paleo

Gluten Free & Paleo Classic Holiday Turkey

Gluten Free and Paleo Classic Holiday Turkey | Home Again Creative

There's no doubt that cooking a Holiday Turkey can be a challenge, and I have definitely made several turkeys that were worthy of the trash! To cook a great turkey, there are many obstacles to overcome: the white meat needs to be cooked to 160° F, the dark meat needs to be cooked to 175° F, and all the while, you want to get the skin crisp without turning the breast meat to chalk.  

I have read a lot about roasting turkey and through trial-and-error, I've come up with a method that works for me, every time. 

 First, a few rules.

  1. Don't Stuff the bird. No doubt stuffing is awesome, but if you think about it, the thing that makes stuffing awesome is the bird's juices infusing it. However, those juices need to be cooked to 165° F and you can't achieve that without drying out the breast meat. Removing the stuffing to finish on the stove top isn't a good option, because when you remove it you will inevitably cross contaminate the meat. Also, stuffing isn't Paleo, and we're Paleo.

  2. Don't baste the bird. Basting the bird does nothing to moisten the meat and keeps the skin from crisping. Not to mention every time you open the oven to baste, you add to the overall cook time. Salt or brine instead.

  3. Don't rely on the pop-up timer — it will likely fail you. However, don't remove it — juices will flow from the gapping hole it leaves behind.

  4. Rest the turkey for 30 minutes. Resting the turkey will allow the fibers to reabsorb the juices. If you don't let it rest you'll wind up with a puddle to clean up on the counter.

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Home Again Creative's Gluten Free & Paleo Classic Turkey

This recipe is for a 12-14 pound turkey. If you have a bigger turkey, add additional herbs and roots accordingly. Total time for this recipe is 17-23 hours, so be sure to plan plenty of time.

Ingredients

(1) 12-14 pound turkey with neck, giblets, and tail piece
(6) sprigs of thyme
(2) onions, chopped coarse
(2) carrots, chopped coarse
(2) celery ribs, chopped coarse
(3) tablespoons ghee

Instructions

Trim any excess fat from the turkey and set aside the neck, giblets, and tail piece.

Salt or brine the turkey, though I recommend brining. For instructions, see our blog post How to Salt & Brine Poultry.  After brining, you will need to air dry the bird. Pat the turkey dry in the cavity and outside and place it on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Chop the thyme, onions, carrots, and celery; melt the ghee. Toss 1 tbsp of melted ghee with the herbs and vegetables, and place the mixture inside the turkey cavity, then trestle (tie the drumsticks together with string) the turkey.

 Adjust the oven racks to the lowest position and preheat to 400° F.  

Brush the turkey with the remaining ghee.

Place a cup of water into the roasting pan and start roasting the turkey breast side DOWN for 45 minutes. 

When the 45 minutes is completed pull the turkey from the oven and flip it, using paper towels. Then return it to the oven breast side UP for about an hour, or until the breast registers 160° F and the thighs read 175°F. 

Remove turkey from the oven & onto a carving board, tipping it cavity side down into your roasting pan, so any juices in the cavity run into the pan. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes, and finish the gravy.   

After that, carve, serve, and enjoy!! 

How to Salt and Brine Poultry

Salting or brining poultry in a saltwater solution is a great way to boost the flavor and juiciness of the meat. However, before you go anywhere near your chicken with salt, there's an important question that needs to be asked first: 

What type of kosher salt do you use?

Believe it or not, but there's a big difference between Diamond Crystal & Morton Salt brands – sorry Morton Salt girl – it affects how much salt you should use! 

How to salt and brine poultry

Morton Kosher Salt (as well as most other store brands) is made by flattening salt granules into large thin flakes while Diamond Crystal uses a 100-year old proprietary evaporation process in which upside-down pyramids are stacked one over the next to form a crystal. Diamond Crystal's method results in a hollow pyramid-shaped grain. This hollow structure accounts for the salt’s lightness, & crush-ability. Because of the hollow pyramid's shape, each teaspoon of Diamond Crystal Salt has less salt than Morton Salt, thus you are less likely to over salt (you can always add more salt).

If you're not already using it, I recommend making a switch to Diamond Crystals, if only because it's much more forgiving in the kitchen. Also, most recipe writers don't specify which salt they use in their recipes, but I have a hunch since most chefs (at least that I know) use Diamond & most cook books are at least co-written with a chef, Diamond Crystal are being used in the recipes.   

We use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt in our kitchen, so if you're using Morton's simply reduce the measurement by 1/3. For example, 1 tsp Diamond Crystal = 2/3 tsp Morton Salt.

ADD SALT TO POULTRY BY EITHER BRINING OR SALTING

WHY IT WORKS

Salting Poultry is a great way to keep lean proteins juicy. When salt is added to the surface of poultry it draws the moisture out. The salt then dissolves in the juices forming a brine that is eventually reabsorbed. When the salt is reabsorbed it changes the structure of the cells making it more tender and allowing it to hold on to more of it's natural moisture by about 10%. Most unsalted meat will loose about 20% of it's moisture during cooking, so by adding the salt you basically cut the moisture loss by half. (Sorry I can't explain further than that — I wasn't that great of a chemistry student.) Salting does take more time, but it won't keep you from getting crispy skin when cooked, if desired. 

Brining poultry works in pretty much the same way by changing the structure of the cell wall, tenderizing, and giving the cell the ability to retain moisture. The differences are brining is faster, & will add moisture to the meat, not just retain it, resulting in super juicy poultry. The downside is, with all the extra moisture, achieving a crispy skin becomes more difficult. Another complication to brining is space, as you need a container big enough & the fridge space to store the bird. I use a huge soup pot and have our fridge shelves situated so that it the pot fits. In the past I have also placed the birds and salt solution in a cooler with ice – just make sure to add ice as needed.

So, in short, if you want a pretty juicy bird with crispy skin, salt the poultry; but, if you want a super juicy bird and don't care about the skin, brine the bird.

Regardless, only salt or brine poultry that HASN'T been pre-basted, koshered, treated, or seasoned. It has already been salted. 

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SALTING POULTRY

When salting, apply kosher salt evenly inside the cavity and under the skin of the breasts and legs. Let sit on an elevated surface, such as a wire rack placed in a cookie sheet, and place in the refrigerator. If salting for longer than 12 hours, you'll need to wrap the poultry tightly in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. 

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BRINING POULTRY

When brining, I do use table salt instead of kosher salt as it dissolves more quickly. Make sure to fully submerge the chicken or turkey with water.

For chicken, the ratio is 1/4 cup salt for every 1 quart of water. 
For turkey, use 1/2 cup salt for every 1 gallon of water. 

Use the chart below as a guide.

Be sure to plan accordingly this method takes time to brine and air dry. 

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After brining to achieve the most crisp skin possible you'll need to air dry the bird. First, pat the bird dry inside and out with paper towels. Then set it on a wire rack placed on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 8 hours up to overnight.

 
How to Salt & Brine Poultry  |  Home Again Creative

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

It's mid-October. The leaves on the trees are falling, but the temperature is finding a way to hang out around 75 – 80 degrees here in Nashville. 

I shouldn't still be making salsa, but I am.

This summer I decided to plant 5 tomatillo plants. I love having tomatillos in my garden! The way they grow is the coolest thing ever with their lantern husks! The past couple of years I only planted 2, but as the flowers cannot be pollinated from flowers on the same plant, I've never had what you would call a bumper crop. 

So this year, I went crazy and planted 5. 

So far, I've made & frozen at least 40 cups of tomatillo salsa, plus the sauces that we've made and eaten right away. Of my 5 tomatillo plants, 3 of them are still going strong with flowers, bees and ripening fruit. There's no stopping them. 

Seriously. I just brought in another 10 - 15 tomatillos today. 

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The great thing about tomatillos salsa is it's easy to make, REALLY REALLY REALLY good, and very versatile. You can eat it with chips, on tacos, and the normal fare, but equally amazing on grilled chicken, pork, steak, or fish. Another way I love to use it is adding it to my salad, along with my homemade ranch dressing. Earlier this week, I even added it to a late night bowl of egg drop soup when I didn't have green onions or cilantro to mix in and it was wonderful!  

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INGREDIENTS

3 jalapeno or serrano chiles
6 medium tomatillos
2 bunches fresh cilantro
1 small white onion - quartered
6 garlic cloves
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1/4 cup grapeseed oil

DIRECTIONS

Cut the chiles into quarters and remove seeds. For a spicier salsa, leave a few of the seeds in. Husk and quarter the tomatillos.

Cut off the bottom 2 - 3 inches of tough stems from each cilantro bunch. Set aside the leaves and tender stems. 

Nate and I have an ongoing debate regarding the correct way to prepare cilantro. He tends to take the pile of cilantro and remove each and every leaf, stem-by-stem. There's a very good chance that he's correct and this is the proper way to work with cilantro — he knows a lot more than me when it comes to cooking — but I just can't. Many of my favorite recipes to cook include cilantro and I have never once heard a complaint or regretted just chopping off the bottom of the stems. 

You do whatever you want, but I think I'll stick to my way. 

In a food processor, throw in the chiles, tomatillos, cilantro, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Pulse several times until combines, but still fairly chunky. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and lime juice as needed. The salsa should be a vibrant green color. 

Serve right away, or tightly cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. If you've made a large batch, freezing it works well. 

Enjoy!

xoxo, Lori Danelle

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Paleo/Gluten Free Waffles

Switching to a Paleo diet has been hard in some ways. But generally just when I'm being a whiner and don't want to stretch myself or think outside of what I've always known. 

Growing up, I had a favorite waffle recipe that until a couple of months ago, I even had taped to the inside of one of my cupboard doors. Waffles were my second favorite breakfast food ever, falling just shy of chicken fried chicken with biscuits and gravy. 

When we decided to adopt Paleo for the whole family, I thought I was saying goodbye to many of my favorite foods, waffles included. 

But as we go farther and farther on our Paleo journey, I'm discovering that I haven't left anything behind and have started viewing this as an adventure rather than a forced march! (This week we made pulled pork tamales. . . without corn and they were uh-mazing. I can't wait to share them with you.) I'm just having to retrain my brain to think about the food I eat differently and develop a new normal. 

So waffles. 

I somehow managed to hit the jackpot on the very first try. We even fed these to one of C's 10-year-old friends and she asked for seconds, never knowing that they were grain free. 

I've incorporated a couple of things from my childhood recipe into this one and am excited to share these with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as my girls and I do & maybe even give you hope that eating well doesn't have to mean eating cardboard!! 

Also, this only makes about 4 waffles. . . so you may want to double it. :) 

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INGREDIENTS

(I've added links within the ingredient list to what we use at our house for those just venturing into Paleo/gluten free/grain free cooking. I know it can be a bit daunting setting up your pantry & a little advice can be helpful!) 

1 cup blanched almond flour
1 cup tapioca flour
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted ghee
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS

Preheat waffle iron

Mix all liquid ingredients in a mixing bowl until fully blended.

In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.

While whisking liquid ingredients on low, slowly add dry mixture. Whisk for 2 minutes or until batter has thickened. Batter will be similar to a thin pancake batter. 

Fill waffle iron with batter and follow manufacturers instructions, baking until crisp and slightly browned. 

Serve immediately with ghee, maple syrup or any other toppings of your choice.
But most of all, ENJOY! 

Ghee: Paleo Butter

When our family first adopted a Paleo diet, there were several things I thought I could not possibly live without. 

Like butter. 

Turns out, I didn't have to. I just needed to look at things differently and learn a new way to do things. 

You can purchase Ghee at the store, but it so easy to make at home, I really don't know why you would. Plus, it can be a bit pricey and I haven't heard good reports regarding the taste. 

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INGREDIENTS

1 pound of unsalted butter

(yup. that's it.)

DIRECTIONS

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the butter into a Dutch oven and bake uncovered until all the water evaporates and the milk solids turn golden brown —  about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. It is important to allow the solids to become well toasted as it gives the ghee its nutty flavor. 

We use this gravy/fat separator with strainer, but you could line a fine-mesh strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth that overhang the edges and set over a large bowl instead. 

Let the ghee cool slightly, then pour into the strainer and let sit until all the ghee is extracted. You don't want any of the milk solids to slip through, as this would compromise both the flavor and the shelf life.  Throw out the solids — leaving it dairy free — and pour ghee into a storage container. 

All my research tells me that cooled ghee can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months (always use a clean spoon/knife) or refrigerated for up to 1 year. 

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I usually buy butter in bulk at either Costco or Sam's Club and throw it all in the Dutch oven at one time, lengthening the time in the oven if needed. Then I store it in lidded glass jars and keep one on the counter to use and store the rest in the refrigerator for later. 

We use it just like butter on sweet potatoes, waffles (grain-free of course!), and in baking. 

Enjoy!!

Gluten Free Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Note: This is not paleo with the cream cheese & sugar, but it is gluten free.

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A few months ago I found out I have I might have a gluten allergy my doctor told me to cut it out of my diet and see how it goes, and I've gotta say it's a big bummer.

It seems like wheat is hidden in everything — like just now I wanted to enjoy a pumpkin spiced Hersey's kiss. As I unwrapped the fall treat from it's smartly autumn colored wrapper a thought went through my mind, "I bet this has gluten in it," everything else I want to eat impulsively does. So off to the company website I go, and yep, it's got gluten. I sigh and place it back in the candy dish......bummer.

This is a typical day for someone with a Celiac Disease or Gluten-Intolerance and the Holiday's are definitely tormenting with the rolls, stuffing, cakes, cookies, pastries, and pies. Don't fret though, I have a cheese cake recipe that will make skipping Aunt Cara's Cinnamon Sugar Apple Pie with a scoop of Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream not seem so bad.

Instructions

  • 7 oz of Gluten Free Ginger Snap Cookies

  • 1 cup Toasted Walnuts

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar

  • 5 tbsp. Butter (melted)

  • 1/2 cup Sugar

  • 1 tbsp. Orange Zest

  • 24 oz. Cream Cheese (at room temperature)

  • 4 Large Eggs (at room temperature)

  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream

First preheat the oven to 350F while the oven is heating up place the walnuts on a cookie sheet once the temperature in the oven has risen place the walnuts into the oven for about 8-10 minutes then allow them to cool. After the nuts have cooled for a bit place 1/2 cup of them and the ginger snaps graham crackers 2 tbsp. brown sugar into a food processor or blender and process the mixture until its finely ground. With the motor running, add the melted butter and continue to blend until the mixture is well incorporated. With a bit of oil and a paper towel oil the bottom of a spring formed pan. Pat the mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan, and then bake it for about 8 minutes.

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Combine 1/4 cup of the sugar and the orange zest in a food processor or blender and process until combined.

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Meanwhile, place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy it should take 3 to 4 minutes. Add the orange sugar mixture, remaining granulated sugar, and the 1/2 cup of brown sugar and beat again until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, 1 at a time and mix until just incorporated, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Next, add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Add the salt and heavy cream and mix until just blended.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan.

Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it.

Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until the water is halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake until the sides of the cake are slightly puffed and set and the center still jiggles, about 55 minutes.

Turn the heat off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon and allow the cake to cook in the water bath for 1 hour. Remove the cake to a baking rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours until chilled through.

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Top with the warm apple topping, drizzle liberally with the caramel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining toasted walnuts. Serve additional sauce on the side.

Apple Mixture

  • 2 cups Apple Juice

  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar

  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 1 tbsp. Butter

  • 3 Granny Smith Apples (peeled, seeded and thinly sliced)

  • 3 Gala Apples (peeled, seeded and thinly sliced)

  • 1/4 cup Calvados Brandy

Bring apple juice, sugar and vanilla to a boil in a large saute pan over high heat and cook until slightly thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup. Stir in the butter until melted.

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Next, add the apples and cook (I used the slicing blade of a box grater to cut the apples), stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized and soft. Then, add the apple brandy and cook until reduced by 1/2. Transfer the apples to a plate and let them cool slightly.

Apple-Caramel Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar

  • 1/4 Cup Water

  • 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream

  • Salt to Taste (I happen to like salty caramel)

  • 3 tbsp. Calvados Apple Brandy

  • 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Place sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a roaring boil, swirling the pot occasionally to even out the color, should be amber.

Meanwhile, warm the heavy cream and in the pan. When the caramel has reached the desired color, slowly whisk in the heavy cream and whisk until it is well blended and creamy.

Remove the blend from the heat and stir in the apple brandy, and vanilla extract, seasoning with salt to your liking. Keep warm. If you need to make the apples and caramel sauce ahead of time simply reheat them over medium heat in a sauce pan. I usually put the caramel in a glass container and reheat is in a pot of water.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, let me know what you think and cue us in on your favorite gluten free desert.

Fire Roasted Pomodoro

It’s that time of year when gardeners all over American are over run with tomatoes. Some gardeners are generous and give them to family, friends, and co-workers.

We are a different type of gardener, we are selfish gardeners, we horde them every way we can; caprese salads, BLTs, wilted kale, tomato, egg, and pesto sandwiches for breakfast, the menu items are endless.

Once in a while we will be completely over run with red deliciousness then we do what tomato hoarders do...Share?...No! We make sauce.

I want to share our family’s favorite fresh sauce. Serve it hot with your favorite type of pasta, or cold with some fresh milk mozzarella and small clam shells. Don’t forget to include the kiddos; this is a kid friendly recipe they will love to make as well.

Instructions

  • 4 Tbsp. Butter

  • 2 Carrots

  • 1 Stalk of Celery (minced)

  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion (minced)

  • 2 lbs. Roma Tomatoes (grilled, peeled, crushed)

  • 1 tsp. Salt

  • 1 tsp. Pepper

  • 1 tsp. Fresh Oregano (minced), or 1/2 tsp. dried

  • 6 Fresh Basil Leaves (minced)

  • 3 Large Garlic cloves (minced)

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Grill the tomatoes over direct heat until the skin begins to char. Then sweat them, until they cool, by placing them into a covered container. Next, peel the tomatoes and then crush them by hand.

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Over medium low heat melt butter in a pan, and add the carrots, onion, and celery; cook until tender about 15 minutes.

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(This is my garlic crusher/press; you should get one. I think mine is Pampered Chef.)

Add the tomatoes to the pan along with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and garlic. Cook until sauce begins to bubble, then reduce to lowest setting and cook for about 1 hr.

Adobo Marinade

This marinade is sure to add sweet smokey heat to your street tacos this summer; use it on chicken, beef, or steak. Make a double batch, and use the additional for a condiment. It will keep in the refrigerator for about two days.

Instructions

  • 4 Oranges

  • 1 Can of Chiles in Adobo

  • 1/2 Cup White Cooking Wine (plus more for drinking)

  • 1/2 of a Yellow Onion (diced)

  • 6 Cloves of garlic (minced)

  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice

  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste

  • 2 tsp of Dried Oregano

  • 1 tsp of Ground Cumin

  • 1 tsp of Coarse Salt

  • 1 tsp of Black Pepper

  • 1 tsp of Chile Powder

  • 1 tsp of Hot Pepper Sauce

Remove half the zest of an orange in strips. Juice the oranges to get 3/4 of a cup, if there is any orange left over you should eat it. Seed the chiles, if you want added heat leave some seeds, but not a lot. Next add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to a roaring boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half, probably about 15 minutes. Allow to cool then throw out the orange zest. Pour the mixture into a blender and liquify. At this point you can use it right away, or cover and place in the refrigerator.