Primal Palate’s Grain-free Fudgy Brownies [5 Chili Bullet Variation]

Part of my payment for doing the Valentine’s Day illustration for ChocoSol was actually dispensed in chocolate bars (and coffee). I know, it’s a hard life!! One of my favourite flavours that they hand craft is the spicy 5 Chili Bullet.

They used ethically sourced cacao beans grown in forest gardens, and the chilis are grown locally in Toronto. Cacao, Raw sugar, Cacao Butter, 5 Types of Chilis, Allspice, Achiote and Sea Salt. As you can see, it’s a simple ingredient list with no lecithins or emulsifiers to be found. Nice! The chilis they use pack a bit of a punch, too!

Since I had a surplus of chocolate going on, I decided that a little baking was in order. Fortunately for me, Primal Palate did all the hard work here with their recently released Grain-free Fudgy Brownie recipe, which you can see on their totally amazing new website. Go check that out if you have an extra minute today to be wowed.

I substituted this spicy Chocosol bar into the recipe to give it a bit of a twist. They’re rich and delicious with chewy edges, just like I love in my brownies. My version features some extra after-burn.

Primal Palate’s Grain-free Fudgy Brownies [5 Chili Bullet Variation]
Adapted from PrimalPalate.com

Ingredients

  • 1 5oz 5 Chili Bullet Chocolate Bar
  • 1 oz High Quality Dark Chocolate
  • 8 oz Butter, Unsalted, or Palm Shortening
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Eggs, large
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish and line with parchment paper so you can easily remove the brownies after baking.

Cut the Butter into cubes and break the Chocolate bar into pieces. Melt the Chocolate and Butter over medium low heat, stirring frequently. Add the Coconut Sugar and Vanilla to the melted mixture and stir until there are no unmelted chunks.

Remove the mixture from the heat, and allow to cool slightly. In another bowl, blend the Eggs, Almond Flour, Baking Powder and Salt together. When the Chocolate mix is cool, fully combine with the flour mixture until uniform.

Pour the batter into the greased and parchment lined 8×8 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan then remove to a wire rack. Wait for them to cool a bit before flipping to remove the parchment paper. Slice and enjoy warm, or cool completely and store in a tin for later.

If you can’t get your hands on some spicy chocolate, add a few shakes of chili flakes to the plain recipe!

Balsamic Roasted Heirloom Carrots [Paleo, Primal, Vegan]

Shopping at farmer’s markets is such a treat, and in my city there are at least 3 that run year round–including my go-to, Dufferin Grove. I spotted these heirloom carrots last week, and I decided that I really didn’t eat enough carrots these days. Especially delicious, sweet, organic heirloom carrots! You can make this recipe with any ole’ carrots you want, or even parsnips, but I highly recommend some heirloom carrots if you can get your hands on them. They’re super pretty and extra delicious! For this recipe the amounts are approximate, I just toss everything together and add until the carrots look well-coated.

Balsamic Roasted Heirloom Carrots

Serves 4

  • 12 Medium Heirloom Carrots
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tsp Mixed Herbs or Herbes du Province
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350. Scrub carrots and cut the tops off, then cut in half lengthwise. Line a metal baking tray with foil, and put the carrots on the tray.

Drizzle your oil of choice and the vinegar onto the carrots. Crush the herbs in your hand if the flakes are large, and sprinkle along with the salt and pepper onto the tray with the carrots. Toss to coat evenly.

Pop into the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy on the edges.

Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs [Paleo, Primal. 21DSD friendly]

Hi friends! Long time no see! Happy 2014! Hope everyone had a great holiday time. Just recently I came back from a two week trip to Japan, which was super fantastic. I saw so many cool things, it blew my mind. Also I ate many cool things! I’m thinking of putting together a little post about trying to eat ‘Paleo-ish’ in Japan, which is a challenge I’ll tell you now. Look out for that sometime in the near future!

I promised this recipe on my Facebook Page back about a month or two ago, but I was so busy I didn’t have a chance to do an illustration. Well I’m back, babes! I put this together when I was doing my 21 Day Sugar Detox. I have to say, it’s really simple, and really delicious.

Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 12 Chicken Thighs
  • 1/4 Cup Melted Butter
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos or Gluten-free Tamari Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 12 Average Parsnips and/or Carrots, peeled and halved

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. In a large roasting pan with a lid, put the peeled Parsnips and Carrots on the bottom of the pan. On top, arrange the chicken thighs skin-up in a single layer.

In a small bowl, whisk together the warm melted Butter, the Lemon juice, Coconut Aminos/Tamari Sauce, minced Ginger, Garlic Powder and Pepper.  Pour this mixture evenly over the Chicken Thighs.

Cook covered for 60 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for 15 more minutes.. The Chicken is done when you cut into it and the juices run clear. Plate, served over the Parsnips. Enjoy!

 

Paleo-friendly Whipped Shortbreads [Gluten-free, Primal, Paleo-friendly]

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I hope everyone has had a relaxing time, filled with family fun and get-togethers. For me, the best part of the season is the excuse to meet up with people who I don’t normally have a chance to see through the rest of the year. All the delicious and traditional holiday recipes make the season tasty, and nostalgic.

Last year I didn’t really make any Christmas cookies because I wasn’t really into baking. However, this year I’ve been less strict about it, and I had a hankering for some of the recipes of my youth. Now, I wasn’t about to go back and make them with wheat flour and refined white sugar, so I took one of them and translated the ingredients to make a more paleo-friendly treat. If you’re on the stricter end of the spectrum, these are definitely not the thing for you, because they do have coconut sugar, arrowroot and potato flour. That being said, I think there’s a place for some treats over the holidays, so there you have it!

These ended up pretty closely approximating the texture and taste of my family recipe, while omitting the gluten and cornstarch, so I count them as a success! My sister who blogs at Sweet Boake was kind enough to help me out with the styling and photography. Please Note: As tempting as warm cookies may be, make sure you allow them to cool on the pan before you try to eat them, or they will be very fragile and fall apart. If you like eating crumbs, then dive in.

Primal Whipped Shortbreads
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 Lbs Salted Butter at Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup ‘Coconut Icing Sugar’*
  • 1 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Potato Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Arrowroot Starch
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

*To make Coconut Icing Sugar, mix just under 1 cup of Coconut Sugar and 3 tsp Arrowroot Starch in a bowl. Put into a food processor, and process until quite fine.

Directions
Preheat oven to 275. In a bowl, mix the butter and coconut icing sugar from low to high. Whip on high for 10 minutes until creamy and combined. Whip in the vanilla extract.

In another bowl, mix together the coconut flour, potato flour and arrowroot starch. Whip into the butter mixture a little bit at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Make sure everything is fully combined with no dry bits.

Drop rounded tablespoon size blobs of the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. You can fit 12 cookies per sheet, and they won’t spread very much. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the cook time.

Allow to cool on the sheets for at least 5 minutes before removing to kraft paper to cool completely before putting them away. These cookies are crumbly and are best enjoyed with a tall glass of milk of your persuasion, coffee or hot chocolate.


I hope to have more recipes to share once I return from my little vacation to Japan! Look out for photos from my trip on Instagram. I can pretty much promise you that there will be rice involved, but don’t be too hard on me. Have a happy New Year everyone!

21 Day Sugar Detox Book Review and 21DSD Spiced Apple Muffins with Bacon [Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free]

Currently I’m just over 2 weeks into my very first ‘official’ 21 Day Sugar Detox, following Diane Sanfilippo’s Level 2 version of the program. With her new book as my guide, as well as handy recipe resource, things have been actually going quite smoothly. If I ever have a basic question about what I can or can’t eat on the program, I can just flip through the book and find out in seconds. Stumped about what to make for dinner? There’s a recipe index…with pictures! Honestly, I’m not sure why all indexes aren’t made this way. Diane’s really leveled up her photography game with this new baby. You’ll be drooling over everything!

The book is laid out beautifully. All the information is clear and easy to access so there’s never any difficulty finding the information you need. The intro section gives you just enough science to make you believe in what you’re going to do for the next 3 weeks, without bogging you down with too much technical stuff. Then, there’s meal plans to follow each level of the program. The last half of the book is recipes, which are all adaptable to any level of the program, including modifications for athletes, autoimmune conditions and pescetarians. You could do the whole thing without needing any other resources than this one book (plus ingredients for cooking), and you’d never be bored with what you’re eating, there’s so much variety! So far my favourite recipe from the book is the Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs. It comes together in minutes, doesn’t take long to cook, and creates the most extremely moist and flavourful meal.

I’ve got one week left to go, and considering that at one point I did a 400 day sugar detox (please don’t do this), I think I can tough it out for one more week! Right now the permitted daily green apple and squash taste MAGICAL! It’s really quite something. If you’re interested in trying it yourself, I wholeheartedly recommend using this book as a guide.

Of course, even though the book has everything you could want, including some not-sweet treats, I did have to venture to make my own recipe. I was inspired by a post from Emma’s Paleo, and I decided to adapt it into a little something of my own; Spiced Apple Muffins with Bacon!

If you’re not on the detox you will still be able to enjoy these, they just won’t seem as sweet as they do to me!

Greek Salad [Primal and Gluten-free]

Last winter I had the incredible experience of traveling to Greece. We stayed mainly in Athens and made day trips out to different locations, such as Delphi and Olympus. Our guide Betty was fantastic and animated, with a wealth of knowledge about each and every destination. She also made sure we had access to excellent family-owned restaurants, and helped me to navigate menus so that I could eat safely without fear of gluten.

One of our staples, other than Tzatziki, was the Greek Salad. Always with fresh and tasty ingredients, we had one with almost every meal–even breakfast! Whereas in North America, Greek Salad typically contains lettuce, in Greece you will never find lettuce in your salad, except maybe if you are in a very touristy area. This recipe is flexible, and can be adjusted based on your preferences. If you don’t like raw onions or peppers, just leave them out! If you don’t like olives, you’re probably crazy, but you can omit them! Don’t do dairy? Leave out the feta! You can just use good quality olive oil and lemon for the dressing, but I’ve also included a more elaborate dressing as well.

Greek Salad
Lots of Fresh Tomatoes, cut into chunks
Lots of Cucumbers, cut into chunks
Some Red Onion, thinly sliced
Some Green Pepper, thinly sliced
Handful of Kalamata Olives, pitted or un-pitted (just warn people!) 
Wedge of Feta Cheese (try to source good quality Greek or Bulgarian sheep’s milk Feta)
Dried Oregano, to sprinkle on top

Dressing
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Garlic, crushed
1 tsp Fresh Oregano, minced
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Add ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Pour over chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Cut feta into chunks and add to the salad, or cut a slice for each person and add one to each individual serving.

 

Picanha (Brazilian Roasted Rump Cap / Top Sirloin) featuring US Wellness Meats Beef

A few months ago I received an email from the awesome people over at US Wellness Meats commenting on how they enjoyed my illustrated recipes, and how they’d really love to send me some samples to cook with. Unfortunately, since I live in Canada, they couldn’t ship to me at home. Luckily for me, I was coming down to the States and crashing with Russ and his wonderful family for a few days. US Wellness was kind enough to time the shipment perfectly so that we could work on some collaborative recipes!

This basic and delicious recipe was Russ’ plan. It was my first time tasting their Grass-fed Beef, so we chose something that would showcase the flavour of the product. There are no sauces or spices getting in the way, just the salt and the beautiful cut of beef. Definitely especially good with US Wellness‘ awesome Grass-fed Top Sirloin steak! This Brazilian BBQ staple we served along with last week’s post, Couve a Mineira, aka Brazilian Collard Greens.

Be sure to check out The Domestic Man for Russ’ version, which includes some tasty photos and more historical facts on this dish.

Picanha (Brazilian Roasted Rump Cap / Top Sirloin)

Ingredients

  • 2 top sirloins (~1.5 lbs each) or one rump cap (~3 lbs) |
  • 2 Tbsp extra coarse sea salt (or rock salt)
  • Sausages for grilling

Directions

As Russ explains, the Sausages are are used to season the grill before adding the Picanha. When it comes to choosing salt, look for the chunkiest salt you can find, as it makes it easier for the salty crust to form when cooking on the grill.

You can be badass like Russ and grill your Picanha over an open fire, or you can grill this on a plain charcoal grill or a gas grill on high heat. Either way, prep your grill and get it hot.

Let the top sirloin sit at room temperature for twenty minutes, then slice diagonally into four thick, long chunks. Try to get one big piece of fat in each of the sliced chunks, to maximize flavour. Curl the chunks and skewer with some sturdy metal skewers. Season generously with the sea salt on each side.

When the grill is nice and hot, place the sausages on the grill directly over the fire for a couple minutes to sear them, then move them to the edge of the grill to continue cooking. If you’re using fully-cooked sausages or raw sausages, the cook time will change. Either way it should take about 10-15 mins to cook them.

Then, move the sausages to the side of the grill. Take the main event, your expertly skewered beef, and place it directly over the hot part of the fire or grill, and roast for about four minutes per side. Watch out for flare-ups, but since we’re looking for a nice salty crust on each side of the meat, just keep them under control. Cook to your liking, testing for done-ness as you go. Remove from the heat, and slice to serve, along with greens and even cheese buns, if you’re feeling ambitious!

Thanks to US Wellness Meats for letting me try out their awesome beef! Look for a couple more recipes featuring their products in the future. Shout out to Russ for cooking along with me, and if for some reason you’re not following him already, check out The Domestic Man on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss his recipes.

 

Couve a Mineira (Brazilian Collard Greens)

Last month between Otakon and The Ancestral Health Symposium, I had the lucky chance to stay with Russ and his family for a few days, and we were able to cook up a few collaborative dishes while I was there visiting. You’re probably already familiar with his awesome recipes from over on his blog, The Domestic Man. We paired this along with some meat courtesy of US Wellness Meats who were kind enough to ship some samples in time for my visit. You’re going to have to wait on that; we’re going to give you the details on that later. For now…the greens!

Check out Russ’ post for the awesome photos and the historical background of this traditional Brazilian dish, Couve a Mineira.

 Keep your eye out for more collaborations between us in the future! Of course, if for some reason you’re not following Russ already, check out The Domestic Man on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss his recipes.

Dark Chocolate Roast Garlic Primal Ice Cream

The other day I was at the Dufferin Grove Farmer’s Market in Toronto and I was looking at the table with all the pamphlets for local events when one just so happened to catch my eye. It was for the Toronto Garlic Festival, and it was printed up with 6 different recipes to promote Garlic consumption. The recipe that really stood out for me was the one about an ice cream with dark chocolate and…roasted garlic? Hey, I mean, I’m a fan of both of those ingredients, so out of sheer curiosity, I decided to make it, with some modifications to make it Primal-friendly. I also enlisted my sister, who blogs at Sweet Boake, to help me out!

It came together very easily, and after processing it in the ice cream maker and freezing it, the time for the taste test was nigh. Well, let’s say that it passed the test! The garlic flavour complimented the sweetness and richness of the dark chocolate, and wasn’t overpowering at all. Definitely try this out if you’re a garlic fan! I’m calling this the Anti-Count Chocula Ice Cream, for all your stealthy vampire-slaying needs!

I’m trying out a more painterly style in my illustration these days, let me know what you think!

Dark Chocolate Roast Garlic Primal Ice Cream
Makes 6+ servings

  • 100 g Organic Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups Organic 10% Cream
  • 6 Organic Egg Yolks
  • 5 tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 4 Cloves Roast Garlic, mashed

Wrap one head of garlic in tinfoil with some olive oil. Place in your toaster oven at 400 degrees and bake for 40 minutes. Place chopped chocolate and 1 cup of the cream in a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk until chocolate has melted. Add the remaining cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from heat.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk egg yolks until pale yellow. If your coconut sugar is clumpy or coarse, pulse in a food processor first to refine it. Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk until incorporated.

Slowly add 1/3 of the cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. This is to temper the eggs. Pour the rest of the cream slowly into the egg mixture, whisk to combine. Then pour back into the saucepan and place over low heat, stirring occasionally until it thickens slightly, at which point it should reach 175 degrees F. Add the 4 cloves of garlic. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool. Refrigerate for 8 hours or more.

Pour into an ice cream maker and process for 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately for a soft-serve consistency, or place in an air tight container and freeze. Enjoy!

You can use the leftover garlic to make my Whipped Cauliflower with Roast Garlic, and I suspect that you could make this Dairy-free if you substituted light Coconut Milk for the cream.

Be sure to check out my sister’s post for her AWESOME pictures!

Peter’s Strictly Paleo…ish Thai Shrimp Soup (Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free)

The latest swap comes from another friend Paleo friend who I met mostly through Twitter. Though, perhaps it would be more accurate to call Peter a Paleo..ish friend, because he blogs over at Strictly Paleo…ish!; which is a mindset I can get behind. Though most of my friends are ‘international’ because I’m Canadian, and everyone seems to be from the United States, Peter hails all the way from Sweden! He comments in his profile that English is not his first language, but you’ve never know from his eloquent and thoughtful blog posts and clear recipe instructions. A very kind and supportive guy who always has a nice Tweet for everyone, he also has some very cool and tasty recipes.

We were in Thailand for my last recipe trade, and we haven’t left yet! When choosing this time I was thinking that I wanted to do one of my more classic illustrations rather than a step-by-step, so I specifically wanted something that had ingredients would look beautiful when composed. Then I spotted the Thai Style Shrimp Soup. Not only does it have fresh and colourful ingredients, it’s also something I never fail to order when I go out for Thai food. Making it at home couldn’t have been easier, and Peter’s version had all the authentic flavours.

Thai Style Shrimp Soup
Serves 6 as a main course

  • 4 Cups (1L) unsalted Chicken Broth (preferably homemade)
  • 2 Cans Coconut Milk
  • 1 1/2 Cups (350g) white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Cups (500g) cooked Shrimp tails, peeled
  • 3 Chinese Eggplants, 1/2 inch sliced
  • 3 Lemongrass stalks
  • 3 tbsp minced Ginger
  • Finely grated zest from 3 Limes
  • Juice from 1 Lime
  • 3 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh Thai Basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 Bird’s Eye Chilis, de-seeded and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil

Directions 

Preheat oven to 350. Roast eggplant until softened, and set aside. While they are roasting,  peel and cook the Shrimp in a bit of coconut oil if you’re not using pre-cooked peeled shrimp.

In a large pot, heat up the coconut oil to medium-high. Crush the lemongrass stalks and let cook in the coconut oil for 5 minutes to infuse the oils with flavour.

Toss in the lime zest and then add the chicken stock. Add 1 tbsp of fish sauce, the minced ginger and the minced garlic, then bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

Let simmer for 10 minutes, then strain out the lemongrass stocks and any large chunks of ginger. After add the coconut milk, and bring up the heat again.

Add the sliced mushrooms, eggplant and green onions, giving them a bit of time to heat up. Stir in the rest of the fish sauce and the lime juice.

Add the shrimp, then remove the pot from the heat and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Serve in bowls, sprinkled with sliced chili to taste and a generous amount of chopped Thai basil.

Check out Peter’s version of this recipe over here on his site, as well as his lovely photograph that inspired me to do my illustration. He’s also posting his version of one of my recipes over on his blog today, which you should definitely check out as well! Like I mentioned, he’s also a great Twitterer, so check him out there too.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the latest installment of my recipe trade series. The next one coming up will be an adapted traditional recipe from my Greek travels. See you soon!