Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

Two weeks ago I got a terrible head cold that at first made my throat feel like a solid piece of rock and then morphed into congestion and then just left me aching. When I finally got a solid night of sleep (like a really solid night of sleep--12 hours, or more), I felt like I could think again. Smelling, tasting, and swallowing were still a day away. 

The worst part of a head cold to me is that your body feels totally fine--like you could run a mile- but the minute you try to do anything, you realize it was a terrible, terrible idea. By Friday I felt well enough to hit the climbing gym again, and doing so plastered a fixed smile across my face. I could taste again too, so when I got home I cooked the pumpkin I hadn't found energy to cook earlier in the week. Golden pumpkin with savory Merkén Chile: it was the first thing I smelled all week. 

Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey
Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

That pumpkin filled my house with the scent of it's caramelizing edges and steaming Merkén chile. They were beautiful, but that smell was what really swept me off my feet. A drizzle of honey was all that was missing. (Doesn't honey make everything better?)

If you can't find Merkén chile don't sweat it: you can use any kind of smoked red chile flake in this recipe. 

Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey
Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

Published October 19, 2017 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 teaspoons merkén chile, or other smoked red chile flake
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey 
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice pumpkin half, remove stem, and seeds. Slice into wedges, about 1-inch thick.
  2. Fit a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pumpkins on pan, and brush with avocado oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and merkén. Place in oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until pumpkin is tender all the way through, and starting to brown on the edges.
  3. Remove from oven, and drizzle lightly with honey. Garnish with minced cilantro.

Curtido, a recipe from Latin American Paleo Cooking

Latin American Paleo Cooking: Curtido

The best tacos I've ever had were served to me at a gas station in the mountain town of Glenwood Springs, CO. Let me guess.... you thought I was going to say something like, "on the streets of Mexico City" or "at this hole in a wall restaurant in Texas, just north of the border." Nope. A gas station in Glenwood Springs, while waiting for a bus. I know, that's just not as cool. But they were $1.00 each and simple. Super simple. Just a bit of shredded chicken on a 4-inch corn tortilla topped with this Mexican cabbage slaw that added acidity, crunch and freshness. That was my first taste of Curtido, and my last--at least for some time.

Latin American Paleo Cooking: Curtido

I didn't happen across curtido again until I visited Nicaragua, and then, boy, did I eat curtido. Many people credit El Salvador with this brilliant recipe, but it's eaten all through Central America. In Nicaragua, it came with virtually every dish I ate. Finally, towards the end of my stay, I attended a cooking class where sure enough, we learned to make curtido from a well seasoned abuela. Everything was done by hand: what most of us would do in a food processor, she did with ease on a small cutting board. She sliced that cabbage with more finesse than I've ever sliced anything in my life. The result was ribbons of cabbage were the most delicate, long and beautiful pieces of cabbage I had ever seen. (Every time I slice cabbage now I think of her, and attempt to mimic her motions. I still haven't mastered the skill). 

Latin American Paleo Cooking: Curtido

When Latin American Paleo Cooking cookbook showed up at my front door, and this recipe sat within its pages, I knew I needed to make it stat. Taco night anyone?

Getting your fair share of veggies on taco night is not always easy (some days you just don't feel like taco salad). But curtido! It's the answer. When you make curtido, you put your veggies in your taco, and it's the most delicious taco you'll eat. It's the crunch, acid, and spice your taco needs. And the recipe in this cookbook is awesome... along with the rest of the recipes in there. Want to hear a few? 

  • Mofongo Relleno de Camarones - Mofongo Stuffed with Shrimp 
  • Empanadas al Horno - Baked Meat Empanadas 
  • Pupusas con Chicharrón - Pupusas stuffed with sausage (or cheese!)
  • "Arroz" con Dulce - Grain-free rice pudding 
  • The list goes on...

So, if you have been on a grain-free diet for a while (or not that long) and are seriously craving some real Latin American food, this cookbook is for you. (I can relate to your cravings... case in point: those tacos in Glenwood Springs! And enchiladas. And tamales. Don't get me started on tamales. This cookbook is totally the answer to your cravings). 

You can get it on Amazon, here

Latin American Paleo Cooking: Curtido
Latin American Paleo Cooking: Curtido

YC Media sent me this cookbook to review. Thoughts and opinions are all my own. 

Curtido

Published October 17, 2017 by
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Serves: 4-6   |    Total Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 small head green cabbage, sliced very thinly or grated
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced and cut about 1" (2.5 cm) long
  • 2 fresh jalapeño peppers, diced and seeded, or 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (12 g) fine Himalayan salt
  • 2 tsp (4 g) dried oregano
  • ½ cup (120 ml) filtered water
  • ½ cup (120 ml) apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well. Depending on how large your cabbage is, you may need to add a bit more vinegar and water. Place it in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving. The flavors will continue to develop as it sits. Serve a generous portion alongside Pupusas con Chicharrón o “Queso” (page 63 of the Latin American Paleo Cooking cookbook)
  2. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
  3. AIP compliant: Simply omit the jalapeño peppers and substitute minced garlic.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Exhausted from holding on and worn out from trying hard, I yell "take!" to my belayer. The slack in the rope tightens and I can sit back in my harness. I stare at the rock wall, analyzing it's seams, and it stares back at me, full of tricks and secrets and history. My forearms ache from holding on: my endurance for sport climbing is lacking right now. 

Three feet from me, a spot of golden yellow with a tinge of red catches my eye.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

There, in the middle of the rock, a miniature tree grows, it's leaves turning orange with fall. In fact, an entire micro ecosystem, sits within the crack in the rock. A tiny but steady stream of water from above trickles across a pile of dead pine needles, and a bug crawls up to see the view from the edge of the crack.

I imagine a bird visiting that spot a year ago. He drops a seed, and flies off. And then I imagine that seed getting just enough water to sprout--and a bit more, enough that the sprout grows into a tree right there, on the side of a rock face. It's no larger than 1 foot tall, but it clings on to the side of the rock with might and patience. It doesn't have a belayer; it can't call "take."

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

There is a breeze and I am reminded of the task at hand. I climb on while that baby tree just stays there, clinging for life. It's the only life it knows. Imagine the view from it's home! 

This pumpkin smoothie bowl is the breakfast to eat when the leaves are crunching underfoot and the air is crisp but still not too cold. It's spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and is super creamy. Top it with toasted pecans, and for an extra special treat add a dollop of whipped cream (coconut cream for dairy free!). 

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Published October 12, 2017 by
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Serves: 2   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese (or plain greek yogurt, or non-dairy yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 2 frozen bananas, sliced 
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves 
  • Optional: 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder
  • Dollop of whipped cream (or coconut cream for dairy-free)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins (I use this brand)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pecans

Directions:

  1. Add pumpkin, cottage cheese, milk, bananas, cauliflower, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and protein powder to blender. Puree until no chunks remain. Pour smoothie into two serving bowls.
  2. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, raisins, pecans, and a sprinkle of extra nutmeg. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie smoothie bowl