Monthly Archives: May 2012

{grain-free / sugar-free} Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

Like any normal human being, I occasionally get an inkling for baked goods.  Living in Denmark, I’m basically surrounded by cakes and pastries 24/7, and I use a lot of will power to avoid stuffing my face with the stuff at any available opportunity.

FORTUNATELY, all hope is not lost thanks to almond flour, which, with some manipulation, can be magically transformed into things resembling the best pastries and cakes on earth.

One thing I try to keep in mind when I get the urge to bake like a madwomen with my illegally imported almond flour (thanks, Bob’s Red Mill, for keeping your prices so reasonable, and to my expat American friends who bring me back a bulk supply) is Phytic Acid.

I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed the same thing as me when overdosing on nuts, but I get a “heavy” sensation in my stomach that doesn’t particularly feel amazing.  Until recently, I had no idea what this was.  Turns out it’s the effects of an overdose of Phytic Acid, and this article does a pretty good job of explaining why it all happens, and which things have more Phytic Acid than others.

Keeping that in mind, I try to limit my grain-free baking to about once every couple weeks or so, as a special treat.  And these Cinnamon Swirl Muffins (adapted from Comfy Belly) are JUST the ticket for those occasions.  🙂

CINNAMON SWIRL MUFFINS

Warning: this 10-muffin batch could mysteriously disappear in less than 24 hours.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk natural yogurt
  • 4-5 tbsp raw honey, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted organic butter, melted

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 160C (325F).

Mix the yogurt, eggs, and 2 tbsp of raw honey together in a large bowl.  Add in almond flour, salt, and baking soda, and mix until well blended.

Mix butter, cinnamon, and remaining 2-3 tbsp (more if you prefer sweeter, we used 2 in our recipe and it was perfect for us) in a bowl.

Fill muffin tins/cups halfway with muffin batter.  Then add one tbsp of cinnamon mixture to each tin, and cover with remaining batter.  Using a toothpick, make swirls in the batter starting on the outside of the muffin and working your way toward the middle to bring the cinnamon mixture to the top of the muffins.  If you have leftover cinnamon mixture, feel free to add to the top of a delicious crusty muffin top.

Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes, or until tops just start to darken.

Makes 10 muffins

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Crisp Roasted Chicken

You know how it’s usually the simplest things that give you the most pleasure?

Find yourself a free-range organic chicken, give it a little water bath, do a dance with it for 5 seconds, laugh about how funny “naked” chickens are, cover it with salt (I’m serious, COVER, like, it should look like it just snowed salt on your chicken) give it a little bit of pepper, and throw it (gently) into the oven for an hour.  A little thyme in the juices after it’s out, a bit of butter on the breast, and dipped in dijon mustard, and…well…the result is glorious.  The salt helps remove all the moisture from the oven, which makes for a delicious crispy skin which no one I’ve ever fed this chicken to has ever been able to resist.  An easy (and cheap!) dinner for 4 (or in our house, two very hungry adults), and pairs well with just about any green vegetable (I like sautéed green beans with sliced garlic).

Once you’ve finished devouring the chicken (try the oysters on the middle back, that’s my favorite part!), put the carcass into your crockpot, cover with water, throw in some garlic, onions, parsley, celery (and celery leaves), a splash of vinegar, and a couple bay leaves, set to low and cook for 24-48 hours.  The longer you cook, the better quality the broth.  Check out some good tips by Nourished Kitchen about bone broth here.  After a couple days your broth should be a little like gelatin if it cools to room temperature, and that’s when you know you’ve done it right.  Lots of good nutrients and worth keeping around for either daily consumption (ideal world, if you don’t use it for sauces or gravy already), or approaching colds or other ailments (bone broth is particularly effective for constipation or other digestive problems related to the gut).

CRISP ROASTED CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole ~3lb chicken (I buy Bornholmers Høn from Irma)
  • salt, pepper, dried thyme
  • kitchen twine
  • grassfed organic butter
  • dijon mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 225C (450F).

Rinse and pat dry both the inside and outside of the chicken.  Place in an 8×11 baking dish.  Liberally pour salt into the cavity of the chicken, and then secure legs with kitchen twine.  Liberally salt the rest of the chicken.  The idea is to give the chicken a nice white hue from all the salt.  Season with freshly ground pepper.  Cook in the oven for 1 hour.

After an hour, remove the chicken and dump about a tablespoon of dried thyme into the drippings of the chicken at the bottom of the baking dish.  Using a large spoon, mix up the drippings and thyme, and baste the chicken with the thyme drippings until all areas of the skin are remoistened.

Carve chicken and serve with butter (if desired) on the meat and dip in dijon mustard.

Serves 4

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Bacon-Wrapped Salmon with Pesto & Roasted Asparagus

I’m not sure a day goes by where I don’t think about eating bacon.  You might’ve already gathered that by the praise I made of the delicious stuff in my Broccoli Bacon Salad post from earlier this week.

When I decided to stop being a vegetarian back in 2010, my first meat was bacon.  I had been planning a trip to Southern Spain with my then “new” boyfriend and figured it would be a sin to go to Andalusía and NOT eat pork products.  While we were in Granada, we tried some mountain air dried jamón ibérico and I still occasionally have dreams about it, it was that good.  I even smuggled some of it with me back to the US in the lining of my suitcase, and spent the next three weeks garnishing just about everything I ate with it.

So back to bacon.  Even though I generally try to avoid Magasin (a large Danish department store with the most amazing basement gourmet market), I have found myself in there a couple times lately because they seem to have the most diverse selection of unhomogenized dairy products.  They also have a delectable way of presenting everything, and I have been eying their bacon-wrapped salmon for about four months now.  So today, I decided to give it a shot.

Asparagus is in season and out in full force in Copenhagen, and a friend of mine just posted a photo of some she roasted in the oven last night that gave me inspiration, so I pass on her recipe to you.

This meal is particularly awesome because it took less than 35 minutes to make the magic happen.  Nothing quite like healthy, delicious AND fast, amiright?

BACON-WRAPPED SALMON with PESTO & ROASTED ASPARAGUS

Ingredients:

  • 2 filets of salmon, skin removed (if you’re as good as I am at removing skin from salmon, ask your fish monger to do it for you)
  • 4-6 fairly thick slices of free-range bacon (depending on how much you love bacon, and how big your salmon filets are)
  • 4 tbsp Pesto, divided (mine isn’t homemade today because we were in a hurry to eat, but it is made with real olive oil. Click the link to see my favorite homemade pesto recipe)
  • one bunch of organic asparagus (about 250 grams)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C).

Wash and “break” asparagus at their natural breaking point (see this video to see what I’m talking about).  Lay them out in a baking dish, and drizzle olive oil over them.  Toss with a dash of balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Roll up each salmon filet (skinned side should be on the inside) and secure with 2-3 slices of bacon each (the bacon should be sticky enough to hold the salmon together, but if it’s not, feel free to use wooden toothpicks).  Place salmon rolls salmon side down in a baking dish, and add 2 tbsp of pesto to the middle of each salmon roll.

Cover the salmon baking dish with aluminum foil.  Put salmon and asparagus into the oven at the same time, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serves 2

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Broccoli Bacon Salad

Spring is finally in the air here in Denmark, which means that the entire population of Copenhagen is outside basically as often as humanly possible.  My boyfriend insists on wearing shorts 24/7 now that it’s not freezing, and because we live next to a park, it smells like BBQ pretty much nonstop.

Naturally, this means picnics are back in season, and we had our inaugural one of the year last Sunday on Islands Brygge, complete with some organic pølser.

Danes (and Americans) tend to gravitate toward the meat at picnics and BBQs, and so whenever one happens, I try to bring something sort of resembling a salad that people will actually eat (my subtle way of keeping my friends as healthy as I can).  As a rule of thumb, I’ve found that if you make salad with bacon in it, it becomes about 180 times more appealing to the general audience.

And thus, my new favorite (so easy it’s ridiculous) picnic salad:

BROCCOLI BACON SALAD

Like butter, bacon also makes everything better

INGREDIENTS:

  • One head of broccoli, stems removed and cut into small florets
  • One package of sliced organic free-range bacon (Irma sells this; look for the one with pictures of pigs roaming in grass on the front)
  • One small red onion, diced
  • 100-150 grams crème fraiche (add more or less to taste and depending on how large the broccoli head is)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Slice bacon into quarter-inch pieces.  Heat pan over low heat and once warm, add bacon pieces, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through (or to desired level of doneness).

In a bowl, mix onions, broccoli and cooked bacon “bits” with the crème fraiche.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

 

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