Brussel Sprouts with Goji Berries

These tender brussel sprouts from Vancouver’s local farmers market are delicious when sauteed with bacon from BC’s Gelderman Farms and deglazed with coconut water. Toss in a handful or two of bright, antioxidant-rich goji berries a couple minutes before serving for a refreshing and exotic super-food holiday side-dish.

Kitfo – Ethiopian Beef Tartare

Ever since my menarche I regularly get a powerful craving for raw beef about once a month. When I was younger I didn’t waste time thinking about it and would just head to the fridge, chow down on whatever raw meat I could find in there and end up feeling rather crazy, but satiatied. I kept this to myself for many years, but after coming across Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell everything made more sense, I was simply following a nutritional imperitive dictated by my body.

These days I am careful to be sure to use grass-fed meat for my raw meat dining experiences. When I stumbled upon Ethiopian kitfo I was infatuated. Raw grass-fed beef served with spiced butter from grass-fed cows, mild cottage cheese and collard greens is something I love to crave. The cardamom is one of my favorite spices and adds a very special flavor.

Niter Kibbeh – Ethiopian Spiced Butter

This delicious spiced clarified butter is amazing with eggs, popcorn, sauted vegetables of all sorts, lentils, kitfo, on toast, mashed potatoes, hash browns — pretty much anything. All the spices make it a powerful antioxidant as an added bonus. There are many ways to spell niter kibbeh — I have seen it as nitr kibe, nit’ir qibe — there are also many ways to make niter kibe — everyone has their own favorite combination of spices.

Butter is traditionally made in Ethiopia from soured milk, not cream. The sour milk is placed in a clay churn or a bottle gourd (calabash). The churn may have previously been smoked with Olea africana. Besides imparting a distinct flavour to the butter, smoking the churn has a bacteriostatic effect. After filling, the churn is stoppered with a plug — a false banana leaf, or a piece of skin or leather stretched over the mouth and securely tied. The churn is then agitated — often by simply rolling it around on the lap until the butter forms. (Source)

Coconut, Pistachio and Cherry Toffee

This delicious coconut syrup toffee is unique and addictive. It was quite by accident that this recipe came into being, one of those wonderful experiences when you put whatever you have around into a pot and the result just comes out divine. The minerals in the coconut water give it a gently salty flavor which goes well with the buttery toffee effect.

Coconut Taffy Marshmallows with Pistachios and Cherries

These delightful, simple, delicious homemade marshmallows are very unique. 4 cans of coconut water are reduced to a syrup and whipped into gelatin, creating a mineral-rich, slightly salty treat that can be used in many ways. They have a flavor that reminds me of good ole fashioned salt-water taffy.

Cherry-Pecan Ambrosia Pompoms

Cherries and pecans are both incredibly high in antioxidants and the coconut cream and oil in these tasty pompoms are also very good for you. These are easy to make and hard to stop eating! They remind me of Santa’s Whiskers Christmas cookies … they taste like fresh wintery snowballs, especially if you keep them chilled. Maybe it is because I grew up in Papua New Guinea, but I always associate coconut with Christmas.

  • 1 c chopped dates
  • 1 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1 c dried cherries
  • 2 pods cardamom ground
  • dash salt
  • 1 c coconut cream (manna)
  • 1/2 c butter or coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa (optional)

Honey-Coconut Zabaglione

Many years ago I worked in an Italian restaurant during the America’s cup races in New Zealand. One of our favorite desserts that summer was a light and creamy traditional zabaglione. This version, made with a coconut water reduction and honey instead of marsala and sugar is a real treat on a winter’s night.

Technically, a zabaglione is a caudle, a hot, wine-fortified drink made as a healing draught for a sick person. The noun later morphed into the verb “to coddle,” meaning “to treat with extreme or excessive care or kindness.” Which isn’t a bad way to describe how zabaglione makes me feel. –Zabaglione Love

Honey and Coconut Glazed Sweet Potatoes

When you reduce coconut water to a syrup it results in a salty-sweet mineral rich syrup. This recipe is my version of candied yams and has the perfect balance of sweet and salty with an exotic coconut twist.

Chestnut, Pistachio and Goji Berry Stuffing

This moist chestnut, pistachio and goji stuffing makes a tasty filling for a juicy goose. The chestnuts just soak up the goose fat and the combination of sausage, pistachios and gojis makes an exotic stuffing with a powerful antioxidant punch. Our local neighborhood Italian grocher Renzullo’s gets in delicious fat Italian chestnuts this time of year and the combination of them with the prize winning blueberry sausage from Gelderman farms is a good blend of local and global flavors for our traditional dinner.

Pomegranate Kombucha Marinated Christmas Goose

We are fortunate in Vancouver to have a wonderful deli/restaurant in town that has amazing pastured geese available locally (Ethical Kitchen). We decided to have one for our holiday season this year and were very pleased with the results. I like geese as they are all brown meat (which is my favorite). Like ducks they have lots of fat which means that my colorful chestnut and pistachio stuffing goes really well with goose. Chestnuts can get a little dry without plenty of fat. Try this rich old fashioned pomegranate and cherry reduction for a delicious gluten-free sauce.

  • 1 medium pastured goose
  • 2 – 3 c kombucha
  • 2 cans (660mL) coconut water (optional)
  • 2 T pomegranate syrup
  • 1 orange zest
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 1/2 piece cinnamon