Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tapioca Pizza Crust (AIP)

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you purchase an item your price stays the same, but I make a small commission to help run my blog. See more information here.*

Are you ready for pizza night?! I LOVE PIZZA!!! It's up there with ice cream as one of my most favorite foods on the face of the earth. Pizza is also one of the trickiest pies to make AIP. No joke. The crust, the tomato sauce, the cheese. Nope, nope, nopes! But I refused to give up! I refused to be defeated. Creativity in the kitchen is kinda my new thing after all. 

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect pizza. Luckily, this recipe is pretty adaptable. Make sure to read through all the notes and suggestions and ideas. I tried to make this one as flexible as possible. If you don't see something different mentioned, it's because I haven't tried it yet! Make sure to do your own experiments and report back to me so I can share with others! Pizza is so highly individual, just like AIP! That's how we make it all work.

THE CRUST
To me, the perfect crust is slightly crispy on the outside and chewy and delicious on the inside. This is hard to replicate on AIP, but like I said, I'm not a quitter. I absolutely loved the Domestic Man's Grain-Free Flatbread (AIP-friendly!), and originally I used it to make my pizza crust. But it wasn't the perfect pizza crust just yet. So I used that recipe and did some more tweaking. And then I discovered Grazed and Enthused's Rosemary & Proscuitto Stromboli (yep, AIP too!). Such a gorgeous and beautiful stromboli (genius recipe, I'm telling you). She actually used the crust and made it gooey in order to make a cheese-like texture. So the idea was born. I had to combine the two to create a crisp and chewy crust that also had a gooey, cheesy texture. And I finally nailed it. (But for all you thin-crust diehards out there, I've included that variation also.)

THE SAUCE
Now this one really just requires a little bit of thinking outside the box. Luckily, there are lots of Nomato Sauce and Fauxmato Marinara recipes for you to choose from if you like a classic pie. I also thought through lots of variations, and I've included some fun ones also. Scroll down for these options!

THE CHEESE
Yeah, okay, so dairy is out. Who cares? If the rest of the toppings taste like a million bucks, we already got the ooey, gooey texture in the crust. If you're dying for a little bit of the cheesy taste, then nutritional yeast is a nice little add on. There's also Zucchini Cheese now, and lemme tell ya, it melts like a charm over pizza toppings. I've also included a few other ideas to keep the pizza moist. Besides, add extra sauce or a dipping sauce, and who needs the cheese?

It's definitely time to go cook up a pie. This has been one of the funnest recipe developments I've worked on. Who says no to eating lots of pizza??

Tapioca Pizza Crust
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Collagen Protein (or gelatin)
½ cup coconut milk
2 tbsp hot water

Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F. 

While the oven is preheating, combine the tapioca flour, sea salt, oregano, and rosemary in a medium bowl. 

Pour the coconut milk into a small bowl and add the gelatin, mixing thoroughly. Add the hot water to the coconut mixture and mix again. 

Add the olive oil and the coconut milk mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients, and stir until it starts to form a stiff dough. If there are too many dry pieces, keep mixing (by hand if necessary) until it all comes together. The dough should be a stiff ball that is slightly moist and barely sticky to the touch. 

If your dough is too runny, add tapioca flour in 1 tbsp increments until it firms. If the dough is too stiff or dry, add hot water in 1 tbsp increments until its mostly smooth and firm. 

Once the oven is fully preheated, carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Coat the skillet with a thin layer of olive oil or coconut oil. 

For THICK/CHEWY CRUST: Carefully press the dough into the pan, keeping the thickness around a ¼ inch or thicker. Place the crust in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove and top with sauce of choice (see below for suggestions). Top with toppings of choice (see below for suggestions). Cook on the middle rack for 8-12 minutes or until the crust is lightly crispy on the outside but still gives slightly when touched. The inside should be chewy and the parts covered by sauce should be slightly gooey (like cheese!). 

For THIN/CRISPY CRUST: Use a bigger pan (or less dough) and press the dough out until its less than ¼ inch. Place in the oven and cook 5 minutes. Top with sauce and toppings of choice (see below for suggestions and ideas). Cook on the bottom rack 8-12 minutes or until the crust is crispy. Don't overcook or the crust can turn very cracker-like.

Don't worry if the dough starts to melt or spread when it hits the hot pan. Just do your best to press the dough out, using a light coating of tapioca flour or olive oil on your hands if necessary. Be very cautious of the sides of the skillet; they are HOT!

*Sauce Suggestions
  • Nutritional Yeast (1 tbsp)
  • Zucchini Cheese
  • I also like to include toppings like sliced zucchini or sauteed mushrooms and onions which helping give a moist, cheesy feel to the pizza
*Coconut-free Option: Instead of coconut milk, use ¼ cup cold water to bloom the gelatin and then add ¼ cup hot water. Do not add the extra tablespoons of hot water unless the dough is too dry. This dough may not be as gooey under the sauce as the coconut-version but the consistency of the crust is still pretty tasty.

Pizza Ideas:
Hawaiian BBQ Pizza: Pulled pork with BBQ sauce, sauteed onions, summer squash, kale, spinach, and nutritional yeast.
Mexican Pizza: Restaurant-style salsa with chicken breast strips, sauteed onions, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, nutritional yeast.
White Pizza: Garlic Aioli Sauce (and dipping sauce!) with kale, artichokes, chicken sausage, and nutritional yeast.

Olive tapenade sauce with leftover chicken, spinach, squash, and bacon.

Artichoke spinach dip for the sauce (recipe in development) with ground veal, kale, sliced zucchini, and zucchini cheese!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nightshade-free Master Tonic (AIP)

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you purchase an item your price stays the same, but I make a small commission to help run my blog. See more information here.*

Well, hello again! My break this time around has been much too long. I initially took an unscheduled, but much needed digital vacation at the end of the year. My original intentions were to be back and running things smoothly by the first of the year. I got the flu, and then a severe upper respiratory infection/ear infection, which turned into laryngitis and lastly, bronchitis. So we can definitely say that I've had a rough last two weeks. And I'm VERY BEHIND on my blog.

The good news is that I'm almost back to normal, and getting this sick while AIP was a very educational experience for me. Being this sick taught me the importance of rest, medicine, and bone broth.

First of all, when it comes to rest, sitting in front of the tv isn't going to cut it. You have to turn the tv off and GET INTO BED! I learned that while it's hard for me to sit still and do nothing (especially when I'm feeling unwell), once I crawled into bed with no distractions, I actually slept more and rested better.

And when it comes to medicine? As much as I like to keep things all-natural and homeopathic, there comes a point when you have to realize what's working and what isn't. Being a martyr doesn't get you better. Sometimes you have to give in and go to the doctor and take what they prescribe. Yes, know all your options, but then know when to weigh out the risks and benefit and make an educated choice that will get you better. In this case, I had to put aside my short-term AIP-goals in order to get better sooner so that I could get back to focusing on my long-term healing goals: I took a steroid shot and oral steroids. This isn't ideal, but I had to get back on my feet.

The last thing I have to stress is just how important bone broth is in our healing journey. I have never doubted the healing benefits of bone broth. I thought I did a pretty good job incorporating bone broth into my diet. But I haven't made it a number one priority. And I didn't realize how much more I could be doing for myself until I got sick and had soup for most of my meals. And I was pretty impressed by the results. My normally flat and flimsy nails are nice and arched and strong. There is at least a 50% improvement of my nail plate and nail bed in the last two weeks. I wish I had before and after pictures to show you, but trust me when I say: "ADD MORE BONE BROTH TO YOUR DIET! DAILY IF POSSIBLE!" And don't forget to add in some gelatin and collagen supplements on the days you can't!

Now like I said before, I prefer to go to the doctor as a last resort. Usually, I have more success with all natural remedies like elderberry syrup or fermented garlic. My most recent discovery that usually helps is the Master Tonic. The Master Tonic is also known as Fire Cider and Witches Brew.

The Master Tonic is a traditional, natural remedy for any number of illnesses, infections, or plagues; while it's usually recommended for the common cold, it's been touted as healing even more than that. How? It’s naturally antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. Some people have claimed that it can cure the most chronic conditions and persistent diseases. The most important part of making an effective Master Tonic is to use FRESH ingredients that stimulate blood circulation throughout the body.

Traditionally, the Master Tonic also uses a hot pepper like jalapeƱos or habaneros. Since this isn't an option for those of us following AIP, I chose to substitute lemongrass instead since it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Here are common health-benefits to the ingredients in the tonic.
  • Ginger is naturally antimicrobial and boosts your immune system. It has a warming effect on the body, which causes us to sweat and expel toxins. It is also known to calm the gastrointestinal tract and enhance blood flow. It can also help with chills, colds, and fever. 
  • Horseradish is naturally antibacterial and anti-parasitic, and it stimulates your immune system. It has warming properties and acts as an expectorant, so it’s a potent herb for your sinuses and lungs. It helps open up your sinus passages and increases circulation there, which is where the common cold and influenza commonly begins.
  • Onions are a good source of the antioxidant Quercetin, which is anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antiviral. Quercetin is also thought to have anti-cancer properties.
  • Garlic is antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. It can also enhance blood flow.
  • Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory and is also warming. Turmeric is also known to have pain-relieving properties.
  • Lemongrass is mostly used to alleviate common respiratory conditions like laryngitis and sore throats. It is also known to be an anti-pyretic, which reduces high fevers (hence why it's called fevergrass in some cultures). Lemongrass has strong pain-relieving properties and can help to alleviate muscle spasms (All pain types like abdominal pain, headaches, joint pains, digestive tract spasms). Because of this pain-relieving property, lemongrass may even help to repair damaged connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments and tendons (this makes me believe it's a good substitute for most of us with AI issues!)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: There are tons and tons and tons of uses for ACV. But the focus here is that it helps your body eliminate toxins. The fermentation process that creates ACV might also strengthen the immune system, promote digestion, and relieve sore throats, colds, and sinus infections.
Nightshade-free Master Tonic
3 oz chopped ginger
3 oz chopped horseradish
3 oz chopped onions
3 oz chopped garlic
3 oz chopped turmeric
3 oz chopped lemongrass
1 qt apple cider vinegar

*It is strongly recommended by traditional fermenters that the Master Tonic be made on the New Moon and strained on the Full Moon. This is said to encourage the most positive energy and healing properties of the Master Tonic. If you're superstitious or just believe in good vibes, I suggest following the schedule. If not, then the Master Tonic needs to sit for two weeks.*

Combine all the solids in a quart mason jar. This should fill the jar approximately half-way. Fill the remainder of the jar with apple cider vinegar (you won't use all of it). Secure the lid and place the jar in a dark cabinet out of direct light but where it is easily accessible. Shake the jar vigorously at least once a day for two weeks. After two weeks, strain the liquid into an airtight bottle. You can then use the solids in recipes or dehydrate them and then grind them into a seasoning powder (just wear gloves and goggles while grinding as the mixture is potent!).

To use the Master Tonic:
  • Gargle and swallow. Don’t dilute with water.
  • Take ½-1 oz, three times daily at the first signs of a cold
  • If you’re already sick, then take it six times daily
  • You can also use it as flavoring in soups for an extra kick!