Photo: Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, Debbie and Ken Mather, Amber Hartwig and Jamie Sutherland
This weekend, we had the pleasure of attending (and catering!) the wedding of Ken Mather and Debbie Hartwig (Dallas’ Mum). Debbie is both a Whole30 success story and devoted advocate for our Good Food movement, and wanted her wedding to reflect her healthy eating habits. She asked us to design the menu for the event, specifically requesting that all the dishes – even dessert – be grain, legume and dairy-free. And as the event was a true family affair, we ended up preparing two of the three dishes for the wedding ourselves!
The dishes – a chilled mango gazpacho, the “best fajitas” recipe from our site and a chocolate mole brownie – were a huge hit with the guests, most of whom didn’t even realize they were eating pretty typical “Paleo” fare. The brownies were the highlight of the meal, a delicous combination of sweet and spicy that perfectly complimented the coolness of the vanilla bean coconut ice cream. (Dallas cobbled the recipe together from a variety of Paleo and traditional brownie recipes we found on line, and we baked five test batches to be sure we got the proportions right. We’re a little sick of brownies right now – but they were delicious.)
We thought we’d share our recipes and the dishes here with you today, as a testament the delicious nature of Whole9-inspired food for even the most formal of occasions. Thank you to Chef Nick, Becca and Stacey for presenting these dishes so beautifully. And congratulations to Ken and Debbie – best wishes for a life of love, happiness and health.
Chilled Mango Gazpacho
- Buy some kind of vegetable chopper (like this one from Williams Sonoma), because it has been scientifically proven to speed up your cooking prep time by 72%.
- 2 cups of 1/4-inch-diced fresh (ripe) mangoes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice (no pulp)
- 1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Process mango, EVOO and orange juice in a blender or food processor until pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl, along with remaining ingredients.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be made ahead of time – it’s even better the next day.)
- Serve in a bowl (as a traditional soup). Top with fresh basil or cilantro and enjoy!
The Best Chicken Fajitas You’ll Ever Eat
- 1.5 – 2 lbs. of “pastured” organic chicken breast
- 1 medium jicama (peeled and sliced into strips)
- 1 red bell pepper (sliced into strips)
- 1 orange bell pepper (sliced into strips)
- 1 yellow bell pepper (sliced into strips)
- 1 large sweet onion (sliced into strips)
- 2 heads of Bibb or Butter lettuce
- Cumin, chili powder, freshly ground black pepper (liberal amounts of each)
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro (chopped)
- Trim and pound chicken with a meat tenderizer until all slices are a consistent thickness.
- Heat 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil in a pan (medium-high heat).
- Once the oil is hot, mix spices together and sprinkle half directly into the pan.
- Throw chicken on top of the spices, and sprinkle the other half of the spice mixture on top of the chicken.
- Allow each side to blacken and sear (about 1 minute) before flipping.
- When chicken is done, remove from pan and transfer to cutting board to slice into strips.
- In the same hot pan (with leftover spices), sauté the peppers and onions.
- Use the spatula to scrape blackened spices off the bottom of the pan, stir them right in with the veggies.
- When pepper and onion mixture is cooked to desired tenderness (3-5 minutes), remove from pan and transfer to serving dish.
- Fill the bottom of your plate with large leafs of lettuce. Pile hot peppers, onions and chicken on top.
- Serve with fresh guacamole and salsa, garnish with sliced jicama and freshly chopped cilantro.
Chocolate Mole Brownies
- 1 cup almond butter (smooth, unsalted)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (organic, Fair Trade preferred)
- 3.5-4 oz coarsely chopped dark chocolate (85%, organic, Fair Trade preferred)
- 1/2 cup demerara or turbinado sugar
- 2/3 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 2 Tbsp real maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp finely ground dark roast coffee
- 1 Tbsp ground chimayo chile
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
Spicy Dusting Ingredients:
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp chimayo chile
- 3 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop and toast hazelnuts until lightly browned. Set aside.
- Chop dark chocolate into small chunks (about the size of chocolate chips). Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients, mix by hand until consistency is smooth.
- Pour into a greased 9×9 pan.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Slice into squares and serve with a scoop of coconut milk vanilla bean ice cream.
- Sprinkle with spicy dusting, garnish with orange zest.
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The vegetable chopper! I had no idea things like that existed. That’s incredible! (The food all looks wonderful, too. I’m just a little flabbergasted by how awesome that gizmo is!)
I’m hiring you guys when I have my wedding!
Scott Hinson says
I am so making those brownies.
Seeing that you catered a wedding, it brings to mind a question that i’ve been debating with my crossfit friends. The Baskin Robins ice cream store just closed down in town, and i thought it would be great it we replaced it with a paleo restaurant. The question is whether a paleo restaurant would work financially.
Have you ever thought about the viability of a paleo eatery? We concluded that it would be tough to do in terms of food costs and broad market appeal. There are protein-oriented quick serve restaurants on the east coast (muscle maker grill and others) but they aren’t exactly paleo.
Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy says
Congrats to the bride and groom!
Gluten and dairy free brownies that don’t contain a zillion weird additives like xanthan gum? Yeah, I’m making those.
Samantha Aurelio says
Holy Chicken Fajitas, Batman o.0
So making that.
Rita P. says
Are these really paleo proof? I thought sugar and sugar substitutes were off limits? I guess I love brownies and wondering whether this is an approved excute to eat them :) Also, what is demerara or turbinado sugar?
Melissa @ Whole9 says
Please don’t confuse our Whole9 life with our Whole30 program. During a Whole30, sugars and sugar substitutes are strictly forbidden. During your Whole9 LIFE, we also recommend avoiding added sugars in any form… but that certainly doesn’t need to apply to your wedding cake! Doing the best you can to eat “clean” while still allowing yourself to indulge in socially or culturally significant food choices is certainly how we approach healthy eating – and sometimes, the fact that an “off plan” food is so darn delicious is reason enough to indulge.
Demerara and turbinado sugar are both just forms of natural brown sugars.
(insert guttural *good* sigh) I will be making that menu someday for my family. Right now we are all learning to eat clean. But that looks like it might have to our Valentine’s Day Celebration Meal. Thanks!
Would you also provide your coconut ice cream recipe? I cant seem to get the ingredients right for it to turn out perfectly with the vanilla bean/coconut milk ratio.
Id appreciate any help with an already perfected recipe!
Melissa @Whole9 says
Alyssa, we bought the coconut ice cream from the local health food store. Unfortunately, we don’t have a recipe for that.