This was my first tri tip experience. Our typical meaty go to is marinated and grilled flank steak, but to find it grass fed and somewhat local is a task. They are priced about the same, 2 lbs of grass fed for about $24.00, which served along other side dishes will feed about 3-4 people. I loved the cooking method as it was out of the ordinary for me and the taste was fabulous! The tender meat combined with the spicy and bold flavors of the rub was amazing. I’ll be stocking up on tri tip in the future and experimenting with different dry rubs and serving ideas.
For this dry rub I used a generous amount of sea salt, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, hot pepper flakes, and freshly ground pepper.
I had to Google how to prepare a tri tip. Ha! The method made me a little nervous because I didn’t want to end up with a tough, grainy, chunk of meat. Tri tips are thick and grass fed meat isn’t very fatty and doesn’t provide a lot of marbling for tenderness. Thankfully, it all went well and was so fabulous I’ve been thinking we may need another one this week.
It’s important to pay attention to the natural direction of the grain prior to coating with the rub and cooking. My hand is pointed in the natural direction of the grain.
The secret to enjoying certain types of meats that would otherwise be tough, is not only in the preparation but also in how long it rests after it’s been cooked and especially the angle at which it’s cut.
After it’s cooked, you’ll cut it in thin slices against (across) the grain.
Once you’ve trimmed off any large pieces of silver skin, place the meat into a dish prior to coating with the rub.
Then begin sprinkling and patting the rub all over the meat, making sure every nook and cranny is nicely coated. Cover, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or it can also be prepared a day ahead of cooking.
Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature (or close) for about 30-45 minutes. Set the oven to 450 degrees (I used convection). Heat a dry (don’t add oil) ovenproof pan to medium high/high and sear the meat on both sides until almost blackened. You’ll need a well working stove top fan for this…mine is pitiful so I had to open all the doors and windows for a cross breeze. You can also do this entire cooking process on a grill as long as your grill heats very, very, well and consistent. I started mine off on our grill and was worried it was taking too long and would overcook so moved to the kitchen method instead.
Once it’s seared really well on both sides, put it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. I used convection which cooks faster. 8 minutes with convection will get you medium rare, 10 will get you medium. Of course, the ends are thinner and smaller so they will likely be closer to medium regardless of time. If you’re not using convection, cook for 10 minutes and test with a meat thermometer. For medium rare about 125-130, medium/medium well 135-140. But keep in mind that it will continue cooking for the first few minutes it’s resting, so you may want to take it out a touch sooner than what the thermometer is telling you to do.
Remove from the oven and let rest uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
While the tri tip was cooking and resting, I sauteed some peppers, onions, and garlic for the tacos. When that was done I added black beans and sauteed until the beans were heated through.
Super easy meal from beginning to end. And quick, which you don’t normally experience with a thicker cut of meat. Once the meat has rested, remember to slice thinly against the grain for tenderness.
You can top the tacos with anything you like. Cheese, salsa, whatever sauces you think might go well. I had planned to make a creamy cilantro sauce but then discovered I didn’t have cilantro available like I thought. Next time! Even without a sauce, they were fabulous.
Spicy Tri Tip Tacos
*I’ll give a run down of ingredients. The cooking methods are above with the photos.
1 Tri Tip Roast, they are typically around 2lbs
(The amount of seasoning will vary by your taste and the amount of heat you want.)
These are approximates as I didn’t measure…
2 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Chili Powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cumin
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Oregano
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cilantro
1 teaspoon of Hot Red Pepper Flakes
Several Grinds of Fresh Peppercorns
2 Bell Peppers
1 Large Red Onion
Chopped Garlic (I used two large cloves)
About 1 teaspoon of Oregano
About 1 teaspoon of Chili Powder
1 Can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
Avocado Oil for sauteing vegetables
This meal is super simple!
In a large saute pan drizzle about 3 teaspoons of avocado oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Turn heat to medium/medium high and add 2 cups of cauliflower, 1 1/2 cups of broccoli, 1 package of cremini mushrooms sliced, 3 large minced cloves of garlic, 1 inch piece of peeled and grated ginger, a pinch of sea salt, and about 2 Tablespoons of coconut aminos. Saute until aldente.
While the veggies are cooking, rinse the shrimp and remove the shells. Slide them onto skewers. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of coconut aminos, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of avocado oil, 1 Tablespoon of your favorite BBQ sauce, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sriracha depending on how spicy you want it, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of dried cilantro, and 1/8 teaspoon of dried ginger. Whisk to combine and brush onto both sides of shrimp.
Preheat a grill on high.
Grill the shrimp quickly, only a couple of minutes on each side.
Plate the veggies, add the shrimp, and enjoy!
I have a huge binder of recipe ideas for this blog full of all different types of sweets and savories. I love to look through it and be inspired, but I rarely actually use it! I guess food blogging feels more exciting to me when it’s somewhat spontaneous where I can experiment with random ideas and things that sound good right then and there.
That’s where The Great Pizza Roll Experiment Comes onto the scene. I’m always looking for ways to create those comfort foods we all crave but don’t get to eat because they’re usually full of all the things we’re allergic or sensitive to.
I wasn’t going to post this recipe until I made it twice so I could tweak it here and there and perfect it. But who needs perfect? I like rustic and beautiful comfort food that’s off the cuff that doesn’t look like it’s manufactured. Hand made, from the heart of the kitchen. That’s my kind of soul food.
There are two things I want to try differently the next few times I make this. One, the portions were big and I think I would like a little less bread, so next time I’ll try them a bit smaller. Pat the dough out thinner, but stick with the same amount of filling.
I was also thinking I’d like to try a pie version where I would pat half the dough into a rectangle, layer all the fillings, and then roll out and add the top dough, crimping the edges.
Another idea I thought would be really pretty and great for guests, is to do it in two long rectangular braided loaves similarly constructed like my cherry braids. The only concern would be that my bread dough is very light and fluffy, so it needs a lot of extra arrowroot flour if I’m going to work with it with my hands like a cherry braid needs. That may change the texture, if so, I’ll let you know the next time I make it.
Then of course, the filling options are endless. You could do sweet or savory. Mexican, Italian, German…OH YES…now see, I’m already having visions of kielbasa and sauteed onions with a fabulous sauce hanging out in those buns….
Any way you choose to experiment with the recipe, you won’t be disappointed. Like I said, this was my first run on this recipe and it got the two thumbs up “WOW” factor from both my husband and I. Incredibly flavorful, definitely rustic comfort food, it looked fabulous plated…I’m looking forward to more experimenting.
Grain Free Pizza Rolls
*This recipe makes 6 large servings
1 Batch of My Grain Free & Dairy Free Dinner Roll Dough
Extra Arrowroot Flour or Sweet Potato Flour for patting (arrowroot is less expensive to use on hands!)
1 Batch of My Vegan Spinach & Basil Pesto
About 12 ounces of Goat Mozzarella, cubed or sliced
About 24 Large Pepperoni Slices
1 Small Can of Tomato Paste
Dried Oregano for Sprinkling
Olive Oil, Oregano, Basil, Garlic Powder, and Rosemary to brush on the tops.
Organic Garlic & Herb Marinara Sauce (for dipping)
Turn the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Using half the bread dough and floured hands, pat out 6 rounds of dough onto the parchment. Divide the can of tomato paste equally between the rounds and spread with a spoon. Squeeze a little pesto onto each one. (I freeze my pesto in ziplock baggies and then thaw when I’m ready to use. I snip the end and squeeze it out of the baggie.)
Place a couple of slices of mozzarella on top of the rounds and top with two slices of pepperoni. Sprinkle with oregano. Then top with a little more pesto, two more slices of cheese, two more slices of pepperoni, and sprinkle again with a little oregano.
With floured hands, pat out the top dough on your palm and place it over the filling topped rounds. Press the edges down and lightly cup your hand over the dough and tuck the edges under all around.
Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick spray and lightly lay over the top of the buns. Top with a kitchen towel and set on top of the stove to rise for 35 minutes.
While the bread is rising, warm the marinara sauce on medium low in a small pan. Then, in a small bowl, add about 1/8 Cup of olive oil and about 1 teaspoon each of oregano and basil, about 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary, about 2 teaspoons of powdered garlic, and about 1/2-1 teaspoon of sea salt. Whisk together with a fork and brush liberally over the buns right before they go into the oven.
After 35 minutes, remove the towel and plastic from the pizza rolls and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
I sat down the other day and got myself organized.
I don’t know how you feel about organization. For me, it’s imperative. When things get too out of hand, I don’t like it. I’m not one of those who thrives on chaos.
An organized environment helps foster an organized and calm internal environment. For me anyway. I try to organize things here and there a couple times a week. I find it easier to keep up on as I go, instead of ending up dealing with a great big mess.
This week I focused on putting some menus together and gathering up some blogging ideas.
I had recipe ideas and menu ideas in piles, numerous note pages on my phone, ideas scratched on pieces of scrap paper, notes on napkins, recipes torn out of magazines that I wanted to tweak gluten free and dairy free… Organized piles, but piles none the less.
Then, when I would want to come up with something different to cook for dinner, it was too overwhelming to deal with all that and I began slipping right back into the same-o same-o meals. Even food bloggers get in a rut.
I put together 12 or so weeks of dinner menus to choose from, summer cocktails I’d like to try, dessert ideas, side dish ideas, and sweet and savory blog ideas all in a nice binder that I am now keeping in the pantry.
Handy, easy, and organized.
Just that small act of organization which probably took roughly 2 hours because I had several piles, made me feel tremendously better and added a big dose of peace to my evening mealtime prep.
There are days when I’ve used up all my energy throughout the day and when dinner hits, I’m not in the mood to come up with something innovative and fabulous. Having things figured out somewhat ahead of time, helps.
Now at the end of each week I’ll grab the binder, choose a few menus and jot down my shopping list. When the new week hits I have all the groceries available for those menus, I can choose which one I want to cook depending on my energy level each night, and there’s barely any hassle at all that goes into it. It gives us the opportunity to try new things and makes dinner exciting again.
When I get close to running out of menus, I’ll sit down and replenish with new menu ideas. I’m often writing them down and tearing ideas out of magazines, so replenishing will never be an issue. Also, I can set aside the menus we really liked and make a “favorites” tab in the binder for future use.
We used my grain free, dairy free, dinner rolls for buns – you can find the recipe HERE. Other good options would be a lettuce wrap as a bun, or an Udi’s gluten free hamburger bun. They hold together pretty well. You could also sandwich the chicken burger with two grilled portobellos or stack it with avocado slices. Lots of options!
South Of The Border Chicken Burgers with Cilantro Lime Sauce
Makes 8 burgers
*Preheat oven to 425 degrees
About 1.7 lbs of Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 teaspoons of Cumin Powder
1 teaspoon of Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
2 oz (about 1/2 can) of Mild Green Chilies
3 Sun Dried Tomatoes (the ones packed in oil)
2 Tablespoons of Fresh Cilantro Leaves
1 Large Clove of Garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons of Avocado Oil
In a food processor (you can also use ground chicken and just chop and mix ingredients in), add all the ingredients and pulse several times. Then turn on low until all ingredients are incorporated (see picture above). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon 8 mounds of chicken onto the parchment and lightly form into a patty. Set aside.
Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
I have found that one large sweet potato works well for 2 of us. Adjust accordingly.
1 Large Sweet Potato, cut into 1/8 to 1/4 inch sticks
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Sweet Potato Flour
About 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil
Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato sticks with sea salt and garlic powder, be generous. Then toss with the sweet potato flour until all the sticks are lightly coated. Drizzle with the avocado oil and season and toss again until coated. Line them on the parchment covered baking sheet leaving a bit of room between them to allow for crisping.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, then remove from oven and flip. Place them back into the oven along with the chicken burgers. Bake the chicken burgers for 15-17 minutes. Keep an eye on the sweet potato fries, if you feel they are becoming too dark, remove them and continue cooking the burgers.
*I cut up red onion, tomato, and lettuce as toppings. Also, the last couple minutes of baking, I topped a couple of the burgers with Daiya Jalapeno “Cheese”.
While the burgers and fries are cooking, make the sauces:
Cilantro Lime Sauce
3/4 Cup Mayo
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Cilantro
1 Small Clove of Garlic
1 teaspoon of Oregano
Juice of 1 Lime
2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar
Pinch of Chili Powder
Pinch of Sea Salt
I used a Nutribullet to mix mine together but a blender would work fine too. Just add all the ingredients and mix.
Spicy Sweet Potato Red Sauce
This is the easiest sauce to make! We love it on sweet potato fries and beef burgers too. I haven’t ever measured, I just eyeball it and fit it to our spice preference which is very spicy.
If I had to guess I’d say 1/2 C of mayo, 1/4 C of ketchup, and a couple Tablespoons of the Sriracha sauce. SO tasty!
We are pizza fanatics.
I’m just going to be up front with you and say that my pizza…is my favorite.
We try gluten free pizza often when we go out. In Seattle, in Idaho, in our hometown…but honestly, nothing compares so far to what we make at home.
For some reason, restaurants can’t think out of the Udi’s pizza crust box. Every single time we spend $20 or more each on a gluten free pizza meal at a restaurant, I cannot wrap my mind around how a chef or restaurant owner would be OK grabbing an Udi’s pizza crust out of the freezer and serving it to their customers. Blows. My. Mind.
It’s dull. It’s flavorless. It is as exciting as cardboard on your plate. And don’t even get me started on the tasteless pepperoni, and overcooked sausage. Or the fact that none of these restaurants (even high end) understand that there is a readily available (even locally made!) vast assortment of goat and sheep’s milk cheeses other than the same old stand by, feta.
Every time we eat pizza out, my husband and I spend a large part of our mealtime talking about how we would run a restaurant. From the quality and type of food we would serve, how we would treat our staff, and most importantly, how we would treat our customers. We are serious about customer service and all it entails.
One can dream.
Last weekend we had high hopes for a little local restaurant we found. Outdoor seating (my favorite), smells of fabulous wood fired pizza…turns out, the server and the person making the pizza, weren’t educated about the ingredients in their gluten free crust, or in the pepperoni or their sausage…or even their sauce! We opted out of the meal. I choked down a really bad glass of Riesling and we moved on.
This time however, instead of just opting out, I explained to the server why we decided to eat elsewhere. I told her that it’s my opinion that the servers and the people preparing the food should be well versed with what’s actually in their food. As a person with food allergies, I take a chance every time I eat out. I know that’s my responsibility, but a restaurant with knowledgeable servers and staff, makes me a repeat customer. She ended up being very kind about it, apologetic, and said she would speak to the owner about the entire restaurant becoming better educated. I was happy with her response. We tipped her and left and who knows, maybe in a few months we’ll give them another chance.
Pizza doesn’t have to be complicated for it to taste amazing. I’m all about easy food! Easy or not though, it has to taste fabulous, be a treat for the eyes, and have high quality ingredients. You can use crust mixes or come up with your own crust recipe, but either way, make it unique with all of things you love.
I like to use Chebe Foccacia Bread mix as my base. I add a little of this and a little of that, and before you know it, it makes the perfect pizza crust. It’s soft like “regular” pizza crust with crispy crust edges, has great flavor, and gets rave reviews every single time I make it.
Chebe mixes are gluten free, soy free, corn free, rice free, potato free, yeast free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, lactose/casein free, iodine free, sugar free, non GMO, and kosher certified.
Grain Free Pizza
*Makes two 13″ pizzas
2 Boxes of Chebe Focaccia Mix
6 Tablespoons of Non Filtered Organic Olive Oil
4 Large Organic Eggs
1 Cup of Filtered Water
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Basil
1 Tablespoon of Organic Garlic Powder
1 Can of Organic Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup of Vegan Pesto
1/2 Cup of Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese, grated
3 Other Types of Cow Free Cheeses About 1 1/2 to 2 Cups of Each (We used two types of goat mozzarella – low moisture and Brazilian Breakfast and a Dutch Style goat cheese that is similar to sharp white cheddar), grated
About 3 Handfuls of Organic Baby Spinach
1 Organic Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced thinly
About 1/3 of a Medium Organic Red Onion, sliced thinly
About 8-10 Large Organic Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb. of Gluten Free, Dairy Free Pepperoni (We have Applegate sliced at the deli)
4 Gluten Free, Dairy Free Hot Italian Sausages (also purchased at our deli)
1 Tablespoon of Organic Dried Oregano
Arrowroot or other GF flour for dusting hands, dough, and rolling pin.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Spring has finally arrived in our neck of the woods and it’s proving to be a really wet and gray one.
Excuse the grainy pictures…last night’s pictures were brought to you with little natural light for photography by my iPhone.
I’ll admit we need the rain because we didn’t have a lot of snow over winter but those gray skies and buckets of rain leave me longing for sunlight and make me feel like hibernating.
Spring usually brings lighter meals for us with a lot of grilling and salads but with this wet and chilly weather, a hot bowl of soup and delicious cheesy bread was just what we needed.
Along with spring come the ticks. Make sure you’re protecting yourself and checking your pets thoroughly after walks and hikes before bringing them in the house.
We’ve already had one tick inside the house and two ticks crawling on Tony after hiking with the dogs. As soon as the rain lets up I’m going to be spraying the yard with the all natural spray we used last year in hopes of stopping the mass infestation that we dealt with the last season. We sprayed late as the ticks took us by surprise. I’ve never seen so many in one area and we had several in our house, it was very unsettling.
If you’re bitten by a tick, be sure to go immediately to the doctor for antibiotic treatment. Most doctors are ill informed and will tell you that unless the tick has been attached to you for a certain period of time or unless you have the red ring rash, you don’t need to be treated. That is untrue and unproven.
Most doctors will also ask that you or the tick be tested before treatment which is also a mistake. The CDC has already admitted that current testing is bunk and more often than not gives false negatives. It’s just simply better to be safe than sorry. If you’re worried about taking antibiotics, I don’t blame you. But keep this in mind, treating at the time of a bite will result in less medication and less antibiotic “damage” to your body and far, FAR, outweighs the consequences of living a lifetime dealing with chronic Lyme Disease.
Treatment in the early stages isn’t foolproof, but many people have found if they they are treated right away, they don’t have any future issues.
Keep in mind also that ticks don’t just carry Lyme Disease bacteria which in itself causes horrible issues. They can transmit many other devastating diseases and bacteria (called co infections) that when left untreated can cause a lifetime of very unpleasant symptoms and even death.
That’s my public health warning for this season, please be safe and Happy Spring!
Spicy Pork Loin Soup
1 Pound of Pork Tenderloin (or chicken), cubed in bite size pieces
1 Medium Onion, chopped
3 Large Cloves of Garlic, chopped
1/2 of a Large Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Tablespoon of Cumin
2 teaspoons of Dried Oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons of Chipotle Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 15oz can of Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
64 Ounces of Chicken Broth
1 Cup of Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped
In a dutch oven lightly brown the pork, onion, bell pepper, oregano, chipotle, and garlic. Add the garbanzo beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and simmer for about 1 hour. Stir in cilantro and serve.
Cheesy Jalapeno Flat Bread
2 Boxes of Chebe All Purpose Bread Mix (it is grain and dairy free)
2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder, plus more for sprinkling
3 teaspoons of Dried Oregano, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil
1 Cup of Filtered Water
Arrowroot or other gluten free flower for flouring hands
2 Fresh Jalapeno, sliced into rounds
Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese
Sheep’s Milk Mozzarella
Sheep’s Milk Feta
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
Grate the Daiya cheese, mozzarella, and crumble the feta. The amount of cheese will depend on how many pieces of the flat bread you want cheesy. I did 6 out of the 12 and probably used about 3/4 cup of the daiya, 1 cup of mozzarella, and maybe 1/4 cup of feta.
Measure all ingredients except the jalapeno and cheeses into a large bowl and stir with a fork until thoroughly combined. Scoop 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheets and then flour hands and pat each dough mound into a circle. Sprinkle each with sea salt, garlic powder, and oregano. Bake for 35 minutes and remove from oven and turn on broiler.
Top with cheeses in this order: Daiya, mozzarella, and feta. Place slices of jalapeno on top. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted and mozzarella is beginning to bubble.