Monthly Archives: April 2013

Primal Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake


I have been wanting to create a primal cheesecake for months and my brother’s Birthday provided the perfect opportunity, as he is also primal and LOVES cheesecake! I’m also completely obsessed with rhubarb and don’t let a Spring go by without making some perfectly balanced sweet and tart baked good with this bright red seasonal stalk, usually paired with strawberries or raspberries. If you are in the Santa Monica, Malibu or Topanga Canyon area, I am now selling individually sized versions of this cheesecake and new york style at Topanga FRESH Market, an organic and natural foods market and cafe in Topanga Canyon!! Come by and give it a taste. Its debut at the Birthday party went over quite nicely–I’m pretty sure everyone went in for seconds.


Primal Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake  (Difficulty: Intermediate; Serves 12-14)

For the Crust:

  • 1 c. almond meal
  • 1 c. toasted pecans, finely ground in food processor
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. raw honey
  • pinch of Kosher salt

For the Filling:

  • 24 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temp.
  • 2/3 c. raw honey (**this can vary depending on type of honey–add gradually and taste for sweetness)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (next time I want to experiment with some zest for an even brighter lemon flavor)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 organic cage-free eggs, at room temp.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:

  • 2 c. rhubarb, sliced (organic if possible)
  • 2 c. diced organic strawberries
  • 1/3 c. raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. arrow root powder

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350° and wrap a 9″ springform pan with two layers of heavy duty tin foil. Toast pecans in a toaster oven or tradition oven on 300° for 5-7 minutes. Let cool and finely chop in a food processor. Combine almond meal, ground pecans, honey, melted butter and a pinch of salt in a bowl. With a stand or handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until well combined. The crust should be moist enough to slightly clump together when mixed. Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

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Make the filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325° and put a large pot of water to boil on the stove. When the water is boiling, fill a large roasting pan with boiling water to serve as a water bath for more even baking. This will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking on the surface.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and honey in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan prepared with boiling water. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

Make the compote:

Combine rhubarb, strawberries, honey, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the honey is well incorporated. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add the arrow root powder to the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and add to the fruit mixture. Simmer on low until the compote has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer rhubarb mixture to bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


Remove cheesecake from springform pan and serve topped with compote.



Turkey Burgers with Pistachio Pesto


I’m always looking for quick meals to make during the week after work and burgers are always a great option,  since there are so many variations of what you put in them and on top! I always love to make my pistachio arugula pesto on primal pizzas, so I thought this recipe from Mark Sisson’s Primal Cookbook was a great and easy way to spruce up a burger too–with no bun of course!


Primal Turkey Burgers with Pistachio Pesto (Highly adapted from Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)


1 1/4 lbs. free range organic ground turkey
1 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ c.chopped parsley

1 garlic clove
1 c. unsalted shelled pistachios
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice, or more to taste
¼ c. loosely packed basil leaves
sea salt

Mix the ground turkey and remaining burger ingredients together in a medium bowl. Form four patties and pan-fry or grill them, about 6-7 minutes per side.

While the burgers are cooking, blend together pesto ingredients in a food processor.

Serve burgers with pesto drizzled on top.

Rugelach Cookies


My friend hosted an end of Passover celebratory dinner for all of her Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike. Since during Passover, any foods that are leavened (grains risen through a biological fermentation process) are forbidden , she made sure these foods were in abundance at the dinner party, including bagels and noodle kugel, and she couldn’t leave out the brisket! While this was no traditional Passover event, I was excited to experience my first Passover party nonetheless. And since the whole focus of the dinner was essentially on carbs, I jumped at the chance to make my mom’s delicious rugelach cookie recipe. Actually, these cookies are kosher for Passover since they do not contain yeast or any other leavening agent for that matter–score! So feel free to make them for any upcoming Jewish occasions, or if you just feel like a big bite of cinnamon-sugary cream cheese heaven. Ironically, they are a Christmas cookie staple in our house. 🙂 IMAG0729

Rugelach Cookies (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes 4 dozen cookies)

Cookie Dough:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 2 c. all-purpose unbleached flour


  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. finely chopped walnuts
Make the dough: Using a stand or handheld mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Lower the speed, and gradually add the flour until a solid dough is formed. Divide the dough into three equal balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour or more.
Assemble the cookies: Preheat oven to 350° F. To make the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts in a bowl.
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the mixture onto a clean surface to roll the dough out. Place one ball of dough on top of the filling mixture and roll dough into a 9″ circle. Sprinkle a generous scoop of filling onto the dough and spread evenly.
Using a pastry or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 16 equal parts.  Tightly roll each piece of dough from the outside into the point. Place the cookies point side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes.

Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream


Continuing with my St. Paddy’s celebration, I made green (Watercress) soup topped with Irish whiskey cream. This is a very easy dish and would go great with a traditional meaty entree like Shepherd’s pie (check out my spin on this classic dish with pulled pork here) or a stout-based beef stew for an authentic meal. But it is a satisfying dish just on its own.

Watercress soup with Irish Whiskey Cream (adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 6)

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk organic celery and leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium organic parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 c. organic low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. organic honey
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 bunches organic watercress, rinsed and tough stems trimmed
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt

Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the parsnip, broth, honey and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the parsnip is tender, about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, make the whiskey cream by add whiskey to 1 cup of greek yogurt and stir to combine.


Add the watercress to the saucepan and simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. You can also transfer the mixture to a regular blender and puree. Return to the saucepan and bring to a bare simmer; season liberally with salt and pepper, and swirl in remaining 1 Tbsp. butter. Simmer on medium for 10-15 minutes, until soup slightly thickens.



Ladle the soup into bowls and top each with a dollop of the whiskey cream.

Car Bomb Ice Cream Floats- Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!!


I am a firm believer that Irish Car Bombs are way better in theory than in practice. I mean, really, who can actually chug an entire pint of Guiness?!? Not me! Instead, here is a leisurely decadent way to enjoy your Guinness and Baileys–in an ice cream float! Smooth, velvety Guiness poured over a scoop (or two) of cold, rich, creamy Baileys ice cream with a gooey, slightly minty, fudge ripple, studded with mint cookie crumbles. Now that’s what I call a car bomb! I think the Irish would be proud. I also prefer my car bomb in cupcake form–click here for the recipe.

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Car Bomb Floats (ice cream adapted from Katie at the Kitchen Door) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes 4-6 floats)

  • 1 1/4 c. Bailey’s, divided
  • 1 1/2 c. organic whole milk
  • 1/3 c. organic honey
  • 2/3 c. whole irish cream flavored coffee beans
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. organic heavy cream
  • 5 organic cage free egg yolks
  • 2 c. Newman’s mint flavored O’s, divided
  • 4-6 pints of Guiness or preferred stout

Make the Ice Cream:

Add whole milk, honey, coffee beans, instant coffee, salt, and 1/2 c. of heavy cream to the medium saucepan  Stir briefly to combine ingredients.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, just until the milk begins to simmer.  Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 1 hour, to allow the coffee beans to steep.

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Meanwhile, pour 1/2 c. of the Bailey’s into a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until simmering gently.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Bailey’s is reduced by half.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups of the Newman O’s until they are fine crumbs.  Add 1/2 c. of the Bailey’s and pulse until a thick paste is formed.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.


After the hour has passed, gently rewarm coffee-milk until hot to the touch, but not simmering.  In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks.  In a large bowl, pour remaining 1 c. of cream, set a large mesh sieve on top, and set aside.  Carefully pour the hot coffee-milk mixture over the eggs, whisking vigorously as you do so, to temper the eggs.  Still whisking, pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook for 5-10 minutes until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, stirring constantly (a wooden spoon works better than a whisk here) to keep the eggs from scrambling and frequently scraping the bottom.


When the custard has thickened, pour through the mesh sieve into the remaining cream, to strain out the coffee beans and any cooked egg bits.  Discard beans.  Stir the cream and coffee custard together, then add the remaining 1/4 c. of Bailey’s, as well as the 1/4 c. of reduced Bailey’s syrup, and stir to incorporate.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.


Process the chilled custard according to ice cream maker instructions.  As the mixture churns, place a 9×13 pan in the freezer.  Microwave the chocolate fudge ripple (Bailey’s and cookie mixture) for 30 seconds and stir, just to make it spreadable (don’t let it get too hot!). Crush the remaining 1/2 cup of Newman O’s with a rolling pin or meat pounder. When the ice cream is finished churning, spread it into the pan.  Dot the top with the fudge ripple mixture, then use a spatula to quickly but gently fold it in to the ice cream.  Stir in the cookie crumbles. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour.

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Make the floats:

Add two or three small scoops of ice cream to a frosted glass. Pour 1-2 cups of Guinness over and devour with a spoon!