Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

This is what I serve people when they say they don't like sprouts. Haven't received a complaint, yet.
Adapted slightly from here.

Serves 1.5
35 minutes
- large saucepan
- bowl
- laid out paper towels (for bacon)

12 large Brussels sprouts
2 large shallots
5 garlic cloves
3 strips bacon
2 Tbsp. cooking sherry*
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

*Holland House cooking sherry is GF

1. Remove ends form the Brussels sprouts; cut each in half through the 'stem'. Remove ends from the shallots and garlic; peel, then finely dice.
2. Spread Brussels sprouts around inside the pan with a little bit of water. Bring to a boil, let cook for about 2 minutes, then drain water (make sure you don't over-boil the sprouts). Remove Brussels sprouts; set them aside in a clean bowl. Now turn to the meat.
3. Rinse bacon, then place strips into the now-empty pan. Brown bacon over medium heat till just crispy-- about 5 minutes. Carefully move strips to some prepared paper towels to cool and wick away fat. Once cooled, tear meat into bite-sized pieces. Drain and discard all
but 1 Tbsp. bacon grease.
4. Add the diced shallots and garlic to the retained grease (still in the pan). Saute over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes.
5. Add in the saved, partially cooked Brussels sprouts and the crispy bacon; cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure things don't burn. Once sprouts and garlic are somewhat toasted, pour in the sherry and balsamic vinegar. Cook till liquids are somewhat reduced, coating the veggies. Shouldn't take longer then a minute or two for vinegar to thicken.
Serve warm.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Potatoes

Potatoes! One of my 4 food groups (the others being rice, cheese and everything else). A quick and tasty little dish whipped up with a baked potato. Even involves broccoli with cheddar.

Serves 2
1 hr (bake potato the night before) + 20 minutes next day
- Al foil
- large saucepan

2 large russet potatoes
1 to 2 Tbsp. butter
1 large head of broccoli
1 (14 oz.) can of dark red kidney beans*
1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese*

*Bush beans are GF; Kraft shredded cheese is both GF and contains "0" g. lactose (not enough to bother me!)

The night before:
0. Wash, then stab a few holes in the potatoes with a fork (don't bother peeling). Wrap spuds in foil and throw into a 400 F preheated oven. Cook for an hour. Carefully take out the hot potatoes and place into the fridge to sit (and cool) overnight.
The next day, after work:
1. Wash the broccoli and chop into small pieces (as if for a salad bar). Place broccoli bits in the saucepan and throw in the butter.
2. Begin cooking over medium-high heat. Stir to melt and coat. Let broccoli cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Slice the baked potatoes into thick rounds, probably over 1/2" thick. Add soft potato slices to the sizzling broccoli/butter combo. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; careful you don't turn the potatoes into mush. Remove the saucepan from heat when the broccoli is soft (but not mushy) and the potatoes are slightly browned.
4. Drain and rinse the kidney beans. Fold rinsed beans into the still-hot saucepan. Top mixture generously with sharp cheddar cheese. Stir to melt; eat warm.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Garlic Steak Fries

Thick and hearty potato wedges roasted with lots and lots of garlic. A very easy side-dish that could also pose as a hot snack.

Serves 1.5
15 minutes prep + 60 minutes baking
- large baking pan or cookie sheet
- Al foil
- spatula

2 large russet potatoes
6 garlic cloves
1 large shallot
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
[1/2 c. favorite cheese, grated -- optional]

0. Spread a sheet of Al foil over the baking pan. Preheat oven to 400 F.
1. Wash potatoes and cut in half lengthwise, then in half again long-wise (into 4 quarters, perpendicular to the first cut). Slice each quarter lengthwise into 4 wedge-like pieces. Peel garlic and shallots, discard ends, then coarsely dice.
2. Place potato wedges on the aluminum-coated baking pan. Try to arrange them all with peels facing downward, resting on the foil.
3. Place into 400 F pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and carefully rub down with butter. Let butter completely melt and coat the wedges. Lay the potatoes out, but this time with an inside 'face' resting on the foil. Spread the diced garlic and shallot pieces out over the top.
5. Place back in to the oven and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. Check frequently near the end to avoid burning. Remove before the garlic singes.
6. Let the browned wedges cook for 5 minutes.
You might need a spatula to scrape the wedges from the foil. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper; toss a little to mix. Eat warm, perhaps with a little bit of cheese melted on top.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Pretty good cake-- slightly on the dry side, but soft like white velvet. It is heavy, but, hey, it's a damn pound cake! Perfect, in my opinion, to soak up homemade strawberry or peach syrup drizzled over the top.
Another non-original; I picked it up from here.

Makes 1 shallow bundt cake
Preheat 310 F
- large mixing bowl
- handheld beater
- spatula

1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened
5.3333 oz. regular cream cheese* (2/3rds of an 8 oz. container), softened
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour
2 heaping tsp. xanthan gum

*Kraft Philly cream cheese is GF (Tofutti cream cheese is also GF and does well in baked goods)

0. Preheat oven to 310 F. Grease a large bundt cake pan.
1. Let butter and cream cheese sit at room temperature for an hour, until quite soft.
2. Place butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until soft and creamy, about a minute or so.
3. Add in the white sugar. Stir in till no longer powdery, then beat with mixer for about 30 seconds. Will look like paste.
4. Crack in the 4 eggs. Pour in the vanilla extract. Beat with mixer for a minute, until a uniform color. Batter should look like a thick custard.
5. Spoon in the flour, stirring with a heavy spoon or spatula. Also mix in the xanthan gum. The batter will get thicker, but should still have alot of 'body'-- much like dense whipped topping.
6. Scoop into waiting bundt cake pan (it definitely shouldn't pour!). Smooth top of the cake with the spatula.
7. Bake in middle of preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Top will turn a nice golden-brown and crack a little. Toothpick inserted in the top should come out dry.
Enjoy this warm with ice cream or homemade fruit syrup. Cake freezes remarkably well, actually.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Salsa Risotto

More risotto; creamy rice with a salsa kick. This is suppost to be rather spicy-- don't be shy about leaving the jalapeno seeds in when you dice the peppers!
Sorry about the sparse updates. Work has been hectic lately...hasn't left me much time to write things up.

Serves 2
35 minutes
- large saucepan with deep sides -or- large pot

6 large green onions
2 cloves garlic
2 large jalapenos
1/2 of a large green bell pepper
1/2 of a large red bell pepper
1 Tbsp. corn oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 large tomatoes
1/2 of a large bunch of fresh cilantro
[1 large ear of fresh yellow corn-- optional]
1 c. aborio rice
1 tsp. corn oil
ground cumin
2 c. chicken -or- vegetable broth*
1/2. monterey jack cheese

*Swanson 14 oz. canned Natural Goodness chicken (and veggie) broths are GF, and hold about 2 cups of liquid

1. Wash and remove dangling root ends from green onion. Slice up the whole green onion, separating the white and green parts. Peel and dice the garlic. Remove stem from the jalapeno and dice it up, leaving in the seeds for extra heat. De-seed the bell peppers and chop into small pieces. Cut tomato up into 1" cubes (don't bother peeling tomatoes). Wash and cut up the cilantro. [Husk corn and rinse, set aside.]
2. Pour rice into the pan with the white parts of the green onion, 1/2 of the diced garlic and all of the diced jalapeno. Add in the corn oil and cook over medium-high heat until crackling, about 2 minutes; season with lots of cumin (~1 tsp).
3. When the rice has developed a tiny, opaque starch spot in the middle, add in 1/2 c. of chicken broth and stir. Reduce heat to medium.
4. Wait until broth is almost all absorbed-- about 5 minutes-- then add in another 1/2 c. of broth. Stir.
5. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then add in another 1/2 c. of broth plus the red and green bell pepper bits. Stir, again.
6. Let cook for another 5 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Throw in the remaining broth, tomatoes, and cilantro. [Cut the fresh corn straight into the pan.] Stir well.
7. Cook till broth is almost all boiled off and tomatoes are just starting to fall apart. Rice should be soft and creamy, but not mushy. Remove from heat and fold in plenty of monterey jack cheese. Eat warm.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tex Mex Chicken Tenders

Very yummy, flavorful tex mex chicken strips. These turned out very very tender!! Needs more heat, though, so I added some here from the original recipe (it was so good I didn't have to change much else!). I did, however, cook them in a saucepan with the rest of the marinade instead of grilling.

Serves 2
20 minutes sauce prep + 1.5 hour marinate + 20 minutes cooking (2 hours and 10 minutes total)
- 2 heavy duty quart sized freezer bags (ziplock or similar brand)
[- meat mallet for pounding chicken breasts]
- large saucepan

2 cloves garlic
2 green onions
1/2 of a clump of fresh cilantro (um, about 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh)
1/4. c. corn oil
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
juice of one large lime
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper (for some heat!)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 lb. thin chicken tenders [-or- pounded chicken breasts]
1 cup precooked white rice

*Lea and Perrins original Worcestershire sauce is gluten free

0. Open up a heavy-duty quart sized freezer bag and slip it inside the second heavy-duty freezer bag.
1. Peel and cut the tough end off of the garlic. Mince the garlic. Remove the root tips and finely dice up both the white and green part of the green onions. Pull off the cilantro leaves and finely chop them, almost into a paste. If you have a food processor, give it all a whirl before placing the pulp into the waiting hefty freezer bags. (I just diced everything up and it was fine!)
2. Pour in the corn oil and Worcestershire sauce. Split the lime and squeeze in as much juice as you can.
3. Add in the spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika and black pepper). Swirl to mix. Add in the brown sugar. Shake the bag well, and kneed with your fingers to break up any sugar clumps.
4. Rinse off the chicken tenders and place into the bag. [If you have chicken breasts, make sure you pound them down with a meat mallet to 1/4th inch thick and slice into moderately small chicken strips.] Close the bags tightly then squish the chicken around inside the bags, shaking and kneading to coat the breasts well. Lay the bag flat out in the fridge, making sure all the tenders are equally soaking up the marinade.
5. Marinate in the fridge for an hour and a half.
6. Pull out the bag and pour it's contents into the large saucepan, marinade and all. Arrange the tenders in the pan, forming a single uniform layer.
7. Cook chicken over medium heat, flipping after 10 minutes. Let cook 20 minutes total, or until the sauce starts to thicken and coats the chicken.
This was really really good served with regular, plain white rice or alongside some Salsa Risotto:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

This is the best thing ever. Seriously.
The fruit in most cobblers turns out mushy and shapeless, here the fruit sits halfway into the batter, resulting in sweet, juicy fruit bites bursting with rich flavor. The spongy cake puffs up around the fruit and forms a butter-induced crispy layer on top. Incredibly good.

Recipe courtesy of my favorite college housemate, Reid. (adapted to be gluten-free, in a smaller pan)

Makes a 9 x 9" pan worth of cobbler
- 2 medium sized bowls
- 9 x 9" Al pan or glass pan lined with Al foil
Preheat to 365 F

2 large peaches, sliced into 8ths
~3/4ths of a pint of fresh blueberries
1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
1.5 c. sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
1.5 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. milk or non-dairy milk substitute

0. Preheat oven to 365 F. Line a glass baking pan with aluminum foil.
1. Wash the peaches and cut into 8 wedges. Half each of the wedges if you want smaller peach pieces. Wash the blueberries. Place fruit into the medium bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Taste berries; add in another 1/4th cup of sugar if you desire sweeter fruit.
2. Before you mix up the batter, place the butter into the lined 9 x 9 pan. Pop pan into the preheating oven to melt the butter. Remove once butter had completely melted; swish around to get a uniform layer.
3. Mix dry ingredients together (1.5 c. sugar, rice and BRM flour, xanthan gum and baking powder) in another medium-sized bowl. Stirring, pour in the milk. You actually want a viscous, almost paste-like dough (too crumbly, add in another tsp. of milk until smooth). If the batter easily pours, it is way too liquid-y and will turn out soggy.
4. Before the butter solidifies again, spoon the batter over the liquid butter (still resting in the lined pan). DO NOT mix the butter/batter. You want the layers separate-- the oil might move aside as you drop batter spoonfuls in, that's okay. Try to get a semi-uniform layer of batter, though.
5. Press the sugar-coated fruit pieces gently down into the top of the batter layer; evenly space out the berries. Make sure you don't transfer too much sugar water along with the fruit.
6. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes in the oven. The cobbler is done when the fruit is tender and roasted and the cake part is nice and browned. The inside of the cobbler will be moist. This is best served fresh right out of the oven (it gets dense after refrigeration, but the taste is still fantastic!).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Light Pasta with Spinach

Fast and easy. A very light meal with fresh tomatoes, spinach and little Parmesan cheese.
I highly suggest making some quick garlic bread while this is simmering on your stove; simply use some of the garlic-butter from the first cooking step!

Serves 1.5
25 minutes
- medium pot
- large saucepan
[-cookie sheet or baking pan for garlic bread]
Quick and simple

8 oz. cooked GF pasta
8 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. butter [3 Tbsp. butter if making garlic bread]
1 medium white onion
1 large bag/clump of spinach
2 large tomatoes
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese &/or mozzarella cheese*
[4 slices favorite GF bread, laid out on a cookie sheet]

*Kraft shredded moz. cheese is both gluten and lactose free!

0. Cook up the pasta (per instructions on the package) in a medium pot 'till al dente.
1. Cut the ends off, peel and dice up the garlic. Remove onion ends, peel and slice onion into thin rounds (as if making onion rings). Remove stem and chop tomato into 1" cubes (don't bother peeling tomato).
2. Melt the butter in the saucepan with the garlic. Cook the garlic over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes; don't let the garlic burn!
[2.5. If you are making garlic bread, brush some of the garlic-butter on the GF bread slices laid out on a baking pan; place slices in 400 F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown, but not burnt.]
3. Turn butter up to medium and add in the onion slices; saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add in the spinach. Mix to un-clump the wilted greens, then saute for another 3 minutes.
5. Add in the tomato. Stir to heat-- cook for only about 60 seconds or so.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta. Pour in an abundance of cheese. Stir to melt. Serve right away with the fresh garlic bread.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sweet and Tangy Green Beans

Wasn't sure for awhile whether to post this one or not. It was almost too sweet for green beans, but the flavor of the bacon was fantastic (especially if you enjoy balsamic vinegar)! The meat ends up coated with a nice smokey, tangy, slightly-sweet glaze. I would recommend playing around with the sugar/Balsamic/Worcestershire ratio to suite your tastes.

Serves 1
30 minutes
- large saucepan

2 large shallots
1/2 lb. green beans
1/2 lb. yellow wax beans
2 medium red potatoes
3-4 strips thick cut bacon
2 tsp, Worcestershire sauce*
1/8 c. brown sugar (3 Tbsp)
splash (~1 tsp?) of balsamic vinegar*
salt and pepper

*Lee and Perrins original Worcestershire sauce is GF; I use an old bottle of Albertson's brand balsamic vinegar that must be GF cause I haven't gotten sick from it

1. Peel and slice up shallots; don't chop too small. Cut ends off of green and wax beans. Cut potatoes into long pieces (think french fry)... aim to get them about as thick as the green beans.
2. Tear bacon into bite size pieces. Place bacon in the large saucepan with half of the chopped shallots. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, turning bacon frequently.
3. Add in potatoes, green and yellow beans. Cook for another 5 minutes. Be sure to stir things frequently to avoid burning.
4. Turn heat up to medium-high. Add in rest of shallots plus the Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Mix well. The sugar will begin to caramelize-- caution, it gets very very hot.
5. Cook long enough over medium heat to nicely toast the meat and vegetables. Will take another 3-5 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Gently (will be hot!) taste a potato once the sugar/vinegar starts to thicken. Further season with a little salt and pepper. Dish is done when the potatoes are soft and the beans are crisp tender.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eggplant Stir-Fry

Eggplant with red onion, zucchini and fresh basil/garlic infused olive oil. I enjoyed this over GF pasta. Sweating the eggplant takes some extra prep time, but it's worth it for a bitter-free 'meaty' dish.

Serves 2
30 min eggplant sweating + 25 minutes cooking
- large saucepan or wok

6 to 8 oz. pasta*, precooked -or- 1/2 cup white rice, precooked

1 large eggplant
table salt
4 cloves garlic
1 large zucchini
1 medium red onion
1 medium red bell pepper
handful of fresh basil
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 mozzarella cheese

*Tinkyada rice pasta is GF and is very very good

0. Cook the pasta or rice according to instructions on package. Make sure the pasta/rice does not become mushy.
1. Wash and peel the eggplant. Cut into wide thin slices (2" wide, by 1" long, 1/2" thick). Sweat the eggplant for 30 minutes: lay eggplant out on a plate and generously coat slices with table salt. Once the slices become wilted and spongy, squeeze out the brown, bitter juices by hand (the eggplant will bruise alot, that is good). Wash sweated slices thoroughly to remove all of the excess salt. Lay eggplant aside.
2. Peel and dice up the garlic. Remove ends and cut zucchini diagonally into 1/2 inch thick rounds (ovals, actually). Peel and remove ends, then slice onion into thin disks (like onion rings).
Remove core and cut the bell pepper into long thin slices. Wash and dice up the fresh basil.
3. Place eggplant into saucepan with the oil, diced garlic and half of the fresh basil. Heat over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Make sure garlic doesn't burn.
4. Add in the zucchini. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, frequently flipping the eggplant and zucchini slices over, as to not burn..
5. Add in the onion rings and bell pepper slices. Also throw in the remaining basil. Cook until onion slices have separated and are wilted-- so another 2-3 minutes. Zucchini and bell pepper should be crisp tender.
6. Remove veggies from heat and stir in mozzarella cheese. Spoon over rice or pasta.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Summer Vegetable Risotto

Recipe for a busy weekday evening. I like corn in my risotto. I'm also fond of scooping this into GF corn tortilla chips*.

Serves 1.5
35 minutes
- medium saucepan

8 medium okra fruits
1 medium red onion
1 large tomato
1 large ear of sweet corn
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. aborio rice
[1/4 c. white wine -- optional]
1 (14 oz.) can Swanson Natural Goodness chicken -OR- veggie broth -- about 2 cups
1/2 Parmesan cheese

*Tostitos crispy rounds, restaurant style and scoops corn chips are GF

1. Remove stems from the okra and slice into 1/2" pieces. Remove ends of the onion and chop into small pieces. Cut the tomato into 1 inch pieces (don't bother peeling) and remove the corn husk.
2. Place onion into the saucepan with the olive oil and rice. Stir. Cook over medium heat until the rice is mostly translucent (will have a dot of starch in the middle)-- about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add in a splash of white wine (if you desire) and 1/2 c. of chicken broth. Stir until rice starts to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the broth is almost all absorbed.
4. When broth is almost gone from the saucepan, add in another 1/2. c of chicken broth. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
5. Once again, when broth is nearly all absorbed, add in another 1/2 c. of broth AND the okra slices. Stir; let simmer gently. The okra will thicken the rice, watch to make sure things don't stick and burn.
6. Cook for another 5 minutes, add in the remaining 1/2 c. of broth. Throw in the tomato pieces and cut the fresh corn straight from the cob into the saucepan. Cook until rice is nice and creamy. The corn should also be crisp-tender and tomato nearly broken down. If the rice needs an additional 3-4 minutes after broth boils off, add in a splash of water.
7. When rice reaches desired creamy texture, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Serve warm. Suggestion: Eat with corn tortilla chips.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

White Top Cupcakes

These were incredibly tender and moist inside. Like little bites of brownie heaven. Soft, not too dense, and full of chocolate with a creamy white topping.
This recipe has definitely been around; I found it here.

Makes 16 cupcakes
25 minutes prep + 30 minutes baking (or 60 min, depending on #cupcakes in your pan)
- electric hand mixture
- medium bowl for cream cheese
- large bowl
- muffin tin with liners

Cream cheese 'Filling'
8 oz. cream cheese*
1/2 c. fine grained white sugar
1 large egg
1 c. mini chocolate chips*
Chocolate Cupcakes
1. 5 c. flour ---> [1 c. brown rice flour + 1/2 c. Bobs Red Mill All Purpose Flour + 1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum]
1 c. sugar
1/4. c. cocoa powder*
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. water
1/3 c. corn oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla*

*Kraft cream cheese is GF; Toll House s.sweet morsels are GF; Hershey's cocoa powder is GF; McCormick vanilla extract is GF

0. Preheat 350 F. Fit a standard size muffin tin with paper liners.
Cream Cheese
1. Whip the cream cheese, sugar and egg with an electric hand beater for 1 minute, until creamy. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Place aside.
2. Combine the flour(s), xanthan gum, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
3. Push the dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl (making a 'well' in the center for the wet ingredients). Add the water while stirring. Pour in the water,
corn oil, apple vinegar, and vanilla extract.
4. Stir well to incorporate the oil-- it won't mix well at first. Keep stirring until the batter is smooth and silky. The gluten-free batter will be quite thick. Spoon into prepared muffin tins, filling half way.
5. If you want cream cheese inside the cupcakes, (as opposed to just the tops) you will need to sandwich it between the chocolate layers or pipe it in. Me, I just plopped the cream cheese on top of the chocolate batter. During baking, the cream cheese spread out and sat nicely on top of the cupcake, like baked-on icing!
6. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Check often near the end so that the cream cheese doesn't burn. You want it slightly tanned when removed from the oven. Cool slightly before removing them, they were quite impressionable when warm. I don't think these freeze very well, so enjoy then while fresh!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


My first time making ratatouille. I envisioned something hearty, a cross between vegetable stew and gumbo. This was really good; rich and tomato-y with large, distinct chunks of eggplant and zucchini. Wonderful as pasta sauce. Serve over polenta if you're lucky enough to find some certified gluten free.

Serves 3 to 4
45 to 50 minutes
- extra large saucepan
- pot to cook up polenta or pasta or quinoa

1.5 large eggplant
6 cloves garlic
1 large yellow onion
10 fresh okra fruits
1 large red bell pepper
1.5 large zucchini (+ half of onion)
2 large tomatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 of a (6 oz.) container tomato paste*
1/3 c. red cooking wine*
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. herbs de providence (-or- fresh rosemary and thyme)

10 oz. cooked pasta, or corn polenta or quinoa

*Hunts and Muir Glen tomato paste is GF; Holland House cooking wine is GF.

0. Sweat the eggplant. Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch rounds. Stack the pieces inside a bowl, generously salting each layer. Let the eggplant slices sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Once soft, squeeze the eggplant slices with your hands to remove the bitter, brown juice (should act just like a sponge). The vegetable flesh will become rather bruised, but not tear too much.. this is good. Rinse the squeezed eggplant slices several times to remove the salt.
1. Wash, peel and dice the garlic. Peel and dice up half of the yellow onion. Group the diced garlic and onion together.
Wash and cut the ends off the okra. Slice the okra into 1/4 inch rounds. Wash and core the red bell pepper. Chop pepper up into 1 inch pieces and group with the sliced okra.
Cut the sweated eggplant slices into rather large cubes (1/2" chunks). Set cubes aside.
Wash and remove ends of the zucchini. Slice into 1/2" round, then quarter each disk. Coarsly chop up the remaining 1/2 of the yellow onion. Group zucchini quarters with the large yellow onion pieces.
Chop the tomato into 1/2" chunks; don't bother peeling them. Set tomato apart from the other chopped veggies.
2. Place the garlic and diced onion into the large saucepan with the 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Cook over medium heat until the oil is sizzling and aromatic-- about 2 minutes.
3. Add in the red bell pepper and okra slices. Throw in a dash of herbs de providence and maybe a little water. Stir well. Let cook for 5 minutes
4. Add in the eggplant cubes and cook for another 5 minutes
5. Now add in the zucchini and (coarse) onion. Let everything cook for an additional 5 minutes.
6. Stir in the fresh tomatoes. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
7. When the tomatoes begin to break down, mix in the tomato paste, cooking wine, black pepper and remaining herbs de providence. Heat for an additional 5 minutes, or until the veggies are nice and mushy.
Serve over prepared pasta, polenta or quinoa.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Roasted Artichoke

A painless, flavorful way to prepare this wonderful vegetable. Cut it, season it, then throw in the oven until tender and juicy. Quite satisfying.
Watch the great, original video for easy directions.

Serves 2
10 minutes prep + 1.5 hours roasting
- cookie sheet or baking pan
- Al foil

2 large artichokes
4 cloves garlic
juice of 1 medium lemon
1 tsp. olive oil, split between two artichokes
salt and pepper

0. Preheat oven to 400 F.
1. Wash and cut the stems off of the artichoke (so that they sit comfortably upright on a flat surface). Slice off the very top of the bloom-- a fair amount, about an inch on upward. Also remove the prickly tips of the remaining further-down petals (but don't slice all the way through).
2. Set the lobotomized artichoke upright and spread the petals apart with you hands, opening up the vegetable.
3. Peel and cut the ends off of the garlic. Slice each clove into 3 or 4 long, skinny pieces. Slip the garlic inside the artichoke so that about 8 pieces rest between petals equally around the bulb.
4. Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a little bit of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper
5. Wrap the artichokes securely with aluminum foil. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 F for about an hour and a half. Remove** and eat promptly, either plain or dipped in mayo. **Careful of steam when opening up the hot Aluminum packets!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Penne with Zucchini and Black Eyed Peas

Another simple veggie dish. I used canned black-eyed peas to save time, but fresh soaked/boiled ones would be better. Using half of the onion with the garlic at the begining flavors the oil nicely.

Serves 1.5
25 minutes
- large saucepan or pot
Quick and simple

6 oz. cooked GF penne pasta-- I used half of a bag of Tinkyada
5 cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion
2 medium zucchini
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 of a 14 oz. can of black eyed peas
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
Dash of dried oregano, dried parsley leaves, salt, and black pepper

0. Cook up 6 oz. of pasta; actually, undercook it a bit, you don't want it mushy. Set pasta aside.
1. Wash and peel garlic and onion. Dice garlic and half of the yellow onion. Chop the remaining half of the onion into larger pieces. Cuts ends off of the zucchini and slice each into 3 large ~2" sections. Then half each section lengthwise and cut into 2" long 'strips' (not rounds).
2. Place diced garlic and diced onion into the saucepan. Saute with oil over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Don't let the garlic singe.
3. Add in the zucchini and remaining (larger pieces) of onion. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the black-eyed peas. Add in a little bit of dried oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.
4. When large zucchini slices are barely tender, stir in the drained black eyed peas and cooked penne pasta. Mix gently, try not to mush the peas up too much. Heat for 2 minutes. Can turn heat up to high (or add in a little more oil) if the pasta and veggies aren't browning enough on the bottom.
5. Remove from heat and stir in Mozzarella cheese. Eat warm.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Frito Chili Pie

Another quick almost-a-snack meal. Hooray for corn being gluten free!

Serves 2
25 minutes
- large saucepan
Quick and simple

3 large green onions
6 large fresh tomatoes
1/2 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 (14 oz.) can pinto beans*
A handful of corn chips*;enough for two people
Cheddar cheese to melt on top; sour cream (dairy or otherwise) would be a good decision

*Bush beans are GF, so are S&W and Eden Organics
*Fritos are gluten free

1. Wash the green onions and remove the end roots. Dice up the white parts; chop the green stems into larger pieces. Separate the green and white parts. Cut the stem off of the tomatoes. Cut them into rather large 1.5 inch pieces, don't bother peeling them. Save as much tomato juice as you can.
2. Rise off the ground beef and place into the large saucepan. Throw in the diced white green onion bits. Begin cooking over medium heat. Once the meat starts to brown and releases some fat, remove the oil by dabbing it out with a paper towel or carefully pouring it into another container to toss. At the five minute mark, the meat should be nice and browned. Add in 1 Tbsp chili powder; stir well.
3. Add in the green green onion parts and tomatoes (+ juice). Cook for another 5 minutes. You want the tomatoes to somewhat break down, not not dissolve completely.
4. When the beef looks totally done, add in the another 1 Tbsp. of chili powder. Drain the pinto beans, then carefully stir the beans into the tomato/bean mixture. Add in some more spice if you think the sauce needs it. Heat for another 2 minutes or so, perhaps turn the heat up to med-high to boil off any excess water. The chili shouldn't look like soup, but it should be moist enough to slop over a big helping of corn chips. Top with cheese and sour cream. Eat warm, while the chips are still crunchy.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Saucepan Bratwurst

For those of you who don't own grills but want crispy, juicy bratwurst: a bare-bone recipe for sausage with some caramelized veggies. Probably also a good recipe to try while traveling (Oscar Meyer franks are GF). If I'd planned ahead better I would have made fresh hotdog buns. Next time, maybe.

Serves 2
25 minutes
- medium saucepan
Quick and simple

4 bratwurst sausages-- Niman Ranch has really good sausage links that are GF
1 large yellow onion
1 large red bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash and peel the onion. Slice into thin rounds, as if making onion rings. Half each disk, getting semi-circles. Slice the bell pepper into long, thin pieces.
2. Rinse off the bratwurst and place in frying pan alongside the onion and bell pepper. Begin cooking over medium heat. You want the onions to slowly caramelize-- so make sure the burner isn't hot enough to singe the veggies straight out.
3. Slowly cook the bratwurst, onion and pepper, tossing and turning pieces as needed. Once meat heats up enough, poke holes in the bratwurst with a fork to let the juices out. Stir. If things look to be burning, turn stove down to medium-low. Tend often or things will stick and char. Heat until the sausage is browned and sizzling and the onions are dark and caramelized. Mine took about 15 minutes to get nice and 'grilled'.
Enjoy alone or with buns.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Blueberry-Strawberry Cobbler

Has a nice mixed-berry taste. Was shooting for red and blue-- came out more like purple-pink, but that's okay. The topping here is fluffy and spongy, reminiscent of muffin; definitely not a crisp.

I did just blueberry last week while on vacation using Bobs Red Mill pancake mix as pre-leavened, pre-xanthaned 'flour'. Fairly easy dessert to make while visiting a friend with a kitchen. All I needed, in addition to the pancake mix, was some extra white sugar, cream (use slightly less cream and less sugar in the batter), a lemon, an egg and a few berries. Didn't even require an electric mixer. Just as good!
Adapted from this recipe.

Make one 9" pie
65 minutes (15 min for fruit + 10 min for topping + 40 minutes baking)
- medium bowl
- 9" pie pan with deep sides; Al pan works fine

Fruit Filling:
18 oz. of blueberries (-or- ~10 oz. blueberries + ~8 oz. strawberries)
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. GF flour (don't add xanthan gum!)
1 tsp. almond extract (use 1 tsp. lemon juice if you don't have almond extract)
Bread Topping:
1 large egg
3/4 c. heavy cream (try coconut cream if you can't do dairy)
1 c. GF flour ---> [I used Bobs Red Mill all-purpose flour + 1 level tsp. xanthan gum]
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder

0. Preheat oven to 375 F
1. Wash blueberries. If you're adding strawberries, remove the green end bit and cut the large ones into quarters (leave the strawberries as fairly big chunks).
2. Place berries into a medium-sized bowl and add the 1/4 c. sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour and almond extract [fresh lemon juice is good, too]. Stir gently with your hands to mix. Scoop berries into the waiting 9" pie pan and spread evenly along the bottom.
3. Crack the large egg into the rinsed bowl and mix with the heavy cream. [If using a pancake or cake mix, use less cream and sugar]. Whisk with a fork to break up the egg yolk. Pour in the flour, add xanthan gum, white sugar and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture to incorporate with the wet-- the dough should be thick, stretchy and soft.
4. With your hands, scoop the dough over the sweetened berries. You might need to stretch or squish the dough into thinner sections to evenly coat the top. Once the topping is uniform and covering, place into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. [I believe the pancake batter was slightly thinner and needed to be cooked for almost 45 minutes to brown.] The cobbler is done once the top is golden-brown and berries are bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Asparagus Penne Alfredo

Oh so so creamy and delicious. Not entirely low in fat, but the asparagus, tomatoes, Parmesan and cream combo are well worth the calories. The little red boiler onions were fantastic, but if you can only find white boiler onions, I'm sure those will work, too.

Serves 2
10 minutes to cook pasta + 25 minutes for veggies
- large pot
- large saucepan

2 c. cooked penne pasta; I used a whole bag of Tinkyada GF pasta
12 to 15 stalks of asparagus
10 to 15 red pearl onions
6 cloves garlic
10 to 15 cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan-regano cheese

0. Boil the pasta over high heat until barely al-dente (slightly chewy). Drain. Stir in a bit of butter or olive oil so the pasta doesn't stick.
1. Wash the asparagus and chop off the tough bottom of each stalk. Cut into 1.5" long pieces. Peel red boiler onions and remove ends. Leave the onions fairly 'whole'. Peel and remove the ends of the garlic cloves. Mice the peeled garlic cloves. Wash and half the cherry tomatoes.
2. Place the asparagus pieces, red boiler onions, and diced garlic into the large saucepan. Add in 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil. Begin cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Saute the veggies for about 10 minutes. Near the very end, turn the heat up to medium-high in order to brown the onions a little.
3. When the asparagus and onions just become tender, remove from the heat and stir in the cherry tomatoes. Leave the veggies and turn back to the pasta.
4. Stir the cooked pasta to break up any clumps. Place pasta back over low heat and add in the heavy cream. Stir to coat pasta and thicken the cream. Once the pasta and cream are heated, pour in the parm. cheese. Stir well to mix and melt the cheese.
5. When the cheese has melted and the sauce thickened, stir in the asparagus/tomato mixture. Mix till thoroughly heated. Add in some fresh black pepper and serve warm with a salad or fresh bread.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Zucchini Bacon Mac and Cheese

Yellow summer squash with sweet orange bell pepper and crispy bacon. Plenty of melted cheddar to make this mac and cheese. Really good.

Serves 2
30 minutes
- large saucepan
- large pot

1.5 to 2 c. cooked GF spiral pasta; I use Tinkyada
1 medium orange bell pepper, chopped
1 large jalapeño, minced
2 large yellow summer squash
6 pieces of thick cut bacon*
1/2 to 3/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese

*Oscar Meyer thick-cut bacon is GF

0. Boil pasta in a large pot until barely tender. Drain water. Stir in a bit of butter to keep it from sticking while you prepare the veggies.
1. Wash and slice the orange bell pepper. Chop into 1/2" square pieces. Wash and dice the jalapeño, removing seeds. Slice the yellow squash into 1/2" thick circles. Half each circle.
2. Rinse off the meat. In the large saucepan, cook bacon strips over medium heat. Flip as needed to avoid burning. Once they are well browned (takes about 10 minutes), remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain and cool. Pour out excess bacon grease, reserving 2 Tbsp. of oil.
3. In the same large saucepan (minus cooked bacon), add in the orange bell pepper and jalapeño. Raise heat to medium-high. Saute the peppers for 2 minutes, then add in the yellow zucchini slices. Saute the veggies in the bacon grease, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Cook until zucchini and bell peppers are soft, but not mushy-- should take around 5 minutes.
4. Stir the cooked noodles into the sauteed veggies. Crumble the cooked bacon strips over the top. Mix well, then, pour in the cheddar cheese. Reheat the pasta over medium-low heat just enough to melt the cheddar. Serve warm.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spicy Bok Choy and Broccoli Stir-Fry

More bok choy. It's really good with a spicy kick. I really liked the green onion taste in this dish. Makes a nice rice bowl.

Serves 2
30 minutes
- wok or large saucepan with deep sides

1 large head broccoli
1 large red bell pepper
5 cloves garlic
1 to 1.5 inch piece fresh ginger
3 green onions, white and green parts separated
4 heads baby bok choy
1 + 1 Tbsp high heat oil -- I use peanut oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or adjust amount to suit your spiciness level)

about 2 cups cooked rice
[pan-fried firm tofu-- optional]

1. Wash and cut the broccoli into large bite-sized pieces; leave some of the stem intact. Wash and slice the red bell pepper into long, thin strips. Peel and cut the ends off of the garlic (smash the cloves with a meat mallet for easy de-peeling/cutting). Cut the paper-y skin off of the fresh ginger root. Finely dice both the garlic and ginger. Separate the white and green parts of the green onion. Finely slice the white parts of the green onion, then dice. Collect the minced garlic, ginger and white green onion parts into a large pile. Leave the green leaves of the green onion as long 3 inch pieces. Wash and cut the tough ends off of the bok choy leaves; slice leaves into 1 inch long pieces. Likewise, separate the light green bok choy stalks from the dark green leaves.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp. peanut oil over medium-high heat in the wok. Add in half of the garlic, ginger and diced white green onion pieces. Let the oil and spices saute for a minute.
3. When the oil is aromatic, add in the broccoli pieces. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add in the red bell pepper pieces. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
4. Add in the remaining 1 Tbsp. peanut oil, minced garlic, ginger and white green onion. Also throw in the light green parts of the bok choy. Shake in some cayenne pepper; this stuff is hot, so be sure to taste the dish and adjust amount to desired spiciness. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Make sure to stir often, or else things will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
5. Throw in the green leafy parts of the bok choy. Mix well. Stir-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the green parts are wilted and the broccoli and light green bok choy stalks are crisp-tender.
6. At the very end, add in the long green green onion pieces. Stir to heat through. Serve alone, or tossed with spiced tofu or over cooked white rice (this will help reduce the dish's spiciness).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Zucchini and Kidney Bean Cheesy Rice Bowl

Definitely made in one small pan with minimum kitchen supplies. Very celiac travel-friendly. The jalapeño bite and zucchini pairs well.

Serves 1.5
25 minutes
- small/medium saucepan
Quick and simple

1 large zucchini
1/2 c. long grain white rice
Half of a 15 oz. can kidney beans*
Shake of onion powder
1/2 c. cheddar and pepper jack shredded cheese *; you want spicy jalapeno cheese!

*Bush beans and S&W beans are GF, Kraft cheese is GF and their shredded cheese is basically lactose free!!

1. Wash and remove ends from the zucchini;cut it into 1/2" slices.
2. Cook rice in the medium saucepan with 3/4 c. water for 15 minutes over high heat (Once it begins boiling, reduce heat to medium, but don't 'reset' the time).
3. At the 15 minute mark, add in the zucchini slices. Simmer everything for another 3 to 5 minutes., stirring occasionally. By the end of 20 minutes, you want all of the excess water to be almost gone.
4. Add in onion powder and half a can of kidney beans. Mix to heat through.
5. Remove from heat and pour in cheese. Mix to evenly melt the cheese and coat the beans and zucchini.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Green Beans and Yellow Squash with Sausage

Crisp-tender green beans with yellow summer squash, onions and juicy chunks of sausage. Fast and good. Probably a side dish, but it's also a quick, filling dinner for one.

25 minutes
- large saucepan with deep sides -or- a wok
Quick and simple

1 lb. green beans
2 large yellow summer squash
1 large white onion
1/2 lb. sausage (I used Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa sausage link)
[1 tsp. peanut oil-- optional]

1. Wash and remove ends from the green beans and summer squash. Leave the green beans nice and long, but cut the squash into 1/2" thick slices. Halve (or even quarter) the slices if the circles are not bite-sized. Wash and peel onion. Slice the onion into this circles (as if you were making onion rings), then half each 'disk' into semicircles. Rise the sausage and cut it into 1.5" pieces. Quarter each piece lengthwise, so you have bite-sized 'links' of meat.
2. Place the green beans into the large saucepan with about 2 Tbsp. water. Boil the green beans over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to uniformly cook the beans.
3. Once the water has almost all boiled off, add in the sausage and yellow squash. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring well. You don't need any more water.. the squash will give some up.
4. Add in the onion slices and, if needed, the peanut oil. Turn the heat up to high and stir-fry the veggies+meat for 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir often, scraping the bottom of the saucepan-- you want the veggies to sizzle and brown, but not get burnt. Serve when the beans and zucchini are crisp-tender, the onions are wilted and sausage browned.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Spinach, Sausage and Potatoes

Another easy hearty side-dish. Spuds with garlic, sausage and spinach. Spice it up some with more black pepper or red pepper flakes.

Serves 2
40 minutes
- large saucepan or wok
Quick and simple

10 to 15 small red boiler potatoes
1/2 lb. beef or pork sausage (I used half of a Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa Sausage link)
1 large shallot
5 cloves garlic
[1 Tbsp. fresh parsley- optional]
[1/2. Tbsp butter- optional]
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
dash black pepper &/or crushed red pepper flakes

1. Scrub and half the red potatoes. Place potato halves into the large saucepan. Peel and dice the shallot and garlic cloves. [Chop up parsley.] Wash the spinach and set it aside.
2. Rinse and slice the sausage into half inch slices. Half each slice.
3. Begin boiling potatoes in a quarter inch of water over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Let it boil for about 10 minutes (over medium heat), then add in the sausage. Continue boiling/simmering for another 5 minutes. Test a spud. If they are still hard and starchy, then add in a bit more water and boil for another 3 to 5 minutes. Don't let the potatoes get too soggy (so no more than 20 minutes, tops).
4. When water is about to evaporate, add in the diced shallot, garlic, [and parsley]. Stir to coat.
5. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Let the potatoes sizzle and brown a bit. If the sausage you use isn't greasy enough, add in .5 Tbsp butter. Flip the spuds every minute or so-- you don't want them to burn badly.
6. Once they've sauteed for about 5 minutes, add in the spinach leaves. Stir till wilted. Let the dish saute for an additional minute or two then remove from heat and serve.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Rocky Road Fudge

The EASIEST gluten-free dessert ever. Seriously, it has 3 ingredients and all are 'naturally' GF.
Plus, it also tastes good; rich chocolate and crunchy peanut butter alongside puffy marshmallows. I whip this up if I suddenly need a hassle-free GF treat.

9 x 9 inch pan of fudge (so about 20 squares worth)
15 minutes mixing + 45 minutes solidifying
- medium saucepan
- 9 x 9 " baking pan, lined with Al foil
Quick and simple

1 (10 or 12 oz.) bag of semisweet chocolate morsels* (find some DF chocolate chips for all those with lactose problems)
Half of a 14 oz. container of extra crunchy peanut butter*
Half of a 10 oz bag of miniature marshmallows*
*Toll House (nestle) chocolate morsels are GF (so are Enjoy Life and Tropical Source GF, DF choc chips), Jiff PB is GF, Kraft mini marshmallows are GF

0. Line 9 x 9 pan with aluminum foil.
1. Pour the bag of chocolate chips into the dry medium saucepan. Begin heating over medium heat, stirring constantly as they start melting. Stir until the chips are nice and creamy.
2. Remove from the heat and spoon in half of the 18 oz. container of peanut butter (I just eyeball it, accurate measurements aren't important here-- go ahead and add in more if you really like PB). Mix well, until the chocolate/peanut butter is fully smooth and melty.
3. Let the saucepan cool further for about another 2-3 minutes-- you DON'T want the marshmallows to melt once you stir them in.
4. Add in a bunch of marshmallows (a little more than half of the 10 oz bag). Mix marshmallows in carefully, being sure to coat each one. Don't overstir, though, and make them shapeless and gooey.
5. Spoon the fudge into the waiting pan, spreading evenly. Cover lightly with foil and place fudge into the fridge or freezer to cool and harden, no shorter then 45 minutes. Once they've solidified, take out and cut into 2 x 1 " pieces (these babies are rich). Serve chilled, they will become rather messy once they warm up a bit.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Steamed Broccoli with Carrots and Parsnips

Simple simple steamed veggies. Enjoy as a side dish or splash with balsamic vinegar and stir into some fluffy white rice.

Serves 2
20 minutes
- medium pot
- veggie steamer 'basket'
- lid or some Aluminum foil to use as a lid
Quick and simple

1 large head of broccoli
2 large carrots
2 large parsnips
dash of salt and pepper
splash of balsamic vinegar

1. Wash and cut broccoli into large-ish bite size pieces; leave some of the stem on if you can. Peel and julienne both the carrots and parsnips (cut root 'sideways' into ovals about 1/4 inch thick, then slice each oval into 2 or 3 long pieces) .
2. Place steamer 'basket' into the pot. Fill pot with water until it barely brushes up against the bottom holes of the steamer. Add in broccoli florets and carrots. Cover the pot with a lid (or a piece of foil). Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Steam for 3 minutes.
3. Carefully uncover the pot (watch out for hot steam) and throw in the parsnips. Replace the lid and steam for another 2 to 3 minutes. Check on the broccoli at the 3 minute mark. If it's still too tough, then let it go a minute more-- however, don't let the veggies go mushy. If you boil away all of the water, add in some more.
4. Remove veggies from heat once crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lasagna Roll-Ups

More really good vegetarian things. These will impress your guests.
I tried the rolls with both cottage cheese and ricotta based filling. Both versions were excellent-- the main difference was texture (plus, I thought the cottage cheese added a little more 'cheese' taste). If you want Italian manicotti-style rolls, use the ricotta. If you want a slightly more 'American' version, use the cottage cheese.
The rolls weren't that hard to make, but it did have several steps and dirtied quite a few pans.
Based off of this recipe.

Serves 3 (around 15 rolls)
15 minute noodle prep + 35 minutes for sauce + 10 minutes for filling + 15 for assembly + 40 min for baking (almost 2 hrs total)
- large saucepan
- small saucepan
- large baking pan (cookie sheet will work) covered in Al foil

~10 oz. box of lasagna noodles (around 14 noodles) --> I used Tinkyada GF rice noodles
6 cloves fresh garlic
1 medium white onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (15 oz.) can crushed or finely diced tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil -or- 1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
dash of salt and pepper
4 cloves fresh garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
half of a 6 oz. bag of fresh spinach (quite a large handful of spinach-- it wilts alot)
1 tsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1.5 c. cottage cheese -or- ricotta cheese
1 large raw egg
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese

1. Lay the full lasagna noodles into the large saucepan with enough water to cover them by 1 inch. If they don't all fit, do them in batches. On an empty counter, lay down a large sheet of foil.
2. Bring the noodles to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until noodles are barely tender... you want them flexible enough to roll and bend without breaking, but DEFINITELY not fully cooked. They should be chewy on the inside.
3. Place the al dente noodles flat onto the aluminum foil. Don't overlap them too much... they'll stick together once cool.
4. Continue to cook the noodles and lay them out flat; add more boiling water as needed. Let the noodles be for awhile as you prepare the filling and sauce (they won't loose elasticity if they cool). Go ahead and rinse and re-use the large saucepan for the sauce.
1. Peel and mince up the (total) 10 cloves of garlic. [Hint: I like to mash the cloves slightly with a meat mallet so they'll slip right out of their peel and lie flat for easier dicing!] About half of the garlic will go in the sauce, the other half will season the filling. Peel and remove ends of the onion, then dice it up. Wash and coarsely chop up any fresh basil, oregano or parsley leaves. Set them aside.
2. Throw about 6 cloves worth of diced garlic into the waiting large saucepan. Add in all of the onion and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Saute the garlic and onion for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Don't let the garlic burn.
3. Open the can of diced tomatoes and pour right into the saucepan (DON'T drain!). Go ahead and add about 1/4. cup more water to the sauce. Season sauce with basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
4. Let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir it every once in awhile. If too much water boils off, add a little more in (it's a sauce, after all).
Remove from the heat and focus on the filling
1. In a small saucepan, place the rest of the diced garlic with 1 tsp. olive oil. Begin heating over medium-low heat. Rinse off the spinach leaves and stuff about half into the saucepan with the garlic/oil. Stir the leaves until they wilt, then add in the rest. Let the garlic, oil and wilted leaves sizzle for a minute or two. Add in and chopped parsley and onion powder and stir well.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add in the 1/2. each of mozz. and Parm. cheeses. The mozzarella will melt-- that's okay-- stir it vigorously to significantly break up and incorporate the spinach leaves.
3. Allow the concoction to cool to lukewarm (not hot enough to burn anymore), then add in the cottage (-0r- ricotta) cheese. Stir well. The spinach leaves should speckle the filling with green. Tast the cheese mixture and add in salt/pepper/more onion powder or cheese as needed.
4. Stir in the raw egg. Mix everything thoroghly; you don't want the egg to scramble (it definitely shouldn't be that hot anymore). The cheese filling should be a nice paste consistency and easily spreadable.
Assemble and Bake:
0. Preheat the oven to 380 F. Line a 9 x 12 baking dish or large cookie sheet with Al foil.
1. Starting with one flat, cooked lasagna noodle, smear about 2 tsp. of cheese filling evenly over the entire face, leaving a small space at one end. Start from the end with full filling and gently roll the lasagna noodle up-- don't press to hard, if done properly the filling won't squeeze obnoxiously out of the ends of the roll.
2. Place the 2" thick roll onto the Al lined baking dish, seam side down. The noodle should stick nicely to the foil and not unravel on you. Continue filling and rolling the noodles until they are all completed. Spread any remaining filling out over the tops of the rolls.
3. Spoon the tomato sauce evenly over the top of the noodles, then place them, uncovered, in the preheated over to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the ruffly, exposed edges of the noodle start to tan and the sauce is bubbly. Remove rolls from the oven and top with a generous amount of extra mozzarella cheese. Return the pan briefly to the oven to melt the cheese (around 2 to 3 minutes should do). Serve immediately with more veggies or favorite GF bread.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Meyer lemon has a softer, sweeter flavor than 'regular' lemons. These muffins are tender and moist with a hint of lemon. The glaze is super easy to make and adds even more citrus-y goodness. Also, don't skip on the almond extract-- it tastes great with the lemon.
Inspired by these two recipes and the meyer lemons I found at the farmer's market

Question: Anyone else notice sour cream and ricotta cheese seems to make GF baked goods fall after baking? They rise okay in the oven, but fall while cooling. Muffins seem to fare better than cakes, but fluffiness still takes a hit. Maybe I should investigate this...

Makes 12 medium muffins
20 minutes prep + 20 minutes cooking time + 40 minutes glazing/drying
Preheat 350 F
- large mixing bowl
- electric mixer
- large spatula or spoon
- muffin pan; lined with paper or butter
- small bowl

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 c. white sugar
Lemon zest from 2 lemons (~1 Tbsp.); you will also need the juice of said lemons, so keep them!
1 egg
1 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Lemon juice from 1 to 1.5 lemons (~1 Tbsp.)
2 c. GF flour --> [1 c. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour + 1 c. white rice flour + 2 heaping tsp. xanthan gum]
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
Lemon Glaze
1/2 c. powdered sugar + more
Juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon

0. Let butter come completely to room temperature. This should take about an hour if the butter isn't frozen. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the muffin tins with paper or grease with a little butter.
1. In a large mixing bowl, briefly hand mix the soft butter and sugar. Scrub the outside of 2 large lemons and add in their zest. Place the zested lemons aside (you will use their juice later). Beat the butter/sugar mixture with an electric mixer until white and very fluffy-- around 3 minutes.
2. Add in the egg, ricotta cheese, and almond extract. Cut your fresh lemons in half and hand squeeze them to produce around 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice. Be sure to remove any errant seeds. Briefly beat in the egg, cheese, almond extract and lemon juice with the mixer until well combined with the butter/sugar mixture.
3. Add in the flour mix [BRM All-P flour, white rice flour, xanthan gum], baking powder, baking soda and salt all at once. Gentry stir the dry ingredients over the top of the wet (you could mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl if you wish). Once the dry ingredients are combined, start mixing them with the wet ingredients sitting below; I use a spoon for this. Hand stir until the dough is well mixed. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl and will be almost spongy in texture.
4. Plop the dough into the waiting muffin tins. Equally distribute the fluffy dough; 12 muffins will be filled almost to the top. Place muffins into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden. Take them out and let cool before glazing.
Lemon Glaze
1. Spoon 1/2 c. powdered sugar into a small bowl. Squeeze in fresh lemon juice. Whisk with a fork until clumps disappear. You want the glaze to just drip from the fork. If mixture is too thick, add in more juice... to watery, use a bit more sugar.
2. Clump the cooled muffins close together on a tray. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the muffins until they are well-covered. Let the muffins sit out for over a half hour, or until the glaze dries. Eat immediately or store in the fridge for a cool treat.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Oreo Cookies

These were GREAT!! Nice rich chocolaty crunch and smooth vanilla filling. Just like I remember them (granted, it's been over three years since I had a 'real' oreo). In fact, they were better... everything is better extremely fresh. Try to ignore the fact that the filling is basically sugar and Crisco and just enjoy these babies.
I bet these wafers would make GREAT thin mint cookies if covered in melted peppermint-chocolate.
Original recipe from here. She has much better pictures (sorry-- I'm terrible with icing).

Makes ~18 2" diameter sandwich cookies (around 36 chocolate wafers)
15 minutes mixing + ~70 minutes baking + 20 minutes whipping icing and assembling cookies
Preheat 375 F
- large mixing bowl
- wire whisk or electric beater
- cookie sheet lined with Al foil or parchment paper

Chocolate Wafer
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or dairy-free alternative
2. Tbsp. vegetable shortening*
1 egg
1.25 c. flour --> (3/4 c. brown rice flour + 1/2 c. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour + 1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum)
1/2 c. cocoa powder*
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 c. white granulated sugar
dash of salt
Vanilla Icing
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp. vegetable shortening*
~1.5 c. powdered sugar
~1.5 tsp. vanilla extract

*Crisco is GF, Hershey's cocoa powder is GF,

Chocolate Wafer
0. Place stick of butter on the counter to reach room temperature. Make sure it is very soft before continuing. Preheat oven to 375 F.
1. Mix 1/2 c. butter, 2 Tbsp. shortening and 1 egg in a large bowl with a wire whisk (or electric beater) until well combined. The oils and egg don't have to be whipped or anything, just stirred till a uniform color.
2. Add in the brown rice flour, BRM All Purpose Baking Flour and xanthan gum over the top of the oil/egg mixture. Stir the flours together lightly with a large spoon, then add in the cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Again stir dry ingredients without incorporating the 'wet' below. When it looks consistent, mix deeper to include the wet ingredients. Stir entire contents of bowl; the cocoa will start out light brown, then get a nice dark chocolate look once mixed well with the egg/oils. Continue to mix by hand until no more clumps appear. The dough will be soft and have a shiny chocolate look to it.
3. Pinch off about a teaspoon of dough and roll it into a 1 inch diameter ball. The dough should yield about 36 spheres. Place spheres onto an aluminum foil coated (or parchment paper coated) cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Use a level-bottomed drinking glass and squish each ball flat out to about a 2" diameter (around 1/4" thick).
4. Place cookies into the oven and bake for
exactly 10 minutes at 375 F. They will come out soft, but will harden after cooling; wait at least a minute to transfer wafers to a cooling sheet. Continue baking; it took me a little over an hour to bake all of the balls-- I placed the waiting dough back into the fridge while cooking.
Vanilla Filling
0. Again, be patient and let the butter fully come to room temperature. Watch a Daily Show or something.
1. Place 3 Tbsp each of butter and shortening in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, mix by hand until the sugar is not as volatile.
2. Add in the vanilla extract 1/2 tsp. at a time, beating with the mixer after each addition. You are looking for a thick, creamy consistency here-- it IS oreo filling. Basically you want to add vanilla extract until the mixture just turns from 'grainy' to smooth. Compensate for too much liquid with a little more sugar.
3. Beat the filling for 2 to 3 minutes to get it extra creamy.
Place around 1 tsp. filling between two chocolate wafers. Press and twist the cookies together to mechanically bind the sandwich. If you want to add more icing, they'll come apart okay to do so. I suggest storing the cookies in the freezer, it makes them hold together better. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spicy Sweet Bell Peppers (w/Beef)

A zesty, tasty beef fajita filling. The yellow bell peppers help tone down the heat of 2 large jalapeños. This was even better the next day inside a tortilla with melted colby jack cheese.
It's still satisfying to throw a few fresh things into a pan (without need of any GF 'substitutes') and get something good.

Serves 2 easily
40 minutes
- large saucepan with deep sides or a wok

2 large jalapeños
3 cloves garlic
1 large sweet yellow onion
1 large red bell pepper
1 large orange or yellow bell pepper
small bundle of fresh cilantro
1/2 to 1 pound beef steak (I used pre-cut stew meat because it was way cheaper than New York Strip)
1 tsp. Chili powder*
1 tsp. ground cumin*
sea salt + pepper*
1 tsp. corn oil

*McCormick spices are GF

1. Cut tops off of the jalapeños and remove the seeds. Finely dice the chilis. Peel the garlic and finely dice. Set garlic and jalapeños aside. Peel the yellow onion; cut into quarter inch thick disks (as if you were making thin onion rings). Cut tops off of both of the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Cut them in half first, then slice into quarter inch thick pieces. Cut the long pieces in half once to make them more manageable. Wash and chop the cilantro leaves.
2. Rinse off the meat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place them into the large saucepan and partially fill with water (no more than 1/2" deep in the pan). Simmer uncovered over medium heat, stirring meat occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
3. When the water is all but boiled off, add in the diced jalapeños and garlic, plus another 1/4 c. water. Stir in the chili powder, ground cumin and a dash of salt + pepper. Cook meat for another 5 minutes; it should be nearing done-ness by the end (juices running clear).
4. Pour in the corn oil right before all of the water boils off. Add in the onion rings, red bell pepper and yellow/orange bell pepper. Stir to coat the pieces with oil. Continue to cook the entire dish until the peppers are about crisp-tender and the onion has just 'wilted' (should take around 5 minutes). Things shouldn't be burning if left unattened, yet.
5. Add in the chopped cilantro leaves and turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir fry the meat and veggies for about 3 minutes, or long enough for the onion to become translucent and the peppers to brown and soften a little.
Serve inside GF rice tortillas or over a little bit of white (perhaps brown??) rice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sticky Rice with Bok Choy

A simple, refreshing dish to make on a busy day. Good as a light side dish, or as a veggie main dish for one. Really easy to make.

Serves 1-2
35 minutes
- large saucepan or pot
Quick & Simple

5 cloves fresh garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 large carrot
1 large white onion
2 to 3 heads baby bok choy
3/4 c. dry rice-- use sushi rice or jasmine rice
[dash of GF soy sauce; optional, I liked the taste of the veggies and ginger]

1. Peel ginger and finely dice. Remove flakey, outer skin from the ginger to reveal the yellow root. Finely dice the ginger. Peel the carrot and cut into oblique pieces (as if you were cutting circular pieces, but do it at an angle). Slice each carrot oval into thirds to create matchsticks. Peel and chop the onion. Separate the individual leaves from the bok choy 'stalk'. Keep both the green and white parts intact, but you can cut off the tough white part at the very bottom. Wash the leaves well.
2. Place rice into a large saucepan or pot cover with about 1/2 inch of water. Bring rice to a rolling boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for around 5 minutes.
3. Add in the diced garlic and giner. Stir well and simmer another 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add in the carrot matchsticks. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, adding more water in if necessary (like if the rice starts sticking to the bottom of the pan).
5. Add the whole bok choy leaves and the chopped onion to the pot. Cook until green part of bok choy leaves are wilted and white parts are crips-tender (shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes). Rice should be a little overcooked-- but nice and sticky. Add some salt, or a dash of soy sauce, if you so wish.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lemon Coolers

These small little cookies ended up crumbly, fat and wonderfully tinged with lemon. Almost like dry, fruity bon-bons. Coat these with tart powdered sugar-- I found them rather novel and very easy.
Original recipe here, but this one is GF.

Makes 50 bite-sized cookies
20 minutes preparing + almost 2 hours baking total
Preheat 330 F
- large mixing bowl
- wire whisk -or- electric beater
- cookie sheet lined with Al foil
- large heavy duty gallon sized ziplock baggie

1/2 c. + ~3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. white (granulated) sugar
1/3 c. butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1.5 c. GF flour mix --> [1 c. white rice flour + 1/2 c. Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose GF Mix + 1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum]
1.5 tsp. baking powder
zest from 1 fresh lemon
juice from 1 fresh lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)
1 tsp. powdered lemonade drink mix*

*Country Time Lemonade mix
I think is GF; I used it and didn't get sick

0. Preheat oven to 330 F. Place the butter on the counter to soften for awhile.
1. Wait till butter is room temperature (soft!) to begin mixing ingredients. In a large bowl, briefly mix the sugars (1/2 c. powdered and 1/3 c. granulated) with the butter, egg , vanilla and salt by hand. Once incorporated, cream together with a wire whisk or electric beater. The mixture should be creamy and consistent, but not fluffy.
2. Add in the GF flour mix and baking powder. Scrub the lemon well and add entire lemon zest into the bowl. Cut the lemon in half and easily squeeze its juice into the bowl, careful to remove renegade seeds.
3. Stir the entire mixture well. As usual, the dough will be thick, so I normally just hand mix it. Stir until the dough is slightly moist and easily forms a ball.
4. Roll dough into small little balls, no bigger than an inch-- I tried for about 3/4". Place balls onto the lined cookie sheet and press each one down slightly with your thumb; not too much. They will spread and puff out a little more in the oven, but you can get them fairly crowded on the sheet with no problems.
5. Before finishing the first batch, pour the remaining 3/4 c. powdered sugar into the heavy-duty plastic bag. Add in some of the powdered lemon drink mix and shake well to mix. Taste.** Add in more sugar or lemon drink if necessary (depends on how tart you want the powder!)
6. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes. They will get slightly tan on the top when done. Remove cookies and let cool for about 1 minute on the sheet. Before they cool ALL the way (they should still be warm, but not burning hot), plop the cookies into the bag and shake well to coat.
7. Continue baking and then coating the cookies. It took me about 5 rounds to finish the whole batch. I ended up just leaving them in the bag, there was enough sugar to go around.

**If you want more adult-like morsels, don't coat them with powdered sugar-- they have a good lemon taste on their own. I did prefer the melt-away lemon tang, though, and I'm in my 20's!