Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Nightshade-free Ratatouille (AIP)

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Fun fact: I always loved seeing the Disney version of the ratatouille dish. Not just because the mouse is cute (he is!), but because it always looked so pretty and colorful. Truthfully, I've never had an authentic ratatouille. I'm extremely disappointed, but as I don't see myself reintroducing nightshades any time soon, I will have to settle for how I think it would taste. Luckily, there aren't too many crazy different ingredients, so I imagine it tastes much like a fancier version of the canned zucchini in tomatoes with Italian seasoning. I don't think we can argue with the fact that it looks much fancier too!

This is a nice and savory dish perfect for colder weather. The time in the oven turns the beet-based marinara into a bold, brilliant red that adds a lovely pop of color as a side dish to grace your holiday tables too.

I also shared this with some non-AIP and non-paleo friends, and most of them approved. 

Don't let the focus on the beets deter you. The acid of the lemon and the punch from the herbs helps to counterbalance the usual strong earthiness that the beets tend to have.

Nightshade-free Ratatouille
½ tbsp EVOO
½ onion, chopped
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz canned beets
1 tbsp EVOO
3 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
½ tsp sea salt, or to taste
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried parsley
¼ tsp dried rosemary
¼ tsp dried basil
1 large yellow squash, sliced into rounds
1 large zucchini squash, sliced into rounds
2 large beets, sliced into rounds
Fresh basil, EVOO, & sea salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375°F. 

In a deep skillet or small saucepan, heat the oil over medium to medium low heat. Saute the onions and mushrooms until they start to turn translucent and soften. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, and add canned beets, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and dried herbs. Blend thoroughly. 

Taste the marinara and adjust accordingly. Sometimes more lemon is needed to balance the sweetness of the beets and sometimes more salt is need. If more herbs are needed, add oregano and basil.

Pour the sauce into the bottom of a glass dish (either one 9x13 or two 8 in rounds) to fill about half an inch high. Arrange the yellow squash, zucchini and fresh beets in an alternating pattern to fill the pan. You can get as creative as you like (see example below).

Drizzle the tops with a little bit of olive oil and top with a few dashes of sea salt and some chopped fresh basil. Cook on the middle rack in the oven for 35-35 min or until top is lightly brown and slices are fork-tender.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sweet 'n Salty Acorn Squash (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.*

When the Paleo Mom posted her recent article about the benefits of blackstrap molasses in Blackstrap Molasses: The Sugar You Can Love!, I realized that I don't cook with it enough. I enjoy the taste of it in the right foods. I often add molasses to my Sweet Potato Cookies recipe and skip the raisins for more of a snickerdoodle-type cookie. Reading about all the nutritious benefits of it compared to other sweeteners was pretty exciting. Most of the other sweeteners aren't really applauded very often, so it's nice to see one that gets a little praise and makes us feel a little less guilty for indulging.

As I've said before, I'm not very big on sweets. Occasionally, I do go on short sprees where I crave it, or I desire the comfort food that contains it, but for the most part, my blog isn't very heavily laden with desserts. Molasses is a different kind of sweet, almost tangy, and so I think it has a place.

This recipe was also inspired from a few pictures on A Squirrel in the Kitchen's Instagram: @Squirrel_Kitchen. When I saw her slicing and roasting the squash with the seeds intact, I was intrigued.

Combine some squash and molasses, and we now have an easy but delicious side dish, a lovely breakfast item, or a simple dessert.

Sweet 'n Salty Winter Squash
1 winter squash (acorn, pumpkin, delicata or butternut)
2-3 tbsp coconut oil or preferred fat (should be liquid)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger (reduce the ginger by half if you like less of a "kick")
¼ tsp ground mace
¼ tsp ground cloves

Place the oven rack approximately 6 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Holding the stem, slice the squash into ¼-⅓ inch rounds. If you are Elimination Phase AIP, then you will want to remove all the seeds and compost or discard. If you have reintroduced seeds, leave the seeds intact. Arrange the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush the slices generously with coconut oil (or desired fat).

Combine the spices (excluding the sea salt) and sprinkle evenly over the squash. Sprinkle a couple dashes of sea salt per slice to taste (think "Salted Caramel"; you just want a hint of the salt).

Roast the squash approximately 20-25 minutes until lightly browned, the squash is soft, and the skin is crisp. (The seeds should also be well toasted if you kept them intact.)

Remove pan from oven and turn on broiler. Drizzle the squash with molasses. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes (do not move the rack). Keep a close eye to prevent burning. Remove when crispy and molasses is sticky and bubbling.

Allow to cool a minute or so before serving as the molasses is VERY hot.