Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mushroom Leek Quiche (GAPS-friendly)

As promised!

This recipe was based on Julia Child's version of Flamiche - Quiche Aux Poireaux. It is SO rich that one small slice is enough to fill me completely up and zaps any sugar craving for about two days. I increased her original recipe again by a half (give or take a little here and there) to fill a deep-dish 9" pan. I also cooked it a bit longer and at a lower temperature for the sake of the coconut flour in the crust. Also, I chopped the mushrooms to make it more child-friendly, but I needn't have bothered since she didn't like it anyway. Next one I'll slice them.

Also, the coconut flour crust browns way too easily. Ours got very brown, even though I covered it with foil half-way. Here is a possible solution that I have not tried, but might work - end the crust at the level of the pie, possibly adding the pie crust edge with 12 minutes to spare on the baking. Let me know if that works.

Mushroom Leek Quiche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Pie crust:
  • 1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee or butter, melted
  • pinch salt
Beat the eggs. Slowly pour in the ghee while stirring so as not to cook the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients, finishing it with your hands when it's too thick for a spoon. See here for more information on how to roll out a coconut flour crust. 

Before making the filling, spread a thin layer of cheese at the bottom of the pie crust.

  • about 3 1/2 cups sliced, cleaned white of leek 
  • about 1 cup chopped or sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tb butter or ghee
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups coconut cream or milk
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2-3/4 cup grated goat jack cheese (Swiss would be nice, but we can only do goat's or sheep's milk, so it wasn't an option for us)
  • 1 Tb ghee, cut into pea-sized dots
After slicing the leeks, submerge in a bowl of cold water to clean out the dirt that collects between the layers.  Boil them over moderately high heat with water, salt and ghee until the liquid is partly evaporated.  Add the mushrooms. Cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, then turn the heat down to simmer, cover the pan and stew gently for 20-30 minutes until very tender and aromatic.

Beat eggs, coconut cream and seasonings in a big mixing bowl to blend. Slowly add the mushrooms and leeks bit by bit so as not to cook the eggs. (Julia suggests at this point that you taste to check the seasoning.) Pour into the pie shell and distribute the rest of the cheese and ghee over the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until puffed. (Ours didn't brown, presumably because of the lower temperature. In our case, a knife came out wet but more or less clean at the end.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Breakfast Quiche

This is a mushroom-leek quiche based on Julia Child's recipes, substituting coconut cream for dairy, a coconut flour crust, and goat milk jack cheese for Swiss.
Recipe to follow...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fructose overload!

Our daughter hung out in aftercare today because a meeting ran late and I just couldn't make it back in time. The past aftercare teacher was very aware of overdoing it with fruit. When I mentioned to her that I was concerned about too much sugars and that I considered fructose to be in that category, that teacher knew exactly what I was talking about. I was so relieved! This time, not so much...

There's a new aftercare teacher - a lovely woman, very gentle, caring and firm with the kids. Unfortunately, I just learned that she is unaware that giving kids too much fructose can be harmful. When I came to get our kid, she had in front of her a bowl-full of what looked like an entire sliced banana coated liberally with gobs of honey! There were grapes on the table and rice bread, also covered with honey. There wasn't a pat of butter or even a bit of olive oil to be seen, or anything that had even the slightest amount of protein in it, except for a container of Trader Joe's cream cheese (which probably has very little of any nutrient left in it). I was amazed. When I commented on the amount of fructose made available to the kids, and indicated that I didn't want our daughter to ingest quite that much at a time, the new teacher seemed to be taken aback (and was possibly a bit insulted. I was sorry about that but when it comes to our kid's diet, I believe that I should say what's necessary,) and then reassured me that fruit only had "good sugar" in it, that it doesn't make children hyper or cause any kind of problem. I just shook my head and began to say that according to our pediatrician that there are no "good" or "bad" sugars, only sugars. I could tell that she wasn't ready to hear that, so I just said that our family's choice is to limit fruit, please. She still seemed surprised. I was surprised that she was surprised.

Now, I have no problems with sweet treats in the afternoon - we have them all the time! Little Moo has custards, cookies and cakes with garbanzo flour, rice flour, honey, maple syrup, etc. She has all kinds of fruits. The difference is that she has ONE or TWO treats, no more. For instance, if she has two small cookies, she might have a pixie tangerine with that. She seems to be quite happy with that amount. I'll also offer her some cheese, meat, a hard boiled egg if she's not had two for breakfast, or some bread that has nut flour as well as rice flour in it and I always spread it liberally with ghee. I take issue with a bowl of bananas covered in honey followed by grapes and honeyed rice bread, eaten at the same meal. To me that's excess.

I wish with all my heart that more people realized that fructose can be just as, if not more harmful than sucrose, (here's more about that...and even more  - for that last link, scroll down to near the end where Dr. Mercola composes a whole paragraph and a table on why cutting back on all sugars, including natural fruit sugars, is desirable. Lastly, here's an article on the problems with agave syrup,) and that whole, preferably saturated fats are good, especially for children. Then our kid wouldn't have to be so set apart in her eating habits. That's been the hardest part of transitioning into school.

So, one of my resolutions for this new year is to start supplying the school with foods that I feel will be more appropriate for snacks to supplement the fructose. I think I'll bring in a jar of my crispy sunflower seeds and maybe the pumpkin seeds. Little Moo won't touch them, but perhaps other kids will benefit from their presence, especially the ones from vegetarian and vegan families. I'll also invest in a jar of almond butter, an extra loaf of rice-almond bread, a nice hunk of cheese and maybe some of Little Moo's favorite crackers. Oooh. And I'll make an extra batch of ghee this week and will bring that in as well.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Game Hens, Caffeine, Unintentional Puns and other things that have fallen by the wayside.

Happy New Year!

I know. I promised the game hen recipe. Now it's kind of late in the game (unintentional pun,) so the exact recipe has slipped through the sieve-like pores of my tired, late-holiday brain, but I can write up an overview that explains how it worked so that you can figure it out for yourselves.

Honestly, it wasn't hard.

What I figured out was that the difference between a basic chicken and game hens is how much fat you use and how. They are smaller than chickens, so the heat penetrates more quickly and cooks the breast faster. I'm not sure whether they are also not as fatty, or perhaps the smallness of the bird simply requires more fat to keep it moist.  Either way, they do well with stuffing and adding lots of fat. So this is what I did. I also noticed plenty of recipes that stuffed the birds with something sweet like one that suggested a few peeled grapes or a dice of apples with cranberries and rice. I thought that perhaps the gaminess of the flavor did well with that kind of sweetness.

If you're on GAPS like I am, stuffing is starchless, but not necessarily without sweetness, so I made up a nice slow saute of lots of ghee with diced onions, the cooking making them even sweeter and a nice golden color. Then I added a dice of carrots, celery, and a few other vegetables. (I had hoped for mushrooms, but without thinking, had used that week's mushrooms in the burgers I made a day before. Oh well...) Between the time that the onions were complete and when I added the vegetables I added some oregano and a small amount of salt with the idea that because of the smallness of the birds that too much salt would drain them of juices too quickly during cooking, but a little would make the birds flavorful and make the juices run just enough for early basting.  

I lay the stuffed birds on a bed of chopped greens with enough broth to cover the bottom of the pan. Then I rubbed them with garlic, drizzled them with the juice of a lemon and coated them liberally with ghee. After all of that I covered the breast of each bird with a double layer of cheesecloth.

I roasted the birds at a slightly lower temperature - 325, I think, with an oven initially preheated to 350. It would be fine, even, to go lower, as long as basting happens often. I basted at intervals of around 10-15 minutes. I can't remember how long they cooked for. A few recipes for stuffed birds indicated that they required between 1 and 2 hours to cook. Ours finished somewhere between those, perhaps at 1.5 hours.

So that's the story on the game hens. Next time I try them I will do my best to get a real recipe up there. These turned out really well...

So, onto other things. There was eggnog that turned out so rich that really, the bottom of a mini mason jar was quite enough. Three cups of this stuff disappeared by day three.

Then, last night I stayed up WAY too late. This morning I had the first cup of green tea that I've had in, oh, years. I stopped drinking caffeine about 7 years ago when we were trying to get pregnant and only tried a few sips a year ago or so when it was offered at a gathering. It was a terrible time to try it - I hadn't eaten anything in a few hours and my stomach immediately clenched and I was buzzed in a very uncomfortable way for about an hour, then I fell asleep.

This morning, though, I tried a very weak cup of green tea with breakfast. So far, so good. I have no plans to go back onto it - I still feel strongly that stimulant foods and drinks are bad for our bodies and our culture, both economic and social. (See Sidney Mintz's book Sweetness and Power. Ironically, it's very dry, but goes down well.)

So my challenge now is to go to bed at a reasonable time, like when time is notated in double digits without an "am" afterwards. Ha.