Apples from Julian: Eaten fresh? Check. Baked in a savory squash dish? Check. Put into a classic pie? Hmmm… let’s give it a try!

This turned out to be delicious — it’s not runny and gooey like the pie you might be imagining (all the added sugar and flour makes that thick, syrup-like filling happen), but the flavor is spot on, and the crunchy topping is just right. After all, what I really want to taste is the apples.

An old favorite tastes just as amazing without all the extra sugar.

  • 1 9-inch rice flour pie crust
  • 8-9 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. honey or brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s has cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
  • 3/4 Cup nutnola

Bake the pie crust according to the linked recipe.

As you cut the apples, add them to a large bowl with the lemon juice to keep them from browning. Then add the honey or brown sugar (optional), and pie spice. Toss until well combined and pour into the pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until the apples are soft. 10 minutes before the pie is done, sprinkle the nutnola on top.

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Bob’s Red Mill rice flour has a pie crust recipe on it that isn’t half bad. It only makes one small crust which, in my experience, doesn’t quite fill a 9-inch pie pan. So I usually make two recipes and use the little bit of leftover for some pie crust cookies like my mom used to make. Here’s the already-doubled recipe.

  • 1 1/2 Cups white rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs. honey (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup melted butter or coconut oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat the egg, honey, and butter together.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the egg mixture.

Their instructions call for you to roll out the very soft dough on a rice-floured surface, then slice it into pie wedges. Carefully lift each wedge into the pie plate, then press the seams together with your fingers. I have just plopped it into the dish, pressed it out with my fingers, and cut off any excess.

Bake for 10-20 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Fill with your preferred fillings, and continue baking.

For the leftover dough, roll or press it out on a piece of foil. Sprinkle with cinnamon (my mom used a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, but we’re primal here) and bake until golden brown. Serve with honey and it’s like a sopapilla!

Recipe adapted from Bob’s Red Mill

We got some apples from Julian, CA, and had enough left over from our pie that we added it to this baked squash dish. Double the recipe and eat it all week — we did!

It sure feels like autumn with savory butternut squash on my plate.

  • 1 large butternut squash, rind removed and cubed
  • 4 medium apples, cored and cubed (you can leave the peel on)
  • 8-10 slices peppered bacon
  • A drizzle of honey

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the apples and squash into a baking dish. Drizzle with honey and top with the bacon, so the fat mixes with the squash as it renders. Bake for 30 minutes or until the squash is baked to your preferred softness, stirring gently every 10 minutes.

Tyler brought some frozen venison tenderloin and farmer’s market cherries (unfortunately not local) with him from Michigan on his first visit to our new home in San Diego. Here’s what we did with it.

Tender, juicy venison tenderloin pairs so well with juicy, sweet cherries.

  • Venison tenderloin
  • 1 lb. frozen pitted cherries, juice reserved
  • 10-12 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Quickly sear your tenderloin in a pan over high heat. Do not cook it, just let it touch the pan for a few seconds on each side, then set it aside on a plate.

Make a bacon blanket. Place it on a broiling rack in a 350 degree oven until it starts to cook but not get crispy. Flip it once.

Meanwhile, saute the onions in olive oil over low heat. Once they begin to turn clear, add 1/3 of the cherries, the juice from the cherries, and the balsamic vinegar to the pan. Keep scraping and reducing the liquid.

Chop the remaining cherries. When the bacon blanket is starting to crisp, remove it from the oven and cover it with the chopped cherries. Then place the tenderloin at one end and roll it all up. Return the pan to the oven for at least another 10 minutes; the cooking time will depend on how large the tenderloins are. We had two very small pieces (about 1″ in diameter) and ten minutes was perfect. At the end, turn on the broiler to quickly crisp the bacon.

Top the cherry bacon venison roll with the cherry onion balsamic reduction. Serve with a salad from the garden (thanks to my new neighbor for the tomato and red pepper!).

I’ve made this recipe three times now (twice with whole milk and once with coconut milk), and it’s just divine. You can get 6-8 small servings from this recipe.

  • 4 cups whole milk or coconut milk (use the canned milk, and not light — go full fat)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 Tbs. instant espresso granules (I had some from the Spice House and it worked great. When that ran out, I brewed two shots of espresso and added that to the milk. Just be sure to decrease the amount of milk so that you don’t have too much liquid.)
  • 6 egg yolks

In a large pot, bring the milk, honey, and espresso powder to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low. Slowly add about a cup of the hot milk to the egg yolks and beat it together. You want the yolks to warm up gradually so they don’t cook into lumps of yolk.

Slowly add the yolk mixture to the pot, stirring to incorporate. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (or until it reaches 170 degrees). Pour through a fine mesh sieve and chill at least a couple hours.

Pour the cold mix into an ice cream machine. Serve in small dishes and garnish with cocoa powder or shaved chocolate.

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Kale is a pretty darn good food. It’s full of nutrients like vitamins K, A, and C (among others). It’s also anti-inflammatory and easy to incorporate into meals. Making kale into chips is a tasty way to get some of these nutrients and satisfy a craving for a salty, crunchy snack.

Bet you can't eat just one!

  • 3 bunches organic kale, washed, spun or pat dry, and torn into pieces
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything except the kale in a large bowl. Add the kale and gently toss with rubber-tipped tongs or your hands.

Once all the leaves are evenly coated, place in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 135 degrees for a few hours, until the chips are dry and crispy. If you don’t have a dehydrator, an oven set to a very low temperature will do the trick. Just keep an eye on them if your oven is warmer than 135 degrees so they don’t burn.

Here it is, the ultimate recipe for this blog — homemade bacon! We love the flavor it gets from smoking, but if you don’t have a smoker (or a charcoal grill you can turn into one), you can still make great bacon in the oven.

Beautiful. Just... beautiful.

  • 1 pork belly (about 8 lbs.) from a pastured pig, skin still on
  • 2 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. caraway seed
  • 1 Tbs. dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. dried thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 Tbs. or ½ cup of sea salt (not coarse)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

Using either a mortar and pestle, small food processor, or coffee grinder, combine the peppercorns through the bay leaves. Then mix that powdery blend with the salt and garlic.

Cut the pork belly into slabs small enough to fit inside large plastic freezer bags. Divide the seasoning mixture evenly among the bags and coat the meat with it. Seal the bags and lay them flat in the refrigerator. Flip them every day, redistributing the seasoning and the liquid that will eventually gather in the bag.

After three or four days, remove the meat. Gently rinse with cold water and pat them dry on paper towel. Set your smoker or oven to 200 degrees. If using a smoker, place the meat skin-side down on the racks; for the oven, place them skin-side up in a baking dish. Smoke or bake for a few hours, until the internal temperature has reached 150 degrees.

Let them cool a little, then remove the skin by carefully slicing with a sharp knife into the layer of fat directly below the skin. If you let the bacon cool longer, you might be able to start it with a knife and gently peel the rest of the way by hand, wasting less of the fat. The reason you want a pasture-raised belly is because toxins are generally stored in the fat of the animals (think mercury in fatty fish), so CAFO animals’ fat will not be as pure and healthful as the fat from animals raised properly. It pays to spend the extra few bucks here. Slice your bacon to the desired thickness and enjoy your masterpiece.

Some tips:

  • If your bacon is too salty, you can soak it in water for a few minutes, then rinse and pat dry again, before cooking it. Next time, reduce the curing time. Most recipes call for a week but we found that makes the bacon too salty for us.
  • Bacon freezes well. If you made a lot, cut the slabs into smaller hunks; vacuum seal them and freeze. It will keep for at least a few months, but really — who keeps bacon around that long?
  • Save the rendered fat after cooking the bacon; it’s a fabulous, stable fat that imparts awesome flavor onto everything it touches. It is wonderful on roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or as a fat in which to fry eggs or steaks.
Adapted from Tim Huntley, via Robb Wolf

Double this recipe and stock up on some protein bombs.

Almost the size of a baseball, these meat-covered eggs are just awesome. Shown are plain (front), potato-chip covered (rear), and almond-meal covered (right).

  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch cloves
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
  • 1 Tbs. dried chives
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped (or 1 Tbs. dried)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 bag of pork rinds, or olive oil potato chips, crushed to crumbs; or almond meal (optional)
  • 2 eggs, raw and beaten (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl, then add to the ground pork. Incorporate it with your hands. Separate the meat into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten. Wrap the pork around a hard-boiled egg, rolling and smoothing the meat together. If it seems sticky, get your hands a little wet.

If you’d like a crust around the eggs, roll each one in the crumbs of the pork rinds or potato chips or almond meal. Then dip it in the beaten egg, then roll it again in the crumbs. We couldn’t find paleo-friendly pork rinds, so we used olive-oil potato chips on some and almond meal on others.

Place each meat-wrapped egg on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake the eggs for 25 minutes, then increase the temperature to 400 for another 5 to 10 minutes. If you still need to crisp up the crust, place the eggs under the broiler. Watch them closely and turn them often to brown the entire outside.

Dip into flavored mayonnaise.
Adapted from Well Fed Paleo Recipes

After receiving the wonderful gift of free food (gift certificate to Whole Foods), we went on a little spree and bought some things that we’ve had on our mind but didn’t really fit into the normal weekly plan. Harissa, a Moroccan blend of roasted chili peppers and seasoning, had been on my mind for a while. We also saw some grass-fed lamb (shoulder roast) for a good price, and decided that the combination might be just a little bit awesome. Here’s what we came up with. I thought the dish was a little on the sweet side, so if you think you’d be sensitive to that, cut back on the honey and dates.

Image

Harissa is flavorful and spicy, and the lamb is so tender.

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2.5 lbs. grass-fed lamb roast (the shoulder roast we used was incredibly tender) cut into stew-sized chunks
  • 8 oz. pitted Medjool dates, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 Tbs. raw honey
  • 1/4 cup harissa (see the link at the bottom of the page for more info, including a recipe)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and cook until golden. Add the tumeric, cinnamon, and ginger; mix until combined. Add the lamb, mix again until the seasoning is well-distributed among the lamb. Add enough water to just cover the meat. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Add the dates, honey, harissa, salt and pepper (don’t be shy on the salt and pepper). Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Adapted from Jun-Blog.

My friend Elysia wrote about a Venezuelan restaurant where she had a shredded pork sandwich made with fried plantains for the “bread.” It’s been years since Tyler and I made a medianoche sandwich (while watching Dexter — yeah, sometimes we theme our food), and so we decided to give it another try, using the plantains.

A variation of a traditional Cuban medianoche sandwich, using fried plantains for "bread."

  • 2 plantains, still fairly green
  • coconut oil
  • Meats for the sandwich: shredded pork, ham, turkey, chicken, whatever
  • Sliced cheese
  • Sliced pickles
  • Sliced avocado (why not?)
  • Mustard

Peel the plantains, then slice them in half lengthwise, then cut them to half that length. Put the eight pieces of plantain on a cookie sheet and brush lightly with some melted coconut oil. Roast them on a foil-lined pan at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until they soften.

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a deep pan on medium-high. You’ll need enough to fry the flattened plantains, about 1/4 to 1/2 inches.

Once the plantains are softened, place a sheet of parchment paper over top of them and smash them with a spatula, flat pan, or other solid, flat item. This is the tricky part — you want them to be flat enough to make a good sandwich holder, but you don’t want to go so far as to have them fall apart.

Gently put the flattened plantains into the hot oil. They won’t brown much, so take them out when they start to feel crisp, about four minutes total. Drain on paper towel.

Assemble the meat and cheese on the plantains and put them back in the warm oven for a few minutes to warm up the meat and cheese. Add the pickles, avocado, and mustard.

Inspired by CravingNY