Monthly Archives: November 2012

Macadamia Cream Pie


Our second Thanksgiving dessert was this heavenly macadamia cream pie requested by my brother. He had seen it in a recent edition of the Food Network Magazine. They made a simple pastry crust for this, but I thought that would be too bland since macadamias don’t have an exceptionally strong taste, especially in a cream filling. So I created my own crust, and I’m so happy I did. The coconut macadamia graham cracker crust was loaded with flavor and went perfectly with the subtle white chocolate macadamia cream filling and fresh whipped cream topping. YuM!

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted sweetened coconut
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, chopped macadamia nuts, sweetened coconut and brown sugar with a wooden spoon. Add melted butter and combine until ingredients start to clump together. Pour into a 10″ pie dish and pat crust on bottom and sides of pie dish with your fingers. When the crust is evenly distributed, bake for 15 minutes. Let cool.



 For the pie filling: (slightly adadpted from Food Network Magazine)

  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Heat 1 1/2 cups milk and the macadamia nuts in a medium saucepan over medium heat (do not boil). Whisk the egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, the cornstarch, vanilla and the remaining 1/4 cup milk in a bowl until combined. Gradually whisk half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, then pour back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and just begins to boil, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate until smooth. Transfer the filling to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.


For the topping: (slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine)

  • 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup salted macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Once the filling is cool, bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Whisk the egg whites and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the pan (do not let the bowl touch the water) and whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat with a hand mixer until the egg whites are glossy and stiff, about 5 minutes. Fold the beaten egg whites into the filling, then spread in the prepared crust. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, make the whipped cream for topping: Beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until medium peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe around the edge and center of the pie. Top with the macadamia nuts and toasted coconut.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake


This past weekend was a whirlwind of delicious and sinful Thanksgiving goodies (which are not in anyway Primal) that I will be sharing over the next few days! As life should always go in my opinion, let’s start with dessert! The first is a  pumpkin chocolate chip bundt cake that is delicious both after the Thanksgiving feast, and the next morning for breakfast. 🙂 This cake turned out perfectly moist and full of flavor-a great modern update to the standard pumpkin pie. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake  (Difficulty: Easy; Servings: 12-14)

1 can (or 2 cups) organic pure pumpkin

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream

t tsp. vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups organic granulated sugar

4 organic eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup wheat bran

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour or spray a 10″ bundt cake pan. With a stand mixer or handheld mixer, combine pumpkin puree, oil, sugar, yogurt and vanilla. When well combined, add eggs one at a time and beat on low until incorporated. Be careful not to beat the batter too much after adding the eggs. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt, and gently whisk to combine. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Fold the chocolate chips in with a spatula. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake 40-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack for another 30 minutes or so.

Chocolate Ganache

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Add chocolate chips to the top portion of a double boiler. Meanwhile, add heavy cream to a small sauce pan and heat on medium-high until bubbling, but do not let cream boil. When cream is hot add to the chocolate and stir until chocolate is fully melted and incorporated. Add vanilla and pour ganache over cooled cake. Let set before serving.

Chicken Sweet Potato and Apple Skillet


Here’s another perfect primal dish full of fall flavors and inspired by the Penzeys catalog. This is a very quick meal, yet completely satisfying and delicious!

Chicken Sweet Potato and Apple Skillet (adapted from Penzeys)

Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 6-8

1.5-2 lbs boneless, skinless organic chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 tsp. Poultry Seasoning

1/2 tsp. Mural of Flavor

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. rosemary

1/2 tsp. sage

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. marjoram

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. extra virgin cold pressed olive oil

6 slices organic applewood smoked bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 cups organic brussel sprouts, quartered

2 organic sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 organic braeburn (or preferred variety) apples, diced

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth

Bring a medium pot of water to boil, add sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Season chicken with Poultry Seasoning, Mural of Flavor, paprika, thyme, rosemary, sage, allspice, marjoram, salt and pepper. Add oil to large skillet and heat on medium-high. Add chicken to hot skillet and saute, turning so all sides are browned, about 6 minutes. Place chicken in a bowl and set aside.

Add the bacon pieces to the same pan and cook until it starts to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, abour 5-7 minutes. Add the apples, garlic, cinnamon, and one cup chicken broth and cook until broth is almost evaporated. Add the chicken and remaining broth to the pan and cook until chicken is cooked through completely, about 3 more minutes. And enjoy! Works great for leftovers!


Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter


Even though I’m totally in love with California, I have to admit I do miss the New England fall. This is my first year in a long time without seeing the beautiful foliage and going apple and pumpkin picking. So I decided to celebrate fall in my new home by throwing a fall dinner party with all of my favorite fall flavors! I apologize in advance for not having pictures of most of these dishes as I was so caught up with cooking, plating, and entertaining that I missed my photo ops. But trust me–everything was a hit!

Beautiful New England Fall- Acadia National Park, Maine

Fall hike in Topanga Canyon, CA–my new home!


The Menu  (click on the links below for each recipe)

Starter: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage (recipe below)

Salad: Mixed Greens with Bacon, Toasted Pecans, Sliced Pears, Goat Cheese and Maple Balsamic Vinegarette

Entree: Chicken Marsala

Sides: Pumpkins Stuffed with Spicy Collard Greens, Green Beans with Walnut Parsley Sauce

Dessert: A true New England favorite– Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes with Homemade Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage (adapted from Todd English)

This is one of my all-time favorite dishes to eat and to make for others! The flavors blend perfectly together to create a warm, sweet, savory, indulgent treat. I had it the first time I went to Todd English’s Olives at the Bellagio, one of my favorite restaurants in Las Vegas. And I’ve ordered it every time I’ve been back. If you have the chance, visit the restaurant and request a table on the patio. The food is sensational and your dinner will be serenaded by the legendary Bellagio water shower EVERY 15 MINUTES–doesn’t get better than that. But if not, here’s the recipe so you can indulge at home!

For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 to 6 cups diced peeled organic butternut squash (1 medium-large squash)
  • 1/2 cup ground amaretti cookies (you can find these at an Italian deli or a world market, or you can even make your own)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (the original recipe calls for bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the butternut squash. Cook until the squash is just starting to caramelize and is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the water to cover and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer the squash to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the amaretti, almond meal, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.

Pasta Dough:

  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 3 large organic egg yolks
  • Semolina for sprinkling
  • Rolling pin
  • Ravioli Stamp

Flour a large cutting board or work surface. Place 2 cups of the flour and the salt on the board and make a wide well in it. Place the eggs and egg yolks in the well. With a fork, follow the perimeter of the well, bringing in small amounts of flour and continuing all the way around, until gradually most of the four is absorbed. If necessary, add up to 1/2 cup of the remaining flour. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. A pasta machine would be ideal for this process, but since I don’t have one I rolled the dough by hand using a floured rolling pin. Mold the first piece of dough into a flatten disc with your hands and begin rolling until the dough is paper thin. If you have a ravioli stamp, make as many ravioli squares as you can fit, or cut 2″ squares by hand with a paring knife. Collect the remaining dough and roll out in the same way. Repeat with the remaining dough; you should have about 40 to 42 squares. Place 1  tablespoon of the filling in the center of each square. Place another ravioli square on top of the filling and use a fork to seal in the filling, creating a border around each ravioli. Place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and sprinkled with semolina. You can make these ahead and freeze for later.

Brown Butter Sage Sauce:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until it begins to foam and brown, about 4 minutes. Add the sage, salt and pepper. Bring a large pot of water, salted if desired, to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook until they are tender, about 3 minutes. They will begin to float when they are done. Gently saute with the brown butter and Parmesan and serve immediately.

Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes and Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream


One of the things I miss most about New England is going apple picking–and of course getting some warm apple cider donuts from the farm. I don’t typically like donuts but there is just something about apple cider donuts that sets them apart from any other donut. I found the recipe for this baked version online that tastes just like the real thing. They went perfectly with the homemade honey cinnamon ice cream I was dying to make from the Flour cookbook–my all time favorite book for desserts. My wonderful cousins bought it for me after falling in love with the bakery. If you’re in Boston, a visit to Flour Bakery is in order. You will thank me (and my cousins) later. Sorry I didn’t get any pictures- you’ll just have to trust me on this one. A few people at the dinner party said it was the best ice cream they ever had and there wasn’t a single donut hole left in sight, so hopefully that is proof enough.

Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes (Courtesy of Feastie)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple butter (they sell a yummy honey apple butter at Trader Joes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • canola cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, apple butter, vanilla extract, honey, apple cider, yogurt, and canola oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture and whisk until just incorporated. Don’t over-mix – a few lumps are okay. 
  4. Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, fill a 24-hole mini muffin pan with the batter; fill each hole only 3/4 of the way, or you’ll end up with huge mini muffins. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes and cool on a wire rack. 
  5. While donut holes are still warm, combine cinnamon and sugar in another dish. Dip the top of the muffin in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the donut hole in the cinnamon sugar to coat the sides and top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream (courtesy of Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches long
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Break up the cinnamon stick into several pieces and toss them into the pan. Scald the milk mixture over medium-high heat (bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan, but the liquid is not boiling). Remove from the heat and let the cinnamon steep in the milk mixture for about 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended, and then slowly whisk in the honey, sugar, and ground cinnamon until combined. Return the milk mixture to medium-high heat and scald again. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg-honey mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. When all of the hot milk mixture has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan, and return the saucepan to medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. The mixture will seem watery at first, then it will start to steam, and then it will start to develop a little body and get thicker. Remove from the heat and immediately strain through a fine-mesh sieve into an airtight container. Whisk in the salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until cold, or up to overnight.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

When the ice cream has finished churning, freeze it for at least 2 hours to allow it to ripen. During the ripening process, the ice cream becomes harder and smoother and the flavors more fully develop. The ice cream can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.