Sunday, September 07, 2008

From One Coast to the Other

Back in silicon valley after a 2 month romp in Virginia. Will continue to post as I make things worth writing about.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Zesty Quinoa

More quinoa, this time with a slightly tex-mex taste. Creamy tomatoes with hearty zucchini and a hint of jalapeño heat. Cooks up fast, tastes good.

Serves 2
35 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 (14 oz) can Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken broth
2 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow or white onion
2 medium jalapeño chilies
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 medium tomatoes

1. Chop zucchini up into 1/2 inch thick slices. Quarter each slice and set zucchini aside. Wash and finely chop up the onion. Remove top and seeds from jalapeno, then dice up the chilies.
Remove skins from tomatoes, either with your fingernails or carefully with a paring knife.
Chop tomatoes up into bite-sized chunks. Set tomatoes aside from rest of veggies, retaining as much juice as possible.
2. Pour quinoa into saucepan. Add in 3/4 can of Swanson chicken broth. Begin boiling quinoa over high heat.
3. Once broth comes to a rolling boil, decrease heat to medium high and add in zucchini quarters.
Boil for an additional 5 minutes.
4. At the 5 minutes mark, add in chopped onion and diced jalapeños. Season with ground cumin and sea salt. Also add in the olive oil; stir. Continue simmering for another 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in remaining chicken broth when necessary (will eventually use the entire can of broth).
5. Taste quinoa. When the grain is swollen and tender and liquid almost all absorbed,
turn off heat, but don't remove from the stove.
6. Stir in the tomato pieces. Continue stirring until the tomatoes are heated through.
You want them slightly cooked by the still-hot quinoa, but not falling apart.
Serve warm, in bowls.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Navy Bean and Asparagus Hash

More asparagus with potatoes. I'm a fan, if you haven't noticed. Be sure to add lots of garlic powder, it tastes great with the white navy beans. Also, let the large potato slices saute long enough in the oil (on the bottom of the pan) such that they become golden brown.

Serves 2
35 minutes
-large saucepan, with tall sides
Quick and simple

10 asparagus stalks
3 medium-sized red potatoes
1 medium white onion
1 small red bell pepper
1 (15 oz.) can white navy beans*, drained
2-3 Tbsp. peanut oil
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
2 tsp. garlic powder
sea salt

*Bush navy beans are GF; S&W navy beans are GF

1. Cut asparagus into 2 inch long pieces (chop stalk into thirds). Cut potatoes into larger, 1 inch cubes, don't bother peeling. You want the potato pieces large, since they'll boil for awhile. Place asparagus and potato aside. Coarsely chop white onion into large-ish pieces. Wash and remove core/seeds from the bell pepper. Chop red bell pepper likewise into larger pieces (about 1.5 inches long).
2. Place spuds and asparagus into large saucepan. Bring potatoes and asparagus to boil in 3/4 cup water over high heat. Continue to boil spuds and aspargus for 12 - 15 minutes, or until water just about boiled away.
3. Add in onion and red bell pepper. Stir in 3 Tbsp. peanut oil. Saute over medium-high heat for an additional 5 minutes. Stir only intermittently, let the potatoes and asparagus on the bottom of the pan toast and become golden.
4. Once the onions have turned translucent, drain the can of navy beans and add beans to the pan. Season with thyme leaves and lots of garlic powder. Add in ample amound of sea salt (it tastes so good with the beans).
5. Heat for another 2-3 minutes, or until the beans are heated all the way through.
Serve hot.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Zucchini Boats

A.k.a. Stuffed Zucchini.
These were great; egg-free, gluten-free, vegetarian side dish. (even oil free and dairy-free, if you wish) By squeezing most of the water out of the cooked zucchini pulp, and baking the empty shells beforehand, I managed to keep these from getting soggy. Cooked on the inside and crispy on the outside; bursting with garlic, Parmesan, parsley and tomato.

Makes 8 'boats'; enough to feed 2-3 people
10 + 15 + 30 minutes (about an hour total)
-large pot and mesh sieve for steaming vegetables
-medium mixing bowl
-Aluminum foil lined cookie sheet

4 thick, large zucchini
1/2 medium white onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium tomato, peeled
handful of fresh parsley
[1 egg, slightly beaten; optional]
[1 Tbsp. olive oil; optional]
3/4 to 1 cup finely crushed Original Baked Lay's potato crisps
1/4 Parmesan cheese-- or non dairy-alternative (Galaxy Nutritional Foods has some good ones)
dash of black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
dash of dried thyme leaves

0. Steam whole zucchini over boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft enough to 'give' slightly when pressed (not mushy). I use a metal sieve large enough in diameter to 'sit' over the top of my pot, then covered with a lid. You might have to steam them 2 at a time.
Cool before handling. (I chilled mine overnight.)
Filling and Baking
-Preheat oven to 350 F
1. Once zucchini is cool enough to touch, cut off both ends and scoop out the inner zucchini 'meat' with a small spoon, leaving a firm shell (don't make shells too thin). Squeeze the pulp to remove excess water. Discard the water, but place the zucchini meat in a medium bowl. Don't expect lots of zucchini innards.. I barely had 2 Tbsp. total.
2. While oven is warming up, line a cookie pan with Aluminum foil. Arrange empty shells on the pan and place into the preheating oven. Let them cook for around 15 minutes. They should be dry when you pull them out.
3. Peel and dice the white onion. You need the onion pieces small. Also, remove ends, peel and mince the garlic cloves into very small pieces. Remove the tomato skin with a paring knife, then dice up the tomato, but don't turn it into mush. Wash and chop up the fresh parsley.
4. Using your hands, mix the onion, garlic, tomato and parsley in with the zucchini pulp. [If you want eggs in this, you may add in one slightly beaten large egg to the bowl at this time. Likewise, if you want to add in the oil, do so now. I didn't use either egg or oil and it tasted fine and held together okay.]
5. Crush the last 1/4th of an open bag of Baked Lay's original potato crisps until the chips are reduced to small pieces (use a hammer if you wish). Toss the chip pieces in with the veggies, adding more if the mixture still seem too moist. Add in the Parmesan cheese, oregano leaves, thyme leaves and black pepper (DON'T add in extra salt.. the chips are salty enough!). Mix evenly.
6. Fill slightly-cooked shells with mixture-- really be generous, it at first looked like I had too much filling! Top with another dusting of Parmesan cheese.
7. Bake zucchini boats in the oven for 30 minutes, uncovered. The tops should be toasted and crispy once removed; the boats should be cooked all the way through, but not mush.
Eat warm as a side dish, or serve as the main dish with enough fresh steamed white rice.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Zucchini Boy-R-De

It's been a long time since I ate pasta out of a can, but this vaguely reminded me of those spaghetti-O's-- only better, due to the fresh zucchini and garlic.
Another fast fast (although far-from-gourmet) dinner that actually tasted good!

Serves 2
25 minutes
-large pot
Quick and simple

6 oz. uncooked GF pasta spirals (I use half of a 12 oz bag of Tinkyada brown rice spirals)
2 to 3 large zucchini
1 large white onion
8 to 10 lobes of fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (14 oz.) can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tbsp. dried (or fresh) basil leaves
1 Tbsp. dried (or fresh) oregano leaves
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Place spirals into the large pot. Add in water until the water level rises 1/2 inch above the pasta sitting in the pot. Place over high heat and chop up the veggies while waiting on the water to boil.
2. Veggies: Wash the cut the zucchini into 1/2 inch thick slices. Don't half the circles, leave them big. Place zucchini near the range (aside from the garlic and onion). Peel and chop up the white onion. Peel, remove ends, then and dice up the garlic.
3. Once the pasta comes to a rolling boil, begin timing, stir, then reduce heat down to medium-high. Cook spirals for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Taste a spiral, it should be very al dente (slightly soft on the outside, yet still firm and chewy on the inside). Add in the zucchini slices. Stir. Cook for another 5 minutes.
5. By this time, almost all of the water should have boiled away. Just before the pasta starts to stick on the bottom of the pot, add in the onions, garlic, olive oil and full can of Muir Glen Crushed tomatoes, liquid and all (do NOT drain tomatoes!!). Stir well to mix. Add in a fair amount of seasonings: basil, oregano, sea salt and pepper.
6. Turn the heat down to medium. Let the 'soup' simmer, uncovered, until the onions become translucent and the tomato sauce becomes thick, coating the spirals (around 3-5 minutes). The pasta and zucchini will be tender by this point.
7. Remove from the stove; let sit 5 minutes, but serve warm.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Christmas Quinoa

This was my first taste of Quinoa (keen-wah), despite the GF community raving about this wonder grain for months now. Now I understand what all the 'raving' was about. Light and textured, with a hint of chewiness-- a perfect break from rice. I'm so happy!!
Of course this dish has nothing to do with Christmas. The color scheme just reminded me of such.

Serves 1.5
25 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1.5 cups water (or GF chicken broth)
5 asparagus stalks
1/2 of a head of cauliflower
1/2 of a large red bell pepper
1 medium white onion
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place rinsed quinoa into the large saucepan. Cover grains with water and begin cooking over high heat. Keep an eye on the stove, but start cutting up veggies:
2. Wash and cut asparagus stalks into 1 inch pieces. Wash and cut cauliflower into bite-sized chunks. Set asparagus and cauliflower aside near range. Wash and slice red bell pepper into 1 inch pieces. Also evenly chop white onion into 1/2 inch squares.
3. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, turn heat down to medium-high and continue cooking (start timing from onset of rapid boiling). Stir occasionally.
4. At the 5 minute mark, add in the asparagus and cauliflower pieces. Stir, continue cooking.
5. At the 10 minutes mark, add in the red bell pepper and onion. Stir, then season with salt and pepper. Also stir in a bit of olive oil.
6. Continue cooking (stirring occasionally) until the outside of the quinoa grain becomes translucent and the grain itself (and accompanig veggies) are tender, but not soggy. All water should have boiled away by this point.
7. Let the veggies and cooked quinoa sit undisturbed in the pan for 2-3 minutes right before removing from the heat. This will slightly toast the bottom grains if you added enough olive oil. Serve warm.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cowboy Hash

Tried this once before with potato slices, then grated potato, but this is the best version yet. I love the corn with the beans and the spuds.
I prefer fresh potatoes in this, but if you don't want to go through the trouble of slicing up potatoes, simply cook this up without the spuds and pop some GF frozen french fries into the oven before you begin. Spoon baked, crispy french fries into a bowl and top with the hamburger and beans. Yummy.

Serves 2
35 minutes
-large saucepan with tall sides
-mandolin slicer

3 medium red potatoes [-or- OMIT fresh potatoes and bake up a handful of frozen french fries* separately in the oven]
1/2 of a red bell pepper
1 medium yellow onion
10 green onions
handful of fresh cilantro
1/2 lbf. hamburger meat
2 + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 tsp. chili powder*
2 tsp. ground cumin*
sea salt and garlic powder*
1 (15 oz.) can sweet corn* (not creamed corn) [-or- 2 ears fresh corn]
1 (15 oz.) can black beans*, drained

*Most all varieties of Ore-Ida french fries are GF!! Cook till golden and crispy (~20 min at 500F, if you place them in the oven while preheating). I suggest 'golden crinkles' for this.
McCormick spices are GF.
All DelMonte canned veggie are GF.
S&W and Bush's beans are GF.

Cut up all veggies:
1. If using fresh potatoes, use a mandolin slicer with to cut potato into semi-thin strips (like you would for french fries). Soak in cold water for 3-5 minutes, then place into large saucepan.
[If using frozen potatoes, turn your oven up to 500 F and spread frozen spuds out on an Aluminum foil-covered pan (single layer). Place into oven while it's preheating. Cook till golden and sizzling (check often near the end of 20 minutes).]
2. Wash, de-seed and chop up the red bell pepper into squares. Wash and peel the yellow onion; also chop up (not too small). Set bell pepper and yellow onion aside.
3. Wash and dice up the green onion. Use both the green stalks and white bottoms, removing the little roots at the end. Wash and dice up the fresh cilantro leaves, removing any excess stem.
4. Turn back to the saucepan. Crumble the half pound of ground beef into the saucepan with the potatoes. Add a splash of water (not too much, just moisten the bottom). Begin cooking on medium-high. Stirring occasionally for about 5 to 8 minutes.
5. Once the meat is thouroughly browned (and water nearly evaporated), add in the chopped bell pepper and yellow onion. Stir. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until onion becomes translucent. If you are using lean hamburger, you might need to add in 2 Tbsp. olive oil.
6. Add in the diced green onion and cilantro. Season generously with chili powder and ground cumin. Also throw in a little sea salt and garlic powder. Stir and let saute for an additional 5 minutes.
7. Open and thoroughly drain both the canned corn and black beans.
8. Once the potatoes are tender and browned (if you're using fresh potatoes) gently stir in the corn and beans and another Tbsp. of olive oil. Turn head down to medium and cook until heated through -- another 3-5 minutes. Serve warm in a bowl, perhaps topped with cheddar cheese or ketchup.
[9. If baking up the frozen fries, remove from oven. Serve topped with bean mixture.]

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fusilli with Kidney Beans

Don't be fooled by the fancy name. This is just one above plain old Mac & Cheese.
I thought spirals were my favorite Tinkyada pasta until I discovered their Fusilli. Undercook it slightly and you will retain the hollow center of the long, loopy 'curls'. For some reason I think the Kidney beans go best with this type of pasta.
Super super quick. I whip this up all the time on 'crunch' days right before problem sets are due.

I'm trying to post more often, despite not having time to cook up anything better than rice or potatoes with _(insert random vegetable)_.

Serves 1
15 minutes
-medium pot
-can opener
Quick and simple

8 oz. Tinkyada brown rice Fusilli pasta (1/2 of a regular bag)
1 (8 oz.) can Kidney beans (S&W and Bush are GF)-- could use full 15 oz can if you want tons o protein
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese (or good dairy substitute; I use Galaxy Nutritional Foods Rice shreds)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese (Galaxy N.F. also has good Parmesan substitutes)

1. Bring Fusilli pasta to a rolling boil in 2 cups water. Cook until Al dente (tender, but not mushy; around 8 to 10 minutes).
2. Pour out most of the excess water, reserving about 2 Tbsp (roughly) in the bottom of the pot. Turn heat down to medium low.
3. Open and thoroughly rinse kidney beans. Add to the pasta and gently mix. Heat through (just place back on the burner for an additional 1 to 2 minutes)
4. Once heated, add in the cheddar and Parmesean cheese. Stir well to mix and melt the cheese, fully coating the Fusilli. (Don't break up the pasta!) Eat warm right out of the pot.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Asparagus Fried Rice

More fried rice, this one with an Italian twist; not Asian. A nice change from my normal egg-and-soy-sauce fried rice. I think refrigerating the pre-steamed rice overnight helped make this super not soggy. Very easy.

Serves 1-2
25 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1 1/2 cups pre-cooked long grain white rice (I used a rice-cooker and placed the rice in the fridge to chill)
10 asparagus stalks
1/4 c. water
1/2 of a large red onion
1 large red bell pepper
1 + 1 Tbsp olive oil
Oregano and basil.

0. Precook the white rice in another pot (or rice cooker), use a little less water than normal. Place cooked rice into the fridge to chill (overnight works best, but a few hours is fine).
1. Break off tough bottoms of each asparagus stalk, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
2. Place cut asparagus into large saucepan. Add in 1/4 cup water (just enough to wet the asparagus pieces). Bring asparagus to a boil for 5 minutes (start-up included).
3. Peel and coarsely dice the red onion. Rinse and deseed the red bell pepper, then cut into small-ish 1/2 inch squares.
4. Once the water in the saucepan has diminished significantly (around the 5 minute mark), add the onion and red bell pepper to the asparagus. Stir and reduce the heat to medium-high.
5. Let the remaining water boil off completely, then add in 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Stir. Sprinkle generously with dried oregano and basil leaves, to taste. [Use fresh leaves if you have them!].
6. Saute the asparagus, bell pepper and onion for 5 more minutes, browning the veggies.
7. Once they are nice and browned, add in the chilled, cooked white rice. Break up any rice clumps and add in another Tbsp. of olive oil. Stir-fry the rice (with veggies) for an additional 3-5 minutes, tanning it, too.
Serve warm.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thick Chicken Noodle Soup

It's been wet around here... very wet. Nothing like biking to class in the steady rain to make you want soup. I like my soups thick.. very very thick. This was wonderful, with big fettuccine noodles, fresh parsley and big chunks of chicken.

Lately, I've been bartering: Soup for homework help. So far it's worked out well.

Makes about 5 to 6 cups of thick soup.
35 minutes
-large large soup pot

3 heaping Tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/3 c Bob's Red Mill all-purpose flour (sorghum?)
3 (15 oz) cans Swanson natural goodness chicken broth
1 can water (fill up empty chicken broth can)
1 (or two) large chicken breast
2 thick carrots, peeled
1 large white onion
handful of fresh parsley
fistful (about 1/3 to 1/2 of a package) of Tinkyada fettuccine noodles, broken in half
1/2 c. frozen peas
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. celery flakes
sea salt to taste

1. Melt butter in the wok over low heat. Once butter is fully melted, add in the flour, one tablespoon at a time. Stir well to mix, breaking up any flour clumps. Mixture should be thick and sticky, like a paste.
2. Continue to heat the butter/flour roux, stirring frequently. Add in a little more butter if necessary to aid stirring. When flour in the roux just starts to tan/brown (around the 5 minute mark), add in the chicken broth + 1 additional can of water. Mix well. Don't be discouraged if lumps occur at this point; they should break up later upon boiling (the end product is silky smooth).
3. Rinse off the boneless/skinless chicken breast(s). Tear into bite-sized chunks and add to the broth/roux. Turn heat up to medium high. Cover and let simmer softly while you chop up veggies.
4. Wash and peel the carrots. Slice into thin-ish circles. Half the larger circles if they get too big in diameter. Peel and chop up the onion; pieces don't have to be super small. Wash and dice the fresh parsley.
By now the soup should have boiled for around 10 minutes, cooking the chicken pieces.
5. Add in the chopped carrot, onion and parsley to the boiling soup. Take a handful of Tinkyada flat fettuchini pasta and break in half lengthwise. Add pasta to the soup pot (it will be awkard). Cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. **Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot during stirring. The soup will become very thick and might stick to the bottom and burn if left totally unattended. Add in more water to alleviate this problem.**
6. Once the pasta becomes tender, wash off the frozen peas and add them to the pot. Season soup generously with garlic powder, black pepper, oregano and celery flakes. Turn heat down to medium. Stir to mix. Add in extra water as necessary.
7. Simmer gently for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender (but not shapeless) and pasta and chicken are fully cooked. Soup should no longer have any large clumps, but it will be quite viscous, coating spoons and pouring slowly.
Serve warm with favorite gluten free bread.

Pan-Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

Tender spuds, covered in garlic butter, pan-roasted with pearl onions.
I've always wanted to make these. Over winter break, I found time to experiment. I really liked the garlic-infused butter, but you can tune down both (garlic or butter) if you see fit.

Serves 3 (as a side dish)
40 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

10 to 15 small baby red (boiler) potatoes ; no bigger than 2 inches in diameter
10 to 15 small white pearl onions
1 whole garlic (more than 8 cloves, at least)
4 Tbsp. butter or non-dairy alternative (I used Buttery Sticks)
5 green onions
sea salt and pepper

1. Half each baby red potato; don't bother peeling them. If still too big, quarter each potato. Place in bowl of cold water to sit while peeling the onions.
2. Carefully cut the ends off of the pearl onions. Remove the outer cover by slicing into the side. However, keep the onions whole-- don't half them (they'll fall apart).
3. Remove the spuds from the water-bath and place in large saucepan. Add in the peeled pearl onions. Pour in enough water such that the potatoes and onions are halfway covered (not too much).
4. Start the pan boiling over high heat. You want the potatoes and onions to boil rapidly for at least 10 minutes. Turn to the garlic and green onions while waiting.
5. Peel entire garlic, removing the hard bottom parts from each clove (this, like the onions, takes awhile). Coarsely dice. Keep watch on the potatoes.
6. Once the potatoes are pierced easily with a knife, carefully pour out most of the extra water; leave about a tablespoon of water in the bottom of the pan. Add in handful the diced garlic. Stir.
7. Place saucepan back on the hot range. Boil off the rest of the water-- should take less than 3 minutes. When the water has completely boiled away, turn the heat down to medium-high and add in the butter. Stir to melt and coat.
8. Let the potatoes, garlic, and onions saute in the butter for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the potatoes to brown a little.
9. Coarsely cut up the green leaves of the green onion. Add to the saucepan. Mix well.
10. Saute for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the potatoes and white onions are tender, but before they get too mushy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve generously with ham.