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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Green Curried Chicken...


This dish is easy Indian food at home! Plus, it takes so little time to prepare, you will agree, its better at home. This chicken curry is super healthful because it replaces the coconut milk (which can have a lot of fat) with other things that are really good for you, and--it tastes amazing!
Here is the recipe:


Ingredients:
  • 8 cups spinach
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbs garlic
  • 1 tbs ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ to 1 lb of chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 1.5 cups diced sweet potato (or carrot)
  • 4 scallions, chopped whites and greens
  • 1 8-oz container of plain yogurt
  • 1 tbs curry spice or paste
Directions:
In a blender, puree 8 cups spinach, garlic, salt, pepper and ginger. If it needs liquid to blend, add a tbs of water at a time to form a thick paste. Set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat add sweet potatoes, scallions, curry spice, and chicken. Cook until chicken is about half cooked through. Add the stock and the spinach puree. Lid the pan and let simmer till chicken is cooked through.
Ladle into deep bowls and serve with a ¼ to ½ cup yogurt on top. 

I serve with these super healthful cumin spiced lentil flat breads (recipe below). Make these with lentil flour, or with chickpea flour to make them super healthful.
  • 2 cups lentil or chickpea flour (Bob's Red Mill would be a good one to use if you cannot find either of the others.
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Water (up to about 1/2 cup)


Blend all ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Add liquid 2 tbs at a time until it comes together into a dough. It should be soft enough to come together, but not too sticky.
Divide into 6-8 rounds.
One at a time roll out with a rolling pin onto cornstarch dusted wax paper (to keep it from sticking).
Cook on a dry skillet on medium heat until it begins to brown, flip and cook the other side.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

10-minute Homemade Tomato Soup



I know that canned soup is so affordable and convenient that you would wonder, "Why would I make my own?" (Well, it can sometimes be a challenge to find a canned soup without gluten.) But, this soup will make you answer that question with a resounding, "Because it's amazing!"
This tomato soup takes 10-minutes to make, and really that is the time it would take to pop a can open, and heat it in the microwave, right?
You probably have all or most of these items right in your pantry, so you can make it tonight!
This soup has a richness you just do not get from a canned version. Its dense and thick, rich and tangy, with a superb tomato taste that is not comparable to canned. And the few added ingredients I have in there give it just the right Umami (savoriness).
Then let's talk about the health factor of all the ingredients. The tomatoes have protein and fiber, and all those amazing antioxidants. Garlic, well--its great for the blood, and anchovies have the Omegas we all need. Its low in calorie, and fat.
I really encourage you to try this. 


Ingredients:

  • 1 28-oz can tomato puree (I use organic, no salt added)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes (I use organic, no salt or seasonings added)
  • 2 tbs garlic
  • ¼ cup basil leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper (this adds a nice warmth, reduce to a pinch if you like)
  • 2-3 anchovy fillets (or 1 tbs anchovy paste, or omit if you prefer) they melt away and you do not taste them, but they add a rich depth.
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar (or any vinegar)



Directions:
Place all ingredients in a pot and using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Or, if you don't have an immersion blender, place all items in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a pot with a lid.
Cook over medium with lid on until it begins to simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve.

Serves four or so, or two large dinner bowls of soup. Serve with a nice crumbly gluten free cracker.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kohlrabi Slaw...


We met about six years ago, me and kohlrabi. She showed up in my farmshare bag for the first time. Kohlrabi?! I had to look it up. I had never heard of it, and I had been around the vegetable patch, being a lifetime gardener and veggie lover. I didn't even know how to pronounce the name. Well, kohlrabi and me have had a wonderful time since then, once a year when it comes around. Its delicious. To try to describe it is unique...crunchy, but not quite as crunchy as celery, sweet, some almost as much as an apple--but without the tart, and juicy, in its own way. It really is one of a kind, but so delicious raw (great cooked too.)

Here is a super simple slaw for winter.

1 head raw kohlrabi, peeled and shredded (about 1.5 cups) using a mandolin, or you could use a food  
    processor (use cabbage if you cannot find kohlrabi)
2 small raw beets, peeled and shredded (about 1.5 cups)
1/2 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped



Dressing:
1/4 cup orange juice (fresh or packaged) or use vinegar of you want to, any kind.
1 tbs mustard
1 tbs GF soy sauce (Tamari)
1 tbs agave nectar (or honey)

Toss the shredded ingredients in a bowl, whisk the dressing in a another bowl, then combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Notice there is no fat in this recipe, plus the ingredients are super-super healthy.
Use this as a side dish, or pile it on top of a turkey sandwich. Delicious!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kale Chips...


I know, I know, you are thinking that 'chips' and kale should never be used in the same sentence, unless of course you happen to be saying, "I am going to have potato chips with my kale." Well, it's not true actually! Now, I know that the word "chips" evoke only those salty, crispy, crunchy things that have nothing to do with green, leafy winter greens. I know! But kale chips seem to be everywhere lately. A new fangled snack packed in my grocery, a recipe in Bon Appetit...so it was time to try them myself. And why not, after all it is big, leafy-green season here in AZ and each week my farmshare drops off more that we can saute, steam, simmer, and boil of those big bunches of greens.
I wondered just how good would these be? Turns out, kale has a structure that holds up to drying and makes them super crisp. These are wa-aay better than you would ever think, even I was a skeptic, and I am hooked.
They take on a roasty-toasty nutty flavor which is surprising. And they truly are shatteringly crunchy.

First, here is how to use them once made:
  • Eat as chips.
  • Crumble into salads or over plain pasta that is tossed with olive oil or butter and lemon juice.
  • Crumble into a creamy dip to add flavor dimension and nuttiness.
  • Crumble and put into a jar and use it like dried parsley in your dishes.
  • Throw a handful into soups, or stir into your favorite spaghetti sauce.

To make them:
Use as many bunches of kale as you like. I used two varieties that my farmshare grows; a curly kind, and a kind whose leaves have an oak-leafish shape. I am not sure of the names....but use the kale at your grocery.
  1. Wash your greens, and do not spin dry--your seasonings will stick to the moisture.
  2. Remove stems (see below).
  3. Tear into chip-sized pieces. They do not loose much size when they dry.
  4. Sprinkle them generously with seasoning. I used salt and pepper, and a sun-dried tomato seasoning I had hanging around. Garlic would be nice, or a parmesean, or lemon pepper...use what you like and have.
  5. Lay in loose multiple layers on your dehydtator trays.
  6. Dry for about 8-hours or until crisp. Rotate the trays often. (If using an oven, layer the same way on cookie sheets and  place it a 250-degrees oven until crisp, tossing gently to ensure even drying.)

Stems: If they have thick stems (and they will) trim them off. Fold the leaf in half and just make one cut to trim the stem.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingerbread Men...



Just in time for Christmas here is a gluten free recipe for gingerbread men.
This is super simple, and super delicious! These cookies are a delight, crisp-yet chewy...spicy and warm from the cinnamon and ginger. They just smell of Christmas. Roll the extra scraps out into thin rounds for a ginger-snaps. Or, use the same recipe, roll it thick and cut out shapes for houses...it makes great edible gingerbread houses.



Gingerbread Men
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water**
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups Gluten Free flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking Powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger

**Sometimes you never know how much  liquid GF flour holds, plus it depends on your climate. If the dough is too dry, add more water 1 tbs at a time at the end of mixing. If too sticky add more flour (sometimes up to 1/2 cup) to make it not sticky and workable.       

Directions:
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine molasses, honey, water, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and oil. Mix to combine. Then add GF flour and baking powder. Dough should mix until it begins to come together and pull from the sides of the bowl. Adjust extra flour or water as noted above.
 On a generously floured surface, knead and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick, then cut out shapes. Place shapes on a Parchment or a Silpat silicone baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until dough becomes crisp, but not dark brown. It will get crisper as it cools.

Re-roll extra dough and cut again. Leftover scraps can be rolled into snakes and cut into ¼ bits and baked for a snack for the kids, or thin crisps as gingersnaps.

Cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to finish cooling. When completely cool, decorate!

I personalized mine with initials, using small cutters in letter shapes. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Greens Fettucine


Are you looking for a way to put more dark greens into your diet? If you aren't, well--you should. I didn't grow up on these greens, because I grew up in Arizona, they just weren't part of our food culture in the 70s-and 80s. Big, leafy, dark greens were not something that came to the weeknight dinner table in our house growing up. To my mother's credit, I am sure we wouldn't have eaten them (but only because we didn't understand them.) The nutritional value of these greens (kale, collards, mizuna, spinach, Swiss chard) are astounding. Too much to write about here, but you can look it up when you have time. This dish feels super light, even though it is loaded with dark greens. the Sauce is barely there with just enough tang and richness to be very satisfying.
Don't fear the amount of greens this dish calls for--it cooks down to the 4-servings that this dish makes. Trust me.

Ingredients: (Makes 4 dinner servings)

  • 16 cups loose packed winter greens** (any combination of kale, collards, mizuna, spinach, Swiss chard) Wash these and loosely tear or chop. Size and shape do not matter much. The water from the rinsing, helps them cook--so do not spin dry. (**Notes: this amount would be about 4 large bunches of these kinds of greens from the grocery or your farmshare. If using greens with tough stems--kale, Swiss chard--remove the spine and stems from the greens.) 
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 5 tbs good balsamic
  • 1/4 tsp. red chile flake (use a pinch instead if you want less heat)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1/4 cup grated or shaved parmesean cheese
  • 1 package of GF fettuccine noodles (or use regular GF spaghetti noddles)
Directions:
Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile, in a deep soup or stock pot, over medium-high heat, place the greens. Salt and pepper them to season. Cook the greens, turning them with a wooden spoon until they are all wilted down and cooked, about 6-8 minutes or so. There should be some liquid in the pot at the bottom, if not--add 1/4 cup of water to the pot. Once simmering, add the olive oil, butter, red chile flake and balsamic vinegar.
Drain the noodles and add to the greens in the pot. Turn the heat off and stir the noodles with the greens mixture until it is coated.
Serve in bowls and add 1-2 tbs of parmesean cheese on top.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gluten Free Pie Crust


Its that time of year, time to be making your GF pie crusts for Thanksgiving Pies! Now, to go along with that--make a double batch of this pie crust, and with the extras, make GF Pastries from the Toaster (Pop Tarts!) That's right, Pop Tarts.
Not something I recommend to be eaten often, but that is what this season is about, right? The not-so-often indulgence of something unique and special and made once a year?


This pie crust recipe is tender and delicious...you won't be able to tell its GF. You really need to source a good GF flour for this though. I recommend Tom Sawyer. Or find a good rice flour blend that is flavor neutral (not tasting of beans or other flavors from the origin of the flour).


Recipe for GF Pie Crust
Makes enough for two 9-inch pie crusts

  •  2 1/2 cups Gluten free flour
  •  1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 stick plus another  2/3 of a stick chilled unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
  • 6-8 tbs chilled ice water
  • 1 egg

Directions
Place flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine.
Feed in butter, in chunks and process 10-12 short pulses.
After all butter is incorporated, add 6 tbs iced water and pulse again until it begins to come together. Add the egg, pulse again. If needed, Add more water, 1 tbs at a time until the dough pulls together into a course crumb.
Do not process for more than needed.
Turn dough out onto a work surface. Divide in two. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two discs, then roll or press into pie pan. Or you can wrap, and refrigerate or freeze.
Ensure pie shells are well chilled before baking. Place in fridge if needed to chill for 30-minutes to an hour.

For Toaster Pastries:






  • Roll out pie crust into a 4x5 (approx.) size square
  • Fill with 3 tbs jam--whatever you love and have on hand
  • Top with a 2nd rectangle of dough (if when working with the dough, it begins to tear and be too soft, pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm it up. It will become easy to work with again.)
  • Crimp edges with a fork, and poke a hole in the top.
  • Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Check at 10-minutes, they are done when edges are golden.
Once completely cool, frost with a simple powdered sugar and vanilla icing. Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with a few drops of vanilla until the right icing consistency. Sprinkle or don't sprinkle!
These are work, and effort, but so worth it!