Toum! Lebanese Garlic Dip – Gluten Free and AIP!

A few years ago, we were travelling through Kalamazoo, en route to Toronto. It was the first of our site scouting trips to prepare for our upcoming move back to Canada, and my husband wanted to stop by his favourite brewery – Bell’s – on the trip. We stopped for lunch at a random shawarma place, and my world was ROCKED.

I have no idea how I’d never tried toum before then. It was this thick white dip that they served alongside their grape leaves… SUPER potent with garlic – it burned to eat! – and was absolutely addictive. I wanted to put it on everything! We cleaned our plates, bought some more to go, and made a point of stopping off at that same restaurant on subsequent trips between Minnesota and Ontario.

The thing is, it wasn’t listed as “toum” on the menu. They just called it their house garlic sauce – or something similar – and I’d assumed it to be a unique thing. It wasn’t til one of my facebook friends mentioned “garlic dip” alongside “toum”, that I googled and found my long lost love, LOL. Not only did it mean I had a name of an item to look for / ask for when dining out, I found that it was something that is very easy to make at home. I put that knowledge aside for the time being.

Recently, I’ve had to adopt the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet, as a result of some thyroid weirdness. The next 6 months mean a very strict diet that cuts out a lot of fun stuff – nightshades, grains, dairy, seeds, nuts, sugar, etc. It’s not that big a deal for me – I cook, I can make any diet taste great! – but it does sting a little, now that we’ve moved to Hamilton. You see, there is a shawarma place pretty much on every block here, and we were definitely getting into trying as many as we could, before this change of dietary direction. Amazing stuff, as far as the eye can see!

This past weekend, I was really, REALLY wanting some shawarma… so I came up with an AIP version. I’ll be blogging that shortly, but wanted to post components of it, first.

Now, you don’t have to be on AIP to go for AIP shawarma. It’s an excellent dish on its own (“I want 6 more of these, right now… but I am FULL, AUGH!” – my non-AIP husband, when I made shawarma wraps from the leftovers), and it’s a great option when dealing with a number of dietary restrictions. It’s nightshade free, so safe for the many people who have that allergy. It’s gluten-free, paleo, dairy free, and avoid all of the most common allergens. If you’re cooking for a group that involves some people with dietary restrictions, it’s a good place to start!

So, first part of that: Toum.

This is every bit the burny, addictive, wildly satisfying garlic condiment that we had in Kalamazoo. A simple change of oils used takes it from not being AIP safe, to AIP all the way – with no change in the taste. This is exactly the sort of thing that any number of articles warn you to not eat before a date, for some reason. So bizarre. IMHO, if you’re dating someone afraid of garlic breath … you need to reconsider your standards. Accept no less than someone that who will fight you for the last bit of garlic deliciousness left on the plate!

This is super easy to make – with a food processor – and requires fairly basic ingredients.

A word on the garlic used: I’m lazy, and buy garlic cloves that have been pre-peeled by the produce department at my local grocery store. (For $2.50 for about a cup worth of garlic, it’s not worth it to peel them myself, IMHO!). I haven’t tried this with the mass produced pre-peeled garlic, but would assume that to be almost as good, just not as fresh. I would NOT recommend using pre-minced garlic, as that always tastes bitter and weird.

I use a very light olive oil for this, so the flavour doesn’t compete with the garlic too much. You could, alternatively, use all avocado oil, instead of the mix. If you don’t need to follow AIP diet restrictions, feel free to save a few bucks by using canola oil instead.

With regards to oil amounts: as listed, this will give you a nice, thick dip. If you’re looking for a bit thinner, you can continue to add more oil – about 3 cups total will give you more of a sauce consistency, rather than the dip.

Enjoy! Also: Keep an eye out for the coming recipes – AIP quick beet pickles, chicken shawarma, and more! Follow us on any of our social media accounts for updates, or subscribe to our newsletter for monthly emails!

Toum Recipe
Makes about 3 cups

2/3 cup garlic cloves
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup+ lightly coloured/flavoured olive oil
1 cup+ avocado oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Peel and press your garlic cloves, add to the bowl of your food processor, along with the salt. Process until it forms a paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times.

While the processor is running, stream in the oils and lemon juice slowly, alternating between oils and juice. I measured both oils into a larger measuring cup, and streamed about 1/2 cup oil, then 1 tsp of lemon juice. I allowed about 3 seconds between each individual stream – so oils, 30 seconds, lemon juice, 30 seconds, etc. This was to make sure it didn’t “break” the emulsion.

Once all the oils and lemon juice have been added, allow the processor to run until you have a nice, thick, whipped product that’s about the consistency of a thick mayonaisse. Cover and store in the fridge for up to a week or so. (IF it lasts that long!).

Serve as a veggie or pita dip, in wrap sandwiches, with stiffed grape leaves, or wherever else you feel like getting punched in the face with garlic.

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage – Gluten Free and AIP

Last night, I adapted my sweet potato recipe – from Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach To Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking – to go one step beyond (haha!) being gluten free: I needed it to be AIP (Autoimmune protocol) friendly also.

As far as the gnocchi itself, this meant swapping out most of the added starches, getting rid of the eggs, and omitting the – optional – nutmeg. What resulted was a MUCH simplified gnocchi. All things considered, I think I might even prefer it to the original Beyond Flour 2 recipe!

The part where it got a little more painful was sacrificing the brown butter sauce that originally accompanied the recipe… and that I was very much in the mood for last night.

Luckily, there are a number of AIP friendly fats that work well and add a great flavour to the dish. You can use lard, bacon fat, or duck fat. If you don’t need to avoid dairy, feel free to swap in butter for the sauce. As a note: The professional photos in the blog entry are of the original recipe, from the book. The only difference in appearance is the brown butter sauce – but I’ve included a crappy cell phone photo of last night’s supper to prove that!

As with my original BF2 sweet potato gnocchi recipe, this one avoids one of the big problem areas of making traditional gnocchi – boiling potatoes. For sweet potato gnocchi, the sweet potatoes are dry cooked, not boiled – so heavy, doughy, waterlogged dumplings aren’t likely to happen! As with traditional gnocchi though, you’ll want to handle every stage of mixing with a light hand – keep it as fluffy and loose as possible up to the point of rolling. Handling everything gently will ensure that you’ll end up with soft, pillowy gnocchi.

A note: you’re looking for tubers that have orange flesh, and a lot of the time, they’re sold as “yams” (and those aren’t necessarily even yams!). “Yam gnocchi” sounds weird though… so, we’ll call it “Sweet potato”, though you may have to buy something labeled as “yams”. Isn’t a lack of consistency in terminology FUN?

The texture is great – actual gnocchi. No gumminess or sandiness, they were easy to work with and held together well. If you’re like us, you’ll want to double the mushrooms in the sauce – they are FABULOUS in this.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage – Gluten Free and AIP

Makes about 3 hearty servings, 4 if you have more self restraint than we do.

2-3 large yams / sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups cassava flour
1 1/4 tsp salt, plus more for boiling water

Scrub and pat the sweet potatoes dry, use a fork to pierce each of them all over. Cook them in one of two ways:

1. Roast at 375 F for 45-60 minutes, or until soft all the way through.
2. Place in a microwave safe baking dish, nuke for 25 minutes or so, until soft.

Either way, place cooked sweet potatoes aside and allow to cool a bit before proceeding.

Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel skin off them and puree or put through a ricer – make sure there are no lumps. Measure out 2 cups of sweet potato, reserving the rest for a future use (can be frozen.). Allow to cool completely before adding the olive oil, mixing well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt to combine well. Add flour mixture to cooled sweet potato, gently fold to combine. Using clean hands, gently knead the mixture together to form a dough – it shouldn’t be sticky at all. If sticky, add a small amount of cassava flour, until it’s workable.

Divide dough into 10 roughly equal pieces. One at a time, roll each out into long “snakes”, each about the thickness of a thumb. Cut each roll into bite-sized pieces, about 3/4″- 1″ long.

If you’re feeling lazy, you can cook these up as-is. Otherwise, you can roll them over a fork to produce the traditional ridged gnocchi shape. There are many possible ways to do this, and you may want to play with it a bit until you find your own groove. For me – when I’m feeling industrious – I gently (but firmly!) roll each gnocchi over the back of the fork, aiming towards the pointed ends of the tines. As I roll, the gnocchi will curl over itself into a slight “c” shape. Practice, experiment, and if necessary – Youtube has great tutorials for a variety of methods.

Start a fresh pot of boiling water, and salt it well. Bring it to a gentle, not rolling boil, and cook your gnocchi in batches. As they float to the top, allow them to cook another minute or so before using a slotted spoon to remove them, transferring to a clean bowl or plate. Serve hot and fresh, with sauce of your choice.

As shown:

Mushrooms and Sage

1 Tbsp Olive oil
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
salt
Fat of choice – 1/3 cup
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, packed & chopped

Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan. Sauté mushrooms, shallots, and garlic until they start to soften, seasoning with a little salt. Add fat of choice, allow to melt before adding sage leaves.

Cook for a few minutes, until butter starts to brown and sage leaves crisp up. Add gnocchi to pan, toss to coat. Taste, season with a little more salt, if needed.

Serve hot.

As promised, my crappy cell phone pic of dinner last night:

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

AIP Paleo Chicken Pad Thai – Gluten Free

So, part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is that I ran into some health problems, and have been spending some time sorting things out in the aftermath.

I’m fine now – I just went from needing a hefty dose of thyroid meds to not needing ANY, without anyone noticing. The resulting massive over-medication of thyroid meds upended my whole life since October 1. Can I just say how thankful I am that it happened in Canada, vs while we were still in the US? Ooof, so many ER visits, specialists, and testing.

Now that things are leveling out, one thing led to another, and I’ll be on a restricted diet for the next few months – The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet. It’s basically a step beyond paleo, getting rid of nightshades, allergens, and inflammatory foods. Already seeing some benefit, so that’s great!

It’s been interesting, feeling my way around the first few weeks. I’m well versed in gluten-free, and I’m well versed in low carb… but following most of what I was doing while low carb, but not really worrying about carbs has been… a trip. It’s been a lot of fun being on a “diet” and actually losing weight, while not having to obsess about whether or not a small handful of shredded carrots is going to screw me up. I can have beets! Sweet potatoes! Maple syrup! All the fruit I can handle – AND IT’S SUMO ORANGE SEASON! MUAHAHAHHAAAA!!

Anyway.

While I do have a bunch of non-diet recipes photographed and lined up to post, I’ll be interspersing some AIP stuff as well. Much like my other recipes, this stuff is just good food – restricted or not. My husband isn’t doing AIP himself, and has been loving the offerings over the past few weeks. Basically, don’t let the “AIP” or “Paleo” scare you off, if you’re not needing those kinds of restrictions!

The first AIP recipe I want to share is my Chicken Pad Thai. It’s an allergy-friendly version of my normal pad Thai. No nightshades (hot pepper flakes), grains (rice, rice vinegar), legumes (bean sprouts), nuts (peanuts), etc. The rice noodles were swapped out in favour of shirataki noodles – Asian yam noodles. They’re 0 effective carbs, so if you’re watching that kind of thing, a GREAT option! The rice vinegar was swapped for apple cider vinegar, I bumped up the amount of tamarind for more flavour, and added some ginger for a bit of heat.

This recipe is quite customizable – add more ginger for more heat, or leave it out if you don’t like ginger. Add some shredded cabbage in at the end if you have some on hand, or maybe a couple handfuls of bean sprouts if you’re just doing paleo, rather than full AIP. If you’ve reintroduced peanuts, go ahead and toss a handful in at the end – same goes for egg. Feel free to scramble up an egg and toss it in, if you’re not avoiding them. Not worried about gout? Feel free to add some shrimp, or substitute it for the chicken entirely.

A note on the tamarind paste – you can get stuff that’s relatively solid, or you can get stuff that’s like a thick sauce – either way will work, just be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure there’s nothing unacceptable added. Also, the “sauce” style tends to be a bit less in-your-face, so feel free to stir a bit extra in, if you’re not feeling it as-is. I like to start at about 1 Tbsp if solid, 1 ½ Tbsp if using the saucier style.

Paleo AIP Chicken Pad Thai
Makes 2 Servings

2 packages Shirataki noodles
1 – 1 ½ Tbsp tamarind paste
1/4 cup very hot water
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp ginger puree
1 tsp arrowroot starch

1 Tbsp olive or avacado oil
2 chicken breasts, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed/minced

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 lime, cut into wedges

Drain shirataki noodles. Place into a large bowl or pot, cover with water. Set aside.

For solid tamarind paste: break tamarind up in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add hot water and whisk well. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to soften, then whisk again. Strain liquid through a wire mesh strainer, pressing as much pulp through as you can. Discard remaining pulp and any seeds.

For sauce tamarind paste: Whisk paste and water together.

To the tamarind mix, add honey, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce, and ginger puree. Add arrowroot starch, whisk well to combine, then set aside.

Once your sauce is ready, drain the noodles. I like to take a few paper towels and press them down into the noodles to soak up some of the excess water – the more water you get out of them, the more flavourful the noodles will be once you get them sauced!

In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, saute chicken and garlic in the olive oil, until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Add drained noodles to the pan. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes or so, allowing the noodles to dry out a little.

Whisk sauce one more time and add to the pan, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes or so, until sauce thickens a little and coats everything nicely.

Remove from heat, add cilantro, green onion, and lime wedges, stirring to combine. Serve immediately.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.