Grain-free Bacon & Veg Quiche

QuicheI haven’t shared with you how my health is lately for the simple reason that it changes EVERY DAY. Or at least it feels that way.

We keep peeling back layer after layer on the onion in allergy treatments. We’ve peeled back so many layers I keep thinking that onion should be nothing by now. Evidently, it’s an ogre-sized onion. I can now have dairy and eggs, but my body hates corn and coconut oil. I had peanut butter last week for the first time in a year. It took three treatments for my body to finally accept the electrolytes in water as good for me. I had to buy distilled water to drink and cook with during the reactions. There are many things that live in our bodies that mine thinks are foreign invaders. The reactions range from sinus problems to upper GI gas and pain. That last one is a doozy. I think if I just have one good belch it will stop, and sometimes it does. Next on my list is Vitamin B. I thought I never fully recovered from the adrenal crash in December. Turns out my body is attacking the Vitamin B I’m getting from my food instead of using it like it’s supposed to.

This is what happens when we go through decades of being misdiagnosed. Our bodies get so used to attacking what it thinks is bad, when we take it away, it targets something new. Sometimes many things new.

Physically, my body decides to throw out pain signals every few days. Lately it’s been in my shoulders. It started at the shoulder blades, but now it’s the joints. I get a massage and I’m fine for a day. I see the chiropractor and I’m fine for a couple of days. Right now, I’m at frequent visits to the chiropractor to lick this thing. It really sucks when it impedes my ability to write or chop vegetables. There are days I spend all day just trying to relieve the pain naturally.

I’m having a parting of the ways with grains. It’s causing the inflammation in my hands which prevents any fine motor skills, especially in the morning the day after. This leads me back to why you’re really here – grain-free quiche.

It was the second week of having eggs back in my diet when I realized I could have quiche again. I have not had it since going gluten-free four years ago. I remember having a conversation with Shirley of gfe – gluten-free easily about gluten-free crusts. I was still fairly new and my adoration of quiche really rested on the crust. The buttery, flaky crust that just melted on the tongue. I would lovingly roll out that dough and meticulously place it in the tart pan. I knew it was best if I just didn’t even try. It turned out to be a good thing. While I still have those memories of the gluten-full crusts I used to make, they no longer rule my desire. I am content with things being different on my gluten-free diet instead of exactly the same.

Enter, grain-free crust. It’s not perfect. It will crumble a little from pan to plate, but it feels every bit as good on the palate as a gluten-full crust. At least to me. I could’ve spent more time on perfecting the crust, but the taste of it was more important to me. Plus, I wanted to give you something easy. Press it in once it is doughy and voila! Pie crust. You will need pie weights or dried beans to weigh it down for the par baking or it will rise and get fluffy. If you have a crust you prefer to use, by all means, use it. Don’t feel beholden to use mine.

If you want to make this dairy-free, use your favorite dairy-free milk. I’m used to using hard cheeses with quiche. I used cheddar once and it was okay so you could use a dairy-free cheddar, I just can’t guarantee how it will turn out since I rarely used dairy-free cheese while I was reacting to dairy. You could leave the cheese out and have something more like an egg pie or frittata in a crust or whatever you choose to call it. You will also want to sub the butter in the crust for Earth Balance or palm shortening.

If you don’t like bacon or you are a vegetarian leave out the bacon!

Grain-Free Bacon & Veg Quiche – serves 4-8
Crust:
2 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville)
1/2 cup butter, softened (or palm shortening or Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons chilled water (I used the full 2)
Filling:
6 ounces bacon, chopped (roughly 6 strips)
1 leek (approximately 3 inches of white and green part) quartered and sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch kale, chopped
salt & ground white pepper for seasoning
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk or dairy-free milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup hard cheese, shredded (Parmesan, Parmagianno-Reggiano, etc.)
Preheat the oven to 350º and set a 9″ pie pan to the side with pie weights or dried beans and parchment or wax paper. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour and salt. Add butter or shortening and cut into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until you have pea-sized balls of flour and butter. Add the chilled water a little at a time with a fork. The pea-sized balls should start sticking together like a dough. Don’t panic if it doesn’t, just set aside the fork and use your hands. Once it comes together, place it in the pie pan and press into the bottom and sides as evenly as you can. Place the parchment paper over the crust then pour the pie weights on top. Par bake the crust for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Remove pie weights and parchment paper then set aside until ready to fill.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon. Cook it until it is browned to your liking and fat has been rendered. Do not worry about anything sticking to the bottom of the pan (if you use stainless steel like me). Add in the leeks, season with ground white pepper and cook for two minutes. Add in the the red peppers, season with salt and ground white pepper, and cook until softened. Add kale, season with salt and ground white pepper, and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl add eggs, milk, salt, and ground white pepper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Add half the bacon and vegetables to the pie crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle half the cheese over the mixture then add half the egg mixture. Repeat with the remainder of the mixtures and cheese. Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes. At the end of the baking time, remove and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Chicken & Gluten-Free Dumplings

Chicken & DumplingsI never gave too much thought to chicken and dumplings until I moved to Kentucky. My mother rarely made it when I was growing up and it is not something you find in Hawai`i.

My MIL seemed to make it often though. She did the rolled dumplings. I was used to drop dumplings. I made them a few times, but drop dumplings are easier. Less to clean up!

I have worked on this recipe for the last two years trying different all-purpose gluten-free flour mixes and different measurements for the ingredients. The flour mix you use does matter. I am giving you two options: an all-purpose mix and measure your own flours. The all-purpose mix will give you a lighter, fluffier dumpling, especially if you use bacon fat. The measure your own flours will be a bit denser.

You can make this over the stove or in a slow cooker.

Chicken (or turkey) & Gluten-Free Dumplings – serves 4-6

1 pound cooked chicken or turkey, chopped

1 onion, diced

2 or 3 large carrots, quartered & sliced, OR 1 bunch small carrots, sliced

3 celery stalks, halved lengthwise & sliced

9 – 12 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried thyme OR 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

Salt to taste

1 cup frozen peas (or fresh)

2 cups Hodgson Mills All-Purpose Gluten-Free flour OR 2/3 cup brown rice flour, 2/3 cup sorghum flour, and 2/3 cup tapioca flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 – 3/4 cup dairy-free milk or cream

2 tablespoons bacon fat (melted), olive oil, or soy-free Earth Balance (melted)

Add chicken, onion, carrots, celery, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, and salt to a large pot or slow cooker. Simmer for an hour over the stove or on low in a slow cooker for 4 – 5 hours. The larger your carrot pieces, the longer you want it in the slow cooker.  Before the end of the cooking time, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Add in the fat/oil and dairy-free milk. Start with 2/3 cup of the dairy-free milk and slowly mix in more if needed. You want the dough to be thick. If it is thin, you will end up with pot pie instead. At the end of the cooking time, remove the bay leaf and add the peas. Drop the dough in by tablespoon. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more on the stove or 30 minutes more in the slow cooker. If you want to thicken your soup, add a little milk to the remaining dough mix in the mixing bowl to create a slurry and add it to the pot.

Dairy-Free Corn Chowder

Corn ChowderComfort food is different for everyone. A couple of months ago, my cousin posted a picture on Instagram of her Corn Chowder. Then it hit me, I had not made it in a long time. Probably because it is a cream based soup and I avoid cannot have dairy. I decided I wanted corn chowder and the lack of dairy was not going to stop me.

If you have not had corn chowder before, think New England clam chowder. Sometimes I think, where’s the clams, when I eat it. It is always a great thing to make a big pot of to have leftovers for later, which is how I cooked when I was in college and living on my own. I would not have to cook for days.

As this publishes, I am on my way to a small family reunion with my dad’s side of the family. While my cousin will not be there, her mom will be and I love her to death. She’s like a big sister, auntie, and mother all rolled into one.

I made this soup with several different coconut milk/creamer combinations. I am confident that it will also work with MimicCreme. I also added Butternut or Delicata squash in several of the experiments to up the vegetable factor. This is purely optional. I also went back and forth between fresh corn off the cob and canned corn. It tasted better with the fresh corn, but most people use canned corn which works just as well.

Corn Chowder – serves 4-6

2 ears corn, kernels removed, cob reserved OR 2 cans sweet corn OR 1 can sweet corn and 1 can creamed corn (do not drain the canned corn)

1 large leek OR 2 medium leeks OR 3 small leeks, quartered and sliced

12 ounces bacon chopped

2 Russet potatoes OR 1 pound gold/red/blue potatoes, diced

2 cups diced Butternut or Delicata squash (optional)

1 teaspoon dried thyme OR 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Salt to taste

2 teaspoons ground white pepper

1 pint So Delicious coconut creamer and 11 oz. So Delicious Culinary coconut milk OR 2 pints So Delicious coconut creamer OR 1 pint So Delicious coconut creamer and 1 can light coconut milk

Heat a large pot over medium and add bacon. Stir until the bacon sweats. Stir in leeks and let cook for about five minutes. Add corn, potatoes, and squash (if using). If using canned corn, include the liquid. Add salt and white pepper and stir well. Cook for one minute. Add coconut creamer and milk. Lower heat and simmer for an hour until potatoes are cooked through.