Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pasta Carbonara (GF/DF)

I improv'd this meal at 4 o'clock when faced with dinner time and no real plan and diminishing food stock in fridge.  I happened to have a half pound of Trader Joe's uncured, nitrate-free bacon ends & pieces from a while back that still smelled edible and a frozen brick of sustainably-raised ground beef as my base along with chopped kale that I had cooked for the morning's green smoothie.  I set the beef chub to defrost in a tub of water then pulled out my trusty America's Test Kitchen for the recipe instructions.  Pretty much only the ATK cookbooks (and the Asian ones) survived the GF/DF purge a few years back because they are hands down the best cookbooks ever.

I still had leftover raw macadamias in the pantry from when I made nut cheese for GF pizza and Faux Cheezy-cake. This recipe uses the faux cheese method that I discovered in The Dairy-Free & Gluten Free Kitchen.

Other ingredients that I sourced from TJ's besides the bacon: the pre-chopped organic kale, organic brown rice-quinoa pasta.  I abhor brown rice pasta, but the addition of quinoa makes it a lot more palatable.  TruRoots also makes a good brown rice-quinoa pasta that I've found at Costco.

Since the TJ's bacon is rather random pieces and a lot of fat, I added water as it was cooking to help render the fat without burning the bacon.  I started off with 1 cup of water, then as it evaporated added more water until the fat was more rendered into edible sized pieces, then I allowed it to brown on both sides.  This process left a lot to yummy bacon lard and a nice golden brown glaze on my All Clad skillet that I deglazed with balsamic vinegar since we didn't have any white wine on hand.

The timing on this matters.  The macadamia-egg mix should be tossed on to the hot pan (heat off) when you are ready to serve.  T & kid were on a walk visiting the neighboring mule & goats so I had to cover the pan at the third to last step and wait for them to get home.  I had the pan back on low heat with just the pasta, kale & beef, and when they got home, I tossed the macadamia nut mix on.

This is best served fresh.  This recipe serves 4-6.


  • 1/2 lb+ of uncured bacon
  • 1 lb of ground beef (anti-biotic free)
  • balsamic vinegar (in lieu of white wine)
  • grey sea salt (aka Celtic salt)
  • fresh ground organic grains of paradise (or black pepper)
  • 1/2 cup raw organic macadamias
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1/2 tsp organic onion flakes or powder
  • 1/2 tsp organic minced garlic powder
  • 16 oz chopped cooked organic kale (steamed or boiled)
  • 1/2 package organic brown rice & quinoa pasta
  • optional organic chipotle powder

Soak the raw macadamias in enough water to cover.

Cook the kale by boiling or steaming it until cooked through for 10-15 minutes.

Make the pasta according to instructions.  Approx 8-10 minutes.  Drain and rinse with hot water.

Turn oven to 150 degrees and set your oven-proof serving bowl in the oven to warm.  Since I had a nice handmade Tunisian bowl that I was afraid of breaking, I left it at the lowest temperature setting and put the bowl in while the oven was still cold.  Once it heated to 150, I turned the oven off and led the door closed to retain heat.

Drain the macadamias of most of the water leaving around 1/4 cup of water.  Puree the macadamias with the eggs, garlic and onion and a spoonful of sea salt.

Fry the bacon in a skillet until browned.  Remove bacon and add ground beef, sea salt, pepper.  Brown it until cooked through.   Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar.  Cover with a lid and turn off the heat to retain the heat.

Add pasta and kale to the skillet.  Pour the macadamia mixture over and toss until well coated.  Cover with the lid.  

Using a towel or potholders, remove the bowl from the oven.  Pour the pasta into the bowl.  Top with crispy bacon and more pepper.  Toss and serve immediately.

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"Mayonnaise Grilled Stew" Chicken Chowder (DF/GF)

Sometimes my daughter watches TV shows on youtube or movies (we don't have cable or netflix.  Yes we're one of those people) and makes a dinner request.  One time it was for Elmo's "pocket food" which ended up being a variation of goi cuon | spring rolls and the "sushi" (brown rice and roasted seaweed) she theretofore was eating quite happily.  The other day it was for Minnie's Stroney (minestrone, get it?).  Yes, it's rampant commercialism influencing her choices.  And sometimes, it's a useful tool for getting her to eat something she doesn't like for xyz reason but sometimes all it takes is a tweak in word choice for her to eat it.  Like when she was 4.5 and refused to eat beans.  I gave her red beans (aka kidney beans) and told her they were kidneys.  Full stop.  And she was happy to eat kidneys.  After a few times I let her know that they were indeed kidney beans, not actually offal.    Her request today was for Mayonnaise Grilled Stew her misheard take on Manny's Gorilla Stew in cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2.   

For whatever reason she dislikes zucchini and carrots but they and kale were the only appropriate veggies I had in the fridge and I happened to have shredded potatoes and sweet potatoes in the freezer, so my solution was to puree them which resulted in a thick and creamy soup.  I've never done it before and really enjoyed the chowder-ness of it though the color was not pretty.  It can also be kept whole.

  • avocado oil (olive oil or pasture raised lard)
  • half an organic sweet onion sliced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 organic carrots, sliced
  • 2 tbs oregano
  • 1 tbs cumin powder
  • 2 handfuls of grey sea salt
  • 6 chicken leg quarters cut into 4 pieces (to expose the marrow)
  • 2 organic zucchini sliced
  • 12 oz of kale chopped
  • 4 organic potatoes, shredded 
  • 2 sweet potatoes, shredded

Sauté the onions & garlic in oil until fragrant.  Add the carrots and sauté.  Add the chicken leg quarters and cover with water.  Add oregano, cumin, and sea salt.  Bring to a low boil and simmer for 20 minutes.   Remove the chicken legs and set aside to cool.  

Add the zucchini, kale, and root vegetables.  Cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.

Shred chicken and add to the soup.

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

xôi gạo nếp lứt nảy mầm | sprouted sticky brown rice

Xôi (aka sweet rice, sticky rice, glutinous rice) is typically a dish for special occasions and breakfast.  It can be eaten sweet or savory or sometimes both.  There are many, many variations.  For this recipe I will be giving two variations Xôi | sweet-salty with coconut milk and Xôi Cúc | sweet-savory with mung beans.

I choose to sprout the grains & beans because doings so unlocks the anti-nutrients; grains & beans are after all seeds that contain all the genetic potential of the plant.  Seeds have inherent self-defense in the form of anti-nutrients such as physic acid.  Sprouting germinate the transformation from seed to plant and makes it more digestible.  Start sprouting two days prior to the day you plan to  cook.  
Soaking the whole grain/legume in water helps to reconstitute the grain and reduces cooking time.
I discard any water used with the rice because of the issues with inorganic arsenic contamination.  I also use organic rice which has lower levels.

Using an unhulled or brown rice changes the texture of the xoi.  There is a slight crunchiness and integrity to the grain that one doesn't get with unhulled rice.  Xôi Cúc translates as chrysanthemum rice because if the bright yellow color of the hulled mung.  Leaving the hull on will change the color to a yellow-green.


  • 2 cups brown glutinous rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • coconut palm sugar
  • grey sea salt
  • 2 cups organic brown glutinous rice
  • 2 cups unhulled organic mung beans
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 shallots
  • coconut oil or pasture-raised lard
  • black pepper
  • grey sea salt

Bowls for soaking/sprouting, immersion blender, skillet, steamer pot.


Rinse the rice and then soak the rice in filtered water overnight in a dark place or covered with a dish towel.

Rinse mung bean.  In a separate bowl, soak the mung beans in filtered water overnight in a dark place.

Drain the rice and discard the water.  Do not reuse the water .  Rinse and drain.  Leave in a dark place.

Drain the mung beans (water can be composted).  Rinse and drain.  Leave in a dark place or covered with a  dish towel.  Once it sprouts a tail, move them into the fridge.

Put the rice in the steamer.  If your steamer has big holes, cover the pot with parchment paper or banana leaves with small holes poked into it to allow the steam to circulate.  Steam for 20 minutes then add coconut milk mixing well.  Steam for an additional 10 minutes until the brown rice grain has a slightly al dente texture with a soft interior.  Transfer to a serving bowl, add salt and sugar and mix well.

Cook the mung beans and water in a regular pot for 5 min until just cooked. Drain them.

Fry the garlic and shallots in lard or oil for a few seconds until fragrant, then add the mung beans.  Add pepper and salt to taste.

Mix together the rice and mung beans and put them in the steamer.  If your steamer has big holes, cover the pot with parchment paper or banana leaves with small holes poked into it so the steam can circulate.  Steam for 30 minutes until until the brown rice grain has a slightly al dente texture with a soft interior.