This innocent looking container holds a magic ingredient that will take your food to the next level. What is it? Miso butter. Two ingredients - miso and butter - combine to make a perfect substance. So simple, but so good. You could just slap this on some toast and call it a day. But if you want to get a little more creative, I have a bunch of ideas for you.
First up - scallops seared in miso butter. That's it, it's that easy. I served these with my other miso obsession - miso creamed kale.
Next - broiled salmon topped with miso butter, served with miso butter glazed baby carrots and coconut-miso barley.
Moving away from seafood for a bit, I made this coconut chicken recipe and replaced the regular butter with miso butter. It made it so much better than the original, which I was already a fan of. I also used cherry preserves in the sauce because that's what I had, but apricot or peach would work better. I made a side salad with romaine, sliced radishes, blanched green beans, and a carrot-ginger dressing to go with it.
Lastly, we have a stir-fry made with miso butter. Fast, easy, and delicious. The salmon was broiled with a store-bought red miso and yuzu glaze. I'd say it wasn't any better than the salmon topped with the miso butter.
Best of all? All these meals are healthy and low-carb. Most of them are grain-free! What would you do with your miso butter?
Pot roast is a pretty standard American meal. Many folks have their own recipes that they love. But just in case you don't, here's mine! An herb crusted beef roast goes into a pot with potatoes, veggies, red wine, and beef stock until it is super tender - yum.
First step - rub that beef. Combine kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning to make a rub. Sprinkle over and press into the meat.
The you are going to brown those veggies and sear that beef. Heat olive oil in a heavy dutch oven until very hot. Then add an onion and carrots and cook until really browned. Remove the veggies temporarily, add more oil, and sear the beef on all sides. Then take that out, too, because you need to deglaze.
In the ever continuing quest to eat less grains, I decided that I wanted to see how lentils paired with salmon. I found a couple recipes that I liked and combined them into one that worked for me. The lentils are cooked up nice and tender with veggies, and then mixed with the same mustard and herb butter that tops the salmon. This butter, you guys, it's outstanding. I had a little bit left over and I spread it over toasted sourdough and savored every bite with eye-rolling pleasure. I want to make more of the butter just to do that again. This meal is so healthy and so yummy that I can't stand it.
1⁄2 pound French green lentils
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into half moons and thoroughly washed
few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
3⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic (2-3 cloves)
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups Chicken Stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp good red wine vinegar
4 (8-oz) center-cut salmon fillets, skin on
2 tbsp butter
5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Remove the thyme stems and bay leaf, add the vinegar, and season to taste.
Stir together the softened butter, chives, grainy mustard, and lemon juice with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add 3 tbsp of the butter mixture to the lentils and stir to combine.
Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
Serve salmon, topped with remaining 2 tbsp mustard-herb butter, over lentils.
Super comforting spiced lamb on top of creamy mashed potatoes - how could that be healthy? Well for starters, there are no potatoes - that is a cauliflower and white bean puree. This looks like comfort food, and it totally is, but it is all veggies and protein with no carbs!
Start by caramelizing some carrots to release that sweetness. Then brown up some lamb. I used lamb chops and discovered that there is very little meat on them - next time I am definitely using cubed meat.
When the lamb is browned, add in garlic, spices, chard, and chickpeas (more protein!). I wondered why the original recipe didn't call for tomatoes - they make so much sense here. So I went ahead and added them. The original recipe also just used paprika, which I thought was a little boring. I used paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander.
Another change from the original was that it called for polenta to serve with the lamb. Polenta is cooked corn meal, and I am trying to avoid grains. So I used a cauliflower puree instead and it was creamy and delicious - a good counterpoint for the tangy spiced lamb.
I am trying to avoid carbohydrates and starches as much as possible for health reasons (and not being very successful). For this reason, I like it when I happen upon a tasty looking Paleo recipe. I do not follow the Paleo diet by any means, but I do agree with some of their basic assumptions - like grains and processed vegetable oils are bad, and animal fat is good.
I liked this recipe even more when I saw that it was for the slow cooker. Loaded up with carrots, cauliflower, onion, garlic, and chicken stock - a pot of goodness!
Now, I usually don't like chicken thighs, especially skin-on and bone-in, but I get that breasts dry out and fall apart so I followed the recipe on this one. Picking around the bone was still pretty irritating to me, but that skin that I crisped up (twice) in bacon fat? Yum city. I also threw a little fresh thyme in here because I grow it and why not?
The flavor is rich and satisfying, really great as comfort food. I will say that the proportions of this recipe as written are off. There is so little meat on these thighs that it would take 3-4 to fill someone up, especially if you don't make some other kind of side (greens would have been so good!). And there was a huge amount of puree - I had enough leftover after serving to turn into a soup! So next time, I would double the amount of chicken and will reflect that in the recipe below.
Okay - it is really hard to get an attractive picture of a shepherd's pie. The blogger I got this recipe from did cute little individual dishes and I thought "Ain't nobody got time for that!" and just did one big casserole. But after posting a very unattractive photo on facebook (that sparked a crazy battle between two friends, no joke) I know why she did it that way!
Photography aside, this dish is great. Lean but satisfying ground turkey mixed with a ton of veggies make a hearty filling.
Topped with delicious super-food sweet potatoes, this version of shepherd's pie is super healthy and super delicious.
Baking it in individual dishes is definitely cuter and neater, but if you don't care whether the topping gets mixed into the filling on the plate - you can totally do one big dish.
My friend Keerin was coming over to watch Game of Thrones (I'm pretty much obsessed) and I wanted to make some food for us. She is vegan and I do not cook vegan food that much so I was trying to think of what I could make. I knew that I had a bunch of fresh and frozen vegetables, but I didn't want to make something boring. That's when it hit me - we could play with my mini pie machine!
What the heck is a mini pie machine, you ask? It's a fun little electrical device, kind like a panini press - except that it makes adorable personal sized pies! The machine comes with a cutter to cut the perfect size circles for the base and top. You use puff pastry for the tops and you can either use puff pastry or pie dough for the bottom. I am not a big fan of store bought-refrigerated pie dough is general, but it works great for this because it is a bit tougher. All you do is press a circle of dough into the bottom of one of the four wells using a tool that is included, spoon in the filling, lay a circle of dough on top, and close the lid. The pies cook in about 8 minutes - so fast! Because the cooking time is so short, the filling needs to be precooked.
Fear not if you do not have this machine, though (and I assume most people don't because it is silly and extravagant) - You can just fold circles of dough over filling into half moon hand pies and bake them in the oven.
So, because the pies are personal sized and because they cook so quickly - I knew that each of us could play around with filling combinations. I had frozen peas, corn, green beans, spinach, and butternut squash - so I microwaved those to pre-cook them (I cut the green beans into bite-sized pieces). I cut up some carrots and parsnips and microwaved those, and then I drained a can of chick peas (gotta have protein!). I also had some fake beef crumbles and Keerin brought some fake cheese.
So I went and bought the vegetables I wanted to use - carrots, celery, beets, fennel, and asparagus.
Then I sliced them up using the slicing blade on my food processor (a mandoline would also work) and tossed them with high quality olive oil, lime juice, and sea salt.
I actually stored the vegetables like that in the fridge and throughout the week or so that they lasted I would take out what I needed and add it to raw kale massaged with olive oil (which takes some of the bitterness out) along with watercress, grapes, pepitas, and fresh mozzarella for a delicious summer salad.
It is so healthy and fresh and keeping the vegetables raw means that you are getting the full nutritional value from them, plus they keep you super full. But this seriously tastes so good that you will not even be thinking about how healthy it is.