Side Dishes

Predominantly Paleo's Onion Loaf by Alex Boake

Today's post continues my theme of recipe trades! This week I'm swapping with the awesome Jen of Predominantly Paleo. She's the creator of the infamous (and reportedly life-changing) Yuca Dough! Actually, I originally was planning on making the aforementioned dough, but I ran into so many setbacks related to sourcing fresh Yuca that I eventually had to put that aside and pick another recipe. Many thanks to Jen for putting up with all my #yucaproblems. Don't let that put you off from trying it out, though. One day I will resume my Yuca Quest, and slay the Yuca dragon~! Predominantly Paleo's Onion Loaf, Illustrated by Alex Boake

So, as you can see in my illustration above, I decided to make her Onion Loaf, which looks amazing in her photos. Not only does it LOOK amazing, but it also tastes amazing. It can talk the talk and walk the walk.

...Maybe that's the wrong analogy, but the fact remains that this is delicious. Yes, it's delicious even if you're like me and you use tapioca flour instead of arrowroot. (Look, I think I've got some sort of cosmic problem related to yuca/cassava/tapioca.) Please note, however, that if you use tapioca flour this will be more of an onion goo, rather than become crispy like in Jen's beautiful photos. Either way, it will be addictive and highly edible.

Predominantly Paleo's Onion Loaf with minor adaptations by me

Ingredients

  • 1 large Onion, peeled
  • 1/4 cup Potato Flour
  • 1/4 cup Arrowroot Flour OR Tapioca Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 dash Granulated Garlic
  • Avocado Oil or Bacon Fat for frying
  • Additional Sea Salt to taste
Directions

If using a mandolin, cut the Onion in half, remove the hard core at the bottom, and slice thinly. If you have a spiralizer, use as directed. In a large pan, heat up your oil of choice to medium.

In a shallow bowl mix the potato flour and arrowroot flour (for a crispy onion loaf) OR tapioca flour (for a gooey onion loaf), along with the sea salt and garlic powder. Dredge the onions in the flour mixture, until fully coated. The tapioca version may become somewhat sticky or clumpy, but it will be fine.

Cook the flour-coated onions until browned on all sides. Place on a towel lined plate to soak up any excess oil. Tapioca version will be somewhat sticky, so just pat it down.

Serve crispy Onion Loaf with ketchup or your dip of choice, and maybe just eat gooey Onion Loaf with a knife and a fork. Whichever route you go--enjoy!

Check out Jen's blog post for her original version of the recipe, along with her tasty photos. Plus, she's got tons of other amazing recipes so don't miss those either. You can also follow her on Facebook for all the latest updates.

Also, as I mentioned on my previous post, Jen and Vivian of The Real Food Guide recently collaborated and released an e-book dedicated to ICE CREAM. Perfect for summer, am I right? Check that out if you like ice cream, and also allergen-friendly treats.

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Head over here to get more information  "We can ALL scream for Ice Cream!"

Smoky Cauliflower - Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Paprika [Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan] by Alex Boake

Smoky Cauliflower There was some debate between myself and my parents while I was making this illustration about whether or not it was "Smoky" or Smokey". To set the record straight, it used to be spelled with an E, but the modern spelling is more streamlined and the E has been dropped. There is NO debate, however, about the deliciousness of this cauliflower creation! Perfect for low-carbers, it was a staple on my various 21 Day Sugar Detoxes and the like. We usually cook our meats at 350, so instead of roasting at a higher heat I use a lower one so it's compatible with my other staple proteins.

I'd say use whatever paprika you like, but honestly this brand is REALLY amazing. Life changing. I can get mine locally, but you can also find it online. At minimum, make sure to use a smoked paprika. You won't regret it! This vegetarian side is really simple, but has amazing flavour. Make sure you get a massive cauliflower since you'll be having the oven on for a bit, so you might as well have leftovers.

Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Paprika Serves 4 to 6 - Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 huge head of Cauliflower
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil (or more as required)
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Wash and pat dry the head of cauliflower. Remove the leaves and cut off the stem. Cut the head in half and then in quarters. Slice into ~1.5 cm thick pieces and lay in one layer on rimmed metal baking sheets. Cut any large florets in half. Toss all small bits onto the pan as you go. It should take about two large rimmed baking sheets to fit all the cut-up cauliflower.

Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle on the paprika. Toss and add enough oil and spice so that the florets are coated nicely. Sprinkle the salt evenly.

Pop into the oven and roast for 35 minutes, then flip and rotate the pans. Cook for 25 more minutes, until nicely browned with crispy edges. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Goatly King Mushrooms [Primal, Gluten-free] by Alex Boake

Cheese and mushrooms are a match made in heaven, as far as I'm concerned. If you don't like cheese or mushrooms, then heaven help you! (I rescind the previous comment if you're intolerant to dairy.) Tangy goat cheese pairs wonderfully with meaty king mushrooms, and is kicked up to level 100 with garlic and fresh dill. Damn easy and delicious. King Mushrooms

Stuffed King Mushrooms Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 4 Big King Mushrooms
  • 3/4 Cup Soft Goat Cheese
  • 1 Organic Egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Dill, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed in a garlic press, or finely minced
  • 1 tsp Butter, plus extra to grease the pan

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Grease the bottom of a small baking dish with butter. Slice the mushrooms down the center, almost but not quite cutting them in half. Lay them in the baking dish, slice side up.

Make sure the goat cheese is very soft, and mix together with the egg, butter, pressed garlic and chopped dill. Spoon this mixture into the sliced mushrooms, and cover them thoroughly with any extra.

Pop into the oven and cook for about 45 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Balsamic Roasted Heirloom Carrots [Paleo, Primal, Vegan] by Alex Boake

Shopping at farmer's markets is such a treat, and in my city there are at least 3 that run year round--including my go-to, Dufferin Grove. I spotted these heirloom carrots last week, and I decided that I really didn't eat enough carrots these days. Especially delicious, sweet, organic heirloom carrots! You can make this recipe with any ole' carrots you want, or even parsnips, but I highly recommend some heirloom carrots if you can get your hands on them. They're super pretty and extra delicious! For this recipe the amounts are approximate, I just toss everything together and add until the carrots look well-coated.

Balsamic Roasted Heirloom Carrots

Serves 4

  • 12 Medium Heirloom Carrots
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tsp Mixed Herbs or Herbes du Province
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Directions  Preheat oven to 350. Scrub carrots and cut the tops off, then cut in half lengthwise. Line a metal baking tray with foil, and put the carrots on the tray.

Drizzle your oil of choice and the vinegar onto the carrots. Crush the herbs in your hand if the flakes are large, and sprinkle along with the salt and pepper onto the tray with the carrots. Toss to coat evenly.

Pop into the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy on the edges.

Greek Salad [Primal and Gluten-free] by Alex Boake

Last winter I had the incredible experience of traveling to Greece. We stayed mainly in Athens and made day trips out to different locations, such as Delphi and Olympus. Our guide Betty was fantastic and animated, with a wealth of knowledge about each and every destination. She also made sure we had access to excellent family-owned restaurants, and helped me to navigate menus so that I could eat safely without fear of gluten. One of our staples, other than Tzatziki, was the Greek Salad. Always with fresh and tasty ingredients, we had one with almost every meal--even breakfast! Whereas in North America, Greek Salad typically contains lettuce, in Greece you will never find lettuce in your salad, except maybe if you are in a very touristy area. This recipe is flexible, and can be adjusted based on your preferences. If you don't like raw onions or peppers, just leave them out! If you don't like olives, you're probably crazy, but you can omit them! Don't do dairy? Leave out the feta! You can just use good quality olive oil and lemon for the dressing, but I've also included a more elaborate dressing as well.

Greek Salad Lots of Fresh Tomatoes, cut into chunks Lots of Cucumbers, cut into chunks Some Red Onion, thinly sliced Some Green Pepper, thinly sliced Handful of Kalamata Olives, pitted or un-pitted (just warn people!)  Wedge of Feta Cheese (try to source good quality Greek or Bulgarian sheep's milk Feta) Dried Oregano, to sprinkle on top

Dressing 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 tsp Garlic, crushed 1 tsp Fresh Oregano, minced 1 tsp Dried Basil 1/2 tsp Black Pepper 1/2 tsp Sea Salt 1 tsp Dijon Mustard 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Add ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Pour over chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Cut feta into chunks and add to the salad, or cut a slice for each person and add one to each individual serving.

 

Couve a Mineira (Brazilian Collard Greens) by Alex Boake

Last month between Otakon and The Ancestral Health Symposium, I had the lucky chance to stay with Russ and his family for a few days, and we were able to cook up a few collaborative dishes while I was there visiting. You're probably already familiar with his awesome recipes from over on his blog, The Domestic Man. We paired this along with some meat courtesy of US Wellness Meats who were kind enough to ship some samples in time for my visit. You're going to have to wait on that; we're going to give you the details on that later. For now...the greens! Check out Russ' post for the awesome photos and the historical background of this traditional Brazilian dish, Couve a Mineira.

 Keep your eye out for more collaborations between us in the future! Of course, if for some reason you're not following Russ already, check out The Domestic Man on Facebook and Twitter so you don't miss his recipes.

Meatified's Thai Mini Meatballs [Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free] by Alex Boake

As you may have noticed, I've been doing a lot of recipe trades lately. It's a fantastic way to meet new friends and also have a good excuse to try other people's tasty dishes. I really can't complain, since everyone in the community seems to have awesome recipe crafting skills! My latest trade is with Rach over at Meatified. We met through Twitter! Her clean photography style is really appealing to me, and her recipes are inspired but not overwrought--nice! I was looking for something speedy and delicious, so her recipe for Thai Mini Meatballs really caught my eye. Plus, since we have a surplus of ground beef in the fridge, I can always use another recipe in my arsenal that uses it as the main ingredient! I pretty much followed her instructions exactly, except I switched up the curry pastes because my siblings have milder taste buds. Check it out!

There you have it! Comes together easily and cooks super fast! This got rave reviews from my family; we couldn't stop eating them. They would definitely go over well as a party appetizer with toothpicks, and no one would even know they were 'eating Paleo'! Ka-ching!

Be sure to check out more of her tasty recipes over on her blog. Today she's posted her version of one of my recipes and she made it look super professional and drool-worthy! She's also on Facebook and Twitter if you want even more ways to connect. : )

Tzatziki Sauce [Greek Odyssey: Illustrated International Cuisine] by Alex Boake

This past March I had the awesome experience of going to Greece for a week! I saw amazing Classical architecture and important historical sites. Mainly we were staying in Athens, but we took day trips to different locations, and went as far as Olympia and Sparta. It was really amazing. Everything there was breathtakingly beautiful and inspiring. Our tour guide Betty was the best you could hope for, filled with stories, facts and history, always willing to answer questions and go to the next level. Also, she knew the best places to eat, and made sure I never had to worry about accidentally eating gluten!

Yes, the sites were excellent, and so was the food! Since coming back, there were a few dishes that I told myself I really had to recreate at home. This is one of them. My Mom and I ordered this at almost every meal. It compliments pretty much anything and you can just eat it with a spoon too; it's that good. The famous Tzatziki Sauce! Made with Greek Yogurt, it's rich, creamy and delicious. Making Greek Yogurt at home is a snap. Just strain your regular Yogurt for a few hours. I can make this in my sleep now, and I've laid out how you can make it at home in this handy dandy illustration!

Enjoy, and look forward to more Greek food illustrations coming over the summer!

Roasted, Boiled and Whipped Heads (of Garlic and Cauliflower) by Alex Boake

Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted a recipe. I'm not going to make too many excuses, but basically I've been busy, and short on time and inspiration. Well, no more! I don't want my little food blog to fade away. Here's a dish I've been making fairly often lately because it's super easy and super delicious, and, to be honest, a great low-carb side dish. Also: it has a ton of butter in it. Can we say yum? Everyone's got their own version of mashed cauliflower; here's mine!

Roasted, Boiled and Whipped Heads (of Garlic and Cauliflower)

Ingredients

  • 1 huge Head of Garlic
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Salt to taste

Directions Take the head of Garlic and while keeping all the cloves attached, remove the extra papery skin, and cut off the tips of each clove. Drizzle with Olive Oil and wrap in aluminum foil. I like to roast mine in the toaster oven at 400 for 35 to 40 minutes. The toaster oven is great because I can put the timer on and then walk away and it turns itself off, voila! The garlic should be soft and golden brown when it's done. Set aside to cool.

Wash the head of Cauliflower and remove the extra leaves. Chop into 4 pieces and put them into a pot of adequate size. Cover with water, and add a few shakes of salt. Bring the water to a boil and cook until soft. You can't really overcook it, so I just check it every so often while I'm preparing the rest of the meal.

Once cooked, drain the water and return to the stove, which should be turned to low. Add the Butter and then squeeze the Garlic Cloves out into the pot. Using an immersion blender, whip everything into a smooth and creamy state. Add the Black Pepper and mix again. It should be evenly flecked with Pepper.  No immersion blender? That's okay, transfer it to a food processor and process until smooth. Serve warm!

This works great as a side for pretty much anything, but it's particularly good with lamb or steak. Enjoy!

Wicked Black Radish Roast by Alex Boake

Sometimes, at the Farmer's Market, something will just catch your eye. Immediately, you're drawn towards some interesting or unusual produce and you'll just have to ask, "What IS that?" Today at the Dufferin Grove Organic Market that item was these PITCH BLACK Radishes.  The farmer said, "They are very spicy, and their skin is cancer fighting!" Basically, I was sold instantly. My brain started turning, and I came up with this dish. Generally my turnaround time is a few days to a week or so, so you know it's good because I made it and illustrated it the same day due to my burning desire to share. In case anyone was curious, my illustrations are available to be licensed as stock for online and print media, for a fee. I'm also available for custom commissions on a freelance basis! Just email me with your project and I can give you a quote.

Also, I'm working on getting all my recipes formatted so that there's a print recipe feature, so look forward to that soon.

Wicked Black Radish Roast  Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients 1 lb Black Spanish Radishes  (~2 Large) 1 Chinese Eggplant 1 Cup Oyster or other Fancy Mushrooms 2 Shallots 4 Cloves of Garlic 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 tsp Dried Rosemary 1/2 tsp Salt 1/4 tsp Dried Basil 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

2 to 3 Cups Swiss Chard 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 5 to 10 oz Goat Milk Feta, crumbled

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Scrub the Radishes. Cut the tops and roots off. Cut into 1/2 inch slices, and then cut into quarters. Slice the Eggplant into 1 inch slices. Dice Shallots. Wash and slice the Oyster Mushrooms. Throw all the vegetables onto a large baking sheet with a rim, and using a garlic press, press the Garlic Cloves over top.

Drizzle on the 3 Tbsp of Olive Oil, and sprinkle with the herbs and seasonings. Toss to coat evenly, and then put them into the preheated oven. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes, or until softened, stirring once or twice.

While the rest of the vegetables are roasting, prepare the Swiss Chard. Wash, and remove any of the tough stems. If the leaves are large, slice them into wide ribbons. After the initial cook time, add the Swiss Chard and Feta to the pan, and drizzle with the additional Tbsp of Olive Oil.

Pop it back into the oven, and cook until the Swiss Chard is wilted, and the cheese is warmed. Stir everything together to harmonize the dish.

The cheese isn't 100% necessary, if you don't do dairy, but it does add to the dish if you do tolerate it well. Also, if you can't find Black Spanish Radishes, it's okay, I forgive you. Use whatever Radishes you can get your hands on!

Fandom Foodie: Goku's Sweet Power Potatoes by Alex Boake

"It's my stomach, I'm hungry." -Goku, Dragonball.

Now, I used to watch Dragonball and Dragonball Z myself, but I wouldn't exactly call myself a fanatic. However, I do happen know a true fan quite well...my boyfriend, Mike! So, I asked him to give me his DBZ elevator pitch! In his words:

"I'm not even sure what it is that I like about Dragon Ball Z... It's action-packed, has super-powerful characters that can blow up worlds, magical dragons that grant wishes, a talking pig and a pure-hearted main character who takes on every type of opponent in the universe! The series is simply a classic and everyone should check it out!"

There you have it, folks! What's not to like about that? Of course, they do spend a lot of air time 'powering up', so if you want to check the series out, and skip all that, you can also watch the fan-made 'abridged' version, which is of course, very very accurate! ; )

In the show, when the characters are beaten to a bloody pulp, and need a second wind, they eat Senzu Beans. Now, we don't do beans around here, so instead I would recommend to Goku to try some Sweet Potatoes as his post-villain beating recovery food. Plus, they're orange and round like Dragonballs! Wowza~

Goku's Sweet Power Potatoes

Serves 5 to 6 as a side.

Difficulty Level Easy Mode

Ingredients

  • 4 or 5 Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Directions Preheat oven to 350.

Peel the Sweet Potatoes, and rinse them off. Slice into half inch thick disks, or a bit thinner if you prefer them more on the crispy side. Toss them with the Olive Oil, 5 Spice Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt and Peppers until they are well coated with the seasonings.

Take a metal tray or two, and lay them out so that they all have contact with the pan. Pop into the oven and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, take them and flip each one over, again making sure that they aren't on top of each other.

Cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, until they are soft on the inside, and the seasonings become a bit crispy on the outside.

You could get crazy and serve these with a mayo-based dipping sauce, but I like to eat them all on their own. Enjoy!

Fandom Foodie: Totoro's Forest Custards with Sweet Potato and Mushrooms by Alex Boake

“My neighbor to to ro totoro to to ro totoro if you ever meet him, a wonderful happiness will come to you!” -Japanese Theme, My Neighbour Totoro

Such a cute and endearing movie, it's one of the first Studio Ghibli movies I ever watched. This was before I even knew what Studio Ghibli was! Miyazaki always crafts such unique and magical worlds in his movies, and the characters are endearing an compelling. Even though Totoro himself can be a little scary at times, mostly he is mystifying and charming! This recipe captures the essence of forest and fall flavours, a little sweet and mostly savory. I'm sure Totoro would dig in heartily!

Totoro's Forest Custards with Sweet Potato and Mushrooms

Serves 4

Difficulty Level Normal Mode

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs Sweet Potato, about 3 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Cups Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk or Coconut Milk
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup (Optional)
  • 1 tsp Dried Sage
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pecans
  • 4 10 oz. Ramekins, or other Oven-safe Individual Portion-sized Bakeware

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Peel and wash Sweet Potato, and cut into fairly uniform medium-sized cubes. Place the cubes in a large pot, and fill with water until they are just covered. Add the 1/2 tsp of Sea Salt to the water, and bring to a boil over high heat on the stove. Cook covered for 12 to 15 minutes, or until fork-tender. Once cooked, drain the water and allow to cool slightly.

While the Sweet Potatoes are cooking, wash and cut the Shiitake Mushrooms. Cut off any woody stems, and slice the caps. Don't chop them. You want to have identifiable pieces of Mushroom in the final product. Over Medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp of Butter in a pan. Cook the Shiitakes until softened, and then set aside.

Using an immersion blender and a bowl, or using a food processor, blend the cooked Sweet Potatoes until they are fluffy. Beat in the Milk, Eggs and Maple Syrup until well combined. Then add the Salt, Nutmeg, Sage and Pepper.  Using a spoon, mix in the cooked Shiitakes.

Butter your 4 Ramekins, and then divide the Sweet Potato mixture between them. Roughly chop the 1/2 Cup Pecans, and sprinkle evenly on top of the 4 Custards. To simplify transferring the dishes in and out of the oven, place them on a small metal tray. Pop them into the preheated oven, and then bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes, until the Nuts are toasty and the tops are golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

This recipe may also work if you bake up the mixture in one large soufflé dish, but increase the baking time and keep an eye on it. You might have to cover the top with foil so that the Pecans don't burn before it's cooked through.

It's a dish fit for a furry forest king!

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus by Alex Boake

Generally speakIng, Bacon wrapped anything is magical. Asparagus, which is already tasty, is taken to a whole new level when enclosed in porky goodness. Now, Asparagus season is pretty much over, but it is one of the few vegetables my picky picky little sister will eat, so we tend to eat it all year. Everyone has their own version of this recipe, here's mine! 

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Serves 1 or a crowd, you choose!

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 Stalks of Asparagus per Person
  • 1 Piece Bacon per Person
  • Black Pepper
  • Dried Rosemary
  • 1 Toothpick per Bundle

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Wash and dry Asparagus stalks. Trim hard or woody ends, usually about one inch or so. Select 5 or 6 stalks per person, depending on the size. Lightly grease your pan. Using one piece of Bacon for each bundle, wrap, trying not to overlap too much. Secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle with Rosemary and Black Pepper. Pop into the oven, and cook for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through cook time, until bacon is crisp and the Asparagus is nice and roasted. Serve one bundle per person, and make sure they don't eat the toothpick!

Check out this Paleo AIP Weekly Roundtable for more Auto-immune protocol friendly recipes like this one.

Smoky Bacon Deviled Eggs and Homemade Mayo by Alex Boake

Ah, it's officially summer! This is great news for fans of fun outdoor activities like picnics. I'm a big fan of picnics.  You get to enjoy the sunshine, hang out with friends, and eat fresh and delicious food. Now, if there's one food that I really associate with picnics, it's Deviled Eggs. If people ask me to come to their outdoor-eating-fest there's this unspoken expectation that I will be bringing my famous Deviled Eggs. This year I'm really upping my game with these Smoky Bacon Deviled Eggs made with my own Homemade Mayonnaise. They're complex, and smoky and creamy and...well, how can you argue with Bacon?

Homemade Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Organic Egg
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Light Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Avocado Oil

Directions In a food processor, combine the Egg, Vinegar, Honey, Mustard and Salt. Give them a whirr to combine them well. In a measuring container with a pour spout, mix the Avocado and Olive Oils. These Oils both have a very mild taste, and won't shine through too heavily in the finished Mayonnaise. Turn on the food processor and very very slowly drizzle the Oil mixture to combine. It is important to add it in as gradually as possible so that the mixture emulsifies and becomes thickened. Basically, if you can barely see the stream of Oil as you pour it in, then you're on the right track! Once thickened, transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to a week.

Smoky Bacon Deviled Eggs Makes 24, great for parties!

Ingredients

  • 12 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Homemade Mayo
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Hot Smoked Paprika
  • 1/8 tsp Chili Powder
  • 4 Strips of Crispy Bacon, diced finely
  • 2 Strips of Crispy Bacon, cut into 24 larger pieces, to garnish

Directions If you don't have cooked Bacon on hand, cook up 6 pieces to use in this recipe. Make sure they're nice and crispy. Hard boil 1 dozen Eggs. My preferred method is to put the Eggs in a large pot, with an inch or two of water covering them. Add a little salt to the water. Bring to a rolling boil, and then allow to boil for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, and let them sit on the stove, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water. After that, transfer them to the fridge to allow them to cool. I recommend doing this the night before your picnic.

Now comes the fun task of peeling the Hard Boiled Eggs. If your Eggs are really really fresh, you may have a hard time with this, as bits of the white will want to come away with the peel. Hopefully all goes well and you're able to peel them all cleanly! Cut each one in half, removing the Yolk and transferring it to a mixing bowl. Lay out the empty halves like little boats on a serving tray, awaiting the filling.

With the Egg yolks, add the Mayonnaise, Paprika, Chili Pepper, Salt and finely diced Bacon. Mash them together using the back of a fork until relatively smooth and well combined. If you want to get really fancy, you can transfer the mix into a piping bag, and pipe them back into the Egg boats. Usually I just use a small spoon, and plop the delicious filling into the Eggs. Either way, once it's evenly divided and all used up, top each one with a small piece of Crispy Bacon!

There you have it, a fancy appetizer that will get you invited back to all the hottest picnics, year after year.

Lemon Garlic Fiddleheads and Asparagus by Alex Boake

Oh it's my favourite time of the year again! My Dad has a small farm up north and in the spring and summer he starts bringing home some of our own fresh produce! Not huge crops, but enough to supplement our meals. Organic produce from our own remote backyard! Right now we're not harvesting vegetables that we've planted. No, he's been bringing me foraged things like Wild Leeks and these cute little Fiddleheads! Last week he brought me home quite the bountiful harvest of them, so I dreamed up a recipe that really puts them front and center. If you don't have someone gathering these for you, you may be able to find them at a local Farmer's Market! Just in case you haven't seen Fiddleheads before...this piece isn't to scale. The baby fern shoots are much smaller than Asparagus...I've taken some artistic liberties here!

Lemon Garlic Fiddleheads and Asparagus Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Fiddleheads
  • 1 lb White Asparagus
  • 2 to 3 Shallots
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Directions

Wash your Fiddleheads, removing any of the brown papery covering from the outside. Pat dry, or spin in a lettuce spinner. Peel Shallots and chop finely. If using White Asparagus, peel, and then cut into 2 inch pieces. For Green Asparagus peeling is not necessary, so simply cut them up.

In a large pan, over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbsp of Butter, and then add the diced Shallots to the pan. Using a Garlic Press, press the Garlic and cook it along with the Shallots. Cook until the Shallots are translucent. Sprinkle generously with Salt and Pepper.

Add another Tablespoon of Butter to the pan, and then toss in the Asparagus. Cook until they begin to soften slightly. Then add the last Tablespoon of Butter to the pan, and begin to cook the Fiddleheads along with the Shallots and Asparagus. When the Fiddleheads and Asparagus are fairly softened, pour in the Lemon Juice.

You want to cook everything until the Fiddleheads are soft, and start to unfurl slightly--but don't overcook! The beauty is the fresh crunch that they will maintain, which goes nicely with the bright Lemon flavour. Taste one to test for doneness and seasoning, before serving, add more Salt and Pepper if needed. Enjoy!

Dragon Eye Salad with Dragonfruit, Mango and Longan by Alex Boake

Hey everyone! I'm pleased to announce that I'm now contributing over at Feast On It!On the 21st of each month I'll have an extra recipe posted over there. Here's this month's recipe.

This fresh-tasting salad was inspired by a desire for some juicy fruit, and a jaunt through my local fruit market. I’d never tried Longan Fruit before, and was struck by their uncanny resemblance to eyeballs. Rather than being put off, I was inspired by the imagery. I decided to pair them with Dragon Fruit, and this tasty Dragon Eye Salad was born.

 Dragon Eye Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6oz. or 6 Handfuls of Baby Spinach
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 3 Baby Cucumbers
  • 1 Red or White Fleshed Dragon Fruit
  • 1 Large Ripe Mango
  • 3/4 Cup Whole, Raw Unsalted Cashews
  • 3 Green Onions
  • 1 Dozen Longan Fruit

Dressing

  • 3 Medium Limes
  • Avocado Oil to Taste

Directions When I make this type of salad, I don’t just toss the ingredients all together in a big bowl. I like to compose each plate so that each of my dining companions has a beautifully presented dish, with a even distribution of all the ingredients.

Wash and dry your Baby Spinach. If you don’t have a lettuce spinner yet, I absolutely recommend that you add one to your arsenal! If the leaves are on the large side, chop them before dividing them between 6 bowls.

While you’re working on preparing the toppings, toast your raw Cashews. You can do this in a toaster oven or on the stove top in a pan on low heat. Keep an eye on them and toast them until they are lightly browned and fragrant. If you’re using the stove top, stir frequently.

Cut the Avocados in half and remove the pits. Peel off the skin and then slice in half lengthwise. Make at least a dozen slices width-wise, and then divide these Avocado wedges between the bowls, arranging them on top of the Spinach. Then, wash the Baby Cucumbers. Slice into relatively thin slices, and then also divide between the plates.

Take the Dragon Fruit and cut it in half, and then slice each half into halves. Peel off the thick skin and then discard. Chop the flesh of the fruit, and then divide evenly. Take your Mango and peel the skin. Remove the flesh from the pit, and then slice. Again, divide between plates.

Your Cashews should now be done and ready to go. With a large knife, chop roughly and top the salad. Wash and dry the Green Onions. Chop, then sprinkle on top of each salad.

Now comes the Longan fruit! These fruit are extremely sweet, so I’ve only recommended a ‘pair of eyeballs’ for each person. Peel off the hard skin, and discard. Remove the ‘iris-like’ pit from the middle of the fruit, and give each plate two.

Quarter the Limes and rest two slices on the edge of each plate. Serve with a bottle of Avocado Oil on the table. Let each of your guests squeeze on the Lime juice, and drizzle on the Oil to make their dressing.

Enjoy these bright and delicious flavours!

A Prize-Winning Fresh Mozzarella and Homegrown Tomato Salad by Alex Boake

Ah yes, here's the post you've been waiting for! It's Kate Ground's prize of a recipe and illustration featuring her favourite ingredient, Homegrown Tomatoes. Believe it or not, I used to hate raw Tomatoes. In fact, I used to hate all Tomatoes, even cooked ones! I know, it's blasphemy. I'm now a convert, and I bow down to the deliciousness of a plump, ripe, in-season Tomato. This salad is quite something. It really allows you to savour the freshness of the ingredients, so I really suggest you use in-season, local, perhaps even homegrown Tomatoes, if you can, for the best results!

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2, 250g Balls of Fresh Mozzarella
  • 4 Medium Ripe Homegrown Tomatoes
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 4 Baby English Cucumbers
  • A Large Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves

Dressing

  • 2 Heaping Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions I love to make this type of salad look really beautiful by really arranging the ingredients nicely onto the plates. Try for your best presentation with this salad! It makes it even more delicious, scout's honour!

Depending what you're serving this with, and your personal tolerance for dairy, you can either opt for more or less mozzarella. If you're serving it with something heavy, divide one Ball of Mozzarella into 4 sections, and then slice. Divide between four plates. If you're serving this with something light then take 2 Balls of Fresh Mozzarella, divide each into 2 sections, and then slice. Make sure the pieces fairly bite-size so that people don't have to bust out their knives. Divide between the 4 plates.

Wash your delicious, ripe Tomatoes and your Cucumbers. Remove the stems, and then cut each Tomato in half once, and then slice. You can get super artful here and alternate between a piece of Mozzarella and a slice of Tomato as you divide them between the 4 plates. Thinly slice each Cucumber and spread out the slices in a ring around the plate.

Cut the Avocados in half, and remove the pits. Peel them, and then chop them up. Bestow each plate with half an Avocado, making sure you separate out the slices a bit so they are easily picked up with a fork.

Wash and dry the Fresh Basil Leaves. Remove the stems, and then stack the larger leaves, and then roll them. This makes it easy to slice them into ribbons. Take the pile of sliced leaves and divide by four, then sprinkle on top of each plate.

In a glass jar with a lid, toss in the Dijon Mustard, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. Seal the jar and then shake to combine. Serve the dressing on a table with a spoon and let each person drizzle their desired amount of dressing onto their salad. If you have leftover dressing just seal up the jar and refrigerate it, reserving it for another salad.

This salad is truly one of my favourites! It's especially good with Buffalo Mozzarella. However, I have recently looked into making fresh Goat's Milk Mozzarella, so you may be seeing a post about that, sometime soon! You can be sure that if I manage to pull that off that it will be appearing on my table as a key player in this very dish.

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province -- Plus CONTEST! *Contest now closed* by Alex Boake

Wow, things have been a little quiet around here...sorry about that! I'd been overseas, away from my kitchen and out of the studio, which made it a little difficult to cook and draw. But now I'm back, and ready for action. The lovely spring weather we've suddenly been gifted with is really inspiring in so many ways! Though we Canadians never stop barbecuing, I'm sure that the change in temperature has inspired many people to dust off their grills. Today I have for you a grilled salad that takes advantage of this outdoorsy cooking contraption! This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering! But first I'd like to announce a contest! It's my first contest, in fact, so I'm pretty excited. Here's what you can win!

The Grand Prize: A Recipe and Illustration developed and created by me, featuring your favourite fruit or vegetable. You'll be mailed a poster of the Illustration, signed by myself!

Here's how to enter! Comment on this post with your favourite fruit or vegetable AND either:

  • Follow Alex Boake - Illustration on Facebook or Twitter, AND/OR;
  • Draw me a doodle of your favourite fruit or vegetable, and link to it in the post.

Want additional entries? Share this post on Facebook or Tweet about the contest!

You can get up to 5 entries, one each for the social media follows, one for your drawing, and one for each share or tweet. Just let me know in the comment what you did, and you will be entered accordingly. If you're already a follower on Facebook or Twitter, awesome! You can still enter, just let me know when you comment with your fruit or vegetable.

The contest closes on April 12th at 12:00 AM EDT. I'll get in touch with the winner, and the recipe will be posted about two weeks from the end of the contest. The poster will be mailed to the winner after the post goes live! I look forward to hearing everyones' favourite fruits and vegetables, and seeing peoples' doodles! This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering!

Now, how about that salad?

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Round of Soft Cheese with a rind, such as Camembert or Brie (You won't use all of the cheese in this recipe)
  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 4 Small Zucchini
  • 2 Large Sweet Red Peppers
  • 2 Chinese Eggplants
  • Herbes de Province
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil

Directions

Wash all of your vegetables well. Rinse the Mushrooms and pat them dry. Cut the Zucchini in half. Take the halves and then make cuts along the length, from bottom to stem but stopping before you reach the end, essentially creating a Zucchini 'fan'. This allows for quicker cooking on the grill, and creates a nice presentation. Lightly brush the Zucchini fans with Olive Oil, and sprinkle with Herbes de Province. Cut the tops off of the Red Peppers, and cut them into quarters, removing the seeds. Slice the Chinese Eggplants into 1 cm thick slices, on a slight diagonal.

Depending how quickly you prepare your vegetables, you can preheat your grill to medium high while you work. Grill the Mushrooms and Zucchini for 4 minutes per side, and the Eggplants and Peppers for 3 minutes per side--keep an eye on them, if your grill runs hot you don't want to run the risk of incinerating them!

While the vegetables are grilling, you can begin to plate the Camembert. Take the wheel and cut it in half. Cut 4 slices and plate them on oven-safe stoneware plates. You want there to be rind all the way around each slice. If you love Cheese, then cut those slices thick! It's best to place the Cheese in the middle of the plate, and then arrange the grilled vegetables around it.

When your vegetables are just about done, turn on your broiler to high. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 4 plates. Sprinkle generously with Herbes de Province, and drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Put the plates under the broiler, and broil until the Camembert is melted and bubbly. Ensure you have some heat-safe placemats so you don't melt anything, or singe your table--then serve immediately! Make sure you get some of that delicious Cheese in every bite! To make this for more people, just add more vegetables and cut more slices of Cheese.

Make this salad, you won't regret it! ...and also enter my contest, you surely won't regret that either!

 

Magic Anchovy Salad - and Boaketique Now Open! by Alex Boake

Hi everyone! Things have been crazy since the start of the year, and are currently showing no signs of slowing. Rather than being a problem, this is actually quite awesome. I'm currently overseas in London, England, and won't be back until the end of the month, but rather than let this blog go dormant while I'm away, I prepared some tasty and fun content in advance.Just to keep things exciting for you as well as for me, I thought I should let you know that I'm now offering some shirts for sale, via Spreadshirt, over at my new store, which I have dubbed The Boaketique.

Right now I have just one design, but there shall certainly be more to come. Things can get at least 60% more fishy in your wardrobe with this Anchovy Apparel!

You may recognize the design from my earlier post, featuring some illustrations on mugs. If you're looking to get one of these mugs, feel free to contact me directly at info@alexboake.com, or wait a few weeks as I may be getting an Etsy shop up and running soon.

This shirt design was inspired by my boyfriend Mike's Dad's favourite salad. The special ingredient? Anchovies, of course! I elaborated on the initial mug design to bring you this feature recipe illustration, with the recipe to follow!

Magic Anchovy Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Large Ripe Beefsteak Tomato
  • 1 Medium Green Pepper
  • 1 Medium Red Onion
  • 1 Tin Anchovies in Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions Chop the end off your Romaine, and wash the leaves. Spin dry, and then chop the leaves into manageable pieces. No one likes to have to bust out the knife when they're eating their salad, or have to stuff humongous leaves in their mouth! Throw the chopped Romaine into a large salad bowl.

Wash the Tomato and Green Pepper. Again, chop the Tomato into bite-sized pieces. Toss these on top of the Romaine. Cut the top off of the Green Pepper and remove the seeds. Cut into rings, and then cut the rings in half. As with the Tomatoes, toss them into the bowl to join the party!

Peel the Red Onion, and then cut into rings. Cut the rings in half and separate the pieces. I like to marinate my raw onion in vinegar for a few minutes just to take a bit of the wicked bite out of it, but it's not strictly speaking necessary. Marinated, or unmarinated, toss the Onions into the bowl!

Now the real stars of the show appear. Open the tin of Anchovies and chop them up! Toss them into the mix, and then toss all the ingredients together.

Serve as a big bowl on the table with your bottles of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Let people serve their portions, and drizzle on their own dressing. Add Salt and Pepper to taste! The veggies are fresh, and the fish add some salty fun! Yum!