Monthly Archives: October 2010

Roasted Potatoes and Peppers with Rosemary

Potatoes make their appearance more often around this time of year at our house. I’m sure the reasons why are no surprise – it’s finally cool enough that baking them in the oven won’t cause an unwelcome heating of the house, they’re inexpensive, and when the temperatures drop, we all reach for comfort foods, and potatoes are one such food. Truthfully, I don’t eat them all that often, but it’s nice to have more options than the usual potato choices – baked, mashed, or roasted. (Yes, there is always the fourth option – fried – but that’s just an awful lot of mess and work for a less-healthy version of this vegetable.) This easy-to-make side dish is a simple variation on my usual roasted potatoes, and offers a delicious punch of flavor and color.

It’s really more of an un-recipe, because truly, measurements are approximate, and you can substitute out a variety of different veggies. Want to add a mix of root vegetables? Try throwing in some carrots or parsnips. Don’t have rosemary? Throw in some thyme, or omit the herbs entirely and instead add some chili powder and cumin. Or make it spicier by swapping out some of the bell peppers for spicier poblanos or Anaheim chiles. It’s all good, and it will keep your side dish from becoming an afterthought!

Roasted Potatoes and Peppers with Rosemary

3 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks

2-3 bell peppers (green, red, or a mixture of each), seeded and sliced

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

1 sprig rosemary, needles picked and chopped

1-2 T grapeseed oil

1/2 t Hungarian sweet paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place potatoes, peppers, onion, and rosemary in a baking dish large enough for vegetables to spread out into a single layer. (Don’t crowd, or the vegetables won’t have a chance to crisp and brown.) Add oil and spices and toss evenly to coat.

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until potatoes are pierced easily with a fork. Stir once or twice during roasting.

Serves 4.

Poached Egg in the Microwave – Guest Post at City|Life|Eats

By now, we all know that packing a lunch, rather than eating out, saves money and is healthier for us (At least, if we pack whole, unprocessed foods. A can of soup or ramen doesn’t really count as “healthier”.). But it takes time and effort to pack a lunch every day, and sometimes, you can fall into a rut. Valerie over at City|Life|Eats has been hosting a lunchbox series, where she highlights various healthy, unprocessed lunchbox ideas. I thought this was a great idea, so when she asked me to write a guest post, I was honored. I pack my lunch every weekday, and thought it’d be fun to contribute my thoughts and ideas. Today I’ll be sharing a great “trick” – how to poach an egg in the microwave! Head on over to City|Life|Eats to check it out, and while you’re there, browse around for some other great lunch ideas!

Daring Bakers: Donuts (Those Who Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail)

So I waited until the eleventh hour to start the Daring Bakers Challenge for this month. For some reason, I got the dates confused (again), and I had it stuck in my head that I had until the 1st of the month to make it. (Yes, I realize that by waiting until this upcoming weekend, I was already procrastinating.) This morning, I read new posts at a few fellow food blogs and realized today was the due date.

Whoops.

I decided I was too late, and went ahead and made plans to just let the Daring Kitchen know that I would miss this month. But my husband encouraged me to go forward with it, so I did. (He’s a wonderful guy that way!) But I hadn’t given the process a lot of thought, other than I knew I wanted to make pumpkin donuts.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I opted to modify the Alton Brown recipe, but I pretty much winged it. I decided to bake rather than fry, and I tried to substitute a mixture of potato starch, tapioca starch, sweet white rice flour and sorghum flour for the wheat flour. I used almond milk instead of regular milk, and lowered the moisture and added pumpkin puree. But the dough didn’t really rise. The flavor was decent, but I had dense, slightly gooey, donut pucks.

Sigh.

I plan on working on the donuts again, as a perfect pumpkin donut sounds so incredible to me. But this time, I think my failure to plan and research (and play in the kitchen) got the best of me. If I manage a perfect gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin donut soon, I’ll be sure to share the recipe with you! Until then, check out this basic gluten-free donut recipe, and a different version of a pumpkin donut hole recipe over at Baking Beauties.

Winner of Fresh Express Coupons!

The winner of the Fresh Express coupons (giveaway details are here), chosen by random.org, is Joy at Joy’s Misadventures! Congrats, Joy! I hope you make delicious salads with these free bags of Fresh Express salads.

A Gluten-Free Holiday!

A Gluten-Free Holiday!

We’re going to celebrate this holiday season totally gluten-free.

Why?  Well, we know how important it is to serve safe and delicious food at the holidays.  We want to help as many people as we can do just that this holiday season.    

Our amazing hostess, Amy (Simply Sugar & Gluten Free), and five gluten-free blog friends, are participating in this holiday celebration. This will be the second year for such a celebration, and I’m so excited to be a part of it!

And, of course you are invited!  If you weren’t there it just wouldn’t be a holiday celebration.

Here’s the scoop….

On Thursdays in November and December, a different gluten-free blogger will host a link-up event where you can share your best gluten-free holiday dishes.  The linky will be open until the following Wednesday at 10:00 pm CST.

Every week we’ll have a give-away, too. You can link up or leave a comment to enter. Give-aways will be revealed soon!

Dates & Themes:

November 4th – Healthier Through The Holidays at Diet, Dessert, & Dogs

Let’s all get off to a healthy start this holiday season.  Bring Ricki your favorite healthier dish that won’t pack on the pounds.  Of, maybe you can share your top tips for staying slim when there’s tempting food everywhere.

November 11th – Thanksgiving Favorites at Gluten-Free Easily

Share your favorite gluten-free Thanksgiving dish from appetizers to desserts at Shirley’s place. We want to see your stuffing, turkey dishes, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, cranberry jelly…anything Thanksgiving goes. (To our Canadian friends – please share your Thanksgiving dishes, too!  We know you celebrated earlier than the US!)

November 18th – Gifts of Good Taste at Tasty Eats at Home

Who doesn’t love a gift made with love? Share your favorite foodie gift that’s gluten-free. Have a fabulous way to pack a yummy treat? We want to see that, too.

December 2nd –Holiday Entrees & Sides  Dishes at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang

Bring your families favorite entrees and sides.  Diane will be ready for them all.  We know that Haunnkah starts on December 2nd this year but still hope to see some of your favorite dishes.

December 9th – Holiday Breakfast & Brunch at Ginger Lemon Girl

A warm, cozy breakfast or brunch is a wonderful way to start off the holiday.  This is a great time to help someone else whipping up your fabulous gluten-free cinnamon rolls or a crumb-topped coffee cake by sharing your favorite recipes.

December 16th – Holiday Desserts at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

Just like it sounds – bring your favorite gluten-free Christmas desserts for all to share.  Cookies, pies, truffles, cakes, and candies….we want to try them all.

So, get your recipe box out and start browsing…then get in the kitchen and start cooking for the best ever gluten-free holiday!

Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash at Gluten-Free Homemaker

Today I am a guest blogger over at The Gluten-Free Homemaker for Squash Fest. Go on over here to check out my recipe for sausage-stuffed acorn squash. While you’re there, check out all of the other delicious squash recipes – guaranteed to make your mouth water!

Kids in the Kitchen: Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Matt is our pasta lover. If he could have spaghetti every day of the week, he’d be a happy camper. (This is evidenced by his previous spaghetti carbonara, spaghetti and meatballs, and lasagna dishes in the kitchen.) So when Matt was browsing through a recipe application on our iPad, it didn’t surprise me to see that he’d chosen another pasta dish. This one was fairly straightforward. However, it did surprise me that my picky eater wanted sundried tomatoes and olives. I even asked him to double-check and make sure he understood what was in the pasta. He said it sounded good, so we went ahead with it.

Of course, we used gluten-free pasta (Tinkyada). It’s a good product – while it’s technically processed, the ingredients are essentially brown rice, rice bran, and water. Simple. I did like that this was really easy to throw together. Definitely a good weeknight dish. However, we weren’t 100% happy with the flavor. It was missing something – a sauce, perhaps? Matt did admit that he wished there was tomato sauce on it. Matt admitted that he thought somehow that the ingredients would make a sauce based on what he read. This means the teacher learned a lesson in the kitchen that day – to explain the dish better in the future, so there’s no confusion! Regardless, it was a dish that could be improved upon, should we try again.

(On a side note, I did realize just how much my body isn’t fond of a flood of carbohydrates like this. I’ve been eating mostly grain-free and paleo for a while, and a pasta dish caused me to feel lethargic and sleepy for a good 2 hours! Good thing for me, pasta is not on the regular rotation at our house anymore. For those of you that handle gluten-free pasta well, then have at it. For me, it’s a treat!)

Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

 8 oz gluten-free pasta

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 t paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T grapeseed oil

8 oz sundried tomatoes

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small can sliced olives, drained

1/2 c pine nuts

Basil, for garnish

Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Toss chicken cubes with paprika and salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil to medium-high heat. Add chicken and spread out into a single layer. Allow to brown for a minute, and then stir occasionally to brown on all sides. After chicken is nearly cooked through, add sundried tomatoes and garlic. Saute for another minute and add olives and pine nuts. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat and toss pasta and chicken mixture together. Serve garnished with basil.

Serves 4.

Fresh Express and Orange Beet Spinach Salad

I am a Featured Publisher at Foodbuzz.com. This means that in addition to meeting other great food bloggers, there are additional perks. The Tastemaker program is one of them. This program gives members an opportunity to receive certain featured products, and write recipes using those products. Most of the time, the products aren’t gluten and dairy-free, so I don’t participate as often as some others. This time, however, the product was something I would happily use – Fresh Express bagged salads!

While I love to get fresh greens from the farmers market, life and the various seasons get in the way for me to be able to do that consistently. Often, I fill my need for tons of salad with bagged salads. When I received coupons for the Fresh Express bags, I went and picked up some Spinach and Ruby Red bags. I already had some beets and oranges at home that were begging to be included in this salad, so the addition of spinach and red lettuce would be perfect.

Other than roasting the beets, which took some time (but it was mostly hands-off time), this salad came together very quickly. It was bright and eye-catching, but most importantly, it was full of sweet, tart, and slightly spicy flavors. Definitely a salad I can turn to when entertaining!

And because I was so lucky to receive such a bounty of coupons for free Fresh Express salads, I’ll be happy to send some out to a lucky winner. Please leave me a comment telling me what you would do with a Fresh Express bagged salad, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win. That’s it – no strings attached. But act quickly, because this giveaway ends Saturday, October 23.

And now, for the salad.

Orange Beet Spinach Salad

3 medium beets, peeled and cut into eights

1 T grapeseed oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 seedless oranges, one zested and juiced, one sliced into ½ inch slices

2 T chopped fresh basil, plus leaves for garnish

1/8 t ground chipotle chile powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T white balsamic vinegar

2 T olive oil

1 bag Fresh Express Ruby Reds blend

¼ c toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss cut beets in grapeseed oil, salt and pepper and roast in a glass baking dish for 40-45 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the orange zest, juice, chopped basil, chipotle chile powder, salt and pepper, and white balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until combined. Adjust seasoning as needed.

To assemble salad: Place Fresh Express salad blend on a chilled plate. Arrange beets, orange slices, and walnuts on top. Drizzle dressing over and garnish with basil leaves.

Serves 3-4.

Curried Acorn Squash, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

Did you know that Linda over at The Gluten-Free Homemaker has been hosting a Squash Fest? Every week, she has a guest blogger sharing a delicious recipe using various kinds of winter squash. It’s a delicious series – there are spaghetti squash casseroles, a butternut squash dessert with dates, and if you need a crash course in winter squashes and how to roast them, check out Linda’s run-down of varieties of squash or a great tutorial on roasting butternut squash. This coming Thursday, I’ll be sharing a stuffed acorn squash recipe. I can’t wait to see what else is featured!

Meanwhile, I had a mountain of acorn squash (I went a little overboard at the farmers’ market) in my kitchen. I decided to stretch it over two meals. The first night, I simply roasted all of the squash halves and served them as a side dish. The second night, I made this soup with the leftovers. While I love roasted squash, this soup was definitely the winner in terms of delicious flavor. Sweet, savory, creamy, and with just a touch of warmth from the curry powder – this soup was one of my favorite soups to date. This recipe made quite a bit of soup – enough for me to freeze leftovers for easy lunches. It’ll definitely make future appearances in my kitchen throughout the winter.

Curried Acorn Squash, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

2 T grapeseed or olive oil

3 1/2 c mashed, roasted acorn squash (about 4 acorn squash)

1 1/2 c cooked sweet potato, mashed (about 1 large sweet potato)

1 t minced fresh ginger

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 apple (I used a Granny Smith), peeled and chopped

1 T fresh sage leaves, chopped

5 c vegetable stock (you can use chicken stock if you prefer)

1 c almond milk

1/2 t cinnamon

1 t Jamaican curry powder (recipe below) or Madras curry powder

1/2 t ground coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil, for drizzling

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the acorn squash, sweet potato, ginger, onion, garlic, and apple and saute for 5-6 minutes or until the onions are softened. Add the sage, broth, almond milk, and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Remove from heat, and using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, you can puree the soup in batches using a traditional blender or food processor.) Season with salt and pepper to taste and reutrn to heat to warm. If soup is too thick, add additional broth or water. If too thin, allow to simmer until at desired consistency. Serve with a bit of olive oil drizzled over the soup.

Serves 5-6.

Jamaican Curry Powder Blend

4 T Madras curry powder

2 t ground coriander

2 t ground cumin

1/2 t dry mustard

1/2 t turmeric

1/2 t cayenne

1/2 t cinnamon

1 T ground allspice

Mix spices together well and store in an airtight container.

More Nut Truffles: Pecan Pie and Pistachio Sesame

Okay, okay, I’ll let the cat out of the bag. What’s with all the nut truffles? First chocolate cherry, and now these? You see, I’ve been up to my ears in nut truffles for the past week. I’m making tons of them to serve as samples at the “Share the Harvest” Holiday Gift Market this weekend. I’m also making tons of banana chocolate chip muffins. There are currently more bananas in my house than ever. It’s bordering on insane, I’m starting to think.

So in the interest of finishing up my baking and preparation for the Gift Market in time, I’ll keep this short, and leave you with two more nut truffle recipes. Both are vegetarian, and the pecan pie recipe is vegan and mostly raw (they’re rolled in blanched almond flour, which I believe is not raw). They are both packed with nutrition – fiber, vitamins and minerals, protein and healthy fats. Oh – and they taste delicious. The pecan pie ones taste like, well, pecan pie. And the pistachio sesame remind me of halvah or baklava.

One last thing – the next few posts are going to be savory, not sweet. Promise. It’s starting to look like Tasty Sweets At Home around here. I promise, other things are made in our household besides sweets.

Pecan Pie Nut Truffles

2 c raw pecans

1 c raw almonds

2 c pitted dates

2 t cinnamon

pinch of salt

6 T raw agave nectar

Additional cinnamon and about 1/2 c blanched almond flour for rolling

Place the pecans and almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Process until the nuts resemble crumbs. Add the dates, cinnamon, salt, and agave and process until everything comes together and is well-blended.

Mix a touch of cinnamon and blanched almond flour together and pour out on a plate. Using a teaspoon, scoop some of the truffle mixture out and roll into a ball with your hands. Roll into the cinnamon-almond flour mixture. Set aside and repeat with remaining truffle mixture. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until ready to serve. Can be made several days ahead.

Makes about 50-60 truffles.

 

Pistachio Sesame Nut Truffles

1/2 c raw pistachios

1 c raw cashews

1/2 c sesame tahini

1/3 c honey

1/4 c pitted dates

pinch of salt

Additional 1/2 c raw pistachios, processed into crumbs in the food processor, and 1/2 c sesame seeds, for rolling

Place the pistachios and cashews in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Process until the nuts resemble crumbs. Add the tahini, honey, dates, and salt and process until everything comes together and is well-blended.

Mix the remaining ground pistachios and sesame seeds together and pour out on a plate. Using a teaspoon, scoop some of the truffle mixture out and roll into a ball with your hands. Roll into the pistachio-sesame mixture. Set aside and repeat with remaining truffle mixture. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until ready to serve. Can be made several days ahead.

Makes 35-40 truffles.