Essential Omnivore

Curried Cauliflower Rice

January 22, 2015 by Lucia | 0 comments


Oh, good grief! A recipe. And a very simple one at that. Somehow, the monthly post I had intended to create for December slipped past me. Ah, such is life! I hadn’t felt that certain intrigue from a recipe until this one and I just happened to find each other one cozy night a few weeks ago. I threw some spices together, a makeshift curry powder… I was hungry and not in the right mind. Hah! The lighting was glowing and soft–not so great for the harried attempt at a photo (it’s over on Instagram) As soon as I was done rushing together such a silly dish, it happened. The curried rice soothed whatever frenetic energy was buzzing through me. I slowed down. I appreciated the flavors. I felt like I was back, back to me. Funny how a food can do that, huh? I vowed I would recreate it, and so I have. Thankfully, let me tell you, it’s just as spicy and cozy as ever. Whew!

Curried Cauliflower Rice
1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter, or ghee, or fat of your choice)
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons curry powder, of your own choosing (I like this iteration)
1 small head cauliflower, grated or pulverized (“riced”) in a food processor

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add in the mustard seeds and allow to roast for about a minute, or until they gently begin to sizzle and pop. Stir in the curry powder, then add the riced cauliflower. Stir to incorporate all of the spiced oil and the cauliflower, turn the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and allow to steam for about five minutes, maybe stirring once or twice during the process. Up to you! Serves 4 as a side.

Braised Fennel with Lemon Zest

November 14, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments


Hmm, where does the time go? October came and went, and here the little blog was, missing an entry. I do have a confession to make–I’ve been cooking, and I’ve been posting, but it’s over on Instagram (gasp! sigh! the horror!). Give it a go, folks. Add me. Let’s be friends. Other news? I’ve partnered with Solcana Crossfit and will be talking up a storm over there about all things health and nutrition related.

But, let’s move on. We have fennel to discuss. If you haven’t been a fan of fennel in the past, might I suggest this preparation? Its powerful licorice-y/anise-y flavor when raw subsides into something delicate during this braise. I’d call it sexy, but I may just need to get out of the house more often.

Braised Fennel with Lemon
2 fennel bulbs
2 tablespoons cooking fat of your choice (butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil)
1/2 cup chicken stock
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Chop both fennel bulbs into quarters, and slice on an angle to remove the core from each quarter. Finely slice all fennel, either practicing your fine knife skills or using a mandoline set for a thin slice. In a large skillet, heat your fat over high heat. Add the fennel slices and sea salt and allow to cook for a minute or two. When the skillet seems dry, add the chicken stock, stir, turn the heat to medium-high, cover and allow to cook for about five minutes. After, remove the lid, turn the heat back up to high and continue to cook until the fennel gently begins to caramelize. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and cracked black pepper. Serves 4.

Stone Fruit Compotes

September 25, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments

compotetrio1000from left to right: nectarine & chile, pear & thyme, peach & ginger



…oh, and pear, too! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, eating stewed stone fruit is a very good healthy (and delicious) endeavor this fall. Amy K Acupuncture discusses the details in her newest blog post, Acupuncture Tips for Staying Healthy this Fall. Amy and I created three recipes for you to try out this fall; pear and thyme, nectarine and chile, and peach and ginger. All of these are warming to your body in their own way. And aside from the fruit, it’s likely you have the majority of the ingredients in your cupboards! Perhaps now is the time to go out, grab a stone fruit or two and get compote-y!

Pear Thyme Compote
3 pears, seeds removed
juice from ½ a lemon
1 teaspoon dried thyme (1 tablespoon if using fresh herb)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
zest from ½ a lemon (add after cooking)

Peach Ginger Compote
3 large peaches, pitted
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons water

Nectarine Chile Compote
3 nectarines, pitted
1 teaspoon fresh red chili, seeds removed and diced
pinch of clove powder
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder (add after cooking)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (add after cooking)

Choose the recipe you wish to use, then chop your fruit into one inch cubes and combine all following ingredients (except those stating they should be added after cooking). Cook in a medium pot with the lid on over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. After, remove the lid and continue to cook the fruit as it softens for about another 10 minutes; use a masher to work the compote into the texture you desire. Depending on the ripeness of your fruit, the total cooking time can be between 20 to 30 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and add in any final ingredients, per the recipe. Allow to cool slightly, then serve however you see fit. These compotes work in both savory and sweet dishes, such as dolloped onto bowlfuls of yogurt, served alongside grilled or roasted meats, stirred into porridge, or simply a few big spoonfuls straight. Each recipe serves 6-8.

Tahini Dressing

September 18, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments


This summer as I was prepping what felt like boatloads of meals for myself to get through each week, I realized I needed something other than my Dijon, garlic and olive oil vinaigrette. And something other than my other olive oil and balsamic combo. Something just a little bit more… enticing. Don’t get me wrong! The classics are just that, classic. But don’t they need a break, too? I’ve added this dressing into my rotation and I’m so glad I did. Hey, you, c’mere (I say this in my head to the dressing. We’re kind of a thing these days)!

Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons warm water
1 garlic clove, grated
1 piece ginger root (comparable to the garlic clove in size), grated
1 teaspoon fermented chile paste (or other heat source of your liking)
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
pinch of sea salt (add only if you’re dressing a salad that doesn’t already contain salt, see recipe below)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Add more water if necessary to create a pourable dressing. The pictured salad is massaged kale, quick-pickled onion and cucumber.

Massaged Kale
1 bunch kale, stems removed
1 teaspoon sea salt

Gather a few leaves of kale, roll together as best you can, and finely chop. Repeat until all kale has been shredded. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt. Now use your hands and massage the kale for about a minute, until slightly wilted and delicate.

Quick Onion Pickle
1 small onion
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
few slices of a beet root (optional, not pictured)

Cut the onion in half from tip to root. Remove the papery skin. Finely slice both onions halves and place in a small bowl. Cover with the apple cider vinegar (use more if necessary). Gently massage (oh, yes, again) the onions in the vinegar. Allow to sit for at least five minutes. Squeeze excess liquid from the onions before plating. As another option, place the sliced fresh onions in a small glass jar, cover with apple cider vinegar and place the beet root in as well. Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for up to two months; your quick pickled onions will become pink, and you can continue to top off the vinegar as needed and add fresh onion slices as you see fit.

Banana Ice Cream with Salted Bacon Fudge Sauce

July 14, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments


Because. Because because. Because it is summer, because it is hot and humid, because you’ve been freezing those too-brown bananas and saving the fat after cooking bacon, right? Phew!

Banana Ice Cream
3 bananas, frozen, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Pulse a few times then allow to blend until smooth. You may need to stop the processor and push down the ice cream around the edges a few times as well.

Salted Bacon Fudge Sauce
1/4 cup 70% (or higher) dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons bacon fat
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a double-boiler (a small bowl set over a small pot with few inches of water boiling but not touching the bottom of the bowl), melt the chocolate while stirring gently. Once melted, add the rest of the ingredients and continue stirring until all ingredients are well incorporated. Allow to cool for a minute or so while plating (or… or bowling, really) your ice cream. Generously pour the salted fudge sauce over each bowlful. And of course, crumbled crispy bacon bits and banana chips are utterly implied as toppings for this dessert. Who do you think I am? Serves 2. Make it romantic.

I Love Fish Sauce

June 28, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments


Don’t you worry, I have quite the post lined up for when I make my own fish sauce. It’s something I’ve been wanting to make for years, yet the slimy, fish head-y opportunity hasn’t risen quite yet. Never fear! Store-bought fish sauce lends itself delightfully to vegetables. I know. Stay with me. And don’t be put off by the mention of mint, either! Try this dish out–you very well may have almost all the ingredients hanging around your kitchen. That’s all I can say right now.

Fish Saucey Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends removed and chopped in half
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari (or if you’re soy free, coconut aminos instead)
1 tablespoon heat of your choice (I used some fermented chile paste, but anything like sriracha is great, or fresh chopped spicy peppers too)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup (completely optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced and mashed
1/2 inch knob of peeled ginger, minced

chives or green onions, minced (optional)
mint, finely sliced (optional, but trust me)
cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

Place a large skillet with the coconut oil over medium-high heat. When oil is nice and hot, add the Brussels sprouts. Stir a few times and allow to cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients up through the ginger in a small bowl and stir to combine. Turn heat up to high and dump the liquid mixture over the Brussels sprouts. Continue to cook and stir for another five minutes, or until sticky and caramelized. Plate and serve with the three herbs as garnish. Serves 2.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (GF, EF, DF, V, SF, NF)

June 15, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments


Here’s the kicker about labeling the way you eat to align with a certain dietary prescription… at some point it could very likely stop making sense. All of a sudden, your label needs these little asides and qualifiers. And when you don’t eat something that fits neatly into the equation, then there’s the whole mental piece. And there’s a social piece. And of course, the physical piece. My context is this: I am currently egg-free, nut-free and (for the most part. Ah, there go the qualifiers again!) dairy-free. For a few weeks I was coffee-free and chocolate-free. What a blissful period! And then came my life, in full swing. I think I’m currently grooving on dietary individuality and the liberation from claiming… anything. And this isn’t to kick any method of eating to the ground, oh no. I think growth and knowledge both stem from identifying the foods you eat, negative, neutral and positive. I could go down the rabbit hole of thoughts and feelings on exclusion and inclusion, long-term and short-term regarding food choices. I’ll save that for anyone willing to listen.

Anyway! For all ye looking for a baking project that is dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free (though not technically grain-free), soy-free and nut-free, this is for you. It can be vegan, and definitely vegetarian. It’s not really paleo (hello, oats). It’s almost primal (hello, oats?). It’s really quite tasty.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1 cup ground oats (certified gluten-free if you need)
1 tablespoon psyllium seed husks (find in the spice and bulk at your local co-op)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup bananas, mashed
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup. Feel free to lower the amount of sweetener if you prefer)
1/4 cup coconut oil (or fat of your choice; butter also works!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate chips (of any sort; if you’re truly dairy-free, then a brand that respects that. Also, these are optional. Also, you could put in a 1/2 cup of whatever floats your boat! Chopped nuts, seeds, berries…)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease your muffin tray (or line with muffin cups). Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix all wet ingredients. Pour wet into the dry and gently stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips if using. Allow to sit for a few minutes to let the psyllium seed husk do it’s thang (read: it’s like, pure fiber, so it’s sucking up all the wet ingredients! Also, keep this in mind when you decide to eat more than just a few!) Dollop muffin batter into your prepared muffin tin, then bake for 18 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

The Baked Potato

June 8, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments


Looking for the perfect baked sweet potato? The Freckled Foodie has got your back. Looking for the perfect baked potato? Well, hello! When you find yourself with pounds of potatoes, a cool rainy day and a week of meals to prep, these could fit right in. There’s a lot you can do with a baked potato once cooled–peeled and grated for hash browns, cubed for hash, reheated, peeled and mashed with butter and cream, mashed and mixed with an egg for potato pancakes… or sliced and fried in the fat of your choice. Starchy options = endless.

Baked Potato
10 large russet potatoes, clean and dry
butter, olive oil or bacon fat
flaked sea salt
black pepper

Take oven rack out and set on counter, then preheat oven to 400. Pierce the skin of each potato a few times on each side with the tip of a knife or the tines of a fork. Rub potatoes all over with the fat of your choice (oh, and don’t let me limit you. Did you save those chorizo drippings? Lard? Duck fat?) and set on the oven rack. Sprinkle generously with flaked sea salt and grind profusely with black pepper. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven, and bake for 1 hour.

Crockpot Chicken Thighs

June 3, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments


Listen. Nothing about this recipe is avant-garde. Nothing has been recreated with a minor, special twist. Nothing. These thighs are purely utilitarian. These get me through the week, my belly content and full. The only reason I snapped a photo with my phone was because I was by myself and they were really, really good and I wanted to share. No photo styling, no image uploading, resizing and editing. They are unctuous and you don’t need many brain cells to make them happen–my kind of recipe these days!

Crockpot Chicken Thighs
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari (or coconut aminos if you are fermented soy free)
2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice (this batch included sriracha)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup filtered water

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Stir and coat the chicken. Set on low for 8-12 hours. Flip thighs halfway through the process if you want. After cooking, and with forks, pull meat apart and remove bones. Eat with abandon.

Sunflower Seed Spread with Parsley

May 11, 2014 by Lucia | 0 comments


Ah, Mother’s Day! I welcome the impending afternoon rain today and saw tulips and a few worms on the sidewalk as I walked the pooch. Unopened dandelions in the early morning, tucked fiercely between the cement path and side of the house looked like they were snoozing hard. Every day for the past week, the color scheme of the treetops parallel to the second-floor windows of my apartment shifts. First greys, greys and browns, then out peeked shades of yellow, and today most definitely welcomed chartreuse. Brightness and openness, everywhere. I feel like I can breathe again.

Sunflower Seed Spread with Parsley
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup parsley, stems removed
1/4 to 1/2 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
zest of 1/2 a lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt

Pour boiling water over the sunflower seeds–allow to sit for a half hour (or simply soak the seeds in room temperature water overnight). Drain water away, then combine the sunflower seeds and the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth; taste and adjust seasonings if need be (especially the jalapeno, you want this spread to have a nick kick to it). Spread upon what you desire, a wrap, a piece of meat, maybe dilute with more lemon juice for a vinaigrette to toss with salads, or dip some vegetables straight in. Whatever vessel pleases you. Serves 4-6.