Sweet and spicy red snapper ceviche

Sweet and spicy red snapper ceviche

My city is going through a major heat wave and cooking in my hot kitchen has become a torturous event.  I woke up this morning dreaming of crisp autumn days which is crazy considering every year winter nearly kills me and spring can’t come soon enough.  Us humans are so hard to please. 

Yesterday I made dinner in the slow cooker but found even just having the appliance running seemed to add unwelcome warmth to an already sweltering kitchen.  Tonight, I decided, dinner will be cold.

People in hot climates understand the misery of cooking on hot days.  Ceviche is a dish commonly enjoyed in South America where days are hot and fish are a’plenty.  It is one of my favorite fish dishes that I find just as satisfying as any hot meal. 

If you are a person who is afraid of sushi or gets squeamish at the though of raw fish, don’t fear.  The fish in ceviche is technically cooked, though no heat is used.  The citrus in the recipe denatures the fish to the point where it becomes texturally similar to cooked fish. 

Ceviche can be made with any white fish, prawns or scallops. Fresh is always better than frozen as it retains a better texture and wont turn mushy on you. I went to my local fish monger for a recommendation and she suggested some fresh red snapper. My ceviche turned out beautiful and was a lot less expensive than some other potential varieties.

I love to eat ceviche with plantain chips or tostones.  Plain old tortilla chips or beans and rice can be a lovely pairing too.  If you’re super low carb or keto, just dig right in with a spoon and enjoy… it’s so good. If you’re vegan, omit the fish and you have a killer pico de gallo on your hands. This is a very versatile recipe that will hit every inch of your taste buds.

Sweet and spicy red snapper ceviche

Ingredients:

3 fillets of snapper or 2.5 cups cubed white fish

4 limes juiced

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tbsp finely diced red onion

2 minced cloves of garlic

1 cubed avocado

1 diced red bell pepper

1 diced jalapeno

1 diced roma tomato

a handful of chopped cilantro

1 cup cubed pineapple or mango

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Season and cube your fish into 1/2 inch peices

Juice the limes and mix with orange juice in a glass or porcelain bowl. There should be about a cup of citrus juice

Add the fish to the citrus, stir to combine, cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours

An hour before eating chop up the remaining ingredients into a fine dice

Using a slotted spoon scoop the fish out of the citrus juice and toss in with the diced veggies

Spoon 4-5 tbsp of the citrus liquid over the ceviche and stir to combine

Return to the fridge for about an hour to combine the flavours

Season once more with salt and pepper to taste

Serve and enjoy

Raspberry lemon crumb pie – gluten free vegan and paleo

Raspberry lemon crumb pie – gluten free vegan and paleo

Sometimes Vlad and I both buy groceries without consulting each other first and our fridge ends up a packed-to-the-brim disaster. This leads to the inevitable act of forgetting about certain ingredients that get shoved to the back. Shameful, I know. So I’m trying to do better, and have been doing weekly clean outs of the fridge, making sure I use what I have on hand before I purchase anything new.

On my most recent fridge-job I discovered a pint of organic raspberries that had been sadly neglected. They weren’t moldy – yet, but were lacking the fresh firmness I expect of my berries. In other words they were perfect for baking with.

I love a crumble, but classic crumbles are typically filled with flour sugar and butter so I skimmed through a few recipes and came up with a version that would suit my dietary needs. This crumb pie is gluten free, grain free, paleo and vegan. It is also contains the perfect ratio of lemony tartness, raspberry sweetness and buttery pastry. It’s a dessert made for rushed mornings or lazy summer nights. Serve it with a scoop of coconut whip cream for something truly indulgent.

Lemon Raspberry crumb pie

Base ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

3 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

zest of 1 lemon

Filling ingredients:

1.5 cups fresh or frozen rasberries

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp tapioca

juice of the zested lemon

1/4 tsp of salt

Topping ingredients:

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are great)

1/2 cup reserved base dough

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325

Mix all the base ingredients until well combined and a crumbly dough forms

Reserve 1/2 cup of the mix for your topping and press the remainder into the bottom of a pie pan

Bake at 325 for 10 minutes

While the base is baking, heat the raspberries in a sauce pan, add the remaining filling ingredients and cook on low heat pressing and squishing the raspberries into a jam.

Chop the nuts and mix in with the reserved dough until crumbly.

Remove the base from your oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes.

Cover the base with the layer of cooked raspberries and then top with the crumbly nut mix. Gently press into the berries.

Return to the oven for 20 minutes. (Perfect chance to whip up some vegan whip cream!)

Allow to cool and serve.

Enjoy!

If you like this recipe let me know in the comments and/or pin it!

Paleo dairy free cinnamon rolls

Paleo dairy free cinnamon rolls

During my first pregnancy cinnamon rolls were my number one craving. I would practically prance in to the local mall food court, giddy with the anticipation of a delectable hot bun and would often end up grabbing a half dozen all for myself- with extra icing! Unfortunately that little habit ended me in my doctors office being tested for gestational diabetes in my third trimester. No bueno.

Now that I am much older and more health conscious I pretty much sprint past those chewy gooey buns when I’m at the mall, I don’t even look. Even the insulin regulating addition of cinnamon can not negate the sugar bomb that is dough covered with sugar covered with icing. They are simply bad news.

But what is life without the promise of ever eating another cinnamon bun again? Lame-o.

So I rolled up my sleeves and created a recipe that would satisfy my craving for some buns without sending my insulin levels on a roller coaster and making me feel like doo doo.

Not only are these gluten free, but they are devoid of grains and dairy as well. I do use egg in this recipe but I’m pretty confident an egg replacer would work just fine to make these completely vegan. Going to try that next time.

Flavor wise these are similar to the mall buns but texturally they are denser with a slight crumble. Like most paleo baking, if you are expecting a replica of the real deal you may be disappointed, but if you understand the limits of baking without gluten you will be pleasantly surprised. If you, like me, are a cinnamon bun lover who hasn’t indulged for way too long due to dietary restrictions, you will be blown away. These are definitely worth a go.

Paleo Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

Dough Ingredients

dry

1/2 cup almond flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

wet

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Filling ingredients

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/3 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

Icing

1/4 cup soaked cashews

1/4 cup vegan yogurt

1/4 cup coconut cream (the thick creamy part in the can)

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Assemble the icing by blending all the icing ingredients in a high speed blender – chill in the fridge. (It will firm up as it chills)

Assemble the filling by mixing all the ingredients together – set aside.

Preheat oven to 350

Mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in separate bowls and combine into a dough. It should be malleable without sticking to your hands. If you find it too wet add a bit more tapioca and if it’s too dry at a tsp of water.

Chill the dough ball in the fridge for 20-30 minutes – this makes it easier to work with.

Roll it into a rectangle and spread the filling over the dough leaving about an inch along the far long end.

Gently roll into into a long log pressing as you go, wrap it in the parchment and chill in the freezer for 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from the freezer and using a sharp knife, slice into 1.5 inch rounds.

Place them on a parchment covered baking sheet with a bit of space between them and bake for 18 – 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before icing or eat them hot, the icing will melt a bit and act as more of a glaze (as pictured). Either way they are delicious.

If you try this recipe let me know what you think and if you made any successful modifications.

Enjoy!

Dandelion coffee – a liver cleansing caffeine free alternative

Dandelion coffee – a liver cleansing caffeine free alternative

Coffee is one of those vices I just keep going back to.  I’ve given up a lot of things on my health journey, including coffee, but the rich luxurious taste always lures me back in.  Not to mention the fact that I-can-not-even until I’ve had my cup o joe. 

A friend of mine once recently described my coffee addiction as something akin to a baby needing a pacifier.  Every time I give it up I get all pissy for a bit, but then I quickly realise I never really needed it at all. So I’ve decided to cut back on my Americano addiction.  Caffeine stresses my adrenals and I don’t want to be dependant on a pacifier to get me through the day. 

I knew I would want a coffee alternative, at least in the beginning, to satisfy my craving for the rich flavor I love – enter dandelion coffee.

I’ve seen it at the health food stores and have skeptically considered trying it out, but most store brands include barley which is a no-go for me, so I decided to make my own, for free, because there is no shortage of dandelions in the world.   My foraging brother explained to me how easy it is and how spring is the perfect time to find thick, juicy roots so I enlisted the help of my kids and went on a dual purpose mission. My garden got weeded and I made a delicious, medicinal cup of coffee that I enjoyed more than I even expected to.

If you’re picking dandelions for your coffee be sure to grab them from bunches with only one flower or ideally before the flowers have bloomed at all.  You should pick them in places not sprayed with pesticides and herbicides and for obvious reasons you will probably want to avoid dandees growing in places where dogs run free.

It helps to use a small trowel or a dandelion tool that pulls them up by the roots.  I have very hit and miss luck tugging on the greens, usually the greens just snap off, leaving the root firmly lodged in the ground.  But don’t go tossing those greens – those things are magic, perfectly balanced on the ph scale, cleansing for your liver, and delicious fried with a bit of olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. 

Another great thing about this coffee is you can get your kids involved in harvesting and drinking the fruits of your labour.  My kids love it sweetened and creamy with honey and almond milk.  They get super into to the process of harvesting the dandelions which means an hour or so of not asking me to play video games or watch TV. Mom win.

Once the roots are roasted and dried they store for a long time.  I keep mine in a mason jar and have started to instinctively reach for them rather than a second cup of coffee in the afternoon.

Dandelion coffee tastes:

Like coffee without the acidity.  It is a bit more mellow in flavor, depending on how long the roots have roasted and has notes of chocolate and black tea. 

To make the coffee:

Gather your roots.  You will need about 2 tbsps of dried crushed roots for one strong cup of coffee – so get foraging!

Separate the roots from the greens and wash them very well. Save those greens for dinner.

Dry the roots on a paper towel and preheat your oven to 300

Roast until light brown and slightly crumbly – about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool and use your fingers to crumble up the roots into smaller pieces.     

Return to the 300 degree oven for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the roots are a deep black-brown color and have a rich chocolatey smell.

 To prepare a cup:

Place 2 tbsp of dried coffee in a saucepan with 2 cups of water.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the liquid turns dark black like a cup of coffee.  Strain through a colander into your mug.  Add what you would normally add to your cup a joe and enjoy!

If you tried this and liked it be sure to pin it and let me know in the comments below.

Baba ganoush – low carb, dairy free, grain free, vegan dip

Baba ganoush – low carb, dairy free, grain free, vegan dip

Hummus’ weird paleo cousin.  Smooth delectable, almost cheesy, it’s perfect for dipping all-the-things or as a base for creamy paleo sauces.

My first experience with baba ganoush was as a picky teenager at my Aunts house in Montreal.  Being half-Lebanese they were well accustomed to all the delights of middle eastern cooking.  I remember staring at a thick bowl of creamy beige stuff on their kitchen table and thinking “yuck.” Reluctantly, I was coerced into trying it by a cousin, who to my horror also ate tomatoes as if they were apples. To everyone’s surprise, including my own, my formerly picky self loved it.  I sat with my family contentedly dipping strips of warm pita into the creamy stuff all the while thoroughly proud of myself for being so adventurous. 

Today a roasted eggplant dip is hardly the most exciting food in my repertoire, but it still satisfies that savory spot in my heart that I no longer fill with rich dairy based sauces.  It’s also incredibly easy to make, and a great substitute for hummus if you are paleo or trying to incorporate more paleo foods into your diet.

It only takes a few ingredients and a food processor to come together.  It’s a wonderfully easy way to get more veggies into your day and isn’t super intimidating for young kids or picky eaters to try.

Ingredients:

1 large or 2 small eggplants

2 cloves of crushed garlic

Juice of 1 large lemon or about 3 tbsps

1/4 cup of tahini

1/3 cup of olive oil (reserve 1 tbsp to drizzle at the end)

1 tsp smoked paprika (save a pinch for garnish)

½ -1 tsp of sea salt (to your taste)

A small handful of flat leaf parsley chopped (or about 2 tbsps) for garnish

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees

Pierce on large or two small eggplants all over with a fork, place on a sheet pan in the hot oven.

   Roast until the eggplants look shriveled and collapsed- about 45 minutes to an hour. They are going to look DONE, don’t worry you want them like that.

Allow to cool and peel the skin from the eggplant.

Toss the white inner flesh of the eggplant into your food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Turn the food processor on low and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture while you process it.

Taste it. This is your chance to make it pop.  Everyone’s pallet is slightly different so trust yours and customize your ganoush to your taste.

Scoop your baba ganoush into a bowl and garnish with the chopped parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of smoked paprika.

Enjoy.