Confession time, I normally loathe canned fish. There is something about it that I’ve hated since childhood. But it’s so damn convenient and on a handful of occasions I’ve had it prepared in a way that is well, delicious and makes me hate it much much less. So I feel that with these sesame salmon balls with ginger tahini dipping sauce that a turning point has been reached. Because you guys, these are so freaking good, and how could they not be when they come straight from the brilliant noggin of Sonia Lacasse otherwise known as the Healthy Foodie and author of the amazing new cookbook Paleo Home Cooking. This woman is a total rockstar with such an inspiring story.
Not only does she turn canned salmon into a veritable delicacy, she also has a recipe for fatty fish patties that uses sardines and herring and makes getting those omega-3’s a piece of cake. These patties are perfect for picky kids and adults alike, and we all know how healthy herring and sardines are but admittedly they can be a challenge to include in ones diet.
I loved flipping through the pages of her first cookbook and will return to it for inspiration time and time again. The section on nut butters is beyond anything my simple almond butter imagination could ever conjure up. Seriously, smoky bacon and dark chocolate nut spread and a taste of India seed butter, this book is already covered in drool! I’m always impressed by Sonia’s luxurious desserts and she pulled no stops for the book. My Quebecois mother literally flipped her lid when I told her there was a paleo recipe for “pouding choumer” which is a classic Quebecois dessert that translates to unemployed mans pudding. It’s a classic vanilla cake with a buttery luxurious maple pudding sauce that sinks to the bottom during the cooking process. I can’t believe my beloved childhood dessert has been paleofied.
4 tablespoons healthy cooking fat or oil for pan-frying (best choices include lard, beef tallow, ghee, coconut or avocado oil)
Put all the ingredients for the salmon mixture in a large mixing bowl and mix until evenly combined; Place that in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
While the salmon mixture is busy getting cold, prepare the dipping sauce by placing all the ingredients to a small food processor and processing until smooth and creamy. Now place that too in the refrigerator to chill for a couple of hours.
Disperse the white and black sesame seeds on a plate.
Once the salmon mixture is fully chilled, roll it or scoop it into 36 balls*, roughly the size of a Ping-Pong ball, then roll them into the sesame seeds to coat.
Heat the cooking fat in a large heavy skillet set over medium-high heat and cook the salmon balls, turning them often, until nice and golden all around, which should take about 8 to 10 minutes total. You might have to work in 2 or 3 batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
Make sure not to overcrowd the pan so that air gets to circulate freely between each ball.
Allow the balls to cool slightly before serving with the dipping sauce.
I’ve made this pie twice now and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. It’s way easier than regular ol’ pumpkin pie and a lot healthier too. The crust is made with macadamia nuts (or whatever nuts you have kicking around) dates and coconut oil and the filling is a creamy combination of pumpkin, coconut milk, aromatic spices and grass fed beef gelatine which is absolutely loaded with health benefits. I was hesitant to use the gelatine as I didn’t want the pie to have a weird consistency, but if you use the right amount it does the job of thickening without creating any weird gummy textures. If you want a purely vegan pie you can get vegan gelatine using agar agar or irish moss which are both seaweeds.
You American peeps haven’t had your thanksgiving yet and my vote is that you try this Paleo No Bake Pumpkin Pie for the occasion. I made it for our thanksgiving and the fam jam went gaga. The best part is that its so light and easy to digest that you don’t get that same lead weight feeling in the pit of your stomach that usually comes along with thanksgiving.
Since we’re on the topic I would also seriously recommend dry brining your turkey 24 hours before cooking it. This technique definitely resulted in hands down the best turkey I have ever had or made. Last year I did a traditional brine, which is great but leaves the meat a bit watered down. Dry brining imparts the flavour from the salt without taking flavour away from the turkey. I suppose I should just write a post on this alone since I’m so passionate about dry brining but you guys I didn’t take any photos because that turkey was gone so fast.
If you’re in the kitchen for an extended amount of time and looking for a great jam, check out this mix, its long, varied and beautiful.
1 1/2 C unsalted macadamia nuts (pecans or walnuts also work well)
1/2 C date paste
1/4 C coconut oil
pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean or vanilla extract
Filling and coconut whipped cream
1 28oz can pumpkin puree OR equivalent amount homemade pumpkin puree
1 can coconut milk (left in the fridge for a few hours to firm up)
1/2 C coconut oil
3 Tbs grass fed beef gelatine OR 1 tsp agar agar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
30 drops liquid stevia OR 1/3 C maple syrup
For the crust
In a high powered blender or food processor, add the macadamia nuts, date paste, coconut oil, salt and vanilla and blend until all the nuts are crushed and everything is evenly combined.
Press the crust into a springform pan, the smaller the pan the taller the pie will be but I used a 9 inch.
Set the crust in the fridge or freezer to set a bit while you make the filling.
Filling and coconut whipped cream
Using the same blender or food processor add the pumpkin puree, separate the liquid from the coconut cream and add the liquid only. Add the gelatine or agar agar (don't worry about blooming it) and puree until smooth.
Add the coconut oil, spices, salt, vanilla and stevia or maple syrup and puree again until smooth.
Pour over top of the crust and allow to set for at least 2 hours in the fridge before serving.
To make the coconut whipped cream simply use the remaining coconut cream and whip it with a whisk or in a mixer until light and fluffy, you can add a splash of maple syrup or honey to sweeten it up if desired.
Pie serves 8-10 people, place a dollop of coconut whipped cream on each piece and enjoy!
I’m overjoyed that Canada has a new leader. We’ve been through a hellish 12 years of environmental destruction and infringement on our human rights. Yet still so many people supported Harper, it’s astonishing to me how even at this pivotal point in time, when the planet is crying for us to stop annihilating it, people can still care more about money than breathing clean air. Hopefully the Liberals will hold true to their promises, the first day in office Trudeau pulled Canadian fighter jets out of Iran. He’s moving ahead and accepting more refugees into our gigantic and abundant country and helping to disable the fear propaganda we’ve been hearing for so long. A very noble first step towards regaining our countries peace keeping reputation.
I told some friends that if the conservatives were to win I was moving to Ecuador. Luckily for now I’ll be staying in the homeland, enjoying delicious cinnamon apple streusel muffins and aged earl grey tea on calm cool mornings with change in the air. Here’s hoping we can start to move forward after a long time going back. Amazingly Canada already employs more people in the sustainable energy industry than in oil. We have long needed a government that echoes the sentiments of the majority which I think are kindness, generosity and humility.
Oh yes, and about these muffins…they literally disappeared in a matter of 3 hours. They were gobbled right up and the scent from the cinnamon makes your kitchen smell amazing. Since they’re sugar free they are perfect for sensitive little ones. My son just adores them so much. I’ve made a few variations of this recipe now and it works great for banana muffins, chocolate and savoury. After many different paleo muffin renditions this is by far my favourite formula. The baking powder technically isn’t paleo and you can omit it. Personally I don’t think a bit of BP does much harm and it makes the muffins nice and plump!
Gnocchi is such a comfort food. Those soft on the inside, crispy on the outside little pillows are a really nice treat. These butternut squash gnocchi are gluten free and paleo so a far stretch from your traditional rendition. I cooked these for a group of 9 and got majorly scolded for not making enough. This is a common complaint around my dinner table. The butternut gnocchi is lovely drizzled in a simple garlic brown butter but I opted to sauté it with some Italian sausage and spinach. The whole30 is officially over today, congrats to anyone who joined in on the detox challenge!
Roast the butternut squash with a bit of olive oil and salt for about 45 minutes until very tender.
Let the squash cool and transfer to a large bowl, mash with a fork or in a food processor.
Combine the squash, eggs, flours, salt and pepper with a stand mixer or by hand. The dough will be very sticky.
Put the dough in a ziplock bag and cut one of the corners off or use a piping bag. Pipe out long strands of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut into 1 inch pieces, if the dough sticks to the knife dip it in some tapioca flour.
Get a large pot of water boiling and roll each inch piece into an oval.
Drop gnocchi in the water, they're ready when they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
In a separate skillet heat some olive oil and drop the gnocchi in making sure not to overcrowd the pan if you want them nice and crispy. Cook for 2 minutes each side and repeat.
Serve gnocchi with sautéed spinach, Italian sausage, tomato sauce, brown butter and parmesan cheese or whatever else you'd like and enjoy!
India was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. I remember stepping off the plane and hitting a wall of a thousand different odours and an intense damp warmth that only made them more intense. Alone and overwhelmed at 2 AM with a lost backpack and absolutely no clue what was going to happen. I called everyone that night, my best friend, my parents, anyone who could tell me I was there for a reason. The streets were full of sleeping bodies, families lying on pavement under just a tarp. Even the highway meridians were clouded with little shelters. I could just barely hold in my tears at seeing this reality. There are no amounts of photos or news stories that can prepare a person for the harsh realities of such extreme poverty and division of wealth. At 19 I was still under the impression that it was my God given right to have everything handed to me on a silver platter. It was clear however that something within me wanted to be woken up. The mitote (haze) lifted a little each day. Every meal felt like such a blessing and I developed this incapacity to waste anything.
The best food was in Kerala in the south of India. They use so much coconut and seafood and the history is very interesting. I remember eating this curry there. The brilliant golden hue and the divine creaminess is hard to forget. It’s a simple yet decadent curry and sometimes it’s made with crab or other types of seafood. It’s the time of year where I start making lots of curries and soups to warm me up and remind me of tropical paradises. Malai Prawn Curry traditionally is a Bengali dish, but everyone has their own version. Malai means cream, but in most cases the creaminess comes from coconut and ghee. The lemongrass isn’t traditional but I thought it added a nice freshness to the dish. Enjoy with basmati rice and fresh coriander.
Long lazy lingering Sundays are my favourite. A big family meal to seal the sweet deal complete with the ultimate comfort food. We’re lucky to still have some elk in the freezer, a rare treat from someone who undoubtedly worked very hard to attain. The ground elk is amazing for these meatballs but you could substitute it for another wild meat like venison, bison, boar or even beef.
We went to Ikea the other day, I’ve never been tempted to dine in the DIY furniture hoarder packed cafeteria filled with hangry consumers. Ikea and Costco cafeterias remain scary places for me. But it doesn’t alter the fact that Ikea meatballs are always a temptation. Personally I think meatballs are much better in creamy sauces than tomatoey ones. And I don’t like when they’re massive, little creamy meatballs are where its at. So I thought I’d go to town and create my own wild version of the ikea staple. On a side note, when I wasn’t busy fantasizing about meatballs I scored the coolest bed sheets ever. Have you ever seen those old herb books? The ones with the very detailed plant diagrams and latin names. Well its basically an herb encyclopedia on a bed spread. I am soaking up all that knowledge while I sleep, oh yeah!
These elk meatballs go fabulously with creamy mashed potatoes and a big salad. If you’re not normally a fan of wild meats I urge you to give them another chance. When high quality stuff is procured there are no weird tastes just pure meaty forest filled goodness. If your looking for more elk inspired recipes try these elk lettuce wraps, they are so easy and make a great lunch. I’m a big fan of Hank Shaw on his website honest food he has many fabulous wild meat dishes. I’m dying to try making steak au poivre with elk.
1 lb ground elk meat or substitute for venison, bison or beef
1/3 C almond meal
1 Tbs coconut flour
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
For the Sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or white wine
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 C chopped assorted mushrooms of any variety
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tsp thyme
sea salt and pepper to taste
For the Meatballs
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and form into tablespoon sized meat balls, set aside.
Heat a large skillet with the oil and place each meatball spaced about an inch apart, brown on two sides, remove and brown the rest. Don't worry if they aren't fully cooked as you will return them to the sauce.
For the sauce
Using the same hot skillet, add the white wine to deglaze the pan, allow the liquid to evaporate slight before adding your oil, garlic and onions. Cook until golden.
Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and stir for a minute before adding the coconut milk.
Add the remaining meatballs to the sauce and cover for another ten minutes.
Hey I'm Chantelle, my alter ego would be a mermaid if I wasn't such a terrible swimmer. I love writing authentically and cooking in my pyjamas. My favourite pastimes include eating avocados, travelling the world and hanging out with a toddler.