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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chinese Five Spice Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a Williams Sonoma recipe, modified slightly. It is really good. It's versatile too. To make a vegetable noodle soup, substitute mushrooms for the chicken and vegetable broth or mushroom broth for the chicken broth. To make beef noodle soup, substitute sliced beef sirloin for the chicken and beef broth for the chicken broth. This simple soup is fast and easy to make and it's a nice change from regular chicken soup.

6 oz. rice vermicelli
6 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp. minced ginger or 2 tbsp. ginger juice
1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tsp. sugar
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
4 small scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
chili-garlic sauce or 1 seeded, thinly sliced jalapeno to serve, if desired

Soak the rice vermicelli in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot or dutch oven over low heat, cook the onion in 1 tbsp. canola oil until beginning to soften. Add the chicken broth, ginger and five-spice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

While the broth is simmering, combine the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. After the broth has simmered for 10 minutes, add the sauce and the chicken. Bring back to a simmer, then add the rice vermicelli*. Simmer about 10 seconds, then turn off the heat. Add the scallions and cilantro and stir.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with chili-garlic sauce or sliced jalapeno as desired.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

GFCF Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Have you visited the Post Punk Kitchen yet? You really should. It's a lot of fun. Isa Moskowitz turns old favorites into updated veganized versions, like Tempeh Helper. How great is that? I need to try it one of these days. My family can't do soy which sort of defeats the point, but the "cheese" sauce looks interesting. We also can't do gluten, but that didn't stop me from making Isa's Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles. Hello, yum! These turned out fabulously gluten free - soft and chewy with a hint of cayenne kick. I used an egg instead of maple syrup because we can do eggs, and also because I don't like my cookies too sweet. That sort of defeats the point too, I guess. But these are just sweet enough to balance the cayenne. The girls love them, DH loves them, the girls friends love them. Check out Isa's original recipe if you need to be egg free and don't need to avoid gluten. For my un-vegan, gluten-free adaptation, see below.

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Dry ingredients
1 2/3 cup GF flour blend (I used this one)
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
scant 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg*
3 tbsp. rice milk (or other non-dairy, non-soy milk alternative)
2 tsp. GF vanilla extract

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

Sift together the topping ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour through the cayenne. Make a well in the center, set aside. In a separate bowl, beat together the canola oil through the vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat until well blended (this is easily done with a fork).

At this point the cookie dough will not be terribly firm - you can refrigerate it if you like, but I never have the patience. If you don't either, then scoop walnut sized balls of dough and drop them into the cinnamon sugar mixture (
The Pampered Chef's cookie scoop is great for this). With your finger get under the sugared dough and flip it to coat the other side, then shape and place onto the prepared baking sheet. If you have an hour or more to kill, refrigerate the dough until firm, then scoop the dough and roll with your hands into walnut-sized balls and roll them in the sugar.

Place cookies two inches apart on the cookie sheet to allow for spreading. Bake 10-12 minutes or until puffy and crackled. Remove from oven and let rest one minute on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to cool. They are really good warm if you can't wait for them to cool...

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

*If you want to make these cookies gluten free and vegan, try using maple syrup, 1/4 cup applesauce or 1/4 cup banana puree and consider increasing the cayenne to a full 1/4 teaspoon.

For a gluten free vegan double chocolate cookie recipe, check out this recipe here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beets (The Whole Shebang)

I was walking through Whole Foods the other week with a friend. We were there to get lunch as Whole Foods is the only place I feel comfortable getting prepared food anymore. They list every ingredient they use in their foods on little cards next to the food item, from sausages at the meat counter to vegetable fried rice in the cafe section. I love that. I also love that they don't cook their foods with butter - they use canola oil! And I love the little cafe area where you can sit and enjoy dinner or lunch and still feel like you are dining out somewhat. True, it's a little like a cafeteria but it's a cafeteria where I can eat safely without worrying that I'll run into a mystery ingredient that will make me sick later. I can bring my girls there and they can pick the food they want without worrying it will make their tummies hurt or give them brain fog. There's no worry that the chef will be pissed off that I've asked for accommodations, and there's no chance of miscommunication with the waitstaff. It's silly how this makes me feel giddy, but I'm just happy that we can go out to eat somewhere...not that we do it often, but it's nice to know we have the option.

Anyway as I was reading ingredient cards on the hot food items I ran across some roasted beets. They looked so pretty that I almost got some but at 7.99/lb I said the heck with that, I'll get my own beets and roast them at home! And I'm glad I did, not only because it was cheaper but also because I got to use the whole beet, which brought back memories of my grandfather teaching me how to make beet greens. He showed me the "proper" way, which was his way (and most likely the way his mother used to make them) - beet greens sauteed with salt pork and a little pepper. He showed me how to make several things the "right way", which for him almost always included bacon fat or salt pork. I don't usually use those ingredients nowadays but I'm glad he showed me how.

As a kid I hated beets. We usually got beets from a can and to me they tasted like dirt. I finally tasted fresh beets in my twenties and they were amazing - fresh and vibrant with a buttery texture and a mildly sweet taste. The beet greens are good too. They can be prepared like spinach or swiss chard and served as a side dish or thrown into other dishes that call for spinach or other leafy greens.

Choose your beets
Choose fresh beets that are of similar size (I like them on the smallish side) and have vibrant, fresh looking green tops. The beets should not be soft, wet or slimy. They usually come in bunches of four or five, depending on their size.

Prepare the beets
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut off the beet tops, leaving the stems an inch long. If the thin root is long, you can cut it off but leave at least an inch of it. If you cut these too close or cut them off completely, the beet will bleed out and become pale after cooking. Do not skin the beets. Wash them, then place them in a shallow pan.

Pour water up to a half inch up the side of the pan. Cover the pan with tin foil, then roast the beets for 45 minutes to one hour or until the beets are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Remove the tin foil and allow beets to cool until you can handle them.

Dress the beets
When beets are cool enough to handle, but still warm, take a paring knife and slice off the one inch stems. Then with your hands slip off the beet skins - they should slide off easily. Beet juice will stain your hands, so wear gloves if you don't want them to be stained and wear an apron to protect your clothing. Quarter the beets and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper and dill to taste. Serve warm.

Save the beet juice! It can be used as a food coloring! Freeze for later use in frostings, etc. if desired.

Cook the beet greens
Beet greens are good cooked with two slices of chopped bacon and pepper but you can also substitute 1/2 small onion, halved and thinly sliced and 1 clove minced garlic.

Coarsely chop the beet greens. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the uncooked chopped bacon or onion and garlic and cook for a minute before adding the chopped beet greens. Stir until the greens are wilted (and if using bacon, until the bacon is cooked through) - this should only take a couple of minutes. Do not overcook. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cooked Amaranth

I tried cooking whole amaranth (which is used as a grain but is really a seed) for the first time last week. It's very easy to cook, similar to quinoa and millet. And like quinoa and millet, it's very easy to digest and highly nutritious.

1/2 cup amaranth
1 cup water
pinch of salt

Bring water, amaranth and salt to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes until the water has been absorbed. Stir before serving.

I have a friend who enjoys amaranth as a hot cereal for breakfast. She drizzles honey or maple syrup over the amaranth and adds some dried fruit and nuts. I'm a savory kind of person and chose to serve it in place of rice with a Thai red curry, which I really enjoyed. I like having options - rice, quinoa, millet or amaranth, instead of feeling stuck in the same old rut (rice, pasta or potatoes). I never new there were so many interesting grains before going gluten free. I'm really glad I found them.

To read more about amaranth, go here. For amaranth's nutritional content, see here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

(Whole Foods also carries Let's Do Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones)

Isn't this just too cute? Kids love these and they are perfect for birthday parties. I have a small stash in the freezer so the girls can have something special at parties where they cannot have the birthday cake. These cupcakes are so easy to make it's almost silly. Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 or 24 ice cream cones, depending on the amount of cake batter you have, onto a baking sheet or into a muffin tin. Fill the cone a scant 3/4 full with cake batter (I like using chocolate, either Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake or Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes). Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until a tall toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean (they will take a few minutes longer than traditional cupcakes). When they are done, place cones onto a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with Mock Buttercream Frosting or other frosting as desired.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

GFCF Onion Rings

My friend M makes really great onion rings. The first time she made them for me, I scarfed nearly half of them because it'd been so long since I'd had onion rings and hers were much better than I remember onion rings ever being. She showed me how to make them the other day and she let me borrow her really nifty George Foreman Fryer. I really love it - the basket spins and forces 50% of the oil out of the food so you can eat onion rings with only half a guilty conscience. So I made some onion rings yesterday and after a few snafus, they came out just right. The key is to toss a few at a time with a little bit of crumbs - you can't reuse the crumbs because they clump together and don't coat the onions well. And you can't get impatient and stuff the fry basket full of onion rings because they'll all stick together.

Now, M used some expensive Orgran rice crumbs to coat her onion rings. All I had in the house were regular GF bread crumbs and some Rice Chex. So I crushed the Rice Chex and tried both coatings. Everyone liked the Rice Chex coating better. They tasted just the same as the Orgran crumbs and they are much cheaper!

If you don't have a fryer don't worry. You can make onion rings on the stove top in a pot or deep skillet. Just heat enough oil to cover a single layer of onion rings over medium-high heat and cook until golden brown. Remove onion rings from the oil and drain on paper towels before serving hot.

(We like to dip our onion rings into BBQ sauce or buttermilk ranch dressing.)

2 medium to large onions
Potato starch, arrowroot or other starch flour
2 beaten eggs
finely crushed rice cereal, about 2 cups
pinch of salt and pepper
canola oil for frying

Slice the onions into rounds. Push out the centers and save for another use. Put some potato starch (start with 1/4 cup, you can always add more if needed) into a large ziplock bag. Take a handful of onion rings, put them into the bag with the potato starch and shake the bag to coat. (You can reuse this starch flour for more onion rings.)

Remove the onion rings from the potato starch bag, shaking off excess starch flour. Place the onion rings in a medium bowl with the beaten eggs and toss to coat well.

Put some crushed rice cereal (about 1/3 cup) in a different ziplock bag and throw in a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake the bag to distrubute. Take the egg-coated onion rings, shake off excess egg and quickly place into the bag with the crushed rice cereal. Shake to coat well. (Don't reuse the rice coating, toss it and add unused rice coating and another pinch of salt and pepper.)

Remove the onion rings from the ziplock bag and place them in the fryer basket (or pot of hot oil). Cook in hot oil 5- 8 minutes or until golden brown. Drain and serve hot. Serves 4.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

GFCF Egg free Chicken Nuggets

So, it's confirmed. My BFF's son is allergic to corn! Poor guy - I know how hard it is to avoid corn. All those boxes of Ian's chicken nuggets, etc., - the only pre-packaged gluten free chicken nuggets we can find that have no egg coating - rendered useless. I found myself thinking about this today as I was making chicken nuggets for my girls. I use my corn-free chicken nugget coating mix because frankly, I like to eat these chicken nuggets too. They are good on top of salad! But tonight I ran out of eggs. So I used So Delicious coconut milk to coat the chicken and the nuggets turned out really good. The coconut milk is pretty thick and doesn't need an egg to help the coating stick to the chicken. And the girls didn't even bat an eyelid over dinner.

Here are some other egg-free options you can use to make the coating stick to your chicken nuggets:

mustard (Julie, what a fabulous idea - thanks for sharing it!)
olive oil
BBQ sauce

And here's what you do, simply:

1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/3 cup corn-free chicken nugget coating mix
1/4 cup So Delicious coconut milk or other egg-free coating of your choice
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more if needed

Cut the chicken into 1 inch thick strips. Place in a bowl with the coconut milk and stir to coat chicken evenly. Place the coating mix in a ziplock plastic bag. Take the chicken out of the coconut milk and place in the bag. Seal the top, then shake the bag to coat the chicken.

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Open the bag of chicken and shake off excess coating before placing chicken in the skillet. Cook a few minutes until golden brown on one side. Turn the chicken over and cook until golden brown on the other side, adding a little olive oil as needed to prevent sticking. Remove from skillet and serve warm.