Category Archives: Vegetarian

Garden-Fresh San Marzano Tomato Sauce

san marzano prep

This spring, I planted a San Marzano tomato plant (as well as two other varieties). I’d never tried this variety, but I figured it was worth a shot.

If I had to do it over again, I’d plant three. Maybe four. That’s how excited I’ve been about them. I’m already making plans for next spring to expand my tomato planting.

The tomatoes from this plant got going a bit later than others, and I thought maybe I was going to have another year buying most of my summer tomatoes from the farmer’s market. Especially since it seems I’ve had a rather poor gardening season so far – squash bugs devastated my zucchini and cucumbers, I have no idea why fire ants love my eggplant, and my lettuce got started late (I had surgery in March on my hip, so I wasn’t able to do some planting for a few weeks), so we only had a few salads before it bolted. (Truth is, I’m mostly a hack at gardening, and learn by trial, error, and a big dose of luck.) But here in the past two weeks, my little San Marzano plant really got going. I pulled off about 15 tomatoes in a week from one plant. I decided it was high time to make sauce. After all, San Marzano tomatoes really shine in a simple, fresh sauce.

I was excited about this sauce. After all, almost everything I tossed in there was from my garden, and if it wasn’t, it was from the farmer’s market. Talk about fresh. It was also super-easy. I didn’t even bother peeling the tomatoes, so it was a rough chop, a long simmer, and a brief visit in the blender, and I had delicious sauce that, dare I say, would rival any Italian grandmother’s.

I might get into major trouble with all Italian grandmothers for admitting that just now.

But really, it is good. Really really good. Hence why I want to plant more San Marzanos next year - so I can make massive quantities of this sauce, freeze or can it, and enjoy all year long. Having a sauce at the ready is awesome for a weeknight dinner (spaghetti in under 20 minutes!) or even a lasagna or baked ziti.

Of course, you don’t have to have fresh tomatoes to make this, so if you can’t find San Marzanos (Romas would be an excellent alternative), don’t fret. Canned tomatoes would work just as well. I’d definitely recommend canned over most of the grocery store tomatoes, especially in winter, as they are superior in taste and price. Your sauce will be just as delicious.

spaghetti on fork

Print Recipe

Garden-Fresh San Marzano Tomato Sauce (gluten-free, vegan)

2 T olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

6-8 garlic cloves, chopped

1 t kosher salt

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

About 1/4 c fresh basil leaves

About 1 T fresh oregano leaves (you can substitute about 1 teaspoon dried)

3 1/2 pounds fresh San Marzano tomatoes, or other ripe summer tomato, chopped (I don’t bother peeling, but if you prefer, you can cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato and drop into a pot of boiling water for about 60 seconds and remove. The skins should peel right off.)

1 cup dry red wine

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or pot. (I used my enameled Dutch oven.)  Sauté the onion 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional minute, until the garlic is very fragrant. (Be careful not to burn!)

Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, and wine, stirring to mix well.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and let cook for about an hour uncovered. Stir the sauce occasionally to make sure the sauce is not reducing too quickly.

Puree in a blender or in a food processor to your liking. If the sauce still seems thin, return to the pot and simmer until the sauce is thick to your liking. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Makes 2 quarts.

Quinoa, Mushroom and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

stuffed squash blog

Okay, I know that my previous post was a zucchini recipe, and here we are with yet another variation on summer squash. It’s kind of everywhere at the moment, and I couldn’t pass up these absolutely adorable little sunburst patty pan squash at the farmer’s market this past weekend.

I mean really, aren’t they the sweetest?

They’re remarkably delicious when stuffed as well. They make an awesome side dish, but could just as easily work as a meatless main course. Just prepare a few handy, fresh veggies in a skillet for a few minutes, add a grain, maybe some cheese, stuff and bake. It’s also a great way to use up bits of veggies that are in need of eating before they make a turn for the worse. That’s how this particular mix of veggies happened, anyway – and it was delicious!

Now typically, I would be showering you with all sorts of summer desserts. I’m sure I’ll manage a few here and there, but I’ve been directing my attention to something else entirely as of late. You see, I’m working on my very first ebook! In this book, I’m sharing some simple-but-delicious gum-free, gluten-free baked goods recipes. So if you’ve wanted an excellent go-to recipe for waffles, bread, muffins, or cake, I’m hoping this book will be your #1 reference!

I hope to have it out to you in August, so stay tuned for more information! I’ll be announcing details in my newsletter, so subscribe today if you haven’t already!

Okay, back to these adorable squash. Truthfully, you can use any vegetables in the stuffing mixture that your heart desires. Peas, green onion, red bell pepper, spinach – all would be great here. The key is to make sure they’re chopped finely and cooked beforehand (a few minutes in a skillet will do the trick). I loved the addition of cotija cheese in mine, but Parmesan or feta would be nice as well. It’s one of those “anything goes” recipes that I’m sure you’ll adore during the summer season.

Print Recipe

Quinoa, Mushroom, and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

About 6 small patty pan squash

1 T olive oil (plus more for the insides of the squash)

2 T minced onion

2 oz crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used lacinato, but any variety will work)

1/3 c crumbled cotija cheese (omit for vegan)

2 T chopped fresh parsley

3/4 c cooked quinoa

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the squash to make a hat. Carefully score a circle inside the cut squash, and using a small spoon, scoop out the inside flesh. Leave about a half-inch inside. Rub the insides of the squash with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the squash on a lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and mushroom and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add the garlic and kale and sauté for another minute or until the kale has wilted some and is bright green. Remove from heat and add the cheese, if using, parsley, and the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in.

Spoon the stuffing into the prepared squash, packing rather tightly. (You’ll likely have leftover stuffing; if so, it’s delicious on its own.) Place the “hat” back on top of each squash, and place them in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Serve.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish, 2 as a light meal.

Zucchini, Mint and Lemon Yogurt Dip

zucchini yogurt dip blog

Surely I’m not the only one that has experienced the conundrum of “too much zucchini”. In fact, I can imagine several of you reading this are looking at your gardens right now, wondering what you will possibly do with ALL OF THIS ZUCCHINI. Two loaves of zucchini bread every week couldn’t begin to make a dent in your bounty. So you’re bringing zucchini to your friends, dropping it off at your neighbors, and now, you’re scouring the internet for salvation recipes that aren’t the “same ol’” zucchini recipes, because your family will revolt if they eat it again tonight.

While I seem to not be able to grow zucchini without the squash bugs knowing where I live, my friends certainly can, and I’ve been given a considerable amount of zucchini as well. I already made this zucchini ribbon salad with some, but I still had more on my hands. I wanted something different, and started researching, as many of you have been doing. I came across a dish called Koosa ma Laban – a spread popular in the Middle East and North Africa made from squash, yogurt, tahini, and lemon. Often it also includes mint or parsley. I love the combination of these flavors, and I also happen to have mint growing in abundance in my flower beds, so I opted to make a variation on this dish.

I wanted to make it a really light, refreshing dip, so I opted not to use tahini, instead using a bit of cream cheese to thicken. The result was a cool, creamy dip that was at home with vegetables or bagel chips (gluten-free if you prefer). It was a hit at an Independence Day party, and it would be a perfect appetizer or an excellent alternative to the tired ranch dressing so often served with raw crudités. It can certainly be made in advance, so whip up a batch and bring it along to your next summer party.

Print Recipe

Zucchini, Mint, and Lemon Yogurt Dip (gluten-free)

1 T olive oil

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and cut into half-inch slices (about 2 cups once sliced)

1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed slightly with side of knife

1/2 c plain Greek yogurt

2 oz plain cream cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

2 T fresh mint, chopped

1/4 t ground cumin

1/8 t ground paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Swirl to coat and add zucchini and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots and tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Place zucchini and garlic, yogurt, cream cheese, most of the lemon zest, most of the mint, cumin, and paprika in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until pureed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Spoon dip into a wide bowl and drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired, and sprinkle with reserved mint and lemon zest.

Serve with vegetables or bagel chips. Serves 4-6.

Looking for more zucchini recipes? Here are some other ideas:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

Zucchini Red Pepper Egg Muffins

Cheater’s Ratatouille, or Pesto Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomato Bake

 

Creamed Grilled Fresh Corn with Basil

creamed grilled corn blog

There is an elderly couple that runs a booth at the farmer’s market, and along with (I presume) their granddaughter, they sell organic produce. They are so sweet and kind, and while I don’t buy all of our produce from them, I do make it a point to purchase sweet corn while they have it available. It’s the best corn I’ve ever tasted. And like most seasonal produce, I cherish the all-too-fleeting moments when it’s available. I’ll be sad when it gets too hot and the corn is gone.

The beauty of fresh, summer corn is that it doesn’t need much adornment. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed grilling it. The slightly smoky grilled flavor perfectly compliments the sweet, juicy kernels. Most nights, that’s more than enough for an awesome, easy side dish. But the other night, I wanted a little something special. I started with grilling, but then decided to continue the process to make some creamed corn.

With a little milk, cheese, Serrano chile, and garnished with fresh basil (one of the few things my garden is successfully growing at the moment), this side dish was beyond awesome. It was craveably delicious. It wasn’t overly rich, as some creamed corn dishes can tend to be, but rather a great representation of summer’s best.

I’ll be at the market again this Saturday, and will cross my fingers that there will be more corn. I don’t want this to be the only time we get to enjoy this dish before summer’s end. (And I have so much basil left!)

Print Recipe

Creamed Grilled Fresh Corn with Basil (gluten-free)

4 ears fresh corn, shucked

1-2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 T butter

1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced

2/3 c whole milk

1 oz shredded cheese, such as Gouda or a white cheddar

Salt to taste

1 T chopped fresh basil

Heat grill to medium heat. Rub the corn cobs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-7 minutes or until kernels have a bit of color/char on them and are tender. Remove and allow to cool enough to touch.

Place the corn cob on end on a cutting board, and using a knife, carefully cut the kernels from the cob. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat butter to medium heat. Sauté Serrano chile for 1 minute. Add the corn kernels and sauté for another minute. Add the milk and bring almost to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add cheese and stir to melt. Salt to taste. Serve with fresh basil sprinkled over.

Makes 4 servings.

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

strawberry frozen yogurt blog

Confession: I’ve never made frozen yogurt. Not until this recipe, that is. Truth be told, I’ve tended towards the belief that frozen yogurt was inferior to ice cream. It’s lower in fat. That automatically means it can’t be good, right?

Well, I was wrong.

I didn’t set out with the intention of making something lighter. This was born more out of a desire for ice cream, and the freezer being devoid of said ice cream. Furthermore, the refrigerator only had whole milk, which can tend to get icy when making homemade ice cream. However, I had some plain Greek yogurt. Not wanting to make a trip to the store, I figured I’d give this frozen yogurt thing a shot.

In the blender went the yogurt, a little cream cheese, some frozen strawberries left over from last summer that needed using up, some sugar, and vanilla. Also a splash of vodka, just to keep it from freezing too hard. I blended until creamy, poured into the ice cream maker, and about 15 minutes later, I was rewarded with delicious soft-serve strawberry frozen yogurt. It was way better than I’d even anticipated. But how would it be once fully frozen? That’s the real test.

As it turns out, it turned out pretty darn well! It still freezes quite firm, as most homemade ice creams do, but a few minutes to thaw on the counter, and it’s scoopable, creamy and not a bit icy. It’s delightful on a hot day, and that’s a good thing, as July is almost here, and I’ll be seeing nothing but hot days for a long while.

In my mind, the only thing missing is a waffle cone.

Print Recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt (gluten-free)

2 c plain Greek yogurt

2 oz cream cheese

2 c whole strawberries (frozen or fresh)

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 t vodka (optional, but will make the ice cream a little softer)

1/2 c sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth and creamy. Pour into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.

Enjoy as soft serve or freeze until firm.

 

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano

pickled blog

Beets have made plenty of appearances here before. I love them. They’re gorgeous, for starters. Most are an unbelievably intense red, but some varieties are golden, or even striped like candy canes. How could it not be love at first sight? But beyond their good looks, they’re deliciously sweet and earthy. I enjoy them raw, steamed, in salads, roasted, in soups, in dips, or even in desserts. But I also love them pickled.

However, sometimes I think about having such things way too late. The other night, when preparing dinner, it occurred to me that I wanted pickled beets. But typically, making any type of pickle takes advance time. But this version doesn’t. Once you steam the beets, you simply pour over a vinaigrette and serve immediately. Of course, you can store the rest in the refrigerator for a week or more, and they stay just as delicious. I’ve enjoyed having a few slices along with all sorts of meals. They bring a happy brightness that just screams of fresh spring/summer produce.

So if you have a bunch of beets and are wondering what to do with them, why not try making some quick pickles? Eat them as a side dish, as a condiment, or on a salad – any of those options sound delicious to me!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy beets?

Print Recipe

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano (gluten-free, vegan)

About 6 medium beets, stems trimmed to about an inch

1/3 c apple cider vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper

1 small Serrano chile, sliced thin

Place beets in a large pot and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low boil. Allow to cook until the beets are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to touch. Peel the beets. This ought to be fairly easily and can be done with your hands – the peels should slip right off. (If you don’t wish to dye your hands pink, you can wear plastic gloves for this) Slice the beets into 1/4 inch slices and place in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the Serrano chile to the beets, and then pour over this dressing. Toss the beets to coat completely.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.

 

 

Cheerios Protein Chocolate Almond Munch

cheerios treat mix blog

This is a sponsored post on behalf of General Mills, but the opinions are my own.

Cheerios has another delicious option out there for those of you looking to add a bit of sneaky protein into your day. Their new Cheerios Protein line, which comes in Oats and Honey and Cinnamon Almond, have 7 grams of protein per serving. It’s not the super-high totals of a typical protein shake or a can of tuna, but it has the added benefit of tasting pretty delicious and is something that my picky kids will actually eat. I think it’s pretty tasty myself!

Of course, as much as I love munching on cereal (honestly, cereal is a dessert or late-night snack of choice for me), I thought I’d come up with a little treat mix using the Cinnamon Almond variety. Playing with the almond flavor and upping the protein a bit more, I threw in sliced almonds and a chocolate almond butter. For some sweetness, chocolate and dried cranberries were added as well. What resulted was a slightly indulgent, delicious treat that would please adults as well as children.

This treat mix is perfect to munch on as a snack or dessert. It makes a trumped-up version of my bedtime snack of choice, thanks to the chocolate. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it has a higher protein content!

Print Recipe

Cheerios Protein Chocolate Almond Munch (NOT gluten-free!, dairy-free)

5 c Cheerios Protein Cinnamon Almond

3/4 c dried cranberries

3/4 c sliced almonds

1/2 c honey

1 c brown sugar

1 c Justin’s chocolate almond butter

1/2 t ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/2 c dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is dairy-free)

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cereal, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine honey and sugar. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. This should only take about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate almond butter and cinnamon.

Pour chocolate almond butter mixture over the cereal mixture and stir, mixing until thoroughly coated. Pour out onto prepared baking sheet and spread into clumps.

In a small microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips, stopping to stir every 15 seconds or so, until melted. Drizzle chocolate over the cheerios mixture evenly. (You can do this by using a spoon and drizzling, or by spooning the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag and cutting off a small corner, and squeezing the chocolate out.)

Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Break into bite-sized pieces and store in an airtight container.

 

I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

zucchini ribbon salad fg

It’s that time of year around here – time for everyone to unload their massive bounty of zucchini and summer squash upon their friends, family, and neighbors! Everyone except me, that is.

You see, as soon as I plant any squash plant, every squash bug within a 10-mile radius comes to visit. It’s insanity. I’ve tried every organic deterrent that’s been suggested to me, from squishing them on the plant, cayenne pepper, soap and vinegar, diatomaceous earth, sticky traps. They’ve all failed. I even spent last summer with a shop-vac, vacuuming up squash bugs. There were just SO. MANY. BUGS. attacking one plant, and I was afraid if I pulled the plant, they’d go on to attack my melons and cucumbers. So while I’m not proud of being the girl that sucks up bugs in a vacuum, I’m just being honest – I feel like I’ve tried everything. I can’t win the war against squash bugs.

So until I come up with a solution that works, I’ll allow others to grow zucchini and squash, and I’ll gladly take donations. One friend donated a sizeable amount of zucchini and peppers the other day, so I’ve been coming up with ways to consume it all (and not resort to just making zucchini bread, as much as I love it). One night, as I was preparing tacos for dinner, I opted to use some of the same flavors and make a little zucchini salad to go along with them.

The beauty in this salad is that it’s simple and takes just a few minutes to throw together. It’s fresh, and the zucchini ribbons are tender and tasty, especially as they start to absorb the citrusy notes from the lime and the touch of heat from the Serrano chile. It’s easy to eat the entire salad by yourself. (Not that I would know or anything…*cough cough*)

If you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden, or if you were one of the fortunate recipients of zucchini (or even if you avoided all of this insanity and purchased some!), this salad is a great way to use it up and please your palate.

Print Recipe

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing (gluten-free, vegan)

1 large zucchini or several small zucchini

8-10 small cherry tomatoes, halved

Small handful of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

2 T lime juice (from 1 large lime)

1/2 t lime zest

1 t minced fresh Serrano chile, seeds removed (can substitute jalapeno)

2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel long “ribbons” from the zucchini, lengthwise, until you hit the seeds. Rotate the zucchini and do this all the way around. Place ribbons in a medium bowl along with the tomatoes, pepitas and cilantro.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, Serrano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.

Serves 2 (or one hungry person).

Spiralized Hash Browns

spiralized hash browns blog

Confession time.

For over a year, my spiral slicer sat tucked away in a cabinet, unused. I originally bought it back when I was neck-deep in a lot of paleo insanity, briefly interrupted by a few weeks of some random raw vegan diet I tried to follow. I wanted to make noodles out of zucchini with it. I did, multiple times. They were tasty, but they left me hungry, and they definitely weren’t a direct replacement for pasta, gluten-free or not.

During the last year, however, I’ve worked hard to regain a healthy relationship with myself and with food. I’ve healed my digestive system, but healing my relationship with food has taken a bit longer. There are certain foods that I equated with restriction; things I made myself eat in the name of health for so long that I stayed away from them for the past year. I’ve moderated my intake of vegetables, for example. I love veggies, but forcing all-vegetables-all-the-time made me enjoy them less. (Recently, I’ve started embracing them more once again.) Along with this process, I tried to ignore my spiral slicer.

For me, that spiral slicer equaled a time of restriction. A time where I wanted pasta, but instead settled for this lacking representation of what I really craved. So I decided I hated it for a while. I considered it a useless tool to encourage orthorexia. I meant to get rid of it several times, but never got around to it. Poor little spiral slicer – the recipient of so much hatred.

But now, I’ve put enough distance between that old line of thinking and today. I can’t say I’m perfect (who can?), but I’m happy and healthier than I’ve been in a long time. So the other day, I decided it was time to make amends with this recently-despised little tool of mine.

I was making spaghetti for dinner the other night, and a friend had given me a ton of zucchini from her garden. I actually wanted to enjoy the taste of zucchini in my spaghetti, so I drug out the spiral slicer, and made some zucchini noodles. I then opted to pile regular pasta on my plate, top it with zucchini noodles, and then my meaty sauce. While I’m not really a fan of zucchini-only “spaghetti”, zucchini noodles in addition to regular noodles was delicious, fresh, and filling. I’d decided that perhaps my spiral slicer wasn’t so bad after all.

So then, I started to brainstorm on what else I could make with my spiral slicer. The following morning, I was making breakfast, and thought to make hash browns. However, rather than shredding the potatoes, I instead opted to “spiralize” them. I figured that making them in these fine “noodles” that I’d have a better chance of making them crispy and brown in a few minutes’ time.

I wasn’t wrong. After a good squeeze to get all the water out (I use my potato ricer for this – it’s more effective at squeezing the water out than any other method I’ve tried), I spread these potatoes out on a good, hot pan, and they crisped right up. They were brown and delicious, and perfect for breakfast, especially with a drizzle of Sriracha and a side of eggs. They’re also a great option for a Father’s Day brunch (hint, hint – it’s this Sunday!).

This healing of my relationship with food thing? It’s a journey for sure. I’ve been actively working on it for more than a year now. But it’s certainly been worth it. Because now, my journey includes my spiral slicer. And hash browns.

Print Recipe

Spiralized Hash Browns (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

1 lb red potatoes, peeled

2-3 T butter or your oil of choice

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley and Sriracha to garnish (You can certainly top with anything you like – cheese, sautéed onions, bacon, ketchup, etc.)

 

Using a spiral slicer, cut all of the potatoes into “noodles”. Lightly sprinkle salt over the potatoes, toss, and place in a potato ricer and squeeze the water out well. Allow to sit over a bowl for a few minutes, and squeeze again. Do this until you’re no longer getting a stream of water when squeezing.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter to the pan and allow to melt and start to foam. Add the potatoes to the pan, spreading out in a single layer. Don’t move the potatoes for about a minute, allowing them to brown. Use a spatula to “cut” them a bit shorter (typically the spiral slicer makes some long noodles!), and then flip and spread out again to brown the other side. Do this until these are sufficiently browned all over. Season to taste and serve immediately, garnished as you desire.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

brazilian cheese bread blog

I have World Cup fever. It’s been a slowly increasing level of excitement, but last week, hubby and I, along with some friends, attended the Ivory Coast vs. El Salvador friendly game, and that kicked me full-on into World Cup mode. It’s always thrilling, seeing so many people from all over the world, united for the love of a game.

So to help celebrate, I thought perhaps I would make a recipe native to Brazil, to honor the host country. To be honest, I am not terribly familiar with Brazilian cuisine, but I have made Moqueca (which is really a treat!), and I’ve even tried my hand at Brigadeiros. But I thought I’d try something new.

By some miracle, I’ve never tried Pão de queijo. It was simple to make, and boy, was it a hit. Our twin nieces were staying over at our house when I whipped these up, and they gobbled up piece after piece. I had a few myself. They’d be delicious served alongside any stew (or the Moqueca), or even as a breakfast treat. They’re naturally gluten-free, so that makes them a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I definitely think these will be made again – likely when I have family over to help me eat them all.

Until then, if you need me, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the first World Cup game this coming Thursday, and of course, the first United States game the following Monday against Ghana.

GO USA!

Print Recipe

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) gluten-free

1 c whole milk

1/2 c butter

1 t kosher salt

2 c tapioca flour/starch

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 c cow’s milk feta, crumbled finely

3/4 c Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Set the racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and salt and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as it comes to a boil.

Add all of the tapioca flour to the milk mixture and stir until you see no more dry flour. The dough will be really gelatinous.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it is smoothed out and cool enough to handle.

With the mixer on medium, add the eggs in two additions, waiting until the first addition is fully incorporated before adding the second. Then add in the cheese until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. The dough should be very sticky, stretchy, and soft.

Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop rounded portions into mounds on the lined baking sheets. Space them an inch or two apart.

Place them in the oven on the racks and turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for about 12 minutes and rotate the baking sheets, placing the upper one on the lower rack, and vice versa. Bake for another 12-15 minutes or until they are just starting to brown. Remove and allow to cool enough to handle, and eat. They are delicious hot, but they also remain chewy and tasty even as they cool.

You can store them in an airtight container for several days, but I doubt they’ll last that long.

Makes about 3 dozen.