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Archive for the ‘Gluten Free (or can be adjsted for gluten free eating)’ Category

IMG_1717Our butternut vine has found its second wind. I had an idea for a lentil soup with butternut squash in it, and it was so delicious we couldn’t even believe it. I’ve been instructed to use all of our butternuts this way.

VEGETARIAN FRIENDS, of course you can make this without the meats. Just use some olive oil to brown the onions, and then use vegetable broth instead of beef stock. I would not, however, recommend fake bacon. Ever.

Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Kale

1 onion, chopped

6 oz bacon, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 package hot Italian sausage, cut in small pieces

4 celery stalks, chopped

1 large butternut squash, peeled, cleaned, and cut in 1/2- to 1-inch chunks

4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped

8 cups low sodium beef broth (preferably home made, from the bones of a cow named Bessie)

1 bunch kale, sliced

8 sage leaves, sliced

1 Tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp pepper

salt, to taste

1 Tbsp paprika

hot pepper flakes, to taste

1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 cup dry French green lentils

1/4 cup dry bulgur

  • Place bacon chunks in large heavy bottomed pan on medium heat while you chop up your onion and garlic.
  • Add onion and garlic to pot and cook until bacon has browned and onions start to caramelize, stirring frequently.
  • Add sausage. Either brown the sausage separately ahead of time if you want to drain off the juices, or just add it directly to the pot and cook through, stirring frequently.
  • Add celery at the same time as the sausage, or as soon as you have it chopped. Cook until celery is wilty.
  • Add the butternut chunks, and stir.
  • Add the tomatoes, kale, and then the broth.
  • Add spices, and bring to a boil.
  • When the kale has wilted to make room in the pot for the lentils and bulgur, add them.
  • NOTE: this soup gets better as it sits in the fridge – boy are you in for a treat!
  • **VEGETARIAN FRIENDS, of course you can make this without the meats. Just use some olive oil to brown the onions, and then use vegetable broth instead of beef stock. I would not, however, recommend fake bacon. Ever.

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    Yep, that's my new Kitchenaid Mixer in the background! I love her - her name is Lola.

    Yep, that's my new Kitchenaid Mixer in the background! I love her - her name is Lola.

    Well, the time has come. I can no longer deny that peach season is coming to an end. I’m sad about it, but all is not lost – you can make smoothies with those mealy peaches that you can’t bring yourself to snack on because it’s too depressing.

    Aromatic Peach Smoothie

    4 mealy peaches, peeled

    1 cup goat yogurt

    1 Tbsp orange flower water

    1 tsp cardamom

    1/4 tsp vanilla extract

    1/4 tsp almond extract

    milk or water to thin to desired consistency

    • Place first 6 ingredients in blender.
    • Blend.
    • Add enough milk or water to achieve desired consistency.
    • Drink fresh, or refrigerate overnight (it’s better the second day).

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    The stuff in the back is the peppers and eggplant (no sausage, since I made it as a side dish for the meatloaf)

    The stuff in the back is the peppers and eggplant (no sausage, since I made it as a side dish for the meatloaf)

    This is a delicious versatile side dish without the sausage, or a delicious main dish with the sausage.

    Peppers & Eggplant (& Sausage)

    OPTIONAL: 1 lb spicy Italian sausage, cut in chunks, browned in a large heavy bottomed pan, and then the fat poured off

    2 – 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1 onion, sliced

    1/2 tsp salt

    6 cloves garlic, minced

    2 – 4 Japanese eggplants, quartered lengthwise, and then chopped

    3 bell peppers, chopped (yellow, red, and/or orange)

    2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

    1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    red pepper flakes, to taste

    • OPTIONAL: Cut sausage into chunks, brown in a heavy bottomed pot, remove from pot, and then pour off the oil. (Another option is to leave the sausage juice in the pan and use that to brown the onions. This is a delicious option, but some people just don’t like sausage juice.)
    • Place olive oil in pan, heat over medium high heat, and then add onions and salt.
    • Stir onions occasionally until they get wilty, then add garlic.
    • Continue to stir occasionally as onions and garlic caramelize.
    • Add eggplant and peppers, stir, and cover mixture.
    • Let the nightshades cook for about 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
    • Add the parsley, pepper, red pepper flakes, and sausage, and cook uncovered for about another 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
    • When the nightshades have reached the desired tenderness, serve with some nice crusty french bread, or over polenta.

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    I think Meliza originally found this recipe in O magazine. It’s delicious! When I made it, we had a whole bunch of smoked salmon that we had made and screwed up because we followed a recipe for a brine that made the salmon taste more like a salt lick than the delicious smoked salmon we like to make and snack on. Since this was specifically for salads involving that salty salmon, I omitted the salt. This made for some very delicious salads. Another delicious salad addition when using this dressing is fresh corn, sliced off the cob and thrown into your salad bowl.

    Ranch Dressing

    1 clove garlic, very finely minced

    1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

    1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

    2 scallions, finely chopped

    1 Tbsp chives, finely chopped

    1/2 cup buttermilk

    1/3 cup sour cream

    1 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    • Place all ingredients in a jar or sealable container that is good for pouring.
    • Shake well.
    • Pour over salad.

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    This post has been on hold since July when things got hectic because that guy Dan proposed to me and then we launched straight into wedding planning. Fortunately, September is a good month for barbecues, and this potato salad is fantastic for barbecues! (Picture will be added later – I forgot my camera at someone’s house last weekend, and that’s where the pictures are.)

    ===================

    My grandma made the best potato salad, but I can never leave well enough alone so I added a few things. I believe I have maintained the integrity of the dish, however, with the perfectly balanced flavors and textures of big chunks of red potato and hard boiled eggs, and a nice creamy sauce. We had this with Dan’s smoked ribs and our home made barbecue sauce and, let me tell you, THAT was a match made in heaven!

    Grandma’s Potato Salad, with a Twist

    1. Boil the potatoes, and then dress them while they’re hot. Here’s what you’ll need:

    2.5 lbs red potatoes (as fresh as possible so the skin is still tender), scrubbed, bad spots cut off, and cut in 1-inch cubes (do not peel)

    Large 8 – 10 quart stock pot

    Enough water to cover the potatoes, plus about 2 inches more

    1/8 cup salt (for boiling the potatoes)

    1/4 cup cider vinegar (to dress the potatoes after they’ve boiled, but while they’re still hot)

    1/8 cup olive oil (to dress the potatoes after they’ve boiled, but while they’re still hot)

    • Pour a few cups of water into the stock pot to throw the potatoes into as you chop them. My mom told me this prevents them from getting gray. I never questioned it; I just do it and the potatoes never get gray, so do with this information what you will, as I cannot explain the chemistry behind it and have never not done it.
    • When you have cut all of the potatoes and they are in the stock pot, make sure you have covered them with water, plus about 2 more inches above that level.
    • Use a larger stock pot than you need in order to prevent a big foamy mess on your stove. You should have at least 4 inches of clearance between the top of the water, and the lid.
    • Add salt.
    • Cover pot, and place over high heat.
    • Keep a close eye on the pot, as potatoes always look sweet and innocent, and then they suddenly boil over.
    • If you’re bored, hard boil your eggs and start chopping scallions as you wait.
    • As soon as the potatoes feel a bit tender (but just before you think they’re perfectly done), pour them into a large colander. They will continue to cook after you drain them, which is why you want to drain them before they taste perfectly done.
    • Transfer potatoes back into the pot, and pour the cider vinegar and olive oil over them.
    • Place in fridge to chill and marinate overnight.

    2. Hard boil the eggs. Here’s what you’ll need for that:

    10 chicken eggs (preferably brown, cage free, hormone free, antibiotic free, made by happy chickens)

    2 -3 qt sauce pan

    Enough cold water to cover the eggs

    • Carefully place eggs in pot, and cover with tap water.
    • Place pot on stove, and heat over medium to medium-high heat to rolling boil.
    • Boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat, pour off water, and run cold water over the eggs.
    • Crack and peel eggs while warm (it seems to be easier when they’re warm, and then they’re easier to store in the fridge overnight when they’re out of their shells).
    • Store in fridge overnight.

    3. Make the Dressing

    1/2 cup sour cream

    1/4 cup mayonnaise (I like the Trader Joe’s organic kind)

    1 – 2 Tbsp crumbled Roquefort (optional)

    Fresh dill to taste, coarsely chopped (optional)

    Fresh ground black pepper to taste

    • Place mayo, sour cream, and Roquefort in a small bowl and mix until smooth.
    • Add dill and pepper in bowl and mix.

    4. Assemble the Best Potato Salad Ever:

    Chilled potatoes (from step 1)

    Chilled eggs (from step 2)

    1 bunch of scallions, chopped

    Dressing (from step 3)

    • Place chilled potatoes and eggs in a large bowl.
    • Chop scallions and add to potato/egg bowl.
    • Pour dressing over potatoes, eggs, and scallions.
    • Stir with a large spoon to distribute dressing.
    • Snack on some while you’re nice and hungry.

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    100_1256I went apricot picking over the weekend, so I decided to use a bunch of them in a black rice salad. I’d had a delicious black rice salad at a cooking group dinner, but could not get a hold of the recipe or the chef, so I figured it out myself.

    Black Rice Apricot Salad

    1 cup black rice

    1 3/4 cups water

    1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp cumin

    1/4 tsp cayenne

    1/4 cup dried cranberries

    1 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)

    1 tsp sesame oil

    1 T balsamic vinegar

    1 cup fresh apricots, pitted and sliced

    2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

    2 Tbsp pine nuts

    2 Tbsp sunflower seeds

    5 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced

    5 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced

    1 T fresh parsley, chopped

    1 T fresh chives, chopped

    • Place rice in colander and rinse until water runs clear.
    • Transfer rice to pot, and add water, pepper, salt, cumin, and cayenne.
    • Bring contents of pot to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 35 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
    • Add vinegar and oil (or butter) while rice is hot.
    • Cover, and allow to cool (maybe about an hour or so).
    • When rice is cool, transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and then stir.
    • Refrigerate.
    • This dish is best served cold, and it gets better as it sits, so if you can make it a day ahead, that’s the way to go.

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    Ostrich Egg Frittataspanolouffle with Black Rice Salad

    Ostrich Egg Frittataspanolouffle with Black Rice Salad

    When I found out that Whole Foods was selling ostrich eggs (thanks for the heads up, Monica), I instantly had a vision of a frittata-esque dish. Then, I looked through my latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated and saw a recipe for Tortilla Española. I decided to use this as inspiration, as I thought the subtle flavors of potatoes and red onion would allow us to taste the flavor of the ostrich egg, which I’d read taste different from chicken eggs.We noticed that the ostrich egg had a delicate, almost sweet flavor. I’m not sure it’s really worth 10x the price on any kind of a regular basis, but it was definitely worth it to try it out, and maybe for some sort of special occasion. The one ostrich egg was roughly equivalent to a dozen chicken eggs, and boy was it hard to break into that thick shell. Christin took pictures of me struggling with the thing. First of all, you really have to whack it, and it’s as if you’re whacking a dinner plate – bits of shell flew everywhere. I ended up just prying open a large enough hole that I could pour the egg out.

    I should have used a wider pot for this, but it was kind of fun to eat a really tall Tortilla Española – Frittata – Souffle hybrid, so I’m not sorry I used my old standby 5.5 quart Creuset pot for the job.

    Ostrich Egg Frittataspañolouffle

    6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

    8 small Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced with skin on (preferably from Holly’s CSA box)

    2 tsp salt

    ½ tsp cayenne

    1 tsp paprika

    1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    1 ostrich egg (or a dozen chicken eggs, or probably 8 duck eggs)

    1 Tbsp cream

    ¼ cup swiss cheese, shredded

    ¼ cup provolone, shredded

    ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

    • Preheat oven to 375.
    • Place olive oil in heavy bottomed, 5.5 quart or larger, oven safe pan over medium heat.
    • Slice onion and place in pan, stirring occasionally. Add salt.
    • Scrub and slice potatoes, and add to pan.
    • When potatoes and onions have started to brown, add your spices, then cover and cook until potatoes are tender.
    • While potatoes are cooking, whack and pry open your egg, pour into a bowl, and whisk with cream.
    • Add cheeses and parsley and whisk once more (I forgot to do this before adding to the pan, which is why you can’t see the parsley floating around in the picture – it would have been easier if I’d remembered to do this before pouring the egg into the pan).
    • Cover pan and place in oven. Cook for about 45 minutes (check at about 30 minutes), or until the egg springs back when you poke it in the center.
    100_1241
    Check out the size of this thing!

    100_1242

    100_1243
    After whacking the bejeezes out of it, I finally have a hole I can pry open.

    100_1244
    Pouring the egg out of its shell.

    100_1245
    That’s a big egg.
    100_1246
    Whisking the egg.
    The egg is now in the pot!
    The egg is now in the pot!
    It’s a masterpiece! (Or at least the tallest frittata Sasha's ever seen)
    It’s a masterpiece! (Or at least the tallest frittata Sasha’s ever seen)

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