Paleo in Portugal

One of the things that I love most about living in Colorado is a consistent focus on healthy living. Whether people are hiking, cycling, hitting the gym, or taking long walks through old neighborhoods or the downtown cityscape, Coloradoans are focused on fitness.

The Mile High City: Denver, Colorado

Denver urban dwellers have an abundance of options for fresh, natural, healthy food shops and restaurants to choose from for their daily sustenance. I have long been spoiled with weekly visits to Natural Grocers for healthy, specialty foods and nutritional supplements for my gluten-free, mostly raw, paleo-leaning diet regimen.

One of the hardest transitions for me in moving to the Lisbon coast has been adjusting my food selection expectations and learning to read food labels in Portuguese. It took months to find reasonably priced substitutions and even then, many had hidden ingredients that I am not interested in ingesting.

Portugal does offer beautifully ripe fruits and vegetables of all sorts, hundreds of types of cheeses and butters, to die for charcuterie and cured meats, and extensive selections of fish and seafood. There are two main health food store chains: El Cortes Inglés Super Mercado at São Sebastião metro station and Celerio in Baixa Chiado and both offering limited and exceptionally expensive selections of nut butters and flours, alternative natural sweeteners, packaged foods, natural body care, and supplements. Unfortunately, these stores are more than a 25-minute walk to a 45-minute train ride away so schlepping goods home is quite a chore.

A View of the Lisbon Coast from Monte Estoril

A little closer to my home in Monte Estoril is Jumbo Hypermarket, an American style, more is more, shopping experience. They have a decent and expanding selection of healthy offerings at more reasonable prices. The 40-minute walk home is uphill so I go frequently and carry little.

Needless to say, sticking to gluten-free, mostly raw, paleo has been a tricky endeavor for me. It isn’t just the lure of delectable pastry and breads, or the cleverly masked addition of sugar, grains, and soy in just about everything I intend to buy, but also, inconsistent cooking options and zero baking capabilities that have proven the most challenging.

The Lisbon Coast

Yes, I have been nearly a year without an oven and spent many months without a working stove of any kind. So much fun here on the lovely Lisbon coast!

Two of my favorite dishes to make are paleo blueberry pancakes served with lemon curd and my special rendition of the classic Waldorf Salad.

Paleo Pancake & Lemon Curd

Yum Yum Paleo Panny Cakes

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/3 cup almond flour

1/3 cup coconut flour

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (alcohol-free)

1 cup almond milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

Blend all ingredients well. Chill for 20 minutes.

Heat a drizzle of coconut or light olive oil in a 10″ Danish Scan Pan (best non-stick pan on the market) over medium-low. Ladle a small amount of batter into the heated pan making a three-inch circle gently spreading if too thick. Repeat twice, making three small cakes.

Cook for a few minutes until the edges brown slightly. Turn cakes over and cook for another minute.

Remove to a paper-towel-lined platter.

Repeat, until all batter is cooked.

Arrange three cakes on a plate and garnish with fresh berries, lemon curd, and a dusting of cinnamon.

Fresh Paleo Lemon Curd

2 Meyer lemons–zested and juiced

–2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest

–1/2 cup lemon juice

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1/4-1/3 cup honey

6 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter

Place eggs, honey, zest, and oil or butter in a saucepan. Whisk over low heat until blended, be careful to not cook the eggs. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice. Whisk constantly until cooked and thickened.

Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Spoon the lemon curd into several small glass jars. Cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.

Lemon curd is wonderful slathered on pancakes, pastries, toast, blended into goat yogurt, or used as a filling for tarts, cakes, and other desserts.

Pretty delicious by the spoonful too.

For me, late summer means fresh salads and one of my perennial favorites is my personal take on the classic Waldorf. There is nothing better than tangy apples, juicy grapes, and bitter walnuts expertly dressed and served chilled to satisfy on a hot afternoon. It is a simple and elegant dish, and just about everything you need can be sourced from your local farmer’s market.

Simone’s Waldorf Salad

Simone’s Waldorf Salad

1 ripe granny smith apple, chopped

2 ripe red delicious apples, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 ½ cups or a small bunch of red or green grapes, quartered

1 ½ cups of chopped, raw, walnuts

½ cup finely cubed sheep milk manchego or hard goat milk cheese

2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 T unfiltered, raw, apple cider vinegar

6 T goat milk yogurt

2 T high quality or homemade mayonnaise

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, and mayonnaise together in a small bowl. Combine the apples, celery, walnuts, and cheese in a serving bowl. Blend in the dressing and season. Chill for 30 minutes. Serve the salad over a bed of fresh greens with a cool glass of Chablis or Spätlese for a light lunch or first dinner course.

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