Category Archives: Paleo

Ghee

As promised here is the relatively straight forward process for turning butter into ghee. If you’re wondering why would anyone do this? Just try it once and I think you’ll answer your own question. It is a richer more nutty version of butter. And without the milk solids, in case that is a problem for you.

First, get some butter. While on Paleo, which advocates only using butter from ‘grass-fed’ cows, I found this Irish butter, Kerry Gold, at my normal grocery. I liked the flavour of this butter even before turning it into ghee.

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Place the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Let the butter melt completely, don’ stir. Now just observe. First the butter will start to bubble up a little. A few minutes later you’ll notice the top will start to look foamy with some pockets where you can see the oil. A few minutes later it will be all foam.

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Now watch for the foam to start turning brown. Whats turning brown are the milks solids. Looks unappealing but no worries, you’ll be tossing all that into the bin shortly. When it does start browning  it will start around the edges of the saucepan. Some of the brown bits will break off and go the bottom of the pan. Here’s where you can control the flavour a little. If want a lightly nutty flavour, remove the saucepan from the heat source early, when it just starts browning. If you want a deeply nutty flavour, let it ride for a minute or two more, like I did below. Just don’t burn it.

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Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Some people will use cheesecloth for straining out the brown bits but I use a flour sack cloth; easier to wash up. In any case, strain out the brown bits, placing the oil in a sealable glass container. Pop it in the fridge. The colour will lighten up a bit after resting in the cool.

I’ve kept ghee for months in the fridge but since it so incredible you’ll probably not keep it around for that long.

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Bacon Pancakes

I’ve discovered a few food sensitivities after completing a rotation diet and one of those totally kicked out the possibility of eating pancakes. Since I found that prospect completely unacceptable, I scoured the internet for a reasonable surrogate and found pancakes made from coconut flour. Thought I’d give it a whirl and turns out they are a pretty good variation.

When I went to buy coconut flour, I discovered its a rare commodity locally. Whole Foods carries it but one of the employees told me they can barely keep it in stock anymore. Apparently other people are already on board. Fortunately Amazon is well-stocked with many coconut flour brands.

Here is what I tried with some notes for next time.

  • 1/2 C Coconut flour
  • 1/3 C Almond flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 T Coconut Oil
  • 1 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/3 – 1/2 C Coconut Milk
  • 1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
  • 6 Strips Bacon, cooked crispy then chopped
  • Butter or coconut oil for frying
  • Berries or bananas to top
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In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. Whisk in coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs and vanilla until the batter is smooth. Fold in the bacon. Here is where the volume of milk will be a variable depending on how moist or dry you like your pancakes.

In a large frying pan melt the butter or coconut oil, then spoon in batter. Cook on one side until brown, flip and repeat. These take about the same time as conventional pancakes ( a few minutes each side) but they dry out a bit faster.

Top it off with some more butter or fresh fruit.

Notes

  • These are pretty good as a substitute! The slight coconut flavour imparted from the flour and oil is subtle but intriguing.
  • Bacon makes these almost irresistible (no surprise!)
  • You’ll get about 8 normal sized pancakes or 16 minis out of this recipe.
  • The first time through I added 1/3 C coconut milk and they were a little too dry. The 1/2C version was much better but I might add even more next time.
  • For frying I used clarified butter on some, coconut oil on the rest. Butter was better (no surprise!)
  • I thought caramelized bananas would be the best topping but fresh strawberries won. The caramelized banana topping is still good but makes a heavy pancake even heavier.
  • This is a strict Paleo recipe, however if your not following Paleo strictly, you could add some maple syrup both to the batter and as a topping for sweetness.

 

 

 

Lemon-Dill Salmon

Still doing the Paleo thing. One surprising detail, butter is considered a no-no because of the milk solids, which sounded excessive but made sense for me on my quest to eliminate lactose. However, ghee, which is ‘clarified’ butter, is acceptable. I knew about ghee, a staple in Indian cooking, but I didn’t have time to make a trip down to the Indian groceries so I tried making my own. I was super impressed with the flavour; surprisingly nutty and rich, better than butter. Next time I’ll post the relatively straight-forward process for making ghee.

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  • 1 1/2 pounds Salmon
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Ground Black Pepper

Lemon-Dill Ghee

  • 3 T Ghee
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1-2 T Fresh Dill , chopped

Let the ghee come to room temperature then mix together ghee, dill and lemon zest and refrigerate again to harden up. Wash and pat dry the salmon. Lay the salmon in a baking dish and sprinkle the lemon juice on top, sprinkle salt and pepper on top of that. Scoop out pieces of the lemon dill ghee  and lay those across the salmon. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. I usually do about 6 minutes per 1/2 in of thickness measured from the thickest part of the fish. As always, after removing from the oven, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving; strange as it sounds this actually completes the cooking process.

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Notes

Not changing a thing here, this is excellent. The ghee totally makes the dish, its sweet and nutty flavour pairing so well with the salmon, I can’t imagine using just butter. The lemon and dill are subtle but also pair extremely well!

 

Walnut-Lime Mayonnaise

Long story short, I’m on a rotation diet. Again. Seems there is still something causing inflammation so off I go to systematically eliminate things I like to see which one is the culprit. As you probably know the first step in this voluntary form of torture is to eliminate all the usual suspects: gluten and lactose are high on the list.

When I was chatting with friends about an approach one suggested Paleo. I had heard people talk about this diet and my response was usually smile-and-nod on the outside, smirk on the inside; another fad. However the source was a friend who started Paleo as a last ditch effort to wrangle a life-arresting form of IBS – it worked. I decided to actually learn what it was about and give it a chance.

Aside from the elimination of lactose and gluten, my two likely problem children, the diet seems to be geared toward eliminating all processed and refined foods, everything.

Fine, I can do that for 3 weeks. However, while I thought I would be safe with my ‘Olive Oil’ mayo, I was not. Basically they add a little olive oil to what is mostly canola oil, a forbidden item. Fine, I’ll make my own.

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I chucked the ‘Olive Oil’ mayo into the bin after the first taste of this; much richer, creamier and with just a little hint of lime.

  • 1 C Walnut Oil
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 T Lime Juice, fresh
  • 1/2 t Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 t Salt

The process here is important.

Take the whole eggs and lime juice out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature, about an hour. Separate the yolks. Add the lime juice, salt and egg yolks to a small bowl, whisk, cover with plastic wrap, then let the lot sit for another 2 hours – unrefrigerated. We’ll get to the why later.

Add the yolk mixture to a food processor, turn it on, then dribble the oil in little by little until you hear the splatter of the mixture against the side of the processor. Its going to take a little oil for the mixture to rise up to the blades. Afterwards, stop adding oil and wait for the mixture to emulsify (thicken up). You’ll notice a distinct change in its composition from runny to slightly thickened, like ranch dressing.

Next, add a slow but steady stream of oil until all the oil is incorporated. The way I do it is to add 1 Tablespoon at a time with an unhurried pace.  At the end add your hot sauce then shut it down. The whole process takes about 10 minutes.

Longevity

One of my research assistants loved this version of mayo but then said, ‘Well I guess you have WalnutLimeMayo3to throw that out tomorrow otherwise you’ll get Salmonella poisoning”. This is certainly an alarmist statement. Yes, raw eggs are a great environment for Salmonella, which is why you should buy the freshest possible from a source you trust.

Now back to the process. The reason I let everything come to room temperature then whisk together the yolks, lime and salt is basically to guard against Salmonella and to extend the shelf life. Most bacteria hate acidic and salty environs, it messes up their metabolism and they die. The thing is – acid works best at room temperature and it needs time to work, hence the mixing it up and letting it sit out part.

While Mayo Clinic advertises 3-4 days as a safety zone for keeping fresh mayo, I can keep mine around for 7 days with no ill effects.