Cucumber Rounds with Smoked Salmon and Dill Dip

Concocted for Mt. Ogden Crossfit’s Nutrition Challenge. A very pretty little canapĂ© likely to get gobbled up by even your least paleo guests. The dill dressing owes a LOT to the Vegan Avocado Ranch recipe over at Girl Makes Food.

  • 1 cucumber (peeled if desired), sliced
  • 1/2 recipe Avocado-Dill Dip
  • 1 package smoked salmon (I like the thick-cut fillet type instead of the lox like you’d put on a bagel)

Put Dill Dip in a plastic bag and cut off the corner to make a pastry bag. Pipe a little dip on each cucumber slice and top with a small chunk of smoked salmon. Garnish with a little additional dill if desired.

Avocado Dill Dip

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Dill (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley (roughly chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.

Get Some: PEPITAS

Living in the south, I tend to get my nuts & seeds fix from pecans.  This is perfect when you’re eating sweet potatoes under a magnolia tree.  In season – from the farmers’ market – pecans are to die for, but my pallet and my wallet have grown tired of them as summer approaches.  This week, I’ve re-discovered pepitas (pumpkin seeds popular in mexican cooking). They run about $6/lb at our higher-end super market and come raw or roasted & salted. They’re pretty, greenish and a little bigger than sunflower seeds.  They’re versatile and tasty too.

Before (bottom) & After Toasting

Toast them:

  • Spread a thick layer on a baking sheet, spray lightly with coconut oil cooking spray and toss.
  • Toast in the oven at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until golden.

Use them for:

  • Salads
  • Curry*(along with chopped pineapple and toasted coconut)
  • Chicken or turkey mole
  • Trail mix
  • Paleo Oatmeal*
  • Granol-ish:  Sprinkle toasted pepitas and coconut over blueberries and drizzle with coconut milk
* Modified versions of these recipes are in the works. They need some substitutions to be solidly paleo.

Try this toasty sprinkle:

Mix toasted pepitas, sunflower seeds, and unsweetened coconut with a little cinnamon and ground clove. Add a little cayanne pepper for a sweet & spicy kick if it suits you.

Snacks!

No, not rose petals:  beet chips and nori chips

While I try not to give myself too many attractive options for mindless eating, I’m working on a few reasonable “emergency” munchies that keep me out of my roommate’s leftover pizza.

There are some good ideas here, but my quest continues to find a few good options that will work on the fly. For now I am figuring out how many different vegetables I can turn into “chips” in the oven. The beets and sweet potatoes would also be good PWO with a protein. Here’s what I know so far…

For all veggies:
Set the oven to 250, and turn on the convection or “speed bake” if you have it.  Slice veggies to a very thin 1/8 inch as evenly as possible.  I get better results if I slice most veggies in half lengthwise first so they don’t roll around while I’m trying to precision-cut. Grease your baking sheets with coconut oil, and spread one layer think.  Keep and eye on them while cooking, turning once they start curling up, and moving them to towels or plates to cool once they curl up and just start to brown.

Beets:
Peel, sprinkle with a little red wine vinegar.  Up to 2 hours in the oven depending on thickness.  Red beets seem to fare better than golden beets.

Sweet Potatoes:
Leave skins on. Try seasoning with cinnamon and chipotle powder.  Up to 2 hours depending on thickness.

Kale:
(Don’t slice!) Tear out thick center stem, toss with good oil to just barely coat (I used almond oil), scatter on a try and sprinkle with a little good salt (I like smoked salt or truffle salt). About 15 minutes or when they turn dark green.  These are really brittle, and while tasty, do not travel well.

Radishes:
People make them, but I tried was not impressed.  Don’t bother.

Nori:
You have to like seaweed to enjoy these.  See instructions here.

I tend to micro-manage this process, picking chips off one at a time as they get done, but they should finish up evenly if you slice them very evenly to begin with.  They crisp up a little once they’re cool, so its ok if they’re a little bendy so long as they’ve curled up and toasted a little.

Raw Root Slaw

Lately I’ve developed a taste for raw beets, and a desire to cook my veggies less in general. This very orange slaw is a stab at that.

Grate:

  • 1 medium turnip
  • 1 smallish sweet potato **I’ve seen a few things about raw sweet potatoes being a little toxic, so proceed at your own risk**
  • 1 medium beet (mine was golden, but I think a red one might be even better)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large parsnip
Chop finely:
  • 3-4 stalks celery
  • 1/2 medium red onion
Add:
  • 1/4 C toasted sesame seeds
  • dried garlic flakes to taste, crushed between fingers
Mix above together in large bowl.
Whisk together:
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar or herbed vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/4 t dijon mustard
  • 1 inch section finely grated ginger
  • poppy seeds
  • 1/2 almond oil
  • dash sesame oil
Drizzle over root mixture and mix well. I’m guessing this will improve as it sits in the fridge a while, but its pretty good right away, too.