Monthly Archives: October 2009

Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup and Gluten-Free Chive Biscuits

pumpkin soupA few weeks back, I picked up this lovely pumpkin from Good Earth Organic Farm’s booth at the farmer’s market. I was told it was called a Cinderella Pumpkin. It was a lovely gourd, and it graced my kitchen for a while, bringing autumn charm into the house. However, it was time to do something more with my pumpkin. Since it was not a pie pumpkin, I thought a pumpkin soup would be lovely, especially if it were graced with coconut milk (one of my favorite ingredients).

pumpkin

I started to browse around for ideas on how to elevate my pumpkin and coconut milk soup, and came across Heidi’s simple recipe at 101 Cookbooks. I took cues from her recipe, and made this soup my own, adding a few spices and loosely measuring. What resulted was a lovely creamy, warming, flavorful soup – filling enough to be a main course (we did just that!), and wonderful when it’s dreary and/or cold outside. What’s even better? While this is not a super-fast recipe (although you could make it so, with canned pumpkin), it’s really easy, there is not a lot of time actively cooking, and it’s really hard to mess up. It also reheats beautifully for lunch the next day.

chive biscuits

And last week, I spotted a wonderful biscuit recipe over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. I thought these biscuits would be a wonderful accompaniment to soup, so I threw together a batch. I changed up the recipe some, only because I wanted to use what gluten-free flours I had on hand, and I wanted to use only chives in the biscuits. But wow – just, wow! Amy sure does know her way around a biscuit! These were simply the best biscuits that ever have graced my kitchen, gluten-free or otherwise. I ate well more than my fair share of them. They will definitely be making another appearance soon!

And lastly, before I share the recipes, I am excited to share with you that I have received 2 Blog Awards, given to me by two wonderful fellow food bloggers! Simply Life awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award, and Diana at Spain in Iowa gave me a Tasty Award! What can I say about these two wonderful bloggers? Thank you both so much! If you haven’t checked out these two blogs, take a moment and do so! Simply Life has a wonderful collection of tasty recipes, ranging from the fancy smoked salmon and pear on baquettes, to a lot of wondeful, family-friendly comfort food such as sweet potato risotto. Spain in Iowa has a wonderful collection of Spanish and Latin recipes, such as this pimientos asados recipe, to recipes using local ingredients, such as methods for preserving peaches. (She’s been preserving a lot of this summer’s bounty, check it out!) Thank you both for sharing these awards with me.

 

lovelyblog

Tasty-2For the One Lovely Blog Award, I am supposed to tell you all seven things you don’t already know about me, and pass this award along to ten other bloggers. So, here goes:

1. I have two dogs, Rocky and Jack. They are both Chihuahua mixes, and look like they could be brothers. However, they aren’t – Rocky is mixed with Manchester terrier (we think) and we adopted him in 2003. Jack is mixed with who-knows-what (we’ve considered a Corgi), and we adopted him in 2007. We adopted both of them at Operation Kindness, North Texas’ oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter. If you are local, and considering adopting a dog or cat, check them out. They’re located in Carrollton. (Not to get on a soapbox, but I’m a big proponent of adopting rescue animals. I personally choose to rescue an animal that might otherwise be euthanized, and give them a second chance at life, and do my part to keep the over-population of unwanted pets down. That’s all, I won’t get into this topic here!) Rocky and Jack are wonderful friends, and are always happy when I’m in the kitchen, waiting for a treat! They’re especially fond of carrots.

Rocky (on the left), and Jack

Rocky (on the left), and Jack

2. I play indoor soccer. I’m by no means an accomplished player (I started playing at the age of 22), but it’s great fun, and I am always learning. I love my teammates – everyone encourages one another, and it’s a great way to relax and stay in shape.

3. I cannot stand chocolate-covered donuts. (this precedes going gluten-free) I am generally not a picky eater by any means, but the thought of eating a chocolate-covered donut, or an eclair, makes me gag.

4. On the weekdays, I wake up at 5am. This allows me to get a little workout in before I get ready for the day, and arrive to work by 7am. (Unfortunately, keeping this schedule makes it difficult for me to sleep in on the weekends past about 7-8am, even if I’m out way too late the night before with the soccer team!)

5. I’m not much for “chick flick” movies. I would rather pass most of them by than waste money to see them. But give me a sports movie – where the main character (or characters) is the underdog or otherwise has to overcome some big hurdle, and in the end, that character wins the game (but of course, learns a lot about himself along the way) – I’m so there. (Think Hoosiers, Rudy, Chariots of Fire, Remember the Titans, even Miracle on Ice.)

6. I have little patience for most of the shows on the Food Network. It seems that over the years, they’ve changed their tune, and most of their shows are just not my style. Of course, it’s somewhat hypocritical for me to say that many aren’t about the food or cooking…because I watch Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef, and sometimes, those shows are not about the food either! (I do like Alton Brown though.)

7. I like Velveeta. I know, I know, it’s practically not even real food. It’s artificially dyed and flavored. It’s horrible for you. I can only imagine that it likely does something awful to your insides, like if you eat too much, when you die, it will still be there, thousands of years later…but it seems that especially in Texas, you just can’t make queso without it. Velveeta+Rotel=YUM! Good thing I only eat it like once or twice a year.

And, to share this award, I’ll pass it along to ten bloggers that I truly admire and appreciate!

1. Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free – she is always SO willing to give me feedback on my posts, is available to answer questions, and besides, she has WONDERFUL recipes on her blog!

2. Amanda at Amanda’s Cookin’ – she really goes above and beyond to enhance the blogger community. She’s created a Yahoo Group for food bloggers, which has been an endless source of valuable information! She posts so many gorgeous baked goods and desserts as well!

3. The folks at Food o’ del Mundo – Wonderful dishes, and always so inspiring! Not to mention, recently they went out of their way to help me out on posting to Foodbuzz, so I could be sure I get optimum results. What a friend!

4. Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang – Awesome, inexpensive, gluten-free, healthy living meals! She continually comes up with great, simple ideas to feed a family, even with dietary restrictions.

5. Katie at Eat This. – Katie and I both went gluten-free (for similar reasons) at about the same time, so together we’ve come to understand what lovely and amazing gluten-free food options are available to us. She is definitely a wonderful resource for alternative grains, and sings the praises of millet, teff, and quinoa! She always has healthy and delicious recipes available on her blog.

6. Paula at Bell’alimento – What a lovely blog! She has delicious recipes, and she’s always available and willing to help someone out, even if it means “Stumbling” their blog that day!

7. Cindy at Jacob’s Reward – Cindy is an awesome blogger, even though it’s not a “food” blog. She diligently blogs nearly every day about the goings on at the Jacob’s Reward farm, is always friendly and available to help, and she’s more dedicated to her CSA and that farm than anyone I’ve ever seen! That, and her chickens give our family the BEST eggs…I’ve learned so much from her!

8. Jenn at Bread + Butter – Jenn’s recipes ALWAYS look drool-worthy. A few days ago, she posted about grilled cheese, which makes me nostalgic! She’s also a huge supporter of Tasty Eats At Home.

9. Marilyn at Just Making Noise – Marilyn’s recipes look so good, and they’re always healthy, with natural ingredients. She supports local produce and farmers as much as she can, which is pretty awesome, in my book!

10. Natalie at Natalie’s Killer Cuisine – Natalie makes decadent dishes, most of which cause me to gain weight just thinking about them! But seriously, her recipes are delicious, and she shows tremendous talent.

Thank you again to Simply Life and Spain in Iowa, I’m honored!

And now, to the recipes!

hawaiian and soup and biscuits 041

Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup, adapted from 101 Cookbooks:

1 large pumpkin, 8-10 lbs, cut in half and seeds removed (or you could use two large cans of pumpkin, or a butternut squash or two)

salt and pepper

2 T butter, melted

1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t grated fresh ginger

1/2 t ground coriander

2 t Thai red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen, which is gluten-free, and available at a lot of standard grocery stores)

1 14-oz can coconut milk

2 c vegetable broth

minced chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly season pumpkin halves with salt and pepper, and brush with butter. (can use olive oil if you prefer) Place skin-side down on a baking sheet, and allow to roast until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove and allow to cool.

In a large stock pot, bring olive oil to medium heat and add garlic, ginger, curry paste, and coriander. Allow to cook for a minute or two, stirring, just until it becomes fragrant. Add pumpkin and coconut milk and stir, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat, and puree. (I used a hand blender, but if you don’t have one, you can blend in batches with your blender or food processor.) Place back on heat and stir in broth, a little at a time, until the soup is at the desired consistency. Taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary. Keep at a simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with minced chives. Serves 5-6.

Gluten-Free Chive Biscuits, adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

2 c gluten-free flour blend (your favorite, or view the blend I adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free below)

1 T baking powder

1 t kosher salt

1/4 lb (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

1 c 2 % milk

1/4 c chopped fresh chives

1 egg mixed with 1 T water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Sift together flour blend and baking powder. Stir in salt to mix. Add cold butter, and either using a stand mixer on low, or even using a spoon or your hands, mix until the butter is the size of peas. Add milk and beat until just mixed together. Add chives and mix until just combined.

Drop dough in large spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Brush tops with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, if desired. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until browned and puffy. Makes 8 biscuits.

Gluten-free Flour Blend

1 c brown rice flour

1 c sorghum flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c arrowroot starch/flour

1 t xanthan gum

Mix together well and store in an airtight container.

43 Comments

Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetarian

Kids in the Kitchen: Spanish Almond Meatballs and Saffron Chorizo Rice

matt - spanish meatballsMatt prepared Spanish food for the family today. We discussed various dishes to make, thumbing through my copy of Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World, but he was drawn once again to meatballs. Not that I can say I blame him – what kid doesn’t like meatballs? (His favorite dish in the world is spaghetti and meatballs, as evidenced by one of his earlier turns in the kitchen.) In addition to the meatballs, we settled on a Spanish saffron chorizo rice, and some simply steamed green beans.

The meatball recipe was modified to be gluten-free, of course. This is a rather easy change to make. I made gluten-free breadcrumbs by toasting slices of old gluten-free bread I made, and then processing them into crumbs in the food processor. Of course, you could use any gluten-free bread or rolls to do the same. In Mark Bittman’s recipe, he called for dusting the meatballs with flour – I simply omitted this step. I also baked them instead of pan-frying, just to make things easier. Matt, of course, enjoyed forming the meatballs, and again attempted to create “the biggest meatball ever.”

matt - biggest meatball ever

The saffron chorizo rice was based on a Mark Bittman recipe as well. This dish has flavors similar to that of a paella, only it’s a bit simpler and does not have that characteristic paella “crust.” It did, however, have the wonderful aroma of saffron and that pleasant saltiness of the chorizo.

matt - spanish yellow chorizo rice

The verdict? The meatballs were okay, but lacked a depth of flavor, and were a bit dry. I used a lean ground beef, and perhaps next time should make them with a fattier meat. I also would prefer to add an herb in the meatballs to boost flavor – whether that would make them less “Spanish”, I’m not sure. As for the rice, it did have a wonderful blend of flavors. Mark Bittman’s recipe did call for a diced tomato, which I omitted. I think next time I’d leave that tomato in, to further balance the flavors and add a bit of acidity to the dish. But regardless, Matt was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the rice was (the part of the dish he was most skeptical about), and in addition, he had a great time – which, to me, is what being in the kitchen is all about.

matt - spanish meatballs - full plate

Almond Meatballs, adapted from Mark Bittman:

2 lbs ground beef or pork

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 c gluten-free bread crumbs

2 T minced garlic

1/2 c blanched almonds, roughly chopped

salt and black pepper to taste

canola spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine the meat in a bowl with the egg, bread crumbs, garlic, almonds, and salt and pepper. Mix well but don’t knead. Form into balls of any size you like (we made them about 1 1/2 inch in diameter).

Spray two baking pans with canola spray, and place meatballs on the pans. Place baking pans in the upper 1/3 and lower 1/3 racks in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Switch the pans, and bake for another 10 minutes or until cooked through. Makes about 48 1 1/2 inch meatballs.

Saffron Chorizo Rice, adapted from Mark Bittman:

2 1/2 c vegetable stock

large pinch of saffron threads

6 oz Spanish chorizo, sliced

1 T minced garlic

2 t Spanish smoked paprika

1 1/2 c Arborio or other short-grain rice

salt and pepper to taste

chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Warm the stock gently in a saucepan with the saffron. Heat a deep skillet to medium heat. Add the chorizo, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, and rice and continue to cook, stirring, until the rice is glossy, just a minute or two.

Add the stock, along with pepper (and salt if you think you need it – I didn’t.) Cover and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers gently. Cook until the rice is done, about 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with the parsley, and serve. Makes about 4-5 servings.

38 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Beef, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Rice