Green Beans in a Turmeric Cream Sauce

Green Beans in a Turmeric Cream Sauce 2014

Happy December! If you’re in the US, I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving. If you are somewhere else, I hope you had a great November. ūüôā

These green beans are not your quiet, well-behaved little side dish. They stand right up and demand to be noticed and I think they are insanely delicious. In fact, I couldn’t get enough of this sauce and was practically licking the plate when I was through. I¬†could say¬†that I was licking the plate¬†in order to¬†get all of the health-supporting components of the turmeric, because there are many. But I’d be lying. The fact is, this sauce made me do a happy dance.

So what’s so great about turmeric? It’s the part of curry powder that turns it yellow and it has a warm, deep flavor. It’s slightly bitter, but in this sauce the coconut milk helps spread the flavor throughout the dish and it becomes positively¬†addicting. Turmeric has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties. There is some research suggesting it might even help prevent the spread of cancer, lower blood sugar, and reduce LDL (the bad) cholesterol. It can aid digestion, reduce headaches and stomach pain, and potentially fight depression and Alzheimer’s. All of that in a jar of spice.

This is one of those recipes that can be scaled to size and I think it would be lovely on a holiday table. Something a little different to liven up your typical green bean casserole. You could add some crispy little caramelized onions on top or maybe some toasted coconut flakes sprinkled with curry powder and salt. Or have it just the way it is. I know that I’m going to have to make it again right this minute.

Green Beans in a Turmeric Cream Sauce

1 tsp. coconut oil

¬Ĺ onion, chopped

4 oz. mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 ¬ľ tsp. salt, divided

1 lb. frozen green beans

1/3 c. water

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. grated ginger

¬ľ tsp. turmeric

¬ľ tsp. ground cumin

¬Ĺ tsp. ground coriander

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

¬Ĺ c. full-fat coconut milk

1 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted

2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

 

Directions

  1. In a large saut√© pan, melt coconut oil over medium high heat. Saut√© onions and mushrooms with ¬Ĺ tsp. salt until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add green beans, water, and another¬†¬Ĺ tsp. salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low,¬†and cook for about¬†7 minutes, until tender.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and final ¬ľ tsp. salt. Stir for a moment until fragrant and add coconut milk. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste for seasoning, adding any additional salt or pepper.
  4. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and cilantro and serve.
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Paleo Calabacitas (Sauteed Zucchini and Peppers)

Paleo Calabacitas 2 2014 This summer was really my first true vegetable garden. It still wasn’t huge, but I had multiple plants and at times a few more zucchini than any one person should eat in a day. I tried, though. Really I did.

The first time I tasted Calabacitas was at our local Chile and Frijoles festival a few years ago. Fair and festival food are generally not Paleo-friendly and my family and I don’t spend a lot of time eating our way through them, but we do like to walk around, soak up the atmosphere, get a bunch of roasted chiles if we’re at the Chile Festival, and support our local community. On this particular occasion, though, there was a stand with a man serving little cups and bowls of zucchini so, being the veggie-lover that I am, I had to give it a try.

There are many different ways to prepare this dish but I’ve found that I like it simple. The way I first tasted it, it included squash, corn, peppers, onions, lots of butter, and a sprinkling of queso fresco. It was rich and luscious and love at first bite. I created different variations over the years, but when I went Paleo 2 years back, I knew I’d need to come up with something that was Paleo-friendly. So out with the corn, butter, and cheese and in with the Paleo-approved fats.¬†This dish is so tasty that you really don’t miss the cheese, and it’s¬†the perfect side dish in summer when your garden is overflowing with zucchini. It goes with any grilled meat and it’s wonderful next to eggs in the morning too. Make any modifications you want – that’s what we do around here anyway. Be sure to let me know if you change something up and it makes your tastebuds sing!

Paleo Calabacitas

1 Tbsp. bacon grease

1 red onion, chopped

1 Pueblo or Anaheim chile, chopped (I generally don’t use a roasted one here, but you could!)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 med-large zucchini, about 4 cups chopped

1 1/2 tsp. salt pepper to taste

3 Tbsp. coconut milk

1/3 c. cilantro, minced

Directions

1) In a large sauté pan, melt bacon grease over medium-high heat. Sauté onion for 3-4 minutes, until just beginning to soften.

2) Add all the chopped peppers, zucchini, and salt. Stir to coat with the fat and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, until everything is soft and tender, almost velvety.

3) Stir in the coconut milk and cilantro, additional salt and pepper as desired. A squeeze of lime is nice too. Enjoy!

*Note: I don’t really know how many this serves. It never seems to last very long in our house!

Grilled Zucchini Salad

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Lemon Thyme 2014Summer is in full swing and we’ve been having very garden-friendly weather in Colorado. It’s been wet and not too hot and things are really taking off now. Zucchini has been making an appearance in more meals than I can count lately and when I’ve fired up the grill, I almost always toss some on. If I don’t use it right away, I’ll stick it in the fridge and either have it for a snack or add it to something later on. It’s such an easy veggie to have on hand for snacks, but then again, I love just about any vegetable at any time. Except okra, in case you were wondering. I absolutely abhor okra. Maybe one day someone will convince me otherwise but for now, if a recipe calls for okra, I’d probably substitute zucchini. ūüôā

The herbs that I planted this year include basil (lots), dill, and lemon thyme. To be honest, I don’t always know what to do with thyme other than add it to soups and stews, mostly in the fall. And lemon thyme is a bit different – mine at least has a pretty big punch of lemon. I have a lot of it though, so I’ve been adding it rather randomly to see what I think. In this case, I¬†knew that I wanted a citrusy counterpoint for the zucchini and I also wanted to add¬†some dill, which is good friends with lemon too. The combination was bright and lively and it really felt like a summer evening by the grill to me. If you¬†have different herbs that you need to use, by all means do that! These¬†vegetables and the lemon vinaigrette are very friendly and would go with just about anything – basil, parsley, chives, rosemary. Whatever you have on hand would probably be delicious. I thought this salad improved with a little sitting time and was perfect next to eggs the next morning so don’t hesitate to make a bunch and save some for¬†leftovers.

Grilled Zucchini Salad

4 zucchini

2 tsp. + 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

pinch of garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt and pepper, plus more to taste

1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

about 8 kalamata olives, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp. sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

juice from 1/2 a lemon

about 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

3-4 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme, about 1 Tbsp. chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1) Slice the zucchini lengthwise into quarters. Place in a bowl or plate and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for about 10 minutes.

2) Grill the spears over medium heat until soft and charred on all sides. Time will vary depending on heat, etc. so just keep an eye on them and grill to your liking.

3) Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Chop into one-inch chunks and place in a bowl.

4) While the zucchini are cooling, mix the mustard, lemon juice, and Tbsp. of olive oil in a small bowl and chop or slice the tomatoes, onion, and olives. Add these to the bowl with the zucchini.

5) Add the chopped fresh herbs, the dressing, and toss everything well. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes before adjusting salt and pepper and serving. This salad can be eaten slightly warm, at room temperature, or cold. They’re all delicious!

Serves 4

Zoodle Salad with Balsamic Tomatoes and Basil

Tomato Basil Salad on Zucchini Noodles 2014Having a garden is amazing and¬†rewarding and to¬†actually eat things that I planted just weeks ago gets me excited every single time. There is something truly fulfilling and gratifying and I can’t wait to experiment with other vegetables next year.¬†This year, however, the learning piece has included zucchini plants. I had a bit of a debate with the person at the nursery where I purchased my little seedlings about how many to plant together because the little stick said to plant two. My neighbors have since smiled…and locked their doors. Apparently, they don’t want to share in my bounty! ūüėČ

I am not intimidated, though, since I have a million ways to prepare zucchini. And a spiral slicer, which helps immensely. Zoodles rule and I really can’t imagine getting sick of them so you might see a few more recipes over the course of the summer. I hope they serve as launching pads for your own ideas and that you’ll share whatever magic you are making happen in your own kitchen!

Zoodle Salad with Balsamic Tomatoes and Basil

3-4 zucchini

1 Tbsp. salt

1 c. tomatoes, chopped

6 kalamata olives

1 tsp. pinenuts, toasted

2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

small clove of garlic

1/3 c. fresh basil chiffonade

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Spiral slice or julienne the zucchini and place in a strainer over the sink. Toss with salt and allow to sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse well and cut into shorter zoodles, if necessary.

2) In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, oil, and garlic and set aside.

3) Place zucchini in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, and basil. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well to combine.

4) Chill the salad for about 15 minutes, then add pepper and additional salt, if desired. Enjoy!

Serves 2

*Note: The proportions in this salad are totally flexible. Use what you have and what you like!

Cajun Broccoli Salad

Cajun Broccoli Salad 2014I know! I know! Another salad!¬†I keep thinking I need to cook more main dishes for the site, and I definitely will, but you always need something on the side. Right? And as I go through my day and cook for my family, I make salads like this one that I just love and feel are worth sharing. Especially since it’s summertime so it’s nice to have something cooler alongside whatever you’ve grilled. But I’m probably not fooling anyone – I’d eat this salad all through winter too.

What got me going was that we were invited to a friend’s house for a Cajun boil and I was in charge of bringing a salad. I love broccoli salads and I started wondering if they were typically Cajun. I still don’t really know the answer to that because I couldn’t find a definitive answer. Instead I used my imagination and made my own. If you’re Cajun and reading my blog, I apologize in advance if I’ve overstepped my bounds. I hope you like the salad anyway!

Cajun Broccoli Salad

3 med-large broccoli crowns

1 large red bell pepper

5-6 mushrooms

2 large stalks of celery

3 scallions

5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Dressing

3/4 c. Paleo mayo

1/2 lemon, juiced about 2 Tbsp.

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (more or less to taste)

Directions

1) Blanch the broccoli: Bring a large pot of water to boil and throw in a handful of salt. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets. Add them to the boiling pot for 3 minutes. Remove and run under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the bright green color. Place in a large bowl.

2) Chop the bell pepper into 1/2 in. pieces, very thinly slice the mushrooms and the celery (a mandoline can come in handy here), and thinly slice the scallions. Toss all the veggies in the bowl with the broccoli.

3) Make the dressing in a small bowl by mixing all the ingredients together well. Toss the salad with the dressing and taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt or Cajun spice as desired.

4) Serve garnished with bacon crumbles.

Serves 4-6

Beet Salad with Radishes and Dill

Beets with Radishes and DillI confess. This picture is deceiving. When you toss the salad with the dressing, the entire thing becomes a glowing pink. It’s beautiful, but if you have an aversion to pink food, you might want to steer clear of this one. If, however, you are a fan of pink – or you don’t care because you love beets – then this salad is for you. The first night I made it, my husband couldn’t even wait to let this one get to the table. I said something about it being pink and wondering if that would be a problem for my blog readers and he just said, “It’s delicious!” Twice. While taking another bite. I ended up having to recreate it almost immediately because I like to have my salads carry over to the next day so I can eat them at breakfast with my eggs. So I did! Once you have your beets cooked, the rest is a snap.

There are a lot of different ways to cook beets. I respect people who roast them and I think steaming is a great way to maintain the nutrients, but I usually end up cutting off all but an inch or so of the stem and root ends, plopping them in a pot of salted water about half-way up the beets, and simmering them with the lid on until they’re tender when poked. I’ll turn them over during the process so they cook evenly and when they’re done, I stick them in a container and peel them once they’ve cooled. I’ve found that to be the simplest way for me to cook beets. If you have a favorite method, feel free to share it – I’m always willing to try something new!

Beet Salad with Radishes and Dill

7-8 small to medium beets

4 scallions

10 radishes

Dressing

2 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

3-4 sprigs of fresh dill, about 1 Tbsp. minced

Directions

1) Cook the beets using your preferred method. See notes above for how I typically do it. When the beets are cool, peel off the skin, and chop into 3/4 in. pieces and place in a bowl.

2) Thinly slice the scallions and radishes and add both to the bowl of beets.

3) Mix the mayonnaise and lemon juice in a small bowl and then spoon over the salad. Toss well, marveling at how bright and pink it is, and sprinkle dill on top.

Note: This salad could also be plated first with the dressing drizzled over the top to keep the colors separate. Momentarily anyway.

Serves 3-4

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad 2014Eating grapefruit always reminds me of my grandma. She has a grapefruit tree in her yard and for as many years as I can remember, there has always been a half of a grapefruit for breakfast. She also is the one who introduced me to what is still one of my favorite salads and it has grapefruit too. It’s a luscious fruit, fleshy and flavorful. The pink ones are considerably sweeter than the yellow and I don’t think they need any sweetener added to them. I like the yellow ones without sugar as well, but some people find them to be a little too tart.

This salad reminds me of spring. The new radishes are sweet and the colors are bright but soft, not quite reaching the intensity of summer. This salad can easily be doubled (or more) to serve with company and it goes with so many things. It would be delicious next to grilled or baked chicken and lovely next to pan seared fish. If you have a little mint, you could sprinkle that on top. Whatever you decide to do with it, I hope you enjoy its delicate flavors and subtly sweet allure.

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad

1 grapefruit (preferably pink) + its juice

1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded

3 radishes, trimmed

1/4 avocado, chopped

1 scallion, sliced

1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard (omit for AIP-friendly)

pinch of salt

1) Over a bowl to catch the juice, cut out the grapefruit supremes by first removing and discarding the top and bottom peel of the grapefruit. Then cut along the sides removing the rest of the peel and any bitter pith. Cut into each section removing the flesh only. Place sections on a cutting board and halve or quarter them. Squeeze the remainder of the grapefruit juice into the bowl.

2) Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the cucumber into very thin half-moons. With the mandoline again, slice the radishes thinly.

3) Evenly distribute the grapefruit, cucumber, radishes, avocado, and scallion onto 1 or 2 serving plates.

4) Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and salt into the reserved grapefruit juice. Taste to adjust seasoning and drizzle over the salad.

Serves 1-2