Tag Archives: salad

Quinoa Tabbouleh and a Giveaway – Gluten-Free Made Simple

It seemed for a while there all I was blogging about was this gluten-free book and that gluten-free book, (and this one as well!) and giving away copies of them all. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped. Well, my dear readers, it’s time for another book review and giveaway! That’s right, St. Martin’s Press has graciously allowed me to review a copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom, as well as share a copy with one of my lucky readers!

When I received my copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple, my first impression was that it was a lovely, colorful book. There are photos for every recipe – something I know is a deal-maker for a lot of people. (When chatting with my sister-in-law a while back, she mentioned that is a key thing that sells her on cookbooks – she wants to see what it looks like, and that photo will help entice her to make the recipes!) This book definitely delivers beautiful photos. But what I noticed, as a gluten-free cook and baker, was how simple the recipes truly were. The ingredient lists were short, and most recipes could be made in a few quick steps. This book was written to not only appeal to me, but chiefly to appeal to a large audience of varying levels of kitchen expertise and time. Gluten-free cooking seems overwhelming to a lot of people (hence why Shirley has dedicated an entire blog to living gluten-free easily), especially those who have limited or no cooking skills. The transition from drive-thru to being comfortable with home-cooked meals is a difficult one for many. This book does an excellent job of assisting those new to gluten-free or looking for new gluten-free recipes make that transition.

There are many delicious recipes in this book I’m dying to try – from an easy meatloaf recipe, to cinnamon rolls (that you don’t have to roll out!), pineapple muffins, and strawberry pie. But as the temperatures have been creeping up around here lately, I opted for a simple, cool salad – the quinoa tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh is traditionally a Lebanese bulgur salad with parsley, mint, tomato, cucumber, and spring onions, tossed in a simple lemon juice and oil dressing. However, bulgur is off-limits on a gluten-free diet. Quinoa makes a fine substitute (a superior one, in my opinion). It’s easy to make, and is something you can prepare ahead of time, making it a great side dish for company. It’s the perfect summer side dish (or even main dish!). I opted to use chives instead of the green onions in this recipe, vegetable broth instead of chicken, and I used some golden cherry tomatoes I picked up from Good Earth Organic Farm last weekend. This is one of those definite “go-to” recipes for this time of year.

Quinoa Tabbouleh, reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free Made Simple

1/2 c quinoa

1 c gluten-free chicken broth such as Better Than Bouillon (I used vegetable broth)

3/4 c chopped fresh cucumber

1/2 c snipped fresh parsley

1/4 c thinly sliced green onions (I used chives)

1 T snipped fresh mint

1 recipe Tabbouleh Dressing (see below)

3/4 c chopped tomato

4 lettuce leaves (I didn’t use these)

Place quinoa in a colander and rinse with warm water for 2 minutes. (Note: quinoa must be rinsed very well to remove the bitterness on the grain.) (My note – Ancient Harvest quinoa is pre-rinsed.) In a saucepan, combine quinoa and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and let cook until quinoa splits and absorbs most of the chicken broth, about 15 minutes. (The recipe doesn’t specify, but I covered my pan with a lid.) Drain and cool. (I needed no draining)

In a large bowl combine quinoa, cucumber, parsley, green onions and mint. Drizzle with Tabbouleh Dressing and toss to coat. (I didn’t use all of the dressing.) Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. Stir tomato into quinoa mixture just before serving. Serve on lettuce leaves. Serves 4.

Tabbouleh Dressing

In a screw-top jar combine 3 tablespoons canola oil (I used olive), 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and shake well.

Now, for the giveaway part!

I will be giving away 1 copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom. The giveaway will end at midnight, Saturday, June 25, 2011. I will chose a winner via random.org.

To enter:

- Leave me a comment telling me what dish you wish you could make gluten-free without a lot of fuss.

That’s it! Best of luck! And even if you don’t win, I encourage you to check out Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom on Amazon.com. It’s a great “go-to” book when you’re looking for easy gluten-free recipes.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Daring Cooks: Dill and Caper Red Potato Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

Of course, I’ve made potato salad before. My mom has a straightforward recipe that I love (and have blogged about before – scroll down towards the bottom to view the recipe). But for this challenge, I wanted to make a bit of a different potato salad. Immediately, capers came to mind. Their briny, piquant flavor would compliment the creamy potatoes well. Of course, I’d still want to add some creamy texture, so a nice high-end mayonnaise would be needed. In the interest of keeping the salad lower in calories, though, I tried to keep the amount modest. Some fresh dill, dijon mustard, and smoked paprika helped round out what became a full-flavored, potato salad – a perfect accompaniment to any backyard barbecue.

Dill and Caper Red Potato Salad

1 lb small red potatoes

Salt

1 T lemon juice

3 T diced red onion

3 T olive oil mayonnaise (such as Spectrum)

1 t dijon mustard

1 t honey

1 T capers

1 t fresh dill, chopped

1/4 t smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan with a generous amount of salt and enough water to cover. Boil for 15 minutes or until pierced easily with a fork. Drain and allow to cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2 inch) and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and red onion. Stir to coat, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, and honey. Add capers, dill, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add in the potatoes and eggs and toss with the dressing until evenly coated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Serve chilled. Makes 4 servings.

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Cucumber Herb Salad

Salads are an area where I tend to have a “kitchen sink” mentality. The more vegetables, the better – I tend to throw in anything and everything that looks fresh and tastes good. More than one type of greens? Check. Radishes? Check. Tomatoes? Check. Cucumbers? Why not? Sometimes, even squash, olives, pumpkin seeds, picked peppers, and pickled okra all show up in the salad. And with some source of protein, such as grilled chicken, steak, or beans, these are good salads for meals (I’m enjoying such a version today for lunch, in fact), but they’re not really composed. There’s something to be said for a lovely salad that is restrained and highlights just a few fresh ingredients.

That’s precisely what this salad does. It’s not fancy, and it takes practically no time. Just some fresh cucumber, chopped fresh herbs, a bit of vinegar and salt, and what arises is a refreshing, light accompaniment to a meal. I loved how bright it was (we enjoyed this alongside a creamy pasta dish with sausage, which was heavy), and it didn’t hurt that it was a very low-calorie way to add some interest. I definitely need to remind myself how enjoyable a salad like this can be, especially as the temperatures start rising in the next few months!

Cucumber Herb Salad

5-6 Kirby cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 T chopped fresh mint leaves

1 t chopped fresh tarragon

1 T rice wine vinegar

Pinch or two of salt

Toss the cucumber slices with the herbs, vinegar, and salt. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

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Filed under Appetizers, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw

I love spring. While I’m really not fond of knowing that our unrelenting Texas heat is just around the corner, I feel like the bounty of fresh produce that starts arriving in the farmers markets makes up for it. As I mentioned before, it just seems like I become inspired with fresh, quality food. Like kohlrabi. I picked some up from Good Earth Organic Farm (this makes twice now, actually, and I plan on getting more tomorrow morning!), and used the greens in smoothies (the greens are mild on these kohlrabi, so they work well in smoothies!). But I wanted to do something special with the kohlrabi themselves. I love it raw – it’s crunchy and relatively mild, kind of like jicama and broccoli stems rolled into one. (If you can imagine that…) I poked around for some ideas on how to highlight that crunchy flavor, and came across a slaw over at A Veggie Venture. (A hint – if you ever are at a loss for vegetable ideas, check out her blog. She has so many wonderful ways to cook countless numbers of vegetables.) Of course, I’d have to make it dairy-free, but that came easily enough, with the help of a bit of coconut milk.  I had some Fuji apples lying around, so I brought out my mandolin slicer (which makes quick work of the kohlrabi and apple, but you can use the shredder on your food processor or cut it by hand if you’d prefer) and went to town.

Within a few minutes, I tossed everything together, and stuck it in the fridge to cool for a bit, but I already knew the verdict: it was delicious. Cool, creamy, crunchy, and sweet – this was definitely a different slaw than those vinegar-heavy or mayonnaise-laden varieties, and I loved it. The parsley and mint heightened the freshness of the slaw. I enjoyed a generous helping as a side dish, and also loved it atop some mizuna as a salad, where the spiciness of the greens could contrast the cool and sweet slaw. I’ve made this twice already in two weeks – and fully intend to make it a third time, for Easter dinner, alongside a ham.

Dairy-Free Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw, adapted from A Veggie Venture

1/4 c coconut milk

1 T tahini

3 T lemon juice

1/2 T dijon mustard

1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 T chopped mint

1/2 t honey (you can use agave nectar to make it vegan)

Salt and pepper to taste

3 kohlrabi (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into batons (or shredded)

2 Fuji apples (Granny Smith would also be good here), cut into batons (or shredded)

Combine everything except the kohlrabi and apples in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Cut the kohlrabi and apples and toss immediately in the dressing (if you wait, the apples will start to brown). Adjust seasoning as needed, and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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Daring Cooks: Cold Soba Salad and Tempura

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com.

While I am a fan of Japanese cuisine, truthfully, it’s something that has rarely made an appearance in my kitchen. I’ve made sushi before, but that’s about the extent of my experience. However, I was excited about this challenge – tempura is a tricky beast, and I thought this would be a wonderful chance to tackle it. As for cold soba salad – I was game for that! I’ve made soba a few times before, most successfully in a dish called ostu. It’s been a while though, and this was a new recipe, so it was also exciting.

How did I make the tempura gluten-free? This was perhaps one of the easiest adjustments so far with my Daring Cooks’ challenges. The original recipe called for a 1/2 cup of regular flour and 1/2 cup of cornstarch – so I substituted 1/2 cup of sweet white rice flour and 1/2 cup of tapioca starch. It came out beautifully – airy and crisp. We enjoyed sweet potatoes, green beans, and shrimp, dipped in the spicy dipping sauce (made gluten-free easily by substituting gluten-free soy sauce), and there wasn’t a bit left. While I loved this Japanese-style, I can easily imagine taking the tempura batter “process” over to other cuisines (onion rings, anyone?).

The soba salad was also delicious, so much so, I think I enjoyed it even more than the tempura. I served ours with a dashi sauce, green onions, eggs, grated daikon radish, pickled ginger, and some toasted nori. I am having leftovers for lunch today, and am pretty darn excited about it, if I do say so. While finding 100% buckwheat soba isn’t easy (I had to visit Whole Foods – most soba in the American groceries is a blend of wheat and buckwheat flour), I am definitely going to pick up some more when I find it again. I love the nutty, earthy flavor of the noodles.

All in all, another delicious Daring Cooks’ challenge completed! What’s even better – this has inspired me to dig further into Japanese cuisine. I’m overdue for an adventure!

Gluten-Free Tempura

1 egg yolk

1 c iced water

1/2 c sweet white rice flour

1/2 c tapioca starch

1/2 t baking powder

Oil for deep frying

Ice water bath, for the tempura batter

Very cold vegetables and seafood – you can choose from: blanched and cooled sweet potato slices, green beans, mushrooms, carrots, pumpkin, onions, shrimp, etc.

Place the iced water in a mixing bowl. Lightly beat the egg yolk and gradually pour into the iced water, stirring (preferably with chopsticks) and blending well. Add flours and baking powder all at once, stroke a few times with chopsticks until the ingredients are loosely combined. The batter should be runny and lumpy. Place the bowl of batter in an ice water bath to keep it cold while you are frying the tempura. The batter as well as the vegetables and seafood have to be very cold. The temperature shock between the hot oil and the cold veggies help create a crispy tempura. Heat the oil in a large pan or a wok. For vegetables, the oil should be 320°F/160°C; for seafood it should be 340°F/170°C. It is more difficult to maintain a steady temperature and produce consistent tempura if you don’t have a thermometer, but it can be done. You can test the oil by dropping a piece of batter into the hot oil. If it sinks a little bit and then immediately rises to the top, the oil is ready. Start with the vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, that won’t leave a strong odor in the oil. Dip them in a shallow bowl of flour to lightly coat them and then dip them into the batter. Slide them into the hot oil, deep frying only a couple of pieces at a time so that the temperature of the oil does not drop. Place finished tempura pieces on a wire rack so that excess oil can drip off. Continue frying the other items, frequently scooping out any bits of batter to keep the oil clean and prevent the oil (and the remaining tempura) from getting a burned flavor. Serve immediately for best flavor.

Gluten-Free Spicy Dipping Sauce

¾ c spring onions/green onions/scallions, finely chopped
3 T gluten-free soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
½ t agave nectar
¼ t English mustard powder
1 T grape-seed oil
1 T sesame oil
1/2 t ground  black pepper 

Shake all the ingredients together in a covered container. Once the salt has dissolved, add and shake in 2 tablespoons of water and season again if needed.

Gluten-Free Soba Salad

2 quarts + 1 c cold water, divided

12 oz 100% buckwheat noodles

Cooking the noodles:

  1. Heat 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles a small bundle at a time, stirring gently to separate. When the water returns to a full boil, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this twice. When the water returns to a full boil, check the noodles for doneness. You want to cook them until they are firm-tender. Do not overcook them.
  2. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse well under cold running water until the noodles are cool. This not only stops the cooking process, but also removes the starch from the noodles. This is an essential part of soba noodle making. Once the noodles are cool, drain them and cover them with a damp kitchen towel and set them aside allowing them to cool completely.
  3. 

Mentsuyu – Traditional dipping sauce

2 c Kombu and Katsuobushi dashi (This can be bought in many forms from most Asian stores and you can make your own. Recipe is HERE.) Or a basic vegetable stock.

1/3 c gluten-free soy sauce

1/3 c mirin (sweet rice wine)

Put mirin in a sauce pan and heat gently. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

I served the soba noodles by placing some cold noodles in a bowl, and ladling some of the sauce over. I topped with crumbled nori, egg omelet strips, grated raw daikon radish, pickled ginger, and some green onions. You can top with any of the following: thin omelet strips, boiled chicken breasts, ham, cucumber, boiled bean sprouts, tomatoes, toasted nori, green onions, wasabi powder, grated daikon, pickled ginger, etc. Everything should be finely grated, diced, or julienned.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Salads, Seafood

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.

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End of Summer Peach Salsa

I am honored to say that I am guest blogging over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free today. Come on over and check out this super-fast peach salsa and celebrate fresh summer produce before it’s gone!

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