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
Black pepper, to taste (omit for AIP)

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 local brewer or feel free to ask me! I ship them out regularly for $7 including shipping!)
  • 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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Crispy Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce (AIP)

I live on the Gulf Coast, so fresh jumbo shrimp are not hard to find. Coming up with different ways to cook them on the Autoimmune Protocol can sometimes be the bigger challenge. I often see fried coconut shrimp on the menus at seafood restaurants, and it's always looked delicious. The Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce actually came first. I paired it with chicken tenders, and it was so good, I had to come up with another dippable! And jumbo shrimp breaded and fried in coconut was the perfect match. This dish also whips up pretty quick so it's great for a last minute dinner. An AIP-version of the 30 minute meal.

Crispy Coconut Shrimp
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
⅓ cup arrowroot flour
¾ cup desiccated coconut
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
⅓ cup thick coconut milk (or coconut cream diluted with coconut water)
½ lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat coconut oil over medium to medium high heat in a cast iron skillet (or other heavy skillet). Mix arrowroot, coconut flakes, ginger, sea salt, and black pepper together in a shallow dish. Dip the shrimp one at a time in coconut milk, then coat thoroughly in coconut flake mixture, and then carefully place in skillet. Cook until crispy and golden brown (about 2-3 minutes) and then flip. The shrimp should be cooked through already, but test one or two just to make sure. Serve with mango dipping sauce.

Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce
½ cup mango chunks
⅓ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp gelatin 
1 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-3 tsp ground ginger 

Puree mango and lemon juice thoroughly. Pour into a small saucepan and warm over medium low heat. When warmed, add honey and combine thoroughly. Let simmer for about 5 minutes until it starts to thicken some. In a small container with a lid, combine gelatin and cold water and shake until no clumps remain. Add to mango mixture, and add in ACV and ground ginger. Start with one teaspoon and taste test. Continue to add ginger by the teaspoon until the spiciness is where you desire. Place in the fridge at least 15-20 minutes to thicken. (Makes about ½ cup).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Turmeric Chicken Soup (AIP)

Last week brought lots of cold weather all over the States. Subzero temps for many and freezing temps in states where it's rarely that cold. I fought the cold weather by making several soups and staying indoors when I could. I made a great Creamy Chicken Soup (find the shared recipe link on my Facebook page), and still had tons of leftover chicken and broth, so I came up with this soup. A nice hearty soup with anti-inflammatory properties from the turmeric. The white sweet potatoes will make a difference in the texture and color, so be prepared for it to be a little sweeter and softer if you substitute regular orange sweet potatoes.

Turmeric Chicken Soup
2 tbsp coconut oil or F.O.C.
1 large onion, diced
½ leek, cleaned and sliced into half moons
3 celery stalks, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp onion powder
3 tsp ginger powder
1½ tbsp turmeric*
4-5 cups chicken broth
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
2 tsp parsley
4 cups white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 tbsp ACV**
4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the fat over medium low heat. Add in onions, leeks, and celery. Cook until starting to soften. Add carrots, garlic and seasonings until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add in 4 cups chicken broth, sea salt and pepper, parsley, and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until all veggies are soft. Add in apple cider vinegar and chicken and stir thoroughly. Cook until heated through.

*Turmeric is a pretty potent spice and it can have a kick. If you aren't sure about how much turmeric you can handle, start with 1-2 tsp and then slowly add in the remaining turmeric at the end 1 tsp at a time, stirring thoroughly after each tsp and taste testing as you go.
**If you adjust the turmeric, you may need to adjust the ACV. You can also feel free to add more at the end to help balance out the kick from the turmeric if you find it to be too much.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tapioca Pizza Crust

Sorry to my AIP fans, this one has eggs. But I'm getting a lot of requests from different groups for a grain-free pizza crust! This one is my absolute favorite. It's got a nice crispy outside and a light, chewy inside, holds up to lots of toppings, and the slices can even be folded like a traditional pie! The recipe can be adapted easily for different things but my favorite use is hands down pizza! If you are AIP+eggs, then no worries! See adaptations at the bottom to make this recipe work for you. And I have a great AIP recipe coming up for those of you who can't do the pizza crust.

Tapioca Pizza Crust
2 cups tapioca flour/starch 
2 tsp cream of tartar 
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
3 large eggs (room temp is best) 
1 tbsp olive oil 
3 tbsp preferred milk (cow, goat, coconut, milk kefir, sour cream, etc) 
1 tsp garlic powder 
2 tsp Italian seasoning or preferred herbs

Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix dry ingredients together (tapioca, cream of tartar, baking soda, shredded cheese if using, garlic powder and seasonings). Mix in wet ingredients until well combined. Spread on a parchment paper lined pizza pan or baking sheet. Use extra oil to help spread it without it sticking to your hands (don't go too crazy). Top with desired sauce and/or toppings. Bake 10-12 minutes. If you want cheese brown and bubbly, I suggest popping really quickly under the broiler for a minute or two. You do NOT want to dry out the crust. The top will feel crispy, but the insides will be light and chewy and should be a little springy. The crust will not brown because tapioca doesn't brown so you have to gauge doneness by touch.

AIP+ Suggestions:
--Dairy-free: Use coconut milk or coconut milk kefir in the crust. Skip the cheese in the recipe and the cheese topping. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.
--Nightshade free: Use a dairy-free/nut-free pesto or try and olive tapenade or mushroom tapenade.
--Add extra toppings to boost flavor that will be missing from sauce and cheese: mushrooms, olives, onions, basil or other herbs, lots of meat especially bacon, etc.

AIP Suggestions:
For a great egg-free AIP pizza crust, that I have also tried and thoroughly enjoyed:
Plantain Pizza Crust
--I used chicken broth instead of water. I ALWAYS need extra broth. :)
--Use the pesto or olive tapenade links above to keep it nightshade free.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

NOmato Sauce (AIP)

I remember when I was a kid and eating spaghetti meant a huge plate full of noodles with a little dabble of spaghetti sauce on top. The sauce was alright, but let's be real. We wanted to get to the GOOD STUFF--the noodles. Then I developed a taste for tomatoes, and I liked more sauce. And then there was me on paleo. I wasn't sure about the noodle replacements: spaghetti squash, zoodles. They weren't cutting it. So then it became all about the sauce. Thick hearty tomato sauce heavily herbed and full of perfectly cooked ground meat or slathered on top of flavorful Italian sausages or meatballs. And then there was AIP. And the sauce stopped. Until a Facebook friend with nightshades sensitivity also offered up a recipe.

Skeptical but interested, I whipped up a batch. Took a bite. Enter instant confusion. My brain and tongue aren't sure what to believe. It looks, yeah, ok, pretty much like tomato sauce. It even smells like tomato sauce. It tastes like tomato sauce! But your sits there confused because you know there's not single damn tomato in it. Qu Boudica, the creator, calls it NOmato sauce. And it's great. The taste is much like a hearty marinara.

NOmato Sauce
6 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small beet, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic
3 celery ribs, diced
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups chicken broth or water
1 tbsp Italian herb blend**
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (probably more)
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste (omit for AIP)

Put first 7 ingredients in a covered pot, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer until veggies are soft. Take out the bay leaf, blend well till smooth. Stir in 2 tbsp vinegar and Italian seasoning. Taste. Continue to add 1-2 tbsp vinegar, blending and tasting as you go until the tang is to your desired level (I used 6-7). Salt to taste.

*Special thanks to Qu for allowing me to share her recipe with all of my readers.*

**Italian herb blends are usually nightshade free as they only contain herbs like oregano, rosemary, basil, marjoram, etc. Double-check if you are buying a pre-made blend or better yet, create your own.