Totally Inauthentic Smokin’ Jalapeño Kimchi: Tasty. Gringa. Paleo & Vegan

Preface

This post has been waiting in the wings for a few weeks now.  I’m sure many of you have faced the dreaded flu of this year… we faced two, back to back, and I am in recovery mode.  Recovering that is, from weeks of little sleep for looking after my family.  Nobody does it like mom though.  Right?  Here I am with a sore throat, which is the least of my worries after the streams of silly sickness we just finished.  So, here is that post… slightly edited because when I wrote it I couldn’t properly shower myself let alone string a sentence together.  Also, since the original draft of this post I have eaten 3/4 of the jar and turned some of it into Michelle Tam’s Kimchi Apple Sauce (YUM).  Also, after eating it with nearly every meal for a couple weeks my husband finally decided to give it a try and LOVED it.  WHAT?!?  WIN!  He really likes it with meatballs and both of us love it with coconut sweet potato fries.  Gaaaahhhhh….

The Kimchi Chronicles

Morocco. 2006.  I was sitting on the roof of a hotel in Agadir with friends, a lovely hotel owner and his Korean wife.  She came to Morocco as a young woman and stayed in his hotel.  Slowly but surely she wooed him.  To her heart & to her food.  She wooed me too that night to Korean food.  What a spread!  The kimchi is what I remember though.  I had never had it before and I LOVED it.  It has taken me years to connect the dots on certain things.  Spice, yes, I knew I loved spice from the first taste.  I am an odd duck though… I enjoyed my first whiskey, my first red wine and my first beer (craft).  I thought I just liked alcohol but as it turns out I like ferments.  Except my own sauerkraut.  I got a week into making purple cabbage sauerkraut and I couldn’t handle the stink.  Apparently that particular bacteria becomes more overrun with acidic bacteria and it all evens out after about a month but our house was small and… no.  Have you tried making it?  Do you have an outdoor shed or something?  Kimchi on the other hand, with it’s ginger, garlic and onion, kills off the particular bacteria that would otherwise have its way with the cabbage.  And even after a few days it is pungently delicious.  

I originally used Veganista’s recipe to make my very first kimchi and it was fantastic. I desired a bit more color and enjoy variety soo decided to shake it up.  This “recipe” is very loosely based on Michelle Tam’s (Nom Nom Paleo) Kimchi recipe from her new AMAZING cookbook “READY OR NOT!” Which I went straight out and bought after a long cookbook drought.  Yay Portlanders!  I haven’t bought a cookbook in a while, which I believe is directly related to having kids in nappies.  Diapers, for you true Americans.  On the subject of cookbooks though I have also pre-ordered Danielle Walker’s new one!!  Eat What You Love. I’m pretty freaking excited.  I really appreciate these ladies taking control of their health and paying attention to the way food affects their bodies.  I feel a little less alone in the food crazy department.  (update! I have it in hand and though I haven’t had much time I perused it this evening and plan to make some of her Christmassy cookies soon. Woot.)

KIMCHI! Kimchi is one of the quintessential ferments.  I mean, most people actually know about kimchi even if they haven’t tasted it so that is miles ahead of most other cultured foods. I had planned on making a closer version to Michelle Tam’s but then we had TWO bouts of flu sandwiching our Thanksgiving.  No joke.  One of the close to cold variety and the other of the nasty stomach virus variety… spread out over a week.  We dropped like monkeys off a bed.  One at a time.  Kids in school.  What do they do lick each other’s faces?  I dunno.  It’s nasty though.  By the time I felt well enough to throw this together half the veg was dead and I had a pile of jalapeños to deal with as well.  That and I am curious and almost never follow a recipe.  I never even wrote down a recipe until about a decade ago when a friend asked me to write them down in a book for her before I moved country once again.

I sliced up the fresh jalapeños and scorched the ones that didn’t look so hot in the oven to lend a smokey flavor.  But here we go… I’m starting into the recipe so I might as well start!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Napa Cabbage, quartered and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2-3″ piece of ginger
  • 3 Tbsp Kosher Salt, divided
  • 5-6 jalapeños, divided (about 1 cup sliced)
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and rinsed
  • 1 bunch radishes (about 1 cup sliced)
  • 1 red or green pepper, quartered and sliced (red retains its color better)
  • 1 large green apple, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1/4 cup water (to puree apple, ginger & onion)
  • 2-3 Tsp smoked paprika
  • Gallon jar with or without airlock or a 2 quart jar (I use a giant pickle jar for this)
  • fermenting weight(s)

Method:

  1. Sanitize a large 68oz jar or two roughly 2 liter jars and fermenting weights in the oven at 170º for 5 minutes.
  2. Wash and quarter your cabbage lengthwise, then chop to desired length.  Thicker is more authentic (about 1 inch), but I chopped mine to about a half inch.  Place in a large bowl, toss with 2 Tablespoons kosher salt and set aside for at least 30 minutes for it to begin to ferment.
  3. Slice and then divide your jalapeños, and broil half in the oven, reserving the other half.
  4. Slice the peppers in quarters and then quarter inch slices, set aside.
  5. Slice the radishes in rounds and set aside.
  6. Peel and slice the carrots in rounds or sticks and set aside. (I like thin sticks)
  7. Half the red onion and slice thinly.
  8. Chop the tops off the green onions/scallions and cut off the whites. Reserve the whites for the paste and chop the greens in one inch sections.
  9. Roughly chop the apple so the blender can handle it.
  10. Chop the Ginger a bit and combine with the apple, scallion whites, smoked paprika and 1 Tbsp kosher salt in the blender with the water and coconut aminos.  Blend until smooth.  
  11. Rinse the cabbage, drain and then add all the ingredients to the large bowl and toss together.
  12. Carefully scoop the mixture into the sanitized jars and beat down with a wooden spoon or french rolling pin until you have at least 2″ space at the top.  There is an actual tool for this but as I try my best to be minimalist I use what I have.  Now don’t freak out!  You don’t need brine for this one as it ferments better in it’s own juices and the salt.  Really.  Set the fermenting weights or a ziplock full of water (sealed) and close the lid.  
  13. Leave for a week or so.  Enjoy with EVERYTHING. 

When I’ve made kimchi I use it like I use sriracha.  I know that’s weird but I love it.  “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you!! But I love it!” 

What do YOU like to eat with your kimchi?

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Fermented Jalapeños (Vegan, Paleo, Keto of course)

I very obviously like to ferment things.  This is clear, isn’t it?  Okay.  Now… I love roasted jalapeños on my pizza, burgers, salads, wraps… everything. 

For two reasons, fermenting is better. 

1) You get a whole different pop in your mouth with these, albeit a bit milder.

2) I’m a busy mom and I don’t get out shopping much so I tend to stock up when I do… and as we all know, veg rots when you don’t get to it in time.  Boo.  Fermenting preserves said veg without killing its nutrients.  On the contrary, it amplifies those nutrients.  It provides us with gorgeous little creatures that prolong our life, give us energy and keep us healthy and alert.  Yay for fermenting.  Yay for healthy gut bacteria.  I’ve had bad bugs on my travels so I’m all about filling up with the good kind.  Also, if you hadn’t noticed… I’m not squeamish.  Here’s the hill… get over it (pretty please).

Fermenting jalapeños is crazy easy and crazy quick.  Forgive my lack of measurements, I just had a bag of the suckers and sliced them up and stuffed them in a jar.  The key is the right amount of salt for the right amount of liquid.

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Place jar of choice, fermenting weight & lid on a  cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat in the oven at 170 for 3 – 5 minutes to sanitize them.
  2. Slice jalapeños to desired thickness.  (Some people use gloves.  I don’t.  I just don’t touch my eyeballs)
  3. Fill sanitized jar with jalapeños, leaving 2″ room at the top
  4. Mix 1 Tbsp salt with 2 cups warm water and pour over the top.  Repeat until filled.  Alternatively you can put the salt directly in the jar and then fill with the water.
  5. Set your sanitized fermenting weight on top and press down until the liquid almost reaches the top of the weight.  Place the lid and set aside for 4 – 7 days. 
  6. Refrigerate after it is finished to slow fermentation.

Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus (Vegan, Paleo Hacked)

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Above: the jolly green giant hummus topped with organic hempseed for protein and fancy pants presentation.

Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus

Sooo…. Thanksgiving happened.  Sandwiched between having a wicked flu myself and dealing with a full night and day of helicopter vomit with my poor dear [the name of child has been removed for his or her emotional protection].  Needless to say with sickness and the marathon that Thanksgiving, I haven’t been posting anything.  Not that I haven’t been fooding… I have.  Just not blogging.  So we may or may not be seeing some of those recipes in the next few days.

I’ve already given my spiel about the benefits of fermenting beans and legumes but it never hurts to re-cap.  Because who doesn’t love a frugal paleo hack.  So!  Beans contain a high level of phytates and lectins, which does some bad stuff (read this post) and is not so paleo.  But! Cooking and then fermenting legumes can reduce these phytates and lectins by up to 85%, essentially “hacking” those beans into a stable veg the likes of other paleo friendly veg.  So… not really paleo but for all intents and purposes just as healthy or more so.  And cheap.  Did I mention dried beans are cheap?  Having home made fermented hummus to snack on takes my family’s grocery budget down nearly $200 a month as opposed to not having it.  Something to consider.

This is sort of like a green goddess hummus but as I was totally unprepared for my husband to love it (which he did) I thought I’d give it a more masculine name.  Enter the jolly green giant.  Not that I buy green giant kale and broccoli but I did grow up on frozen veg to supplement mum’s garden, so hey.

I basically cooked up a vat of dried chickpeas prior to Thanksgiving, in preparation for having near nothing healthy around to get us through all the prep.  I actually made four hummus varieties: Fermented Hummus, Roasted Beetroot Hummus, Pumpkin Pie Hummus (FAIL. But I added more spices and pressed it onto a silicone mat into tiny cookies and then the family inhaled them) and this… the green variety.  The spinach was looking sad so for fear of it ruining the ferment I left it out and went for the heartier winter veg: kale & raw broccoli.

Ingredients

125-150g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked, drained and rinsed (makes about 2 cups) or one can.

2 cups packed kale

2 cups broccoli florets

garlic cloves

½ cup whey from a batch of live yogurt or milk kefir, cultured vegetable juice from a previous ferment (I used the juices from a batch of fermented carrots)

1/4 cup tahini or 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds or toasted sunflower seeds

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

handful fresh sage leaves from the garden

1 tablespoon sea salt, celtic sea salt or pink salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ – ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (poured over top to seal out bacteria)

Method

I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure out 125 grams (a little over 4oz) and soak them overnight.  Pour into a bowl or container, fill with water and cover.  In the morning, strain and rinse the chickpeas.  Bring a pot of water to boil, pour in the chickpeas and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Strain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse.

While your chickpeas are cooking, wash, trim and chop kale & broccoli, 2 cups each

Add the chickpeas and all other ingredients to your food processor (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, leave out the culturing liquid.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle a bit more on the top. Serve with crudite platter or chips.

If fermenting, hold out the olive oil until the very end. Transfer hummus to a 2 litre clip top jar, cover with the olive oil and clamp closed.  Slowly rotate the jar until the olive oil seals the entire empty surface.  Leave to ferment for 2 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar or BPA free container in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is double the capacity of your hummus so you don’t wake up to the Blob invading your kitchen.  It’ll be tasty but a sad sad waste… unless you’re the type to lick it off the counter.


Tahini, Kale & Cranberry Winter Omega Superfood Salad (Vegan & Paleo)

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It’s cranberry season!  I cannot begin to express my love for cranberries.  They are super tart, mildly sweet little fruits that bring bite to savory dishes, chocolate treats and magic to Thanksgiving dinner. These little beauties are chock full of antioxidants, beating out most other fruits and veg in this area.  They are one of my favorite superfoods; containing a large amount of vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin K1, Manganese, Vitamin E and Copper. They help boost immune system, ward off UTI’s and are also known for decreasing both blood pressure and bloating because of their anti-inflammatory properties.  The latter is very helpful for yours truly at the moment as I’ve been doing WAY too much recipe experimenting with keto and paleo treats and not filling up on much needed nutrients.   You can read more about the benefits of cranberries here.

If you saw my last post for massaged kale salad you’ll have the base for this one.  To it I have added spinach, cultured red onion, avocado, pumpkin seed, hempseed, and roasted cranberries drizzled with my favorite garlic tahini dressing (again).  This salad is a veritable super-salad of Omega fatty acids, manganese, probiotics, minerals and vitamins.  It takes only a few minutes to throw together (if you already have the cultured onions).  I removed the kale leaves from their stems last night and massaged them with olive oil and a spritz of lemon and left them to further macerate overnight.  Because frankly, I am an impatient person and don’t love standing there with my hands in greens for minutes on end when I’m hungry.

I would encourage you to read up on the ingredients as each of them is a superfood in their own right but for now I’ll run you through why I benefit from them, which in all honesty only covers a fraction of their benefits.  As I covered the benefits to kale and pine nuts in my last post I’ll simply cover the other ingredients in this one.

Hemp hearts! Most people know that they are high in protein but did you know they also help speed your metabolism, regulate your hormone balance and decrease inflammation?  Yes.  I know.  Food is amazing.

Avocados as we know are high in proteins and healthy fatty acids but they are also rich in antioxidant phytochemicals, which aid in with eye health, and phytonutrients that help with inflammation and more importantly, help reduce the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders throughout the body.  Think of it as a yummy grease in your kogs.

Pumpkin seeds are chockers with nutrients, antioxidants and magnesium, which helps you sleep!  They help lower your blood sugar and are super heart healthy and as an added perk they help keep a healthy prostate.  They are also loaded with phosphorus and zinc and thereby help with sperm quality and E.D.  Yes, I said it.  If you like babies… pumpkin seeds are sexy as.

Spinach is full of iron and high in vitamin K, manganese, magnesium and acts as  yet another anti-inflammatory.

It’s no wonder I feel so vibrant when I’m eating gorgeous loaded salads all sunny summer long.  I need to remember that these super foods are all the more necessary when the sun is scarce and it’s cold outside.  I certainly feel the difference when I do.  And if you can make a big batch of kale salad as a base it’s fairly easy to throw whatever toppings you like in and go… busy mom style.

Ingredients:

Method:

If you can prepare your kale ahead of time and take the slow route in roasting the cranberries, I would recommend it (350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes)  I was hungry and impatient, so I put them in the oven on a pan sprayed with coconut oil and set them to broil on high for five minutes until the skins burst.

Wash and dry the kale, dabbing it with a tea towel.  Strip the leaves off the stems and break them into small pieces and lay them in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and a squirt of lemon and “massage” the leaves for at least two minutes until the leaves soften and relax.  Some kale is more stubborn than others and it could take up to ten minutes.  After two I tend to get bored and pull out my french rolling pin or a wooden spoon to smash it to bits.  When it is soft, drizzle with the tahini dressing and set aside.

Slice your avocado in half and if you plan to eat the whole thing, remove the pit.  If you don’t, rinse the pit half in water and wrap it in clingfilm to prevent oxidization (browning).  Carefully slice the other half in the skin and then scoop the whole thing out with a spoon.

In a bowl, combine the dressed kale and spinach and top with pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, pine nuts and fermented onion.  Pull your hot cranberries out of the oven and scoop them into the salad.  Drizzle with more tahini dressing and you are good to go.  This is incredibly comforting for a salad in winter, and is hearty due to the greens, seeds and tahini.  The hot cranberries add a warmth that is akin to cuddling a cup of hot soup.

Enjoy immensely.


Simple & Quick Kale, Tahini & Pine Nut Salad

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Salad is not my go to in the winter as much as the rest of the year but slight tweaks to the shopping list and pantry can make it both more affordable and sustainable.  My go to for salad greens are spinach and arugula for most of summer but come autumn I am ready for Kale.  Not that it isn’t amazing all year round!  Kale takes a bit of prep (a beating actually) if you want to eat it raw.  I’m not really meant to eat it raw as it is meant to mess with my thyroid but frankly I don’t care.  I beat it to death and that realistically makes up for what cooking would.  Kale is tough and slightly bitter, but when prepared correctly is soft and slightly sweet.  Yes, please.

Here I have a massaged kale and salad with pine nuts rubbed with my favorite garlic tahini dressing.  This salad is a stand alone of Omega fatty acids, manganese and vitamins, and I use it for a base for daily salad excitement.  It takes only a few minutes to prepare and it keeps in the fridge for ages.  I’m not sure how long because I usually eat a whole batch within 3-4 days.  I’ve never had one last long enough to go off.

Remove the kale leaves from their stems and massaged them with olive oil and a spritz of lemon.  I will usually have some straight away but they are best left for 30 minutes or even overnight.  And when I say “massage”  I mean I rubbed the olive oil and lemon into them until they softened and then beat them down with a wooden spoon for good measure.  The first time my cousin described this process to me I had to laugh.  Who massages kale?  I heard of tenderizing meat… but this?  Well, Kale is the meat of the salad world so I guess it’s appropriate.  It is loaded with anti-inflammatory omegas, iron and anti-oxidants… more about that here. and when you add tahini dressing you have yet another nutritional powerhouse loaded with yet more iron, vitamins and fatty acids.  Add the pine nuts and you have all this plus mood and weight loss enhancers.  Gah… so good.  I could write about all the benefits of every component of this seemingly simple salad but it is anything but simple.  Instead, I have linked the ingredients for further reading if you’re interested.

Ingredients: (I will often double batch this!)

Garlic Tahini Dressing:

Method:

Massage (beat the snot out of) the kale.  A little extra virgin olive oil a squeeze of lemon  accelerates the maceration process. You could gently massage it… and most people do.  But as I have issues with my thyroid I beat it to a pulp.

Combine all ingredients for the tahini dressing in a medium to large bowl and either whisk until smooth or mix with an immersion blender.

Pour 1/4 cup tahini dressing over the kale and rub it into the leaves.

Sprinkle with the pine nuts.

Leave it as it is or add what you like to it.

Eat with abandon.


Instant Pot Tuscan Kale & Butternut Squash Stew (Paleo & Vegan)

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Winter is coming.  With it the prices on a lot of greens have gone up or simply the greens themselves do not last like they do in the summer.  Beside that, soups and stews are much more appealing once the weather turns and we can see our breath in the morning air.  I used to turn to Indian curries and North African stews like Harira and Algerian Chorba in the winter but my family prefers more Western flavors.  Simple food, as he calls it, is utmost in my husband’s book.  In my children’s as well.  As much as I love the hotter spices and exotic flavors the foods they most enjoy are mild but full of richness.

I have further challenges in my wee family in the form of food preferences and as much as I believe in eating the food that is in front of you as a principle; I still prefer that those whom I serve food actually enjoy it.  Waste not, want not.  If people like the food in front of them they tend to clean their plate.  My oldest daughter, though she is a meat eater on occasion, does not enjoy vegetables that taste like meat.  She loves her veggies and will eat them raw or cooked and with gusto, but not if they have a hint of animal protein about them.  I prefer most of my soups meat free as well but being raised on a farm diet of eggs and sausage for most of my life I tend to be happy with my veg in any form.  She seems to take after my mother in law and is an uber veggie aficionado, which I love, and has a distaste for certain meaty flavors so  I try to be sensitive to that.  Frankly, I love vegan food and find it gloriously challenging so if at any point I can add to my recipe repertoire in this area, I will.

This recipe is a warm and comforting one.  It is filling and nutritious and versatile in that it is Paleo and Vegan but can easily be expanded by adding a can of cannellini beans or even sausage, for those who prefer the stew in its classic form: tuscan kale & sausage stew.  It is done entirely in the instant pot, which I’m discovering to be a great help these days as I haven’t much time for dinner prep once I’ve gotten the two older kids through their homework.  They go to a Classical Christian School and the curriculum is rigorous as one would expect.  Our children were in Primary 2 and Nursery (2nd grade and Kindergarten, respectively) in Northern Ireland last year so I love that they still get to attend with their age mates whilst being challenged academically. But that is another topic…

Here is the soup, or stew, in all its warmth and simplicity.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, finely diced (so that little people miss them entirely)

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 Tablespoons coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or ghee

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)

6-8 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 head cauliflower, broken apart into florets or 1 bag frozen

1 pouch petite diced or crushed tomatoes (or 2-3 fresh ones, diced)

1 bunch curly kale, rinsed and chopped

1 can cannellini or another white bean variety, soaked, cooked, drained and rinsed (optional, NOT paleo)

1 tsp turmeric

1 small handful chopped oregano or 1 Tbsp dried oregano

3-4 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste

2-4 cups water, depending on whether you prefer soup or stew

black pepper to taste (I leave it out as my kids find it spicy)

Method:

Spray the bottom of your instant pot with coconut oil (I use Sally’s Organics bottles filled with liquid coconut oil). Alternatively, you can use a tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee.  I tend not to use olive oil when heating to high temperatures but if you have a high quality unrefined extra virgin olive oil it should have a sufficiently high smoke point and be safe for use.

Add the diced onion and garlic and set the Instant Pot to sauté.  If you are using a standard pot just sauté the onions before adding the other ingredients.   If you are using a crock pot or slow cooker you can either do this step first and then add all the ingredients to the crock or you can just chuck it all in together.  I find sautéing caramelizes the onions and makes them more palatable to little people and husbands who are not fond of strong flavors.  Also, this is similar to how french onion soup is made so sautéing first negates the need for vegetable broth.

Here’s where you decide whether you are going for soup or stew.  For the former, add the butternut squash and then cover with water, about 2 cups.  For the latter add the squash and carrots and then cover with water, which will be 3-4 cups.  Don’t worry, you can always add more later.

Add the kale, tomatoes and cauliflower.   If you’re going for the vegan super soup, add the beans but if you are on a Paleo diet, leave them out.

Lock the lid of your instant pot in place and set to “Soup/Stew” for 4 minutes.  It will take longer than this to heat up, but draw the timer down to 3 or 4 minutes so as not to overcook your vegetables.  If I am cooking with sausage I will cook them separately and let people add them individually, but some would prefer to add them in to the pot, in which case I would leave it at the default soup setting.  On this note, if you are on a keto diet the inclusion of butternut squash will depend on your particular carbohydrate restrictions.

While your Instant Pot is doing its thing, you can whip up a batch of grain free “cornbread” made with coconut flour.

I hope you enjoy this!  We certainly did.  It’s a great “clean” meal to offset all the Paleo and Keto treats I’ve been testing and altogether enjoying in abundance.  Your tum and bum will thank you.

Below: Kale & butternut squash stew with cannellini beans variation.

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Simple Grain-Free Rustic Coconut “Cornbread” (No Sugar; Paleo & Vegan Variations)

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Photo above: a double batch with a cast iron loaf and 6 muffins for kid snacks.

I’m not strictly Paleo as you might have noticed.  I’m also not vegan.  I have vegan loved ones and frankly I adore vegan food but I was farm-raised on eggs, bacon, sausage, and a whole lot of red meat.  I attempted vegetarianism when I was in high school and made it a year before I became anemic, despite all my research and careful combining of proteins.  I tried again in college (University) and lasted about as long. It took literally years to wean my body off of such a high animal protein diet.  Six years, to be precise.  I was in Scotland at the time and admittedly my reason had more to do with my budget as a missionary than any altruism.  I like animals, but growing up on a farm did produce in me a certain level of callousness. We had mountain lions surrounding our farm when I was young and my parents farm is still affected by coyote raids.  They run off with chickens, kill cats and periodically come uncomfortably close to little foals, dogs and even children.  When I was a teenager I had to do my fare share of putting chickens out of their misery after a coyote attack.  So… I am not even remotely squeamish about animal “processing” or meat for that matter.  I do however try to be aware of the meat we consume and prefer that it come from responsible sources rather than the cruel environments so much of the American public relies upon.  My parents raise their own meat.  Oddly enough they do not eat their chickens… which all exist in this mystical protected world.  They roll in the dust, eat their corn and all the scraps from the table and are lovingly rounded up each night to protect them from sneaky predators.  Essentially they are lazy, contented pets that lay eggs.  We benefit greatly from this.  My husband is not an egg fan but I love that I have access to them for baking and for the kids.

Earlier in the year some friends of ours all did Whole30 and I’ll be honest… I followed along kicking and screaming for all of 24 hours before I decided I didn’t care and just wanted my milk kefir and coffee.  There were quite a few Marco Polo’s going around with me touting my new Nomadic Kazakhstani Diet in a defiant protest of Whole30.  I was anything but supportive… but at least I had a good laugh.  Little did I know I would begin the most difficult medical diet of my life shortly thereafter and it would go on for a whopping eight months. No… thank you no.  I’m glad to be done to say the least.

Lately I have been experimenting with coconut flour because one; it is not an inflammation causing grain and two; it absorbs a lot of eggs.  I have found it is incredibly difficult for me to regulate my hormones without animal protein in my diet and I love that the coconut flour and egg combination produces a high protein, metabolism enhancing, omega fatty acid packed superfood… in the form of a gorgeous bready baked good.  Also it’s nice not to have those weird adrenaline induced out of body experiences where I am yelling in a high pitched screechy voice over nothing in particular and then collapse into a fetal position spewing tears and snot.  Any other Introverted HSP mothers dealing with adrenal fatigue out there?

Anyway…………….  This recipe is an evolution of my Kefir Skillet Cornbread made with Einkorn, but I have taken it one step further by making it grain free and much, much higher protein.  It is lovely with soups, stews and chili.  Gentle tweaking will make it pass for cornbread or rustic Italian polenta bread.

I have a strong preference for cast iron, and did not wrap my loaf pan in parchment as people so often have to do with grain free baking.  I heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and preheat the cast iron pans.  I give them a spray of coconut oil before I dump in the batter, which is scalded upon contact and therefore does not stick.  This loaf fell out of the pan when I turned it over.

On another note, I have found that with certain recipes Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour works better, with others Anthony’s and some recipes it seems to make no discernible difference.  With pie crusts and “cornbread” Bob’s Red Mill comes out the obvious winner.  With the Anthony’s I find I am guzzling water by the time i finish a slice, whereas the Bob’s Red Mill version has more texture and fat in it.  I also think it lends more flavor.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, ghee or butter flavored coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

5 drops liquid stevia

1/2 cup milk kefir, buttermilk (or dairy free milk of choice + 1 tsp cream of tartar or apple cider vinegar)

4 eggs (or 4 flax or chia “eggs” for a vegan version.  On that note if you opt for chia you will have almost the same amount of protein as you would with eggs, albeit not of the hormone balancing type)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt or pink salt

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour

Method:

Preheat a cast iron skillet or bread pan in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small wok or skillet over medium heat melt your ghee, butter or coconut oil and then turn off the heat.

Add the unsweetened applesauce or pureed apple, liquid stevia drops, milk kefir or dairy free milk and whisk until smooth.

Add the eggs and whisk.

Add baking soda, salt (and A.C.V. or cream of tartar if you’re using an uncultured, dairy free milk) and mix.

Add the coconut flour slowly, whisking as you pour.

Remove the hot bread pan or skillet from the oven, spray it with a bit of coconut oil and scrape the batter into the bread pan.

Place it in the oven and lower the temperature to 375 degrees.  Bake for 35 minutes and check with a toothpick. When it is brown and a toothpick comes out clean it is ready to serve with butter, ghee or butter flavored coconut oil.

Variation: Sub the butter/oil with extra virgin olive oil (no need to heat) and mix in a bit of oregano for a more polenta style loaf.

I hope you enjoy! We certainly did.

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