Zesty Zoodles with Wilted Arugula

Zucchini and Arugula ZoodlesSpring brings a whole host of wonderful greens to eat. You can still get the hearty greens that were around in the winter like kale, collards, and chard, but you can also get a number of other greens that are a little more delicate and start showing up at this time of year. You can find arugula year-round too, but it’s usually bagged or boxed up. In the spring, you can often find it with the roots still attached, which I think is really lovely. There’s something about knowing that your greens came from the ground and that you need to put them in a tub of water and swish them around a bit that makes me appreciate them even more.

I have always liked adding greens to noodle dishes, but I sort of forgot about it since transitioning to zoodles. The other day I started thinking about tossing some in with my zucchini noodles, and I was not disappointed. Sticking with a simple treatment that mellows the arugula a bit and goes well with zucchini was my goal. I happen to love the peppery bite of arugula, but if it’s a bit too spicy for you, then grab a handful of baby spinach. I’m sure that would be just perfect in this.

Zesty Zoodles with Wilted Arugula

2 medium zucchini

1 yellow squash

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper

1/2 a bunch of arugula, about 3 oz. or 4 cups

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 Tbsp. chives

salt and pepper

Directions

1) Julienne the zucchini and yellow squash or put it through a zoodler. Place in a strainer over the sink and salt generously. Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Rinse and shake dry.

2) Rinse and dry the arugula (it’s okay if some water remains on the leaves) and roughly tear into large bite-sized pieces.

3) Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and Aleppo pepper. When they are fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the zucchini noodles to the pan and toss to distribute the oil and garlic throughout. Cook for about 8 minutes, continuing to toss. Once cooked to your liking, add the arugula and toss with tongs until wilted, about 2 minutes.

4) Remove from the heat and add lemon zest, chives, additional teaspoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2-3

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South-of-the-Border Sweet Potato Noodles

Mexican Sweet Potato HashThe picture does not do these sweet potato noodles justice! They are so much better than they look – trust me! Do you have a spiral slicer yet? If you don’t you can use a julienne peeler or even just chop them up. It’ll still be good, but there’s something really special about the sensation of the noodles in your mouth, especially if you don’t do traditional noodles anymore. They’re wiggly and fun and really good.

We ate these at dinner with a side of chorizo meatballs and a cucumber salad. They’d be great for breakfast with an egg on top or for lunch or a snack (especially post-workout). If I were having a really bad day, I might even be tempted to eat the entire bowl all by myself. And you know what? That would be just fine.

South-of-the-Border Sweet Potato Noodles

1 large sweet potato, peeled

1 Tbsp. lard (or other fat)

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/4 c. water

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Directions

1) Heat lard in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes until beginning to soften.

2) While your veggies are cooking, turn your sweet potato into noodles using a spiral slicer or a julienne peeler. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan along with the water and salt and place a lid on it. Allow to steam-cook for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until soft and done to your liking.

3) Add the garlic and cumin to the mix and stir to combine. Allow the flavors to come together for a few minutes, add additional salt if necessary, and serve.

Serves 2-4, depending on the size of your sweet potato and your appetite.

 

Go-To Guacamole

Go-To Guacamole 2014To me, guacamole is one of those foods that doesn’t really need a recipe. In fact, I think that perhaps writing down what you put in your guacamole might even be like putting this fantastic condiment in some sort of food jail. I believe it’s meant to be an expression of the cook, a playful conversation between the different ingredients that you choose to put in, something that can be changed on a whim. It really depends on the flavors of the individual ingredients too. Is your avocado more or less ripe? Is your onion sweeter or spicier? How strong is your garlic? Plus I think it might also be that avocadoes are so incredibly delicious, you have to try really hard to mess it up. At least in my opinion. So go for it! You might even surprise yourself.

That being said, a few years ago I was at a friend’s house and she had become somewhat of a guacamole aficionado. She shared a recipe, or rather more of a technique, that had come from her brother-in-law and ever since that day, this has been my go-to guac. I might do something different when the mood strikes – a little more lime, some cumin or coriander, orange or lemon as the citrus component, extra garlic or other combinations that stray even farther from the base – but when I just want a straight-up, no-nonsense guacamole, this one never fails. Thanks, Lauren and Raf!

Go-To Guacamole

1 large avocado or 2 small avocadoes

3/4 Tbsp. lime juice

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. minced sweet onion

1 Tbsp. minced jalapeno

1 Tbsp. minced cilantro

6-8 little cherry tomatoes, diced

1/4 tsp. salt + more to taste

Directions

1) Start by cutting the avocado in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop each half out in one piece and place pit-side down on a cutting board. Cut each half in half again, as if you were cutting at the equator. Then slice lengthwise into very thin slices, 1/4 in. or less. Finally cut the slices horizontally. The goal is to have very small little chunks that hold their shape while also getting a little creamy when mixed with the other ingredients. Put the avocado dice in a medium bowl.

2) Add the rest of the ingredients and mix very gently. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more lime juice or salt, a little more jalapeno, whatever makes it taste right to YOU.

3) Dollop on everything, use as a dip for veggies, eat next to eggs at breakfast, lick the spoon!

 

 

Simple Celery Salad

Paleo Celery and Raisin SaladSometimes the simplest ingredients are all you need. A couple days before making this salad, I was slicing up some celery and decided to do the entire bunch. I put what I wasn’t using into a glass jar, added water about 1/3 of the way up, put a lid on it and stuck it in the fridge. I wasn’t expecting miracles; I just wanted a way to easily store the celery and have it ready for a salad when the feeling struck. It worked like a charm.

Lunchtime rolled around today and I needed a little something extra on the side. Out came my presliced celery while I rummaged around to find a few other things that would make my palate happy. And voila! This little salad was born. Sure it would be delicious with some apple or walnuts added, a bunch of chopped parsley would be really good too (in fact I might do that next time), but this was so fresh and each ingredient had its own special place in the mix, that I hesitate to mess that up. But don’t you be afraid! If you have something that you think would be good, add it! And then let me know how it went. Enjoy!

Simple Celery Salad

1 1/2 Tbsp. Paleo Mayo

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 c. sliced celery

3 Tbsp. raisins

1 Tbsp. chopped chives

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

2) Add to the bowl the sliced celery, raisins, and chives. Stir everything together and taste to adjust seasonings.

Serves 2-3

 

Buffalo Deviled Eggs

Buffalo Deviled EggsA few of you out there might have some hard boiled eggs laying around right now. If you’ve been Paleo for a while, you might even have a constant supply of hard boiled eggs around. Here’s a little something to do with them that is fun, delicious, and super quick. These make an excellent appetizer, lunch, or snack. You can even be fancy and pipe your filling into the eggs, but I used a spoon because it was lunch time and I was hungry! Add more or less buffalo sauce to make these to your spice level and also be sure to use a hot sauce that doesn’t have a bunch of junk in it. I use Frank’s Original because it has peppers, vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder and nothing else. I used 3 eggs here, but this recipe is great for doubling or tripling. Make however many you want because they’re sure to get eaten!

Buffalo Deviled Eggs

3 hard boiled eggs

1 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

1 1/2 tsp. hot sauce (I used Frank’s Original Buffalo Sauce)

celery, diced to garnish

freshly cracked pepper

Directions

1) Peel and cut hard boiled eggs in half. Pop the yolks out and place in a small bowl. Set whites aside.

2) Add mayonnaise and hot sauce to the yolks and stir to combine thoroughly. Taste and add more hot sauce to taste.

3) Spoon or pipe filling evenly into each egg half. Plate and sprinkle with celery dice and black pepper.

Serves 1-2

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Spring Celery Soup

Cream of Celery SoupThis soup is everything that makes me think of spring. It’s light and delicate, just like the first flowers peeking out. It’s simple, with very few ingredients to distract from its beauty. And it’s easy – but maybe that’s just my requirement for spring! This is sort of like a cream of celery, only it’s so much lighter. It’s a starter, not a main course, but I found myself wanting to drink it like tea while I went about my day with the birds chirping in the background. I think it would also be delicious next to a few fried eggs in the morning except that I’ll have to make another batch to try that because this one is all gone!

Spring Celery Soup

2 tsp. ghee

1 lg. leek

1/2 lb. of celery

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. dried chives

1 Tbsp. dried tarragon

1 c. coconut milk

2 c. chicken or veggie broth

Directions

1) Cut off the root end of the leek, slice lengthwise down the middle, and then cut the white and tender green parts into 1/4 in. thick half-moons. Place these in a bowl of water and swish around until all the dirt is gone. Strain. Slice the celery into 1/4 in. pieces.

2) Heat ghee over medium heat in a medium pot. Sauté the celery and leek with the salt for 5 minutes. Add the chives, tarragon, coconut milk, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.

3) With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. A Vitamix or high-speed blender would work well here too.

4) Taste to adjust seasoning and then sip with pleasure.

Faux-tato Salad

Cauliflower Salad The other day I saw a salad in a deli display with peas and cheese and crunchy things. It got me thinking about deli salads and summertime and all the wonderful fresh veggies that are available. I started going through the fridge looking for a combination of textures that would be reminiscent of potato salad without using potatoes. For the most part, I am happy to use nutrient dense sweet potatoes (as in this German Potato Salad – so good!), but sometimes I really want a bunch of non-starchy vegetables that make me FEEL like I’m eating potatoes.

In comes the chameleon of vegetables that transforms itself into just about anything you’d like. If you use frozen cauliflower florets, you don’t even have to cook them. They’ve been blanched already so, once defrosted, they have a soft crunch that I really like. Perhaps even more important, frozen cauliflower doesn’t make a mess! This salad combines crunch from the cauliflower, celery, and bell pepper with tenderness from the hard-boiled egg and olives. Add a little brininess from the pickle and an indescribably addictive background note from smoked paprika, and this salad is a winner at any table! My husband gave it several mumbled “Mmm…mmms…,” so I think it’s a keeper.

Faux-tato Salad

1 12 oz. bag of frozen cauliflower florets

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

4 baby bell peppers, sliced into thin rounds

1/2 c. snap peas, sliced on the diagonal

3 small pickle spears, chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped

10 black olives, sliced

1/4 c. parsley, minced

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

3/4 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

Dressing

1/4 c. Paleo mayo

2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

a couple dashes of hot sauce (like Tabasco)

pinch of salt

pepper

Directions

1) Start by mixing all the ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl. Set aside.

2) Drop each vegetable (everything but the egg), chopped or sliced, into the bowl with the dressing. Mix well. Then add the chopped egg and mix gently.

3) Let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste to adjust seasoning and enjoy.

Serves 4-6