Kholodets is one of those recipes that sounds really weird, but it’s actually not too weird when you think about it: it is simply bone broth poured over shredded meat, but allowed to cool so it’s gelatinous. Then, you spoon it out and eat it with mustard or horseradish mayonnaise. Meat Jello? Yes, okay, meat jello. That sounds weird, BUT there was a time when it was quite normal to eat this gut-healing, nutrient-rich dish here in the US of A! Have you heard of aspic? Kholodets is basically the Ukrainian version of that.
CHERRY GARCIA! I never thought a dairy free, egg free ice cream could taste this good, but it did. The boyfriend used to love Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, so I decided to try to replicate it as best I could using some good quality ingredients. It also needed to be totally vegan, since he was going off dairy and eggs for the month of January, and I’m off dairy and eggs until further notice (boo, IgG allergies!). I’ve had mixed luck with coconut milk ice creams because it never quite lends the same creamy consistency as real cream, and when I first made this batch with a base of coconut milk, it didn’t thicken up at all, and then when I put it in the freezer, it turned into a huge ice cube. Sigh. So, I did some Googling to see what other people did to make a coconut milk ice cream actually turn out well, and I found a trick of using arrowroot starch to thicken up the coconut milk and allowing the mixture to chill. When it freezes, it has an amazing creamy texture that I thought I’d never be able to achieve with dairy-free ice cream!
An acquaintance gave me a recipe from The Bulletproof Diet for a chocolate truffle pudding. I wanted to try to make it for Christmas, but didn’t have all the ingredients and couldn’t have the butter that it called for. So, in Rosemary fashion, I gave it a few tweaks (read: make it completely unrecognizable from the original recipe), and what turned out was perfect! I am a huge, huge fan of peppermint chocolate. I used to be obsessed with those Andes Mints back in the day (helloooo, sugar addiction!) and this reminded me of that.
One thing that I really liked about Ukraine is that a lot of the food and traditional dishes are pretty darn Paleo. So, a lot of foods take little or no adaption to make them healthy and nutrient dense. (Our ancestors were onto something…) This salad is one of those dishes! It’s called ‘herring under a fur coat’ (selyodka pod shuboi/cеледка под шубой, or simply shuba/шуба). It’s a colorful layered salad with diced herring, onion and grated boiled vegetables under a red ‘coat’ made of beets and mayonnaise. It’s customary to have this on New Year’s and Christmas, in addition to a bunch of other cold salads. So, if you are looking for something different and adventurous to try this holiday season, give this one a whirl! Or, you know, if you’re reading this in April, still make it. It’s really good. I promise. If you’re squeamish about herring, or you can’t find it, just used diced cooked chicken; it will work just as well. There are lots of variations to this salad, but this is the version that I like the best.
Zuppa Toscana used to be one of my absolute favorite dishes at Olive Garden. I recently found this recipe for a copycat soup and it looked so darned good that I decided I needed to try to adapt it to make it gluten free and dairy free! It is, hands down, my favorite soup that I’ve made all season. It’s so good that I immediately wrote down exactly what I did so that I wouldn’t forget it for next time (because, you know, I have a brain like a sieve and that happens much more often than I would care to admit)! It reminds me a lot of the Senate Bean Soup I used to make all the time and loved, but this tastes better than that. I mean, bacon. AND sausage.
I’ve talked before about the fact I don’t particularly care for liver and ways that I have tried to sneak liver into my own food so that I can’t taste it. It would be fantastic if the world’s most nutrient dense food tasted like Reese’s peanut butter cups, but unfortunately it just isn’t so. I really liked the idea of making frozen raw liver “pills”, but in practice I found that they were fiddly and often froze with sharp edges so I couldn’t get them down quickly and I would still taste the liver. I knew that I could buy desiccated liver pills from different supplement companies, but they were expensive, especially the ones that were good quality, i.e. organic and grass fed, and many of them had fillers such as maltodextrin (what), which is derived from corn (yep). I wondered if it would be possible to make my own liver pills from local organic grass fed beef liver and gelatin capsules. I stumbled upon this blog post and was so excited to find that someone else had successfully done it and that it was a possibility! I found some high-quality, grass fed organic beef liver from Neiffer Ranch, which I can highly recommend if you have access to their products here in Eastern Washington State.