Thursday, December 06, 2007

Creamy Green Bean Casserole

While spending thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle's place, we couldn't help but notice all the TV ads for that nasty-ass canned green bean/condensed soup/fried onion casserole. It got my Aunt and I thinking-- fresh green beans don't sound too bad... what about a casserole thickened with a roux, packed with cheese and bacon? Well, I finally tried it (changed the bacon to ham; I didn't want to overpower the green beans) and it's mighty fine! So utterly creamy, with a topping of crunchy potato chips. Gluten-Free AND Condensed-Soup Free!

Serves 2 (3 as a side dish)
40 minutes
Pre-heat oven to 425 F.
-large saucepan
-9" cake pan (-or- favorite casserole dish; no need for a lid)

2 cups fresh green beans, ends removed
1 medium white onion, halved then thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. butter or non-dairy alternative (I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods buttery spread)
1.5 Tbsp. GF flour (I used Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour-- I think it's mainly sorghum)
6 slices of honey ham, cut into bits/squares (I'm a cheap grad student and used Oscar Mayer cold cut slices, cut into squares
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, or non-dairy alternative (GNFoods soy Parmesan)
1/4 cup. grated cheddar cheese, or non-dairy alternative (GNFoods rice slices)
1 cup Swanson Natural Goodness chicken broth (one half of a 14 oz can)
3/4 cup smashed Original Wavy Lays potato chips

0. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Set out your casserole dish... I used a 9" non-stick cake pan because they're way easy to clean.
1. Wash the fresh green beans. Remove the ends and cut the longer beans in half (so none are over 2 inches long). Place cut beans in the large saucepan and cover with water.
2. Bring the beans to a rolling boil over high heat. Boil the green beans in for 5 minutes; don't overcook, you want them to be crisp-tender. Drain the beans (discard the water) and set beans aside in the waiting casserole dish. Now on to the sauce...
3. Peel and wash the onion. Slice into thin O's. Half the onion rings so you have half-circles. Set aside.
4. Melt butter in same, emptied, large saucepan over low heat. Stir in GF flour until smooth. Raise temperature to medium-low. Cook flour mixture, barely bubbling, for a minute. Add in cut white onion. Stir to coat (roux should be thick and sticky).
5. Get out your ham slices and tear off small pieces (I used my fingers). Add ham pieces to the saucepan. Mix well to coat. Cook onion and ham for 5 minutes, or until onions begin to turn translucent.
6. Add in parmesean cheese and cheddar cheeese. Stir well . Also add in chicken broth in 1/4 cup increments, stirring between each broth addition. The roux should thin a little, but not clump up. It should be smooth and creamy. Taste; add more cheese if you wish.
7. Combine onion/cheese sauce with cooked green beans-- I spooned the waiting beans from the casserole dish back into the saucepan, but if you have a large casserole dish, mix everything together in there instead. Mixture should be thick, coating the beans.
8. Spoon beans/sauce into waiting casserole dish (cake pan). Crumble smashed Wavy Lay's Original potato chips over the top.
9. Cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes in preheated 425 F degree oven; or until the top browns and the sauce is bubbly. Let cool 2-3 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Roasted Rosemary Turkey Legs

A single college student living alone wants turkey for thanksgiving, but a whole turkey is many lbs too big. Consider a celiac student meeting up with his or her family who cooks bread-stuffing inside the big bird. They can't just mooch off the gluten-tainted turkey. Find a solution that reasonably satisfies both conditions.
Turkey legs!!
Roast your own! Right at home in your own small pan, then take with you!
Easy easy easy! Two ingredients!

(Sorry my picture sucks.. I'm in a hurry)

Serves 2
1.5 to 2 hours
Preheat oven: 375 F
-cookie sheet, or other flat metal pan
-disposable Aluminum pan (I used a pie pan, but a square one would be better, I think)
-Aluminum foil sheet for baking

4 turkey drumsticks -or- 2 large turkey legs (the whole leg, like I have pictured above); fully defrosted
bundle of freshly cut rosemary-- about 8 to 10
'clippings'; each 5 " long

1. Place the flimsy, disposable Al baking tin on the sturdy cookie sheet. Always use the cookie sheet to move the baking tin, or else you will potentially have major problems.
2. Rinse off the freshly cut rosemary clippings. Lay a third of the twigs down on the bottom of the Al baking pan.
3. Rinse off the thawed turkey legs and arrange them inside the disposable Aluminum baking tin over the top of the rosemary.
4. Place remaining rosemary around and on top of the legs.
5. Cover pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, then slide the legs (via the cookie sheet) into the pre-heated 375 F degree oven.
6. Cook covered for an hour.
7. Remove the aluminum foil sheet after the first hour and pour out most of the grease into a scrap container. Continue cooking, uncovered, (still at 375 F) for another half hour to an hour. Watch the bird and take out when the skin is golden brown. When fully cooked, the turkey meat pulls easily away from the bone-- internal temperature of 180 F.
8. Turn off the oven and pour the rest of the drippings into a waiting saucepan and use to make gravy**. Crumble a bit of the roasted rosemary into the oil for extra gravy flavor.
9. Wrap turkey legs up and refrigerate or freeze for later, or serve hot with Spinach-Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Discard the disposable pan.

**I forgot this step and don't have any gravy to show. You can find gravy recipes online elsewhere, such as gluten-free girl. (Use drippings instead of the chicken broth in her recipe).
(*Note* Rice flour is actually better than wheat flour for gravy making.. gluten flours clump too much. My non-celiac mother now makes all gravy with rice flour!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Spinach-Garlic Potatoes

This doesn't have much color, but d*mn, these are soooo good... my all-time favorite way to make mashed potatoes. Super creamy and cheesy, bursting with garlic and peppered with butter-soaked spinach leaves. My mother used to use these spuds to trick me into eating greens when I was younger. It worked every time. A perfect, fast side dish to any meat.

Serves 2 to 3
35 minutes
-large pot, non-stick is best
-medium saucepan
-potato masher

6 to 8 medium small red potatoes
6 to 8 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh spinach
1 to 2 Tbsp. butter (or lactose-free alternative)
1/3 c. heavy cream -OR- 1/4 c. sour cream-- I used Tofutti better than sour cream
[~1/3 c. Parmesan cheese; optional... I used a little Galaxy Nutritional Foods mozzarella rice shreds]

1. Scrub, then cut potatoes into coarse,1 to 2 inch chunks (they don't have to be exact.. ). Don't bother peeling the potatoes unless you have russets and not red potatoes.
2. Peel the remove the 'bottom' part of each garlic clove. Don't bother dicing... like the potatoes, they will be mashed, too.
3. Place potato pieces and whole garlic cloves into a large pot. Fill with water until potatoes are well covered. Bring water to a rolling boil over high heat, then cook until potatoes are tender-- about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Wash the spinach while the potatoes are boiling. Place spinach in the medium saucepan with the butter. If using heavy cream.. add in the heavy cream here. Heat over medium-low heat until the butter melts (shouldn't take more than 5 minutes); the spinach should also wilt. Don't scorch the heavy cream. Stir well, then turn off the heat.
5. Turn back to the potatoes: drain the cooked spuds, reserving a little bit of the cooking liquid. Place potatoes and garlic into another bowl (just make sure they are out of your non-stick pot) and mash coarsely by hand. Stir in the spinach and butter [and heavy cream] mixture. If using the sour cream, now is the time to stir in the sour cream.
6. Add in the Parmesan cheese and continue mashing until it's the consistency you want. If the spuds are too stiff, add in a little more of the reserved cooking liquid (or heavy cream.. whatever you feel comfortable doing!). Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm alongside turkey.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Autumn Fried Rice

It's finally starting to feel like fall around here. I keep waiting for it to drop below 40 degrees during the day, then I remember I am no longer in Illinois...
With the sweet butternut squash and nutty zucchini, this just
tastes like autumn. The garbanzo beans were a last minute addition and I must say they're a keeper. Makes alot... be sure to bust out your trusty wok.

Serves 4
25 (rice) + 40 minutes
-large, sharp cutting knife
-stainless steel wok

2 cups pre-cooked brown rice (slightly undercooked)

1/2 of a large butternut squash
1 large stripped zucchini (I don't know the name.. it's a green zucchini squash with prominent ridges and a 'marbled' greenish-white coloring.. check out the picture; I found mine at the farmer's market)
1 medium white onion
5 cloves garlic
2 + 1 Tbsp. peanut oil
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
sea salt
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes (-or- a small bundle of fresh parsley, chopped)
1 (14 oz.) can garbanzo beans*
1 to 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
*S&W Fine foods garbanzo beans are GF; Bush's and DelMonte garbanzo beans should also be GF.

0. Prepare brown rice as directed on package to make 2 cups cooked rice. However, use slightly less water and shave about 5 minutes off of the regular cooking time. This will help the rice to not become mushy when stir-fried. Place rice aside once done (in the fridge is best).
1. Wash off the butternut squash. I found my squash very very hard to cut (I didn't even try peeling with a normal peeler). Be sure to use a large, sharp knife and cut the squash in half right above the 'bowl' part (into two smaller 'cylinders'); place the top into the fridge for another day. 2. Scoop out the seeds and innards. Carefully slice off the outer skin while the vegetable is sitting upright like a bowl. Once the squash is crudely 'peeled' and gutted, cut squash into 1 inch cubes. Set cubes aside.
3. Wash and cut the striped, ridged zucchini squash into 1/2 inch slices. Half or quarter each slice. Place the zucchini with the butternut pieces. Coarsely cut up the white onion into about 1/2 inch squares. Set onion apart from the squash/zucchini. Peel and dice up the garlic cloves. Place garlic cloves directly into you seasoned wok.
4. Add 2 Tbsp. peanut oil to the wok. Stir the garlic cloves and begin cooking over medium-high heat. Once the garlic pieces begin to tan (should take between 3 to 5 minutes), add in the zucchini and butternut pieces. Stir to mix well. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Add in the white onion pieces. Stir well. Also season generously with white pepper, sea salt, thyme leaves and parsley. Stir well, again. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the butternut squash/zucchini pieces are tender (you might need a bit more time for the squash and zucchini). Toss and stir well while cooking. Add in a little more oil if you think it's necessary to keep things from sticking and burning.
6. Open and drain a can of garbanzo beans, add to contents of the wok. Stir well and heat through, an additional 3 minutes.
7. Once heated, spoon in the prepared rice. Pour an additional 1 Tbsp. peanut oil over the rice, then stir well, breaking up any rice clumps and incorporating it thoroughly with the veggies. Heat the rice through, slightly browning (stir-frying) the grains-- for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Don't let the rice burn, though, keep stirring.
8. When rice is golden and steamy, remove from the heat and splash with a little red wine vinegar (taste it to see how much you want.. it's good with the nutty zucchini and garbanzo beans). Serve warm.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Asparagus Pesto

Had leftover asparagus, wanted pesto with pasta, this was the result.
If I owned a food processor, I would have used that to whirl up the sauce till smooth.. dicing vegetables only goes so far. However, this was good despite it's inhomogeneity.

Serves 2, with a side dish
25 minutes
-medium saucepan
-medium pot (or pasta cooker)
-fine vegetable grater and good knife -OR- use a food processor

1.5 cups cooked pasta

10 to 12 asparagus stalks
1 medium zucchini
6 to 8 garlic cloves (you can't have too much garlic)
2 to 3 green onions
1 half of a (14 oz) can Swanson vegetable broth -or- can Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken broth
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. dried basil (or a bunch of the fresh stuff!)
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
black pepper
sea salt
1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese -OR- 1/4 cup cream cheese -OR- (as I used) 4 slices Galaxy Nutritional Foods Mozzarella flavored cheese slices

0. Prepare the pasta shells as directed on package to make about 1.5 cups cooked pasta. Don't let the pasta get soggy. Drain well and set aside.
1. Wash asparagus and (choose one from below):
a) mince each stalk into very fine pieces using a knife
b) carefully grate the stalks using a coarse cheese grater <--- my option c) toss in a food processor and dice Set asparagus mush aside. 2. Remove ends and grate the zucchini (or whirl in processor). Go ahead and add grated zucchini with the asparagus. Peel and mince up the garlic; place with zucchini and asparagus. Remove root ends, then dice up entire green onions (not too hard to do).
3. Place asparagus, zucchini and garlic in a saucepan. Pour one half (about 1 cup) of the can of broth over the veggies. (Store remaining half of broth in the fridge for another day.) Add olive oil. Stir well.
4. Begin cooking veggies and broth up over medium-high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium. Add spices: basil, parsley, oregano, onion powder, black pepper and sea salt. Stir and continue cooking for 5 more minutes (taste sauce to make sure vegetables are tender-- it shouldn't take long to cook!).
5. Once mixture begins to thicken, turn heat down to medium low and add cheese. Stir well once cheese is added. The cheese should help further thicken the mixture into a sauce.
6. If you have a food processor, whirl the sauce for about 20 seconds, or until creamy enough for your taste. Warm up pasta and reheat sauce... Serve warm tossed with cooked pasta.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pepper, Chili and Potato

Pretty good for spuds and lunch meat. Use 'real' ham slices (or bacon) if you have the money; thin ham slices are better than thick. I envisioned this to have a little bit of a 'kick' to it, but the anaheim peppers were more sweet than spicy. Oh well.

Serves 2
30 minutes
-large saucepan
-mandolin slicer (or a good, sharp knife)
Quick and simple

2 to 3 medium red potatoes
1 small green bell pepper
1 large anaheim pepper (or spicy-er variety)
2 to 3 green onions
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
3 to 4 slices of ham (I used lunch meat*)
1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. parsley flakes --- or Tbsp. of chopped fresh parsley!
sea salt
*Oscar Mayer cold cut lunch meat is gluten free

1. Wash the potatoes, don't bother peeling. Cut them into 1/4th inch thick slices-- about as thin as you can get them.. I used a mandolin slicer. Half the wide slices to make them a little more manageable (length-wise, not widthwise; see picture).
2. Wash and core both peppers. Slice green bell pepper into 1/2 inch strips. Cut each strip into thirds. Dice up the anaheim pepper (some say you must remove the thick skin beforehand, but I didn't have a problem with it). Place pepper pieces together, but not with the potatoes.
3. Remove the roots from the onions. Slice the green onions into 1/2 inch pieces (both the green and remaining white part). Set onion pieces aside apart from peppers.
4. Place potato slices into the large saucepan. Begin cooking potatoes over medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until all water is removed from the outside of the spuds (don't want the oil to splatter).
5. Drizzle with peanut oil just before potatoes begin to stick to the bottom of the pan; mix to evenly coat slices. Take out the ham slices and tear into medium, bite-sized pieces with your fingers. Add directly to the pan. Mix with spuds and oil.
6. Cook ham and potatoes for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, just often enough to brown the spuds and meat, but not burn it.
7. Turn the heat down to medium and add in the bell and anaheim pepper. Season liberally with garlic powder, sea salt and parsley flakes (fresh parsley would rock!). Stir well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the peppers are crisp-tender.
8. Add in the green onion pieces. Stir to distribute. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the green onion wilts and potatoes are tender-- if you have thick slices or used Russet potatoes, you might want to make sure the potatoes are done. Serve warm alongside something else yummy.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Italian Asparagus Rice Bowl

Asparagus with crisp red bell pepper, sauteed with chicken and tossed with toasted white rice. This actually made quite a bit. I'll stuff this in rice tortillas for lunch tomorrow.

Serves 2
20 (for rice) + 35 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1 cup pre-cooked long grain white rice

10 to 15 asparagus stalks? spears?
1 small to medium red bell pepper
1 medium white onion
6 cloves garlic
1 to 2 chicken thighs (or breasts-- but I think the darker meat is better with the beans)
1 + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 (14 oz.?) can dark red kidney beans*
salt and pepper to taste
*Bush's kidney beans are GF; so are S&F fine foods kidney beans.

0. Cook up enough white rice to make 1 cup prepared rice. Decrease the cooking time by about 2 minutes to avoid the rice getting soft in the final dish. Set rice aside.
1. Remove the tough end of each asparagus stalk. Cut up the asparagus into 2 inch long pieces. Set asparagus aside.
2. Wash and remove the seeds and core of the red bell pepper. Slice into thin strips, then half (the pepper strips should be about the same length as the asparagus pieces). Coarsely cut up the white onion-- these pieces don't have to be uniform or small. Finely dice up the peeled garlic.
3. Wash off the chicken thighs. Cut or tear the meat into bite-sized pieces. Place chicken into large saucepan. Add a tsp. of water (just a very little bit). Begin cooking the chicken over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until all the water boils off (should happen under 5 minutes).
4. Once water is gone, before the chicken starts to stick to the pan, add in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Mix to coat. Saute chicken for an additional 2-3 minutes, turning frequently. The pieces should be about fully cooked.
5. Add in the asparagus pieces to the saucepan (might spit a little, be careful). Turn the heat down to medium. Mix. Cook asparagus pieces for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that neither the asparagus or chicken start to brown too much on one side.
6. Add in the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the saucepan. Season liberally with basil, oregano, black pepper and sea salt. Stir. Cook over medium heat for an additional 5 minutes, on until the onion becomes translucent.
7. Open the can of dark red kidney beans. Drain and wash the beans thoroughly. Once the bell pepper and asparagus pieces are tender (not soggy!), add in the kidney beans. Stir well, then add in the prepared, cooked white rice. Add in the other 1 Tbsp. olive oil (and more spices, as you see fit). Stir well, making sure everything is mixed.
8. Heat rice, beans and veggies for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning the rice (it should be browned a little, though). Turn down the heat to medium-low if the rice is sticking too badly instead of adding any more oil. Heat until the beans are warm and the rice is toasted. Serve warm by itself or wrap inside a big rice tortilla.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Eggplant-Zucchini Toss

So damn good! I absolutely love eggplant (zucchini isn't half bad, either). I wanted to try a saucepan dish with eggplant, so I sliced it up into wide, pseudo-thin pieces. The slices turned into wide egg-like noodles. I was very happy.

Serves 2 (as a side dish)
35 minutes
-large saucepan
-spatula for tossing
Quick and simple

1/2 to 1 whole eggplant, peeled
1 to 2 medium zucchini
1 Tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1 medium white onion
1 Tbsp. dried basil leaves (or fresh, if you have them)
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash and peel the eggplant. I cut off the very top portion first, that seems to make it easier to 'catch' the skin. Cut off the bottom, then slice vegetable in half (perpendicular to the length). You should now have two 'cylindrical' sections, each about 3-4 inches long. Stand a section upright, and slice into the eggplant, creating wide sheets about 1/2 of an inch thick (they will shrink alot, don't worry). Cut the sheets in half length-wise to form rectangular eggplant-noodles. Repeat with the second half of the eggplant if you wish.
2. Do the same with the zucchini (but don't peel it). Chop off the ends, slice into two cylinders, then cut into strips, these are about 1/4th of an inch thick-- it's easier to cut the zucchini when it's lying on it's side instead up upright (duh). Don't half the zucchini strips, each should be the full width of the vegetable.
3. Slice the white onion into 1/4th inch disks, as if you were making thin onion rings. Leave the onion pieces as O's. Wash, peel and dice up the garlic cloves-- lots of garlic!
4. Place the zucchini strips into a large saucepan. Begin cooking over medium heat. When they start to sizzle, right before they begin to stick to the pan, add in the olive oil. Toss to evenly distribute the oil. Cook eggplant for 2-3 minutes more-- the vegetable will begin to wilt and turn a wonderful greenish-grey, don't be alarmed.
5. Add in the zucchini strips and garlic pieces. Mix. Cook for 5 more minutes, making sure to flip and rotate the pieces so they cook evenly.
6. Add the onion rings, breaking the layers apart a little. Sprinkle generously with basil and oregano. Season with sea salt and pepper. Mix well to coat. Add in a little more oil if you see fit.
7. Cook the entire dish for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the onion, zucchini and eggplant are wilted, tossing frequently. Stop cooking before they fall apart, however. Serve warm alongside meat, or with a generous helping of rice.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Homemade Kettle Corn

You know that irresistible, hot and crispy kettle corn from the local fair? I've always loved the fresh stuff, but hated those nasty, chemical-filled microwave popcorn substitutes. Well, now you can make it yourself, on your own range, with nothing more elaborate than a regular large pot (+lid) and a small piece of aluminum foil.

To get this right (i.e. no burning of sugar), you MUST first test the head capacity of your range and pot. Once you get this down, you can cook up a batch of fresh kettle corn in less than 2 minutes. I'll guide you through the process below...

Makes about 2 cups
3 minutes
-large pot with lid
-small piece of Al foil
Quick and simple

2 Tbsp. corn oil
1/8th c. loose yellow popcorn kernels (they are so cheap!!). White popcorn kernels will also work, but I prefer the bigger yellow puffs.
1/8th c. white sugar
fine salt

Kettle corn (once you've got the timing down-- see below if this is your first attempt):
1. Pick out a nice big pot with a lid. Rinse it briefly with water, then pour out the water, leaving a few droplets on the inside. Place the pot on the range and collect the pot lid and a small piece of aluminum foil. (The aluminum will go between the pot and the lid so you won't have to scrub oil and sugar droplets off of the lid when you're done-- easy easy cleanup).

2. Measure out the corn oil, a portion of popcorn and the white sugar. Place right near the stove, where you can get to it quickly. You must beable to get to these ingredients fast. Also turn on the fan above the range, just in case.
3. When everything is in place, begin heating the pot over medium-high heat (I use level '7' on my crappy electric range). Watch the pan closely... you need to know when all the water has boiled off.
4. As soon as the pot is completely dry -- make certain of this, you don't want to add oil to hot water-- pour in the oil, swirling slightly. Start timing... wait exactly 30 seconds, then add in the popcorn. Keep timing-- watch your clock-- you should know how long it takes for the kernels to start popping (say the time is 'X' seconds)! Don't cover the pot, but still shake to mix the corn. When X number of seconds pass (should be just before the popcorn really starts to pop!), quickly pour in the sugar and cover the pot with the foil and then lid. Shake vigorously.
5. It will take a little longer for pops to continue, since the addition of sugar will bring the temperature down some. Once the popcorn pops rapidly, turn off the range, but leave the pot on the hot burner. When the pops are parted by more than 2 seconds, remove the pot from the burner and place on a range (or other metal surface). This conducts heat out of the pot, to keep the sugar from burning.

6. Pour the kettle corn out into a metal bowl-- careful, the melted sugar is hot. Hopefully the worst is you have a little bit of 'caramel corn' on the bottom and no singed pieces. Sprinkle with salt, to taste. Enjoy your fresh, warm, sweet-and-salty kettle corn.
Kids will love you. So will engineers at late-night homework sessions.

To first test your pot/range system (only needs to be done once)-
Okay, in order to not burn the sugar, you need to figure out hot long it takes for your popcorn to start popping using a certain pot. Once you get the times down, make sure to keep using that same pot and start at the same temperature.
1. Pick out a nice big pot with a lid. Rinse it briefly with water, then pour out the water, leaving a few droplets on the inside. Place the pot on the range and collect the pot lid and a small piece of aluminum foil. (The aluminum will go between the pot and the lid so you won't have to scrub oil and sugar droplets off of the lid when you're done-- easy easy cleanup). Also make sure you have access to a clock with a seconds hand.
2. Measure out some oil and a portion of popcorn. Place right near the stove, where you can get to it quickly.
3. When everything is in place, begin heating the pot over medium-high heat (I use level '7' on my crappy electric range). Watch the pan closely... you should see those leftover water droplets first fan out, form bubbles and start evaporating. Right before all the droplets boil away, you should see them start to dance in the pot (you've hit the Leidenfrost point! ~220 C). Doing it this way guarantees you'll have the same temperature each time you start a batch.
4. As soon as the pot is completely dry -- make certain of this, you don't want to add oil to hot water-- pour in the oil, swirling slightly. Start timing... wait exactly 30 seconds, then add in the popcorn. Keep timing! Cover the pot first with the foil, the the lid; shake the pop vigorously to mix the kernels. Note how many seconds it takes for you to hear the first small *pop* inside your pot. Remember this number, it will vary slightly from range to range and pot to pot-- for me it was around 30 seconds.
5. Go ahead a pop up the rest of this regular popcorn. Make sure to remove from the heat once the pops are parted by more than 2 seconds.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dirty Rice with Turkey Sausage

[It's difficult being a graduate student. I don't think you'll see anything besides 'quick and simple' on here for awhile.
Anyone near Palo Alto, CA know where I can find some GF cereal and rice tortillas?]

Rice with black beans and turkey sausage. I steamed the rice up beforehand in my new microwave rice cooker. (So easy!) The turkey really brings a new flavor; I normally use beef sausage, but I think this compliments the beans much better.... not so greasy and overpowering.

Serves 1.5 (2 if used in a wrap or as a chip dip)
15 + 25 minutes (only 25 if you have some pre-cooked rice on hand)
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1.5 cups COOKED white long grain rice-- cook up with less water than directed on bag
1/2 c. chopped fresh chives -OR- 1/2 of a large white onion
1/2 of a Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa Turkey Sausage link (the big U shaped sausage)
1 tsp. peanut oil
1 can black beans*
1 tsp. garlic powder
sea salt and white pepper
* S&F black beans are GF

1. Cook up enough white rice to yield about 1.5 cups. Follow directions on package, EXCEPT, use 1/8th cup less water than instructed AND cut ~2 minutes off the cooking time. This will leave the rice nice and crisp.
2. While rice is cooking, wash and coarsely chop up the white onion. Set chopped onion besides range. Wait until the rice is done and stirred to start next step.
3. Cut the turkey sausage up into 1/2 inch slices. Quarter each slice and place in large saucepan. Begin cooking meat over medium-high heat. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add in white onions. Turkey should begin to brown a little.
4. Cook onions for an additional 3 minutes. Add in a little peanut oil at this point if turkey sausage is not providing enough grease. Spoon cooked rice in saucepan. Stir well to mix.
5. Saute rice with sausage and onions for another 3 to 5 minutes. Rice should darken and soften a little. Add in more oil if necessary to brown rice. Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder, white pepper and some sea salt.
6. Turn heat down to medium. Open and drain a can of black beans. Rinse beans off well, then stir them into the turkey-rice mixture. Heat beans through-- shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes. Serve hot alongside your favorite rice chips.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Baked Chicken with Veggies

Sometimes I just want some spiced spuds baked golden-brown from the oven (think Lipton onion potato mix, but with 75% less oil). Every once in awhile, I throw in some broccoli. Today I had both chicken and onion on hand, so in it went. Very good, little cleanup, and of course quick. To feed 2 people, this needs to be served with a side dish (bread? rice? steamed veggies?).

Serves 1.5
50 minutes
Preheat oven to 475 F
-large cookie sheet with sides -or- a 9x12 inch glass pan
-Al foil to line pan for easy easy cleanup
Quick and simple

2-3 medium red potatoes
1/2 of a large onion (white, yellow, red.. they'll all work)
1 large head of broccoli
2-3 chicken tenders -OR- 1 large chicken breast
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper

1. Clean the veggies. Cut potatoes into small-ish 1/2 inch cubes. Cubes over an inch thick might not bake all the way through. Slice the onion into large, 1/2 inch thick rounds, then slice each circle in quarters (you want large wedges). Cut up the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
2. Cover your pan/cookie sheet with a large piece of Aluminum foil. Arrange the veggies on the sheet, one layer thick.
3. Tear chicken into bite sized pieces (not too large, but not too small, either). Place the chicken among the veggies on the Al-covered pan.
4. Carefully drizzle olive oil evenly over the chicken and veggies-- it's easy to pour to much in one spot. Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
5. Gently toss the veggies and chicken pieces around on the pan. Make sure the veggie/chicken pieces are semi-coated in oil, or else they won't brown nicely.
6. Slip into a 475 F pre-heated oven. Cook uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, checking that the edge pieces aren't getting too singed. Eat right out of the oven (it cools fast) with GF bread slices or a side dish.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Creamy Chicken Ole

This dish first came into existence way back in August, while I was visiting Denver. The markets there had TONS of fresh chilies to choose from, so I made up a creamy, spicy chicken dish. Really, this can be used as a dip for chips or burrito filling or a spread for the ever-useful ricecake. Make sure to really shred the chicken, you don't want huge chunks of meat in your dip.

Serves 3
35 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and easy

1 to 2 chicken breasts
1 medium white onion
1/2 of a medium red bell pepper
1 to 2 favorite chilies.. I used jalapeƱos the second time around
3/4 cup uncooked white rice
2 ears of fresh sweet corn (or a can of sweet yellow corn)
4 to 5 medium-small fresh tomatoes, unpeeled
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 to 3 heaping tbsp. favorite cream cheese [-or- sour cream] -- I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
[1/8 cup mozzarella or cheese, optional]

1. Rinse chicken breasts off and place in large saucepan. Fill saucepan with enough water to cover the breasts. Begin cooking the chicken over high heat.
2. While chicken is beginning to boil, cut up veggies: coarsely chop up white onion. Cut the red bell pepper into 1/2 inch squares. Slice open the chilies and remove the seeds. Finely dice up the de-seeded chilies. Place cut veggies aside.
3. Once chicken has boiled for 10 minutes, temporarily remove breasts from the saucepan (leave the water). Shred the chicken -or- cut into small 1/4th inch cubes, then place back into the pan.
4. Measure out 3/4 cup rice and pour into the saucepan along with the shredded chicken/water. If you don't have enough leftover water already in the dish to cover the rice by about a half inch, add in a little more water.
5. Bring the rice to a boil over high heat. When the rice has boiled for 5 minutes, add in the chopped veggies. Stir to mix. Turn down the heat to medium and continue simmering the dish.
6. Again, while things are boiling: Shuck and rinse off the fresh corn. Wash off the tomatoes, don't bother peeling. Coarsely cut up the tomatoes.. large pieces are fine, since they will disintegrate when cooked.
7. By this time the veggies and rice should have simmered for an additional 5 minutes. The rice should be pretty tender and not much water should be left (pour out any overly-excess water). Add in the corn (cut it right off the cob and into the pan!) and chopped tomatoes. Mix. Add in the olive oil and garlic powder. Stir well. Continue to simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally to help break down the tomatoes.
8. Now the dish should resemble thick rice soup/casserole. Remove saucepan from the heat. Measure out 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of cream cheese and quickly stir into the hot rice dish. Also add in the white cheese if you desire extra-creamy rice. Serve warm over crackers, ricecakes, inside wraps or as a tex-mex rice bowl.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Packing my life into boxes!
I'll be back, I promise, once I move into my new kitchen.

Goodbye Oklahoma.
Hello California.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ham, Rice and Beans

Another one-pan rice dish. The rice in this turned out slightly overcooked-- the result being a wonderfully mushy ham and bean dinner. If you want distinct rice grains, decrease the rice simmering time. I used Natural Goodness Swanson canned chicken broth to cut down on the salt (the ham is salty enough).

Serves 2 or 3
35 minutes
-large saucepan or pot
Quick and simple

2 (15 oz.) cans Natural Goodness Swanson Chicken broth
1 c. uncooked long grain white rice
1 medium head of broccoli
1 medium yellow onion
1 c. cubed Hormel Honey ham (the meat I used was not pre-sliced)
1 (14 oz.) can Bush navy beans

1. Pour both cans of chicken broth into the large saucepan or pot. Add in the white rice. Turn heat up to medium-high. While waiting for the broth to boil, tend to the veggies and ham. Keep an eye on the broth, don't let it boil over (you should have about 8 to 10 minutes to chop and cube).
2. Wash and cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Dice the onion into small-ish pieces. Set veggies beside the range.
3. Unwrap your ham chunk. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, then 'cube' each slice. You should have about a cup of 1/2 inch thick cubes. Place besides range.
4. When broth comes to a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium; keep the broth simmering gently (don't cover with a lid). Add in the ham cubes. Mix, then continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add in the chopped broccoli and onion. Stir, then continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Add in a bit more water if it's getting too dry. However, by the end of 10 minutes, the rice should have absorbed most all of the liquid and the dish should be fairly thick.
6. Open, drain and rinse the navy beans. Gently stir them into the sticky rice dish. Turn down to medium-low. Heat beans through for about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure the rice is not burning on the bottom. It's done when the rice is very tender and the broccoli is cooked. Serve warm in a bowl alongside GF bread.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Southwest Chicken

Cumin and chili powder seasoned lightly breaded chicken strips. Another one that's super quick. Good with Spanish rice.

Serves 2
25 minutes
-medium saucepan
Quick and simple

6 long, thin chicken tenders
1/4 to 1/2 c. GF flour (I used white sorghum flour)
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil

pepper jack cheese, for topping

1. Rinse off the chicken tenders. Place the chicken pieces into the saucepan. Sprinkle the GF flour over the top of the chicken. Flip the chicken and coat both sides well with the flour.
2. Sprinkle the coated chicken pieces with chili powder and cumin. Flip and mix chicken again, evenly seasoning the chicken.
3. Drizzle the olive oil over the coated, spiced chicken. Carefully turn and mix the chicken with the oil. Be sure to scrape the loose flour from the saucepan and press onto the chicken.
4. Begin cooking the chicken over medium heat. Cook chicken on one side for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 5 minutes on the other side. The oil should be sizzling. Keep cooking and flipping the coated chicken from one side to the other until it's fully cooked and outside a crunchy golden brown-- not more than an additional 8 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat, sprinkle chicken with pepper jack cheese (if desired) and serve warm.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Spanish Rice

This is not very authentic, but sure tastes good. Tomato, green bell pepper and bacon make this one flavorful side dish. Fast to make, too.

Serves 3 to 4
25 minutes
-large saucepan
-medium pot with lid

2 c. cooked white long grain rice
1/2 of a medium white onion
1/2 of a large green bell pepper
4 to 6 slices thick-cut bacon* ----> reserve 1 to 2 tbsp. bacon drippings
3/4th of a can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes* (not petite diced), undrained
salt and pepper, to taste
*Oscar Mayer bacon is GF; DelMonte canned diced tomatoes are GF

1. Cook up rice according to directions on the package; you will need 2 cups cooked rice for this dish. Set cooked rice aside near range.
2. Veggies: Coarsely cut the onion into half inch squares. Also coarsely cut the green bell pepper into larger square pieces (inch). Place both onion and pepper pieces beside range.

3. Rinse off the bacon slices. Lay bacon into the large saucepan. Begin cooking bacon over medium heat, flipping and re-arranging frequently. Fry bacon until fully cooked, but not totally crispy-- about 5 minutes. Remove bacon pieces from pan and place on doubled paper towels to soak up some grease. Pour out all excess drippings from the pan except for 1 to 2 tbsp. bacon fat.
4. In the reserved bacon grease, saute up the onion and bell pepper over medium-high heat, until the onion is just translucent and pepper is tender (5 minutes).
5. Turn the heat back down to medium. Stir in the bacon and cooked white rice. Heat thoroughly for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently to keep rice from sticking.
6. Add in 3/4ths of the can of diced tomatoes, don't drain the can before adding to the saucepan... you want a little tomato juice. Mix the tomatoes in well with the bacon/rice.
7. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the juice thickens, but before the tomatoes fall apart. Serve warm alongside your favorite Mexican dish.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


My favorite vegetable. The cooked bud becomes soft and edible-- dip in mayo, then remove the 'meat' from the inside of the leaves by scraping each leaf with your front teeth. It's totally fantastic.

Serves 1
55 minutes
-large pot
[-vegetable steamer- optional]
Quick and Easy

1 fresh globe artichoke

2 tbsp. mayonnaise*
2 tbsp. melted butter
*Hellman's mayo is GF

1. Wash off the artichoke. With a sharp knife (or pair of kitchen scissors), cut the first inch clean off the top of the thistle. You should see the yellow-ish leaves now revealed in the top opening, as shown above.
2. With same knife/scissors remove the thorns from the tough outside leaves by clipping off the tops of each leaf. Your artichoke should now look like my picture, top and outside leaf tips removed.
3. Shorten the stem if you desire, but I normally leave it long. Remove any small or discolored leaves from the bottom of the artichoke.
4. If you don't have a veggie steamer (I use a small strainer that sits on the rim of a pot), place the artichoke inside the pot and fill with water so the veggie is totally submerged. If you DO have a veggie steamer, fill pot halfway with water, then place artichoke in steamer so it sits slightly above the water level.
5. Bring water to a rapid boil over high heat (covered, IF you are steaming the artichoke). Turn down the heat slightly to medium-high once you reach full boil and cook for 30 to 45 minutes-- older 'chokes will take longer to cook. It's done when a middle petal pulls out easily.
6. Pour out the hot water and carefully (they are hot!) remove a petal, starting from the outside and working in. Dip the fleshy part of each leaf in mayo or melted butter before eating!! Amazing!

7. To eat: orient the leaf so that the inside part-- the side once facing the bud body-- points to the roof of your mouth. Place leaf halfway into your mouth. Gently grip the leaf with your front teeth, bite down slightly, and pull the leaf outward, scraping off the top flesh with your front teeth. Discard the remaining part of the leaf. The first couple of outside leaves will be tough, but the leaves will become softer and 'meaty' as you work your way inward.
8. To the heart!: Once you reach the innermost leaves (they look thin, wilted and purple-tipped) pull off those under-developed leaves with your fingers. Discard. You should now see a bunch of pale yellow-green strings. Scrape this choke out with a teaspoon or your fingers; discard this mess of fuzz. You have now uncovered the HEART-- when done properly, it looks like a shallow bowl with dimples (no more fuzzy strings) attached to the stem. Eat the entire heart. Groan with veggie pleasure.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sausage-Spinach Penne

A quick, hot, pasta dinner. The spinach/tomatoes make a grand combination. The sausage in this makes it a little on the greasy side, but it's not overpowering-- drain some if you wish before you add in the veggies. I like this spiced up with ample ground black pepper. Coat with cheese if you can handle dairy, but I leave it off and the dish doesn't lack too much.

Serves 3
20 minutes
-medium pot
-large saucepan or wok
Quick and simple

5 oz of uncooked Tinkyada brown rice Penne pasta (little less than half of a bag)

6 cloves garlic
3 cups fresh spinach
10 cherry tomatoes
5 Hillshire Farms Beef Smoked Sausage hotdogs (or half of the large Hillshire Farms sausage link)
[1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese-- optional]
Enough ground black pepper

1. Place pasta into the medium pot. Fill pot with water such that it covers the pasta by about an inch. Bring pasta to a rolling boil over high heat, then turn down to medium-high heat; boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When pasta is al dente (barely tender, not yet soggy), rinse and drain cooked pasta with cold water. Set aside.
2. While has begun cooking, prepare veggies: Wash and peel garlic. Dice into small pieces. Rinse off spinach leaves, removing long stems. Half cherry tomatoes down the center.
3. Now cut the sausage hot dogs into half inch slices (if using the larger sausage link, half each slice). Place cut sausage into the large wok or saucepan. Begin cooking over medium-high heat. 4. Cook sausage for 2 minutes, then add in diced garlic. Cook garlic and sausage for an additional 1 to 2 minutes-- you want the sausage the brown a little. Drain excess grease at this point, if you desire, leaving around 2 tbsp still in the pan.
5. Turn the heat down to medium. Throw in the spinach. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring and tossing frequently. The spinach will quickly wilt and 'shrink' in size (it looks like alot at first).
6. Now add in the cut cherry tomatoes. Cook for another 1 minute, then throw in the prepared cooked penne pasta. Heat tomatoes and pasta for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or just until the tomatoes begin to break down. DON'T overcook the tomatoes.. you want them whole, but tender, with their skins about to come off. The pasta will be warm enough.
7. When the tomatoes and pasta are soft, but not yet soggy, remove dish from heat. [Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss to coat.] Serve warm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Anise Biscotti

"Biscotti" is Italian for "twice-baked". These cookies are baked once as a slab, cut into slices, then, returned to the oven to acquire a crispy exterior. Because they are dry, they are perfect for dunking into coffee. I'm not fond of black liquorice but enjoy these cookies, so don't be scared off by the anise!

The traditional method does not involve either oil or a leavening agent, but I experimented with both when adapting my mother's recipe to be gluten-free. I would leave in the baking powder, but exclude the butter-- turns out the oil makes these just a little too moist (never thought I would say that about GF flours!). Anyway, enjoy, soft or crunchy.

Makes 2 dozen long cookies
20 + 30 + 15 (65 minutes total)
Preheat oven: 350 F

-electric mixer
-large mixing bowl
-large cookie sheet

[¼ c. butter, softened—optional; makes the cookies softer/moister]
1 c. white granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract*
1 tsp. brandy*, or brandy flavoring
½ of a (1 oz) bottle anise extract*
2 c. leavened GF baking mix (I used Kinnikinnick All Purpose Mix—if you don’t have a pre-made mix, use this: 1.5 c. brown rice flour, ¼ c. potato starch, ¼ c. tapioca starch, 1 tsp. baking powder)
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
1 c. chopped walnuts

*All McCormick extracts are GF; Brandy is made without gluten-grains.

1. Place butter into a large mixing bowl. Let it sit and warm up until it’s soft enough to ‘stir’. Beat the soft butter with the white sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, around 2 minutes.
2. Add in the 3 whole eggs to the beaten sugar(&butter). Beat again with mixer until fully combined, around 1 minute. The egg/sugar mixture should be thick and soupy.
3. Add in vanilla, brandy and anise extracts, mixing by hand to fully incorporate.
4. Pour 1 cup GF baking mix into the large bowl; don’t yet stir in the flour. Sprinkle xanthan gum over the top of the flour (as it’s sitting on top of the eggs/sugar); swirl the gum and flour a little bit. Now, carefully mix flour/xanthan gum into the wet ingredients, first by hand, then again with the electric mixer. Dough will be very viscous.
5. Add in the second cup of GF baking mix. This dough is waaay too sticky and dense to mix with an electric beater, so use your arm muscles and ridged spoon. Stir mixture until flour and eggs are well combined.
6. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Dough will look like taffy.
7. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (you will be very sorry if you don’t line the sheet!!). Spoon dough out onto the parchment paper, spreading it out to form two long ‘loaves’ down the length of the cookie sheet. Each flat loaf of dough should be about 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick.
8. Place cookie sheet into the preheated oven (350 F). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cookie loaves are slightly browned on top. Remove sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes.
9. Cut cookies at a slight angle (makes them longer) across the width of each loaf, forming 1 inch thick ‘candy bar’ cookies. These biscotti are soft enough that you should have no real problems cutting them.
For soft, moist cookies:
Stop now and turn off the oven. Refrigerate the cookies. Serve warm or cold with coffee.
For crunchy-on-the-outside cookies (my favorite):
10. Turn cookies over on their side, displaying the ‘cut’ part up. Return cookies to the hot oven. Bake 10 more minutes on one side, flip, then bake another 5 minutes on the other side. These cookies will be an amber, toasted brown—nice crunchy exterior with a moist center.
11. Once cooled, remove from cookie sheet and refrigerate. Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and apply to the bottoms of cookies, if desired.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Breakfast Burrito

I remember these from summer lake trips, way back in high school. We'd all wake up around noon and eat breakfast burritos before heading back out to the dock. Terry made ones up for us with slices of honey ham, but I think sliced lunch meat is an okay (and cheaper!) alternative. Fast and easy and so versatile.. fill and top with your favorite veggies and sauces.

Serves 3
30 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

2 medium red potatoes
1 medium yellow or white onion
1/2 of a medium red bell pepper
1/2 of a medium green bell pepper
4 to 6 slices cold cut honey ham slices*
2 tbsp. peanut or olive oil

salt and pepper
1 to 2 eggs
[1/2 tsp. parsley-- optional]
3 large GF tortillas-- I used La Tortilla Factory's dark teff tortillas

1/2 c. cheddar cheese
top with favorite GF salsa, ketchup or sour cream
*Oscar Meyer ham lunch meat is GF

1. First cut up the veggies: Either cut scrubbed red potatoes into small, 1/4th inch cubes -OR- cut them into thin slices (depends on what you prefer, the cubes turn out more like hash browns); half the slices so they won't be too wide. Place potatoes into a bowl of cold water to take out excess starch.
2. Coarsely chop up onion and bell peppers into pieces not bigger than an inch (you want them to be bite sized). Place onion, red and green bell peppers beside range next to 'soaking' potatoes, but don't mix in with the spuds.
3. Cut ham slices into 1 inch squares. Place meat into large saucepan and add in the oil. Begin sauteing meat over medium heat. Cook meat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pieces start to slightly curl and toast.
4. Drain the potatoes well then add them into the saucepan; oil will spit a little. Mix potatoes in with the ham, spreading the spud pieces evenly out over the bottom of the saucepan. Cook potatoes and ham for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally-- you want the potatoes to cook evenly, yet toast a little in the oil.
5. Add in the rest of the veggies (onion, red and green bell peppers). Mix, then cook for another 5 minutes, again, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. When bell pepper bits are crisp tender, push the ham/veggie mixture to one side of the saucepan. Crack the eggs into the remaining 'empty' half of the pan (tilt a little to gather any left over oil). Quickly break the yolks by mixing, scrambling the eggs. [Mix some parsley into the scrambled eggs before they are fully cooked, if you have some.] Be sure to flip and mix the eggs; don't let them burn.
7. Cook the scrambled eggs until they are moist, but fully done (no longer runny), about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir scrambled eggs in with the rest of the ham/veggie mixture.
8. Spoon hot filling into warm GF tortillas (large rice or teff ones work best). Top with a generous helping of cheddar cheese. Spread with your favorite salsa or ketchup or sour cream, then roll up and eat. Be sure to eat these right off of the range, since the filling will cool quickly-- I suggest popping the filled, rolled tortilla into the microwave on "high" for 30 to 40 seconds to melt the cheese and warm up the eggs.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks

This makes incredibly juicy and tender chicken legs smothered in a sweet-garlicky glaze. Make the simple sauce up while the legs are baking in the oven, then drizzle over the chicken for the last 15 minutes, letting the sauce caramelize over the meat. Easily doubled to feed a crowd of people.

Makes enough to cover ~18 chicken legs. Feeds 4 people.
1 hour baking time
Preheat oven: 375 F
-9 x 12 inch baking dish
-medium pot

18 or so chicken legs (preferred skinless)
4+ garlic cloves
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. soy sauce*
1 tbsp. honey
3/4 c. water
*Argo cornstarch is GF; La Choy soy sauce and Eden Organic Tamari soy sauce in GF (purple-red wrapper)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Wash off the chicken legs. Lay the legs out in a single layer on your baking dish. Place chicken into the preheated oven and bake covered for 45 minutes.
--This doesn't take long at all, start making the sauce once 30 minutes has gone by.--
2. While the chicken legs are baking, wash and peel the garlic cloves. Either finely dice the garlic, or crush it into small pieces (I place the chopped cloves into doubled-up sandwich baggies, then whack with a hammer until they are crushed into pulp). Place garlic aside.
3. In a medium pot, without heat, add in the 1/2 c. pressed brown sugar and mix lightly with the cornstarch. Pour in the soy sauce and honey, stirring the slightly damp mixture until well combined and smooth.
4. Pour in the water and mix well. Also add in the diced/crushed garlic.
5. Begin cooking the sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly. It will take less than two
minutes for the concoction to start boiling (small, rapid bubbles); keep stirring.
6. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the sauce mildly bubble for 2 to 3 minutes. It's done when slightly thickened and a darker brown.
--At this point the chicken should have cooked for 45 minutes.--
7. Pull the covered chicken legs out of the oven and pour out the drippings; discard grease. Spoon the sauce over the top (may reserve some for dipping). Return the chicken to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered. The chicken is done when fully cooked and the glaze clings to the meat. Eat warm, right out of the oven-- these don't taste very good cold.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cottage Pie

Kind of like chicken-pot-pie, but beef instead of chicken and mashed potatoes for the topping. I loaded this down with lots of veggies, since meat is more expensive. Moist rosemary/thyme meat filling topped with cheesy, garlic mashed potatoes. Not bad for a casserole.

Serves 3

25 + 15 + 30 minutes (meat, potatoes, baking; total: 1 hour 10 minutes)
-large saucepan
-9" round cake pan

1 medium white onion
3 carrots, peeled (~1/2 cup, chopped)
2 celery stalks

¼ c. frozen peas, defrosted
¼ lb to ½ lb ground beef

½ tsp. dried rosemary leaves
½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
Salt and black pepper
½ of a (14 oz.) can Swanson Beef Broth – about 1 cup broth
3 heaping tbsp. of GF flour— I used white sorghum
Spud Topping:
4 medium red potatoes (-OR- 2 large russets)
4 garlic cloves
¼ to ½ c. cheddar cheese
3 to 4 heaping tbsp. sour cream—I used Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (try a bit of vegan butter if both soy and dairy intolerant)
[2 tsp. chopped fresh chives- optional]

1. Chop up the white onion into small-ish pieces (1/4th inch; not too coarse). Peel and cut the carrots into small-ish pieces. Slice and chop up the celery into likewise small pieces. Defrost and drain the 1/2 c. frozen peas. Place veggies near the stove.
2. Rinse off ground beef and place in large saucepan. Start cooking the beef over medium heat, breaking the meat into small pieces (don't pulverize it). Cook beef for 5 minutes, until it's fully grey on the outside. At this point, drain out all but 1 to 2 tbsp. meat grease. Discard excess grease.
3. Add in all of the chopped veggies (onion, carrots, celery, peas). Also add in the rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Pour in half the can of beef broth to the saucepan. Stir. Boil/cook for another 5 minutes. At this point the meat should be fully cooked and the onions transparent. There will still be some broth pooled at the bottom of the saucepan.
5. Turn off the heat, and tilt the pan to one side to separate the broth and the solid beef/veggies. Sprinkle the GF flour over the MEAT portion (it will clump if you add it directly to the liquid). Stir carefully to coat the beef/veggies, then slowly in with the liquid to thicken the broth. You should now have a gravy covering you meat mixture. Add in a little more GF flour if need be-- you don't want it too runny, more like a sauce.
6. Spoon meat mixture into the 9" cake pan (baking dish); make sure to evenly distribute. Leave on the stove, or place temporarily into the fridge why you boil up the potatoes.
Spud Topping:
-Preheat oven to 400 F-
7. Scrub the red potatoes-- don't bother peeling them, unless you have russets and don't care for the thicker skins. Cut potatoes up into 2 inch cubes; these don't have to be pretty, since they are about to get mashed. Wash and peel the 4 garlic cloves. Leave the garlic whole.
8. Quickly wash out the saucepan you used for the meat and return it to the range. Throw the potato pieces and garlic cloves into the saucepan. Add enough water to the pan to mostly cover the potatoes.
9. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Make sure to stir the spuds a little to evenly cook. Once the potato water is boiling, turn heat down to medium-high and boil for 10 minutes.
10. Remove potatoes promptly from the heat and carefully drain the hot water. I was able to mash the potatoes in my non-stick saucepan without scraping it, but I had to be very careful. However you do it, mash the potatoes and garlic until they are as creamy as you want (they will be soft and kinda dry).
11. Once they are mashed, fold in the cheddar cheese; spuds should be cool enough now to not totally melt the cheese on first contact. Stir in the sour cream [and chives] . The potatoes should be creamy.. add in a bit more sour cream if still too dry/starchy.
12. Spoon the spuds evenly over the meat layer. Use a fork to 'rough up' the top a little, if you wish. Place the pie into the 400 F preheated oven. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove when the potatoes develop a nice crispy top.
13. Let the pie sit for 10 minutes.. it tastes way better slightly cooled. Eat warm.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

A summer treat! This is perhaps one of my all-time FAVORITE recipes! These are much much easier than you would expect: pre-boil the cut ribs, make a quick sauce, then cook over a fire. Juicy, tender and exploding with flavor. This BBQ sauce is absolutely perfect for grilled pork ribs; don't buy a store-brand, this sauce is so wonderful and easy. If you are making these for a crowd, be sure to buy enough meat. Normally people consume 5 ribs, minimum.
From "Gooseberry Patch" Summer? Cookbook.

As you can see, I grill with gathered dried sticks and firewood.. heck with 'natural' store-bought charcoal.

**Most all 'regular' charcoals are bound with wheat. Beware!**

Sauce covers 16 ribs, give or take a few.
25 + 25 + 10 minutes (boil, sauce, grill: total 60 minutes)
-large large pot with lid
-long tongs suitable for grilling
-dried sticks or GF charcoal, for grilling

2 to 3 lbs uncooked pork ribs -- my 2.4 lb rack cut into 14 ribs. (That's about 6 ribs per pound).

1 medium white onion
2 large celery stalks
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. ketchup*
1/4 c. red wine vinegar*
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce*
1 tbsp. mustard*
*Heinz ketchup is GF; Heinz gourmet Red Wine Vinegar is GF; Lea and Perkins worc. sauce is GF; French's original mustard is GF.

1. Cut apart the rib meat into 'singles' (separate between each rib bone). Place cut pork into a large large pot and add enough water to cover the ribs. Cover pot with lid and begin cooking over high heat.
2. When water finally comes to a rolling boil (this will take awhile, since Vwater is so large), turn heat down to medium-- the water should now simmer gently. Start timer from this point and cook covered for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure all meat is cooking.
--Start making sauce at this point in another pan such that everything will come out at once. I used the same pot for the sauce to save dishes.--
3. Once time has passed, carefully pour out the hot water. Line a small cookie sheet, or platter, with Aluminum foil. Place still-hot boiled ribs onto the foil. Let cook slightly, then place in fridge until sauce is done.
4. Wash and finely dice the white onion. Also thinly slice, then dice, the washed celery. Peel and wash the garlic, then equally dice. You want these piece as small as possible (I don't have a food processor).
5. Wash out the large pot. Pour in 1 tbsp. olive oil then stir in the small pieces of onion, celery and garlic. Mix well.
6. Saute veggies over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until onions become translucent. Stir frequently. Turn down heat slightly if pieces begin to burn on the bottom of the pot.
7. Add in packed 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar and 1 cup ketchup; stir well. Now definitely turn heat down to medium-low. Mix in the red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. This should already look 'sauce-like'.
8. Let the sauce lazily bubble on the stove for 10 minutes-- it will throw sauce around a little, since the mixture is so thick. Stir occasionally to re-mix in the vinegar; don't let the brown sugar caramelize. Sauce is done when it becomes a darker red and thickly coats your mixing spoon.
(--Could now temporarily remove sauce from the stove and run through a food-processor to really make it creamy.--)
9. Turn off the heat, then take out your cooked ribs. Place ribs into the sauce-filled large pot, three at a time. Stir ribs around in the sauce to thoroughly coat them, then remove and re-place back on Al-foil lined platter (no fear of contamination, since the meat is fully cooked!).
10. Take ribs outside and GRILL them over a fire... 5 minutes on each side. Done when ribs are heated through, slightly charred and sauce is caramelized and sizzling. Serve warm alongside beans; eat with fingers and make a big, wonderful mess.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Steak Risotto

Another mirage of veggies-- I was surprised how good this was. It had the distinct texture and flavor of vegetable-beef stew, captured in a creamy rice dish. Simple. Add a single small tomato (diced) at the very end, if you wish.. I didn't have one on hand.

Serves 2
35 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple.

1/4 to 1/2 lb. thick-cut tender beef steak (-OR- lamb), uncooked
1 medium white onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. uncooked Aborio rice
1 (14 oz) can Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken (or veggie) broth
1/2 c. fresh snap peas
1 ear fresh corn, cut off the cob -OR-- 1/2 of a (15 oz) can Del Monte corn
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. white pepper-- black would work, too

1. Wash off steak and place in large saucepan. Cut into 1 inch cubes and begin cooking over medium heat. Brown the meat.. takes ~5 minutes.
2. Quickly, while the meat is heating, coarsely chop up the white onion. When the steak is browned (outside no longer pink), add in the cut white onion. Also mix in the olive oil and Aborio rice. Stir well to coat the rice with oil.
3. Continue cooking the meat and 'tanning' the rice for another 5 minutes; stir frequently.. don't let the rice burn. When the rice forms a white 'dot' in the middle of each grain, it's time to add the broth (the onions should begin to be translucent).
4. Stir in 1/3rd of the broth when rice is ready. Mix well, but let the rice begin to simmer slowly. Continue stirring frequently.. the rice will soak up all the broth (takes another 5 minutes). Once there is no longer any 'liquid' broth in the pan, temporarily turn down the heat and quickly wash and remove the ends from the fresh snap peas.
5. Add in another 1/3rd can of broth along with your prepared snap peas. Return the heat to 'medium'. Simmer the rice/meat/pea mixture for another 5 minutes, or until the broth is soaked up.
6. Add in the remaining broth and fresh (or canned) corn. Sprinkle with sage and white pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, still gently simmering until the broth becomes a thicker sauce ~ 5 minutes. Rice should be tender, but not mushy. Snap peas should be crisp-tender. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Black Bean Wraps

Truly travel-friendly.. all you need is a can opener, cheese and tortilla. If you can't tell, I've been excited about wraps ever since I discovered teff tortillas (La Tortilla Factory)-- they actually hold together and taste great warm. Heat these up for a hot lunch or quick snack. I loved the black beans/cumin combo.

Serves 3
15 minutes
-can opener
-medium saucepan or pot (-OR- just a bowl if mixing cold)
Quick and simple

1 (15 oz) can Bush Black Beans
3/4th of one (15 oz) can DelMonte whole kernel corn
1/2 to 1 tsp. ground cumin
[1 tsp. chives-- optional]
3 GF tortillas (rice or corn or teff)
Enough cheese for topping-- cheddar or mozzarella

1. Open and drain the can of black beans. Rinse beans several times with cold water before placing in the saucepan.
2. Open and drain the can of corn. Pour 3/4th of the corn into the saucepan with the beans-- I think the whole can of corn would overbalance the beans.
3. Heat beans and corn over medium-low heat. Stir in ground cumin and washed, diced chives. Don't let the beans burn to the bottom of the pan; these don't need more than 10 minutes of heating.
4. Heat up GF tortillas until they are pliable; microwave will work: 20 seconds on 'high'. Fill with hot beans and corn. Sprinkle with cheese of choice. Roll up and eat warm or cold**.

** These freeze really well... make a couple wraps in advance, then roll up finished product in tin foil. Take frozen wraps with you on a trip and eat chilled when they finally defrost. I've had these keep cold for ~5 hours before when I covered the tin foil in a towel (or newspaper) to reduce the heat transfer.