Paleo Jalapeño Poppers

Paleo Jalapaño Poppers

La risa es el lenguaje del alma. - Pablo Neruda 

In English, it translates to: Laughter is the language of the soul.

I've been having a lot of fun practicing my Spanish around the house lately, even though I don't have anyone to really converse with. I'll speak a phase at Oliver, and he'll give me a look: I don't know what you're saying. I don't know what he thinks, but I think it's working: slowly but surely he's calling things by their Spanish name, almost always adding an -ito, or a -cito afterwards. Cafecito! Huevito! And of course even a few words that should end in -ita: Lechito! Occasionally those will all end up in a single sentence together, a slur of little things, some made up and some real. 

It never fails to make me laugh--to make my soul smile. 

Paleo Jalapeño Poppers

So of course when I started working on this recipe, we needed to find out how to say Jalapeño Poppers in Spanish, something that despite my degree in translation, I needed Google to answer for me (they don't teach things like that in school, go figure). Do you know what it is? Can you guess? 

Paleo Jalapeño Poppers

It's Jalapeño Poppers. Not quite believing that at first, I turned from Google Translate to forums on the web, even looking up popper recipes in Spanish. Sure enough, Jalapeño Poppers is what I got back. It was somewhat disappointing, until we started adding the diminutive, and then we just started laughing, and my soul smiled again. 

Jalapeñito Popperitos. (I'm pretty sure that's totally wrong. But for the purpose of this story, it's just right -- all of the nonsense and none of the grammar).

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Paleo Jalapeño Poppers

Paleo Jalapeño Poppers

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan    |   

Traditional jalapeño poppers are stuffed with a mixture of cheeses and dipped in batter and then deep fried. This healthier version is vegan and paleo friendly, made with a cashew cheese and baked.

Serves: 10    |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight and strained
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • A few pinches salt
  • 5 jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cassava
  • 1 tablespoon almond
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and 1 pinch of salt. Blend on high, or pulse the food processor, several times, scraping the sides in-between. Blend until a smooth, creamy paste forms.
  2. Slice the peppers the long direction, and use a knife to remove the seeds (CAUTION: Do not touch your eyes while doing this, and afterwards, wash your hands with hot water and good soap before touching anything).
  3. Using a spoon or butter knife, fill the cavity of each pepper with the cashew cream.
  4. Now, heat the coconut oil and coconut milk in a small bowl until the oil melts. Whisk briefly. Then, on a small plate, mix together the cassava flour, almond flour, another pinch of salt, paprika, and onion powder. Working with one pepper at a time, dip the entire thing in the milk mixture — rolling it to coat all sides. Then, roll the pepper in the flour mixture. Tap to release excess flour, and place on a well-greased cookie sheet (or a well-greased oven-safe skillet). Repeat with all of the peppers.
  5. Bake 14-16 minutes. Then turn the oven to a low broil and bake for 1-2 more minutes to give them a golden finish. Remove from oven. Remove from oven, and allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Almond Muffins (Paleo)

Blueberry Almond Muffins - Paleo

The light came in through a window behind my back, over the sink and past the counter where my grandpa would make breakfast sausage in the mornings. Next to that was the fridge, decorated humbly with only a few cards. On the wall hung an off-white phone, it's cord long and tangled from use. The counters and the oven door were a faded tawny orange color, the wooden cabinets a deep mahogany, with golden stain--or at least that's how it is my memory. They're given no help from the rusty colored vinyl floors, which reflect an extra orange glow onto everything in the room. 

I sit in a kitchen chair with metal legs and a faux leather cushion. My grandma has pulled my hair back into a pony tail but it's like you would expect from any toddler: the stray wisps are everywhere, escaping the elastic ponytail holder and doing their own thing. That's where time is frozen: I'm pouring fresh blueberries into a bowl of batter, while my grandpa snaps a picture. The mixing bowl, bigger than my head, is also orange. Daringly, I'm wearing no apron, just a floral dress with puffy, short sleeves (it is the '90s). 

Blueberry Almond Muffins - Paleo

If it weren't for that picture, I wouldn't remember this day. Actually, I'm not sure if I do remember this day--my memories from being in this house are fleeting, single moments that fade and disappear before they really emerge. But because of this photo, I feel like I remember making those muffins. Not just those muffins, but many muffins. I feel like I remember preparing that same recipe every time I visited, setting my fate as a baker early. 

Blueberry Almond Muffins - Paleo

Many years later (and many times in-between), I would go back to visit. Everything was as it had been: orange vinyl, white phone, that dated oven door. Most of the cards on the fridge were the same, only a few were added to the mix. This picture sat in a frame in the living room, amongst 20 or 30 others. My grandma told me that when my younger cousins found the photo, they asked her if they could also learn to make muffins. Instead she taught each of them a different recipe, leaving her legacy behind in the whisks and folds of homey pastries.

Blueberry Almond Muffins (Paleo)

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Sweet blueberries are accented by toasted almonds in this tender muffin.

Yields: 6    |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/16 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoon raw honey
  • ½ cup coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 scant tablespoons cassava flour
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and fit a muffin pan with 6 muffin liners.
  2. Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: almond flour, cassava flour, salt, baking soda.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: honey, coconut milk, vinegar, vanilla, melted coconut oil.
  4. When the wet ingredients are fully combined, add the dry ingredients to the wet 1/2 at a time, stirring in-between. A batter will form. Once no clumps remain, fold in the blueberries gently.
  5. Using two spoons, scoop the batter into muffin liners until they are about 5/6 of the way full. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of slivered almond and then bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Set on cooling wrack to cool 10 minutes.

Artichokes with Lemon Mint Butter

Artichokes with Lemon Mint Butter - Paleo

The artichoke is the queen of all vegetables (even though it is not a vegetable at all, but that is besides the point). With petals gallantly arranged like a crown, artichokes are limited in number at the store, and therefore we all save them for special occasions. Some might say this is because artichokes are too large to eat by one's self, which I can attest too, because I often try (and succeed,) and then feel quite a bit too full afterwards. I never learn though--how could I? Artichokes are a temptress in their own right.  

Artichokes with Lemon Mint Butter - Paleo
Artichokes with Lemon Mint Butter - Paleo

I learned my love of artichokes from my mom, who is from California, where artichokes actually grow. I can only imagine the superiority of an artichoke freshly plucked and directly steamed. Despite the fact that any artichoke I can find has been crated, freighted, and stored, I still buy them, at least a few each spring. I usually dip the leaves, one at a time, in butter with a little lemon juice, until I get to the center when the leaves and too small to bother with, and then I secure 4 or 5 leaves all at once, pulling them off together, and dip them in the butter as one. When the small leaves are gone and all that remains are a few transparent leaflets, I get impatient and scrape away the choke with a knife or a spoon. I slice the heart into quarters, and lap up the remaining sauce. Even the stem is eaten, and without hesitation. 

Artichokes with Lemon Mint Butter - Paleo

This year I discovered something new entirely: adding mint and garlic to the sauce. This discovery was almost a mistake--we had leftover mint pesto that was begging for use. I stirred it into my lemon-butter and my heart melted. Artichokes, which I already loved so dearly, were new again. I would go to the store the very next day and buy another bundle of these vegetable queens.

Artichokes with Lemon Mint Butter - Paleo

Artichokes with Lemon Mint Butter

Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Artichokes are the queen of all vegetables, and deserve a heroic dipping sauce.

Serves: 4    |    Total Active Time:



Ingredients:

  • 2 whole, fresh artichokes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 ounce mint
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare the artichokes: using a sharp knife, cut off the top-most part of the petals, removing the sharp spikes at the tips of the petals. Use scissors to remove the sharp bits of any of the short, outer petals that can not be cut off with a knife.
  2. Steam the artichokes: pour 1 inch of water in a large pot, and fit it with a steam basket. Place artichokes in the steam basket and steam for 30-40 minutes, until a petal can easily be plucked and is tender when you try to eat it. Optional: The cooking process can be greatly sped up by using a pressure cooker. Simple put the water and steam basket in the pot of your pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) and set the timer for 12 minutes on the pot has pressurized.
  3. While the artichokes cook, prepare the sauce: Place the garlic and pine nuts in the small bowl of a food processor, if you have one (if your food processor only has a large bowl that is fine — you will just need to scrape the sides a bit more to ensure everything gets minced well). Pulse the food processor until the nuts and garlic are ground into a meal. Add the mint, lemon, and butter and pulse again until the mint is chopped fine and the butter and lemon juice is emulsified. If the butter begins to harden that is fine — simple reheat for 15 seconds at a time in the microwave, or over very low heat in a small sauce pan. Over heating will cause the mint to oxidize, which changes the look of the sauce more than the flavor.
  4. Serve the sauce in small dipping bowls alongside the artichokes.