Shrimp and Shiitake Hot Pot

Shrimp and Shiitake Hot Pot

My quarter century birthday was on the 24th and it was surrounded with love. We ate home made prosciutto eggs benny at a great little bistro with bottomless mimosas and toured some gorgeous ice sculptures.

Every good day ends with soup. Ok, maybe not but this good day did and many others have so I’m sticking by that statement. This Shrimp and Shiitake Hot Pot is so simple and yummy, I love how light it is yet it still has that umami satisfaction and fills you right up. The poached egg on top adds the perfect amount of creamy richness with the dark mushroomey (is that a word?) broth.

Shrimp and Shiitake Hot Pot

The sun shines. I feel overflowing with gratitude, no life isn’t perfect. But there’s perfection in that very fact. There’s perfection in potential. We all hold so much potential and the more I see my own life morph into something I can feel good about, the more apparent that fact becomes.

For the first time, I kinda, sorta, feel like I have my shit together. Like I’m on the right track and everything is aligning as it should.

I was feeling very cynical this time last year, my heart was heavy and life felt wrought with unending challenges. To compare it to the light heartedness I feel now is indescribable. There are so many ups and downs in life, but there are certain things which we have the capacity to change in order to improve our situation.

I hope for all of you that the new year is unveiling new hope and joy in your hearts. It’s a nice feeling indeed when the changes we make in our lives blossom into deeper contentment.

Winter can be a really challenging time but it’s also a good time to hunker down and look within for outer inspiration. I wrote an article recently on how to cope with the winter blues, check it out if this is something you struggle with.

 

Shrimp and Shiitake Hot Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs sesame oil or coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, finely minced or grated
  • 1/4 C rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos or tamari
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 thai red chili, minced or 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 lbs shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 C chicken stock
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bundle green onions, chopped
  • 4 eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot, add ginger and garlic and simmer for a minute until aromatic.
  2. Add rice wine vinegar and let it simmer for another minute or so before adding the coconut aminos or tamari, fish sauce, coconut sugar and chili.
  3. Add the mushrooms and let them cook for a bit soaking up some of the liquid.
  4. Add chicken stock and once the soup is simmering add the shrimp. You can also add the eggs at this point or poach them separately in a pot of boiling water with a bit of vinegar.
  5. The eggs and shrimp will take about 5 minutes. If you poach the eggs directly in the soup, be sure to not stir while they're cooking.
  6. Serve one egg per person and garnish with chopped green onions. Enjoy!
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Shrimp and Shiitake Hot Pot

Sesame Salmon Balls with Ginger Tahini Dipping Sauce + Paleo Home Cooking GIVEAWAY

Sesame Salmon Balls with Ginger Tahini Dipping Sauce + Paleo Home Cooking GIVEAWAY

SESAME SALMON BALLS AND GINGER TAHINI DIPPING SAUCE

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.

SESAME SALMON BALLS AND GINGER TAHINI DIPPING SAUCE

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.

SESAME SALMON BALLS AND GINGER TAHINI DIPPING SAUCE

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.

 

Sesame Salmon Balls with Ginger Tahini Dipping Sauce + Paleo Home Cooking GIVEAWAY

Ingredients

    For the salmon balls
  • 3 (6-ounce/170-g) cans wild-caught pink salmon, drained, or 1¼ pounds (570 g) cooked salmon
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the dipping sauce
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons healthy cooking fat or oil for pan-frying (best choices include lard, beef tallow, ghee, coconut or avocado oil)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Disperse the white and black sesame seeds on a plate.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan so that air gets to circulate freely between each ball.
  7. Allow the balls to cool slightly before serving with the dipping sauce.
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Malai Prawn Curry

Malai Prawn Curry

 

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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.

 

Malai Prawn Curry

 

Malai Prawn Curry

Malai Prawn Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chilis + 1 red chili for extra spice (optional)
  • 2 inch piece fresh turmeric OR 1 tsp dried turmeric
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 6 fresh or dried curry leaves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 20 medium sized raw prawns, peeled and deveined

Instructions

  1. Make a paste with the ginger, garlic, chilis and turmeric in a food processor or mortar and pestle.
  2. In a wok or large skillet heat up the coconut oil. Add mustard seeds and when they start to pop add the paste and the curry leaves.
  3. Add the coconut milk, sugar, lemongrass, salt, red pepper and prawns and bring to a simmer. Serve as soon as the prawns are fully cooked after about 5 minutes.
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Malai Prawn Curry

 

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Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps with Almond Satay Sauce

Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps with Almond Satay Sauce

Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps with  Almond Satay Sauce

Since moving to the city I’ve felt utterly nature deprived. It’s not that there aren’t parks and walking trails, it’s just that they are so manicured and full of people. There aren’t many wild places left, and that to me is what real nature is all about. Places where animals are allowed to roam free and trees can grow wherever they want. Where you can fish and hunt and set up camp and no one is there to tell you no. In Canada there are still many places like this, though you have to make a journey to find them. Yesterday we made it to a little nook in the woods, and while not totally wild it was still a closer cry to the calling in my heart that aches to just walk through trees and feel the sun on my face, unfiltered from city towers and highway smog.

Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps with  Almond Satay Sauce

There were buffalo rolling in dust piles and a coyote with a pheasant in it’s mouth. And of course there was a picnic, because no outing is complete without a nice meal in the grass. These shrimp and avocado lettuce wraps were the star of the show. They out do a sandwich any day and leave you feeling nourished but not weighed down. It’s so nice to just disconnect, even for one day a week. To just walk and breathe and witness the beauty all around us. The rest of the week can be for hustling and connecting but just one day devoted to simplicity is worth more than a whole week of busyness.

Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps with  Almond Satay Sauce

The almond satay sauce for these is super versatile and makes an amazing salad dressing or sauce for rice noodles or grilled chicken. You could also substitute the shrimp in this recipe for chicken or other seafood, they are mighty adaptable and make a great healthy lunch.

 

Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps with Almond Satay Sauce

Ingredients

    For the Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps
  • 20 medium sized shrimp
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime or 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 head iceberg or butter lettuce
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • handful cilantro
  • For the Almond Satay Sauce
  • 1 inch piece ginger, chopped
  • 2 Tbs almond butter
  • 1/2 C coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs fish sauce
  • 1 thai red chili, minced
  • juice of 1 lime or 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 date, chopped
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    For the Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps
  1. Heat a skillet or large frying pan with olive oil, add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  2. Dry off the shrimp as much as possible before placing in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side and finish with juice from one lime. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Carefully remove lettuce leaves and lay out on a platter. Place a few slices of pepper, avocado, red onion and a sprinkle of cilantro on each one.
  4. Place 2-3 shrimp on each lettuce leaf and when you're ready to roll them notice the direction of the curve at the base of the lettuce and roll with it (you can choose to tuck the ends in or not)
  5. For the Almond Satay Sauce
  6. Place all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve alongside the lettuce rolls and save any extra for other uses.
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Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops with Avocado Salsa Verde and Wilted Mizuna

Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops with Avocado Salsa Verde and Wilted Mizuna

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Whoa that was a mouthful. I could’ve made it longer, I could’ve said, crispy cast iron seared scallops lovingly draped in a coat of salty prosciutto, smothered with my bright green take on salsa verde, roasted tomatillos, garlic, and a big old fresh avocado to sweeten the deal, all alongside a tender little pile of mizuna greens cooked in a bit of bacon fat for a total of about 30 seconds. Phewf. Okay, should I write menus or is a bit too convoluted? Long story short, if you have ever felt to intimidated to make scallops, stop right now. You know how many amazing scallops you can eat at home for the same price as three on your plate in a fancy restaurant? Learning to make amazing perfect Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops will be a skill that sticks to your side like those little tender tid bits clinging to their shells.

Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops

So this isn’t the first time I’ve waxed poetic about scallops

 

I can’t believe it’s October. Today the little man and I had a date and frolicked in the leaves, enjoying the sunshine after a full on yoga sesh. It was gorgeous to look at him in such a state of pure joy as I threw little dried piles of leaves on him. Like how much happier can you get? Even in the midst of chaos and hardship that smile makes everything okay. Oh and he adooooores scallops!

Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops with Avocado Salsa Verde and Wilted Mizuna

Ingredients

    For the salsa verde
  • 1 lb tomatillos
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • handful cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno (seeds removed for less spice)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • For the scallops
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1 lb sea scallops
  • 8-12 slices prosciutto
  • For the mizuna
  • 1 bundle mizuna greens
  • 1 tsp bacon fat

Instructions

    For the salsa verde
  1. Heat oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the tomatillos in half and place on a parchment lined baking sheet with the garlic and onion. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes until the tomatillos are soft.
  3. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until well combined.
  4. For the scallops
  5. Rinse and dry the scallops very well (key) add salt and pepper liberally on both sides.
  6. Use a cast iron pan for optimal results. Heat pan with olive oil until sizzling. Drop the scallops one by one but be sure not to overcrowd them, leave about an inch of space between each one. Do them in batches if need be. Do not touch them once you put them in the pan. Wait about 2 minutes cooking on medium-high heat before flipping, cook for another minute or two on the other side, turning the heat up a bit as the pan will have slightly cooled.
  7. Transfer to a plate and wrap with a slice of prosciutto.
  8. For the mizuna
  9. Add the bacon fat and mizuna to the same pan you cooked the scallops in. Cover for 30 seconds et voila.
  10. Serve with scallops and a dollop of salsa verde
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Paleo Salmon and Scallop Chowder

Paleo Salmon and Scallop Chowder

Paleo Salmon and Scallop Chowder

 

 

Ahoy there mates!

I live in a place that resembles a town by the sea, the vastness of Kootenay lake allows the imagination to easily play pretend. Walking along the shore line there’s even a faint fishy smell and the rocks could easily be shells. The fish aren’t as abundant as they were once upon a time, but alas, things change.

I keep a little stockpile of wild sockeye salmon for days where the extra omega-3’s are a Godsend. Have I mentioned how important omega-3 fatty acids really are, seriously when I am lacking in these healthy fats my whole demeanour changes and my skin gets all mangled. So having steadfast super yummy and omega-3 rich recipe like this bomb dot com chowdah is essential!

Paleo Salmon and Scallop Chowder

I implore you to try it out even if your a chowder skeptic like J, this chowder passes the test. Brimming with nourishing creamy broth, tender scallops and nutrient dense wild salmon. I like to keep the spices minimal, a bit of fresh dill and green onion is all that’s needed and this dish comes together in a pinch. Searing the scallops before adding them to the soup gives a really nice texture but its totally optional, check out my post on how to perfectly sear scallops.

 

 

Paleo Salmon and Scallop Chowder

 

Paleo Salmon and Scallop Chowder
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb sockeye salmon, bones and skin removed
  • ½ lb fresh scallops, seared (optional)
  • 1 Tbs ghee
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 large white or yellow potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh dill, chopped
  • 6 C chicken stock
  • 4 Tbs coconut cream
  • 1 Tbs tapioca flour+1 Tbs cold water (optional thickener)
  • 2 green onion, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large pot add ghee, onion and garlic, fry until translucent.
  2. Add fennel, fish sauce, potatoes and salt and stir well.
  3. Cut salmon into chunks and add with fresh dill and chicken stock.
  4. Cover and let this simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add scallops and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut cream, tapioca and water and mix well until nice and thick.
  7. Serve with fresh green onion and fennel fronds.

 

Paleo Salmon and Scallop Chowder