Today we welcome Kim as our guest blogger. After her son, and subsequently her husband, were diagnosed with Celiac Disease five years ago, Kim, of Cook IT Allergy Free, decided to embrace the challenge and teach herself everything there was to know about eating gluten free. Thus, she began work on a Master’s Degree in Nutrition (with an emphasis in Holistic Nutrition). She started having so much fun on her new educational path that she knew she had to help others learn how to enjoy feeding their families when dealing with Celiac Disease and other food allergies and sensitivities. She understands, all too well, the struggles that are faced in the kitchen when dealing with food substitutions. She wanted to teach how to embrace these challenges with gusto!
Kim’s Recipe: Drunken Chicken and Vegetables with our Farmer’s Market Bounty
Kim’s Tip: If you eat what is grown in the ground, you do not have to waste time reading labels.
When I was asked by Diane, of The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, to be a part of the 30 Days to a Food Revolution (the extended version, now that we are beyond the original 30 days), first I was so incredibly honored to be included in such an important event, and second, I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about.
I wrote in a blog post a while back, that when I was growing up, family gatherings began with cooking together all day in the kitchen and then culminated with dinners that lasted long into the night. These meals were filled with slow, easy conversations that melted easily from one topic into the next. The children were included in all of it – no banishment to the “kids table” happened here. There was this comfortable sense that all was right in the world when we were around that table together.
I have said often that food was the “gluten” of our large extended family, binding us together over meals prepared with so much love (and yes, plenty of wheat). So, as I started my own family, and the words Celiac Disease and Gluten Free became a regular inclusion in our everyday language, I had to still the fears that our family gatherings would start “crumbling” without the “gluten”. I took this as the challenge to prove that there really was a “bon appétit without the wheat”! What I learned in the process of this has changed the way I will look at food forever. What a wonder it is to feed our bodies in the ways that our ancestors ate.
We have now learned to “bind” our family together in a new way. And our “glue” comes in the form of fresh produce and foods made with brown rice, quinoa, millet, teff, sorghum, buckwheat, nut flours, bean flours, and coconut flour with a little xanthan gum thrown in sometimes to keep it all together. The result… we all feel better, have more energy, and still feel the joy of coming together around the table over a meal made with pure, unprocessed, whole food ingredients.
However, our society has become one of convenience – whole foods are not the commonplace. Family dinners are often few and far between with our hectic schedules. We even have a name for the way our nation eats: The Standard American Diet. It isn’t the name that is bad, but the tongue-and-cheek acronym that is used to refer to it: The S.A.D. Diet.
Somewhere along the line, Americans have lost sight of the fact that healthy food is fresh food. Now our nation’s diet usually consists of a myriad of processed carbs (cereals, breads, pasta, cookies, cakes etc.), processed meat products, and a few fruits and veggies. This diet is high in many things, most of which our bodies don’t really need. It is full of hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, phytic acid, acrylamide, sodium nitrate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lacking in basic essentials such as vitamins, minerals.
And with the prevalence and increase of food allergies and different conditions requiring special diets, imagine how exhausting it is to read the labels of all of these foods that have umpteen ingredients, most of whom you do not dare even say out loud for fear of mispronunciation! Even worse is that there can be allergens hidden in some of these complicated ingredient names that we do not even know about. Hence, my tip: If you eat what is grown in the ground, you do not need to waste time reading these labels. Fresh produce does not require a science degree to understand– it is nature’s most bountiful and simple gift to us. Let us all work together to support Mother Earth’s natural ecosystem. Let us teach our children where their food comes from. In the process, we will find this also leads to a healthier version of our own inner ecosystems!
Our family has now learned to spend a lot of time perusing our local farmer’s markets and we have just started receiving our weekly organic produce basket from Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op and our monthly delivery of grass-fed meats, foraged chickens, and free-range eggs from A Bar H Farms. The fun begins when we try and create meals that include ingredients from all of these treasure troves. And thus, this is how the recipe for Drunken Chicken and Vegetables evolved for 30 Days to A Food Revolution.
Drunken Chicken and Vegetables
¼ lb Applegate Farms Organic Sunday Bacon (nitrite free), cut into ½ inch pieces
3 lb bone-in, skin-on organic chicken pieces
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
½ tsp pepper, or more to taste
1 tablespoon: olive oil
1: large organic yellow onion, thinly sliced
8-10: cloves organic garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound: organic carrots, sliced however you like
8 ounces: artichoke hearts, in water, drained
½ cup: fresh organic mushrooms, left whole (I used Baby Bella’s)
1 ½ cup: dry white wine (I used an organic white from Napa, however, you can use a 12 oz bottle of gluten free beer instead of the wine – have done this MANY times and it lends an awesome flavor if you are not sensitive to yeast)
½ lb organic fingerling potatoes, halved
1 ¼ cups: gluten-free organic chicken stock
2 teaspoons: fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons: fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1: bay leaf
1/3 cup: green onions, sliced white and green parts
3 cups: brown rice or quinoa, cooked
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper.
3. Heat oil in a heavy 5-quart Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
4. Add the olive oil to the drippings and brown chicken in the Dutch oven turning once, about 5 minutes total. Will most likely have to do it in batches so you do not over-crowd the pan (add a little more olive oil, if necessary). Transfer chicken as it is done to a plate and set aside.
5. Add onions and cook until soft and golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and potatoes and cook for a few minutes more, until they start to caramelize and brown a bit.
6. Add wine (or beer) and deglaze the pan with it by scraping off all of the delicious browned bits. Then add chicken stock, rosemary, basil and bay leaf and stir well.
7. Return chicken, along with any accumulated juices, to the Dutch oven and spoon vegetable mixture over the tops of the chicken. Cover and transfer to the oven.
8. Cook until chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf from pot.
9. Spoon chicken, with its vegetables and sauce, over the brown rice or quinoa and serve garnished with green onions.
This is a forgiving recipe – you can add more or less of what you like or don’t like. And as my neighbor says all of the time, “I only measure medication – I leave the food to taste…“
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