Friday, November 18, 2011

Paleo Comfort Foods: Review and Recipes

I recently went crazy at my happiest happy place - Barnes and Noble. By crazy I mean that I went it to look at cookbooks and came out with several loaded in my arms. Then I went to the grocery store and bought a cart full of things. Then I went home and cooked all night.

I never realized going to the bookstore could be so exhausting.

Thus far I've started cooking from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook, by Julie and Charles Mayfield. I've been stuck in this one book because it's just so dang easy. Get this, throw this in, bake.

I can handle that.

Plus - It's all gluten free and based on my favorite food lifestyle, Paleo. In the traditional form of it, you eat fruits and veggies, meat, good fats (like oils), and nuts. That's it, though. In this book the Mayfields made Paleo appropriate recipes for good ol' home cooked type meals like fried chicken, pulled pork, and gumbo.

These are the three recipes I've tried out so far.

First up, my very favorite:
Crustless Quiche
12 large eggs
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter (I used 1/4 cup olive oil)
1 cup onions
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced small
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs together until slightly foamy. Stir in the almond flour and baking powder

3. In a large saute pan, melt the butter, then add in the onions and spinach, cooking until onions are translucent. Mix in peppers and any other vegetables of your choosing.

4. Stir the veggie/butter mixture into the eggs, and pour the contents into a 9x13 inch baking dish, and top with pepper.

5. Bake for 45 minuted or until cooked through.

These are the variations I ended up creating after making it a couple of times:

  • Variation 1: From the original recipe take out all the veggies except spinach. Add in artichokes and mushrooms. Add 1 package of bacon (nitrate free, of course). I precooked the bacon to where it was almost done, then chopped it up and put it in with the veggies. This one was a big hit! 
  • Variation 2: From the original recipe take out all the veggies except spinach. Add in broccoli and kale. Add 1 package of bacon, as stated above. Precook the bacon. Here's the difference in this one: I did not saute the veggies. I threw then in the egg mix and let them bake since they're more fragile. I really, really, really like this variation. The quiche comes out beautifully and the veggies look crisp and fresh.

I'm slightly addicted to this recipe. I've made it 5 times in two weeks. People love it, what can I say?

Jules Banana Pudding
1 can coconut milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon coconut butter 
3 really ripe bananas (almost black)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Side Note: I like everything coconut related except coconut butter. It tastes like nothing to me and I prefer some flavor, so instead I used almond butter. 

1. Whisk coconut milk, egg yolks, and vanilla together over medium heat. Stir constantly with whisk or wooden spoon until mixture starts to thicken. 

2. Remove from heat.

3. In a small frying pan, heat the coconut oil and coconut butter over medium heat, and add slightly mashed bananas along with cinnamon. You're just cooking long enough to let bananas start to caramelize somewhat.

4. Pour the coconut milk and egg mixture into a food processor or blender along with the cooked bananas, and process until smooth and creamy.

5. Empty content into a bowl, and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface. This will prevent a skin from forming. 

6. Refrigerate to chill and serve topped with some sliced bananas. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe and I actually really liked it with the almond butter. Bananas and almond/peanut butter go together so well, you know? I found that the banana pudding tasted even better a day later, so my recommendation is to let it sit for a day before you devour its yumminess.

Breakfast Egg Muffins
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
12 large eggs, whisked
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree.

2. Saute onions in olive oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

3. While peppers are cooking, whisk eggs in a large bowl.

4. Once onions/peppers are cooked, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Dump in egg mixture and stir well, sprinkling in the salt and pepper.

5. Coat a large muffin pan with olive oil spray or coconut oil. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, fill each muffin cup.

6. Place in over for 10-15 minutes. Remove them once the tops get high, fluffy and golden brown. Pop them out with a butter knife or thin spatula. 

This recipe was my least favorite. Maybe it was because it tasted bland to me. Maybe because it took me way longer than 15 minutes to get them fluffy and golden brown. They tasted fine, but they were just a little boring, so my suggestion would be to add in some of your favorite seasonings or other veggies to give them more of a kick.

What's up next?

I'm making their Sweet Potato Casserole for Thanksgiving. I'm also going to be making some recipes from the other books I got for turkey day. I will report back with results.

Update---> Here is the post with the other recipes I tried out.
Recipes from the Gluten Free Baker and More from Paleo Comfort Foods

Have any favorite recipes that are a must every Thanksgiving? Any traditions? 
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