Pesto Scallops with Bacon

This recipe seems pretty fancy, but is super-easy (especially if you already have some pesto in your freezer!).  So if you want to impress your spouse on a romantic evening, or have something extra-ordinary but quick, or just want to treat yourself, this is your recipe!  It probably would be good with shrimp and/or crab too.  And if your spouse isn’t Paleo, like mine, I poured half the scallop mixture over pasta for him.  Poor guy.

1 pound of scallops (I used bay because they were cheaper.  But if I wasn’t on a budget I would have gone for the larger sea scallops, they’re my favorite.), rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
4 slices of bacon, diced
1-2 zucchini, Julienne peeled
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup Easy AIP Pesto

Do you have a Julienne peeler?  If not, I recommend this one from Kuhn Rikon.  It’s a little pricey, but I make noodles now out of just about anything!  I also have a spiral slicer but it tends to make larger spirals than the Julienne peeler.  Which sometimes you want, but sometimes you don’t.  For this I wanted a small delicate noodle, so I went with the Julienne peeler.

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Start by getting your pan good and hot.  Then add the bacon and stir until starting to brown.

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Add the scallops.  They will cook quickly so make sure everything else is prepared before you add them.  Seriously, they cook in just a couple of minutes.

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Start stirring.  After a minute when the scallops seem mostly cooked, dump in the pesto.

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Stir to distribute the pesto, then add the zucchini noodles.

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Stir for another minute, then add the juice from 1/2 lemon.  Season with salt and pepper (if you tolerate) and enjoy!

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Categories: AIP, Fish, Recipes, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy AIP Pesto

My dad first started experimenting with Pesto back in the late 70s.  I remember loving basil pesto (on pasta!) so much that I would beg to have the leftovers for breakfast.  Not bad for a picky eater!!

Over the years I have consistently made pesto with the basil harvest from my garden or what I get at the farmer’s market.  When I found out I was allergic to dairy, I started using walnuts in place of the Parmesan and pine nuts.  I think I liked this even better, especially with a little squeeze of lemon.

But now on AIP, no nuts.  I wasn’t sure what to do about pesto with no nuts at all.  Turns out, I didn’t need to worry at all … it’s just fine without any nuts!

Ingredients:

1 large bunch of basil
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil

Put all ingredients into a food processor, blender, or cool processor attachment to your stick blender.  Process until the consistency you want it.

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Now, I’ll share a little secret with you.  I have a large herb garden in my back yard.  In the fall, I harvest lots and lots of herbs to store for the winter.  Some I freeze whole in zip-lock bags.  Some I strip the leaves off and freeze the leaves in zip-lock bags.  And some I puree and freeze in tablespoon-sized chunks.  This is what I do with basil and/or pesto.  I use my handy Pampered Chef 1 Tbs scoop, and scoop onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Then I freeze and store in a zip-lock bag.  When I want pesto on my spaghetti squash I pop a couple out and defrost to mix into my cooked squash.  Yum.  I do this with other things like chipotle peppers and tomato paste too.  That way none of it goes to waste and you have the small sizes most recipes call for.  Some people use ice-cube trays and that works too, I just think they’re a pain to clean (and I don’t want my basil tasting like chipotle) so this works better for me.

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Categories: AIP, Condiments, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Paleo Mayonnaise

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I love mayonnaise.  In fact, I may have a mayo problem.  But I’m okay with that now that I am not eating industrial-seed oil mayo filled with preservatives and other icky things.  I make my own mayo at least weekly.  AND I ferment it to give it a longer shelf life and a bit of tang (and to make it even better for me!).  So I don’t feel guilty about eating it.

No idea what Lacto-Fermentation is all about?  Well, that fancy jar you see my mayo in  is called a Pickl-It.  It is a special vessel that doesn’t allow any air in, so that as the item inside ferments, the air is pushed out through the airlock at the top and leaves only good stuff behind.  To get the most LABs, you need an anaerobic environment (anaerobic means without oxygen).  I’m fairly new to this method of fermentation, but with the Pickl-It, no more failed vegetable ferments.  Kerry-Ann Foster over at Cooking Traditional Foods has a whole video class on Lacto-Fermentation you should check out if you are interested.  She is an amazing source of information.  I also highly recommend Lisa Herndon’s book Lisa’s Counter Culture.

There are many “paleo mayo” recipes out there in web-land, and I’m not sure you need another one from me.  I use the recipe in Lisa’s book.  I’ve also used the one in Make it Paleo.  Since I seem to tolerate egg yolks, and in order to ferment the mayo, it needs salt, I use Lisa’s recipe, minus the mustard (not allowed on AIP).  But my point is, there are probably thousands of recipes on the internet for mayo.

I have a few suggestions to improve your outcome, as I’ve had many friends struggle with getting mayo right.  My method is fool-proof!

1.  Everything must be ROOM TEMPERATURE.  Eggs, oil, lemon, water, everything.  When I know I am going to make mayo, I take everything out of the ‘fridge in the morning and then make the mayo just after lunch.  (That gives it time to ferment on my counter for at least 4 hours before dinner.)

2.  Use ONLY light-tasting olive oil.  Don’t bother with avocado oil or any of the other oils you hear about.  Just “light tasting” olive oil.  Readily available in all grocery stores.

3.  Give up on the blender or food processor.  Yes, I have successfully made mayo in both.  But it takes  f  o  r  e  v  e  r  because you literally have to drip the oil in one drop at a time.  Instead get yourself a tall plastic cup and an immersion blender.  I have a Breville that has a speed adjustment.  This is my second “stick blender” and I just love them.  Useful for all sorts of things.  But makes making mayo a snap as you’ll see in a second.

4.  Seriously consider getting a Pickl-It and Lisa’s book.  Seriously.  I think my healing started accelerating when I started incorporating truly anaerobically lacto-fermented vegetables and condiments into my diet.

Anyway, enough lecturing … here’s the best way to make mayo.  Dump all your ingredients into a tall plastic cup.  Stick the blender in and blend.  You might need to slowly lift the blender to the top of the cup to incorporate all the oil.

 

The great thing about making your own mayo is that you can add whatever you want to it for flavor after … making all sorts of dips and dressings.  A favorite in our house is homemade ranch dressing with coconut milk and Penzey’s Buttermilk Ranch mix (contains no dairy, but is not AIP-friendly since it contains bell peppers).  What are your favorites?

Categories: Condiments, Tips & Tricks | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Celeriac and Collard Green Slaw

Do you ever get bored with the same old vegetable side dishes?  I do.  I seem to have food ADD!!  Well, in winter sometimes it is hard to fulfill my need to eat interesting vegetables beyond steamed or roasted broccoli.  And although I love many of the root vegetables, roasting them can get old, and I really don’t like purees (I think it’s a texture thing.  It feels more like drinking or something.  I need to CHEW my food for my stomach to register it!).  But I do love interesting chopped salads.  The less lettuce the better.

I was looking to make something with celeriac or celery root because it is a good winter vegetable, readily available, and high in vitamin K, moderately high in vitamin C, phosphorus, and potassium.  But beyond pureeing, I wasn’t really sure what to do with it.  Then I thought of some sort of slaw … and voilà!  This is a rather hearty vegetable salad due to the texture of the collards and the two root vegetables.  Perfect for a winter meal … when you are craving some raw veggies!

I chose collard greens due to their ready availability in the winter, and because I’d never had them any way other than sautéed with bacon fat.  I knew the slaw needed a hearty green, and the collards just called out to me in the store.  From a nutritional standpoint, they rank high in vitamins K, A, and C, and pretty good in Folate.

For the Salad:

1 bunch of collard greens
1 medium-sized celeriac bulb
2 large carrots
1/2 cup parsley leaves

For the dressing:

1/4 cup mayo**
juice 1/2 lemon
2 Tbs capers
2 Tbs tarragon (fresh is best, dried will do in a pinch but use half; I harvest from my garden in the fall and freeze whole)
Salt to taste

**I haven’t tried it yet, but if you are AIP and don’t tolerate egg yolks (in the mayo) I would think you could substitute an equal amount of olive oil without changing the overall taste a whole lot.

First take your collard greens and separate out the tough stem from the leaves.

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Wash the leaves and pat dry.  Then stack on top of each other.

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Roll into a tight cylinder.

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And slice thinly.

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Peel and grate the celeriac and carrots.  Rough chop the parsley leaves.

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And toss together in a large bowl.

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To make the dressing, mix the ingredients well, and pour over the salad, tossing until well coated.

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Enjoy!!

Categories: AIP, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy AIP Breakfast

This was breakfast this morning.
Leftover Swiss Chard
1/2 tin of sardines
Fermented Carrots and Ginger
1/2 Avocado with Kelp Granules
Bone Broth
Tea
Water

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Categories: AIP | Tags: | Leave a comment

Make-Your-Own-Mexican Shredded Chicken

So, I never realized just how much I rely on spices … specifically pepper-derived spices and seed-derived spices … to season my life.  Now that I am following AIP, those are all out.  If I think about it too much, I get a bit sad …  No cumin.  No paprika.  No coriander.  No fennel seed.  No nutmeg.  (For a great primer on what spices are AIP legal, see this post at The Paleo Mom.)  It really makes “ethnic” cooking a bit challenging!

I love Mexican food.  When I stopped eating gluten and dairy, it was challenging because burritos had been my favorite.  But I discovered fajitas (ordered without the tortillas) and large taco salads.  It was mildly painful to give up corn (I loved tostadas and tortilla chips).  But no nightshades and no nightshade spices makes it nearly impossible.  No salsa.  No traditional guacamole.  No salsa verde.  No chili powder.  No cumin.  Sniffle, sniffle, sob.

We have a favorite (easy) family dinner that we call “Make Your Own Mexican”.  Basically I make either “taco meat” with ground turkey (seasoned with chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, and tomato sauce) or carnitas or fajitas (chicken breasts or thighs rubbed with a mix of chili powder, cumin, chipotle pepper, garlic, onion and then grilled), and cut up a bunch of veggies (peppers, scallions, tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, etc.).  I generally have mine as a large salad tossed with a homemade ranch dressing.  My family generally has theirs in flour tortillas topped with cheese.

So now with me following the AIP, it seemed that one of my easy-peasy family pleasing meals was out the window.  Unless I wanted to cook two separate meals.  Not.

But today I had a craving for Mexican … and so I got out my trusty Flavor Bible and lo and behold under “Mexican Cuisine” it lists several AIP-friendly ingredients.  Lime juice.  Cilantro.  Garlic.  So, I had an idea.

Ingredients:

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you could use breasts too)

1 Tbs Garlic granules

1 tsp sea salt

1 Tbs coconut oil

Juice of 3 limes

6-8 garlic cloves, pressed

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1.  Place thighs in crockpot, add water to cover, garlic, and salt.  Cook on high 4 hours.  Remove from crockpot and put in a bowl.  Reserve 1/4 cup of broth.  Using two forks, gently pull apart, shredding the chicken.

2.  In a heavy pan (I use cast iron), heat coconut oil.  Add garlic and stir until just starting to brown.  Add the shredded chicken and reserved 1/4 cup broth.  Cook, stirring frequently until broth is mostly absorbed.

3.  Add lime juice.  Continue to stir, as the juice evaporates.

4.  Add chopped cilantro.  Continue to stir, allowing bits to brown.  Sprinkle 1/2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt over chicken.

Serve with chopped cucumber, scallions, maybe some carmelized onions, lettuce, shredded carrots, diced avocado.  Whatever floats your boat!

This was a big hit with my family … and nobody commented on the lack of pepper or seed based spices!  My girls even asked for salad-versions in their lunch boxes for tomorrow!

**Sorry for the lack of photos … I’ve been fighting a cold and in my fog, neglected to take pictures as I was cooking.  I will update with photos the next time I make these, which I can assure you will be soon!

Categories: AIP, Poultry, Recipes | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Food Evangelism

Food for thought … over 200% increase in food allergies since the introduction of genetically engineered proteins into our food supply.  Why is our government not only allowing, but subsidizing genetically modified food?

Categories: Recipes | Leave a comment

My Evolution

paleoevolution

My journey into a paleo eating style occurred over several years.  It wasn’t something that happened overnight.  I didn’t read about it and just decide to try this new diet I kept hearing about.  For me it was an evolution over time.  I’m evolving again, and I thought it might be time to share my story it the hopes that it might help anyone else out there struggling with health issues.  Get ready for a rather dry rendering of my life …

I grew up during the 70s and 80s … and my diet was pretty typical to start.  Breakfasts were sugary cereals, topped (unbelievably) with spoonfuls of sugar … occasionally cantaloupe or grapefruit topped with sugar.  Lunch was nearly always peanut butter and jelly on Homepride Buttertop Wheat bread usually with some chips (potato or Fritos or Doritos) with cookies for desert.  Dinner was almost always a protein, vegetable, and starch.  I was a VERY picky eater … the only veggies I really liked were frozen wax beans.  I was an active kid and always pretty lean (until puberty).  But I wasn’t healthy.  I got strep throat several times a year and was on antibiotics 2-3 times per year.  I had horrendous room-clearing gas (my family joked about not wanting to be on long car trips with me).  As lean as I was, my belly was never flat.

The summer I was 15, I came down with mono.  I ran a 102-plus degree fever for weeks.  I ended up with strep throat on top of mono.  That fall, my liver and spleen were still so swollen that I wasn’t allowed to play sports.  That winter I developed several allergies (cats, milk, dust) and had a lot of trouble breathing and was diagnosed with asthma.

Shortly after that, my family became vegetarian.  It was the early 80s and my parents were very health-conscious.  Vegetarianism was promoted as the most healthy option.  Fortunately, my father is a really good cook, and meals were interesting … lots of beans and vegetables, recipes from the Moosewood Cookbook and the Enchanted Broccoli Forest.  We at tofu and seitan and tempeh.  (Fortunately, my tastebuds had matured!)  Of course, since I was a teenager, I still ate all the usual fare like pizza, cheese and crackers, chips, french fries.  A favorite after-school snack was nachos made in the microwave, or wheat thin crackers slathered in cream cheese.  Not surprisingly, despite still being very active playing sports, I started my lifelong battle with my weight.  I began to have bronchitis several times per year, requiring antibiotics, sometimes multiple rounds.  I developed black circles under my eyes that never went away despite sleeping 9-10 hours nightly.

I went off to college, and instead of gaining the Freshman 15, I lost 30 pounds between the start of classes and Thanksgiving.  This was partly due to the large campus and walking everywhere.  But mostly it was because the food in my dorm was not of the quality I had been eating at home. I lived on iceburg lettuce salads.  By Thanksgiving, I had had bronchitis twice and my mother decided to send me to an allergist.  He did skin testing and found that I was allergic to beef, milk, animal dander, dust, pollen, etc. etc. etc.  I started a regimen of allergy shots (6 shots per week x 4 years) without any subjective or objective improvement.  I continued to struggle with asthma and allergies.  I continued to get bronchitis several times a year.  Then I became vegan.  I did love my veggies, and I was learning to cook and had roommates who were willing to eat my experiments, but still at lots of bread and pasta.

This went on for several years, until I was in my late-20s and read The Zone Diet by Barry Sears.  I read the book looking for a method to lose the 20 or so pounds I always seemed to be carrying, but it started me questioning my dietary choices.  I slowly added animal protein sources back to my diet; however, I was still eating dairy and legumes and grains.  I did lose weight, but there was no improvement in my health.

Over the next few years, my diet reverted to a pretty typical low fat, high grain American diet, sans beef and milk (I was still eating cheese, and yogurt).  I had a massive sweet tooth.  I would get frustrated with my weight and do a “diet”.  I tried them all … Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, The Zone, etc.  I would lose the weight and then gain it back over time.  I continued to have asthma and allergies.  I developed white bumps all over the back of my arms.  I continued to have a rounded belly even when I was lean.  My energy level fluctuated wildly, and I was tired all the time.

When I was in my mid-30s, I got pregnant with my first daughter.  When she was 9 months old, I got pregnant with my second daughter.  When she weaned at 9 months old, I basically had gone 3 years without sleeping more than 90 minutes at a stretch.  I couldn’t lose the pregnancy weight from the second pregnancy, and I was exhausted all the time.   I went to my primary doctor who ran bloodwork, pronounced me healthy as an ox, and was prescribed a sleeping medication.  I went to a rheumatologist because I started to develop pain in my hands, ankles, and knees.  She said I was fat and needed to exercise (I was already exercising an hour daily) and diet (I was already “dieting” by Body for Life principals).  I saw an endocrinologist who proclaimed me the healthiest person he had seen all week.  He read over my (obsessive) food and exercise logs and told me that the weight would come off eventually, as long as I kept doing what I was doing.  I wasn’t sleeping much at night, and I was needed 1-2 naps during the day.  I was eating 1200 calories, and exercising for an hour each day and struggled to lose weight.

Eventually I found a doctor who tested my cortisol levels (bottomed out all day) and other hormone levels (all out of whack).  She put me on bioidentical hormones.  When I didn’t recover after several months, she referred me to a gastroenterologist and after testing, we finally had a diagnosis.  Celiac.  Within 3 days of eliminating gluten, my pain was gone.  Over the next few months, my flatulence disappeared, my stomach became flat for the first time in my life, and I started to effortlessly lose weight.  My energy levels started to rebound, and I felt fantastic for the first time in my life.  But, I was still getting sick fairly often (sinus infections, needing antibiotics) …

I did a lot of research, and found a functional medicine practitioner in my area.  I had tried to see her a few years back, but she wasn’t taking new patients then.  This time she was, and I got in as soon as I could.  She listened to my entire story, then explained to me about why I needed to stop eating dairy in addition to gluten.  She wanted to get me off the bioidential hormones, and put me on a bunch of supplements.  I eliminated all dairy (cheese and yogurt), and within a week noticed an improvement in my asthma and allergies.  Within 3 months, the white bumps on my arms went away, and my black circles disappeared.  I continued to slowly lose weight without any efforts.

I was eating gluten and dairy free, but was eating “gluten-free” baked items, like bread, pastas, and treats like cookies, pretzels, and brownies.  I indulged in naturally gluten-free snacks like chips and salsa, popcorn, and potato chips.

My improvement tapered off, and I continued to struggle with intermittent abdominal pain, and constipation.  My GI’s recommendation was to increase my grain consumption and to take a fiber supplement (by my obsessive dietary tracking I already knew I was getting about 40 grams of fiber per day mostly from vegetables).  More fiber didn’t seem to be the answer as far as I could tell, so I started to look for additional answers.  I bought and read Loren Cordain’s book “The Paleo Diet”.  I bought and read Rob Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution”.  I read everything on Mark’s Daily Apple.  And it started to make sense.

I eliminated legumes.  I slowly eliminated gluten-free grains (rice, quinoa, corn, etc).  I eliminated sugar (except occasional raw honey and real maple syrup).  And I started to improve again.  I started following many paleo blogs (see the sidebar) and I read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig.  I added in fermented foods and bone broth and organ meats, and I continued to improve.  My digestion has improved significantly, especially when I consider where it was when I started this journey.  But I continue to struggle with some issues.  I am still carrying about 20 extra pounds.  I have flare-ups of eczema on my face.

I’ve become interested in something known as The Auto-Immune Protocol.  Several books talk about AIP:  It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig explains it a bit, and Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo goes into further detail.

Sarah Ballantyne, PhD has a wonderful blog and is known as The Paleo Mom.  I’ve learned so much about Auto-Immunity from her blog, and think I have reached a point in my journey where I am ready to dive in to further eliminations and see if I can eliminate the last few nagging issues.

So, in a nutshell, I’ll be following a strict Paleo diet (as always) … eating only meats and veggies and healthy fats.  I’ll be eliminating nightshade vegetables (including pepper based spices), all nuts and seeds (including seed spices, coffee, and chocolate),  and eggs.  In addition, I will be eating lower carb than usual, because there reportedly is a strong link between elevated blood sugars and auto-immune disease.  I will still be eating some starchy carbs, but I will be limiting them to lunch on the days I CrossFit (my post-workout meal) because insulin sensitivity is better after intense exercise.

So, I’ll be posting more AIP-friendly recipes, and I’ll be posting updates about my progress.

In the meantime, check out Sarah’s blog … and her new book (being released 9/28/13)

ThePaleoApproach

Categories: Personal, Resources | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Colorful Kale Salad

I have a confession … I am not a big fan of salad.  And by salad I mean garden salad.  I don’t know, it’s just so … blah.  Boring.  Meh.

BUT, I love love love my veggies … and to be honest, sometimes I just crave raw veggies.  Especially in winter.  Or those first warm days in spring when I eat lunch outside and wish I had a sweater.  Or mid-summer when my CSA bounty is overwhelming.  Who am I kidding?  I could eat raw veggies three meals a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (366 in a leap year)!  But just not boring regular old “lettuce salad” as my daughter calls it.

Sometimes I want a nice chopped Cobb salad.  Or something like Turkish Chopped Salad from Well Fed.  But much of the time I totally crave kale.  I know, you are saying, “Kale?  Raw?  But it’s so tough and bitter!”  Yeah, I hear people say that and I just don’t get it.  I’ll share my method and you can decide yourself …

Kale Salad

Toss together:

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, sliced thinly (you can use any kind of kale, I like a mix of red and green, or just lacinato)
1/2 head purple cabbage, core removed, sliced thinly (I like to use a mandolin for this)
3-4 carrots, scrubbed or peeled, then shredded
3-4 scallions, sliced thinly
1/4 red onion, diced finely

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Then drizzle the dressing ingredients over the top, and toss thoroughly.

Dressing:

juice from 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, pressed
olive oil (~ 1/4 cup I think, I just drizzle it on)

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Season to taste with:

Himalayan Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper

Eat immediately, or let it sit a few hours.  This is even awesome the next day or day after.  I always try to make extra so I can eat it for meals over the next few days.

Enjoy!

Categories: Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetables | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Roast Duck with Pomegranate Ginger Glaze

I’ve fallen in love with duck fat for cooking.  Roasted root vegetables are just to die for when cooked in duck fat.  I am lucky that I can find a good source locally, but it is pretty expensive.  I decided to embark on roasting a duck and collecting the delicious fat …

Now, I roast chickens almost weekly, and I have cooked many a turkey.  I’ve even done Cornish Game Hens.  But I’ve never even eaten duck!  I developed a severe beef allergy in my late teens, then spent many years through my twenties as a vegetarian and vegan.  When I returned to meat, it was in the early 90s, and therefore deep in the anti-fat movement.  I would pretty much only eat boneless, skinless chicken breast for a long time.  Now that I know the health benefit of eating meat on the bone and of eating animal fats, I now prefer fattier cuts of meat and poultry on the bone with skin!

One of the issues with duck is that since it is so high in fat, if not cooked properly, the skin can be soggy.  Ick.  So I have done a lot of reading and followed the process described by Hungry Mouse almost to a “T” … The Best Way to Roast a Duck (Hello, Crispy Skin!) (Check it out … beautiful tutorial with great pictures … my duck looked almost exactly the same.)

Please ignore my dirty oven!

But I’ve had this bottle of Pomegranate Molasses that I made at Christmastime for our salmon … and I wanted to use it.  So I got out my trusty Flavor Bible.  I looked up Pomegranate Molasses and chose some complementary flavors.

Pomegranate Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane grater
  • 1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar

Mix ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Reduce until the glaze coats the back of a spoon.

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Substitute this glaze for the glaze in the Hungry Mouse’s recipe, and finish cooking as specified in her recipe.

I served this with a side of mashed cauliflower, roasted beets, and roasted Brussels sprouts (in duck fat of course!).

Bonus!  Beautiful duck fat!

Categories: Poultry, Recipes | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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