Monday, 27 May 2013

Thai Peanut Slaw

I find most coleslaw pretty disgusting. It's just gloopy, way too sugary, and is made basically with equal parts cabbage and mayonnaise. And sugar. If you're lucky, there might be some carrots thrown in. This can be described in one word: ick. I also don't really care for the coleslaws made with an oil and vinegar dressing. I like my raw cabbage creamy. But not with mayo made from genetically modified rancid yellow seed oils. So there's a bit of a dilemma. Luckily, like all problems consisting of a yearning for creaminess and a refusal to achieve said creaminess with GMOs, this can be solved with coconut milk. I love coconut milk.
Best brand, thick and creamy
and only contains coconut milk
Like bacon, caramelized onions, and peanut butter, coconut milk makes everything better. :D And this recipe includes coconut milk, peanut butter, and onions! (well, the onions are fried, not caramelized, but close enough.) Sadly, no bacon. :( It probably wouldn't work with the other flavours. The other flavours, by the way, are Thai. Yes, I love Thai flavoured things. I wonder if it has something to do with my love of coconut milk and peanut butter? Especially since Thai food is one of the few ways of incorporating both those foods into vegetables, so it's healthier and it keeps you from eating an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting. Anyway, this was delicious if I do say so myself. But really, how can you go wrong  with coconut milk and peanut butter? (By not adding enough, that's how!) :D So enjoy your coleslaw, because it can be much more interesting and delicious and healthy than cabbage and mayo.

One final note: while writing this, I suddenly thought, sprinkling of shredded coconut. And tamarind in the sauce. Why do I never get these ideas while I'm cooking? It was terrific without these additions, but it would be nice to add them. A fancy drizzle of tamarind puree would be really pretty.

Thai Peanut Slaw


1/2 head cabbage
2 carrots, grated
1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1 onion, very thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
2-inch knob of ginger, half of it grated, half of it cut into very thin matchsticks
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil (enough to fry the onions, garlic and ginger)
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp tamari or nama shoyu
red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 english cucumber, very thinly sliced
cilantro sprig, tamarind puree, and/or shredded coconut to garnish


1. Lay the cucumbers in a ring around the edge of your serving dish (this is optional, it adds to the presentation. You could also just cut the cucumber into very thin noodle-type threads and add them in with the other vegetables).
2. Combine the cabbage, carrots, and peppers.
3. Heat the coconut oil over high heat.
4. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger matchsticks. Fry until crispy, stirring frequently. Remove to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt.
5. Whisk together the coconut milk, peanut butter, lime, tamari, red pepper flakes, and the grated ginger. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. 
6. Toss together the sauce, the vegetables, and the fried onion mixture.
7. Place in the serving bowl with the cucumbers, sprinkle with shredded coconut, drizzle with tamari puree, and garnish with cilantro, if using.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Best Breakfast Ever!

So I recently had a really delicious breakfast, and even though it's so simple it doesn't really count as a recipe, it was so delicious that I thought I'd have to post it!
 So I took 2 slices of extremely delicious pastured bacon (from Harbourside Farms) and stuck them in a dry frying pan on medium-low heat. I let them cook until they were crispy-chewy, then I set them aside, turned the heat to medium-high and added about 1/2 box of brown button mushrooms, sliced, into the remaining bacon fat. I fried them until they were almost fully cooked, then I added some fresh thyme, some salt, and some pepper. I then turned the heat to low and removed the mushrooms.
At this point, if the pan is dry again, add some coconut oil, butter, etc. I then fried a beautiful pastured egg, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and served it with the bacon, mushrooms, some avocado and some tomato wedges. Cherry tomatoes would just be outstanding!

So I guess it's basically bacon and eggs, but it was sooo delicious! Maybe it's just because it's been so long since I've eaten bacon and eggs? Well, it's still delicious, fast, and easy, so if you have a little extra time or want a breakfast that's a little extra special, make this!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Moroccan Veggie Burger

My first attempt with spinach and fresh tomato. Not bad, but
I much preferred the toppings included in the recipe.
While this recipe was delicious, I just keep imagining how amazing it would be to have some slices of juicy, tender lamb in addition to the veggie burger... Oh my goodness, that would be amazing. If you have lamb, add that. Luckily, it's still great without the lamb. I mean, there are roasted vegetables, dried apricots, peanut butter, spices, and caramelized onions. Come on. If there are caramelized onions, you know it has to be good.

The head chef at the cafe where I volunteer (and have lots of fun experimenting with whacky brownie flavours, including almond apricot with a tahini-lemon-honey swirl) would say that this burger has too much going on. Maybe she's right. But I don't really care. I just know that it tastes good, and that's all that really matters. On second thought, maybe the lamb would be a bit over the top. Maybe just stick with this.

One last note: these are huge, as in piled-high huge. You may need to use a fork and knife to fit it into your mouth. You could also leave the bun off, since you're probably not going to need it to pick up the burger anyway, and I don't think it really added much. I actually preferred mine without it.

Moroccan Veggie Burger

A complicated but delicious recipe


1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed (about 2 cups)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 cups cooked black eyed peas
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup raw cauliflower rice (cauliflower pulsed in a food processor until it's the texture of rice)
1/4 dock flour (or other flour of choice, it can be any kind)
2 Tbsp ras el hanout (or more, if you like things with really bold flavours, I usually end up adding more)
salt, to taste


1 cup canned tomatoes
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ras el hanout
chicken stock, to thin (although, if you happen to have any lamb stock lying around, that would be amazing)


1 eggplant, sliced into rounds
3 bell peppers, thickly sliced (or just quartered)
olive oil
salt and pepper

3 onions, sliced (you can use less, I just like to smother everything I eat with caramelized onions, so I like having leftovers. Just decrease the amount of apricots accordingly)
3/4 cup dried turkish apricots, chopped
oil or fat, to fry the onions
salt, to taste

optional: sprouts, cooked kale (kale would be amazing)


cauliflower bun (optional)

I suggest having the buns made in advance if you're using them. In fact, it would be much easier if you made most of the components in advance, since there are a lot of them. The burgers, caramelized onions and sauce can all be made in advance.


1. Preheat oven to 400*F.
2. Coat the eggplant and peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Put the eggplant in the oven. It will take about 1-1 1/2 hours to roast. Flip somewhere around halfway.
4. Meanwhile, make the burger, just mash everything up and combine. If you want it really smooth, put everything in a food processor, but I think it's better left a bit chunky. Taste a bit, and add more salt or spices if necessary. If it's not thick enough, add more flour.
5. You can either fry the burgers or bake them, which I find is both easier and they stay together better. Just put them on a baking sheet in circular burger shapes and pop them in the oven on a different oven rack from the eggplant. Bake until they start to brown, for me that's about an hour, but my oven takes long, so just check on them. Add the peppers to the eggplant now.
6. Heat the oil over medium-low heat.
7. Add the onions (for the topping) and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1/2 hour or until caramelized.
8. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Saute the onions and garlic in a bit of oil in a pot until browned.
9. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer while everything else is cooking.
10. When the onions are almost done, sprinkle with just a little salt and add the apricots. Stir together and add water or stock if it gets dry (and it probably will). Cook for another 5 minutes or so.
11. If you're using the buns and made them in advance, pop them in the toaster or a toaster oven to heat them up.
12. Assemble the burger. Put down a layer of sprouts on the bun, if using (if you're not using the bun, just put them on top of the burger), add the caramelized onions, place a burger on top, drizzle with sauce, add the roasted eggplant and peppers, and finally top with another bun (if using).
13. Attempt to eat with hands, then give up and just enjoy with a fork and knife. 
14. Take a nap, that was very filling and took a lot of work!
If this looks like too much for you, just make the burger and
bun a smaller size.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

SFG Grid

So I finally got around to making the grid for my square foot garden. Now it's actually a square foot garden, and this won't roll around like the bean poles I was using last year were! I must have bought at least 50, probably closer to 100 bean poles last year (not just for the grid, I also had lots of actual beans, not to mention giant peas.)
The reason this is laying on the ground and not in my raised bed is
because I still have to add  compost to the soil
 So I'm not much of a handyman. As you can see, it's a really poorly done, crooked job. However, in my defense, the wood was really low quality and I nailed it together on the concrete part of my backyard, which is really uneven. The grass is really uneven too, put it probably would have been a little easier.

 Some of it turned out okay:
 And other parts... well, yeah:

 Not that it really matters. I'm not doing this for aesthetics, so as long as the grid divides my garden into 50 somewhat-square squares, I'm happy. Now I just have to plant things in these squares. This weekend, I can't wait!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Middle Eastern Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are delicious and middle eastern food is delicious, so the combination is natural. I love things like falafel, lamb kabob, and chicken shawarma, but since those usually come with refined wheat pita bread and meat of unknown origins, I don't really enjoy them very often (although I could eat falafel more often, it's just that with my mini food processor it's too much work, and deep frying them tastes best but that requires lots of expensive fat and I'm too lazy.)
Chicken Shawarma
Chicken shawarma from the best Lebanese place in the city, Baraka Pita Bakery.
So good, but the chicken was almost certainly fed GMOs and the pita is made from wheat. :'(
Anyway, if you're lazy like me and don't want to spend lots of money on pastured meat and paleo almond meal wraps, you can still make use of the fresh goodeness of middle eastern food. Just make lettuce wraps! Admittedly, they won't be as good as the beef donair or lamb kabob from Baraka, but they still taste good, and they're healthier, cheaper, and easier to finish. So get some fresh veggies and enjoy some delicious lettuce wraps!

Middle Eastern Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are a very imprecise, so just stuff as much stuff in the lettuce as you want, the amounts don't really matter.


10 large leaves romaine lettuce
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 or 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges or slices, or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 english cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise and cut in half crosswise
20 kalamata olives, cut in chunks
about 20 lactofermented rutabaga strips

tahini sauce

1/4 cup tahini
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, to taste
cayenne, to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
water, to thin
2 tsp za'atar

optional: hummus, chickpeas, lamb, or chicken can be added to make the wraps more filling, and green onions, parsley and lebanese pickles would also be good additions, and if you don't want to use lactofermented rutabaga, you could just use pickled turnips, which are more traditional (see, this recipe is flexible!)


1. To make the tahini sauce, just whisk everything together or combine in a food processor or blender. Add enough water to achieve your desired consistency. If you're whisking, the tahini may clump a bit, just add more water or stir it for a little longer.
2. Distribute the vegetables (and olives and optional additions) evenly in each of the lettuce leaves. Place them in the bottom half, where the stem is stiffer.
3. Drizzle with the sauce.
4. Fold the top half over and fold the sides under.
5. Serve, with more tahini sauce if desired.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Wonderful Pork Hocks

I love pork hocks. The first time I bought some, I only bought them because they were one of the cheapest cuts of meat available. Since then, I've learned how wonderful these neglected little bits of meat are.They have many uses, and the meat is rich and fatty and full of porky goodness. Honestly, is there any better meat than pork? Especially if they're heritage Mule Foot and Berkshire Pigs, which have really flavourful, rich, and fatty meat.

Pork hocks are kind of like pig ankles, they're the cut right above the feet (which are also really great). The stuff I get includes meat, bone, skin, and fat. This is great, because I can use them for so many things!

The skin
Soup is the best thing to make with pork hocks, and I'm going to share a recipe for a soup/stew with pork hocks. Soup is best because not only do you get an amazingly delicious pot of soup, but you also get skin for cracklings, fat for cooking with, and if you don't use the meat in the soup, you can use it for other things. Maybe carnitas, cooked in the fat? Mmmm, that would be yummy. But I'm using the meat in the soup... hmm... Nope, I'll stick with the soup. It tastes just as great and it'll last longer.

To make the soup, first I cooked the hocks overnight in the slow cooker on low with some water and apple cider vinegar after letting it sit in the vinegar water for a few hours (pork needs to be marinated in an acidic medium). In the morning, I separated the meat, bones, skin, and fat. The meat gets chopped up and is later tossed into the soup, the bones remain in the soup, the fat can later be rendered and used for cooking, and the skin can be fried for cracklings. Mmmm, those cracklings were just stinkin' DELICIOUS! Crispy, fatty, salty, chewy, yummy, porky goodness. I don't even know how to "properly" make cracklings. I just sprinkled the softened skin with salt and pepper, cut it into chunks, and stuck it in a frying pan. You don't even need any oil because the fat that sticks to the skin is more than enough. Yeah, as delicious as the meat is, I think the skin is definitely the best part. Bonus: the skin spent some hours in the broth, giving it enough time to infuse the soup with lots of that wonderful, healing substance known as gelatin.
Mmmmm... cracklings

Black-Eyed Pea and Pork Hock Soup/Stew

Just a warning, this does take a long time (as in, make it the day before you want it), but most of that time is just waiting. Also, this makes a lot, so you'll have leftovers for later in the week or to freeze. And this is definitely worth the wait!


2 large pork hocks

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 huge onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
optional: 2 bell peppers, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tsp each: thyme, oregano, rosemary, smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
8 cups soaked black-eyed peas (more or less, depending on whether you want a soup or stew)
28 oz can of whole tomatoes, chopped, or can of chopped tomatoes
2 bunches kale, thinly sliced or chopped (if you can get collard greens, definitely use them! Superstore has a very limited greens section, so I chose kale) cabbage could be nice, if you want to try something different
salt and pepper, to taste


1. The day before you want some soup/stew, put the pork hocks in a slow cooker with the apple cider vinegar and cover with water. Refrigerate for a few hours, it doesn't really make a huge difference how many; do this either in the morning or afternoon.
2. Turn the slow cooker on to low and let the hocks cook overnight.
3. Separate the skin form the fat, the fat from the meat, and the meat from the bones. Throw the bones back into the broth. Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Keep the fat, render it, and use it for other dishes. Fry the skin with salt and pepper to make cracklings (have it with your breakfast instead of bacon!)
4. Add the black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, sweet potatoes, spices, bay leaves, tomatoes, and optional bell peppers to the broth with the bones. Cook on low. (You don't really need the amount of time, do you? I just say it's finished when I want dinner. Or, just cook until everything's tender. Most things take about 8 hours on low.) You can add some water if you want it soupier.
5. About 30 minutes before the soup/stew is done, add the kale and meat and cook until the kale's wilted.
6. Add salt and pepper, then taste to adjust for seasonings.
7. Serve with some paleo cornbread muffins, and enjoy!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Garden Vegetable Nori Rolls

Nori rolls are great for lunches, snacks, or side dishes! You get all your veggies conveniently wrapped up in a sheet of seaweed, which itself is very healthy. They're also super easy to make, no special sushi equipment required!

Garden Vegetable Nori Rolls


1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 carrot, shredded
3 inch piece of cucumber, julienne
1 avocado, thinly sliced
3 romaine leaves or the equivalent in other lettuce, thinly sliced (or if you're using baby greens, just leave them whole)
1 tomato, thinly sliced
4 nori sheets
optional: anything from your garden! spinach, zucchini, snap peas, even sprouts!


1. Have a nori sheet in front of you, shiny side down, with the lines running horizontally.
2. Place 1/4 of the sliced avocado near the bottom of one of the nori sheets. (you could also mash the avocado and spread it on. Leftover guacamole works great for this!)
3. Pile on 1/4 of each of the remaining toppings.
4. Starting at the bottom, roll everything in the nori tightly to create a firm roll. Dab a little water on the last centimeter from the end to help the nori stick.
5. Repeat for the other 3 rolls.
6. Starting with the first roll you made, slice crosswise with a very sharp knife. (I don't have a sharp enough chef's knife, so I usually use a sharp serrated knife.)