Monday, February 24, 2014

Roasted Garlic Soup (AIP)

I was researching prebiotics, which are specific foods that the body doesn't digest well but promote and encourage healthy gut flora growth. Some commonly eaten prebiotics are raw onions and garlic. This dish has them cooked but because of the high quantity, there are still some prebiotics intact. But it can't be all about the "good for you". The most important part is taste. And this dish has it! The sweetness of the roasted garlic permeates the whole dish, and the consistency is deliciously creamy.

Roasted Garlic Soup
5 heads of garlic, peeled (40-50 cloves)
2 small onions, peeled and chunked
2 tbsp bacon fat, divided
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 celery stick, diced
2½ cups bone broth (chicken or beef), divided
1 14oz can coconut cream
1 lb white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
Sea salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss garlic and onions with 1 tbsp bacon fat. Roast in the oven for 1 hour 15 min or until soft. Using the remaining bacon fat, sauté the mushrooms and celery until soft. Puree garlic, onions, mushrooms and celery with ⅛ cup broth until smooth. Slowly incorporate the coconut cream until smooth. Pour into a soup pot or dutch oven. Add bone broth to the garlic mixture, slowly to allow it to incorporate fully. Once incorporated, add sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer but do not allow to boil. Cook for 15-25 minutes or until sweet potato is soft. Add in chicken and cook 3-5 minutes or until chicken is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with a few parsley flakes for garnish.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Arepas Rellenas (AIP)

I like having easy portable foods. When I made the Chicken Pot Pie recipe from Mrs. Paleo the other day, it was a good reminder of nice it is to have an all-in-one, casserole-type dish. I've had empanadas on the brain for a while, but a lot of crusts are hard to find AIP-friendly. I'm on Day 50 and haven't  really had any reintroductions (except for a little safe chocolate last weekend), and while I've been debating starting with introductions, I've decided to finish out the month. Which makes empanadas a little bit of a challenge. So instead: Stuffed Arepas! Arepas are little flatbreads made from corn or yuca and served either filled or with a topping. Obviously, yuca was the way to go. And it fries up so well. The texture reminds me of hashbrowns from McDonald's of all places (except without the hydrogenated nasty oil and who knows what else). The outside is very crispy while the inside is somewhat potato-like. And the meat filling makes for a nice surprise.

Arepas Rellenas
1½-2 cups raw yuca (fresh or frozen), peeled and cut into 2-3 inch sections
Sea salt, to taste

½ lb ground beef
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp cilantro
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
Dash or two of cinnamon
3 tbsp coconut aminos
3 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
2 tsp lime juice
¼-⅓ cup bone broth
Sea salt/pepper, to taste
Coconut oil, for frying

Boil the yuca with sea salt until very tender. This takes usually 45 minutes or longer. Strain and remove the tough, stringy fiber found in the middle of the root. Make sure to get all of it as it doesn't taste good nor is the texture very appealing. Mash the yuca root thoroughly, salting and tasting as you go. The texture should be similar to gooey or sticky mashed potatoes. Allow to cool until able to be handled comfortably. Meanwhile, start the filling.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the ground beef, onion, carrot, and garlic. Add in herbs and spices. When meat is mostly browned, add in liquids and allow to simmer until meat is fully cooked and veggies are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat coconut oil in deep frying pan or cast iron skillet. Use enough oil to fill about ½-¾ inch. Make two patties with the mashed yuca about the size of your palm and not more than ¼ inch thick. Spoon about 1-2 tbsp of the filling into the middle of one patty. Sandwich the other patty over the filling and press the outside edges together. The yuca is pretty sticky, so smooth over any holes or lumps to make sure no filling falls out. Carefully place in hot oil and cook each side 5-7 minutes until crispy and golden brown.

Serve with guacamole if AIP or try salsa or curtido if you aren't sensitive to nightshades.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sweet Potato Cookies (AIP)

Another new friend shared this lovely recipe in one of my Facebook groups. I tried the cookies, and I enjoyed them so much, I had to ask Tangie to allow me to share this recipe on my blog! Luckily, she said yes! These cookies are so tasty and delicious, and they are egg-free and completely AIP-friendly! The spices in the recipe are my own tweaks. Using the spice amounts called for will yield a nice spicy cookie that I have found I am addicted to! If you don't like quite as much spice in yours, then I would definitely cut back by at least half if not more and adjust to your own tastes. The mix-ins are all completely optional. I tried the original recipe with currants, but different fruits would work very well. I also made my first batch with fermented applesauce for some extra probiotics, and the taste was very good. If you're not following AIP or you're already making reintroductions, feel free to try some nuts or even maybe soy-free, dairy-free chocolate chips! I haven't made those substitutions just yet, but I would love to try them when I've completed my elimination phase. Thanks again, Tangie!

Sweet Potato Cookies
3½ cups cooked, mashed sweet potato
¾ cup applesauce, unsweetened
⅓ cup coconut oil
¼-⅓ cup honey, to taste
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
½ cup raisins or other dried fruit
½ cup coconut flakes or other desired mix-in

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a large bowl. Drop in rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined dehydrator tray (or special tray provided by your dehydrator if you have one). Pat down to make a cookie shape (about 2 inches round). These aren't baked, so they would take a different shape in the oven. Make sure they're the size you want, except a little bigger. They'll shrink in the dehydrator. Dehydrate 12-14 hours until still slightly chewy. Don't overdry or the cookie will be hard and overly chewy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken Shawarma (AIP)

Sometimes you gotta have a little spice in your life. And one of the best parts about learning to cook while on the Autoimmune Protocol is that you definitely learn to cook with some spices. You learn easy substitutions and adaptations to keep foods interesting. Variety is the spice of life; am I right? The hard part about variety and AIP is when you start talking about ethnic dishes. You've got Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Middle Eastern. You've got Greek, Italian, and Persian. And when you're talking about those dishes, you're talking about some mad punch of flavor, but you're also talking lots of nightshades and seed-based spices.

And that's when my little sad face kicks in. But I want spice! I want flavor! I want heat! I can't say I nailed it with this recipe. But I think I came pretty close. Heat is always a little harder to get right, but dang it, we definitely got some spice. And we definitely got lots of flavor!

Chicken Shawarma with Tzatziki Sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
¾ tsp tumeric
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp Ceylon cinnamon*
⅛ tsp cloves
⅛ tsp black pepper
1-1½ lbs chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tbsp coconut oil

In a small bowl, combine all the spices and mix thoroughly. Rub onto the chicken strips and coat heavily, rubbing into the chicken like a meat rub. Don't skimp; aim for using almost all of the spice mix. Marinate for 20-30 minutes at room temp if desired. Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet. When hot, add strips to pan and cook on each side 2-3 minutes until cooked all the way through. Serve with desired sides.

I served mine with Simple and Merry's Plantain Wraps and Delicious Obsessions' Garlic Herb Lime Cauliflower Rice (skip the lime).

Tzatziki Sauce
⅓ cup coconut milk kefir
2-3 garlic cloves
2 tsp dried dill (1 tbsp fresh)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried parsley
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. (You may choose to add gelatin to thicken as the consistency is fairly runny). Serve over chicken shawarma.

*Ceylon cinnamon is somewhat of a speciality spice, but it's worth it. Most cinnamon found and sold in stores is actually cassia cinnamon. Ceylon is considered the true cinnamon. The differences are subtle but noticeable, and I think the Ceylon cinnamon is better for this dish. That being said, if you can't find the Ceylon cinnamon, regular cinnamon will substitute well.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Stuffed Acorn Squash (AIP)

This is a delicious fall/winter dish. I created it when I first started the AIP, and when I shared it with fellow AIPers, it received rave reviews. Seriously, guys, I was blushing! The dish is full of fantastic flavors that blend really well together. It comes together fairly easily so don't be deterred by the long ingredient list; most of them are spices for lots of flavor. If you're new to AIP, this is a great dish to try. It's fairly easy, filling, and because it's so flavorful, you won't be stuck thinking AIP is boring!

Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 gold acorn squash
FOC for cooking (I used bacon fat for squash and tallow for stuffing)
½ lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 white mushrooms, chopped or chunked
1 gala apple, cubed or chopped (depending on if you want it chunky or not)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh sage leaves (approximately 1-2 tbsp chopped)
2 sprigs fresh thyme (I used lemon but any), about ½ tsp leaves
½ tsp ground thyme
½-1 tsp allspice (optional)
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp parsley
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Cut the acorn squash in half. Clean it, and drizzle bacon fat over it. Season with salt and pepper, and place it seed side up with 1 cup water in a glass baking pan at 425°F for about 25-35 min. While it's roasting, combine beef, onion, mushrooms, garlic in skillet with melted tallow (or preferred FOC). When almost cooked through, add apples and spices. Continue to cook until beef is cooked through. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. Pile stuffing into acorn squash. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes in the oven.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Roasted Broccoli & Garlic (AIP)

I used to hate broccoli. I've never been a big fan of vegetables except for tomatoes and peppers so going AIP and cutting out nightshades meant that my go to vegetables were out. So I'd force myself to eat veggies here and there but it was definitely not what I wanted to be eating. Then I read an article about learning how to like veggies. The article suggested blanching and roasting as two great methods of cooking to improve the taste. So I tried blanching and roasting various vegetables. And holy heck! Taste explosions in my mouth! Right now I am addicted to roasted broccoli and garlic. The dish is undeniably simple and tastes so good, I literally can not stop eating it! I can eat half a plate of the stuff and still be in food heaven! Yes, it's that good!

Roasted Broccoli & Garlic
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets or spears
1-2 heads of garlic, peeled and thick cloves cut into half (15-25 cloves)
3-4 tbsp bacon fat
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt the bacon fat in a cast iron skillet over low heat. Toss the broccoli and garlic cloves in the bacon fat to coat well. Sprinkle sea salt to taste. Put the skillet in the oven in the lower section. Cook for 35-45 min, tossing every 15 min to keep vegetables coated. This makes the edges and broccoli tops crispy but the insides should be tender. Remove skillet from oven carefully and serve with your entree of choice.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kombucha (AIP)

I've had lots of request for my recipe that I use for brewing my own kombucha. If you aren't familiar with kombucha, then you are missing out! It's a lovely probiotic drink made from fermented tea that can be a great addition to a healing diet. I usually drink it daily, as well as adding in other fermented foods and beverages like sauerkraut, water kefir, milk kefir, apple cider vinegar, and Jun. I've included a great link from Cultures of Health if you'd like to read up more on exactly what is in kombucha. If you'd like to brew your own, then let's get started!

Materials you will need:
  • Glass brewing vessel, ranging from 1 quart to 1 gallon
  • SCOBY (Request from a fellow brewer or join this Facebook group: Kefir grains, Scoby, and others to share)
  • White cane sugar or evaporated cane juice sugar (YES! REAL SUGAR!)
  • Cold water (filtered, distilled, or spring water)
  • Wooden or plastic spoon
  • Tea (Black, green, white, or oolong)
  • Coffee filter or breathable, tightly woven cloth
  • Rubber band
  • White vinegar
Ratio Chart
Tea: bags or 1 tsp if loose leaf

Gather your materials. Using only quarter of the water called for in the recipe, brew your tea. For example, if making 1 quart of kombucha, brew the tea in 8 ounces of water. Allow tea to steep per directions on packaging. Remove tea bag or leaves. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Add in half of remaining cold water. Make sure tea is room temperature! If not, allow to cool to room temp. Add in starter tea. Rinse hands with white vinegar and add in SCOBY. Slowly add in remaining cold water until vessel is full (a one quart vessel will brew 1 quart of kombucha but may not have room for all the water), leaving 1 inch of headspace at the top. If you have extra water, that's ok. You don't need it. Cover with a coffee filter or cloth and secure with a rubber band. Store out of direct sunlight. Depending on temperatures and how much you are brewing, your tea may take anywhere from 3-14 days to brew. When the tea no longer tastes like sweet tea and starts tasting tart, it is ready. If you would like it extra tart, allow it to brew longer. If you would like flavor or fizz, try a second fermentation. Once the brew is ready, pour into air-tight bottles and add different fruits for flavor (frozen, fresh, whole, pureed, juice is all up to you). Seal tightly and leave on counter to ferment again for 2-3 days. Be careful when opening as it can build up pressure. Make sure to burp the bottles (let some of the pressure escape) every 24 hours to avoid a bursting bottle.