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

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pan Fried Jerk Salmon

I love this recipe for jerk salmon, which I found years and years ago at a small natural food store back east. I've lost the recipe card but this recipe comes close. If I buy sockeye salmon, this is how I like to prepare it - its firm flesh holds up to pan frying without falling apart, and I think the jerk sauce compliments its robust flavor very well. This jerk sauce is not spicy - you can add a bit of cayenne pepper to it if you like.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large chopped onion
3 large cloves minced garlic
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more or to taste if desired
splash of lime juice, plus lime wedges to serve
1 lb fresh salmon fillet, skinned and bones removed

Rinse salmon and pat dry. Leave on counter at room temperature while you make the jerk sauce.

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and bay leaves. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent.

While onion mixture is cooking, combine chili powder through salt. Add this seasoning to the onion mix. Add a splash of lime juice and more oil if needed, up to 1 tbsp., and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant - about 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

Place the fish skinned side up on top of the jerk sauce and cook 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fish over and cook another 4 minutes or until cooked through - fish should flake easily with a fork. Spoon the sauce from around the sides of the pan over top of the fish. Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies

Maybe it's that time of the month. I can't seem to get enough of these bar cookies. I've made them several times and have yet to get bored. Bar cookies are blessedly low maintenance - they stay in the pan, cool in the pan and are served out of the pan. They make the kids happy. They make the husband happy. And that makes me happy. Plus, they taste good. I like these better so far than any other bar cookies I've made. They only thing that might make them better would be to drizzle them with a little melted chocolate. Because chocolate has a tendency to make things better. Especially at that time of the month.

I like these best served cold out of the fridge.

2 1/4 cups GF flour blend
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup dairy free, soy free milk alternative (I use hemp)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease one 8x8 or 7x11 inch baking dish generously with palm shortening or margarine, set aside.

In a large bowl sift together the flour through the salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together the oil and sugars until combined. Add the applesauce, milk and vanilla and stir until the mixture looks like caramel. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Stir in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before cutting into squares to serve. Store in the refrigerator.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Drop Biscuits - Gluten Free & Vegan

Here's a quick and easy biscuit recipe for busy nights. I love drop biscuits for their serious no-fuss quality, and this one is as simple as it is tasty. The inspiration for this recipe can be found here. The girls love these biscuits at any time of the day - for breakfast with margarine, honey and fruit, as biscuit sandwiches for lunch with deli meat, for tearing into bits and dipping into soups and stews, or for dinner as a side for the main dish. You could even serve them with cream gravy if you were so inclined!

2 cups GF flour blend (I use this one)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

6 tbsp. dairy-free, soy-free margarine
1/3 cup mashed cooked squash (pumpkin, butternut or acorn)
2/3 cups dairy-free, soy-free milk (I like hemp)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour through the xanthan gum. With a pastry blender, work the margarine into the flour blend until the mixture resembles fine meal. In a separate bowl stir together the squash, milk and cider vinegar. Add to the flour mixture and stir until combined - the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be neither too sticky nor too dry.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Smooth the tops of the biscuits if desired. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the tops and golden brown on the bottoms. Cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve warm. Serves 4.

(This biscuit is just begging for a little drizzled honey, don't you think?)

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Gringa's Homemade Salsa

I love salsa. However, the stuff you can buy in stores is much too watery for Navajo Tacos. So I made my own. I tried to follow a friend's directions for making it from memory...all I remember was him saying "throw in a little of this and a pinch of that". As a native Californian, he's more authentic in the Mex arena than I am (ye olde Yankee). I went with my memory anyway. It turned out pretty good. Even my friend who grew up on a cattle ranch in Hill Country and ate Mexican food made by Mexicans her whole life thought my salsa was fairly decent. So there...even a Yank can make a half-decent salsa. I'm feeling like less and less of an imposter as the years go on!

6 ripe Roma tomatoes, or 1 dry pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium minced shallot
1 small jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced (or more to taste)
juice of 1/2 lime, plus more to taste
salt to taste
a couple of shakes of Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce to taste

Wash, halve and gut the tomatoes (I like using yellow tomatoes). Chop them and put them into a medium bowl. Add the cilantro, shallot, jalepeno, lime juice, salt and Tabasco. Toss and taste. Adjust the lime, salt and jalepeno to suit your tastes. Make a couple of hours ahead of time, tossing at regular intervals. Serve the same day you make it.

Pulled Pork for Tacos

I work on weekends, all weekend long, and I've been embracing my crock pot more and more as a dinner-helper. One of my favorite things to make is pulled pork because it's so easy and mindless. I usually dump some salsa on the bottom of the crock pot, place a 2 1/2 pound pork loin on top, and dump more salsa on the top of that. Cover, cook on low for 6 hours, and viola! Dinner is ready! Shredding the pork into the liquid in the crock pot is easy and it's good served in tacos or on top of rice, mashed potatoes, quinoa, millet, salads...just about anything.

Recently we hosted friends for dinner on a day I was working and I wanted to put a little more thought into the meal than a bottle of salsa. I made a rub for the pork and used citrus juice instead of turned out pretty good. We had it with tacos and homemade salsa, and leftovers were had with salad. I made this mild for the girls' sake, but you can also throw in some chipotle in adobo sauce for some added heat.

2 1/2 - 3 pound pork loin
juice of 1/2 lime
juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cloves fresh minced garlic

Grease a crock pot with a little olive oil. Place the pork in the crock pot. Combine the lime juice and orange juice and pour over the pork.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil through the garlic. Rub this mixture all over the top and sides of the pork (and the bottom if you are inclined). Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours or until the pork is cooked through. Turn off the heat, let the pork sit for 10 - 15 minutes, then shred into the liquid in the crock pot with two forks. Serve immediately.