Grain & Dairy Free Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

It's still officially summer here, which means the girls have not returned to school, and we are still enjoying the peak of seasonal bounty in the form of blueberries and peaches.  I have to say when I see others IG accounts boasting of peaches in early July my heart sings a sad song.  That is until August comes here, when it's peaches in smoothies, peaches in pies, and peach juice dribbling down my chin.  

Add to that the ever present tang and sweetness culminated in a perfect, straight from the bush blueberry.  The girls and I went to Ben's work last Friday, where there are blueberry bushes to eat from.  Needless to say, we enjoyed a few ourselves.  

It reminded me how eating fruit should be.  The taste is unadulterated and waiting out in the winter months to eat to my hearts content in the summer months is sure worth it.  

Try this simple grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free cobbler.  It's not overly sweet, and perfect for dessert to a morning treat.  

Grain & Dairy Free Peach-Blueberry Cobbler (printable recipe)

Ingredients:

Filling:

1 pint blueberries

5-6 peaches, peeled and cut into slices

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

juice from half of a lemon

2 Tb arrowroot powder

Crust:

2 cups blanched almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup arrowroot powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 egg

Plus another egg for a wash

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine blueberries and peaches.  Add maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon juice and gently mix.  Sprinkle the arrowroot powder over and gently mix in.  Allow to sit for 10-30 minutes.

In another large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and arrowroot powder till it is thoroughly disbursed.  Add the coconut sugar and mix throughout.  With a fork or pastry blender, combine the coconut oil into the dry ingredients.  Once the coconut oil is broken down into small pea size pieces, add the beaten up egg to the crust.  Combine until the dough is wet.  

In a 9x9 pan add the filling.  Set it aside.

With your hands, form the dough into patties or discs.  They should measure roughly 1/8 to 1/4 inch in height.  You should be able to make six discs of dough.  Place each disc on top of the filling so as to cover the entire surface. Try your best to not overlap them.

Take your last egg and lightly beat it.  With a pastry brush, brush the tops of the dough.  Put into the oven to bake for 30 minutes.  

Allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  

***The maple syrup in the filling is adjustable.  For less sweet, only use 1/4 cup.  For more sweet, use 1/2 cup.  

***This pairs lovely with full fat plain yogurt as well.   

Easy Peasy Limey Squeezy Carne Asada

If you're familiar with cuts of a cow; then, you know you are only alloted two flanks in one beef cow.  There are so many recipes, which call for a flank.  Prior to ever buying our own cow I had never given it much thought. Like most Americans, you simply go to the store and choose the cut of meat you need for the desired recipe.  

Now, I don't think this is bad. What I do value is knowing where our food comes from and being a bit educated about the various cuts, in order to be an ethical, mindful eater.  I want to be more than a consumer.  So, when we buy our half a cow, I am rather picky about what I do with these rare cuts (brisket, tenderloin are some others).  

So you can imagine how I felt when I walked into the kitchen one day to see my selfless husband making dinner for us; but, to my dismay the flank steak had been used in the process.  See, I pine over what exactly I'm going to make with that cut. I stow it away using the plethora of hamburger until my salivating can no longer be subdued. 

It's very possible I cried inside and worked through loving in spite of it; because, truly he's so good. And, truth be told, I would most likely never use the flank for any of those fancy recipes. We know I would use it for the days of my Arizona youth...carne asada. 

Carne asada means "grilled meat." This is one of the most popular dishes served up on weekends in Arizona.  Add a couple Corona beers with lime, and it's a complete fiesta.  It's best to keep it simple. 

A word on flank steak and carne asada:

Flank is a tough, slender piece from the abdominal section of a beef cow.  This means, in order for it to become tender, a good marinade is necessary to tenderize it.  Marinating flank or a London Broil doesn't have to be fancy.  For the carne asada, I use minimal ingredients and salt is NOT one of them.  You don't need to add salt to your marinade.  In fact, using salt in a marinade for grass-fed beef specifically can dry it out. 

All you need is a tupperware container, or in my instance, two plastic bags (one being an old bread bag) to put the meat inside to sit in the marinade.  I used red onions, because it was already on my counter.  If you only have yellow, go for it.  You could use lemon in place of lime; but, really--why? Olive oil for the fat, lime juice for the acid, garlic and onions for added flavor.  Couple turns of the black pepper grinder should work nicely.  Let it marinade in the fridge for 6-8 hours.  Remove excess oil, add some coarse salt before grilling on both sides and grill it up.  

You'll want to serve it up with extra lime wedges & sliced radishes.  If you're avoiding grains, and the idea of making grain-free tortillas sounds exhausting (can I get an amen?); then, bake some sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for an hour (depending on size).  

Carne Asada Paleo Style (printable recipe)

Be sure to make my Mango-Avocado salsa salad with this, as it's perfect pairing

Ingredients: 

one flank steak

half red onion or yellow onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil


Additional ingredients:

coarse salt

Directions:

In a sealable bag, or tupperware container, place your flank steak inside.  Add the garlic, onions, lime juice, olive oil and ground pepper.  Be sure to completely cover the flank with the marinade and allowing it to sit in the juices.  Place in your fridge to marinate for 6-8 hours.

Heat up your grill to high. Take your flank out of the marinade, and ensure that it's not completely coated with the marinade.  You're looking for it to not be sopping with oil as to avoid grease fires and burning of the meat.  Sprinkle coarse salt liberally on each side of the flank.  Place on the hot grill, close the lid, and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side.  I cooked mine for 6 minutes on each side and it was done. If you like a more medium rare flank, then cook for 4 minutes on each side.  

One thing to keep in mind is there can be a thicker part and a thinner part to the flank, which would affect cooking times. Once done, remove to a platter and place foil over it to rest for 10 minutes, so the juices don't run out and result in a dry steak.

Once it is has rested, you will want to cut it against the grain in thin slices. Serves 6-8.

Mango-Avocado Salsa Salad

As I stood in my kitchen the other day dreaming up ideas of Whole30 meals, mangos and avocados came to mind.  Originally I pictured these long sliced avocados with slices of mango and freshly squeezed lime poured over them with a sprinkling of salt.  I wanted to keep it simple.

The idea morphed into me standing in my kitchen looking out as my girls were playing in our "summer" weather in spring eating popsicles. They engrossed in their play, and I with mine yielding the chef's knife and paring knife as I concocted a salsa salad utilizing two of my favorite fruits. As I sat there paring off the remainder of the skin close to the seed, I looked at this jewel and quickly bit right in.  

Growing up my dad was known affectionately for his deep love for fruit, which was clearly passed onto all of us kids.  Subsequently, it has been transferred to my children (true mark of Bill Soto's descendants).  Us kids would sit around the coffee table on a Sunday summer night watching my dad slice away the peel of the mango. Each peel quickly found its home in one of our hands. Then, as we tossed the eaten scraps into the garbage, we awaited the coveted seed to suck eat and suck any remaining mango. 

There at my counter, I reminisced of those days to find myself resorting back to the ways of my childhood.  My girls ran into the kitchen in similar fashion and I smiled. "Your Grandpa Soto would peel mangos for your Uncle Andrew and Uncle Willy and myself like this," as I cut through with the paring knife. "We would eat the mango from the peel. Do you want a peel?" I asked knowing full well the answer. As they devoured the remains, I began to get to the seed.  Just like my father, "as a kid, this was my favorite part...the seed!," as I handed each of them a seed only to have it returned in annihilated fashion.

Food reminded me that day how it tells rich stories. It can take give us a bit of redemption in our less than redemptive history by giving us what was good amidst it.  For me, it's mangos. This Mango-Avocado Salsa Salad is exactly that for me...and I have a feeling it's the beginning of those little hands story.

 

Mango-Avocado Salsa Salad (printable recipe)

This could easily be served by itself. However, I think it pairs exceptionally well with a piece of grilled meat. More specifically, carne asada.

Ingredients

4 mangos, 

2 avocados,

2-3 radishes, thinly sliced, julienned, and minced

1/4 - 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 jalapeno, minced with seeds and stem removed

1 Tb fresh cilantro

Directions:

Take your ripe mangos and slice off both sides as close to the seed as possible.  Score the cut off mango into 1/2 inch squares by cutting across in one diagonal after the other. Then, cut crosswise one after the other until you're left with squares.  Pull down the peel to expose the mango chunks so they are not touching.  With either your hands or a paring knife, cut the mango squares from the skin.  Put them into a medium bowl.

**You can get the rest of the mango off the skin, or do as I did and eat them with my kids.

Take your avocados and cut down the middle. Remove the pit by hitting it with the heel of a chef's knife. Using a towel to protect your hand not using the knife to hold onto the avocado to keep it sturdy, gently turn the pit with the chef's knife attached. Cut diagonal rows one way and then perpendicular the other way to make little squares.  Take a spoon and scoop out the avocado.  Add to the bowl of mangos. 

Thinly slice radishes. I used a mandolin. Cut thin slices into juliennes then into a small dice. 

Add the lime juice, salt, and radishes.  Taste. If you would like more salt, add in small increments until it reaches your fancy.  Same with the jalapeno. I only added a small portion of minced jalapeno, because my girls were going to be eating it.  If you're not serving weak tongues, add more.  Add your cilantro. Drizzle with avocado oil or EVOO. Stir it all up and serve with additional cilantro for garnish and leftover slices of radishes.