Thursday, February 14, 2019

Cauliflower Naan--gluten free, AIP

Sometimes you just want something "bready" to dip into a dish a la' naan or other flatbread.  If you're off grains and gluten, this recipe is a decent substitute--PLUS you're getting more vegetables!

I got the basic recipe here, from the always helpful Louise Hendon: as usual, I tweaked!

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (yes, HOT.)

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour (see the last ingredient if needed)
  • 1 Tablespooons garlic powder more or less
  • 1/2 t. Salt or to taste
  • You may need to add coconut or cassava flour, a tablespoon at a time--I'm trying cassava next time, we find it a one-to-one substitute for wheat.
Cook cauliflower florets till tender--I steam them, but you could use a microwave--and drain.  Use your blender or food processor to make a smooth paste--if that doesn't happen (and it didn't, for me), add the oil and blend.  Turn out into a bowl, flour, add salt and garlic.

This was supposed to make a malleable dough you could roll out without the additional flour but it didn't--it was more batterlike, so I added a couple of tablespoons of coconut flour till it thickened into a soft dough.

Remember, coconut flour is REALLY absorbent, so just add a bit at a time and it will thicken.

use a sheet of parchment paper on your baking sheet and plop about a third of your dough onto it...flatten with your palm or a big spatula to about 1/4" or less (I went for less!)
Bake for about 15 minutes, but keep an eye on it, oven temperatures vary and that parchment paper gets brown.

I used my toaster oven, but next time will try the oven in the stove, where there's more room...

This really was supposed to stay light colored, but I was pleased with the slight crispiness at the edges.

Let cool and's supposed to remain soft and even a bit stretchy inside--that's the arrowroot flour at work!  I used it as a dipper into a meat sauce, my husband used his as pizza crust.  Either way, it was GOOD, low carb, and gluten free.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Old-fashioned Oxtail Soup!

I grew up on this hearty winter soup--or stew, if you prefer!--and I love it.  Remember the old saying "it sticks to your ribs?"  Well, it does.  It's wonderful, rich, simple peasant food and you really don't even need a recipe. 

Soup-making is sacred, to me.  Whatever combination of ingredients, I feel deeply connected to my ancestors stretching all the way back to the first pots that would hold a bubbling liquid, some meat, and some vegetables. (Tightly-woven baskets with hot stones dropped in, anyone?)

But I digress...

What do you have on hand?  Throw it in there!  We try hard to use organic vegetables and if that's not possible, fresh locally grown, and from the "clean 15" list of those least affected by chemicals.

All you really need are a variety of vegetables (think variety, color, and nutrient-dense!) and good quality oxtails, not always easy to find in today's hurry-up, ready made "cuisine."  A good butcher should be able to fix you up, even if you have to call ahead, and of course we look for locally sourced, pastured, hormone-free, grass-fed beef if at all possible.

I had a couple of pounds on hand--we buy the good stuff from MoinkThe Local Pig in the City Market in Kansas City, or Barham Family Farm in Kearney (MO), but I know there are plenty of other sources out there.

I lightly brown the meat in an iron skillet to bring out the rich flavor, then put it in the crock pot with bone broth, beef broth (home made or commercial) or water, and add whatever vegetables I have on hand.

This time it was onions (always), garlic, carrots, turnips, celery, zucchini, and radishes (yes, radishes!  They are wonderful cooked), and a few greens (baby spinach?  Chard?)  Sometimes I have celeriac or parsnips, but above you see the basics. 

Cut in bite-size pieces and add to the pot. Make sure the liquid covers most of the ingredients, but not to worry, they will squish up (the zucchini sure did!) and cook down into the broth.

Add what herbs you like (we make an Italian seasoning mix), season to taste, and put the lid on the pot.  Set to high and come back later to a wonderful dinner!  (If you use an instant pot, that's good too, I just don't have one.)

Oxtails are so rich in collagen and protein that the broth will partly solidify or gel when cool.  This is GOOD.

This was soooo good I even had a bowl for breakfast the next morning AND dinner the next night.  And had leftovers to freeze for later.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Wild Foods Cookbook--oldie but goodie!

I like sharing food and cooking online with my husband, in our Starving Artists series--but don't be too surprised if I go back and mine my copy of The Wild Foods Cookbook, my first big cookbook!  LOTS of my favorites in that book, and translating them to non-wild ingredients (or offering the choice) would be a piece of cake.  Literally. ;-)

A lot of it can translate to our current interest in Paleo/Primal eating, as well as my AIP diet...I like to tweak old recipes to fit current needs...

I wrote this in 1986 or '87, based on many of our old family recipes--I grew up eating wild mushrooms, greens, strawberries, persimmons and other goodies. I still enjoy them!

Funny, this is one of those sagas that most authors experience at one time or another. Remember the 70s? Despite the old joke, I know you do, if you're old enough! Euell Gibbons' "Stalking the Wild Asparagus," Billy Joe Tatum's "Wild Foods Cookbook and Field Guide," or my favorite, the Petersons' A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Hey, everybody loves the various Peterson Field Guides, and this one is no different!  Excellent work by father and son team Roger Tory Peterson and Lee Allen Peterson.)

I mentioned to my editor at the time that I'd grown up on wild foods, and she decided it would be GREAT if I did a cookbook.

I said "um, the 70s are over..."

But I was carried along by her enthusiasm, and sure enough, worked for well over a year on the book--recipes, field guide, appendices that included common wild edibles and the parts used, a section on poisonous plants to avoid, bibliography, index, and what seemed like a thousand illustrations! 

Finally I sent in the manuscript, and began that long wait for the final OK...which never came! They let my editor go, reorganized the whole department, moved the department head (who had also been really excited about the project) to a new section, and told me it was a no-go. At least I didn't have to return the portion of the advance I'd already received, after working for a year...

So after I licked my wounds for a while and stomped around the house, I went looking for a new publisher...too much work just to forget about, and I've discovered the way to survive in this business is perseverance! (Maybe that's just plain old stubbornness, but it works.) I must have sent that manuscript to 12 publishers before it found a home! The Missouri University Press was really interested, courted me, took me to lunch at a lovely hotel, and then...decided it wasn't regional enough! (Um...I'd picked virtually everything in the book in Missouri, except blueberries and cranberries...)

So off it went again, to one last publisher--The Stephen Greene Press, part of Viking Penguin at the time--and success! I loved my editor there, we worked together beautifully, and the book finally came out in 1989 (sans the field guide, which got cut for space reasons)...

And yep, the 70s WERE over, sure enough. It's still a darn useful book, but hippies have gone pretty corporate for the most part, and even organic farming is big business, now!

Funny old world...still, some of us seem to be coming back around to the simpler life, and Real Cooking.

The book's long out of print, I only have one copy, but a few aftermarket sellers still offer it...oddly, some think it's worth a tad more than I do!

It did get me thinking about more recipes, though...and those "thousands of illustrations," especially since I've been making a lot of soup... ..;-) 


NOTE: I wrote this post originally in 2010...just found it in my draft folder and updated it a bit!  I hate to waste that much work...

Friday, January 4, 2019

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

This red cabbage dish is apparently traditional holiday fare in some parts of the world–I just like it ANY time! You can make a little or a lot, it’s easy...

Cook up 3-4 slices of bacon to render the fat, or use reserved bacon grease. We get bacon that’s preservative/nitrates/nitrites-free, uncured but smoked. It’s delicious! We can find it at our local grocer’s and love Farmland's brand, but you can also get Coleman Natural Bacon at Costco. Bacon keeps well in the freezer. Find more info about them here:

(You can replace the bacon grease with butter, olive oil or avocado oil, if you need to. You may want to add 1/4 T. ham base from Better than Bouillon* which seems to get the best reviews overall, for that smoky taste.)

Cut up ½ to 1 head of red cabbage, chopped to nice bite sizes (We get the organic stuff from our Hyvee or Natural Grocers, but you may find a CSA group near you that offers organic produce, as well. That’s Community Supported Agriculture, by the way–find out more here: )

Chop half a sweet yellow onion about ½" chunks

2-4 tart apples, chopped (jonathans are wonderful here, but any tart, crisp apple...)

Some recipes call for 1/4 C. brown sugar–but apples and coconut aminos--if you're AIP--or sweet pickle juice make it sweet enough for us, but go for it!)

2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or to taste...

Add 1/4 to ½ teaspoon celery seed or caraway if you like

Put the cabbage into a heavy pot on top of the bacon grease, add the onion and apples, and stir to coat well. If you've cooked bacon for this, you can crumble and add it to the pot. Add organic cider vinegar or sweet pickle juice (or sweet pickle relish, that’s what I had on hand.)

Add salt and pepper to taste, cover, lower heat and simmer till tender. This is even BETTER reheated the next day...

This is wonderful with German- or Scandinavian-style meals, but delicious pretty much any time!

* Love that Better than Bouillon--I seem to use it in a lot of things. It has a bit more sodium than J. should use, so I try to be sparing, but it does have about the best flavor...
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