Paleo Summer Squash & Almond Fritters

Score! This recipe a: used up 2 big zucchini from my overabundant CSA squash stash, and b: was tolerated (possibly even enjoyed) by my poor, long-suffering zucchini-averse DH. I call that a success in my book. And, since it’s a relatively quick and delicate-tasting side that can be dressed a bunch of different ways, I’m calling this the LBD of zucchini dinners.

I think I’ll be making it a bunch throughout the rest of this squash season.

Gluten-free, paleo, whole30, ovo vegetarian

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Paleo Summer Squash & Almond Fritters

2 large zucchini or other summer squash (I used overgrown pattypan squash)
Onion (I used 5 large red spring onions – bulbs and lower stalks only)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup parsley (this week’s CSA held curly parsley)
1 tsp. + sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 Tbsp. coconut oil

Shred your squash and add to a colander to drain. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit 20 minutes to draw some of the water out.

Shred the onion while you’re waiting and add to a large bowl. Chop the parsley. Add the almond flour, egg, parsley, 1 tsp. salt and black pepper to the bowl.

When your squash is done hanging out, squeeze all the water you can from it and add 2 cups to the bowl. Mix well to combine and shape into patties. For this amount, I got 6 large patties.

Heat the coconut oil your largest skillet over medium-high heat. Once the hot oil has reached the temperature that a drop of water sputters when it hits the pan, gently add the patties – leaving room between each so they don’t steam. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until nicely deeply browned.

 

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch as a side

Roasted Beet & Chard Greens aka “CSA Cleanup”

Did you get a mess of beets in your CSA box this week? Want to know what to do with all those random greens? Roast them! This recipe saves beautifully and leftovers can be re-worked a million different ways. Just think of them like spinach. Would spinach be good here? Like, say, tucked into an omelette or as a nice burger topper? Yes? Use a hand full of these greens instead!

Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30

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Roasted Beet & Chard Greens aka “CSA Cleanup”

A boatload of greens – I used the tops of 1 large bunch of beets + 1 bunch of rainbow chard (8 cups or so total)
Garlic – I used 10 cloves
Fat – I used a drizzle of olive oil because that’s what I had. Bacon fat would be luurvely here.
Salt & pepper
Optional: citrus juice or preserved lemon

Set your oven to 375. Prep your largest baking sheet with a foil liner.

Wash your greens and slice into inch or so thick ribbons. Arrange on the prepped baking sheet as evenly as possible.

Chop your garlic roughly and sprinkle over the greens.

Drizzle with fat.

Salt and pepper liberally.

Roast 20-30 minutes, or until the greens are slumpy and the garlic is beginning to brown.

Serve. These greens are fantastic with a shot of citrus juice or some preserved lemon.

Makes 2 huge dinner servings if you’re using these greens as the “bulk” of your meal or a bunch of little additions for other meals. 

‘Summer Is Almost Here’ Strawberry Mint Salsa

As this hard won Spring starts its slow inexorable crawl toward Summer’s temperature indulgences, I’m happy to see fresh red pops of color starting to populate the produce section. This season’s first strawberries – check. Early tomatoes – check. Salsa craving in high gear – check.

This salsa is bright, refreshing, and was perfect perched on top of a simple salad loaded with cruciferous greens and simple pulled pork (omit, of course, if serving vegetarians or vegans). A winner in my book.

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 compliant

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‘Summer Is Almost Here’ Strawberry Mint Salsa

2 large strawberries
Half a shallot
3 leaves fresh mint
Juice of 1 lime
2 big pinches salt

Dice the strawberries and add to a small bowl. Mince the shallot (you’re looking for about 2 Tablespoons) and add to the bowl. Roll your mint leaves up into a little tube and chiffonade (cut into ribbons). Add to the salsa bowl. Sprinkle with 2 big pinches of salt and top with lime juice. Toss well to combine.

Serve with sliced cherry tomatoes, pulled pork and a glug of grapeseed oil over a bed of Cruciferous Crunch (kale + brussels + red cabbage + green cabbage salad mix sold at Trader Joe’s) for a tasty and healthy lunch.

Serves 1 for lunch. Can be easily scaled up and served in a myriad of ways – I’m thinking it would be especially nice over a light protein (chicken or fish) and would make a fine dip for plantain chips in place of standard red fruit salsa.

 

Roast Broccoli with Gremolata and Anchovy Oil

This is a nice little dish – and easy to make. It takes boring old broiled broccoli and kicks it up a notch for an indulgent feeling weeknight side.

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Roast Broccoli with Gremolata and Anchovy Oil

2 heads broccoli
1/4 cup almonds
2 Tbsp. parsley
Zest of 1 lemon
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. anchovies
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Drizzle olive oil
Salt & pepper for sprinkling

Set your oven’s broiler on high and line a baking sheet with foil. Break down the broccoli into florets and half inch pieces of peeled stem. Lay in a single layer on the cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Slide into the oven and broil 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until deeply browned and crispy in spots.

Start the anchovy oil. This component is optional, but I really liked it. Put the 4 Tbsp. olive oil into a small pan over medium-low heat. Dice the anchovy and add to the pan. Sautée gently until the rest of dinner is ready, adding the red pepper after 5 minutes or so.

While the broccoli & oil are working, toast the almonds in a dry pan. When browned, chop fine and add to a small bowl. Chop the parsley and garlic fine and add to the almonds. Add the lemon zest and salt and set aside.

Serve the broccoli topped with Gremolata and anchovy oil. Serves 2 for dinner, with leftover Gremolata.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Fauxtatoes (paleo)

This is a new spin on the typical cauliflower mash – a little gussying up, as it were. I served alongside some mini meatloaves topped with a paleo-fied ketchup and dinner was a smash success. Meatloaf & mashed “potatoes” – what’s not to love?

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Caramelized Onion Mashed Fauxtatoes (paleo)

1 head cauliflower
Good quality stock (chicken, vegetable or turkey)
1 medium onion
1 scant 1/2 tsp. 100% maple syrup
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. grass fed butter (or vegan butter substitute)
Kosher salt & white pepper to taste

Thinly slice your onion and add to a medium pan over medium/medium-low heat with the grapeseed oil. Sautee, stirring occasionally and adding the maple syrup about half way through – about 15-20 minutes or until caramelized. Add the onions to the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth, adding splashes of the liquid from the pot of needed to get things going.

While the onions are caramelizing, chop your cauliflower into smallish pieces and add to a medium pot. Add stock until the cauliflower is covered by an inch or so. Bring to a boil over high heat and let cook 10 minutes or until soft. Drain, reserving half a cup or so of the cooking liquid.

Add the drained cauliflower to the food processor along with the butter, 2 tsp. kosher salt & a few shakes white pepper. Puree until smooth, adding reserved stock as needed. Taste and add salt & pepper if needed.

Serves 3

Fresh Snap Pea and Radish Salad with Sprouts

This is a fabulous little fresh spring salad – full of bright crunch from the snap peas, balanced with nice bite from the radish and kicked up a notch by the addition of some nice flaky salt. A fresh, bright side for something decadent – like the lamb chops I served it with.

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Fresh Snap Pea and Radish Salad with Sprouts

Snap peas (about 4 cups ?)
4 large radishes – I used plain old regular red radishes
1/4 cup sprouts – I used broccoli sprouts, though I bet the hot variety would be nice as well
3 Tbsp. almond oil
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 big pinches flaky grey salt
Black pepper (a dusting)

De-tip your snap peas and cut into rough fork-sized chunks.

Slice the radishes thin, stack the rounds up, and cut into match sticks.

Add both to a medium bowl with the sprouts.

Whisk together the oil, mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Add the salt and taste – add some more if the tastes don’t pop.

Pour the dressing over the salad and work in, using your hands to toss and separate the sprout threads.

Dust with black pepper and serve.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch as a side dish.

Pickled Beets: My Father Was Right

Much-reviled beets are one of the few foods on Earth I find truly repulsive. I think they taste exactly like musty dirt and generally want absolutely nothing to do with them. And then came my crusade to eat more seasonably and locally and my decision to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) club. My CSA ships year-round organic vegetables that are sourced as locally as is possible/cost effective. Part of that commitment was bound to include trying new things. Enter the beets.

I remember as a kid thinking after the first taste made my taste buds want to retreat down my throat that beets must have been something you ate in the depression, because they were less hard than pebbles, and that anyone that still ate beets was a: ancient and had no taste left, or b: wanted to eat what they ate when they were little.

I’m fairly certain that an ancient person was the first to get me to try beets. Possibly my grandfather with Althziemers. Maybe it was only my father. I did think he was ancient, after all. (what can I say? I was a little kid. Being in your 30s was one and the same with being in your 60s or 80s to me at the time. Yeek!)

The first time I got beets, I was terrified. Beets, while a beautiful shade of claret, are gross. They taste like dirt. What the crap could I possibly do to them to make them edible?

I made pasta. My fresh beet pasta came out a beautiful shade of burgundy and I served it with a brown butter and poppyseed pan sauce, because everything is better with butter. And you know what? It worked. The beets were only slightly earthy; combined with the butter and some fresh shaved parmesan, they were great. And pretty.

I’m not scared of you any more, beets. You hear that? I’ve kicked your ass and lived to tell the tale.

Now I know, I can’t serve them in pasta every time I get them. I’ve also roasted and shredded them for beet and potato latkes, and they were great.

Every time I mention beets to my father and how I’m running out of the limited things I can do to disguise them, he tells me how great pickled beets are. I’m skeptical to say the least–sounds like some weird old people shit to me–I’m willing to try it for him. If for nothing else, but a reason to talk a little smack.

Pickled Beets
Adapted from Simple Recipes

5 beets (about 2 c.)
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Scrub beets and cut into uniform sizes so they will cook evenly. Boil for 15-30 minutes depending upon how large your pieces are, until a fork slides easily into them.

Drain and rinse in cold water until cool enough to handle. use your fingers or a paring knife to slip the skins off. They should come off easily. Discard the peels and slice the beets 1/4 inch thick.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together to form a vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking. Salt & pepper to taste.

Add beets to the bowl and stir to coat. Let sit at room temperature 15 minutes, stir again, and let sit 15 minutes more.

The verdict: Well, shit. These are actually pretty derned good. The first bite tasted a little like dirt in a not unpleasant way, and subsequent bites tasted sharp and sweet. I could even eat these in a salad without dying. So, dad, you were right ;p.