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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Old World Food–Rutabaga (Swede)

I found this recipe years ago when I was researching Medieval recipes.  It is so simple and extremely good.  Even if you think you don’t like rutabaga, I want to encourage you to try this idea.  I have served it at Medieval parties and have always had positive comments, even from those that had previously said they didn’t like rutabaga.

Many people confuse turnips and rutabagas. They have two distintly different flavors.  Rutabagas are high in vitamin C and a good source for other essential vitamins and nutrients.  Rutabags have a natural sweet flavor.

You must start by peeling a rutabaga.  A good vegetable peeler works fine.  I usually try to cut my rutabaga in half and cut off slices.  Then I peel the slices.  It seems to make the process easier for me.

After I get the rutabaga peeled, I then dice it up in small pieces.   I suppose it can be done in a food processor but I have always just done it with a knife.  Perhaps I enjoy the antiquity of the recipe and wish to keep it that way.

After the rutabaga, I then dice up a medium onion and box of mushrooms.

I cook this in a combination of coconut oil, butter, and olive oil.   I start by cooking the onions first, almost to the point of browning, not quite.  Then I add in the rutabaga (and more oil if need be) and cook those down a bit before adding in the mushrooms.  All of this cooks together until it is all very tender.  At this point  I add in a splash of cheap white wine…(you can substitute a splash of gin if need be.)

And while I could go into the history lesson about the spice combinations of that particular time, I will spare you.  Instead, use a good GAPS/SCD approved curry powder to taste, salt and pepper.  Let all of these flavors simmer together on warm for a bit.  Right before serving, you can stir in some GAPS/SCD approved French Cream if desired or put it on the table for individual preferences.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in rutabaga

 

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Rambling On About Fermented Foods

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, fermenting is sort of a hobby that I have. I have tried all kinds of things, finding some totally not to our liking and others very good.   Because we make gallons of kefir we always have excess whey so I use lots of whey and not a lot of salt.  This allows each family member to adjust their salt usage to their individual tastes and needs.   Whey fermentation seems to speed up the process a bit so soft foods like cucumbers do better with a bit less whey and a little more water.  All the more dense veggies do well with a lot of whey.

Removing kefir grains

When a family is eating fermented foods regularly, there is always something “cooking” on the countertop.  It makes for a messy looking kitchen and my Mum likes to comment on that fact regularly…but I try to ignore the negative remarks and enjoy with relish all the good things that we are eating.

 

Mixed Veggies ready for fermenting

One of the things that is recommended in the GAPS book is to fill a crock with an assortment of veggies and put them in the fridge.  Well, we don’t own an expensive crock and I do all of my fermenting in glass jars.   But the assorted veggie idea works just as well in jars.   I have found this a fun way of putting together a variety of fermented things.   The success of this is to use only dense veggies with dense veggies and less firm veggies with other less firm.

Cucumbers, onions, peppers, and tomatoes go well together. Cucumbers seem to be very time sensitive.  In other words if you are making “pickles” make only small batches at a time or they will get overly soft on you quick.  I have done the pearl onions and loved them but was a bit skeptical about throwing in chunks of sweet onions to my fermenting stews but after the first try I was hooked. The crunch and zizzle has so much mouth appeal.  But like the cucumbers, they need to be eaten sooner than later or they will get mushy.

Any coarsely chopped dense vegetable combination will work well. Cabbage, broccoli, carrots, celery, etc.. I lay the veggies in the jars then cover it with about half whey and half water, let it sit out on the cabinet for 24 hours and transfer to the fridge.

The exception to the rule is with tomatoes.  I recently did a combination of cabbage with tomatoes.   I was making fermented salsa and didn’t have enough tomatoes so I added in some sliced cabbage.  WOW this one was good.  The combination of the tomatoes and the cabbage went very well together.  While the tomatoes were soft the cabbage had a crunch to it.   It came out of the jar like a salad.

Tomatoes with Cabbage

Anything fermented with tomatoes leaves a wonderful “juice” that can be drank or mixed into soup and other foods.  My Dad who is not too keen on the “fermented stuff” recently enjoyed the juice from my last batch of salsa and said it was good.

You can also ferment freshly squeezed juices.  This might be very helpful for those trying to get the health benefits of fermented foods into picky eaters. It is also good for those trying to break a soft drink habit because half of that battle is wanting something cold sweet and fizzy over ice.

Another cool thing to consider when fermenting is using various spices and herbs.  Cinnamon and cloves are good.  Ginger and garlic go well together. Again it is finding combinations that you like.  If you try someone elses recipe and you don’t like it consider changing the spices/herbs or try making it without any to determine what you think might be an asset to the flavor.  Fermenting like all recipes is open to your personal interpretation.

Well, that is probably enough of my ramblings for the day.  I just want to encourage you to not let your fermenting jars (or crock) run empty and to keep being adventurous  in developing your own favorite combinations.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Fermented Foods, Helpful Tips

 

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Pasilla Beef and Lentils

This is definitely a Mexican meal but without the usual Tex-Mex flavor.  This one has no hot peppers, cheese, or traditional salsa that Americans usually consider “Mexican food.”

This is a good meal to be made with a cheap roast or a lesser grade of beef.  I have found something in one of my local stores that is called “soup meat” which works very well for this particular recipe.

This is a crock pot meal that gets cooked while I sleep.  I put this on in the evening before bed using my low setting.  After putting the meat into the crock pot I add three or four dried Pasilla or Anaheim peppers, salt and fill up the crock with water.   We have the broth for breakfast.

For lunch, I fry up a large onion and an 8 oz box of mushrooms in a coconut and palm oil blend.  While the onions and mushrooms are cooking I put the peppers (minus the stems) in the blender with some stock. I grind them up into a sauce–if the mixture gets too thick, I add a bit more stock.

Once the onions and mushrooms are done, I add in the chopped up soup meat and then pour the sauce over it.   To this I add at least a tbsp of cinnamon, a tsp of ginger, a tsp of paprika and salt.  Stir it all together and let it simmer for a several minutes to blend all of the flavors together, then add in 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic.

And like everything else I cook, this recipe is open for change and altering.   On a different day I might add cumin and lime juice; add chocolate for mole sauce or peanut butter for a peanut mole sauce.  The sauce could even have a little honey added to it to sweeten it-in that case it would taste more like B-B-Q sauce.

This meat dish is perfect served with lentils and lacto fermented tomato salsa, but I think if you tasted it you would find that it is also well suited to just about any veggie combination.

    

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Beef, Crock Pot, Lentils, Meat Leftovers

 

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Lima Bean Mash

 

Lima Beans are one of those things that some people love and some people hate.  My family is one that is divided.  Three out of five like them.  My oldest daughter hated lima beans so much so that as a child she would pick them out of the mixed veggies and toss them under the table!!  That was a lot of years ago, but she still does not like them–it is one of the few things that she simply will not eat unless pressed to do so.  I thought this recipe would change her mind but it did not.

If you like lima beans then you will love this recipe.  If you don’t, then it will probably not be on your wish list for a special meal.  If you are indifferent, then please give this recipe a try because it has a lot of potential.

You start with a bag of frozen lima beans and cook them until tender.  In a food processor put in 1/2 of a sweet onion and grind it up.  Then add in the drained lima beans, a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, a clove of crushed garlic and grind it all together.  This makes a good cold veggie dip or a hot side dish to a meal.  It is good just like this but there is so much more you can do with this basic recipe.

Consider trying adding various spices for different flavors.  Today I added dill weed and yogurt.  But on another day I might add one of the following…

…chopped up jalapenoes; blend in avocado; use curry powder and lime in place of the lemon;  diced tomatoes for color; or you could follow a traditional hummus recipe replacing the chickpeas with limas.  Even a small drizzle of honey is a good addition.  For something totally different you could take the water that the beans were cooked in and dissolve a packet of gelatine in it to make a lima bean aspic that could be sliced and served with cold salad.

I am hopeful that this quick and easy idea will be something that you might enjoy.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Lima Beans

 

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Bacon Jam

I ran across this recipe the other day by accident and I immediately wanted to make it.  Today is Valentine’s Day so I decided to make this for my husband.

What in the world would one do with something called bacon jam?  Consider it a condiment with a Mexican flair because it definitely has that Mexican influence with the peppers, coffee, and chocolate.  It would be good served with meat, stuffed inside an avocado, or eaten with a piece of GAPS/SCD bread.  One daughter said that it has a bit of a B-B-Q flavor.

If possible try and find bacon that is sugar free.  I am limited in where I can shop so I just used regular bacon.  I found several recipes on the internet and the most popular was the one that appealed the least to me.   I decided to make up my own recipe.

16 ounces of bacon

1 large onion diced

5 cloves of crushed garlic

1 tbsp of coconut oil (see the directions)

1 cup of coffee (plus I added in what was left in the thermos-no need to be totally exact)

3-4 oz of honey–I guessed at this, I actually just drizzled some in until I thought it was about right.

2 oz (I used my shot glass) apple cider vinegar

2 oz of raisins

2 oz of dried cranberries (After I had dumped them in there I realized that I was not sure whether or not they had sugar on them…I got them at the bulk section at the health food store and carelessly forgot to check…and then carelessly dumped them into the pot….if you can’t find them without sugar just don’t put them in….or double the raisins.)

1 tbsp of coco powder  (If you are not able to eat coco powder yet, it can be left out I think and still be good. Or substitute a nut butter.)

1 pasilla dried pepper

1 dried cayene pepper

1 tsp of cinnamon

You start out by cutting the bacon up into small pieces and fry it.  About half way to brown, I drained off the liquid that was forming in the bottom of the pan to remove any excess sugar that might be cooking out of the bacon.    At this point I added back in the coconut oil.   I continued to cook until the bacon began to brown and added in the chopped onion and  crushed garlic.   I cooked this on a lower temperature until the bacon and onion was browned.

After that I added in all the other ingredients and stirred it all together.   I allowed this to simmer on low with a lid on it until it came out the jam consistency that I wanted.   Most recipes tell you to give it a good pulse or two in the food processor but it looked about right so I stuffed it in a jar and called it good enough!

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Condiments

 

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One Turkey Bread and One Turkey Cake

This page was inspired by my mother.  Years ago, she found a recipe in the newspaper to use ground turkey to make a cake similar to a mince pie in flavor. One day when talking with her about GAPS/SCD alternative foods, she suggested that I make something with ground turkey.   So for several weeks now, I have planned on trying to create a recipe….I finally remembered to buy a roll of ground turkey.

I’ve actually, made a bread and a cake with basically the same concept.  Ground turkey, eggs, and coconut flour.

Herb Bread

I took the basic Lois Lang bread recipe and removed the dry curd cheese and replaced it with a 1/2 pound of ground turkey.   I decided that I wanted to make an herb bread.  So I added salt and dried herbs (basil,oregano, thyme, rosemary, onion & garlic powder).   I used coconut flour instead of almond.  The mixture was far to dry so I added in some kefir whey to make it moist.

The final product is tasty but a bit too dry.  I dumped the bread out of the pan when it was too hot and it cracked in half.  I realized in hindsight that I did not use as much butter as the recipe called for.  I think that if I would have paid a bit more attention to that detail that it would not have been so dry.   This would be very good with a slice of cheese on it.   One could easily do this without the herbs for a regular bread.

 

Turkey Spice Cake

Again I started out with 1/2 pound of ground turkey and then added a cup of honey to it.  From there I added in 2 tsps of cinnamon, a dash of mace and nutmeg, 1/8 tsp of allspice, and 1/4 tsp of ground cloves and 1 tsp of good strong vanilla, 3 eggs and then coconut flour.  I did add a bit more butter to this one although not the full amount.  This could easily have had raisins and nuts added.  Apple sauce also would have been a good addition to moisten it up a bit.  The overall rating on this one was yummy.   So the kids can have their cake and their turkey, too!!

 

I basically did this post to introduce the idea of adding ground meats to breads and cakes.   The other day, I was thinking that using the scrappy meat from my stockpot would do well ground into breads and cakes.  I may try that later on.  In my family we are about half divided on tolerating coconut flour in large amounts so I it may be a week or two before I get back around to trying that.

Well, perhaps this idea will be useful to you….

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Bread, Cake

 

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Lamb Tajine

I made this awhile back and planned to write about it but got side tracked with some other chore that needed doing…so tonight with a few extra minutes on my fingertips, I will share my love of Tajines.

Tajines are Morroccan and I love them.  They are fairly simple to make and so very GAPS/SCD approved.  The one pictured is lamb but they are just as good made with chicken or beef. (I have never made one with pork but I imagine that any meat can be made into a successful tajine.)  A tajine is simply a slow cooked oven baked stew. (So very good for a cool day when you want the house to be warmed by the oven and the body would welcome the warmth from a hearty stew.)   Lamb in particular is my favorite on a cold day.

This is my lamb tajine recipe.  Browned lamb put into heavy duty ovenware, add in carrots, turnips, an onion, a quart of chicken stock, tomatoes, a good splash of red wine. To this add 3-4 crushed cloves of garlic, some thyme, 4-6 whole cloves, a good sprinkling of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and allspice….and a handful of raisins or prunes.  Oh yes, don’t forget the salt and pepper.  

This all goes into the oven at a very low temperature.  About 250 and it cooks all day.   A few minutes before you plan to serve it toss in some frozen peas. (You don’t see any in the picture because I forgot them!!)  But the peas do add a uniqueness to this wonderful hearty meal.

Gotta run for now….

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Lamb

 

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