Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spinach with Chickpeas

This recipe is one of the reasons I keep a package of frozen chopped spinach in the freezer at all times. Usually I prefer using fresh spinach, but when the day has been busy and I have no time to think about dinner (or when I am just plain tired and don't feel like cooking), I reach for this recipe. It takes just minutes to prepare, it hits the spot, and it's healthy to boot. Well, I usually like to cook up dried chickpeas too but the canned ones work in a pinch. It's healthier than take-out, anyway!

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
3 - 4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. dry white wine
1 can drained chick peas
1 thawed 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
rice or gluten free pasta to serve

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Cook the onion in the hot oil until soft. Add the garlic, cook one minute more. Stir together the cayenne through the paprika and add it to the onion mixture in the pot. Toss to coat. Add the white wine, cook 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and the spinach (preferably squeezed dry, but I often throw it in there as is and let the liquid cook out, which takes just a couple of minutes). Cook until heated through and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot over rice or pasta.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mushroom Spring Rolls

This recipe is based on the one I found here. I used mushrooms instead of ground pork and liked the result. They are good soft, but I also wanted to try them crispy. I tried baking the spring rolls at a high temperature (per the original recipe) to get them crispy without frying them and this failed miserably. They turned out gummy, not crispy at all. If you want crispy spring rolls, you need to fry them - which is what I ended up doing after all, to DH's delight.

8 0z baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and diced

1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup shredded carrot
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. sake
1 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
2 tsp grated ginger root
2 small cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
12 rice paper wrappers

Dip rice paper one by one in a bowl of warm water until just beginning to soften. Layer on damp paper towels, set aside. The rice paper will continue to soften as you prepare the filling.

Toss together the mushrooms through the garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling onto one side of a rice paper wrapper. Bring the top and bottom of the paper down to cover the filling, then roll from one side to the other. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Serve spring rolls as is with sweet chili sauce on the side (this is the way I like them).

Or fry the spring rolls (this is the way my husband likes them): Heat oil to 375 degrees. Combine a tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water, brush the seams of the spring rolls with this mixture to seal them. Let dry before frying. When the oil is hot, fry spring rolls one or two at a time until crispy, turning in the hot oil as needed. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with sweet chili sauce on the side.

GFCF Lemon Turkey Soup with Spinach and Pasta


This is my favorite turkey soup recipe. It's easy and fast - it takes about 20 minutes to throw this soup together, which is great for busy days. I've made it before using fresh chopped parsley instead of the spinach (see picture), which I also really like. The original recipe can be found here.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 1/2 cups GF pasta
2 cups diced cooked turkey
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 thawed 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach OR 6 cups chopped fresh spinach OR 1/4 cup packed fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in dutch oven. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook until soft. Add garlic, cook 1 minute more. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Turn off the heat and add the turkey, lemon juice and spinach or parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Curried Rice Stuffing

This recipe makes 12 servings - enough to stuff a large 12 - 16 pound turkey. I served this as a side dish instead of stuffing a turkey, and it was very good. The original recipe was featured in Yankee Magazine, November 2005.

2 tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp. Thai Kitchen green curry paste
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup golden raisins, if desired
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Heat oil in a dutch oven and cook onion until soft. Add the rice and the cinnamon, tossing to coat. Combine the coconut milk and the curry paste and whisk until smooth. Pour over the rice and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and stir. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer about 50 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Add the raisins and the nuts if desired and toss to combine. Serve hot.

All Purpose Sorghum and Millet Blend

This is my preferred blend for making muffins, quick breads and one-layer cakes.

3 cups sorghum flour
1 cup millet flour
1 1/3 cups potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca starch

Sift together all ingredients until well blended. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mock Peanut Blossoms

Hershey's Kisses on top of peanut butter cookies have always screamed "holidays" to me, so I really wanted to make them for my kids. Making the substitutions was easy enough - except for the Hershey's Kisses. So I ended up buying "safe" dark chocolate (Baker's semi-sweet), melted it, and poured it into a chocolate mold. This is messier than it sounds, and I'm not a fan of candy-making. But the results came out pretty and my girls were very impressed by the chocolate hearts sitting on top of the cashew butter cookies. I think this is their favorite holiday cookie so far.


1 package Baker's semi-sweet chocolate squares
1/2 cup palm shortening

3/4 cup cashew butter

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp. rice milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. salt

sugar for coating


Place chocolate squares in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate into a plastic baggie. Snip off a corner of the baggie and pipe chocolate into a chocolate mold. Cool chocolate completely (about 30 minutes in the refrigerator). When cool, pop chocolate out of the mold and set aside.*


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt, set aside.


In a large bowl, beat the shortening and cashew butter until combined. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, rice milk and vanilla, beat well. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar.

Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake cookies about 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately place chocolate pieces on top of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool (the chocolate will take awhile to cool completely).

*I had some leftover melted chocolate after filling the chocolate molds...what better excuse is there to make Stuffed Pecans?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Candy Cane Cookies


This recipe is one I copied from my mother-in-law's stash many years ago. I like it because the girls can enjoy their "candy canes", without the sugar shock of traditional candy canes.

1 cup palm shortening or shortening/ghee blend
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
red food coloring
green food coloring

Peppermint Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour and xanthan gum, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract and peppermint extract, beat well. Add the flour mixture and beat until well combined. Divide dough in half. Stir in red food coloring into one half, and green food coloring into the other half (about 8 drops each or until the colors please you). Cover and chill about 30 minutes.

For each cookie, take a teaspoon of red dough and roll into a 4 inch rope. Repeat with green dough. Place ropes side by side and twist them together. Pinch ends to seal. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and form into a cane. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet one minute before carefully removing to a wire rack to cool.

While the cookies are still warm, make the peppermint glaze: combine the powdered sugar, peppermint extract and enough water to make the glaze brushing consistency (it should be watery, not like frosting). Brush cookies with glaze. Cool cookies completely and store in an airtight container.

Russian Tea Cookies


This recipe is from one of those ubiquitous church cookbooks - as I cut it out and pasted it onto an index card, I can't remember it's origin. But it's just like the cookies my Nanny used to serve at Christmas time, so I like them. The girls like them too.

1 cup palm shortening or shortening/ghee blend
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup walnut or pecan meal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat together the shortening, sugar and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Sift together the flour through the salt. Add to the shortening mixture and mix well. Stir in the nuts.

With floured hands roll dough into 1 inch balls (add a little bit more flour if the dough is too sticky - it should feel tacky, not dry). Place on an ungreased baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool 2 minutes.

While still warm, roll the cookies in powdered sugar. Place on a wire rack to cool. When they are cool, sift a little more powdered sugar over the cookies. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Easy Linzer Bars


This is one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes. They may look like a lot of work, but they're not!

2 cups GF flour blend
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 cup palm shortening, shortening/ghee blend or coconut oil
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. orange peel
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/3 cup walnut meal
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray, set aside.

Sift together the flour through the xanthan gum, set aside.

Heat shortening or coconut oil, corn syrup and orange peel over low heat until melted and smooth. Stir into flour mixture until well blended. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Place two pieces onto each baking sheet.

Pat each dough piece into a long rope. Make an indentation down the center of each rope, molding slightly. Combine the jam and the walnut meal and fill the indentations with the jam mixture. Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and immediately cut into 1 inch wide slices. Cool slightly.

Combine the powdered sugar and the orange juice. Drizzle the sugar mixture over the warm cookies. Cool completely.

Pfeffernusse Cookies


These cookies are popular, especially with kids.

1/2 cup palm shortening

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
3 1/4 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.

Sift together the flour through the pepper, set aside.

Beat shortening and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in molasses and egg until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat until well blended. Shape level tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake cookies about 12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on the baking sheet, then dust with powdered sugar. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Buckwheat Pancakes

I like pancakes that are thick and fluffy, and these pancakes are just that.

3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour or tapioca flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup rice milk
1 egg
2 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Combine the rice milk through the vanilla and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened - do not overmix. Thin with a little rice milk if needed.

Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a hot, greased griddle. Flatten into rounds and cook for a couple of minutes until golden brown on the bottom, then flip and cook a couple minutes more (these pancakes won't form little air bubbles the way other pancakes do). Serve hot with fresh fruit and powdered sugar, jam, honey or maple syrup.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baking without Eggs

I bake with eggs (update - as of May 2010, this is no longer the case - I am now baking without eggs!). However, I've fielded a few questions as to what to use to replace eggs in baked goods. So I'm going to post here the different kinds of egg substitutes that can be used in baking, and set this list aside in my notebook for future reference. My girls have a very low IgE reaction to eggs and if that has risen at all since their last tests, we'll be going egg free as well. It's always good to be prepared, just in case.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Egg substitutes work well when replacing one or two eggs in a recipe. If you try replacing more than two eggs, the integrity of the baked good may suffer. Also keep in mind that nothing quite does the same trick that eggs do, so be prepared for a baked good that is a little denser than you are used to. You may also need to play around a bit - some subs work well in some recipes but may make others gummy.

I have compiled a list (below) of different egg substitutes for baking. All the replacements listed below are equal to 1 whole egg. Double the amounts given if you are replacing two eggs.

Ener-G Egg Replacer is a commercial egg substitute that I choose not to use. However if you choose to use it, simply follow the package directions for replacing eggs.

For cakes:
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp. warm water, blend until thickened. Also try adding 1/8 tsp. baking powder to this mixture.

For cookies:
1/4 tsp. baking soda + 1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup maple syrup, and decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe by 1/4 - 1/2 cup.

For pancakes, waffles, muffins and quick breads:
1/2 a large mashed banana + 1/4 tsp. baking powder

3 tbsp. applesauce, fruit butter or other fruit puree + 1/4 tsp. baking powder

Other substitutions:
In addition to replacing the egg in a recipe, try adding an extra 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. baking powder per egg if not in the egg replacer you are using (limit to a total of 1 tsp. leavening per cup of flour). Also try lightening the baked good by adding air (cream together the sugar and shortening in a recipe until light and fluffy before adding dry ingredients) - although some baked goods do much better with canola oil than shortening when made egg-free.

1 tsp. unflavored gelatin dissolved in 1 tbsp. warm water. Add 2 tbsp. boiling water, beat until frothy.

1 tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot + 3 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. egg-free mayonnaise

1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 3 tbsp. warm water

1 tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot + 2 tbsp. water + 2 tsp. canola oil + 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. warm water + 1 tbsp. potato starch or tapioca starch + 1/2 tbsp. shortening + 3/4 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. water + 1 tbsp. canola oil + 2 tsp. baking powder

For those who can use soy:
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup pureed silken tofu

My favorite egg substitutes happen to be fruit purees, gelatin, flax meal and maple syrup or honey with a little extra leavening thrown in for good measure.

My sources (for more great tips, visit these sites below!):
The Cooking Inn
Fitness and Freebies
The Cook's Thesaurus
About.com
Pioneer Thinking

I recommend:
Gluten Free Goddess - 2/3 of the way down this particular page read about replacing the fat in the egg with a little bit of oil, using rice milk instead of water for more nutrition, and being wary of using a fruit puree to replace egg in a recipe that already has fruit puree in it.

Also, see here for more tips from Karina on baking substitutions.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

GFCF Gingerbread People


Here I've adapted an old favorite recipe for gingerbread cookies. The orange extract gives them a lovely, delicate flavor.

1/2 cup palm shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 large egg

1 tsp. orange extract

2 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.


Beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses, then the egg until well combined. Add the orange extract and mix well. The mixture will look curdled.
Sift together the flour through the salt. Add to the wet mixture and beat into a smooth, stiff dough. Divide the dough in half. Place half the dough onto a floured piece of wax paper and knead a few times until no longer sticky. Roll the dough to 1/3 inch thick. Cut into shapes and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake cookies about 10 - 12 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned and the cookies look set. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely before decorating.

GFCF Cumin and Caraway Crackers


This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.

1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1 tsp. ground caraway seed
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup palm shortening
1/3 cup rice milk
1 beaten egg white
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour through the coriander. Place in a food processor. Add shortening and process until blended. Add rice milk until the mixture forms a dough - do not over-process.

Transfer dough to a floured piece of wax paper. Roll to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into squares with a knife. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Prick all over with the tines of a fork, brush with egg white and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake about 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chocolate Meringue Clouds

This recipe is great for using up leftover egg whites from making Jolly Jam Bars. These cookies are a pleasant change from heavier holiday fare - airy, delicate, and melt-in-your-mouth.

3 egg whites at room temperature

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup mini casein free chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cover the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Sift together the sugar and the cocoa. Beat in the vanilla into the egg whites. Gradually add the sugar mixture to the egg white mixture, beating continuously, until soft peaks hold, the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is glossy. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.


Drop meringue by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake about 30 minutes or until just dry (bottoms should be only very, very lightly golden). Cool slightly on the baking sheet before peeling the cookies off the parchment paper. Store covered at room temperature.

Jolly Jam Bars


This is a recipe from one of my old tattered recipe cards. It came from one of my mom's old tattered recipe cards. I always did like this recipe, it's a good one for kids. So I made it for my girls, not thinking DH would be too impressed (especially after the conversion to being gluten, casein and soy free). Well, he was impressed. He tasted it and unsolicited, exclaimed "Wow, these are really good!". And Anna, well, she just inhaled her piece. This recipe is a keeper.

1 cup
shortening/ghee blend
1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks
2 cups GF flour blend (I used
this one)
1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 cup walnut meal

1/2 cup raspberry jam


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9x9x2 inch baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.


Cream the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, beat until well combined. Sift together the flour through the walnut meal and add to the egg mixture, blending well.


Divide the dough in half. Press one half of the dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Top with the jam, spreading evenly. Cover the jam with the remaining dough - I do this by taking small chunks and flattening them in the palms of my hands, then laying them on the jam layer. It's easy to take small pieces and fill in the gaps, and while it bakes the dough will come together so that there are not cracks or openings in the top crust.
Bake about 45 minutes or until the top is golden. Cool and cut into bars.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Spicy Potato Curry

DH handed me this recipe on a piece of paper one day after week a couple of weeks ago. He told me one of his colleagues told him we would really like it (Abby, you were right - this is soooo yummy!). I modified the original recipe a little bit to make it less spicy, and it was still very spicy (too spicy for me, but not for DH or Megan!). Next time I'll cut back even more on the cayenne pepper so I can have more than just a little bit of it without having my mouth turn to fire (perhaps to Megan's chagrin, but I can add more cayenne to her dish if she likes!). This dish is fast and easy to make and has entered our rotation of favorite recipes.

1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed OR 1 1/2 cups cauliflower
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on your taste
2 tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained AND/OR 1/2 package thawed frozen spinach
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 14oz can coconut milk (I used lite, but regular will make it extra creamy)

Cook potatoes (or cauliflower) in boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the ginger, toss and cook for 1 minute. Toss together the cumin through the salt and add to the onion mixture, stirring to coat. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans and/or spinach, peas, coconut milk and potatoes and simmer until hot. Serve over rice or cooked cooked quinoa (I prefer the quinoa).

*Fresh ginger root is best, but if you can't find it (like I often can't), try The Ginger People's Grated Ginger, a pantry essential!

~~~~~~~~~~~Update 12/19/08~~~~~~~~~~~
I LOVE this recipe. It's a kitchen sink recipe! Tonight I made it with cauliflower instead of potatoes, chopped spinach instead of garbanzo beans, less cayenne (1/4 tsp.), and served it over a bed of quinoa instead of rice. It was fabulous!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Polenta with Eggs

Today a friend treated me to breakfast. A couple of days ago she asked if I would like polenta with eggs (in all it's gluten free goodness) for breakfast. I said - yum! I've never made polenta. It's just not a northeast kind of food (not where I'm from, anyway). I've had polenta with mushrooms for dinner once before (made by another friend, and very delicious). But polenta with eggs sounded very homey, and right up my alley.

So I watched as she made it. She sauteed some scallions in a little oil, added boiling chicken broth and yellow grits and stirred for a few minutes. While it thickened, she more or less poached a few eggs. And she served it just like that.

Honestly, with just a little bit of salt, this breakfast was near heaven. I put my egg on top of the polenta and broke the yoke on top of it. The yolk soaked into the polenta below and lo, it was good. I'm going to go out and buy grits straight away tomorrow morning and make this dish first chance I get for DH this weekend.

1 cup Arrowhead Mills Yellow Corn Grits
1/2 bunch scallions, white and pale green parts chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
eggs - however many you want

Saute scallions in a bit of olive oil until fragrant.Add the water or stock and bring to a boil. Add the grits. Simmer until the grits begin to thicken. Add more broth as necessary. Simmer it about 15 minutes stirring frequently, until it looks like thick hot cereal, then remove from the heat.

While the polenta simmers, cook up your eggs over-easy or sunny-side up. Spoon some polenta onto a plate. It should not look glumpy or thick, but not runny either. Really it should look like lava...spreading out a little bit on the plate, but not thin enough to spread very far. It should smell fabulous and buttery rich, although there is no butter in it at all. Top the polenta with your egg. Sprinkle with salt, serve, and enjoy.

Save the leftover polenta in a container. It will thicken up a lot - you can slice it and fry it up later and serve it sort of like a finger food. You can top it with meat sauce, or drizzle honey over it, or whatever your heart desires...I'm sure it will be all good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cocoa Snowflakes

Happy December! The start of this month kicks off weeks of frenzied baking for me. I have SO many holiday recipes, there's no possible way I can convert them all this year. But I can make a sizable dent, and started to do that today.

I'm tossing around the idea of using ghee in my holiday baking. Ghee is clarified butter...the whey solids and dairy protein separate out and what is left is a clear golden oil. You can buy it with a great "Casein Free!" label on it (which inflates the price a lot). Purity Farms sells a certified casein free ghee. I might try it.

Here is an fast and easy holiday recipe (Penzey's, adapted) that pleases kids and adults alike. The baked cookies have a very pretty, lacy "snowflake" pattern on their tops. I used coconut oil for this recipe. It lends a slight coconut flavor to these cookies, which I like. If you don't, then substitute palm shortening (or ghee, if you like) instead. And happy baking!


1 cup GF flour blend (I used this one)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. coconut oil
6 tbsp. natural cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.

Sift together the flour through the salt, set aside.

In a large microwavable bowl, heat the coconut oil on high for about 30 seconds, or until just melted. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Stir in the sugar, then the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture and mix until well combined.

Place powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Drop the cookie dough by heaping teaspoons into the powdered sugar and roll to coat. Shape into balls with your hands and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until puffed and only just set to the touch. Let cool in pan 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

GFCF Herbed Crackers


This is another recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens (the New Baking Book, which I love!). I was surprised at how easy these crackers were to make. Next time I'll double the recipe, because they go really fast!

1 cup GF Flour Blend (I used this one)
3/4 tsp. rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

3 tbsp. rice milk

2 tbsp. olive oil

*3 tbsp. fresh snipped parsley, if desired

*2 tbsp. finely chopped green onion

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients and place in a food processor. Add the rice milk and the oil (and parsley and green onion, if desired) and pulse till combined. Form the dough into a ball and place on a piece of lightly floured wax paper.


Flatten dough into a rectangle. Roll dough to 1/16 inch thick. Trim uneven edges and prick dough all over with a fork. Cut into rectangles with a knife or cut into shapes with a small cookie cutter. Transfer crackers to an ungreased baking sheet. Lightly spray crackers with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until crackers just start to brown and are firm to the touch. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

*Adding parsley to the crackers will give your crackers pretty green specks.

Best Ever Biscuits


I've adapted this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I used a multi-grain flour blend, and the quinoa flour in the blend gave the biscuits a nice savory taste. I served these with Beef Stew with Sweet Potatos and Apricots. Leftovers would be good split, toasted and stuffed with egg and ham for breakfast in the morning.


2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup palm shortening
2/3 cup rice milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.

Sift together the flour through the baking soda. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center, add rice milk all at once and stir with a fork until just moistened.

Turn dough out onto a piece of lightly floured wax paper. Pat the dough into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough with a floured biscuit cutter or cut with a knife into squares. Place biscuits 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, or until the bottoms of the biscuits are lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Apricots

1 pound beef stew meat, fat trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp. rice flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (2 medium)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. dried parsley
pinch ground allspice
pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, to taste
2 cups beef broth
8 large dried apricots, quartered

Stir together the rice flour, salt and pepper. Place in a large ziplock bag. Add the beef cubes, close the bag, and shake to coat. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the beef and brown on all sides. Remove the beef to a crock pot. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low 6 - 8 hours or until the beef is tender. Discard bay leaf and adjust seasonings to taste.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cranberry Sauce with Apples


Making your own cranberry sauce is so easy and fast, and it tastes great. This is a Penzey's recipe,which I've halved (and it still makes plenty). Homemade cranberry sauce is good with not only turkey, but chicken and pork, crackers, or plain by the spoonful.

2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. minced orange peel

Pour the juice and sugar into a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring the juice and sugar to a boil. Add the cranberries, apple and orange peel.


Return to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring often. The cranberries will pop and the sauce will thicken nicely. Store in the refrigerator.

GFCF Corn Bread

This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens. Call me crazy for thinking corn bread is pretty, but this corn bread really is nice to look at, and even nicer to eat.

1 cup GF flour blend (I used this one)
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup rice milk
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9 inch round baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Sift together the flour through the salt, set aside.

Combine the eggs through the oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture and stir until just moistened. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake about 20 minutes, or until golden.

Friday, November 21, 2008

GFCF Apple Pie

Apple pie holds a special place in my memory as what spurred me into the kitchen in earnest. My uncle brought this beautiful apple pie to Thanksgiving one year when I was 13 years old. It was the most fantastic pie we'd ever laid our eyes on...piled high full of apples, the crust was golden and perfect, and I swear I could hear angels singing "aaaahhhhh!" over this pie. It was gorgeous. But when it was served, it tasted fermented. Not bad, but like too much of it would get you drunk. It was a little bit of a letdown...such a pretty pie, it didn't taste as good as it looked. And right then, I determined that I would make my pies bigger, stuffed full of more apples, more beautiful, and taste so good it'd knock the socks off of anyone. And I did. Year after year, apple pie was the pride and joy of my Thanksgiving offerings. Of course I branched out from apple pie, and what I create in the kitchen remains a source of great satisfaction (though I tend to be a better baker than a cook).

So fast forward 20 years later, when my kitchen is (still relatively new to being) gluten and casein free. I've had good success with this new reality, and I've conquered the GFCF pie crust to my satisfaction. But I had some trepidation about apple pie. Could I get it as stuffed full of apples as before? Would the crust behave, or would it crack and sink and fall apart into the apple filling? Would it be flaky and fabulous, or just so-so? What would become of my pride and joy apple pie, the hallmark of my culinary conquests? Okay, I'm going a little overboard here, but only slightly. I really was worried about apple pie for Thanksgiving this year. I took a chance on a new flour blend for the pie crust (High Protein Blend) and halved the amount of apples I'd usually put in a pie, just in case the crust was cranky. The pastry handled well, and it looked nice going into the oven. Coming out of the oven, the crust had cracked and separated all the way around the edges of the pie, and it had hugged the apples in an odd sort of way. It was not perfect looking, but it was not horrendous looking either.


It browned nicely and the edges of the crust did not burn. But really, the true test is in the tasting. And...the crust was flaky. It was not gritty, it was not gummy. I could not believe how flaky the crust turned out to be...it was perfect. Totally perfect. It might not look as beautiful as I wanted it to look, but it tasted fabulous. I'm SO happy. Next time, I'll use twice as many apples!


6 - 8 large tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (use more apples, if you dare)
2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

1 egg white, beaten until frothy
cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

pastry for 2 crust pie


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out half the pie pastry and line the pie plate with the pastry. Set aside.


Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Combine the sugars through the allspice with a fork and mix well. Toss the sugar mixture with the apples. Carefully place the apples in the pie plate, mounding apples in the middle of the pie.

Roll out the top crust and place on top of the apple filling. Trim the edges and flute. Brush the egg wash over the top of the pie and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cut slits in the top of the pie for the steam to vent through.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn the heat to 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the crust is evenly brown and golden (if the crust does not look like it's getting golden enough by 20 minutes at 350 degrees, increase the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes). Remove from oven to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baked Chicken with Crispy Potato Chip Crust


Tom's aunt made this for dinner and gave me the recipe some years ago - yes it really does use potato chips, and yes the end result is extra crunchy and really good! I modified the original recipe just a little bit to suit my needs.

1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 tsp. dried basil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

4 ounces potato chips, crushed
1/2 cup GF breadcrumbs
2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.

Combine the olive oil through the basil, blend well. Coat chicken thickly with this mixture and let marinate for half an hour.

In a shallow dish, combine the crushed potato chips through the pepper, tossing well. Coat the chicken with the potato chip mixture and set on baking sheet. Bake until the topping is crisp and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

GFCF Chocolate Mousse Tart with Shortbread Crust

A friend recently shared a shortbread tart crust recipe with me, and I thought a chocolate filling would compliment it well. The crust reminds me of Pecan Sandies. It does not have much flavor on it's own, but it's good with the chocolate filling. I've added vanilla extract to the recipe posted here - although I didn't use vanilla extract in the crust I made this weekend, I think the crust will benefit with the addition. I've adapted the chocolate filling from a recipe found in Eating Well. There is enough mousse to fill the crust and two custard cups, which greatly pleased the girls.

Shortbread Crust
1 1/2 cups rice flour
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup walnut meal or almond meal
1/4 cup coconut oil or palm shortening
1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Chocolate Mousse Filling
1 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp. water
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
3 ounces casein free bittersweet chocolate chips
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar

Prepare the crust
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until the dough sticks together and forms a ball. The dough should not be very sticky, but feel easy to knead.

Place the dough in a 9 inch tart pan. Spread evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan with your fingers (you will not need to use all the dough). Prick the bottom with a fork and bake about 15 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Prepare the Filling
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl. Stir and let stand to thicken. Meanwhile, heat coconut milk in a medium saucepan until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat while you whisk together the egg yolks, 2 tbsp. sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot coconut milk into the egg yolk mixture. Then whisk the egg yolk mixture into the rest of the coconut milk in the saucepan and return to the heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 minute (do not boil). Remove from the heat. Whisk in the chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Whisk in the softened gelatin and set aside. (If the gelatin is too thick, soften in the microwave for a couple of seconds.)

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg white mixture until well blended. Spread the filling evenly into the crust. Chill uncovered until set, about 1 hour. Serve with strawberries or mint leaves as a garnish, if desired.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pumpkin Butter Bread


I stumbled across a recipe for pumpkin butter bread here while searching for interesting ways to use up pumpkin butter. This is an excellent recipe and the bread tastes even better sliced with some pumpkin butter spread on top.

1/3 cup palm shortening

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup pumpkin butter (or other fruit butter such as apple or pear)

1/3 cup water

1 2/3 cups GF flour blend (I used
this one)
1 tsp. xanthan gum

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup walnut meal, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside.


Cream sugar and shortening together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the pumpkin butter and water and mix well.


Sift together the flour through the baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and beat until well combined. Fold in the walnut meal, if desired. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Irish Whiskey Cake

I love making this cake every autumn. It smells great, and it's not too sweet. Everyone loves it. I've adapted this recipe from the Irish Heritage Cookbook by Margaret M. Johnson. And happily, I can safely say that Scotch and Irish Whiskey are safe (gluten free!).

1/2 cup dried currants
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup palm shortening
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cloves
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnut meal
1/4 cup Irish Whiskey (I use Jameson's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 inch cake pans and line the bottom with rounds of waxed paper, set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the currants and the water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or until plump. Drain and reserve the liquid. Let cool.

In a large bowl, cream the shortening, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the applesauce and the egg and beat well. Stir in 3/4 cup of the reserved currant liquid and the whiskey. Sift together the flour through salt and add to the wet ingredients, beating until well combined. Fold in the currants and the walnut meal.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake about 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the layers comes out clean. Remove from pans to a wire rack to cool, peeling off the wax paper. Cool completely before frosting.

Irish Whiskey Frosting
1/4 cup palm shortening
2 tbsp. coconut cream*
3+ cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup Irish Whiskey

Beat together the shortening, coconut cream and powdered sugar. Add the whiskey in a steady stream and beat until smooth. Add more powdered sugar as necessary until frosting consistency is reached.

*To get coconut cream, open a can of coconut milk and skim the cream off the top.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Leek and Bacon Quiche


This is my favorite quiche recipe. The original recipe, by Cooking Light, has no cheese in it, so it's a great candidate for gluten and casein free version of quiche. If you make it with a no roll pie crust recipe, it takes less than an hour to prepare, bake and serve. I served this quiche with a salad, Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins and Sugar Cookies for a light lunch.

1 recipe
No Roll Pie Crust
6 - 8 slices bacon

3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

6 eggs

2/3 cup rice milk


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


Prepare your pie crust and bake it for about 10 minutes, or until the edge is lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.


Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Lay on paper towels, keeping the bacon fat in the skillet (or drain the bacon fat and add 2 tbsp. olive oil to the pan). While the bacon is cooking, split the leeks in half lengthwise and wash them. Thinly slice the leeks, then add them to the skillet. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and toss. Cover and cook the leeks on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until they are soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.


Chop the bacon and place on the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust. Arrange leek mixture over the bacon. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper and rice milk. Pour over the leeks in the pie crust. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the quiche is puffed and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

No Roll Pie Crust

This is a Penzey's recipe (made gluten and casein free, of course). It's a great pie crust for savory pies, like quiche. It's fast, easy, and tastes good too. I make this pie crust with an all purpose rice flour blend, which I like - it makes the crust slightly crisp, which works well with a quiche. This pie crust recipe makes plenty for a deep dish pie.

1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tbsp. rice milk

In your pie plate, whisk together the flour through the salt. Add the oil and the milk and blend well - the mix will be a little crumbly, but it should stick together when you press it with your fingers (add a little more rice milk if the mixture seems too crumbly). Press the mixture evenly with your fingers onto the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides. Flute with the tines of a fork, if desired.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins


I found this recipe while searching for pumpkin recipes (because you know I cannot get enough of pumpkin at this time of the year), here at Karina's Kitchen. I tweaked it just a little bit, and they came out really good - very moist and not the least bit crumbly. I served them with Leek and Bacon Quiche, and everyone loved them. They'd be good halved and grilled for breakfast, too.

3 large eggs

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup applesauce

3/4 pumpkin puree
*
1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup GF flour blend (I used this one)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin cups (or coat with cooking spray), set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until well combined. Add the oil, applesauce, pumpkin puree and brown sugar, beat well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cinnamon through the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just smooth.


Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove muffins to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm.

*Try substituting sweet potato puree or butternut squash puree for the pumpkin puree.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

White Bean "Hummus"

3 cups cooked white beans (great northern or cannellini) or 2 cans rinsed and drained
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. dried chopped thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until just smooth. Add a little more oil, or 2 tbsp water or chicken broth to thin the hummus if needed. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Nanny's German Potato Salad

This is my Nanny's recipe for German Potato Salad and of course, my very favorite.

6 white skinned potatoes

4 slices of bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh scallions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
dash salt and pepper

Wash potatoes and chop into 1 inch pieces. Cook in pot of boiling water and cool to room temperature. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels but keep the bacon fat in the frying pan. Cook onion in bacon fat until soft. Chop bacon and add to the potatoes together with the onion, scallions, celery and parsley. Heat and simmer the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper until the sugar dissolves. The longer you simmer the mixture the sweeter it will get - you don't want it to be too sweet (it should have a sweet bite). Pour the vinegar mixture over the potato mixture and toss. Prepare a couple of hours ahead of time and stir periodically - the potatoes will soak up the vinegar mixture. Serve at room temperature.

Irish Bread Pudding with Caramel Whiskey Sauce

This recipe is originally from Cooking Light, and it is Tom's favorite birthday dessert. So I end up making it at least once a year. This year, of course, I had to modify it to be gluten and casein free. I was a little apprehensive about this, because the original recipe is so fabulous. However I am very pleased to report that not only did it get Tom's approval, it got the approval of dinner guests too. The girls happen to love this recipe - they get the bread pudding without the caramel sauce (the alcohol bakes out of the bread pudding but not out of the sauce). Even without the sauce, they think this dessert is great. I use Jameson's Irish Whiskey exclusively for baking (and in case you are raising your eyebrows, I'll have you know that I don't like to drink whiskey, only bake with it - a bottle lasts a really long time in my kitchen!).

Irish Bread Pudding
1 1/3 loaves GFCF French Bread
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup Irish Whiskey
1 14oz can lite coconut milk
1 cup rice milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 beaten eggs
cinnamon sugar - 2 tsp. sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice french bread in half lengthwise and put on a baking sheet, cut side up. Bake bread about 15 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, set aside.

Combine the raisins and the whiskey, let stand about 15 minutes or until the raisins are soft.

Whisk together the coconut milk through the eggs in a large bowl. Add the cubed bread and the raisin/whiskey mixture, pressing gently to moisten. Let stand 15 minutes. Spoon into a 13x9 inch pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the pudding. Bake 35 - 45 minutes, or until the pudding is set. Serve warm with Caramel Whiskey Sauce.

Caramel Whiskey Sauce
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut cream*
1/4 cup Irish Whiskey
1/4 cup coconut milk

Combine the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Simmer another 15 minutes over medium-low heat until golden - do not stir. Remove from heat. Carefully add the coconut oil and the coconut cream, stirring well with a whisk. Cool slightly, then stir in the whiskey and coconut milk. Make one day ahead and refrigerate until ready to serve. The sauce will thicken and turn from a translucent color to a milky white color.

*To get coconut cream, open a can of coconut milk (do not shake it first) and skim off the thick cream from the top.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls


Here is another attempt at making spring rolls. I filled them with fresh vegetables - julienned cucumber and sweet orange pepper and slices of avocado (bean sprouts would also be a nice addition). I hope I'm not making anyone cringe with my version of a spring roll - I'm just loving their fresh taste and using whatever I have in the kitchen to make them (which right now is not much - I need to go shopping!). I found a recipe for the Vietnamese dipping sauce here.

2 tbsp. fish sauce

3 tbsp. water

juice from 1/2 large fresh lime 1
minced clove garlic

1 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. chili garlic sauce


4 spring roll skins

2 ounces cooked rice vermicelli or mung bean threads
1 large pickling (salad) cucumber, julienned

1/3 sweet orange pepper or 1 carrot, julienned

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

4 sprigs fresh cilantro


For the sauce: Heat the fish sauce through the chili oil until the sugar is dissolved, set aside.

Dip spring roll skins one by one in a bowl of warm water until just beginning to soften. Layer on damp paper towels, set aside. The skins will continue to soften as you prepare the filling.

Divide the vegetables and vermicelli into 4 equal portions. Place 1/4 vegetables and vermicelli in the middle of a spring roll (I alternated dark and light colors). Top with a sprig of cilantro. Bring the top and bottom of the roll down about an inch and then roll from one side to the other. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve spring rolls with the dipping sauce on the side.

Thai Chicken Rolls

This recipe is one my sister-in-law made for me several years ago, just after Anna was born. It was nice to have someone else cook for me, and I remember liking her recipe a lot. The original recipe calls for flour wraps but I've substituted spring roll skins instead. Spring roll skins are easy to work with - the skin will stick to itself and hold the whole roll together. I'm not sure if I'm wrapping them exactly right, but it works well in the end!

2 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. cashew butter

3 tbsp. wheat-free soy sauce or UnSoy Sauce

3 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. canola oil

1 minced clove garlic

8 spring roll skins

8 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
or meat alternative, if desired
1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp. canola oil

2 cups shredded broccoli and one medium red onion, thinly sliced, OR julienned carrots

leafy green lettuce, spines removed


Heat the sugar through the garlic until the sugar is dissolved, set aside.


Dip spring roll skins one by one in a bowl of warm water until just beginning to soften. Layer on damp paper towels, set aside. The skins will continue to soften as you prepare the filling.


Cook the chicken (if using) in hot oil in a skillet over medium heat, sprinkling with the garlic powder, salt and pepper, until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and cut into bite-sized slices.

Saute the broccoli and onion 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. (I used carrots in place of the broccoli and onion and left them raw.)


Place leafy greens onto a spring roll, leaving about a 1/2 inch border all around. Center the chicken on top to one side, and broccoli mix (or carrots) to the other. Bring the top and bottom of the roll down about an inch and then roll from one side to the other. Cut rolls into halves and serve with cashew dipping sauce on the side.