Korean Shingo Pear Flaugnarde (Clafoutis)

flaugnarde slice with yogurtWhen I initially made this recipe I referred to it as a clafoutis.  But it turns out a clafoutis is a rustic French dessert traditionally made with black cherries. Whenever the same dish is made using a different type of fruit it is known as a flaugnarde. Here’s how to pronounce flaugnarde. I had to play that soundbite a few times to get the pronunciation down (in spite of my slight Texas twang). It’s a funny word that sounds a lot better than it looks. And the dish itself is delightfully warm and filling.

This flaugnarde recipe makes use of Korean Shingo pears. These pears are similar to other asian pears but they are larger and very round. (You could substitute with other types of pears or even apple slices.) The Shingo pears have a high sugar content and a delicate, almost floral taste. They are nicely crisp and would probably be terrific in a salad. But they also work particularly well with this flaugnarde which is perfect as a breakfast or brunch dish. It is not a particularly sweet dish but could still be used as a dessert. If you like custards and/or bread puddings like I do then you will probably enjoy this moist flaugnarde. The 1/4 cup of coconut crystals is optional. I tried it both ways and it was good each time – just a little sweeter with the coconut crystals.

A slice of the flaugnarde for breakfast with a couple of farm fresh eggs fried in ghee is pretty heavenly. My sons, who eat dairy, like to slather it with full fat Greek yogurt.flaugnarde slice with eggs

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Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Pepper

paleo sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic, pepper and lemon

Broccoli Rabe sautéed in olive oil and garlic is my all time favorite vegetable side dish. It was not something I ate growing up in Texas. In fact, even though it is quite popular in Italy (known as rapini), I do not recall eating it when I lived and worked there either. It was not until I moved to the Northeast U.S. that I discovered the deliciousness that is broccoli rabe.  At home my husband G and I sometimes fight over who gets more of this dish.  (“I think you got more than I did!”) And our two boys are starting to enjoy broccoli rabe too which means there will either be more fighting or I will have to remember to make bigger batches in the future.

For the Love of Bitter Greens

Broccoli rabe (aka rapini) is a highly nutritious, bitter green.  My taste for bitter greens may have started when I was about eleven years old and my mother had me and my siblings help her gather, cook and eat dandelion greens for a graduate school class project.   Continue reading

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Ben’s Monster Mash

I put this random recipe for Monster Mash together because:

  1. I was bored (we had a totally random snow day)
  2. it was Halloween
  3. I had a thirst for monster goo.

When I first gave this drink to mom she liked it. This is the story I told:

I went into my back yard and found a giant multi-eyed monster. I grabbed my sword and my imaginary friend (Dragonpuff™*) and together we ground up the monster into a ghoulish, slimy , gross, scary, disgusting…..and surprisingly tasty pulp! It is very sweet. However, if you don’t like pulp in your orange juice you definitely won’t like this.(it is very pulpy)


  • 3/4 cup V-8 Fusion Pomegranate Blueberry (or other, similarly colored, unsweetened, vegetable and fruit juice blend)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • frozen raspberries (aka monster brains)


  1. pour the above ingredients into a cup ( you may add as many “monster brains” as you dare)
  2. stir until applesauce and juice blend nicely.
  3. serve in a scary cup (optional)Monster Mash in a Scary Cup

Overall this is a very tasty blend. I hope you enjoy Ben’s Monster Mash!


~BenBen with Monster Mash




*don’t ask about Dragonpuff™. He’s none of your business.

Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

No one likes a fraud.  And I am not a big fan of something presented as what it is not. It’s a problem in the vegetarian world with meatless food made to look and taste as close to meat as possible. I mean why not just eat the real thing?! How does tofurkey even make sense? We tell our kids to be themselves and find friends who like them for who they are. So why, you say, is it any different for our friend cauliflower? Well, even though it would be great if cauliflower were as beloved as rice or the white potato, the truth is, cauliflower is like the wallflower at the prom who’s never asked to dance. White potatoes and rice are the ones who get invited to the fancy parties as part of elaborate dishes or weeknight dinners full of comfort foods. But when you are looking for something more nutrient dense and lower in carbohydrates, cauliflower is a great substitute for either of these two rivals. Continue reading

Dry Rubbed Barbecue Pork Ribs – Paleo Style

paleo barbecue pork ribs with sauceEver since the paleo diet unshackled me from the fear of eating animal fat I have been on a mission to indulge in foods previously avoided. Barbecued pork ribs is one of those foods. My goal with this recipe was to create something delicious that would be paleo, which means, among other things, having very little or no sugar. It was also important the dry-rubbed ribs be good enough to be eaten without sauce.  Of course, barbecue sauce is pretty indispensable in the minds of most people and my family is no exception.  So I have also included a spicy barbecue sauce recipe that contains no high fructose corn syrup and only 2 tablespoons of sweetener.   Continue reading

Fried Sweet Plantains

Plantains are not a food I grew up eating in Texas. In fact, the first time I ate plantains was in a Cuban restaurant just a few years ago. But eating a Paleo diet means no grains or legumes so I have been trying a few new foods to fill in the gaps. My problem with plantains has been in trying to judge their state of ripeness and then cooking them properly.

Plantains, which are a staple food in tropical regions of the world, are usually inexpensive. I have purchased them for as little as $0.19/lb. at Costco. They are similar to bananas but are usually larger, firmer and lower in sugar. Plantains have about 220 calories and are high in potassium and fiber. The taste and texture varies dramatically with their state of ripeness. And unlike bananas, which are usually eaten raw, plantains are ordinarily cooked. When they are green, plantains have a taste and texture similar to potatoes and can be used in much the same way. White potatoes are excluded from the Paleo Diet. They are also categorized as a “nightshade” which can be problematic for anyone with an autoimmune disease. Plantains can be a good alternative to white potatoes. But when they are allowed to ripen fully (which I have found can take quite a while) plantains are very sweet and make a good dessert ingredient.

After a few mishaps I have finally figured out how to cook them in their ripe state. I do not like overripe bananas. By the time they are almost black, bananas are gross. But plantains are good up until they are almost completely black. The following recipe is to be used only with very ripe plantains (dark yellow with speckles and black spots). It is very simple, takes only a few minutes to prepare and is 100% Paleo. I like it as a dessert or as a part of breakfast.

2 very ripe plantains
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)

Peel the plantains, cut them in half and then half again lengthwise. Heat the coconut oil in a wide bottomed pan on medium-high heat for a minute or two. Gently place the plantains in the pan and sauté on medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Turn the plantains over, add the water and cover and simmer on low for another 8-10 minutes or until soft all the way through. Once the plantains have cooked down and the water has been absorbed, sprinkle with cinnamon on all sides. Serve warm.