Artichokes with AIP Bagna Cauda (Instant Pot/Steamer)

I seem to have a real problem – I have become totally addicted to artichokes!

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Artichokes are an edible variety of thistle.  They are high in fiber, and are a good source of niacin, potassium, phosphorus, copper, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese.  They have a large number of health benefits – they are very high in fiber, and contain more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables.  They are reputed to be able to prevent cancer and to be good for the heart.  They can help to reduce blood pressure and can function as a liver tonic.  These are just a few of this amazing vegetables benefits – they truly are a wonderful vegetable that everyone should be eating!

The first time you cook or eat one of these spiky looking vegetables, they can be very intimidating.  How are you supposed to get down to the delicious tender heart.  What do you do with all the spiky thorns that may be present on the ends of the leaves.  How are you supposed to cook it?  And more importantly, how are you supposed to eat it?

Don’t be afraid – once you know how, they are very easy to cook.

You can cook them in a steamer or an Instant Pot (which is what I did) I will give you full instructions on how to do this in the recipe below.  It is very simple.

To eat them, you pull off a leaf, dip the base in a tasty dip – I used Bagna Cauda in this recipe, and then you scrape off the fleshy part of the base with your teeth, discarding the rest of the leaf.  As you get closer and closer to the center, more of the leaf is edible.  Once you get to the center, you will find the hairy “choke”.  This part is not edible.  Use a spoon to scrape it all off, and what you have left is the delicious choke.  This can be cut up,  dipped in the dip and eaten.  You can eat the stem – it is a personal preference.  It can taste a little bitter, so some prefer to trim it off.  I like to keep it on my artichokes and nibble at it to see how bitter it is – it can also be very fibrous, so even if you leave it on, you may need to discard it anyway.

It always surprises me that you end up with a HUGE pile of leftovers after eating artichokes!

When selecting artichokes, try to buy ones that are tightly closed – if the leaves have started to open they are old and will not taste as good.

This gets messy fast – drippy, oily – expect it to drip on your clothes and your chin…..  lots of napkins are recommended!  Maybe even finger bowls if serving to “company”!  There is no “dignified” way to eat artichokes!

This is a very hands-on, tactile, sense-driven way of eating – something that I absolutely LOVE!

 

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Bagna Cauda is Italian in origin, and translates to mean “Hot Dip” or “Hot Bath” depending on which website you believe.  It is a blend of Olive oil, butter, garlic and anchovies, that is served warm.  Obviously, because it contains butter the original recipe for Bagna Cauda is not AIP unless you have successfully reintroduced butter – and given my anaphalactic dairy allergy, this is something that I will never be able to do.  So I decided to come up with an AIP version of this deliciously savoury dip.

Don’t just keep Bagna Cauda for artichokes – it is delicious with all vegetables – dip steamed carrots, fennel, celery, asparagus and anything else you can think of into this warm, delicious and salty bath.  Or drizzle it over a perfectly cooked, rare, sliced steak.  Have fun with it and be adventurous.!

This recipe serves 2 as an appetizer or side dish, but I am a greedy piggie, and I ate it all to myself!  You can share the bagna cauda from the same dish if you like or divide it between 2 separate small ramekins or dishes.  It is also easily multiplied up to feed more than 2 people – in-fact, if you are feeding a crowd, with an instant pot this would make the simplest appetizer!

 

Artichokes with Bagna Cauda (AIP)

(serves 2 unless as greedy as me!)

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Ingredients

For the Artichokes:

  • 2 artichokes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • a lemon cut in half

For the Bagna Cauda:

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup AIP approved fat – I used bone-marrow fat for this recipe, but bacon fat would make a delicious substitute.  You could also use a good quality coconut oil or home-rendered lard.
  • 3 anchovy fillets (read ingredients to ensure they are preserved in an AIP approved oil if canned.  If salted, rinse the excess salt off)
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Method

The first thing that you need to doo is to trim your artichokes as these are going to take the longest time.  Take the artichoke and cut off the end of the stem – I do recommend that you leave some stem on, because while it can taste bitter and can be fibrous it can be edible, and you cannot tell if it is until after it is cooked).  Take a vegetable peeler and peel the stem around all its girth, removing any small and loose leaves.

Next, put the artichoke flat on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife cut an inch off the top of the artichoke – this removes a lot of the spiky bits that may be present.  Check the remaing  leaves for sharp points and if you find them, but them off with a pair of scissors.  Rub all the exposed areas with a cut lemon to prevent browning.

If you are using an Instant Pot, put the trivet in the bottom.  Add 1 cup of water, the bay leaves, the lemon and the garlic. Add the trimmed and prepared artichokes.  Turn on your instant pot and select Manual.  Press the + button to 20.  Let it run for 20 minutes, the  do a quick release of pressure.  Remove the cooked artichokes and test for done-ness by pulling off a leaf – if it does noBat pull off with minimal pressure/strength cook for 5 mins longer.  Keep warm until the Bagna Cauda is ready.

If you do not have an Instant pot, put the lemon, bay and garlic in a pot with a cup or two of water.  Place a steamer basket over the top and add the trimmed artichoke hearts. cover with a lid, and cook for 45 minutes.

Once the cooking time is done, if using an Instant Pot, do a fast steam release (I like to put a cloth over the vent to stop any damage to my ceiling and kitchen cabinets). check that the  artichokes are cooked by pulling a leaf out.  It should pull out easily – if it is not cooked, you need to give it 5-10 minutes more.

Keep the artichokes warm and make the sauce.

To make the Bagna Cauda, put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a pan and heat up.  Simmer for 2 minutes (do not worry if it appears to curdle that is because of the protein in the anchovies).  Transfer to heated serving dishes (ramekins for single servings, a heated fondue pot for larger portions if you have multiplied up).

Serve at once as a dip…..

Shared at: Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

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This blog-entry does contain affiliate links that help support my blogging activities.  If you click on a link, you will never be charged more than the regular price for the item, but I may receive a small reward as a result.  Please rest assured that all of the items or ingredients I recommend in this post I have used personally.

 

Lacto-fermented Garlic and Dill Pickles

I ended up with a bunch of pickling cucumbers in my CSA box a week or two ago, so decided that it was time to make some pickles.

I like to enjoy some probiotic rich food with every meal if I can, and these pickles fit the bill perfectly….

2 Chicken drumsticks, collard greens with bacon, half a sliced avocado and some pickles

2 Chicken drumsticks, collard greens with bacon, half a sliced avocado and some pickles

Because the cucumbers I received were not very even in size, I decided to slice them this time and make pickle slices.  You could easily make whole cucumber pickles or even use cucumbers cut lengthwise into spears.  Whole cucumbers may take a little longer depending on the size, but the process is exactly the same.

In order to keep the cucumber pickles crunchy, you need to use a source of tannin – some people use grape leaves, but I decided to use green tea because that is what I have handy for making my kombucha.

Lacto-Fermented Garlic and Dill Pickles

Makes 1 pint jar

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Place the teabag and the salt in the 2 cups of boiling water and leave to stand until at room temperature.  Stir well to dissolve the salt.

Meanwhile slice the cucumbers into ¼” thick slices.

Peel the garlic but leave the cloves whole.  Place the garlic and dill in the bottom of the jar and then fill the jar with the cucumber slices.

Once the tea/brine has cooled to room temperature, pour this in the jar until they are covered with the brine. You probably will not need all the brine, but it is better to have made too much!

Now you need to weigh them down.  As you can see in the picture above, I used a smaller mason jar that fit nicely inside the mouth of the larger jar.  Other people use clean, boiled river-rocks, glass marbles or even a food-grade plastic bag filled with more brine.  Anything will work as long as it is non-toxic, will fit inside the jar, and will hold the pickles under the brine.  A glass jar just works well for me.

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Cover the jar and any weights with a clean, densely woven cloth.  I like to use a tea-cloth as they wash well in case of any accidental brine spillage, yet they are densely woven enough to keep bugs out.  Do NOT try to use the cheap, loosely woven “Cheesecloth” sold in grocery stores – the weave is far too loose on this, and even with multiple layers fruit-flies and other bugs will get into your pickles!  Hold the cloth in place with either string tied tightly round the jar or an elastic band.

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Leave your pickles on the counter for 4-6 days at room temperature.  I like to stand the jar in a dish to catch any brine that might spill over the edge of the jar – it makes less of a mess on the counter.

After 4 days, taste one of the pickles and see if it is to your liking.  If it is, now is the time to put a lid on the jar and stash them in the fridge.

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If not, leave them on the counter-top for an extra day or two.

Serve cold with your favourite meals….

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If using small whole pickles, they may take an extra 3-4 days depending on size.  Really large whole pickles might take up to a week or two to get properly pickled.

When making whole pickles I will sometimes use a crock or a large pot – in this case a baked bean pot that I will never use for cooking beans…

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Just scale up the recipe, remembering to use 2 cloves of garlic and 2 sprigs of dill for every cup of brine you are making up, and using 1 TBSP of salt and 1 green teabag per cup of brine.

Place the garlic and dill at the bottom of the crock, then pack the cucumbers on top:

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Pour over the brine, and then weight down with something that will keep the pickles under the surface of the brine.  In the case of my bean-pot, because of the shape and the narrow neck, I use a ziplock bag filled with brine.  If you are using a straight sided crock, you could use an appropriately sized dinner plate or anything else that fits.

Cover the crock tightly with a lid or a cloth (I like to put a piece of clingwrap over the mouth of my bean pot, and then place the lid on top to make sure no insects get in.

Ferment for 1-2 weeks depending on the size of the pickles before transferring them to smaller jars and storing in the fridge.

Shared at:  Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

AIP Salmon Cakes With Avocado Aioli

Because I am cooking for myself a lot of the time now, I tend to make a lot of single person meals.

The only exceptions to this are when I am also cooking for my 2 housemates, or I am making something that will keep in the fridge for a few days and is easily reheated.

This recipe is one of my “single person” meals, although it would easily be doubled or tripled if you needed to feed more people.

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Salmon is a fish that is very good for us because it is an oily fish that is high in the anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids.

I usually have some wild-caught salmon fillets in the freezer that I can pull out and thaw when I need to make a quick meal just for me.

I used white (Japanese) sweet potatoes here, which are slightly less sweet than the familiar orange ones.  This recipe would work just as well with the regular sweet potatoes however…

There will be more avocado Aioli than you need for one person – just cover the remainder tightly with clingwrap, ensuring that the clingwrap is in contact with the surface of the sauce.  It will keep for another day in the fridge and can be used as a dip with veggies for your lunch.

AIP Salmon Cakes with Avocado Aioli

serves 1

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For the Salmon Cakes

  • 1 fillet fresh or frozen salmon 4-6oz (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 green onion – chopped
  • 1 tsp capers – rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • pink Himalayan salt to taste
  • arrowroot flour to dust
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil – divided

For the Avocado Aioli

Prick the sweet potato all over and then cook it in the microwave for 5 minutes until it is fork tender. Depending on the power of your microwave, it may take more or less time than this.

If you do not want to use a microwave, you can also bake the sweet potato in the oven – wrap it in foil after pricking it, and bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350°F (175°C) oven until it is fork tender.

While the sweet potato is cooking, melt 1 tbsp of the coconut oil in a small skillet.  Add the fish and cook for 3 minutes per side until it is opaque and flaking.  do not over cook the fish!

Once the sweet potato is cooked, use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin into a small mixing bowl and mash it well.

Flake the fish into the bowl, discarding any skin.  Add the green onion, capers and parsley, and season to taste with the salt.  Mix well.

Dust your hands with some arrowroot flour and shape the mixture into 2 patties, 1″ thick.  Dust the outside of the patties with more arrowroot flour.

Melt the remaining tbsp of coconut oil in the same skillet that you used to cook the fish.  Add the salmon cakes and cook for 5 minutes per side until heated through and golden brown.

While the salmon cakes are cooking make the avocado aioli.

Place all the aioli ingredients in a food processor and puree till smooth.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and necessary.

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Serve the salmon cakes on top of a bed of sauteed spinach with some of the avocado aioli on top.

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Store any remaining aioli tightly covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Shared at:  Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

AIP Pork Belly “Ramen” – Paleo/Gluten-Free

I am a huge fan of Japanese food, and one of my favourites is Ramen.  Not the icky, cheap, packets of ramen you can buy in the grocery store, that are really nothing more than a chemical-shit-storm in a packet.  I am talking REAL ramen….

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The problem is that ramen noodles are made with wheat.  And the broth usually contains soy.  2 things I cannot eat…

The solution is to make my own using spiralized zucchini as the noodles, and a rich flavourful pork bone broth infused with AIP friendly Asian flavourings.  The broth is made with a pigs foot, and has that sticky, rich quality that you only get from a gelatin rich bone broth…

The pork belly is a simpler form of the AIP Crispy Pork Belly that I have posted about in the past.  The only difference in this case was that the pork belly I had happened to buy was not in one piece and I did not marinate the pork before cooking it as I felt that the finished dish would be flavourful enough without it…

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This recipe does take a fair bit of forward planning if you are going to make the broth, but if you had some chicken bone broth stashed in the freezer you could always use that instead….  it probably would not be quite as good as if you made this broth, but it will still be very good!

Don’t be dismayed by the long list of ingredients or the time that this takes to make – the results are worth it!

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You will most probably have far too much broth – that is OK, just store it in a mason-jar in the fridge or freeze it for another time.

AIP Pork Belly “Ramen”

Serves 2

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For the Asian Pork Broth:

  • 1 pigs foot – split in half
  • 1lb meaty pork neck or back bones
  • 1 onion – halved (no need to peel)
  • 1 stick celery – chopped
  • Trimmings from 1 fennel bulb (optional – this provides a slight aniseed flavour not unlike star anise)
  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves – peeled but left whole
  • 1″ chunk of root ginger – peeled and sliced into discs
  • a piece of Kombu (Dried kelp), 3″ x 1″ – optional
  • Stems from parsley and cilantro
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

For the Pork Belly:

For the Ramen Noodle Soup:

  • 2 medium sized zucchini – spiralized using the finest blade (I use this spiralizer)
  • 2oz crimini/baby bella mushrooms – sliced
  • 2oz enoki mushrooms – trimmed
  • 2oz sliced bamboo shoots
  • 2 green onions – chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • Coconut Aminos to taste

To make the broth:

The first thing that needs to be done is to get the pork broth made.  This is best started a day or two ahead of when you plan to make the ramen.

Soak the shiitake mushrooms in some boiling water for 1 hour.

While this is happening, place the pigs foot and the pork bones in a large pan and cover with cold water.  Bring the water just to a simmer but do not allow the water to boil.  Skim off any scum that forms on the surface of the broth.  Do not skip this step as this helps to make the broth nice and clear.  Boiling the broth will allow the impurities in the scum to mix back in with the broth, and this will make it cloudy.  After about 20 minutes of simmering, no more scum should be forming.

Now add the mushrooms and the soaking liquid, and all the remaining broth ingredients to the pot.  Return to a simmer, and continue to cook for around 8 hours, topping up the liquid as necessary to keep the bones covered.

Strain out any solids, and transfer the broth to the fridge to cool, where it should set to a firm jelly with a thick layer of fat on top.  Remove the solidified fat from the top of the broth, and save it for cooking, or use it to cook the pork belly.

Cooking the pork belly:

The next step is to cook the pork belly.  This also needs to be started the day before you plan to serve the Ramen Noodle Soup.

Take the pork belly and score the skin with a very sharp knife, taking care not to cut into the flesh.  It does not matter if your pork belly is all in one piece or is in several small pieces as mine was.

Place the pork, skin-side up on a rack over the skin and pour over a kettle-full of boiling water.  This firms and contracts the skin and is the secret to getting it really crispy.

Place the pork belly in the fridge and allow it to dry out overnight.  Don’t skip this step – it is essential that the skin is really dry before it is placed in the oven or it will not crisp!

An hour or two before you plan on serving the soup, you need to cook the pork belly.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Melt the lard, coconut oil (or the fat you skimmed off the top of the pork broth), and rub this well into the skin-side of the pork belly.  Sprinkle the skin with salt and rub it in to the scores you cut.

Place the pork belly, skin-side up on a rack over a roasting tin, and place in the oven.

Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C).  Continue to cook the pork for 15-20 minutes more until it is cooked through, and the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.  At this stage, you can decide if the pork skin is crispy enough for your liking

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If you want it extra crispy, preheat the broiler to high, and broil the pork, skin side up for 30-60 seconds until it is crisp but not burned.

Remove the pork belly, cool slightly and slice into thin slices.

To assemble the ramen noodle soup:

Cut the ends off the zucchini and spiralize them using the smallest blade on a spiralizer.  I have this one.

Place 3-4 cups of the pork broth that you made a day or two earlier in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Taste it, and add coconut aminos as necessary until it tastes just right for you.  Don’t add so much that it is very salty however!

Add the zucchini noodles to the broth and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the noodles are just cooked but not mushy.

Remove the noodles from the broth and divide them beteween 2 soup bowls.

Add the sliced crimini mushrooms and the bamboo shoots to the broth and simmer for 2 minutes to heat through and just cook the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, divide the spinach, cilantro and enoki mushrooms between the 2 bowls.  Pour over sufficient broth to cover the noodles, adding the mushrooms and bamboo shoots.  Add the sliced pork belly on the top and serve at once.

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Eat with chopsticks, using a spoon to slurp up all that delicious broth!

Shared at:  Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

 

Moroccan Cauliflower “Couscous” Salad – AIP/Paleo/Vegan

This is yet another dish that I made for a pot-luck.

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I try to make fairly substantial food when I take something to an event like this as it is incredibly rare that there are other foods that I can eat – nearly everything contains gluten, or dairy, or both.

This is a hearty, filling salad that would be really good paired with kebabs or grilled meat, and would be ideal to take to a BBQ or picnic, and the leftovers are perfect for a packed lunch the next day.  It is also ideal to serve as a side dish with my Moroccan Lemon and Herb Chicken.

I used riced cauliflower to stand in for the couscous, and used seasonings and herbs that give this salad a slightly Moroccan feel.

This salad is 100% AIP compliant, but if you can tolerate seeds, some pine-nuts would be a good addition to provide some protein.  Pine nuts are actually a seed, not a nut.  This dish is also vegan.

I apologize for the poor quality pictures and the paper plate – I forgot to take a photograph before it was served, and quickly had to snap a couple using my phone.  While the pictures do not do this dish justice, it is incredibly tasty.

Moroccan Cauliflower “Couscous” Salad

serves 6-8 as a side dish, or lots as a pot-luck contribution

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Separate the cauliflower into florets and pulse them in a food processor until it resembles small grains.  If you do not have a food processor you could use a box grater, but be warned, it is very messy doing it this way!

Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.  Peel and grate the ginger.

Chop the dried apricots, parsley, cilantro and green onions.  Zest and juice the orange.

If using the optional pine nuts (not for strict AIP), toss them in a dry pan until they smell toasted and are turning a pale golden brown.  They burn in a flash, so watch them like a hawk!

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat.  Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes until it is just translucent.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more minutes until fragrant.

Add the cauliflower, salt, cinnamon and turmeric, and cook, tossing frequently until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy.  This will take about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and place the cauliflower in a large bowl.

Stir in the dried apricots, raisins, orange zest, parsley, cilantro and green onions.  If using the optional toasted pine nuts, add them at this stage.

Mix the orange juice, vinegar ad olive oil in a small bowl, the pour the dressing over the salad.

Mix well until everything is evenly coated.

Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavours develop.

Shared at: Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

Bacon, Beet and Fruit Salad – AIP/Paleo

I have been eating a lot of salads lately because I have been getting so many wonderful greens from the CSA that I am a member of.

The last week’s haul included arugula, lettuce, and some baby mustard greens, along with some beets (both red and yellow).  There was a ton of other stuff as well – potatoes, kohlrabi, kale and rhubarb.  I also bought some fruit – blueberries and some sugar plums.

I thought I would share with you a salad that I made using some of the greens, the beets and some of the fruit.

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This is a hearty salad that is packed with summery flavour – perfect for a light lunch.

Bacon, Beet And Fruit Salad

serves 2

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  • 2 medium beets – peeled and diced (I used one red beet and one yellow beet in this salad)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 cups salad greens – torn (I used some of the arugula, mustard greens and lettuce)
  • 1 green apple – cored and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 avocado  – peeled and diced
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Place the diced beets in a single layer in a small baking dish and place the bacon over the top.

Place the baking dish in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Toss the beets to coat them in the bacon fat that will have rendered out of the bacon.  Spread the contents out into a single layer.  Replace the dish in the oven and roast for another 15 minutes until the beets are tender and slightly browned and the bacon is crispy.

Allow the beets and bacon to cool, chopping the bacon into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, tear the salad greens into bite-size pieces and place in a salad bowl.

Toss the apple with the lemon-juice to prevent browning and add to the bowl along with the avocado, beets, bacon and blueberries

In a small bowl whisk together the white wine vinegar, salt and olive oil.   Pour over the salad and toss everything well.

Arrange the salad on 2 serving plates and serve at once.

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This would make a good packed lunch or picnic dish if you took the dressing separately in a small jar and tossed it just before serving.

Shared at:  Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

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AIP Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

I think this might be one of my most successful recipes to date.

I just threw it together without following any specific recipe, and it turned out insanely tasty.

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While I was grocery shopping last weekend (in Safeways), I came across a whole fermented cabbage head.

I am partial to fermented cabbage, and seeing as this head was not only unpasteurized (meaning that all the bacterial cultures were still alive), but it contained only salt, water and cabbage…

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So I bought it, and it was the inspiration for making this recipe.

I have seen people posting about fermenting whole cabbages in the past with the aim of making stuffed cabbage rolls, but I do not own a fermenting crock so I have not been able to ferment a whole cabbage myself (it is just a little difficult to squeeze a whole cabbage into a mason jar…)

If you cannot find a whole fermented cabbage to use, you could make one yourself, or you could use a regular cabbage and blanch the leaves in boiling water for a couple of minutes so that they are flexible enough to wrap around the filling.  If you do buy a whole fermented cabbage, check that it does not contain any non-AIP spices or ingredients.

Of course, because the finished dish is cooked in the oven, none of the bacterial cultures will survive.  But the sour cabbage does add to the flavour.

This recipe is 100% AIP friendly.

AIP Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

serves 4

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  • 2 cups “Nomato” Marinara Sauce
  • 8 large sour cabbage leaves (this works out at about ¼ cabbage).  If using a fresh “regular” cabbage blanch the leaves in boiling water first.
  • 1lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
  • 1 small onion – peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped
  • 8oz mushrooms – finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach – packed
  • ¼ cup bone broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme – chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat a skillet over a medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef to the skillet and brown for aprox 5 minutes.  Add in the onions, garlic and mushrooms, and cook until tender.

Add the spinach, broth, herbs and sea salt to taste.

Simmer gently until the spinach is wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated.

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Take the cabbage leaves, and fill each with 1/8 of the meat mixture.  Roll the cabbage leaf around the filling, tucking in the ends to make 8 neat parcels.

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Place 1 cup of the “Nomato” sauce in the base of a baking dish.

Nestle the cabbage rolls in the sauce, then top with the remaining cup of sauce.

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Sprinkle the finished dish with nutritional yeast if using it, then cover with a sheet of parchment paper and a sheet of foil (parchment paper next to the food to protect it from contact with the foil).

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Remove the paper and foil, and return to the oven for 15 minutes.

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Allow the cooked dish to cool for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot.

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Serve 2 cabbage rolls per person.

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As you can see, there were no leftovers!

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Shared at: Fat Tuesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable, Full Plate Thursday, Real Food Fridays, Lets Get Real Friday, Mix it up Fridays, Awesome Life Friday, Natural Family Friday, Gluten Free Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Hearth and Soul Hop

Oxtail Stew

In winter I crave rich meaty stews, and one of my favourite meats is to use oxtails to make a stew.  The meat is rich and tasty and the bones add their goodness to this long-simmering stew.

When you eat it, you just know it is doing you good.

This recipe is AIP-friendly.

Oxtail Stew

serves 6

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  • 2 tbsp fat of choice (I used lard)
  • 2 oxtails cut into 1″-2″ pieces
  • 2 onions – sliced
  • 3 large carrots – cut in chunks
  • 3 sticks celery – cut in chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups bone broth
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch to thicken the broth

Heat a large, heavy based pot over a medium-high heat.  Melt 1 tbsp of the fat and the brown the oxtail pieces on all sides, working in batches.

Remove the meat from the pot and add the remaining fat.  Add the onions, celery and carrots and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften slightly.  Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and then pour in the broth.

Add the oxtails back to the pot and bring the whole thing to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for at least 3 hours until the meat is soft and tender and is falling off the bone.

Remove the oxtail pieces from the stew and take the meat off the bones (save the bones for making bone broth).

Remove the bay leaves and add the meat back to the stew.

Mix the tapioca starch with a little cold water and add to the pot.

Reheat and allow to simmer for a few minutes to thicken the broth, then serve.

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Just look at this beautiful chunk of meat!

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This stew reheats beautifully, and gets better and better for a day or two sat in the fridge.

I will often make this for dinner, knowing that the leftovers can be eaten for lunch over the next couple of days.

Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup #66

Two Appetizer Recipes – AIP/Paleo

I went to a potluck last night…

Normally, I hate potlucks with a passion – usually there is very little that I can eat, and there is also always the risk that the few things that I can eat have been cross-contaminated simply by people not realizing that dropping crumbs or grated cheese or whatever all over other dishes (or even worse, using the spoon from one dish to serve themselves from another) means that there will be people who either cannot eat the food, or who may react badly.

For this particular potluck, I decided that I was going to make 2 dishes that I could eat – both appetizers…

And I made sure that they were placed right at the back of the table where there would be no accidental cross contamination from other foods – in fact, the only other foods around my dishes were some salad and some cut-up fruit

Both of these dishes make wonderful appetizers, but are also great to pack in lunch-boxes (ensure that they contents are kept cold), or for snacks…  and of course they are wonderful to bring to a potluck.

I really could have made more than I did – both went very fast…  my dishes were the only ones  that were empty at the end of the night!

Both of these recipes are 100% AIP as long as the bacon that is used is also AIP (be careful – some cures use “spices” that could contain nightshades).  If possible, try to use bacon that comes from pastured pork, and I like to avoid the ones that contain added (chemical) nitrates as I prefer more natural cures that contain salt, sugar and celery juice (which does contain nitrates, but in a more natural form).  I prefer to use thin-cut bacon for these recipes as it does not take so long to crisp up.

The first recipe I made was Bacon Wrapped Prunes, that I stuffed with a home-made chicken liver pate.

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If you choose to buy a pate instead of making your own, read the ingredients carefully to be sure that it does not contain any non-AIP ingredients, or those that you do not tolerate well.  Most bought pate’s will contain dairy and non-AIP spices.  Of course if you are not AIP, or you tolerate the ingredients well, then that is not a problem…

The prunes, as I discovered made for a VERY rich mouthful when combined with the pate and the bacon…  one or two are enough for most people.  But they are so delicious with the salty bacon combining with the sweetness of the prunes and the rich creaminess of the pate.

Pate Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Prunes

Makes 20-25 individual “bites”

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  • 6 TBSP Chicken Liver Pate – preferably homemade
  • 375g (aprox. 13oz) pack of bacon (preferably made from pastured pork)
  • 20-30 prunes
  • wooden cocktail sticks

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line a shallow-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (this makes for an easier clean-up).

Cut each strip of bacon into 3, crosswise across the strip, and lie them out on a cutting board.

Take your prunes, and stuff each one with ¼tsp chicken liver pate.  This can get messy fast!  Just try to keep your hands as clean as you can.

Lie the stuffed prunes at one end of each strip of bacon, then roll the bacon around the stuffed prunes, securing the end with a cocktail stick.

Lie the prunes on the prepared baking sheet with the free end at the bottom (it helps to stop them unrolling while they cook.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the bacon is crispy, turning at the 15 minute mark.

Remove to a wire rack to allow any fat to drain off.

These are good served hot or cold…  I served them cold at the pot-luck.

The second appetizer that I made was Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.

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These are really easy to make, and taste delicious.  They were the first thing to disappear at the potluck!

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Makes 25-30 individual “bites”

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  • 349g (aprox 12oz) bag of peeled (tail on) raw shrimp (thawed if frozen).  I used 31-40 count shrimp
  • 375g (aprox 13oz) pack bacon (preferably from pastured pork)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line a shallow-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (this makes for an easier cleanup).

Cut each slice of bacon into half lengthwise, and then half again crosswise to give 4 long thin strips of bacon.

Take a piece of bacon, and starting at the head-end, wrap it around the shrimp, ending at the tail.

Place the wrapped shrimp, end-side down, on the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat for the rest of the shrimp and the bacon.

Bake the shrimp for 10 minutes in the oven.  Remove and drain off any liquid that has accumulated.

Turn the oven to broil (grill if you are in the UK), and cook the shrimp to crisp the bacon on both sides (this took around 5 minutes per side).

Place the crisped shrimp on a wire rack to drain off any extra fat.

Serve hot or cold (I served these cold at the pot-luck).

Make lots!  They go fast….  But in the unlikely event that there are leftovers, store them in the fridge to eat as snacks.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #65

Shared at Simply Natural Saturdays

Shared at Awesome Life Friday

Shared at What to do Weekends