Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Recipe in a Cookbook!


A friend of mine recently got married and her family and friends put together a cooking book for her. Yes, they made this gorgeous book.  I was invited to participate as well and had the honour of having one of my recipe featured in the book.  Chocolate Truffle Truffle looks so good in a book!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sesame Chicken Soup

Usually done without vermicelli noodles
As a child, this was my favourite soup.  When my family first immigrated, this soup cut through Vancouver's chilly weather and reminded us of home.  According to Chinese medicine, consuming lots of black sesames during pregnancy helps baby develop healthy pale skins.  I am not sure about the validity of this claim, but might as well work it into my diets.  Black sesame oil offers intense flavour and can be found in ethnic food store such as T&T.

This soup is gluten, dairy, egg, sugar, and soy free. It can also be paleo-friendly by removing rice wine and replacing it with simple chicken broth or plain water (just adjust seasonings accordingly).  I usually use daikon, but you can also use any other root vegetables. The traditional soup uses no vegetable at all.  The soup can be poured over cooked rice to make congee or minestrone.  I added paleo-friendly vermicelli instead.

Note: Traditionally, this dish requires bone in chicken thigh.  You need to cleave the the thighs into half pieces.  But I find that the jagged bones can be problematic especially for children.  I tested this recipe using boneless skinless chicken thigh. There was some difference, but it made it much easier to eat.

Ingredients: Serves 4
1 pound chicken thigh halved or boneless skinless chicken thighs
1½ cup daikon cubbed (optional)
1 cup carrot (optional)
3-4 slices of ginger
2 tablespoon black sesame oil
4 cup rice wine (replace with more chicken broth or water for paleo)
2 cup chicken broth or water
4 teaspoon white pepper
4 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup cilantro chopped

Instruction:
1. In a pot, heat sesame oil on high heat.
2. Add sliced ginger and sauté for 30 second
3. Add chicken pieces and cook until the outside of the chicken is cooked (you don't see anymore pink)
4. Add rice wine, chicken broth, and/or water.
5. Reduce heat to medium.  Add the carrots and daikon. Then bring to boil
6. Reduce to simmer. With a spoon, remove excess sesame oil floating on the surface.
7. When the vegetables have softened, add white pepper, salt, and cilantro to taste. Serve!

Note: If you like to add vermicelli as well, delay adding the cilantro.  Bring the soup back to a boil after seasoning and put the noodle in for 1 minute.  Reduce heat and add the cilantro then.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vermicelli

I stumbled upon this wonderfully delicious noodle that is completely friendly for paleolithic diet.  This particular vermicelli noodle is made from two ingredients: green peas and water. It is easier to cook than any other types of noodle out there.  You can cook this in boil water, broth, or soup and it only takes a minute to cook.  You can eat it hot, as soup noodle, or cold in a salad.

The noodle is translucent and a little chewy.  The noodle itself has no flavour but it picks up flavours from sauce or soup.  This is particularly popular in Chinese hot pot, because it doesn't get soggy sitting inside hot boiling broth for a long time. I have been throwing them into any Chinese broth-y soups I make recently.  Dennis doesn't like them though.

You can get this from T&T, the asian store in Granville Island, or other ethnic stores.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Greek Styled Lamb Lollipop

Summer always comes with lots of BBQ party, and most BBQ sauce out there aren't paleo or allergy friendly.  This is something very easy to prepare, and it goes great on a grill or in the oven.  Lamb lollipop is also great finger food for children or at a party.

Most butcher would be more than happy to section a rack of lamb for you into lollipops. You can use either dried or fresh herbs, but remember that dried herbs are more potent, so adjust the amount accordingly. I actually prefer using dried basil, because fresh basil tend to be too moist for the meat.


Ingredient (serves 2-3):
A rack of lamb (sectioned into individual ribs)
3-4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 Tablespoon oregano (finely chopped)
1 Tablespoon basil (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon rosemary (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon thyme (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon chive (chopped for garnish later)
Salt and Pepper

Instruction: Pre-heat oven 400F or high heat on the grill
1. Combined garlic, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil in a bowl.
2. With your hand or a brush, rub the mixture onto each individual lolipop.
3. You can either let it marinate for 1-2 hours or cook it immediately
4. Bake or grill for 12-18 minutes or until the centre reaches 140F for rare.  Flip them over about half way through the cooking process.
5. Sprinkle on chopped chive for garnishes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Shrimp and Sausage Cioppino

Doesn't look that good, but it's super delicious
This recipe belong to Giada on Food Network. It's rare to see elaborate recipes that is this hypoallergenic and paleo-friendly.  Not every Food Network recipes work out but this one does, and it's super delicious.

The only uncommon ingredients is the spicy turkey sausages, which I found at Oyama at Granville Island.  Four sausages are about 12 dollars, and twelve pawns is another 15 dollars.  It yields 4 servings and takes half an hours to prepare.   I cheated and used dried herbs instead of fresh ones (hence the ugly black color), but it tastes just as delicious.  I cheated again with the chicken broth by using water, worked out fine as well. I am sure you can get away using frozen shrimp too.  The soup tastes even better the next day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Potato with Coriander Seed

Half Eaten Potatoes
I was half way through eating these potato before I realize I should take a photo of it.  These potatoes are great hot or cool, which makes it a great paleo-friendly carb for lunch boxes.  They are super easy to make as well. You can use any type of potatoes. You can prepare it ahead of time. Coriander seed is pretty soft and can be crushed by hand, or coriander power works too.

Ingredients: serve 4
4 medium sized potato
½ medium sized onion (chopped)
¼ cup ginger (chopped)
1 tablespoon coriander seed (crushed)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon chives (chopped) Optional

Instruction:
1. Boil and cool potato whole ahead of time.  Then, peel if necessary. Cut into bite size pieces.
2. In a large size pan, heat olive oil over medium heat
3. Put in onion and ginger and stir until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
4. Put in potatoes and coriander seed.  Cook until the edges of the potatoes are slightly browned and crispy.
5. Remove from heat and toss in the chives.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blueberry Porridge

Breakfast is the most challenging meal for our non-egg Paleo diet. Most traditional breakfasts, Western or Asian, are not paleo friendly. Unless we are content eating breakfast like dinner (the mere thought of it makes me nauseated), I have to get very creative.

Christina recommended this coconut fruit porridge to us, and it is delicious.  Then, I made a couple refinement to it to smooth out the consistency.  This dish is super filling and high in healthy calories; half a bowl would be more than enough to satisfy my nutrition requirement for the morning.

This dish is good hot or cold, depend on your mood. You can also adjust the thickness by adding more water or nuts.  You can also replace blueberry with other fruits.

Ingredients: Serves 2 for a very thick porridge
½ cup cashew
½ cup almond (Optional: adjust for preferred thickness)
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup water (adjust for preferred thickness)
½ cup blueberry (frozen ones for cold porridge)
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instruction for hot porridge:
1. Soak cashew overnight in water.
2. In the morning, drain the cashew and add it to a blender.
3. Add the almond, coconut milk, water, and blueberry into the blender and blend until smooth.
4. Add more water or almond to the desire thickness
5. Pour the mixture into a pot and simmer on low heat, covered, and stir frequently until hot.
6. Add cinnamon and some fruit topping, and serve

If you want to make cold porridge, place the cashew in the fridge and use less almond.  Add small amount of ice to the blender and use frozen fruits.

Note: don't make too much as the porridge is very filling.  Leftover can be stored for the next morning.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Paleolithic Diet

Look but don't touch
Dennis has embarked on the Paleolithic Diet as recommended by Christina Longo, our personal trainer.  This diets restrict the consumption of sugar, carbohydrates, and legumes, meaning:

  • No carbohydrate except for root vegetables such as potato, yams, and squashes
  • No sugar (e.g. pastry, candy, honey, maple syrup) except for a serving of fruit
  • No legumes (beans of any kind)
  • No dairy, because lactose is a form of sugar
  • No beer, but a glass of dry wine is okay
Since Dennis is allergic to eggs, which is considered the backbone of this diet, he has to supplement his diet with additional vitamins of Omega-6, Magnesium, and Vitamin D.  I am very skeptical of this diet (and pregnant women should never go on any diet), but coincidentally, my blood sugar is high. In order to prevent developing gestational diabetes, I have put myself on a strict exercise and sugar regiment, so my diet also looks something like the Paleolithic Diet, with the exception of legumes and dairy.  

After two weeks into this diet, I noticed that a lot of my pregnancy related bloating and water retention have gone away, and Dennis has lost a couple of inches from his waist.  However, I am not sure if the weight lost can be contributed to the diet or the fact that he is eating less, because of all the restriction.  We will see.

Anyway, this diet is very difficult (and interesting) to cook for, but it's not that drastic a change from our usual diet. I will add "Paleo" as a search topic for this blog.