For approximately a year now, I’ve been volunteering for an amazing organization here in Boulder, called There With Care. There With Care’s mission is to provide a wide range of thoughtful and fundamental services to children and families during the critical phase of a medical crisis. They serve families referred by medical agencies, by building a network of services and people who ease the burden of life’s day-to-day obligations with compassion and care. I have been working on There With Care’s Team Chop, where we prep simple, healthy, and easy to cook CrockPot meals for each of the families. It has been an amazing organization to work for. We have an incredile team of people on our team, dedicating their time once a week to help eleviate some of the burden these families are facing.
So, after a year of working with Team Chop, I finally bought myself a slow-cooker (CrockPot). It has been fun experimenting with some new recipes. One of which was another creation by my foodie-17-year-old. Takes a total of 10 minutes to prep, and has very few ingredients. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
- 3 lb pork shoulder
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp oil
- 8 tomatillos – quartered
- 2 jalapenos – (remove seeds for less spice – chop into large chunks)
- 1 onion – large chunks
- 4 garlic cloves – quartered
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pork shoulder into 1 inch pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In an iron skillet on high heat, add 1 tbsp of butter and add half of the pork, making sure not to crowd the pan. Braise each piece so they are nice and brown, and crispy. Repeat with the second batch of meat. Set aside. Meanwhile, toss the tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, and garlic in the oil. Salt, then place onto a baking sheet and roast them, until they start to brown slightly, apprximately 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and place ingredients into a food processor or blender. Salt to taste. Place the meat into the crockpot and pour the pureed mixture ontop. Cook on low heat for 6 hours. Serve with rice, and black beans with sour cream.
It’s finally winter, and I really wanted to something that was hearty, healthy and warm. It’s been years since I’ve made this Ayurvedic dal (Dahl), but it has always been one of my favorite dishes. I learned this recipe over 18 years ago when my husband and I visited the Deepak Chopra Center in La Jolla, Ca. We stayed there for a week and attended spiritual classes, yoga classes, daily massage treatments, and Ayurvedic cooking classes, and even had a chance to meet Deepak in person! A truly “life-changing” experience! The recipe we made at the Center was a mung Dal, but I could only find Chana Dal at my local grocer. Channa Dal is a small relative of the chickpea and has a yellowish color. Its flavor is slightly sweet. If you can’t find channa dal use yellow mung dal, or yellow split peas. In preparing Dal, it is important to soften it well and cook it long enough so that it takes on a creamy consistency. ( I ended up soaking mine for 2 hours, then cooking for 2 more hours).
- 2 cups dry Chana Dal
- 5 cups water
- 2 tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- 1 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
- 2 tbsp of minced garlic
- 2 tbsp pureed ginger
- 2 tsp of mustard seed
- 2 tsp of coriander
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- 1 tsp of cumin
- salt to taste
- a sprinkle of asafoetida (helps with digestion) – get online or Indian Market
- cilantro for garnish
Wash Chana Dal; drain. Soak in water for 2 hours. Cook Chana dal in water in a medium-sized saucepan covered over medium heat until soft, about 1.5-2 hours, depending on the dal! In a small frying pan heat the ghee and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add in the onions, ginger and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, making sure not to brown the garlic. Add it all of the spices, and stir so the onions are covered. Then add the spice-onion mixture to the chana dal pot and stir. Add salt and asafoetida. Cook for additional 10 minutes. The texture of the dal should be creamy. Serve with a garnish of cilantro. If not concerned about paleo, you can serve with garlic Naan or basmati rice.
Here are some other great resources for Ayurvedic Meals:
“The Ayurvedic Cookbook” – by Amadea Morningstar
“Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living” – by Thomas Yarema, Daniel Rhoda and Johnny Brannigan
“The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook: A Seasonal Guide to Eating and Living Well” – by Kate O’Donnell and Cara Brostrom
I’m always trying to find new and different flavors to combine with pork chops, other than the traditional apple. So, I reached for my ever trustworthy and inspirational book, “The Flavor Bible“. It had all of these ingredients listed in the “affinities” section. And I actually did get the thumbs up from my hyper-critical-foodie-son to add it to my blog. Hope you enjoy!
- 4 Pork loin chops
- 3 organic peaches or 1 bag frozen peaches (thawed), chopped into 1/2″ chunks
- 12 fresh sage leaves, fried
- 12 leaves, small slices
- 2 tbsp of butter (if Paleo and avoiding dairy, use olive oil)
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Drizzle of balsamic reduction (recipe here)
- salt and pepper to taste
In an iron skillet, on high heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Salt pork chops. Add the pork chops and cook 5 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Remove pork chops and let rest. Add in 1 tbsp butter, balsamic vinegar and reduce down, cooking about a minute. Add in the chopped peaches, and sliced sage, stir around to cover and cook until semi-soft, approximately 3 minutes. Remove peaches and place on top of pork chops. Drizzle balsamic reduction over peaches and pork. Add salt and pepper to the dish and place 3 fried sage leaves. Serves 4.
I love to have bone/meat broth on hand at all times. Especially, when my husband makes his Italian Risotto. This broth is truly the key to the most hearty, deep and rich risotto. We also use the broth occasionally to flavor pasta, rice, or even broccoli. It’s also great for sauces! The little Italian ladies in the country-side of northern Italy would make this for my husband, when he came down with a cold so it has some amazing health benefits: containing minerals, healthy fats, collagen, amino acids, and more.
- 3 beef bones (soup bones)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large chopped onion (or 2 medium)
- 8 chopped carrots
- 8 chopped celery stalks
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp of salt (more if desired)
- 1 whole fryer chicken
- 1 ½ lb. beef (I used top round steaks)
Begin by roasting your soup bones. I like to set my oven to 375ºF and bake my bones and meat for about 30 minutes, or until they begin to brown. In a 20 quart stock pot add in olive oil and chopped onions, cook for 2 minutes, then add in the carrots and celery. Stir to coat with oil and cook for 5 minutes. Add in salt and bay leaves. Add in 12 cups of water (preferably filtered). Scrape the roasted bones into the pot along with any juices. Add in the chicken and beef. Add more water if necessary to cover bones, meats and vegetables. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally, for at least 8 but up to 24 hours on the stovetop. The longer you simmer it, the better your broth will be. Add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged. Once the broth has cooled down, you’re ready to strain it and store it! Strain it through a fine sieve. Your broth will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, or a few months in the freezer.
I love being in the kitchen with my son! He is able to identify missing ingredients, textures and even color in a dish. We made this Spicy Tuna Poke together, taking inspiration from several recipes on the internet, and made our own alterations in order to improve taste and texture, customizing it to our (his) liking. 😉
Tuna Poke Ingredients:
- ½ lb diced ahi or maguro
- 3 tb minced red or sweet onion
- 2 tb tobiko (flying fish roe) plus more for use as a topping
- ⅓ cup mayo (Hellmans or Best Foods)
- 1 tb sugar or honey (for paleo)
- 2 tb shoyu
- 3 tb Sriracha (or more to taste)
- 1 diced red chili-pepper (optional)
- 1 tb sesame oil
- 2 stalks scallions minced – green parts only
- 1 large pealed and julienned cucumber
Directions for tuna:
– Combine mayo, sugar shoyu, and Sriracha
– Gently mix together tuna, onions, chillies and green onions
– Add mayo mixture and tobiko, mix gently
– Add sesame oil, taste an adjust flavoring
As you can tell, I had some fun with my food and plated on a bed of finely diced cucumber. I used a Spam musubi mold to get the shape.
Sushi rice cakes
- 1 cup cooked sushi rice
- 1 cup organic canola oil
Use round or square mold to create 1-½” thick layer of rice. Place oil in small sauce pan heat on high. Place molded cooked rice, into oil with a slotted spoon. Cook approximately 2 minutes, then turn over to cook other side. Should be a little browned on both sides, and crunchy. Place cucumber on a plate, add the crunchy rice patty and add the Spicy Tuna Poke. Top with 1 tsp of tobiko. Add a few slices of green onion and Voilá. Some other options are to add some diced avocado and cucumber into the tuna mixture. Be sure to mix gently as you do not want to squish the avocados.