Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recipe- Tangy Chicken Salad


Here's the deets on how to make my favorite lunch- chicken salad with paleo-friendly (ie, non-canola) homemade mayo.

After I got friendly with fat but before I started avoiding industrial seed oils, I was in love with this stuff called Lemonaise. Now I have a homemade version that I think is even better because the oils I use now have actual flavor. A lot of paleo mayo recipes call for "light tasting" supermarket olive oils. After reading Extra Virginity, I am pretty squeamish about that. Even if it does actually contain olive oil and not seed oils(staggering amounts of fraud in the industry), it is probably a lesser grade product that has been deodorized and refined. The whole point of making my own mayo is to avoid "vegetable" and seed oils, so I've gone with a mix of avocado oil and the Artois Ranch EVOO by California Olive Ranch that is naturally a bit milder than some EVOO, but still very flavorful. It might not be for everybody, but I've grown to enjoy the olive flavor and with all the spices I add it isn't overpowering in the final mayo or final dish.

I use the process and more or less the basic recipe from The Clothes Make the Girl/ Well Fed for the base. I used a 50/50 mix of the avocado and EVOO.
1 whole egg (room temp)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup + 1 cup 50/50 blend of avocado oil and EVOO

Blend all ingredients except the last cup of oil in the blender for 20-30 seconds.
Add the rest of the oil extremely slowly.

Once I've got the basics, I tweak the spices to my liking. This time, I used-
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
pinch of cayenne pepper
another couple of squirts of lemon juice

And on to the chicken salad.
1 cup shredded chicken meat- I usually use the slow cooker chicken recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. It comes out super moist and you have all the juices to make a gravy or save for another recipe.
2 tbsp of the mayo described above
1 tbsp raw sauerkraut- I love Farmhouse Culture horseradish + leek. I really don't taste the horseradish in the final dish- it's just more tang and crunch. You can use chopped pickles instead. I hear good things about Bubbies brand.
1 celery rib, chopped
1 green apple wedge (about 1/8 of small apple), chopped
a handful of walnuts or pecans (or omit if you are geeking about about reducing Omega 6 consumption, but my philosophy is nuts are ok and I just make sure to take my fish oil)
about 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
a few hits of freshly ground black pepper
It's great served with tomato wedges and/or avocado slices. I was out of both, so I just threw in some sprouts.
This actually evolved out of my tuna salad lunch. The only other difference is the tuna version doesn't have rosemary and usually has pickles.

EDIT: I recently started drizzling a bit of fig balsamic vinegar from The Olive Bar in Campbell on the chicken salad. Uh-mazing! I also wanted to throw in my tweaks to my favorite dessert- chocolate monkey from the Caveman Cuisine blog. I think I have a thing for little rituals where I assemble the same dish over and over again. Unlike the chicken salad, I have this at most once a week- preferably after my Convict Conditioning and/or Primal Blueprint Fitness (free!) bodyweight exercises. Basically, fry some sliced ripe plantain in coconut oil. Mash and add chopped unsweetened chocolate and cinnamon. I have discovered it is amazing with coconut milk or heavy cream, cocoa nibs, and if you're feeling really crazy, my new favorite treat find- Lydia's Organics Apple Grainless Cereal.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Recipe Roundup- Grain Free Treat Edition

Oh, hi! I just found this post from the holidays which was languishing as a draft. The season for wintery treats is mostly over, but here it is.

grain free pecan bars

Over X-mas, I tried out a few more grain free treat recipes. These vegan pecan bars were great despite my skepticism about the lack of eggs, even though the crust wasn't initially cooked all the way. We're pretty picky about pecan pie-like treats, being from Texas. "My" antique gas oven is incredibly uneven and I'm just now figuring out how to optimally use it. The top looked fairly brown, so I went ahead and poured on the topping (which initially didn't look voluminous enough but was really fine) and put it back in the oven. After letting it cool, I sliced into the bars to discover an oozing crust! I put a lid on the dish and put it back in the oven on the lowest rack until the crust firmed up.
These pumpkin bars (which happen to be vegan as well if you follow the recipe) were amazing! I couldn't find agar powder, so I used a packet of gelatin instead. They turned out maybe a smidge too firm, but they were delicious! I was skeptical about the crust not sticking so I sprinkled a little almond flour in the bottom of the dish. I don't think this was necessary. They bars didn't really stick to the dish- they peeled off easily once a corner was lifted.

The hands-down winner is still these dates stuffed with goat cheese. Dates are pretty much candy as-is.