Monday, December 22, 2008

Crunchy Maple Sunbutter Granola

I have been making food for myself to bring along as snacks on my upcoming trip to Israel, and I've been trying to create a variety for myself so I don't get totally sick of one thing. I used to love crunchy granola in my pre-celiac days, and now that I've started eating oats again, I wanted to try to create my own granola. My first attempt at granola was good, but it was more like muesli; it wasn't crunchy and didn't clump together at all. So this time, I used sunbutter and maple butter to add thickness and stickiness, and it turned out beautifully. It made the whole apartment smell wonderful, and it tasted absolutely delicious. The maple butter and honey added a touch of sweetness, but the sunbutter filled out the taste and texture and balanced that sweetness. I will be making this often!  

Crunchy Maple Sunbutter Granola

1 1/2 cups oats (certified gluten-free)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup raisins (or more to taste)
1/4 cup cranberries (or more to taste)
**You can substitute any other dried fruit, nuts, or seeds of your choice - this would be great with: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, slivered almonds, dried cherries, etc.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sunbutter (or peanut butter)
1/2 cup maple butter or creamed honey
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut flakes, cashews, pecans, raisins, cranberries, and cinnamon. Add any other nuts, seeds, etc. that you would like and mix well. In a small saucepan, combine the sunbutter, maple butter, honey, and vanilla and heat until melted. It will still be pretty thick. Pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix very well until the heated mixture has been spread throughout the mixture. I used two spoons and sort of chopped the chunks of sunbutter into the oats. Line a baking dish with wax or parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake at 300 F for 30 - 40 minutes. The granola will still feel soft when you take it out of the oven, but it will harden as it cools.

Chocolate Chip Cookies by Ginger Lemon Girl

Wow, is all I can say to these. Ginger Lemon Girl's blog is one of the ones I look at regularly for ideas and recipes, and I went to her site this weekend in search of a good cookie recipe to try with my cousin. Well, they are very appropriately titled "Ginger Lemon Girl's BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies," and you can find the recipe for them here. The trick is to bake them only for the 7 - 10 minutes that is recommended, and then as they cool, they firm up and are wonderfully soft and chewy, and practically melt in your mouth. To put them through the ultimate test, my cousin and I devised a slightly sneaky plan. We went out to my family's house for a gathering right after we baked these, and I asked her to be the one to walk into the house with them to see how people liked them. When I walk into a gathering with baked goods, people immediately begin casting me and the baked goods suspicious looks. So Erin brought them, and people were clamoring for them, saying how much they loved them - and then we told them that they were gluten-free, and they were pretty shocked. So that right there should tell you how awesome these cookies are! Thanks to Ginger Lemon Girl for the recipe!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gluten-free Challah Bread

I am still in shock at how authentic this came out. With Hannukah coming up next week, and with it being our first go at it gluten-free, I did some poking around the internet for recipes I could try. I came across this recipe by the blogger of Gluten-free Bay, and oh, my, was it good. I altered the recipe a little bit, so I'm going to post my slightly tweaked version of it here, but please visit Gluten-free Bay to see the original recipe here. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe!

It has the same texture and slight sweetness as the challah I remember, and the same eggy fluff and taste. It is truly wonderful, and it is actually a piece of cake to put together (especially compared to regular challah, which one typically has to knead and braid). If you love and miss real challah, try this recipe. You won't be disappointed. It's especially delicious with some homemade black raspberry-mango jam slathered over a warm piece straight from the oven!

Gluten-free Challah Bread

2 1/4 tbsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 tbsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. dry potato flakes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
4 eggs + 1 extra egg yolk (at room temperature is best)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for glaze
1/3 cup raisins
Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)
Baking spray / vegetable oil spray

Mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar and place in a slightly warmed oven, covered with foil, for 10 minutes until it has bubbled to the top.

In a large bowl, combine potato starch, corn starch, brown rice flour, white rice flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking powder, dry potato flakes, and xanthan gum. Add the vegetable oil, honey, eggs, and yeast mixture and mix at high speed until it is all well-mixed. Add the raisins and blend in by hand until they are well-dispersed.

Spray a 9-inch cake pan with baking spray. Grease your hands by spraying them well with baking spray as well, and then take large portions of the dough and shape them into large balls of dough (about 3-4 inches in diameter) - I had enough for about 6 - 7 balls - and arrange them in the pan with one in the middle. You don't need to press them together.

Make the egg glaze by combining one egg yolk and 1 tbsp. water, and brush over the top of the dough. Spray a piece of plastic wrap and cover the pan, and put it into the still-warm oven to rise. Let rise until the dough is about an inch above the top of the pan, then remove from the oven and preheat it to 350 F. Brush another coat of egg glaze onto the dough and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Bake for 20 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for another 25 minutes. If desired, remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking to let it brown a bit more. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 - 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to continue to cool.

Serve warm from the oven if possible (although I recommend waiting at least 10 minutes before slicing/consuming)! Freeze or refrigerate extra slices.

Apple Cranberry Cake

I've made this a couple of times now, and it is a very hearty, satisfying cake with a sweet tartness that smacks of fall. It's another one of Karina's recipes (one of my favorite gluten-free bloggers). I've tried it once with the egg replacer and once with 2 eggs, and both times have been successful, and everyone has been a fan of the taste. It tends to puff up quite a bit while baking, almost overflowing out of the pan, but it just ends up as a nice, high cake. I would put a sheet of foil underneath the pan as it's baking to catch any apple or cranberry juice that drips out of the pan, though. You can find the recipe from Karina here. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Spaghetti Bolognese

I discovered Bolognese sauce when I lived in Germany. I never really found the type of thick tomato sauce that I was used to here in the States while I was living there. Instead, when I ordered spaghetti in restaurants, I would be served a heaping portion of this sauce, which is so simple to make, yet so complex in flavor. The meat is cooked for so long that it practically falls apart, the celery and carrots create a unique blend of tastes, and the red wine and broth simmer for at least an hour and a half, mingling together. It all results in a sauce that is bursting with flavor. I had some soy chorizo that I bought at Trader Joe's in my fridge, and I threw some of it in to spice things up a bit, but the sauce would turn out fine without it, too. You could make it vegan by omitting the ground turkey and replacing it with the soy chorizo instead, and by substituting vegetable broth for the beef broth. Vegan or not, people will love this sauce!
Spaghetti Bolognese

1 lb. lean ground turkey or beef
1/2 cup soy chorizo from Trader Joe's OR 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
4 shallots, chopped OR 1 onion, chopped
3 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup shredded or diced carrots
3/4 cup shredded or diced celery
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp. thyme
3/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 - 2 cups red wine
2 - 2 1/2 cups beef broth (Emeril's)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato sauce or 2 tbsp. tomato paste (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk (hemp, soy, or another thicker milk) (optional)
3 tbsp. potato starch (optional)
Vegan Parmesan Topping (optional)

Combine the meat, onion, garlic, carrots and celery in a large saucepan. Brown the meat, stirring often to break up any big pieces. When the meat is browned, add the soy chorizo and spices (thyme, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper), stir in, and continue cooking over medium heat for 2 - 3 more minutes.

Add the can of diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups red wine, and 2 cups beef broth and stir. If desired, add either 2 tbsp. tomato paste or 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring regularly, until you are happy with the flavor.

Meanwhile, cook the brown rice spaghetti as directed. I cooked mine for 15 - 16 minutes.

When you are ready to serve the pasta, if you want the sauce to be thicker, you can add 1/4 - 1/2 cup plain hemp or soy milk to the sauce, and 3 tbsp. (or more) of potato starch to thicken. Serve over brown rice spaghetti noodles and top with Vegan Parmesan Topping.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maple Cranberry Granola

I love granola, and I love maple anything. Tonight, I was trying to rest and recover from the bad sore throat/cold that has me down this week, but after a whole day of being in bed and another night today of just sitting around, I was itching to do something. I've missed granola since going gluten-free, and so tonight I just threw this together as an experiment. It turned out to be very tasty, although next time I would probably bake mine for a little less time. (Mine was in the oven for about 37 minutes and turned out to be rather crispy, and I probably could have taken it out after 30.) Feel free to throw any other types of dried fruit, seeds, or nuts, as this is completely versatile and can be adapted to your own taste. You could also substitute honey for the maple syrup if you prefer.

Maple Cranberry Granola

1 cup gluten-free oats or soy flakes
1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup cranberries, raisins, or a combination of both
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
1/4 cup very hot water
1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 F. Place a sheet of wax paper on a baking pan (preferably one with sides). Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil, water, and vanilla, and stir to mix. Pour over the dry mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Spread evenly into the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir the granola around, and bake in 5 minute increments until the desired crispness is reached. Cool, and then store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.  Keep it in the fridge and it will last even longer.

Herbed Focaccia Bread

This is the first bread I have made that, to me, is indistinguishable from bread made with regular wheat flour. My taste buds have changed since going gluten-free, and sometimes what tastes convincingly like the original to me is, in fact, still rather odd-tasting to others who try it. So I even gave some to my roommate to try, and she confirmed it. Just look at those beautiful air pockets! And it was spongy and soft, and when I made a sandwich out of it, it didn't crumble into tiny pieces with the first bite. I froze most of the loaf in slices, and found that it reheats well, too. The taste of rosemary permeates every bite, but subtly, so that you can still use this bread for sandwiches. The recipe is from Carol Fenster's 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes, and I would highly recommend this cookbook. It has an absolutely fantastic selection of foods you probably miss, and best of all, produces wonderful results that taste like the original and with the right texture, too. So, just a little plug for Ms. Fenster (I suppose she's actually Dr. Fenster, but whatever).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole

Like many others, I left Thanksgiving dinner with a giant tupperware container full of turkey which, after 3 additional mini-Thanksgiving meals of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, I am struggling to use up. So today I thought I'd use it for something very different from a Thanksgiving meal and make turkey enchiladas with the extra sweet potato I had leftover from Thanksgiving as well. Technically, I used 2 sweet potatoes, since I used up the rest of my mashed sweet potatoes in this casserole as well. This was delicious and flavorful, and so easy to throw together. I chose black bean and corn salsa for a nice complement to the sweet potatoes, and with the enchilada sauce and chilies, this turned out to have a bit of a kick to it! I would serve this to company with a side of Spanish rice. I made mine in a small circular casserole dish, but for company, I'd probably make it in a square one so it would be easier to get out in cleaner servings (I basically just scooped mine onto my plate in a big mess). Enjoy!

Turkey Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole

*Note:  Ingredients change all the time, so please double-check all processed ingredients with the company before using to be sure they are gluten-free.

1 - 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
1 jar Newman's Own Black Bean Corn Salsa
1 can La Victoria Green Enchilada Sauce
1 can La Victoria Red Enchilada Sauce (I used hot)
1 small can fire-roasted green chilies
2 sweet potatoes (I used some leftover mashed sweet potatoes, and then cut up another and boiled it in slices)
8 - 10 small Mission white corn tortillas

In a small casserole dish, layer the following ingredients until the dish is full: Black Bean and Corn Salsa, spoonfuls of green and red enchilada sauce, 2 - 3 corn tortillas, shredded turkey, sweet potatoes, green chilies, salsa, green and red enchilada sauce, etc. I did not use any cheese substitute, and honestly, these were flavorful enough on their own. But obviously, if you want to add some shredded cheese or cheese substitute on top, it would also be delicious.

Bake at 400 F for 40 - 50 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. Serves 4. Could be served with Spanish rice.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Feast

This was my first Thanksgiving/major holiday as a gluten-free girl, and I am not going to lie - I was pretty nervous about it. I wasn't sure how I'd be able to eat anything at our traditional dinner besides turkey, and even there was room for doubt with cross-contamination issues. I think people with food allergies don't understand the anxiety that comes with large gatherings of people consuming food together, and especially on holidays that focus almost exclusively on that particular activity. There is food everywhere that smells delicious and which is off-limits for us, and people are touching all the food, eating, grabbing, and then touching everything else. Which is why, if someone reaches into my stash of food and grabs something with their bare hands, I get super nervous about gluten-contamination. For the most part, my family is understanding of the gluten-intolerance, but I usually feel like it is something that some people are a bit bemused by, and sometimes I end up feeling like they think it is just me being high-maintenance. My mom (who also went gluten-free) and I both tried to have a nice variety for ourselves, and I kept it all stashed away until it was time to eat. The menu, aside from turkey and another batch of the delicious sweet potato cornbread I made from the Gluten-free Goddess' website last week, included the following side dishes, which I found to be absolutely heavenly. I truly feel sometimes like I'm getting to eat the better food when I'm at gatherings of people, and while I missed getting to eat the 8 different kinds of pies that were at my grandma's house, I did make this pie from (guess who??) Karina's website: Vegan Pumpkin Pie, which was creamy, smooth, and very light in texture. It didn't go over too well with my family, but that's because almost no one would even give it a chance. But my other friends LOVED it (as they did the sweet potato cornbread), as did I! My mom made the recipe for sweet potato casserole pictured below, and it was delicious - sweet, with beautiful caramelized pecans on top, and slightly crunchy. The mashed sweet potatoes were silky smooth, thanks to the hemp milk I added. (I think I've been won over to hemp milk, by the way - at least for baking and cooking, it is fabulous!) And the stuffing, I have to say, rivaled my mom's normal stuffing, and in her words, it was "excellent." Altogether, Thanksgiving was great, and even with the food anxiety that always comes at big family gatherings, I had a great time, and best of all, didn't get sick!

Sweet Potato Casserole

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
4 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread (or butter, if you can tolerate it)
1/2 cup coconut milk if desired
1 1/2 cups sugar - but sugar is added to taste
2 tsp. vanilla
optional: 2 mashed bananas (usually made without it)
Dashes of nutmeg, salt, cinnamon, and ginger

Sprinkle half of the nuts into the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart greased baking dish. Mix everything else together except the sugar. Add the sugar to taste. Pour mixture on top of nuts and sprinkle the top with the rest of the nuts. Bake uncovered for about 1/2 hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 small white potatoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
salt to taste
thyme to taste
2 tsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2 - 5 tbsp. hemp milk, to desired consistency

Place potatoes in a pot of cold water with a dash of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft and break apart when pierced. Drain and mash potatoes together. Beat with a fork until creamy, then add Earth Balance Buttery Spread, salt to taste, and hemp milk, and beat it all together until the desired consistency is reached. Add a generous sprinkling of thyme, to taste.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

1 loaf gluten-free bread (I used Food For Life White Rice bread, and it turned out to be slightly gummy)
1/2 - 1 liter gluten-free chicken broth (I used Swanson)
3/4 cup raisins/cranberries, or a combination of both
4 -5 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 giant onion, finely chopped
2 granny smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
2-4 tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
A generous amount of black pepper and basil
Smaller amounts of thyme and parsley

Place the bread slices on foil-covered oven racks and bake at 250 - 300 F until the bread slices have been dried out. Remove from oven, cool, and break into small pieces in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small saucepan, place 1 cup broth with the cranberries/raisins and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes to soften the dried fruit. In a separate saute pan, place the Earth Balance Buttery Spread, celery, onion, and apple, then add the spices (very heavy on the black pepper and basil), and saute until the onion is translucent (but not mushy). Add the onion mixture to the broth mixture, and then add that whole mixture to the dried bread pieces. Toss to mix it all together, adding more broth as needed to moisten the bread slices.

If using as turkey stuffing, add a lot more broth and stuff it into the turkey. If you are just making it on its own (which is what I did), place the whole thing in a baking dish and pour more broth over the whole thing, then cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for at least 30 - 50 minutes. Check on it after about 25 minutes and, if necessary, pour some more broth over it to make sure there is enough moisture (otherwise, the bread will be pretty gummy and chewy). I added roughly 3/4 liter of broth in total, and mine came out to be pretty soft and easily chewed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kim's Sweet and Tangy Meatballs

My dear friend Kim and I met at a volunteering event this year. Both of us were hanging back from the kitchen as the other volunteers were lining up for pizza. Kim invited me to have some, and when I leaned over and told her that I have celiac and wouldn't be able to eat pizza, she exclaimed that she, too, was gluten-intolerant, and furthermore couldn't have dairy. "I can't have it either!" I exclaimed. And from that moment, we were foodie BFFs. We spent the next 30 minutes talking like little girls about food, gluten-free cookies, non-dairy substitutes, food blogs, celiac resources, etc. We started a tradition of bringing dinner or dessert for each other each Tuesday at volunteering, or something new to try. And last week, we spontaneously decided to go to Trader Joe's together and wander around there. Because that's how foodies have fun. I can't tell you how much I love going grocery shopping. It dumbfounds me when people tell me it's their least favorite thing to do. How could anyone not love wandering through the aisles, letting the imagination run wild with the possibilities of each ingredient? I can literally spend hours in international groceries, or natural food stores. That's exactly what Kim and I did, and as she's been on this diet for a lot longer than I have, she has a much wider repertoire of dishes that she makes and is very innovative with putting ingredients together. She suggested this simple recipe, and I finally got to try it out yesterday. It couldn't have been easier to make, and it has a tangy sweetness that is very satisfying. I served the meatballs with rice, but if you made the meatballs smaller, you could definitely serve them as a party food with toothpicks. Both of my roommates tried it, and it passed the taste test with them as well.  Enjoy!

Kim's Sweet and Tangy Meatballs

For the meatballs:
1 lb. lean ground turkey
Basil, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and minced onion
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. apricot, peach, or cherry jam
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
3/4 cups gluten-free oats

For the sauce:
1 jar Apple Cranberry Chutney (from Trader Joe's)
3/4 - 1 cup Trader Joe's BBQ Sauce
1 cup rice, cooked as directed

Preheat oven to 350F. Make rice as directed. I used brown basmati rice and boiled 1 3/4 cups water with 1 cup rice and 1 tsp. salt, then reduced heat and covered to steam for 25 - 30 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

Mix the ground turkey with the egg, oats, and about 1 tbsp. or more of basil, oregano, and minced onion, and about 1 tsp. of salt, pepper, and garlic powder (more or less depending on your own taste). Add the jam, Worcestershire sauce, and maple syrup. Shape into small meatballs and arrange in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Brown the meatballs to lock in the moisture and shape, and then transfer them to a 9" x 13" glass baking dish.

In a separate bowl, mix together the jar of Apple Cranberry Chutney and about 1 cup of TJ's BBQ sauce, then pour over the meatballs and stir to coat them. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350F for about 25 minutes. Serve over rice. If you wanted to make a special party treat, make the meatballs smaller and serve with toothpicks as an appetizer.

Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Spiced Icing

This cake is so moist that it practically melts in your mouth, and it was a huge hit among vegans and non-vegans, the gluten-free and the glutinous alike. I got the recipe (surprise, surprise) from the Gluten-free Goddess' website (you can find it here), but I made a few modifications for mine:

*I left out the raisins and nuts and just made it plain, although I'm sure it would be delicious with pecans, dried cranberries, or raisins, or all of the above.
*I added about 1/2 tsp. more of cinnamon and 1 tsp. more of pumpkin pie spice to the batter.
*I baked this in a 9" x 13" glass pan at 350 F for 23 - 25 minutes. If I had baked it any longer, I think it would still have turned out fine, just a little less moist.
*I made a brown sugar and spice icing (also based on this recipe by Karina) with Earth Balance Buttery Spread, brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice to taste, vanilla, a little soy milk as needed for moisture, and about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. I melted the Buttery Spread and cooked it with the brown sugar until it was bubbly and thick, and then just beat it all together until it was thick, and then I spread it over the cooled cake and placed in the fridge immediately. I still haven't quite mastered how to avoid separation of the icing, but refrigerating it definitely helped. As I said, these were a huge hit, and every last one was eaten up. This was my first time baking with Ener-G Egg Replacer, and I think it turned out to be excellent! If you bring these to Thanksgiving, probably no one will even be able to tell that they're lacking in more traditional ingredients. Delicious.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sweet Potato Cornbread by the Gluten-free Goddess

Without fail, every recipe that I try from the Gluten-free Goddess' website turns out perfect and delicious and impossible to resist, and I just wanted to give yet another link to a recipe that I love. This sweet potato cornbread is moist and wonderful, with a delicious hint of cinnamon and a perfect balance of flavors. I had one piece by itself and cut one piece in half, toasted it in the oven, and spread it with sunbutter and honey and maple butter for lunch. This versatile bread would be a perfect addition to a hot bowl of chili or stew, or on its own.   You can make this vegan by using egg subsitute for the eggs (4.5 tsp. egg replacer plus 6 tbsp. warm water).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

German Hazelnut Jam Cookies (Engelsaugen)

Can I just say that I heart Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix? Everything I've used it in has turned out with a wonderful texture that has been a close imitation of a gluten-containing version. These cookies are ones that I made with my roommate Janina when I lived in Germany. It was a marathon of Christmas cookie baking that year - we made batch after batch, ending up with countless kinds of cookies. We stumbled across this recipe totally by chance as we were looking at websites with recipes, and they turned out to be so heavenly and wonderful that they instantly become a favorite. They're dangerous to keep around - you'll find that you've lost count of how many you've popped into your mouth without thinking about it. So tonight, I tacked a conversion to gluten-free, and they actually turned out to be almost indiscernible from the original. This is partly because so much of the texture and flavor of the cookies comes from the ground hazelnuts, but also partly because of the wonderful properties of Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix. I make these cookies using my own homemade raspberry jam. I've tried using store-bought jams, and they just never taste the same. Raspberry is by far the most wonderful flavor to use with these; they complement the hazelnuts beautifully. But I have found that any other dark berry jams work well too, as does apricot jam. If you do use jam from a store, try to buy the least processed kind you can - you will want the extra flavor and fruit texture for these.

Hazelnut Jam "Angel Eye" Cookies

1 cup Pamela's Baking Mix (plus a few tbsp. if the dough is too wet)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Dash of salt
1 package of vanilla sugar (German ingredient available at int'l markets) OR 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup hazelnuts, finely ground in a food processor
7 tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread, chilled
1 egg yolk
Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
Raspberry, Apricot, or another dark berry jam

Combine the baking mix, sugar, salt, vanilla sugar and ground hazelnuts in a bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and add it and the egg yolk to the dry ingredients. Cut the butter and egg into the dry ingredients with a pie cutter or knives, and then, when the butter is in smaller pieces, use your hands to knead it and form it into a ball of dough. Cool in the refrigerator for 60 minutes. Take out the dough and remove by tablespoons, using your hands to form into a small ball, and then use your thumb or the handle of a wooden spoon to create a dent in the top. Bake at 300 degrees for 12-18 minutes or until relatively firm, and remove carefully to a cooling rack. I found that after baking for 18 minutes, the cookies would cool into slightly crunchy cookies. If you prefer chewier ones, bake for less time (~15 min.) but let them sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or two after removing from the oven to let them firm a bit before removing to the cooling rack. When cooled, fill each cookie with jam and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in airtight containers, preferably refrigerated. If you are not going to serve these right away, either freeze part of the dough or freeze the cookies themselves to preserve the texture.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oven-baked Spinach Mushroom Penne Arrabiata

We had a friend over last night to cook dinner, and my roommate Kyle wanted to make these lasagna roll-ups he'd recently had that were apparently amazingly good. So I improvised my own little oven-baked pasta dish that was along the lines of the one he was making, with spinach, mushrooms, a spicy red sauce, and a faux spiced ricotta cheese made from tofu. All of them said that mine actually looked pretty good (although none of them tried it), and while the tofu did not necessarily imitate cheese in its flavor, the texture definitely rounded out the dish and the spices in it were flavorful in their own right.

Oven-baked Spinach Mushroom Penne Arrabiata Serves 2 - 3

For the faux ricotta cheese:

1/2 package extra firm tofu
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. lemon juice

For the pasta:

1 cup brown rice penne (I used Tinkyada)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. garlic
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped coarsely
1 small can Portobello mushrooms, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups of your favorite gluten-free tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Vegan Grated Parmesan Topping

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes so that it is still very al dente. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a small food processor, blend the tofu, spices, and lemon juice together until very creamy. Add more spices to taste, if desired. Set aside.

Place a tablespoon of olive oil and garlic in a saute pan and cook over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and cook another 2 - 3 minutes until it is wilted but still bright green. Remove from the pan and set aside. Pour the 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce into the pan and add the pepper, garlic salt, basil, oregano, thyme, and pepper flakes, adjusting the amounts to your own taste. Heat the sauce for 5 - 10 minutes until the desired flavor has developed. Pour the cooked pasta into the sauce and toss to coat.

In a small baking dish, layer the spinach-mushroom mixture, pasta with sauce, and the faux ricotta, sprinkling in Vegan Parmesan Topping over each layer of faux ricotta. Feel free to sprinkle liberal amounts of your favorite spices into the dish as well, if you like. End with a layer of faux ricotta with Vegan Parmesan Topping sprinkled over it.

Cover the dish and bake at 375F for 30 - 35 minutes. Serve with more parmesan topping, if desired.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grundhauser Hungarian Chicken Goulash with Cornbread

The recipe for this Hungarian goulash has, I'm sure, been tweaked over the last few generations of my family, so that it may not really resemble the original recipe as closely anymore. For one thing, in my family, the traditional beef is usually replaced with chicken. But regardless of that, this recipe has a special place in our family. This recipe sits in a frame that my mom keeps sitting on our mantlepiece, "Grundhauser Hungarian Goulash" displayed in slightly faded letters with the measurements . This recipe is a piece of my family's history. And even though this recipe is not an exact science and is never quite the same as the last time you made it, it is unfailingly comforting and delicious and hearty. And it's so easy to throw together, and as long as you have a few hours to let it simmer, you will have a delicious stew with plenty for leftovers. We served this with "Yankee Cornbread" from the Gluten-free Pantry. I made it with my Little Sister (with Big Brothers Big Sisters) last night, and in her words, "This is the BOMB!"

Grundhauser Hungarian Chicken Goulash

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
4 medium potatoes, chopped
1 small bag baby carrots OR 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
4- 7 tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika (to taste)
2 - 5 tbsp. spicy Hungarian paprika (to taste)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne Pepper (if desired)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt (more to taste)
4 cups chicken broth (I used Pacific Low Sodium), or water
Tapioca or Potato starch to thicken, if desired

Chop onion and saute in 1 tbsp. olive oil until tender or translucent. Add the chicken pieces and cook over medium heat for 4 - 5 minutes, then stir in 4 heaping tablespoons of sweet paprika, 1 heaping tablespoon of spicy paprika, and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, and stir into the chicken. Continue to saute for another 4 -5 minutes until the chicken is browned. Pour in enough of the chicken broth to cover the chicken, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat.

Simmer for at least 1 - 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is very tender, then add the carrots and enough broth to cover it all again. Adjust the seasonings as desired (I added more of both kinds of paprika and ground pepper several times during the cooking time). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for another 20 minutes, then add the chopped potatoes and, once again, enough broth to cover. Simmer until the potatoes are tender (roughly 20 more minutes).

Mix about 1 tbsp. potato or tapioca starch in a bowl with 1 tbsp. water and combine to remove the clumps. Add the starch mixture to the goulash and stir in until it has reached the desired thickness. Serve with cornbread or on its own!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spinach Potato Spanish-style Omelet

I say Spanish-style because I don't think I've *quite* mastered the art of the Spanish Omelet, but I will say that the flavor in this didn't suffer for the lack of true form. I ate half of this while it was still hot for dinner last night, and the second half this morning straight from the fridge, and I actually think I preferred it cold! The flavors seem to have mingled overnight and become more intense, which made for a delicious breakfast this morning!

Spinach Potato Spanish-Style Omelet

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 small potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
1/2 medium onion, chopped coarsely into slivers
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
3 eggs
1/4 cup rice milk (or your favorite milk substitute)
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut them into coarse thin slices. Chop the onions. Place the onions and potatoes in a small pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat, cover, and cook for about 6 - 10 min. until the potatoes are soft. Meanwhile, take the fresh spinach, chop it coarsely, and wilt it in a pan for just 1 - 2 minutes so that it is still bright green. (I used spray oil to coat the pan for this so I wouldn't have to add more olive oil calories to this.) In a mixing bowl, place the 3 eggs and milk, and whip until well-blended. When the potato/onion mixture and spinach are ready, pour them into the bowl with the eggs and mix together.

In the frying pan (you want one that's at least a little deep), heat the remaining olive oil and pour the egg mixture in and put over medium-low heat. Heat slowly until the bottom is well-set, then take a large plate and invert the omelet onto it, then slide it back into the pan and finish cooking until the entire thing is cooked through and both sides are well set. Serve hot, warm, or cold! This would be delicious with a garlic sauce over it, such as a garlic mayonnaise.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pear Polenta Muffins

These are amazingly good and deceptively like normal muffins. Yet they are both vegan AND gluten-free. The texture is moist and crumbly like a normal muffin would be, thanks to the addition of corn flour. And the sprinkling of brown sugar on top adds a nice sweet addition to a muffin that is, on its own, not overpoweringly sweet. These would be great for breakfast or just a snack. Once again, I have Karina ( to thank for the recipe here, so I just wanted to post another link to her wonderful blog (where I spend a lot of my time, browsing around her extensive collection of recipes). You can find the recipe for these here. Thanks, Karina!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sage and Parsley Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Gravy

Mmmm, sage. While I was visiting some friends in Champaign-Urbana a few weeks ago, we went out to a farm in the area and picked bags of fresh herbs. I picked what seemed like a scant amount of sage, but it turns out, I have more of the stuff than I know what to do with. I used part of it in my Butternut Risotto last week, but that still left me with 90% of what I had originally bought. My boss was telling me this week about baked herbed chicken made with a wine gravy that she's tried before, and that sounded pretty good to me, so I thought I'd give it a whirl with the fresh herbs that I happened to have in my kitchen: sage, of course, and parsley. It turned into a very 'comfort food' kind of meal; a steaming mound of mashed potatoes, a tender chicken breast, and a smooth and delicious gravy to top it all off. I made this for two people, and the amount of potatoes was actually just right (although we had an extra serving of gravy leftover). But obviously, you can adjust this to accommodate a larger dinner crowd very easily. The gravy is made with cornstarch, by the way, but feel free to subsitute another starch (arrowroot, perhaps) if you are avoiding corn. Using only cornstarch, I discovered, will also give your gravy a nice little sheen, so if you'd like it to look less....shiny, I would combine the cornstarch with sweet rice flour or some other starch to tone it down. All of the seasonings are approximate and you should add more or less depending on your own taste. I personally could have done with a little more sage on my chicken, but that's just me. I also think this would have turned out just as wonderfully if the chicken had been cooked entirely in the frying pan and been allowed to brown a little more. So experiment with it, and enjoy!

Sage and Parsley Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Gravy

For the chicken:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 - 1 tsp. lemon juice

For the gravy:

8 oz. gluten-free chicken broth (I used Pacific Chicken Broth)
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 - 1/2 cup hot water
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. fresh sage
1 tsp. fresh garlic

For the potatoes:

22-oz. package of Red Creamer Potatoes (625 g), chopped into halves or quarters with the skins still on (or off, if you don't like them)
1/4 - 1/2 cup soy milk (or other thick non-dairy milk)
3 tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2 -3 tbsp. minced garlic (depending on your own taste)
1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Salt, white and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Chop potatoes and place them in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil while you're working on the chicken and gravy.

Combine the fresh sage, parsley, olive oil, and lemon juice in a bowl, and then coat each piece of chicken in the mixture and place in a skillet. Saute the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side so that it gets a little brown, then place them in a small baking dish and place in the oven at 450 F for 20 - 25 minutes. I covered mine with foil, but feel free to bake uncovered or to remove the foil after 10 minutes to allow the chicken to brown a little.

In the same pan in which the chicken was sauteed, place the remaining 1 tbsp. sage and 1 tsp. minced garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add the 1/3 cup white wine, bring to a simmer, and heat for another 1 - 2 minutes. In a small jar, combine the 2 tbsp. cornstarch with at least half of the chicken broth and shake it up to mix the cornstarch into the liquid. Add this to the pan, and then add the other half of the chicken broth, stirring constantly to avoid clumping. As the mixture thickens, add the hot water little by little until you've reached your desired consistency and taste.

Once the potatoes are tender, drain the water and mash them up with a masher or fork. In a small pan, heat the Earth Balance Buttery Spread with 2-3 tbsp. minced garlic (depending on how strong of a garlic flavor you'd like) and the fresh sage and parsley. Saute for about 2 - 3 minutes, and then add all of it to the mashed potatoes and stir in. Add the soy milk a little at a time, stirring it in thoroughly, until you've reached the desired whipped consistency. Add salt, white pepper, and black pepper to taste. Remove the chicken from the oven once it is thoroughly baked and serve with the smashed potatoes and gravy to top it all.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

This was another winner from Karina's Kitchen, one of my favorite gluten-free blogs. Karina's blog is great because not only does she offer a ton of delicious gluten-free recipes, but a lot of them are dairy-free as well. After the Brown Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Bars I made from her site were such a huge hit, and because I love pumpkin desserts, I immediately set out to make another one of Karina's recipes. You can find the recipe for Maple Frosted Pumpkin Cake here on her blog. I used one 8-oz. package of Tofutti "Better Than Cream Cheese" instead of regular cream cheese, and Earth Balance Buttery Spread instead of butter, but other than that, I made it exactly as Karina told me to. This cake is moist and rich in flavor, and the frosting is absolutely to die for, rolling down the sides of each piece in big dollops, fluffy-looking yet velvety rich and smooth. (I would be absolutely shocked if anyone could tell that it is dairy-free.) This would be a great dessert to bring to Thanksgiving in lieu of traditional pumpkin bread.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

(Halloween) Stuffed Peppers

In the town where I spent most of middle school and all of high school, there is a huge Halloween parade on the 31st. Everyone goes. And no one is at home for trick-or-treaters. So at some point, the town came to an understanding that trick-or-treating would be expanded to the 30th and, for the few brave souls who wanted to try their luck with the mostly empty houses, the 31st as well. My younger sister's birthday is October 30th, and when we were still young enough to go trick-or-treating (and I'm not going to lie; that tradition lasted way beyond respectability with me and my cousin Erin, who were known to trick-or-treat at quite a ripe old age), my family would invite our cousins over every year on her birthday. We'd all have big steaming bowls of stuffed peppers with pumpernickel bread, and then we'd head out to collect our booty. We did this every year for as long as I can remember, to the point where this dish is synonymous with Halloween for me. Well, I got my annual hankering for stuffed peppers this week, and this weekend, Andrew and I made a huge pot of them. Being the good spice-fearing people that they are, my family would never add cayenne pepper to these, but I thought a dash would add a nice kick and round out the flavor a bit, which it did. Give these peppers an hour and a half to stew and you will not be disappointed with the rich flavor that develops! I brought some to share with some of the people I volunteer with, and they thought the sauce could be very versatile; some suggestions included to use it as a pasta sauce, over spaghetti squash, in a lasagna, over rice, or as a pizza sauce. It really is that good. But it's also perfectly delicious on its own. There is an excellent chance that you won't want to stop eating these and may in fact lick the plate shamelessly -- which is why I would suggest making a huge pot and living off of them for a week or so until you're peppered out.

Halloween Stuffed Peppers

2 lbs of ground meat (I used lean turkey)
1 egg 1 - 1 1/4 cups gluten-free oats OR rice 5-7 bell peppers, any color
1 very large can of tomato juice
Tomato sauce to fill a large pot (I used 4 15-oz. cans)
2 - 3 tbsp. each of oregano, basil, black pepper, minced onion, onion salt, divided and to taste
dash of cayenne pepper

Mix roughly 2 tbsp. each of oregano, basil, and minced onion into the meat, and about 1 tsp. each of black pepper and onion salt (or to taste) into the ground turkey. Add the egg and oats and mix into the meat. Use your hands or a spoong to work it into the meat thoroughly.

Wash the bell peppers and remove the stems and all seeds and flaps of skin from each of them. Pack each pepper with meat and form the leftover meat mixture into large meatballs.

Place it all into a heavy bottomed pan with the peppers on the bottom. Pour the large can of tomato juice and the 4 cans of tomato sauce into a large bowl, and add the same spices that you added to the meat to the sauce to taste (I added about 1 1/2 tbsp. each of oregano, basil, minced onion, and onion salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and about 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper). You can always adjust the seasoning to your taste after it has simmered for a while. Pour the spiced tomato sauce over the peppers and meatballs, and if the sauce does not yet cover all of them, add another can of tomato sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, for about 1 ½ - 2 hours. This is a hearty meal on its own, so you don't have to serve it with anything else, but my family traditionally served it with pumpernickel bread (for the gluten eaters out there). Otherwise, I'd imagine that Beth's Yankee Cornbread Mix would go very nicely with this dish.

*If you want to use beef, lean hamburger meat cuts down on frothing that regular-fat beef can cause.
*If you want to make this vegetarian or vegan, rice can be used instead of meat altogether.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Bars

Have I mentioned enough times that I love peanut butter? As in, LOVE it? These bars turned out to be slightly crumbly, but stayed put together for the most part, and turned out to be completely delicious -- and even better on the second day. Good enough to bring to serve to mixed company for sure (gluten-free or otherwise). They got rave reviews when I brought them around to people at work! If you like peanut butter, you will love the flavor of these bars, made even chewier by the gluten-free rolled oats I added in. [A word of caution about oats: not every celiac can tolerate them well, especially if you've just been diagnosed, so you may want to talk to your doctor before using them. If you don't want to use oats, try quinoa flakes or coconut flakes in this recipe instead!] If you are allergic to nuts, try using sunbutter instead of peanut butter here. I added Hazelnut milk because I'd never tried it before and thought it might add a nice touch, but I think this would work fine with any other kind of vanilla non-dairy milk, especially a thicker one like soy milk. If you want something less cakey and more fudge-like in its consistency, try using only one egg instead of two. Enjoy these while they last because it won't be for long!

Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Bars

3/4 cups all-natural peanut butter (I used creamy Smuckers, but my favorite is Trader Joe's brand)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup gluten-free oats
1/4 cups oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
3/8 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, softened
1/4 cup Pacific Hazelnut milk (or other milk substitute of your choice)
2 eggs (for vegan bars, replace with 3 tsp. + 4 tbsp. warm water)
2 tsp. gluten-free vanilla
1 1/2 cups Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix (or another gf flour mix of your choice, especially if you cannot tolerate dairy; consider using 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup tapioca starch, and 1/2 cup brown rice flour with 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. xanthan gum, and 1/4 tsp. salt)
6 oz. dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all wet ingredients ingredients together, then add the flour and finally the chocolate chips. Spread into a 9 x 13 pan that has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray on the bottom. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into slices. Store in an airtight container and freeze any slices you won't eat within 2 days.

**This would also be tasty with any other kind of chips you think would complement the peanut butter flavor!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brown Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Bars by the Gluten-free Goddess

When fall comes around, all I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen, stirring, chopping, whipping, spreading, mixing, simmering, and smelling all of the different telltale whiffs of the season. Autumn is my favorite time of year because it is such a colorful season, both indoors and out. As the leaves are changing colors outside, there is also a flurry of colors inside the kitchen - bright orange pumpkins, soft beige butternut squash, green beans, plump red apples, juicy blackberries, sweet yellow corn. To me, there is something very cozy about holing yourself up in the kitchen on a cold day to cook and bake, humming along to your favorite music. For me, pumpkin is so much of what I love about fall, and I will try just about anything that contains it. So when I was poring over the wealth of recipes on Karina's blog (a.k.a. The Gluten-Free Goddess) and found this recipe for Brown Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Bars, I knew I had to give them a try. And they are scrumptious. I don't often use that word, actually, and I'm a little surprised myself that that's the first word that came to mind. The pumpkin in these holds them together beautifully, so they are not crumbly like so many gluten-free desserts tend to be. The icing is a wonderful complement to the flavor of the bars themselves. These taste just like the gluten-ful pumpkin cookies I made last year for Thanksgiving, and I can see them being a dangerous thing to have sitting around my kitchen, taunting me with their fabulous flavor. I brought them to share with some of the other people I volunteer with last night, and it was fun to watch their faces go from dubious to shocked at how good these tasted (they know about my dietary restrictions and have low expectations for the quality of anything I am actually able to eat). They actually liked them and ate almost all of them! So I hope you will give these a try, because they are sure to be a hit.

You can make these vegan by using egg replacer as a substitute for the eggs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oatmeal Pancakes with Fresh Raspberry Compote

Oh, my goodness, these were good. Inspired by a recipe I found on one of my favorite sites, The Gluten Free Girl's blog, I set out to make these last night with a few tweaks, intrigued by how oatmeal-inspired pancakes could turn out. You see, oatmeal is another one of my favorite foods; I ate it for more than one meal a day sometimes in the days before my diagnosis because it was the only thing that would soothe my stomach. I have missed it dearly, and even though I have had a big bag of gluten-free oats sitting on my counter for months now, I only recently broke it open. I've heard that some people with gluten intolerance have bad reactions to oats if they try to eat them right away, so I wanted to give my body time to recover a bit before I started testing it with oats again. I wasn't overly impressed with the oats that I used when I had them as a bowl of oatmeal, but man, was I blown away by these pancakes. I like my oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, and maple syrup (incredibly healthy, eh?), so I sprinkled some cinnamon and brown sugar onto the pan and poured the batter over it, which allowed it to crisp up into that delectable photo-worthy pancake you see above. I also tried one with peanut butter spread over it (it may be weird, but I love peanut butter on pancakes. Add it to my very extensive list of food quirks) and one with the raspberry compote that you see in the photo, but my personal favorite was the plain cinnamon-brown sugar combination because it really tasted like I was eating a steaming bowl of oatmeal. The raspberry compote was delicious, but I found that it drowned out that delicate flavor that I had been looking for when I made the pancakes. But by all means, use it if that's what your taste buds tell you!

Oatmeal Pancakes (as seen on Gluten Free Girl's website, but with a few modifications)

1/2 cup Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix (these contain a bit of dairy, so use another mix if needed)
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3/4 cups dry gluten-free oats, cooked as directed (roughly 2 cups cooked oatmeal)
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon + 1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Cooking spray, butter, or oil

Cook the oats as directed. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Add the soy milk to the oatmeal and stir, allowing to cool for a few minutes. Mix the beaten eggs into the oatmeal and then add the flour mixture to it. Add the cooking spray or oil to the pan and sprinkle some cinnamon and brown sugar onto it, and then pour 1/4 cup pancake batter over it. Cook over medium heat until small air bubbles appear on the pancakes (don't touch them before then!) and then flip them over and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately, topped with maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon, or the raspberry compote seen below. I made the entire batch of these, which made about 10 smaller pancakes, and I only ate 2 of them, so I froze them in baggies in pairs and plan to toast them when I'm ready to eat them.

Fresh Raspberry Compote (Also inspired by the Gluten-free Girl's recipe for Blueberry Compote but with a few tweaks)

1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries, divided
1 cinnamon stick
2 - 3 tbsp. cornstarch, as needed
2 tbsp. water

Combine the orange juice, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. Add half the raspberries, reduce heat, and simmer until they have broken down and are falling apart. Add the rest of the raspberries and continue to heat for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. Combine 1 - 2 tbsp. cornstarch with 1 - 2 tbsp. water and dribble it into the raspberry mixture a little at a time, stirring, until you have achieved the consistency you want. Once it has thickened to your liking, remove from heat and set aside until you are ready to use it.

Butternut Risotto

I think sometimes I get more email from the various cooking website or food blogs that I follow than I do from my actual friends and family. And that's a little unsettling to think about. But sometimes it works out well, like in the case of this delicious risotto that I tried out last night. I had spent the last week or so in constant movement, going places, was on the road to see friends this weekend, and was barely at home all week. Last night, I decided I needed a whole night of nothing but me and some recipes, cooking and baking while I watched the nightly news in the kitchen. So last night, I ended up with a huge batch of oatmeal pancakes with a raspberry compote, a tray of pumpkin bars with brown sugar and spice icing, and a giant vat of butternut risotto. Part of the reason I wanted to cook so much food is that this week will be another busy one, and I wanted to take care of preparing some of my meals in advance. But really, that's just a fringe benefit - cooking and baking is my therapy, and I needed a long session of it last night. Nothing relaxes me quite like the rhythmic motion of chopping vegetables, whipping together some cake batter, or stirring a simmering pot of something delicious. Even though I didn't eat this for dinner last night (since it didn't get done until about 10 p.m.), I did taste it, and I can definitely recommend giving this recipe a try! Even if you're not a huge fan of butternut squash, the flavor of it was not too potent, and it added a nice creamy texture that was wonderful. You can find the recipe here on the Cooking Light website; all I did was change the Parmesan cheese to Vegan Parmesan Topping and added more spices than what the recipe called for, as follows: 4 cups low-salt chicken broth (I used Organic Pacific Chicken Broth) 1 1/3 cups water 1 small leek, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thinly 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup thinly sliced celery 1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio or other short-grain rice 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage 1/3 cup dry white wine 2 - 4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut or other winter squash (about 2 pounds) 1 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup Vegan Parmesan Topping 2 -3 teaspoons lemon juice 3/4 - 1 teaspoon white pepper Combine chicken broth and water in a large bowl and set aside. Cut leek crosswise into thin slices. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and celery, and sauté 2 minutes. Add rice and sage, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in wine, and cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture, squash, and salt, and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, and cook until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes). Stir in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and pepper. Season to taste and serve.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indian Dal

I made this dal to go along with my Indian potatoes, and after letting it simmer for a good 40 minutes, it turned into just the consistency I wanted: a dense, thick porridge-like stew that was rich in flavor and was the perfect complement to the potatoes. I hope you enjoy!

Indian Dal

1 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 red chile (or 2 if you're feeling the need for some extra spice)
1 tbsp. chopped jalapeno or hot pepper
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup yellow lentils
2 cups gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth (I used Pacific Chicken Broth)
1/2 - 1 tsp. garam masala

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and the red chile, and continue to heat for about 1 1/2 minutes, until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the garlic, jalapeno, ginger, and turmeric and continue to heat for another minute. Add the onion and salt, reduce heat, and saute until the onion begins to turn translucent.

Add the yellow lentils to the pot and stir into the onion mixture, and then add 1 cup of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, add the 1/2 - 1 tsp. garam masala, then cover and simmer until most of the broth has been absorbed. Add the other cup of chicken broth, and do the same: bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer. Feel free to add more garam masala if you would like a stronger flavor (I did!).

Once the lentils begin to get soft (this took about 30 minutes for me), you can remove the lid and let some of the liquid evaporate so it will become thicker and less soupy. Serve with Indian bread, rhoti, or with rice. Or with Indian-spiced potatoes!

Roasted Potatoes with North Indian Spices

I have been craving these potatoes ever since the last time I made them (which was for my friends Reena and Lisa). Spicy and bursting with flavor, they are everything I love about Indian food. Crispy on the outside and wonderfully tender on the inside, these are absolutely delicious; the flavors unravel in your mouth as each spice reveals itself. These are some seriously bold potatoes. So since I just happened to have bought some fresh mint last weekend, and since I still have some cilantro left from my carrot soup, tonight was the night for these. At the same time, however, I did not want to have a dinner comprised solely of a giant bowl of potatoes. So I got a little creative and used some yellow lentils to make myself a dal to go along with them. I used most of the same spices that the potatoes call for, and it turned into a deliciously thick stew-like consistency. It was dense enough that you could eat it with naan (if you can eat naan, that is). The potatoes and lentils were wonderful together, and if you like spicy, you will love this.

Roasted Potatoes with North Indian Spices

3 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
1 3/4 teaspoons black mustard seeds
6 dried red chiles
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (optional)
8 lime wedges (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°.  Combine 1 tablespoon oil and potatoes, tossing to coat. Set aside.

Heat remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil, mustard seeds, and chiles in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until seeds begin to pop. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add ginger, garlic, and jalapeño to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in salt, turmeric, and Garam Masala; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add spice mixture to potatoes, tossing to coat. Arrange potato mixture in a single layer in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 400° for 25 - 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, browned, and crisp, stirring every 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, mint, and juice, if desired. Serve with lime wedge.