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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
For the salsa verde
1 lb tomatillos
3 garlic cloves
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 tbs lime juice
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
For the salsa verde
Heat oven to 400F.
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.
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until well combined.
For the scallops
Rinse and dry the scallops very well (key) add salt and pepper liberally on both sides.
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.
Transfer to a plate and wrap with a slice of prosciutto.
For the mizuna
Add the bacon fat and mizuna to the same pan you cooked the scallops in. Cover for 30 seconds et voila.
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.