{Tasty Tuesday} Paleo Creamed Spinach

 

Question: How many of you are done your Christmas shopping? So every year, I’m that person who gets it done by the first week of December. This year, for a reason I still have yet to come up with, I waited to the week of Christmas. Yesterday I ventured out with a very solid plan and detailed list to get everything done. Well, it took 5 hours of: waiting in copious amounts of lines to either enter a store or to pay, running through and over many people, witnessing people loose their children (LIKE WHAT?!), probably loosing 5 lbs of sweat and parking in essentially a new city. It was hell – but it’s done, and I will never make this mistake again. For those of you who enjoy this rush of last minute shopping, good for you but you are crazy – my type A personality can’t handle it!

Luckily I had prepped this recipe, so I came home to solid meal to help revive my spirit a little. Being Italian, we never really grew up with creamed spinach, unless it was spinach and ricotta stuffed into cannelloni pasta. I recently purchased Jamie Oliver’s new Christmas Book – which is an obviously thing for me to do, since I have every other book of his. As I was browsing, his creamed spinach totally intrigued me. I decided it to give it a go but put a little paleo and dairy free spin on it. I loved the result and would make this again, especially for a family function or Christmas Day lunch. It feels really rich and comforting, which is perfect for this snow filled winter we are having. However, the remixed ingredients keep it satisfying and waste friendly! This is also a great make ahead recipe, it can be prepped and assembled the day before and baked off for dinner which is excellent for party planning or hosting a dinner.

I’ve included an option with cheese which I have made also – they are both greatscreen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm, but IF I had to choose, I like the version with cheese better.

OH! Before I get to the recipe guys – remember there is only 4 MORE DAYS to grab our Holiday Ebook filled with perfect party recipes: apps, desserts and cocktails all given a healthful spin!

The book is still available to purchase for only $9.95,  you can have a look at the link below!

https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

I’m super proud of this one, and I’m happy to share it with all of you!

Now, for the recipe!

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Paleo Creamed Spinach
Yields 6 – 8 side servings
{Paleo/Diary Free}
– Inspired by Jamie Oliver

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs fresh spinach
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
½ whole nutmeg, grated
pinch of salt
½ cup coconut cream
For the Crumble
2 Tbsp ghee (or coconut oil for vegan option)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (or 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese)
1 cap pecans
1/3 cup almond flour
½ tsp salt (if you use cheese reduce this to 1/8 tsp of salt )

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×11” baking dish with ghee, coconut oil or olive oil.
  2. Using a deep pot (so all the spinach will fit), heat the 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat and add the minced shallots and garlic, once fragrant add the spinach, oregano and then grate the nutmeg right in.
  3. Cook the spinach until wilted, the spinach will release much water- you want to cook it until the water is cooked out. Finish with a pinch of salt and then set aside off heat.
  4. In a food processor, pulse together the ghee, nutritional yeast, pecans, almond flour, and ½ tsp salt until it forms a loose crumble. Then set aside in a separate bowl.
  5. No need to wash the food processor, add all the spinach and the ½ cup coconut cream and pulse together until combined. Don’t turn this into a puree, just pulse a few times to replicate chopped spinach,
  6. Pour into your prepared baking dish and top with your crumble. You can either live an edge of the spinach as shown in the picture, or cover the entire top with the crumble.
  7. Place into your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  8. This is delicious both right from the oven and cold.

Note: This makes an amazing addition crumbled into a breakfast frittata, so leftovers are a definite plus in this case!

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I hope you guys enjoy this one, countdown to Christmas is one everyone!

-Chef Steph

{Tasty Thursday} Holiday Ebook + Perfect Winter Brussels

Ah Thursday already! I actually cant believe this week is already almost over, however it’s been a really cool week with some fun new projects starting that I’m excited to chat about here today. I obviously have a delicious recipe in this post but I wanted to share some fun things first!

Over the past month I’ve been working on the first (of many) ebooks with a fellow lady boss friend of mine, Elle Daftarian. Food That Feels Good: Holiday Edition. In this book we are sharing our favourite entertaining recipes: Apps, Drinks and even Cocktails that will spare you the holiday bloat and the waistline worries! All the recipes are gluten free, paleo and we have some vegan/raw options!screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm

Available for a limited time, click here to purchase our holiday ebook! I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you all!

LINK: https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

On another fun note: this has been my first week teaching at Aldershot High School – I’m teaching a 6 part culinary series for their Grade 12 fitness class. This week we’ve been focusing on knife skills, which has been really fun actually, the students were really into it which I loved because I could tell they were really invested in learning some new skills. I think all high schools really need to invest in a program like this, basic cooking knowledge is so crucial for teenagers to know!

 

Now for the recipe!

Brussels are a hard vegetable for some people to like, me on the other hand, I could eat them like popcorn. Sure, I mean if you just steam them – well they obviously suck. So it really comes down to how you prepare them. I fully believe you can get anyone, at any age to enjoy ANY vegetable you just need a good arsenal of recipes to jazz them up.

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These vegetables may be small in size BUT they are not small when it’s come to nutritional value. Plant phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts enhance the activity of the body’s natural defense system to protect against disease, including cancer. Sulforaphane, is a compound the body created from the phytonutrient, glucoraphanin, found in all Brassica vegetables, and it’s known to boost the body’s detoxification enzymes which help to clear carcinogenic substances more quickly. As well Brussels have high levels of vitamin C, which supports immune function and proper collagen formation: the basis for our body’s structures – including skin, connective tissues, cartilage and tendons.

I wasn’t kidding when I said these little guys pack a punch!

I try to rotate them into my diet every two weeks or so, usually roasted or sautéed. Today’s recipe, will really jazz them up and make them an amazing side dish especially over the holiday season!

I encourage you to make these and test them on your picky eaters.

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Roasted Brussels with Balsamic and Pomegranates
Yields: 4 servings
{Paleo/Vegan}

INGREDIENTS
2lbs Brussels, cleaned and halved
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
3 sprigs of thyme, picked and minced
1 sprig rosemary, picked and minced
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
3 Tbsp Balsamic reduction*
½ pomegranate, seeds removed

NOTE*: you can either use store bought reduction or make your own, I’ve supplied the method below.

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. For the reduction: If you choose to make your own reduction, place ½ cup of balsamic in a small sauce pan. Bring to a low boil and turn the heat down to a simmer, let simmer until reduced by half.
3. Then remove from the heat and set aside until needed. Any remaining can be stored in the fridge for future use.
4. In a large bowl add the halved Brussels, olive oil, shallots, thyme, rosemary, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
5. Toss to combine and scoop onto the prepared baking sheet, in an even layer.
6. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and drizzle with 3 Tbsp of balsamic reduction and place back into the oven for 5 – 7 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and scatter with pomegranate seeds to serve and Voila!

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Grilled Radicchio with Crispy Beef Bacon and Parm

Hey Guys, Happy Tuesday!

I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend whether you celebrated Canada Day or July 4th, I mean really, they both involve good food, good drinks and good times with people you love!

I really wish I had a long weekend to enjoy, but #cheflife doesn’t always accommodate long weekends. I was hustling along with our brunch service as we were epically short staffed; however my crew killed it as always.

Sundays on the other hand, I’m off work and can enjoy some time outside in my garden with a cider in hand (summer tradition), BBQ and make food I don’t get make on a day to day.

I’ve been pretty lucky with the garden this year, I have never planted one but I’ve always been around them through my family. I wanted to grow a good amount of veggies that I could use over the season, into the fall and preserve for winter.

 

So far the only thing I’ve messed up is my cilantro, which is really embarrassing because herbs are the easiest thing to PLANT! I also didn’t plant my beets deep enough so I had to pull them earlier then normal but non the less, they turned out and I have some amazing beet greens to juice.

There is something very nostalgic about being in a garden and utilizing what is pulled right from your back yard. I grew up with 2 sets of grandparents who lived for their gardens, and never let any item go to waste. So much pride and love when into what they planted, which I believe, is what makes home grown food taste and feel that much better.

For my recipe today, I’m using some radicchio I pulled out of the garden. One plant was ready, so I figured why not use it!

My favorite way to eat radicchio is grilled; there is something about grilling leafy vegetables that I love. I really enjoy the combination of smokey + fresh flavours coming together. Other then radicchio, I dig romaine, bok choy and endive grilled as well. They add a smokey twist to a salad, vegetable platter or power bowl!

Another reason radicchio has its place in my diet is for it’s nutritional profile regarding your digestion and liver.

Liver Health: Being a bitter leafy vegetable that’s mild in spice, it helps stimulate the production and excretion of bile, which plays such an important role in digesting fat and pulling excess cholesterol and toxins from the body. I believe in doing one thing every day that helps support your liver and eating bitter greens/vegetables is one of the easiest ways.

Digestive Support: The inulin and polysaccharides in radicchio help encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which keeps both our immune and digestive system running properly. With it’s high fiber content, it ensure proper colon cleansing and removing harmful bacteria (anti-microbial properties).

I understand that bitter vegetables are not something everyone enjoys, but what it comes down to is finding a way to prepare them that allows you to enjoy every bite!

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The recipe below is simple enough to make any night of the week and it’s jazzed up with a little extra flare!

Grilled Radicchio with Crispy Beef Bacon and Parmesan
Yields: 4 side servings
{Paleo, Gluten Free}

INGREDIENTS

1 head radicchio, cut in quarters
Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper
3 slices of beef bacon, or traditional bacon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Parmesan, grated
Small bunch of basil, I used micro basil

METHOD

  1. Heat your grill to medium and drizzle your radicchio quarters with olive oil. Just enough to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the radicchio quarters on the heated grill, grill on each side for 2-3 minutes until lightly grilled. You want the radicchio to still hold its shape and not completely wilt away.
  3. In the mean time, place your bacon on the grill also. If you haven’t had bacon on the BBQ you are clearly missing out.
  4. Grill the bacon on each side for 3 minutes, until crispy. Then finely chop when cool enough to handle.
  5. When ready to plate, lay the radicchio out on a platter. Drizzle with the lemon juice, grate a good amount of parm over top, crumble over bacon and top will basil.
  6. Eat right away for best flavour and texture.

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I hope you have a great week guys, and if you love radicchio as much as me be sure to give this recipe a go!

-Chef Steph

Roasted Radishes with Lemon Cream

Anyone else wondering when in the heck spring will actually show up? It was -10 degrees this weekend, which was super upsetting especially for those of us who are itching to just be outside. I’m also ready for spring produce, less warming dishes and more colour – I’m also ready for a tan, let’s be honest.

So kitchen life has been rough this past week, with the new menu about to launch things are crazy. I’m doing one final tasting for the staff, then staff training and then we can finally launch in one more week. With all the changes comes a whack load of office work – literally one thing I loath in life is office work. I will cook all day, but asking me to type the recipes is just the worst!

Luckily all this work has kept me busy because this weekend was crazy – my other half fought in Alberta (and WON by TKO) and if I didn’t stay busy I might have lost my mind. I don’t know how other people who date athletes are normal when their partners are fighting out of town – this is real question….

Anyways, back to food!

I’ve been tinkering around lately with really shifting my diet to following a high fat profile. I have been doing this for a while, but I’ve really been focusing more on it as of late. As you guys know – I don’t count, weight or measure anything in my diet anymore, because #1, it didn’t work well for my lifestyle and #2 it wasn’t good for my mental health. I believe there are better ways of attaining a leaner stronger life, without being obsessive.

Playing around with higher fat recipes that are lower in carbs is always fun for me, because let’s be real – who doesn’t like fat? My main reason for doing this (it varies for everyone) is to support my hormonal, adrenal and skin health. Secondary to that, because my internal health is always the most important to me, is the difference I feel when training. I have a lot more focus in my early morning training sessions, my energy is sustained and I recover much faster.

After seeing the difference in a whole foods based, higher fat diet I’ve become really passionate about diving into studying everything around this topic. I find it so fascinating that these subtle tweaks create such a shift with both your internal health and physical health.

Onto the recipe, because I know that’s what you’re here for 😉

We all love roasted potatoes, if you don’t then you’re just strange. However, sometimes we want something lighter, less carb dense and because it’s me, I wanted something that screamed spring. So I choose to roast up some radishes and make a little lemon cream (dairy free) to go with them. You can serve them as I did, or drizzled over top. For those that don’t like the spicy bite that radishes have, cooking them this way will cut that spice making them very similar to a potato.

The key here is to roast them with a really delicious fat, high heat, no parchment paper and to toss them with any fresh herb or spices you choose. When I cook with animal fat (I choose duck for this recipe) I always prefer to add some sort of fresh element (herbs) or acidity (lemon cream) to help balance the dish.

Flavour Profile
Textural:
Crunch: Roasted Radish
Creamy: Lemon Cream and Duck Fat
Sweet: Lemon Peel and Radish (once roasted)
Savory: Duck Fat
Bitter: Dill
Tart (Sour): Lemon

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Roasted Radish With Lemon Cream
Yields: 2 Servings
{Paleo with Vegan Option}

INGREDIENTS
For the Radishes
1 Tbsp melted duck fat**
1 bunch (184g) radish
Fat pinch of salt and cracked pepper
1 Tbsp chopped dill
1 Tbsp lemon zest
For the Lemon Cream (yields ½ cup)
¼ cup (40g) cashews, either soaked overnight or soaked for 20 minutes with hot water
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp water
½ Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp cayenne

METHOD

  1. For the Radishes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash, trim and halve the radishes – make sure to pat them dry
  3. Toss them with the melted duck fat, salt and pepper and spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Make sure to place them all cut side down.
  4. Roast for 10 minutes.
  5. For the Lemon Cream: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until emulsified.
  6. To Serve: Toss the roasted radishes in the lemon zest and herbs, and serve over top the cream (as pictured), or drizzled over top.

**For a Vegan Option:

  • Simply sub out the duck fat for olive oil or coconut oil, and this dish will be both vegan and paleo.

Radish

Happy Sunday Guys

-Chef Steph xx