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.
wpid-20130303_144510.jpg

wpid-20130303_145218.jpg

wpid-20130303_151211.jpg

wpid-20130303_153638.jpg

wpid-20130303_154535.jpg

wpid-20130303_162733.jpg

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.

Stuffed Peppers (w/optional raw cheese) wpid-20130209_154754.jpg

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!
wpid-20130209_151743.jpg

wpid-20130209_151838.jpg

wpid-20130209_153304.jpg

wpid-20130209_154057.jpg

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.

20130215_204030

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.

20130216_000304

Verdict: AMAZINGNESS!