Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Planning: Allergen-Free Christmas Dinner for Ten

That's right, Christmas dinner is in full planning mode at Eagle Loft Kitchen!  It is not only possible to make a holiday dinner for ten people that is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, etc. etc.... (not taste-free!), but in some ways it is even easier than the traditional way.  What makes it easy?  Planning.  And the freezer!  And a bit of a messy kitchen a few days before the event. :)

Here's what we will be serving for dinner this Christmas:
  • Turkey (salted, then basted with olive oil and oven roasted)
  • Gravy (chicken broth mixed with turkey drippings, poultry seasoning, tarragon, salt, pepper, and thickened with arrowroot flour)
  • Mashed potatoes (boiled, mashed and mixed with rice milk and Becel RSF)
  • Mashed sweet potatoes and yams (boiled, mashed together and mixed with Becel RSF, fresh orange juice and a touch of agave syrup)
  • Bread stuffing (cubed homemade gluten-free bread mixed with sauted onions, celery, sausage meat and bacon, tossed with poultry seasoning -- stuff in turkey or add some chicken stock or white wine and bake covered in the oven)
  • Sausage meat (made fresh by our local butcher, allergen-free -- hooray!)
  • Carrots and peas

And for dessert:
The beauty of this menu is how much can be done ahead.  All of the desserts are already made and frozen except the pie, which I am making Christmas Eve night.  The mashed veggies can be done the day ahead, and pretty much everything else is finished off late Christmas morning as the turkey goes in the oven.  I'm anticipating getting a lot of time this year to visit with my guests Christmas evening.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, and a tasty allergen-free holiday feast.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Apple Fennel Salad

This refreshing salad is quick and easy to make.  It works with any crisp apple.  I used Gala apples, but it would also be good with Granny Smith.
  • 2 crisp apples, cored, sliced thinly, then cubed
  • 1 bulb fennel (while bulb only, not stalks), chopped
  • 1/3 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp agave syrup
  • pinch salt (or Herbamare)
  • generous pinch pepper
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves, whole
  1. Mix apples, fennel, onion and mint in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk together oil, vinegar, agave, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and stir to coat.
  4. Put one lettuce leaf on each bowl/plate and spoon salad into lettuce.
Serves 4.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ham and Split Pea Soup

The days have turned cold, but we're still spending lots of time outside.  There's no better feeling than returning home to the comforting smell of hot soup throughout the house.  This soup makes use of leftover ham, but you can omit the ham for a vegetarian option.  I don't cook the ham in the soup these days as Little Man doesn't eat ham yet;  I simply stir ham into the bowls of those who are eating it.  Depending on if you are serving ham or not, you need to adjust the salt -- more salt if no ham.  The timing for this soup is very dependant on the temperature at which you cook it.  You can have it ready in an hour and a half if you keep it at a good boil, three hours if you use a high simmer, or 8 hours in a crockpot.
  • 9 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 1/2 cups yellow split peas, well rinsed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 stalks celery, backs peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cubed ham (1/2 cup per bowl)
  1. Bring stock to a boil.
  2. Add all ingredients (unless you are serving some bowls without ham -- then leave out the ham until serving)
  3. Turn down the soup a little but keep the soup boiling.  Stir every 20 minutes when cooking it at this heat (very important so it doesn't burn!).  Cook with the lid on, but remove the lid for the last 20 minutes.  The soup should be ready in 1 1/2 to 2 hours when cooked at high heat.
  4. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brown Rice with Lentils

This is a recipe I make for Little Man, although it could also be a hearty side dish for adults. Every time I cook vegetables for Little Man I save the cooking water. I keep a 3-cup container in my freezer and add the veggie water to it each meal. We usually just have a couple tablespoons of liquid left after cooking vegetables, so it takes a while to fill the container. But when it is full, it is time to make this recipe! Run the container under hot water for 30 seconds or so to loosen the ice block from the container.
  • 3 cups vegetable cooking water, chicken stock, or water
  • 1 inch piece kombu (dried kelp) or dash of salt
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/4 cup green lentils, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed thoroughly
  • 3/4 cup chopped cooked chicken (optional)
  1. Heat liquid to boiling.
  2. Add carrot, rice, lentils and salt or kombu.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour, checking to ensure there is enough liquid at the 45-minute mark. (Add a little extra water if necessary.)
  4. Remove from heat, remove piece of kombu, and stir in chopped chicken.
This freezes really well. If using chicken I make 4 toddler portions, otherwise I freeze this in 3 individual containers.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leek and Potato Soup

Bleh. I'm sick again. Before it hit too bad, I whipped up a big pot of leek and potato soup, another of turkey meatball soup, and a batch of biscuits. Now I'm trying to lay low and let my soups work their magic. I've made this soup for years so it's a tried and true favourite. It just needed a small modification to work with our allergies.
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 large leeks, white part only, chopped (4 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, backs peeled, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 large yukon gold potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  1. Fry bacon over medium-low heat until cooked but not crispy. Add leeks, onion, and celery. Stir. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes until wilted.
  2. Sprinkle tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper over veggie mixture. Stir, add potatoes, and stir again. Add chicken broth, cover and bring to a low boil. Cook until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. This could also be done in a regular blender in a few batches.
  4. Add rice milk and coconut milk to soup. Heat over low until soup is hot, then turn to low simmer until ready to serve.
Do you have any recipes that help you feel better when you are sick?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lamb Shanks with Lentils

This isn't the prettiest dish, but it is so tasty and rich that it could be served to guests. Sometimes I serve it as shown in the photo, with the whole shank on the plate. But usually I remove the bones after cooking, shred the lamb, then mix in brown rice and stir it all together. If prepared this way, you can get 6 servings from this recipe. Serve with a veggie side and a green salad for a complete meal.

I adapted this recipe to be cooked in a crockpot and made some changes for our allergies. The original recipe came from The Rest of the Best and More.
  • 3 lamb shanks
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 of a 5 1/2 oz can tomato paste (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup mixed brown and green lentils, thoroughly rinsed
  1. Heat oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add shanks to frypan and season with salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes per side, turning to get all sides browned. Add browned shanks to crockpot (mine is the 5 quart size).
  2. Add onions to frypan and fry 4-5 minutes, then add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Scrape onions into crockpot. Add beef broth, wine, tomato paste, molasses, sugar, vinegar, rosemary, salt, and pepper to frypan. Stir to combine. Heat to boiling. Add lentils and stir. Pour mixture over shanks and onion in the crockpot.
  3. Cover and cook over low heat 8 hours.
I'm looking forward to more crockpot dinners now that the weather has turned cold and we have been having blustery days. What crockpot meals are you looking forward to this season?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicken Meatball Soup and Biscuits

I woke up feeling pretty crummy a couple days ago. Not death-warmed-over flu terrible, just icky. But I knew what would make me feel better: chicken meatball soup. Homemade chicken soup really does contain some magic that nourishes your whole body. As always, it made me feel a whole lot better -- until the soup ran out. So I made another batch for lunch today. Little Man got very excited over this soup, and he *loved* his first biscuit.

Chicken Meatball Soup:
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 baby zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large yukon gold potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sage or poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 100 grams (about 1/4 pound) white rice spaghetti
  1. Heat the broth to a slow boil, then add the carrots, parsnip, onion, zucchini, and potato.
  2. Pull small chunks off the block of chicken. I use one hand (keeping the other one clean in case my toddler gets into something!) and shape the bits into roughly round shapes about the size of a large grape. As I form each one I drop it into the soup. Don't worry too much about shaping the meatballs; odd shapes work just fine.
  3. Add tarragon, parsley and sage. Add salt and pepper to taste. Boil for 20 minutes (or more).
  4. Break the pasta into 1-2 inch pieces and drop into the soup. Boil for another 20 minutes, then turn to simmer until you are ready to serve.
I used to always make my great-grandmother's baking powder biscuits to accompany soup. I made a few modifications to my scone recipe and -- voila! Savory biscuits. Not the same texture as baking powder biscuits (I prefer this biscuit texture as it is much smoother and flakier) but a similar taste.

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup solid coconut oil (chill in the fridge to make solid)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. Use a pastry cutter to mix the coconut oil into the dry mix until you get pea-sized crumbs.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to combine the coconut milk with the crumbs. Stir/fold until just combined.
  5. Divide mixture into 9 biscuits. Shape gently with your hands and place on baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned around the bottom edges.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Toddler Trail Mix

"Wow, all those allergies! What DOES he eat?" This is something I hear quite often. Sometimes people find it hard to think of snack foods that are outside the standard toddler fare. Cheerios, goldfish crackers, and cheese-strings appear to be very popular with the 2 year old market according to my latest shopping-mall observations. So I guess I shouldn't be so surprised when people stare at Little Man's snack cup wondering what weird food I am feeding my child.

I like to refer to this as trail mix, but Little Man knows it as Crunchies, Puffs, Raisins and Lizards. His favourite part is the lizards -- he will usually dig around until he gets every last one before he starts in on the other components. They are sheets of nori seaweed that I have cut into shapes using a craft punch. They are a great enticement for him to eat other things too. If he doesn't want a muffin, I cut it into cubes and serve it with a sprinkling of lizards over the top. Zucchini quinoa muffins on their own are sometimes not what he is craving, but muffins and lizards are hard to resist.

Trail mix:
  • nori sheets cut into appealing shapes using a craft punch
  • puffed brown rice (I use the Simple Treasures brand)
  • quinoa crunchies (by Gogo Quinoa -- either original or cinnamon)
  • raisins
What snacks do your allergic toddlers enjoy?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

No Apology Pumpkin Pie

I am so excited for Thanksgiving this year! My dish to contribute to the feast is "a pumpkin dessert". I started by checking my family's traditional pumpkin pie recipe -- how many eggs can I replace with egg-replacer? -- what gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free crust recipe should I use? Then I decided to check my safe recipe file of thousands of collected recipes that fit with our allergies. There were several options, but none seemed like they would fill my craving for my family's recipe. So I searched through the recipes of my blogging friends -- jackpot!! I should have known to look there first.

I only recently discovered Karina's Kitchen, and have tried a few of her yummy dishes already. But this recipe looked too good to be true. Ok, here's the secret: there is no crust on the pie. How is that possible? I figured this needed some investigating, so I made a practice pie prior to the Thanksgiving event. I have done a lot of sampling since then... and yes, there really is no crust and it WORKS! More than works -- I love it! No need to make excuses for your allergen-free concoction. This is a real pie and it is delicious.

I've made a few modifications to Karina's recipe, some for our allergy requirements, others to more closely resemble the seasonings in our family's traditional pumpkin pie recipe.
  • 1 14 oz can pumpkin
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil a 9" glass pie plate.
  3. Add all ingredients to food processor. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice.
  4. Pour blended ingredients into pie plate.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, until done and the center is not wet. Mine took an hour and five minutes. Cool thoroughly, then refrigerate until time to serve.
I made the first pie without allspice and ginger and my toddler was able to eat it. Little Man's first pie! He helped to make it (ie. he insisted I hold him the whole time so he could see what I was doing), learned to say "pie" and agrees that it is delicious.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chocolate Fudgesicle Ice Cream

Luckily for us, summer has lingered late this year. So you get one extra ice cream recipe while the weather is still hot. This ice cream takes me back to childhood and the taste of original-recipe fudgesicles. I swear they changed the recipe somewhere in the last decade and added a lot of filler junk so now they taste mediocre. Of course it could be that as I got older my palate improved, but my memory tells me that fudgesicles used to be rich and super chocolatey. This ice cream tastes like that chocolatey memory.
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 cup agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup crumbled chocolate cake
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate at least 2 hours (or refrigerate the coconut and rice milks ahead of time).
  3. Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions (I process mine for 28 minutes).
  4. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze at least 4 hours before serving. (If you refrigerate your blended ingredients for several hours before processing you may be able to serve immediately.)
It probably sounds odd to have cake in this recipe, but I'm sure that is what gives it such a rich flavour and texture. I usually have slices of cake on hand in my freezer so it is easy for me to pull out a piece for this recipe. If you don't have any cake available, you can probably omit it and add extra cocoa powder (1/4 cup or so). It will still be good, but it won't be quite the same.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bison Tacos

Homemade tacos are a fun dinner and can be quite allergy-friendly (assuming you aren't allergic to corn). I mix up a big batch of seasoning every once in a while and then I have it on hand in my spice drawer as needed. It helps to keep this recipe quick and easy if the seasoning is pre-mixed.

Seasoning mix (makes about 8 meals):
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp oregano
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Store in a cool, dry place (such as with your other dried herbs).
  2. To use, fry one pound of ground bison (turkey or ground beef would also work) over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked. Drain fat. Add one cup water and one heaping Tbsp seasoning mix to meat. Heat 10 minutes or so until water is absorbed. (If it doesn't absorb after 10 minutes, turn up the heat a bit).

Taco toppings are a personal preference, but our favoured choices are shown in the above picture.

  • chopped red and yellow peppers
  • sliced black olives
  • diced onion
  • cubed avocado
  • finely shredded lettuce (or pea shoots, or cilantro)
  • cubed tomatoes
  • salsa
  1. Wrap corn tortillas in foil and heat in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Put a tortilla on your plate and scoop a narrow line of seasoned bison down the middle.
  3. Layer preferred toppings over the bison.
  4. Fold up taco into a "C" shape in order to eat it.

If it's in season, I like to serve sliced watermelon after a taco dinner. It is refreshing and cuts any residual spiciness.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blackberry Scones

Yesterday I spent the morning picking blackberries, and this morning I was rewarded for my efforts with these tasty scones hot from the oven. I figured scones were a thing of the past for me -- after all, aren't they wheat and butter mixed with cream? But then I saw a tasty-looking recipe for raspberry scones over at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. With a few simple modifications, I had a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free scone that used my fresh blackberry harvest. But not just any allergen-free scone -- a scone that can only be described as "Mmmmmmmmm".

And what is on top of that delicious scone? It is my own allergen-free (to me) clotted cream. After using part of a can of coconut milk in the scone recipe, I refrigerated the remainder. The coconut cream portion goes thick when cold, and is a delicious cream topping for scones. Just remember to keep it chilled until you are ready to serve it.
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup solid coconut oil (refrigerate coconut oil until it solidifies)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 overflowing cup of blackberries (I used fresh, but frozen would likely work even better)
  1. Mix flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and sea salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. Use a pastry blender to cut cold coconut oil into the dry mixture until it forms pea-sized crumbs.
  3. Whisk syrup, coconut milk and vanilla together in a small bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to crumbly mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in blackberries. (At this stage I thought everything looked like a gloopy mess and worried it wouldn't turn out. Don't panic!)
  6. Drop nine mounds of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Gently shape into desired scone shape.
  7. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 17-20 minutes until scones feel firm and tops are lightly browned (mine took 20 minutes).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Roast Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

I make this dish quite often as it is one of the few meals that we can eat as a family, Little Man included. I also roast vegetables in this herb mix without cooking a chicken, so this can also work for the vegan crowd. Just double the veggies (feel free to include other types of vegetables, preferably harder types) and omit the chicken.

Herb mix (mix all together in small bowl):
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Chicken and veggies:
  • 1 whole roasting chicken
  • 4 large Yukon gold potatoes (cubed into 1 1/2 inch pieces) or 10 small red or purple potatoes
  • 2 large red onions, cut into thick wedges while leaving a bit of the root intact so the wedges don't fall apart
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Wash chicken and pat dry. Coat outside with olive oil. Salt inside, then stuff with rosemary sprigs and bay leaf. Tie leg ends together with twine.
  2. Lightly salt outside of chicken, then sprinkle half of the herbs over the outside. Rub with your hands to cover the surface and get in the crevices. Place chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan.
  3. Put prepared vegetables in a large bowl and pour a little olive oil over. Stir to coat all the veggies in oil. Sprinkle the remaining herbs over the vegetables and stir to combine (I do this twice for better herb coverage: sprinkle, stir, sprinkle, stir again).
  4. Place vegetables around chicken in roasting pan. I use a spatula to scrape the bowl to get the residual herbs and oil out and sprinkle it over the chicken.
  5. Roast chicken and vegetables in a 400 degree convection oven for one hour. (For non-convection, set your oven to 425 degrees and bake for about an hour and fifteen minutes.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pina Colada Ice Cream

Summer appears to be coming to an end here. You can feel that fall crispness in the air already. So before the summer warmth is gone completely, I need to post my favourite hot weather recipe -- pina colada ice cream! (And who am I kidding? I'm going to be making this all winter long!) If you like pina coladas... and getting caught in the rain... (sing along!)

This is the most simple recipe for ice cream ever, but it has such rich flavours and textures. I don't even advertise it as non-dairy anymore, and it gets rave reviews from people who don't require allergy-friendly food. Since pina coladas contain coconut, no one questions why the ice cream is "coconutty".
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 20 oz can pineapple tidbits (including the juice)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  1. Refrigerate cans of coconut milk and pineapple for at least 2 hours (I keep a can of each in my fridge for an emergency pina colada ice cream fix).
  2. Mix coconut milk, pineapple with juice, sugar and agave in a blender at high speed until liquefied.
  3. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. (I process mine for 25-30 minutes).
  4. Pour into a freezer-proof container. At this stage I usually scrape pineapple pulp off of the beater and discard it. This is not a necessary step, but it makes a smoother ice cream.
  5. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
If you have only pineapple rings or chunks, that would work too. You would probably need to include the step where you remove the pineapple pulp from the ice cream maker's beater. One time I only had a 14 oz can of pineapple on hand, so I included some fresh pineapple chunks and juice. It was so delicious, but definitely left more pulp on the beater.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pesto Pasta and Artichoke Dip

This recipe is two meals in one. You can just use the basic recipe to create a terrific artichoke dip, or you can add a few extras to make a scrumptious pesto sauce for pasta. Or you can do what I now do -- make a double batch, scoop out half at the dip stage and then add the remaining ingredients for the pesto sauce. Both freeze really well, so you can make double and save time another day. The dip recipe was adapted from one in the Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook. It is delicious with a fresh veggie platter, on crackers, or as a rich sandwich spread.

Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor.

For the dip:
  • 1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained (I remove outer leaves if tough)
  • 1/2 cup rice breadcrumbs (you can use any breadcrumbs that work for you)
  • 2 tsp capers with their juice
  • 1/4 cup Manzanilla (green) olives (with or without pimentos)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
For the pesto sauce blend the above, then add and puree:
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil (pour in a steam while running the processor until you get the consistency you like)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pancakes and Waffles

Do you prefer pancakes, or are you a waffle fanatic? Did you think that going gluten-free marked the end of these delicious breakfasts? Even if you don't want to fiddle with all of the gluten-free flours and xanthan gum in the morning you can still have a hot breakfast topped with fruit and maple syrup.

I've been making my pancakes and waffles using mixes from Bob's Red Mill. For the pancakes, I use the Gluten Free Pancake Mix (are you surprised?). The waffle batter is less obvious -- I get excellent results with the Gluten Free Biscuit and Baking Mix.

For the pancakes you need:
  • 1/2 Tbsp egg replacer whisked together with 2 Tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup rice milk
  • 1 Tbsp safflower oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pancake mix
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together and drop in various sized puddles onto a medium-hot nonstick griddle (I use a bit of oil in the pan).
  2. The batter may not bubble when it is time to flip. Keep an eye on how brown the first side is getting and flip when it is a medium golden colour.
For the waffles I use:
  • 1/2 Tbsp egg replacer whisked together with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups biscuit mix
  1. Whisk everything together and make according to your waffle-maker's instructions. (I use 1/2 cup batter per waffle and cook for 4 minutes.)
  2. You can triple the recipe and make a large amount of waffles at a time (20 waffles in my waffle maker). Use 5 3/4 cups water (instead of 6) and use the whole biscuit mix package (no need to measure).
I let the leftovers cool completely and then freeze them in Ziploc bags. Whenever I need a quick breakfast or snack I pop them in the toaster oven to heat. I also use the pancakes as hamburger buns, so it is very convenient to have them on hand.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

A couple of months ago I decided I needed an ice cream maker. Not "wanted"... neeeeded. After perusing the different options, I decided to purchase the ice cream maker attachment kit for my Kitchenaid stand mixer. Being summer, one would think this would be easy to find. But no! In our town there was not a single place that stocked this item. Thus began an ice cream maker journey that involved online shopping, shipping to friends-of-friends in another country, my parents meeting up with those friends while both parties were on vacation, and their efforts to cram it in the car to drive it home.

This story is told to highlight just how special this ice cream is. Aside from the fact that I didn't think I could eat ice cream again. After all, I can't eat cream... not even soy cream. And now I don't need to, because this ice cream is spectacular without it!

This recipe is inspired by one in the new cookbook Lick It!: Creamy, Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love. It is the first ice cream I've made that doesn't taste like the coconut milk that it contains. I am excited to try many more of the recipes from this book.
  • 1 14oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
  • 1/2 cup agave or granulated sugar (I used 1/4 cup of each)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cherries
  • 1/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  1. Put first 4 ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  3. Freeze in ice cream maker following the directions for your machine (I processed mine for 25 minutes).
  4. Add cherries and chocolate chips and process a further 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer ice cream to freezer-proof container and freeze 4 hours or more to obtain a hard ice cream consistency.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Morning Glory Muffins

These yummy breakfast muffins were inspired by a recipe for Carrot Cupcakes at Speedbump Kitchen. I adjusted the recipe to make them gluten-free (they were already dairy/egg free).

I made them in my new silicone tall muffin pan, so they are shaped like mini-cakes! This recipe makes about 16 muffins.

Wet ingredients:
  • 2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 apple, cored and grated
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup safflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer + 4 Tbsp water
Dry ingredients:
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk egg replacers and water together in medium bowl. Add all other wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together in large bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just blended.
  5. Fill silicone or paper-lined muffin pans almost to the top.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, until set on top.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thai Chicken Curry

This colourful dish is full of rich Thai flavours: coconut, lemongrass, lime leaves. If you are unfamiliar with Thai cooking, this may appear daunting at first. It took me awhile the first time, but it is now easy since I am more familiar with the ingredients. I adapted the recipe from one in The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook.
  • 2 14oz cans coconut milk (be careful not to shake)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2-3 red, orange or yellow sweet bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp safflower oil
  • 1 inch ginger root, diced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves discarded and remainder cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 3 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tsp natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup snowpeas (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or Thai basil
  1. Separate the thick coconut cream from the thin coconut milk by spooning the cream off of the top of each can of coconut milk. Put the cream into a medium saucepan and reserve the milk for later in the recipe.
  2. Cook the chicken over medium-high heat in the coconut cream along with 2 of the whole kaffir lime leaves. After 10 minutes, remove chicken to a medium bowl and keep warm by covering with foil.
  3. Boil the coconut cream until it thickens and starts to look curdled. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the peppers in the vegetable oil in a wok for 3 minutes. Remove peppers, adding to bowl with chicken.
  5. Combine curry paste with 1 Tbsp of the reserved coconut milk and fry in the wok for 1-2 minutes. Add fish sauce and sugar and stir together.
  6. Stir in remaining coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, and snowpeas. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Add peppers, chicken, and curdled coconut cream and cook another 5 minutes until chicken is heated through. Remove lemongrass pieces.
  8. Sliver the remaining 2 kaffir lime leaves very thinly and stir into the wok along with the cilantro/basil immediately before serving.
  9. Serve over Thai jasmine rice.

Monday, June 29, 2009

BBQ Pork Tenderloin

This is a favourite at our house so we have it fairly often. Excuse the cutting board photo, but it was so tasty that I forgot to take a picture of my plate and had to take one instead of the leftovers waiting to be carved.

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp green curry paste
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp ground Chinese ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large Ziplock bag (or a bowl with a lid).
  2. Add one pork tenderloin and coat with marinade.
  3. Let marinate in refrigerator minimum one hour (overnight works really well).
  4. Grill on barbeque until cooked but still slightly pink on the inside (15-20 minutes on medium heat), basting several times with the marinade.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Spiced Teff Cookie Bars

Looking at this photo, don't you think of a dense chocolate brownie? What if I told you there was no chocolate in this bar? Nope, not cocoa powder either. These surprisingly light-textured cookies are dark due to the nutrient-rich ingredients of teff flour and blackstrap molasses. And no, they don't taste one bit healthy. They are super delicious!

This recipe was created by Ali of Whole Life Nutrition in order to accommodate our allergies (I'm so honoured!). And they couldn't be more perfect -- I love them! Thank you Ali!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rhubarb Crisp with Rhubarb Tea

I never know what to do with rhubarb except bake it in a pie. I still haven't found a piecrust recipe that fits our allergies, although I have a few recipes I am waiting to try. But I had some fresh rhubarb waiting to be used and not enough time to experiment with pastry. So I decided to stew the rhubarb on the cooktop and mix in some tapioca. Mmmmmm.

As a byproduct of the cooking process, you also get a nice cup of rhubarb tea to enjoy.
  • 3-4 stalks fresh rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/4 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup + extra to sweeten tea
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • sprinkling of granola for each serving (I use Enjoy Life granola)
  1. Combine tapioca and 3/4 cup of water in a small bowl. Let sit 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put rhubarb in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer 10 more minutes, then drain water. This rhubarb water is the tea, so pour into a nice cup and sweeten with some agave syrup to taste.
  4. Add tapioca/water mixture to rhubarb. Stir in the coconut milk and agave syrup.
  5. Simmer 5-8 minutes, until tapioca is transparent.
  6. Stir in blueberries and simmer 1-2 minutes.
  7. Pour into 3-4 serving dishes and top with granola.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Caramel Popcorn

Snacks have always been a tricky thing for me to think about in our allergen-free living. Everything seems to take a long time to prepare from scratch. It is so much easier to open a bag or a box and have an instant (and unhealthy) snack. What is odd is that I was never much of a snacker before I started the limited diet. We almost never ate dessert, and snacks were more likely to be cheese and pepperoni than potato chips or cookies. Nowadays though, I'm always foraging in the cupboards looking for a quick nibble.

My mother suggested I purchase a popcorn maker so I could whip up a yummy bowl of popcorn for a healthy snack. This turned out to be a great idea, and for the last week I've been enjoying popcorn with salt and Becel RSF. But today I have a new favourite -- caramel popcorn! And it was easy and quick to make.

My recipe inspiration came from a spiced popcorn and nut recipe in Super Natural Cooking. I have adapted the recipe to fit with our allergies:
  • 10 cups popped popcorn (1/3 to 1/2 cup unpopped, popped any way you choose)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on your counter (or on a baking sheet).
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, mix the syrups and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, swirl the pan over the burner for about 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to reduce. On my gas cooktop, I tipped the pan a little then let it rest again on the burner. Then I tipped it another direction and brought it to rest again. This was more gentle on my grills than a swirling motion. After 5 minutes of the swirling or tipping motion, remove pan from heat.
  4. Add popcorn to the pot and stir gently to thoroughly coat.
  5. Spread coated popcorn onto the parchment paper and allow to cool and firm (or not!).
This recipe will serve two only if my husband gets home soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beefy Tomato Pasta

While looking through my Nana's recipes I discovered a simple pasta sauce. My regular sauce takes so long to make that I don't make it all that often. With a few changes here and there, I've updated her recipe to taste almost the same as my slow-cooked sauce -- but it can be ready in a jiffy. This recipe serves 4.
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 lb ground beef (I use bison or beef)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 5 1/2 oz can tomato paste
  • 5 1/2 oz water (fill tomato paste can)
  • heaping 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • heaping 1 tsp basil
  • heaping 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 8 spears asparagus
  • 3 cups uncooked rice pasta spirals or elbows (I use Rizopia brand for this dish)
  1. Heat water to boiling in pasta pot. Cook asparagus spears 3 minutes then remove from water and set aside. Keep water at a boil for pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, wash spinach and pat dry. Divide evenly between 4 pasta bowls.
  3. Brown meat over medium heat in a wok or large frypan. Drain excess fat.
  4. Add onion and garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water and spices. Stir to combine.
  6. Coarsely chop asparagus and add to meat/tomato mixture. Bring mix to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes while pasta cooks.
  7. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain, rinse briefly under cold water, and add to meat/tomato mixture.
  8. Stir gently and let everything heat together 1-2 minutes.
  9. Serve pasta mixture over fresh spinach in prepared bowls.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bacon and Tomato Sandwich

Your eyes do not deceive you! This is a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free sandwich -- on REAL bread!! (And yes, those are orange tomatoes, not something funny with my camera).

After having great success with the Rhubarb Muffins from the Whole Life Nutrition blog (as well as their quick lentil soup recipe that I ate so fast I didn't get a chance to photograph), I decided to try my hand at baking their Best Gluten-Free, Vegan Sandwich Bread. Prior to our allergies, I have been known to bake bread on occasion. Flour, yeast, water, salt, sugar, milk -- done! The ingredient list for this gluten-free bread was a bit daunting. Five different flours/starches? Maple sugar and agave nectar? Xanthan gum? Yeast? -- Oh wait, that one I was used to. I had to go to four different stores to obtain all of the special ingredients. But armed with my many small bags of exotic flours, I set to work. Soon, my house was filled with the delicious smell of freshly baked bread that I have truly missed.

Isn't it gorgeous? It LOOKS like real bread... but what would it taste like? I really had low expectations going into this project as I have only ever heard negative things about gluten-free bread. From funny taste, to crumbly texture, to anaemic-looking loaves for sale on store shelves, gluten-free bread has a bad reputation. So a little apprehensively, I prepared for my first bite. And.... OH MY! If someone served this to me and I was unaware of the ingredients I would definitely know it was homemade bread, but I would never have realized it wasn't made with wheat. As I gobbled down the first slice I felt guilty, as if I was eating something I wasn't allowed to eat. By the time I toasted the bread and made a sandwich, I felt like I should be re-reading a label for hidden allergens. But there was no label, because I made this and knew everything that went into it! Needless to say, I am ordering the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook so I can get more recipes like this (and no, they didn't pay me to say that!).

Now, back to the "recipe" for the sandwich:
  1. Fry bacon until cooked.
  2. Toast bread until lightly crispy.
  3. Spread dressing over toast, top with sliced tomato and bacon.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rhubarb Muffins

This has been a very exciting weekend for me. I just discovered something that opens up a whole new area of food: xanthan gum. I knew about it before -- it is listed in 95% of the recipes I read of muffins, cakes, cookies, and breads. The problem was that I couldn't find one that was made in a safe enough factory for our allergies. We have several brands available in my city, but they may be cross-contaminated with dairy, eggs, and of all things -- wheat! Who would even buy xanthan gum if they eat wheat? But I received an email from someone letting me know they had found Bob's Red Mill Xanthan Gum across town. It is made in a facility with tree nuts and soy, as are their gluten-free flours that we use. I feel safer with this for our allergies than with dairy, eggs, and wheat. I could hardly wait until Little Man awoke from his nap! We dashed to the store and there it was! And it was on sale for $5 off, too!

So this morning I set to work making one of the recipes that I had previously not been able to make: Rhubarb Muffins from the Whole Life Nutrition blog. They were divine! They puffed up beautifully, they had a wonderful texture, they didn't crumble to bits -- they were as good as they looked.

I also got to try my new silicone baking cups for this recipe. They worked way beyond my expectations. I made two muffins in traditional paper cups and 10 in the new silicone ones so I could compare. The silicone ones were superior! I had not expected much as I purchased 12 of them for less than $10.

This morning I also made some delicious waffles, but that is a story for another post. Needless to say, it was a great day!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Turkey Burgers

Ahhhh, a BBQ'd burger... Pre-allergy food, right? Wrong! I think I may have just discovered the best burger idea ever: Pancake buns. No, seriously! They are *delicious* and I think I even prefer them to the traditional wheat bun. They have a much more delicate texture than a bun and just melt in your mouth.

How simple is this?
Burger patty:
  • 1 pound ground turkey (preferably thigh)
  1. Shape meat into four patty shapes.
  2. BBQ until cooked through.
Burger "buns":
  1. Pan-fry mix into 8 pancakes that are slightly bigger than your burger patties.
  2. Load up your pancake "buns" with traditional condiments and burger trimmings as usual. (For me, that is dijon mustard and ketchup with some chopped onions).
To make things even simpler, I make extra pancakes with breakfasts and then freeze the leftovers. I then toast the pancakes whenever I need a bun. So easy and quick!

For the toddler version, I used cubed turkey meatloaf sandwiched between two pancakes. This was Little Man's first burger, and he gobbled it right up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lemon Coconut Pie

Lemon pie is definitely something I thought I wouldn't be seeing again soon due to our egg allergy. After all, the main ingredient in lemon pie filling is egg yolk. Fortunately for me, my Mother-in-Law saw the recipe for lemon pie filling on the Ener-G site and decided to give it a whirl. Here's how she made it:

Coconut crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 3 Tbsp safflower oil (or coconut oil)
  1. Mix coconut with oil until coconut is thoroughly coated.
  2. Press firmly into a 9 inch pie plate.
  3. Bake at 325 F for 10-15 minutes (until coconut starts to brown).
Lemon Filling (from the Ener-G site):
  • 1/4 cup Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp grated lemon rind
  1. Mix egg replacer with sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler until well blended.
  2. Add water, lemon juice and lemon rind and set over medium heat.
  3. Stir constantly until smooth and thick.
  4. Remove from heat, but continue stirring for 5 minutes to cool mixture.
  5. Pour into pie shell. Cool thoroughly then refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I've waited all year for fiddleheads to be in season and they finally are! It is a very brief season, so if you see them at the market grab them while they are still available. For those unfamiliar with them, fiddleheads are the new top shoots of ostrich ferns, and taste like a cross between green beans and artichokes. They are an acquired taste, and definitely a delicacy.
  • 1/2 pound fiddleheads
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Wash the fiddleheads under cold water and pull off any brown papery skin. Trim brown ends.
  2. Boil for 15 minutes or steam for 10 to 12 minutes to kill the natural toxin in the fern. Drain and discard cooking water (it may still contain the toxin).
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry fiddleheads and garlic in oil until lightly seared, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Raspberry Smoothie

One of the hardest parts of learning to live with allergies is figuring out what to eat for breakfast. Recently I started making fruit smoothies. They are so tasty that it doesn't seem like I'm being deprived at all. I do find that I still need to have a grain (like cereal, a muffin, or pancakes) with this in order to feel full.

I choose different fruit combinations every time I make this. Here is what I had most recently, but feel free to make up your own concoction. This makes 3 large glasses of raspberry smoothie:
  • 1/2 papaya, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 plum, pitted and chopped
  • handful of raspberries
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 3 slices banana
  • raspberry juice to cover 2/3 of the fruit

  1. Add fruit to blender, pour in juice.
  2. Puree and then liquefy until smooth and any peels are tiny.
  3. Store leftovers covered in fridge up to 2 days.
I usually use orange juice, but the raspberry juice worked nicely with this mix. Other fruits I sometimes use include mangoes, grapes, peaches, nectarines, kiwis or blueberries.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Corn Chowder

My Mother-in-law made me this delightful soup for Mother's Day. It is hearty and nourishing in addition to being delicious. She adapted the recipe from Living Without Magazine. Don't let the long ingredient list deceive you -- half of it is herbs!

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock for vegan soup)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups corn kernels (frozen or fresh off the cob)
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2/3 tsp dried thyme
  • 2/3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 cup rice milk
  1. In a soup pot, saute onions and celery over low heat until golden.
  2. Add stock, water, potatoes and corn. Cover and cook over medium heat 30 minutes.
  3. Measure one cup of soup into a food processor. Add herbs and puree. Put back into soup along with rice milk.
  4. Cook until hot, 5-8 minutes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

White Bean and Artichoke Dip

This recipe was adapted from The Rest of the Best and More, Volume 2. It is good served on a veggie platter, and also is an excellent dip with crackers, such as Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips. These crackers are super delicious all on their own too, and work with all of Little Man's allergies. There are several flavours available for these corn-based chips, and most should be safe for us so we will be trying more of these soon. Now back to the dip:
  • 19 oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or dill)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of cayenne
  1. Combine beans, artichokes, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor.
  2. Blend together, adding olive oil (while machine is running) until dip is smooth.
  3. Stir in chopped herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and the dash of cayenne.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pumpkin Mini Muffins

Very similar to my recipe for banana mini muffins, these muffins are also moist and tasty.

I adapted this recipe from one provided to us by Little Man's nutritionist.

Dry ingredients (stir together in a medium bowl):
  • 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Wet ingredients (stir together in a small bowl):
  • 1 14oz can pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to combine.
  2. Drop batter into mini muffin cups (I use a silicone pan, so I don't need to grease the pan).
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (325 F convection) for 20 minutes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Halibut with Sweet Pepper and Basil

This is our favourite way to serve halibut. I adapted this recipe from one listed at The London Free Press. My version serves two.
  • 2 halibut fillets
  • 3 Tbsp rice flour
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet orange pepper, diced
  • 1 baby zucchini, diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in an ovenproof skillet.
  2. Season the rice flour with salt and pepper and dredge the halibut in the mixture.
  3. Sear the halibut flesh-side down for 3 minutes.
  4. Flip the fish over and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Move skillet to the oven and bake 8-10 minutes until fish flakes with a fork.
  6. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat in another small skillet. Add onion and cook until soft.
  7. Add garlic and orange pepper, cook 4 minutes.
  8. Add zucchini, cook 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in parsley, balsamic vinegar, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Divide halibut and vegetable mixture between two plates. Serve immediately. Brown rice makes a nice accompaniment.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Farmer Salad

This is a salad I have been making for years. It is slightly different each time, although there are always "core" ingredients. I once ate a "Farmer Salad" at a restaurant and it had artichokes and chickpeas in it, I think fennel maybe, and no lettuce. I don't remember what else was in that original Farmer Salad, but that is always the starting point for mine.
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1/2 can baby corn, sliced
  • 1/2 bulb fennel (white part only), chopped
  • 1/3 of a mild onion, chopped
  • 1 red or orange pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • small handful of fresh parsley or basil, chopped
  • optional: I sometimes add other crunchy veggies I have on hand such as radishes or celery
  • 1/4 cup olive or safflower oil
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup mix of vinegars: apple cider, red/white wine vinegar, sometimes a dash or two of balsamic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp molasses (optional)
  • dash cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried herbs such as tarragon or oregano (optional -- don't add if using cayenne)
Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over veggies. Mix well and chill. Stir again just before serving.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Apricot Chicken

I love love love this chicken recipe. I love it so much I have a difficult time thinking of anything else to do with chicken breasts. It has few ingredients and requires little supervision, so it is easy-peasy to make. But it looks so lovely on the plate and tastes so good that it is perfect for serving to company.

I got the original recipe from Lifestyle Markets. I have adapted the recipe to serve two (but I always wish I made the full recipe for four so I would have leftovers):
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (1 navel orange)
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix together the jam, orange juice and rosemary and set aside.
  2. Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add chicken, cook 3 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Flip chicken over, add onion around the edges.
  5. Salt and pepper the chicken, cook 3 more minutes.
  6. Pour the jam/juice/rosemary over the chicken, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 8-10 minutes (until chicken is fully cooked).
  7. Lift chicken onto serving plates.
  8. Turn the heat to medium-high and boil sauce uncovered for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened.
  9. Pour sauce over chicken (also excellent on rice) and serve.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Breakfast Cereals - Part Two

UPDATE 10/10/09: Unfortunately, after Perky's was acquired by Enjoy Life Foods, the decision was made to discontinue this cereal. Little Man is sad. :(

Finally my quest is over for a non-wheat, non-oat Cheerio's replacement. PerkyO's is another cereal by Perky's, which I previously discussed in my review of Nutty Flax cereal. Is it the best cereal in the world? No. Does my toddler think it is? Yes. He goes crazy when I bring out "O's". To me, it kind of tastes like I imagine the box would taste. However, if you add brown sugar it isn't half bad. And adding blueberries makes it quite good. In the cereal's defence, I think Fruit Loops tastes like sugared cardboard and I used to love it. I'm already on my second box, so I enjoy it enough to eat it fairly regularly.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Orange Beet Salad

This salad is light and refreshing, perfect for a summer lunch.
  • 6 baby beets, cooked, peeled and quartered (I used "Candy Cane" beets that are yellow and pink)
  • 1 orange, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp liquid honey
  1. Mix beets, chopped orange and carrots together in a glass bowl.
  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together and stir into salad.
Note: if using red beets you may wish to leave the chopped orange out until it is time to serve. Otherwise your whole salad will be red.