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{Paleo Pantry} Peach Vinaigrette

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In August and September, we are drowning in peaches around here. Our favorite pick-your-own farm, Rose Hill Farm (now TimTheFarmer’s farm) has amazing peaches in late summer/early fall and there’s NOTHING better than a fresh-off-the-tree, perfectly ripe peach. When they’re ripe coming off the tree, however, they don’t have a long shelf life, so we’re always scrambling to eat them up or put them up before they go bad. By the time October rolls around, our shelves are full of jams, sauces, and canned peaches and our freezer has gallon baggies of peach slices for smoothies. 

Aug1Yes, that’s whiskey. I was prepping for our peach whiskey BBQ sauce. Yum!

Two summers ago there were no peaches up in these parts because of a late frost – so last summer, when they were plentiful, I may have gone a bit overboard with the picking. I’d exhausted our canning options, so I turned to another trick I use is to preserve the awesome flavors of late summer: making baby food. Just kidding. Sort of. I take the method moms use to make homemade baby food (pureeing and freezing in ice cube trays) and apply it to anything I can puree. We eat pesto year round (or until February when we run out) with this method. I pureed tons of peaches (everything but the pit, duh) in our NutriBullet, poured the puree into ice cube trays, and then stored in freezer baggies. 

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The peach puree is so good I could (and sometimes do) eat it with a spoon. There is nothing like the flavor of perfectly ripe peaches. Yum! One of our favorite recipes from this peach puree is Peach Vinaigrette. It is super quick and easy to make and immediately takes a salad from typical to AMAZING. It pairs really well with goat cheese, red peppers, red onions, or sliced almonds and seriously takes under 5 minutes to make. 

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Don’t worry if you don’t have peach puree on hand! Just grab some frozen peaches from the grocery store and put 8-10 in a bowl to defrost about 30 minutes before you’re ready to make your salad dressing. Then, puree them up and follow the directions below. Easy peasy.

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This dressing is awesome in the dead of winter because it brings back the taste of summer. Enjoy!

I should throw a disclaimer in here. I realize fruit can be off limits in the hard core inner cirlce of the paleo community. We, however, love our fresh local fruits and are completely ok with eating them in limited quantities.  I don’t want to live in a world without peaches, ok?

Peach Vinaigrette
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 peach puree cubes* or 8 frozen peach slices or 1 fresh peach (pitted)
  2. 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp water
  4. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1/2 tbsp raw honey
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Defrost peach puree.
  2. Combine all ingredients in blender, except the honey, and puree until smooth. Taste your dressing - if it needs a little extra sweetness, add a bit of honey in (and puree again) until it's just right.
  3. Store extra dressing in the fridge for up to a week.
Notes
  1. * I take the frozen peaches out when I start dinner - 30-40 minutes before I plan to make the dressing - to allow them to defrost. You could also microwave for 15 seconds at a time.
Isn't That Grand? http://isntthatgrand.com/


{Farm Fresh} Spicy Maple Glazed Coconut Carrots

I’m sitting in Penn Station in NYC waiting for my train home after a work event watching the pigeons, which always makes me think of Mary Poppins #feedthebirds. Except for that I’m not in smoggy early 20th-centruy London; I’m three stories below ground in a dingy train station. Seeing pigeons flying around, below ground, feels a little post-apocalyptic or something. Wouldn’t you agree? Mary Poppins and post-apocalyptic in one paragraph…not bad for a random start to a blog about carrots, eh?

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Anyway, I’m about as far as you can get from farm fresh here in the bowels of Penn Station, but it makes me all the more grateful for the fresh “country” life we’re living up in the Hudson Valley…and these awesome carrots we had last night. 

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There aren’t a lot of local farm fresh veggies at this time of year, but carrots are one of those root vegetables that store well and last well into late winter. You can still find them at your local farmer’s markets into March.

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Up until TimTheFarmer became a farmer, I never liked cooked carrots. They can be so mushy-bleh! I have, however always loved them raw. For some reason though, I feel like you MUST cook your dinner veggies…that’s just the rule, right? 😉 Anyway, we were drowning in carrots from Tim’s farm, so I thought I’d revisit the cooked carrot. I made sure not to overcook them—we grilled them and they still had a decent crisp to them—and I loved them. Who knew? Now we cook them all the time.

My mother-in-law made carrots for holidays that she’d toss in maple syrup #yesplease! I drew inspiration from that recipe and added a little cayenne to give these a kick. I love roasting root veggies in coconut oil as they pick a bit of the flavor and sweetness up from the oil. Sprinkling a few coconut flakes on drives the coconut flavor* home. These are a super easy side dish. Enjoy!

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*It’s key to use unsweetened coconut. It’s healthier and doesn’t give you that weird, synthetic Almond Joy flavor. 

Spicy Maple Glazed Coconut Carrots
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Whole (not baby) carrots (3-5/person)
  2. Coconut oil (melted)
  3. Maple syrup (2 tbsp per 10 carrots)
  4. Pinch of cayenne pepper
  5. Unsweetened coconut flakes (or shredded coconut)
  6. Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Peel carrots, chop bottom off, leave the tops
  3. Toss carrots in coconut oil, enough to coat
  4. Place carrots on baking sheet in a single layer
  5. Sprinkle salt and pepper on carrots
  6. Bake for 25 minutes
  7. Stir cayenne pepper into maple syrup
  8. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with maple syrup
  9. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and serve
Isn't That Grand? http://isntthatgrand.com/


Freezing Fall’s Flavors: Cauliflower Fennel Soup

One of the perks of having a husband who works on a farm is the access to fresh, local, organic produce. We can, in general, harvest extras from the farm and each season, I make it my mission to put up as much of this bounty for the winter so that we can eat awesome veggies long after the fields are covered in snow. Freezing is one of my favorite preservation methods.

Cauliflower Fennel Soup

Fennel and cauliflower peak now (and late spring) and we love those flavors! My brother gave me this awesome cookbook a few years ago with recipes from farmers who work on farms like Hearty Roots and it’s fantastic because not only are the recipes great, it features seasonal recipes with ingredients that are fresh at the same time. I’ve modified its Creamy Cauliflower and Fennel soup the tiniest bit to make it paleo. I make huge batches of it with seconds from the farm and freeze the soup in family-size portions for great soup all winter. It’s also pretty nifty when I’ve been on top of my bone broth game which I make from chickens TimTheFarmer raises because this entire recipe comes from the farm (except for the fennel seeds and S&P #obviously)!

The recipe below is for a single batch – I just finished a batch 14x this size and froze 10 quarts of soup and 2 quarts of broth. Also, make sure to check out the end of the recipe for a big ol’ what not to do.

Cauliflower Fennel Soup + Broth

Ingredients:
3 tbsp grassfed butter
1/2 large yellow onion
1 small fennel bulb
1/2 large cauliflower
4 thyme sprigs
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth/stock (if canned, use parts broth/stock and water)
1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper (I use pink Himalayan sea salt)

Steps:
Chop all your ingredients (slice onions and fennel and cut cauliflower into florets).Cauliflower Fennel SoupMelt butter in a large pot and add onions. Cook onions until starting to brown and then add your cauliflower, fennel, and thyme sprigs (or dried thyme if you don’t have fresh…which I didn’t, because TimTheFarmer didn’t have time to grab…#hethinkshesfunny). Stir around to coat in the onions and butter.

Pour in your stock/broth/water combo. Bring to a simmer and cook until cauliflower is soft (20 min to an hour depending on your stove and size of batch).

When the cauliflower is cooked, use a strainer and large bowl OR a glass measuring cup to pull out most of the cooking liquid. Set the liquid aside (DON’T THROW OUT THAT LIQUID GOLD!). Add the crushed fennel seed to the solids and use a hand blender to blend the solids into a puree. You can also use a blender or food processor, but I prefer the hand blender as it keeps the dishes to a minimum.

Cauliflower Fennel Soup Steps

Once you’ve pureed the solids, add enough of the liquid gold back in to get the soup consistency you like. Return soup to the heat and add S&P to taste. Depending on how many times you increase this recipe, this could become quite a bit of salt #dontbescared #dontundersalt.

Now you’re ready to serve dinner up or freeze your soup for later! I buy these freezer quart containers.

Here’s where we get to what not to do. Do not, under any circumstances, set the soup on an unbalanced sheet tray on the counter, because it will fall and you will end up scalding your leg through your pants and you will do a striptease in the kitchen (luckily no one was home) to get out of your burning pants, and you will still be cleaning up soup from EVERYWHERE in your kitchen days later. Seriously. It splashed onto my computer and wallet and walls more than ten feet away. Update: I just discovered it on the ceiling.

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Aaanywaaay, to freeze the soup, fill up your quart containers (freezer baggies work too) and leave an inch of head space (the empty space in your baggie or container that allows the expansion of liquids when freezing). Cover and let cool.

Cauliflower Fennel Soup

Once cool, label your lids – I use permeant marker on the lids, which should come off when you wash them. If it doesn’t, something oil-based (cooking oils or sunscreen, obviously) will get it off (everything I need to know, I learned in ski school). Put in the freezer. Defrost and reheat to enjoy!

Broth: remember that unused liquid gold? Make sure to freeze that too! It’s a great, flavorful chicken/vegetable broth that works well as a basic broth, or in your next batch of this soup.