Heavenly Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

My husband and I have a farm share and heard share through a family owned farm about 45 minutes away from us ‘in the country’. It’s one of the best investments we’ve made in our health and nutrition, and we love knowing exactly where our food comes from every week. One of the coolest things about owning a bovine heard share is that we have access to tons of raw, non-homogonized grass-fed cow’s milk. Because we own part of the cow, we don’t have to follow the FDA’s silly little rules about raw dairy. Raw whole milk is the best tasting milk I’ve ever had. And trust me, that’s saying something (just ask my Mom, she used to force me to drink milk while holding my nose closed so I couldn’t taste it)!

While I still don’t drink much milk, I do enjoy several other dairy products regularly, so I use my yummy raw milk in fun ways. This year, I’ve spent countless hours working to make gourmet-quality ice cream at home. The best results so far were my Bourbon Butter Pecan and Mint Chocolate Chip – those are definitely going to be regulars in the rotation. Many of my recipes are custard based, so they took half a day to make, but I recently read of a different technique that is slightly less time consuming (though it does require using tapioca starch) so I gave it a go. IT IS DELICIOUS!

wpid-20130305_194250.jpgDark Chocolate Ice Cream
Yield: 1 Quart

Chocolate Base:
1/2 C brewed coffee
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C grade B maple syrup
1 1/2 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped

Cream Base:
2 1/2 C whole milk
1/2 C cream
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp tapioca starch
3 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp ground sea salt
1/4 C grade B maple syrup

Directions
1. For the chocolate base – In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan,combine the coffee, cocoa powder and maple syrup. Bring to a boil and let boil for 30 seconds before removing from heat and stirring in the chopped dark chocolate. Stir to combine and set aside
2. Using just 2 Tablespoons of the whole milk and all the tapioca starch in a small bowl, whisk to make a thick and creamy mixture.
3. In a medium glass or metal bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese, salt and warm chocolate base – this should be like liquid fudge.
4. Fill a larger bowl or sink with a few inches of ice water (will be used in step 8).
5. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining whole milk, cream, and maple syrup. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes, stirring regularly.
6. Remove pan from heat and gradually add the starchy mixture from step 2, whisking to combine. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a boil once more, while stirring, until slightly thickened (about 1 minute).
7. Slowly add the hot cream base to the chocolate base, whisking until thoroughly combined and smooth.
8. Place plastic wrap on the top of the ice cream bowl and set gently in the ice bath, adding more ice as necessary to effectively cool it. Let cool 30-40 minutes.
9. Pour ice cream into ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy. Place frozen ice cream in airtight container with parchment paper or plastic wrap on the surface and seal with the lid. Freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.
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With Love and ChocolateChip Cookies

I had the house to myself this evening, so I took advantage of it by catching up on DVR’d TV shows and baking. I have been craving chocolate chip cookies this week, so I did what I always do – I Googled recipes for an hour and then didn’t actually follow any of them. I really don’t know why I can’t just find a recipe that looks good and then make it. Maybe it’s because I like the adventure of ‘trying something different’ to see what I can create (or ruin).

Anywho, I found lots of delicious-looking stuff, including recipes I’ve made before, but the one I drooled over was this one from Against All Grain. So I decided to make these delicious cookies, sort of. Well, I didn’t really have any Palm Shortening or Palm Sugar, so that wasn’t gonna work…

Not to be deterred, with last Sunday’s Oscar’s ceremony blaring (I have to see Les Mis!), I made my own Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with the ingredients I have. For old times’ sake, I even attempted to eat the dough off the beater while the cookies hardened in the fridge – still not sure why I do that. Paleo cookie dough is nothing like regular cookie dough! It’s hard to even enjoy it. Does anyone else try to do that too, or is it just me? Well, the cookies are great once cooked.

With Love and ChocolateChip Cookies

Ingredients:wpid-20130227_193411.jpg

4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 C raw wildflower honey
2 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C almond flour
2 heaping Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 C chocolate chips (regular or mini)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In stand mixer or by hand, cream together butter and honey. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour baking soda and salt.
  4. Mix dry ingredients into wet until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).
  5. Add chocolate chips and mix with spatula. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  6. Drop by spoonfuls onto nonstick baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

Yield: 2 Dozen

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Tex-Mex Remix

I absolutely love Tex-Mex. It is my favorite style of cooking, mainly because it’s what I grew up eating (thanks Dad!), and it’s my comfort food. When I made the transition to a Primal way of eating 2 years ago, I grieved for my beloved tortilla chips and enchiladas with cheese! I spent several months pining over those foods and only eating them for my ‘cheat meals’ before I decided that I could still have my favorite flavors without the guilt.

I started with a simple idea: Substitute veggies where there used to be grains. Rice? Make that spinach. Tortillas? How about green peppers! Or lettuce. It’s really not complicated. The stuff that makes it taste good is the spice. No one said you can’t douse that ground beef in chili powder or, my favorite, cumin! There is nothing wrong with topping it with that organic, minimally processed salsa or some homemade guacamole. The flavors of Tex-Mex are all achievable in Primal cooking. Here’s just one example of something simple I whipped up recently.

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1 lb ground meat of choice (I used Turkey)
1 onion
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 8 oz can tomatoes
2 green peppers
1 Tbsp Cumin
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Raw Cheddar Cheese (opt.)

Directions: Saute onion in coconut oil until soft, add turkey and salt and pepper, saute on medium-high heat until meat is done. Meanwhile, halve the green peppers and place them open-side down in a glass baking dish with 1/4 inch of water and roast in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes to soften. Next, add tomatoes, kale and seasonings to the cooked turkey, stirring to combine and cover to let simmer for 10-20 minutes. Once the peppers are done roasting, remove from oven, carefully pour out any remaining water and flip them over. Stuff the peppers with turkey/veggie mixture, return to the oven for 5-10 minutes (add cheese to top of peppers for the last five minutes). Remove from and serve with salsa or avocado.

What other Tex-Mex recipes could you convert to Primal ones? Feel free to share your own recipes or suggest a new one for me to try!
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Give me that cookie! A Thin Mint love story (I mean, recipe).

I spent all day yesterday looking at the Girl Scout cookies sitting in front of my cubicle. They were just sitting there waiting to be eaten. I told them ‘no’ about a dozen times. I even ate a mini Snickers so that I wouldn’t eat the cookie (shame). I was strong in my resolve, but I wanted that damn cookie!

I spent the afternoon devising a plan to make said cookies at home (you may have noticed by now that I think I can make any dessert with almond flour and maple syrup) and was ready to tackle the project with a glass of wine in hand after dinner. And then – magically – it happened. I turned on my computer to discover that Elana (of Elana’s Pantry) did it for me! Paleo Thin Mints!!!

I made them immediately.

Because I have a tendency to do whatever I want when I bake, I modified the recipe slightly. It would now be considered more of a Primal Thin Mint. Here’s what I did:

Cookies
3 Tbsp butter (salted)
1/8 cup honey + 1/8 cup maple syrup
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt

Coating
1.75 oz 85% chocolate bar
1/8 cup chocolate chips
~1 tsp peppermint extract

20130215_202946 In stand mixer, add half-melted butter (my substitution for vegan shortening) and mix on medium speed until creamy with small peaks. Grab honey jar and attempt to pour/scrape honey into measuring cup, getting honey everywhere. Look at hands covered in honey and decide to rub all over face because honey is an excellent facial cleanser. After honey has been applied, wash hands and realize there is not enough honey for the cookies. Grab the maple syrup and top off measuring cup. Blend sugars in with butter until well combined. Add peppermint extract. Sample.

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In separate bowl combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and cocoa powder – add extra cocoa because it needs more chocolate. Add tiny bit of salt because butter was salted. Whisk dry ingredients for one minute. Evaluate chocolate content – decide it will do.

20130215_20552120130215_205730Slowly incorporate dry ingredients with wet, 1/4 mixture at a time until combined. Drop dough onto plastic-wrapped cutting board (you should use parchment), top with more plastic wrap and roll out to 1/4 in thin. Freeze for 10 minutes. Cut out into circles with small tupperware container (who has a two-inch cookie cutter?) and place on non-stick baking sheet. Cook for 5 minutes (or maybe 6, but 4 wasn’t enough). Cool and Freeze 1 hr.20130215_210704

Microwave amazing chocolate bar at 30 sec intervals until melted, add chocolate chips and heat a little more. Add peppermint and stir until all melty and minty! Dip cookies in chocolate until sufficiently covered. Eat several while dipping – quality control. Freeze what’s left.

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Verdict: AMAZINGNESS!

Fat Tuesday Experiment: Primal Paczki

Today is Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras). For many people, this is a much-anticipated day  because they get to eat whatever they want in preparation for the season of Lent. For people of Polish heritage, like my husband’s family, and anyone who has ever lived in or near a Polish community, the staple of Fat Tuesday is Paczkis!

Homemade paczki

These delicious fried doughnuts with a sugary filling are definitely not Primal/Paleo or what could be considered Real Food. So, out of sheer curiosity and for lack of a better project, I spent all last night and part of this morning creating a gluten-free, refined sugar-free, custard filled doughnut that I could offer to my hard-working husband on Fat Tuesday and then proudly blog about. Or something.

I started by researching all available gluten-free (GF) Paczki recipes on the interwebs. There aren’t many and they all use GF flour or some combination of rice/millet/sorghum flours which I don’t use. I chose this recipe to base my experiment on and then struggled for two hours to convert 2 cups of GF flour into some amount of almond flour, coconut flour and/or tapioca starch – ugh. Once I started mixing everything up, I got all excited thinking that it was working (thank goodness because it was already 11). The dough was a little too wet, but my hope was that if I let it continue to rise overnight, as was done in another recipe, it would be fine in the morning.

Morning. Wake up early to fry some dough in coconut oil. Take dough out and roll it carefully onto plastic wrap. Use fancy biscuit cutter to cut 10 pretty little discs. Look at the dough with adoration. Feel triumphant. Check temperature of the oil. Pick up handy utensil to transfer dough from plastic wrap to pan. Disaster.

My first Paczki attempt ended early this morning when I figured out that the dough I made was too flimsy to hold any shape at all. I attempted to salvage it in some way by patting little discs with my hands and then watched them fall apart in the hot oil. Of course, after declaring it a total failure and leaving a note to my husband to that effect before racing to work, he informs me that the fried doughnut crumbles were actually quite good and he ate them all – go figure!

Fried Something...

Fried Something…

I was hoping that I would have a shiny new recipe for you all to enjoy today, but I don’t think anyone will want this one! We’re just gonna have to file this in the ‘failed experiments’ category. I will go back to my chocolate and bacon.

Someone much more talented than I can create the first Primal Paczki – PLEASE?