seasons… An A-Hole With No Reasons

My blog entries have been slacking as of late.  It isn’t for lack of trying.  Rather, I blame The Disappearing Man.  You know, the guy you start texting with back and forth for a few days, maybe a week or so, and then he drops off completely?

This enraged me the first few times it happened.  To some (including myself), I have a distasteful personality.  I am sarcastic, condescending at times and have a tendency to repeatedly insult Californians despite the fact that I am now living in their state.  However, I would think that if I were so repellant, a guy would figure that out sooner than two weeks into the communication.  It’s pure laziness and lack of instant gratification with these men that causes them to lose focus.  I’ve even had some message me a month later, undoubtedly when they found themselves with a period of boredom in between work/sleep/Lakers game/masturbating.  (I don’t respond.)

Well, if I can’t have men, I can at least have carbs……

Last fall I became obsessed with making quick breads, baking them in cute containers and distributing them to the people in my life.  You know…coworkers, friends, my psychiatrist.  I decided to do a seasonal bread four times a year.  My Harvard-bound brother thinks I should call this series “A Bread For All Seasons, A Bread For All Reasons”.  I told him to get a hold of himself, as I am not running a booth at the vegan farmers market and wearing a dress made of hemp.  Cloying whimsy aside, I present to you:

A BREAD FOR ALL SEASONS: Spring

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Lemon- Blueberry Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (regular or GF)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or any oil)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (add extra TBS if using coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (or canned coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

for GLAZE, combine:

  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Pucker Up!

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Non-Bitter Brussels Sprouts for Bitter People

I am not a New Year’s resolution maker. I fail each and every time. However, I am in poor health these days. Quite poor. And because of this, I made the commitment to eat no less than three large servings of vegetables a day. I struggle in particular with the ones that can tend to taste bitter:  mainly asparagus, brussels sprouts and bell peppers. Therefore, I have been on a mission to conquer the bitterness in my vegetables as there clearly is no hope for removing the bitterness from my personality.

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Brown Butter Brussels with Lemon and Thyme

(serves two….in this case, me and my mom.)

  • One pound of brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter, depending on preference
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 2/3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup (or agave or honey)
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Rinse and dry brussels.  Cut off  and discard any remaining stalk.  Cut brussels in quarters. Toss with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper.  Spread out on baking sheet, evenly, and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 min, turning sprouts once halfway through. (Taste to check for doneness)

While brussels are cooking,whisk together mustard, maple, lemon juice and zest, and thyme.  Set aside.  Place butter in skillet and melt on med/low heat.  When melted, let cook for additional minute before adding shallots.  Stir until butter develops light brown color and shallots are translucent.  Remove from heat, add in lemon mixture and stir.

When sprouts are done, remove from oven, place on plate and pour brown butter sauce over brussels, then serve.

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Hangover Helper

2014 is now here, and what better way to kick start the new year than with a raging hangover and post-party bloat? Now, I myself did not partake in any alcoholic festivities but I didn’t let that stop me from poor choices and self destructive behaviors such as sloth, six hours of television and eating my feelings.
This is a very refreshing drink that I made as an experiment when I was craving ginger, and it is perfect for a hangover of any sort. I won’t call it a juice because I didn’t make it with a juicer. If you have one, simply omit the water, but it will have a much stronger taste.
The apples and ginger are great for nausea and indigestion, and the lemon and cucumber are natural diuretics. I am not some sort of natural foods guru, I just find myself bloated and nauseous on a regular basis and have consequently picked up this information.

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Hangover Helper

Ingredients:

  • one green apple, cored, peeled and in chunks
  • 2 or 3 chunks of pineapple, or more if you like it sweeter
  • 1-2 tsp fresh grated ginger, or more if you like it spicier
  • half a large cucumber, peeled, seeds cut out, and in chunks
  • juice of half a small lemon (about 1 tbsp)

Place everything in a blender, add water until it just reaches top of ingredients, and blend until completely smooth.  Strain through fine mesh strainer into bowl, pour into glass and refrigerate.

Happy New Year!!

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Saint Nick & Christmas Eve Crab Dip

After a few weeks of emailing back and forth, I met up with Nick for dinner on Friday night at a Cuban restaurant that seems to be the “hot spot” of southern Orange County. I’m not really sure why- it wouldn’t last a weekend in NYC. They do deep-fry avocado though so I did my best to forget that the last time I had been there it was with Terrible Tyler and that I had spent that date scanning the floor to see if anyone had dropped some xanax that I could crush up and put in his food. I may write about Tyler at a later date, but I will have to see my therapist first to get the PTSD under control.

Anyway, Nick was tall, dressed really nicely and the perfect combo of nerdy intellectual and successful confidence. Conversation flowed easily and without incident, except for when he tried to describe where his house was and I kept asking if it was near the bar “Scotty’s”. He repeated that he had never heard of Scotty’s. Of course he hadn’t; It’s in Springfield, NJ, not Newport Beach and I’m not sure how I got there mentally but I was relieved to finally be out with a man who seemed to be less brain damaged than I. Nick unfortunately seemed to be very busy between his job and his MBA classes- but texted me that he had a great time and we should do it again.

More importantly, it was a welcome change from the endless parade of clowns that has been in rotation lately. No giant fireworks were needed, just a little validation that there are gentlemen out there who will be polite and allow me to eat deep-fried fat without asking if I worked out that day.

And speaking of food…..

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I began cooking (food- not meth) to cope with stress several years ago when I was working night shift.  I resumed it, along with baking, after ending my most recent relationship.  I find it very soothing, and methodical, yet mindless, and since I am so crazy smart and my brain is always working overtime, I enjoy the mental break.  I decided to include some recipes at the urging of my lifelong friend/wildly talented writer, Nicole.

I made this recipe on Christmas Eve.  The night before, I had gone out with Bryan (see previous post) which had concluded with me eating crab cakes in my car in the parking lot of the restaurant after I had fled.  So here you have a delightful crab recipe perfect for sharing with friends as you recount your own horrendous evening, or for celebrating the birth of our Lord.  It’s that versatile.

Low-Carb/Low-Bullshit Crab Dip

*adapted from Whole Foods Recipe*

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) container lump crabmeat
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package Neufchâtel cheese (or Mascarpone or cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Click For Instructions

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