Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crabby Summer Delights

After last summer's oil spill Gulf seafood has been back on the market and better than ever. My first foray into using coconut flour came when I picked up an amazing container of lump crab at the farmers market a few weeks back, I was confronted with a big pile of really fresh sweet crab..everything that came to mind involved things I shouldn't be eating so I was stumped. No crab-mango salad (mango is on the 'unfavorable carb list for now), no crab gratin (cheese isn't on the list either), crab cakes would be fabulous but the breading...how to solve the breading problem? Then, while wandering around the internet I found the solution...coconut flour!

First up, Paleo Crab Cakes...

1 LB Crab Meat
2 Tbsp Finely Diced Shallot
2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Tsp Minced Garlic
Creole Seasoning, to taste
1/8 Tsp of Ancho Chile Powder
1/4 Cup Egg White
2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
2-4 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1. Mix the crab with the shallot, mayo, garlic, sea salt, pepper, chipotle, egg, lemon zest and coconut flour.
2. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat for 1 minute or until hot enough that a sprinkle of water in the pan makes the oil sizzle.
3. Form the crab cake mixture into palm size patties and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. Makes approximately 10 crab cakes.

I served these atop a salad that was lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. If you follow a zone diet, these crab cakes are 1.5 blocks of protein and 0.25 blocks of fat each.

Since turning my crab into cakes I've used canned salmon (not idea but it was on hand) to the same effect, turning my salmon cakes into a Thai inspired tasty lunch treat!

Thai Salmon Patties
1 Tsp Red Curry Paste
6oz Can Salmon, drained
2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
1 Tsp Minced Garlic
1 Diced Shallot
1/4 Cup Egg White
2-4 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1. Mix the salmon, curry paste, garlic, shallot, egg white and coconut flour.
2. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat for 1 minute or until hot enough that a sprinkle of water in the pan makes the oil sizzle.
3. Form the mixture into palm size patties and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. Makes approximately 3 medium sized salmon patties or 2 large sized patties.

I served these atop a salad that was lightly dressed with a mixture of sesame oil and rice wine viengar. If you follow a zone diet, these salmon patties are 3 blocks of protein and 1 block of fat each.

Side note, I know that these both look the same, the salmon vs. the crab, if you used fresh salmon and cubed it up or flaked a freshly cooked piece of salmon vs. canned you would see a more 'pink' patty. I was pretty excited about the possibilities here and plan to try a mixture of raw tuna with the coconut flour, etc, raw salmon or even diced shrimp to create tasty burgers patties too. Needless to say these don't taste like 'health' food to me!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Crossing my limits

It's been a long hot summer here in Texas, so hot I've barely been doing much cooking....and when I do get around to cooking there isn't much blog-worthy. We're approaching a record number of 100+ degree days, yipee! Seriously, who gets excited about breaking a record like that?? So what do I choose to do in this scorching oven known as my home-state? I joined a group of fitness crazed folks and have started going to CrossFit. I'm not sure if you know what that is or if you do know if it elicits images of crazy people doing boot camp-esque workouts but it doesn't matter, I love it. I blame my sister and her boyfriend for getting me involved in this, as you can see, Jackie is just as involved as I am (or obsessed).

What is CrossFit you say? Well according to the CrossFit website it's a strength and conditioning program built under the principle that you shouldn't specialize in any one thing but that you should excel at many. Everything is scaled to suit your own fitness level so an elite military or law enforcement officer can do the same main workout that say an out of shape food-blogger can do...we might do different amounts of weights or a variation on the same exercise but it is the same workout regardless. Why CrossFit? Because it's addictive, the competition it fosters (you vs. you), the shared goals among your classmates and team environment as well as the sense of accomplishment you get after pushing through a workout that you thought you would never be able to complete. That coupled with the fact that it's helped me get into much better shape (miles to go still but in the short few months I've done it I've seen immense changes) makes me a devoted follower these days.

Enough preaching about CrossFit....I shared this because while working out I have also started to adopt the eating habits that are prevalent among CrossFitters...which is a combination of the 'paleo diet' (basically lots of fruit and veggies, gluten free and good proteins) and a zone diet (again, lost of fruits and veggies, limited grains, if any, and quality lean protein). Being food-obsessed this was a bit tough for me at first, I have no gluten sensitivity and frankly love to try new things so the thought of limiting myself to these confines really bothered me at first. Slowly though I have adapted, partly because our CrossFit gym (much love to Milestone Crossfit!!) set up a 6-week challenge which I eagerly joined and partly because I have seen what the combo of this diet and CrossFit does for people. In four weeks my 'cravings' for grains and super-sweet candy, etc. have dwindled (not going to lie here, I would still kill for hot-buttered fresh baked french bread!) and I feel great. So again, why am I sharing all this? Because it will color a lot of what I will be posting in the near term, most of my coming posts will be recipes that have been made since the beginning of my 6-week challenge and will be reflective of ingredients that are 'zone-paleo' friendly. So be wary those of you who aren't so excited about 'healthy' food, these things will all be slightly better for you than most that I have posted in the past but none of them will taste like 'health' food, I refuse to give up good food for just healthy food.

To that end, the first recipe I want to share is a re-vamped version of something I have posted before, Mustard Green Pesto with Chicken Meatballs, only this time instead of pasta it is served over Spaghetti Squash.

Spaghetti Squash with Mustard Green Pesto & Chicken Meatballs

1 lb Mild Turkey Breakfast Sausage or Ground Chicken or Ground Turkey
1 lb Chicken-Apple Sausage*
3 Tbsp Almond Meal
1 1/2 Tbsp Rubbed Sage
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Cup Apple Cider, reduced down to 1/4 cup to create a syrup
2 Lg Bunches Baby Mustard Greens
5 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Pecan Pieces, Toasted
1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts, Toasted
1 Red Bell Pepper

‎1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and rub 1 Tsp olive oil around the inside, sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. Roast at 375 F until fork tender.

2. Fold bulk sausages together wtih 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, rubbed sage and reduced cider. Do not over work the mixture, shape into balls and place in a greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes. Can be baked concurrently with spaghetti squash, squash will be ok at 400 F.

3. Remove squash from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and use a fork to scrape out the flesh of the squash with a fork. Place in a large bowl/dish.

2. While the meatballs are baking, blend the mustard greens, garlic, olive oil, cider vinegar, 1 tsp salt, pine nuts and pecans.

3. Slice bell peppers, leave raw. Toss meatballs, pesto and bell peppers together and serve on top of cooled squash flesh.