Friday, October 4, 2013

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday ~ Mushroom Spores & Meatball Soup (Coffee Concerns, too.)

Before I tell you about our mushroom outing and observation, and about a meatball soup we tried this week, I just have to share a recent discovery about the connection between Celiac Disease and coffee.  I found a message in my Facebook inbox today from a friend who figured I already knew it, but thought she'd share the information just in case.  Well, I didn't already know, and I found the article she sent very interesting...and quite sad for coffee lovers with Celiac Disease.  It turns out that coffee is a very common "cross-reactive compound" for those who have gluten sensitivities.  Dairy is the most common cross-reactive, but coffee produces the most severe reaction.  Here are the articles I read:

It's interesting to me, because many times I've had an aversion to coffee due to a severe reaction I had after drinking it, but I love coffee!  I don't drink it in the mornings; I drink tea. But I really, really enjoy having a cup in the afternoon, after a Sunday lunch, or a daily 3pm iced coffee when it's warm outside. So NOT wanting it for days at a time means that my stomach just really does not feel up for this "treat."  I often wondered why this was happening.  I thought maybe it was the combo of something I ate and the coffee, but now I wonder if this new science and understanding has uncovered the reason for problems I was encountering.

Hmmmm....but it has to do with processing the coffee, and for some reason, organic, whole bean coffee does not trigger as severe a response.

My grocery bill is already so crazy, I doubt I will be buying organic coffee anytime soon.
Is it a slime mold?  Is it some sort of flat shelf fungus?
 Well, enough about coffee, and on to mushrooms.  This week my Challenge II class got to go on another outdoor excursion to collect mushrooms. After a quick picnic lunch on Cushman Common, we hit the Robert Frost Trail and found all SORTS of interesting fungi!
Jesse is quite the kinesthetic learner.  Gross.
Jesse tricked me into touching this white-fungus-ricotta-cheese-like substance growing on different parts of this tree.  I screamed and jumped upon touching it lightly with my pinky finger. It was creamy and cold and disgusting, but he managed to pack some into his ziploc bag with. his. hands. (and fling it all over his pants), so that we could observe it under the microscope back in class.  Somehow it did not occur to him to use a stick or leaf as tools of collection.
Six of the nine mushroom hunters.
They love being outside.  It was hard to rein them in, as they kept traveling farther and farther into the woods and along the trail, but we had important pastries and drinks to purchase at the Cushman Market and Cafe before we headed back to class, so back toward the trail head we went.  First item on the cafe agenda: WASH. YOUR. HANDS.
Back in class, everyone got to create their own slide of spores from their personal collection of mushrooms.  It was difficult to decide which ones to choose, and a few made time to make two slides, but everyone eventually got their spores in focus, and they all looked a bit different.  Sketches were made, and lab procedures and supplies were noted. Now they are spending the week at home writing up a formal lab report on this "experiment" among a multitude of other assignments. Mushrooms and molds and fungi are nature's important decomposers.  Together we marveled at God's wise handiwork. He thought of everything, of course!
Pretty cute ~ and sharp ~ kiddos on a beautiful fall afternoon.
No, I did not bring home any mushrooms for the purpose of adding them to my Turkey Meatball Soup.  In fact, I even had trouble gearing myself up just to think about cooking dinner after dealing with fungi all day, but I pressed on to patting mini-meatballs together for a soup idea I came across in a magazine recently.  It wasn't a paleo magazine or a dedicated gluten free one, but the recipe just naturally happened to be both.

The most tedious part is forming the meatballs, of course, but they cook fairly quickly.  I loved using fresh parsley as a tasty herb for these.
It's a sort of a tomato soup stock that the mushrooms meatballs eventually go into.  Roasting tomatoes and onions together before pureeing them into the chicken broth made the house smell delicious!
And the finished product was enjoyed by all ~ along with GF corn muffins for the teenagers and paleo blueberry muffins for the grown-ups. Perfect fall dinner!

Here's the recipe ~ enjoy!

Roasted Tomatoes and Turkey Meatball Soup

4-5 large tomatoes (or 6-8 Romas, etc.)
2 medium white or yellow onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs ground turkey
sea salt
4 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
8 cups chicken broth or 4 cups plus 4 cups water

Coarsely chop tomatoes and onions.  Toss lightly with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until tender and slightly browned/charred.  

Mix parsley, and salt and pepper to taste into the ground turkey.  Form mixture into mini meatballs and place on another baking sheet.  You will probably need two baking sheets for this.  Bake meatballs at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Heat broth and add roasted tomatoes and onions to it. Puree in batches in a blender and return to soup pot.  Continue to heat pureed soup over medium heat and add meatballs to the soup base once they are cooked through.  Keep over medium heat for 10 more minutes, and then serve.

P.S.  This would be great with ground beef or bison, too.  You would probably want to switch to beef broth in that case, though!


Jerry Jacobs said...

Did you ever see the TED talk by Paul Stamets about mushrooms curing breast cancer? fascinating stuff!

Anonymous said...

We tried the roasted tomato and meatball soup this week. Very nice! Love, K&J