Shortbread

WIN_20160229_140753 (2)Hey guys,  did you miss me?  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in over two weeks.  I didn’t plan it but you know, sometimes life happens.   My kitchen was tore up for over a week while my land lord made repairs.  The only thing that saved me was being able to put my Instant Pot mini in the living room and trying things there.  Unfortunately,  my Instant Pot mini recipes aren’t quite ready to go so you are going to have to make these short bread cookies instead.

Basic Shortbread

Adapted From Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
6 TBS brown sugar
4 tsp lightly beaten egg yolk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 – 1/4 tsp salt
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on low for about 30 seconds. Keep the mixer on low speed, beat in the egg yolk, then the flour, cornstarch and salt, until the mixture barely holds together. Lay a piece of waxed paper on the counter, place the dough onto it and shape it like a log. Wrap the log tightly in the waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

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Paleo Almond Butter Strawberry Zucchini Muffins

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What do you do when you make muffin batter and you can’t find your muffin tins?  You bake your muffins in 5 inch deep dish pie pans.  Isn’t that what everybody does?   Seriously guys,  I keep all my baking stuff in the cupboards above the stove.  My muffin pans aren’t there and I  can’t find them anywhere.  It is driving me crazy that I can’t find them.

I am one of those rare  cooks who loves to bake as much they love to cook.   My absolute favorite thing to bake is muffins.  I love turning on the oven on a cold, rainy, or snowy day and filling my apartment with warm, sweet smells.   I have been interested in learning to bake with alternative flours  for a while but never tried it  because alternative flours can be expensive.  I decided try this paleo muffin recipe because I already everything but the coconut flour after of doing a couple of rounds of Whole 30.  I can afford the $4.50 for a couple of pounds of coconut flour.

I also wanted to try this recipe because I know I can count on recipes from Physical Kitchness to work and taste good.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The muffins had good texture and were lightly sweet.  They were tender and moist, everything a muffin should be.  I think this recipe would make a good base for many other muffin experiments.

Almond Butter Strawberry Zucchini Muffins

From Physical Kitchness

1 cup strawberries, halved

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup honey

3 TBS melted  coconut oil

3 eggs

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup finely  diced strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Place mufifin liners in the muffin tin, set aside.   Shred the zucchini and place it in a colendar.  Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and let sit for 10 minutes.  Add the halved strawberries,  almond butter, melted coconut oil, and honey in a blender and blend  until creamy and  well combined.  Pour the almond butter/strawberry mixture into a medium bowl.  Add the eggs,  zucchini, vanilla and apple cider vinegar.   Mix  until well combined.  In another bowl,  combine the coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix  until just combined.  Fill each muffin liner 2/3 full.  Top each muffin  with finely diced strawberries.  Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted  in the center comes out clean.

The Fast Five (Whole 30)

Taped to the inside of my  cupboard doors are 5 recipes.  I always keep the ingredients for these recipes on hand for those days when cooking seems like a chore, not a joy.  The recipes can be made in 20 minutes or less. The recipes weren’t Whole 30 so I can’t use them on a round.  I really missed them.  So I decided before I did my second round I would have a Whole 30 version of my fast five.  This is what I came up with.  At this point,  I probably could add many more quick and easy recipes to this list.  Like cooking in general,  cooking a Whole 30 only has to be as complicated as you want to make it. Find the non Whole 30 recipes for my Fast Five under the title of What to Cook When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking.

Sloppy Joes

Pan Fried Sardines

Teriyaki Chicken

 20 Minute Beef and Zuccini Stir Fry

Tuna Salad, 2 Ways

Equipping Your Whole 30 Kitchen

You don’t need a lot of specialized equipment to do a Whole 30.  Pressure cookers are helpful and spiralizers make your food look pretty but they are just not necessary.   This post assumes you have the basic kitchen equipment of pots, pan, measuring cups and spoons and a chef’s knife.  The following are things I found helpful in my Whole 30.

  1. Paring Knives  You are going to be doing a lot of chopping and peeling on your Whole 30 so you are going to need decent, ie sharp knives.  I like Zyliss paring knives from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  They come in a 2 pack with one blade serrated and one not for around $9.  The only bad thing is the knives can’t be sharpened.  It doesn’t really matter what kind of knives you get as long as they are sharp.
  2. A cutting board  I prefer wood to plastic because they don’t dull your knives are fast.  The main thing here is to get as big of board as possible.  There is nothing more frustrating than trying to chop a lot of vegetables in a little space.
  3. Vegetable peeler If you are handy with your knives you can use it to peel your vegetables.  The rest of us need a vegetable peeler.
  4. Small, medium and large mixing bowls  As someone who cooks and bakes a lot, I always thought I had enough mixing bowls.  When I did the Whole 30, I discovered I had a lot of small mixing bowls but no medium or large mixing bowls.  Get at least one 2 quart and one 4 quart mixing bowls.  You will save yourself some mess and ingredient waste.
  5. Food grade storage containers Like mixing bowls, you can never have too many food storage containers in all sizes.
  6.  Quarter sheet pans  These are the work horses in my kitchen, I use them for the majority of what I cook in the oven.  Make sure they have  a rim to catch meat juices and any oil or ghee you use for roasting things.

These are the things I found make cooking during your Whole 30 easier.

Preparing Your Whole 30 Pantry

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Yesterday we cleared the non compliant food out of our pantry.  Today we need to stock compliant ingredients for our Whole 30.  The question is what do we need to have to have a well stocked,  Whole 30 compliant kitchen?  That is a really hard question to answer because I don’t know what you like to eat.  I am going to list the things I have in my pantry that I use frequently.  I will tell you which ones you should definitely have in your pantry from the beginning and which ones are nice to have but if you can’t find them or don’t have the money for them aren’t necessary.

  1.  Meat –  I keep chicken thighs, ground beef and a few pork chops in my freezer all the time.  I stock up on things like steak, pork roast, ground chicken and ground turkey when I  find them on reduction for quick sale or on sale in general.
  2. Vegetables — Vegetables are the back bone of the Whole 30.  I always keep onions, celery and carrots available along with a big container of salad greens.  I try a least one new kind of vegetable every week.  I usually buy vegetables two or three times a week so they don’t go bad before I can use them.
  3. Coconut Aminos —  There aren’t many things I consider mandatory for any kitchen as we all have different tastes in food.  However,  Coconut aminos are one thing you absolutely need for you Whole 30 pantry.  Coconut aminos are used as a substitute for soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Red Boat fish sauce — Red Boat fish sauce is the only compliant fish sauce available at this time.   It can be tricky  to find.  If you can’t find it you can make it through a Whole 30 without it but I have used it in enough recipes that I can recommend you pick up a bottle if you see it.
  5. Arrowroot and Almond flour — Arrowroot is great for thickening things like gravy.  Almond meal is great for binding things like meatballs, meatloaf and salmon patties.  Both arrowroot and almond meal make an excellent coating for frying things.
  6. Medjool dates — I use Medjool dates in many of my Whole 30 recipes to provide sweetness.
  7. Canned coconut milk — I use a lot of coconut milk on my Whole 30 in place of dairy.  Some people say they can taste coconut in the things they make with coconut milk, I have never found that to be a problem.  If you do, feel free to use another form of non– dairy milk.

These are the 7 things I use the most often in my compliant kitchen.  You will find other things you may like to have in your kitchen as you go a long and  I am assuming you have the basic kitchen inventory like tomato products, herbs and spices and broths.  With the addition of these 7 things to your basic pantry you will have the ability to conquer the world of Whole 30 cooking.