Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gluten Free Spicy Potatoes and Cauliflower

Besides holiday meals, I still plan on keeping things vegetarian and gluten free for the foreseeable future.  I was once a vegetarian... back in the day.  My vegetarian diet lasted for 5 of my adolescent years; until I went away to college, had to rely on a meal plan, and would've starved for lack of vegetarian options.  Now, at 36, I'm getting back into it.  Back then it was all about living a kill-free, chill lifestyle, and now it's more about staying healthy (not that a kill-free diet isn't still a nice rationale for being vegetarian).

This cauliflower and potato dish recipe is enough to feed 4 as a main meal, or 8 as an appetizer.  There's a bit more prep than I like, but the finished product is just too good to cut corners and miss out.  Enjoy!

  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 10 tblsp. peanut or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 fresh green chilli (the hot ones), seeded and finely chopped (WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER)
  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin (or cumin seeds)
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced or cut into shreds
  • 4 tblsp. fresh coriander (or parsley), finely chopped
  • salt

Cooking Directions
  1. Cook the potatoes in their skins in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes, or until just tender (which means you can put a fork in them easily, but the potato won't fall off the fork). Drain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Heat 6 tblsp. of the oil in a frying pan or wok. When hot, add the ground cumin, coriander, tumeric, cayenne pepper and chilli. Let the spices sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add the cauliflower bits and about 8 tblsp. water. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, for 6-8 minutes.  
  4. Add the potatoes and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and remove from heat.
  5. Heat the remaining 4 tblsp. of oil in a small frying pan. When hot, add the cumin and garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Pour the mixture over the vegetables. 
  6. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander or parsley and serve immediately.

Gluten Free Peruvian Quinoa Stew

I've cooked up a few nice dishes using quinoa in the past.  Once for a cold and fruity salad, and another as an accompaniment for baked fish.  This vegetarian gluten free meal calls for a bit of prep and chopping, but in the end it's all worth it:)

It's the day after x-mas and New Years 2013 is right around the corner.  Make sure to add this to your New Year's Resolution healthy eating meal list; it's a keeper!

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tblsp. oil (vegetable or coconut)
  • 2 cups onions (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 celery stalk (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (cut diagonally into 1/4 inch slices)
  • 1 bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup zucchini (cubed)
  • 2 cups undrained canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water or GF vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. fresh or 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • pinch of cayenne (or more if it's what you like)
  • salt
  • fresh cilantro (optional)
  • grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Cooking Directions
  1. Using a fine strainer, rinse your quinoa well.  Place it in a pot with the water (1 cup) and cook, covered, on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until soft. Set aside.
  2. Take out a covered pot. As the quinoa is cooking, saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add the celery and carrots to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, and water or GF stock. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne, and oregano, and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes (until the vegetables are tender).
  5. Stir the cooked quinoa into the stew and add salt to taste. Top with cilantro and grated cheese if you like.
  6. Serve up and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gluten Free Red Fried Rice

It's the end of the academic semester, I have about a week and a half left of grading papers and tests, going to meetings, and organizing the mess in my office that has accumulated over the past 4 months.  And then my winter break begins!  I'm seriously looking forward to having some free time to fill.  I plan to get on the mountains to hike and snowboard as much as the weather allows, finish up a few lingering home projects, and spend some time visiting friends I've neglected during the school semester.  I also plan on learning how to create some memorable vegetarian meals and a few new desserts to add to my culinary repertoire; something I've already begun.

This healthy vegetarian dish is very easy to prepare and cook.  It's quite tasty and can be eaten for any meal of the day.  Although I made this a main meal, this is a great side dish as well.  Feel free to add some diced hot pepper and experiment with the amounts of salt and pepper you add.  Although the directions call on you to add the salt and pepper at the end of the process, you may want to season throughout. Enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 tblsp coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion (chopped)
  • 2 red peppers (seeded & chopped)
  • 1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Directions
  • Either combine 3 cups of water and the rice in a rice cooker and press the "on" button, or... wash the rice under cold water. Drain. Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add rice and cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • While your rice is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a wok (or deep pan/pot) until very hot (medium/high heat). Add the chopped onions and red pepper and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.  
  • Add the halved cherry or grape tomatoes and continue to stir fry for another 3 minutes.
  • Pour the beaten eggs in all at once and let cook on top for 30 seconds before you stir it all together. 
  • Drain the cooked rice (if not using a rice cooker) and add to the wok.  Toss the rice over the heat with the vegetable/egg mixture for another 3 minutes.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gluten Free Chicken Fiorentina

Nothing exemplifies comfort food more than an aromatic herbed chicken dish like the one I'm about to share with you.  This recipe takes a little more than an hour from start to finish, but is worth every second of your time.  When you rub the salt and pepper into the chicken skin and flesh, make sure to cover every bit of chicken. Don't be lazy during this step, for your attention to detail in spicing it up will pay happy dividends when the fork finally meets your mouth:)

Feel free to boil up your own potatoes and mash them up as you see fit.  I, on the other hand, went the easy route by using Idahoan Four Cheese Instant Mashed Potatoes.  They state "gluten free" and are super easy and fast to make, and actually taste pretty good.  Also, cook using the same white wine that you'll enjoy drinking with your meal. In other words, pick a tasty white wine that's made for drinking, not cooking.

You're going to love the way this dish fills your house with the warming scent of rosemary and chicken. Enjoy!

  • 1-2 pounds of Chicken; enough chicken pieces to individually cover the bottom of the big pot you'll be cooking with
  • 4-5 thick sliced spring (green) onions
  • 1 cup white wine
  • enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your cooking pot
  • 1 tblsp. fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup gluten free vegetable, chicken or beef broth
  • salt and pepper

Cooking Directions
  1. Cut off any loose, hanging fat from chicken.  Rub chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Really get the salt and pepper all over the skin, flesh, and into every crevice. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in your cooking pot (medium-high heat). Once hot, add the chicken and arrange so that each piece has one side completely cooking in the oil.  Saute the chicken until golden brown and turn over.
  3. Add the chopped spring onions and rosemary, and saute for another 4 minutes.
  4. Pour in your white wine, let it cook and reduce for 3 or so minutes.  Add the broth, reduce the flame to medium-low, cover and gently cook for about 35 minutes.
  5. Add the grated lemon rind, cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Serve it up hot with some mashed potatoes and get down to business!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

When first dealing with a gluten free diet, keep things simple and delicious!

When first switching to a gluten free diet, it can be tough to see your new world through "cup half full" lenses.  Most people initially obsess over all the things they will now miss out on, especially things like beer, pizza and baked goods.  So they try to replace all they lost by baking a lot of GF breads and pastries, searching in vain for local distributors of gluten free beer, and researching all the local restaurants with GF menus.  All of which are great things to do to make one's new dietary reality more tolerable, but what people often overlook is the ease of making and eating great food that is naturally gluten free.

Having a range of quick and easy-to-make meals is a must for everyone suffering from gluten sensitivity issues.  I've accumulated quite a few over the years, but this is one of my frequent flyers.  There are so many ways to use 100% corn tortilla, and this is absolutely my favorite! I can whip this meal up in 5 minutes flat!  Try it you'll love it:)

  • Corn Tortillas
  • Eggs
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Spray-Oil (canola or olive)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Dried Basil
  • Cheese (your choice)
  • Hot sauce (most brands are naturally gluten free)
  1. Have one large and one small frying pan over medium high heat.  
  2. Spray the small frying pan with olive oil or any other spray-on oil (making sure that it's GF).
  3. Dice up some tomato and dust with dried basil
  4. Once hot, crack two or three eggs onto the small frying pan.  Add some salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Spray each side of your corn tortillas and throw onto large frying pan.  Once the tortilla begins to look a bit bubbly, turn over and throw some cheese on them. Turn the heat down to low.
  6. Once the eggs are cooked (whole or scrambled, it doesn't matter), remove the tortilla from the pan and place on a large plate.  
  7. Add some tomato, hot sauce, and then your eggs.
  8. Eat and love it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lamb or Pork Pilaf with Apricots and Raisins

When I first thought of putting this dish together, I wondered how well the flavor of the apricots, raisins and pork would complement (or not) each other.  I went with the pork instead of the lamb, not because I preferred using pork, but because Acme was completely out of lamb:(  This dish came out delicious, so no loss at all, but next time I'm definitely going for the lamb.

I decided to use dried apricot halves.  You might want to cut up the dried apricot into small bits, but if you're cool with big bite-fulls of sweet and plump apricot throughout your Pilaf (like I am), don't change anything.  Although golden raisins would be ideal, dark raisins work just as nicely.  This dish is a unique amalgamation of flavors, but they're all yummy!  Prepare to surprise your palate with something very different:)


Prep Time = 20 minutes
Cooking Time = 50 minutes
Servings = 4+

  • 2 tblsp butter or margarine
  • 1 cup long or short-grain brown rice
  • 1 large yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tblsp fresh ginger (minced) 
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups gluten free beef or vegetable stock
  • 3 tblsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 pound pork loin or boneless leg of lamb, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 small zucchini (diced)
  • 4 oz small mushrooms (halved)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped or whole)
  • 1/2 cup dark or golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley 
  1.  Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over moderate heat. Add the rice, onion, 1 tblsp of the ginger, and the garlic.  Saute until the rice is pale gold... about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover it, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile... heat 1 tblsp of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Sprinkle the pork or lamb with salt and pepper, and then add to the skillet... brown the meat on all sides (about 10 minutes).
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, reduce the heat to moderate and heat for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and the remaining ginger and saute until the zucchini is softened (about 3 minutes).  Add the mushrooms and saute until tender (3 to 4 minutes more). Set aside.
  6. Add the apricots and raisins to the rice, cover and continue cooking until all the liquid is absorbed (about 10 minutes more).
  7. Return the meat to the skillet, add the rice mixture, toss well to mix, and heat just to serving temperature (uncovered), over medium heat.  
  8. Stir in the minced parsley.
  9. Serve and enjoy!