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

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mashed Potatoes with Pears

I have not made mashed potatoes since the girls became casein free, because I couldn't imagine that mashed potatoes free of milk, butter or sour cream would be worth bothering. But then I ran across this recipe in Bon Apetite and thought pears would definitely work. And they do! They lend a very subtle sweetness to the potatoes in such a way that I don't even miss the butter or the milk.

3 pounds white potatoes, peeled (or unpeeled) and cut into eigths
2 pounds ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup onion, diced
chicken broth, if desired
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook the onions in a little olive oil over medium-low heat until very soft, about 20 minutes. Boil the potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Steam the pears until soft (about 6 minutes in the microwave). If your pears are very ripe, skip the steaming part. Mash the potatoes (with a little bit of chicken broth, if desired - the broth lends great flavor). Add the pears and mash. Add the onions and 1/4 cup olive oil and stir well with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more olive oil as desired. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Rolls

All I need to say about these rolls is that the girls demanded them for breakfast the morning after I made them. I didn't think they would like these for breakfast, but the last crumb was barely scarfed before the girls asked for more! This recipe is based on the one I found here.

2 1/2 cups GF flour blend
2 tbsp. ground flax seed
1 3/4 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. xanthan gum
4 tbsp. sugar
1 cup sweet potato puree
1/2 cup warm water
3 tbsp. canola oil
2 beaten eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, or coat 8 mini-loaf tins with cooking spray. Set aside.

Sift together the flour through the xanthan gum. Combine the potato puree through the eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat on low for 4 minutes.

Fill mini-loaf tins halfway with batter. Or, coat an ice cream scoop with cooking spray and scoop the batter onto a greased cookie sheet to make rolls. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Bake about 15 mintues or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Lately I've been standing in the aisles of my local Whole Foods wistfully looking at boxes of tabbouleh mix or containers of pre-made tabbouleh, remembering the way it tastes and mourning its loss from my diet. Finally I decided that this sort of silliness needed to stop. So yesterday I made some homemade tabbouleh using quinoa in place of bulgar and it was really, really good. DH and I find that we both prefer quinoa tabbouleh to traditional tabbouleh in taste and texture. It is also a snap to prepare and extremely healthy, ensuring tabbouleh's renewed place in our diet. I used the recipe found here as my base.

2 cups water or vegetable broth

1 cup quinoa

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup pickling cucumbers or english hothouse cucumber, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/4 cup chopped chives or 1 bunch chopped green onions

1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

1/4 cup fresh chopped mint or cilantro*

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper or cayenne

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes through the mint or cilantro.* Add the cooled quinoa and toss. Whisk together the olive oil and remaining ingredients and pour over the quinoa mixture, tossing to coat thoroughly. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

*If you don't have fresh parsley, subtistute 2 tbsp. dried parsely. Also, if you don't have fresh mint or cilantro, increase the parsley a little bit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fresh Pear Tart

I love baking fruit based desserts. I had wanted to make a pear pie for guests but didn't have the energy to be that fussy. I searched for a pear tart recipe instead and found this one - it looked easy and elegant. Happily it turned out not only to be fuss-free, but really good as well- not too sweet and not too heavy. The guests were impressed. I found the original recipe here.

1 cup GF flour blend (I used All Purpose Sorghum Blend)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup palm shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 pears, peeled, halved and cored (I used Bartletts pears, but red pears would work well too)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10 inch tart pan (with removable bottom) with cooking spray. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and set aside.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Beat the shortening and the sugar together at medium speed. Add the egg and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating to combine. Turn the dough into the tart pan. With floured fingers, spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan - it will fill the pan. Arrange the pear halves, cut side down, onto the dough, pressing in slightly. Combine the sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the tart.

Bake the tart until the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Combine the apricot jam and the lemon juice. Brush the jam mixture over top of the tart before serving.

Butternut Squash with Rosemary Breadcrumbs

This is another recipe from Parker Farms (thanks F&J!). I've modified the original recipe to be gluten and casein free - it remains one of my favorite butternut squash recipes. You can use any GFCF bread for the fresh bread cubes...I used two leftover Garlic Herb Sandwich Rolls with great results.

1/4 cup canola oil or olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 cups fresh cubed GFCF bread
1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.

Saute the leeks in hot oil until just soft. Add the squash and saute 4 minutes over medium heat. Sprinkle sugar, salt and pepper over the squash and saute until the mixture begins to carmelize, about 5 minutes. Spread into the prepared baking dish. Pour the chicken broth over the squash. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes.

Toss the bread cubes with the rosemary and thyme. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the bread cubes over the gratin and bake, uncovered, until the top is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes.

Green Beans with Basil Garlic Vinaigrette

DH's aunt gave us this recipe several years ago. She served it slightly chilled for an evening picnic on the lawn (we were treated to a ballet - I have wonderful memories of leisurely picnics before the ballet or the opera, before the kids were born and before life made DH and I start graying so young...but I digress). These green beans are yummy! Cook them until they are just crisp-tender and serve them just slightly cold. The vinaigrette also makes an excellent salad dressing.

1 pound young green beans, washed and trimmed
1 large clove minced garlic
20 basil leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 - 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add green beans and cook until just crisp-tender. Immediately drain beans and plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Drain well.

Combine the garlic through the mustard in a food processor. Add the vinegar and pulse on and off until smooth. With the food processor running, add the olive oil slowly in a thin stream until the ingredients are just blended.

Toss the beans with the vinaigrette to coat thoroughly. Serve slightly cold or at room temperature.

Sweet Potato and Leek Pancakes

These are so excellent that Megan likes them cold for breakfast! (Go figure - the girl won't eat Dinner on a Stick but she'll eat cold sweet potato pancakes.) They make a great vegetarian meal served alongside a salad. And I happen to second Megan on her breakfast preference, these potato pancakes are really that good.

1 large yukon gold potato, washed and grated
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup white or brown rice flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
applesauce to serve

Combine the potatoes, leeks and beaten eggs. Stir together the rice flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the potato mixture and stir to combine. Heat 2 tbsp. canola oil in a large nonstick skillet. Drop sweet potato mixture by 1/4 cupfuls onto skillet, flattening to form pancakes. Cook until brown on one side, flip and cook until brown on the other side and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plates and serve warm.

My Favorite Lentil Soup

I love lentil soups and have many recipes dedicated to lentils. This is my favorite lentil soup recipe. It's pretty simple, but it always hits the spot. This is a thick soup, and one of my favorite ways to eat it is from a small bowl using red pepper strips instead of a spoon.

1 large chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 large cloves minced garlic
6 cups soup stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
2 16 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram or rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Saute the onions through the garlic in a large pot until the onion is translucent. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 45 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the rice is cooked.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chicken Kofta Meatballs

Recently I've subscribed to Living Without magazine. I really like reading it, and it's stuffed with many interesting recipes and tips for those living with food allergies. Tonight I tried their Kofta meatball recipe (with some modification) on the girls - happily, they got Anna's stamp of approval. I stuck the meatballs with toothpicks and called it Dinner on a Stick. Anna was impressed. Thankfully I can now add another item to the list of "Things Anna will Eat". Megan, however, was less impressed. Hopefully that is due to her feeling under the weather today, and next time Dinner on a Stick appears she'll be more willing to try it.

1 package ground chicken (about 1.25 pounds)
1/4 cup minced onion
1 beaten egg (or not)
1 generous tsp. sweet curry powder
1 generous tsp. ground coriander
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro

Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Shape into 1 inch meatballs. Cook in 2 tbsp. olive oil in hot skillet about 10 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Serve with Apricot Dipping Sauce.

Apricot Dipping Sauce
Stir together 1/4 cup apricot preserves with 1 - 2 tsp. lemon juice, depending on taste. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fish Tacos

I'd never had a fish taco before just recently. They are made with catfish or tilapia where we are, and I really like them. Fish tacos are made with flour tortillas in our local restaurants. Although it would probably be easy enough to ask for them with corn tortillas, I wanted to try making them at home. DH and I like ours sprinkled with lime juice and doused with green pepper sauce, but salsa also compliments them well. The girls like their catfish nuggets without any adornment at all except for giggles and meows.

1 pound catfish fillets
1 lime, halved
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground chipotle
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
purchased rice tortillas
Salsa and Green Pepper Sauce to serve

Rinse catfish and pat dry. Cut 1 inch thick slices and sprinkle with lime juice. Combine therice flour, potato flour, salt and ground chipotle. Drop the catfish pieces into the flour mixture and dust well. Repeat if needed to cover all exposed areas of the fish. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet (I like using cast iron). Cook the catfish pieces until lightly browned on all sides, this should take about 5 - 7 minutes.

Combine the vinegar and the salt, toss with the cabbage. Put some cabbage and a few slices of avocado down the middle of a tortilla and top with a few pieces of catfish. Serve with Green Pepper Sauce, salsa and lime wedges.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Making Your Own Tortillas

Recently I have tried making both corn tortillas following the directions on the package of a bag of masa flour, and gluten-free flour tortillas made in part with rice flour. Both are good however the kids, DH and I prefer the tortillas with the rice flour in them. And in fact, the latter are the ones the girls were willing to eat.

I have a few tricks up my sleeve in the kitchen. Actually it's semantics. The girls turn their noses up at Spinach Pesto, but when I call it Christmas Sauce, they scarf it up. Same with spagetti sauce...if I call it Valentine Sauce, they can't get enough of it. Same with tortillas...I've been trying to get them to eat the fresh warm tortillas I make but they would not do it. So I cut a tortilla into 4 triangles, called them Mommy's Special Tortilla Chips, and you'd think they'd never tasted something so delicious before. Sheesh.

Making your own tortillas sounds like a lot of work, but it's not. It's really not that time intensive, either, it involves the same amount of time and work as making pancakes. What you need preferably are a tortilla press (which can be found in Mexican grocery stores) and a heavy cast iron pan. The recipe for the rice flour tortillas comes from Living Without. I made one slight modification. I really like this recipe, and I can see myself making it a lot now that the girls will eat tortillas.

Ingredients for Corn Tortillas
2 cups masa flour (I use Maseca)
1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cups water

Follow the directions for making corn tortillas on the package of the masa flour you have. If using Maseca, whisk together the masa with the salt. Add the water and stir until combined. The dough should not be wet or dry, but be able to hold its shape when you form it into balls. Form dough into 16 balls (they should fit nicely in the cupped palm of your hand). Place on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel until ready to use, which will prevent them from drying out.

Ingredients for Rice Flour Tortillas

1 cup rice flour

1/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

1/3 cup chickpea flour

2 tsp. xanthan gum

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. palm shortening
3/4 cup water

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine meal. Add the water and mix well. The dough should not be sticky or too dry. It should look like this:

Method for tortillas

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Form tortilla dough into balls about the size of the palm of your hand, like this:

Cut two pieces of wax paper or thick plastic wrap to fit your tortilla press. If necessary, sprinkle with a little corn or rice flour to prevent sticking. Place a ball of dough onto the wax paper on tortilla press.

Press into a disc about 1/8 inch thick.

Remove the wax paper or plastic wrap carefully, and then place tortilla on the hot (medium heat) dry griddle (do not grease). Cook tortillas about 1 minute, or until surface bubbles:

And there are brown flecks on the bottom:

Flip and cook on the other side about 30 seconds or until slightly browned. Keep warm in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in a cloth until ready to serve.

*Top tortillas with guacamole or salsa, dip into soups or hummus, or eat plain just the way they are! Or, use them to make fish tacos. Yum!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Key Lime Pie

I love a good tart dessert, and I make this key lime pie pretty tart. There's no getting around sweetened condensed coconut milk having a coconut taste, but it makes this pie interesting. My original recipe called for topping the pie with whipped cream, but it's just as nice to garnish with lime, or maybe a dusting of finely ground graham crackers and powdered sugar.

3 eggs
3/4 cup - 1 cup fresh lime juice (1 cup makes it tart!)
1/2 - 1 tsp. freshly grated lime peel
1 recipe Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk
1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust
Thinly sliced lime for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs until well-blended. Gradually add the lime juice, lime peel and coconut milk. Blend well. Spoon into prepared pie crust. Bake 20 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover loosely and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Garnish with thinly sliced lime.

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk

The original recipe for dairy-free sweetened condensed milk can be found here.

2 14oz. cans coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar

Simmer the coconut milk in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Fold in the sugar and stir until dissolved. Reduce the volume by half (this will take about an hour).