Monthly Archives: June 2010

One Last Hurrah – Tortilla Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole

That’s how I felt when eating leftovers of this soup for lunch the other day. This is my last dairy hurrah. You see, a few weeks back, I embarked on a short-term dairy-free diet as a trial, to see if it was causing some lingering issues I was having. After two weeks, I didn’t notice a huge difference, but there was a difference. When I reintroduced it back into my diet, I tried to ignore the truth – that the dairy was making me sick. After all, I didn’t want to give it up – I am a huge fan of all things cheese and butter, and I was even singing the praises of raw milk just the other day. But as much as I love it, dairy doesn’t love me back. So this tortilla soup was my last dairy-containing meal, at least for a long while. You’ll see many recipes in the future that are not only gluten-free, but also dairy-free. (Of course, those of you who can eat dairy without incident are welcome to modify your recipes accordingly!)

This tortilla soup recipe is closely based off of a Quickfire Challenge I saw on Top Chef Masters a few weeks back. Chef Marcus Samuelsson prepared a chicken soup with crispy tortilla strips and goat cheese guacamole that had me drooling. I had to make it. So I visited the recipe found here and filled in the blanks, adjusting to my tastes. And even with the near-100 degree temperatures outside, this soup hit the spot – it was just a touch spicy, bursting with flavor, and the goat cheese guacamole was cooling and fresh.

If I was to make it again (and there will be an “again”), I’d have to modify it to be dairy-free, of course. I’d have to give up the goat cheese in the guacamole, and substitute either almond milk or coconut milk for the cream, but the flavors would still be there in full force. It’s a lovely tortilla soup – no wonder Chef Marcus Samuelsson did so well in Top Chef Masters!

 

Tortilla Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole, adapted from Marcus Samuelsson

For the guacamole:

1 T olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 avocados

Juice from 1 lime

2 T goat cheese

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 T cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper

Pour the olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Scoop the avocado flesh and add to bowl. Add goat cheese and smash the avocado, onion, garlic, and cheese together with a fork. Add in lime juice, jalapeno, bell pepper and cilantro and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the soup:

4 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Canola oil, for frying

1 red onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 quarts chicken stock

4 tomatoes, chopped

4 c shredded, cooked chicken (I used leftover grilled chicken)

1 1/2 t ground cumin

1 t salt

4 eggs

2 T cream

juice from 2 limes

1 T chopped green onions

1/2 T cilantro, chopped

In a skillet, heat about a half-inch of canola oil over medium heat. Fry tortilla strips in batches until crisp, about 1 minute, and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cumin, salt, and chicken and stir, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Ladle one or two spoonfuls of the hot soup mixture into the bowl while whisking, and whisk until incorporated. Then pour the egg mixture back into the soup, whisking until incorporated. Allow to cook for another minute, and then add lime juice and half of the green onions and cilantro.

Serve soup topped with the remaining green onions, cilantro, guacamole, and tortilla strips. Serves 4.

16 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups

2010 World Cup South Africa – Bobotie

This Friday, June 11, 2010, marks the opening day of the 2010 FIFA World Cup games, held in South Africa. Soccer is the most widely played and enjoyed sport around the world, and it’s certainly the most popular sport in our household. My husband has played nearly his entire life, growing up in city leagues, playing for school, and enjoying adult amateur soccer, both indoors and out. He introduced me to indoor soccer – I started playing about 9 years ago (my previous experience was only a single season as a kindergartner – many years ago!), and while I’m not likely to be called up to the WPS anytime soon, it’s a great way to stay in shape, challenge myself, enjoy time with friends, and blow off steam. At home, we subscribe to a lot of specialty cable TV stations, just so my husband can watch as many of his beloved Chelsea games as he can. Of course, when we tune in this Saturday to watch the United States play England, we’ll be cheering our Team USA the whole way.

In anticipation of the upcoming games, I realized I knew next to nothing about South African cuisine. So I worked to educate myself. Turns out, South African cuisine is a “rainbow of cuisines” (as described by Wikipedia), as it is comprised of a variety of sources and cultures, including the cuisines of the indigenous people of South Africa, such as the Khoisan and Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho-speaking people, Indian and British immigrants and their cuisines, the cuisines of the Cape Malay people, and cultures such as Portuguese Mozambique. This makes for a wide variety of dishes and tastes. I was unsure of where to start, so I found one of the most popular dishes in South Africa – bobotie.

Bobotie is a meat dish consisting of ground/minced beef or lamb topped with an egg “custard”. The spices remind me of Indian and Malaysian cuisine, with the use of curry and turmeric, but the inclusion of nuts and fruit reminds me of other African dishes. While it takes a bit of time to make, the dish is relatively straightforward. I sifted through recipes, and decided upon a Martha Stewart recipe that looked tasty. I served it with a cinnamon basmati rice, also a variation on her recipe, which was full of flavor and enticing aromas. It was a tasty meal, and a perfect introduction into South African cuisine. I certainly plan to make another dish or two soon – does anyone have recommendations?

If you wish to browse other South African recipes, check out Meeta’s Monthly Mingle – South Africa Roundup over at What’s For Lunch, Honey? Those dishes all look inviting!

Gluten-Free Bobotie, adapted from Martha Stewart

3 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, chopped finely

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped coarsely

2 T minced fresh ginger

Salt and pepper

1 t ground turmeric

1 1/2 T Madras curry powder

2 lbs ground beef or lamb (I used lean ground bison)

1/2 c (1 oz) slivered almonds, toasted

4 slices gluten-free bread, crusts removed (I used Udi’s whole grain sandwich bread)

1 3/4 c whole milk

2 T mango chutney (or apricot preserves)

2 T fresh lemon juice

4 large eggs

1/8 t freshly ground nutmeg

1 t finely grated lemon zest

4 dry bay leaves

Cilantro and mango chutney as accompaniments (Martha also suggests lemon or lime wedges and unsweetened coconut)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Add onions, apple, and ginger, and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes or until soft and golden brown. Add turmeric and curry powder and stir to combine. Add the ground meat, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in almonds and cook for 2 more minutes.

Tear the bread into large pieces and place in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let stand until the milk is absorbed. Add the bread mixture to the ground meat and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Stir in mango chutney and lemon juice, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed, adding salt and pepper.

Spoon ground meat mixture into a 6 to 8-cup shallow baking dish. Whisk eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest, and remaining milk in a medium bowl. Pour over ground meat mixture. Place bay leaves in dish, pressing into filling just a bit. Bake until set around edges and center is no longer runny, about 35 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with accompaniments and cinnamon basmati rice.

Serves 6.

Cinnamon Basmati Rice, adapted from Martha Stewart

1 T unsalted butter

1 c raw basmati rice, rinsed

1 whole bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 crushed green cardamom pod

2/3 c raisins

2 c water

salt and pepper

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and saute until each grain is shiny and coated with butter mixture. Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom pod, and raisins to saucepan. Add water and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to cook, covered, until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes more. Fluff and remove bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pod. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4-6.

26 Comments

Filed under Beef, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Lamb, Main Dishes, Rice

Kids in the Kitchen: Sausage and Biscuits

When Matt mentioned that he wanted to make sausage biscuits this weekend, my heart smiled. As I’ve gravitated more towards whole, natural foods, I stopped enjoying those corn syrup-laden, processed breakfast sausages that are available in the stores. (I know, I know, I could make my own, and I probably will some day, but corners have to be cut somewhere, sometimes!) But since I discovered Truth Hill Farm and their natural hot breakfast sausage, with no corn syrup, nitrites, or MSG,  I’m in love with sausage once again. I was glad Matt chose this breakfast option!

We made the biscuit recipe I’ve posted previously, subbing Pamela’s Pancake and Baking Mix for the gluten-free flours and of course, omitting the chives. We also used some lovely raw, whole milk from Lucky Layla farms – I am so glad to have raw milk available to me! I wish it was more widely available (like most of the States, it is only legal to sell raw milk on the farm property), but I am fortunate that the farm is only a brief detour on my way home from the office. Over the years, I’ve become less and less of a milk drinker. It just didn’t taste all that good to me, and while I’m not lactose intolerant, it just never made me feel “good”. But this stuff? It’s like liquid gold – creamy, sweet, and satisfying – and it is nourishing. (If you’re interested in finding a source of raw milk near you, and also learning more about the benefits of raw milk, check out realmilk.com.)

Anyway, back to the sausage and biscuits. I did make one minor error – I did not reduce the baking powder to compensate for leavening already in the Pamela’s mix. Whoops. They expanded and spread a bit more than we wanted, so a sausage biscuit sandwich wasn’t attainable. No matter – they still tasted light and flaky, and we still enjoyed them just the same! (I do need to nail down something besides a drop biscuit for sandwich-type situations, though.)

Check out the recipe for the biscuits here. Serve with your favorite sausage, and wash it all down with a glass of milk.

18 Comments

Filed under Baked goods, breakfast, Gluten-Free, Pork

Crawfish Etouffee

Last year, we held a crawfish boil for our neighborhood, partially funded by Foodbuzz as a 24,24,24 event. This year, while we didn’t get out with our neighbors (although our next-door-neighbor did come visit and chow down), we invited a bunch of friends and family to join in the fun. My husband boiled crawfish all afternoon while all of us enjoyed the heat (okay, well, enjoy is a bit of exaggeration – it was toasty!) and ate mudbugs until we popped. Even my dear friend Cindy from Jacob’s Reward Farm visited with her family. I took extra care to be sure that the crawfish were gluten-free by contacting Zatarain’s to ensure that the spice mixes we would use were safe. (They were – hooray!) Also available to munch on were burgers and hot dogs (not so gluten-free), chips and guacamole, cookies and homemade rice krispie treats, both brought by generous guests, and even some healthy gluten-free sweet treats – carrot cake bites. In our house, if we’re hosting an event, it’s guaranteed there will be LOTS of food!

Of course, many of our friends are still not big crawfish eaters, and so we had to send a few lucky guests home with a bag of crawfish or two. And I spent some time peeling all I could handle, just so I’d have the tails for a delicious meal – etouffee. Even before our party was over, I already was envisioning the next meal.

Etouffee is a relatively straightforward Cajun dish typically served with rice. It’s similar to gumbo, but it comes together much more quickly. The dish is greater than the sum of its parts – it tastes as though it had been simmering for hours. After a busy weekend and a long day of cleanup, this was exactly the meal we needed.

Crawfish Etouffee, adapted from Emeril LaGasse’s Louisiana Real and Rustic

1 stick (1/4 lb butter)

2 c diced onions

1 c diced celery

1/2 c diced green bell pepper

1 lb crawfish tails, peeled

2 bay leaves

1/2 T potato starch

1 c water

1 t kosher salt

1/4 t cayenne

2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

Melt butter in a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and bell pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until soft and slightly golden. Reduce heat to medium and add the bay leaves and crawfish and saute for another 7-8 minutes or until crawfish start to give off liquid.

Mix the potato starch together with the water and pour into saute pan. Add salt and cayenne and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in parsley and cook for another minute or two. Serve with steamed rice.

Serves 4.

23 Comments

Filed under Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Seafood