Mediterranean Tabbouleh {Gluten-Free}

This is a big day for me, friends. This is our first (of many) guest recipe posts.  It looks like this little blog is growing up fast!

Having tasted several of Kileah and Micah’s dishes, I can personally vouch for the delectable awesomeness of everything they make.  Plus, they call themselves hobbits and love all things Scottish (and apparently Middle Eastern).  All four of their tiny hobbit children are funny, sweet, curious, spirited and full of energy. Read on to see what they feed their brood, and fall in love with their version of GF Mediterranean fare.  

From Kileah:

My husband and I love good food.

We have a special food-shaped hole in our hearts labled Middle Eastern Food. In our most recent quest to make sure we live to 100 and not die on the couch watching our favourite Firefly and Arrow re-runs (gluten free brownie points for those of you who’ve watched all of the Firefly episodes!!!), we have been focusing on:

  • how much we eat
  • what we eat
  • the quality of our ingredients
  • it passes the “7-year-old test”

Because we have four small hobbits who also like to eat, if we prepare food that they don’t like…well…let’s just say we have a Shire Situation on our parenting hands.

Ok, back to food! So here’s our take on a quick and easy summer Tabbouleh. If you’ve never eaten tabbouleh, (insert sad hobbit face), it’s a middle-eastern salad chocked full of fresh summer tomatoes and herbs and the itsy bitsy teensy pasta. Normally, traditional couscous is made from wheat, but we prefer using a good brown-rice version of this tiny pasta and it’s just as fantastic! The brown rice couscous enhances the flavor and texture of the dish and leaves us feeling satisfied without the heavy feeling of traditional wheat pasts.

TabboulehGF1

(editor’s note:  You can get the gluten-free couscous at vitacost.com or whole foods, etc.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. water
  • 2 T. ghee
  • ¼ c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ c. brown rice couscous
  •  2 c. chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • ½ .c. organic mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ c. crumbled feta cheese
  • ¾ c. roasted/sliced almonds
  • kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring water and ghee to a boil in a small pot, add in couscous and lemon juice, turn down heat to simmer for 5 minutes, then remove pan from heat.
  2. Add tomatoes, cilantro, mint, shallot, feta and sliced almonds together in a large bowl.
  3. Fluff couscous with a fork and add to the tomato/herb mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste
  4. Cover and chill in fridge until ready to eat. If you can wait that long.
  5. Live Long and Prosper!

May the Couscous Be With You!

-The McIlvains

Cauliflower Fried Rice {Grain Free}

CauliflowerRiceCornerI’m always looking for ways to get more vegetables.

You guys.  IT IS HARD.

While I don’t hate grains, (in fact, I adore them), I know my body doesn’t do well with a carbohydrate-heavy diet and I tend to feel uncomfortably full and bloated after eating them.  I also truly believe in a veggie-based diet, especially because I struggle with PCOS and endometriosis.  I have to keep my babymaker in good shape, and the best and first line of health for me is nutrition.  It’s part of an overall commitment to health and hormone balance.

When I can replace grains with veggies, I do. When I can replace grains and not miss them even a little bit, I absolutely do.

I’ve perused Pinterest and have seen the fried rice recipes with cauliflower.  I usually dismissed them because it’s typically so much prep work to get cauliflower to taste like something awesome. But with the fried cauliflower “rice”, it was a total breeze.

Are you ready for my secret weapon?

grater

Yep, a cheese grater.

I’ve tried a food processor, blender, knife tricks, and dicing or mashing after steaming.  The cheese grater, though, was so easy to use (albeit messy).  I just plunked the grater in a deep bowl,  trimmed and quartered the head of cauliflower, then grated away.

Easy.

The final result? A flavorful, slightly spicy dish that is wonderful as a standalone and completely filling and satisfying.  I didn’t miss the rice even a little.

CauliflowerRiceFull

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and grated
  • 1 12 oz bag of frozen mixed veggies (I prefer the California Blend)
  • 1 12 oz bag of frozen cut green beans
  • 12 oz of cooked protein of your choice (optional, but leftover meat works great!)
  • 1 head of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • Bragg’s Amino Acids, Tamrari, or organic soy sauce (I prefer Bragg’s)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Avocado oil, ghee, or another high smoking point oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, add frozen veggies and a tablespoon (or more) of Bragg’s.  If you want some extra spice, add red pepper flakes. Cook on medium high, stirring every five minutes until they are steaming hot.
  2. While vegetables are cooking, sauté onion in a large skillet or wok in 2 tablespoons of oil until translucent.  Add garlic and ginger and cook until soft and slightly golden.
  3. Add grated cauliflower to the garlic, onion, and ginger.  Add remaining oil, two tablespoons of Bragg’s, and mix thoroughly. Allow cauliflower to cook until tender.
  4. Once cauliflower is tender, push it to the sides, creating a hole in the middle of the pan.  A three inch circle of the pan should be exposed.  Crack eggs into the exposed circle, scrambling with a fork or spatula continuously.  The egg will cook into the cauliflower, and that’s okay.
  5. Once your eggs are scrambled, add protein and veggies (minus any liquid), to the cauliflower and mix thoroughly.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

I’m eating this today for lunch as leftovers.  It tastes so good without heating, but reheats like a dream in a skillet on the stove top.

This veggie thing.  It’s not THAT hard.
Carrie

 

Smokey Bacon Jalapeño Carbonara {Cappello’s Pasta Giveaway}


CappellosImage

 Today’s meal has been provided by the generous sponsorship of Cappello’s Gluten  Free Pasta.

 

I saw this pasta winking at me from the freezer section at Natural Grocers a few months ago. It called to me.  It asked me to take it home and work some paleo pasta magic.  I ignored it, though.  I kept rolling down the aisle, but the pasta stayed with me.

Fast forward to March in Los Angeles.  I stopped by the Cappello’s booth at a trade show to sample their products, and fell in love instantly.  The pasta was fresh, tender, and flavorful.  It was also filling and gave me great little energy boost.

After leaving Cappello’s booth, I started scheming immediately about what I would put on the pasta.  Of course, pasta carbonara was first on my list.

I fell in love with pasta carbonara in Venice, Itlay, where my best friends and I packed around a tiny table in a tiny restaurant off  a tiny alley where the waiter didn’t know English and we didn’t know Italian but we all knew food and wine and he brought us his favorite dishes and bottles.  We ate for hours.  Tasting, sampling, sharing, exclaiming, laughing, drinking, pantomiming with our Venetian waiter, and eventually, closing the restaurant down.

Of the 12 (!) dishes we sampled that night, the pasta carbonara has stayed with me a decade later. That, and our fun walk back to the hotel in the chilly December air feeling carefree, and totally high on good food and wine and lifelong friendship.  Because Italy.

For my American Paleo-ized version, I wanted to infuse robust flavor and play on the richness of the eggs and tenderness of the pasta.  It’s kind of like mac and cheese, but for adults.

CarbonaraPlate

Although I took many liberties in creating this recipe and veered far from that original carbonara in Venice, the integrity and heart behind the dish is still there.  When I shared this with friends, every single person was blown away and could NOT STOP EATING IT.  If you’re a home cook, this is probably the highest compliment anyone can give you.

So, I give you Smokey Bacon Jalapeño Carbonara.  It’s a little bit Italian, a little bit American, and a whole lot of comfort.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of pasta (I used Cappello’s paleo fettucini noodles)
  • 8 pieces thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cups very finely grated parmesan cheese (if you want to be totally paleo here, skip this and add 1-2 extra egg yolks)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 medium jalapeños
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, ribboned

Directions:

  1. Fry the bacon until just barely crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.  Drain most of the grease, but leave a little for frying the onions and garlic.
  2. Return the pan to stove. Cook onions and garlic on medium heat until golden brown, and set aside.
  3. While the onions and garlic are cooking, roast the jalapeños under the broiler, turning often until soft and slightly blistered.  De-stem and scrape out seeds (unless you want more spice, then leave some seeds in) and dice the roasted jalapeño.
  4. In a bowl, mix together eggs, parmesan, and salt and pepper until incorporated.
  5. Take freshly cooked pasta (still piping hot) and place in a large bowl.  While pasta is still steaming hot, slowly pour in the egg mixture while continuously stirring the pasta. The sauce will thicken up (the eggs are cooking!) and coat the pasta. If it gets too thick, pour a little pasta water into the bowl until you reach the desired consistency.
  6. Halfway through drizzling in the egg mixture, add all the other ingredients.  Bacon, jalapeño, garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Continue mixing and adding the egg mixture.
  7. Top with fresh basil, lots of fresh cracked pepper and serve immediately.

You will thank yourself for making this.  Seriously.
CarbonaraCloseUp

Oh, and do you want to try a box of Cappello’s pasta on us?  Enter to win the giveaway now with the rafflecopter and we will announce the winner on Tuesday, May 5th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buena Suerte,

Carrie

Grain-Free Pizza Crust

pizza sliceOne of my least favorite things about doing TED is the complete and utter lack of pizza.  While we don’t eat pizza very often at our house, we favor quality ingredients and artistry when we do.  Before I started doing TED and we knew that my son had FPIES, we made our own sourdough pizza dough from scratch.  Since we can’t keep wheat in the house anymore, (too big of an exposure risk for my highly curious and allergic toddler), and I’m not a huge fan of the nut or cauliflower-based versions, I like to try NEW THINGS.  Like tapioca  and arrow root flours.

I’m going to preface this with the following disclaimer: THIS IS NOT CHEAP.  In fact, baking with alternative flours is fairly expensive unless you are able to buy your ingredients in bulk. Which I do.  Even then, I reserve this for the occasional pizza night, and it’s not something that makes it into our regular meal rotation.

One benefit of tapioca and arrow root is both are classified as resistant starch. Both are natural prebiotics, which feed the healthy gut bacteria and are an important part of every diet.  (Cooked, cold potatoes are also a wonderful source of resistant starch and are much easier on the wallet.) What Paleo diet fans are now discovering is the gut NEEDS carbs to feed that healthy gut bacteria, otherwise they starve.  We need healthy gut bacteria to combat the icky gut bacteria, like yeast, and maintain a symbiotic flora fauna balance.

This is my favorite way to get prebiotic goodness.  I mean, PIZZA.  C’mon.  I also like to add some great veggies and a little nitrate-free salami to the mix.  Here I used organic crushed tomatoes in a jar for my “sauce”, fresh chopped basil, S&P, full-fat mozzarella, nitrate-free salami from Trader Joe’s. I also topped it with fresh baby arugala after the pizza was done cooking, and before slicing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup arrow root flour (you can also sub tapioca, but I prefer the texture of arrowroot)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 1 teaspoon REAL sea salt
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil, or melted ghee
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 large egg, whisked (I prefer duck eggs when available for baking)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.
  2. Add warm water, ACV and oil, then stir.
  3. Whisk egg in a separate bowl, then add to flour mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  4. Check the “tackiness” of your dough.  You want it to be a little bit sticky, but not so sticky that you can’t form a ball. Add a tbsp of coconut flour at a time until you have a slightly tacky dough, but not too much because you don’t want it to be too dry. It should be fairly soft and pliable.
  5. Form a ball out of your dough.

    dough ball
    (Dough will look like this)
  6. Using two largish sheets of parchment paper, put the dough ball in the center of the first (bottom) sheet, and then place the second (top) sheet over the dough ball.
  7. Using your rolling pin, gently roll dough out between the two pieces of parchment paper until it measures about 12″ in diameter.

    dough flat
    (I’m terrible at making circles.)
  8. Remove top sheet of parchment paper and poke several holes in the unbaked crust using a fork.
  9. Bake on parchment paper with a stone or baking sheet at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, add toppings and bake another 3-5 minutes, or until everything is warm.
  11. Serve with joy!  Because pizza.

Tips:

Use as little stirring as possible, otherwise your dough will be dense.

Follow the directions.  This sh*t is expensive to mess up.  (Ask me how I know.)

Get adventurous with your toppings.

Drink a glass of wine. Or two.  And be sure to share, but not with the kids.

That’s Amoré!
Carrie

 

 

 

Black Currant Dijon Brussels Sprouts

image

It took a while for me to come around to the joys of brussels sprouts. Once I started experimenting, though, a whole new veggie world opened up to me.

A few months ago, I received a jar of fancy stone ground Dijon mustard infused with black currants. I opened it up, took a sniff and immediately started dreaming up a new brussels sprout recipe.  I tried it out, tweaked it, changed my method a few times, deconstructed it,  and recreated it without the fancy mustard.

Heres the final product  hope you love it as much as I do!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp stone ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp all-natural fruit preserves
  • salt and pepper

 

Directions

  1. Cut sprouts in half lengthwise, and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  2. Place flat side down on an olive oil greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
  3. Remove from oven, put into a bowl and mix with pine nuts, mustard and fruit preserves. mix thoroughly.
  4. Return sprouts to baking sheet, sprinkle with a small dark of salt, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve and eat immediately.

What’s your favorite way to eat these great veggies?