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!