Monthly Archives: November 2011

Daring Bakers: Filipino Desserts (Chocolate Sans Rival)

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

I procrastinated, so of course, I was making my Sans Rival last night. I opted to keep the dessert-making to a minimum (seeing as how I already had 3 kinds of leftover pie in my fridge from Thanksgiving) and only made the Sans Rival. I loved that the recipe was already gluten-free (provided the cake pans were dusted with a gluten-free flour, of course) and I could easily adopt it to be dairy-free by substituting a vegan “butter” for the butter called for in the French buttercream. Which, by the way, if you’ve never had French buttercream, find an excuse to try it out. It’s incredibly rich, but also incredibly delicious. Definitely a treat to enjoy only once a year or so.

The same is with this Sans Rival. I opted to take Catherine’s suggested recipe, and make my Sans Rival a chocolate one. It wasn’t overly loaded with chocolate, and it wasn’t too sweet, but I promise you, this is still a rich dessert. That being said, it’s a lovely gluten-free option that would be perfect at a holiday table.

I’ll definitely be keeping this dessert in mind for future events, as I love a good meringue. However, it will definitely have to be an event where I don’t end up with leftovers – I certainly don’t need any more sweets lying around!

10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews (chop half finely, and half coarsely)

Note: You will need four layers which will mean that you might have to bake in two batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.

2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well. (I used gluten-free cassava flour and olive oil instead of flour and butter here.)

3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form.  (about 7-10 mins.)

4. Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.

5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.

7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

French Buttercream:

5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz)  white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like (I used unsweetened chocolate and vanilla extract)


1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add flavoring after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of  buttercream, meringue, thin layer of  buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.

Got Thanksgiving Leftovers? Repurpose Them!

Does your fridge resemble ours? If so, I’m sure you’re anxious to get those leftovers out of there and into the bellies of your family. How do you manage that, though, when everyone’s had their fill of the traditional turkey+stuffing+potatoes+cranberries meal? Repurpose those leftovers into delicious gluten-free meals!

Some ideas for your Days-after-Thanksgiving meals:

Turkey Enchiladas

Turkey Congee (Jook)

Tomatillo Turkey Chili

Turkey Tetrazzini

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Stuffing and Turkey-Stuffed Peppers

Quiche with a Mashed Potato Crust

Mashed Potato Pancakes

Turkey Pot Pie

Mark Bittman shares a lot of great ideas for turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and more here.

I know my husband will definitely want some enchiladas. Not sure what else I’ll make…or if I’ll get that far – personally, I love cold turkey. And cranberry sauce. Had the two for breakfast this morning with some coffee. It was delicious.

Winner of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes!

I’m hoping all of my U.S. readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

The winner of the copy of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Kelli & Peter Bronski, chosen by, is #22 – Janis! Janis, I’ve sent you an email – please get in touch with me and we’ll get that book out to you right away. Congratulations!

Next Thursday we’ll be back for more Gluten-Free Holiday deliciousness – Daily Bites will be hosting, and the theme will be Holiday Entrees and Sides. Be sure to visit and share your favorites (and browse to acquire some new ones!). And of course, there will be another grand giveaway!



Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community

On Monday, November 14, 2011, the Gluten-Free Living Community, sponsored by Udi’s, was launched. This “community” is a great place to browse, read, discuss, and share about all aspects of gluten-free living. There are topics for discussion ranging from tips and tricks while on a gluten-free diet, to dealing with kids and pregnancy, what recipes to make for Thanksgiving, and more. There are also Live Chats held periodically, so you can really have an opportunity to communicate with other like-minded people about various gluten-free topics. Best of all, it’s free to join.

I am an Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community Leader, so you should see me there often, initiating discussions and helping to respond to various questions and ideas. For example, the other day, we discussed additional food intolerances. (I find a great many of us with gluten “issues” also have trouble with other foods as time goes on.) Need holiday dessert ideas? Check out this discussion. Need more holiday help? There are quite a few gluten-free alternatives to your holiday favorites here.

Of course, as a Community Leader, that certainly doesn’t mean I have all the answers. The beauty in this community is that the members can learn from each other. Any of us can post a discussion topic, so if you have a question – ask it!

I hope to see you all at the Gluten-Free Living Community!


Disclosure: As an Udi’s Gluten Free Living Community Leader I am compensated for my time and efforts on their behalf.

Gluten-Free Holiday: Edible Gifts of Good Taste (Gluten-Free Chipotle-Maple Mixed Nuts) and a Giveaway!

This giveaway has ended. The winner of the copy of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Kelli & Peter Bronski, chosen by, is #22 – Janis! Congratulations, Janis.

It’s Week 3 of A Gluten-Free Holiday, and we’re sharing Edible Gifts. This is a topic near and dear to my heart (well, Thanksgiving Favorites, the topic for Week 2, is a very close second), as I love to make and give away various edible treats – not just around the holidays, but throughout the year. During the holidays, however, I go into treat-making overdrive. I read about holiday treats, spend days and nights dreaming and thinking up treats, bookmarking my favorites, and I make plans to turn as many of these recipes into delicious gluten-free, dairy-free goodies. And I bestow the results of my efforts upon family, friends, and coworkers.

Because after all, those on a restricted diet need a holiday treat, right? At least, that’s what I think!

Of course, my goal with each of these treats is to make them tasty enough to be enjoyed by anyone – not just those on a gluten-free and/or dairy-free diet. This means that my ultimate taste testers are, many times, my co-workers, as none of them are on such a diet. If the speed in which they devoured these chipotle-maple mixed nuts is any indication, these are definitely tasty treats.

In fact, I had to hide a jar from myself so I can ensure there will be some to snack on for Thanksgiving. I can’t make any promises that the jar will be full come next week, however. Might have to make some more.

Chipotle-Maple Mixed Nuts (gluten-free, casein-free)

1 egg white

3 T freshly squeezed orange juice

½ t orange zest

1 – 1 ½ t chipotle chile powder

½ t cinnamon

1 ½ t kosher salt

1 ½ T minced fresh rosemary needles

3 T ghee (clarified butter), butter, or coconut oil

1/3 c coconut palm sugar or brown sugar

1/3 c maple syrup

2 c raw pecan halves

2 c raw almonds

2 c raw cashews

2 c raw walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until it starts to froth. Add orange juice, zest, chipotle chile powder, cinnamon, salt, and rosemary needles and whisk until combined. Set aside.

In a large, heavy skillet (I used my cast iron skillet), heat ghee over medium-low heat. Add coconut palm sugar and maple syrup and stir. Add nuts and toss until well-coated, stirring frequently. Add in bowl of egg white/spice mixture and toss again until evenly coated. Stir for another 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to prepared baking sheet and spread out. Bake for 20 minutes and stir well. Bake for another 20 minutes. Stir again, and bake for 10-20 more minutes or until nuts are no longer sticky. Allow to cool to room temperature. Break apart as needed before storing in jars.

More holiday edible gift ideas:

Roasted Almond Caramels

Chocolate Peppermint Covered Marshmallows

An Assortment of Vegan Treats

Cranberry Walnut Granola

Peanut Butter Cups

“Mounds” chocolate-coconut candies and peanut butter fudge

Cookie mix in a jar

Flourless chocolate chip peanut butter cookies

Anise biscotti

Dairy-free fudge

Vanilla cake mix

Chocolate chip cranberry multi-grain cookies

Twisted chocolate bark

Chocolate-dipped dates with spiced nuts

Chocolate curry bites

I know you have many more gluten-free edible gift ideas! You’ve just been waiting for me to give you the go-ahead to share them, haven’t you?

Well, you can! What’s even better, you can share them, and be entered for a chance to win a copy of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Kelli & Peter Bronski.

Because who doesn’t love a good cupcake?

This book looks amazing. I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Bronski at the GFAF Expo last month. (He and Kelli are also authors of No Gluten, No Problem) Peter is an exceptional individual that definitely is dedicated to celiac awareness – he ran a 50-mile ultramarathon in October to raise money for the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness and the gluten-free community! I might run 5 miles…but 50? That’s beyond impressive.

The same goes with this book, which can be yours! How to enter:

1. Link up your favorite gluten-free edible gift recipe.

2. Leave a comment below.

3. Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Leave me a comment for each time you’ve shared.

That’s it! This contest ends at 11:59pm on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. Winner will be contacted via email.



Daring Cooks: Cooking With Tea! (Gluten-Free Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes)

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

This was an innovative challenge, as most of us have never cooked with tea. Sarah suggested several recipes, including Chinese tea eggs (which I’ve made before – they’re pretty and quite tasty!), and this beef braise that uses rooibos tea. I really enjoy rooibos tea (I’m kind of a tea nut – I probably have 15 different varieties between the house and my desk at work), and thought that this would be a unique way to try it. It was also easily converted to gluten-free, which is an added bonus.

This was a different stew than what I usually prepare – the flavors of ginger, garlic, and the rooibos are warming. It smelled heavenly. However, if I was to make it again, I’d make some changes. I used beef stew meat, and it was too lean and became somewhat dry. I’d rather use brisket or another meat with more fat. Also, it was too sweet for our tastes. The recipe originally called for 3/4 cup of honey – I reduced it to 2 tablespoons – and it still was too sweet. I think omitting the honey entirely, and instead adding some other “sweet” spices, such as star anise, would be perfect.

All in all, I did really enjoy using rooibos in a braise such as this, as it added a lovely complex boost to the flavors. This was a wonderful challenge!

Gluten-Free Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat (next time I’ll use brisket, cut into bite-sized pieces)

salt and pepper

2 T arrowroot starch

1 T coconut oil

2 onions, sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 T tomato paste

5 rooibos tea bags

1 quart just-boiled water

5 T red wine vinegar

4 strips unwaxed orange peel

2 cinnamon sticks

2 inches fresh ginger, minced

4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 T honey (next time, leave out)

cilantro leaves, to garnish

Season the beef and coat in the arrowroot starch. Heat the oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven, and brown the beef on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add the onions and celery and saute for a minute. Cover with a lid and let soften for 10 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and saute for another minute.

Meanwhile, add the tea bags to the just-boiled water and allow to steep for 4-5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour into the stock pot. Return the beef to the pot, and add the red wine vinegar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and ginger. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours or until beef is tender.

Add the sweet potatoes and honey and allow to simmer for 20-30 additional minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with cilantro.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Winner of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen!

The winner of the copy of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell, randomly chosen by, is Neva!

Neva, I will be contacting you to get your mailing address. Congratulations!


A Gluten-Free Holiday: Week 2 – Thanksgiving Favorites

It’s Week 2 of A Gluten-Free Holiday! This week our event is hosted by Kim at Cook It Allergy Free. Head on over there to check out her candied apple cranberry upside-down cake, and enter for your chance to win a copy of Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen! This weeks’ theme is Thanksgiving Favorites, so share your favorite recipes for a chance to win.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Why? It’s one of the few national holidays that hasn’t been overly commercialized, it’s a holiday where the food is spectacular, full of comforting favorites, pie is the dessert of choice (and I’m a big pie fan!), and you can share a great meal and give thanks with family. And did I mention the food?

I love cooking and hosting Thanksgiving.

We’ve held Thanksgiving at our house for the past 5 years. This year will be the 6th. Over these past few years, I’ve started to really learn how to coordinate a Thanksgiving meal successfully, sometimes for as many as 30 people. And no, we don’t have a big house – I don’t even have a proper dining room, much less a double oven. We eat buffet-style, and it works for us. Note I said I can coordinate the meal successfully – it’s not perfect each time (sometimes I forget things, and one year, I was distracted by the doorbell and burned the brulee topping on a sweet potato brulee – it’s true, when you walk away from something that’s sitting under the broiler, it will burn!), but it’s a great time with family, and there is always more than enough (gluten-free) food to eat. That’s what it’s all about, right?

The biggest key to pulling off a successful Thanksgiving celebration (or any celebration, for that matter) is planning. Here’s a bit of insight into what I do to plan for the big day:

Three to four weeks before: Order a turkey from my nearby organic farm, Rehoboth Ranch.

One to two weeks before: Prepare make-ahead gluten-free stuffing and gravy and freeze. Finalize menu, and start making shopping list. Try to figure out how many people will be attending, and assign/request side dishes. Fill in gaps with menu.

The weekend before: Shop for all but the most perishable items. Prepare broccoli cheese rice casserole and freeze.

Monday or Tuesday before: Thaw turkey. Purchase any groceries not already purchased. Make cranberries.

Wednesday: Thaw casserole, stuffing, and gravy in refrigerator. Bake pies. Prep vegetables for side dishes (such as green beans). Peel potatoes for mashed potatoes and place in water and refrigerate. Brine turkey. (I’ve used this recipe for years. I’m still deciding whether to stray from this tried-and-true method, but regardless, I think I’ll be brining – it’s such a great way to ensure a juicy bird.) Make hour-by-hour schedule for following day.

Thanksgiving Day: Follow hour-by-hour schedule, which looks something like this:

8:00am – Iron tablecloths, arrange furniture, make sure clean towels are in bathroom, and other “tidying up” activities. Drink coffee!!

10:00am – Finish any prep work for vegetables or other sides. Get out cutlery, plates, napkins, glasses.

12:00pm – Get turkey in oven, take shower. Feed the kids something so they stop complaining about being hungry.

1:00pm – Cook potatoes and sweet potatoes. Mash potatoes and place in crock pot and turn on warm (this is a great way to keep them warm and ready, freeing up valuable space on the stove for gravy and such.)

3:00pm – People start arriving for the Cowboys game. Take out casseroles and stuffing to come to room temperature while turkey finishes roasting. Prepare gluten-free rolls or biscuits.

3:45pm – Bake rolls/biscuits. Place in basket with towel to keep warm.

4:00pm – Take turkey out of oven to rest. Place stuffing, casserole, sweet potatoes in oven to bake. Warm gravy in a saucepan, whisking to make smooth again. Place red wine in fridge briefly to chill. If other dishes brought by guests need warming or other prep, assist with that. Make sure any dishes containing gluten are segregated to one area to prevent cross-contamination.

4:30pm - Finish any last-minute dishes. Carve turkey. Take dishes out of oven. Tell everyone food is ready. Take out wine and open it. Pour myself a glass. Proceed to stuff myself silly with food and pie.

Of course, the time schedule isn’t always so tightly followed – but this is the general idea. I tend to take the day before Thanksgiving off so I can prepare, but it’s not always possible, so this is why I try to make some side dishes in advance, making it easier to keep sane on the big day. It’s a lot of cooking, and I generally am tired by the end of the day, but it’s all worth it. Especially if there are turkey leftovers for a midnight snack (along with an additional slice of pie).

Like anyone, I have favorites that I simply must have at Thanksgiving. Even though we have a gluten-free Thanksgiving, I must have stuffing and gravy. So I make my own. This year, I’m hoping to successfully modify this recipe – I have several members of the family that can’t eat corn, and one that can’t eat celery, so I’ll have to eliminate the cornbread from the stuffing, and replace the celery – possibly with fennel. I’m still experimenting. I also have family members that insist I make broccoli cheese rice casserole. Since the traditional version involves a can of cream of mushroom soup (which contains gluten and dairy) and cheese, I make a vegan version that everyone can have. But there are other dishes where I take a bit of liberty. I try new desserts. Last year, I made a peach and kumquat crostata that, while non-traditional, was very welcome at the dessert table. I also set out various appetizers and/or small snacks, such as spiced nuts, relish trays, and possibly some candies or cookies. Like I mentioned before, no one goes hungry at our house.

Are you new to gluten-free living, and are looking for help making your favorites gluten-free or allergy-free? Or are you just looking for a new favorite for this year’s holiday? Be sure to visit Cook It Allergy Free and read through her holiday plan. Be sure and review all of the links from other readers as well – we all get better when we learn from each other! Besides, you will be entered to win a copy of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell (the same book I’m giving away, in fact) – a splendid book packed full of amazing gluten-free Asian recipes.

Don’t forget to check back here next week, where I will be hosting Week 3 of A Gluten-Free Holiday. The theme will be Gifts of Good Taste!

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, full of autumn flavors

Have you ever baked with pumpkin? Or tried to make pumpkin cookies? Pumpkin makes lovely breads and cakes. It bakes up light and fluffy, and provides lovely moisture. Unfortunately, light and fluffy aren’t good cookie characteristics, in my book. I love chewy cookies – especially chewy chocolate chip cookies. When pumpkin season came, I wanted to bake up pumpkin cookies, but didn’t want them all fluffy. What’s a chewy cookie lover to do?

So I started to think. What is it about pumpkin that turns those cookies into cake-like, fluffy treats? It dawned on me that pumpkin has a lot of moisture. Good for cakes and breads, to be sure, but it was ruining my perfect cookie. So the key? Remove some of the moisture from the pumpkin.

I got to work. I made a big batch of pumpkin butter from a gigantic cushaw squash I recently acquired. But rather than just adding pumpkin butter into a cookie recipe, I opted to reduce it further. I put some pumpkin butter in a saucepan and set it on medium-low heat, and I cooked it. And cooked it. Stirred and stirred, until it no longer looked like a pumpkin-y puree, and instead took on a thick texture more like tomato paste. Less moisture = less fluffy, I hoped.

I also opted to remove the egg white from the cookie recipe, figuring that an egg white would contribute to lift – something I didn’t want in my cookies. I left the yolk in, however, to hold things together and provide some additional fat.

Finally, I proceeded to wing it. I wanted to keep the cookie grain-free, so I went with almond flour. And while this recipe isn’t technically dairy-free (I used ghee), it is casein-free, so those with casein intolerance can still indulge. (I find that while I can’t tolerate regular or even grass-fed, cultured butter, I can tolerate a bit of ghee here and there.) If you can’t do ghee, try substituting coconut oil. Because I really wanted the pumpkin pie spice effect, I threw in extra cinnamon and nutmeg. I also added chocolate chips and some chopped pecans, just because.

It’s my cookie, and I can do what I want.

The result was more than I’d hoped. These cookies are tender, but chewy. Moist, but not overly so. They are indeed chocolate chip cookies, but they are so much more than that. They are like chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin pie got together and had a love child.

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

7 T pumpkin butter paste (simmer pumpkin butter over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until texture resembles tomato paste)

1/4 c melted ghee (or coconut oil)

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

3/4 c brown sugar or coconut palm sugar

2 c almond flour (I tried this recipe with both Honeyville blanched almond flour and Bob’s Red Mill – both work, but I prefer Honeyville)

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1/2 c dairy-free chocolate chips

1/3 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin butter paste, ghee, vanilla extract, egg yolk, and brown sugar. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.

Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Kung Pao Chicken (And a Giveaway!)

At the Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free Expo in Dallas last month, I had the privilege of meeting Laura B. Russell, author of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen. While I’m no stranger to making some Asian dishes gluten-free, (wheat-free tamari is a staple at our house, as are other gluten-free Asian pantry items, like fish sauce, coconut milk, curry pastes, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds – the list goes on.) there are gaps in my knowledge. For instance, I’ve never made dumplings or fried egg rolls, and I’m limited on my knowledge of Korean and Japanese cuisine. I tend to stick to South Asian curries and an occasional stir-fry. Well, friends, I’m here to tell you, not anymore. I’m branching out. After seeing recipes for gluten-free dumplings, bibimbap, and crispy spring rolls, I’m strongly considering making an Asian treat as often as possible. Laura definitely delivers, bringing foods back to my plate that I’d long since written off as one of those items I “used to eat”.

Have you ever done that? You’re sitting around chatting with a group of people, and the subject of food comes up. Someone mentions a restaurant or a food item that contains gluten. This restaurant has the best fried chicken, or OMG, homemade lasagna is the best are examples of such talks. And while you might not truly pine for the aforementioned fried chicken or lasagna, you join in the conversation, remembering that you “used to eat” it too, and you agree – it was good. I find myself in these conversations a lot – and find that I “used to eat” a lot of stuff, both good and bad. While 99% of the time, I’m much, much happier eating in a way that jives with my body (and over time, my body is thanking me for this – I’m feeling healthier every day), but there is that other 1%. That moment when the pining actually hits, and I truly miss one of those items I “used to eat”.

Laura helps fill that little void with her book. If you’ve ever missed your Chinese take-out, or long for crispy spring rolls, then pine no more, and grab yourself a copy of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen.  The pictures alone will make you drool, but don’t stop there. Make something. You certainly won’t be sorry.

After bookmarking half the book when trying to decide what to make, I opted for quick-and-easy. I made Laura’s Kung Pao Chicken, substituting arrowroot starch for the cornstarch. It didn’t disappoint – it was full of flavor, but not so spicy that it wouldn’t be kid-friendly. (You can certainly add more red pepper flakes if you need additional heat.) This Kung Pao Chicken delivers that delicious, Chinese take-out fix you need, without all the MSG and gluten, and it can be prepared in about the same amount of time it would take for the Chinese food delivery guy to arrive at your door.

Just because Ten Speed Press and Laura B. Russell are so awesome, they’ve graciously offered to provide a copy of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen as a giveaway for one of you. You could be cooking your very own Asian favorites in just a few weeks! Here are all the details on how to enter to win:

1. Leave a comment telling me what Asian food favorite you’d love to see made gluten-free.

2. Subscribe to Tasty Eats At Home and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

3. Visit Laura B. Russell’s website and subscribe, and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

4. “Like” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

5. “Like” Notes from a Gluten-Free Kitchen on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Best of luck to you! This giveaway closes on Friday, November 11, 2011. I will randomly draw one lucky name on Saturday, November 12.


Kung Pao Chicken, Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. Copyright © 2011 by Laura B. Russell. Published by Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo Credit: Leo Gong.

11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch dice

4 tablespoons soy sauce or 
tamari  , divided

1 tablespoon sake or dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

21/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

21/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

8 cloves garlic, minced

6 green onions, white and green parts, sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts or cashews

Steamed rice, for serving (optional)


In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the sake, salt, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce.

In a large frying pan or a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned but not all the way cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining chicken and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the cornstarch to the chicken. Toss to combine. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce coats the chicken and everything is heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the peanuts; serve hot with steamed rice.