A Polifroni Dinner: Apple Chicken, Collard Greens & Sweet Potato/Parsnip Hash

IMAG4294.jpgI will confess, I love baking. It fuels my creativity. It’s my art. Food is one of the ways I express myself. And I enjoy thinking of new recipes and baking/making delicious new things.

However, this isn’t very representative of real life. I like to post options for treats and desserts (and to make them for the market), but it’s not something I eat or make at home very often. I typically will make bake goods for blogs and give them away or I make them for my husband.

Why?

Because the everyday foods I eat are not nearly as pretty as my baked goods. They are less awe-inspiring. A little less pizzazz. They seem so simple. They’re not as sexy. But they are delicious. They’re what I enjoy eating.

In real life I could eat cabbage everyday. It doesn’t smell good. It doesn’t necessarily look good either. But I love the taste.

I wanted to start this week off with something that my husband and I typically eat for dinner.

It has flavor. This dish had color. It has variety. And it is filling.

It’s not complicated. It’s super easy to make. And it doesn’t take long to make.

Polifroni Dinner Night

(this served 3 people, plus leftovers)

Apple Chicken

  • 1 lbs. chicken breast
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • sea salt and pepper

Collard Greens

  • 1/2 bunch collard greens
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat, ghee, or coconut oil

Sweet Potato & Parsnip Hash

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 parsnip
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp bacon fat, ghee, or coconut oil

Let’s Make it Happen:

Peel the sweet potato and parsnip. Dice into cubes (I usually like to cube mine pretty small). Heat your fat in a skillet with the garlic on a medium heat. Add the sweet potato and parsnip. Season to taste. Allow them to cook, keep stirring them as prepare the other food. Cook them until they are tender (soft and a fork goes through the center, we put ours in a baking pan to keep warm while we made the other sides and so we could use the skillet).

Cut chicken into strips. Season with sea salt, pepper, and basil. Cook in a skillet on medium heat in another skillet. While it is cooking, dice the apples (we left the skin on). When it is almost done cooking (no longer pink in the center), drain it, and add the apples. Drizzle honey over the top. Turn to low, until the collard greens are done.

For the collard greens, remove the veins. Roll up the leaves. Thinly slice. Dice the onion. Saute the onion in a skillet with the fat until translucent. Add the collard greens. Salt. Cook until soft.

Serve it all up on a plate (props to my husband for plating this beautifully for me), eat and enjoy!

Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana

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Lesson yesterday: don’t make assumptions or let anticipation hold you back.

My lesson of course comes from food, it’s part of my self-expression.

I’ve told myself for a long time I don’t like meringue. And although I was excited to make these pavlovas today, it was not because I wanted to eat one but because I thought they were beautiful.

My anticipation was that I wasn’t going to like them. How often do we do this? Judge something/someone/an experience before we try it? I can think of countless instances in my life where I’ve done this, where I have held off on something because of my anticaption of how something was going to taste or feel or how a conversation may go. It is very often self inflicted and limiting.

Because these were delicious and my anticipating thoughts would have denied me of trying and enjoying this. Just as anticipating thoughts can hold us back from our dreams and potential. Or we deny ourselves friendships and connections because we are quick to judge or have a pre-conceived notion of how someone might be.

Sometimes we just have to stop anticipating and step fully into and embrace what is happening.

What made these so good?

I think the texture, I can’t even fully describe it, plus the flavor of the maple sugar, it all was just amazing.

IMAG4118Have fun. Play around. Try out different flavor profiles. Like:

Lemon Curd + Fresh Blueberries

Chocolate Ganache + Raspberries

Cherries + Toasted Almond Slivers

Caramel Apple

Lavender Blackberry

Get Creative!

Paleo Pavlovas

Pavlovas

  • 5 oz. egg whites (about 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whipped Cream: 

  • 1 can coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Topping: 

  • Mango Curd (click the link for recipe) +
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes (bake @ 350 for 5 to 10 minutes)
  • Honey Fried Bananas (cook in a skillet, drizzle with honey, brown) +
  • Paleo Caramel

IMAG4114Let’s Make it happen: 

Separate eggs while cold, then allow them to hang out until they reach room temperature.

Preheat oven to 300.

Beat the egg whites on high. Once peaks start to form, slowly add in the maple sugar, a little at a time. Keep beating until it is glossy and the meringue doesn’t feel gritty to the touch. Add the vanilla and tapioca flour. Mix briefly, just until incorporated.

Lay a piece of parchment down on a baking sheet. I used an angled spatula to make four different meringues. I smoothed each into a circle. Then put another layer on top and smooth it out, as well as building it up on the sides to make a well in the center (so the topping could fit in). I repeated this with all four.

Place in the oven and bake at 225 for an hour and a half. Turn the oven off. Leave the pavlovas in the oven to cool down.

While they were baking I made the whip. Simply remove the solids from the coconut milk and beat with vanilla and honey.

Make the mango curd. Toast some coconut.

Fry up the bananas. Make caramel.

Now you are ready to assemble!

Dollop whip cream into the center of each. On two of them, smear mango curd and sprinkle on some toasted coconut. On the remaining two, drizzle caramel, layer on bananas, drizzle a little more caramel.

Just like that you’re ready! Eat and enjoy! Have fun

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Continue reading “Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana”

Gluten-Free Mango Curd Tart

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I have been loving some fruit curd lately!

If you’ll recall, last week I featured a Gluten-Free Grapefruit Meringue Pie.

That same day I also made a Mango Curd Tart.

Lately I have also been loving some mango and I am always down for some tropical flavor profiles. So I but some big, beautiful coconut flakes on the top.

Delicious!

It’s amazing how my husband and I work, though. I instantly gravitated towards the mango, whereas he claimed the grapefruit. Just like today I made pavlovas. Again I leaned into the mango and he Claimed the banana caramel for himself.

I think I like the refreshing quality the mango curd provides.

What is nice about this recipe, is that you may choose to break it up. You may want to top it differently. Add coconut into your pie crust dough.

OR

You can just use the mango curd in different things.

Fill a cupcake with it…………

Smear it on a bagel…………………

Put it on your pancakes ………………..

Use it on a fruit pizza……………………….

Put it on a pavlova (more on this later this week)……………

Use it to top your ice cream (I am thinking a Blueberry Goat Cheese- something I’ve conceptualized, which I will eventually make)…………………………………………

Get creative. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Mango Curd Tart”

Gluten-Free Grapefruit Tarts

IMAG4034.jpgGrowing up one of my favorite things to have for breakfast was grapefruit.

My mother would cut one in half. Sprinkle some sugar on each half. cut around the outside and each individual wedge, and microwave or broil each half. One half for Cliff. One for me. And the wedges just popped out.

I have seen several grapefruit tarts, which have been stunning and beautiful. It’s been on my Must Make list for probably about a year now.

Today I had some extra pie crust, plus I already already bought a grapefruit, so I determined that this would be the week I tried it. If I like it, maybe I can take it to the market as part of my POW (Pie of the Week).

Here is the good and the bad of how they turned out:

  • They grapefruit curd was absolutely delicious. Like most other curds (such as lemon and lime), I could sit and sneak little bites maybe all day.
  • Meringue on top? Why not! It’s citrus, just like lemon, why not use some meringue to dress it up
  • Color, this is my only negative. The color was not what I was wanting. This could be 1. Because I used honey and that added to the darker color 2. Many of the recipes I saw used red dye to add to the rubiness of their tarts, but I’m not about that artificial coloring life, so the natural had to do

IMAG4030Gluten-Free Grapefruit Mini Pie Continue reading “Gluten-Free Grapefruit Tarts”

Crispy Coconut Chicken with Cilantro Lime Jicama Rice

IMAG3936.jpgI love coconut.

I think I have started each post this week with a food that I love (or have loved previously, as with potatoes). But I really do love coconut, which I have found in my years of baking, is a hit or miss. Often people love it or they hate it.

But I do a pretty good job of using different coconut products with turning people off. Because I bake with a lot of different coconut products: coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut cream, and shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut. Usually the flaked and shredded are the ones I get the most feedback for, although I do with coconut flour sometimes. But I’ll confess I like the nutritional value of coconut flour more than almond flour, but it is tricky to work with. It can get chalky or dense. I have found it lends itself well towards cakes.

This last year I have done a decent amount of coating chicken in different flavors. I’ve made chicken tenders. Parmesan chicken. And my personal favorite, buffalo chicken strips.

So why not make a coconut chicken?

What pairs better with coconut than lime?

I’ve been wanting to play with making some jicama rice for awhile now. Why not now? Why not add some lime zest and juice? Maybe a little cilantro…..

Granted I ate this one solo, my husband is a trooper in my recipe experiments (I can’t tell you all the ways I am blessed to have such a man by my side), but there are certain things he doesn’t like. Coconut is one, he’s not a big fan. So I can respect that. Buffalo for him, coconut for me.

This was AWESOME. I loved the flavor combination. The crispiness of the coconut. It was pretty easy to make. And it was filling.

I will definitely be playing with this jicama rice more in the future as well! Continue reading “Crispy Coconut Chicken with Cilantro Lime Jicama Rice”

Plantain Chips

I love plantains.

I had never had them until I was about 25. I was hooked on the first bought. And man have I taught and had loads of conversations about them since them. It usually starts at checkout, where many cashiers don’t know what it is or how to ring them up. I have learned to tell them to look up bananas first. From here the conversations generally turns to asking how it tastes. Upon which I respond:

  1. It does not taste like a banana
  2. It is not sweet, it is starchier
  3. No you can’t just peel it and eat it
  4. I suggest slicing it thinly and sauteing it in coconut oil with sea salt

I also introduced a lot of my friends and my husband to plantains, making them taste them for their first time. My friends are lucky, I usually introduce them in the form of pizza crust and taco tortilla shells to them. Zach, though I had him taste just sliced and sauteed ones (as described them). He is a BBQ chip kind of snacker, so he thought they didn’t have a lot of flavor and he only likes them very thinly sliced.

I however, have found I really enjoy the tastes of the plantain. And I like them pretty simple and plain. Just sea salt. Because I was thinking about being creative and making all these different flavors of chips, but then I skipped it all, sea salt is good. Since it isn’t broken, I am not fixing it.

I will also tattle on myself here. I think sometimes people think I am in the kitchen all the time. Or I want to be there ALL the time. This is not try. Look at last week, where I only had one post. Sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I am like everyone else and I don’t want to prep or make a bunch of food. Sometimes I like meals that are quick and easy. Like lettuce wraps, I love a lettuce wrap (which is what i ate with these chips). So making vegetable chips (cabbage are my favorite) has been a favorite method of mine in the past, to have on hand for those non-cooking days. It is true I love baking. I love cooking. But sometimes you need a break. And the next day I may be in the kitchen all day, completely joy-filled. Breaks are nice to refresh the work we’re doing.

As I mentioned, I did sea salt because that’s what I like, but feel free to play around with other flavors, or dips maybe. But I am also not a chip dipper or guac person (raw avocados actually make me nauseous), so I just eat them on their own.

IMAG3890.jpgPlantain Chips Continue reading “Plantain Chips”

Gluten-Free Apple French Toast

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When life gives  you a mini baguette loaf, you make French toast.

I had two farmer’s markets over the weekend, and I was most happy with my new recipe for French bread. Bread has always been my Achilles heel in gluten-free baking. If you’ve tried, I feel most will feel me on this. It has a tendency to be dense. Small. It doesn’t hold well sometimes. It can just get heavy. My favorite bread recipe ever is: 2 cups almond or cashew butter, 5 eggs, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp sea salt. It gets a nice rise, so I don’t end up with a punny bread that is a struggle to make a sandwich out of. I would love to make this bread for the market, but it isn’t very cost effective, I’d probably have to charge over $15 for a loaf of bread, because the cost of almond butter just seems to go up.

This French bread, though, I used yeast in. It smells and tastes like bread. It is lighter and less dense. It has a great flavor. I am chalking it up as a major win! I plan on selling this at stores and markets, though, so I will not be sharing it’s recipe (I’ll like to one that is really good though), but I will let you know how to make some delicious French toast with it.

My initial plan was to just plain old French toast. But then I saw this apple chilling on top of the fridge. Hmm…..I love baked apples, especially in the morning. It was a done deal that I was going to make cinnamony French toast + apples. WOW! So good.

You can top your’s however you want, though. Jam. Butter or ghee. Maple. Plain. Blueberries. Strawberries and goat cheese. Lemon Curd. Options, you have lots of options, s’mores. Pumpkin in the fall. Get creative.

IMAG3735Gluten-Free Apple French Toast Continue reading “Gluten-Free Apple French Toast”