Apricot, Ancho Chile + Japanese Sweet Potato Beef Stew with Coconut Milk, Ginger + Turmeric

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The components of this stew all fit together so delicately and the resulting dish is both light and fruity due to the chilies, apricot and coconut and at the same time rich and satisfying. Be patient with this dish. Cooking the onions slowly is important, and allowing the stew to cook long enough will allow it to come together better. If you need to cook it longer, just leave it on the stove, tasting here and there with the heat as low as it goes. This is the kind of meal that tastes better the next day, so save leftovers or make a double batch.

Apricot, Ancho Chile + Japanese Sweet Potato Beef Stew

1 lb grass-fed stew meat – beef room temperature, seasoned w/ salt +pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped thin and small
2 inches fresh peeled ginger, chopped
1 inch fresh peeled turmeric, chopped
2 dried ancho chilies, diced
1 japanese sweet potato, diced
3 apricots, halved, then quartered
Handful of parlsey, chopped + some reserved for topping
1/2 can coconut milk
2 1/2 cups water
sea salt
pepper
olive oil

Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Pour in some olive oil, and place the stew meat in the skillet to sear. Flip after a minute or two, so that both sides are browned. Remove the meat from the pan and place in a bowl.
Turn down the heat to low and add the onions to the dutch oven, using a spatula to get the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook the onions at low heat for a while, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and being careful not to brown. Then add the carrots, garlic, chilies, ginger and turmeric. Season with salt + pepper and add oil if needed. Cook on low for another 10 minutes or so.
Add the beef back to the dutch oven, stirring to combine. Turn up the heat to high and pour in the water. Bring to a soft boil, then turn the heat down to low.
Add the sweet potato and coconut milk. Taste and add more salt + pepper as needed. Cover the dutch over with a tight fitting lid and allow the stew to simmer for about an hour and a half.
Add the apricots and parsley, cover for another 30-60 minutes.
The meat should be tender and easy to cut when the stew is ready to eat. The braise liquid should also be considerably cooked down. Taste again and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve in a bowl with some fresh parsley on top.
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Herbed Meatballs in Ginger Curry Broth with Shishito Peppers, Arugula, Apricot, Summer Squash + Cracklings

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My favorite time to cook is often when I think I have nothing left to work with in my fridge. It forces me to be creative, to leave behind my go-tos and come up with new ways to enjoy ingredients that I often use. As I was cooking this meal my mom brought me some pig cracklings she made from the pigs we raised on our family ranch. They are the perfect topping, savory with a crunch and melt in your mouth ending. This meal may seem like many steps but it is uncomplicated and adjustable depending on what you have left in your fridge, just read through the recipe before starting so you have all of your ingredients ready.

Ginger Curry Broth
11/2 inch ginger, peeled & finely chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 can coconut milk + 1/2 can water
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder or paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil

Add the coconut oil to a skillet, melt and then add onions. Cook at medium heat, covered, until softened, then add the ginger. Cook for a few minutes-10 or so- until the onions are translucent, but not browned or burning. Add the can of coconut milk, water and the spices to taste. I keep the curry seasonings light so that the ginger isn’t overpowered. Pour the mix into a small saucepan and turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Shishito Peppers, Arugula, Apricot, Summer Squash + Cracklings
1/2 lb shishito peppers
1/2 lemon juiced
2-3 small yellow summer squash, chopped
2 handfuls arugula
1 apricot, halved and quartered
cracklings
1 tbsp coconut oil
sea salt & pepper

In a medium-high skillet, add the coconut oil and shishito peppers. Coat in lemon juice, salt & pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or so, stirring every so often. During this time, start the herbed meatballs. When the shishito’s are browned well, add the summer squash. Cover and cook for another 6-8 minutes, then add the arugula and apricots. Make a little space in the pan to heat the cracklings, or fry them in another skillet. Season to taste, this will serve on top of the meatballs and curry.

Herbed Meatballs
1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 tsp sea salt & pepper
3 sprigs of fresh oregano
1 egg
1/8 cup of coconut flour
1 tbsp coconut oil

Using your hands, mix the ground beef with the salt & pepper, oregano, egg and coconut flour. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat, shape the meatballs, and add them to the pan. Cook until crisp and browned, then flip.

To serve: Add the meatballs to a bowl, spoon curry over and then add the vegetables and cracklings. 

Raw Cacao Smoothie with Coconut Milk Float

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We’ve been busy painting, building our garden, and playing at the ranch this weekend. And its hot. This drink is so damn good and refreshing and gives me a bit of a boost, kind of like coffee, but really, raw cacao is its own thing. I’ve been drinking some variation of this treat for years, it is both dessert and mid-day, after lunch snack and incredibly simple. I’ve recently started using coconut milk in all kinds of treats, including the obvious-curries-but also in smoothies, ice cream base, key lime pies, and in this drink it acts as both float and main ingredient. Also, the drink itself is not overly sweet. I blend everything together really well first, and then just barely blend the dates in so you get little chewy bites of date sweetness. Avocado is a great addition to this drink!

Raw Cacao Smoothie with Coconut Milk Float

1 banana
1/4 cup raw cacao
1/2 can coconut milk + a few tablespoons for the float (full fat & organic)
4 big handfuls of ice cubes
1/2 can coconut water
2 dates

Add the banana, raw cacao, coconut milk, ice cubes and coconut water to your blender and blend at high speed until consistent. Add more ice/coconut milk/coconut water depending on desired thickness.It should be a bit thick & icy, taste quite rich and a tad sweet.
Adjust to your liking, and then add the two pitted dates. Blend just for a few seconds, so the dates don’t become liquified, but get broken down into little tasty bites. Serve in a glass cup and pour a few spoonfuls of coconut milk on top, so that it starts running down into the drink. Enjoy with or without a spoon.