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Black Plum Sorbet

Why, oh why, has it taken me so long to make sorbet? I mean, it would seem like an obvious first step once going dairy-free – that if I was to be making a frozen dessert, it would be sorbet. After all, sorbet is naturally dairy-free. But no – I dove headfirst into making ice “cream” that I could enjoy, as evidenced here, here, and here. I love making ice cream. But after scoring some huge, gorgeous black plums at the farmer’s market, I thought maybe I’d do something a bit different from my usual. I wanted something cool, sweet, and refreshing. This sorbet was just the thing.

It’s a simple sorbet, really, and comes together pretty quickly. One of my favorite components, however, is the bit of balsamic vinegar. It’s not overwhelmingly balsamic – it’s merely a background note that gives balance and interest to the sorbet. It keeps it from being cloying. Add that and the Cointreau, and it’s a perfect marriage of plummy sweet, slightly tart freshness that completes a perfect summer meal.

Print Recipe

Black Plum Sorbet (gluten-free, vegan)

2 lbs plums, pitted and sliced into eighths

1/2 c agave nectar

1 t pomegranate balsamic vinegar (can use regular balsamic)

pinch of salt

1 1/2 t Cointreau (or Grand Marnier)

Place the sliced plums, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to medium heat and cover, allowing to simmer, for about 8 minutes or until the plums become tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Once cool, add the Cointreau and puree in a blender until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve and chill thoroughly. Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Live in the Dallas area? I’ll be speaking this Saturday, July 20, 2013 at the Gluten Intolerance Group of Greater Dallas! Come join us.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Almond Dip

Sometimes, you just need a dip. Something to bring the crowd together. Something to munch on. Something to make your lunch a little more delightful. Whatever the reason, this dip might just be the answer. It’s smoky and creamy. It’s unique. It’s great with raw veggies, such as celery sticks or cucumber slices, but also delicious with tortilla chips or crackers.

What I also can appreciate about a recipe like this is that there is no cooking. Zero. Zilch. And when it’s hot outside, especially 100+ degrees hot, anything I can prepare without having to cook is a definite bonus. One could definitely make this part of a meal, along with some crackers, assorted pickles, and maybe something special like a terrine, and a glass of wine or a gluten-free beer. It also only takes a few minutes to whip up, so I would encourage you to do so at your first chance. It’s that good.

It’s safe to say, it’s my new favorite thing.

Well, as far as dips go, anyway. I’m sure I’ll have a new favorite next week. Until then, enjoy.

Print Recipe

Fire-Roasted Tomato Almond Dip (gluten-free, vegan)

1 c roasted, salted almonds

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 15-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes

Salt to taste (1/4-1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 t smoked paprika

3-4 T extra virgin olive oil

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground and starting to clump a bit. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and paprika and continue to process until everything is smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Turn the processor back on and drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to process until creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve with crackers, raw vegetables, chips, or even gluten-free bread. Makes 6-8 servings.

Join us tonight, July 1, at 8PM Eastern Time for a free LIVE CHAT where we will be discussing how to travel on a gluten-free diet. There will be prizes, courtesy of Udi’s!

Quinoa Tabbouleh, Texas Style

In keeping with my “Hey ya’ll, it’s SUMMER” theme around here as of late, I bring you a fresh, bright, delicious salad, full of quinoa, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, and basil, and a lovely slight heat of fresh jalapeno.

But before we get to that, I have something to confess.

Here it was, Sunday evening. Sunday dinner often revolves around roasting or preparing a whole chicken (usually spatchcocked – it’s easy and delicious that way.). We receive a monthly package from our local rancher, Rehoboth Ranch, which consists of whole chickens, ground beef, a roast, and breakfast sausage, so in an effort to utilize this delicious sum of meats, I try to implement this routine. It works well – we eat the chicken one night, and I use the rest of the meat to top a salad later in the week. (I also save the bones for stock, which, by the way, I am so behind in making…)

Well, this past Sunday, I opted instead to grill the chicken, as it was warm and I didn’t want to turn on the oven to roast it. I made a yummy rub of chipotle chiles, jalapeno, coconut oil and lime and rubbed it all over the chicken and under the skin. This is gonna be tasty, I thought to myself. I heated up the grill, placed the chicken over indirect heat (well, semi-indirect – I had the chicken over low heat, and the other burners on high), and went inside.

And proceeded to distract myself by making some ice cream, and forgot about the chicken. Was it for 15 minutes? 20? I don’t know. I realized it’d been far too long, and I ran outside to check. Too late. My chicken was blackened. Really blackened. Sigh. Operation grilled chipotle lime chicken: FAIL.

I managed to salvage some of the meat, as it wasn’t completely burnt and dry – just the skin was totally black. So much for the rub flavor. That was completely gone. (Guess I’ll have to try that again some other time.) It definitely wasn’t the best chicken I’d ever cooked, let me tell you. I offered up apologies to the hubby more than once. It looked like hell.

The moral of this story? Don’t try to do too much at once.

There was still a highlight to Sunday’s meal, however – this salad. I’d been craving a tabbouleh-like salad for a while, and started to gather ingredients for a traditional version of the dish, when I saw the jalapenos I’d picked up at the farmer’s market, and then eyed the limes. Immediately I made a bit of a detour from my original plan, and instead decided on a more Texas-style version. I’m sure I’m biased, but I believe my version might just be better than the traditional. The jalapeno doesn’t add a ton of heat – just a nice kick. And the lime really brightens, making it sing. And of course, now that it’s summer, I managed to grab all of these items (okay, save the lime) either from my garden or the farmer’s market, so they’re super-fresh. I think that makes such a difference in a salad – the fresher, the better! Even if you don’t have access to a garden or farmer’s market, chances are, the produce at even your local grocery is fresher this time of year, making this an ideal choice.

If you’re tasked with bringing a side salad to a dinner or barbecue this summer, this is a great option. It’s perfect to make ahead of time and will keep (and dare I say, improve) when refrigerated for a few hours before serving. Personally, I was just glad to have it to gobble up, instead of just my overly-blackened chicken. Gotta celebrate the successes when you can, right?

Print Recipe

Quinoa Tabbouleh, Texas-Style (gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free)

1 c quinoa, rinsed

1 1/2 c water

1/2 t salt

2 T lime juice

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

2-3 T diced leeks (you can also substitute green onions/scallions)

1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 c chopped fresh parsley

1/2 c chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa by placing it, the water, and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork and remove to a bowl and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lime juice and olive oil. Toss the quinoa with this mixture. Add in the remaining ingredients and toss, combining everything well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Serves 4-6.

 

Strawberry Salsa at The Balanced Platter

 

It’s berry season! At the farmer’s market, I’m finding tons of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries everywhere I turn. I try to exercise some restraint, but this past weekend, I came home with some of each. I consider it a victory – I haven’t come home with a dozen pints just yet.

Most of the time, I just open the fridge, and there the berries are, staring at me. They are usually just munched on a little at a time, every time the fridge is opened. (So, in other words, they’re there for like, three days, tops.) But once in a great while, they actually make it into a recipe. Most recently, they made it into some salsa.

Strawberry salsa? Why, yes! If you haven’t tried it before, you’re in for a real treat. You might just make it every week until strawberries are out of season. It’s that tasty.

Head on over to The Balanced Platter to check out my recipe for strawberry salsa!

The BEST Coffee Ice Cream Ever…And It’s Dairy-Free!

A good coffee ice cream is pure heaven. It simply must have strong (but not bitter) coffee flavor, balanced perfectly with just the right level of sweetness, and have enough cream and richness to really feel silky and to satisfy. And now, since I am dairy-free, it has to be friendly to my belly.

Naw, I don’t have high standards. I just know what I want.

And now that it’s getting to be the time of year where a cool version of my most-necessary-beverage-of-all-time is highly appreciated. And dessert is always welcomed. In other words, I need ice cream, stat.

Good thing this coffee recipe delivers. I know, that’s quite the confident title too. Best coffee ice cream ever?

Well, I’ll let you be the judge. But I’ll let you know that it’s full on coffee flavor, sweet but not too sweet, and the coconut milk used makes it creamy and silky and delicious. It’s also pretty easy to make. I opted not to use egg yolks, so there’s no need to make a custard before chilling, and it’s vegan. The only downside I can see is that it’s gone too soon. In fact, I think it’s time I make more!

Print Recipe

Vegan Coffee Ice Cream

2 cans full-fat coconut milk

1 c agave nectar (can substitute maple syrup, sugar, or honey, if desired)

1 c whole coffee beans (use decaf, unless you want a caffeine buzz with your ice cream!)

A pinch of salt

3/4 c water

1/4 t guar gum

1 t vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, agave nectar, coffee beans, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and guar gum and add to the saucepan. Heat the mixture until it’s just about to boil, whisking, and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 2 hours.

Strain the coffee beans from the mixture using a fine-meshed sieve with a large bowl underneath to catch the cream. Whisk the vanilla extract into the cream. Chill the cream mixture in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until cold.

Process ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for several hours or until firm, or serve immediately for soft serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Potato Biscuits

I love biscuits. Like, really, really love them. Let me count the ways: biscuits with butter, with jam, with gravy (especially a good Southern sausage gravy!), with fried chicken, or even for the making of a sausage biscuit sandwich…that’s just the beginning, I’m sure. But good, tender, moist biscuits are hard to come by, especially when one is gluten and dairy-free. So for us, biscuits are a special event.

What I do love about making gluten-free biscuits is that there isn’t that pesky gluten in there, making things tough and chewy. Makes for an easy time – you can’t accidentally overwork the dough. And when using potato flour, it seems there is no need for gums like guar or xanthan gum. It also makes the biscuits taste nice and potato-y; something I really enjoyed.

I do have to apologize to you, however. It seems I’ve been hoarding this recipe for a while now. I’ve had it tucked away for at least a year, digging it out once in a while, but I’ve never managed to get photos of these humble beauties. Well, my friends, there’s no time like the present. I hope you’ll make up for lost time by making these quite often. Grab yourself some potato flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill), so you’ll always have it on hand for a quick breakfast treat.

Print Recipe

Potato Biscuits (gluten-free, grain-free, vegan)

2/3 c potato flour (not potato starch)

1/3 c potato starch or tapioca starch

2 t baking powder

1/2 t kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

3 T coconut oil

2/3 c canned full-fat coconut milk

1 T chia seed meal (grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder)

1/2 t apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the potato flour, starch, baking powder and salt. With your fingers or with a fork, blend in the coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, chia seed meal, and apple cider vinegar. Stir the coconut milk mixture into the flour mixture until combined and the dough comes together. It will be crumbly, but it should hold together. Using a 2 inch biscuit cutter, press a handful of dough into a circle to form a biscuit, pressing just firmly enough for the dough to hold together. (Alternatively, you can simply form rounds by hand.) Repeat with remaining dough. Sprinkle each biscuit with a pinch of kosher salt.

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 biscuits.

Do you make breakfasts more often during the summer, when kids are home? What do you like to make? Share at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!

This post is linked to Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free over at Gluten-Free Easily.

Gluten-Free, Vegan Macaroni and “Cheese”

Nailed it!

That’s totally what went through my head with this recipe. I told my husband last week that I was craving Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. (Doesn’t everyone have these random cravings for nostalgic, refined “crap” foods once in a while?) It’d been forever since I’d had anything close to macaroni and cheese, much less the “real” thing (Kraft or homemade). Last year around this time, I made a “cheesy” grain-free, vegan cauliflower and butternut dish that was a delicious swap for macaroni and cheese. But never had I attempted something that would really replace macaroni and cheese. I wanted, you know, noodles. With a creamy cheesy-like sauce.

So I went for it. I found some brown rice pasta that I enjoy. I grabbed a whole can of full-fat coconut milk, my good ol’ vegan cheesy standby – nutritional yeast – and a few other ingredients, and got to work. What resulted surprised me. It looked and felt very much like the cheese sauce you might find in a boxed macaroni and cheese. It was creamy. Smooth and rich. Orange, even. Only it tasted better. The flavors were more complex, but still cheesy, and still kid-friendly. My oldest son Matt, who really enjoys the simpler flavors of childhood days, commented that this was some good macaroni. (I hadn’t told him that it wasn’t “real” cheese until afterwards.) The kid in me could imagine some sliced up hot dogs thrown in. (My favorite meal when I was about five – no joke!)

Of course, if you want to elevate this to grown-up status, you could certainly put it in a baking dish, top it with some non-dairy shredded cheese, sprinkle some gluten-free breadcrumbs over, and bake for 20-30 minutes. It’d be amazing that way as well.

So embrace your childhood. Make some mac ‘n’ cheese today!

Print Recipe

Macaroni and “Cheese” (gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free)

1/4 c vegan butter or butter-flavored palm shortening

1/3 c chopped onion

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c potato starch

1 T lemon juice

1 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk

1/4 c nutritional yeast

2-3 T Dijon mustard

2 T tomato paste

1 t turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

12 oz gluten-free pasta (I used Tinkyada), cooked according to directions on package

Smoked paprika, for sprinkling

Heat the vegan butter or shortening in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the potato starch and whisk in until thick. Add the lemon juice, coconut milk, and remaining ingredients and whisk in completely, and stir occasionally until the sauce bubbles. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in cooked gluten-free pasta, and serve with smoked paprika sprinkled over.

Serves 4-6.

 

Swiss Chard with Orange and Pepitas

Earlier this month, we did some renovations to our kitchen. For about a week, I was kitchenless. As in, I couldn’t cook. There were even two days where we could barely get water from the fridge. (Seriously. We had to tear away some plastic sheeting to get to the water and ice, and if I wanted into our pantry, I had to suck it in and squeeze between the fridge and the wall in what amounted to less than 10 inches of space.)  When we finally scheduled for the work to start, we only had about a day’s notice before I had to clean out the cabinets. I went into a state of half-panic. I would starve! I thought. After all, I pretty much prepare all of my meals myself. I didn’t have time to make much of anything in advance. How would I survive? Well, needless to say, I managed. I’m grateful for some trustworthy gluten-free restaurants and my arsenal of snacks that I stashed in my desk drawer at work. And now we are back in the new kitchen. Let me tell you, it’s awesome. I am so excited.

In fact, I’m so excited that I definitely need to take some photos for you and share. I have a few, and I’ve shared a bit on Instagram, but I really need to get some decent (read: non-iphone) photos for you! Stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, my garden didn’t stop growing just because we weren’t cooking. In fact, the lettuces, radishes, Swiss chard, collard greens, arugula and even some mizuna were all in need of harvesting. But I left them there, as I didn’t really have a way to wash or prepare them. Once we were back in business, I pulled radishes (some of which had grown to the size of golf balls!), cut what was left of the good lettuce (much of it has bolted), attempted to take control of the cucumber beetles, and harvested some of the Swiss chard for this easy little side dish.

Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens. It’s so pretty – especially the rainbow chard, with the colorful red, pink, yellow and white stems. It’s also milder in flavor than some other greens, and it cooks quickly – nearly as quickly as spinach. And the stems are tender, which is a bonus. I love munching on them raw. They have a texture somewhat similar to celery; crunchy and crisp.

This dish highlights that freshness that chard offers by throwing in a hit of citrus. It’s bright and light. I served it alongside some roasted chicken, but I imagine it would go extremely well with grilled pork, shrimp or any poultry. The pepitas (a.k.a. pumpkin seeds) add a nice crunch and nuttiness.

This recipe should serve 3-4; unless you’re me and love greens. In that case, I’d say it’s enough for 2.

Print Recipe

Swiss Chard with Orange and Pepitas (gluten-free, vegan, paleo, sugar-free)

1 T coconut oil

1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Zest of 1 orange

Juice of 1 orange

Salt and pepper to taste

About 3 T raw pepitas, toasted in a dry skillet

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the stems of the Swiss chard and sauté for a minute. Add the garlic and orange zest and sauté for another minute. Then add the leaves of the chard and stir, and add the orange juice. Cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to wilt for about a minute, then remove the lid and stir again. Allow the juice to reduce a little, season with salt and pepper to taste, and then remove the pan from the heat.

Serve with toasted pepitas sprinkled over.

Serves 3-4.

Radish Top Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potato (with Black Beans, Red Pepper, and Shiitakes)

Okay, well, as you can tell by the photo, this sweet potato is stuffed with more than just that simple radish top pesto I made the other day. (See, I told you it was good for lots of things!) There’s all sorts of delicious, nutritious goodness stuffed in there – specifically black beans, shiitake mushrooms, and red bell peppers. It’s a filling, healthy, meatless mish-mash of flavor. Perfect for a quick little meal, or a side dish – whichever you prefer.

Never stuffed a sweet potato before? Well, don’t you fret – it’s not hard. In fact, this version of a stuffed sweet potato is just one of many (and exists merely as a result of my desire to utilize the available produce hanging out in my fridge). Hallie over at Daily Bites made a Broccoli and Walnut Stuffed Sweet Potato a while back, Gena from Choosing Raw has a super-healthy Kale and Quinoa version, and Kate from Eat, Recycle, Repeat shared a Bacon, Mushroom and Onion version as well as a sweet Chestnut, Apple and Coconut version over at Paleo Parents. Clearly, we love our sweet potatoes out there in the blogosphere!

Personally, I am partial to my version topped with my radish top pesto. That fresh, creamy pesto added a lovely flavor and texture that married all of the other ingredients together wonderfully. Back in the day, I would have reached for cheese as an easy way to achieve that result – now, it’s liberating to find new ways to combine flavors and textures and still satisfy the way cheese used to. I would be lying if I said there weren’t days when I miss cheese, but with flavors like this, those days are few and far between.

Next time you’re looking for an easy meal idea, try stuffing a sweet potato! This version, with smoky beans, sweet bell pepper, and the rich umami of the mushrooms, topped with pesto, is definitely a win in my book.

Print Recipe

Radish Top Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potato (with Black Beans, Red Pepper, and Shiitakes) (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)

2 large sweet potatoes, baked until tender (bake in 375 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes)

1 T olive oil

8 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 14 oz can black beans (I like Eden Organic), drained

1 t ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Radish Top Pesto

Bake sweet potatoes. While they are baking, add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute until the mushrooms soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute or until garlic is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat black beans over medium-low heat, adding ground cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir occasionally until warmed through.

Once sweet potatoes are baked through, cut a slit in each sweet potato. Open enough to expose a good amount of the flesh inside. Season with a bit of salt, and then top with mushroom-red pepper mixture and black beans. Finally, top with a healthy dollop of radish top pesto.

Serves 2.

Radish Top Pesto with Walnuts and Hemp

Radish tops – have you ever eaten them?

Up until recently, it never occurred to me that you could. After all, when you visit the grocery and buy a typical bunch of radishes, the green tops are usually wilted and past their prime, and really, they don’t look the least bit appetizing. I just assumed they were something you threw away.

Once I started purchasing radishes from the farmer’s market, however, one of the farmers mentioned to me that the tops were delicious as well. Eat the tops?, I thought. What a novel concept. I sautéed them once or twice after then, but never really thought them anything special. I’d eat them, sure, but if I was to choose between them and another leafy green, chances are I’d choose arugula, kale, or chard over radish tops. But this weekend, I was faced with a huge bunch of radish tops after harvesting radishes from our garden. (A side note: If you are new to gardening, I suggest planting radishes. They’re easy, and they go from seed to harvest in what seems like record time. These took a little over a month.) They were better-looking radish tops than even most I’ve seen, even at the farmer’s markets. I’m not trying to brag on my gardening skills, which are far from spectacular; it’s just that they were perfectly green, healthy-looking, with no blemishes to speak of. I felt I really needed to highlight them, not just throw them in a skillet and sauté. So, I put a shout-out on Instagram and Twitter. After I received the suggestion from Ali at Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen to throw it in smoothies, I made plans to add a good amount into my green juices. But I still had plenty left.

And then, like magic, it came to me. Why not make pesto? I’ve seen basil pesto (and have even made some), arugula pesto, and even kale pesto. Radish tops could be made into pesto too! The next thing I knew, the food processor was out and in a matter of minutes, this pesto was born.

This little condiment is a bit milder than a basil or arugula pesto – there isn’t that overly herbal or peppery bite to it. Instead, it adds a lovely freshness to anything it graces. It would be delicious in a sandwich, in a chicken salad, on top of eggs, in potato salad, on a burger, or as a dip for raw veggies. I could keep going. Basically, I think pesto could be added to everything. Because, well, why not?

If you happen upon some lovely radish tops this spring, don’t just toss them – give this pesto a try!

Print Recipe

Radish Top Pesto with Walnuts and Hemp (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)

4 cups radish tops/greens, packed

1/4 c walnuts, toasted in a skillet

1/4 c hemp seeds/hemp hearts

1/4 c nutritional yeast flakes

1 T green garlic (young garlic – 1-2 cloves of regular garlic can be substituted), roughly chopped

1/2 t kosher salt

1/4 t black pepper

3 T extra-virgin olive oil

Place radish tops, walnuts, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until the leaves are broken down. With the processor going, drizzle in the olive oil and continue to blend until everything is pretty smooth and no large chunks remain. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Makes about 2/3 cup. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for about a week.