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Archive for November, 2010

Holiday Primal Snacks and Appetizers

Well, the Holidays are officially upon us.  You know what that means, food, food and more food.  This can be a particularly challenging time for primal folk.  At home, the office, parties,  we are constantly encountering enticing holiday treats, most of which we shouldn’t or wouldn’t go any where near at any other time of the year.  Even when we are entertaining others its especially hard during the holidays to force our eating choices on others.  Lets face it, people just have certain expectations during the holidays.  I think its okay to prepare traditional holiday foods for your guests.  While the temptation to stray might be greater, preparing tasty primal options will make the task easier.  One of the biggest temptations is the array of finger foods and hor’s d’oeuvres  that we are confronted with.  They are just so easy to pop in your mouth without thinking. so my strategy this season is to appease my guests and myself by preparing primal option when I entertain as well as when I am asked to bring something to a friends or families.  I am going to share with you 2 of my favorite primal snacks that both look great and taste great:  Primal Hummus and Salami Crisps.  they are both easy to make and are perfectly primal and delicious.  I typically serve the hummus with sliced cucumbers, but will also prepare carrot ships to go along with this hummus this season.

Primal Hummus with Kalamata Olvies and Chili Oil

Primal Hummus with kalamata Olives and Chili Oilo

To Prepare the Hummus you will need:

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbls. ground cumin
  • juice of 4 large lemons, or about 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • chili oil and toasted pine nuts for garnish
  • 1 cucumber sliced in rounds
  • carrot chips

To make the hummus simply place all ingredients, except the olives, pine nuts and chili oil in a food processor or blender (if you use a blender you may have to do this in batches).  Process until very smooth,  This is ready to serve, but I have found that if you refrigerate it for a few hours it will firm up a bit more.  When you are ready to serve, placde the hummus in a serving bowl and drizzle with chili oil and top with olives and pine nuts.  Surround the hummus with the sliced cucumber and carrot chips and serve.

I sometimes use raw carrot chips but will also bake them.  This is very easy especially when I buy the already cut ripple carrot ships at my local market.  I simple toss the carrot chips with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and cumin and bake in a 400º oven for about 20 minutes until they are browned and crispy.

This makes a good amount of hummus so you may have left over.  I like to use the left over for salad dressing.

Salami Crisps with Basil Sour Cream

To prepare the Salami Crisps with Basil Sour Cream you will need:

  • 24 Slices Italian Dry Hard Salami
  • 1/3 cup Sour Cream
  • 4 tbls. thinly sliced basil

To prepare the Salami Crisps preheat your oven to 400º.  Place the salami on foil covered cookie sheets in a single layer.  Place the salami in the oven and bake until brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Watch them closely to ensure even browning, re-arange if necessary.  Remove the salami crisps from the oven and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil and allow to cool.  When they are cooled and you are ready to serve, place a small dollop of sour cream on each crisp and sprinkle with some sliced basil.  Thats it!

I hope you try these delicious snacks for your next holiday party. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 Recipes No Comments

Simple and Quick Garam Masala Shrimp and Zucchini

Garam Masala Shrimp and Zucchini

Living the primal lifestyle can be somewhat daunting at times.  It can be difficult to prepare primally appropriate meals quickly and conveniently.  I am always looking for quick, healthy and delicious dishes.  While I would typically prefer to buy fresh spices and make my own spice mixtures, sometimes it just is faster and easier to buy and use commercially prepared spice mixtures that can cut your preparation time down significantly.  One cuisine that can incorporate upwards of 20 spices to make a particular dish is Indian cuisine.  I love Indian food but don’t always have the time it takes to make the spice mixtures.  Indian food is rich, aromatic and just darn comforting.  Curries, Tikkas, and Garams are some of the spice mixtures that can be time consuming to make, but are available commercially made and are also very good.  I’m lucky to live very near several international food markets as well as a Penzy’s spice shop.  If you don’t have an international market near you you can go online and buy many of these spice mixtures.  Penzy’s is one of my favorites.  There stores are amazing, but they also offer their products online and through catalogue.  Anyway, I was craving the deep and intense flavors of Indian Food the other day and I created this delicious recipe for Garam Masala Shrimp and Zucchini.  I served it with cauliflower rice that I cooked in olive oil infused with fennel seed, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander.  It was fast, easy, delicious and comforting as well.

Garam Masala is one of those Indian spice mixtures that contains many different spices and may just be easier to buy already prepared rather than making it yourself.  If you are courageous enough to make your own, here’s a link to a recipe for Garam Masala.  Otherwise, go to your local international market and pick-up some that is already made.  You will be amazed at how quick this dish is to make if the spices are already prepared and ready to go.

The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with wide variety across India. Some common ingredients are black & white peppercorns, cloves, malabar leaves (pippali), black cumin (shahi jeera), cumin seeds, cinnamon, black, brown and green cardamom, nutmeg, star anise and coriander seeds. Varying combinations of these and other spices are used in regional variants of garam masala, none of which is considered more authentic than another. The commerical mixtures can vary as well, but, all of them typically use similar ingredients and have incredible aromas and pungent flavors.  In addition to the above mentioned components, the commercial versions may also contain garlic, chili peppers, fennel, ginger, mustard seeds and turmeric.  No matter the spice mixture, they all contain some very healthy spices.  I have previously praised ginger for its anti-inflammatory benefits, but many of the other spices in this traditional Indian mixture are equally notable for their health benefits. Turmeric, for example, has been used for centuries by the Chinese and Indians and is touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory.  Recent studies have also shown promise in it preventing and blocking the growth of certain cancers.  Cardamom has also been touted for its powerful detoxifying benefits, and as a powerful aphrodisiac (who can complain about that).

Try this deleicious, easy and quick dish.  I’m sure you will love it.

Garam Masala Shrimp and Zucchini with Fragrant Indian Cauliflower Rice

This will make enough for 2-4 servings.  To prepare the Garam Masala Shrimp and Zucchini you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • 1 tbls. Garam Masala Spice Mixture (or more if you like it really pungent). I used 2 because I really like these intense flavors.
  • 2 tbls. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • sea salt to taste

To prepare the aromatic Indian cauliflower rice, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, grated or shredded in your food processor
  • 2 tbls. Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • Several threads of saffron or 1 tsp. turmeric
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Begin by preparing the cauliflower rice.  Grate the cauliflower using a hand grater or the grater attachment on your food processor.  Heat the Olive Oil or Coconut oil over high heat in a non-stick skillet.  Add the fennel, ginger, cinnamon, coriander and saffron or turmeric and cook for about a minute to release the flavors and oils of the spices.  Add the grated cauliflower and salt to taste and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

Next prepare the Garam Masala Shrimp and Zucchini.  Begin by placing the sliced zucchini rounds and shrimp in a large bowl and toss with the Garam Masala spice mixture.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Remove the zucchini from the bowl and add to the skillet with the melted butter, season with salt and saute until just cooked through.  Remove the zucchini to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet.  Add the shrimp and saute until just cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon or lime juice and fresh chopped cilantro to incorporate.

To serve, place a mound of the aromatic cauliflower rice in the middle of a large bowl or dish, surround it by the sauteed zucchini and then mound the shrimp on top.  Serve with extra slice of lemon and chopped cilantro as a garnish.  As a variation you could easily substitute chicken, turkey, pork or other firm white fish for the shrimp.   Just make sure to cook the protein for the appropriate amount of time and to your liking.

I hope you enjoy this dish and let me know what you think!

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Thursday, November 18th, 2010 Recipes, Uncategorized 2 Comments