Cabbage Rolls – Paleo Approved

Paleo Style Cabbage Rolls

You simply have to try this.  It is a teeny bit time consuming but worth every minute.  The cabbage rolls I remember – and it’s been a really long time – were stuffed with white rice and ground beef.  These cabbage rolls are stuffed with ground beef and cauliflower rice so are therefore low carb, GAPS legal and paleo approved.  I did all the work the night before.  I made marinara from scratch, as always.  I suppose you could buy a jar or two if you are short on time but the sauce is great and has no weird ingredients so I think it is worth the effort.  I stuffed the cabbage rolls, put them in my crock pot, covered them and put them in the fridge overnight.  In the morning all I did was cover the rolls with the marinara and set the temperature to low.  I came home to an unbelievable aroma and a dinner ready to be devoured.

Paleo Cabbage Rolls

1 large head of green cabbage

Remove core and steam entire, intact head of cabbage in 1-2 inches of water for approximately 5-8 minutes.  Set the cabbage in the water core down.  There is a fine line between over cooking the leaves and leaving them still too stiff to be pliable.  It is probably easiest to steam for 5 minutes, allow to cool enough so that you can peel off the outer leaves and then stem for another couple of minutes to soften the inner leaves.  When you have the leaves soft but not too cooked and separated, set them aside.

Marinara

2 T olive oil

1 large onion chopped

6-7 cloves of garlic, minced

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 can tomato paste (6 oz)

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) or 2 cups chopped fresh

1 tsp dried basil

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 cups stock/bone broth, preferably homemade (I happen to use pork because that’s what I  grabbed out of the freezer. Beef or chicken or whatever would work too)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 tsp red wine vinegar/or fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat large saute pan and add olive oil.  Add onion, celery, garlic and carrots.  Instead of hand chopping these I just put them all in the food processor using the S blade and made it into a fine meal consistency.  It doesn’t really matter because you are going to blend the final sauce anyway.  Saute until veggies are soft, approximately 10 minutes.  Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and stock.  Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes then remove from heat.  Add red wine vinegar/lemon juice.  Start mixing the filling for the cabbage rolls now (See next section).  When you are done making the filling and the marinara has cooled a bit, use a stick/immersion blender or even food processor to blend your sauce to a smoother marinara.

Filling

1 large finely chopped onion

2 T bacon grease or other fat of choice

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp Italian seasoning (this should be only herbs with no fillers or preservatives)

1 1/2 lbs of ground beef (I used grass-fed)

1/2 large head of cauliflower, grated in food processor (I guess this could be done with a box grater but I value my knuckles and time)

1 egg

2 tsp sea salt

black pepper, however much you like

Saute onion and garlic in saute pan with fat.  Cook until onions are starting to brown and are soft.  In a large bowl combine raw beef, onions and garlic with remaining ingredients.  Mix well.   Using your hands is easiest.

Assembly

Fill each cabbage leaf with about 1/4 cup of filling.  Roll into cylinders and tuck flat edges under.  Some of my smaller leaves were still a little stiff (this is why I think the steaming should be done in two steps) so the edges were not tucked.  It didn’t matter.  I just wedged the looser ones in between the tighter ones.  I did all of this the night before and placed them in my crock pot, covered them and put them in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, well mid morning, I pulled them out and covered the rolls with all the sauce.  I set the crock pot to low and left the house.  I came home to dinner ready and an absolutely amazing smell.

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Mayo!!

Paleo Mayo

I love mayo.  I like it on nearly everything.  It’s a great way to get more coconut oil in your diet.  Commercial mayos are out for me for several reasons.  I prefer to avoid canola oil (high in omega 6 and canola is grown with LOTS of pesticides), soybean oil (I’m allergic to soy and it would likely be GMO soy anyway), preservatives, and the use of commercial eggs.  So, I make my own.  I think it tastes better and because all of the ingredients are good for me, I can slather it on everything and not have any guilt over it.  It takes about 5 minutes to make.  I would want to use it up within the week due to the raw eggs in it.  If you want to make it last weeks or even months just add 2 T of whey to it at the end and then let it sit out on the counter at room temperature to culture for 7 hours and then refrigerate.  I combine 2 oils in this recipe.  I use expeller pressed coconut oil because of its neutral flavor or should I say lack of flavor and it’s long list of health benefits and extra virgin olive oil so that it keeps the mayo from hardening in the fridge.  This mayo is really thick and stays spreadable even when cold.  The key to making mayo is #1 to pour the oil in really, really slowly and #2 to use a stick blender/immersion blender.  I’ve tried it in my mini food processor and it’s hit or miss when it comes to the thickness.  With the immersion blender it turns out perfect every time.  Bring on the mayo!

Mayo

Juice of half a lemon, no pulp, about 2 T

1 whole egg room temperature*

2 egg yolks, room temperature*

1/2 t sea salt

3/4 cup melted expeller pressed coconut oil (this should be at or just above room temperature – not hot)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 T whey (optional)

In a glass bowl add the lemon juice, salt and eggs.  Using the immersion blender mix until combined.  Then very slowly pour in the two combined oils while the immersion blender is running on high.  This should take several minutes to pour all the oil in.  When all the oil is added check seasoning and add more salt if needed.  If you will be culturing your mayo add whey now, mix well and leave out at room temperature for 7 hours before refrigerating.   If you are not culturing, refrigerate immediately and use within a week.

*Eggs should be as fresh as possible.  I personally would not use regular store bought eggs.  If you can get your hands on farm fresh eggs from chickens who are pastured and have a healthy diet that would be the best bet for safety.

Changes Coming to GfRealFood

Crickets…crickets… It’s been real quiet here at gfrealfood.  I’ve had a lot to think about lately.  Last December my husband and I went grain free.  We have been gluten free for more than 4 years and I personally have been dairy free for most of that time too.  I had been having some weird symptoms that my PCP and neurologist couldn’t find a cause for.  Within about 2 weeks of eliminating grain, dairy, all forms of sugar other than small amounts of honey or coconut sugar and all processed foods, I felt like the old me.  Every single symptom vanished.  I had energy, I felt happy and calm and had no physical complaints.  Life was good.  We even made it through Christmas following the plan.  Then in February we decided to have a blow it day.  Bad idea.  That day became a week.  And that week became….You get the idea.  It’s a very, very slippery slope.  Within days of going back to our old ways (although we were still gluten free and I remained dairy free) every single last symptom came back – with a vengeance.  I felt sure that my issues were food related.  I started seeing an allergist in March.  Turns out I was right.  I didn’t think I had allergies or intolerances beyond gluten and dairy.  I was stunned to find out I have a lot.  Finding out that I am allergic to corn put me into a serious funk.  I knew corn was in everything.  I read labels.  What I didn’t know was that it is in EVERYTHING.  I have come to believe that if it comes from a food manufacturer (i.e. in a box, bag, can, jar, bottle etc) and has more than 2 ingredients in it – it has corn in it.  Even my beloved bacon has corn in it in the form of sodium erythrobate.  Xanthan gum is corn based and it is used in a lot of gf baking and in many things as a thickener.  When we initially went gluten free I thought that was rough.  In hind site it was a piece of cake compared to eliminating corn.  The list of things that corn can be found in is FOUR pages long.   I am told that corn is, hands down, the most difficult single ingredient to eliminate.  It’s even in toothpaste, toilet paper, plastic cutlery, plastic bags and the list goes on and on.  What makes it even more difficult is that because corn is not on the FDA’s list of top allergens it doesn’t have to be listed on an ingredient label.  Thanks to the fact that our government subsidizes the corn industry it has found its way into nearly every product.  I wasn’t done feeling sorry for myself when I found out on my next visit to the allergist that I am also allergic to soy, coffee (ok, just shoot me now), citric acid (just try finding canned tomatoes without citric acid), dairy and brewers yeast (which is found in all vinegars and all alcohol – extracts included.)  Along with these there is a considerable list of things that I showed a slight reaction to that I am supposed to eat only once every four days.  Things on that list included: eggs, chocolate, almonds, cashews, peanuts, onion, bakers yeast…you get the idea.  So this all would explain my lack of posts here.  I have been completely stumped for ideas on what I can eat.  On the plus side of all this: it’s a great weight loss plan.  😉 

So what’s my plan?  Starve to death?  Resign myself to feeling like garbage for the rest of my miserable life?  No.  It’s GAPS to the rescue.  If you haven’t heard of GAPS please click on the link.  I could not do it justice to explain it here.  Anyway, I have hope and I am going to give it everything I have got to make it work.  I bought the book and as I was reading through it and was feeling totally overwhelmed, my favorite food blogger announces that she will be offering a GAPS cooking class.  Surely it was a sign.  I enrolled.  The first class (all are online) was released yesterday.  I can not believe the amount of work and information that went into this.  I feel like the cost of enrollment was a steal. 

So back to the changes to my blog.  From now on all recipes will be free of grain, corn (technically a grain), soy, dairy, gluten, brewers yeast and sugar.  All will be “full GAPS legal”.  If I am able to reverse some or all of these food allergies then this list will shrink in time.  For now though I am going to have to stick with these limitations.  Will this blog still be something that interests you?  I hope so. 

Anyone else have multiple food allergies?  Does anyone here have success with reversing them?  If you have any experience with this or with GAPS I would really love to hear from you.