Superfluous Yet Delicious

We Cook. We Eat. We laugh a lot.

Archive for the category “Recipes”

Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Bacon Pecan Topping

Thanksgiving! When we stuff our faces full of things that are not on any diet! Except of course, if you have actual allergies. So we cheated a little on strict paleo, eating the gluten free stuffing that Nicole’s sister made, and there may have been some canned cranberry sauce. But for the most part, our Thanksgiving meal fit our dietary rules.

Nicole’s challenge was sweet potato casserole. Neither of us likes the marshmallowy original anyway, leaning more towards savory, than sweet. This dish came out perfectly, and was gobbled up.
Sweet Potato Casserole

5 large sweet potatoes
1 butternut squash
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)
some salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 stick butter
1 can coconut cream (or other full fat coconut milk)
1 lb bag chopped pecans
1/2 stick butter
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 lb bacon, cooked till crispy and crumbled

1. Peel and chop sweet potatoes and butternut squash into 1 inch squares.

2. Boil until soft, strain the water out, and put them back in the pot.

3. Add butter and walk away for 5 min to let it melt from the heat. When the butter is soft and melty, add spices and coconut cream, and mash like your life depends on it.

4. Preheat the oven to 400*, and grease a 9 by 13ish casserole dish. We used Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray. Scoop the squash and sweet potato mixture into the dish, and set aside.

5. In a small saucepan, melt butter on low heat. When butter is fully melted, add pecans, bacon, and maple syrup, and stir/toss until fully coated. We used maple syrup from Smoky Hollow Farm, which is nomtastic.

6. Evenly spread topping on sweet potato mixture.

7. Bake for 15-20 min or until topping is nicely browned. I made this the night before, and then baked at at 350 for an additional 15 min the next day to warm it back up.

8. Nom. Then Nom some more


Pickling All the Things!


So we had these pickling cucumbers. And these carrots. So pickling commenced.

I started out with this recipe and winged it from there.

I had pint jars, not quarts, so this recipe is per pint jar. You will have a little bit of leftover liquid at the end.

Ingredients for 5 jars

  • 4 large carrots
  • 5 pickling cucumbers
  • 2.5 tablespoons dill
  • 25 peppercorns
  • 5 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons salt

First, wash your mason jars and tops. Rinse them very well, and let them air dry.


Next, wash your veggies.


Chop the ends off of the cucumbers, and slice into spears.


Peel the carrots, then chop them in half, using the jars as a guide. Slice them into spears.


Combine the apple cider vinegar, water, and salt in a large pot, and put on medium-high heat.

Then, add 1/2 TBS of freeze dried dill, 5 peppercorns, and 1tsp garlic to each jar.

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Load each jar full of cucumbers or carrots.


Notice that the pickling juice has come to a boil, whisk it to get all the salt dissolved. Pour the brine into each jar.

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When all the jars are filled, Carl informs me to walk away, and let them sit, and have all the air bubbles come out.


Come back, shake the jars, and walk away. When they have settled for a while, put the tops on, and put them in the fridge.


Check back in a few weeks for a taste test!

Chicken with Spaghetti Squash and Coconut Mushroom “Cream” Sauce


A field trip to H-Mart yielded us some fancy mushrooms, and Carl pulled out his fancy-pants paleo/gf sauce making skills to make a delicious chicken based meal.  This is a very non-traditional style of reduction-based sauce, and if you are used to the consistency and color of a roux-based cream sauce, this will surprise you with its bright flavors and darker color.  The convenient thing about doing a coconut-milk reduction is that you cannot break this sauce, unlike standard cream sauces.

Chicken with Spaghetti Squash and Coconut Mushroom “Cream” Sauce Recipe

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Nicole Indulges Herself

Very often, when Carl is going to be gone for an evening, I am super lazy, and fry up a hamburger, or fire up Foodler. It is hard to get inspired when you are cooking for one. However, we have tons of veggies that need eating, including some that are not Carl’s favorite. No, really, I dare you: Say the word eggplant around him, and see what happens. On my way to the depot, I realized that since Carl wouldn’t be home, I could eat fish! Carl is perfectly happy to humor me by eating fish, but he is not a big fan.

After picking up the CSA, I wandered over to Turner’s to see what they had for fresh fish. This restaurant is down the street from us, and has a fantastic fish market. I picked up some Hake which was caught in Gloucester (I love knowing where my food comes from), and headed home.

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I made this last Tuesday, but sometimes I take a picture and then get distracted.

I still had some beets left over from week 2, and wanted to do something cold with the kohlrabi, as 90+ weather does not make me want to cook in my un-air conditioned kitchen.

So I looked up coleslaw recipes.

I used the kohlrabi, half the napa cabbage, the beets, and some grocery store carrots to make a fantastically colorful coleslaw that I then dressed with this recipe. I used some homemade mayo, and took it to a friend’s weekly potluck night, where it was happily devoured.


Mayo Clinic

*Muppet Flail*

I can no longer find the whole Good Eats Egg Files Mayo episode on youtube anymore. The only one that is there ends at 20.02, and the recipe for food processor mayo starts around 23.00 or so. Yes, I know that by heart. So Alton and I can no longer make mayo together in my kitchen, and I must settle for his recipe written down, rather than listening to his dulcet tones as I make mayo from scratch.

Luckily, Food Network does still have the recipe here. I mostly follow it, although I do one batch with no flavored oil, and one batch with sesame oil.

Here’s my version:

Plain Mayo, Niki style

(Changes from Alton’s in Italic)

Mayo Ingredients

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg yolk
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 cups safflower oil

When I make the sesame mayo, I use 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons of safflower, 2 tablespoons of regular sesame, and a teaspoon of hot sesame oil.


The mayo comes out creamy and delicious, without any weird preservatives or ingredients in it. I have not had a batch last long enough to go bad, either.







Apparently, permanent marker wipes right off of both glass and plastic. The labels lasted approximately 13 hours.

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What do you do when your fiance brings you chickens?





Happy Independence Day! No CSA this week, and we’re out of town, so I thought I would share a “recipe” from a few weeks ago that I failed to post.




So C’s company grills at work. A lot. They host vendors, and grill for them. So one of his coworkers brought in two whole chickens for the grill, which never got used.

So C walked in the door with two chickens for me. I had the next day off, so I decided to process both.

Chicken number 1 got rubbed down in butter, lightly seasoned, and thrown in the oven for dinner.

Chicken number 2 got thrown in “the precious.” with water, celery and some other roots we had lying around. Sometimes I think Carl loves his cast-iron dutch oven as much as he loves me.

I simmered the chicken for a few hour. When chicken 1 was done, I sliced all the bits we would use, and threw the rest into the proto-soup.

I took the soup off the heat, strained out all the broth, and stuck it and all the chicken bits into the fridge to cool.

The next day, I pulled all the meat out of the pile of chicken bits, tossed the bones, and put the broth back on to simmer. I added the leftover turnips from week 1, some carrots, and some celery. When Carl came home, he made proscuittons to go on top.


Yummy chicken soup complete with proscuittons.



Carl demonstrates the proper way to eat a prosciutton.


Chicken Stir Fry

Week Two was rough because it was so hot I did not want to cook at all. We had friends over on Sunday and ended up ordering enough Blue Ribbon Barbecue to feed a small army, and are still munching the leftovers.

However, I had all these pretty CSA veggies to cook. So on Tuesday, with temperatures around 93 degrees, I got out my frying pan and got to work.



A couple pounds of chicken. I was feeding three, and not supplementing with starch, so I used 3 1/2-4 lbs

Bok Choy


Garlic Scapes

Gluten Free Soy sauce

Sesame oil

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Salads, CSA Style



I know I said yesterday that I was going to make salads with chicken. But I was tired, and the chicken was at the bottom of the freezer. So I decided on poached eggs as the protein instead.

I washed and ripped apart the CSA lettuce, chopped up tomatoes from week 2, chopped grocery store carrots and celery, and ripped up some of the pea shoots. I added chopped feta from last weeks cheese share, and poached a few eggs to throw on top.

I then begged Carl to make a vinaigrette because he is awesome at them. This one was sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.

The salads were simple, yet delicious, and a great way to celebrate the end of the year. We paired them with a 90+ cellars granacha from Spain, which was much more to Carl’s taste than mine.


Carl invented these after I complained of there not being enough crispy foods in our mostly-paleo life.


Some prosciutto, deli-sliced. We like buying the giant box at BJs

A cast-iron skillet



Preheat a cast-iron skillet on low heat for about 5 minutes.


Take pile of prosciutto, deli paper still on.


Lay 2-3 pieces down, paper on in the hot skillet.


Wait until the paper starts peeling up by itself, approximately 30-45 seconds.


Peel the paper off


Walk away.


No, really, leave it alone.


Tap your feet. Stare at it. Resist the urge.


When it is finally super brown and completely crispy, then you may transfer it to a paper towel to dry and cool. (Note Carl cooks them on both sides, Nicole is not so patient)



We like crumbling them up and serving them in soup or on salad, but you can also eat them as a (very) salty snack.

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