Monthly Archives: November 2010

Daring Bakers: Peach and Kumquat Crostata (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I was unaware whether I had ever actually eaten a crostata before. Simona explained that a crostata was an Italian tart made with pasta frolla, a shortbread crust made with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. It could be filled with preserves, cream, fresh fruit, ricotta, or a variety of other ingredients. As I am a lover of all things pie and tart-related, this sounded like a delicious challenge, especially since I wanted to make one that was still delicious, without wheat flour, sugar, or butter!

But then reality set in – when would I make such a dessert? For some of you that might follow me on FaceBook or know me, I recently switched jobs, and so I’ve been filling my days learning a new commute (this commute is longer than my old one), a new way of doing things, and trying to catch up on rest whenever I can. Oh, and that little thing called Thanksgiving was a big event as well – it always is. Not that I’m complaining. I love my new job, and it’s a great opportunity for me. And I very much love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays. Nevertheless, this has left little time for kitchen play lately, so I opted to have my crostata do double-duty, and I would serve it alongside the traditional pies for Thanksgiving dinner. Little did I know that it would ultimately steal the show.

If you recall, I preserved a great deal of peaches during the summer. I opted to use my preserves for this crostata. I ended up needing more preserves than I had, however, so I grabbed the only other preserves I had in the house – some no-sugar-added kumquat preserves. I opted to stir spoonfuls of the kumquat preserves in with the peach preserves, and the result was more than I’d hoped for. Along with a lovely dairy-free, gluten-free crust that was tender and delicious, the resulting tart brightened your tastebuds and was a pleasant, lighter end to a large Thanksgiving meal. And without refined sugar, it was a bit easier for those diabetics in my family to have their cake pie and eat it too! (Ha ha, I crack myself up!)

I can see other fruit crostatas in our near future. I still have blueberries frozen from the summer, and I have more peaches (not preserves) frozen as well. And next summer, these crostatas will appear in full force, I do believe! This crostata was well-praised by my family for Thanksgiving, so I imagine it would be welcomed anytime.

Peach and Kumquat Crostata

1 recipe gluten-free, dairy-free pie crust (recipe below)

2 c peach preserves (I made my own, refined sugar-free)

1/2 c kumquat preserves (you can substitute orange marmalade)

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare pie crust and roll out to fit into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (If no tart pan, you can also use a pie pan or regular tart pan, but the tart pan I bought was relatively inexpensive.) Press dough into pan as needed, and prick bottom with a fork. Combine preserves in a bowl, and spread out onto the crust evenly. With scraps of pie crust dough, roll out and make cut outs or cut into lattice strips, and lay over filling. Brush crust with beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Remove and allow to cool completely before removing from pan and cutting. (Cutting when warm will not allow the pectin in the fruit to “set up” and your filling will be more likely to ooze out.)

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pie Crust, adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

1 c white rice flour

1/2 c sorghum flour

1/2 c potato starch

3 T sweet white rice flour

1/3 t fine sea salt

7 T palm shortening, placed in freezer for about 20 minutes to harden

1 cold large egg

2 T apple cider vinegar

1 T agave nectar

1/4 c ice water

Whisk together rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, sweet white rice flour, and salt. Remove the shortening from the freezer and dice into small pieces. Place it evenly around the flour, and with a pastry blender, a fork, or your hands, mix until the flour has a mealy texture and the largest pieces of shortening are the size of small peas.

Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and agave to the egg and beat well. Pour egg mix into the flour mix and stir until just incorporated. Next, drizzle some of the water over the flour mixture and stir in, just until the dough starts to come together. Add more water as you need, but don’t make the dough too wet. It should look “shaggy”. Push the dough together with your hands and place on a large piece of parchment paper. Shape the dough into a ball, and flatten into a disc with your hands. Wrap the parchment paper around the dough and place in a zip-top bag and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or up to overnight.

If it’s been several hours since your dough was placed in the refrigerator, allow it to sit out on the counter for 15-20 minutes before working it. Otherwise, place between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out in a large circle about 1/8 inch thick. If the paper gets wrinkles in it, pull it up and place it back down again and keep rolling. If it cracks, wet your finger and repair the crack.

A trick to put your dough into the pie pan or tart pan – peel the top piece of parchment paper off of the dough, and turn the pan upside-down and place it over the pie dough. Slide your hand underneath the dough and the parchment paper, and place your other hand on top of the pie pan, and quickly flip the pan, dough, and parchment paper over all in one motion. Then, press the dough in a bit into the pan, and slowly and carefully remove the parchment paper. If the dough tears, repair it with your fingers. Once the paper is removed, you can finish pressing the dough into your pan as needed.



Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Kids in the Kitchen: Escargot and Turtle Soup

If you’ve been following along with Kids in the Kitchen for any length of time, I’m sure you can guess who was in the kitchen this time around by the title of the post. Most kids wouldn’t choose escargot and turtle to prepare. Brandan, however, thrives on trying new things. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was how readily the dishes were received by some other members of the family. Brittany actually expressed how excited she was to try escargot. (Matt, not so much, but he did try it, at least.) The turtle soup was also well-received, considering it was so foreign to the kids.

My husband and I are quite familiar with escargot. It’s one of our favorite indulgences, albeit something we rarely have an opportunity to enjoy. (And now, I hesitate to try to enjoy it with non-dairy butter, because I’m afraid it just won’t be the same. If any of my dairy-free friends have tried it and have advice, please share!) The kids, however, never tried it before and were eager. Brandan was surprised (and perhaps disappointed?) when he didn’t get to start with live snails. He was greeted instead by canned escargot and empty, clean snail shells. As for me, I would much rather skip the “nasty” part and would much prefer the easy route!

The turtle meat was difficult to source. I knew I saw it at one of our local Asian groceries at one point in time, but I visited a few days ago, and no luck. So I contacted a local seafood shop (Capt’n Dave’s Seafood Market) and was able to order the meat in time for this weekend. However, it certainly wasn’t cheap. The next “adventure” will certainly have to be a more budget-friendly meal, which, with Brandan’s tastes, will certainly require some negotiation.

The turtle soup required some time and prep work, but the easy and simplicity of the escargot offset that. But it was well worth it – the soup was a bit spicy, full of flavor, and the turtle meat emerged tender and delicious. (FYI, turtle meat is actually quite nice. The texture is similar to pork, in my mind, and the flavor just as mild.) The kids enjoyed it with french bread. But in their minds, the escargot stole the show. Buttery and garlicky, it was fun and delicious. I borrowed Jaden’s recipe at Steamy Kitchen, omitted the cognac, and it was perfect. If you eat dairy, this would be a great classic appetizer to impress.

For the escargot recipe, visit Steamy Kitchen here.

Gluten-Free Turtle Soup, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

2 lbs boneless turtle meat

2 3/4 t salt

3/4 t cayenne

6 c water

1/2 c grapeseed oil

1/2 c sweet white rice flour

1 1/2 c chopped onions

1/4 c chopped bell peppers

1/4 c chopped celery

3 bay leaves

1/2 t dried rubbed sage

2 T minced garlic

1/2 c crushed tomatoes

1/2 c Worcestershire sauce

3 T fresh lemon juice

1/2 c dry sherry

1/4 c fresh chopped parsley

1/2 c chopped green onions

4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

For garnish:

2 T chopped green onions

2 T chopped hard boiled eggs

Put the turtle meat in a large saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 t cayenne, and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Simmer for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a platter, reserving liquid. Chop the meat to 1/2 inch dice. In another large saucepan, heat oil and rice flour over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, for 6 minutes. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute another 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, sage, and garlic, and saute, stirring, another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and turtle meat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the remaining salt and cayenne, the reserved turtle stock, lemon juice, and sherry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add the parsley, green onions, and eggs and simmer for 45 minutes. Garnish with green onions and eggs.

Serves 6-8.

Don’t Forget! There’s still time to enter into the giveaway for Gluten-Free Holiday! Visit here and enter for your chance to win a copy of Kelly and Peter Bronski’s Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking or Jules E Dowler Shephard’s Free For All Cooking!


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

Gluten-Free Holiday: Gifts of Good Taste (Macadamia Almond Brittle and Pistachio Coconut Macaroons)

This giveaway is now closed! Check out the winners – announced over at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. While you’re there, read this week’s theme for Gluten-Free Holiday – Favorite Holiday Entrees and Side Dishes! Gluten-Free Holiday is off to a roaring start! Ricki at Diet, Dessert and Dogs kicked us off with tips to stay healthy during the holidays and shared some delicious truffles. And last week, Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily shared a no-fail pie crust recipe that I’m dying to try, and we linked our Thanksgiving favorites. And as you probably are aware, there were some excellent cookbooks given away at Gluten-Free Easily as well.

The winners for The Spunky Coconut Cookbook are:

craftbition (no blog), who left this comment “following spunkycoconut on Twitter! Thought I already was, but apparently not! (Thanks for the reminder)”

Danielle Musada of Avon

and Valerie of City|Life|Eats.

The winners for Make it Fast, Cook it Slow are: 

Rachel of My Munchable Musings

Jenny of Creative Cooking Gluten Free

and Ariana Anderson of The Frugally Rich Life.

Congratulations to the winners! I will also be offering up some excellent cookbooks for this week’s theme –  Gifts of Good Taste. But more on the giveaway in a minute.

Yes, I realize that Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet, and I’m already discussing edible holiday gifts. But if you’re like me, you love to plan ahead and have a lot of wonderful gift ideas ready to go. (or are reading this, hoping to gain a few ideas!) This week’s post does exactly that – it allows us to all share delicious, gluten-free edible gift ideas!

Food is so often an emotional thing. There are traditions that often go back for generations, especially around the holidays. Grandma bakes her famous pie, Mom makes the turkey “just so”, and of course, the endless casseroles, sweet potatoes, and other dishes comprise the meal that defines every family’s tradition. But it doesn’t stop there. Holidays are surrounded by gifts, and many of those are edible. But as most of us with food intolerances or allergies are aware, we can’t just eat “any ol'” cookie or treat shared at the holiday season. So when someone makes a special “safe” treat,  it’s that much more special. It’s truly a gift of love.

This is often where my true passion for gluten-free cooking shows. It’s around these times that people yearn for comfort, for family, for tradition. So this is when I work to present those who are dear to me something special and safe for them to eat, no matter their food restrictions. I want my family and friends to feel loved and feel as though they can still enjoy the holiday with as much celebration as they ever have. So I cook, and I bake.

Today, I have a few treats to share that would delight any gluten-free friend or family member. The first is a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan macadamia almond brittle. It’s deliciously sweet, with caramel and cinnamon notes and that lovely brittle crunch. If you make it, you might want to make double, to compensate for the amount you “test”. It’s pretty addictive.

The second is a healthier, but equally delicious cookie – a gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free pistachio coconut macaroon. This cookie is chewy, lightly sweet, nutty, and full of coconutty flavor. Also pretty darned addictive.

Both of these make excellent gifts, and would ship well without turning into crumbs, as many gluten-free cookies do. And just in case you forgot, I also shared some nut truffles (chocolate cherry, pecan pie and pistachio sesame) that would make excellent gifts as well. (however, they might not be as easy to ship, as they prefer to be chilled.) Of course, I can’t wait to see what ideas you share!

Macadamia Almond Brittle

¾ c macadamia nuts

¾ c almonds

1 t cinnamon

½ t kosher salt

3 c natural sugar (sugar in the raw)

1 ½ c water

1 T coconut oil

1 t baking soda

½ t almond extract

Grapeseed oil, for greasing the saucepan and spatula

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or buttered parchment paper (or spray the sheet with cooking spray). Set aside.

In a small skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the macadamia nuts and almonds until just beginning to color. Remove and roughly chop. In a small bowl, combine nuts with cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Brush oil all over the inside of a medium saucepan. In the saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, and then cover with lid and allow to cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Remove lid, turn heat down to medium, and stir. Place a candy thermometer in the saucepan, and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 265 degrees. Add nuts and coconut oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 295 degrees. Remove from heat, add baking soda and almond extract and stir vigorously. Turn out onto the baking sheet and spread out quickly with the spatula, making the brittle even and ensuring the nuts are even as well. Allow to cool completely, and then break into pieces.

Store in an airtight container.

Pistachio Coconut Macaroons, inspired by Diet, Dessert and Dogs

¼ c raw, shelled pistachios

2 T coconut flour

2 T flaxseed meal

Scant ¼ t kosher salt

1 c dried unsweetened shredded coconut

1 T extra-virgin coconut oil

2 T almond butter

¼ c agave nectar

1 t vanilla extract

½ t almond extract

2 T cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, add pistachios, coconut flour, flaxseed meal, and salt. Process until mixture resembles a nut meal (no pieces should be larger than a sesame seed). Add coconut and pulse once or twice to combine.

In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil and almond butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and add agave nectar and extracts. Stir in the pistachio-coconut mixture cocoa nibs.

Using a small spoon, scoop and roll small balls of dough, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place on the prepared baking sheet and flatten with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 11 minutes or until edges become golden brown. Allow to cool on baking sheet.

Makes 12-16 cookies. Store in an airtight container.

Okay, now it’s time for the giveaways!

The first giveaway is for 2 copies of Kelli Bronski and Peter Bronski’s Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking. Kelli is a trained chef, and Pete loves being in the kitchen as well. Together they created this cookbook, which has amazing recipes for everything from naan, pies, main dishes, and even ice cream. (They also have a great blog – No Gluten, No Problem – that shares wonderful food and information.) Even that lasagna on the cover has me drooling. This is certainly a book on my wish list!

The second giveaway is for 5 copies of Jules E Dowler Shepard’s Free For All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy. If you’re looking for recipes that address multiple food intolerances or allergies, this is definitely a tool worth having. The book boasts 125 recipes that are free from gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, and more, and they are kid-friendly.

What do you have to do to enter into these giveaways? Well, there are lots of ways to win! You can gain an entry for doing each of the following things:

– Link up a gluten-free edible gift recipe via the linky at the bottom of this post and leave a comment telling me what you’ve shared.

– Post about this giveaway on your blog or Facebook and leave me a comment telling me that you did.

– Subscribe to Tasty Eats At Home in a reader or in email, and leave a comment to tell me that you did so.

– Follow Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook.

– If by chance you have already read or purchased a copy of either book, leave an Amazon review for the book and leave a comment telling me you did so.

Next week is Thanksgiving, so we will have a week off from Gluten-Free Holiday. But the week after (December 2), Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang will be sharing favorite Christmas and Hanukkah Entrees and Sides. Be sure to visit and link up your favorites for more chances to win great cookbooks!

Link up your favorite gluten-free gifts via the link below.

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…


Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Quick and Easy

Daring Cooks: Broccoli “Cheese” Souffle

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

While I’m no souffle expert, I have made a dessert souffle a few times (a banana, which I blogged about, and Gordon Ramsay’s chocolate recipe, which for some reason, didn’t make it on here!). So I wanted to try a savory souffle. Most savory souffles I’ve seen focus heavily on cheese. Since I don’t eat dairy, this seemed to be a bit of a challenge. When I came across a recipe at Eating Well for a broccoli goat cheese souffle, I thought perhaps that I could substitute Daiya for the goat cheese, and since there were other flavors included in the recipe, that it would still turn out well. It was an experiment, but when am I not up for an experiment?

I doubled the Dijon mustard to boost the flavor, and substituted potato starch for the flour. It was great fun watching the souffles rise – I turned the light on in the oven and admired the show. (Conversely, it was not as much fun trying to capture photos before the souffle settled – from the first photo to the last, you can see the slow fall of the dish! Definitely a race against time.) We enjoyed our souffles with a steak, and they were a perfectly light and delicious counterpart. Next time, I might opt to increase the Dijon and broccoli even more to boost the flavor, but it was still a lovely dish.

If you’ve never tried souffles before, and they seem intimidating, don’t be discouraged! They’re a lot easier than their reputation suggests. And even if they don’t rise as much as they should, you still have a lovely mousse to enjoy. This was a great Daring Cooks challenge!

Broccoli “Cheese” Souffle, adapted from Eating Well

1 1/2 c finely chopped broccoli florets

2 T grapeseed oil

2 T potato starch

1 1/4 c non-dairy milk (I used half almond milk, half coconut milk)

2 t Dijon mustard

1/4 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1/4 t salt

1/2 c Daiya mozzarella or other non-dairy cheese

3 large eggs, separated

2 large egg whites

1/4 t cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 4 10-ounce ramekins with cooking spray.

Place broccoli in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or until broccoli is tender-crisp. Set aside.

Melt oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in potato starch and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Add non-dairy milk, Dijon mustard, thyme and salt and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in Daiya and 3 egg yolks. Transfer to large bowl.

Beat 5 egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, spoon half of the egg whites into the milk mixture and gently fold in. Add the other half of the egg whites and the broccoli and fold in just until no white streaks remain. Transfer to prepared ramekins.

Bake on a baking sheet until puffed, firm to the touch, and an instant-read thermometer reaches 160 degrees F, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.


Filed under Appetizers, Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Gluten-Free Holiday: Thanksgiving Favorites – Vegan Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

This week’s Gluten-Free Holiday is all about Thanksgiving Favorites, and is hosted by Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily. Shirley is sharing a delicious no-fail pie crust over at Gluten-Free Easily, and is giving away multiple copies of two amazing books. Just look at how awesome this pie crust is. And no rolling of the dough. I love Shirley for her super-simple recipes! Definitely check it out. She also shares other amazing Thanksgiving recipes and tips that are sure to make your big day easier!

photo courtesy of Shirley Braden of Gluten-Free Easily


Vegan Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole


But first, let me share with you about a new-and-improved version of a Thanksgiving favorite in our home. As much as I love to experiment with recipes, sometimes (at least, with our family), Thanksgiving isn’t the time to spring a “new” version of a favorite. At least, not with everyone. And if it’s a variation, it still has to have the “feel” of the original dish, or else I might risk someone missing out on their once-a-year comfort foods. My broccoli cheese rice casserole is one such dish. I’m sure you’ve heard of the dish before; it ranks up there with green bean casserole in popularity around this time of year. And traditionally, it’s a dish filled with processed ingredients – a can of cream of mushroom soup, some processed cheese food, and frozen broccoli. In years past, I improved the dish (and made it gluten-free) by replacing the canned soup with a homemade mushroom soup. Everyone loved the depth of flavor that soup provided, and I couldn’t make anything else but that dish.

Fast forward to this year. This is my first dairy-free Thanksgiving. I knew I would be making a broccoli cheese rice casserole regardless, but I truly wanted to partake in the dish as well. In the back of my mind, I knew that if my dairy-free version failed, I’d concede and make the processed-cheese version. But I had to try to make it gluten-free and vegan, and make it taste good enough to please the dairy-eaters at the Thanksgiving table. Making a dairy-free “cream” of mushroom soup would be pretty easy. But a dairy-free version of the famous processed cheese? How would I go about accomplishing that?

This is when I remembered a post on The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. Ali was reviewing Alisa Fleming’s book, Go Dairy Free, and she posted a recipe for dairy-free nacho cheese sauce. I’d made it before (for nachos), and it was quite tasty. I opted to try it as an “unprocessed” processed cheese substitute. And to my delight, it worked! The casserole was so similar in texture and taste, I was delighted. When Matt came into the kitchen, the casserole caught his eye, and he asked for a bite. Of course, I indulged him, and he loved it. My husband exclaimed that if I hadn’t told him it was dairy-free, he wouldn’t have known the difference. It was tasty. My switcharoo had worked!

So while this is no longer an easy “dump-and-go” recipe, it is much improved from the preservative-laden, gluten and dairy-filled version of the original casserole. (Besides, in my mind, Thanksgiving is a time to share dishes that might take a bit more labor in the name of love!) A hint – the soup and the cheese sauce can be made ahead of time and frozen. Just thaw and use in the recipe as usual. Also, the casserole can be assembled and refrigerated overnight, keeping the actual work on Thanksgiving day to a minimum. This is my plan, as I also am in charge of the turkey (I use Alton Brown’s Good Eats turkey recipe every year – it is always so moist and delicious, I hesitate to want to change!) and a myriad of other gluten-free dishes!

What are some of your gluten-free Thanksgiving favorites? What will you make this year? Visit over at Gluten-Free Easily and share, and enter for a chance to win these amazing cookbooks:Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’Dea

and The Spunky Coconut Cookbook by Kelly V. Brozyna

 To enter, head on over to Gluten-Free Easily and check it out!


Vegan Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

 ¼ c Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread (or grapeseed oil)

½ c chopped yellow onion

16 oz frozen chopped broccoli

1 c vegan “condensed” cream of mushroom soup (recipe follows)

1 ¼ c vegan nacho “cheese”

2 c cooked long-grain rice (I used Basmati)

¼ t celery salt

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 c Daiya cheese (or other non-dairy cheese)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt buttery spread in a large sauté pan at medium meat. Add onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Add broccoli and sauté, stirring occasionally, until no longer frozen. Add soup, nacho cheese, and rice. Stir and allow to warm through. Add celery salt, salt, and pepper to taste. Transfer to an 8X8 baking dish. Sprinkle with Daiya cheese. (can be made ahead and refrigerated at this point, just cover with plastic wrap.)

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Serves 6-8.


Vegan “Condensed” Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 T grapeseed oil

¾ c chopped shallots

1 lbs white mushrooms, sliced

1 lbs crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 t fresh thyme leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 c cream sherry

3 T potato starch

1 c vegetable broth

½ c almond milk

¼ t freshly ground nutmeg

Juice of ½ lemon

In a large saucepan, heat oil to medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add mushrooms and thyme leaves, and sauté for 7-8 minutes or until mushrooms release their juices and get soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add sherry and cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices are nearly all evaporated. Add potato starch and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add broth and stir. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and puree the soup using a stick blender (or puree in batches using a regular blender), and place back over heat. Add almond milk, nutmeg, and lemon juice and stir well. Season to taste with salt as needed.

(For a regular, non-condensed soup, add an additional 2-3 cups of broth)


Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Rice, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Kids in the Kitchen: “Texas Red” Chili

I love chili. As I should – I’m a Texan. It’s practically mandatory to be passionate about chili. While I’m not as strict on what “is” and “is not” a chili as some (as evidenced by my turkey chili recipe, a chili that includes both beef and beans, and the vegetarian bean and pumpkin chili that made it into the Foodista Best of Foodblogs cookbook), I do truly appreciate what most consider a “real” chili around these parts; commonly known as “Texas Red.”

“Texas Red” has no beans. It has no tomatoes. It is most commonly made with beef, and it’s spicy, but in a good chili, the dried chiles add more than just heat – they add such a depth of flavor that nothing compares. For this reason, I try to stock up on a large variety of dried chiles. Some are sweet, some are smoky, and some are indeed hot enough to burn your tongue right off, if you eat too much. But blend them just right, and you have spicy, delicious Texas love in a bowl.

Brittany’s eyes shined when I mentioned chili, as it was her time to cook. (A girl after my own heart!) Originally, we were going to have some guests over this past weekend, and chili was on the menu. But when our guests cancelled, Brittany insisted we still make plans to cook chili. She loves it. So in spite of the bit of work, the spicy fingers, and the long wait, she happily prepared chili with me.

Spicy fingers? Why, yes. Of course, if I planned ahead, I’d have plastic gloves (shame on me!), but we seeded and toasted those dried chiles, and in spite of washing, a bit of the heat remained on our hands. But we didn’t mind, because the aroma of the chili bubbling away filled the house all afternoon. We left (leaving the boys to make sure our chili didn’t burn on the stove) with the chili at a low temperature, and took Brittany to her drill team performance at a middle school football game. As we returned to the house, and the last rays of sun were leaving the sky, we were welcomed again to that enticing aroma. We baked a bit of cornbread as fast as we could, and sat down to eat.

And eat we did! I think we were more than stuffed (it’s hard to put down your spoon!) when we finished. Fall had officially arrived in our home, because there was chili.

Gluten-Free Texas Red

note: If you can’t find the varieties of chiles shown here, don’t fret. Any combination of chiles will work, but mind the heat – some chiles are hotter than others!

8 dried anchos

5 dried guajillos

4 New Mexico chile peppers

2 dried chipotles

2 T beef tallow, lard, or bacon grease

5 lbs chuck roast, cubed into ¼ inch dice

1 large onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 c brewed coffee

1 12 oz bottle GF beer (or beef broth)

2 c water

½ t cinnamon

½ t ground cloves

½ t ground allspice

1 t ground coriander

½ t cayenne

2 T cumin

3 chipotles in adobo

1/3 tablet Mexican chocolate (such as Abuelita)

Salt to taste

Chopped onion, cilantro, and cheese (or Daiya for dairy-free) for garnish

Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Heat a dry cast iron skillet to medium heat and toast the chiles until fragrant, about 1 minute. Cover with water and bring to a boil briefly. Reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer while you work on the rest of the chili.

In a large stockpot, heat beef tallow, lard, or bacon grease over medium high heat. Add beef (you might have to do this in batches) and brown, stirring occasionally. Remove and repeat with other batches. Remove and set aside. Add onions and garlic to the stockpot and sauté for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Add back the beef, and add the coffee, beer, water, and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

By now, your chiles should have softened. Drain the chiles, and add them to a blender along with 1-2 cups of water. Add the chipotle chiles. Puree in the blender until smooth. Add the chile puree and the Mexican chocolate to the stockpot and stir in.

Allow chili to simmer for 4-5 hours, adding salt, checking seasoning and adjusting as needed. Add more water if it becomes too thick. When ready to serve, check seasoning once more, and serve with desired garnishes.

Makes 6-8 servings.


Filed under Beef, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Soups

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Simply…Gluten-Free

This month, I chose Carol of Simply…Gluten-Free for Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger. Carol has an amazing talent – for food AND photography. I am a regular reader of her blog, and she always manages to post things that make my mouth water. So much so, many times, that I’ve actually prepared several of her recipes in the past. For example, I consulted her blog when I needed to make croquembouche. Her slow-roasted salmon is the easiest and tastiest salmon I’ve made. Before I went dairy and corn-free, I made her polenta pot pies, and oh my, were they tasty! And I actually prepared her chicken piccata for this Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, but by the time it was ready, the sun had set, and the photography gods were not with me. So I used that as an excuse to whip up one more recipe, one I’d really been drooling over – her pistachio cookies.

I love pistachios. In a big way. So when I saw these cookies, and read how easy they were to make, I knew I had to make them. I’m glad I did, because they’re a chewy, not-to-sweet, green delight! I can see these gracing a Christmas cookie platter soon – they’re not the flashiest cookie, but then again, I was never into flashy. I’m all about flavor over fancy. These babies certainly deliver.

So if you haven’t already become familiar with Carol over at Simply…Gluten-Free, check out her blog! Next recipe on my list from Simply…Gluten-Free: pistachio gelato. Definitely digging the green theme.


Filed under Baked goods

Gluten-Free Holiday – Healthier Through The Holidays

Today is the first day of our Gluten-Free Holiday! Are you as excited as I am? Ricki over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs is hosting this week. The theme is Healthier Through The Holidays. You should definitely head over there and check it out, and link up your tips for maintaining your health through the holidays (while still celebrating!), and enter for a chance to win The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Sergesten and Tom Malterre, or The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal.

What do I do to maintain my health (and weight) through the holidays, without being a humbug? I do what I do all year – I plan as much as possible. During hectic times of the year, I plan very quick and simple meals (many times using the slow cooker, or cooking in batches when I do have time, and incorporating the leftovers in various meals throughout the week) so that meal time doesn’t become a huge drag on my stress levels or my schedule. I generally plan meals for a week at a time, taking into consideration what our schedule looks like. I try not to reach for processed foods, but when time is short, I do allow myself shortcut ingredients, as long as they are generally foods that are based on whole, natural ingredients (such as canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, or the occasional gluten-free bread). I focus on incorporating healthy proteins and lots of vegetables, so that my diet doesn’t fall short on nutrition. Sounds complicated? It really isn’t. Dinner might be as simple as a grilled chicken breast and a salad, or a piece of salmon and some simmered carrots and steamed kale, or this kale salad. (Check out my Quick and Easy category for more ideas!)

I allow myself indulgences, but I don’t use the “It’s the holidays!” excuse as a reason to shove every cookie, pie, cake, or other treat in my mouth. If I know a celebration is coming up, I make sure to eat well the rest of the day, so I won’t feel guilty about indulging at “celebration” time. Of course, when you can’t eat gluten or dairy, it does limit the amount of mindless indulgence to a degree (the cookies, pies, and cakes at the office and most holiday parties are off-limits), but if you’re anything like me, you’re more than willing to whip up an indulgent treat that you can have in the kitchen, which can present issues if you don’t exercise moderation. I save myself by giving away these indulgent treats if they tempt me too much. (My coworkers thank me, or at least I think they do. They might secretly curse me for indulging them!)

Keeping up your workout routine is also key. During the holidays, often we sit – sit in the car or on a plane while traveling, sit at the homes of friends and families, and sit after overeating our holiday dinners. Make sure you are active whenever possible – that activity will make you feel better, and help keep your health (and weight) in check. A workout routine doesn’t mean you have to slave away at the gym, if that’s not your thing. A daily walk will do a world of good. You can also keep up your strength with simple calisthenics – pushups, squats, crunches and/or planks, tricep dips with a chair, and so on. These can be done anywhere, even in a hotel room, so no excuses! Check out Mark’s Daily Apple for more ideas on maintaining fitness easily – he has a free Primal BluePrint Fitness ebook available, and it’s a great tool.

And lastly, take time to relax! The holidays are the most stressful time of year for a lot of people. No matter how busy you are, make sure you’re taking time for yourself to relax and destress. Realize that you can’t be everywhere or do everything for everyone. (I have to remind myself of this often!) Simplify as much as you can, and take the time to enjoy the real joy of the holidays – time with friends, family, and loved ones. After all, that’s what it’s all about, right?

So head on over to Diet, Dessert and Dogs and check out (and link up!) other great recipes, tips, and ideas for staying healthier through the holidays. Besides, you can enter for a chance to win some great books!


Filed under Healthy Meals