Paleo version of the famous Thai peanut sauce dish. I've been working on this version for quite a while, making a variety of tweaks to make it as Paleo as I possibly can. There are a number of substitutions that I will call out and you can make your own decisions about whether or not to go that route, but I can say this: the fully Paleo approach is a wonderful sauce that totally satisfies my yearning for Pra Ram while still coming in fully Paleo...
1 quart coconut water
1 bunch fresh lemon grass stalks
1 pound organic, skinless chicken breast
1 cup broccoli
Cauliflower Rice (see separate recipe)
⅛ cup demarara sugar
½ cup organic sun butter (the blue label version from Trader Joes is best)
4 tablespoons coconut aminos
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon curry powder (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
First, the chicken: the best way to get good, tender chicken for this dish is to poach it. Pour the whole quart container of coconut water into a large pot, and then chop up the lemongrass into 1-inch chunks. (I also bash the lemongrass chunks with the heel of my knife, to bruise them and encourage them to give up their lovely juices.) Put the lemongrass into the pot with the coconut water and bring it to a boil. While the coconut water is coming up to heat, cut the chicken down to bite-sized chunks -- the important consideration here is that all of the chunks need to be roughly the same size and thickness.
Once the coconut water is boiling, gently slide the chicken in and stir it so that the chicken is not sticking together. Bring the pot back to a boil, and then immediately remove the pot from the heat--DO NOT LET THE CHICKEN BOIL! Remove the pot from the heat as soon as it returns to a boiling temperature and set it on a cool burner. Cover, and continue with the rest of the preparation. (If you're feeling adventurous, instead of covering the pot, use your bamboo steamer to heat up the broccoli...otherwise, cook that as you normally would.)
For the sauce, combine the sunbutter, demarara sugar, coconut aminos, water, coconut oil and garlic in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir well until bubbling, and then reduce the heat to low. When the sugar and sunbutter are completely dissolved, slowly stir in the coconut milk until it gets to the consistency you like (I prefer mine very thick, so I only use about 1 cup, but add more if you want yours thinner -- you can also thin the consistency by using light coconut milk with less milkfats in it). Add the curry powder and pepper flakes, stir, and simmer on low to thicken.
BE CAREFUL! It burns very easily, and tastes nasty when burnt.
By the time your sauce is done, your chicken should be ready -- strain the chicken out of the coconut water with a slotted spoon. Dish the chicken and broccoli over a bed of cauliflower rice, and ladle generously with the sauce.
Note that the sauce keeps well and tastes even better after being reheated!
Demarara Sugar: this replaces sucanat (organic whole sugar), and is really only in the recipe to help the sauce get to a consistency that is appropriate for the dish. The sugar can be eliminated altogether (add more sun butter) to make the dish Nazi Paleo style, or you can add more sugar if you like it sweeter. I have a sweet tooth, but find that just an 1/8 cup is enough to give the dish the right flavor and mouthfeel.
Sun Butter: this is non-negotiable. You can use peanut butter instead, but that takes it right off the Paleo reservation. Again, Trader Joes’ blue label organic sun butter tastes the most “peanut like” for this recipe; other brands can be more oily or salty.
Coconut Aminos: this replaces soy sauce, the measures are the same.
Whoa, it’s hot! And humid! You know you are on the East Coast in the middle of summer when walking outside causes your glasses or sunglasses to fog over. OK, enough complaining about the heat (did I mention it was hot?). Time to do some thing about it. While perusing the Collingswood Farmers Market last week, we spotted some amazing looking watermelon. They were rather large Sugar Babies but still small enough that they wouldn’t take up the whole fridge. We grabbed one and cut into it as soon as we got home. It was sweet and juicy! We cut half for snacking, but I knew that with just the two of us we would never finish the second half before it went bad. I decided that the rest would be used for my very first attempt at making granita. I was a little concerned that it would be a pain, but it was so easy!
Granita is the fancy Italian way to say shaved ice or fruit slush. But, there is nothing fancy about making granita. I used 2 ingredients in this recipe, watermelon and lime juice. You could probably add some sugar or honey, but this watermelon was so sweet I didn’t need anything else. And, if you want to make this a granita margarita, I won’t mind. Just wait until after the granita is finished and add the alcohol to the serving bowl of granita as alcohol will keep your fruit juice from freezing all the way through.
Crispy mushroom and ricotta stuffed courgette blossoms. The Langill's are not huge onion fans so we often use diced garlic scapes in place of onions. Feel free to leave them out or replace them with onions if you can't find them. If you come across scapes at the market, pick a few up and give them a try!
8 Courgette Flowers
1½ t Coconut Oil (you can use Olive Oil as well)
2 Garlic Scapes, diced
1 t Garlic, minced
2 Mushrooms, diced (baby bellas or crimini)
1 t Basil, juliened
1 t Oregano dried or chopped
Salt and Pepper
3 T Ricotta
Olive Oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 375
Grease a 8 x 8 or larger pan, glass seems to work better than metal for this recipe
Soak the courgette flowers in cool water
Melt the coconut oil in a pan over med high heat
Add scapes and garlic to pan, cook until fragrant
Add mushrooms to pan, cook until soft
Add basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste
Cook mixture for a minute and remove from heat
In a small mixing bowl add ricotta and cooked mixture
Drain the flowers
Open each flower gently and stuff with mixture.
Helpful note: Take a sandwich bag and cutoff one corner, fill the bag with the mixture and use it to stuff the flowers.
This is a resurrection of an old favorite of ours that we used to get at Trader Joe’s. We were heartbroken when we heard they’d discontinued it, and it wasn’t until several years later that I hit on the idea of recreating it ourselves. We’d found a great source of poblano peppers, so I tried blistering them on the grill, sticking all the components in a Cuisinart and was really pleased with the results!
This dip goes great with plain soda or water crackers: it’s a very strong, complex taste, so you want a carrier that doesn’t have a lot of competing flavors. This is also a great make-ahead dip, as the flavors truly benefit from an evening in the refrigerator.
Cut down the Poblano peppers into strips. First, cut off the tops by cutting through the entire pepper about half an inch down from the top edge; discard the stem and top. Then cut along each major crease to the tip--this should leave you with two or three (or sometimes four) roughly triangular pieces. Trim out the seed pod and the pith inside the pepper--make sure to get all of the seeds, as that's where the heat really lies (leave a couple in if you don't mind the heat).
Place the pepper strips skin-side up in a shallow dish, and hit the peppers with a good shot of the cooking spray, being certain to cover the entire skin surface.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
On a high-heat grill, cook the peppers skin-side up for a few minutes to get a little char going on the meat of the pepper, 1-2 minutes.
Flip the peppers over, working the pieces around so as much of the skin is contacting heated surface as possible. You're looking to char and blister the skin so that it can be easily removed, 5-7 minutes.
Remove the peppers and return to the shallow dish to cool for just a couple minutes (so they're no longer scorchingly hot). Once they've cooled enough to touch, transfer them all to a ziploc bag and seal them: they will generate steam which will help lift away the skins. Allow the skins to cool completely.
After cooling, remove the skins with a butter knife by lightly scraping it off the pepper. Don't worry about getting every last shred of skin, you just want to remove most of it. Especially don't fight with the charred bit--this adds character to the dip.
After all of the skins are removed, combine the peppers and the goat cheese in the food processor and pulse them until the peppers are completely incorporated (you may have to scrape down the sides of the processor occasionally during this process.
Add the pepitas and pulse again until you don't see any more whole seeds.
Sweet, syrupy coffee concentrate to make you shake and slake your thirsts.
1 part coarse ground coffee
4 parts room temperature water
Combine the coffee and water in a sealable jar.
Close and give a good shake to ensure all of the coffee is incorporated.
Place the jar in a cool, dry place for at least 12 hours (it can be refrigerated; the science behind why or why not to do so is an assignment for the reader).
After 12 hours, pour the contents into a second jar filtered with several layers of cheesecloth or a fine sieve; discard grounds.
Pour the contents back into the original jar, filtering again; discard remaining grounds.
What is left is concentrated evil: combine it with water or milk or whatever your heart desires, at roughly at 1 part coffee concentrate to 2 parts whatever else. Add ice and sugar to your taste (but taste it first, you will be surprised how sweet it already is!)...