Two Appetizer Recipes – AIP/Paleo

I went to a potluck last night…

Normally, I hate potlucks with a passion – usually there is very little that I can eat, and there is also always the risk that the few things that I can eat have been cross-contaminated simply by people not realizing that dropping crumbs or grated cheese or whatever all over other dishes (or even worse, using the spoon from one dish to serve themselves from another) means that there will be people who either cannot eat the food, or who may react badly.

For this particular potluck, I decided that I was going to make 2 dishes that I could eat – both appetizers…

And I made sure that they were placed right at the back of the table where there would be no accidental cross contamination from other foods – in fact, the only other foods around my dishes were some salad and some cut-up fruit

Both of these dishes make wonderful appetizers, but are also great to pack in lunch-boxes (ensure that they contents are kept cold), or for snacks…  and of course they are wonderful to bring to a potluck.

I really could have made more than I did – both went very fast…  my dishes were the only ones  that were empty at the end of the night!

Both of these recipes are 100% AIP as long as the bacon that is used is also AIP (be careful – some cures use “spices” that could contain nightshades).  If possible, try to use bacon that comes from pastured pork, and I like to avoid the ones that contain added (chemical) nitrates as I prefer more natural cures that contain salt, sugar and celery juice (which does contain nitrates, but in a more natural form).  I prefer to use thin-cut bacon for these recipes as it does not take so long to crisp up.

The first recipe I made was Bacon Wrapped Prunes, that I stuffed with a home-made chicken liver pate.

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If you choose to buy a pate instead of making your own, read the ingredients carefully to be sure that it does not contain any non-AIP ingredients, or those that you do not tolerate well.  Most bought pate’s will contain dairy and non-AIP spices.  Of course if you are not AIP, or you tolerate the ingredients well, then that is not a problem…

The prunes, as I discovered made for a VERY rich mouthful when combined with the pate and the bacon…  one or two are enough for most people.  But they are so delicious with the salty bacon combining with the sweetness of the prunes and the rich creaminess of the pate.

Pate Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Prunes

Makes 20-25 individual “bites”

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  • 6 TBSP Chicken Liver Pate – preferably homemade
  • 375g (aprox. 13oz) pack of bacon (preferably made from pastured pork)
  • 20-30 prunes
  • wooden cocktail sticks

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line a shallow-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (this makes for an easier clean-up).

Cut each strip of bacon into 3, crosswise across the strip, and lie them out on a cutting board.

Take your prunes, and stuff each one with ¼tsp chicken liver pate.  This can get messy fast!  Just try to keep your hands as clean as you can.

Lie the stuffed prunes at one end of each strip of bacon, then roll the bacon around the stuffed prunes, securing the end with a cocktail stick.

Lie the prunes on the prepared baking sheet with the free end at the bottom (it helps to stop them unrolling while they cook.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the bacon is crispy, turning at the 15 minute mark.

Remove to a wire rack to allow any fat to drain off.

These are good served hot or cold…  I served them cold at the pot-luck.

The second appetizer that I made was Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.

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These are really easy to make, and taste delicious.  They were the first thing to disappear at the potluck!

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Makes 25-30 individual “bites”

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  • 349g (aprox 12oz) bag of peeled (tail on) raw shrimp (thawed if frozen).  I used 31-40 count shrimp
  • 375g (aprox 13oz) pack bacon (preferably from pastured pork)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line a shallow-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (this makes for an easier cleanup).

Cut each slice of bacon into half lengthwise, and then half again crosswise to give 4 long thin strips of bacon.

Take a piece of bacon, and starting at the head-end, wrap it around the shrimp, ending at the tail.

Place the wrapped shrimp, end-side down, on the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat for the rest of the shrimp and the bacon.

Bake the shrimp for 10 minutes in the oven.  Remove and drain off any liquid that has accumulated.

Turn the oven to broil (grill if you are in the UK), and cook the shrimp to crisp the bacon on both sides (this took around 5 minutes per side).

Place the crisped shrimp on a wire rack to drain off any extra fat.

Serve hot or cold (I served these cold at the pot-luck).

Make lots!  They go fast….  But in the unlikely event that there are leftovers, store them in the fridge to eat as snacks.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #65

Shared at Simply Natural Saturdays

Shared at Awesome Life Friday

Shared at What to do Weekends

Grilled Shrimp With Mango, Strawberry, Avocado Salsa

It has been so hot here lately that I am not going to apologize for the large number of recipes that I am posting that use an outdoor grill – there is no way I am wanting to turn the stove on right now!

If you don’t have a grill, all the recipes I have been posting  could certainly be cooked in a skillet or under the broiler.  I am sure they would taste just as good.

One of my favourite things to cook on a grill is shrimp.  And shrimp also happens to be a very economical seafood, which is why we eat it quite a lot.

These grilled shrimp were just delicious.  I marinated them for a short time in a mixture of lime juice, honey and garlic which gave them a wonderful flavour, and the honey contributed to the caremelization on the surface.

I served these on top of a mango and strawberry salsa, meaning that the entire recipe is AIP friendly and suitable for the elimination phase of AIP.

If you are not AIP and can handle some chili, a chopped jalapeno chili would be wonderful in the salsa!

Grilled Shrimp with Mang0-Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

Serves 6

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For the grilled shrimp:

  • 2lb large shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
  • sea salt to taste

For the mango, strawberry, avocado salsa:

  • 1 cup strawberries – hulled and chopped
  • 1 large ripe mango – peeled, stoned and chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado – peeled, stoned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime

The first thing you need to do is to take some wooden or bamboo skewers and soak them in cold water for a couple of hours – this will stop them from burning on the grill.

Place the lime juice, honey, fish sauce, olive oil, garlic, ginger and salt in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes then leave to cool.

Divide the marinade in half, and pour one half over the shrimp.  Cover and refrigerate for half to one hour.  Keep the remaining half of the marinade to one side to use as a glaze.

While the shrimp is marinading, make the salsa.

Chop the mango, strawberries and avocado into evenly sized pieces and place them in a bowl.  Add the cilantro, green onions, lime zest, ginger and garlic, and season well with salt.  Mix well then pour over the olive oil and lime juice.  Give it all one final mix then store in the fridge until needed.

When ready to cook the shrimp, preheat the grill to medium hot.

Thread the shrimp onto the soaked bamboo skewers (I like to use 2 skewers for each as they hold the shrimp securely and makesthem easier to turn).

Grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side, brushing well with the reserved marinade.

Remove from the grill once the shrimp is pink and opaque and serve at once with mango, strawberry, avocado salsa.

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I like to put a bed of lettuce on a plate, top this with the salsa and then sit the shrimp skewers on top.

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I served this with some tostones made from green plantains.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup #34

Shared at Gluten Free Fridays #99

Shared at Real Food Fridays #46

Shrimp Scampi in a Spaghetti Squash Bowl

I have said it many times I know, but I LOVE to serve food in spaghetti squash “bowls”.  Part of this is that it is fun (and makes for good presentation of the food itself), but part of it is, much as it pains me to admit it, laziness.  There is no need for me to use a fork to pull the squash flesh into the spaghetti like strands this way as everyone can do it themselves as they eat the sauce that I have piled into the “bowl”. It takes less time, and I have less risk of burning myself while handling those hot squash.

And I really do think this is an improvement as it means that you do not need to take time to pull those “spaghetti” strands – you just fix the sauce, put it in the “bowl” and dinner is done.

When you are cooking a recipe like shrimp scamp, this is especially useful as the shrimp can be served at peak “cooked-ness”.  It will not overcook and get tough and rubbery while you pull the squash.  But the squash will also not get cold while you cook the shrimp…  it just makes for a far less stressful dinner!  And lets face it, part of the paleo lifestyle is reduction in stress….

The only downside is that you do need half a spaghetti squash for each person that you are serving, and you really do not want them to be huge unless everyone has really hearty appetites – that means you are sorting through the piles of squash looking for the smallest ones…

This recipe is not only Paleo, it is also AIP-Friendly (And pretty darn tasty to boot!)

Shrimp Scampi in a Spaghetti Squash Bowl

Serves 6

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  • 3 small spaghetti squash
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (you could also use ghee or butter if not sensitive to dairy)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic – peeled, crushed and chopped
  • 2lb raw large shrimp – peeled and deveined (the weight is for the peeled shrimp, not those with the shell still on)
  • ½ cup chicken bone broth
  • 1 lemon – juice and zest
  • unfrefined sea salt
  • chopped Italian parsley to taste

The first thing you are going to do is to halve your spaghetti squash and deseed them (I saved my seeds as I am hoping to grow my own spaghetti squash this year – if it is successful I will let you know!).

Cook the squash in a preheated 190°C (375°F) oven as posted here….

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Once the squash is done, remove them from the oven and leave to rest while you cook the shrimp.

Melt the coconut oil (or butter/ghee if using) in a large pan and add the olive oil.  Add the onions and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until softened.  Add the bone broth.  Let the liquid bubble to reduce until half the quantity remains (5-10 minutes).  Add the shrimp, lemon juice and zest, then taste and season with sea salt.  Toss until all the shrimp are pink and cooked through (about 5 minutes).   Sprinkle with parsley.

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Pile the  shrimp in the cooked spaghetti squash and serve at once.

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Shared at the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #23

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesday #113

Shared at Pennywise Platter

Shared at Fresh Foods Wednesday #80

Quick Shrimp & Avocado Salad

This is a fantastic dish to use for a quick lunch, a snack  or even for dinner.  Stuff this in tomatoes or hollowed out peppers.  Use it to fill lettuce leaves.  Just eat it with a fork…  no matter what you do with this, it is tasty.

And shrimp are a very economical source of seafood protein.

For this recipe I bought small ready-cooked peeled shrimp which saved a bunch of time.  I couldn’t see the point in buying shell-on, raw shrimp and then having to shell them and cook them.  Smaller shrimp are usually cheaper, and they work better in this recipe as well as you want everything bite-size.  The shrimp I used in this recipe were 70/100, so nicely bite-size.  If you only have bigger shrimp you are going to have to cut them up…  and that makes extra work.  The shrimp can be either fresh or frozen – your choice.  I use frozen because I am wary of fresh shrimp living in land-locked Alberta….  I worry about food poisoning!  Besides, freezing may change the texture of the shrimp a little, but it won’t affect the nutritional content.

This was a quick “throw it together” after-a-long-day-at-work dinner.  C helped me make the salad and mayo, and I served the shrimp piled on lettuce leaves with carrot and beet fries (C also helped me peel the carrots and beets).

This recipe contains red bell peppers which are an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Shrimp & Avocado Salad

serves 6 with leftovers

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  • 900g (2lb) small peeled, cooked shrimp (thawed and drained if previously frozen)
  • 2 avocados – peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch chives – chopped
  • 1 red pepper – diced
  • 2 sticks celery – diced
  • 2 tbsp capers – drained and chopped
  • 1-2 cups home-made mayo (just use as much as is needed to bind the salad together)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a generous squeeze of lemon juice

Really all you are doing here is mixing all the ingredients together and tasting to work out if it needs more salt and pepper….  Add the lemon juice to taste.

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I served this piled on lettuce leaves

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with a side of oven-roasted carrot and beet fries

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and some homemade pickles that a very kind person at work gave me…

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A nommy and very quick dinner!

Shrimp And Crab Cakes With Avocado Mayo

This was a delicious meal…  tender, tasty seafood (who does not love shrimp and crab?), shaped into crispy coconut coated cakes, with a creamy, green avocado mayonnaise to dip them in.  And because they are baked in the oven, there is no need to fry (less spitting fat and the coconut does not get burned) which meant that they were not greasy.

I served this for dinner with a salad, but they would make a really great appetizer or snack as well…  This made a HUGE amount of the shrimp and crab cakes – I served us all 3 each, and we all struggled to eat them…  and there were half a dozen left over for snacking later on.

The itty-bitty little fried egg on top was a guinea-fowl egg.  We received 6 of these as part of a “meal-deal” from Greens Eggs and Ham from the Symons Valley Farmers Market….  6 guinea-fowl eggs don’t go a whole way to feeding 6 people so it made sense to use them up as a topper for another protein ingredient.  They don’t taste much different from regular eggs – a little richer maybe (probably because the yolk is bigger in comparison to the whites).  Either way, they made a tasty little extra to this dish.

This recipe contains chilli which is a stage 4 AIP Reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Shrimp and Crab Cakes

Serves 6-8 as a main course or a crowd as an appetizer/snack (around 30 cakes)

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2 x 340g packs of frozen shrimp (peeled and de-veined)

2 x 120g cans crab-meat

1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1 bunch green onions (aprox 5) – trimmed and chopped

4 cloves garlic – crushed

juice and zest of 1 lemon

juice and zest of 1 lime

1 jalapeno – seeded and roughly chopped

1 tbsp Dijon mustard (read labels to make sure that it does not contain any non-paleo ingredients)

2 eggs

1/2 cup parsley

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

extra coconut to coat

melted coconut oil

Avocado mayo

2 avocados (peeled and stoned)

1 cup homemade mayonnaise

2 chipoltle chillies in adobo sauce

1 tsp sriracha sauce

splash of lime juice to taste

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

Place the shrimp, coconut, green onions, garlic, citrus juice and zest, jalapeno, dijon, eggs and parsley in a food processor.  Pulse to a smooth paste.  Add the crab meat and pulse until it is incorporated but not pureed.

Put the extra coconut in a shallow dish.

Spoon our roughly 2 tbsp of the shrimp and crab mixture and coat in the coconut.  Place on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with some melted coconut oil.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

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To make the avocado mayonnaise, place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Transfer to a serving dish and chill until required.

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I served the crab cakes over a simple green salad of spinach, dandelion greens, watercress and arugula, dressed with a apple-cider-vinegar vinagrette (a 1:3 part ration of ACV and  olive oil), and then I topped it all off with a fried guinea-fowl egg…  just because….

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And the green avocado mayo was served separately for those who wanted it for dipping purposes.

Shrimp Korma with Cauliflower “Rice”

If you have been following my blog for any time, it will come as no surprise when I say that I LOVE curries!  We eat one at least once a week and sometimes twice.

But I also try to include plenty of fish and seafood into our diet….

So the other day I decided to make a shrimp curry.

The one I chose to make was a Korma.  Korma’s are mild, creamy curries, and I felt that this would not overpower the delicate flavour of the shrimp.

I was not wrong – this was delicious!

The red pepper and tomato make this an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Shrimp Korma

Serves 6

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1 tbsp fat of your choice – I used coconut oil

1/2 onion – chopped

1 red pepper – chopped

1 1/2 tbsp tapioca flour

1 tbs grated fresh ginger

3 cloves of garlic – crushed

2 tbsp curry powder (I use a hot curry powder, but you can use which ever type you prefer)

1 tbsp garam masala

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups bone broth (I used a chicken bone broth)

1 cup coconut milk

1 tomato – diced

1 cup frozen green peas (you could substitute another vegetable if you prefer)

800g bag uncooked frozen shrimp (mine had not been peeled – if you buy ready-peeled shrimp you would probably need less)

Cauliflower “rice” to serve

Melt the fat in a large, heavy based pan.  Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until it is starting to soften.  Toss in the pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Then add the tapioca flour, the curry powder and the garam masala.  Stir for 30 second and then add the bone broth and bring to the boil.  Add the coconut milk and tomato, reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Stir in the peas and the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp are pink.  Season to taste and serve at once over cauliflower “rice”.

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Easy Cauliflower “Rice”

serves 6

1 small head of cauliflower, broken in to florets

1/2 onion – chopped

1 tbsp fat of your choice – I used coconut oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the cauliflower in a blender and pulse until it resembles grains of rice.  You may need to do this in batches.

Heat the fat in a skillet or wok and add the onion.  Cook until it is starting to soften.

Add the cauliflower “rice” and toss until it is tender – this will take around 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at once.